Monday, May 30, 2011

U.D.O. -CD- REV-RAPTOR

Founded in 1987, U.D.O. is a German heavy metal band that was founded by former Accept lead singer Udo Dirkschneider. U.D.O. has seen a lot of lineup changes over the 24 years since. The current lineup surrounding Udo has been together since 2004. They are Stefan Kaufmann on guitar, Igor Gianola on guitar, Fitty Wienhold on bass and Francesco Jovino on drums.

The latest release from U.D.O. is the thirteen track "Rev-Raptor". There is no new ground broken on this album for U.D.O.. It's is exactly what you expect from U.D.O. the band and Udo the man going all the way back to his Accept days. Right in your face, grab you by the balls headbanging metal. Although there is no surprise and you know what to expect here, Rev-Raptor is a sold metal record.

Similar to icons such as Ozzy Osboourne, Ronnie James Dio and a handful of others Udo's voice is instantly recognizable and is not going to be mistaken for anyone else. His no nonsense 80s metal style vocals are complimented with twin killing guitar licks from Kaufman and Gianola as well as a crushing wall of rhythm from Wienhold and Jovino. And although "Rev-Raptor" is done in the same style and formula as all of U.D.O.'s releases it stands well on its own as a solid heavy metal album.

This is classic 80s heavy metal at its finest performed by fine musicians and one of the most underrated front men of the genre. If you enjoy no-frills, in your face music with dueling guitars and a wall of sound then U.D.O. is without question the band for you. If you haven't tried their music before then "Rev-Raptor" is as good a place to start as any. You'll be looking for that back catalog of theirs in no time.

U.D.O. REV-RAPTOR COMPLETE TRACK LISTING

  1. Rev-Raptor
  2. Leatherhead
  3. Renegade
  4. I Give as Good as I Get
  5. Dr. Death
  6. Rock’N'Roll Soldiers
  7. Terrorvision
  8. Underworld
  9. Pain Man
  10. Fairy Tales of Victory
  11. Motor-Borg
  12. True Born Winners
  13. Days of Hope and Glory
Released May 31, 2011 on AFM

Thursday, May 26, 2011

THE RODS -CD- VENGEANCE

The Rods is the legendary but highly underrated heavy metal band formed by the late great Ronnie James Dio's cousin, David Feinstein. Joining David Feinstein, who plays guitar and vocals, is Garry Bordonaro on bass and vocals and Carl Canedy on drums and vocals. The Rods have burst on the scene over 30 years ago and have toured the world with some of the biggest names in hard rock and metal. In the early 80s a then unknown band named Metallica opened for them on their own headlining tour. After an extended absence The Rods reunited in 2008 and have recently released their first studio album in more than two decades and a half. If you are not familiar with The Rods or even never heard of them, you should do your self a favor and take a listen to this fine group of musicians.

"Vengeance" is the new CD release by The Rods. Although it seems for some unexplained reason The Rods never achieved the acclaim or success their music deserves there is a good chance this fine release may change that. This album is complete with eleven solid tracks. The stand out for me is the first single, "The Code". "The Code" features on vocals none other than Feinstein's cousin, Ronnie James Dio. This one of the last two vocal recordings of Ronnie before his untimely death a year ago this month. The other is the song "Metal Will Never Die" on Feinstein's solo effort, "Bitten By The Beast". The intense rhythm from Bordonaro and Canedy along with a great riff and even better solo from Feinstein really meshes well with Ronnie's legendary voice.

Don't let Ronnie's appearance on this album fool you. Even without "The Code" this is a solid hard rock record by a trio of fine musicians. This is straight forward hard rock with a very 80s vibe. Anthem style lyrics, solid guitar riffs and impressive solos. These guys know how to rock. Do your self a favor and give The Rods "Vengeance" a try and then go out and listen to their back catalog. Your inner headbanger will thank you for it.

THE RODS - VENGEANCE COMPLETE TRACK LISTING

01. Raise Some Hell
02. I Just Wanna Rock
03. Rebels Highway
04. Ride Free Or Die
05. The Code
06. Livin' Outside The Law
07. Let It Rip
08. Fight Fire With Fire
09. Madman
10. Running Wild
11. Vengeance
Released May 23, 2011 on Niji Entertainment

AEROSMITH - LIVE IN ATLANTIC CITY 8-28-10 A PICTORIAL




























Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AEROSMITH -CD- TOUGH LOVE: BEST OF THE BALLADS

Aerosmith, those bad boys from Boston have released yet another compilation disc. Being a huge Aerosmith fan myself since their inception I am always interested in what they have to offer and always willing to give it a fair shake. However my first reaction to hearing about this release was, "do we need another Aerosmith compilation?". Probably not. To be fair my belief, and I am sure I am not alone, is that the recent interest in and discovery of the band's sound by new fans attracted to Steven Tyler's stint on American Idol provided Geffen Records with an opportunity to cash in without having to get the boys together and record new material.

To further the belief of this being a money grab let's look at the track listing for one. The CD has "Best Of The Ballads" right in its title. However only songs that have made it on Geffen releases is included so some great ballads from the band's history are not included. If it isn't ALL of your best in my opinion it can't be your best of collection. For an example the last track on Toys, "You See Me Crying" is not included here as are several others that obsessive Aerosmith fans would include in their list of best ballads.

Now on a puzzling note the tracks "Rag Doll" and "Love In An Elevator" are included in this collection. These songs are too uptempo sounding for me to be considered ballads. They are not the heaviest Aerosmith songs in the catalog but I find them far from being ballads although good tunes.

Regardless of how you view this collection the die hard Aerosmith fan who needs every bit of the band they can get their hands on will welcome this with open arms. It will also receive a warm welcome from what I believe is its intended audience, the pop music loving fan base of American Idol who want to give this guy Tyler's work a listen. Let's hope they catch on that the other four guys are pretty darn good too.

Let me know how you view this collection.

AEROSMITH TOUGH LOVE: BEST OF THE BALLADS COMPLETE TRACK LISTING:

01. Angel
02. Amazing
03. Love In An Elevator
04. Cryin'
05. What It Takes
06. Rag Doll
07. Crazy
08. Deuces Are Wild
09. Livin' On The Edge
10. Blind Man
11. Janie's Got A Gun
12. Dream On

Monday, May 23, 2011

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY -CD- THE SONG REMAINS NOT THE SAME

Black Label Society is the hard rocking heavy metal formed by guitarist extraordinaire Zakk Wylde. Black Label Society rose from the ashes of Zakk's first band outside of his tenure with Ozzy Osbourne, Pride & Glory. "The Song Remains Not The Same" is their latest release and is their ninth studio album. It is not your typical Black Label Society offering but if you are a fan of Zakk, you'll get what he is offering here with these ten tracks and you will enjoy it.

This new release is actually a combination of two elements. The first being the first four songs which are stripped down acoustic versions of "Overlord", "Parade Of The Dead", "Riders Of The Damned" and "Darkest Days". All four tracks were originally heard in all their heavy metal glory on the band's 2010 release, "Order Of The Black". The second track, "Parade Of The Dead" has a completely different mood than the original while the other three, although stripped down to nothing, are fairly true to the originals. As I mentioned before if you enjoy Zakk's talent you will get what he is going for here. However if you are a bang your head only type of fan and hate your favorite bands trying something completely different, this is not for you.

The second element of this CD is covers. The band's remaining six tracks are cover songs. Now this is where it gets a little odd because one of the covers is Black Label Society's own "Darkest Days" which already appears on the CD. This time however it is with country music sensation and Celebrity Apprentice winner John Rich. The only real difference between its appearance at number 4 and then track number 9 is the vocals of Rich. It's a good tune but the John Rich version probably wasn't necessary and they would've been better off given us another acoustic track off "Order Of The Black".

The remaining covers are a great collection of songs. The most intriguing to metal fans will be their take on Black Sabbath's "Junior's Eyes". However there is nothing metal about this track and it has to heard to be believed. Kudos also for not doing the typical Sabbath cover. How many versions of "Paranoid" does the world need anyway? Not to mention Zakk had to play it every night with his now former boss.

They also cover Neil Young's "Helpless", Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home". Then to round out the album they throw another unreal curve ball and cover the Christmas carol, "The First Noel". You'll never say you saw that one coming.

The CD title is obviously a parody of Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same". Unfortunately there will be a lot of headbangers that will hear this CD and think it is a parody and should be called "NOT Black Label Society". Those that appreciate music that is well arranged and well played will enjoy this CD. However it is not for everyone so I make two suggestions. One, if you can not accept your heavy metal heroes getting mellow, even for a minute, stay away from this CD. Two, if you appreciate trying something different, take a listen, you'll like what you hear.

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY - THE SONG REMAINS NOT THE SAME COMPLETE TRACK LISTING

01. Overlord (Unplugged version)
02. Parade Of The Dead (Unplugged version)
03. Riders Of The Damned (Unplugged version)
04. Darkest Days (Unplugged version)
05. Junior's Eyes
06. Helpless
07. Bridge Over Troubled Water
08. Can't Find My Way Home
09. Darkest Days (featuring John Rich)
10. The First Noel

Released May 10, 2011 on Entertainment One Music

Friday, May 20, 2011

KINGDOM COME -CD- RENDERED WATERS

Kingdom Come is a hard rock band formed by German-born vocalist Lenny Wolf. They released their self-titled debut in 1988 which spawned the moderate hit "Get It On". That song peaked in the US at number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. The album went platinum and peaked at number 12 in the U.S. on the Billboard 200 Album chart.

I recall that Kingdom Come received a lot of negative criticism after their debut for being more of a Led Zeppelin clone than an original band. Although they recorded original music. When you listen to that debut you do hear a Zeppelinesque sound in my opinion. I however have no problem with that. I would guess that they were fans of and influenced by Zeppelin and thus enjoy creating a similar sound. More often than not we reference bands as sounding like other bands that have come before them. For some reason Kingdom Come seemed to have this work against them. They never achieved the same moderate success with their future releases after their debut and numerous lineup changes. The current lineup only has Lenny Wolf from the original band.

Lenny Wolf gets a lot of credit for keeping the band alive in one form or another all these years. If not for the success of the single "Get It On" off their debut I believe Kingdom Come would have a story similar only to Anvil. That being a best case scenario.

Lenny and his now all German lineup have returned with a new Kingdom Come release, "Rendered Waters". It is a CD of eight classic tracks reworked and three new tracks. I understand wanting to release your earlier music because you felt it did not get a fair shake the first time around. I also think that redoing your old songs over two decades later to get new listeners is not the way to go about it. A full CD of new music that touched the masses would send them racing to iTunes, Amazon and the handful of places still selling CDs to find your catalog. That said redoing songs from the late 80s in 2011 does allow for better production and recording. Anyhow, although sold as a new Kingdom Come CD it is really a best of collection with three new bonus tracks. At least that is how I see it.

Lenny has a great voice and his vocals throughout this CD on songs new and old is fantastic. He has surrounded himself with solid sounding musicians that compliment his singing style. "Rendered Waters" may be more a collection of older material than newer songs but all eleven tracks are good songs and deserve a fair listen to. So what if sometimes you hear a Zeppelin influence. Have you ever heard a Zebra CD or Zebra performance. The same Zeppelin sound criticism can be made for them as was Kingdom Come. Actually that criticism found its way to a lot of bands but Kingdom Come took the brunt of it and unfairly so. Check it out and decide for yourself.

KINGDOM COME RENDERED WATERS COMPLETE TRACK LISTING
  1. Can't Deny
  2. The Wind
  3. Blue Trees
  4. Should I
  5. I've Been Trying
  6. Pushing Hard
  7. Seventeen
  8. Is It Fair
  9. Living Out of Touch
  10. Don't Remember
  11. Break Down the Wall
Released April 5, 2011 on Steamhammer/SPV

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

BLACK 'N' BLUE -CD- HELL YEAH!

Black 'N' Blue, those hair metal rockers from Portland have returned with a new album. Formed in 1981 under the moniker Movie Star. In 1982, after a move to Los Angeles they made their first recorded appearance on the independent compilation, Metal Massacre. That Metal Massacre album also introduced fellow newcomers Ratt and Metallica. Their self-titled debut was released on Geffen Records in 1984. Three additional albums followed , Without Love in 1985, Nasty, Nasty in 1986 and In Heat in 1988. The last two were produced by Gene Simmons. The band disbanded in 1989 but did reunite once in 1997 on Halloween and recorded their performance. That recording was released as One Night Only: Live and was the last recording produced by the band until this current release. A release that took eight years to finish.

The band reunited in 2003 with all of the original lineup except for Tommy Thayer who had moved on to play the role of Space Ace in Kiss. Shawn Sonnenschein is his replacement. They had reunited to tour and release their first studio album since 1988. That album, "Hell Yeah!" was originally scheduled to be released in September of 2003. After several delays, band members latching on to different projects and lead singer Jaime St. James joining Warrant for a stint the band reunited once again in 2008 and played the Rocklahoma music festival. Then finally in 2009 they went back into the studio to complete "Hell Yeah!" which, after being first started in 2003 was released finally on May 17, 2011.

Fans of Black 'N' Blue will hear the opening riffs of "Monkey" and instantly think, hey that's Black 'N' Blue. Those loyal fans of the band, that must be who this album was made for. It's definitely a throwback to the Black 'N' Blue heydays of the 80s. If you're were not a Black 'N' Blue fan in the 80s but you are into good sounding good time hair metal you'll enjoy this album for the most part as well. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics, sing along choruses and grooves you can tap your feet too make this an entertaining record. There are a couple of valleys here though. "World Goes Round" for one. If St. James wasn't singing this one I would've thought a different CD was somehow playing. Doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the tracks or with who Black 'N' Blue are. Maybe it's just me.

In a year that is shaping up to be one of  the best for hard rock CD releases this is one you can add to the list of worth buying. Black 'N' Blue fans surely will and they will definitely not be disappointed. "Hell Yeah!" is available on Frontiers Records.

BLACK 'N' BLUE - HELL YEAH! COMPLETE TRACK LISTING

1. Monkey
2. Target
3. Hail Hail
4. Fools Bleed
5. C’mon
6. Jaime’s Got the Beer
7. Angry Drunk Son of a Bitch
8. So Long
9. Trippin’
10. Falling Down
11. Candy
12. Hell Yeah!
13. World Goes Round
14. A Tribute to Hawking

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WARRANT -CD- ROCKAHOLIC

"Rockaholic" is the newest release by Warrant. Jani Lane is long gone, again and vocal duties belong to former Lynch Mob crooner Robert Mason. Mason is joined by the remainder of the classic Warrant line-up on a 14 track collection of new material. Although the songs are new this is not a new frontier for Warrant. Close your eyes and this combination of rockers and ballads sounds like it could have been recorded during the 80s when the then Lane led Warrant were on MTV constantly. For those of you too young to recall MTV actually stands for Music Television and in the 80s that's what they aired, music. Anyhow, Mason and the band do a good job in that direction as we wouldn't want Warrant going into a new direction we want that 80's sound that has returned with a vengeance.

"Rockaholic" is a very enjoyable listening experience. Filled with a lot of melodic rock, catchy lyrics and of course throw in the ballads. Mason really shows off his vocal skills throughout and is a huge improvement over Jaime St. James(Black 'N' Blue) who just didn't quite hit any strides in his brief stint with the band. Whether it's the jump out of the speakers attack of hard rock from the CD's first three tracks, "Sex Ain't Love", "Innocence Gone", "Snake" or the soft touch of "Found Forever" the raucous, bawdy and in your face sound of 80s hair metal is heard throughout.

Robert Mason certainly has injected energy and creativity in Warrant. It is hard to imagine that the exact same record would sound as good as it does with Jani Lane on vocals. To be fair Jani does not have the vocal range of Mason and his trouble with the remainder of the classic lineup is well documented. That said, with Warrant out on the road it will be Mason singing the songs so closely associated with Lane not the other way around.

ROCKAHOLIC COMPLETE TRACK LISTING:

01. Sex Ain't Love
02. Innocence Gone
03. Snake
04. Dusty's Revenge
05. Home
06. What Love Can Do
07. Life's A Song
08. Show Must Go On
09. Cocaine Freight Train
10. Found Forever
11. Candy Man
12. Sunshine
13. Tears In The City
14. The Last Straw
Released on Frontiers Records May 17, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

WHITESNAKE KICK OFF FOREVERMORE TOUR - A PICTORIAL

Whitesnake kicked off their tour in support of their new CD, Forevermore, this past Wednesday night in Westbury, NY. The intimate show was done in the half-round in front of approximately 1500 fans. Randy Jackson opened with a 30-minute acoustic set. Here is a short picture history of the evening. Set list follows below.
Randy Jackson of Zebra Fame warms up the theatre with an acoustic set.





























WHITESNAKE
May 11, 2011
NYCB Theatre, Westbury, NY

SET LIST:
Best Years
Give Me All Your Love
Love Ain't No Stranger
Is This Love
Steal Your Heart Away (Believed to be 1st time performed live)
Lay Down Your Love
Forevermore (Believed to be 1st time performed live)
Love Will Set You Free (Believed to be 1st time performed live)
Guitar Duel
My Evil Ways (Believed to be 1st time performed live)
Fare Thee Well (Believed to be 1st time performed live)
One Of These Days (Believed to be 1st time performed live)
Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City (Bobby "Blue" Band cover)
Fool For Your Lovin'
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night (Encore)