Archive for melodic rock music

LUXX – A METAL ODYSSEY INTERVIEW!

Posted in Hard Rock, hard rock bands, hard rock music, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock & roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

LUXX – Formed in the midst of the Silicon Valley, in the ever expansive and great State of California, there lies a Hard Rock Band in the wake… and they are known as LUXX. Already making their mark on the Rock Music scene, with their single Black Water, this is a band that is not going to duck away from socially conscious issues of the day. Black Water is a powerful song, not just for it’s Hard Rock driven sound, strong vocals and attitude, this song was written to bring awareness to the wildlife and environmental loss and damage brought on by the Gulf Coast BP oil spill.

By purchasing Black Water for 99 cents, at the ReverbNation store and at itunes, fans can expect full net proceeds to go to charities helping to save the wildlife, environment and people that have been victimized by the worst oil spill in U.S. history. If you are going to buy that one Hard Rock MP3 today, seriously consider Black Water. This song is a substantial listen into the Hard and Heavy sound that LUXX is about… plus your 99 cents will be well spent towards the revitalization of the Gulf Coast. I bought my MP3 of Black Water on itunes and it served me right… this song ROCKS!

Recently, lead vocalist Atara Gottschalk, guitarist David Szabados and drummer Scott Smith took the time to answer some questions for Metal Odyssey. The charities that will benefit from the sales of Black Water, being environmentally conscious, what fans can expect on their forthcoming debut album, the Rock influences that drive them and how did LUXX originate are all covered by these three musicians, whose sincerity is not just admirable, it is downright refreshing. Real Rock ‘N’ Roll hero’s take action… and make a difference.

I have a strong feeling, that LUXX is going to carve out a path to Hard Rock notoriety with ease. Here is what they had to say:

Stone: Describe the evolution of Luxx!

Atara: I found these three guys on craigslist, we got together to jam and see what would happen, and pretty much musically we all clicked so we went from there!

Scott: I guess to build on Atara’s comment, the roots of the band go back many years (we definitely won’t say HOW many!) to high school when Dave and I starting playing in bands together.  After an eight year college hiatus, I returned to the Bay Area and we formed the first of a couple of bands together called Opener of Ways.  After about a year or so, we disbanded, but reformed that group in a slightly different format for one gig six years ago. Since then, we really hadn’t collaborated again until now.  In the gap between groups with Dave, however, I started playing in bands with Kevin, and we have been together as a rhythm section for the better part of six years. The formation of Luxx and the addition of Atara finds us infinitely better versed and musically mature, and we are really excited about the possibilities this particular group has to create some amazing music.

Stone: What can fans expect from the upcoming LUXX debut album?

Atara: They can expect some serious hard rock songs with classic rock, blues and progressive rock influences infused together to create something familiar but new at the same time!

Stone: Let’s talk about the new single, “Black Water”. All the net proceeds will go toward helping the impacted wildlife in the Gulf. Which charities have been selected by LUXX and why?

Atara: We wanted to go with charities that worked with all aspects of the damage done by the oil spill.  So we went with National Wildlife Foundation and the Audubon Society because both of these charities were distributing their help to not only clean up the wildlife impacted, but to also help people being impacted, as well and to try to preserve what they can so that the contamination does not harm and kill everything around the spill.

Stone: “Black Water” is a powerful Hard Rock song with both lyrics and music. The lyrical message resonates loud and clear, kudos to LUXX! How did this great song get born?

Atara: The oil spill had been on my mind and I wanted to write a song about it and express my anger towards the situation and how it is being handled down there or mishandled by our government and BP.  The guys had this great tune they were jamming on that they had worked on before practice and it just clicked.  I envisioned the song in my head immediately and saw exactly how I wanted to sing and what I wanted to write for the melody.  I finished the song in 15 minutes! Sometimes you spend weeks on a song and other times you just know, and well I just knew with this one.

David: The music came together pretty naturally as well. Funny thing is we were just jamming and warming up and Scott goes into a Bonham-sounding beat and in my head I was probably channeling a little bit of old-school Montrose and just started the riff and went from there. It was one of those fun moments and then Atara came in with her melodies and it was done.

Stone: Atara Gottschalk on lead vocals gives off a whole lot of tough, old school edginess. Can I and other fans anticipate more of this from Atara…

Atara: I hope! Yes you can!!!! I am glad that you are reading my vocals in that way because I am influenced by the best singers/wailers there have ever been in rock (in my opinion), Robert Plant, Pat Benatar, Axl Rose, Ann Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald (she is the greatest!), and Freddie Mercury!  I am a singer through and through and if I am NOT able to sing super high notes and blast your ears off while impressing you, then I feel I am failing myself as a musician and a rock worshiper.

Stone: How important is it for LUXX to continually stay active in environmental issues and awareness?

Atara: I am speaking for myself personally that it is the most important thing we as humans can do, and if you get the opportunity to actually have other people listen to what you have to say then you are doing the job right as a creative artist and a citizen of the world!  I grew up in a house that always put the environment and humanity before our own selfish needs, and now it is my turn to do the same to whoever will listen!  I am an avid fighter for environmental issues and living a “green” lifestyle as they call it, and have always been.  I go around and unplug every charger that stays plugged in and get mad when people don’t turn off the lights and then leave their homes for a few hours.  I mean seriously, the house does not need the lights on, it’s a house! TURN THEM OFF!!!! Such a waste…oh and don’t even get me started on our food industry!  We would be here all day with that, but back to the point… YES it is very important that our band and every other artist out there that has the power of their voice, teach their fans about being a good citizen and helping to clean up our mistakes and make the future better for everyone, human and animal alike!

Stone: Lastly, just from listening to “Black Water”, it sounds like there are
some real cool Classic Rock influences going on within LUXX. Who are these influences?

Atara: For me influences again are Led Zeppelin, Queen, Guns and Roses, Heart, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, early Genesis, Black Sabbath, Tool.

David: We have similar influences for sure which is nice. I’m a child of the 1980s as well so I do have that era of rock and metal in my blood from the British (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden) wave to the U.S. based southern California groups (Van Halen, Dokken, Ratt, Motley Crue). I wouldn’t say that I aspire to stay playing in that style, but elements do come out from time to time. Definitely growing up during the shred era, there are many guitarists I admire and that list goes from fusion players like Frank Gambale to many of the rock stylists from George Lynch, Edward Van Halen, and Steve Vai. However, besides those and earlier classic rock and progressive rock influences Atara already listed, I do enjoy many of the contemporary groups as well from Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Children of Bodom and many, many others. Certainly, there’s a lot of great music out there that I’m a fan of, both old and new!

Scott: My influences, while similar, follow the path of most rock drummers of the 80s. I was, and am still, a huge Rush fan, and drew much of my early inspiration from Neil’s playing and his worldview, which came across in his lyrics.  Nowadays, I have a vast set of influences including all the major rock gods, as well as some more eclectic players like Zakir Hussain (Indian Tabla player), Ravi Shankar (Sitar), Loreena Mckennitt (Celtic popstress) and many others.

LUXX:

Atara Gottschalk – vocals

David Szabados – guitars

Kevin Sullivan – bass

Scott Smith – drums

* For more info on LUXX, just click on the link below:

LUXX – Reverbnation page

* You can visit and find out more about the National Wildlife Federation by clicking the link below:

http://www.nwf.org/

* You can visit and find out more about the National Audubon Society by clicking the link below:

http://www.audubon.org/

GO GET ‘EM LUXX AND ROCK STEADY!

Stone.

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MAGNUM “INTO THE VALLEY OF THE MOONKING” – A CLASSIC ALBUM FROM A CLASSIC BAND

Posted in classic rock, classic rock bands, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

MAGNUM – Vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist Tony Clarkin are the nucleus and only two original members of Magnum, (since 1978’s debut album Kingdom of Madness),with Mark Stanway manning the keyboards since 1982’s Chase The Dragon album. Regardless of lineup changes, Magnum has created music that touches on four decades, (soon to be five with the 2011 studio release of The Visitation).

Into The Valley Of The Moonking is the fifteenth studio album from Magnum, released on June 16, 2009, on Steamhammer/SPV Records. There are those bands that make music, the kind of music that resonates that classic feel and sound from every turn… this Magnum album resonates this.

Classic Rock is not just a bunch of albums from the ’60’, 70’s and ’80’s. The Classic Rock sound and style is just as relevant in 2010 as any other time in Rock Music history, in my Metal opinion. Magnum unrolls their Classic Rock red carpet and struts down it like royalty on this album.

With delectable nuances and flavors that nod towards The Electric Light Orchestra on such songs as: The Moonking, No One Knows His Name and  In My Minds Eye, just to name examples, being lured into these songs due to their mini-epic style is unavoidable for me. Harry James on drums, the guitar tones of Tony Clarkin and Mark Stanway’s keyboards are to blame for my hearing any ELO similarities.

Not a copycat band to any of their peers, Magnum is and always has been as original as they come. As I listen to Magnum, I get the sense that they are re-inventing Classic Rock music while many might think it’s just a continuation of a well known and seasoned band. Album Oriented Rock is not a dinosaur after all, Into The Valley Of The Moonking is twelve songs that substantiate the importance of having depth and not filler on an album.

Magnum incorporates Keyboards as an emotional element throughout their music, with Mark Stanway becoming such an integral part of this band over the years. Never are there keyboard parts that don’t fit or run-off in an annoying endless stream. The keyboard arrangements are priceless on Into The Valley Of The Moonking.

Cry To Yourself is my favorite song, with it’s unrelenting melodic wave. All right, Cry To Yourself moves me. There, I said it. Tony Clarkin on guitar is superb, his playing elevates the emotion of this song. Bob Catley is beyond excellent on vocals, it’s as if this song was born with him. All My Bridges takes me on an up-tempo and melodic ride that is not easy to jump off. Take Me To The Edge is a fist to the air Hard Rock song, accentuated by Tony Clarkin’s guitar licks and the drumming of Harry James. Al Barrow on bass, is right in on the Hard Rock action throughout Take Me To The Edge… a real cool jamming song it must be for this band.

Clocking in at 6:58 long, Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns is another Hard Rock number on this album, bringing in some Old School riffs, with some Rock ‘N’ Roll piano. The beat is consistently contagious on this song, making for a legitimate foot stompin’ listen. At the close of Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns, the tempo subsides dramatically with the keyboards and guitar adding a subdued and reflective atmosphere.

Magnum puts great emphasis on song lyrics, to coincide with creative song writing. The songs on this album seem to reflect a conscientious attention to detail that Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin and this band have towards making music. It’s the journey that these songs on Into The Valley Of The Moonking send my mind on, from both the lyrics and music, which results in my liking this album all the more. Magnum has made an album here that I will now label as a classic. And why not? Into The Valley Of The Moonking is only going to be labeled as such… two decades from now if not sooner.

* For more info on MAGNUM, just click on the link below:

MAGNUM – Official Website

MAGNUM, as they appeared on Into The Valley Of The Moonking:

Tony Clarkin – guitars

Bob Catley – vocals & tambourine

Mark Stanway – keyboards

Al Barrow – bass & backing vocals

Harry James – drums

Track Listing For Into The Valley Of The Moonking:

Intro

Cry To Yourself

All My Bridges

Take Me To The Edge

The Moonking

No One Knows His Name

In My Minds Eye

Time To Cross That River

If I Ever Lose My Mind

A Face In The Crowd

Feels Like Treason

Blood On Your Barbed Wire Thorns

LONG LIVE MAGNUM!

Stone.

REDEMPTION “SNOWFALL ON JUDGEMENT DAY” – A PROGRESSIVE METAL ALBUM NOT TO OVERLOOK

Posted in hard rock albums, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, progressive metal albums, progressive metal bands, progressive metal music, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

REDEMPTION – Snowfall On Judgement Day is an entertaining listen in quality Progressive Melodic Metal. Released on October 6, 2009, (on InsideOut Music/The Century Family Inc.). Snowfall On Judgement Day marks the fourth studio album release from Redemption. Each song is thoughtfully written lyrically, with very impressive musicianship throughout. The songs on this album are layered with an almost exquisite sheen, with all the ambiance and textures one can expect from a Progressive Metal Band of substance.

The vocals of Ray Alder are pronounced, while never overreaching. Ray Alder is a veteran of the Metal Music world, while also being the lead vocalist for the quite famous – Fates Warning. Redemption plays as a seamless and cohesive unit, making each song the star on Snowfall On Judgement Day. Nick van Dyk and Bernie Versailles are a potent duo on guitars, adding very interesting and downright likable melodic moments from beginning to end on this album. Greg Hosharian on keyboards adds all the atmospheric and melodic elements of mysticism, openness, sense of flight and emotional highs and lows. I guess Greg seems to cover it all, when it comes to sensory interpretation of his keyboard playing.

Chris Quirarte plays drums in the spirit and style of one Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater fame. This comparison may sound complimentary, which is rightfully justified, in my Metal opinion. Chris comes across to me as a drummer not trying to play hard and stand out, he is just simply mastering the beats and adding all the right drum fills within each song heard. What more can one ask for from their drummer? With each musician in Redemption seeming to convey their astuteness for their craft, I still need to mention Sean Andrews on bass, who helps anchor the rhythm section and doesn’t fall short on speed when the song dictates.

James LaBrie, lead vocalist for Dream Theater, is a guest vocalist on the song Another Day Dies. This song captures an almost total Euro Power Metal sound and feel. It’s the guitar leads and solo that seem to keep it from melting over completely into this comparison. James LaBrie’s vocals makes for a perfect match, with this Progressive Metal style that is Redemption. I still like Ray Alder fronting this band though, he is by no means a second tier front man. The harmony and tone of Ray Alder’s vocals are tailor made for Redemption… to my ears anyways.

Hopefully, my descriptive thoughts on Redemption as musicians, can help you understand just how the songs play out on Snowfall On Judgement Day. This band and this particular album should not be relegated to the back of the line. Flying under the Progressive Metal radar can’t be a reality in Redemption’s future. When there are so many bands and their albums to choose from in the vast world of Heavy Music genres, it’s a band like Redemption that just can’t go overlooked. I invite anyone who loves to hear songs and not four minute hits, to step right into the Progressive Metal creation that is Snowfall On Judgement Day.

Fans of Dream Theater, Queensryche, Coheed And Cambria and Mastodon should be very enthused by Redemption and Snowfall On Judgement Day. I’m pleased to have purchased this album and I highly recommend Redemption to any fan of Hard Rock or Heavy Metal that is looking to expand their music listening interests in a more progressive way.

* The song Keep Breathing, is an emotional and tender song written in dedication to Nick van Dyk’s daughter Parker. On the last page of the liner notes, what I read broke my heart. Being a father of twin daughters, the medical battle that Nick’s daughter Parker is going through just really hit home with me. To directly quote Nick van Dyk: “my daughter Parker was diagnosed with a terrible eye condition called Cone Dystrophy. This is a genetic condition, that prevents the retina from forming properly, resulting in the loss of central vision”. Nick writes: “there is currently no cure or treatment for Cone Dystrophy… even with corrective lenses, her vision will be 20/200 or worse. She will be unable to drive a car and do many things that people take for granted”.

Nick van Dyk continues, in the liner notes: If you are looking for a charity to support, please consider the Foundation Fighting Blindness, which can be found at http://www.blindness.org”.

* For more info on Redemption, just click on the links below:

REDEMPTION – Official Website

REDEMPTION – myspace music page

Redemption, as they appeared on Snowfall On Judgement Day:

Ray Alder – vocals

Nick van Dyk – guitar & keyboards

Bernie Versailles – guitar

Sean Andrews – bass guitar

Chris Quirarte – drums

Greg Hosharian – keyboards & keyboard solos

* Snowfall On Judgement Day was produced by Nick Van Dyk and Tommy Hansen.

Track listing for Snowfall On Judgement Day:

Peel

Walls

Leviathan Rising

Black And White World

Unformed

Keep Breathing

Another Day Dies (With guest vocalist James LaBrie)

What Will You Say?

Fistful Of Sand

Love Kills Us All/Life In One Day

Stone.

CLASSIC ROCK 101: ORION THE HUNTER “SO YOU RAN” – 1984 MUSIC VIDEO

Posted in classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock bands, classic rock music, classic rock songs, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, metal odyssey, Music, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music history, rock music videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

ORION THE HUNTER – Let’s go back to those good ol’ ’80’s… again. When Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal seemed to mesh together for me, just like chocolate-caramel-fudge swirl ice cream. It was a decade when FM Radio really was the one-stop listening destination for great music. MTV proved to be the same for music videos. I can recall vividly hearing So You Ran on the FM dial… and I was hooked. Sure, it wasn’t a Heavy Metal song I was hearing, nonetheless, it was Rockin’ along with a melodic sound that made me feel alright… and still does.

This Orion The Hunter album is yet another great piece of vinyl that I let go many Metal moons ago. It was released back in 1984 on Columbia Records. Now, from what I have seen, the CD sells “new” from $50 to $125 (U.S.).  It appears Orion The Hunter is… out of print.

Orion The Hunter was: former Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau, Boston vocalist Brad Delp on backing vocals, future Boston vocalist Fran Cosmo, Bruce Smith on bass and Michael DeRosier on drums.

Convict me of being sentimental sometimes… yet this song just brings back some good memories of being a young dude, with no bills and high taxes to pay.

Track listing for Orion The Hunter:

All Those Years

So You Ran

Dreamin’

Dark And Stormy

Stand Up

Fast Talk

Too Much In Love

Joanne

I Call It Love

REST IN PEACE, BRAD DELP – 1951 – 2007

Stone.

CAVO “BRIGHT NIGHTS DARK DAYS” – ROCKS HARD WITH A MODERN EDGE

Posted in hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, hard rock songs, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, Rock, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

CAVO – Upon listening to the opening track, Champagne, one would be lent to believe CAVO is going to blast through Bright Nights Dark Days with reckless Hard Rock abandon. Um, wrong. CAVO does electrify with Champagne, this song is one to play at maximum potential and has all the ingredients to “pump-up” the party. This is the chart topping single that has catapulted CAVO into the Rock stratosphere of popular music, which also appeared on their 2008 EP aptly titled – Champagne. Only this is a band that delves deeper into an all around Modern Rock sound, allowing some thick maturity to seep forth from their music and lyrics. Bright Nights Dark Days is a thorough listen into what a Rock band can accomplish, when song writing and lyrics are looked upon conscientiously.

It’s always a grand achievement when a Rock band can show their different levels of Hard and Heavy sound, while not coming across as being too darn diversified for their own liking. CAVO has assembled 11 songs on their major label debut album that sincerely gives them a true Rock identity. I like to steer away from the Post-Grunge label that has been given to CAVO here and there… I’d rather label CAVO as a Rock/Hard Rock Band that mingles with a flare for Modern sound. In a sophisticated way. To simplify things, CAVO Rocks.

CAVO is not the second coming of CREED, nor are they a commercial/bubble gum ready band for the Nickelodeon Network. CAVO is already carving out their very own Rock legacy only one year in since their major record label debut. This band has grasped that fine balance between Rock’s mainstream accessibility and Hard Rock hallelujah, while making their songs sound and feel like the now. CAVO has obviously tasted and experienced quite a bit of success since this album has been released, with another huge hit – Let It Go being included on the soundtrack for – Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. Let It Go is a powerful song, with it’s total Rock vibe and memorable chorus, I can understand why this song was picked for a blockbuster movie soundtrack.

I hear a genuine emotion that resonates from the vocals of Casey Walker. Casey Walker never comes across as pre-fabricated when he sings on this album, he comes across as really feeling the song’s respective musical and lyrical message. Cry Wolf and Ghost are two excellent examples of what I mean. Ghost is as personal a song can be lyrically and Casey Walker has a natural born talent to convey some moving emotion through his vocals. One listen to My Little Secret and it is quite clear as to how inspiring this lead vocalist sounds, taking a ballad that could have been turned into sappy city and instead Casey Walker makes this song a riveting listen.

Musically, CAVO comes across loud and clear as being one Rock solid unit. This is not a band that was born overnight, almost a decade in the making is CAVO. With numerous new Rock and Hard Rock Bands evolving within the last several years, it’s the bands that make quality songs and albums that stand out to my ears. CAVO should appeal to fans of Creed, of course, yet fans of Nickelback, Papa Roach, Pop EvilDaughtry and even Saliva, (to name a few), should easily embrace their Rock & Hard Rock sound and songs. CAVO seems to be off to an incredible start with Bright Nights Dark Days, I honestly look forward to what this band delivers in the future.

* For more info on CAVO, you can freely click on the links below!

CAVO – MySpace Music Page

CAVO – Official Website

* Bright Nights Dark Days was released on August 11, 2009, on Reprise Records.

CAVO Are:

Casey Walker – vocals

Chris Hobbs – guitars

Brian Smith – bass

Chad LaRoy – drums

Track Listing For CAVO – Bright Nights Dark Days:

Champagne

Crash

Let It Go

Cry Wolf

Ghost

Blame

My Little Secret

Beautiful

We All Fall Down

Over Again

Useless

* Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen soundtrack was released on June 23, 2009 on Reprise Records. Let It Go by CAVO is track #3 on this soundtrack.

Stone.

CHEAP TRICK “WOKE UP WITH A MONSTER” – SPOTLIGHTING A STANDOUT 1990’S HARD ROCK ALBUM

Posted in classic rock, classic rock bands, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

CHEAP TRICK – Don’t be fooled by those “elitist” Rock magazine reviews on this prize of a Cheap Trick album called – Woke Up With A Monster. Past reviews from pathetic Rock Music publications, that can’t grasp great Rock ‘N’ Roll bands and their music, just make for incredible comedy. Why drop names here now… we fans know the politically biased Rock magazine I’m referring to. Woke Up With A Monster is a Hard Rock album from 1994 that glows bright amongst the glut of mid 1990’s Rock and Hard Rock album releases, which many seemed to stray away from having any semblance of Classic Rock influence all together.

Amidst competing with the popular Grunge movement of it’s time, Woke Up With A Monster pulsated then and radiates still, in 2010. With eleven songs that beat down the door of stagnant Rock Music and kicks it’s weak ass from sunrise to sundown, this is a Cheap Trick album that sets an example of just how to ROCK STEADY in the face of pop-cultural ignorance of the day.

Phew. That felt kinda gooood. Now, onto this outrageously infectious delight, that is Woke Up With A Monster. The very last song on this album grooves along with a Rockin’ melodic aura that makes me feel like… the album is over? Can’t be! This song is just too cool and it flows through my veins like Rock ‘N’ Roll oxygen! This last song I’m referring to is Love Me For A Minute. Rick Nielsen on guitar plays some crafty licks throughout Love Me For A Minute, giving this song it’s melodic driving appeal. Robin Zander sings this song like it’s the biggest Cheap Trick hit from their career too. A “wow” song that ends this album on a very, very, high note.

Now, if the last song on Woke Up With A Monster is this chewy delicious, just how good are the other songs? For all intents and Rock ‘N’ Roll purposes, the remaining ten songs are a listen and quick study in what Rock greatness is all about, when you don’t try to reinvent the F’n wheel. The song writing, the lyrics, the vocals, the all too irresistible Rock sound of Cheap Trick. Just like comfort food. Sounds so simplistic doesn’t it? If Rock ‘N’ Roll “focus” was a pre-requisite for Cheap Trick to carry on as a band for all these years, they certainly bestowed a monumental ton of it, while creating their 12th studio album, regardless if there was “outside” assistance in song writing.

Despite what may be “read” from “other” reviews on this album over the years… I just don’t buy into the notion that there is a Grunge sound on Woke Up With A Monster. Hell, my ears don’t even hear a hint of it. Even if the band members themselves were to tell me they veered towards a Grunge “feel”, I’m not listening. This is Cheap Trick and it’s as underrated an album as there can possibly ever exist. Metal be thy name.

As fickle and wavering the “general Rock listening public” was back in the mid ’90’s, Woke Up With A Monster did get released. It was during an era where the “flavor of the month club” was buying up whatever the “experts” on MTV and VH1 were hawking. Great Rock Music will always, (here comes the cliche’), stand the test of time. The songs on this Cheap Trick album should easily speak for themselves in 2010, with an almost bone chilling relevancy. Woke Up With A Monster, perhaps, is an album that was sixteen years ahead of it’s time. If you think that sounds far fetched… just listen to The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album and try to convince yourself it really was released in 1967.

From the onset, My Gang sets off the Rockin’ tone of this album with all the Cheap Trick familiarities that are so unique to this bands sound. From the tight as cousins rhythm section of Tom Petersson on bass and Bun E. Carlos on drums, to Robin Zanders’s Rock profound vocals, with Rick Nielsen’s song altering guitar play, Cheap Trick certainly walloped my senses with Woke Up With A Monster. The title track being my favorite song doesn’t distract me from the other ten. However, this title song gets more tasty to my ears each time I listen to it… even if I have lost count after all these years.

True and great Rock Music was never meant to be disposable… we’ll leave that disposable stuff to the Pop Bubble Gum Music world. My intent, in getting the word back out on Woke Up With A Monster is to rekindle past fans of this album and shake loose new fans that this Cheap Trick release exists. Regardless of any “out-of-print” or “unavailable” status for Woke Up With A Monster, the digital download world like itunes does exist for albums such as this.

* For more info on Cheap Trick, just click that fantastic link below:

Cheap Trick – Official Website

Cheap Trick Are:

Robin Zander – lead vocals

Rick Nielsen – guitars

Tom Petersson – 12 string bass

Bun E. Carlos – drums

Track Listing For Cheap Trick – Woke Up With A Monster:

My Gang

Woke Up With A Monster

You’re All I Wanna Do

Never Run Out Of Love

Didn’t Know I Had It

Ride The Pony

Girlfriends

Let Her Go

Tell Me Everything

Cry Baby

Love Me For A Minute

* Woke Up With A Monster was produced by Ted Templeman.

* Woke Up With A Monster was released in 1994, on Warner Bros. Records.

LONG LIVE CHEAP TRICK!

Stone.

THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP “ASSAULT ATTACK” – 1982 ALBUM REVISITED!

Posted in classic rock, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP – Crazy good. That’s my “flashback review” for the Michael Schenker Group album from 1982, titled – Assualt Attack. Aw, heck, I guess I’ll carry on about just how crazy good this Assualt Attack album is after all. Michael Schenker has released some melodic albums in his career with The Michael Schenker Group and Assault Attack is no exception. 1982 was a time where Heavy Metal was growing into the gigantic and lovable monster that it did eventually become… and still is to this very day.

While NWOBHM Bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were laying down the thick, speed driven, dark and Heavy albums in 1982, with Screaming For Vengeance and The Number Of The Beast, respectively, The Michael Schenker Group was laying down the melodic side of Hard Rock colliding with Heavy Metal sound. And what an amazingly melodic sound at that. What Michael Schenker does with his guitar is he makes it sing… his guitar truly is a second lead vocalist in his band. On Assualt Attack, as with any Michael Schenker album in truth, showcases a lead guitarist who never tried to out-muscle a song with overpowering riffs, questionable leads or over zealous solos. Michael Schenker always makes the song work with his guitar.

Back in 1982, FM radio was MTV, itunes, satellite radio and the internet combined. The only other place on Earth you would have been informed of The Michael Schenker Group would have been through a local fanzine, Circus or Hit Parader magazine. (I’m talking about 1982 America here, so my magazine examples are what they are). The first time I was introduced to this Assault Attack album, it was hearing the two songs Dancer and Desert Song. FM radio was the medium from which I heard these songs initially, the call letters were either WHCN or WCCC out of Hartford, CT, take your pick. The FM nighttime radio show was appropriately called… Metal Shop.

The first two albums from The Michael Schenker Group along with Assault Attack I probably bought within a one year span around ’82… and I thought I had a ton of “catching up” to do back then! Metal be thy name. The constant Rockin’ theme of Assault Attack, is it’s melodic nature screams relevancy while nurturing my memories of younger days. Fans of the current Hard Rock/Melodic Rock movement should easily catch onto this album from The Michael Schenker Group, it’s an album worthy of 2010 rotation.

Back to the exquisitely melodic and still Heavy song… Dancer. The solo by Michael Schenker on Dancer is a listen in Heavy Metal art. This song can be looked upon by some, as slightly commercial for it’s own good, only it’s still a bona fide Hard Rock song from an era that was still escorting Disco out the back door. Graham Bonnet on lead vocals, just a few years removed from being the lead vocalist on Rainbow’s Classic Hard Rock gem, 1979’s Down To Earth album, is his stunning self, giving Dancer and the remaining 8 songs on Assault Attack their unrestrained emotion.

Desert Song finds it’s strengths in many parts, one part lyrics, one part Graham Bonnet on vocals and of course… Michael Schenker’s mouth watering end cap solo. Furthermore, Desert Song is structured with creative diligence, something that many of today’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal songs don’t normally exhibit. Ulcer is the instrumental where Michael Schenker lets it all air out and rightfully so. While I listen to Ulcer, I can’t help thinking of Joe Satriani… and how this song just might have been a definitive influence on his guitar playing. If there is to be a Heavy Metal guitarist and instrumental to emulate from 1982, Michael Schenker and Ulcer is a fabulous choice.

Rock You To The Ground has a bluesy sound both with it’s music and lyrics. A standout of a Hard Rock track, with Michael Schenker really letting loose with an energetic solo that finishes off this memorable song. It may sound cliche’, yet all the hooks and licks are abundant throughout Assault Attack and they haven’t lost their Hard Rockin’ luster going on three decades! Classic Rock? Hard Rock? Sure… only add Classic Schenker as well.

Broken Promises is a showcase of Michael Schenker’s guitar prowess, as he still leaves plenty of room for Graham Bonnet to leave his vocal imprint as well. This is a 1982 Heavy Metal song that seamlessly tied the knot with a Hard Rock sense of purpose. Broken Promises Rocks along with it’s hardened melody and thumping rhythm section of Chris Glen on bass and Ted McKenna on drums.

Girl From Uptown is a bonus track found on the 2009 remastered version of Assault Attack and it should have been an original song to this album… in my Metal opinion. Once again, a melodic Hard Rockin’ song that features the combination of Graham Bonnet’s vocal harmony and Michael Schenker’s luxurious guitar tone. Girl From Uptown just puts me in a cool mood, then again, this entire album puts me in great Metal spirits… with no let up in sight.

* I used to own Assault Attack on vinyl once. Yup, got rid of it for some insane reason. Anyhow, I’ve since purchased this vintage album on itunes… for under $5 (U.S.). That sure beats the asking price of the import CD version that is currently out there.

* To catch up on ALL things happening with The Michael Schenker Group, including their 30th Anniversary Tour 2010, just click on the link below!

MICHAEL SCHENKER HIMSELF.COM

The Michael Schenker Group, as they appeared on Assault Attack:

Michael Schenker – guitars

Graham Bonnet – lead vocals

Chris Glen – bass

Ted McKenna – drums

Tommy Eyre – keyboards

Track Listing For The Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack:

Assault Attack

Rock You To The Ground

Dancer

Samurai

Desert Song

Broken Promises

Searching For A Reason

Ulcer

Girl From Uptown (2009 remastered CD bonus track)

LONG LIVE MICHAEL SCHENKER!

LONG LIVE GRAHAM BONNET!

Stone.

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