This three-piece band from Boston has just released their debut album of melodic hard rock that includes a cover of “Jailhouse Rock” and seven originals. The band on this album consisted of David Vaccaro (lead vocals, guitars, keyboards), Mike McDonald (bass, vocals), and Scott Marion (drums & percussion), but Marion has left the band due to a move and time constraints, so the new drummer is Michael Bangrazi from Massachusetts.

The band comes out of the gates with a rocking tight and catchy song in “That’s How It Is,” and sets the template for the rest of the album. A great chorus that sticks in your head, some head bobbing, crunchy guitar and a great beat make for a song that will sound amazing live. “All I Want” is another great track with an early ’80s sound that makes you think that it’s a lost classic…and it is a classic song. The “Jailhouse Rock” cover is tight and well…’s a great song. “I Only Want To Be With You” has a touch of a Beatles vibe and is a great slow song to grab your girl and give her a tight squeeze while singing along. “Let Your Lovin Come Down” has a great sound and is so catchy that I started to sing along while listening to it the first time. “Got To Rock” has a touch of Golden Earring to it and is another great song.

It’s a real pleasure to hear a rock band that doesn’t scream at me, play crazy scales on the guitar, or go for an edgy sound, they play clean, but thoughtful and kick-ass hard rock that is timeless and well needed. Grab a copy of this album, put it into your car, roll the windows down and crank it up while it’s still warm out and cruise to your heart’s content.


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Cure for Gravity is Chris Gamper (drums), Joe Markert (vocals, keys, guitars) and Dave Walcott (guitars, vocals), and with Dan Feiszli on bass. Hailing from Berkeley, CA this trio delivers an entrancing amalgam of atmospheric synth/alt rock that is reminiscent of later Tears For Fears in sound and vocals.

I put on this six song album and after hitting play, I was transported back to the late ’80s, early ’90s when bands were still melodic and used keyboards with finesse, before the grunge bands came in and knocked this kind of music out of the charts and out of people’s radar. These guys bring those days back, but still manage to sound modern and exciting with catchy songs with soulful vocals that pull you in and get trapped in your ears. With atmospheric songs like “Tonight,” this band really takes you on a trip that makes you close your eyes and lifts you up out of your plane of existence and carries you to another place that almost puts a tear in your eye with its beauty. To be honest, I really loved every song on here and played it over and over again because I could not get enough of these songs. First single “Black Metal” has a chiming guitar, a smooth groove and fantastic vocals that will grab you.

Coming into this review, I had no idea or preconceived thoughts about this band, and now I am a follower and will be keeping an eye out for them. Funny how you can find your new favorite band this way.


Released cover art

This band is from Montreal, Quebec, and plays melodic death metal. Sadly they have broken up, but they have left this debut album for us to enjoy.

The album is full of heavy double bass drumming, thick bass, speedy riffing and guttural vocals. With the album opening and closing with static noise, the songs go very well together like a complete and whole thought. The album has song after song that just grabs you and holds you down, forcing you to pay attention. The instrumental song “3 KM Left” is an instrumental and has such delicate and beautiful piano in it, plus it does have a heavy part that makes you remember where you are and what you are listening to, a metal band that has definite skill at adding texture and depth to their sound. “Le Naufragé” is the last song and has French lyrics makes for a nice heavy ending to this album.

REO SPEEDWAGON: Live At Moondance Jam: CD / DVD

Broadcast on Palladia, Direct TV and VH1 Classic in early 2013, Live at Moondance Jam features a baker’s dozen classic REO SPEEDWAGON tunes. This is a review of just the audio since I never received the DVD portion.

REO SPEEDWAGON has been going strong in one form or another, with founding member and keyboardist Neal Doughty the only constant, for more than 45 years. Though their studio output of the last few decades hasn’t been prolific or as successful as their chart-topping time in the early ’80s, the band keeps on touring, mostly on the fair, festival and casino circuit.

The band is captured on a very good night with the band at top form and Kevin Cronin’s voice sounds fantastic. The first four songs are from the first side of Hi Infidelity, celebrating its 30th anniversary and for good reason, that album was huge for the band and has the most recognizable songs by the band on it, and they include for the first time ever live, the song “In Your Letter.” Basically at this point in their career you’re getting a greatest hits selection and for most people that’s all they want to hear, but one or two newer songs would have been nice. You also get to hear “Golden Country” from the band’s second album, 1972’s R.E.O./T.W.O., and “Like You Do” from the same album both recorded live for the first time. It’s also pretty cool that the band included “Ridin’ The Storm Out,” and “157 Riverside Avenue,” both recorded originally with Cronin singing. Most bands usually skip over those years altogether, but they’ve embraced those songs.

The band shows their skill at playing these songs and the love that they have for the material, as well as the love for their fans. It’s a rare treat to hear a band that still gives everything in a performance after all these years and it will definitely make fans love this band for years to come. If only I had the DVD to watch as well…oh well, maybe one day.

PRETTY MAIDS: Motherland: CD

PRETTY MAIDS is melodic metal band from Denmark that have been around since 1981, and have quite a payload of releases behind them. This is their first album since Pandemonium in 2010.

This album differs somewhat to what has come before by having a very keyboard-centric sound, fortunately, the guitar is sharp and heavier than ever and the combination of the monstrously heavy guitar sound and focus on the keyboard gives the album a very thick sound. “Mother of All Lies,” “Why So Serious?” and the title track show the band giving us the hard and heavy sound that they do so well. The title track is an up-tempo pounder that has grooves, and the chorus is pure perfection. “Why So Serious?” is a haunting and captivating song that blends melody with fantastic riffing. “Sad to See You Suffer,” “Bullet For You” and the excellent “Wasted” shows off the melodic essence of this band perfectly. “Bullet For You” showcases harmonies that are luscious and fill out the vocals beautifully. “Wasted” closes the record and does an excellent job of blending the keyboard playing into the songwriting.

All of these songs have amazing choruses that will stick in your head long after the record is over. Everyone who is a fan of PRETTY MAIDS and loves  melodic metal songs will fall in love with this CD

FALLEN JOY: Inner Supremacy: CD

This is the debut long player from the French melodic death metal band that I previously reviewed on this blog and I can hear the growth from them. The five piece really upped the ante and played harder and with more feeling than on their debut EP.

Starting off with a very mellow instrumental called “Back to Life,” they don’t give you any clue as to the intensity that is coming on the next track. “Destroying Fate” grabs you and slams you down with the power that they put forth on this track and you just take it from them and you want more of it. Thankfully the next song “Hymn to Silent Soldiers” gives you even more to be thankful for with the incredible guitar work that will get your head banging and make you want to play the track over again. I loved that you could understand the vocals, although they are deep and guttural, they are easy to understand and enjoy, something that always improves my listening pleasure. The dual vocals really work well together, the drumming is crisp, and thundering, the bass is nice and thick and the guitar playing is simply outstanding, some of the best playing that I’ve heard in any metal, not just death metal, and the songs have a terrific amount of melody that makes them stand out from the crowd.

One of, if not my favorite melodic death metal bands ever and it’s such a treat to be able to hear them grow and expand their abilities as their career goes forward. If you are a fan of this genre or just want to hear a great metal album, you need a copy of this…get one right now!

DARKANE: The Sinister Supremacy: CD

This melodic death / thrash metal band from Helsingborg, Sweden has been together since 1998 and has released five previous albums and a DVD before this. These five guys throw down an album of blistering tracks that you can crank up loud and bang your head to until you need a neck rub to take away the pain.

Starting off with a classically inspired intro that gives no a nice relaxing interlude before the title track comes on and rips your face off. Tight played and full of energy, these guys really give you their all in this huge, riff filled album. The band has just enough death metal in their thrash to give it that evil, angry edge, but it doesn’t go overboard with the gore or violence that it becomes a parody. The machine gun drumming just hammers away, the shouted, guttural vocals give the songs a nice angry sound that I loved, the heavy bass pounds away, and the guitar playing has a ton of riffage and blazing leads to satisfy the air guitarist in you. The addition of softer, more gentle and orchestral parts really added a nice bit of depth and texture to a heavy group of songs. I really liked “The Sinister Supremacy”, “Mechanically Divine”, “Ostracized”, “Insurrection is Imminent”, and “Humanity Defined”.

This is the kind of album that begs to be played on repeat and loud as hell to get the full listening experience that is required. These guys turned out an album of terrific songs played with the exuberance and power that will get you stuck on this CD for a long time so why fight it…go out and get a copy now!

FALLEN JOY: Order to Die EP: CD

Order to Die (EP) cover art

FALLEN JOY is a French metal band founded in 2008 and this is their debut release, a five song EP. They play melodic death metal and they self produced this album and are going to be releasing a new album sometime this year.

With a bell tolling and an instrumental symphonic opener, “Morituri Te Salutant” starts things off on a quiet note, but that changes once “Order To Die” kicks in. With thundering drums, technical melodic leads, growling vocals, rumbling bass and a punch in the throat of power, they really get the album moving. “Hosting the Black Flag” has dual vocals, machine gun drumming, a great solo, and a slower pace that really made for a great song. “Seeds of Tyranny” is another great song with a heavy groove and fantastic guitar playing. Last song “Voyage Au Bout De La Nuit” is a slower song that has elements of doom and black metal mixed into their melodic death metal, and is a very cool track with the various styles mixed together.

The band draws from a few different genres and creates their own mix of heaviness and melody that will make you come back for more. Since this is only a five song EP, I can’t wait to hear what the full length is going to sound like.

CHOSEN: Resolution: CD

Resolution Cover

CHOSEN is a melodic death metal band from Ireland, well really it’s two guys, Paul Shields, who does vocals, guitar, and bass, and David McCann who drums and does percussion. They’ve released a few independent and well-received EPs in the past and have finally put out their debut full length album.

Opener “Engines of Belief” is a great death metal track with great breakdowns and a classic heavy metal solo near the end and has some clean vocals mixed in. “Defective Prospection” is more of a chugging riff oriented song, with galloping riffs leading into a psychedelic progression and the vocals being sung cleanly and some growling vocals mixed in, and “The Narcissism Epidemic” starts off acoustically, really gentle and then the riffs kick in and it’s back to in your face metal with ferocious drumming, the mix of clean and growled vocals and all throughout, some blistering guitar playing. “Mental Clarity” gets some monstrous riffs and heaviness, “Diminishment” has the mixture of softer, almost relaxing music juxtaposed with the more brutal playing and it works beautifully together, and “Instinct” has some great riffs, chugging, and has some fantastic all around playing on the album, a definite highlight. The last three songs just keep the quality going and pile the riffs on nice and thick.

The production job here is one that deserves around of applause especially with all the intense drumming and the variation of moods, the end result came out very balanced. This is very highly recommended, and I was surprised for an independent release, that this solid debut record shows much promise for their future.



ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW was formed in 1994 and this is the new and seventh album by this Finnish melodic death metal band that incorporates symphonic metal into the mix.

The album starts with “Saivo”, an instrumental of synthesizers and it flows perfectly into “Dark Alliance”. The song starts off with heavy guitars and epic keyboards, heavy guitars, and clean and growled vocals. “Legion of Beast” raises the stakes in  tense melodic death metal and passionately rasped vocals from longtime growler and bassist Altti Veteläinen. “Kuura” is an acoustic instrumental that meshes well with “Dance of December”, a track with gothic overtones and plenty of dramatic vocals and fantastic guitar playing by both Jarmo Puolakanaho and Mika Lammassaar. On this album you also have clean vocalist Jarmo Kylmänen whose vocals are powerful when they are present either in the pre-chorus or the chorus itself, keyboardist Janne Tolsa brings out the epic nature of the music, and drummer Juho Raappana who does a great job being the backbone of this album with his intense drumming. “The Day”, “Sound of Silence” has great dual vocals by Kylmänen and Miriam Renvåg, “Swan Saivo”, and “Blood Stained Sea” were all songs that got repeat plays on this album.

Excellent musicianship, and the captivating solo/lead work will make this a great purchase for those into this genre of metal. The contrasting vocals also added a nice change of sound within the album and within the tracks themselves. This is a solid symphonic metal effort.