Updated 16th September 2002
Adriangale - Gazpacho -Nicola Randone - Fatal Smile - Joseph Lee Wood - Silver - Eternal Flame - VV.AA (tribute to Pink Floyd) - Twenty Four Seven - Fatal Attraction - Riser - Nicola Fassi - Street Talk - Alfonzetti - Jerry Cantrell - Ruud Cooty - Soulmotor
all reviews by Andrea Bertamino except where noted
"Re:Program" (Kivel Records)
Second full lenght studio album for New York based band formed by Jamie Rowe (vc - Guardian), Vic Rivera (gt, dr), Eddie Campbell (gt) and Scott Novello (bs) not so far from the promising and too green debut, but the four piece has grown a lot in songwriting and production is now much better than before and allows us to enjoy a very good example of out-of-any-trend American melodic rock.
The raw cdr in my hands is opened by asskicking "Still Burning" and I argue its a great song by the only 40 second I can hear (thank you, Kivels Italian distributor for your great help!) and it should be a song worth of Danger Danger circa "Coackroach". Then the quality improves so lets go with anti-depressive party rocker "Closer", somehow close to less experimental Harem Scarem with a very catchy refrain, with solid "Heartbreak Guaranteed", once more coming from D2 and Winger songbook, and with ballad "If" lacking only of keyboards, but it might climb world charts if only Bon Jovi or Def Leppard would have written it.
Adriangale play with the pure melodic rock of the '80s and remark this choice with uptempo "Over, Said N'Done!" whose refrain is much poppier, and the same goes for "Runaway" recalling Harem Scarem circa their debut, and with paced class rocker "Heartgames" that mixes perfectly Dokken and Whitesnake (era "Slide It In") with Rowe showing all of his voice versatility.
Thirty seconds of acoustic guitar ("41394") than here it is "Part Of Me", semi ballad in the verse and harder in refrain with Europe and D2 on the elms and Rowe again superb in singing, then rhythm gets faster with cheerful "Heather Please" flowing easy and light as a mountain river. The last notes are for "No More Chances", melodic hard rock inspired by Winger, Dokken and Steelhouse Lane (and the now usual Danger Danger).
Someone may say there are albums out there with a better sound, but Kivel Records is a very small label and this kind of music has hard life in The States so budget cannot be huge and not always you can use the best technology offers. But AG is a band playing with heart and soul, talent and passion for music, class and a great sense of melody and thats what matters more to me.
"Get It While It's Cold" (Self Produced)
Gazpacho is a four piece formed by Jan Henrik "O" (vc), Jon A. Vilbo (gt), Thomas Andersen (keys) and Roy Funner (bs) coming from Norway with a seven track debut cd, it includes thrre tracks taken from their demo.
Their music is really personal, somewhere between acoustic rock and prog music like Steve Hogarths Marillion (their name is taken from a Marillion song), adopting above all acoustic and intimate atmospheres as at once announced by soft opener "Sea Of Tranquility" to which mellotron gives a peculiar dramatic emphasis.
In "Nemo" and "Ghost" the progressive soul is bounced to British pop influences resulting in very catchy melodic choruses thatll appeal to fans of Blur and Radiohead. More refined pop can be found in the too short "Delete Home" whose soft and poliphonic melodies recall 10CC, while the following "Sun God" is dark and melanchonic song, playing with the synths basses, electonic rhytms and Henriks voice flying to his higher octave for a very particular final result.
from this basis, but adding a small touch of progressive rock,
Gazpacho write "The Secret" charming since the first
seconds of playing and also the final "Bravo" leads you
to meditation in a growth of emotion and passion exhalted by
Mikael Krømers solo violin and by its refrain.
A quite different album with a huge load of imagination althought it always remains open to a wide number of potential listeners.
Contacts: Thomas Andersen, Krypton Soundplanet, Uranienborgvn. 1, 0351 Oslo, Norway; http://www.gazpachoworld.com
NICOLA RANDONE "Morte Di Un Amore" (BTF) Rating: 90
Nicola Randone, from Ragusa (Sicily, Italy), moved his first artistic steps with the prog band named Grey Owl and "Morte Di Un Amore" ("A Loves Death") is his debut as solist and it is an ambitious, poetic, well played and arranged album featuring very interesting words (you can find their English translation in the below mentioned site) and a wide spectrum of sounds and influences dominated by the strong personality of this Italian singer.
Apart the quasi reggae "Il Pentimento Di Dio", the remaining eight songs are devoted to the Italian progressive school of the 70s embracing Le Orme, La Locanda Delle Fate, early Alan Sorrenti and Franco Battiato, with a peculiar symphonic emphasis in the arrangements compelled to support the mighty and passionate voice of Nicola who sings his bitterness with not banal words and thoughts.
The result of two years hard work fits perfectly with nowaday reality and it's really difficult to make a track-by-track review because "Morte Di Un Amore" is almost a concept as must be considered as one body, a little like "Abraham" by Quasar Lux Symphoniae (another great Italian band of the 90s).
I hope that people not of Italian language dont avoid this album only for this linguistic reasons because theres great music waiting for them here, theres melody, symphonic prog, a little touch of rock but creativity in abundance.
Contacts: http://www.nicolarandone.com , email@example.com ; http://www.btf.it , http://www.kinesiscd.com ; http://www.mortediunamore.it
"Beyond Reality" (GMR Music Group)
Fatal Smile is no new to my readers because the Swedish four piece released two years ago a three trax demo called "Beyond Reality 2000" that today gives two songs (titletrack and "The Saviour") and the title to the new ten songs album labelled by Stars On The Rise/GMR Music Group.
The band features founding member Y Unutmaz (gt), singer H.B Anderson (ex Scudiero), Markus Johansson (bs) and the new arrived skinbeater Robin Lagerqvist, all concentrate to render at their best the powerful and cutting heavy rock sound on which they insert prog metal/melodic hard rock phrases, for an elaborated and accessible final result both in the instrumental and in the vocal department.
"Bad Kharma" breaks the ice with sinuos movements and a sober use of electronic percussions, but it's with following "The Saviour" that FS make even more enjoyable their winking to Talisman, Emerald Rain and the most recent John Norum. Sulphureous riff of "Butterflies" can only recall Black Sabbath and Anderson sings like Tony Martin, remarking the good instrumental performance of band-mates that in the paced "Circle Of Fire" blend the typical Swedish heavy rock with the best RJ Dio, with a succesful keyboards waving.
Rhythm gets faster with "Warfear" (hell, it's damn real today!) that's a stirring hard rock in Rainbow (epoca RJ Dio) style revisited through the FS's present-day artistic feel, while in the titletrack (featured with "The Saviour" on the mentioned demo, only "Love Has Mysterious Ways" has been left out) they recover an afflatus of Metallica of the '80s and the sense of melody of Emerald Rain. The latter aspect emerges above all in "Scene Of A Crime", and Talisman again cited here, and in the final "No Love" tributing a good homage to American class rock like Y&T.
The experted production by Jonas Östman (also with Malmsteen) avoids useless dispersions and gives a major sound that allow Fatal Smile to be appreciated by many people, if they'll have the right distribution and exposure to now-in-making video of "Bad Kharma".
Contacts: http://www.fatalsmile.nu , http://www.gmrmusic.se
JOSEPH LEE WOOD
"Joseph Lee Wood" (Wood/Hill Music Group)
Joseph Lee Wood comes from Washington (U.S.A.) with his self
titled debut album recorded back in 1989 but only now seeing the
light on his own label and I simply cannot understand why at the
time no major label enrolled Wood among his artists because it's
a very good collection of AOR/Melodic Rock with an excellent
songwriting, a great production by Tom Hall (also with
Queensryche) and a respectful backing featuring Marty Randles
(bs, dr, gt), Monty Smith (gt), Gregg Fox (keyb - TKO) and
session-drummer Chris Leighton.
Wood shows at once his aiming with mid tempo "Dont Stand So Far Away", that 's how the perfect American AOR song must be, with hints of Journey and Heart surrounded by delightful vocal harmonies and a perfect guitar/keyboards interaction that make this song unattackable.
Also following "Flirting Eyes", even if refrain is less brilliant than previous track, is a great portion of US AOR between Stan Bush and Boston, and this song alone annihilates the whole songbook of Two Fires, with "When's The Last Time You Felt Like A Woman" to please our ears with those class rock melodies sounding almost like an AOR version of Dokken, Icon and Heavens Edge.
Ballad "To Have And To Hold", with good keyboards layings and a fine performance by Wood, and mid tempo "Won't Stop Loving You" with charateristic hints of Autograph (of the debut album) and King Kobra circa "Thrill Of A Lifetime", are typical examples of the best things expressed by the late '80s American melodic rock. With "Love Is The Light" we can taste a delicious pomp/AOR tune and, not to waste it all with average techno/AOR of "Talk To Me", just skip to "Love You Like I Love You", a song with the classic sound of Aviator and a touch of early Bon Jovi in the refrain, to mid tempo "Time To Come Home", whose well known sounds are always welcome at my home, and to the last track "Letters In The Rain" offering a more mature and winning songwriting.
This cd is a precious collection of songs kept jealously hidden for years and today it's available for all fans of Alias, Journey, Signal, Autograph, Survivor and The Storm: Will any label be so oculate to sign JL Wood (althought he's been an unknown artist since today!) instead of recovering average albums like those of Fury, First Shot or giving weak second chances to bands like Two Fires? Anyway... RECOMMENDED!
Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org ; http://www.dudesrock.com/wood/hill.html
"Dream Machines" (Point Music)
After a really nice debut cd that gained good commercial results, the band featuring Gary Barden (vc - Statetrooper, Praying Mantis, MSG), Bernie Torme (gt - Ozzy Osbourne, Gillan, Desperado), Don Airey (keyb Rainbow, Gary Moore, Whitesnake, Ten, Deep Purple, etc), Michael Voss (bs - Bonfire, Mad Max, Casanova, Demon Drive) and Marco Minnemann (dr - H-Blockx) is back with ten new songs only two out of which (the average and boring melodic rock "Chains" written with Doro Pesch and the confused hard rock of "Never Again") below the expected standard.
Their hard rock reminiscent of 70s bands like Uriah Heep, Rainbow or of Magnum is enriched by the experimental vein of previous album "Silver", providing strenght and interesting hints to songs like the tough "Silver Dream Machine" with its arabian sounds and a good solo by Airey, the paced "Head Or Heart" (class rock with a very catchy and strong refrain), "Forever" (a power ballad with magnificent and majestic arrangements), "Far Below Zero" (a bitter song inspired by the tragic events of September 2001) that shows unexpected and tiny linkings to Led Zeppelin flowing into a 80s-like AOR refrain.
The pompous sides emerges powerful in the emphatic "Banished" sung by a new born Barden; "Found Me Another One" is a nice and inspired slow tune worth a greater grace; "She Came" recovers some similitudes with hard rock of the 70s and closes with energy an album that remarks the high quality of this five-piece.
ETERNAL FLAME "King Of The King" (MTM Music) Rating: 70
Born in Germany in 1992 and with the debut album "Desire" released six years later, EF have a second chance including among the eleven songs the powerful Rainbows cover "Stargazer" recovering that old magic thanks to the good work of keyboardist Thomas Streck.
The cd is introduced by the fast titletrack with its blend of Rainbow (with Dio on vocals) and Pretty Maids, melody and strenght that would more appeal to metallers than to melodic rockers, the latters being more comfortable with the romantic atmospheres of power ballad "Bridge To Your Heart" similar to a more heavy and simple version of Grand Illusion.
The German heavy rock tune "Hold On" was recorded in 1989 by Firefox (for sure forerunners of nowadays Eternal Flame) on a seven tracks ep, but (giving credit to who listened to the original song) the new version is buried under tons of electricity and is far worse than its first shape.
Even if the first three tracks ("KOTK", prog metal "Plots Bait" and the above mentioned "Bridge") and the respectful cover "Stargazer" give impression of a good potential, in the remaining songs Eternal Flame fail in doubling such highs sounding heavy, graceless and loud also when ("Spanish Flair", "Cant Believe In You No More", i.e.) they could have been playing tasteful AOR / Melodic Hard Rock.
In the orchestral "My Son", for piano, keyboards and voice only, Eternal Flame avoid such exagerations and the song is really enjoyable, but "Dawn In The Sky" falls again and the Pretty Maids/Rainbow mix becomes a powerful and boring ride.
Im sorry that their skill as players and arrangers doesnt find equal proof in the final output: to the next time?
VV.AA. "An All Stars Lineup Performing The Songs Of Pink Floyd" (Purple Pyramids Records) Rating: SV
Bob Kulick keeps assembling tribute albums and for this one he calls great names of rock circus to homage Pink Floyd, a band you can love or hate, but theres no doubt about its historical importance in developement popularity of rock music in its widest accent.
All the twelve songs are respectful to the originals, but revisited through hard rock glasses even when theyre performed by musicians Jason Scheff, Scotty Page, Robben Ford, Chris Squire, Alan White and Vinnie Colaiuta (whose fame comes mostly from different genres), and all in all I bear this tribute more than many others released along these years.
Tracklist: "Shine On Your Crazy Diamonds" (Steve Lukather, Marco Mendoza, Vinnie Colaiuta), "Money" (Tommy Shaw, Tony Levin, Mike Baird, Edgar Winter and Ritchie Kotzen duelling hot with sax and guitar), "Comfortably Numb" (Billy Sherwood, C. Squire, A. White), "Welcome To The Machine" (Doug Pinnick, Derek Sherinian, Mike Porcaro,Gary Hoey, Gregg Bissonette), "Have A Cigar" (Bobby Kimball, Bob & Bruce Kulick, M.Porcaro, G.Bissonette), "Us And Them" (Pat Torpey, Jimmy Haslip, S. Page, Jeff Scott Soto), "Run Like Hell" (J.Scheff, Dweezil Zappa, Tony Franklin, Aynsley Dunbar, Tony Kaye), "Any Colour You Like" (R.Ford, T.Franklin, A.Dunbar, Steve Porcaro), "Breathe (In The Air)" (Robin McAuley, Jeff Baxter, Phil Soussan, Eric Singer), "Young Lust" (Glenn Hughes, Elliott Easton, T.Franklin, A.Dunbar) and "Another Brick In The Wall Part II" (Fee Waybill, David Glenn Eisley, Alex Ligertwood, Ronnie Montrose, M.Porcaro, G.Bissonette).
TWENTY FOUR SEVEN "Destination Everywhere" (Melodic Mayhem) Rating: 20
Twenty Four Seven features John Corabi, Bobby Blotzer & Robert Marchello, the latter on lead guitars, and it''s approach it summed up by the title; it's all over the place.
"Due Time" is a Aerosmith grit with Beatles (ugh!) vocal line, and it's so far removed from what Corabi usually sounds like one has to do a double take, the same being true of "Fall into yourself" which meanders on like they've been smoking too much of what that arch bore Lennon smoked in 1969.
"Dead Man's Shoes" cracks into a groove nicely a la The Scream, whilst the version of the George Harrison's "Something" is a dirge version of a drag of a song. And who on this earth or indeed any other earth wants to hear another version of Badfinger's "No Matter What".
This album is a waste of huge talent and electricity, and is not added by a curiously flat, boxy production courtesy of Mike Vescera.If you have an appreciation of the ever tedious Beatles you might find something to whet your particular whistle, if not you won't.......c'mon Corabi scream again!!!!
"Unknown World" (High Rock Records)
Fatal Attraction, a five piece formed in Sweden in 1993 that two years later was elected among the best 16 European unsigned acts (out of 250 other bands/artists) and this brought to release in 1996 the album "End Of Regulation Time" in limited edition gaining interest and favour of press and fans in Japan (see Burrn!Magazine), but something similar happened also in Europe.
Four tracks ep "Unknown World" Im writing about today is a preview of their forthcoming second cd (workname "Simplicity Rules") due next Autums and should have a quite heavier sound than these songs that moves in the wake of a catchy and well crafted AOR/West Coast led by excellent singer Anders Fältsjö.
"Unknown World" is a bright opening track marked by unmistakable Toto style (in particular their song "Endless") and I enjoyed a lot listening to it, thanks also to the solid performance of Anders and pards Tomas Nilsson (gt), Patrik Eriksson (keyb), Magnus Petersson (bs) and Mattias Sjögren (dr).
"Valley's Of Heaven" is a heartfelt slow numer with an intense singing of Fältsjö and the refined piano-playing by Eriksson, a track that Richard Marxs songbook misses since a lot of time and sounds also a little like a more electric version of Michael Thompson Band.
The rhythm is faster in the delicious "Perfect Dream" graced by brasses and finds in Toto, Chicago and Talk Of The Town the main inspiring resources, and "Silver Son" closes with its catchy vocal and instrumental melodies this very good ep.
If you like Toto, TBell and Richard Marx, take note of Fatal Attraction becuase the band has a huge melodic potential!
Contacts: www.hellman-wallman.se , email@example.com or High Rock Records, PO Box 51, S-572 22 Oskarhamn, Sweden
"Resurrection" (Full House Records)
Riser's history begins many years ago when a song of theirs ("Music Man") brought thye band to the attention of Bill Aucoin, Kiss manager, with whom they went close to sign for MCA, but nothing got out of it. Anyway Riser kept writing and recording songs which were collected in 1999 on this cd "Resurrection" labelled by Full House Records and today Im proud to tell you of this great collection of pompous rock as acts like Styx, Thrills, Roadmaster, Tycoon and Le Roux were used to play in the 70s.
Riser have two keyboards players (Adrian R. Medeiros and John Garshnick) and a great singer (Tom Fey) who dominate the ten songs on offer, whose main weakness is to have been released more than twenty years later the golden age or this genre. But it is unquestionable the charm expressed by tunes like "They've All Come Out To Fight" (Starcastle meet Styx) and calmer "Never Get To Heaven", while "Was It The Last Time" sounds like a pompous version of Player with sax.
Fans of 70s pomp rock cannot ignore the huge potential of "Where We Will Be Tomorrow" and "Tin Shield", graced by charming multilayered voices and loads of writing/performing class smelling of Styx and Roadmaster, whose great quality is overcome by the six minutes long "Through A Fawns Eye" paying the due tribute to Starcastle but Riser dont copy these masters ready to come back with a new album.
Sound quality is not of high level but it becomes weaker in "Music Man" and "Story In Your Eyes" glancing at the poppier and easier side of the genre, while you can skip the acoustic "Listen Son" to reach at once the last track "C'est Goodbye" where I hear hints of Styx and Beau Hills Airborne (one classic album under their belt in 1979 and today back with a new album!) with triumph of voices and keyboards.
Shortly Riser should have the chance of a second studio album, meanwhile if you like Le Roux, Styx, Airborne, Starcastle and Hobbit, youll find with Risers music great satisfatcion for your ears!
Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org ; http://www.fullhouserecording.com
"Demo Cd" (Self Produced)
Full time musician, Italian guitarist Nicola Fassi has already released the album "Novenquarto" in November 2001 with his jass rock trio The Birds Of Fire and now he arrives with the first album under his own name containing seven instrumental tracks where bass, keyboards and drums have been played by Nicola himself via midi.
The common root for the songs is rock music, but in each track youll hear the different shapes of Fassis artistic background whose instrumental approach is far beyond the mere speedntricks playing and he prefers to follow the lessons of Steve Morse and Joe Satriani, that teach how instrumental virtuosisms must live for the song.
Nicola shows to have assimilated these lessons and, althought the doing all on his own carries some limitations, among speedy solos or bass/guitar duels, he offers different music solutions embracing also hints of fusion ("Risveglio" looks also to Gamalon), eclectic rock like Steve Morse Band ("Spot", "Mah, Chi Può Dirlo?", "New Miles") or Joe Satriani ("Rock In Blue", "Rebel Hot"). Semi ballad "Apripa" is very pleasant to listen to and I think a singer might exalt its potential.
In conclusion, Nicola has his influences (and who has none?) but hes no slave to copy and nothing else and hes looking for a production to better realize his music ideas with a real band and we might hear really interesting things!
Contacts: http://www.nicolafassi.com , email@example.com
"Restoration" (MTM Music)
Third album for this Swedish band formed in 1994 by Fredrik Bergh (keyb, vc) originally featuring two musicians later in Tad Morose, and the ten songs included (as I argue reading the raw paper attached to advanced-cd) have been written by Bergh himself with the help of Tommy Denander, Jim Jidhead (Alien) plus not identified members of Urban Tale.
The line-up features Goran Edman (Malmsteen, Kharma, Madison, John Norum, Glory, Brazen Abbot) and Hugo (Valentine, Open Skyz, Hugo) on vocals, Sven Larsson (Madrigal) on guitar, Bjorn Lodmark on basso, Christian Johansson on drums and Bergh on keyb. My impression is a collection of songs with a soul of AOR and a harder approach plus a higher uptempo compared to ST previous albums, bringing to my mind Boulevard of their second album as stated by tracks like "Hare And Hounds", "Language Of Love" (with also traces of Bad Habit), "Dancer In The Rain" (more westcoast oriented).
These days its really hot in my town so my tired mind cannot realise where my ears heard the refrain of dynamic AOR "A Place In The Sun", and Larsson emulates Neal Schon touch and just Journey style is evident in opener "Give Me A Reason" (with the worst sound of this cd) and in semi ballad "My Heart Beats For You" passionately sung by Hugo.
Nothing new from anyway pleasant AOR of "In The Arms Of Love" smelling of 707, Boulevard and Journey, from calm going of catchy track "Table Turning" and from closing "Why Is My Heart Feeling Lonely Tonight" featuring again Hugo on vocals.
Bergh confirms his attitude to write easy to listen melodic songs, well arranged and performed, but I still preferr his previous albums althought the gap is short and you wont be disappointed by "Restoration".
"Machine" (MTM Music)
Ok, Im here before my pc, the cdr of the new album (second for him) from singer Alfonzetti (Jagged Edge, Bam Bam Boys, Skintrade, new singer of Damned Nation since few monthes) playing, an ugly photocopy with the titles of the ten songs (courtesy of MTMs Italian distributor!).
So, two years later the delicious "Ready" talented singer Alfonzetti is back (here he plays also guitars and drums) with the help of Stefan Bergstrom (gt - Skintrade, Damned Nation) and Mikael Höglund (bs - Thunder, Great King Rat), but forget anything from that album (except live bonus track "In The Groove") because what you can hear in "Machine" is a harder, rougher, modern edged sound, only the voice is still the same.
Sometimes I hear traces of Jughead (as music style) with a little hint of psychedelic rock but, as stated in Jughead review, Im not a fans of this kind of music, so Im not the most competent person to talk to you of this album.
I understand his wish to run different roads that might better satisfies his artistic aimings and I wish him to find a great number of new fans: Im opened to experiments, but I prefer them in the progressive or fusion key.
"Degradation Trip" (Roadrunner)
Probably a heretical statement to make in many circles, but Alice in Chains were-and it's a shame to use the past tense in relation to them-a great band( someone will strip me of the Journey albums for this. but hey!), and in Jerry Cantrell had a world class writer and guitarist to the fore in a time that sneered at even the barely competent.
"Degradation Trip" is a Cantrell's second solo album and sees, possibly if second guessing is appropriate, a certain element of reflection and one senses repressed anger at Layne Staley's fate. A sense underscored by the towering, swirling, hypnotic riffs that draw the listener into a heart of darkness from whence Cantrell croons with the knowing seduction of a Staley or Eric Wagner( Trouble)..and wonders what Queensryche could do with the addled chic of "Bargain Basement Howard Hughes" or the cold restraint of the Chris De Garmo spiced "Anger Rising".
Ably supported by the world class rhythm talents of Mike Bordin and Robert Trujillo, Cantrell has forged a niche for himself, at once in the realms of the classic at once in today, as epitomised by the Page threads of the haunting "Angel Eyes", thr punk Blue Cheer spat of "Mother's spinning in her grave" or the acidic Knack pop of "She was my girl".
A trip in a welcoming dark.
"Aftermath (Lucretia Records)
This album is highly enjoyable. You may need to give it a few spins as it does'nt hit instantly, but when it does it becomes a highly enjoyable blues based rock album sounding like the early Van Halen records through to Ted Nugent and countless other name checks.
Guitar fans may want to take note as the ever prolific David T.Chastain is the main guitarist on this project and he does his thing without to much widdle diddle, like I said this has more emphasis on da blues rock than endless solos, sure they're there, but they sludge along in a cool moody direction.
A nice intro serves well for 'Feel No More' which gives off a smokey Southern flavour crossed with gritty sounding dirty guitar riffs and so do the vocals once they hit the verse. 'Dynamite In Jeans' is a better song because it reminds me vocally of David Lee Roth crossed with Bulletboys, Howe II and even UFO. It's a cool groovy blues hard rocker that gets going into a solid groove with cool guitar riffs, this style is heard again on the next song 'Tell Me Why' only this song even though rocks is a slower blues rocker, a bit like Mr.Big. 'Beggars And Thieves' is more catchy and radio friendly, this has a great blues groove and would have fitted on any Cry Of Love, Company Of Wolves, Shark Island, Badlands album, maybe even on any Beggars And Thieves (the band) album too, good song.
'Crying Through Another Heartbreak' is the albums ballad which is really smokey cool and vibrant, reminds me of Heaven And Earth and Glenn Hughes, I love the guitar line, very memorable melody. I found 'Trouble' a little twee, thankfully though the Dave Lee Roth facotr comes back into bogue with the excellent 'Aftermath' which is one of my favourite songs on the album. The guitars are chuggy and the song just grooves baby. 'Six Foot, Blonde And Blue Eyes' is one of the only tracks that really rips it up in classic Van Halen style, fits nicely along side Van Halen's 'Panama' and 'Hot For Teacher, this is for me the highlight of the album, true rocking class.
This style is continued on 'All About You', whilst 'Shoot 'Em Up' is a more blusey based Van Halen style number 'Red White And Blues', is blues at it's best making me thing that vocalist Stephen Fredrick (who has worked with Stone Temple Pilots and The Black Crowes) could have done a better job than the feeble attempts of actor John Goodman if he had been offered the role along side Dan Aykroyd. Lastly 'Deep Blue Horizon' fade the album out in style, blues jam style!! So an excellent album then, most of the songs are really good, they maybe be similar at times but who cares, this is great.So all around then the band deserve those Scooby Snax as reward for their excellent combined efforts.
"Revolution Wheel " (Sanctuary Records)
Fans of Tesla will get a kick with Soulmotors's second album, I know I did and I'm one of the biggest Tesla fans around, this is really a fantastic hard rocking album with tons of modern alternative influences.
Soulmotor you see feature Tommy Skeoch and Brian Wheat from Tesla, alongside a singer called Darin and "Revolution Wheel" is the bands second album which sounds bang upto date with the current metal movements.
Darin has a heavier voice than Tesla frontman Jeff Keith, and this is the thing that may put Tesla fans off, it as far away from Tesla as one could imagine, but Skeoch and Wheat still do their thing, the band sound heavy and convincing, I could go far as saying like a mix of Metallica, King's X and Creed
I found myself liking the songs more and more with each spin of the CD, infact this has more in common with Jeff Keith's side project Bar 7, and if you enjoyed them you will love Soulmotor, and if the Tesla guys do plan a comeback album they can easily get away with doing some songs in this vein without letting their fans down..
The songs are arried with such attitude which just sent the goose pimples down my back. Darin's vocals sound similar to James Hetfield and his perfect vocal harmonies coupled with gritty guitar work make this album an instant favourite.
Soulmotor's new album is red hot, so grab it while it's freshly baked, a neat suprise.