Κυριακή, 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2008

MAGNUM- Chase the dragon (1982)

I think everyone knows a little bit about Magnum. And I also think everyone should at least know about this wonderful album they released in 1982. To me Magnum were one of the best examples of pomp rock and ''Chase the dragon'' their masterpiece. Anthemic, epic, majestic, melodic, heavy when needed, this album combines almost everything I love about rock. Imagine the melody of the Foreigner debut or Styx's ''Grand illusion'', the heaviness of early NWOBHM, genius keys, an alltogether 70's sound and on top of everything one of the greatest singers in rock history, Bob Catley. It's obvious the band had a lots of creative juices flowing, mastermind/guitarist Tony Clarkin delivered 3-4 of his best compositions and the rest is history. It's a shame this album never got the degree of recognition it deserved, it went gold but I think it should be considered among the classics of hard rock history.



Πέμπτη, 18 Δεκεμβρίου 2008

JAG PANZER- Chain of command (1987/2004)

I really dislike bootleggers cause they make money out of something that doesn't belong to them. But there's one instance when I had to thank a bootlegger. Because if Reborn Classics hadn't unofficially released the ''Chain of command'' tapes we probably would have never heard the finest work of Jag Panzer in it's original form. The material I'm reffering to was recorded in late 1987 but the band failed to secure a record deal so they shelved it. At that time Harry Conklin had left the band and he was replaced by Bob Parduba. Believe it or not Parduba is at least equally great, if not even better than Conklin. And ''Chain of command'' is by far the best album Jag Panzer ever recorded. Yes, it's better than ''Ample destruction''. The band has re-recorded several of those songs since they reunited with Conklin in the late 90's, but they couldn't possibly match the magic of the old days. And by peoples demand in 2004 they eventually decided to officially release the long lost album. So what you get here is the original recordings with Parduba remastered. And to make it even better I included the track Taking the lead from Parduba's previous band, Alloy Czar. That track alone is in low bit rate, but it's great!


Κυριακή, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2008

AXE- V (1997)

Axe were a very promising band of the late 70's early 80's. In that period they released 4 albums of which the best is ''Offering'' from 1982. Unfortunately in 1984 they disbanded after a tragic car accident that caused the death of guitarist Mike Osbourne and the serious injury of guitarist/singer Bobby Barth . Barth revived the band in the 90's and in 1997 they released ''V''. Surprisingly this is their best album! Barth no longer singed lead, but Bob Harris did a great job replacing him. The songwriting is high level throughout the album. Check out tracks like Magic in your eyes, Sting of the rain, Anyplace on this highway is home, Battles (remake from their debut album). Anthems that will stick in your mind. The melodies are really touching. Listen for yourselves.


LETHAL- Programmed (1990)

The golden era of US power metal ended around 1990. But not before one of the greatest albums of all times was released. Lethal unleashed their powerful, intelligent, melodic music and left everyone astonished. Few albums sound as heavy as this one. Almost every song opens with a smashing riff and leads to a killer chorus. Singer Tom Mallicoat shines like a diamond. He is up there with the very best like Tate, Midnight, etc. I really mean it. Just perfect. The lyrics are really well written and thought provoking. Production is flawless. One of the very few albums I rate with 10/10 and still listen to from beginning till finish after all those years. If you don't have it it's really a shame. Top priority!


Τρίτη, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2008

DIONYSUS- Excalibur (1990)

How about a journey to a land far away? I don't know much about Korean heavy metal, but I do know there were a couple of great bands over there and one of them is Dionysus. After many melodic posts this heavyweight album is a good treat for headbangers. Like Japans, Koreans too seem to have been influenced by Malmsteen's guitar playing. Still Dionysus sound heavier, especially in their fast songs. The solos are really insane, pure paradise for Malmsteen lovers. The title track is heavy as hell with soaring vocals and great solos. Other great songs include Charnel castle, a fantastic instrumental piece, Lost souls, a powerfull and emotional ballad, the pomp monster Songs of Liberty and a semi-ballad, The confession of a condemned criminal. Usually bands from the far east can drive you away with their vocals but I don't think that's the case here. Though as usual you can't always tell whether the guy sings in English or not, his voice sounds great. Also note that the production is first class. Ambitious, inspired, well executed.

CROWN OF THORNS- Crown of thorns (1993)

Crown of Thorns started their career with a really hard rocking album. And it was the best effort they ever put out. Their later works lack the power of this one. You can find two editions, one from 1993 and one from 1995, called ''21 thorns'', which includes a bonus cd of live material and demos. That second cd isn't really worth having, except that it contains one of their best songs, The rain, so I ripped the debut album and added The Rain. What you get here is the very best songs of the band, like the anthem Dying for love and the powerful The healer and Winterland.


Κυριακή, 9 Νοεμβρίου 2008

RED DAWN- Never say surrender (1993)

What can I say about this album? Most of you propably already know about them, especially if you are into melodic hard rock and AOR. Red Dawn were the brainchild of David Rosenthal, keyboard wizard of Rainbow fame (he was part of the band during the Straight between the eyes- Bent out of shape era). Together with singer Larry Baud (formerly of USA and Network), guitarist Tristan Avakian (Mitch Malloy), Chuck Burgi on drums (ex Rainbow too) and bassist Greg Smith (ex Alice Cooper) he created a band of great potential. Unfortunately the year was 1993 when the album was released so you can understand why there was little chance of success and why it was actually released through a japanese record label with no follow up album . What we've got here is a very strong songwriting team, a keyboard virtuoso, a singer that makes your jaws drop and a phenomenal guitarist. All combined to deliver timeless songs. I've not yet met a single person that didn't love that album. Only one filler in here, the rest is from very good to unbelievably great! If you would like a comparison maybe House of Lords would do, but only their very best songs can match these guys!


Κυριακή, 2 Νοεμβρίου 2008

PROPHET- Pophet (1985)

The first album of Prophet was a fusion of many styles. Based on AOR and melodic hard rock their sound expands to progressive/pomp rock. As in most albums of that style keyboards play a fundamental role adding to the complexity of the song structures. Vocal duties are handled by no less than three of the band's members, and one of them is Ted Poley (who of course would later front Danger Danger), who actually is the drummer of the band! Still the highlight is the voice of a gifted but underrated singer, Dean Fasano. Passion, melody and lyricism run throughout the album. Street secrets is a perfect example of the prog/pomp side to Prophet, while Away from you has all the AOR hit potential ever needed to make a band big, though Prophet never had the luck required to make it big. Slow down is a wonderful ballad, if Tommy Shaw had been singing it it would be in the lips of millions, even though he couldn't have done a better job. All in all another must have album for your collection...


Πέμπτη, 30 Οκτωβρίου 2008

FORCE- Set me free (1984)

Some prog/pomp with a touch of NWOBHM sounds good doesn't it? Especially if the band is called Force and the album ''Set me free''. Unfortunately a one-off album. Seems like good music doesn't appeal to the masses...Thankfully the internet lets such gems resurface from time to time. And didn't a great man someday say ''Ask and you shall receive''? So since I couldn't find this album on the net I decided to upload a vinyl rip from a good friend so that anyone who asks for it shall receive it! Some scratches won't hurt since the music inbetween is great, haha! Force play a keys-driven hard rock with lot's of 70's elements and a special AOR touch. Imagine something inbetween Saracen, Magnum, Styx, Foreigner etc. and you get a picture of what it's all about. Absolute killer tracks on the album: Footsteps (epic, imaginery, great time changes), Hesitate (one of the best ballads ever, also recorded by Force during their early days when they were called Cryer), Hold on to your love and Don't throw my love away (both more commercial but still great).



Τετάρτη, 22 Οκτωβρίου 2008

Stormbringer- Stormbringer (1985)

Unbelievably good. One of the best albums I could ever upload if I wanted to let you know about an underrated lost gem of the 80's. I can't explain why this wasn't a huge hit back in 1985. The guys come from Switzerland and maybe that explainsall that needs to be explained...I mean how many rock bands from Switzerland had any success worldwide? Krokus maybe, China are still remembered and Gotthard are having some moderate success over the last years. But let me just say that Stormbringer's one and only self titled album is better than any of the albums that the previously mentioned bands have released. Starting off with a great cover of Russ Ballards Feel's like the real thing, the album soon continues with much heavier stuff. Searchin' is a high energy driven heavy metal song. Rock 'n' roll paradise is pretty much just what the title describes...Fantastic vocals, great melodies, everything about this song is perfect. They sometimes remind me of the sound Q5 had on their first album, that crossover sound between hard rock and melodic early heavy metal. Tears in your eyes does a pretty good job of once again justifying it's title, it's highly emotional and heartfelt. Caught me by surprise continues in a very melodic vein, great arrangement and backing vocals. There's a slow galopping rhythm in the song that I really love and the guitar cranks it up from time to time so it doesn't end up mellow. The succesion of great songs goes on with Lady of the sky, a frenzied heavy metal song that will blow your speakers. After a small prelude comes Fight with me, the most epic track on the album, once again with a galloping rhythm but more up tempo this time. The Q5 comparison is once again inevitable. Absolute killer! The album closes with a Gary Moore-like instrumental, a very nice closing indeed. I don't know who I should praise more, David Barreto for his wonderful voice or Angi Schiliro for the inspired and flawless guitar playing. They are both mythical persons in my little world. When I say they are first class musicians I really really mean it. I must also point out that special vintage feeling the band delivers, though the album was recorded in 1985 they have a lot of 70's sounds, mainly in the keyboard parts. Enough said...


Σάββατο, 18 Οκτωβρίου 2008

STUART SMITH- Heaven and earth (2000)

Have you ever come across an album that can sum up the best of AOR, hard rock and blues and also revive the rock sounds of the 70's and the 80's the best possible way? Ok, maybe yes...But have you ever come across an album with guest appearances from: Richie Sambora, Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes, Kelly Hansen, Paul Shortino, Chuck Wright, Mike Terrana etc etc etc ? Ok maybe yes...But still you have never heard an album as good as this released in the last decade! ''Heaven and earth'' is the cream of the crop. Thundering hard rockers, brilliant AOR diamonds, soulfull blues, accoustic epic ballads, all you can ask for is here. Normally you should already be aware of this diamond. If not, then I've just done some good deeds.


Τετάρτη, 17 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

BOOBY TRAP- Women (1983)


Another greek gem that you won't propably find anywhere else. I had to buy it myself to get to listen to it. It's not that expensive to buy (averaging somewhere in between 25 and 35 euros). Though it's not too expensive the strange thing is you can't find any real info on the band. The few things I managed to find out is that the band had released another album under the name Coo titled ''Rock eyes'' previous to ''Women''. Also that ''Women'' was printed but not actually released...the band supposedly sold very few copies themselves and the rest of the copies were shelved, some of them resourfacing many years later keeping the price at relatively low rates. So what about the music? This album grows on me every time I listen to it. Booby Trap plays a very melodic hard rock actually reaching into the AOR field, with obvious 70's elements. Their sound is not polished at all, on the contrary the guitar riffs sound raw. I really love their guitarist, his solos have the required sentiment and inspiration. Another thing you will like about the album is the fact that all the vocal lines are well written. Productionwise there's a lot missing but I don't really care since I like the songs a lot. My favorites are American Girl, My woman (wonderful melancholic touch), Routine (with a great hit potential) and Burning brain (which I might almost call heavy metal). Almost every song seems to have a really memorable chorus and nice guitar leads. Enough said...



Σάββατο, 13 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

DEMON- Taking the world by storm (1989)

Better known for their first two albums which were great examples of the NWOBHM era, Demon continued in a very different style through the 80's. 1989's ''Taking the world by storm'' is the best example of this new direction. Lengthier tracks, lot's of keyboards but still very dynamic guitars, pomp influences, wonderful lyrics. Every single song, from the quicky opener Commercial dynamite (what a dynamite indeed) to the lengthy epics like Rememberance day or Time has come is wonderful. I'm uploading a 256 kbps vinyl rip I did myself, I'm really proud of how it sounds! (And not proud at all for mispelling the folder name!)


Σάββατο, 6 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

PRETTY MAIDS- The heavy side/ The melodic side Compilation by JRD

A great band that never sold millions. Why? That's a mystery...I can't recall many bands that put out so many great albums, that have a carreer expanding over three decades (80's, 90's, 00's) etc, etc, etc. Pretty Maids know how to write a great song. I've compiled my favorites and divided them in two categories. First you get the heavier side of the band and the second part covers the hard rock/melodic rock side. Don't ask me which one I prefer, they are great at both. And if you want recommendations on which album to buy, I must say that the order goes like this:''Red hot and heavy'', ''Future world'', ''Jump the gun'', ''Sin decade'', ''Spooked'', ''Anything worth doing is worth overdoing'' are classics/must-have albums. And if you like them I'm sure you will check the rest out too. For those into 80's metal ''Red hot and heavy'' is essential, while 80's hard rockers will love the three next albums. Fans of 90's metal will worship ''Spooked''.

PS: Ronnie Atkins' voice is a smoking gun...THE VOICE!!!!!!
Part 1:
Part 2:

Παρασκευή, 5 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

LOST HORIZON- Awakening the world (2001)

Entering the 00's the metal world desperately needed some fresh blood, some band that would show potential to be the next big thing. Lost Horizon showed that potential on their debut. A sound of their own, attitude, lyrics with strong messages and what's more important, great heavy metal music! Though they never lived up to the expectations they created, since they disbanded after a second average album, their debut will forever be praised as a great album. I've still not met a single person that doesn't like it! So if you hadn't yet had the chance to experience and enjoy this ambitious and talented band...


Τετάρτη, 27 Αυγούστου 2008

TRADE MARK- Fatal blues (1992)

Another greek album (actually ep) and another great release for your collection! Trademark played melodic hard rock with some metal elements especially in the amazing guitar work. Every song is a real gem. Too late is a great opener, Burn the sky is the AOR moment of the album, Cold love is an incredible hard rock hit comparable to stuff from the first Bon Jovi album, Fatal blues is a wonderful emotional ballad with a great accoustic intro and In the prison cell closes with a blend of heavy riffing and melodic lines. The vocals are very good, though there's a slightly exotic accent. Guitarist Sotiris Feggitis would be a guitar hero if he had escaped the small local scene. The ep has been rereleased on cd wih some bonus tracks which are quite crappy so I didn't bother ripping them, they simply don't do any justice to this great band.

Black Knight- Master of disaster (1985/reissue 2005)

Hailing from Canada this legendary (at least for obscure metal enthousiasts) band offers great 80's heavy metal. Active during the 80's the band failed to get signed by any major label so they disbanded having released only a 5-song ep that was rereleased many years later with some great bonus tracks. Most of the tracks featured vocals by Lori Wilde, a gutsy metal lady that could get the recognition other female singers (Leather Leone, Doro etc) enjoyed if she had continued her rerording carreer. Another trademark of their sound is the duelling guitars that deliver fantastic leads throughtout the album. A pitty they didn't make it any further, but still this album is enough for us to appreciate another great band of lost metal heroes. The rerelease is still available for purchase (and it's a great work with lots of info, bio lyrics, new cover etc), so don't hesitate!

Τρίτη, 26 Αυγούστου 2008

TRIUMPH- Compilation by JRD

My love for this band goes beyond words. The magic in their music is difficult to describe anyway. One thing I like about their discography is that it embraces most of the music styles I enjoy most. From lengthy atmospheric prog rock to great hard rock, then to some early heavy metal and back to AOR. These guys could do it all brilliantly. Though being just a trio most of the years they were gifted with two exceptional singers. Guitarist Rik Emmett may be more spotlighted as the singer of most of their songs, but drummer Gil Moore had some really impressive pipes too. The melodies is another thing. Just unrivalled lyricism. Their talent for anthemic rockers is breathtaking. I included at least one song from every studio album they did between 1976 and 1992, so you get the whole picture. Do your self a favour and explore their music. I could easily upload their whole discography.But I wanted people who hadn't payed enough attention to them to listen to some of their best stuff carefully, instead of just downloading a bunch of albums that would get lost along with all the other stuff they came across on the net. I never cared about icluding hits or not, unfortunately many so called hits were the worst album songs, just more accesible for music consumers (contrary to music lovers).

01. Blinding light show/Moonchild (Triumph- 1976)
02. The city (Rock & roll machine- 1977)
03. Lay it on the line (Just a game- 1979)
04. Young enough to cry (Just a game- 1979)
05. Just a game (Just a game- 1979)
06. In the night (Progression of power- 1980)
07. Hard road (Progression of power- 1980)
08. Fight the good fight (Allied Forces-1981)
09. Ordinary man (Allied Forces-1981)
10. A world of fantasy (Never surrender- 1983)
11. Never surrender (Never surrender- 1983)
12. Time goes by (Thunder seven- 1984)
13. Killing time (Thunder seven- 1984)
14. Tears in the rain (Sport of kings- 1986)
15. If only (Sport of kings- 1986)
16. Play with fire (Sport of kings- 1986)
17. In the middle of the night (Sport of kings- 1986)
18. Never say never (Surveillance- 1987)
19. Headed for nowhere (Surveillance- 1987)
20. Running in the night (Surveillance- 1987)
21. It's over (Edge of excess- 1992)
22. Turn my back on love (Edge of excess- 1992)

Pt 1:
Pt. 2:
Pt. 3:

Δευτέρα, 25 Αυγούστου 2008

Compilations coming up...

I had this idea...to compile songs of some of my favorite bands, one band at a time, so you get a folder full of...well...just real diamonds, lol! Hope you will like it!
The first band will be the legendary Canadian hard rockers Triumph, I'm sure you will love the selections!

Σάββατο, 23 Αυγούστου 2008

DARE- Calm before the storm (1998)

This may look as a surprise to many...Dare have released a couple of more hard rocking albums previous to''Calm before the storm''. This album has a whole different mood. Don't get fooled by the title. The storm never comes. Calm is the key word. All ten songs are moody melodic rock, some more uplifting, some totally on the blue side. There's a melancholic vibe throughout the album. What distinguishes this album from their following efforts, is that everything seems to have gone the right way. Darren Wharton has always been a great singer but here he sounds just magic. A heartfelt delivery that stands out for sure. The lyrics seem to play a very important role for that delivery. Thoughtful, beautiful, painful, redeeming lines...The album is full of accoustic guitars and melodic solos that serve the songs perfectly. Every vocal melody brings forth beautiful images, some of sunny days, some of rainy, all aiming straight to the listeners heart. Some songs stretch way over 5 or 6 minutes yet in such a beautiful way that you wish they lasted even longer. There's not a single song in there that's not great. Yet I still prefer to listen to the whole album every time instead of certain selections, cause it's all about the atmosphere the album creates in it's entirety. The closing cover of Thin Lizzy's Still in love with you is ideal. It's like this great song was waiting all those years for an album that would suite it!All in all another album you have to lay back to enjoy. Prefferably with a view to the sea and a glass of wine in hand.


Κυριακή, 10 Αυγούστου 2008

TEAZE- One night stands (1978)

This band comes from Canada and the reason I put this album on my blog is the guys recorded two of the best songs in 70's heavy metal history, or to be more accurate, in heavy metal history in general. I'm not implying the rest of the album is just fillers, but I've always been focused on tracking down extraordinaire songs. And well, some songs are better than others, period! Heartless world is the song that got me hooked to the band. Once again you have to listen for yourself to believe! We are talking about an absolute masterpiece, simple as that. A song full of surprises. A semi-ballad hard n' heavy monster...Touch the wind, the other anthemic highlight will get you raising your fist and screaming the lyrics of the chorus for sure...At the end of day, having listened to countless albums you can find over the net you will realize those two songs are something to remember! Just for the record the guys recorded 4 albums between 1976 and 1980 and then disbanded. Words are Brian Danter, their singer/bassist (and rock n' roll hero for writing Touch the wind) is ready to release an album anytime soon.

Dedicated to ''deaf'' people

I really don't want to make this blog a place for sharing my oppinions about music, but still I have to make this post...Yesterday I was playing music in a rock-metal bar along with a good friend. It was late, almost everyone had gone and we were enjoying some great AOR tunes waiting for the last ones to leave. And there come's a chick (one of two remaining costumers at that point) asking for some System of a Down song...And the girl serving the drinks asking for Disturbed. I had no problem doing them the favour since we were about to close. But I really can't understand how someone can like this shit...The songs were absolute shit! How on earth can someone get bored listening to wonderful songs and then bang his head with nonsense ''music''? Guess I will never find out....Sorry for the short confession, I'll make it up with some good albums and hopefully it will never happen again, lol!

Σάββατο, 9 Αυγούστου 2008

IRISH COFFEE- Irish coffee (1971)

This really obscure 70's band from Belgium never got what it deserved...And boy did they write some great tunes...Irish Coffee released this self titled album in 1971. They got near to a breakthrough, but it wasn't meant to be. What they offer us is heavy rock with some prog/psych elements. Passionate vocals shifting from raw to smooth depending on the songs vibe and inspired guitar solos and ever present fills are their basic elements.Songs like When winter comes, Hear me or A day like today are a pure joy to the ear. But the real masterpiece here is I'm lost. Songs like that -no matter how unknown- are a proud part of rock history. Exaggerating? Not at all my friends! Just take a listen for yourselves...This song could have appeared on a Wishbone Ash or Ten Years After album matching the best of what those great and famous bands could offer. Actually the band did several reunions giving some concerts from time to time and even recorded a new album some years ago. You can get the complete history of the band at http://www.belgianmetalhistory.be/, the bio is far beyond extended and with lots of interesting info. Just be aware that if you are not into 70's rock you might not be able to appreciate the bands work.

Still you have to do yourself a favor and listen to I'm Lost...



Σάββατο, 2 Αυγούστου 2008

NORTHWIND- Mythology (1987)

I've been away for a while but I'm back so there's no need for excuses, hehe!
So how about some great music from Greece? Though Greece had produced quite few outstanding albums you just can't ignore such gems! Nortwind recorded only 2 albums in the 80's. It is said that the first one is not something worth tracking down, but this one will leave you astonished! The year is 1987 and Northwind record an album with songs inspired by the great ancient greek mythology. Songs like Medea or Prometheus the man are breathtaking, a mixture of hard rock and epic metal with colourful melodies, great vocals and soulfull guitar solos. Really a shame they didn't keep up recording stuff like that...If you have listened to Socrates and liked them, I must tell you Northwind are simply better! I got the album from a greek blogspot a while ago, unfortunately it was shut down so I will try to put up the best of the albums from this practically unexplored scene...


Τετάρτη, 9 Ιουλίου 2008

CAROL OF HARVEST- Carol of harvest (1978) (Reuploaded!)

Another one-album wonder, this time in the field of progressive-psychedelic folk rock. Carol of Harvest is an obscure band from Germany and this album reaches prices as high as 1000 $ for the original vinyl pressing (thank god it was officially reissued on cd by Second Battle). You have to listen to the incredible, haunting vocals of Beate Crause to believe me when I tell you they are magnieficent. Originally the album consisted only of the first 5 tracks. That's no surprise keeping in mind the kind of music they play, the first track for example lasts 16 minutes. I'm only mentioning that cause the last three tracks are live recordings that fail to reach the original album's sound (and overall) quality. So keeping in mind the first 5 songs (the actual album), what we have here is dreamy, inspired music that demands it's listener total attention. It's not an album you can listen to while doing anything else. You have to experience it. You really need to lay down at night with the lights out to listen to that 16 minutes of Put on your nightcap. Maybe that sounds not really fitting to our rushing times, but that's the whole point. Give your self a good excuse to get a little lost on the wings of music.


WITNESS- Witness (1988)

Here we have a perfect example of female fronted AOR-hard rock. Debbie Davis is one of the most talented female singers I've ever heard in my life. It's really a shame this record is the only one she ever recorded as a lead singer (she has done some backing vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd in the 90's). The band had tremendous support from famous rock stars like Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora who have written You're not my lover and Neal Schon who plays some guitar parts. Unfortunately things did not work out well, there was never a follow up and the band split up. Listen to Desperate lover and you will be taken away by the huge chorus and the heartful vocal delivery of Davis. Other standout tracks are the hard rock opener Show me what you've got and the keyboard driven Jump in the fire. A real gem indeed!
UPDATE 18-10-2009: The album will be reissued by two different companies! It seems like the Rock Candy version will be of more interest than the one from Yesterrock, including extensive liner notes, interviews and unreleased bonus tracks. Can't wait to grab one!


AXEHAMMER- Lord of the realm (1984-1987/1998)

This is something special for all the headbangers out there! Axehammer is 80's heavy metal as good as it gets. I'm not exaggerating at all. With a singer as great as Bill Ramp everything is possible. The guy has an unbelievable voice! Something like Dio, Jeff Scott Soto in his early days etc. If this band had made it he would be written in the book of heavy metal with golden letters. Unfortunately Axehammer never had an official release of their own during their 80's days. Though they recorded stuff for an ep in 1987 and were ready to release it, they were dropped by their record company! Major case of companies screwing up... The 5 songs intended for the ep as well as three demos from 1984 were finally released on Sentinel Steel in 1998. At least some justice for the band that got the chance to reform and record a new album some years later (2005). They are still active, though Bill Ramp has quit (he did sing on the 2005 album ''Windrider''). But let's get back to the first one: The stuff is outstanding! Massive heavy riffing, great compositions, top melodies and blaster solos. Axehammer were equally good at tearing the whole world down with dynamites like Lord of the realm, as well as providing more melodic songs like Sands of time, still heavy but more concentrated on vocals. This release doesn't contain even one average song! Please visit their page on myspace: http://www.myspace.com/axehammerweb they surely deserve your support!


Τρίτη, 8 Ιουλίου 2008

WINTERHAWK- Revival (1982)

Simply one of the greatest guitar oriented hard rock albums of all time (though not instrumental). Jordan Macarus can be really proud of his stunning abilities in guitar playing (and composing as well). Though it was released in 1982 you shouldn't expect a heavy metal sound, it's more of a 70's hard rock album that came out a little late. Chicago's Winterhawk are often compared to Rush, because of Doug Brown's voice that reminds of Geddy Lee, but to me there are not many things in common musically. Winterhawk play their hard rock straighter, though inspired melodies and variety in compositions are not absent at all. Macarus enjoys lengthy tracks with shifting mood and ofcourse lenghty guitar solos, you can enjoy both in Free to live, the 9 minute long epic that closes the album. Other highlights are Revival and Period of change, but actually all songs are really good and they get better when Macarus steps in to play his solo(s)! ''Revival'' is pretty easy to find, since it has been reissued several times on cd.Try http://planetjordan.com/ where you can find even more info about this great artist!


ASIA (US) (Reuploaded!)

Fate never did justice to this great band. Forget the British AOR-prog superstars for a while, right now we are dealing with the original Asia band from the US.Asia emerged from the ashes of a talented but rather short lived progressive rock band,Whitewing, who did a self titled album in 1975. Whitewing members Mike Coates (guitarist and main composer) and Mike English (singer and bassist) reached their musical heights with their next band. Asia delivered a blend of progressive/pomp/hard rock. They released their first self titled album in 1978. A wonderful release indeed and a collector's item as far as the vinyl format is concerned. Lengthy tracks with great lyricism and inspired melodies. Mike English is an exceptional singer without doubt and second guitarist Larry Gallbrath who does some lead vocals as well is great too. Picking up favorite tracks on this album is almost impossible. Just listen to it. The second album, ''Armed to the teeth'' was released in 1980. Though I don't appreciate all of the songs on this album the same, two of the bands best songs can be found here, the opener Thunder Rider, a catchy pomp epic and the last track The Bard, a simply stunning ballad. After those two albums and while the band was still trying to create a buzz around their name, the news came that former King Crimson, Yes, ELP and Uriah Heep members were about to create a supergroup named Asia. Though the rights to the name belonged to the US band, Brian Lane, manager of the British ones succeeded in deceiving them to give up the name, using a scam about a Louisiana band that supposedly had the rights to the name and had sold it to the new band. US Asia were actually granted exclusive ownership of the name but they couldn't afford an international law suit so inevitably they gave up, changed their name and shortly after disbanded...In 1995 the two albums were rereleased on 1 cd by The Wild Places.


Παρασκευή, 4 Ιουλίου 2008

ASHBURY- Endless skies (1983) (Reuploaded!)

That wonderful band from Arizona released ''Endless skies'' in 1983. Unfortunately they didn't continue for many years. About 20 years later guitarist Randy Davis did another album, but it was available only through a site of the band that is no longer running. ''Endless'' skies is a rarity much sought after (selling for 150 $ or more) and it's worth it!It sounds like a mixture of Wishbone Ash (beautiful guitar melodies and sooth vocals)and 70's southern rock, with some slight touches of epic metal. There are many highlights here, songs that could compete with any great song of any great band. Randy Davis shines on guitar, he never strays from his goal, which is to deliver wonderful melodies. There's a lot of accoustic guitar here and epic semi-ballads like Madman or the absolute masterpiece Mystery man will convince you that this album belongs to the great ones.

LIONS PRIDE- Breaking out (1984) (Reuploaded!)

I really can't understand why this band never made it and never even got the credit it deserved. Lions Pride played the kind of metal that people nowadays feel nostalgic about. Heavy guitars, galloping rhythms, melodic Maiden-like leads, powerful riffs and raw, passionate vocals. Speaking of the vocals, their singer may not have the best sounding voice, but the way he delivers is oustanding. He sings his heart out making the final result sound great!
The album was reissued in 1994 by Mausoleum who also had initially released it, but unfortunatley I had access only to the vinyl, so here's a vinyl rip. Still sounds good!



This is another blog about rock and metal. But yet it itsn't just another blog...My aim is to present you just real diamonds of AOR-hard rock-heavy metal of all decades and types. I want to share just real diamonds, just great music. From psych/prog of the 60's to speed-power metal of today. Enjoy the ride, it will be a special one!