Πέμπτη, 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2009

The battle of Thermopylae JRD compilation

I guess you've all seen the movie 300. Here's a collection of songs inspired by the story on which 300 is based. The Battle of Thermopylae. The Battle between 300 Spartans leading a greek alliance and the Persian invaders. It took me a lot of time to compile the songs. I also wrote a text with some historical information, it's really worth digging more into the historic events behind this. I hope this trip will be a special one for all of you. There's a lot to learn from this story.
01. Holy Martyr- Lakedaimon
02. Ragenheart- Spartan
03. Crosswind- 300
04. Thundasteel- The last stand
05. Sacred Blood- Blades in the night
06. Nikki Puppet- 300 warriors
07. Zandelle- Thermopylae
08. Innerwish- Gates of fire
09. Spitfire- Gates of fire
10. Dornfall- 300
11. Ancient Rites- Thermopylae

Τρίτη, 3 Νοεμβρίου 2009

ICE AGE- Liberation (2001)

Back with a great band and a great album. Bet most of you are not aware of this interesting band. Ice Age released two albums and this is their second and last. Let me add best too. Their style reminds a little of early Dream Theater and maybe some Shadow Gallery but they manage to display their own musical identity through songs well structured, intricate, excellent in musicianship and performance. Melody is rooted deep within their sowngwriting and the vocals are excellent. I think Ice Age were among the very few progressive metal bands that could write lengthy songs actually worth listening to. I'm really tired of 10minute nonsense tracks with endless wankery and no melody except for the chorus. Ice Age manage to incorporate instrumental passages into really beautiful songs complimenting both. That's a hard task I might say. Hope they'll come back with more music, hope more people will support great bands like them so I don't have to close every post with the ''sadly they are no more around part''. Go buy this wherever you can find it!



Σάββατο, 17 Οκτωβρίου 2009

LINDA PERHACS- Parallelograms (1970)

It was time I uploaded something way back from the past... Join me in a travel not only through time (back to 1970) but also through the limits of this world... Linda Perhacs is a singer/songwriter gifted with a magical voice. She just released this one album and after that quit music. The music, the vocal arrangements, the sentiments in her voice... it's all out of this earth... I must warn you, there's no electric guitar here, just psychedelic folk music driven by sheer talent. If you liked Carol of Harvest it's likely you will fall in love with Linda Perhacs too. They don't share the same sound but they do share the breathtaking effect!



Πέμπτη, 8 Οκτωβρίου 2009

LIONSHEART- Lionsheart (1992)

Not to be be confused with the band Lionheart that released ''Hot tonight'' in 1984. This is the band led by former Grim Reaper shouter Steve Grimmett. The vocals of Grimmett and the virtuoso styled guitars are the highlights of this album. Most of the songs are hard rock, and only a couple cross the border towards melodic heavy metal. The song that became some kind of a classic is the superb Portrait, a metal epic reminiscent of Malmsteen's best work. If you've read ''The portrait of Dorian Grey'' by Oscar Wilde then you know what this song is about. Truly a masterpiece. On the hard rock side of things you get tracks like Can't believe and So cold, great examples of Grimmett's admiration towards David Coverdale. Lionsheart released three more albums, sadly of declining quality. 1994's ''Pride in fact'' is not a bad choice but this one is an absolute MUST!



Πέμπτη, 1 Οκτωβρίου 2009

GARGOYLE- Gargoyle (1988)

Another gem from 1988. This is a truly unique album. The quality of the production is far from good, yet the beauty of the songs shines through. Tim Lachman's voice (also heard in another great band, Glacier) and the catchy, melodic vocal lines he sings are the highlight. The guitars relentlessly produce powerful neoclassical and power metal riffs. If only they were a bit louder in the mix... Sadly the band didn't release any other albums but this one is enough to cause admiration for their remarkable talents.


HITTMAN- Hittman (1988)

This is one of the best examples of US power metal perfection. Just the voice of Dirk Kennedy is enough to make this album a classic. Add the great songs, the powerfull riffs and the screaming solos and you get a one way ticket to heavy metal heaven. All songs are great, still I have to mention that this is the album one of the best b-sides ever. Caught in the crossfire is the definition of POWER, while Behind the lines and Test of time border on progressive metal genious. It's really a pitty the band broke up after a dissapointing follow up (Vivas machina-1993).
Edit: Somehow tracks 6 and 7 got mixed, 6 is Caught in the crossfire and 7 is Secret agent man


Τετάρτη, 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009

TANGIER- Stranded (1991)

This is the third album (second official) of the band and unfortunately the last. Released in 1991 it had few chances of being successful... Yet it is a great example of bluesy melodic hard rock/AOR with focus on songwriting and singing. Mike Le Compt has one of the most beautiful voices in melodic hard rock. Such a shame I haven't heard anything else from him. Similar to the Cinderella singer but quite cleaner, still very warm. Some of the songs may sound a little light but this is meant to give you a good time after all! My personal favorites are Down the line (a mean rocker), Caution to the wind (southern blues melodic rock gem), You're not the loving kind (bluesy hard rock), Since you've been gone (cheesy but great ballad), Stranded (just fantastic AOR!). The later had a nice video clip featuring young Pamela Anderson but it's not on youtube anymore. Someone must do something about it!


UPDATE: Surprise surprise! Someone actually did something about the video clip of Stranded!


Παρασκευή, 28 Αυγούστου 2009

FATES WARNING- Perfect symmetry (1989)

If you want to define progressive metal there are a handful of albums that can do that perfectly. ''Perfect symmetry'' will always stand out among them. The change in sound from the previous album ''No exit'' (1988) is vast, drummer Mark Zonder completed what was to become the best line up of Fates Warning and the band managed to surpass even their previous masterpiece ''No Exit''. Superb musicianship, constant rhythm changes, yet focused compositions, melancholy, introversion, thought provoking and unconventional lyrics. A desperate cry about alienation, conventionality, disillusion, individuality, vanity, false expectations and disappointment. This is an album that will grab you from the first time yet it will reveal more and more with every new spin.

I want to share some of the lyrics here...

Today is within my reach
and tomorrow's so illusive.
But I'm still chasing time
through increasing disillusion
forever living for
the future of an illusion.

(Chasing time)


Κυριακή, 26 Ιουλίου 2009

MOLLY HATCHET- Silent reign of heroes (1998)

You wouldn't expect a southern rock band to release a masterpiece in 1998, would you? Well I'm a little bit heretic... I think some southern bands released their best stuff in recent years... Lynyrd Skynyrd included! Yes I'm that heretic! Anyway, I didn't like the first Molly Hatchet albums, they were weak in my oppinion, opposed to the epic covers from Frazetta's paintings. This is not the case with ''Silent reign of heroes''. This album is as heavy as southern rock can get, and it's full of great songs too. The same titled track is a monster epic song, with a scottish pipes intro and fantastic lead guitars. Phil McCormack is the southern rock equivalent of UDO, only he can actually sing, haha! His harsh voice sounds great on the powerful songs of this album. The guitars are smoking hot, this is southern rock after all! Listen and believe!



Παρασκευή, 24 Ιουλίου 2009

SARACEN- Heroes, saints and fools (1981, 1992 reissue)

Saracen were filed under the NWOBHM movement mainly because of their origin and time of appearance. Everything with guitars in 1981 was supposed to be NWOBHM in one way or another. But what I hear is prog/pomp hard rock. The same titled masterpiece and songs like Horsemen of the apocalypse and Ready to fly are lengthy, with nice atmospheric parts and interesting arrangements. The ''hit'' Rock of ages is the only straight rocking song on the album (just as good as those great NWOBHM anthems: Angelwitch, Rock brigade, And the bands played on etc...). Furthermore tracks 8-14, which are basically no bonus tracks but tracks from the second album ''Change of heart'' (1984) showcase a strong AOR feeling that leaves no room for misunderstandings. Like expected, Saracen handle every different style with the same class. Seabird and A face in the crowd actually exceed any expectations, and personally I tend to believe the second album is even better than the first (though I love the prog elements of the debut). Special note has to be made about Steven Bettney -this guy has a voice like an angel! Anyway, the meaning of this post is to persuade you about the greatness of this band, they are still alive and kicking, the last album they released was ''Vox in Excelso'' in 2006 ( a masterpiece you need to buy!) and hopefully there is more on the way...
UPDATE: Please take notice that the version presented here is in fact a bootleg not aprooved by the band. For official Saracen releases check out http://www.templarmusic.co.uk/saracen/calbum.htm


Παρασκευή, 26 Ιουνίου 2009

BLACKFOOT- Marauder (1981)

Another Blackfoot album I love. After touring with AC/DC and Scorpions they released their fifth album ''Marauder''. It was obvious that they were more than just a southern rock band, as they had started incorporating elements of hard rock/early heavy metal. The best exaple of that hybrid is the epic Fire of the dragon. Two great ballads were included, Diary of a workingman and Searchin, both classics you shouldn't miss. It's very funny that albums like ''Marauder'' and ''Siogo'' marked the commercial decline of this great band... Check it out and...



Πέμπτη, 11 Ιουνίου 2009

SAVIOUR MACHINE- Saviour machine (1993)

What a debut from this controversial christian band! It's a very well executed blend of power/progressive and gothic/symphonic metal and surely one of the best metal albums of the 90's, I still recall how impressed I was when I first listened to these guys... It's such a pitty they didn't keep up in the same musical direction. Their next albums (especially the Legend trilogy) were focused much more on atmosphere, narrations and dark sounds , but this one is equally heavy and emotional. Gothic rock masterpieces like Carnival, are blended with impressive up tempo power metal songs like Force of the entity and pompous epics like Son of the rain. Other highlights are Christians and lunatics, the ballad (?) A world alone and Jesus Christ. The thing that distinguishes this band from any other is the unique vocals of Eric Clayton and the fanastic arrangements of the songs. Just listen to this guy, he is pure magic! Haunting at least! Get it while you can, I think it's easy cause it was reissued some years later by Massacre records.



Τρίτη, 9 Ιουνίου 2009

FIFTH ANGEL- Fifth angel (1986)

Another classic from the 80's. Fifth Angel's debut featured the extremely talented James Byrd on guitar. The music style is melodic heavy/power metal. Te band delivers as a tight unit, evrything is in place and the songs are all great. One of the very few albums with no fillers and many highlights. Unfortunately Fifth Angel recorded just one more album (Time will tell-1989) without Byrd, who tried out his luck with a band of his own, called James Byrd's Atlantis Rising. Their debut in 1990 was a very good album as well as ''Crimes of virtuosity'' (1998). I guess metalheads over 25 will know them already, this post is for the younger ones, just check out what great heavy metal is all about!



Παρασκευή, 15 Μαΐου 2009

MARK FREE- The JRD compilation

I've been wanting to present this compilation for months. Mark Free is one of the greatest singers ever to serve our music. Though he never had the luck to meet great success,he deserves to be included in any hall of fame ever existant. This compilation includes the best songs he ever recorded.The first part includes songs from his official albums and the second songs from the numberous demos he recorded. I could easily make ten posts about Mark Free related albums but I chose to present you the very best of his work. Check this out, it's really worth it, especially the second part with the demo songs that are quite hard to find.
UPDATE 18-10-2009: Mark (nowadays Marcie, due to a sex change), will appear as the lead singer on a new Unruly Child album! That's great news, check it out when it get's released (sometime in 2010).

Δευτέρα, 27 Απριλίου 2009

HEAVEN'S GATE- Living in hysteria (1991)

It's funny how times change and bands get forgotten and neglected. Heaven's Gate belong to the very best of german heavy metal bands, in fact they easily enter the top ten -if not top 5- of their country. Well at least until their first three albums... Nowadays metal fans seem to be too busy either checking out every single new band or every obscure recording from the 80's. And that's how we tend to forget a lot of bands that were absolutely great without having sold millions or on the other hand without being extremely obscure and hard to find. Go get yourself a copy of ''Living in hysteria'' and enjoy heavy metal the way it's supposed to be, loud, proud, fast, furious, bombastic, melodic, romantic and everything else we loved about the 80's (I know it says 1991, but this is as 80's as 80's can get). And until you get your copy...



Δευτέρα, 13 Απριλίου 2009

COO- Rock eyes (1982)

This is a rarity that's not easy to find. Actually it was nowhere to be found but I delayed ripping it so some greek blog got it up first. Anyway here's the rip of my lp copy. Thanks to my friend Vaggelis for ripping it. Coo is exactly the same band as Booby Trap I have already posted. The Coo album was released just a year before ''Women''. Better production but musically more flawed than ''Women'', ''Rock eyes'' isn't actually a real gem throughout, but it has some glorious moments. My favorite is the pomp rock opener The days of mauve and grey. The opener's and closers of every side are nice tracks but inbetween there are some fillers. Let's say half of the stuff is good and half bad. Anyway, I felt like uploading something really rare for once (though my surprise was ruined, lol).


Δευτέρα, 16 Μαρτίου 2009

ADRAMELCH- Broken history (2005)

Adramelch is a band that deserves enormous respect. They didn't have the chance to display their talents fully, since the band has only two official releases, though their history goes back to the middle 80's. But all the promises delivered by their legendary debut ''Irae melanox'' (1988) came true when they reunited and released ''Broken history''. To me this album is far better than the debut, which suffered heavily from one of the worst productions ever, as well as from the obvious inexperience of the band back then to handle their utterly ambitious ideas. ''Broken history'' is great in any perspective. Epic power metal can't get any more serious than this. If you are bored by european bands wich sound all the same just try this album. Trully a one of a kind band. Hope the next one won't be late...
Update on July 2009: Adramelch's new album is expected within the next months, support this great band and buy the album when it comes out!


Δευτέρα, 2 Μαρτίου 2009

ROB ROCK- Rage of creation (2000)

Ok, I know you're not here for romantic ballads, mostly you're in it for the metal. And that's what I'm gonna give you right now, some hot and burning heavy metal! Rob Rock has a carreer that goes back many years. He never sold millions but he is a great singer and has graced us with lots of great music with Impellitteri, , M.A.R.S., Joshua, Driver, Axel Rudi Pell. His solo discography started the best possible way, with his best to date solo album, ''Rage of creation''. Famous producer/songwriter/guitarist Roy Z co-wrote the songs and played guitars, bass and keys on the album. There's a strong Maiden feel to the songs, which I like. Soaring vocals, screaming guitars, catchy choruses. I guess it don't get better than this nowadays...



Κυριακή, 1 Μαρτίου 2009

Romantic Rock Ballads

This one should be treated with deep respect. It's related to some personal moments of mine, a collection of love songs I compiled for someone special. We had the chance to drift away on a beautiful night after a whole day we spent together. We went to a hill with the view of the city beneath us and danced to the songs. Wonderful memories...
Share these songs with someone you cherish...


Παρασκευή, 20 Φεβρουαρίου 2009

ANATHEMA- Judgement (1999)

This time I have something completely different from the classic metal or melodic hard rock I usually upload. Anathema had their monumentum at the end of the 90's and released a couple of albums heavily influenced by Pink Floyd. Gone were the brutal metal tendencies of their previous works. The result is dreamy, emotional music and wonderful songs.


Κυριακή, 8 Φεβρουαρίου 2009

TYTAN- Rough justice (1985)

Tytan were formed by bassist Kevin Riddles, leader of Angelwitch, in late 1981. The band though extremely talented proved to be quite shortlived. Apart from a single in 1982 they also recorded material for an album in 1983, though it actually wasn't released until 1985 when the band had already disbanded. Singer Kal Swan later recorded several albums with Doug Aldrich in bands like Lion and Bad Moon Rising. In my oppinion this is the best album Swan was ever part of. And I also think it's at least as good as the classic Angelwitch debut, if not even better. Especially the second half of the album is oustanding.


Δευτέρα, 19 Ιανουαρίου 2009

BLACKFOOT- Siogo (1983)

Blackfoot are known as one of the greatest southern rock bands. Albums like ''Strikes'' and ''Marauder'' prove that true. In 1983 they released an album with a more hard rock/ AOR sound. Uriah Heep's Ken Hensley had just joined the band and he contributed a lot to the new sound. Send me an angel and Teenage idol are the most known songs on the album and they are pure masterpieces of 80's hard 'n' heavy. But the album has more to offer than just those two songs. Some songs sound a little too commercial for a band that was into southern/hard rock, but they are nice too. Especially Crossfire, Sail away and Run for cover count among the best moments of ''Siogo''. And there's this overlooked gem, a pure to the bone southern hard rock piece, White man's land. 3 minutes of guitar frenzy and raw vocals. Got to tune that one up! Check out 1994's ''After the reign'' it's a very solid effort too, though at that time the only surviving member was singer/guitarist Rick Medlocke (now in Lynyrd Skynyrd).



Τετάρτη, 14 Ιανουαρίου 2009

AT VANCE- Heart of steel (2000)

At Vance had their monumentum in 2000. This release is not only their best album to date, but also one of the finest examples of teytonic and neoclassical metal of the last decade. Olaf Lenk, guitarist and mastermind of the band wrote most of his best songs for this album and Oliver Hartmann proves himself as one of the greatest voices nowadays. The material of the album varies from shredding neoclassical metal to melodic hard rock. Lenk is a fan of Abba, so he threw in a cover of S.O.S., that turned out to be a genious idea, cause the song is cool and the cover a total success. Heart of steel, S.O.S., Goodbye, Why do you cry, Don't you believe a stranger....so many fantastic songs...Such a pitty Hartmann left the band a few years later...it was never the same witout him.


Τετάρτη, 7 Ιανουαρίου 2009

RIOT- Born in America (1983)

Riot is one of the premier heavy metal bands that never got the recognition they deserved. They should have been huge. They did get close a couple of times but it wasn't meant to be...1983 found the band with a new singer and a new musical direction. Rhett Forester was a very strong frontman and vocalist. His voice raw, yet emotional. Sounds a little bit like Coverdale but in his very own style. I love the hard 'n' heavy sound of the album. Sometimes a local dj plays You burn in me and it makes me wanna scream and put my hands in the air! Nice feeling! Hope you feel it too...



Δευτέρα, 5 Ιανουαρίου 2009

RICHIE SAMBORA- Stranger in this town (1991)

Richie Sambora is the guitarist of Bon Jovi. In 1991 he released his first solo album. His skills as a guitar player and songwriter were known at that time, but most people probably hadn't really noticed he has a very powerful voice too. You can witness everything listening to this album. It's not typical Bon Jovi stuff. The majority of the songs is very calm and quite bluesy. Candlelight music for sure. Of course Richie wouldn't completely disappoint Bon Jovi fans, so we have an absolute hard rock anthem in Rosie (co-written with Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child), an AOR masterpiece in Ballad of youth and one of the best hard rock ballads in Father time (co-written with Desmond Child). Add the magic of songs like Church of desire, Stranger in this town, One light burning and you get a very satisfying album with strong musicianship and beautiful melodies.

I had to take down the link due to complaints.