Sunday, June 29, 2014


by Mountain Of Power
(Grooveyard Records)

If you liked Mountain Of Power Volume One, you are going to love what Volume Two of the Mountain Of Power project brings to the table! Picking up with the energized riffage that Volume One served up, the powerhouse rock project formed by guitarist Janne Stark of Locomotive Breath returns with an amazing cast of outstanding musicians from not only Sweden this time around, but from around the world as well!  Volume Two comes fully loaded with 14 blistering songs rocking in at 76 minutes. No one song stands out as they are all done to perfection by bands that have proven track records. Volume Two was mastered by Ty Tabor of King's X, who also plays on the album, who did one heck of a job! By giving each song such powerful intensity that is guaranteed to shake your foundation! Highlights include mind-blowing, heavy, retro-70's cover jams complete with extended six string fury renditions of "Urban Guerrilla" (Sammy Hagar) featuring Cindy Weichman (Nail/Helix) and Jay Jesse Johnson. "Makin’ Magic/Makes No Difference" (Pat Travers) feat. Mikael Nord Andersson, Jay Jesse Johnson, "Reasons Love/This Kids" (UFO) feat. Martin J Andersen (Blindstone), Sven Cirnski (Bad Habit/Truth), "Struck Down/25 Hours A Day" (Y&T) feat. Mikael Nord Andersen, "Waves" (Resurrection Band) feat. Ty Tabor (King’s X), Bad Penny/Keychain (Rory Gallagher) feat. Conny Bloom (Electric Boys), Pontus Snibb (Bonafide), Mikael Nord Andersson and "I Stand Alone" (Blackfoot) feat. Mattias Osbäck (Locomotive Breath), Per Karlsson (Overdrive), Rusty Burns (Point Blank), Craig Erickson, Tommy Denander. If you're looking for a great rocking album that goes for the throat and hits the spot every time, get your hands on this gem! Vintage, pure rock music revival. Everybody needs some ass-kickin' air guitar moments, and Mountain Of Power Volume Two delivers the goods and more! - Highly Recommended
Tony @The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine


by Mountain Of Power 
(Grooveyard Records)

It's time to dust off and break out your air guitar out of storage, because Grooveyard Records is proud to present Mountain Of Power Volume One. This Swedish guitar powerhouse project was formed by guitarist Janne Stark of Locomotive Breath & Joe Romagnola of Grooveyard Records. What you will find and experience here are some of Sweden's best rock musicians re-interpreting, and in some cases re-defining the music that first inspired them to make music in the first place. Featuring the stellar talents of Thomas Larsson (Glenn Hughes), Emil Fredholm & Christian Neppenstrom (Plankton), Sven Cirnski and Tommy Denander, to perform  songs that have never, or at least rarely, been covered before. Volume One features 14 slabs of guitar powered fury guaranteed to shake your senses beyond belief!  Highlights include a ballys cover of the Budgie classic, "In For The Kill", Mountain's "Dreams Of Milk & Honey", a killer take on Moxy's, "Out Of The Darkness", as well as excellent covers of, "Fantasy" (Captain Beyond), "Crazy" (Stray Dogs) and "Tomorrow Or Yesterday" (Samson). Like I said, songs rarely covered.  I have to say the Mountain Of Power project did a bang up job covering these rock classics. They've added more power to them and sped up the groove a little. Mountain Of Power Volume One is definitely an album you can kick out the jams to from cover to cover. This is powerful, ass-kickin' hard guitar rock paying homage to the 70's Classic Rock gods and doing them proud! I'm on my second listen as I write this, and I know that it's going to be listened to at least once or twice a day for the next couple of weeks. To me, that's the sign of a great album and this one certainly is! If you're a big fan of the vinyl age of rock-n-roll, Mountain Of Power Volume One is a rock `n' roll experience of the third kind!  - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


HIGH ROAD by Night Ranger
(Frontier Records)

Night Ranger returns with their 11th studio release, 'High Road'. Wow! The band sounds great, Jack Blades (bass, vocals), Kelly Keagy (drums, vocals), Brad Gillis (guitars), Joel Hoekstra (guitars) and Eric Levy (keyboards). 'High Road', is classic Night Ranger delivering that solid  California brand of AOR shine that has rocked music fans for years. This is a guitar heavy album that w all the trademark Night Ranger melodies and choruses. Every track is stimulating and not repetitive. As they exhibit on tracks like, "High Road", "Knock, Knock Never Stop", "Rollin' On", "I'm Coming Home" and "X Generation". The guitar combo of Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra work perfectly and are brilliant and excellently over the top. Even the laid back tracks and piano/keyboard landed songs are inspiring as evident on tracks like, "Don't Live Here Anymore", "Only For You Only" and "Brothers". Night Ranger have certainly paid their dues over the years, working hard and touring extensively all over the world. 'High Road' is a rock solid  album that is classic Night Ranger doing what they do best and that is putting out great  rock songs that beg to cranked up to max with heartfelt passion filled ballads that tug at your heartstrings. One may wonder how a band like Night Ranger who has rocked, not only America, but the world since 1983 is still going strong and able to sound this good in 2014. The answer is simple really, because they can.  If you like your rock music to be filled with irresistible hooks and anthems, then state of musical escape found on 'High Road' is just about the coolest place to be. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine


(Grooveyard Records)

'Beneath A Dying Sun' the thunderous debut release from Sweden based rockers Thalamus. Kjell Bergendahl - Guitar, Vocals, Mats Gesar - Guitar, Peter Johansson - Bass, Magnus karlsson - Drums and Joakhim Åslund - Hammond organ and keys. The first thing that struck me right away about, 'Beneath A Dying Sun' was the fantastic groove throughout that never at any point becames tiresome. Too many times hard rock/stoner bands simply re-hash repetitive riffing, but on this release, the riffage served up between, Kjell Bergendahl and Mats Gesar is spot on. Sumptuous time changes and riff chopping/changing that simply floors you as a listener, making you guess the next direction they will take makes this a display of refined and ultimately skilful playing. There are plenty of straight up hard rock songs, such as the energetic "By The River", which acts as a perfect kick-start. The next two tracks "Unravelled" and "Poor Man's Brain" are once again simplistic in approach but executed with such energy and power, the chorus to "Firefly" is extremely catchy, and the commanding vocal delivery from Kjell Bergendahl on "We're Gonna Die Someday" is sure to get your adrenaline going. Mention should also go to the fine closer `Falling" the darkest song on the album with a fine bleak quality that ends a superb album with a fine sophisticated bluesy edge. As old school heavy rock albums go, it really doesn't get much better than this. If you're a fan of bands like Firebird, Winery Dogs, Graveyard and Scorpion Child (not to mention Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep), you really need to check out Thalamus and 'Beneath A Dying Sun', is as good a place as any to start. A thunderous debut release that demands your attention. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


BANG! by Gotthard
(The End Records)
Swiss rock vets Gotthard return with their latest release, 'Bang!'. Nic Maeder on vocals, Leo Leoni on guitar, Freddy Scherer on guitar, Marc Lynn on bass and Hena Habegger on drums. This is the band's second with new singer, Nic Maeder. He's no Steve Lee (R.I.P.), but he does have a great voice and brings his own flavor to the band.  The new album was mixed at the Dutch Wisseloord Studios (Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner) by Ronald Prent (The Scorpions, Def Leppard, Within Temptation). For me Gotthard has always been a band that brings that classic hard rock sound in the vein of Whitesnake and Deep Purple to the table. A formula the band has used with success ever since their conception. On the new album the band serve up that "Classic Sound",  to perfection. Powered by superb vocals and solid lyrics from Nic Maeder, great melodic songs and one or two acoustic charmers. The guitar tandem of Leo Leoni and Freddy Scherer sound great as usual. The chemistry these two is like white on rice. Great duelling guitar trade offs and tasty Hamond organ fills and sweeping background power chords. As they exhibit on rockers like, "Get Up ‘N’ Move On", "Jump The Gun", "Spread Your Wings" and "Red On A Sleeve". The title track, "Bang!" ( "Feel What I Feel", was the lead off single for the European version) is the first single off off the album a rocking track that has tons swagger. As a bonus on the U.S. release, the band offer three bonus tracks, "I Want It All", "You Can’t Stop Me" and "My Daddy Told Me". Overall, 'Bang!' is well produced and well mixed. Other bands should take a lesson or two from these guys, because they do everything right. Although this album is a bit more commercial sounding than some of the band's previous outings, it's perfectly fine with me! If you like melodic rock, you'll love Gotthard, there's no way around it. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

Sunday, June 22, 2014


by Black Mountain Prophet
(Grooveyard Records)

From the backwoods of Kentucky and Tennessee comes the southern blues rock powerhouse, Black Mountain Prophet. Jarrod England on lead vocals and guitar, Bob "Action Earl" Watkins (formerly of Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies) on lead guitar, Thomas Wingate on bass and Riley Wingate on drums. The band's debut, 'Notorious Sinner', is full of tight, fiery spurts of boogie-rock deeply rooted in the southern flavored classic rock sound of the 70's'. Black Mountain Prophet is one band  that truly knows how to rock. Songs like the turbo charged rockers like "Speedfreak","Smack Me Down",  "I'm Ready", "Too Much Of A Good Thing" and "Deuteronomy" are excellent examples of this. They can also do soulful ballads really well, such as "Love My Woman" and "Baby's Gone". They have that raw edge sound that brings to mind the likes of Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin and The Black Crowes. This is real rock and roll. This is not an image. This is music. Black Mountain Prophet take their influence of the best of the southern classic rock sound of the early 70's. Jarrod England encapsulates the 70's rock lead singer. Summoning a bit of Steve Marriot (Humble Pie), Paul Rodgers (Free/Bad Company) and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) with each song, England takes the lead-singer image and idea back to its roots. The guitar work of both Jarrod England and Bob "Action Earl" Watkins is stellar and give off that Paul Kosoff of Free vibe. While Thomas Wingate and Riley Wingate provide the band a rock solid foundation. 'Notorious Sinner' is a no holds bar, gritty and raunchy masterpiece. Trust me. If you like great rock music and want to impress your friends as well as find something that not everyone has, get into Black Mountain Prophet. Their music is so real that you won't stop listening to it once you give it a spin! - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine


RISE by Mojo Radio
(Grooveyard Records)

Blues rock band, Mojo Radio from Madison, WI return with their sophomore release, ' Rise'. This album is full of raging blues that will not disappoint. Original and gritty comes to mind. It will grab your attention from the moment you press play. Mojo Radio are, Adam Zierten on vocals/harmonica, Jason Peterson on guitar, Scott Aumann on bass and Brent King on drums. The album starts of with bluesy mover, "Torn Asunder", powered by Zierten' s, harp and Peterson's locomotive super charged slide guitar. The funky soulful rocker, "Death Of Me" is up next. Talk about getting the blood pumping, this song will do the trick. Then you have the laid back swagger of "Changing Of The Tide". Things slow down a bit with "See It Through", but pick right back up with the gospel tinged soul shaker, "Darkened My Door". If you like slide guitar, harmonica/harp and Bonham influenced drum grooves then you are in for one hell of a good time! The production job is top notched and the mix is spot on. Real toe-tappin' groovin' kinda music, combined with powerhouse chords and super-charged slide guitar make ,'Rise' by Mojo Radio a real winner. A raunchy rootsy blues rock ride of your life. You will feel like you are riding the rails at every turn in the road, peelin' paint and melting rubber. Any fan of the Stones, Faces, Humble Pie and Black Crowes, will be greatly rewarded for giving this album a listen. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

Monday, June 16, 2014


(Frontier Records)

They're back! Jeff Keith on lead vocals, Frank Hannon on lead & rhythm guitars, Dave Rude on lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals, Brian Wheat on bass, piano, backing vocals  and Troy Luccketta on drums, percussion, or better known as Sacramento, California's favorite rock and roll sons, Tesla! The band's new release, 'Simplicity' is a great listen, from start to finish! It ranks up there as one of the band's strongest releases. If you are already a fan of the band, then you probably have this, and know what I'm talking about. If you don't own it, you are missing out on an incredible band, and great rocking tunes. The riffs are nice and heavy, the solos are present in every song, the production is clean, the drumming is also very well done. All fourteen tracks are rock solid, but for me personally the obvious highlights are: "MP3", "Rise & Fall", "So Devine", "Life is a River" and "Honestly". All I can is, it's not 1986 anymore, it's 2014 and these guys are still rocking like there's no tomorrow! There is an incredible richness and deepness to their music. Their songs are multi-layered and have amazing depth, not only in both the music and vocals, but in their message as well. Jeff Keith sounds great. Frank Hannon and Dave Rude guitars are powerful than ever and the band's tight rhythm section of Brian Wheat and Troy Luccketta is air tight as usual. 'Simplicity' is an awesome trip, a journey with one of the greatest bands of all time that you will want to experience over and over. Tesla rock and they rock hard by telling us how it is and I'm telling you that you should get this album, it's that simple! - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

Sunday, June 15, 2014


by Various Artist
(Grooveyard Records)

Established in 1999 Grooveyard Records have kept their promise by keeping Real Old-School Guitar Rock alive with the killer riffage that matters by releasing artist who deliver the goods when it comes to smoking hot heavy blues. Artist such as Megadeth's Chris Poland, Craig Erickson (Trapeze, Glenn Hughes), Tony Spinner (Pat Travers, Paul Gilbert, Toto). Fast forward to the 21st Century  Grooveyard Records has recruited a new breed of "21st Century Classic Rock Warriors" to keep their mission alive. Artist like, Stone Machine, Blindstone, Snake Head Ritual, Pebbleman and Gugun Power Trio. Where to start? Well, if you are a fan of guitar music, you will like these compilations, but if you are a "SUPER GUITAR FREAK", like moi, you will LOVE THEM and find yourselves in "Six-String" heaven! 'Grooveyard Records: The Sound Of Guitar Rock' is an excellent representation of what Grooveyard Records' mission is all about. Keeping "Guitar Rock" alive! You have some of the hottest blues rock bands on the planet each creating masterpieces of sound that will blow your mind and give goose bumps! Volume One highlights include; Raised On Rock by Blindside Blues Band that is simply amazing. "Play That Damn Guitar by Jay Jesse Johnson, wow! His guitar playing...smokin'! The blues power trio from Denmark, Blindstone lends their talents with, "Struck Down By The Blues". Bluesman, Craig Erickson shines on "For Your Love". From Indonesia the Gugun Power Trio serve it up hot with, "Mission". Volume Two takes over where volume one left off and just like volume one this set contains serious doses of blues rock mojo firepower of the "Six-String Kind". It's like throwing a lit match on gasoline! Toledo, Ohio's Snake Head Ritual fires things up with "Northern Boogie", "River Is Risin'" by Johnny Hunkins is up next featuring Jarrod England on vocals & Tony Franklin on bass. One of my favorites, Blindstone from Denmark serve up the soul shaker, "Gonna Be More Suspicious". Dirty Dave Osti gets his licks in with, "Pull The Trigger (On Your Love)". Other highlights include; The Blindside Blues Band covering the Deep Purple classic, "Maybe I'm A Leo", another favorite of Stone Machine offer up, "Bye Baby Bye"and "Thirteen Ways" by Bugs Henderson. A total of 30 tracks, the intensity displayed by the musicians on these two compilations make for a memorable listening experience that you will want to experience over and over! Hats off to Grooveyard Records for putting out great music by amazing musicians and KEEPING THE ROCK ALIVE! The "Guitar Freaks" of the world thank you! If blues rock guitar is your scene these recordings are essential. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

Saturday, June 14, 2014


SOUL SHAKER by Gugun Power Trio
(Grooveyard Records)

'Soul Shaker' is the 3rd studio release by The amazing blues rock power powerhouses the Gugun Power Trio, from Indonesia. Gugun on Guitar, Jono on bass and Bowie on the skins. This album is a fireball folks! This is the type of guitar heavy album you can throw on and you won't hear your ol' lady yell turn that crap down before the first song is even over. This is red hot blues rock at it's best: excellent vocals, and guitar that makes you want to drive....FAST! However, it's not only intense blues. That's because Gugun's guitar playing is a mixture of passion and precision, as well as strength and power.  His guitar solo's are some of the tastiest guitar I have ever heard. As he exhibits right off the bat with the rocking blues ball buster, "Born To Be Awesome", from there on your senses are at the trio's mercy as they serve up tracks like, the groove laden mover, "Captain Morgan", the steamroller tracks that are, "Acid Rain" and "How Can You Play Rock 'N' Roll". The one track though that made hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention is the instrumental fire starter, "Wounded Heart", this track alone makes this album worth owning!  All tracks offered up on 'Soul Shaker" are great. You won't find needless shredding on this album, nothing but killer with no filler. The aroma that permeates from this album is smoking blues with the flavor of ZZ Top, Tommy Bolin, Davy Knowles and Robin Trower influences among others but make no mistake the Gugun Power Trio bring their own flavor to the table and it tastes oh so good! The guitar sound is amazing, the vocals are soulful and the music as a whole is captivating. If you're a blues fan or a fan of power trios, you are going to love, 'Soul Shaker' by the Gugun Power Trio! You'd be doing yourself an injustice not owning this album. - Highly Recommended 
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine


by Blindstone
(Grooveyard Records)

The powerhouse blues rock trio from Thisted, Denmark known as Blindstone are back with their fourth studio release, 'Greetings From The Karma Factory'. An album that goes for the throat right from the start and does not let go. Like your blues rock music heavy?, Like it born with soul? If you do then it's time you get a taste of what Blindstone has to offer. This band lays it down like no other. Martin J. Andersen on guitars & vocals, is an unbelievable guitarist and incredibly soulful singer, Jesper Bunk is a supremely talented bassist and Anders Hvidtfeldt is a killer drummer. 'Greetings From The Karma Factory' is the epitome of what a powerhouse blues rock recording should be and  should sound like. This album is packs some serious mojo! For me, this album gets better and better with each listen. Standout tracks are, "Rock Your Mojo", the song has that Mahogany Rush flavor to it. Then there are, "Struck Down By The Blues", "Catch Me If You Can", "What Your Lovin' Can Do", which gives off that Robin Trower vibe and the band's take on a Journey song from the band's 'Next' album with 'Karma'. Martin J. Andersen, who I consider a true "Axe-Man", gets his opportunity to let his fingers do the talking on the album closing , ""Ocean Of Time", clocking in at over ten minutes this song is an instrumental scorcher of epic proportions!  Andersen's guitar solo that closes the song gave me goose bumps!  'Greetings From The Karma Factory' by Blindstone is an extremely powerful album. Give it a listen and you'll soon be satisfied. You need this album...believe me. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine


ON THE RUN by Red February
(Independent Release)

San Francisco based rockers Red February introduce their stimulating rock sound to the masses with their debut release, 'On The Run'. Consisting of singer Marcus Cappellazzo, guitarist Markus Spohn Ed Cagnacci on bass and Luis Ordeñana on drums. 'On The Run', is an album of great depth, power and passion. With each listen, a new thing is heard, observed, noticed and experienced. The album takes off with the stimulating rocker, "Jet Pilot", if this song doesn't increase your heart rate from the moment you press play, you've got something seriously wrong with you. The band keeps your heart rate pumping as they serve up tracks like, "More Than Nothing "(featuring Sean Ashe), the title track, "Back At the Start", "You'll Never Take Me" and "Other Side". All ten tracks are rock solid. What Red February has managed to do successfully is combine elements of the rock music  genre. From straight up rock to alternative rock and progressive rock. While they exhibit attributes to all of the aforementioned genres, Red February have created their own sound that is stimulating, powerful, passion filled and hard to resist. Their music reaches inside and grabs you with catchy rhythms and excellent musicianship (without being overly technical). From Marcus Cappellazzo's soulful and powerful  vocals, Markus Spohn's intricate and soaring guitar, and the air tight rhythm section of, bassist Ed Cagnacci and drummer Luis Ordeñana, Red February are a formidable force of music to be reckoned with. This is a band made up of real musicians expressing themselves honestly through exceptionally complex and powerful music. Overall, 'On The Run' is a great debut, Give it a listen and keep a ear out for future efforts from this amazing band. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


MARAGOLD by Maragold
(GH Labels)

I've always had respect for guitarist Greg Howe ever since I heard his debut on Shrapnel Records. So, when I heard of his new band, Maragold, I was eager to give it a listen. The band's self titled debut has that smooth melodic rock groove to it packed with well written rock song all with catchy hooks and groove laden melodies. The band along with Greg Howe are really tight and the playing and production is top notch. Rounding out the band are, Meghan Krauss on lead vocals, Kevin Vecchione on bass and Gianluca Palmieri on drums. The opening track, "Evergreen Is Golder" is a gem of an AOR song highlighted by the band's tight chemistry. The funked up rocker, "Saturday Sun", is up next. This is where Meghan Krauss shows off her powerful vocal chops. A very versatile singer who can belt out Pat Benatar type rockers but also shows she can get soulful like Pink with an edge (Yeah, she's that good). Which she exhibits on the groove laden "Lullaby". Now, as far as musicianship goes bassist, Kevin Vecchione and drummer Gianluca Palmieri provide the band with a solid foundation. Greg Howe's guitar playing is, as expected on an album of this genre, more controlled, with very little space for the flair that's reserved for his instrumental projects, but he doesn't hold back either. Several songs get so intense they may give you goose bump. As is evident on tracks like the laid back bluesy sway of "Cry", the pop induced mover "Penniless And Sane" and the album closing, "Boom Boom Tap (Dance On)", all great songs that combine the blues, funk, groove laden rock that is catchy and soulful with overall great playing. The whole album is superbly done. Great groves that will move you,  great melodies that you'll be humming along to for days! Maragold is an incredible band with a  phenomenal vocalist, phenomenal musicians, and excellent production make this album required listening. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine


by The Rex Carroll Band
(Retroactive Record)

'That Was Then, This Now' the debut release from Chicago based trio, The Rex Carroll Band, features one of my all time favorite guitar players, Rex Carroll! My introduction to Rex Carroll was his playing in the band Fierce Heart. Since then, I've been a fan of his work with White Cross and King James. On, 'That Was Then, This Is Now', Rex Carroll delivers Texas southern blues on steroids! Sizzling lines of blues licks, killer rock riffs, and gentle but passionate use of scales and modes. Rex Carroll cuts across the landscape of the guitar heroes, plus has some solid vocal chops. Backing Rex up is the rock solid rhythm section of Antonio Acevedo on bass and Michael Feighan on drums. The chemistry that this trio have is as tight as a licked stamp on an envelope. The album opens with,  "Find A Way" and right off the bat the trio set the pace of the smoking blues rock explosion that awaits! Proving that "shredders" have a place in the Blues genre, Rex serves up, "Foolgood" a scorcher of a instrumental piece that Rex' s fingers set his fretboard on fire! That is a great set up for the next track, "Working Man Blues" loaded with some serious riffage. Other highlights include; "Rock My World", "Witch Dr. Bones", "My Train" and the album closing, "Thrown Them Bones". Definitely some smoking guitar work on 'That Was Then, This Is Now'. I thoroughly enjoyed this album. If you enjoy blues-based hard rock, fiery guitar playing and incredibly soulful ballads, check this album out now. If you're a fan of Joe Bonamassa and his work with Black Country Communion, check this album out now. If you're a fan of dearly missed blues-rockers Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore, please, check out, ' That Was Then, This Is Now' by The Rex Carroll Band now! It is loaded with smoking hot blues with grooves as deep as quick sand, add to that a serious dose of Ghost chili guitar shredding served up for your enjoyment! Trust me, you won't regret it. - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine

Monday, June 9, 2014


SNAKE HEAD RITUAL by Snake Head Ritual
(Grooveyard Records)

Snake Head Ritual are an American Blues rock band from Toledo, Ohio who's Classic Southern Rock meets Blues direction makes them appealing to fans of both the Blues and Rock music genres. Snake Head Ritual is powered by Kevin Chez on vocals, Bill McCullough on lead and rhythm guitars, John "Special K" Keller on lead and rhythm guitars Chris Graham on bass and Brian Fedor on drums. The band's self titled debut is loaded with music for people who like the sound of an engine roaring or the feeling obtained by following a cold beer with a shot of good whiskey. I'll put it another way, Snake Head Ritual is the type of band that will gladly kick your ass, and then wait for you to say thank you! No filler just wicked blues based southern rock with a junkyard dog attitude mixed in with an awesome set of songs.  The lit match that ignites the fuse of this powderkeg is "Train", a whiskey soaked soul shaker that features Eric Oblander from Five Horse Johnson on harp. Talking about shakers, the band serves up, "She's A Shaker", a song that will definitely get your adrenaline pumping through your veins in no time! Fans of the guitar meets the Hammond B3 will want crank up, “Lay Your Burdens Down”. The whole album is a powerhouse! Other highlights include, "Whiskey Woman", "Smile", "Northern Boogie" and the ode to Blues legend, Robert Johnson with "Poor Robert's Lament". Smoking hot southern blues rock served up with healthy doses of attitude and swagger. I'm crossing my fingers that Snake Head Ritual put out another album ASAP. Go ahead, checkout the band's debut release, turn the knobs on your stereo up really, really loud, kick back with your favorite brew and your favorite smoking product and let Snake Head Ritual's music blow you away!  - Highly Recommended
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society/All Access Magazine


Interview with Leon Todd of Ragdoll
by The Dedicated Rocker Society

Since 2011 West Australian three-piece rock band, RAGDOLL have been  working tirelessly to bring their brand of Rock and Roll to audiences at home and overseas. Veterans of U.S Festivals like Rocklahoma in a short space of time their have seen their reach grow. Featuring the guitar wizadry of Leon Todd, the smooth as honey vocals of Ryan Rafferty and the powergouse drumming of Cam Barrett this is a power trio that creates magic on every stage they step onto!

With an intense desire to inject new life into the music they love; Ragdoll’s mission is to dismantle the sometimes tired genres of Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Progressive Rock and rebuild them, producing a modern hybrid that both transcends and revitalizes the traditional rock genres. The result is a sound thats bombastic and intricate, a sound that is full and brash, leaving many to question how this trio is capable of producing a live sound more akin to that of a five-piece.

The band just released, 'Ragdoll Rewound' a compilation of the band's first two releases ('Ragdoll Rock' and 'Here Today') plus four live recordings, one of which is a new composition, "Rewind Your Mind." The trio revisited the first EP and had it remixed and polished the way they had always wanted to hear it. Songs like "Foot to the Floor" sound leaner and meaner while "The Feeling" is even more epic! Any issues the band may have had with the original 'Here Today' master have been fully rectified here too; while the new master of "Tell Me" in particular is a lot more dynamic and more true to the original mix.

As the band explains, "We aim to combine the visceral power of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, the bombastic energy and soaring vocal melodies of Van Halen and the musicianship and songwriting chops of prog rock masters Rush and King's X. Power, melody and groove!"

Ragdoll guitarist, Leon Todd gave us a call from somewhere on the road in Texas between shows to answer a few questions about the release of 'Ragdoll Rewound'. Here is what he kindly shared with us..

Q: Ragdoll Rewound a remix/remastered versions of your first two EPs, 'Here Today' and 'Ragdoll Rock'. What were some of things you wanted to change? 
Leon Todd: "It's something we've always wanted to do. We had some issues with the mastering of our second record, 'Here Today'. That album was just coming out with our first trip to America and we didn't have time to deal with the issues. And the 'Ragdoll Rock' was never released in America. We wanted to put a comprehensive set for folks who saw us last year on our first tour and to give folks who haven't heard of Ragdoll an introduction."
Q:  What was it like working with Chris Reeve on your video for, "Tell Me"? How did that meeting come about?
Leon Todd: "Working with Chris was fantastic! He's a good friend of ours, a great drummer as well. He also a great friend of Cam's. Cam got together with Chris with concept of gathering all these pictures of the last few years we were on the road and we wanted a way to share them with everybody. So, we decided we wanted to put them in a comic book theme. Chris put it together, it was really a short process. We thought Chris nailed it."
Q: You remixed the songs on 'Ragdoll Rock' and shot a new video for, "Tell Me", what about shooting new videos for your other songs?
Leon Todd: "Yeah, we've been talking about that. Basically sound has been based on the rip rocking sounding rock songs. We've done three of those, we did, "All I Want", then we "Break You", when we got back from the States and now with "Tell Me". While we write rock and progressive songs we also have a variety of ballad type songs as well. We've talking to Chris to a video for, "Could This Be Love". It's always been part of our set and has gone over pretty well with the crowds. 
Q: What about capturing your latest tour of America on DVD? 
Leon Todd: "Cam has been video taping all our shows and I've used my GoPro video taping the crowds. We've ask for professional film production company to amp up the quality, so we've excited about that. I think that it important for a rock band nowadays to provide a multi-media experience. We run our own Facebook page and Twitter and all that social media stuff. You can contact people immediately and that something we love to do."

Q: You guys have played  Rocklahoma not once but three times. What was it like this year?
Leon Todd: "I think this year what we really tried to do it prepare ourselves. The easy part is the playing, thankfully. The hard part is, it's only the three of us. We drive ourselves around every night. We pack the van every night. We handle all the merchandise. Being prepared for that and to have a system in place is very important. I think we've don't a great job and things have been going very smoothly."
Q: What's your favorite song you guys like to cover? (Most recently you guys did, "Holy Diver" by Dio)
Leon Todd: " We love doing covers. Ragdoll like playing music we like. A big part of us playing live is playing music we love. Two songs that we've included in our set are, "Goldilox" by King's X,  an all time favorite of our that went over really well with the crowd. The other song is Led Zeppelin's, "Immigrant Song", we love Zeppelin." Back home, we cut our teeth as a pub rock band touring around Australia. We're doing our stuff and we've done covers of "Ride Like The Wind" by Christopher Cross. Being that we're from Perth, Australia we'd do Bon Scott AC/DC songs, like "Highway To Hell". There just great songs to do live."

Q: Speaking of covers, Thin Lizzy 'Live and Dangerous' came out 36 years ago, do you remember when you first heard that record? Have you done any Thin Lizzy covers?
Leon Todd: "Thin Lizzy was the band that actually got me into music. I'm a huge fan of the band. Obviously it's difficult for us to cover Thin Lizzy because of the dual guitars. To me personally Thin Lizzy is one of my all time favorite bands. Their 'Live And Dangerous' was the album that made me want to become a guitar player."
Q: Where were you when you first heard it?
Leon Todd: "A good friend gave me a copy of 'Live And Dangerous' for my thirteenth birthday. He was like, "If check this out, I think you'll like it." From there it was pretty much what did it for me. That cover with Phil on his knees and Scott Gorham, I saw that and said, 'Yeah, that's what I want to be!" It was actually that record and AC/DC's 'Powerage', Stevie Ray Vaughn' s 'Texas Flood' and 'Still Got The Blues' by Gary Moore."
Q: What places here in America most reminds you of Western Australia? 
Leon Todd: "I think it would have to be Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It was the dry heat that reminded us of Australia. It was like 100 degrees at midnight (laughs), yeah kind reminded us of home, but we were use to it. "
Q: What's the difference between the fans from your home town of Perth to the fans of America? 
Leon Todd: "There is a huge difference in regards to the fans. That is one of reasons why like coming here. I think it's because of the concentration of people and the ability to hit different cities night after night. It's really great for us. Here in the States there are people who love the music and go to shows. Back home the music scene is not that strong." 

 Q: Are people surprised that you are a trio? 
Leon Todd: "We actually get that a lot. The biggest compliment anybody has ever given us is when people say we sound like four or five piece band. We're very noisy for three guys, we pride ourselves on that a large part of that is how we arrange songs and writing the right songs. It's about being ourselves when we play, it's a challenge but something we definitely pride ourselves on."
Q: Do you like any of the new bands out there?
Leon Todd: "Yeah, there are a few bands. That one of the great things playing shows we've no one you've heard before. It might be a local band or it might be a touring band. Bands that will just blow your mind. One band is from California called, Kyng. There super tight and heavy. They write amazing songs. Other bands are Nasty Habit out of New York and Black Tora out of Texas."
Q: Name your 2 favorite old school rock bands from Australia. Name 2 newer bands that you like from Australia.
Leon Todd:  "A huge fan of AC/DC of course. Another band was Southern Sons, that was Virgil Donati's band before he came to the States. Newer band's, I'd have to say Hailmary who we will be touring  with when we get back to Australia. Also Electric Mary out of Melbourne, I saw open for Judas Priest about seven years ago and they blew me away!
Q: Any parting comments? 
Leon Todd: "We 're looking forward to play our last show of the tour in Las Vegas. Cam is really excited about that. We'll be playing at the Vamp, which we've heard nothing but great things about.We want to thank all the people who come out to the shows! We love playing for you guys."

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