I stand at the cusp of a new year pondering my latest batch of review music. Other than the fact most of it seems to start with the letter L, it's a varied lot.
This lot really seem to have a penchant for Poison, at times sounding very like that group. The Curious thing is they sound quite a bit like the Ritchie "I shag yer girlfriend" Kotzen-era of the band rather than their CC Deville past (& present). Jack Marques is at times a dead ringer for Brett Michaels at his best. A good example is "Here in my heart"; just take a listen. I do not wield the Poison reference as a criticism, I might add. This band evoked all that was good about Brett & Co.
This is fun party-time rock that would be perfect fodder for pop-rock radio in the 80s. It's so nice to be reminded of fun music instead the uber-serious we get these days. What the hell is wrong with music that makes you smirk?
Lana Lane: Red Planet Boulevard
Ms Lane has been in the business for quite a while now and delivers quality heavy rock ala Dio with class and talent. Think of Ann Wilson fronting Dio and you are somewhere near the mark. Check out "Capture the Sun" if you don't believe me.
Her fans are loyal and she keeps them happy with her releases. Now in the face of the onslaught of pretty frock metal, she might sound a bit old school at first listen but give this a chance. This is trad-metal foot on the monitor head banging stuff; don't you doubt it. She has a cracking band behind her that really know her chops. There is also a great ballad in the form of "Jessica" for good measure with a twist of menace.
This is great stuff and something to check out for those of you who like your metal sung by ladies but are looking for something in a more traditional style.
Think Dee Snider mixed with Blackie Lawless for and idea of where the lead singer of this band gets his voice. "Hero of the Night" evokes a feeling of WASP at their best. This is driving rock with a slight hint of sleaze. Nothing wrong with that now is there? The band have a track on here called "Cynical" which kind of sums their attitude. List this band in the same lot as The Almighty if they included a guitarist able to pull of George Lynchisms all day long.
Leverage: Blind Fire
I was enjoying this band until I hit the song "Don't Touch the Sun"; then I really liked this lot. It's one of those songs that makes an album all on its own. Lyrically and musically everything is just there… one of them that you find yourself quite unintentionally singing the chorus its second time through. To me that makes for the perfect heavy rock song. It's hard rock but not forgetting that songs should be memorable. The rest of the album is quality but this song is just what you want to hear. If Leverage released singles this would be it. I think you get the picture.
This CD just seeps quality, talent, and ability. There are strong hints of Rainbow, Whitesnake, Masterplan, and even English prog. The songs are memorable catchy and well executed. It's classic keyboard infused hard rock that never feels cliched or forced. It's all the right elements and none of the ones that you loath. Great stuff all around and a pleasure to discover.
Sonata Artica: Unia
At least on Amazon the fanboyz are complaining about this one rather loudly. Gone are the power metal stylings they were used to; well except for "Out in the Streets" at the end which seeps power metal. It is a bonus track, it has to said, and a nice way to finish things off. It might not be what long-time fans of this band expect, but I see nothing wrong with this CD. Granted, the lead singer has a hard time with some of the English in the lyrics. There is almost a hint of Depeche Mode at times. This is very melodic with a strong hint of goth metal. At times some of it comes across as a bit forced, it has to be said.
But then again this is an album of variety. From atmospheric almost HIM gothy stuff to heavily atmospheric "It won't Fade" they are obviously stretching their creative legs. Lots of bands expand their creative wings and pull it off. Sonata Artica have done this and pulled it off just. Its certainly a grower of an album.
Well that is my lot for this week and I shall be off to listen to my newest selections. All I can say is that there is quite a bit of good stuff coming along the pike the first quarter of this year. Oh, and there should be a release from a certain band I know quite well too.
As always stay safe, stay rocking, and check out live music where ever and when ever you are able.