Thursday, March 28, 2019

The END MACHINE: "The End Machine"

Rating: RRR
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Phew. It's darn difficult to keep track and/or record of all the projects by George Lynch and Jeff Pilson (both of Dokken fame). The band name changes are confusing yet the musicians are more or less the same geezers as always? It's 'Wild' Mick Brown behind the drums (also of Dokken fame) and Robert Manson (Lynch Mob, Warrant) behind the microphone. So why not simply release this under the old Lynch Mob monicker? The line-up may have fans making assumptions about the sound, things took a different turn. "The real truth of it is that George and I have this great songwriting partnership that's been going on for 35 years and we love to work together", says bassist and album producer Jeff Pilson.

In other words. They love to mess about and confuse their fanbase? If you're looking for the full-on eighties sound (the upbeat zebra-spandex-style) try and recall the monicker. It's End machine, not Time machine. They are asking us to take a "Leap Of Faith" on the opening track as Mason sings about exposing weakness and revealing scars. It's unfortunately one of the worst tracks here and the really strange choice as track one. Supposed to work the tables and become the great invitation to the rest of album. In reality... a real downer and no fun at all. The mid-90's sound. Things are looking up with "Hold Me Down", since it's a neat mix of the bluesy side of Lynch Mob sound and Dokken. Gee... what a surprise? Mason delivers a great vocal performance and it's all very UFO (the band) somehow?

"No Game", the rather typical mid-tempo Dokken track? Pay extra attention to the guitar work by Lynch. Not as flashy or over-the-top as in the eighties groove, but you don't always need all that bling-bling to impress. "Hey fool, can't you see. Thought you'd seen the last of me? I can't die, I'm too high. My hands scratch holes in the sky". Indeed. "Bulletproof" speak of not giving up, and the tougher it gets, the harder I fight. Ultra slow rock and perhaps just a bit too monotone. "Ride It" on the other hand, uptempo and hard hitting to the point of being punky/sleazy. "Burn The Truth", the stereotyped production sound of the mid/late nineties and the same goes with "Alive Today" and "Line of Division". The epic, Kingdom Come, Rainbow-thick ballad "Sleeping Voices" will be up there at the end of the year and Lynch does his very best impression of Blackmore (solo-wise). They close the album with the pop sounding melody of LILIM (Life Is Love Is Music) and extra points for attempting to educate the people rather than coming up with a dodgy phrase? When to expect the first tramp-stamp? You know... LILIM. It's catchy though. I like it.

Final verdict: damned if you do, damned it you don't? They can't win either way? Me thinks The End Machine are stuck somewhere in the middle of two rock genres and it's difficult to know which leg you're supposed to stand upon. It's neither bad nor great and thus why you'll end up right down the middle of the road.





Sweden's self proclaimed barons of rock & roll, Marvel are a bit mad. They used to depict themselves as superheroes, enjoy using aliases like The King, The Burher and The Vicar, and since forming in 2002 have released several well received EPs and albums. Me, I'd never heard of them until this morning when 'Guilty Pleasures' dropped underwhelmingly into my life. I say underwhelmingly because it's a covers album by a band I've never heard of. As you can see by the score, things improved.

Interestingly, the guilty pleasures that Marvel have covered are quite eclectic, with just a couple that I'd even heard of, like Dire Straits' 'Sultans Of Swing', Elvis' 'Burning Love' and REO Speedwagon's 'Keep Pushin'. The fact that the rest were unknown made it fun to track down the originals (Thanks, youtube) and see how things compare. There's Lee Dresser's 1969 rockabilly song 'El Camino Real', or the brilliant 1979 pop song "10 O'Clock Postman' by Fellow Swedes Secret Service. Carrying on the Sweish connection is the little known track 'Can't Shake Loose', originally by Agnetha Faltskog of aBBA fame. Although written by Russ Ballard it's quite a tedious song that Marvel manage to make into a pile of fun that puts the original to shame.

This is a common theme throughout, as Marvel play fast but not too fast, turning each track into a high energy fun fest that owes a lot to the 70s and a small amount to Kiss (the lead track "All For Glory" is, for me, better that Kiss' own version). The King has a great high(ish) register voice and can play a mean guitar to boot. For a three piece they really do make a glorious noise that is akin to a hyperactive toddler who's also a musical prodigy. Every track has it's merits, but I kept coming back to that ten O'clock postman and closing track 'Rock & Roll Hootchie Koo', a fine tribute to the Johnny Winters/Rick Derringer classic.

'Guilty Pleasures' takes an idea that can go either way and boots it securely into touch thanks to an inspired track list and a band determined to make each track their own without sacrificing what made the original (except 'Can't Shake Loose', natch) great in it's own right. This album is lots offun and will keep you coming back for more, and that's a win in my book.

Official Website

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Rating: RRRr
Label: Brainstorm/Maximum 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Instrumental hard rock from Germany? Kraut Rockers? Are they finally getting the recognition they deserve after decades and decades of obscurity? Hold your horses and woolly Mammoths. Let's get that monkey right off the back as the power-trio of Ape Shifter releases their sophomore studio album entitled "II", but do NOT really play the Kraut-Rock of yesterday's-years. According to the press-release, they are appealing to both seventies groove-rock fans and the punk/metal scene, the band seem to have their music definition sort of correct-ly. Calling it a off the chart mix of chunky riffs, edgy fret work, fuzzed out arrangements and cinematic landscapes wouldn't be too far off the monkey cage (hold the banana though).

Jeff Aug is the US of A underground guitarist who lives in the foothills of the Alps in the southern Germany for the last 20+ years. He has toured with the likes of Alan Holdsworth, Soft Machine, Stu Hamm, Anne Clark, etc. The great rhythm section of bassist Florian Walter and drummer Kurty Munch, ever so important to the overall sound of the Apes.

It's got the technical approach of Tony MacAlpine and the loud, noisy, close to blunt, approach of Ted Nugent going on throughout the CD. "II" is an instrumental album which changes over a series of listens to ultimately become the trusty companion on your daily trip to the local butcher. You do not enter the building though. You merely love the smell of dead animals? Only kidding. I'm sure you barely eat (raw) meat anyhow. But seriously... its easy accessibility, fun and catchy songwriting, a testimony to the power of rock n roll. I do not easily warm to all-instrumental albums, however, this is the one exception to the rule so far in 2019. It kind of makes you wonder why they're not at Mascot/Provogue? Go Ape, Go!

Monday, March 25, 2019

NINE SHRINES: "Retribution Therapy"

Rating: RRRR
Label: MascotLabelGroup 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

How many shrines? Nine? Let's pay attention to the band and their offering to the Metal Gods. Nine Shrines blend the extreme elements of active-rock/metal-core with well-crafted, melodic songwriting. This Cleveland (rocks!) quintet arose on the scene in 2014 from the ashes of aggressive Ohio bands like Attack Attack!, Life on Repeat, Downplay and Strangers to Wolves. All band members grew from their previous efforts to build something powerful and slightly disturbing with Nine Shrines. It's more or less melodic metal-core and they are armed with catchy melodies in the style of Bullet For My Valentine vs. the aggressive work of Static-X and Powerman 500.

"Nimrod" is an outstanding opening track though, motivated by revenge and the whole you-shall-not-break-me attitude of the band. The title track, the band's agenda, retribution and therapy, which include lightning fast riffing and dito double bass drumming. "Chain Reaction" is a really fun track. Slightly goofy, quirky, trippy keyboards in the background and Chris Parketny howling upfront. The former Strangers to Wolves vocalist is in fact no stranger to wolves (at all) and any song that howls like this is a winner in my book. "Happy Happy" paints (not to be confused with pants) the sad and lonley picture of the typical outcast and the failure of today's society. The curse of always being on the outside looking in. Darn catchy and fun metal.

Next up is "Dead", a killer metal anthem and I believe the trippy keys are about to break away from the rest of the band. As you get past the half mark of the album, there are some truly wicked tracks, such as the morbid sounding "Hymn/Conjure" which in my humble opinion is Depeche Mode's Violator gone metal. I seriously doubt that's what they had in mind as they wrote the song though. "Pretty Little Psycho", the proper headbanger. "Ghost" slows things down a bit and features the metal boy-band choir and powerful 'oh-woah-oh-woah's. Pretty catchy, I'd say.

Sure. It's hardly groundbreaking stuff and you've heard a lot of this before, but... it's aggressive and catchy, something which is easier said than done. You know, intensifying the power and speed without losing the simplicity of hooks. Tricky business. Nicely produced by Dan Korneff (My Chemical Romance, All That Remains, Papa Roach, etc).

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

FM: "The Italian Job"

Rating: Live
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

"The Italian Job" - sheer class from the opening note to the last? Absolutely. Steve Overland is still the man and the voice really hasn't changed much since the eighties. The rest of the grey gentlemen: Jim Kirkpatrick (guitars), Merv Goldsworthy (bass), Jem Davis (keyboards), Pete Jupp (drums), are solid and provide great musicanship, if only a bit too safe and robotic. To be completely honest. They hardly move around at all on stage and they're not THAT old, you know. Mick Jagger to the rescue?

FM are a bit like the full English breakfast on a Monday morning, as you roll out of bed, they hit the stage with black pudding, bangers, bacon, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, and egg everything in sight. You'll end up satisfied by all the soul food, but... do people really need all that fried stuff at 7 a'clock? Sure they did. Back in the days and around the year of 1886!! People worked hard in the coal mines, woods, or fields. Nowadays? 12 hours hardly at work infront of the PC screen, facebook every 10th minute? I don't think so, chubby. Try the continental.

Certainly, the FM set had been updated as the first rhythm of "Black Magic" seems to at least please parts of the audience. There's no holding back from the pack when Steve get his six-string out and they burst into "I Belong To The Night", one of those all-time best AOR tunes. The three grey gentlemen (Steve, Jim, Merv) stand briefly together in the traditional rock pose as they play "Let Love Be The Leader". They hammered on a piece of AOR something as if there were no tomorrow on "Killed By Love" and the front row do the sing-a-long during the new(ish) track (recorded live in Italy/Milan, April 2018). It's mostly the yeah-yeah's. However. The audience - definitely at full swing as they even pick up the old 'ole-ole-ole' chant and we're not talking about Man United.

"Love Lies Dying" merely second to the Strangeways tune and it's a friggin' great little semi-ballad. The four last numbers are all golden oldies and "Bad Luck" never sounded this good in the studio? Canned backup vocals? It's no doubt a good fun live CD/DVD package if you're the long time fan. Nothing extra, bonus, or interviews to be found. Still. I dare anyone to not smile/grin along to the music as they end the show with "Other Side Of Midnight". Simply ask Jem. He's clearly delighted and happy-all-over at finding himself upfront with the rest of the gang (sorry Pete!).

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Rating: RRR
Label: MelodicRevolutionRecords 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

The long and winding road that eventually leads us to the Face of Life by Kinetic Element? Don't go thinking the Beatles though as this is old skool Symphonic, Progressive Rock. It's all very 'fantasy' sounding and role-playing nerds all over the world are going to wet themselves over the extra long compositions. "When you cross over the Rubicon that everyone must face. You'll turn around at the trumpet sound and see the whole human race". Lyrically, it's spiritual themes and observations on the state of the world and the human condition.

"We know the wind doesn't blow in vain. Seeking to cry out every person's name. And though the list has no end once it's begun. The song of finishing is often sung". Musicwise, it's early YES meet early PETRA (up to More Power To Ya') and the CD features four (4!) tracks of new music clocking in at 47 minutes. However. There's a special bonus track at the end of the disc, so I guess that's five tracks and 50 minutes to be completely honest. Expect layers of fantasy sounding keyboards and overall impressive ebony/ivory work by band-leader Mike Visaggio.

The production is old skool and bassist Mark Tupko thumps the strings in the style of Chris Squire (RIP). Vocally, Saint John Coleman is no match to Jon Anderson though. Nonetheless. One listen is all it takes to tell you where the band are coming from. It's Yes, Yes, Yes, and hardly a single 'No' throughout the album. Nothing on here is particularly original, nor is it modern sounding in its structure and sound. It simply oozes the seventies and there's not a single note post 1975 to be found. Keeping in mind that Petra never sounded 'up to date' or in touch with their times on the classic, original, line-up (perhaps with the exception of Beat The System). "Angel of change, Gibraltar's roots are shaking by your coming". Never boring, never truly intriguing. It's simply just pretty solid stuff... if you're into Yes-prog.


Rating: RRR
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

"Cause when the hero dies and the truth becomes a lie. Black out the sun". The Dio connection? Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell were Ronnie Dio's co-conspirators and co-writers on the "Holy Diver", "Last In Line" (the album from which they took their name) and "Sacred Heart" albums. Not enterily sure why I should include this since "II" sound absolutley nothing like those classic albums. Unfortunately. Jimmy Bain passed away at the age of 68 on January 23, 2016 (RIP) and their debut album was released in February 2016. They brought in renowned bassist Phil Soussan (ex-Ozzy Osbourner etc.) and continue to release music that have as much in common with DIO as yours truly (I'm the Urban Legend).
In fact. Tracks such as "Black Out The Sun", "Give Up the Ghost", "Sword From The Stone", "Electrified", "The Light", sounds like Soundgarden-light and I definitely prefer the classy work of Bad Motor Finger, Super Unknown and Down On The Upside. Major Soundgarden fan. "Year of The Gun", sounds more like the Tygers Of Pan Tang leftover than Dio and that's never a good sign in my books. The meat and potato version of NWOBHM. Truth be told. I miss the extra crunch and not to mention extra memorable melodies. The whole album suffers from this and as a result, it lacks that certain something that turns a decent effort into a great album.

Final verdict: There's simply not enough of stuff here that really reaches out and grabs you by the throat. "Landslide" is however all great from start to finish. Great musicians, great production by Jeff Pilson (Dokken) - pretty average/decent song material.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

JOURNEY - Live In Japan 2017, Escape/Frontiers




Something of a dream gig for fans, Journey went off to the Budokan in 2017 to treat an audience to full playthroughs of possibly their most popular ane revered albums, namely 'Escape' and 'Frontiers'. Existing members Neal Schon, Russ Vallory, Jonathan Cain and Arnel Pineda are joined by original drummer Steve Smith, who has been off playing jazz and cultural music for some time now.

There's few surprises here, as the band plugh through the albums in the original running order, pausing only to sandwich in a rousing thirteen minute jam version of 'La Raza Del Sol', originally not on 'Frontiers' as there wasn't room (it was the B-side to 'Still they Ride'). Aside from this it's a pretty straight gig, with an instrumental intro to each album opening track. The band reall are on fine form, and although Arnel sounds a bit wobbly on opener 'Don't Stop Believin' he soon gets into his stride and does an admirable job that even Steve Perry devotees can't find much fault with. Steve Smith shows some nice drumming touches, bringing an evolved style into the mix that doesn't intrude but can subtly improve at times.

As with many live albums, there's not much to say except that this is a fine example of the genre. The package comes with a DVD (or Blu Ray) and 2 compact discs, one with each album on it. The whole concert is over 2 hours and quite simply is a must for any Journey fan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

FIND ME: "Angels In Blue"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Something suspicious about this duo. Swedish musician, songwriter, producer Daniel Flores (Issa, The Murder Of My Sweet etc.) and US of A singer Robbie LaBlanc from Blanc Faces have the appearance of some kind of dodgy seller at your local used car dealer, with a three-piece pic and matching backdrop. Even the artwork is a direct insult to the potential buyer as the woman is way too aggressive in her "buy a used car from these two or I'll scratch your window" attitude.

But seriously. Angels in Blue is the duo's latest offering to the ancient Gods of AOR and pure dut-dut keyboards. Musically, Find Me are paying major tribute to everything that is the eighties with capitol E. LaBlanc, one of those singers that could easily take an average song and turn it into something out of ordinary. As a AOR duo, they are friggin' excellent, but it would have been nice if they wrote their own material to at least some extent. It's mostly the same bunch of writers as the Toby Hitchcook album (Marcus Nygren, Mike Palace, Alessandrio Del Vecchio) and you know what to expect really. It's nice, it's catchy, it's uber slick rock inspired and influenced by the likes of Survivor, Jim Peterik, Signal, Drive, She Said, Strangeways, etc. etc.

Flores enjoy those big keys productions and opener "No Tears In Paradise" include some excellent ebony/ivory work by Sören Kronqvist. "Chain Of Love" is the work of the underrated Torben Enevoldsen and something like "Waiting For A Lifetime" is basically POP disquised as AOR (or vice versa?), but it's darn good and LaBlanc sings his heart out. "True Believer" is a bit too much 'Eurovision' for my personal taste though. Check out the triumphant return of pomp keys on "You Are The Only One" and simply hit replay over and over again. Ehem. In my humble opinon. It's always a mistake to include a classic song such as the Survivor cover of "Desperate Dreams" on your album. People enjoyed your new songs... and now they'll have to compare it to an all-time classic?? Big mistake. Music is forever connected to special memories and nostalgia. Two things you can never beat or compete against. The used car dealer/seller image is no doubt better than spandex and ozone killing hairdos. However. Cheer up next time and go all in on Miami Vice and blazers.  Recommended!

SPIRITS OF FIRE: "Spirits of Fire"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Wimps and Posers - leave this band/project alone! Vocals/ Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-Judas Priest, Iced Earth), Guitars/ Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Bass/ Steve DiGiorgio (Testament, Death) and Drums/ Mark Zonder (ex-Fates Warning, Warlord) was put together under the direction of renowned L.A. based producer Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson, Halford, Tribe Of Gypsies). What to expect from the Spirits Of Fire (after the title of one of their songs) and the METAL work on their debut album?

According to the press-release, the music can best be described as classic Priest meets Savatage?? Sure. But only if you ignore the first 15 years of classic JP as this takes off in "Painkiller" and barely touch ground in the seventies or eighties era. To be completely honest. There's not whole lot of classic Savatage moments to be found on the first five tracks. It's quite brutal, aggressive, and hard hitting to the point of sounding like if Annihilator recorded Jugulator with a pack of wolverines down their pants. It's ripping guitars and howling vocals by the excellent sounding duo of Caffery and Owens. Not to mention pounding bass-lines and crashing drums. The psycho-delic attempt at keyboards mayhem may however not please all listeners. Trippy and truly annoying at times.

"Meet Your End" is exactly as over-the-top and Thrash(y) Testament Metal as you'd expect from the title. Ripper spits out the words and it's the soundtrack to your horror nightmare movie. Track 9, 10 and 11, "Never To Return", "The Path", "Alone In Darkness", the most Savatage sounding tracks of them all and they're stuck at the end of the disc. The latter may also remind you of Guns N Roses and one of Axl's sappy ballads. Have a go at this if you enjoy Testament, Annihilator and JP's Painkiller sound. All hail the little Ripper!!!

WEST BOUND: "Volume 1"

Rating: RRR
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

West Bound is a new project/band formed in the L.A. area by vocalist Chas West (ex-Bonham, Lynch Mob, Resurrection Kings, etc.) and guitarist /producer Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson, Halford, Tribe of Gypsies). With a line-up completed by Jimmy Burkard (guitar), Jason Cornwell (bass), Dave Moreno (drums) and Stephen LeBlanc (keyboards), the guys offer their take on the eighties hard rock sound with soulful vocals and old skool melodies?? Besides Spirits Of Fire, Roy Z also produced this and he probably fell asleep (hard at work) behind the board as opener "Never Surrender" almost sounds like the eighties demo?? It could be the mastering done by Andy Horn or Perugino's executive producer note (nah!). Then again. It's produced, engineered, mixed by Roy Z, and the volume drop is simply not acceptable in the year of 2019.

It's otherwise a great little tune in the style of Lion and their cult classic release "Trouble In Angel City" from the unholy year of 1989. It's got the swagger and attitude of the 80s act and Kal Swann must be darn proud of the lads. "Dance Of Life" speak of how some people live from day to day (some are lost trying to find their way). It's bits and pieces of Blue Murder and Lion. "Ain't Gonna Drown", the rather boring blues tune. "Beautiful Dream", the great power-ballad in the vein of Bonham and Kingdom Come. "Nothing" is basically nothing to write home about. "Roll The Bones", you might say and think Rush, but it's rather (Robert) Plant lost in his eighties solo period (zzz!). "On My Own", "Keeper of the Flame", mildly decent Bonham numbers. "Turn To You", the typical MTV piano-ballad of the early nineties and don't forget to hold your lighter to the sky. What? No lighters?  What's next? No music on MTV?? "No Room For Sympathy" takes you back to the Lion's den and Trouble In Angel City. Closing track, "Traveller", the return of Robert Plant and Kingdom Come (ouch, the Led Zep fans are going to hate that).

Final verdict: Overall decent/nice material. Will it stand the test of time or the label competition? It might just get lost amongst all the other releases at Frontiers.

TORA TORA: "Bastards of Beale"

Rating: R
Label: Frontiers 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

First Jetboy and now Tora Tora? Bottom and barrel, two words that comes to mind. Nevertheless. I actually enjoyed The Jetski's and handed out the decent 3 rating as they were clearly born to fly. This on the other hand. Well... there's no Surprise! Attack! and it might just crash. Tora Tora is an American hard rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee during the 80s. The origin of the band name is a reference to the song of the same name, released by Van Halen on their 1980 album, "Women And Children First". End review? Nah. Hold on to your cats and woolly jumpers as we're getting ready to fight off the ugly old Bastards Of Beale.

First impression. Goodie. They make Jetboy sound like the Beatles. Second impression. Material-wise, it's awful dusty and darn bluesy here. Third impression. There's no such thing as third impression. I believe you'd file this under poor white man's blues and ditto trash music? Proper Whiskey stained vocals by Anthony Corder as he manage to hit the correct note every third track or so. It's definitely looking grim so far and we haven't even mentioned the production yet. The poor drummer sounds like if he's playing on all sorts of cans, tins, and various bottles.

All you ever do is complain and trying to be cool, but end up sounding like an annoying smart-ass? Fair enough. "Son of a Prodigal Son", the nice slow-blues. I enjoy the wicked groove of "Silence The Sirens", it's the best song on offer and actually really, really, good. It's one brief moment of clarity before they get back to beating the crap out of the blues, their instruments, cats, and strange folks in woolly jumpers. Final verdict: Your daft uncle's garage band finally managed to get themselves a record deal. 'All hail Rock N Roll. Long live the Bastards of Beale'. Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

ROBIN TROWER: "Coming Closer To The Day"

Rating: RRR
Label: Provogue/Mascot 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Robin Trower, the iconic guitarist who rose to fame in the 60's with the legendary Procol Harum, according to old-fart journos, recorded his best solo albums in the mid-seventies which also happens to be the age of the man as of today. Thus why the title of the new album and the darn right personal lyrics and take on the fact that we are all "Coming Closer To The Day". Bugger off to trends, new genres and styles. This geezer is not going to play nice and invite the latest new thing to co-write or sing on the album. "I think that I'm drawing much more from my roots now," he considers, "rather than shying away from them. I'm not worried about what the music is – or what people might think of it. I'm just doing this out of the sheer joy of doing it. My passion for guitar now is stronger than ever. It's still a great thrill, just to play…

Kicking off the album with "Diving Bell", a track that simply oozes of proper roadhouse blues and fuzzy guitar work might just please any fan of the man. It's got the distortion going on at eleven and acts like ZZ Top are also using this to disquise their white background and upbringing. "Truth or Lies" continues to stroll down the same avenue of mid-tempo blues and as you reach main street U.K. aka the title track, you'll notice the overall theme of the album. It's all pretty much steeped in a similar mode, structure, and formula.

Is it stuck in second gear uphill and almost out of gas? Nah. Never quite as bad, but, do not expect to find many or hardly any uptempo moments. "Tide of Confusion" is however slightly more aggressive and blunt. "The Perfect Wrong" goes through a couple of wicked segements where you might pick up on the wah-wah and straight-to-the-point solo as the highlight of the day. On the one hand I absolutley love listening to the warm tone and excellent guitar work. On the other I feel restless and start thinking, 'I don't have time for this mid-paced blues album'.

That's probably the biggest problem with "Coming Closer To The Day". How the earth are we going to find the time for something like this in 2019? We are all Closer To The Day by the minute. In the end. I decided it's better to at least spend some quality time with Trower and his latest effort. It sure beats watching any of many cooking shows and program on tele (zzz!). Final verdict: Solid stuff -only a bit too mid-paced.


Rating: RR
Label: AORHeaven 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Pulse? Barely ticking, I'd say. It's the release of the third album by British rockers Blood Red Saints which debut was released at Frontiers records (the premier league of melodic hard rock labels) before losing too many games and ended up playing in the championship (AOR Heaven). There's no shame in playing at the 2nd league as long as you're keeping your dream alive. Vocalist Pete Godfrey is no doubt a major Def Leppard fan. He jumps, he cries, he screams battle cries, before breaking into the rather fun rock of "I'm Your Devil". Perhaps the least Def Lep sounding track of them all?

There's no compromises, no excuses, simply the best 11 songs we could write and we are proud of the results. The band proudly announced as the lads are trying to push the boundaries of melodic rock. It's basically "X" meets "Slang" only not as impressive and with a rather dodgy production. The latter is obviously not that strange considering budget and studio sessions. The lads are likely to play cheerful, sweet, and gentle melodies, and they do step up to the plate to hit a homerun... every once in a while. For instance. "Cross To Bear" is a wicked little tune with just the right amount of hook, line and sinker.

Unfortunately. There's too many moments which simply passes the listener by as they break into one dimensional rock 'ala cliche-ville. There's not a huge lot to rave about here and it leaves you with a final verdict of: Meh.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

RPWL: "Tales From Outer Space"

Rating: RRRR+
Label: GentleArtofMusic 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Progressive Rock and quirky concept albums, it's the bread and butter of a genre that gave us endless hours of joy and head scratching moments. It's no difference from the air that you breathe, it's pretty much essential stuff and the only reason that you're still out there in space. Well. We're at earth, but we're part of the universe and thus space and there's a void that you simply need to fill with marvelous moments such as this monster of an album.

The Germans of RPWL has no doubt created something out of the ordinary with Tales From Outer Space. Perhaps not the concept album in the true sense, but there are seven short stories about science fiction. If you've never heard of the band (shame on you), RPWL started out as the Pink Floyd cover act in the mid-nineties and has since recorded some truly great and spacey prog-rock albums. There's plenty of space (geddit?) between all the arrangements and instruments, allowing all members to shine. Everything is so crystal clear that I couldn't help but think of the way Floyd and David Gilmour sounded in their heyday.

Don't get me wrong. It's not just another copy-cat album and act. They have certainly managed to craft their own path to success, but of course, there is always an underlying comparison to you-know-whom. It's thought-provoking stuff from the word go and opener "A New World" set the (s)pace and standard of the entire album with its message of 'aliens are not impressed by the evil caused by humans on earth'. Thus why they decided to bugger off and leave this mess for us to (not) resolve. It's the whole humans are evil/aliens are kind theme, let's hope it's true since we'd like to hear more music from the Bavarian prog-rockers.

More than anything, Tales From Outer Space is all about class and it's difficult to pick highlights and moments. It's basically all good and something like 'Welcome To The Freak Show' take the Floyd-prog and mix it up with Ultravox and their classy work of the eighties. The ten minute long anthem of 'Light Of The World' goes through all the different faces of Art and Prog-Rock and will leave you wanting for more as time passes by in a blink of the eye (ear?). It's sheer class from opener to closer 'Far Away From Home' and the choice of spacey arrangements and soft voice of Yogi Long (not to be confused with Yogi Bear) favours the songs, and that is clearly stated on tracks throughout the album. Add to this tons of spacey keyboards, wicked rhythm section, and lyrical guitar playing by Kalle Wallner, and you're all set for the Prog-Rock experience of the year. Essential stuff if you're into spacey Prog-Rock in the vein of you-know-who. Highly recommended!!!