Let’s face the facts, folks, the music industry has changed drastically in the last 30 years. I firmly believe that change is inevitable and most of the time I embrace change with open arms. The recording process has been completely revolutionized to the point that musicians can produce their own albums right from home on their computers. The problem with having the ability to record and release music so easily is the plethora of music that is flooding the market that just does not stand the test of time. Think of some of the current songs you hear on Fm radio stations, most of them will spin themselves out of rotation and vanish to the isle of forgotten songs within 6 months of their release. Career longevity has become an elusive beast in the music industry, so when an artist who released his first album over thirty years ago is touring and selling out venues, a Skullgurl must pay attention. Of course, I am talking about the original untamed mane rock star, Sebastian Bach. Continue reading
I love Metal music, my name is Skullgurl Metalchick after all. Full disclosure, I am still a sucker for the music of the Glam Metal days. The sub-genre had many aliases, Hair- Metal, Cock Rock, Bubble Gum Rock, depending on who you ask. The last couple of years there has been a renewed interest in the bands of the era of hair, I call it Nostalgia Rock. The headbangers of the 1980s now have 401ks, disposable incomes and the silent yearning to connect with the carefree days of youth. In all reality, most of these bands, are content to do some festivals and then go back to their own suburban democracy. Then there are bands like Spread Eagle, that did not go gentle into that good night of musical obscurity. Spread Eagle continues to make their music tantalizingly relevant with the release of their newest studio album, Subway To The Stars (Frontiers Srl). Continue reading
At its molten heart, Rock music should be a very simple beating beast indeed. It should inspire and excite, yes, but it doesn’t need complicated rhythms, progressive tendencies, cerebral lyrics, analysis, politics or a whole plethora of interesting and additional ingredients to be successful or do what it sets out to do. And that is to, unequivocally, “Rock”. Continue reading
One of the nice things about a band like Steel Panther is that, like a box of chocolates, you always know what you’re gonna get. And with the Panther, you get the chocolate too; vocalist “Michael Starr” dips right in on the opening track of Lower the Bar (Open E), dropping this little nugget of wisdom: “Sometimes the back door is the only way in.” Continue reading
Serenity from Austria releases their fifth album Codex Atlanticus via Napalm Records on 29 January 2016. The opening of Codex Atlanticus sounds like a soundtrack for some epic heroic battle. There are lots of violins and ethereal vocalizing. As it moves forward you are swept up in the grandiose music and then it abruptly ends. I halfway expected our hero to come bursting forth, sword in hand to take on the bad guy. But no, then came some really nice piano music and the crushing sound of rock and roll which quickly led to electronica prog. A lot of stuff is happening and ‘Follow Me’ hasn’t even been on for a minute. The vocals kick in and I’m transported to the 90s and Japanese cartoons. I swear, Georg Neuhauser sounds like the go to singer for every awesome Japanese anime series. You want to sing along whilst striking a pose in a mirror.
Neuhauser’s vocals aren’t the only things that are inspiring. The sheer cacophony of composition on Codex Atlanticus is uplifting. From Andreas Schipflinger’s drumming to Jan Vacik on keyboards. Codex Atlanticus may at first sound cheesy, but let yourself go and get lost in the music. It makes you feel good! The lyrics are uplifting and powerful. The more you listen to this album, the better it becomes. For example, ‘Iniquity’ is a song that Iron Maiden wishes they wrote. It’s got great guitars, awesome soloing, epic auxiliary music, and meaningful lyrics without being boring and heavy handed. ‘Iniquity’ is definitely my favourite track on the album!
Codex Atlanticus is multilayered. The compositions are chalk full of twists and turns. ‘My Final Chapter’, for example, starts out with a pagan influenced flute and adds power ballad vocals. It’s an interesting mix. At 2:28 a strong 80s hair metal guitar solo crashes in and uplifts the song. Codex Atlanticus is full of such juxtapositions. Serenity’s Codex Atlanticus is a solid progressive orchestral saga soundtrack album.
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Long-running glam rock icons Mötley Crüe will play the final show of their 34-year career tonight in their hometown of Los Angeles, CA at the Staples Center. Since their announcement a year and a half ago announcing the end of the band, on the “All Bad Things Tour” Mötley Crüe has played 163 shows on 5 continents with one final show left. The performance will be filmed for a special DVD/pay per view event that will also see a run in movie theaters next year. Next summer will also see the movie version of The Dirt, the authorized biography of the band. The band has released nine studio albums and sold approximately 100 million records to date since 1981.
It’s taken them 20 years to rediscover their midas touch, but of late Earache Records have been on a roll. A rock n’ roll, if you will. Whether Dig installed a Hot Tub Time Machine or not is open to scandalous rumour, but the label has been plucking 70’s rock success after retro-fuelled triumph, seeing the likes of The Temperance Movement, Rival Sons and Blackberry Smoke bring home the bourbon. Atlanta, Georgia’s Biters look set to be the latest in the line of acts on their roster recreating the magic of yesteryear, adding a street-smart proto-punk bite to their rock, rather than the smokey Southern vibe of their new label mates.
Kicking off with ‘Restless Hearts’, rocking a brilliant earworm of a bubblegum chorus, whose conception seems rooted in a world where punk and rock first met, as if Social Distortion had rocked out a couple The Sweet covers, Electric Blood manages to be effortlessly cool in its’ skin-tight Ts and tassle leather jackets. All through, the effortlessness with which the choruses lodge in the brain is to be admired, as Biters bring the pop of 80’s hair metal, mixed into a cocktail of the rough, sleaze and cool of The Rolling Stones and the panache (and tambourine) of 70’s Glam Rock.
Swagger, nonchalance and above all quality simple rock songs dominate the skyline of their début. ‘1975’ and ‘Heart Fulla Rock n’ Roll’ overload with lyrical cliché but this is no parody as they swing authentic, with the latter breaking out into a Gary Moore descending guitar harmony and old-school bass-led breakdown. Vocalist Tuk is part-cheerleader, part-rabble rouser and full-time tunesmith, his simple tones knowing their limitations, but infusing these straight-forward good time songs with the melodies and hooks they need.
Don’t go into Electric Blood expecting anything other than oh-so-cool pop rock, and a love of yesteryear. In the heaviness stakes, Biters are more Gaslight Anthem than Green Day, and at times both are brought to mind. With traces of Americana lacing tracks like ‘Dreams Don’t Die’ and nods to AC/DC (‘Electric Blood’) and Thin Lizzy (‘Space Age Wasteland’), this is an album that demands the top (or at least the windows) down, the open road, the speed-dial nudging naughty and voices raised in joyous communion.
These songs have teeth. Biters just bit hard, and these songs aren’t letting go.
The V is the solo project of Veronica Freeman, and Now or Never (Frontiers Music) is her debut album. Freeman has been storming her way through the music scene for ten years with Benedictum, and now brings forth a Hard-Rock album supported by a lot of big names in the scene. Not the least of these is Tony Martin, formerly of Black Sabbath, who appears in the duet ‘King for a Day’.
Unlike Benedictum, this album falls in the Hard Rock or Hair Metal categories, and as it turns out, these work very well with Freeman’s very strong vocals. The subjects vary from empowerment to love, and in the absence of love, sex. Musically, the album opens and closes with a very classic hard-rock sound, while everything in between has the same modern quality and feeling as Jorn Lande puts into his album. However, it has even more clichéd riffs and far more clichéd lyrics.
Of the more classical songs ‘Now or Never’ is probably the most exciting, with funky guitars and bass and that same unapologetic rock-vibe that Gotthard excels in. Of the more modern songs ‘Line in the Sand’ is the catchiest, although the modulation gives a certain cheesy quality to the thing. The real highlight of the album is ‘Kiss My Lips’, which has a lot of variation in vocals and music, but keeps it all together. The mysteriously soft pre-chorus contrasts nicely with the heavy and driving chorus.
Although the album is very enjoyable in places, the overuse of echo and somewhat unoriginal lyrics and music in some places is a bit of a let-down. It is certainly not a bad debut, but hopefully the focus on the next album will be a bit more on the writing of the songs and a bit less on the production value.
Lots of people enjoy the sheer glam-rock fun of Steel Panther’s music. But seeing the band in concert, where there songs almost come to life, is another story entirely. In an age where most music fans, especially rock and metal fans take themselves too seriously, “The Panther” only want you to live in then ow, with lust in your heart. The most mirthless, hardened guy or gal would have a hard time not laughing and smiling up a storm when “feeling the steel”! Rock music hasn’t had a group this crazy or dangerous since the heyday of Van Halen was all original members or Guns `N Roses were still in their skinny jeans, The band recently returned home to the House of Blues in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip to a sold out crowd and a heroes welcome. The floor was a sea of people singing along the entire night. When they were still and underground phenomenon and an every week thing, fans might have started swearing off the hair spray and the spandex was put away. Now that they are a big international hit, the band can do a show like this and feel new again. Captured here by Nick Phelps of MasterPhelps photography you see the band in all of their glory (hole) and the crowd was too!
I saw Slayer open for W.A.S.P. in a small town in Texas on the Reign in Blood (Def Jam) tour. Slayer was out of hand, I remember blacking out from being crushed in the mosh pit. And then everyone left when W.A.S.P. came on. Blackie Lawless was so pissed! It was the end of the bullshit hair-era and the dawn of thrash!