It’s been over a month since the last blog entry! I apologize for that, but it’s been one busy month. We had a major home improvement project, which included emptying half of the apartment etc. But now it’s done, the updated home looks nice and life is pretty much normal again.
While packing, unpacking, painting and doing other things I have tried to keep up with the new releases and revisit some old ones. Because of the Geoff Tate gig last week, classic Queensrÿche has been getting a lot of airtime. ”Operation: Mindcrime” will forever be my favourite of their albums, but I’ve always liked ”Empire” too, and during the last couple of years I’ve really gotten into ”Rage For Order” as well.
After hearing the new WINGER single ”Proud Desperado” (see below) and liking it, during the last couple of days I’ve listened their old stuff a lot. Such an excellent band who didn’t deserve all that crap that was thrown at them. To call them a ”hair band” or ”glam metal” isn’t really a good description. Sure, back then they had the hair and the look but they also had immense musical talent and songs that were almost progressive metal, not just party anthems.
Let’s go through some of the recent releases real fast, in no particular order:
FIRST NIGHT - ”Deep Connection”: Basically this is very decent AOR, but something doesn’t click with me. Maybe it’s the lyrics, 56 minutes and 13 songs of nothing but love songs is a bit too pink and fluffy even for the most hardcore AOR fans. Maybe this is better in small portions?
AUTUMN’S CHILD - ”Starflower”: Mikael Erlandsson is a productive guy, and if you like his work, you’ll enjoy this album as well. There’s a lot variety and different influences. My favourite songs: ”Afrodite’s Eyes” and ”Karenina”. Is this what they call Pomp Rock?
TEN - ”Something Wicked This Way Comes”: I did mention this in blog#10 (what a surprise!), and promised to get back to it. It is a solid album, a very strong RRRR rating for sure. I seem to have four of its’ songs to my ”Highlights of 2023” playlist, which is a lot.
KHYMERA - ”Hold Your Ground”: I’ve liked all the Dennis Ward-fronted Khymera albums, and this one’s no exception. There are no drastic changes to the previous albums and it’s a case of ”more of the same”, but I’m happy with that. The songs are good and that’s what counts. Highlights include ”Firestarter”, ”Sail On Forever” and ”Could Have Been Us”. RRRR.
STEEL PANTHER - ”On The Prowl”: Is it me or is it them, I don’t know, but they’re not funny anymore.They’ve been on a downward spiral since the first album.I feel that the lyrics have gotten increasingly gross and dumb, and the music has taken the backseat to the ”jokes”. Among the songs that sound like leftovers from Motley Crue or from the first SP album, there’s maybe a couple of good ones. The nostagia-filled ”1987” sounds like a sincere tribute to the era. ”Magical Vagina” is musically something that Ghost could come up with. RR
STARGAZER - ”Life Will Never Be The Same”: This is pretty decent guitar-driven melodic hard rock, reminding me of early Gotthard, vintage Dokken and ”Scratch’n Sniff”-era Fate. Song pick: ”Turn Off The Light”. RRRr.
ALL MY SHADOWS - ”Eerie Monsters”: a side-project for a couple of Vandenplas guys. I think I prefer this to their main band! Melodic metal and rock somewhere between classic Queensrÿche and Threshold, strong choruses and interesting arrangements. RRRR
CREYE - ”III - Weightless”: the young Swedes have yet to surpass their first album, but they’re trying hard. The previous album was a bit poppy, but for this third effort they’ve cranked up the power and it sounds quite majestic. Listening recommendations: ”One Step Away” and ”Spreading Fire”. RRRR
That’s it for now, still plenty of albums to be checked. I’ll keep working on it.