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!