Welcome to some more hard rock goodness and boy, is some of it good.
Burning Rain are Doug Aldrich’s new band and blow me down, ain’t this some good hard rock. Epic Obsession is a tour de force that shows off how much of a factor Aldrich has been in Whitesnake’s last decade of output. If you were to combine a pinch of Whitesnake, Plant/Page (“Our Time Is Gonna Come”) and Blue Murder in equal measure, it might sound like this. Aldrich channels John Sykes on several of the tracks. The bloke they got on vocals has a wide range and even manages to pull off a non-cringe-worthy “Kashmir” with aplomb. I think it will be very hard to top this for hard rock album of the year. Color me damn well impressed, and yes, it is that good. A highly recommended release for 2013.
Bai Bang have an odd name but their sound is pure rock pop. All Around the World frequently drifts into Backstreet Boys’ more upbeat moments (with more guitars and less drum machine). However, you can be damn sure these guys play their own instruments and write their own songs. It is all very upbeat and fun, shiny cleaned up sleaze—so catchy it barely takes a moment to get the chorus. This bunch started in the late ’80s and sound like they never left.
Charming Grace peddle keyboard-heavy AOR that is not without its charms. Charming Grace is the title of the album and while not exactly a grabber, has its merits. This is unapologetically steeped in ’80s AOR and there is no doubting the musicianship on here. The only wee criticism is that some of the songs on here are a tad forgettable, lacking the hook that is essential to pull off the songs properly. While having a different “guest” co-vocalist on each track sounds like a good idea, there is a certainly lack of cohesiveness which affects most of the songs.
D-A-D are back with a deluxe edition of their album Dic.Nii.Lan.Daft.Erd.Ark, with all sorts of goodies on show. You get live tracks plus “Campfire Favorites” which are some of their best tunes stripped down. If you were ever a fan of this bunch of hard rock nuts, then check this out and be reminded. If not, it is time to fix that and quickly. They tread the gap between Zeppelin and AC/DC quite nicely. Just to refresh your memory, these are the guys responsible for the great ’80s slacker anthem “Sleeping My Day Away” and a bassist who plays with only two strings. Hell, there is even a live version of their song “Jihad.” Brave lads indeed.
Laneslide aim to produce songs that are instantly hummable and catchy every time. They largely succeed on Flying High and its title track/opener makes that all very clear. I found myself instantly singing along with each chorus the second time around. This is nothing groundbreaking but it hits all the right notes perfectly. Each track is finally crafted for maximum aural pleasure. This album is AOR comfort food and there is nothing wrong with that.
Pretty Maids are back with their highly technical brand of hard rock. Motherland is as good as we have come to expect from this bunch. Not a duff track on here and quite a few are corkers. Fans of the band will be in for a treat and this could win them a few more admirers. Tracks like “Infinity” just ooze class and quality. The band obviously understand the “ain’t broke don’t fix it” career path and the consistency shows. This band are on top of their game and have produced a release that rivals their best. I, for one, can’t get enough of it.
That is your lot for this week. There is sure to be something above for everyone. Stay safe and rocking out there y’all.