KingBathmat – Truth Button Album Review

What is it lately with bands cds dropping thru the post at CRR towers and they have crap name attached to them. Recently it was Gene The Werewolf (rubbish name, brilliant album), and now KingBathmat, surely the weirdest (and a contender for shittiest) in my 5 years of doing this reviewing malarkey!
KingBathmat hail from Hastings, and are a psychadelic/progressive/alt rock band. Initially started by singer songwriter John Bassett, they have released six albums to date, with Truth Button being their latest since 2009’s Gravity Field. The band comprises of Bassett (Bass/vox), David Georgiou (Keys), Lee Sulsh (Guitar), and Bernie Smirnoff (Drums).
The album cover for starters take you back to the heady days of 70s prog rock. It looks like some obscure German prog rock band that the likes of Mikael Akerfeldt would pay thousands for to have in his collection.
The link with Opeth doesn’t stop there. KingBathmat are a refreshing blend of the likes of Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Genesis (the good one!), and more modern takes like Radiohead and Muse. Which is a fine example of how progressive rock should be played out, an aural journey, heavy and riff laden one moment, then subtle and tranquil the next, all woven together with Bassets craft and vocal stylings.
Truth Button deals with an underlying theme of technophobia and social disconnection due to the ever-growing trivial use of modern technology. Good job I’m writing this up on my typewriter then!! It calls for the advancement of technology to be employed to make the truth more transparent as opposed to it being exploited to confuse, convolute and restrict us. If you had a Truth Button, would you push it, or would you chose to live in your ignorant bubble.
‘Behind the Wall’ takes a metal riff and combines it with a Dave Grohl vibe to make for an enjoyable opener. Again crunchy metal riffs converge with a bass groove for ‘Abintra’, and is a close a feel to Porcupine Tree/Storm Corrosion as you’re ever likely to meet. If Matt Bellamy and Peter Gabriel did an Elton John, KingBathmat would be the proggy offspring as witnessed on ‘The End Of Evolution’. The album flows really well, as the 50 minutes is over in a breeze, and before you know it you’re onto the weirdly and wonderfully titled, ‘Coming To Terms With Mortality In The Face Of Insurmountable Odds’ with see them throw all manner of styles (and the prog handbook & sink) into the 10 minute stunner.
Prog is seen somewhat as an old farts genre, but with people like Akerfeldt and Wilson trying to push the boundaries into the 21stCentury, they have a new (new to me) kid on the block to assist them
Truth Button is released on 21st Jan and if you are a fan of the non death metal version of Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Genesis, QOTSA, then KingBathmat will be right up your street. An essential purchase for 2013 and its still only December
Your fave prog band you’ve yet to hear!
Score 85/100
Tracklisting –
Behind The wall
Book Of Faces
The End Of Evolution
Dives And Pauper
Coming To terms With Mortality In The Face Of Insurmountable Odds

Alexander Schaedler – Temporaris Album Review

Alexander Schaedler has played the guitar since the early eighties, taking regular lessons since 1984 and studying at the Stuttgart State University of Music and the Performing Arts from 1999 to 2006. Ever since, the multi-instrumentalist (he plays the guitar, drums, bass, piano and banjo) has worked as a guitar instructor and freelance live and studio guitarist. Between 1994 and 1995, he was also a member of the Brunswick group, Shifty Sheriffs, teaming up three years later with Love Like Blood, who enjoy great international renown on the strength of their numerous releases. 
His first solo album Temporaris sees Schädler blend different musical styles and techniques in new ways, combining – as he calls it – “guitarist and compositional skills with the benefits of modern technology. I like to explore my  musical vision and discover new forms of expression through the multi-layered application of all available media.”
The only thing with instrumental albums, no matter how talented the individual is ( and Alexander is one talented dude ) is that they can be so hard work to listen to and to review. Song after song of drivel and widdly-wankery. And thats from some of the legends!
One thing with Temporaris is that Alexander Schaedler certainly mixes it up, quite a bit to be frank, be it the groovily rocking instrumental ‘Summerside’ (according to Schaedler “a little AC/DC, Joe Satriani and Steve Morse”), the offbeat ‘Freakk Phunk’ with its unconventional halftone/whole tone scale, the country number ‘Creepy Cheese’ in an obvious bluegrass tradition and shows his lighter side, and then – watch out! – ‘Aus Boehmen kommt die Musik’ (The Music Comes From Bohemia), originally sung by Austrian crooner Peter Alexander, given the rock guitar treatment in Schädler’s version no doubt playing his Strat with a bratwurst and wearing leiderhosen and was pissed (nice to see a musician messing around with styles). ‘Perturbado’ is a homage to the renowned trio, Al Di Meola/Paco De Lucia/John McLaughlin, while the medley ‘Potpourrix’ consists of ten popular melodies by classical composers, (you may not know the exact names, but you’ve definitely heard them before) embedded in a mix of rock, pop, punk, country and reggae. ‘No Need To Practice’ is obviously a lie, as Alexander’s done nothing but for the last few years, such is his mastering of the instruments heard here. Title track Temporaris is the standout track on the album, which will appeal to fans of bands like Dream Theater in particular, where he proves he can give the likes of Petrucci a run for their money
There are no taboos on Temporaris and all boundaries are blurred in the context of this diverse and interesting album. Schaedler produced himself, on which he played and programmed all instruments himself, at his own studio, before entrusting the result to Ralf Dietel (KrashKarma, ex-Nine Inch Nails) in Los Angeles for mastering.
Honestly, its not an album I could listen to all day, but put on my ipod on random I wouldn’t be reaching for the ‘next’ button on my steering wheel.  On reflection, Schaedler is a talented and interesting musician whose music holds no boundaries and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist, or student of Berklee to be able to appreciate his music. Id just prefer to see him play live as per the clip below
Score 70/100

Alexander Schädler – Guitar

Klaus Webel – Keyboards

Friedrich Kienle – Bass

Al Sauer – Drums

Tracklisting – 
Freakk Phunk
Creepy Cheese
Aus Boehmen Kommt Die Musik
No Need To Practice
The Machinist 
Irish Tune

Top 20 Albums of 2012 (Rock / Metal / AOR / Prog)

Well its that time of year again to highlight my fave albums of the year.  2012 has seen some good albums, some very good, and a few great ones. To be fair to the competition Ive drawn up a list of well over 30 albums. and most in the list are so close its too difficult to set each of them apart, they quality has been so good. So, here we go!

20. Flying Colours -ST
A bit different to what you’d expect from the people involved, but a damn good album all the same. A fine vocal performance courtesy of Casey MacPherson

Recommended Tracks – ‘Blue Ocean’, ‘Kayla’, ‘The Storm’

19.Bonafide – Ultimate rebel
Swedes give it their best AC/DC welly, to massive effect, a great album all round

Recommennded Tracks – ‘Make My Own Rules’, ‘The Mess’, ‘Too Fired Up’

18. Neal Morse – Momentum
Less God bothering than previous albums, its an album thats up there with his best, solo and Spocks Beard

Recommended Tracks –  ‘Momentum’, ‘Thoughts Pt5’, ‘Weathering Sky’

17. Kiss – Monster
Kiss are currently in the form of their lives, Monster is a ronseal album, it does what it says on the tin!

Recommended Tracks – ‘Out Of This World’, ‘Hell or Hallelujah’

16.OSI – Fire Makes Thunder
Moore/Matheos on fine form indeed. A moody, hypnotic and rhythmic album

Recommended Track – ‘Cold Call’

15. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
VH prove that some old songs given some spit and polish doesn’t mean they were castaways from the 80s. One of the comebacks of the year, and DLR still is the man!

Recommended track – ‘Tattoo’

14.H.E.A.T – Address the Nation
New album + new singer in Swedish idol winner Erik Gronwall, makes for one classy album

Recommended Tracks – ‘Breaking The Silence’, ‘Living On The Run’, ‘Heartbreaker’

13. Nubian Rose – Mountain
Excellent debut from the Swedes and the stunning Sofia Lilja. They have all it takes to be huge. See them at HRH next year. For fans of Dio, Whitesnake, Scorps etc

Recommended Tracks – ‘Ever See Your Face’, ‘Mountain’, ‘How Am I’

To be fair, from hereonin, any of the below albums have the potential to be the best of 2012. It was that close. 12 down to 1 are all excellent albums that deserve a listen to. Then you can make your own mind up!

12.Black Country Communion – Afterglow
Practically a Glenn Hughes solo effort, its the BCC jewel. If they do no more (travesty if they don’t) its a great way to bow out

Recommended Tracks – ‘Big Train’ and ‘Cry Freedom’

11. Red, White & Blues – Shine
Saw them supporting Chickenfoot, they just blew me away. Great band who deserve a bigger following. One of the great debuts of 2012

Recommended Tracks – ‘Stand Up For Rock N Roll, Shame,Shame’, ‘Let It Shine’

10. Hartmann- Balance
After the ill received Hartmann III, Oliver makes more than a comeback with Balance, his finest collection of songs to date

Recommended Tracks – ‘All My Life’, ‘Fool For You’, ‘You Are The One’

9. Shinedown – Amaryllis
Every album gets bigger and better, with mega stardom on its way to the lads from Jacksonville

Recommended Tracks – ‘Bully’, ‘Enemies’

8. Empires of Eden – Channeling The Infinite
Guitar virtuoso Stu Marshall with his Power metal with a cast of many singers. The finest album of its genre this year

Recommended Tracks – ‘Cry Out’, ‘Hammer Down’, Lions For Lambs’

7. Soulspell – Hollow’s Gathering
Heleno Vale does a Brazillian Ayreon. Some stars Ripper Owens, Amanda Somerville, Blayze Bayley, Vescera, Grosskopf and a relatively unknown Brazillian cast, but a great album

Recommended Tracks – ‘Hollows gathering’, ‘To Crawl Or To Fly’,

6. 12. Jimi Jamison – Never Too Late
His best album in years! Possibly ever! Appropriately named also

Recommended Tracks – The first few songs are as good as anything hes put his vocals on – ‘Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart’, ‘The Great Unknown’, ‘I Cant Turn Back’

5.Gene The Werewolf – Rock N Roll Animal
 Its only been out a few week, but boy, its a belter!!!

Recommended tracks – ‘Superhero’. Infectious as the Norovirus, and check out the great vid on youtube. ‘Wicked Love’, ‘I Only Wanna Rock N Roll’

4.Rick Springfield – Songs For The End Of The World
Power pop/rock at its absolute finest. A jem of an album from Springfield. And he’s still a good looking bloke at 63!!

Recommended Tracks – ‘Wide Awake’, ‘A Sign Of Life’

3.Rush – Clockwork Angels
Their best album in 20 years. In saying that, it wouldn’t be difficult, but then again, its up there with some of their best.

Recommended Tracks – Headlong Flight’, ‘The Garden’, ‘Clockwork Angels’

2.Romeos Daughter – Rapture
Craig Joiners writing remains undimishished after a 20-odd year break. A mature and classy affair

Recommended Tracks – ‘Bittersweet’, a country/rock crossover that screams quality, ”Lightning’

1 Lionville – II
Stefano Lionetti’s melodic rock gem of 2012. A ‘must own’ if you’re into AOR

Recommended Tracks – ‘Higher’, ‘All We Need’, ‘The Only Way Is Up’

Check out the cover of Boy Meets Girl’s ‘Waiting For A star To Fall’!! 

A notable mention goes to the following which are still great albums Pride of Lions, Anathema, Slash, Tremonti, Affector, Ten, UFO, T&N. Eclipse, and Summers

And heres the faves from a few of our rock community…..

Russell Arcara (Prophet)
1.Bruce Springsteen -Wrecking Ball,
2.Jack White – Blunderbuss.
3.Halestorm- ‘the strange case of’

Leigh Matty (Romeo’s Daughter)
1.Counting Crows – Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation)
2.Halestorm – ‘the strange case of …’
3.Muse- The 2nd law

Merv Goldsworthy (FM)
As above +
Donald Fagen- Sunken Condos

Ed Poole (Romeos Daughter / Bonnie Tyler)
1.Soundgarden – King Animal
2.Stone Sour – House of Gold and Bones Pt1
3.Romeos Daughter- Rapture

Alessandro Del Vecchio (Lionville/Hardline/Edens Curse/ and more!)

1.Jimi Jamison NEVER TOO LATE
2.Sven Larsson BAD MAD MAN

Paul Logue (Edens Curse)
1. Unisonic “Unisonic”
2. Accept “Stalingrad”
3. H.E.A.T. “Address The Nation

Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon)
1] Ian Anderson’s Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick 2
2] Katatonia – Dead End Kings
3] Devin Townsend – Epicloud

Stefano Lionetti (Lionville)
1. Rick Springfield – Songs For The End Of The World
2. Jimi Jamison – Never Too Late
3. H.E.A.T. – Address The Nation

Pierpaolo ”Zorro11” Monti (Shining Line / Chaming Grace due early 2013)

”The greatest surprise of the year for me. Erik Martensson did a huge work producing and writing the songs of this album in the best and classic Survivor style, and this offered to Jimi the perfect way to express himself in a standout vocal peformance. “Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart” is one of the best openers I heard in a decade

”I’ve been not able to play on this second album of Lionville due of a family tragedy (I lost my mother at the beginning of this year after a long battle against cancer), but a the same time I’ve been so happy and proud to see my friends Stefano Lionetti and Alessandro Del Vecchio making an incredible work on the second release of this project. The songs, the production, the arrangements… all is perfect! “All This Time” is a true AOR anthem and “Next To Me” the perfect match point with what we heard on the debut album! The lions are roaring again!”

”I’ve been a fan of H.E.A.T since their wonderful debut album, and I was a little worried after the split of singer Kenny Leckeremo… I think that his voice was a very important part of the H.E.A.T trademark. But now, after a lot of spins of this new chapter, I can really say that they’re back stronger than ever! Erik Grönwall has been a fantastic choice and the songs are really amazing! My favorite is without doubt “In And Out Of Trouble”, the sax adds to this tune a classy melodic touch

Heleno Vale (Soulspell)
 01) Soulspell – Hollow’s Gathering
02) Sabaton – Carolus Rex
03) Eclipse – Bleed & Scream
04) André Matos – The Turn Of The Lights
05) H.E.A.T. – Address The Nation
06) Testament – The Dark Roots of Earth
07) Hartmann – Balance
08) Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline
09) Kamelot – Silverthorn
10) Pastore – The End Of Our Flames
11) Rush – Clockwork Angels
12) Arjen Lucassen – Lost In The New Real
13) Manowar – The Lord Of Steel
14) Primal Fear – Unbreakable
15) Overkill – The Electric Age

Allee Martell (Radio Presenter – Purrfect Timing)
1.Great White – Elation
2.T&N – Slave to the Empire
3.Warp Drive – Something to Believe In (“Allee adds – ‘Please mention Paul Rudland and AOR BoulevardRercords…Paul and the label are a class act and did justice to this band whose songs deserve to be heard.’)
4. Hardline – Danger Zone

Mark Thompson-Smith (Praying Mantis / Fay Wray)

Nick Workman (Vega)
1.Sixx am: This Is Gonna Hurt
2.Slash: Apocalyptic Love
3.Lit: The View From The Bottom

Jasix Prowlingwolf (Empires of Eden)
1. Cage – Supremacy Of Steel
2. Dragonsclaw – Prophecy
3. Hardline – Danger Zone

Rob Evans (Powerplay/ Classic Rock AOR)
1. Jimi Jamison – Never Too Late
2. H.E.A.T. – Address The Nation
3. Lionville – II

Jim Kirkpatrick (FM)
1. Tedeschi Trucks Band – Everybody’s Talking
2. Romeos Daughter – Rapture
3. Royal Southern Brotherhood – ST

Mik Gaffney (Drummer / Classic Rock / Powerplay / Factory Music)
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth
In This Moment – Blood
Firewind – Few Against Many

Jason Sepala (Summers)

H.E.A.T – Address the Nation

Van-Halen – A Different Kind of Truth (one of my favourite bands of all time and nice to see Mr Roth back in the band).

David Lee Roth – A Lil Aint Enough (although an old album, this is in my top 5 favourite albums easily. Jason Becker on guitar just adds the icing on the cake for this record. The guy is incredible and such a shame he couldn’t continue due to his illness).

I love the 80’s so much I find myself going back in time to discover other music released during that period.

Top 20 Gigs of 2012

Again, another difficult category. To be fair, of the 40-odd gigs attended this year, there wasnt a shite one amongst them, Despite the bands in the higher numbers, its purely a way of getting them on the list as many were on a par with each other. Only my top 5 or so are there on my personal enjoyment

Ive based them purely on the whole gig also. The support bands all played their part in the experience

20. Halestorm – Manchester Academy

Lzzy Hale, she wails!!

19. Firewind – Moho

Another small intimate gig, and whilst they still have Gus G, they are one of the best power metal bands in Europe. Great gig, absolutely cack venue

18. Tremonti – Manchester Academy

Despite Tremonti apparently not having enough money (Tremonti’s security turned away my kid and everyone else for not buying the cd on the night – why the fuck should they when they bought it originally) it was a great gig. Heavier by far than AB and Creed, it pays more than a passing nod to early 80s thrash

 17. Pain of Salvation (Cryptex) – Robin 2

One of my fave prog bands, expanding with every album. Bugger, he didnt play Disco Queen, but the few that witnessed this, saw a new band give a great performance. the future looks bright for them

16. Chickenfoot – Manchester Academy

Hagar, Satriani, Anthony, all in one room. Great songs and an adoring audience. After seeing this, its clear to see what the current VH are missing

15. Shinedown- Manchester Academy & Apollo

Superb gigs this year. Academy in Feb was brilliant, the one at the Apollo, still good, but in a much bigger venue they played a shorter set. Get back to playing 2 hours instead of 70 mins and a shitload of talking. That said, Smith is a great leader who you would follow into battle. A cross between a preacher and a leader of the resistance

14. Dream Theater – Manchester Apollo

New drummer, new lease of life. It now looks like they are enjoying themselves again. 

13. Black Stone Cherry – Wrexham Central Station

Er…In my home town of Wrexham!! Up close and personal, BSC were just superb.

12. Reckless Love  – Manchester Club Academy

Basically Steel Panther without the smut. Great 80s songs and they live and breathe the 80s genre. Will only get even better

11. The Answer / The Union – Manchester Academy

A joint headline set, which paired two fine rock acts. The Union have a great singer in Pete Shoulder. The Answer have Irelands answer to Robert Plant, a whirling dirvish of a performance from Cormac

10. Thin Lizzy (FM, The Treatment) Liverpool Academy

Special mention here for the Treatment. Saw them with Steel Panther, and their recent tour with Kiss in the US has served them well. These lads deserve to be huge, if they dont, then theres something wrong with the music industry. Lizzy are in great shape indeed. Shame its another farewell tour as its the best that Lizzy fans can wish for in the 21st Century. Lynotts legacy has been in good hands 

9. MSG – Manchester, The Ritz

Saw him a few yrs back supporting Scorpions and he was dreadful. Giving him the benefit of the doubt proved a good choice. A mighty fine set list covering UFO, Scorpions and MSG. ‘Twas one of the best Schenker gigs ever. Shame Dougie Whites vox sounded like he had his head in a bucket. Ill give him the benefit of the doubt as Ive booked to see them in 2013

8. Coheed & Cambria – Manchester The Ritz

Back for a tour all on their own for once, they didnt disappoint. Playing now with a returned Josh Eppard and new bassist Zach Cooper they have been rejuvenated. They feel more of a cult band that deserve a much bigger audience.

7. Y&T – Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

I regret never seeing them in their heyday, but this was special. Sure theres only the wonderful Meniketti left, but damn, he can still play and sing as well as he ever did, and he was only 6 feet away. 

6. Rival Sons – Manchester The Ritz

I predicted a great year for them in 2012, they didnt fail me. Stepping up a gear to larger venues, and a great album suits them well. In Buchannan they have one of the finest front men in rock music

5. Romeos Daughter – Bolton Railway Venue

Back after a long absence, RD still have great songs, a family like following, and Leigh Matty!. Small intimate gigs, but they are in the best form of their lives. Long may they continue

4. Rammstein – MEN Arena Manchester

Flames, explosions, theater, and more flames. Oh, and great songs. Download will be something special

3. Steel Panther (3x) – Manchester Academy / Wolv Civic, Manchester Apollo)

Sure most people take the piss out of them, but those who saw them this year, saw a band on fire. Great songs, even greater riffs. If they were around in the 80s they would be bigger than all, today they will just have to settle for mega stardom

2. Marshall – 50 Years of Loud – Wembley Arena

Malmsteen, Glenn Hughes, Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Doug Aldritch, Phil Campbell, Tim Ripper Owens, Billy Duffy, Corey and all backed by a band to die for. A great tribute to a great brand and a great man. Nuff said!

1. FM- Manchester Academy 2

Playing Indiscreet in its entirety, and topping that up with a few from Tough it Out, it was a dream gig for FM fans.Proving that age makes no difference, FM are in the best form of their lives, and it made for the finest gig of the yr by far.

Thats it for 2012, some great gigs, and I realise I’m only scratching the surface. Out of all the gigs attended only three of the above were freebies. So I have a right as a full paying fan to question any of the above. A great gig year that keeps on getting better as I’m getting older

I have to give a notable mention to some of the superb support bands seen this year, particularly, The Treatment, Skam, Red White & Blues, Serpentine, Night By Night, Summers and Cryptex. All of which you need to see next time you get the chance

Gene The Werewolf – Rock N Roll Animal Album Review

When the email came thru from Frontier for the latest batch of releases, Gene The Werewolf didn’t even register on my radar. It’s a cack name for starters, probably one of the worst band names in history. But it just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover (in this case album). Thanks to a nudge from a mate I gave it a whirl. Thanks to him, I’ve come across one of the best albums I’ve heard this year
“Rock ‘n Roll Animal” is Gene  The Werewolf’s international debut album. The band was formed in Pittsburgh in 2006 and is comprised of five native Pittsburghers. Gene The Werewolf (a/k/a Jon Belan), is the band’s lead guitarist and vocalist. He also plays piano. Drew Donegan, guitar and sings, Aaron Mediate (keyboards), Nick Revak (drums) and Tim Schultz (bass and vocals) make up the rest of the band. The guys came together after – conveniently enough – all their previous bands broke up around the same time. Gene the Werewolf’s initial promise was to “play music that was as ridiculous as it was awesome!”
Guitarist and vocalist Drew Donegan though more appropriately describes Gene the Werewolf’s sound as “classic rock with a modern vibe”. Basically he’s a Rock N Roll chef, mixing the sounds of The Darkness, Kiss, Def Leppard, AC/DC and Motley Crüe making for one hell of an 80s classic rock vibe. Good time, party rock of the highest standard! Its simple, simple stuff, but it’s oh so effective. 
‘I Only Wanna Rock and Roll’ takes its lead from AC/DC to the point where Gene surely at some point has been a Bon Scott impersonator in his past career. ‘Superhero’ is a infectious as rock music gets, I couldn’t stop singing this bugger within minutes of hearing it, and ‘Heart of Steel’ is The Darkness, plain and simple. ‘Rock and Roll Animal’ is Sat Nite party rock at its best, unpretentious, and downright fun! Sure they will never win an Ivor Novello award, but if music is about making you smile and enjoy life then GTW have struck black gold!
‘Ruffneck Woman’ moulds the likes of Gene Simmons and DC with a power packed chorus. Its all been done before, but they have a formula that works
GTW has enough firepower to make a Maiden or Rammstein gig look like a firework display seen from 5 miles away.
All the songs just immediately grab you by the neck and force feed you great riffs, catchy as fuck choruses, that just make you wanna smile and thank God (or whoever deity you worship) that you love rock music. When its this good it takes you away from whatever humdrum life you have and transports you into a rock god.
The last work goes to Donegan, “We also like the term diamond-core, because diamond is the hardest rock known to man”, and plenty of bands aren’t shy about flaunting cocky bios and making no secret of their self-perceived talent, but few take it as far as Gene the Werewolf. “We used to say we were the best rock band, but by now I’d say we’re just the best band ever,” Donegan said. At this rate, he won’t be lying for long!
Frontiers have struck gold with GTW, and they will be one of the rising stars of 2013 or there’s no justice. Its straight into my Top 5 of 2012, and probably 2013

Check out their videos below!!

Score 95/100
Wicked Love;
I Only Wanna Rock N Roll;
Heart Of Steel;
Rock N Roll Animal;
I’ve Got The Love;
Ruffneck Woman;
Light Me Up;
Give It Up;
The Ballad Of Gene.
Make Love (Bonus Track Itunes)
Jon Belan – vocals, guitar
Drew Donegan – guitar
Aaron Mediate – keyboards
Nick Revak – drums
Tim Schulz – bass and vocals
Label: Frontiers Records  Music Style: Arena/Sleaze Hard Rock
Cat. #:  FR CD 578  Cod: 8024391057827  

Thin Lizzy, FM, The Treatment – Liverpool O2 Academy Dec 7th 2012

Thin Lizzy, FM, The Treatment – Liverpool O2

The O2 in Liverpool sees the 3 ages of the finest that British rock has to offer. The Treatment in the early stages of their career, middle aged FM, still producing quality  after 25 years, and the grandfathers of rock, Thin Lizzy with a back catalogue of songs that most would kill for.
It would be an absolute travesty if The Treatment were not to make it big. 30 yrs ago these young gunslingers would be arena/stadium potential with multi platinum selling albums. With the state of music today, the multi platinum part could be difficult to achieve, but the likes of headlining stadiums is not far off for them. 
 Give ‘em 5 years and I’m certain they will prove me right. For a bunch of young lads, they have the swagger in bucketloads. 
Touring with the likes of Steel Panther and Kiss this year has served them well. At this young age, The Treatment are more advanced in their career than the likes of Leppard & Maiden were and that bodes well. Anthemic ‘in yer face’ raw rock tracks like ‘Drink, Fuck, Fight’, ‘Departed’, ‘The Doctor’, and ‘Shake the Mountain’ are well received, and deservedly so. The Treatment, both look and sound the part. Look out for these guys in 2013 as you don’t wanna miss them
FM are a different proposition; smoother, polished and the current line up is undoubtedly the finest live version of these melodic rock masters. Essentially producing a ‘best of’ set list FM give it all up in the short and sweet time slot they have. Perennial opener, ‘I Belong To The Night’ warms the crowd up perfectly, with frontman Steve Overland sounding in the finest form of his extinguished career. 
The new ‘Only Foolin’ gets an airing, proving that FM have lost none of the quality over the years, and are in fine fettle indeed. Jupp seems slightly excited by the young girl at the front a few people away from me. I think she’d have worked her way thru all 3 bands given the chance! As short sets go, this one has all the greats old, and new – ‘That Girl’, ‘Over You’, ‘Burning My Heart Down’, ‘Bad Luck’ and ‘Grapevine’ where Overland produces vocal runs that would give divas a run for their money. The icing would have been if they had finished with fan fave ‘Hot Legs’.
Thin Lizzy are on their ‘farewell’ tour. I caught the original farewell in 82/83, and its fair to say that Lizzy have been steered with a honest pair of hands in Ricky Warwick. Staying true to original versions, he handles the vocals extremely well, at no point do you feel disappointed that Lizzy in their current form. 
I’ve always had reservations about bands in this situation, touring without charismatic and in this case a talisman in Lynott, but you know that Lizzy have a superb set of songs that still deserve to be heard today. They’ve influenced many band, and have been often imitated, but never bettered.

 The legendary staples from Live and Dangerous era were present, ‘Jailbreak’, ‘Dont Believe a Word’, ‘Massacre’, ‘Still In Love With You’ (with Wharton and Warwick sharing vocal duties), and finishing with a last set of 8 songs that are all modern era rock classics. 
‘Whiskey’ goes down a treat, ‘Sha La La’ follows with the same Downey solo  from way back, builing the tension with each passing song, ‘Suicide’, ‘Cowboy Song’ with shitloads of crowd howling, before the last track of the show, the enigmatic anthem, ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. They even roll out a few songs that didn’t get much live airing back in the day, the bombastic closer ‘Black Rose’, the underrated ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Angel of Death’. The twin guitar assault of Gorham and Johnson is excellent, with Johnson playing his solos true to the originals with a sense of  legacy being played out from him. Mendoza just doesn’t stop playing to the crowd all night, his energy levels are outstanding.
Whilst there’s been some reticence over a new Lizzy album, I suspect that there’s some decent songs to be heard from these guys. Sure it’s almost sacrilege to release under the Lizzy name, but they are a band that deserves to continue. After Lynott, Warwick is a fine frontman indeed, and it’s been a delight to witness this version carrying the Lynott legacy into the 21st Century
British rock is in fine shape indeed. Live gigs don’t get much better than this!

Code of Silence – New melodic metal band

Immediate Press Release
British Melodic Metallers Code Of Silence, fronted by Brazilian vocalist Gus Monsanto (Timo Tolkki’s Revolution Renaissance / Adagio / Symbolica / Lord Of Mushrooms), have signed with Mausoleum Records and Rubicon Music.
Produced by Paul Logue (Eden’s Curse) and mixed and mastered by Italian hot shot producer Alessandro Del Vecchio (Eden’s Curse / Hardline / Lionville) the band’s debut album “Dark Skies Over Babylon” is a grandiose thematic album based upon the tales of the legendary Knights Templar during the period of the Crusades.
The album is scheduled for release on January 23 in JapanFebruary 25 in Europe and April 9 in North America.
The band also filmed a promotional video for their first single “Sky Is Falling Down” in early December 2012 in Glasgow with Mycho Films, which is due to be premiered in Spring 2013.
A 2-minute sample of the song “Sky Is Falling Down” can be streamed below:
Alongside the experienced Monsanto, the band features young virtuoso guitarist Ben Randall (Power Quest) who turned heads when he won “The Most Promising Young Guitarist” award at the 2008 inaugural Guitar Idol competition in London at just 17 years old. With a field of over 750 international entrants, Randall wowed judges who commented on “his level of technical virtuosity at such a young age, coupled with a level of phrasing beyond his years”, a hallmark of his playing throughout the Code Of Silence debut.
The rest of the band consists of Keyboardist Scott McLean (Falloch / Concept Of Time), Drummer John Clelland (The Crows / The Jack / Karma / The Troubleshooters), Bassist and band leader James Murray.
The complete track listing for the CD is as follows: 
01. Omertà
02. Bitter Sweet Paradise
03. Sky Is Falling Down
04. Tame The Tempest
05. Dark Skies Over Babylon
06. Seventh Seal
07. Witches Of November
08. Black Abyss
09. Knights Of The Crimson Cross
10. Midnight Cathedral (Veritas)
11. Here To Heaven
Band Website: 

Mausoleum Records:
Rubicon Music:
Rock N Growl
Hard N Heavy Promotion & Management
Axel Wiesenauer


FM – Only Foolin’ EP Review

In anticipation of the new album ‘Rockville’ in March 2013, comes this nice little (or should that be long!) EP to whet the appetite of what’s to come from the best AOR band that Britain has EVER produced. I’ve harped on about how they should be huge (they still deserve to), but the fact that they never broke the US when they had a set of songs in ‘Indiscreet’ and ‘Tough it Out’ that were as good as anything that the Americans (Journey), and Anglo-Americans (Foreigner) had to offer. But the US’ loss is our gain. 
FM are in the most prolific form of their career and are playing as good (probably even better) than they ever had. This years 25thIndiscreet Tour was testament to this fact.
At over 48 mins in length its longer than the debut 25 yrs ago. I remember when an EP was 4 songs on a 7’’ or 12” single! So hats off to the lads for giving their fans VFM! We get 2 new songs, the title track ‘Only Foolin’’, which is an FM across the ages, bringing in ‘Aphrodisiac’ era FM (complete with horns!) with the current polished and grittier edge that Kirkpatrick brings to the party. Its modern era FM at their very best, with ‘no filler’ intention, just a great song, catchy chorus and upbeat tone!
‘Rainbows End’ has 80s US radio hit written all over it. I give this the biggest complement I can, by stating that it’s a song that Rick Springfield would have loved in his prime. (He still is!). The other song is a new? / old song to FM fans depending on your past knowledge of Steve Overland. I suspect a fair few know that ‘A Shot In The Dark’ was a song to come out of the Wildlife sessions a few years back. It’s still credited to Ozzy/Soussan, but Mr O gives it his distinct style and finesse which makes it a very different proposition from the original, and more than gives the Ozzy version a run for its money. OK! Its better!
There’s a host of live songs taken from this year’s gig at Shepherds Bush where FM were on fire (you should have recorded Manchester!!) ‘Let Love Be The Leader’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Does It Feel Like Love’, ‘Tough It Out’, and FM’s classic take of ‘Hot Legs’ and old fan favourite. FM have neversounded better live.
Finally we have an 8 min extended version (just like the old days of 12” mixes) of Only Foolin’. It’s a nice take on the original, with DJ Jupp I suspect being let loose. 
FM have another class cd on their hands. It’s a great way to see out the year in anticipation of a new album and a UK tour in March 2013
Visit pledge music – http://www.pledgemusic.comand give the guys your support. You know it makes sense.

Full tracklisting:

Only Foolin’ Rainbow’s End  
Shot in the Dark (new studio recording)
Let Love be the Leader (Live)
Don’t Stop (Live)
Does it feel like Love (Live)
Tough it Out (Live)
Hot Legs (Live)
Only Foolin’ (Extended Mix)

Lionville – II Album Review

Last year Lionville was one of the big surprises for me in Melodic Rock. The band‘s winning combination of tight song writing, stellar musical performances recorded by a gifted cast of experienced studio cats and upcoming talents, crowned by impressive lead vocals and an album mix paying attention to all the significant little details, made ‘Lionville’ one of 2011’s most favorite AOR records.
‘II’ is a musical continuation of the debut with an occasional interesting twist (and it is a twist I can tell you!) here and there. It’s  another slice of high class AOR with a touch of Westcoast and Melodic Rock, with most of the top flight musicians performing on the debut returning to the recording studio to lay down their tracks
The line-up includes the Italian musicians Mario Percudani (Hungryheart, Issa, Shining Line, Mitch Malloy), Anna Portalupi (Hardline, Mitch Malloy, Issa, Steve Lukather), Alessandro Mori (Mitch Malloy, Moonstone Project) as well as producer and keyboardist  Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Hardline, Issa, Mitch Malloy). On the album they are joined by guitarist Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx, Chicago) on seven songs, as well as guest guitar players Robert Säll (Work Of Art, W.E.T.), Sven Larsson (Street Talk) and Peter Friestedt (Williams Friestedt, L.A. Project). The invitees are completed by drummer Herman Furin (Work Of Art) on percussions and Italian saxophone luminary Joe La Viola
Stefano is a student of the ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it school’ of music. ‘II’ is a perfect foil to the debut, only this time theres a maturity and finesse being pumped out of the speakers in droves. The songwriting is exemplary, but the key to proceedings is the vocal work of Lars Säfsund(Work Of Art) who shows again that he is one of the most versatile and talented lead and backing vocalists in 21st Century Melodic Rock. Also Stefano delivers a very solid performance on lead vocals in addition to his melodic guitar playing and an occasional contribution on the keyboards. 
The song ‘Higher’, one of the album’s many highlights sees the two European singers unite with one of the AOR and Westcoast genre’s American legends, Bill Champlin (formerly of Chicago) with his signature vocals. The trio trades off the lead vocals and Bill’s wife Tamara Champlin joins them on backing vocals.

Songs like ‘All We Need’, ‘The Only Way Is Up’, and ‘Next To Me’, just ooze class, and it’s one experience that will stay with you for quite some time, even after just one hearing.

Once again Lionville do a cover version. Whoever’s choice it was to record housewives choice ‘Waiting For A Star To Fall’ by Boy Meets Girl, was an inspired choice indeed. I cant say Id have picked it, but it suits the Lionville makeover treatment. Long may Lionville continue!
One of the AOR highlights of 2012 and beyond!!

SCORE – 90/100

Tracklisting –
1. All We Need
2. The Only Way Is Up
3. Another Day
4. Higher
5. No Turning Back
6. All This Time
7. Nest To Me
8. Waiting For A Star To Fall
9. Dont Walk Away
10. One In A Million
11. Shining Over Me
12. Open Your Heart