Queensryche – Frequency Unknown
2013, Cleopatra Records/Deadline Music
3. “Give It to You”
5. “In the Hands of God”
6. “Running Backwards”
7. “Life Without You”
10. “The Weight of the World”
11. “I Don’t Believe in Love”
13. “Jet City Woman”
14. “Silent Lucidity”
Geoff Tate – Lead Vocals
Kelly Gray – Guitar (solo on Track 1)
Robert Sarzo – Guitar (solo on Track 3)
Rudy Sarzo – Bass (Tracks 1, 5, and 9)
Simon Wright – Drums (Tracks 1 and 5)
Randy Gane – Keyboards (Tracks 1, 5–6, and 8–10), Bass (Track 10)
Craig Locicero – Guitar (Tracks 1–10)
Jason Slater – Bass (Tracks 2–4, and 6–8), Keyboards (Tracks 7–8)
Martín Irigoyen – Guitar, Bass, Drums (Tracks 11–14)
Paul Bostaph – Drums (Tracks 6–9)
Evan Bautista – Drums (Tracks 2–4, and 10)
Jason Slater – Theremin (solo on Track 2)
Chris Cannella – Guitar (solo on Track 4)
Ty Tabor – Guitar (solo on Tracks 5 and 8)
K.K. Downing – Guitar (solo on Track 6)
Brad Gillis – Guitar (solo on Track 7)
Dave Meniketti – Guitar (solo on Track 9)
Chris Poland – Guitar (solo on Track 10)
Producer: Jason Slater
Even though I’ve always considered the band to be one of the more bland and boring rock/metal outfits out there, the story of Queensryche has become quite interesting over the last year. I’m certain more people are discussing Queensryche now more than they have in probably 10, 15 or 20 years. I know I am. If you want a good overview of what’s been happening and why there are two groups claiming to be Queensryche, check out this excellent article (which has been spotlighted and given the stamp of approval by the La Torre version of the band).
Well, as the world continues to wait for the Todd La Torre version of Queensryche to release their album, the Geoff Tate line-up has released their own album. Geoff Tate is probably one of the least popular guys in the world of rock & metal right now, so it’s no surprise the bashing started as soon as sound clips were released. But rightfully so. The production was pretty bad on the preview clips that were released. Some of those issues seem to have been corrected now that the album has been released but Cleopatra Records is now offering to send an even more recently remixed copy of the album to anyone to can provide them with proof of purchase of Frequency Unknown. They made this announcement just weeks after the album hit the shelves. It’s a head-scratcher. Why the label didn’t just wait and release a properly remixed album, I don’t know.
And just take a look at the limited involvement of the “band” and the long list of additional musicians. It’s a guitar solo-bonanza! They might as well be called “Geoff Tate’s Queensryche” or maybe “The Geoff Tate Group”, “Geoff Tate & Friends” or “Just Geoff”. There’s really no “band” here at all. The making of this album looks like a revolving door of musicians. Heck, this version of the band has already lost Glen Drover and Bobby Blotzer (they only participated in live shows before splitting)!
Okay, enough nitpicking. It’s the music that matters, right? Well, despite never really having any preference towards anything Queensryche and despite the fact that I agree Tate comes off like an arrogant jerk, this album is actually decent. I know Dedicated to Chaos tried to go some weird rock/pop/dance/whatever route and the band was properly trashed for doing so but Tate doesn’t go that route with the not-so-subtly titled Frequency Unknown (come on, it’s FU with a big fist coming at you on the cover… a message to Tate-haters and former band mates I’m sure). No, Frequency Unknown is a hard rock album with a modern sound. I’m okay with that. I think no matter what, Tate was going to lose. He’s getting bashed for sounding modern but if he tried to make an album with the classic Queensryche sound he would’ve gotten bashed for that as well. The closest he comes to his days of old is with “In the Hands of God” and “The Weight of the World”, I think.
“Cold” is a great modern sounding hard rock song. When it first became available, I wanted to be able to laugh at how bad it was and then continue on with my day, but it’s become one of my favorite songs of the year. I can’t stop playing it. Other songs like “Life Without You” and “Everything” remain highlights for me.
The only thing that truly weighs the album down are the four re-recording of a few Queensryche classics that are tacked on at the end. Tate has pointblank said he re-recorded them for the money because the label wanted these songs for licensing purposes. It’s only Tate and Martin Irigoyen on these songs. The sore spot here is Geoff’s voice. He sounds fine on the FU material, never going out of his weakening range but he just can’t hit the notes on these older songs. The music sounds fine to my casual Queensryche listening ears but I’ve read other reviews of die-hards picking apart Irigoyen’s musicianship. The production definitely lacking on these four songs.
Overall, Frequency Unknown had the recipe for a true disaster but Tate and his army of musicians pulled through and delivered a solid modern hard rock album. Just don’t expect much from the re-recordings.
Highlights: “Cold”, “Give It to You”, “In the Hands of God”, “Life Without You”, “Everything”, “The Weight of the World”
Skid Row – United World Rebellion: Chapter One
2013, Megaforce Records
1. Kings of Demolition
2. Let’s Go
3. This Is Killing Me
4. Get Up
Johnny Solinger – Lead Vocals
Dave “Snake” Sabo – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Scotti Hill – Guitar
Rachel Bolan – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rob Hammersmith – Drums
Producer: Dave “Snake” Sabo
Skid Row is one of the few name hair bands that hasn’t constantly been doing the tour/record/tour thing. Seems like they took a few years off even from touring, for some reason. I was starting to think that maybe there would never any new music from them since their first two albums with Johnny Solinger didn’t receive the highest of praise. I’ve always felt Sebastian Bach’s voice was what truly made the band special anyway. Yeah, they’ve written some great songs but other than Slave to the Grind, I don’t think they’ve ever written an entirely great album.
Still, when I read that Skid Row were going to release some new music (the plan is multiple EPs over the next year and a half or so), I had a good feeling about the album. I think the band is aware that people were not entirely enthusiastic with the previous Solinger albums and I felt they would proceed with that in mind. I actually think the cover for this EP is very striking as well and somehow (even though you shouldn’t judge an album by its cover) it gave me further hope.
Skid Row was always one of the darker and heavier hair bands (they eventually made the complete transfer from hair metal band to heavy metal band) and things are no different on United World Rebellion: Chapter One. This is solid 1980s sounding heavy metal full or anger and pessimism (as if you couldn’t tell by the EP’s title or cover art).
The only song that really doesn’t work for me is the ballad called “This Is Killing Me”. It’s a very simple, no-frills, lifeless ballad. Quite frankly, it sounds like something that Bret Michaels would write and record. The other four tracks are songs that I think fans of Slave to the Grind and Subhuman Race can appreciate. I’ve read comments elsewhere of someone complaining that this EP is trying too hard to sound modern. I don’t get that at all. Sound likes good late ’80s/early ’90s metal to me.
I’m very interested in hearing how the rest of the EPs are going to sound. I actually like this model of recording a lot. I’ve felt for awhile that older artists should mostly stick to releasing EPs and then compile them at a later date as a full album (as Skid Row plans on doing). I think too much time, effort and money goes into recording full albums for these bands who, let’s be honest, aren’t going to sell many albums in the first place. Slowly releasing EPs and then compiling them into an LP is a great way to keep your name out there and cut down on costs. Knock out five or six songs, go make some tour money during the summer, come back and knock out another five or six songs, repeat.
Highlights: “Kings of Demolition”, “Get Up”, “Stitches”
De La Cruz – Street Level
2013, Frontiers Recods
1. Street Level
2. Girls Go Wild
3. Turn It Up
4. Legions Of Love
5. Gimme Love
6. Cherry Bomb
9. Worlds Collide
11. Set The Night
Roxxi Catalano – Vocals
Casey Jones – Guitar
Rory Joy – Guitar
Grant Daniell – Bass
Lacey Lane – Drums
Producer: Casey Jones
There was much anticipation from me for this album. There was a lot of promise being shown on the band’s self-titled (and self-released) EP from 2011. It was the perfect mix of glam-metal and pop with a number of truly memorable songs.
With Street Level, the band seems to have gotten a bit sleazier and a bit heavier for a few numbers but you can still firmly place them in the realm of glam-metal. Unsurprisingly, I think their best moments are when they keep it more poppy & melodic or Def Leppard-y (if you will) with songs such as “Gimme Love”, “Dreaming” and “Worlds Collide”. These are the songs that would’ve sounded just fine on the band’s self-titled EP. That’s not to say these guys don’t know how to rock though. “Street Level”, “Girls Go Wild”, “Cherry Bomb” and “S.E.X” are fine examples of hard-hitting sleaze metal.
While the production and musicianship is still top-notch, the album doesn’t entirely live up to the promise that their incredibly catchy EP showed. It’s a catchy album, hooks a’plenty, but even the best songs here aren’t quite on level with “Lust Fame Money”, “Back To The ’80s”, “Good As It Gets” or “Fire Inside” (“Invincible” is a re-working of this song though). Still, Street Level is a very fun collection of glam & sleaze that’s sure to please fans of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Steel Panther, Crashdiet, Reckless Love and Crazy Lixx.
Highlights: “Street Level”, “Girls Go Wild”, “Gimme Love”, “Cherry Bomb”, “Dreaming”, “Worlds Collide”, “S.E.X.”
Bon Jovi – What About Now [Deluxe Edtion]
2013, Island Records
1. “Because We Can”
2. “I’m With You”
3. “What About Now”
4. “Pictures of You”
6. “That’s What the Water Made Me”
7. “What’s Left of Me”
8. “Army of One”
9. “Thick as Thieves”
10. “Beautiful World”
11. “Room at the End of the World”
12. “The Fighter”
13. “With These Two Hands”
14. “Into the Echo”
15. “Not Running Anymore”
Jon Bon Jovi – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Richie Sambora – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Hugh McDonald – Bass, backing Vocals
Tico Torres – Drums
David Bryan – Keyboards, Backing vocals
Producer: John Shanks, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora
So after Greatest Hits came out in 2010 with four new tracks, I had high hopes for a new Bon Jovi studio album. Yes, I know those new tracks still represented and sounded like the “mature” and less-rocked out Bon Jovi we’ve known for the last 10 years or so, but I still liked them a lot. I guess it’s sign I’m getting older myself. Cut to the release of this album’s first single, “Because We Can”. It didn’t knock me out but I thought, “okay, this is decent”. Cut to samples of this album on Amazon.com and it sounded like such a downer and slow moving album. Granted, I was only hearing about 30 seconds of each song but my anticipating wasn’t as great anymore.
Cut to now..? I’m LOVING What About Now. It took about 3 spins before it all started to click with me. Again, this album is really no different than Have A Nice Day, Lost Highway or The Circle. It’s all within that same realm of “hey, look at us, we write thoughtful songs with social commentary and have no interest in playing hard rock anymore, so take us seriously”. But the difference here is that Bon Jovi’s need to be on the level with U2, Coldplay and (still) Bruce Springsteen is actually working for me this time.
The band is still writing anthems that the older and presumably more mature Bon Jovi demographic can enjoy (“Because We Can”, “What About Now”, “Army of One”) while still catering to the fans they gained with surprising success of the country/acoustic-tinged Lost Highway (“What’s Left of Me”, “The Fighter”). There’s also a number of mellow moments and ballads on the album. Perhaps too many but it doesn’t change the quality of the songs themselves. “Because We Can” is probably the most upbeat song on the album and I find myself wishing there were more bombastic moments like that. It’s a great way to open the album but the energy is downhill after that.
Despite the shift in style & attitude over the last decade, Bon Jovi has always offered up at least one classic sounding Bon Jovi ballad per album. I think “Thick As Thieves” is supposed to that one song on this release and while it’s a good song, it seems to fall short just a bit of what I think they were aiming for (perhaps they should’ve enlisted the aid of Desmond Child for that one).
Speaking of songwriting credits, Richie Sambora only has four credits on the standard version of the album. I won’t get too much up in arms about it because I do like the album but I think it’s a bit sad that Jon has relegated Richie (and everyone else in the band) to the status of basically being employees instead of band-mates. In this day and age, you play and write what Jon tells you to, I guess.
The bonus tracks are really good on this deluxe edition. “With These Two Hands” is another inspirational anthem, “Into the Echo” puts the band back into their thoughtful mood and “Not Running Anymore” is a somber Jon Bon Jovi song that he wrote and played solo for the movie Stand Up Guys that’s sure to please Lost Highway/Blaze of Glory fans.
While the band’s shift from hard rock & pop-metal to an adult contemporary act has been painful, with What About Now I think they’ve made the transformation a success. Is this a classic album or even what I want to hear from Bon Jovi? No, but it’s still a very good release and easily the best thing they’ve done since 2002′s Bounce.
Highlights: “Because We Can”, “I’m With You”, “Pictures of You”, “Amen”, “What About Now”, “Thick As Thieves”, “The Fighter”, “Into the Echo”, “Not Running Anymore”
2013, Frontiers Records
1. My Angel
2. Accident Prone
3. To The Rescue
4. Falling Leaves
5. A Little Rock & Roll
6. Turn Of The Screw
7. Smoking Gun
8. Stand Up
9. Guilty As Charged
10. Nothing To Lose
11. Cover Me In You
Chris Ousey – Lead Vocals
Micky Moody – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Laurie Wisefield – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Neil Murray – Bass
Harry James – Drums, Backing Vocals
Adam Wakeman – Keyboards, Vocals
Produced by: Snakecharmer
Snakecharmer is next in the line in a number of groups that have been put together by small number of former members of Whitesnake. First there was The Snakes, which was started up by former Whitesnake guitarists Bernie Marsden & Micky Moody. Then that became The Company of Snakes featuring Marsden and Moody with the addition of former ‘snake bassist Neil Murray. Then that became known as M3. Now, Moody & Murray have started up Snakecharmer with other notable musicians such as Monroe/Heartland vocalist Chris Ousey, Wishbone Ash guitarist Laurie Wisefield, Magnum/Thunder drummer Harry James and current Ozzy/Black Sabbath keyboardist Adam Wakeman (son of Rick Wakeman).
Given all of the names involved, Snakecharmer is what you’d expect: melodic & bluesy classic rock. If you enjoyed what Marsden, Moody and/or Murray were doing in their previous Whitesnake-inspired bands, you’ll like Snakecharmer. That said, Chris Ousey (as good as he is) is no David Coverdale. A number of tracks definitely sound like early Whitesnake though. “A Little Rock and Roll” and “To The Rescue” are shining examples of songs that could’ve been recorded by that band’s earliest line-up. Another standout is “Stand Up”, which kind of reminds me of something Rainbow would’ve done during their more commercial years.
Snakecharmer is a solid album full of professionals who have faithfully been playing in this style for decades. Though it openly draws comparison to them, this album is not on the same level with Whitesnake earliest releases. What it is is an enjoyable release and fine stand-in for anyone who wishes Coverdale would take Whitesnake back to their earliest & simplest sound.
Highlights: ”My Angel”, “Accident Prone”, “Falling Leaves”, “A Little Rock and Roll”, “Stand Up”, “Nothing to Lose”
De La Cruz
1. Good As It Gets
2. Lust Fame Money
4. Back To The 80′s
5. Fire Inside
6. De La Cruz
Roxxi Catalano – Vocals
Casey Jones – Guitar
Rory Joy – Guitar
Grant Daniell – Bass
Lacey Lane – Drums
Produced by: Casey Jones
De La Cruz describe themselves as an “80′s influenced, riff-powered Arena Rock band from the Gold Coast, Australia!!” I can’t argue with that. With obvious influences like Def Leppard, KISS, Motley Crue and Van Halen, the band’s self-released EP is insanely good.
Released as a free download through the band’s Facebook, this self-titled EP has very strong production values and each song is so catchy. Like their influences, De La Cruz knows how to effortlessly blend hard rock with pop hooks. These guys are right up there with Reckless Love and Steel Panther as one of the best modern pop-metal acts around right now. “Lust Fame Money” is a pop-metal masterpiece.
Now that the band is signed to Frontiers Records (the perfect home for them as far as I’m concerned), I’m very anxious to hear what the band has come up with.
Highlights: “Good As It Gets”, “Lust Fame Money”, “Back To The 80′s”, “Fire Inside”
Crashdiet – The Savage Playground
2013, Frontiers Records
1. Change The World
2. Cocaine Cowboys
5. Lickin’ Dog
7. Sin City
8. Got A Reason
9. Drinkin’ Without You
10. Snakes In Paradise
11. Damaged Kid
13. Garden of Babylon
Simon Cruz – Vocals
Martin Sweet – Guitar
Peter London – Bass
Eric Young – Drums
Producer: Otto Welton
Crashdiet’s fourth album is their best yet. I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve heard from these guys but The Savage Playground seems to take matters to another level. I hate to use the word “mature” when talking about a group of sleaze rockers but that’s exactly the band has done — matured. At least in regards to their songwriting. Don’t misunderstand me, they aren’t writing to make you think with song titles like “Cocaine Cowboys”, “Anarchy”, “Lickin’ Dog” (which sounds like a Babylon A.D. song), “Sin City” and “Drinkin’ Without You”. The band can still bring the sleaze attitude but I really think the band’s sense of melody has improved and Simon Cruz continues to grow as a vocalist. That’s a good thing because it starts to separate them from the rest of the sleaze rock pack.
They’ve started to expand ever-so-slightly with their songs. While “Cocaine Cowboys” and “Anarchy” are total glamfests, “California” seems a bit more modern, melodic & radio-ready and “Garden of Babylon” is a no-frills 7 minute heavy metal number with enough twists & turns to keep you interested. “Damaged Kid” is another track that has a modern vibe to it at times.
There’s a few tracks that I would classify as filler. “Circus”, “Sin City” and “Snakes In Paradise” could’ve been left off the album, in my opinion, but the rest of the album is enjoyable through and through. The first four songs and then the album’s closer are just fantastic glam metal. “California” especially. That song is addictive.
All told, The Savage Playground shows us that the band is growing as musicians. They aren’t as snotty as before but they are still delivering the hooks & choruses needed to deliver a fun glam-metal album. I’ve seen some online reviews write this album off as as a step down in quality but as far as I’m concerned, this is the best album the band has released yet.
Highlights: “Change the World”, “Cocaine Cowboys”, “Anarchy”, “California”, “Lickin’ Dog”, “Garden of Babylon”
Jorn – Symphonic
2013, Frontiers Records
1. I Came To Rock
2. Rock And Roll Children
3. The World I See
4. Burn Your Flame
5. Man Of The Dark
6. My Road
7. Time To Be King
8. Black Morning
9. Like Stone In Water
10. Vision Eyes
11. War Of The World
12. Behind The Clown
13. A Thousand Cuts
14. The Mob Rules
Symphonic is a collection of Jorn’s songs, handpicked by Jorn Lande himself, that have been given a remix and orchestral makeover. Even dating back to when Metallica did it, adding orchestral arrangements on top of hard rock/heavy metal is a hit-or-miss affair. It’s hard to make a song work with an orchestra when they weren’t written with that in mind. Still, it can work depending on the song and as I mentioned, a number of these songs were actually remixed to better suit the orchestra element.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert when it comes to Jorn Lande or the various projects he’s been a part of. It’s only in the last few years I’ve begun to listen to his music but I do recognize some of the songs here like “A Thousand Cuts”, “Time To Be King”, “The World I See”, “Black Morning” and his Dio/Black Sabbath covers.
It’s no surprise that the more powerful numbers like “A Thousand Cuts”, “Time To Be King” and “The Mob Rules” are my favorite out of this bunch. There’s no tampering with those songs to make way for an orchestra. Get in where you can fit in. Mileage will vary on this album. I guess it really all comes down to ‘How much do you like symphonic rock?” Symphony isn’t a necessary release, there’s not one new song in the bunch, but it’s fine for what it is. It’s a satisfying placeholder until the next Jorn album comes along (which shouldn’t be long given this guy’s hectic schedule).
Highlights: ”Rock And Roll Children”, “The World I See”, “My Road”, “Time To Be King”, “Black Morning”, “A Thousand Cuts”, “The Mob Rules”
3. KISS – Monster
4. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
5. Aerosmith – Songs from Another Dimension!
6. Adler – Back From The Dead
7. Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage
8. Hess – Living In Yesterday
9. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
10. Dokken – Broken Bones
11. Great White – Elation
12. Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
13. Jorn – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land
17. Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue
18. Hinder – Welcome to the Freak Show
19. Million Dollar Reload – A Sinner’s Saint
20. The Morning After – Legacy
21. Heart – Fanatic
22. Accept – Stalingrad
Missed Them in 2012…
These are releases from 2012 that I’ve heard some songs from but I haven’t listened to the entire album yet. I wouldn’t have felt right trying to place them on the list without having heard the complete album. Look for reviews of these albums soon.
* Danko Jones – Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
* Black Country Communion – Afterglow
* L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (from what I’ve heard, this probably would’ve made my Top 10)
* Jettblack – Raining Rock
* The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions
* Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares
* Overkill – The Electric Age
* T & N – Slave to the Empire
* Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Session EP
The “everything else” category.
1. Richard Marx – Christmas Spirit
2. Dio – The Very Beast of Dio, Vol. 2
3. Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby
4. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas
5. TSO – Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) EP
6. Dee Snider – Dee Does Broadway
7. Buckcherry – “Gluttony” [single]
8. Motley Crue – “Sex” [single]
9. Wildstreet – “Easy Does It” [single]
Most Anticipated in 2013
Judas Priest: Slated for sometime in 2013, this is easily the most anticipated album for me. I’m looking forward to and hoping Priest will deliver a classic sounding metal album and forget about overblown concept records. It’s just a shame KK Downing isn’t along for the ride but I think having some young blood in Priest might actually help push them to be heavier, harder and faster. The same thing happened when Scott Travis joined the band. I’d still love to see Downing come back at some point though. Why not have six members of Judas Priest?
Buckcherry – Confessions (Feb. 19): The lead single “Gluttony” has already been released and I’m really enjoying it. These guys do not disappoint.
My Darkest Days (fall): These guys have released two of my favorite albums from the last few years and are already writing for a follow up to last year’s Sick and Twisted Affair with a new studio album in the fall. I’m hoping the recent departure of guitarist Sal Costa wouldn’t delay the release.
Avenged Sevenfold: No timetable for a new album other than 2013. The band is supposedly going to begin recording this month.
Motley Crue: Another “sometime in 2013″ release. The question is — LP or EP? Vince Neil has mentioned it will be an EP and that’s more in line with what Tommy Lee has stated he’d like for the band to release from now on. Nikki Sixx has been referring to the next Crue release as an “album”, so I guess we’ll see. The single they released in the summer (“Sex”) was decent and seems to fit in with the modern rock turn Crue has taken since 2005.
Black Sabbath: Originally meant for 2012, all kinds of legal issues and drama have slowed this one down. Pretty stupid if they don’t end up pulling Bill Ward in but I’m interested just because I’m a fan of Iommi & Butler. In fact, bring back Ward and get rid of Ozzy and I’d feel even better about this reunion album. My preference is still for Iommi & Butler to form a new band with either Tony Martin (long shot), Jorn Lande, Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes.
Megadeth: I dunno… Megadeth is one of my all-time favorite bands so I’m always interested but with each release I’m finding less and less to like. Yes, they are getting heavier and faster. Perhaps they are the heaviest and fastest they’ve ever been but Dave seems to be forsaking melody to do it. Seems like he’d rather go off on political rants and conspiracy theories than write memorable songs.
AC/DC: One of those bands that myself & radio have played out to the point where I’m kinda numb to them. But, Black Ice was far better than I ever imagined it could be so I’m definitely interested in new music. This past spring Malcolm Young said a new album would be out in a “year or two”. Here’s hoping it’ll be released in 2013.
Tom Keifer (spring) – I’m a big fan of Cinderella. People have been asking for a new Cinderella album for over 10 years now. I’m not sure why Tom would decide to a solo release instead but I’m not going to complain.
Deep Purple: Ian Gillan said they were planning a new release. Hopefully they follow through!
Anthrax: I think it was Joey Belladonna who stated in interview this past summer than they wanted to release something new in 2013.
Hardcore Superstar – C’mon Take On Me (March 1)
Black Veil Brides – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones (January 8): I surprisingly enjoyed their last album. Looking forward to hearing whether they’ve kept the same sound or going even more glam/power metal than before.
Crashdiet – The Savage Playground (late January)
Bon Jovi – What About Now (March 26): I’m not a fan of the lead single, “Because We Can”. I actually haven’t been a fan of the last few albums either but I was optimistic because I liked all four new songs they released with the deluxe version of their latest greatest hits compilation. I can’t help but get excited when a new Bon Jovi album is coming out but I would not be surprised if this album was only good for a ballad or two.
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: 2012, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Sabbath, Bon Jovi, Buckcherry, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Deep Purple, Dio, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Hinder, Judas Priest, KISS, Megadeth, Melodic Rock, Metal, Motley Crue, Music, My Darkest Days, Papa Roach, Richard Marx, Rick Springfield, Rock, Rod Stewart, Slash, Van Halen
Adler – Back From The Dead
2012, New Ocean Media
1. Back From The Dead
2. Own Worst Enemy
3. Another Version of the Truth
4. The One That You Hated
5. Good to Be Bad
6. Just Don’t Ask
7. Blown Away
10. Your Diamonds
11. Dead Wrong
Jacob Bunton – Vocals
Lonny Paul – Guitar
Johnny Matrin – Bass
Steven Adler – Drums
Slash – Guitar (“Just Don’t Ask)
John 5 – Guitar (“Good to Be Bad”)
Producer: Jeff Pilson
Well. After years of battling substance abuse, starring in reality TV shows and forming what was essentially a GNR cover band, Steven Adler has finally done it. He’s finally put together a band that has released an album of entirely original material. After the stop & go nature of his previous band (Adler’s Appetite), I had my doubts if Steven would ever do anything more than session work again. Not only am I surprised that new music from Alder is here, I’m even more surprised the entire album is actually very good and a Top 10 release for me for the year!
I had heard the handful of original songs Adler’s Appetite made and released as an EP a few years back and “The One That You Hated” earlier this year and I liked it all so I assumed there would be a few good tracks but nothing like this. This is no filler here. I’m not saying every song is a killer track but every song is certainly well-worth the time listening to.
Musically, this band fits right in with Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Velvet Revolver and Slash’s solo output. You can hear the GNR influence. I will say that not all of Back From The Dead is as modern sounding as Velvet Revolver or Slash’s recent albums but that’s not a bad thing. There are a few tracks that could easily pass as a song by Velvet Revolver or Slash but for the most part this album is just good ol’ straight up hard rock. The sound isn’t modern. It’s timeless. There’s a number of melodic moments like “Waterfall” and “Just Don’t Ask”. Either of which could easily be played on the radio. “Just Don’t Ask” could be a Shinedown/Daughtry kind of song.
I have to point out that frontman Jacob Bunton does a great job. Some maybe recognize him as the lead singer from Lynam and Mars Electric.
A lot people say the classic GNR line-up should reunite but I say WHY? By my count, we have now FIVE great bands going (GNR, Velvet Revolver, Slash, Adler, Loaded). Why kill off (or at least put on hold for a few years) four bands for a GNR reunion that probably wouldn’t get through one album and/or tour before imploding? Regardless of your feelings on that subject, fans of GNR and all of the various projects from ex-GNR members should pick this one up.
Highlights: “Back From The Dead”, “Own Worst Enemy”, “Another Version of the Truth”, “The One That You Hated”, “Just Don’t Ask”, “Blown Away”, “Waterfall”, “Dead Wrong”