Another week and the pile keeps growing; with releases both new and old. This spring looks to be quite a good one for releases from bands both known and new. From what I am hearing the quality is getting there as well. Well mostly that is; you can't have every release be good or how else do you judge?
Bonfire: The Rauber
Many on the American side of the pond do not know much about this veteran hard rock band from Germany. For a good description of them you won't go wrong with a less heavy/goofy Scorpions or Bon Jovi back when they were fun and not an ego trip. Despite the occasional Germanisms in their English; Bonfire have consistently been able to produce non-cheesy catchy hard rock that hits all the right buttons. Don't believe me; just check out "Love don't Lie" on this release. The song is catchy from the first listen and gets stuck right into the brain. Even when the band drift into silliness like with "Hip, Hip, Hooray," its nothing so terrible. Included on this disc is the German of that song which is quite an interesting listen.
This album is supposed to be a bit of a concept piece; but that is no matter. You won't care what it is from the quality of the material on here. The occasional songs in German even break things up nicely and work to give it a bit of an extra something. The fact you get three bonus tracks; other forms of songs on the regular album just adds to the value of this disc. Bonfire have released yet another strong collection to add to their current tally.
With a name like Powerworld it would not surprise to hear that its a Euro power metal album now would it? The lead singer has pipes like Tony Harnell of TNT. Some might find this type of singing tiring after a while; but its mostly held in check well. The playing on here is quite good; as you would expect with releases from Metal Heaven. Is there enough on here to push it to the top level yet? Probably not but there is a certain quality on here that bears repeated listens. They are a good heavy rock German metal band who show lots of potential. If "Fight Fire with Fire" is a sign of things to come then this lot are good ones to watch.
Pretentious over the top indie tripe is the first impression of this lot. Songs range from the alright to the downright bloody awful. Cheesy guitars & drums, lame lyrics and weak signing abound. Check out "Lee" for proof of this. Obviously there is a market for this sort of stuff or no one would release it. I am happy I never have to hear it again, quite frankly. I have to say it's rare I have a visceral reaction to anything like this. Ugh, please get it off the CD player now. Obviously the college indie scene will love this…but no one else.
Sleddogs: Take Me Away
Lead singer sounds like a combo of Scott Snapp and the bloke from Barenaked Ladies… however there is something deeper going on here. I was quite impressed by how much this CD grew on me. After repeated listens I started to appreciate the depth and quality on here. I have to say "Medicine Man" was the first to really grab ahold; quickly followed by the excellent "Take Me Away".
This CD does not jump out at the listener first time round; but rewards repeated listens quite a bit. And how can you possibly like the laid -back louche of "Sweet Lorraine". I bet this track is cracking live. Its not that often one finds a grower like this one. I am glad I gave it a chance and I think you will be too.
Tempestt: Bring Em' On
This lot obviously admire Dream Theater in spades. That is not a bad thing at all; when they manage to do the genre this well. The fact they have roped in Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey et al) to lend a hand on a track speaks oodles about the quality of this lot. "Insanity Desire" with its power prog styling and JSS' backing vocals really works. The name might seem a bit daft at first and ripe for misspelling, but don't let that put you off.
The fact this lot are from Brazil might surprise some. Many people just think over the top tribal death metal like Sepultura when they hear Brazil. Its not terribly surprising this band have made it to the wider world. They have the chops that rival the best of the power prog lot. They manage that clever trick of making it recognisable but not just a musical photo copy. Their tour of Europe with JSS is sure to get them a new cadre of fans. Power, passion and precision from Brazil is a great thing to behold. Oh yes and they have a cheeky sense of humour as well; including a clever cover (thanks to a keys solo replacing the guitar solo) of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" as a bonus track.
Well that is your lot for this week. As always I wish you all the best in the forthcoming week or so. Stay safe and rocking. If you can check out live music as often as you can.