Since leaving Black Star Riders, Damon Johnson (ex-Alice Cooper, Brother Cane) has focused on his solo career, with his new album Battle Lessons (Double Dragon Records, Straight 8 Entertainment) with The Get Ready his second solo album in three years. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Mastodon) and joined by drummer Jarred Pope (Tom Keifer) and bassist Robbie Harrington (Steve Vai), Battle Lessons is a hook-filled slab of melodic Hard Rock.
A new album and a new singer. The Dead Daisies’ latest album Holy Ground (SPV Steamhammer) is their first with the “voice of rock” Glenn Hughes, and his powerful pipes are a perfect match for the band’s well-honed classic rock. Having been in Deep Purple and more recently Black Country Communion Glenn is no stranger to famous bandmates and supergroups. The lead single ‘Unspoken’ shows that despite the ever-revolving door of bandmates, the music is as thunderous, hooky and rocking as ever.
There’s no talking about Blind Golem’s first full-length album without mentioning Uriah Heep. The Italians initially began as a Heep tribute band and desired to write their own music in a similar Seventies Rock style, going so far as to give the artwork that Demons and Wizards aesthetic and even getting Ken Hensley himself to record keyboards and slide guitar just months before his tragic passing. A Dream Of Fantasy (MaRaCash Records) makes for an inevitably derivative listen with that established, but it is also an undeniably infectious labor of love.
Consisting entirely of musicians from the eccentric Demon Bitch with equally esoteric pseudonyms, Detroit’s White Magician settles firmly into the world of heavy Occult Rock on their first full-length album. “The Agents Of Fortune”-esque cover art is enough to indicate that any comparisons to Blue Öyster Cult are likely intentional; the band exercises a similarly freerolling attitude with an ominous undercurrent. But while Dealers Of Divinity (Cruz Del Sur Music) gambles on a well-trod formula, the group seems to have a couple of aces up their sleeves.
After nearly two decades spent exclusively on the live circuit, Blue Oyster Cult returns with their fifteenth full-length album, The Symbol Remains (Frontiers Records Srl). In a way similar to the recent releases by fellow Seventies Rock legend Alice Cooper, the band opts for a kitchen sink songwriting method. The fourteen tracks play out like a career retrospective of sorts, exploring a variety of moods between classic-minded rockers, synth-heavy AOR numbers, and atmospheric occult excursions.
South of Eden, a classic rock-esqband from Ohio, release an EP, The Talk (LAVA Music), to eager supporters, new admirers, and all-around music connoisseurs. The Talk presents listeners with a wonderful classic rock era sound. Think the mid to late seventies through the early nineties; when rock was fun, light, airy, and full of awesome guitar riffs and harmonies that sweep you off your feet and float you away to rock and roll heaven. It may sound like an over-exaggeration, but pick up The Talk and you will smile in understanding.
Having successfully reinvented themselves as a power trio on 2018’s What Was And What Shall Be,Brimstone Coven, doubles down on the template with The Woes Of A Mortal Earth (Ripple Music). The style remains rooted in Seventies-flavored Occult Rock with the songs largely being driven by simple guitar/bass grooves and wafting vocal harmonies. The atmosphere and drawn-out pacing further reinforce a trancelike mood that is relaxing, yet esoteric. Continue reading
High Spirits’ endearing sincerity has always been a shining contrast to the often-sour realms of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, and that feelgood brightness is needed now more than ever. While it’s been four years since the release of their last album, 2016’s Motivator, the Chicago project’s fourth full-length doesn’t skip a beat and their established blend of AOR and Classic Metal is well intact. You always know what you’re getting but it’s presented with far too much enthusiasm to ever feel stale.
Butterfly’s full-length debut isn’t the least bit shy about its Seventies Rock inspirations. That is made immediately apparent with the cover art contrasting Vikings and a mystical title with an innocuous band name, but the music plays out like a grab-bag of Montrose, Uriah Heep, and Budgie among others. Its free-spirited attitude is comparable to their contemporaries in Freeways and one can occasionally detect hints of otherworldly haziness in line with Tanith and Brimstone Coven.Continue reading
Ghost Cult was honored to chat recently with Nightwish singer Floor Jansen, all about their new album Human :II: Nature (read our review here) out now via Nuclear Blast Records. Floor spoke about releasing a new album during the pandemic, shared her thoughts on what life will be like and when we might get back to shows and tours, the new album, rising to meet the challenge of the new material, the sprawling and unique style of Human :II: Nature, how she stays humble, thoughts on the legacy of Nightwish, other projects she is working on, and much more. Order Human :II: Naturehere, and check out our chat. Continue reading