Ronnie Atkins – One Shot

One Shot Album Cover Art

Ronnie Atkins – One Shot
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 44:48
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Do you ever find yourself pondering the finite nature of life. I do. Often. The one certainty is that, at some point, it comes to an end. This isn’t a rehearsal, and you have two choices. Drift through it, approaching everything with undue caution, or grab it by the nuts, and have fun while you can. Pretty Maids frontman, Ronnie Atkins, has certainly lived a full life, bringing sweet Rock ‘n’ Roll music to the masses for 4 decades. Our very own high lord of Ever Metal, Rick, has been a huge Pretty Maids fan since those early heady days of the 80s.

It’s fair to say that Ronnie’s been forced to do a lot of contemplating recently, too, after the devastating news that the ‘big C’ he’d battled so hard against in 2019 had come back, and was incurable. Now, for a lot of people, and certainly for me, news like this would take away any strength I had left. But not Ronnie. He’s determined to keep the nuts of life in a tight tourniquet until the end, and speak to the world, through his new solo album, “One Shot.” Lighter than the usual Pretty Maids style, Ronnie describes this album as ‘melodic rock album with a heavy twist,’ and lyrically, ‘more personal and maybe melancholic at times.’

On first listen, it truly is a great melodic rock album, complete with rock-steady beats, classic style riffs, and great vocal harmonies and guitar solos. But dig a little deeper, and it becomes all about the lyrics. It’s a bittersweet journey into the ponderings of a man’s mortality, beautifully moulded into an emotional journey of finding peace and reconciling all of life’s lessons. It reminds me, lyrically, of Queen’s “Made In Heaven” album, where Freddie explored much the same thing.

The title track of the album pretty much sums up what I’ve just said. The whole, ‘you only get one shot at life’ idea. Putting aside the emotive nature of the lyrics, knowing the backstory behind this album, it’s a stonking anthem that you could see on a stadium stage, being chorused back at the band by tens of thousands of adoring fans.

This is true of the whole album, though. Whether it’s an anthem, or a heartfelt ballad, it’s all brilliantly done, with Ronnie’s vocals taking pride of place atop the masterfully constructed melodies and orchestration of every song. It’s one of those albums that fills your entirety with happiness, and, well, life.

There isn’t anything negative about this album. It’s mixed and mastered perfectly, it’s polished, it’s passionate, it’s mature and expansive. It is what musicians spend their whole lives striving towards. Whatever musical genre you prefer, you’ll find something that connects with your soul in this album. And we all need to listen to the wisdom held within the lyrics. Thank you, Ronnie, for braving your fears and sharing this precious album with the world.

‘One Shot’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Real
02. Scorpio
03. One Shot
04. Subjugated
05. Frequency Of Love
06. Before The Rise Of An Empire
07. Miles Away
08. Picture Yourself
09. I Prophesize
10. One By One
11. When Dreams Are Not Enough

LINE-UP:
Ronnie Atkins – Lead and Backing Vocals
Chris Laney – Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards and Backing Vocals
Allan Sørensen – Drums
Morten Sandager – Keyboards
Pontus Egberg – Bass
Anders Ringman – Acoustic Guitars

Lead Guitars/Solos
Pontus Norgren, Kee Marcello, Olliver Hartmann, John Berg, Chris Laney

Additional Backing Vocals
Chris Laney, Linnea Vikström Egg, Olliver Hartmann, Bjørn Strid

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Ken Hensley – My Book Of Answers

My Book Of Answers Album Cover Art

Ken Hensley – My Book Of Answers
Cherry Red Records
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Running Time: 45:10
Review by Chris Galea
8/10

“He was a wizard of a thousand kings. And I chanced to meet him one night wandering.”

(‘The Wizard’ – Uriah Heep)

The above verse, from the classic song penned by Ken Hensley when part of Uriah Heep, roughly sums up how this album came into existence. A chance encounter between Vladimir Emelin, Russian superfan, and Ken Hensley quickly developed into a strong friendship. Before long Emelin sent Hensley some poems he had written and his idol agreed to work those poems into songs. The result of all that is this album, “My Book of Answers”.

Sadly, Ken Hensley passed away a few months ago just as the album’s recording had been finished. Of course, the dark cloud’s silver lining is that we get to indulge in a new set of songs from Mr Hensley.

I sensed a particularly strong resonance of The Beatles in this album. Overall, the songs are well-balanced with choir vocals, opportune guitar solos and tasteful keyboards sounds. ‘The Cold Sacrifice’ is cathartic in spirit; ‘The Silent Scream’, by contrast, feels nostalgic; in ‘The Darkest Hour’ amongst other elements we find the Hammond and guitar working together to exorcise some interesting vibes. I also cannot fail to mention the song ‘Suddenly’ with its magnificent orchestrations and glorious melodies. On the other side of the coin ‘Lost’ and ‘Cover Girl’ lack memorable hooks but they’re no slouchers, mind you.

All compositions possess an aura of bleakness but also driven by hope and this was very typical of Hensley’s songwriting style.

In today’s world of over-produced and bombastic music it’s sobering to be able to, once in a while, delve into nothing other than good songs. It’s an apt swansong from Ken Hensley.

The wizard may be gone but his spells endure.

‘The Cold Sacrifice’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Lost (My Guardian)
02. Right Here, Right Now
03. The Cold Sacrifice
04. The Silent Scream
05. Cover Girl
06. Light The Fire (In My Heart)
07. Stand (Chase The Beast Away)
08. The Darkest Hour
09. Suddenly
10.The Darkest Hour (Alternative Version, Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Ken Hensley – Vocals, Guitar, Hammond
Izzy Cueto – Guitars
Moises Cerzo – Bass, Piano, Backing Vocals
Tommy Lopez – Drums

Francesco Severino – Bass (Track 8)
David Gonzales – Piano (Tracks 6, 8)
Jacke Knight – Piano (Track 5)
Roberto Tiranti – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Ekaterina Nadaresihvil – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Belinda Campbell – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Rosie Doonan – Backing Vocals (Track 7)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Running Games

Running Games Album Cover Art

Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Running Games
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/02/2021
Running Time: 57:37
Review by Simon Black
7/10

This is a veritable supergroup. Although I’m not a particular follower of Hoekstra’s work, put the combination of Symphony X front man Russell Allen, legendary drummer Vinny Appice and former Dream Theater ivories man Derek Sherinian on a line up, and I’m gonna sit up and take notice. Vocally Allen is in clean mode, although anyone familiar with his work knows that he can turn that vocal chord on a six-pence when it comes to range, style and power – most other bands need at least two vocalists to get close to what he can achieve. But sing cleanly he can and delivers the goods with his customary sense of power and strength, because regardless of whether he’s going for clean or dirty, he can really belt it out loud. That vocal strength and his performance is top notch and the highlight of the record.

As you would expect from a musician who has trodden the boards with Night Ranger and is still a current member of Whitesnake and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, musically this is up tempo Classic Rock radio-friendly US style Melodic Hard Rock and although Hoekstra’s classically trained background does occasionally make itself visible with some of the technical flourishes and licks he throws in, you do have to listen out for them. That’s an interesting point, as when the man driving the project is the guitarist, you would expect the old six strings to be up front and centre in the mix, but it’s Allen’s voice that takes that spot. Musically, the instruments are all fairly evenly balanced, so the ear hears ‘band’ and ‘singer’ as the distinct elements. OK, it opens up for the odd blistering solo from either Hoekstra or Sherinian, but even these are not excessive or indulgent and the overall feeling is one of restraint.

The song-writing is pretty robust – you can pick almost any track and you will get a clear Melo-Metal structure, but that also means there isn’t anything particularly exceptional here either. I don’t know whether this is a symptom of lockdown, but despite all the ingredients being right, this cake hasn’t baked as well as it could have consistently throughout, which is frankly bizarre considering who’s contributing to the record. There are some high points, but they come quite late in the record which might be too late for the casual listener – ‘Reach The Sky’ being the case in point, a groovy rocker which flowed brilliantly, but you are three quarters of the way through the disk by the time you get to it. To be fair the more spins you give it, the more it grows on you but it’s lacking a couple of strong ‘gotcha’ tracks to hook you in and add to the old favourites playlist.

‘Finish Line’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Finish Line
02. I’m Gonna Lose It
03. Hard To Say Goodbye
04. How Do You
05. Heart Attack
06. Fantasy
07. Lonely Days
08. Reach The Sky
09. Cried Enough For You
10. Take What’s Mine
11. Running Games

LINE-UP:
Joel Hoekstra – Guitars
Russell Allen – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Vinny Appice – Drums
Tony Franklin – Bass
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
Jeff Scott Soto – Backing Vocals

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Ghosts Of Sunset – Headed West EP

Headed West EP Cover Art

Ghosts Of Sunset – Headed West EP
Golden Robot Records
Release Date: 05/02/2021
Running Time: 25:05
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

The 80’s was an interesting decade in a lot of ways. Fashion, the beginning of the tech boom, and some really crazy stuff going on around the world. I was only born 10 days before the 80’s started, so I don’t remember much of it happening at the time, but, thanks to historical archives, the dots can be joined up. One thing I do remember is 80s hair! And the eponymous sound of 80’s Rock and Hair Metal.

Personally, I think some of the best rock and power ballads ever written came out of that era. And, it would seem that American 80’s Rock / Hair metal inspired project, Ghost Of Sunset, agree! The brainchild of singer-songwriter John Merchant, and singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Todd Long, their mission with this debut concept EP, “Headed West,” is to illustrate the story of the rise and fall of a fictional mid-western US rock band, getting lost in the changing music scene of 80’s L.A. They’ve enlisted a host of big names to help them bring this to life, as well, with musicians from the likes of L.A. Guns, RATT, Enuff Znuff, KIX, and Lita Ford, all involved with its creation.

I have to say, it’s a heck of a big story to fit into one 6 track EP! So, have they managed it? Well, let’s find out!

‘Headed West’, the opening, and title track, is an upbeat little number, perfect for a journey down a dusty highway, with the air of excitement and glorious wonderment buzzing along with you. It’s classic Rock ‘n’ Roll. And this theme continues through track 2, ‘Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Show’. This would be the perfect soundtrack to an upbeat advertisement for the ideals of 80’s young America. There’d be fast pans across crowded clubs, full of enough hairspray and back-combing to power the international space station for a good year. Everyone would be dancing, and smiling, and having a great time. Then you’d get the closeup cutaways of pretty girls laughing and pulling funny faces, and handsome guys, lighting up another Marlboro, and swigging from a cool Budweiser, while a killer rock band were giving a huge performance, in the background, on a stage the size of a postage stamp.

Then ‘3 Miles In-Between’ sweeps in. This takes things down a bit, and here we start to see the cracks forming, the yearning and longing for home, and the exhaustion of the punishing touring, and always having to put on your best face, that kept 80’s bands afloat. This is essentially one of those great ballads that I was talking about earlier, and it has a proper guitar solo towards the end of the track, completely in keeping with the soaring solos of the day!

This slowed down theme is continued in track 4, ‘Never Goodbye’. But here, we’re introduced to a new edge within the lyrics – bitterness and disillusionment – ‘You’ll tell them the truth, it’s all just a lie, just say goodnight, never goodbye’ being a perfect example of this. The plastic perfection of this era simply didn’t allow for open negativity.

Track 5, ‘It’s Not Over’, and the final track, ‘Try It For Love’, run through becoming resolute to their fate, with an almost ‘dead behind the eyes’ acceptance, and then finding peace in the realisation that it’s not all just about perceived success, but that, in fact, real success comes from within. It’s in the joy, and love, that just making music brings. Well, that’s how I see it, anyway.

Musically, this epic tale, neatly packaged into 25 minutes, is very pleasing. The songs are all expertly written, with nothing overstated, and skilfully executed by all the players (but then you’d expect this really, with the amount of talent and experience Ghosts Of Sunset has called upon). But for me the thing that makes this a great EP is it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s everything that says great 80’s Rock / Hair Metal. There’s nothing new here, and there’s no flashy, all singing, all dancing, ‘shiny, shiny’. But there doesn’t need to be. If you’re looking for a new sound, this will not be for you (unless of course you’ve been living in a cave and have never heard any music before, ever!). But, if you, like me, are a sucker for some nostalgia, then this EP will make you smile, a lot!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Headed West
02. Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Show
03. 3 Miles In-Between
04. Never Goodbye
05. It’s Not Over
06. Try It For Love

LINE-UP:
Todd Long – Songwriting, Guitar, Bass, Drums and Backing Vocals
John Merchant – Songwriting, Vocals
+ many guests!

LINKS:

Ghosts Of Sunset Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Video Interview with Gary Shea (Alcatrazz)

Alcatrazz Logo

Video Interview with Gary Shea (Alcatrazz)
Interview, Recording, and Editing by Chris Galea

Hi Everyone

In January 2021 Chris had the honour of chatting to Alcatrazz founding member/bassist Gary Shea, about their forthcoming album, the history of the band, and Gary’s musical journey.

Huge thanks to Gary for the interview and to Chris for putting this together.

Gary Shea Video interview by Chris Galea

Enjoy!
Rick
Owner/Editor

ALCATRAZZ LINKS:

Alcatrazz 2021

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with THE COMPULSIONS

EMQ’s with THE COMPULSIONS

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with New York City, USA based Rock N Roll band, The Compulsions. Huge thanks to vocalist, guitarist, and founding member, Rob Carlyle, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name’s Rob Carlyle, and I sing and play guitar. I formed The Compulsions in 2003 and since then, the band has featured David Bowie, Guns N’ Roses, New York Dolls, Raging Slab and even Howlin’ Wolf sidemen, both on stage and on record. Many other exceptional local musicians have also worked with me as The Compulsions. Over the years, The Compulsions have received a near-endless amount of glowing press, including “Coolest Band In The World” from Classic Rock Magazine and “Look Out, Axl! Here Comes Rob Carlyle & The Compulsions!” from PleaseKillMe.com.

How did you come up with your band name?

I had a list of possible band names taped to my refrigerator and after a while, the name that continued to stand out was The Compulsions.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

The Compulsions are from the East Village in New York City. There’s a pretty good Rock and Metal scene here in New York, although most activity is currently slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

On November 13, 2020, The Compulsions released our third full-length studio album, “Ferocious”.

‘Dirtbag Blues’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

The Compulsions greatest influences are probably The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Faces, Humble Pie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The New York Dolls and ZZ Top.

What first got you into music?

Watching re-runs of The Monkees.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Today my answer is Guns N’ Roses.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

After looking online, I see that the world’s biggest festival is Donauinselfest in Austria, attracting over three million attendees every year. So, I’d pick Donauinselfest.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Backstage after a show, a mother and daughter offered me their mouths. So of course, I took them.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you for buying The Compulsions’ music and merchandise!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

The first name that comes to mind is Bon Scott.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Enjoy the most: It’s a great way for ugly guys to meet girls. Hate the most: Not knowing what to do with all this money!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Those without talent should be banished!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Exile on Main Street” by The Rolling Stones.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I’ve got to say that I really miss vinyl.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I once played a private party for a belly dancer in South Amboy, New Jersey.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’d be an actor and I’d only play bad guys.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion and Melania Trump.

What’s next for the band?

I can’t mention the name but I’m currently ghost-writing for a legendary artist.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Apple Music: www.music.apple.com/album/1525842445
Band Website:
www.thecompulsionsnyc.com
Instagram:
www.instagram.com/thecompulsions/?hl=en
iTunes:
www.itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-compulsions/id5043315
My Facebook:
www.facebook.com/rob.carlyle.3
Pandora:
www.pandora.com/artist/the-compulsions/ARJqZ4354mbwVxc
Spotify:
www.open.spotify.com/artist/0A9xzhQK3jivSdlOILuqfv
YouTube:
www.youtube.com/channel/UCHz05Jc0LX1SablKsliHiLw

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Jaffa Cakes? Like Sami Jaffa? Just joking. I’ve never heard of Jaffa Cakes, so I looked them up online. I obviously don’t know what they taste like, but they look like tiny little cakes.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

No, I think I’ve said enough! Thank you for the questions, Ever Metal!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Viking Queen – Hammer Of The Gods

Viking Queen – Hammer Of The Gods
Dr Johns Surgery Records
Release Date: 15/10/2020
Running Time: 38:19
Review by Rick Eaglestone
6.5/10

Talk about timing, I was deep in the midst of a debut novel about Vikings when this album came through! So, whilst my eyes were scanning the damage being dealt in the book, my ears were going into battle with Viking Queen, who were part of the Norwegian TV series “Norse Rednecks”, and who have now released their debut album “Hammer of the Gods”.

Opener and title track ‘Hammer Of The Gods’ is fist pumping classic rock at its finest which transcends into ‘Empire Of Death’ effortlessly.

It wouldn’t be a classic rock album without a ballad, right? ‘Knives Through My Heart’ is just that, but it stays at one level, which is a shame because I do like a ballad with a little bite…

Both ‘Blood Of The Viking’ and ‘Trail Of The Viking’ seem to blend together into ‘Swords And Dragonheads’ which does have a really good guitar solo, but is really repetitive. However, my highlight track of the album ‘Going Nowhere Fast’ does soften the blow somewhat.

‘Can’t Stand The Pain’ is another step in the right direction as to is ‘Sunstone’, which did get repeated a fair few times.

Finally, the battle ready ‘Warriors Last Stand’ closes the album nicely.

At the time of writing this, the band are looking for new members, so it will be interesting to see how Viking Queen will sound when their clan has re assembled.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hammer Of The Gods
02. Empire Of Death
03. Knives Through My Heart
04. Blood Of The Viking
05. Trail Of The Viking
06. Swords And Dragonheads
07. Going Nowhere Fast
08. Can’t Stand The Pain
09. Sunstone
10. Warriors Last Stand

LINE-UP ON THE ALBUM
Lady E – Vocals
Miss White – Backing Vocals
Robban – Guitars
TJ – Bass
Chris Chruick – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Super Duper Alice Cooper

Super Duper Alice Cooper
Directed And Written: Sam Dunn, Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen
Produced by: Banger Films
2014
Review by Chris Galea
5/10

A film documenting the life, career, trials and tribulations of one of the founding fathers of Rock and Metal is certainly something to look forward to. “Super Duper…” starts by focusing on the upbringing of Vincent Furnier before he adopted the stage name of ‘Alice Cooper’, on his first forays into music, on meeting bassist Dennis Dunaway at school and revealing the origins of the band moniker.

More than half the documentary consists of voices speaking over photos and archive footage both of which are not necessarily directly linked to what is being said. It’s a very strange approach not to mention that it’s also very frustrating that you’re not actually seeing the speaker/s and sometimes it’s not even clear who is speaking.

For many years and seven albums into the band’s existence, Alice Cooper the band and Alice Cooper the frontman were two distinct entities and the film dedicates a hefty focus on the former. It tells about the band being discovered by Frank Zappa, who really got the ball rolling for the band. We get to know about a handful of crucial performances that significantly elevated the band’s status, such as a 1970 festival with John Lennon also on the bill.

Even after those shows, radio stations kept ignoring the band but that all changed when famed producer Bob Ezrin (Kiss, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd) was roped in and Alice Cooper finally had their first hit single: ‘I’m Eighteen’. Since its inception, the band kept honing the theatricality of their live shows and “Super Duper Alice Cooper” makes this patently clear. Speaking of which, the film mentions some truly bizarre anecdotes about their gigs, one involving a chicken (think of it as Alice Cooper’s version of the infamous story concerning Ozzy and a bat). No less bizarre is footage of a live show involving panties…lots of panties.

The documentary then covers the divorce of Alice Cooper the singer from Alice Cooper the band. Around the same time, Alice/Vince suffered a mental breakdown. Upon emerging from that precarious mental state, one of the first things Alice did was collaborate with songwriter Bernie Taupin, famous for writing the lyrics to almost all of Elton John’s songs (incidentally Elton John is said to be a big Alice Cooper fan). The result of the Cooper/Taupin collaboration was for me Alice Cooper’s magnum opus, the album “From The Inside”, released in 1978 and recorded with the help of a large number of session musicians.

We are also told that Alice Cooper had to deal with a crippling cocaine addiction, from which he eventually recovered and returned to the stage in 1986 after an absence of 4 years. And in fact the documentary clocks off somewhere in the mid-1980s.

So, if Alice Cooper meant nothing to you beyond the albums, videos and concerts, “Super Duper Alice Cooper” certainly provides a revealing background about the band and showman. Sadly, though, the documentary is conspicuously lacking in any depth whatsoever. It mentions a number of stepping stones in Alice Cooper’s career but there’s very little insight in terms of how, why, who, when….etc. On the other hand, a lot of important events, albums and musicians are wholly overlooked. So, for example, we have nothing about the “Easy Action” album of 1970. And guitarists Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce, two musicians so crucial to the band, are almost completely ignored.

To that add what I mentioned earlier about invisible persons speaking over photo and video montages and in the end the prevailing feeling I got of this film-doc is one of a missed opportunity.

Interesting? Perhaps. But certainly not super duper.

Watch the trailer here:

Alice Cooper’s new album “Detroit Stories” will be released on February 26th, 2021 via earMUSIC.

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Helix – Eat Sleep Rock

Helix – Eat Sleep Rock
Perris Records
Release Date: 04/09/2020
Running Time: 45:34
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

I’ve made the difficult decision today to take a break from progressive metal…Don’t worry, it’s only for the day! Because sometimes Sundays just call for a bit of good, honest, salt of the earth, hard rock, right?! Today’s listening pleasure is sponsored by old-school Canadian hard rockers, Helix, in the shape of their new album, “Eat Sleep Rock”.

This album is a compilation of the bands favourite songs recorded since their departure from Capitol/EMI back in 1990. (Yes, that is 3 decades ago, and yes you are, like me, getting very, very old. Eesh! 30 damn years, where the hell did that go?!) But as an added bonus, alongside some timeless classics, this album also offers two previously unreleased tracks, the title track, and ‘The Story Of Helix’, which opens the album.

And what a way to open an album it is. In a style akin to the ever popular ‘Tribute’ (originally performed by Tenacious D, but subsequently murdered millions of times over in every Karaoke bar globally), this track is an hilarious spoken word piece, set to music, and interspersed with musical fills at just the right points. It summarises the story of the journey that Helix have been on, over nearly half a century, into a neatly packaged 7 and a half minutes! And it’s funny as hell! I did some proper belly laughing at it! I would recommend that anyone who held the 90’s music scene in any level of contempt have a listen to this track. You’ll sympathize with it!

Following the amusing start, Helix get back to business in ‘Eat Sleep Rock’, the album’s title track. It’s just great, solid, hard rock. And that, my friends, really is all you need quite a lot of the time. Think Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, and AC/DC, and you’re on the right tracks. It’s written and performed to be tight and no nonsense, and when you listen to it, it’s completely impossible not to tap your toes and nod your head. And I’ve discovered, when you’re writing, it’s also impossible to stop yourself writing in time to the music, too.

The album continues in this way throughout. Just tune after tune of great hard rock. Superb solos, metronomic drumming, classic rock vocals – clean, but with just enough grit to give them edge, big riffs, and driving bass lines. It’s music for a road trip. Or music to shoot some pool and drink liquor to, and I love it.

I don’t have a favourite track on this album, as the whole thing just puts you in a great mood. There’s no way I could single out one track that does that more than the others. Everything is written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered to perfection. But this is to be expected, as these guys are all seasoned professionals, and they’ve used some of the cream of the crop to take care of mixing and mastering, too. There isn’t a single thing that I would change, or that has irritated me, about this album, which is rare, because I’m a fussy cow!!

Ok, I’ll level with you. If you’re looking for explorations of new and Avant Garde sounds, you should probably move along. But if you want to be immersed in some proper ROCK, then get stuck into this bad boy, because you won’t be disappointed!

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Story Of Helix (Unreleased)
02. Eat Sleep Rock (Unreleased)
03. Shock City Psycho Rock
04. Wrecking Ball
05. I’m A Live Frankenstein
06. Even Jesus (Wasn’t Loved In His Hometown)
07. Cyber Space Girl
08. When The Bitters Got The Better Of You
09. The Tequila Song
10. (Gene Simmons Says) Rock Is Dead
11. The Devil Is Having A Party Tonight

LINE-UP:
Brian Vollmer – Lead Vocals
Daryl Gray – Bass & Keyboard Programming
Greg “Fritz” Hinz – Drums
Kaleb Duck – Guitar
Chris Julke – Guitar

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

One Desire – Midnight Empire

One Desire – Midnight Empire
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 22/05/2020
Running Time: 51:32
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9.5/10

When an album starts with a creepy voice that gives you goose bumps and then the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you know you’re in for a good time. And this is how “Midnight Empire” by Finnish rockers One Desire begins. It is a feel-good album and the tracks just get better and better.

For those of you not familiar with One Desire, they formed in 2012, initially as a project put together by drummer Ossi Sivula. Fast forward a couple of years and they were working with renowned producer, Jimmy Westerlund (Negative, Sturm Und Drang, Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, Pitbull etc), who has several platinum and gold albums to his credit as a producer, guitarist, and song writer.

This brought them to the attention of Frontiers, but at the time, they needed a good singer. Enter stage right Andre Linman from the band Sturm und Drang, who joined the band in 2016. The remaining member, bassist Jonas Kuhlberg (Paul Di Anno, Cain’s Offering, MyGrain), then joined and the band was complete.

Their self-titled debut album really took off, with the track ‘Hurt’ gaining nearly 2 million hits on YouTube and almost 3 million streams on Spotify! After listening to the track, I can totally understand why! Following a successful European tour with Eclipse, they headed back to the studio to start work on this release. “Midnight Empire”. It took two years of work, but now it’s here!

Throughout the album I found myself thinking, “who do these guys remind me of?” and I kept coming back to two bands. Van Halen and the Scorpions! That upbeat, brilliant, 80’s good listening rock, that’s heavy enough to be ROCK, but not so OTT that your ear drums bleed! “Midnight Empire” is the complete package, punchy guitar playing, good rocking drums, amazing vocals…In fact, there’s nothing I don’t like about this! It’s been a while since an album I’ve reviewed has had such an upbeat vibe to it. It makes you just want to put it on repeat and listen over and over again.

Track 2 ‘After You’re Gone’ is definitely one of those tracks that is made for the summertime, window down, volume up, playing finger drums on the steering wheel (yes most of us have done it)! It has that feel good factor throughout. Not all the tracks are full on rockers though, you get some slightly slower tracks, but it just gives the whole album more appeal. I said earlier they remind me a little of Van Halen, by this I mean where you get an almost ballad type track, which then suddenly jumps to a faster tempo. It certainly keeps you on your toes which helps maintain interest throughout the album.

I have to give a special mention to the vocals here. You not only get some amazing melody vocals, but the harmonising is spot on as well! Not too overpowering but complimenting the main vocals of Andre whose vocals are crisp and clear, but with such an edge.

Track 5, ‘Through the Fire’, takes you in a differently direction all together. This slower, ballad like track, is such a variation to the others. But it’s not “just another ballad” because, out of nowhere, it explodes into another dimension! You can feel the guys passion for their music through almost every track, but in this one it’s especially noticeable. They sound like they’re singing their entire hearts out, and every ounce of energy they had went into it. In every track you can hear and feel how much the music means to them, and they want you to share that experience with them.

The final track, ‘Only When I Breathe, is a real ‘lighters out’ rock ballad, and really gets to you (for those of us who have a heart)! Listening to this, I think it’s something most of us can relate to at some point in our lives.

All I can say is wow. “Midnight Empire” is truly brilliant, and I have already added it to my music collection. The passion on each track is tangible. They have put their heart and soul into it completely and should be so proud!

As a little side note, a quick mention about track 9, ‘Killer Queen’! Just to say DON’T PANIC!! It’s not a cover of the Queen track!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Shadowman
02. After You’re Gone
03. Down And Dirty
04. Godsent Extasy
05. Through The Fire
06. Heroes
07. Rio
08. Battlefield Of Love
09. Killer Queen
10. Only When I Breathe

LINE-UP:
Jimmy Westerlund – Guitars
Andre Linman – Lead Vocals
Ossi Sivula – Drums
Jonas Kuhlberg – Bass

LINKS:
www.instagram.com/OneDesireBand
www.onedesire.net/
www.facebook.com/OneDesireBand/
www.twitter.com/oneDesireBand
www.youtube.com/channel/UCaMXnDg9g7WKw1tHHI69FnA
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1s25YudYTrIRBOSsj917K7

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.