This week we are going to stick to more straight-up rock instead of its heavier cousins.
42 Decibel have released an album called Hard Rock ‘n’ Roll with a title that makes this write-up on them rather redundant. It really does what it says on the cover. They have a song on here called “The Real Deal” and that is in fact what this is, sometimes too much so. This AC/DC-style blues and heavy rock at its simplest and finest, or rather AC/DC by the numbers. No bells and whistles on here, just straight-up strut and boogie. As you might expect, the vocalist’s voice is more similar to the late Bon Scott than current AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson. If you love the aforementioned band, Aerosmith, and bands like Cold Chisel then this band is right up your alley.
Famous Underground have dropped their self-titled album Famous Underground on us. This bunch make a racket that sounds like it is speaking to you from the late ’80s. This is Gun N’ Roses mixed with a touch of L.A. Guns and Dangerous Toys. The opening track “Wasteland” is their “Welcome to the Jungle” and it works just as well. Rather than just mimic the gritty sleaze rock of the day, this lot have managed to put their own tag on the music. “Forever and a Day” is a ballad in which they manage not to sound twee. It never sounds derivative at all, yet at the same time it sounds and feels familiar. This is not a hard band to get into at all. If you are into sleaze rock this one will grab you right away.
Lost Weekend has released Evermore and no, this has nothing to do with any bachelor parties gone bad. It is instead a satisfying slab of intelligent, well put together AOR that reminds you of the best of that genre. That is not surprising as Lost Weekend have been around for a while and this is merely more of the same. What is more interesting is that they have added a second guitar, which has altered their sound a bit, making it more Thin Lizzy-esque. A few years ago the band announced they were breaking up, which thankfully hasn’t happened. Particular highlights are the title track and Magnum-esque power-ballad “Falling by the Wayside,” with its epic soundscape. Then again this band have written entire albums for Bob Catley of Magnum fame, so there is no surprise.
Mat Sinner of Sinner and Voodoo Circle fame had a solo album released in 1990 called Back to the Bullet. This is the re-release of that album and I have to say it has aged rather well. He manages to avoid all the cliché that normal dates solo hard rock projects from back in the day. It is no surprise that after this, he went on to work with some of the best in the business like Primal Fear and Mike Kiske. This is straight-ahead heavy rock and power metal. Stuff like “Tear Down the Wall” has quite an Accept feel to it, while others have a more almost hair metal feel. “Wildest Dreams” sounds almost like a Ratt song that you never heard.
Rebellious Spirit have dropped album called Gamble Shot which is pure MTV-friendly glam rock of the ’80s. These guys are barely out of their teens (well, three of them aren’t) and the lead singer sounds like his balls haven’t dropped (with not much vocal range). Seriously, I didn’t bother to look at the band picture and was convinced it was a woman singing. This guy makes Brett Michaels’ voice seem like Lemmy’s. There is very much a Poison vibe (albeit with better guitars) to the songs on here. At times these guys sound a bit too teen band for me, with more than a few hints of Hanson. They do show a bit more ballsy promise on songs like the Mötley Crüe-infused “Gone Wild.” That said this release shows they have the attitude and presence to pull it off, even if the songs aren’t necessarily up to snuff quite yet. A bit more originality and lasting effects of the music would help a great deal. That said I bet this lot are damn fun live.
Voodoo Highway have released an album called Showdown that opens with a song called “This is Rock ‘n’ Roll, Wankers.” Imagine Jon Lord-style keyboards over a Scandinavian-type style of heavy rock and you might be there. There is also a sense of Thin Lizzy about on this album, if they featured a Hammond organ in their music. They are equal parts latter-day Rainbow mixed with a touch of original Whitesnake thrown into the mix for good measure. This is yet another bunch of young upstarts who took their parents’ record collection, consumed it and turned it into something new, instantly recognizable and catchy. They rather sum up the British hard rock heritage all in one go. It is infectious and catchy, as it should be with sort of music. By all reasonable measure, these guys should be huge worldwide leaders of the next wave of quality British blues-based heavy rock.
May rock guard all, stay safe out there.Powered by Sidelines