Tag Archives: Hard Rock

Review: Pearl – Little Immaculate White Fox [2010]

Pearl Aday rocks hard, really hard. In fact, she is the hardest rocking woman in the biz today. Obviously, it helps when your step father is the legendary Meatloaf, but there is much more to the former Motley Crue backup singer than another simple example of nepotism. Pearl belts out melodies with a soulful intensity while maintaining an electrifying edge of pure high voltage.

Backing up Pearl is session band Mother Superior, best known for their work with Henry Rollins. The music is heavy blues-based and features hubby Scott Ian of Anthrax on guitars (guess, who brings the heavy?).

“Rock Child” sums up Pearl’s work the best which is why it is an appropriate opening cut. Her tracks are dirty, gritty, and at times, sweet. Pearl’s cover of Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits” is the best Turner cover by any artist in recent memory as well as an original choice.

Ted Nugent offers his lead guitars on “Check Out Charlie” in a manner not far from his 70’s masterpiece, “Stranglehold.” Guitarist Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains aids on the closing track “Anything.”

Little Immaculate White Fox is a noble debut effort that should not be missed. Pearl’s other credits include backing vocals on Ace Frehley’s Anomaly, Filter’s Title of Record, and several Meatloaf releases.

Pearl is Pearl Aday (Vocals), Scott Ian (Guitars), Jim Wilson (Guitars), Marcus Blake (Bass), & Matt Tecu (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Rock Child”
  2. “Nutbush City Limits”
  3. “Broken White”
  4. “Check Out Charlie”
  5. “Mama”
  6. “My Heart Isn’t In It”
  7. “Nobody”
  8. “Worth Defending”
  9. “Love Pyre”
  10. “Whore”
  11. “Anything”

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Review: Black Robot – Black Robot [2010]

Oh yeah! Bringing on some more sleaze-pleasing hard rocking music in 2010 is Black Robot, a new and mighty project featuring three former members of Buckcherry.

This album features all of the main ingredients that classic hard rock fans worship—the dirtbag lyrics, the badass guitar riffs, stomping beats, and infectious heavy grooves that will have your fists pumping on the steering wheel within the first three seconds.  The fact of the matter is Black Robot rocks really fucking hard!

The band’s sound pays homage to all of the greats;  from AC/DC (cover of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine”), Jimi Hendrix (“Mamma Don’t Cry”), Black Crowes (“Stop the World”), Led Zeppelin (“I’m in Love”),  Black Sabbath (“23 Days of Night) to The Rolling Stones angst and The Beatles harmonic grace.

One of the best qualities of this album is that almost every track clocks in under four minutes, with six tunes under three minutes.  This is exactly how rock and roll music was meant to be; nothing but balls.  You won’t find any wasteful moments on Black Robot.

Black Robot is Huck Johns (Vocals), Jonathan “JB” Brightman (Bass), Andy Andersson (Guitar), Staffan Österlind (Guitar), & Possum Hill (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Badass”
  2. “Cocaine”
  3. “Momma Don’t Cry”
  4. “Girls Kissing Girls”
  5. “Money”
  6. “I’m in Love”
  7. “In My Car”
  8. “Black Robot”
  9. “Love on a .45″
  10. “Dissatisfaction”
  11. “23 Days of Night”
  12. “Stop the World”
  13. “Nervous Breakdown”

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Black Robot will be released on April 13, 2010 by Formosa Records.

Track Review: Airbourne "No Way But The Hard Way" No Guts, No Glory [2010]

If you dug the tunes from Runnin’ Wild then you will love the latest single from Airbourne, because “No Way But The Hard Way” is identical in feel to “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast.”

AC/DC modeled guitar riffs are combined with stomp rock beats to ensure a head banging good time. However, in order to truly appreciate this band, you must take in one of their live shows.

The band’s recorded material consists of great stuff, but like any AC/DC album, can easily be played out -Meds

Airbourne is Joel O’Keefe (Vocals/Guitars), David Roads (Guitar), Justin Street (Bass), & Ryan O’Keefe (Drums).

No Guts, No Glory due out February 23, 2010

Review: Jeff Scott Soto – One Night in Madrid [2010]

Heavy metal vocalist Jeff Scott Soto conjures up the double live disc One Night in Madrid for Jan. 2010. The ex-Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist and current Trans-Siberian Orchestra singer rips through tracks from Beautiful Mess and also offers a wild finish that features a medley of covers saluting rock and funk royalty.

My personal favorite performance from the live album is the rendition of “Stand Up” from the Rockstar Soundtrack. Soto’s live scream at the beginning is purely astounding.

One Night in Madrid demonstrates that JSS has a very loyal fanbase and much larger audience in Europe than the U.S.  His loyal followers rock along hard to the songs as Soto diligently leads the band.

Soto’s backing band is very tight and spot on, however some guitar tones seem like they could have been strengthened, particularly on the clean funk channels.

This live album will please Soto’s fans and is is good for what it is. Soto always flew under the radar throughout his long career and will continue to do so following this release.

Track Listing:

  1. “Intro”
  2. “21st Century”
  3. “Colour My XT”
  4. “Soul Divine”
  5. “Our Song”
  6. “Mountain”
  7. “Eyes Of Love”
  8. “Testify”
  9. “Broken Man”
  10. “Hey”
  11. “Frozen”
  12. “Crazy”
  13. “If This Is The End”
  14. “Holding On”
  15. “Nobody Said It Was Easy”
  16. “4 U”
  17. “Just Between Us”
  18. “Gin & Tonic Sky”
  19. “I’ll Be Waiting
  20. “Stand Up”
  21. “We Will Rock You”
  22. “I Love Rock & Roll”
  23. “Funky Medley: We Will Rock You/I Love Rock & Roll/Play That Funky Music/Jungle Boogie/The Roof Is On Fire/Brick House/Shake Your Booty/Kung Fu Fighting/Yo Baby Yo/Macho Man/The Right Stuff/Ice Ice Baby/Stayin’ Alive/Another One Bites The Dust/Walk This Way”

One Night in Madrid on AmazonJSS Official SiteWikipedia

Year In Review: Top 10 Songs of 2009

1.  “Head Crusher” Megadeth – Endgame: The first single from Megadeth’s recent release contains a devastating intro featuring Dave Mustaine thrashing on the low E string while Chris Broderick shreds the octave riff on the high e. The opening instrumental “Dialectic Chaos” contains some very similar thrash metal magic. “Head Crusher” is a punishing number and a great way to introduce the feel of Endgame to the masses.

2.  “Rite of Passage” Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings: There is no better lead guitar-drum combo in progressive heavy metal today than John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy. The drum production (0:38) on this track is the best that you will find from 2009. In addition to the production and triumphant riffs, the tune is marked with haunting licks (4:33) and an some 80’s thrash influence (4:56).

3.  “Death To All But Metal” Steel Panther – Feel The Steel: Whether Steel Panther is mocking metal or worshiping metal is irrelevant. This song is pure lyrical genius in a similar manner to early Eminem, except these guys can play instruments and play them just as well as any metal band out there. From the “Live Wire” inspired riff, to the shout outs to Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe, to the nasty and highly inappropriate shots at Kanye West and Madonna, it’s just brilliant.

4.  “Hate Worldwide” Slayer – World Painted Blood: This Slayer track proves to be the best fist throwing and hard stomping pit-pleaser of the year. Check out the nasty breakdown points for more info. What makes “Hate Worldwide” so great is how it alternates between aggressive speed riffs and its powerful groove. It is real difficult to not enjoy this one especially with the brutal guitar work from Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman.

5.  “Bible Black” Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know: Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio delivers this evil gem in a purely sinister manner, that is an instant classic, and melts your face with its gloomy rhetoric and riffs of impending doom…like I said purely sinister. The opening acoustic guitars with the melodic lead set the tone perfectly for the heaviness that soon kicks in, and kicks your ass.

6.  “Heaven is Gone” Seventh Void – Heaven is Gone: Earlier this year, Big Vin Records released this hard and heavy riff-fueled tune by Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly from Type-o-Negative, aka Seventh Void. One of the best features of this band is that the dark sound is a little rough around the edges, which means there is no useless over-production here. A very refreshing release that did not receive nearly enough credit this year.

7.  “Check My Brain” Alice in Chains – Black Turns To Blue: Seattle rock pioneers Alice in Chains came back with their first studio album in 14 years and since the death of frontman Layne Staley in 2002. This track demonstrates everything we would expect from AIC: Sludgy riffs from Jerry Cantrell and very dark vocal harmonies. I must admit, this was a pleasant surprise this year.

8.  “On and On” – The Answer – Demon Eyes: There are several good bands out there in, what I like to call, the “neo-classical hard rock” genre and one of the best ones is The Answer. “On and On” provides a hard edged rock and roll boogie that honors rock royalty, from Black Sabbath to Queen. Just a great feel-good track. If you enjoyed Airbourne’s album from last year then you will dig these guys too.

9.  “Whatever Gets You Off” – The Last Vegas – Whatever Gets You Off: “Whatever Gets You Off” works the same way as “On and On” above, except The Last Vegas has more of a trash and glam feel. This is another fine example of ne0-classical hard rock music done right. The key ingredients: sleazy lyrics and way, way over-the-top energy.

10.  “Babylon’s Burning” W.A.S.P. – Babylon: Blackie Lawless has shown that he can still put out great material. On this song you are dealt 5 minutes of classic 80’s sounding riffs with demonic gallops and “666” lyrical madness. This entire album was a late surprise from 2009.

Note: The 10 tracks above are based on pure opinion, obviously, and you probably completely disagree. These are tunes that have grown stronger with more listens as the year progressed. Basically, I have yet to grow tired of them. Comment below and let me know your favorite songs of 2009.

Review: Wyldsky – Wyldsky [2009]

Los Angeles-based hard rock outfit Wyldsky offers this 10-track debut, delivering a feast of vintage tones and catchy hooks that make this disc a stereo staple.

Rocking songs such as “Next World” and “Dog Daze” feature powerful drumbeats that at times summon the legendary John Bonham, or on a much lesser note, Stillwater’s “Fever Dog” from Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous.

The vocals of Tyler Nelson set most of the tunes on fire, particularly during the choruses, providing an aggressive Skynyrd feel.

Not all of the material is hard and heavy on this album. “Rendezvous” is a power ballad that features an epic guitar solo from Nelson and “Holding On” emanates a jazz-rock fusion vibe that you would expect from a Satriani or Vai track.

“My Baby” carries bluesy keyboard riffs a la Great White to make the ladies dance, while the acoustic dominance of “Goodbye, Good Riddance” and “Where You Belong” will make the ladies cry.

Between the thunderous drums, skillful lead guitars, and powerful vocals, Wyldsky produces a fine sound that is worth giving a listen. If you are a fan of 80’s hard rock, you will definitely love this disc.

Wyldsky is Tyler Nelsom (Vocals/Guitars),Chad Quist (Guitars), Doug Richardson (Bass), Chris Turbis (Keyboards), & Mike Lesniak (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Next World”
  2. “Holding On”
  3. “Dog Daze”
  4. “Rendezvous”
  5. “My Baby”
  6. “Comin’ On”
  7. “Wild Honey”
  8. “Nightmare and a Dream”
  9. “Where You Belong”
  10. “Goodbye, Good Riddance”

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NZA's Review: Kiss – Sonic Boom [2009]

Amazon KissI can’t say that I underestimated Kiss before listening to Sonic Boom maybe just “underexpected” (my new word) them. That’s all gone now. Raise up your horns kiddies and let the ol’ Knights in Satan’s Service take you on a nice and rockin’ ride! Sonic Boom reinvents Kiss and brings a whole new respect of the band personally for me.

They follow the formula that best suits them: Keep it Simple, stupid! Tracks like “Never Enough” and “Stand” make me forget that its 2009 and feel like im listening to the vintage Kiss records of the 70’s.

Ace Frehley and Peter Criss aren’t here and for the first time, I really don’t miss them. Eric Singer provides the big BANG Kiss needs while Tommy Thayer rips and shreds like the bastard nephew of Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick, and Vinnie Vincent.

“I’ve got the power any hour, baby, feel my tower of power” is the poetry of Gene Simmons and he is the only one that could get away with sayin’ it (“Hot & Cold”). Paul Stanley still does his “ooooohs” and “ahhhhhs” and I could just see him strutting his stuff playing along to these tunes.

All in all, Sonic Boom is the best stuff the originators of the rock n roll circus have to offer in merely two decades. Welcome back Kiss and I am sure, not that Sonic Boom helped, you will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame before your tour is “officially” over -NZA

3 StarsKiss is Paul Stanley (Vocals/Guitars), Tommy Thayer (Guitars/Vocals), Gene Simmons (Bass/Vocals), & Eric Singer (Drums/Vocals).

Sonic Boom is available exclusively at Wal-mart in a 2 disc+ 1 DVD set. Disc 2 is Klassic Kiss hits rerecorded w/ Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer and the DVD is Kiss Live in Buenos Aires. 3 discs for under $15 bucks ain’t that bad. OHHHHHHHHHHH YEAH!!!!!!

Track Listing:

  1. “Modern Day Delilah”
  2. “Russian Roulette”
  3. “Never Enough”
  4. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)”
  5. “Stand”
  6. “Hot and Cold”
  7. “All for the Glory”
  8. “Danger Us”
  9. “I’m an Animal”
  10. “When Lightning Strikes”
  11. “Say Yeah!”

Read Meds’ review of Sonic Boom

Review: Kiss – Sonic Boom [2009]

Amazon KissKiss offers a heavy rocking release, the first since 1998’s mediocre Psycho Circus, titled Sonic Boom. Without Ace Frehley and Peter Criss in Kiss, it is very difficult to love and enjoy the band like the early days.  But putting that prejudice aside, Sonic Boom undeniably contains powerful rock tracks that only Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons can orchestrate.

Stepping in for Frehley and Criss on guitars and drums are Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer respectively. The final product is a sound that leans more to the mid-80’s than the mid-70’s. “Modern Day Delilah,” the first single and album highlight, is fueled by Stanley’s relentless vocal performance, rock and roll screams and all.

The guitar riffs on most of the tracks are intoxicating particularly in the beginning of the record, but far from groundbreaking. By the fifth track, the 80’s presence begins a mild takeover in direction; an infectious takeover that forces an uncontrollable singalong, similar to “God Gave Rock and Roll To You Part II” and the dining scene of Beetlejuice.  Simmons’ bass chops on “Hot and Cold” are impressive and demonizing on “I’m an Animal,” but his lead vocal tracks on “Yes I Know” and “Russian Roulette” are very weak against the backdrop that Stanley establishes earlier.

While Sonic Boom lacks the raw and rebellious feel of the original lineup’s classics, the polished riffs and choral hooks make for a good hard rock album. My prescription for a great Kiss album: take one Frehley, one Criss, and call Rick Rubin in the morning -Meds

3 StarsKiss is Paul Stanley (Vocals/Guitars), Tommy Thayer (Guitars/Vocals), Gene Simmons (Bass/Vocals), & Eric Singer (Drums/Vocals).

Track Listing:

  1. “Modern Day Delilah”
  2. “Russian Roulette”
  3. “Never Enough”
  4. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)”
  5. “Stand”
  6. “Hot and Cold”
  7. “All for the Glory”
  8. “Danger Us”
  9. “I’m an Animal”
  10. “When Lightning Strikes”
  11. “Say Yeah!”

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Review: Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland [2009]

Amazon Lita FordThe 80’s hard rock queen Lita Ford returns with her first new album in 14 years titled Wicked Wonderland. Unfortunately shoddy production techniques like muddy vocal mixes, buried lead guitar licks, and repetitive electronica-modeled drum loops hinder this album from shining in today’s hard rock market. Additionally, the lyrics serve up a stinky batch of stale French cheese to a degree scorned even by 80’s glam standards. It is difficult to point to a specific location of Wicked Wonderland that exhibit the aforementioned flaws because all 15 tracks employ them. However, the ballad “Sacred” comes the closest to resembling her classic sound rather than hiding her voice in ProTools gear. I was really hoping for Ford to deliver a triumphant return after her emotional appearance on the first episode of That Metal Show and her blazing duet with Dee Snider at last year’s Twisted Christmas on Broadway show. Maybe Scout Taylor-Compton’s portrayal of Ford in 2010’s The Runaways will assist her in returning to her punk and hard rock roots -Meds

1.5 StarsLita Ford is Lita Ford (Vocals/Guitar/Production), Jim Gilette (Vocals/Production), Greg Hampton (Production/Instruments), & Stet Howland (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Crave”
  2. “Piece (Hell Yeah)”
  3. “Patriotic S.O.B.”
  4. “Scream 4 Me”
  5. “Inside”
  6. “Wicked Wonderland”
  7. “Indulge”
  8. “Love”
  9. “Betrayal”
  10. “Sacred”
  11. “Truth”
  12. “Everything”
  13. “Bed”
  14. “Garden”
  15. “Push”

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GOR recommends Anomaly by Ace Freheley and Endgame by Megadeth

Review: Ace Frehley – Anomaly [2009]

Amazon AceFreThe original Spaceman lead guitarist of the legendary Kiss lineup serves up a platter of 12 new tracks on his first solo effort since 1989’s Trouble Walkin’.  On Anomaly, Ace Frehley refreshingly sticks to his classic 70’s roots keeping all of the fundamentals of hard rock prominent. Frehley’s guitars come out in a chugging blaze from the very beginning of “Foxy and Free” continuing into “Outer Space,” while the drums of Anton Fig (David Letterman) and Scott Coogan (Brides of Destruction) bring the thunder. Almost all of the material on this album is hard rock in its most natural state with traces of melodic moments  spread throughout (“Pain in the Neck”). Frehley pays tribute to 70’s British rock band Sweet with a rendition of “Fox on the Run” that stays very true to the original performance. “A Little Below the Angels” is an honest acoustic ballad from a recovering alcoholic’s perspective. “Genghis Khan” is mainly an instrumental stomp rock tune with the random lyric “so long Genghis Khan, now your gone, so long” thrown in here and there, unlike “Space Bear” and “Fractured Quantum,” which are completely instrumental. All in all, Anomaly does not piss me off one bit and it should not piss anyone off. The riffs are hard, heavy, in some cases epic (“Space Bear”), and better than anything that Kiss has released in the last 20 years. -Meds

4 StarsAce Frehley is Ace Frehley (Vocals/Guitars), Derrek Hawkins (Rhythm Guitar), Anthony Esposito (Bass), Marti Frederiksen (Keyboards/Bass/Rhythm Guitar), Anton Fig (Drums), & Steve Coogan (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Foxy and Free”
  2. “Outer Space”
  3. “Pain in the Neck”
  4. “Fox on the Run”
  5. “Genghis Khan”
  6. “Too Many Faces”
  7. “Change the World”
  8. “Space Bear”
  9. “A Little Below the Angels”
  10. “Sister”
  11. “It’s a Great Life”
  12. “Fractured Quantum”

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