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.
After the bluesy Southern Rock of 2018s rollicking Family Tree and the two blues covers EPs Back to Blues comes The Human Condition (Mascot Records) – out and out hard rock upon which they built their career. Like Clutch, Black Stone Cherry do not make bad albums and this new one – their seventh – is another example of this.
Massive Wagons‘ fifth album House of Noise (Earache Records) delivers unabashedly old fashioned Rock n Roll with lashings of riffs, hooks, and humour that will put a smile on anyone’s face. It builds on their fourth album, and Earache debut, Full Nelson by doing more of the same, but bigger and better. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix.
The inevitable march towards environmental destruction and a certain perma-tanned incumbent of The White House have lit a spark under Pearl Jam, in part inspiring new album Gigaton (Monkeywrench Records/Republic Records). “The lengths we had to go to then, to find a place Trump hadn’t fucked up yet” Eddie Vedder spits on ‘Quick Escape’, a moody, mid-paced rocker about an environmentally ravaged future. The restrained and subtle power of ‘Seven O’Clock’ is another reaction to modern America, saying that now is not the time for despondency given the situation and “sitting bullshit as our sitting president”.Continue reading
After the success of the first one, and acting as a nice stop gap between albums, comes Back to Blues Vol. 2 (Mascot Records) – Black Stone Cherry’s second EP covering blues standards from years gone by. Like the first one it comes a year after a proper album, 2018s Family Tree (Mascot Records) in this case, and is chock full of big names. Happily, also like the first volume, it is a joy from start to finish – with the six blues classics given the full Black Stone Cherry treatment.
Despite their stateside sounding name Lonely Dakota are a British quartet who formed at the tail end of 2015. With a few lineup changes and singles in between, including 2018s ‘Dead Stories’, this year saw the release of their debut EP End of Days (Self-Released) – serving up the kind of Post-Grunge that Shinedown and Seether built a career on. The plaintive melody and general melancholic aura of opening track ‘Victoria’ sets the tone for this five-track offering, emotive Hard Rock with radio-friendly sensibilities and a nagging sense of deja vu.Continue reading
Since his last album Proof of LifeScott Stapp has been through a lot of turmoil, battling addiction and depression. Six years down the line and new record The Space Between The Shadows (Napalm Records) charts his successful battle with his personal demons and the lessons he learned on the way.Continue reading
Having toured with the likes of AC/DC, The Cadillac Three, Guns N Roses, Jeff Beck, and ZZ Top since their 2009 formation, the Nashville rockers Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown are back with their third album Truth and Lies (Snakefarm Records). It continues the quartet’s brand of Hard Rock meets Indie Rock, with the doomy riffs and slow-burning charm of album opener ‘Shock and Awe’ bringing Royal Blood to mind. Continue reading
They say fashion and pop culture are cyclical and this old adage is at work again with the current ’80s revival, with the recent Goonies-esque vibe of Stranger Things and IT, the Motley Crue film The Dirt and the Spielberg explosion of colour that is Ready Player One. As well as Muse‘s retro love fest Simulation Theory and the wonderfully abundant AOR cliches of The Night Flight Orchestra. From this colourful decade, Swedish rockers Royal Republic have drawn inspiration for their fourth album Club Majesty (Nuclear Blast Records).Continue reading