Yes, I know this website is called ‘Progradar’ but in my last incarnation as a reviewer for Lady Obscure Music Magazine I often wrote about Hard Rock, AOR and Heavy Rock and this is the music I actually grew up with.
Recently, those lovely people at Frontiers Records have released some superb albums that drop neatly into those genres and from some great artists who have been on the scene since the 80’s and before.
So, here is my round up of six new albums released in October and early November that should be on any rock music fan’s wish list….
Hardline – Human Nature
Hardline evolved from being a sunset strip sensation featuring brothers Johnny (vocals) and Joey (guitar) Gioeli to a supergroup of sorts featuring former Bad English members Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo, before finally becoming a band showcasing the incredible talents of the fabulous singer Johnny Gioeli with the production and songwriting skills of Alessandro Del Vecchio (Rated X, Resurrection Kings, Revolution Saints), the shredding talents of guitarist Josh Ramos (The Storm), and the powerful rhythm section made up of bassist Anna Portalupi (Tarja) and drummer Francesco Jovino (Primal Fear, Jorn). All these musicians have an impressive pedigree, but what makes Hardline special is how well their unique and different talents blend together.
The goal for their new album was to have a heavier and updated version of the original Hardline sound. Think debut album, 1992’s ‘Double Eclipse’ updated for the 21st Century, with a grittier and more straight ahead sound. Anthemic, hard rocking songs are what you can expect from this record and hook after hook, riff after riff, you’ll find yourself wowed by this absolute monster of an album!
As an original purchaser of ‘Double Eclipse’ this new release had a lot to live up to and I am happy to report that it does exactly what it says on the tin. A rocking, rollercoaster ride of melodic hard rock from beginning to end, it’s not reinventing the wheel but it does what it sets out to do with aplomb
Rating (out of 5 P’s) – PPP1/2
Glenn Hughes – Resonate
Vocalist/bassist/songwriter Glenn Hughes is a true original. No other rock musician has carved such a distinctive style blending the finest elements of hard rock, soul, and funk. That astonishing voice is Hughes’ calling card. He’s known as a singer’s singer. Stevie Wonder once called Hughes his favorite white singer!
With a career that started in 1970 with the band Trapeze, Glenn left his indelible mark on several musical endeavours and bands, including Deep Purple’s MK III and IV, Hughes/Thrall, his collaborations with Gary Moore, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and most recently with Black Country Communion and California Breed, just to name a few. With eleven original solo albums under his belt and countless collaborations with rock’s greatest names, Glenn Hughes is a musical icon of our times.
From album opener, “Heavy” to the very last chords of the closer, “Long Time Gone”, it is a powerhouse of hard rock that will literally blow you away. It features his live solo band members, Soren Andersen (guitars & co-producer), Pontus Engborg (drums) and newcomer to his band, Lachy Doley (keys), in addition to long-time friend and drummer, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), who joined them in the studio for the opening and closing numbers. It is definitely most heavy sounding of his solo albums, but as is his trademark, musical diversity shines through and as Glenn commented upon completion of the new recording, “this album is the first kind of a complete Glenn album”.
What makes this record stand out thoughout though is the fact that ‘The Voice of Rock’ emphatically still has the magical ‘it’, just check out “My Town” to see what I mean, impressive stuff!
Rating (out of 5 P’s) – PPPP
Graham Bonnet Band – The Book
Legendary rock vocalist Graham Bonnet is back with a new band and an exciting new album titled ‘The Book’.
The ‘Graham Bonnet Band‘, features of course Graham Bonnet on lead vocals, Beth-Ami Heavenstone on bass, South American guitar sensation Conrado Pesinato on lead guitar, ex-Alcatrazz man Jimmy Waldo on keys and Mark Zonder (known for his acclaimed work with Warlord and Fates Warning) on Drums.
The Graham Bonnet Band has spent the last 12 months touring solidly around the world, with performances at several major European festivals including an acclaimed set at Sweden Rock 2016. The debut Graham Bonnet Band album ‘The Book’ sees Graham returning in fine form, with an album that is his best in decades: 11 new tracks that will blow heavy rock fans away!
Also included with the new album is a 16 track cd of re-recorded classic tracks from Graham’s career.
Right, unfortunately this is a record of two halves, the new songs have been written to fit Graham Bonnet‘s vocals and, as such, they are pretty powerful stuff but, the re-recorded tracks really show the limits that he has at this late stage in his career and he struggles to hit the highs he did with Rainbow on classic songs such as ‘All Night Long’ and ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’, to be honest, I’d leave that disc alone.
Rating (out of 5 P’s) – PPP
Roth Brock Project – S/T
John Roth (Winger, Starship, Giant) and Terry Brock (Strangeways, Giant, Leroux) join forces to bring you the Roth Brock Project! John and Terry first met in 2009 while working on Giant‘s “Promise Land” record. They soon developed a unique song writing chemistry and musical bond which all these years later has led to their debut release for Frontiers Music. Powerhouse vocals and thundering guitars are at the forefront of this stellar collaboration from two of rock’s most seasoned and underrated veterans.
John Roth landed his first gig at the age of 19 with Southern boogie rock legends Black Oak Arkansas in 1986, and soon found himself in demand for recording and touring with the likes of Jimi Jamison (R.I.P.) of Survivor, and 80’s rock legends, Winger. Terry Brock’s first job in the music business was as a vocalist on the Kansas album “Drastic Measures” in 1983, which was soon followed by a tour with the Steve Morse Band and two albums with Strangeways (who were signed to BMG/RCA Records). Terry is currently on tour with Louisiana’s Leroux, while John is on tour with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas.
This is an album of hard rock infused with some heavy blues influence, the vocals have that grit and determination that the best rock singers have and the guitars really bring a smile to my face. Again, not an album to break convention but one that you will enjoy listening to again and again. Down and dirty blues rock with style!
Rating (out of 5 P’s) – PPP1/2
FM – Indiscreet 30
30 years on FM announce that they have decided to record a modern-day version of their now classic debut album ‘Indiscreet’. The band was asked many times to consider re-recording some of these tracks using today’s modern technology and recording techniques and giving the songs the sound of FM as it is today.
The band realises what an iconic album this is to so many fans so they have always steered clear of tampering with it too much but whilst in the studio recording the follow-up to ‘Heroes & Villains’ one night at the end of a session FM decided to put down a backing track to “That Girl” to see how it would sound with the huge sounds they were getting at the time. It gave the song a new dynamic and power that it was not possible to achieve in the 80’s.
Whilst playing it again the following morning FM decided it would be great to hear all these classic songs with this new lease of life. “We are not trying to recreate the original but this is our interpretation played by FM as we are today with the sound of FM 2016” says FM’s bass player Merv Goldsworthy.
In addition to the re-recording of the original album, ‘Indiscreet 30′ also features seven bonus tracks including brand new song “Running On Empty” and a new recording of “Let Love Be The Leader”.
For old and new fans of this iconic British hard rock act ‘Indiscreet 30’ is a superb slice of nostalgia and features one of the best voices in rock in Steve Overland, a vocalist who just seems to get better and better. A classy and cultured collection of songs that will take you back to the 80’s on a wave of sepia-tinged memories.
Rating (out of 5 P’s) – PPPP
Tyketto – Reach
After five years of relentless touring that included playing on some of the most prestigious stages on the planet, Tyketto took their revitalized energy in to the studio in the spring of 2016. The sessions took place at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales (Queen, Rush, Oasis).
Lead vocalist Danny Vaughn comments, “Although we only had planned on recording ten songs for ‘Reach’, we were so pleased with everything, we decided to keep all twelve songs on the record. We unanimously decided on ‘Reach’ as the title of the album, as it defines who this band is in 2016. We have a new energy, some incredible new members, and a fresh outlook toward the future. All of us have pushed each other beyond our limits to make what we feel is a pinnacle record in our catalog.”
Drummer and founding member Michael Clayton Arbeeny adds, “Many bands who have been out as long as we have feel they need to fit into a preconceived notion of what their fans expect to hear. Following in the footsteps of icons such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Prince, we have decided to expand our musical boundaries and introduce our friends around the world to Tyketto 2016. Rest assured that all the songs on ‘Reach’ still carry the trademark melodies and choruses our fans have grown to love over the decades. The band is feeling stronger and performing better than ever and we can’t wait to share this music with the world.”
In addition to Vaughn and Arbeeny, the unstoppable 2016 lineup includes Chris Green (guitars and vocals), Ged Rylands (keyboards and vocals) and Chris Childs (bass).
An album of cracking AOR tracks with a bit of a Hard Rock edge, Tyketto have taken the classic sound of the 80’s and brought it bang up to date. From the title track to the hard rocking ‘The Fastest man Alive’ it is a non stop grin-fest of powerful guitars and superb vocals.
Rating (out of 5 P’s) – PPP1/2
All the above releases can be ordered through the Frontiers Records website here