Stark Music Reviews

INGLORIOUS – Inglorious (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 20:59


Wow!!! Just f***ing WOW!!! I’ve seen there’s been a bit of a hype around this band and before hearing them I was not really paying attention thinking it was just one more, no offence, decent but not overly exciting melodic rock project. Well, suck me sideways! Wrong was I!! I damn near stood in attention after the sneaky intro had finished and the first riffs of opening track Until I Die rolled out of the speakers like a raging steamroller! The first band that came to mind was the long lost Badlands fronted by the highly missed Ray Gillen. The power, the riff and the intensity of phenomenal power house vocalist Nathan James just hit me like a brick! One track doesn’t do an album, of course, which second track Breakaway helps to overcome. This one started out with a touch of Aussie rockers Electric Mary with a Whitesnake sounding chorus. High Flying Gypsyprovides a bit of Kashmir-feel to the guitar rhythm, but there end the similarities. Another killer bluesy rocker. Holy Water starts out with a cool bluesy riff, the pumping bass and drums come in and we’re now in Whitesnakemeets Purple territory, with Nathan hitting that soul-rattling Hughes vibe. A big, powerful, yet cool and bluesy ballad. A dirty, mean, gritty, ugly and lonely guitar starts off the track Warning, joined by a cool slide guitar. Break. Hell breaks loose! Inglorious may not be bastards, but they sure sound like a bunch of bad boys! Bleed For You also enters into a cool, bluesy Whitesnakey vibe, but better than anything that band has done since 1984. Ok, Girl Got Gun is yet another slow piece. It’s a great track, but I hope you’re not falling asleep, guys, are you? Well, You’re Mine answers the question. Nope! The track Inglorious sticks out a bit with it’s simple halftone descent metallic riff, followed by a Magnum-like passage, making me wonder where this one’s heading. It’s a bit like if Led Zeppelin and Magnum had a love child, and that’s all good in my book! Unaware starts off with a soft piano intro, after which the heavy riff masters take over and turns this into a heavy, yet cool riff-oriented hard rocker with a modern melodic rock chorus. Some bluesy 7-chords, a bit of wah and we’re home free! Even though the album closer is entitled Wake, I think Goodnight would be more appropriate. Acoustic guitars and vocals and then 3 minutes into the song some very unplugged sounding drums and a bluesy guitar solo enter. Kind of a Badlands-vibe to this one as well, actually. This will most likely be the cigarette lighter (now iPhone) moment of the glorious Inglorious live show. Damn fine album, indeed!
Janne Stark
Label: Frontiers
Country: UK
Year: 2016

KILLER – Monsters Of Rock (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:24

Killer is a Belgian trio that harks back to the 80s and killer albums like Ready For Hell, Shockwaves and Wall of Sound. They were sort of a Motörhead with slightly cleaner vocals. Well, guitarist/singer Paul “Shorty” Van Camp still keeps the flame alight. Their early albums were released on the notorious Mausoleum label, and so is the new album. This killer is back to the scene of the crime. Well, that goes for the music as well. Not much has happened here, and I tell you, that’s a good thing! Shorty sounds as good as ever, the songs are pounding and the sound is classic balls to the wall metal. Kicking off with the title track and No Exception To The Rule they prove there’s not much water that have passed under these bridges. Powerful, straight ahead, no frills, kick in the nut metal! Shotgun Symphony starts off as a heavy, detuned and doomy riffster, but picks up pace after the intro and moves into classic stomping Judas PriestBritish Steel territory. Good nostalgia tickling stuff, indeed!
Janne Stark
Country: Belgium
Year: 2015

Label: Mausoleum

ETERNAL OF SWEDEN – Heaven’s Gate (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:23

This Swedish combo, originally called just Eternal, released their debut album Chapter 1 in 2012, so it’s about time for a follow-up. The debut was in the vein of Eclipse, with a slightly heavier edge. Melodic hard rock with a touch of AOR. Well, opening track Ruins kicks off the new album way heavier than its predecessor. This reminds me quite a lot of Nocturnal Rites actually. Still melodic and still heavy, but even more bombastic and with Sabaton:ish warrior style choirs (which I unfortunately don’t especially like). The title track continues in the same vein, but fortunately leaving the “warriors” outside. Surrounded By Shadows draws closer to power metal in its design, but Christer Gärds is far more interesting than the majority of the current power metal singers. The production by Peter Tägtgren is powerful and heavy, but there’s something with the keyboards I just don’t like. It’s like they are floating in a dimension of their own, disconnected from the rest of the music. It’s like they are far away and with a big reverb all over it. It’s especially evident in the track The Purity Inside, but also in several other tracks. I’ve given the album a few spins and it hasn’t hit me as hard as the outstanding debut. I hope it will grow on me, but I think the main problem for me is that they have moved in a direction that is a bit further from what I’m into right now. Still, it’s top quality on musicians, vocals and overall it sounds killer, and the track Freedom Now is damn fine!
Janne Stark
Country: Sweden
Year: 2015

Label: Black Lodge

BILLION DOLLAR BABIES – Chemical God (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:21

Nope, Billion Dollar Babies is neither the original Alice Cooper backing band nor a cover band of the same. Billion Dollar Babies is a Swedish hard rock combo. The first recording in my collection is a demo entitled Ladies First, from 2007. They showed great promise already back then. The MCD Stand Your Ground was unearthed later the same year, followed by the debut album Die For Diamondsthree years later. A really good and solid effort indeed. A life sign in form of the EP House of Dreams Pt 1 saw the light of day in 2012. Well, it seems the band has been honing their skills and making a new game plan in the years between then and now. Chemical God offers a new and very re-vamped band. Still heavy and melodic, but not at all as sleazy and glammy, instead very theatrical and with loads of bells and whistles all over the place. The spare no ‘spences when it comes to effects and a modern sound. Stuff happen high and low and I’m not sure how they will be able to pull it off live, but still, it works! They sometimes feel like a modern metal version of Sparks, especially in The Junkies Ball, which is sort of a This Place Ain’t Big Enough For Us with a touch of Rammstein. Frank Kooistra is also an outstanding singer, which lifts the album even higher. There are a few tracks I’m not 100 % into, but for the most part this is a damn great album! I think the babies have found their new dress!
Janne Stark
Country: Sweden
Year: 2015

Label: Metalville

CRAIG ERICKSON – Sky Train Galaxy (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:18

I discovered Craig Erickson already back in 1992 when I bought his album Roudhouse Stomp!. I loved his cool vocals and fierce guitar playing from day one, and it hasn’t changed. He’s one of those guys that never ceases to deliver high quality stuff. Well, opener The Comeback just proved he’s done it again. An awesome, stonking, punchy rocker with balls the size of a wrecking ball. But, what really blew my mind was his phenomenal cover of Deep Purple’s Getting Tighter/Ode To T (yes, T, not G), which is just plain classic. The times when I think a cover actually is better than the original is as rare as an ice cream man on Antarctica, but Craig actually does. It’s without doubt one of my favourite tracks of 2015! In Time (Never Enough) Craig delivers fill after fill and solo after solo with his highly recognizable slinky and bluesy style. Illusions of the World gives me vibes of another favourite artist of mine, namely Robin Trower. Craig has the same cool soulful style and same tasteful way to fit in cool guitar licks around the vocals with out one clashing with the other. Oustanding! I may be partial since Grooveyard is releasing some of my stuff as well, but I must say that this label really picks some outstanding artists and releases some top quality albums! Craig Erickson, Jay Jesse Johnson, Brett Ellis, Martin J Andersen, Johnny Hunkins etc etc. The list is as long as Billy Gibbons’ beard. This is no standard blues rock album. You’ll find a variety of styles and sounds hidden in the mix and it really makes for an album you come back to over and over and never get tired of.
Janne Stark
Country: USA
Year: 2015

Label: Grooveyard Records

JAY JESSE JOHNSON – Set The Blues On Fire (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:16

American blues rocker Jay Jesse Johnson is one outstanding axe master. He’s delivered nothing but quality discs, and this one is just another notch on the Marshall stack. What I really like about JJJ is that he blends his down to earth, classic blues playing with swift and tricky licks, similar to the way Stevie Ray used to do. In fact Set The Blues On Fire would fit in nicely somewhere between Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas Flood”, Joe Bonamassa’s “A New Day Yesterday” and Pat Travers “Makin’ Magic”. His tone is really to die for and the sound is fat. I also really like his rough and bluesy voice. What also makes this album such a stellar piece, is the phenomenal backing band featuring groove master Jeff Donaldson on drums, the funky Reed Bogart on bass and the cool Lee Evans on keyboards. The song material goes from semi-hard blues ballads such as I Knew Then and the outstanding cool guitar master piece Rio De Los Suenos to full out funky rockers like Ace In The Hole and album opener Hell Or High Water. A killer album and indeed it's on fire!
Janne Stark
Country: USA
Year: 2015

Label: Grooveyard Records

LESLIE WEST – Soundcheck (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:14

Leslie is one of my all-time favourite guitarists. Ever since I heard Mountain back in the 70s I was hooked! His solo albums, quite a few by now, has however never really been any 10/10s, but on the other hand he’s never released any bad albums either. It’s mostly been half killer stuff and the other half swaying between good and ok. On his last couple of albums it’s like he’s been rejuvenated in some way, because he’s actually better than ever! The guitar playing, vocals and overall attitude is rock hard and the songs are for the most part really good! Souncheck starts out with a hard hitting nut kicker in the form of Left By The Roadside To Die, one of the album’s few originals. I’m not an extreme fan of covers (says the person who has released three cover albums…), but when you record a cover don’t really like it when you do a carbon copy of the original. Leslie West has, ever since the old days of Mountain, Leslie West Band and West Bruce & Laing recorded covers, and made them his own. From StonesSatisfaction, Jack Bruce’s Theme For An Imaginary Western to the entire Dylan cover album Masters Of War. This album features several covers, and I really love it when he gives them the full frontal West treatment, such as You Are My Sunshine (featuring Peter Frampton) as a cool soft blues ballad in a minor key. Just as genius as when Ghost did The Beatles Here Comes The Sun in minor. You will also find Leslie’s (or actually bass player Rev Jones’) renditions of The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby, Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready (with Leslie’s lead guitar tone soaring like a bit proud eagle) and a really groovy, strutty cover of Don Nix Goin’ Down (featuring Brian May). The only one I don’t really like is Stand By Me (mainly because I don’t like the song from the beginning and also because the way it’s done didn’t really speak to me) and the quite badly recorded live-version of Spoonful, which I can fully understand he included because of nostalgia reasons after the loss of Jack Bruce, but it doesn’t really live up to the quality of the rest of the album soundwise. As for his original tunes, Here For The Party is an outstanding chunky, gritty and heavy blues rocker that hits you like a steamroller while A Stern Warning (dedicated to his friend Howard Stern) is an outstanding showcasing of Leslie’s acoustic guitar skills. All in all, this is a damn fine album, one of the best Leslie has released since the Mountain days!
Janne Stark
Country: USA
Year: 2015

Label: Mascot Records

BONEDOG – Gone Fishing (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:11

Gone Fishing is the third outing from the Swedish southern style blues rockers Bonedog. I’ve been spinning this disc quite a few times, but this time the fish ain’t biting as hard as it used to I’m afraid. Yes, the band sounds great, they are tight and groovy and the songs are fine. I’m not really sure what it is, but this one feels a bit more light-weight. It may be that the production is a bit thinner and I lack a bit of attitude. It is also a bit more laid back in the musical approach, more akin to vintage Sky High or Blues Bag, which is not a bad thing, just not what I was expecting. Well, enough of the negative attitude. Despite my somewhat jaded outlook I think it’s a really good and even album. Micke Landréhn is a great guitarist and I really like his vocals, especially when he really brings on some attitude like in Messed Up By The Painand Riding With The King. There are some really good songs in here and not any real lows, so as a whole it’s well worth checking out.
Janne Stark
Country: Sweden
Year: 2015   

Label: Self-released

BLACKSMITH LEGACY – Metal Never Dies (MCD 4tr)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:09

These Swedes made their debut in 2013 and now follow it up with the four-track EP entitled Metal Never Dies. They do sound like they believe it 100 %. All the heavy metal clique boxes are ticked. The lyrics and song titles are “metal”, the band name and title are “metal”, the sound is definitely metal and the songs are very metal. They have even snuck in a section from The Hall Of The Mountain King. I’m not saying it like it’s a bad thing. I think it’s great that bands keep the legacy (excuse the pun) alive. Metal Never Dies is definitely a step up from the debut Let The Game Begin in terms of production, songs and overall quality, plus the lead vocals sound better (the singer has now unfortunately left the band). If you’re into bands like Gamma Ray, Metalium, Running Wild and Manowar, lend these boys an ear.
Janne Stark
Year: 2015
Country: Sweden

Label: Self-released

HELLSPRAY – Bring On The War (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 14:08

Swedish heavy melodic rockers released their first album Full Moon In Plainfield in 2008. The debut featured former Renegade singer Magnus Tallåker, who was soon replaced by the more rough-edged Anders Moberg. Anders made his debut on the 2011 release Part Of The Solution. On Bring On The War the band has brought up the heaviness factor a few steps. The new CD opens with the title track, which to me felt a bit heavier than the band really is. I was slightly disappointed. However, Song For The Deaf put things back into place. Still very heavy, but more melodic and it didn’t feel strained. Shine Like The Sun takes it yet another step in the right direction. It actually reminded me a bit of Dirt-era Alice In Chains, but with a more positive view on life. This good, really good! Anders is a powerful singer and he fits the style perfectly. Great, tight and powerful mix. Well done!
Janne Stark
Year: 2015
Country: Sweden

Label: Self-released

THE DEEP – Premonition (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Tue, 10/06/2015 - 19:00


With their roots in bands such as Deep Machine and Airrace, new UK melodic metal rockers The Deep take their first step with the debut Premonition. I was truly blown away by their down to earth, classic melodic hard rock, with the roots in the 80s NWOBHM era. By coincidence, just recently purchased the High Roller release of the old Deep Machine demos. They kicked ass back then and I love that stuff, but I have to say, I actually like The Deep even better. Maybe it’s the maturity of Tony Coldham’s beautiful voice, the years of honing their musical craftsmanship or simply the songs that sits better today. They actually featured a re-recording of the old 1982 demo track Saga. In that case it’s not the latter, but probably the better recording and the band that has become better. Great version! When I learned The Deep was ex-Deep Machine I was actually a bit worried since I saw a recent video of the band with quite horrible vocals, but I guess there are two camps out there (not that uncommon these days). This camp clearly takes the prize in my book. Anywayz… Premonition kicks off with classic NWoBHM style rocker The Rider, a bit reminiscent of early Samson meets Raven. Timeless metal! You Take My Breath Away kicks off as a classic metal number, but goes into a Praying Mantisstyle melodic rocker with nice harmony vocals. Ok, I’ve mentioned some other bands here, but The Deep definitely have their own sound. I’m totally blown away by Tony Coldham’s fantastic vocals, strong, powerful and clear! Night-Stalker is another track that could have been (was?) written in the early 80s with it’s classic plodding guitar riff. I love it! Cold-Hearted shows a slightly different side, with its almost Lillian Axe style heavy power balladry. A really cool song indeed! I won’t go into each track, but there’s not one single weak track! 10 tracks, you don’t need more. 10 great tracks makes you long for the next album already! Highly recommended!
Janne Stark
Label: private
Country: UK
Year: 2015

Link: http://www.thedeepuk.band/

KICKIN’ VALENTINA – Super Atomic (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Tue, 10/06/2015 - 18:56


I was never really a huge fan of sleaze and glam, to be honest. I’m more of a heavy riff seventies hard rock guy. However, some bands did catch my attention. Skid Row and Guns did have their moments, as well as bands like Tora Tora and Enuff Z'nuff. To be honest I actually like the current heavy sleaze/glam bands more than I did in the 80s. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s them. However, bands like Crazy Lixx, Crashdïet and Hardcore Superstar have their fine moments. When I was introduced to American band Kickin’ Valentina I was not really sure it would be my bag, since my good friend, Ken Anthony, who introduced me to them, if way more sleaze/glam than I am. Well, lo and behold, these boys do rock! Super Atomic is definitely a car album. It’s custom made for front seat headbangin’ and it is highly speed inducing. Maybe it’s because they are from Georgia, but there’s a southern feel to it that sets them apart from a lot of the mainstream bands in the same genre. I’m also a fan of singer Joe Edwards’ raspy whiskey voice. There’s no rocket science involved when it comes to the song writing, but this genre doesn’t need it. It’s based on attitude, power, performance, delivery and a great sound. Kickin’ Valentina check all the boxes. I actually like this one!
Janne Stark
Country: USA
Year: 2015
Label: Highway9/Target


SKY HIGH – Stone & Gravel (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Tue, 10/06/2015 - 18:52



Swedish heavy blues rockers Sky High, lead by guitarist/singer Clas Yngström, refuse to give up. They were around when the burning bush still hadn't caught fire and they are still going! And, damn I’m glad for that! What I’m even more glad for is that they never fail to deliver. What makes me EVEN MORE glad is that Stone & Gravel is their best album in years! I was afraid Clas would embellish the big band stuff and walk down that road. But not, noooooo way! Stone & Gravel should actually be entitled Rock & Concrete! This album is one heavy mother! It starts out with the groovy Pretty Young Women (And Dirty Old Men), followed by the slightly ZZ Top:ish stomper One Step Back. If these two tracks haven’t convinced you already, just move on to the power shuffle A New Old Style (Old Farts Boogie), rolling on like a heavier updated long lost cousin of their old classic I Ain’t Beggin’. This is the top of the boogie class! There are no signs of wear or old age, even if some of the titles suggest that should be the case. F’get about it! This is power trio galore! It’s also nice to see the classic trio featuring Clas, bassist Arne Blomqvist and drummer Marcus Källström together again. It sounds like they were never apart in the first place. Tight, groovy and rockin! I also must give a heads up to producer Jonas Kjellgren who has given this platter the ultimate power and heaviness without making it sound too modern or artificial. It still sounds like real tubes, old Strats and acoustic drums! Welcome back guys! A killer album, indeed! And, the artwork looks absolutely killer!
Janne Stark
Label:Pike Records
Country: Sweden
Year: 2015

Link:www.skyhighblues.com

OZONE – Self Defence (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 12:42


On paper this looks like the perfect melodic rock album! Two excellent singers: Steve Overland (FM, Wildlife) and Chris Ousey (Heartland, Virginia Wolf, Snakecharmer) and on of my all-time favorite guitarists Mike Slamer (City Boy, Streets, Steelhouse Lane) team up to make melodic rock magic. Tommy Denander is also part of the project, as songwriter and guitarist. I don’t have an info sheet, so I don't know who’s written what, so it's guesses on my part. The album starts with the Slamer sounding “Tiger By The Tail”, which would fit perfectly on any Steelhouse Lane or Seventh Key album. The vocals give the song a different touch, though. I can’t help it, but every time I hear Ousey sing I think of Eric Martin (which is not a bad thing in my book). “Let The Good Will Out” starts off with a simple, but perfectly ok guitar riff, while the song itself feels quite “safe”. “So Blind” is a classic AOR semi-ballad where the outstanding vocals really lift the track. “Destiny” starts off with a cool guitar riff and continues in a more classic British hard rock vibe, with a touch of Overland’s home turf, with a Slamer-sounding chorus. A great track indeed.  “Shadow On The Sun” continues in the same vein, and also makes me think classic Slamer riffing, but with a chorus very close to Kenny Loggin’s “Danger Zone”. As much as I think Denander is a great lead guitarist and he is heard on the most part of this album, I really miss Slamer’s light, funny and highly personal solos. Not sure why he’s not featured more, and I think it’s a real shame. It’s something I actually looked forward to. “Save My Soul” is another classic melodic rocker with a pre-chorus dangerously close to Foreigner’s “Feels Like The First Time”. “Smile Before You Lie” also sounds very classic Slamer and the interplay between Ousey and Overland really works great in this track (well, it’s not “bad” in any sense in any other track, just a notch better here). “Lifetime” is a big, bluesy ballad where the vocal twins really make a home run. “Practice What You Preach” is another solid melodic rocker with some nice riffing and a very Slamer-sounding chorus.  But, where are Slamer’s solos? The album closes with the up-tempo rocker “Visionary Man”. All in all this is a really good, albeit quite a “safe”, melodic rocker, with a production close to Seventh Key and Slamer’s solo stuff, which feels quite secure. There are some typical Slamer riffs here and there, but I really miss his soloing (as you may have gathered...). Steve and Chris really shine and their voices mix very well together. Works fine for me!
Janne Stark
Label: Escape
Country: UK/US/Sweden

Year: 2015

BOHEMIAN LIFESTYLE – Madame Libertánah (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 12:38


Wow, this new Swedish quartet really kicks off with an outstanding powerful retro style hard rocker! Great vocals, powerful delivery, great production by Sator man Chips Kisbye! Unfortunately there’s a power drop in second track “Fool’s Mask”, where they sound more like a modern pop/rock band, and it spirals even more downwards in “A Brigher Day”, which sounds closer to The Ark (a good band, but not really my cup of tea. The Swedish band, not the Norwegians, that is). In “Woodlands” the guitar is back in action! Cool and heavy riffing kicks this one into gear, even though the chorus sounds a bit too streamlined for my taste. “Coming Back Around” moves back into the pop/rock territory and they lose me once again. “Wake Up Call” has a pretty cool quirky riff, and the song works pretty good actually, but the following tracks continue the hit and miss affair. Half the album works great for me, while the other half just don’t cut it at all. When they’re good, they’re really good!
Janne Stark
Label: Attitude Recordings
Country: Sweden

Year: 2015

IDORA – Above The Law (MCD 5tr)

Stark Music Reviews - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 12:34


American melodic heavy rockers Idorafeatures singer Brian Colkitt, guitarist Mike Floros, bassist Mike Talanca and drummer Rob Duran. The band mixes good old 80’s tinged melodic hard rock with a touch sleaze, sort of Dokken meets Quiet Riot. Brian Conklitt is a good singer with a touch of Kevin Dubrow, but not as raspy. My favourite track is “Stand” with its nice melodic hooks and classic pumping rhythm parts, along with the title track, with its slightly Van Halenish touch. The mixing could use a skilled helping hand to take the production to the next level, but this is a good start!
Janne Stark 
Label: self-released
Year: 2015

Country: USA

STERBHAUS – New Level of Malevolence (CD)

Stark Music Reviews - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 13:45


Most of you know I’m not a big fan of death metal, but there’s one band that I just fucking LOVE!! Ever since I saw the video for The House Of The Dead Dwarf, which proved the level of self-distance and humor this band possesses, I just love their quirky boundary-less technical and quirky, yet quite melodic death metal. Their previous album, Angels For Breakfast… And God For Lunch really rocked my world for a long time. So, I’m happy to say that with the follow-up New Level of Malevolence, they have even stepped it up. This is bloody outstanding! I even have a soft spot for Marcus Hammarström’s evil sounding, screechy, but not painful vocals, which actually fits the music perfectly. I don’t think you’re supposed to fell happy when listening to death metal, but I have a smile on my face every time I listen to this band. The album is full of little surprises which just throw you off in all directions without warning, and I love that. Predictable? No way in hell! There are traces of classic heavy metal, death metal, thrash, prog metal, doom, polka and… you name it, and that is just in the title track alone! There’s actually one band that sometimes comes to mind, and which I also love, and that’s F.K.Ü. They both have the same level of intensity and power. Also, tell me the last time you heard neck pick-up Stratocaster being played in a thrash/death tune? This is a new level of excellence!
Janne Stark
Year: 2015
Country: Sweden
Label: Killhead

SEAN BAKER ORCHESTRA – Game On! (pro-CDR)

Stark Music Reviews - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 13:44

Shredguy Records is providing us with yet another top-notch guitar oriented release. This is definitely not your ordinary shredding metal album. Besides the orchestrated and quite interesting intro, just check out songs like D.T.O.C., the groovy and detuned Hercules Box, the almost Journey sounding Coming Up Roses and Ruth Ann, and of course Sean’s interpretation if Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke, actually featuring horns. To be honest, the latter is my least favorite on the album. I really like the song to begin with, and I think Sean could’ve done something more exciting with it, plus the horns sound quite disconnected from the song at times. It could be the mix, where this song doesn’t sound as good as the rest. A minor flaw, though. Of course all shredding fans with get their ears full. The track Shrapnel In Your Ear presents, besides the outstanding Sean Baker himself, shredding colleagues Marc Rizzo, Toby Knapp and Bruce Bouillet. A slice of shredding heaven indeed! Despite being a guitar album, there are two vocal tracks: The grindingly heavy Necessary Evils featuring Racer X man Jeff Martin and the soft Spooky handled by Ronny Munroe. Another Shredguy release to check out!
Janne Stark
Label: Shredguy Records
Year: 2015
Country: USA


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