Archive for rock album review

THE LAW – Paul Rodgers and Kenney Jones 1991 album revisited

Posted in 1990's hard rock music, 1990's rock music, Album Review, classic hard rock, classic hard rock bands, classic hard rock music, classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock albums 1991, classic rock bands, classic rock music, classic rock songs, classic rock vocalists, collecting classic rock, collecting rock music, everyday experiences, family, feel good stories, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock drummers, hard rock songs, hard rock vocalists, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, Rock, rock album review, rock album reviews, rock music, rock music vocals, rock vocalists, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

The Law - small album photoOn Saturday, of this 2009 Labor Day Weekend, I set out on a trip to buy back to school necessities for my daughters. The local mall, which is only minutes away, provides for a cool stroll… an f.y.e. is located inside. (Yessssss!). As my daughters and wife are perusing the kids sneakers, all I kept thinking was… what is currently hiding in the batch of used CD’s over at f.y.e.? The trip to this particular mall proved to be very worthwhile, no sneakers were found that my daughter liked, however, we had some fine pizza slices for lunch while we were there, plus I found The Law. The debut album The Law was nestled within the many used CD titles for sale at f.y.e.. With my f.y.e. Backstage Pass Platinum store card, the final price I paid for The Law used CD was $2.81… amazing. Not a bad price to pay for one of the most underrated Rock/Hard Rock albums I have ever listened to. I really get a kick sometimes out of what I will find in the selection of used CD’s at f.y.e., I have scored some real cool used CD’s at f.y.e. over the past few years. Upon leaving this mall, my wife did not hesitate for a second, in getting The Law into the car’s CD player… the family and I listened to this CD in it’s entirety as we continued on our quest for back to school sneakers.

I bought The Law on cassette tape back in 1991 and still have it to this day, an upgrade to CD was long overdue. The Law was released on March 19, 1991, I instantly knew I would purchase this album back then, due to my admiration for Paul Rodgers with his Rock-cool and legendary vocals. Plus, I always immensely enjoyed Bad Company, Free and The Firm… whatever band Paul Rodgers fronted, I was listening to. My favorite song from this album is Laying Down The Law, it is a solid Hard Rock song that ripples with a tough vibe and reminiscent of Bad Company… in my Metal opinion. Paul Rodgers wrote and even plays the piano on Laying Down The Law. Overall, this is not the greatest album or band/project that Paul Rodgers was a part of, still I like The Law enough to recommend to anyone into quality Rock, Hard Rock or Classic Rock music. This album had it’s share of song writers and guest musicians, yet the end result are eleven songs that possess the Classic Rock sound that hooks me each time I listen. Paul Rodgers on vocals with The Law is the main reason why I like this album. Kenney Jones on drums, (Small FacesFaces and The Who), is another valid reason why I will always look back at this band and album with the upmost respect.

The way I see it, you have to listen to bands and albums that you like, regardless of how successful the respective album was/is on the charts or mainstream radio. Album sales never have determined for me, the quality of a band or album, I shall never be swayed by mainstream Rock critics or here-say. The Law is a prime example of record sales not being impressive and a band short lived. Do I care? No. It’s what I like that matters most and I would not recommend this album if I thought it to be a stinker.

The Law notable guest musicians and/or song writers:

Phil Collen (lead guitarist for Def Leppard), wrote Miss You In A Heartbeat for The Law and later recorded by Def Leppard for their Retrospective album. The ever legendary David Gilmour plays guitar on the song Stone. Chris Rea also plays guitar on the song StoneBryan Adams cowrote and plays guitar on Nature of the Beast.

The Law - large album photo

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Cheap Trick “The Latest” is their latest great album

Posted in 1970's rock music, 1980's rock music, Album Review, classic hard rock music, classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock bands, classic rock music, cool album covers, current rock albums 2009, essential rock albums, hard rock album review, hard rock albums 2009, hard rock guitarists, hard rock music this decade, hard rock vocalists, Music, new hard rock album, Rock, rock album reviews, rock music, silly album covers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150Cheap Trick, “The Latest” may just very well be the album that proves this band has elevated themselves beyond the Rock Legends status. It is in my Metal opinion, Cheap Trick has become deserving of being called – Music Legends. Once again, Cheap Trick has not tried to reinvent themselves, instead they have created thirteen new songs that justifies their Rock and Roll existence and legendary status. What Cheap Trick has proven to me, with “The Latest”, is that I can marvel at this band and also learn a valuable lesson about life… the lesson of never giving into complacency. The last three Cheap Trick studio albums including “The Latest” is as strong a Rock Music achievement as I could ever hear. This band is just knocking out some of the greatest albums of their career, this decade alone.

The mindset to create a complete album of memorable songs, has not seemed to wane, from the Cheap Trick – bag of Rock Music tricks. “The Latest” begins with the song “Sleep Forever”, at 1:37 long. This song with it’s limited and heartfelt lyrics, coupled with a somber musical atmosphere and mood, took me off guard upon my first listen. My interpretation of this song, is saying goodbye to a loved one, someone that is cherished, after this loved one passes away. My beautiful Mother, someone I always and forever will cherish and love in my heart, passed away on July 10, 2009. I first listened to this album and “Sleep Forever” on July 21, 2009… I felt as if everything around me went still while my thoughts and feelings instantly gravitated towards my late Mother. The timing of my hearing this song for the first time, so close to the day my Mother passed away, became an emotional moment that I never anticipated from “The Latest” Cheap Trick album. I will say this… Cheap Trick has made one beautiful little song with “Sleep Forever”, a remarkable testament to this bands articulate musical diversity.

“Sleep Forever” is perfect being the first song on this album, for the remaining twelve songs are balanced with upbeat, Rock, Hard Rock and many dashes and dollops of that vintage Cheap Trick sound. In my Metal opinion, if this song was to be the last track to hear, instead of it being the first, well, it would be ending this great album on a sad note. This is a song that is perfect where it is, as song number one, let the emotions flow… then it is time to Rock the rest of the way through “The Latest”. Let it be known from me, that the remaining twelve songs on this album are as Rock inspiring as one could ever wish for. “California Girl” is classic Cheap Trick, with the Rock pace and lyrics resembling the roots of this prolific band. “Miracle” and “Times Of Our Lives” are two songs that signify the essence of how Cheap Trick taps into humanity as subject matter – all the while, in an uplifting, Rock spirit kind of way.

Fans of Cheap Trick are going to buy or already have this album. It is the casual Cheap Trick fan, the fan of Classic Rock and/or Hard Rock that I really recommend this album to. Cheap Trick, for me, have not lost their Rock edge, they have gained an edge with this new album. “The Latest” may have given me an emotional start with “Sleep Forever” at the onset, yet I thank Cheap Trick for that. This is a prime example of just how a song can keep me grounded, then the remaining album carries me off into Cheap Trick’s land of addicting Rock and Roll cool.

Cheap Trick: Rick Nielsen on guitars, background vocals & keyboards, Robin Zander on vocals, guitar & keyboards, Tom Petersson on bass, background vocals & guitar and Bun E. Carlos on drums & background vocals

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Journey “Evolution” – a delicacy of a Classic Rock Album

Posted in 1970's classic rock albums, 1970's classic rock songs, 1970's classic rock music, 1970's hard rock, 1970's Rock, 1970's rock music, Album Review, classic hard rock, classic hard rock music, classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock music, cool album covers, essential classic rock albums, essential hard rock albums, essential rock albums, hard rock album review, Music, Rock, rock album reviews, rock music, rock vocalists, vintage hard rock albums, vintage rock albums, Vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150Journey, the Rock icon of a band. Journey “Evolution”, an album that is now referred to as a Classic Rock masterpiece… by me anyways. What else can one say about this incredible Rock album? Quite a bit can actually be said, this album established Journey, solidified them atop the Rock Music world for many, many, years. There could never be another Steve Perry, his vocals alone gave Journey their signature sound. In my opinion, there are lead singers that have vocals so breathtaking, they are the most important musical instrument in their respective band. I had felt this way about Steve Perry, with his years with Journey. Steve Perry’s vocals can never be duplicated, nor will he ever be forgotten by me as the lead singer for Journey. I will always appreciate Journey as the band they are today too. With that said, this is an article where I am celebrating the brilliance of a moment in time, one that can be listened to time and again, that moment was Journey’s “Evolution”, (released in 1979).

Neal Schon, the lead guitarist to this very day for Journey, is an impeccable musician as well. His song writing on “Evolution” alongside Steve Perry, Gregg Rolie and Ross Valory could very well be interpreted as a – how to write Rock Music handbook. I can remember appreciating and being thrilled by the Rock and Hard Rock songs on “Evolution” back in the day. Now, it is 2009 and I only appreciate this Journey album all the more. Yes, for me, this is a Rock album where I can honestly say, they don’t make Rock albums like this anymore. (Please excuse that cliche). If someone who has never heard a single song from this album was to ask me, which songs are standout, cool or great… my  answer would be all of them. “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” is certainly the undisputed hit single from “Evolution”, plus “Just The Same Way” received it’s justifiable FM radio airplay for decades as well. Gregg Rolie sings lead on “Just The Same Way”, I have forever been impressed with his vocals on this song.

From the opening instrumental intro of “Majestic” to the very last song “Lady Luck”, you are hard pressed to find the commercial Rock Music that would years later, catapult Journey into the superstar stratosphere. This is what makes “Evolution” so important and favorable to me, that this was a Journey album that caught on with popularity for it’s Rock Music whole. It never hurt either, that the musical talent, creativity and skill with all the musicians of Journey were in sync on this album, thus, this made for the equalizer – where great Rock songs do not always become hit singles. Instead, as it holds true to this very day, great Rock songs become the building blocks of legendary Rock albums. “Evolution” draws it’s Rock Music strength from collective collaboration of the elite musicianship, with the end result being a revered/legendary Rock album of songs, not a greatest hits.

Journey, as they appeared on “Evolution”: Steve Perry on lead vocals, Neal Schon on lead guitar, Ross Valory on bass guitar, Gregg Rolie on keyboards and Steve Smith on drums.

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THE FIRM – what made this Rock Band’s debut album so appealing?

Posted in 1980's hard rock albums, 1980's popular rock bands, 1980's rock albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's hard rock, Album Review, Bad Company, cannibal corpse, classic rock, cool album covers, cover songs, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock drummers, hard rock guitarists, hard rock songs, hard rock vocalists, Music, Rock, rock & roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock vocalists, vintage hard rock albums, vintage rock albums, Vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150Back in 1985, The Firm released their self titled, debut album “The Firm”. I remember being very curious about this band… would the album be heavy? Would this album be a dud? Why is Paul Rodgers not with Bad Company? Is Jimmy Page going to scorch on “The Firm” album? So many questions were going on in my mind back then, about The Firm’s first LP. Well, in my Metal opinion, this album was/still is, one of the more commercially accepted, radio friendly, Rock albums that I will still listen to… even in the middle of my Thrash Metal and Death Metal moods. During one of my frequent thrift store visits this past Winter, I came across this actual album, in close to perfect condition too. The album jacket shows no wear at all, plus the vinyl itself plays without a hitch. Upon finding this album, I instantly grabbed it, there was no second thought about it. (At 50 cents, there was no risk involved, only reward). What makes The Firm and their debut album so appealing? 

After all of these years, the reasons for my liking The Firm have never changed. First of course, is the lead singer Paul Rodgers. Bad Company will forever be a Hard Rock icon for me, especially the Paul Rodgers fronted version of this legendary band. Secondly, how can any Hard Rock and/or Heavy Metal enthusiast not want to get into a band that the revered Jimmy Page plays lead guitar for? Thirdly, “The Firm” as a whole, is not a heavy album and not a dud either. This album falls in between… it is a Rock album that has catchy, memorable tunes. When I really think about it, I do not believe that The Firm ever sounded like any Rock Band before them – save for Bad Company, due to the vocals of Paul Rodgers. However, musically, was there ever a song that sounded like “Radioactive”? Maybe there was, I just am not aware of it. That song drives me crazy, for it is so non-heavy, so corny, so different, yet I really like it, to this very day. I guess The Firm was that Rock Band that dared to be different, in 1985. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” is another song that chugs along, it never seems to get kick started, (and I swear you can almost feel this song wanting to get up and scream), yet again – I really like it.

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” is once again, a song that makes me feel like I have sold out my Metal soul to Pop Music. I actually sing aloud the lyrics, (when I am alone). Just to justify my singing these lyrics… I will sing them in my own, unique, Death Metal voice. Quite honestly, this song would be huge if a Death Metal band covered it. This is rather nit picking, regardless, if you take a look at the front album cover of “The Firm”, why on Metal Earth is the “i” in the word “FiRM” in lower case? This has not troubled me to any point of needing medication, I only look at it and wonder why? I do realize it was a logo design call, yet I always get the urge to want to fix the lower case “i” and make it an upper case “I”

Hey, all kidding aside, I feel The Firm was a darn decent Rock Band, the coolness of Paul Rodgers vocals and the enhanced and unparalleled guitar play of Jimmy Page make this debut album happen for me. I have no problem in recommending the debut album from The Firm, to anyone who is interested. Also note, in my Metal opinion, Tony Franklin on bass and Chris Slade on drums are no slouches either. Anyone who goes on to be the drummer for AC/DC, well, is legend. As I see it, I will turn to this album now and again and enjoy it. Plus, if Hammerfall can do a cover of “My Sharona” by The Knack, heck, then Cannibal Corpse could most certainly do a cover of “Money Can’t Buy” by The Firm.

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