WHITE REAPER: Self-titled: CD

White Reaper cover art

This Louisville, KY trio play garage rock / punk on their self-titled, debut EP. It is six songs in around seventeen minutes of very cool DIY punk. Singer / guitarist Tony Esposito is joined by brothers Sam and Nick Wilkerson on bass and drums respectively.

The EP has a bit of JESUS & MARY CHAIN noise and early SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES sound mixed into their own delicious cacophony. “Cool” has tight riffs, intense percussion, and a chorus that is contagious. “Funn” is just as exciting, with the trio creating a huge sound and more excitement than you think could be had in one minute and forty-two seconds. “Half Bad” is a tight track with a great keyboard riff and shows that the band can bash their way through a fantastic mess the sounds fantastic. “She Wants To” is another blazing song that has energy to spare and just keeps you dancing around like a nut. “Conspirator” has a wall of sound that would put any low-fi band to shame, but the hooks are still there and makes this, like all of the other songs, so damn addictive. “Ohh (Yeah)” has a harder sound to it, but also has some relaxed playing that brings to mind the CLASH and how they mixed things up so well.

This band has so much energy and passion that it draws you in and won’t let you go for the sadly short running time of the EP. This is a band that definitely deserves to be watched because if this is a hint as to what they can do…watch out!






MACH 22: Sweet Talk Intervention: CD


This Philadelphia, PA group has
won Guitar Center’s “Onstage With Slash” contest beating out over three thousand entrants. The huge production and tight playing show how good hard rock can be played with nods to the older greats.

“Constant Denier” starts things off with cool riffs, pounding drums, and vocals that ooze attitude and have a nice edge to them. “Go Ahead” comes at you with the guitars, along with the rhythm section, chugging along in a tight groove that rocks, and is an obvious choice for the album’s single, a radio-friendly track with slick guitar work, and catchy vocal hooks make this a real standout. “Don’t You Give Me” is a tight rocker with a smooth chorus. “I’m Just A Man” is a funky rock track that will have people get up and dance, but still has crunchy riffs for the rocker fans. “Stone Rose” is a ballad with nice riffs adding depth to the track and keeping things from getting mushy. “Backslider” has a ton of energy, and the vocals and the killer guitar playing are furious together on this track. “Made To Love” has a great Hendrix feel to the opening guitar playing and is another awesome track with grooves that don’t quit. “Radio” has a rocking vibe that makes you want to get up and boogie along with the band, and the ’70s vibe is awesome on this track. “One Trick Pony” is a laid back track with bluesy vocals, and a nice edge to it. “Nevermind” closes the disc off with a blazing rocker with electrified guitar playing, the bass and drums, keeping up, and the vocals having a nice amount of swagger to them.



ELEPHANT: Sky Swimming: CD

This London, England duo have been together for three years after the two met at a house party in 2010. They released their first single “Shapeshifter,” in 2013, and now they’ve put out their full-length album.

“Assembly” starts the album with its upbeat percussion and Rivas’ keyboard and sweet vocals. “Skyscraper” follows and the fantastic drumming and bass line makes this a definite highlight. “Allured” has Rivas’ singing over solo piano before the percussion.starts. “Elusive Youth” has great keyboard playing and as with the rest of the songs on here, has a great ’80s vibe that just grabs me and takes me away. “Shipwrecked” is a beautiful ballad with a soulful vocal and slow beat. “Sky Swimming” is a stunning song with the mellow feel and Rivas’ melodic vocals. “Shapeshifter” is a great song to finish the album with Rivas showcasing her vocal range.

Elephant has released a debut album that will send shivers up the back of your neck and give you goose bumps with its beauty. It’s rare that an album hits me this hard and I simply love it.





UNDER ASPECT: The Things You Should Not See: CD

The Things You Should Not See cover art

Under Aspect is a loud, punchy post-hardcore melodic band from Montreal, Canada. They’ve been together since 2006 and released their highly anticipated third album. They give us eight heavy tracks in under thirty minutes and it really whets your appetite for more.

The album has a very unified sound, the tracks all flow into each other, but it’s not like one long song, the songs are just well mixed and placed on this album so that the music doesn’t sound like it was haphazardly done, but instead creates its own tight mix. The playing is fantastic, far superior to a lot of the crap that I have heard in this genre, the mix of smooth and growled vocals suit the songs and the hooks, yes the hooks, are amazing. You can hear the emotion in the vocals and the intensity of the playing is on a higher plane. Eight  songs, not one weak song in the bunch, so no one song that stands out, the whole album stands out.

I’ve heard a lot of post hardcore bands, most are too shouty, or get too emo for me, but this is how it’s supposed to be, crunchy, hard and thrilling. This will make you rethink what you thought was post hardcore…get this!






MOONSHINE: Self-titled: CD

With the release of this debut ten song LP, MOONSHINE play southern rock with a vengeance. The band consists of Derek Davis (lead singer for BABYLON A.D.) on vocals, Creg De Falco on guitar, Buzzy James on slide guitar, Mike Malone on piano and harmonica, Mike Norton on bass, and Brian Fox on drums. The album was recorded at Eddie Van Halen’s 5150 studio and produced by Michael Anthony, who also adds background vocals, as well as Jane Child on piano, and background vocals.

Opening with Mississippi Delta Blues,” the sinewy slide guitar, and the gritty vocals from Derek Davis recalls Aerosmith’s great older songs. “Warm Beer, Catfish Stew” is a great dusty blues song with a sharp groove and great harmonica. The melodic “The Devil’s Road” which recalls the Black Crowes with Derek’s impassioned vocals and the fantastic playing. A cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” shows that they can do the classic tune justice with their great version. “The Last Song” has memorable guitar playing, incredible piano and a great vocal. “Mama’s Kitchen Brew” is a rocking song with some boogie mixed in, the guitar playing kicks ass, and the song will leave you with a grin on your face as well as singing along to the chorus. “Southern Blood” has James’ awesome slide guitar, and has the feel of Bon Jovi’s “Dead Or Alive,” but still manages to stand up on its own. “Turn Me Around” has that great slide guitar on this whiskey-soaked rocker with its blistering riffs, and thrilling chorus. “Fade Away” is a piano led ballad with a tight groove and emotive vocals. “The American Train” ends the album on a high note with its rocking groove that will get your head bobbing and make you break out your air guitar to join in on the buzzing riffs and solo.

MOONSHINE has come together mixing a heavy dose of slide guitar, piano, and harmonica with classic vocals and bluesy lead guitars, to finally give us a southern rock band worthy of the tradition of the greats. If you like Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 SPECIAL, and old AEROSMITH, and your rock southern fried and bluesy, this is the band for you! Excuse me while I put this in the car and crank it up.





BABYLON A.D.: The Lost Sessions, Fresno CA 93: CD

After a long hiatus, the band has re-grouped with all of their original members. They have released a four song E.P which includes the songs, “While America Sleeps,” Love Blind,” “Love is a Mystery,” and a new version of their number one hit song “Bang Go The Bells.”

These songs were lost until recently when a demo tape titled “Fresno 93” was found in an old memorabilia chest that Derek Davis had kept over the years. After a good listen it was obvious to the band that they had to get the songs out to their dedicated fans. Lucky for us, they made the right decision because these songs are too good to have been lost to the mists of time. “Love Blind,” and “While America Sleeps” are straight forward hard rocking songs that show the band’s ability to mix hard rock with a ton of melody and hooks.”Love Is A Mystery” is a power ballad that starts out acoustically then guitars get plugged in and makes it a nice lighters in the air song. The new version of “Bang Go The Bells” isn’t that much different from the original, but it is a little crisper sounding and still rocks hard.





SCREAM MAKER: Livin’ In The Past: CD

This band from Warsaw, Poland has released their EP We Are Not The Same in 2012, and now they have released their debut album Livin In The Past. The cover artwork was created by Rosław Szaybo, a Polish artist, and designer of Judas Priest’s British Steel album cover.

The album starts off with an instrumental intro, and then suddenly the band explodes into the song “In The Nest Of Serpents,” and the riff machine is off and running. “Glory For The Fools” comes right after it and keeps the pace of excellent guitar playing and the Dio-like vocals hit those high notes. Both songs feature excellent guitar work and vocals. The title track slows things down a bit, but keeps your interest with the pure power of the track. “Fever” is a very cool melodic track that will sound awesome in a live setting with its fantastic guitar solo. Other highlights include: “All My Life,” “Spacestone,”  “Never Say Never,” “Confessions,” and “Metalheads.” Band members Sebastian Stodolak (vocals), Ajronmajk (lead guitar), Marek Stanisz (rhythm guitar), Adam “Radził” Radziłowski (bass), and Tomasz Nachyła (drums) do an excellent job playing on this album, you can feel the emotion and energy that these cats put out on the songs.

A band that has a ton of potential and talent, they just need to be heard by a large group of people…go out and get this album! Metal for people who want something with balls and nothing so over the top or wimpy, just good metal.





LANEY’S LEGION: Self-titled: CD

Laney’s legion have released their debut album of eleven kick-ass tracks that bring to mind the glory days of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. I was looking forward to this album, hoping that the old school sounds that I love would be there, and I was blessed with what I heard. This Swedish quartet plays the old-school ’80s metal music the way it was meant to be played.

It’s great to hear veterans play something with such energy and love, just check out the band, it consists of Chris Laney (RANDY PIPER’S ANIMAL, ZAN CLAN) on vocals and rhythm guitar, Rob Marcello (DANGER DANGER, HOUSE OF LORDS, MARCELLO/VESTRY) on lead guitar, Mats Vassfjord (GRAND DESIGN, IMPERA) on bass, and Patrik Jansson (HELSINGLAND UNDERGROUND) on drums. Nice group with a ton of talent and experience.

Starting off with “On And On,” It has a tight riff, melodic vocals, and the guitar solo blazes. “Poptastic” is a very commercial song with an incredible chorus and it was a great song to showcase the album as a video and single. “Bleed Within” is a ballad that had a few country influences mixed in that worked really well. “Let’s Get It On” is a tight rocker that has a fantastic chorus. “Hollow” carries on in a similar vein and keeps the high standard going. “Assassin Of Our Love” is a great melodic rock song that gets a vote for one of the highlights on an album full of highlights. “No One Can Stop Us” has an amazing chorus and has the feel of a track that could have been a huge hit in 1985. “Legion” wraps up a fantastic album with a crunchy hard rock song that has a mind-blowing guitar solo.

If the world was right, this would be a million seller, getting play everywhere and people wearing the band shirts, sadly, the world is fucked and this won’t be everywhere, but at least we know it’s there, and with that, we are a chosen group who shun the trash and love this.





BLOODRIDE: Bloodmachine: CD

This is the second from these old school Finnish thrashers, and you get ten kick you in the face songs. The band just got tighter and more intense with this release and it really shows maturity.

From opening song “Battered,” and straight through “Horror Has A New Prey, “Deadlights,” “Bloodmachine,” “Massacre My Icons,” and the blistering closer “Fight The Fear,” this band just goes full tilt and just rips. The songs are fast, angry and the spat out vocals really hit hard. The pummeling drums, the heavy bass and the quick leads all add to the devastating sound and make you get ready for the mosh pit.

A very good sophomore album that shows a band getting better and better as you listen to the album. A complete manic, thrash-fest to get you up and moshing from start to finish.






Boozoo Bajou - 4

It’s been more than twelve years since the duo of Peter Heider and Florian Seyberth put out their  first record, and sixteen years since they got together. This album also features the guitar of Frank Zeidler, the violin and viola and mbira thumb piano of Stefan Pötzsch, the flugelhorn of Markus Stockhausen, and the Armenian duduk of Frank Freitag, as well as the synth playing of Max Loderbauer.

This is not a dance floor shaker of an album, it’s more of an album to put on at night when you come home from work or clubbing. Turn the lights down, grab a glass of wine, or brandy, sit near the fireplace, look out the window at the rain or snow, plug-in the headphones and let the sounds wash over you. The relaxed feeling on this album really takes you away from the crap that life can throw at you and get your mind into a clearer place. Track after track of layered sounds take control of your ears and set a course for pleasure, all except the first track “Jan Mayen” which reminded me of a Herb Alpert track with the horn playing, but I can always skip that one. I can use the word lush for the sounds on this album of interesting and well done instrumentals.

I really enjoyed this album, and will let my wife listen to it, as she has started to have a love affair with ambient music. This makes me glad that there are still people out there doing more than the minimum amount of work to create music, and succeeding so very well at the hard work that they have put in.