January releases got broken up into two blog articles.
Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Single song releases from Free Spirits Rising, The Night Flight Orchestra, The Hu, CrashCarBurn, Archon Angel, Shakra, Apocalyptica and Mustach got my attention.
Those Damn Crows a band from Wales, with a singer who sounds like Brent Smith, dropped a song called “Never Win” from their “Point Of No Return” album.
A solemn piano riff kicks off the song and I was interested and when the vocal melody started, I pressed like.
If I worked to the bone, pay for all we own, would you let me in?
Sometimes the expectations of others is a chain around the neck. How can we measure up when the rules are made up every day and are constantly changing?
There’s no more I can do, I have proved to you, I will never win…
How much people are prepared to compromise determines how the relationship goes?
I know we were far from perfect but I fought so hard for you
I’ve had friends who told me they never argued, until they did and separated.
And a few albums got my attention.
Saint Asonia – Flawed Design
The personnel in this band have platinum awards on their walls as previous members of “Staind” and “Three Days Grace”.
In case you are not aware, Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace is on vocals and Mike Mushok from Staind is on guitars. And this time around, they have some heavy duty guest vocalists.
“Sirens” features Sharon Den Adel from Within Temptation. “The Hunted” which features Sully Erna from Godsmack on vocals.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Mettal EP
I love this EP and the work these two do.
They cover “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” from Megadeth, “Battery” from Metallica and “Season In The Abyss” from Slayer in their unique hybrid style of flamenco and classical and pop acoustic guitar playing.
How can you not like it?
Especially the way Gabriela percussively lays down a rhythmic foundation and flamenco’s her way through it all. The true star of this duo.
The Ragged Saints – Sonic Playground Revisited
I’ve been a fan of this band from Melbourne, Australia, since their 2013 album called “The Sound Of Breaking Free” entered my life via a cyberlocker site that specialised in melodic rock titles.
Yes I obtained it illegally and became a fan via illegal means.
“Absence Of Light” really stood out, with it’s Rainbow/Malmsteen (Odyssey) era feel along with “Turning Cold” which has this Aussie pop rock sound crossed with Euro melodic rock.
Mark Morton – Ether
Mark Morton is really showcasing his diversity. He is so much more than just the guitarist in Lamb Of God.
“All I Had To Lose” and “Black” (Pearl Jam cover) feature Mark Morales on vocals, “Love My Enemy” features Howard Jones, “The Fight” features John Carbone on vocals and “She Talks To Angels” features Lzzy Hale.
How many more projects can George Lynch be involved in?
“I Disappear” is heavy foot stomper, “The Dying” sounds like it came from George Lynch’s “Sacred Groove” album and “Siren Song” sounds like a “Tooth N Nail” cut with just a mild distorted sound.
And its cool how the Frontiers label is getting people from different countries but with similar tastes, to write and create.
Dino Jelusick is one hell of a vocalist and from Croatia. There are YouTube videos of him doing “The Last Time”, a Badlands cover and his band “Animal Drive” released a covers EP of some hard rock gems along with a full length album.
And the jury is out if these little projects from Frontiers are actually working or just a copyright grab from Frontiers to secure as many copyrights as it can, so they have a better negotiating position when it comes to streaming deals.
But like Revolution Saints, I would like to see Dirty Shirley get a few more chances to record albums on Frontiers.
British Lion – Last Chance
Do we listen to British Lion to hear Steve Harris recreate Iron Maiden or do we listen to this to hear Steve Harris do something different?
“Last Chance” is a good track. It starts off with an apreggiated riff which reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. At 55 seconds the song kicks in and Steve’s bass is rolling along.
How good is that lick from the 1.15 mark?
The verse riff is brilliant.
And the vocals are an acquired taste. If you listen to this and expect Dickinson style vocals, then don’t bother.
The album that reigned supreme for January is
Storm Force – “Age of Fear”
This album surprised me and made me press like on a lot of songs and thanks to the Thunder Bay blog for sharing their music with us.
Opening track “Because Of You” has the symphonic keys for about 50 seconds before it goes into a “Won’t Get Fooled Again” style riff from The Who and once the verses kick in, I felt like I was listening to a seventies act.
“I heard on the news today, it’s all about to change, but I think well be okay”
The human spirit sees hope in all situations, because our DNA coding is to survive and we find that strength in ourselves and because of others.
“Age Of Fear” is a foot stomper of a title track with Scorpions like harmonies in the intro.
“It’s the age of fear, where you spread your made up stories”
It’s a sign of the times when everyone surrounds themselves in their own echo chambers and the people in power are trying to influence others by spreading fake stories.
“Breathe – Words” starts off ominous and the opening lyric sets the tone of depression.
“You’ve got nothing to live for, nothing to wish for, nothing to hold on”
There is always something to live for, something to wish for and something to hold on to. Resilience and survival go hand in hand.
“Breathe with me, just let it all go”
That’s all we want in life, someone to talk to and breathe with.
“Breathe with me, just take control”
Take control, let the past die and embrace the day, for you have everything to live for.
“Ride Like Hell” makes me want to jump in the car and speed 55.
And all of the other tracks are worthy, so invest some time and check it out.