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Music Reviews: Xander Demos, The Company Band, Crystal Viper, Circle II Circle, Neal Morse, and Scott Kelly & the Road Home

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It’s a new week, new column and lots of music to get through.

Guitarist Xander Demos has released a decent collection of mostly heavy rock tracks called Guitarcadia. It does rather peter out on the last track, with a weedy Chris de Burgh cover, “Lady in Red”, not to mention the “Boys of Summer” (Don Henley) cover which is just as weak. Other than that, it is good stuff from a guy you might want to keep an eye on.

Supergroup The Company Band are back with the Pros & Cons EP and nothing has wavered from their excellent last and self-titled 2009 album. This is a five-track affair with some damn hard rock for your listening pleasure. No fluff, no muss. It’s just some damn fine music from a great band giving you great tunes for the rest of the summer.

Heavy metal band Crystal Viper have re-released their debut The Curse of Crystal Viper with five bonus tracks. Their first album, as you might expect. showed their influences front and center. One of the bonus tracks is a Warlock cover which is appropriate considering their sound. It is a good album nonetheless, bonus tracks or not.

Circle II Circle have released Full Circle – The Best Of that covers their career to date. And with 32 tracks, no one can claim it leaves anything out. Zak Stevens (ex-Savatage) and his Savatage-esque band certainly delivers the business in droves. Not one dud track is on here, and it is a great place to start for anyone interested in CIIC.

Neal Morse returns with a clever collection of jazz fusion-tinged progressive rock in the form of Momentum. It is pretty heady stuff that probably wouldn’t suit all tastes. Give it a few listens and it certainly comes alive as well as showing Morse’s talent.

And to finish off, we have a seriously mellow affair in the form of Scott Kelly & the Road Home’s The Forgiven Ghost in Me. That said, this is some heavy stuff despite being mostly acoustic. It is well worth a listen, especially the title track. Like many such releases, a couple of spins are necessary before it sinks in.

Stay safe and rocking out there.

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