GOTTHARD: Bang!: CD

These Swiss rockers from Lugano, Switzerland were founded in the early 1990s by vocalist Steve Lee and guitarist Leo Leoni. The current line-up is made up of Leoni, Freddy Scherer (guitar), Marc Lynn (bass), Hena Habegger (drums) and his second album as their lead vocalist is Nic Maeder, following the tragic passing of Steve Lee in a motorcycle accident in late 2010.

The album opens with an intro, and then into the heavy bluesy title track that gets the head nodding with the tight playing and the fantastic chorus. “Get Up And Move On” is another terrific uptempo track with great vocals laid over the fuzzy guitars. “Feel What I Feel” has a driving rhythm, a melodic touch, and darker vocals that work really well together. There is a blues undertone throughout the album that gives it a lot of depth and character, and the guitar playing is fantastic throughout. “C’est La Vie,” a gentle ballad that adds an accordion, which is an integral part of this song. The album closes with the epic ten minute “Thank You,” dedicated to Leoni’s recently departed mother.

With a ton of banging tracks, great production and playing, this album is going to win over some new fans and please the diehards. The band takes all of the good things from previous albums, and builds on them with this release, making this a great start for newbies and a continuation of the grand adventures of this band.

https://www.facebook.com/Gotthard

http://www.gotthard.com/de/

https://www.facebook.com/theendrecords

http://theendrecords.com/

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NOCTURNAL POISONING: Doomgrass: CD

Nocturnal Poisoning is Scott Conner; who formerly was the sole member of the highly influential black metal project Xasthur. In 2010 Conner dissolved Xasthur to move on to this project and using bluegrass guitar playing and American folk music as a starting point, he creates dark, complicated songs. The vocals are from Robert Nesslin, adding a layer of despair to the sometimes dissonant mixture of sound created by Conner.

The mixture of the instrumental and vocal songs works really well together and doesn’t weigh down the flow of the album. The songs have great textures and it feels more like you are there with them in the same room that they are in, not a dry, sterile environment and it really gives the album a warm sound. I’m not familiar with his previous music, but this really stands up on its own, no need to try to look for black metal, instead enjoy it for the pleasant guitar picking and personal feeling that is present on this release.

A very cool album that stands out from a lot of mediocre solo albums from other artists that hold things so precious and pretentious that you want to puke. This makes for a relaxing listen and an album that will surprise a lot of people who think that once you do a certain style of music, you are stuck in that style forever.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nocturnal-Poisoning/130739917061250

https://www.facebook.com/theendrecords

http://theendrecords.com/

NAKED EYES: Fuel For The Fire: CD

Fuel for the Fire was the 1984 follow-up album to their successful debut. The band had top 40 success with the first single off the album, “(What) In the Name of Love,” which reached #39 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 and, in a remix also produced by Arthur Baker, #35 on the dance chart. The album peaked at #83 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. Whilst being a relatively modest hit, it had not matched the commercial and critical success of their debut; in the UK, neither the album nor its single had charted. Baker remixed another track he had produced for the duo, “Sacrifice,” but the record company never released a followup to the top 40 lead single and Naked Eyes disbanded following the underwhelming reception of this album. This album and its seven bonus tracks appear on CD for the first time. The bonus material features 12″ versions of “(What) In The Name Of Love,” and Arthur Baker’s mix of “Sacrifice,” two b-sides “Two Heads Together,” and (What) In The Name Of Love (Byrne & Fisher Mix),” and three previously unreleased demos of “Fuel For The Fire,” “Sacrifice,” and “Babes In Armour.” These demos have come from Pete Byrne’s (the surviving member of the band, Rob Fisher passed away in 1999) archives.

Not just giving us a chance to hear this album remastered, but also to have a chance to re-evaluate it after all these years, it shows that it was a lot better than the chart showing. Lots of peppy synth-pop that is chock full of hooks and the (What) In The Name Of Love (Byrne & Fisher Mix) is great, a minimal synth tune that sounds great in this version too. It’s great to hear the album so clearly and it really lets you hear the effects that you may have missed all those years ago. The potential second single “Sacrifice,” is a great song that would have been fantastic to have been heard on the radio back then, but at least we get to hear it now. The demo versions sound very slick and really show that they knew the direction and sound of the songs before they went and tightened them up.

This is a great album, one that I, and a lot of others had been looking forward to seeing released again, and every bit worth the wait. Great notes from Pete Byrne and cool pictures add to the total package, but the fine job of remastering the album really makes this release shine.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Naked-Eyes/311038291816

http://www.nakedeyesmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CherryRedRecords

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/default.asp