Reviewed by: B. Cross
Italian death metal stalwarts Hour of Penance have spent their career taking no prisoners, and extremity is assured on their sixth album Regicide. Kicking things off with an intro reminiscent of a dark fantasy film, the band immediately shifts into high gear with “Reforging the Crowns.” From there to album finisher “Theogony,” Hour of Penance have created a solid slab of high-octane death metal that runs at full speed. Read more
Winger has always been a band structured around songwriting and performance, yet in the early days bassist and founding member Kip Winger could always be found on the cover of a magazine or a staple through his mid section as the centerfold. Too often the band had more articles and photos due to their physical attributes and sex appeal than their actual playing. Nevertheless no one can argue that the first two Winger albums were hugely successful and in spite of the sometimes grotesque overuse of Kip’s “whiter than white” teeth I’m sure the general philosophy was “any press is good press”.
Well thankfully in the 2014 rock world Winger gets press now ONLY for their music, a welcome change for me personally having been a fan since the first time I saw “Madalaine” on Headbanger’s Ball in 1988. Better Days Comin’ picks up right where 2009’s Karma left off with some more heavy rock tunes, complete with signature harmonies and some memorable licks direct from riff master himself Reb Beach on guitar. All of these elements put together will allow Better Days Comin’ to take its rightful place amongst the previous five Winger albums but at the same time contains some individual moments which make it unique. If I were a professor set to study this new Winger album I would title my essay “Superior Time Emergence”. why Winger appeals to my five senses with their past five records and album six gives me added depth with a new sense to be able to predict future events. Better Days Comin’ indeed. Read more
It looks like 2014 is getting off to a killer start for Kivel Records with its latest release Unhinged, first from new labelmates Madman’s Lullaby. Right from the first track “What If” I could hear the influence from some of the late 80’s best hard rock acts such as Tesla and, especially vocally, early Lynch Mob. This record has tons of groove and some very clever lyrics. If you’re looking for a feel good kind of album with romantic tunes with everyone in a happy state, turn away! Read more
It’s really hard to imagine that Precious Metal is the 9th studio album from House of Lords but then again after 1992’s Demon’s Down who would have thought that HOL would have to wait another 12 years to get to record album number 4? In fact during those 12 years from 1992-2004 I played those first three albums constantly, always in regular rotation especially on long drives because those records were just that damn good. Read more
Russell Allen may well be the greatest singer on the planet at this time and I was really looking forward to the Mob’s second album Men of Honor. What really was going to be the wild card with this release was new drummer A.J. Pero of Twisted Sister fame. With the success of The Winery Dogs, Mike Portnoy had to leave yet another band he created.
Let’s face it A.J. has nothing to prove in terms of his chops to Mob fans and the metal community at large but it has to do more with his style and it fitting into the rest of the band while making sure there is no drop off with the departure of Portnoy. Well I’m happy to report that not only is Pero a welcome addition to the Mob family but this record truly represents a milestone in the Allen legacy as this album is better than the first record Omerta (2012) and quite possibly my favorite Allen album ever. Full of vigor, melodic charm and beastly range Allen carries Men of Honor which is now my favorite album so far in 2014 and will be tough to top moving forward. Read more
Reviewed by: B. Cross
Want some classic shred backed by harsh vocals and some serious power-thrash melodies? Your search has ended. Marking their Prosthetic Records debut, Exmortus recently unleashed their third album Slave to the Sword.
“Rising” kicks things right into high gear with blistering dual guitars that would make Judas Priest proud. Jadran “Conan” Gonzales and David Rivera showcase extreme talent and musicianship across the entire record, and the rhythm section of Jovanni Perez (bass) and Mario Moreno (drums) are not to be denied, either. There’s enough low end and double-bass pounding to make any fan raise their horns in triumph. Read more
Reviewed By: Roger Scales
What a banner year 2013 has been for fans of melodic rock music. Search no further than Kivel Records which has added yet another stellar band to its already impressive Kamp lineup. No Love Lost is a Carolina based band that brings aspects of Whitesnake, Triumph, early Def Leppard and Tesla thrown into a little bit of a mix of Badlands and Keel on the side. These are the groups I heard when I gave their impressive debut self-titled album a first listen. Read more
Reviewed by: Roger Scales
Perfect Shade of Black is the second release from the L.A. based band Edge of Paradise featuring the partnership of Margarita Monet on vocals and Dave Bates on guitar. Formed in 2011 their first record Mask featured a rhythm section of Tony Franklin and Greg Bissonette added along with Monet and Bates. The album was co-written by rock legend Robin McAuley and was guitar heavy, hook orientated metal but contained many modern progressive elements. Fast forward to 2013 and the new E.P. Perfect Shade of Black picks up right where the band left off and also shows some musical maturity in the songwriting and production as well. Also by adding in a new bass player Nick Ericson and drummer John Chominsky Edge of Paradise has the potential to be one of the top new bands to watch out for heading into 2014. Read more
After the release of Crunch back in 2004 I was hooked on AdrianGale heavily. That album was so good it made me an instant member of Kivel Kamp and I have not looked back since. When I think of tracks like “Tougher Than It Looks” and “When In Rome” I realized how much potential this band had and knew that if given another opportunity as a unit that more classic melodic rock was just a matter of time. (Yes the band did briefly exist as “Crunch” but that came and went to so fast back in 2007 I nearly forgot.) Well that time took nine long years but Sucker Punch! was not only worth the wait but far exceeded what I thought the band was capable of creating. Considering I already had Vic and the boys high on my rock pedestal that is saying something! This album is full of powerhouse production, quality songwriting, the return of Eddie Campbell in place of Scott Millar who performed on “Crunch” and of course Jamie Rowe who is still at the top of his game offering his passion and stellar vocal range throughout the record. Read more
I have been hoping for something like this for so long now. So many bands are taking classic albums and playing them in their entirety both to provide something different for the diehard fan and an added incentive for casual fans to see the band live for the first time. When it comes to Def Leppard, the choice for some might be Pyromania (1983) or even High ‘n’ Dry ( 1981) but there is no denying that Hysteria (1987) was really their landmark album selling over 20 million copies worldwide. Read more