Saturday, November 30, 2013
Label: Shock 2013
Review by Rich Dillon
Canadian band Shock’s debut CD, "Once Denied" has been almost 30 years in the making!! That’s a helluva long time to wait for a first offering, but it was certainly worth every minute of time.
Forming in Ottawa, The Great White North’s capital city in 1985, Shock was considered in many circles to be the best unsigned band of the late 80’s era. It was the frustration in finding a suitable record deal that ultimately led to their disbandment in 1990, never issuing a recording. This earned them another tag line “the best band to never release an album", but that moniker was abolished when “Once Denied" hit the shelves in May of 2013. The band, comprised of original founding members, Tony V handling the vocal requirements, John Tennant wailing on the guitar and Steve Monette’s thundering bass are joined by newcomer Chad Walls behind the kit in this venture which has seen them also opening for Canadian thrash heavy weights Annihilator.
"Once Denied" is a little short on the run time with only 8 songs, but all killer, no filler by any means….this album is all hard rock gems with decidedly thrashy overtones, each song getting better the further you enter the album. All of the songs were chosen from the band’s extensive back catalogue for this epic release, almost thirty years in the making. “Slashing to Live", may well be there most widely known song and could be considered the lead single given that it has also received the video treatment in the way of a cartoon depicting the story and message of the song concerning women’s self defense. “Paths of Glory" also has a video to accompany it and both are a good introduction to the albums sound. Other stand out cuts include “Fighting Chance", Splitting the Atom", Flaming Towards Earth", “Full Speed Ahead", “Driven To Kill" and “I’m Dangerous"....oh wait I’ve just named all eight tracks as absolute stand outs of the record…….and there’s a reason for that! Once Denied is the kind of album that grows on the listener with each spin, infecting you like a drug that you just can’t get enough of…..I listen to it at least once a day and with it’s relatively short runtime that’s easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules….a great way to start the day!
Given the repertoire of music that this group have stashed away, one can only hope that Once Denied will be followed with more releases. Good things come to those who wait…….and you’ve been waiting for this whether you know it or not!
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Review By: Alan Holloway
Okay, so it’s been a mere eleven years since the last Boston album, the okay but nothing amazing “Corporate America”, and mainman Tom Scholz has been busy in his basement knocking together an product that is a bit of a Frankenstsin’s monster when it comes down to it.
In fairness, “Love, Life & Hope” starts off pretty well, with David Victor and Louis St August harmonizing well on the catchy “Heaven On Earth”, followed by the much missed Brad Delp on the remixed (but not much) “Didn’t Mean To Fall In Love” (originally on "Corporate America"). the former is a traditional Boston-ish tune, with a nice bounce and refrain, and the short instrumental that follows, “Last Day of School”, is a fine piece of work from Scholtz. After that it’s not as good as maybe we would hope, and the pointless inclusion of two more "remixed" tracks from “Corporate America” has to be mentioned. Scholtz has made it clear that he feels the album was under appreciated, but why we have to have “You gave Up On Love” and “Someone” remixed is a bit of a worry when he spent so bloody long perfecting them the first time round. Good tracks, sure, but after eleven years I expect an album full of new material.
Delp appears again on “Sail Away”, with Kimberley Dahme (Who also has her own exclusive vocal lead on “You Gave Up On Love”), whilst Tommy DeCarlo does a fine job on the upbeat title track and album closer “The Way You Look Tonight”. Even Scholtz himself gets in on the act with “Love Got Away”, and although he gets away with it I was glad he didn’t appoint himself as a permanent lead vocalist.
With “Life, Love & Hope” Tom Scholz has visibly tried to make a Boston album for Boston fans, and when he gets it right it’s great fun. The inclusion of three remixes and a few forgettable tracks amongst the gems means that, in the end, this is not an essential purchase. The most fitting eulogy for Delp came with the wonderful song with Barry Goodreau, “Rockin Away” (if you haven’t heard it, we've been nice and put it at the bottom of this review), whereas this is just another Boston album. The lack of two or three kick ass tracks hurts this one, so maybe in ten years we’ll get a better release, but don’t hold your breath.
Official band Site: www.bandboston.com/
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Label: Avispa Music 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Earlier this year we did an interview with Burning Kingdom main man Manuel Seoane. He had assembled a new band featuring three Swedish musicians and the one and only Danny Vaughn of Tyketto on lead vocals, and was pretty excited over this new album. He had every reason to be, as he and the band have succeeded in recording a very good album.
”Simplified” is a good title for the album. It’s a bit rough around the edges, the production isn’t as smooth and polished as some other releases, but in a way that gives it a warm and ”human” sound. Vaughn’s vocals sound really live, it sounds like they haven’t been filtered or autotuned to match ”modern day production values”, which is actually a good thing.
Speaking of ”modern day production values”, I must mention the intro ”Stay Awake”. Apparently it was put together by the producer, and the band had nothing to do with it. They actually asked it to be removed, but in the end the label decided to use it, bcause ”valuable studio time had been spent on it”. That’s pretty crazy, as it doesn’t suit the album at all, featuring electronic sounds and spoken words (or is that rapping?) with a bad accent… when I heard it I thought I had put a wrong CD into the player!
The actual Burning Kingdom music on the album is something altogether different. Tyketto fans will find a lot to enjoy, even though some of the tracks are slightly more metallic with Seoane throwing in some really wicked riffs. Some of the best songs for my money are the first single ”Watching As It Burns”, the melodic and quite Tykettoesque ”From On High” and the keyboard-heavy title-track. ”That’s My Boogie” is probably the weakest of them, confirming again that if there’s a ”Boogie” in the songtitle, then I cannot possibly like it… strange but true.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Label: Frontiers 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
The third ”episode” of Place Vendome is here. As you may know, Place Vendome is an AOR project featuring the former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske working alongside Pink Cream 69/Unisonic bassist/producer Dennis Ward, PC69 guitarist Uwe Reitenauer, Vanden Plas keyboardist Gunther Werno. For this third album, the band replaced drummer Kosta Zafiriou (also PC69) with Dirk Bruinenberg (ex-Adagio).
While the first album was mostly written by Dennis Ward, the second one ”Streets Of Fire” and this latest release have been put together from songs provided by Frontiers’ ”in-house” writers. Yes, it’s another Frontiers project album! Yes, there’s Del Vecchio, Karlsson, Söderqvist, Tolkki and Denander involved! Yes, it doesn’t sound drastically different to the others! Yes, I like it! No, I’m not on their payroll!
It’s getting increasingly strange that a handful of people are responsible for a big share of Frontiers’ output, but as I’ve said it before, as long as the quality is there, I’m not going to start complaining. Okay, this isn’t as strong an album as ”Streets Of Fire”, but it’s still very good. Ward’s production is clear and smooth, and Kiske’s voice suits this kind of material perfectly. Maybe it’s a couple of songs too long, as there are a few that are pretty generic, but you can always skip those and still find plenty of songs to enjoy.
My favourite songs on this album tend to be slightly on the more dark, melancholic side of things. ”Power Of Music”, ”Lost In Paradise”, ”It Can’t Rain Forever”, ”Heaven Lost” and ”My Heart Is Dying”… well, some of the titles already suggest that these aren’t happy-go-lucky summertime anthems, but moody, highly melodic songs. As for the rest, they are all reasonably good AOR tracks, but maybe the final touch of magic is missing from them.
Michael Kiske Website
Label: Dust On The Tracks Records 2013
Review by Rich Dillon
Hailing from Tasmania, Australia, the band Taberah started out in 2006 playing their first pub gigs when they were just 16 years of age, reminiscent of another Australian band, Silverchair who also started at a young age. As one of Australia’s fastest growing names they’ve opened for the likes of Paul Di’Anno, Steve Grimmett and Tim “Ripper” Owens, but it was being hand picked by Lemmy to open for Motorhead that really stands out in the resume. Self described as “heavy metal played with the spirit of rock and roll” and citing influences ranging from and including AC/DC, Queen, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, their extensive touring schedule and entertaining live shows have garnered them a reputation as a “must see” band. Founder Jonathan Barwick handles the guitars and vocals while co-founder Tom “Bam Bam” Brockman sits behind the kit. The boys are joined by guitarist Myles “Flash” Flood and bassist Dave “The Doctor” Walsh to round out this sensation, or dare I say this “Thunder from Down Under”. I’m not sure where the band took it’s name from but from what I could find on the internet, Taberah, which means “burning” was a place that the Israelites passed through after the Exodus from Egypt, named because God, tired of their complaining, set fire to them.
Necromancer is their second release and follows 2011’s debut of The Light of Which I Dream. I cued up the digital download for play whilst performing some other tasks and chores. Immediately I was hooked and drawn in by the chunky bass lines and the larger than life guitar riffs leading the charge on the opening cut, “2012”. “Dying Wish” is up next, continuing the assault and found me neglecting the tasks at hand as I got deeper into the Taberah sound. The aforementioned influences can clearly be heard throughout, but the music is flavoured with a real euro/power metal taste as well.
From the catchy choruses like that of “Burning In The Moonlight”, guaranteed to have you humming along long after the song fades away to the charging assault of the abso-frikking-lutely awesome “The Hammer of Hades”, which is unfortunately the lone track under the four minute mark, this recording is chock-full of big crunchy riffs and catchy melodic hooks. The three-song punch to the gut finale of “The Hammer Of Hades”, “My Dear Lord” and “Burn” coupled with the lead cut of “2012” are worth the price of admission alone, but everything here is good, the sole exception being, “One Goon Bag Later”, the 1:49 minute instrumental that could have easily been omitted in my opinion.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Label: Eagle Vision 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Oh lordie, lordie. It has been quite the Prog-Metal exercise to watch the entire 2 disc set DVD of, 'Live At Luna Park', including original live show, its documentary, behind the scenes, and bonus music material. Disc one: 229 minutes and Disc Two: 68 minutes (approx). It's clearly a wet dream to any Dream Theater fan as everything reek of class from the camerawork and lightning to the crisp metal sound. You have front row seats and a backstage pass as the band rocks Luna Park and Argentina.
As the chant goes up from the 8000 strong Buenos Aires crowd, you'll quickly notice why they decided to shoot the DVD in South America instead of America. They are truly loud and are flippin' out from the first note to the last one and it's very much about energy. The band on the other hand are tearing up their audience with complex and blistering passages and absolutely stunningly performances by all musicians involved. The video quality, editing and the overhead shots are truly high definition and breath-taking. There's a total of 23 songs excluding drum, piano and guitar solo. 'Bridges In The Sky' works perfectly as an opener as the very loud Argentina crowd sings along to the refrain. The acoustic set (The Silent Man, Beneath the Surface) brings another side to the songs inbetween all that aggressive prog. I should also point out that bonus songs found on disc two - more from the two night sold out concerts at Luna Park including 'These Walls', 'Wait For Sleep', 'Pull Me Under', plus three more.
Their lead vocalist James LaBrie may have sounded a bit jarring and strained on previous live occasion, however, in Argentina he has really gone back to basics and is more aware of his register and range. The rather awkward and fun inbetween stage banter works naturally even though some of the audience may not agree on everything. Crowd interaction is difficult at times. Women are supposed to cry and men are not? New drummer Mike Mangini is a monster behind the kit and his level of performance is awe inspiring. The 16 cameras and 360' work is smashing fun, but, the geezer sitting on the floor right behind Mangini (roadcrew member? drummer tech?) throughout the entire concert is annoying to say the least. It takes away a lot of fun with 360 actually.
The bonus material and its documentary goes through stuff such as Portnoy leaving and that none of them saw it coming. "It was like going 100 miles an hour into a cement wall", as their drummer decided to leave after 25 years. Mangini speaks about being brought up as the classical musician and having 7 tom-toms to work with, "What I do is I assign an entire octave to each three toms". Nerdy but fun information. Rudess speaks about his magical keyboard that rotates 360' and does the tilt. Simply because he thinks it's boring to just stand their on the spot. Jordan truly enjoy 'The Wizard' nick so much that he's got the hat and sort of the beard. He's no real wizard until it's Gandalf size beard though. The humble Myung on the other hand lets his bass do the talking.
There's also the sound-check, pre-show rituals and the quick dinner in Buenos Aires. What's on the plate? Hint: Argentina's and this particular town's most famous dish of course. The making of the DVD: more nerdy info, the two directors are taking you on a short and not too interesting trip to their video-truck and its control board. Final verdict: Essential stuff If you are a Theater fan, and the sweet crying girl must be pleased with her place in the spotlight. Do Cry For Me Argentina?
Friday, November 8, 2013
Label: Bludgeon Riffola/Frontiers
Formats: CD, Blu Ray, DVD
Review By: Alan Holloway
Let's be honest, live albums are not, generally, what they used to be. Everyone was so excited when Iron Maiden released "Live After Death", but these days they are ten a penny, often polished to the point of sounding like a Greatest Hits CD. Ho and indeed hum. personally, I don't review live albums if the company won't send the accompanying DVD as well (if there is one), because, well, because I said so. the DVD to Def Leppard's cool new live thing, because it means I now give a toss.
The story is thus: Def Leppard were offered a residency at Las Vegas, and from their comments the main reason they accepted was the chance to sleep in the same bed for a month. The second reason was that they could do what people had been badgering them to do, which is play their biggest album in it's entirety, something they haven't done since 'On Through the Night', and then it was only because they didn't know any other songs yet.
mention has been made of Joe Elliot's vocals for this release, and whilst I accept it is a bit throaty it's certainly not a deal breaker in any way. As for the rest of the band, they sound brilliant, as good as when I saw them on the original tour back in the dark ages. Phil Collen looks like he pumps more iron than Kane Roberts, and as usual you forget that Rick Alen is, um, limbistically challenged. the camerawork is exemplary, proving that if you put some money into it you get a much better live DVD, something already realized by AC/DC and iron maiden for recent releases. In addition, the sound mix is spot on, so if your TV is connected to a big ass sound system you'll genuinely feel like you're really there, only without being able to gamble your life savings away. As a small bonus the encores are "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages", which round off a fine one and a half hours or so.
So the "Hysteria" part of the concert is fine and dandy, but there's more to this story than meets the eye (and indeed the DVD back cover). What you also get is two support sets from the cunningly named Ded Flatbird, who are basically Def Leppard in different clothes supporting themselves. This could be dismissed as a lame gimmick if it wasn't for the setlist. "Good Morning Freedom", "Mirror Mirror", "Rock Brigade", "Another Hit & Run" and eleven more tracks you thought you'd never see them play live ever again. To be honest, this is worth the cover price on it's own, and is a superb extra. On top of all this there's a five track acoustic set in front of a small group of fans, featuring a medley of five more tracks that aren't played elsewhere. Value for money? Fuck yeah.
"Viva Hysteria" is one of the best DVD packages I've yet seen. You can buy it bundled with the audio version if you want, but there's no difference to the content so it's all down to how you want to do your listening. If you are a Leps fan this is absolutely essential, and will remind any who have wandered off just why they loved the band in the first place.
Label: Day One
Review by Martien Koolen
Godslave is a German metal band and In Hell is the title of their new release, which is their third since the band was formed in 2007. This album is again very heavy combining elements from German trash bands like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction and Bay Area trash elements. So, right from the start the music is loud, heavy and filled with trashy and fast guitar riffs and hooks, making it hard to keep your head still.
Most of the 11 songs are very speedy and sound like so many other trash metal bands; not bad, but ever so not original! Best songs for me are: S.O.S. which starts with a nice quiet guitar solo and the instrumental song Intermission Accomplished, featuring a organ solo!! This One Step is also an instrumental one but that one is rather fast and gloomy. In Hell is not a bad album but it will only reach the die hard trash metal fans I am afraid...
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Label: Kiln/PresciptionPR 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Twelve Clay Feet's second album, "More Naked Than Obscene" is already receiving comparisons to Kings Of Leon and Brian Jones Town Massacre. I hardly agree on everything. However, it's been quite the transformation since last we heard them bang the bells. They've clearly replaced most of their Grungy rock attitudes of the debut album, "Totem Bells", and being the ambitious outfit they are, Twelve Feet Clay have no trouble packing the new album full of melodic and modern arena guitar rock.
The gruff vocals of Ian Jeff is no doubt the most edgy point of the band nowadays as the arrangements of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are simply no longer to be found within these ten tracks. As soon as they rip into opener, 'By The Station Light', the Cambridge based UK act make this music style their own though, proving that not only have they left Seattle long behind, but that the rush of arena rock can still be used to great effect. And as soon as you notice that they are now in effect the moody U.K. guitar band and as subtle as Ted Nugent and Fox News, you might as well give in to the comparison to England's answer to Kings Of Leon. Add the husky vocal approach of Nickelback and the healthy dose of U2 and Radiohead, and you're even closer to the core.
Strangely enough, 'By The Staion Light', had me thinking in the weird ways of, what if Blackie Lawless decided to join the lads from Kings Of Leon? Mind you, Jeffs has a great gruffy voice, not always comparable to old Blackie though. The album is mostly all about the modern arrangements of rock numbers such as "You Can't Stop" and the following, "Hailstones", probably the best friggin' example of todays indie rock, alternativety, it hits boringville city limits on some of the tracks towards the middle of the album. I'm not that impressed by its first single, "Wrecking Ball", for that matter. There are better ones on the record and I'd rather just hang out with the smoothies of "Cities On Fire" or "The Debutante". Or why not the quirky uptempo U.K. indie rock number of "Last Rat In Hemelin". Close to 4... but 3 strong R's - my final verdict.
Label: Tanzan Music 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Do you Believe in Giulio Garghentini? The ten tracks debut solo album by the former Mantara and Darkfire vocalist (which I do not know or have heard) goes through many styles and sub-genres of hard rock and pop rock. He's the front man of the Bon Jovi cover band as well as vocal teacher, and the man has also worked with the musicals of 'Girda da libertá' and 'Jesus Christ Superstar' in his homeland of Italy. Mamma mia. That's a lot of... ehem. Let's not include the dodgy catch phrase from the horrible "Anti-Italo" commercial of the past in the write up.
Released through the Tanzan Music label, you may also expect guitarist Mario Percudani as the excellent guest musician. It's difficult to pin-point the music of "Believe" though as each track is very different from the other. To be frank. It's an awful mish-mash of seventies hammond rock, the odd musical theme song, funky beats, bluesy guitar work, eighties glam-rock, and not to mention the out and out Gospel choir? Blimey. Clearly we don't know which direction to go? It's perhaps just a bit too much food on the plate to the average consumer?
It's great fun to try something different from the rest of the sound-a-likes, you say? Absolutely. I could not agree more and I do not personally have a problem with all these elements and styles. Queen and Freddie Mercury did everything and more on their albums and they managed to have the rather successful music career. Simply have a look at my work throughout the years and notice that I enjoy the whole full spectrum from Pop to Soul, Metal, Synth, R&B, West coast, Sleaze, Thrash, 80s New Wave, Romantic, Classic, Goth, UK Indie, Hard Rock, Punk, Grunge, Prog, Art-Rock/Pop, Singer/songwriter, etc. etc. It's not a question of style. It's rather the lack of great songs that makes me question the work of Garghentini. Pick of the bunch: the uptempo hammond/keys number of "I Can't Stand The Rain".
Monday, November 4, 2013
Review by Dan Mann
Let me start by briefly telling you a bit about the band. Originally known as Six Barrel Syndicate, this quintet hail from Denmark. The band comprises of Richard - Lead, Buster - Lead guitar/backing vocals Bue - Rhythm guitar/backing vocals, Buster - Lead guitar, backing vocals, Bue - Rhythm guitar/backing vocals, Jakob - Bass/backing vocals & Adam - Drums. The EP was recorded live in Dead Rat Studio in Denmark and was produced by Jacob Bredahl (former singer in Hatesphere).
And so to the EP itself. Well according to the band's own description, the EP is a cocktail of catchy songs and explosive live energy. I certainly can't disagree with that. Kicking off with 'Heavy Thunder' straight away they're in your face with a raw yet controlled energy which is much lacking in a lot of releases these days. Next up we have 'Kings and Queens' a rip roaring foot stomper of a song. I can here quite a few hints to other bands, imagine the Black Crowes with a hint of Jackyl thrown into the mix. The third track, 'White Lies' continues in a similar vein, with a very tight rhythm and some excellent guitar work by Buster with just the right amount of hint of 70's rock bands of old. And so we come to the fourth and final track, 'It Ain't Over Yet'. If I'm honest I found the sound quality on this final track a little harsh to my ears and on repeat plays of the EP I found myself skipping this track, which is unfortunate.
Overall I found the EP to be energetic & enthusiastic sounding. I feel that if this was an album it would need breaking up with one or two slower numbers to avoid maybe giving the listener some fatigue through hearing the same speed & tempo throughout.
I give the EP RRR and will be keeping an eye on what direction they move in going forward.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Label: The End Records 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
The Spirits of The Dead are riding the fluffy white dragon as they're flying across the universe and towards the never-ending story of psychdelica, mushroom and Limahl. Make no sense? Well of course not. It's all kajagoogoo and the hostile squall of life's never-ending blizzard according to the evil dark wizzard. What if you're looking through the kaleidoscope of acid rock only to discover that every day is Christmas AND that you've attracted Santa Claustrophobia. Far-out, dude. Far-out...
"Rumours of a Presence" is in fact the third album from Norway's finest(?) psychedelica stoner band. It's the magical wonderful place where the Progressive guitar-driven flower-power rock of the late 60s and early 70s still exist. We're dealing with the dead, spirits, and heavy/melodic colourful compositions that defies description and dares the imagination to throw off its shackles to the known and the now. It's the past, present, and future rock of spectral groove and spacey arrangements. Let's rummage through the eight album tracks and shoot at something that is so far out of range, you might as well shoot for the moon.
Try really hard and you'll probably discover the odd bits and pieces of King Crimson, (very early) Pink Floyd, Van Der Graaf Generator, and the underground cult band of Aphrodite's Child (feat: Vangelis). They may also at times remind you of BJH and 'The Planet Caravan' song by Black Sabbath is no doubt another great source of inspiration. In fact, the Norwegians manage to get just about everything right on their third album, from their filthy guitar sound of the past and suitably keys, to the melodic groove of the songs within the Rumours Of A Prescence. It's very much the album effort and the genuine craftmanship of melodic progressive psychedelic rock. Lo and behold, these guys are actually fun to listen to even without the use of hallucinogenics.
Label: Asher Media/TA 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
"Sometimes life is a Trainwreck. But we're responsible for our own actions and we are the Architects of our own destruction sometimes". I believe you noticed the key word here as the Canadians of Trainwreck Architects are spot on sometimes with their Thrash Metal and sometimes all over the map with dodgy cookie monster vocals. There's however no need to worry about the overall clean and excellent vocals by Simon Ouellet. It's mostly old school metal and very much in the tradition of the eighties and acts such as (early) Annihilator, Prong, Pro-Pain, Testament, the mere hint of the punky metal of Skid Row ála Slave To The Grind. The odd track feature those awful black metal screams and hardcore metal though and I always tend to skip the last couple of tracks.
"Traits of the Sick", mastered by Jeff Waters of Annihilator, whom also makes a guest appearance with a guitar solo, the record features an eclectic mix of Thrash, classic metal and rock and deals with the idea of humans being human and never willing to be completely satisfied. Each track is an individual burst of gunfire riffing and dito vocals, and the band sound very true and natural that it fair brings a tear of nostalgia to your eye. Bassist Eric Litinas and drummer Marc-Antoine Blackburn form two natural focus points as they work hard and sound tight throughout the album.
It's a pretty raw production ála 80s underground Thrash and do not expect today's slick production when you go overboard on everything with the use of pro-tools and what not really. Clearly Trainwreck Architects' songwriting approach is to create as interesting drum rhythm as possible with headbanging mosh-pit rhythmical guitar work and the aggressive yet melodic melody. Backup gang vocals and constantly flashy solos by the two axe-masters (Khan/Baril) are only to be expected. Manic music, yet strickly controlled and steeped into the form of 80s/early 90s Thrash and Metal.
Label: PrescriptionPR/Indie 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
I enjoyed his "Story" album and was looking forward to part two of Bronson's autobiographical concept story. "The Long Lost" is in fact the prequel to his two-installment narrative chronicling project. Legendary producer and recording and mix engineer Godfrey Diamond (Lou Reed, Aerosmith, Sparks, Glen Campbell), recorded numerous overdubs, mixed, and assisted Bronson with the finishing of the album, while the majority of the double record was recorded at the studios of Brooklyn, Manhattan-based Producer/Engineer/Mixer Matt Gill (Fischerspooner, Aimee Mann, The Raveonettes).
I quite like the quirky mix of alternative rock and 70s singer/songwriter which goes on throughout the album. One minute you're listening to 80s R.E.M. with the twangy rock of Jackson Browne including pedal steel and everything (We Are Not Animals) and next it's Cat Stevens gone slightly Beck and indie (Living In Name, In A Cave). The moody arrangements of Nick Drake and George Harrison-esque slide guitar are two other great signs of the album's diverse and emotional pacing. By the way, R.E.M. borrowed tons of stuff from 70s acts such as Neil Young and America (the band) anyhow.
The songs are overriding feelings—like hope or anger— and a couple of them such as, "Idols" or "One Simple Myth", clearly just too hippie for my personal taste. To Bronson's credit, he's always willing to gamble and explore/try something new, and the closing track of "Stay In Touch", psychedelic haze of the past featuring excellent slide guitar and ultra sonic drums. It's the foot-tapping semi-acoustic album and definitely a step in the right direction.