Tag Archives: blues rock

Adrenaline Mob-Dearly Departed

10845742_845567675465979_8667643703818840603_o

 

If you look at my past reviews you can see I am not the biggest fan of Adrenaline Mob. In fact I think the band may have taken on their namesake and put a hit out me. So it must seem odd that once again I am tackling their newest. Call it self flagellation or more likely that it’s February and there is not a lot out. Dearly Departed is a mini-LP mostly made up of covers or acoustic numbers. They did this right after their debut album and I like this idea. Alice In Chains did it and I think it’s a nice way of staying in the public eye without milking the cow.

Let’s address the covers first. Dearly Departed kicks off with Pat Travers’ “Snorting Whiskey”. This is a blazing cover and it had me rethinking my attitude towards the band by the time it hit the chorus. It is a balls out rockin’ version of this 70’s classic and you can hear the band enjoying themselves. Especially guitarist Mike Orlando who sounds like a mixture of an Allman brother and an 80’s shredder on here. Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” also gets the treatment and it is a good one. The feeling is like this is a fun practice room song that they just decided to record. I applaud the guys for choosing some not too obvious songs. However, just because it is a surprising choice does not mean it is a good one. Case in point is their version of “Devil Went Down To Georgia”. It sounds exactly as you would imagine and it’s not nearly as clever as it needed to be. The last cover on here is a “Black Sabbath Medley”. It is about as original sounding as that title. One highlight is drummer AJ Pero channeling his inner Animal and going bat shit insane on it. There needs to be a moratorium on bands covering Sabbath, Metallica, and Slayer. Just don’t do it. You will always be compared to the original and in doing so will always be lacking.

Along with the covers, the other draw is the three acoustic interpretations on here. Each one of them being very good. Russell Allen really gets a chance to show off his voice on them. “Crystal Clear” and “Angel Sky” have full band accompaniment on them but the acoustic vibe is still there and the stripped down quality is delicious. As good as those versions are, “All On The Line” is legendary. With just Russell and Mike alone with a guitar the emotion really comes through. Really beautiful and powerful.

Dearly Departed is rounded out with a radio edit of the title track. Taking off that extra minute really streamlined the song and makes modern rock keeper. “Gets You Through The Night” is an unreleased track from Men Of Honor. It is a little peppier and reminds me of Saliva or Nickelback and I’m not saying that in a good way. It proves the adage that if the song was any good it would have been on the album.

I guess Dearly Departed has opened my eyes to Adrenaline Mob. I really like how the band is able to mix modern hard rock with classic rock sensibilities. Hopefully it will continue on their next release. My one small complaint is I think Dearly Departed should be a bit cheaper. It’s only $1 less than a regular album so I dropped it down one because of that.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-buy it as a used CD

$1.00-streaming it on Spotify

$0-Not worth the drive space

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black Bear-Rock From The Woods

Image

Back in the mid 90’s I worked at a local record store. When Seattle was in full swing there was this one customer always coming in to sell old CD’s to buy new releases. He had the proper grunge uniform of shaved head, goatee, and Doc’s. The CD’s he brought in were all the 80’s hard rock bands; Poison, Winger, Motley Crue, etc. Our store always required someone to show their ID. On his drivers license his picture was of him in full Cure’s Robert Smith attire. In other words he was just playing dress up or trend hopping. You saw it with bands too. They cut their hair and got “more serious” to fit in the Nirvana world. Now this was not an anomaly as bands have kept doing that. With the rise of 70’s rock/Southern rock influenced acts; Scorpion Child, Rival Sons and so forth. Guys that were dabbling in modern rock or whatever genre Octane is playing, are now buying bell bottoms and Orange amps.

And that brings us to Black Bear and their album Rock From The Woods. Judging from the band name and the cover, a walking bridge in the woods, I was expecting some Southern twinged rockin’. However, just like the guy selling CD’s we have some guys playing dress up. You can tell something is fishy from jump street. Album opener “We Are Black Bear” is just Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band” except they just replace American band with Black Bear. This would be cute as the last track but since it’s the first, just silly. Unfortunately the aping of a classic rock band does not end there as they lift from The Doors “Roadhouse Blues” on “Uncle Vic”. Even rappers would think it was excessive.

That track is the epitome of what is wrong with the album. The guitarist seems to latch onto a cliché 70’s guitar lick and beat it to death. Besides the unoriginality, it is usually done very poorly. A simple 4 note fill sounds as if I was playing it. Then there is the vocalist. He just doesn’t have the swagger or soul to pull off this music. Most of the time he sounds like he is really struggling. I learned the band is from Milan so that cultural disconnect is a problem.

Now the odd part of Rock From The Woods is many of the songs are flat out modern rock. And surprisingly, their good too. “Time” is a really tremendous song. A mid-tempo slow builder that pulls you in as its plays. “Ghost of You” is a fist pumper that would easily slide in regular rotation on modern rock radio. Same with “Never Easy” a nice ballad that once you get past the horrible guitar fills in the first minute is rather good.

European bands playing distinctively American styles is nothing new. There seems to be a part of Finland that is forever 1987 Sunset Strip glam rock. Just like some of those bands, Black Bear may love the music they try to play but it doesn’t translate.

Pun intended.

Rock From The Woods seems a bit bi-polar with its’ conflicting styles. Yet when its’ good, its’ good. Hopefully Black Bear will decide on who they are.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon purchase

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on a MP3 sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

King Kobra-II

KK2

 

Boy does King Kobra have an interesting history. Formed by legendary drummer Carmine Appice and four peroxided L.A. unknowns, their debut Ready To Strike was tremendous with hits “Hunger” and “Ready To Strike”. Then came the second album Thrill Of A Lifetime. Granted it did have bad-ass album art and a big hit in “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)”. However the rest of the album was very synth heavy and shed any resemblance to the hard rock from their debut. Plus it had “Home Street Home”, the first rap-rock song EVER and it is atrocious. I mean absolutely horrendous. I m ean old people using slang to sound hip bad. The band was done and the revolving door opened. The big shock was when singer Mark Free announced he was having sexual reassignment surgery and became Marci Free.

 

Yowzers.

 

Times being what the were, Carmine got the original band back together and reportedly offered Marci the position of singer again. She turned it down so they got Paul Shortino, ex-Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot to man the mic. They put out King Kobra last year and it was pretty good. Shortino’s blues based vocals suited the bands’ new stripped down direction.

 

On their newest release II, odd since this is their 5 studio album but whatever, King Kobra maintains the back to basics approach. It starts off with “Hell On Wheels” a great fist pumper that really sets the tone. What is surprising about this track is that it is over 6-minutes long but does not get old. A lot of this album defies rationale. The second track “Knock Em Dead” is in theory a very cliché track but it is done so well that you can’t help but like it.

 

Same can be said of the ballad “Take Me Back”. It is not something we haven’t heard before but its sincerity is off the charts and really propels the track. There’s also a couple of real nice poppier tracks in “The Crunch” and “We Go Round” to lighten the mood a bit.

 

You have to give King Kobra a lot of credit. They could have done the easy thing and put out albums of re-recorded material or a “covers” album but they buckled down and have made a good album in King Kobra and a great album with II. Very rare that a band is able to remake themselves and release a career defining album in their 25th year.

 

Kudos.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Megadeth-Super Collider

megasc

Growing up in the 80’s Megadeth main man Dave Mustaine was the mouth that roared. From his constant bashing of ex-band mates Metallica to his socially conscience lyrics. He had no fear in speaking his mind and we loved it. Plus his band created some of the greatest albums ever. Just like his Behind The Music, act 3 was not kind to Dave. Declining sales, drugs, and a hand injury broke up the band.

 

After rehab and becoming born-again, Mustaine reassembled Megadeth and has released some good material. Unfortunately it has been over shadowed by his mouth. Between him getting a band removed from a festival slot because he was offended by their name, to his latest tirade against the President. I will use the term latest because by the time I upload this we will have had at least two more. It’s a shame because that was something that we all like about him but it has now gone into the Alex Jones area and that’s one crazy fucking area.

 

Super Collider is the bands latest effort and hopes to put the music back in the headlines. It gets off to a great start with “Kingmaker” a perfect example of Megadeth. The band is tight and everyone knows how to play. Returning bassist Dave Ellefson and drummer Shawn Drover form a great rhythm section that allow Mustaine and Chris Broderick’s guitars to play off of it. You get some vintage thrash with “Dance In The Rain” and it’s classic riffs and politically tinged lyrics of disappointment. “Don’t Turn Your Back” has some nice riffing and shows how good Mustaine can be delivering pissed off words. The album closes with a cover of the Thin Lizzy classic “Cold Sweat”. They do a real nice job and Mustaine’s vocals really work here. Unfortunately the rest of the album is not as good. The title track is an out and out pop hard rock and seems like a leftover from Risk. There are banjos, yes banjos, on “The Blackest Crow” and weird blues infused song that seemed like it was a better idea than an actuality. For some reason they decided to have David Draiman appear on “Forget To Remember” and naturally the song is as good as the title is clever.

 

The past couple of releases from Megadeth have been pretty good but got over shadowed by Dave Mustaine’s mouth. Super Collider is a decent album with a couple of nice songs and some real head scratchers. Megadeth is in this weird space in that they have this great legacy but are not resting on their catalog. However the new stuff is average at best and the fans still come. It will be curious how it will play out as the aging audience may get tired of the sideshow and just listen to the old stuff at home.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Buckcherry-Confessions

Image

Buckcherry the kings of the hard rock party have returned with Confessions. It has a loose theme of the 7 deadly sins plus a couple others the band discovered while on tour.

This album is full of what you expect from the band with a couple of surprises. It all kicks off with “Gluttony” arguably the best named song title ever. Especially on a track that is about drinking, eating, smoking, and fucking too much. What’s not to like about that? Title aside it is a very rocking track and the essence of what Buckcherry is.

Then we hit the problem that I have always found with Buckcherry. One awesome song and a bunch of “alright” tracks. “Wrath” is a decent song but the tough lyrics doesn’t seem to work. I don’t know if it is Joshua Todd’s delivery or what. Same with “Seven Ways To Die”, just seems very formulaic. Granted, they’re not all duds, “Air” has a nice surf-ish guitar sound and it’s nicely coupled with refreshingly restrained vocals. “Sloth” is a great slow rocker with an Aerosmith vibe. “Pride” and “Envy” and “Lust” are all nice tracks but they all seem like the same song.

Some of the most enjoyable songs on Confessions are the slower ones. “The Truth” is an updated power ballad but it works real well plus Todd sings slower and cleaner and it really stands out. The album closes out with “Dreamin’ of You” an real nice acoustic ballad that is able to dodge the cliche with Todd’s unique voice.

People that like Buckcherry are going to like Confessions. They may even love it. My big problem is that this is 2 or 3 songs too many and the song order is horrendous. If they would have switched a couple of the songs from the front of the album with ones on the back it would have been great. However, in this day and age of iTunes and MP3 that may be only a problem for those that listen all the way through.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

Normally I post a video from the album here. But for some reason the video for “Gluttony” is not available for USA.

What?

Also, the lyric video for “ 7 deadly” has the embedding disabled.

That almost makes me want to change my review.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Krokus-Dirty Dynamite

krokus

 

What the Hell is going on around here? Krokus is back with a new album? And it’s good?

Yes, shockingly, yes.

Granted a lot of other veteran acts that have released some really good albums. Warrant, Lita Ford, L.A. Guns, Dokken, Testament, Overkill, Europe, and Trixter come to mind.

But Krokus?

The band did the smart maneuver in bringing back the classic line-up. And with it comes 12 new tracks of blues based kick ass rock. It really harkens back to the early days when Krokus was thought of as an AC/DC ripoff. And I mean that in the best way possible. For diehard Bon Scott fans, they will love the sound of Marc Storace voice. Playing on the AC/DC vibe, the whole album is more of a dirty bar band blues sound than the pop metal version of when they hit big.

While “Go Baby Go” gets as close to parroting as humanly possibly, it is so damn good that you don’t really mind. “Rattlesnake Rumble” and the title track are formulaic 4 bar blues but you can feel that the band is having fun and that enjoyment comes through the speakers. The formula is broken up a tad with “Help” a ballad that probably should have been left off the album. Actually if Dirty Dynamite had just 10 tracks I might have liked it better. The 4 bar blues just got old, fast. The opening riffs of “Better Than Sex” and “Dog Song” are eerily similar.

The real gem of the album is at the end. “Live Ma Life” has that same structure but it has a lot more balls to it. Guitar sound is very very dirty. Like Snooki at 2am dirty, Plus with the rebellious lyrics it makes it a keeper. Granted hearing “rebel” lyrics from a guy that is probably 60 is silly but trust me, it works.

It’s very ironic that some of the biggest hard rock bands of the 80’s recently released albums that stunk. KISS, Van Halen, and Aerosmith all put out very bland material. Yet the second tier bands have been cranking out WAY better material. I don’t know what it causing them to crank out all the great music, but I like it. I really like it and with Krokus putting out Dirty Dynamite it raises the bar for all their other contemporaries.

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Europe-Bag Of Bones

What the Hell is going on?

First Trixter releases a good album and now this. If you would have told me that Europe, yes that Europe, would put out an album in 2012 that would make me forget about the “Final Countdown” I would eat my hat.

Well someone grab the Tony Chachere’s because Bag Of Bones is a great album.

When you think of Europe what immediate comes to mind is pop rock dominated by keyboards. Thankfully that has all changed and now Europe is a band more akin to UFO. Gone are the big keyboards on “Countdown” and “Carrie”. What is here is blues based guitar from John Norum that mesh so well with Joey Tempest’s voice that if this had another name you would not know who it was. Bag Of Bones starts off with “Riches To Rags” with its’ big riff and subtle organs. It is followed by the aptly named “Not Supposed To Sing The Blues” a slow, down and dirty number that has a dash of Zeppelin in it. There is some more Zep influence mixed with some D.A.D on “A Drink and A Smile”. The band does a smart thing and closes out the album with “Mercy You Mercy Me” a high energy fist pumper that leaves you wanting more.

Actually the album does not end there. It wraps up with “Bring It All Home” a very pedestrian ballad that reminded me of the movie Still Crazy and not in a good way.

Bag Of Bones is so good that I hereby forgive Eurpoe for making everyone listen to “Final Countdown” on every year end countdown special. That’s how good this album is. However, I will not forgive Joey Tempest for being 50 and looking this good.

Fuck you Joey!!! Your blowing it for the rest of us.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

R.I.P. Gary Moore

The music world got some sad news on Sunday. Legendary guitar player Gary Moore had passed away. From his time in Thin Lizzy to his solo rock work and lastly his blues phase, he is without a doubt one of the greatest guitarist of all-time. When you look back, it is kind of funny how he was never considered on of the top gunslingers at the time. He was not as flashy or fast as the shredders of the 70’s and 80’s. Many purist did not consider him a real blues man, even when they heard the undeniable proof with their own ears.

He is probably best known for his stints in Thin Lizzy. While he was in and out on several occasions, he did record one of their best albums Black Rose:A Rock Legend. Even when he was not in the band, his connection and friendship with Phil Lynott was always there. From Lizzy reworking one of his songs to Phil showing up on Gary’s “Out In The Fields” song and video. For many of us that was the last time we saw Phil and seeing them together was somewhat poetic. Gary’s biggest solo success was with the hit “Parisienne Walkways”. Ironically, a touching ballad but any avid fan would tell you of Gary’s love and propensity for making touching ballads.

The one track that was my gateway to Gary Moore was “End of the World” off of Corridors of Power. I was a teenager in the 80’s and this song came on the radio in the middle of the night. It was playing on the clock radio and the power and uniqueness of this song woke me up. I shot straight up and any slumber I had was gone as I drank in note after note. You have to remember at the time shredders were a dime a dozen and it was tough to really impress a young headbanger, especially one that was ordering stuff by the truckload from Shrapnel Records. But impress me it did and the next day I drove to Sound Warehouse and bought said cassette and immediately cued up side 2 so I could hear “End of the World” again to make sure it was not some dream. It was real and was just as great as I remembered. The funny thing about that story is I have heard similar ones from other people. By buddy Dave heard it in the middle of the night while he was driving and had to pull over to the side of the road just so he could concentrate on it.

Gary released several more rock records. The aforementioned “Out In The Fields”, was from Run For Cover, a terrific album whose lyrical content reflected his anti-war mentality. Another gem on the same album was “Empty Rooms” a lovely ballad of regret. And in true Irishmen form “All Messed Up” a hard rockin; song about hard partyin’. Wild Frontier came out after that and showcased his Irish roots. His last rock record was After The War, while not his strongest release it had the awesome “Led Clones” a not so subtle shot at bands like Kingdom Come that were blatantly ripping off Zeppelin.

It was then that Gary left rock behind. He started releasing well received blues records and immersed himself in that scene. The only time he did some rock stuff was a tribute to Phil and the album Scars. This was a very interesting album he did with members of the band Skunk Anansie and Primal Scream. It was back to the blues and in 2008 he came out with Close As You Get. I thought this was his best non-rock album. The blues stuff had a more rocking tough and it also had “Evenin”. An instrumental ballad that told a beautiful sorrowful story without the need for words.

Besides his overflowing catalog of great music, he is also known for a job he did not get. Gary was the original pick for guitarist on Ozzy’s solo debut. Unfortunately an accident happened and Gary could not make a go of it and the rest is history. It was probably for the best as having Gary and Ozzy on tour together would have shortened their careers. The human liver can only take so much. One other non-musical fact about Gary is the huge scar on his face. He got that after being stabbed in the face with a knife It also gave us the greatest line from Ozzy. He remarked that Gary Moore had a face like a welders bench.

Thankfully Gary’s hands were fine and we were able to receive his greatest gift through all those years.

Even though he maybe gone his music will be with us. Even though he may have been unheralded, those of us that heard him, knew he was the best.

The proof is in his music.

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Black Country Communion-Black Country

People  are going to say supergroup when talking about Black Country Communion. While the band does have an impressive line-up; singer Glenn Hughes, keyboardist Derek Sherinian, drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Joe Bonamassa. Saying that they are a supergroup is a reach. What they are is a nice band that has just released their debut CD Black Country, a collection of blues rock songs that show why Glenn Hughes is such a great singer.
The songs on Black Country are predominately blues rock and that is right in the wheelhouse for Bonamassa’s playing and fits Hughes voice to a T.  The appropriately snaky groove in “Medusa” showcases Hughes emotional blues wail along with some ripping guitar playing from Bonamassa. Even though it is almost 7 minutes in length, the simple riff never gets old.  The band really hits is stride on the straight ahead rocker “Black Country”. While the other songs show that Glenn still has the feeling this song shows that he still has the power. ”One Last Soul” is the standout track that has a tasty chorus and feels like a real band song.
Black Country Communion succeeded in making a group of 4 well-know musicians make an album that sounds like a band. Black Country is a nice sum of the parts and shows some promise for future releases.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: