Archive for Classic Rock

DC4 – Atomic Highway

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 22nd October 2018 by mickbirchy

DC4

Atomic Highway

Hard Rock, Classic Rock

Released: 21 September 2018

via Highvol Music

With over 40 releases under their belts combined, it’s really easy to expect a lot from these bonified legends of the industry. DC4 are a supergroup formed by brothers, Jeff, Shawn & Matt Duncan with their brother-in-metal Rowen Robertson, who between them have appeared in such bands as Armored Saint, Odin, Killer Bee & the legendary Dio. So their rock n roll pedigree is far from in question. We know they can do the job. The question is this, are they any good? My answer, in a word, yes. It’s all the great aspects of classic hard rock and none of the fluff. Their new record, Atomic Highway is an enjoyable experience that will get any rocker’s mojo going. If the talent on display didn’t impress you, then know that Bill Metoyer produced and mastered the record. With bands like Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Corrosion of Conformity and the aforementioned Armored Saint under his belt. You can bet the album is going to sound as good as it can possibly be.

This album gives you everything you expect. Powerful riffs, gut-busting solos, commanding vocals and grooves for days. The band sounds so good, with strong songwriting and well-executed performances all around. It’s amazing how this automatically feels like a classic record with those familiar guitar sounds that you could swear you’ve heard before. The band just rides the groovy riffs and then go wild during the solos, whilst still maintaining that great control of the rhythm. No one member feels more important than the other, everyone plays their part beautifully. Sure, the rock style may be formulaic, but at this point, it’s a tried and tested formula of rock n roll and it guarantees that people keep listening and enjoy the songs. The impressive guitar solos are what sell this record for me. When the guitar is let loose, I can feel goosebumps shiver through my body. The precision and skill, blended with a wonderful rhythm section make the solos pop and really stand out.

Jeff Duncan’s vocal performance is great as well. He has a dynamic singing voice that ranges from powerful with a rough edge, to tender and well toned. When he sings, his voice sores above the production. The music matching the lyrical subjects really well and the squealing guitar contracts well against his vocal style. I really don’t think there is a dull moment of the album. A real shock for me came with their unique cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Reily”. Although it’s not a flawless cover version, this song is a beloved favourite of mine. So anytime I get to hear it, a smile comes to my face. It also comes with cameo appearances from Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Dizzy Reed on the keyboard and John Bush (Anthrax, Armored Saint) on guest vocals. So that was pleasant and made the song more whole then if the band just tried to do it outright.

In all honesty, you get what you pay for with this record. It’s meat and potatoes rock n roll. If you love your classic rock and that old school flair, then this is for you. As a kid who grew up thumbing through his dad’s old albums, this album is right up my alley. It’s familiar and new in all the right ways. It doesn’t beat you over the head with nostalgia. It simply feels like a record right out of the past with newer production. Atomic Highway is a solid album that will please people who love unapologetic rock music. Let me tell you, I’m having a ball listening to this record.

4/5

Mick Birchall

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Stone Free Festival announce headliners

Posted in Festival, Metal, Misc., News, Rock with tags , , , , on 10th March 2018 by izaforestspirit

London’s prime classic rock event Stone Free Festival is now in its third year. This time it will take place on Saturday 16th June – Sunday 17th June 2018 at The O2 in London, The UK.

This year the headliners will include Scorpions, Megadeth (exclusive UK shows) along with YES and former Supertramp frontman Roger Hodgson. 

In addition to the main performances the festival will also have a range of other unique attractions such as the Speak Easy Lounge, an acoustic beer garden and a vinyl record fair.

Here’s the official poster:

For more information visit:
http://stonefreefestival.com/

https://www.facebook.com/StoneFreeFestival/

Perfect Blue Sky – The Eye of Tilos

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 6th May 2017 by mickbirchy

 

Perfect Blue Sky

The Eye of Tilos

Soft Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Released: 19th May 2017

via Scarecrow Music Group (SE) Right Recordings (UK)

Perfect Blue Sky, is the highly anticipated collaboration between one of the founding members of the Swedish metal act Netherbird Pontus, Pna Andersson and Australian solo rock vocalist, Jane Kitto. Together they formed the band in 2014 based out of Stockholm, Sweden. I have to say going into this album, The Eye of Tilos, I knew little to nothing about them. With that, I had absolutely no expectations when first playing this. On first listen I had no idea what I was in for.  Just vague non-descriptors from a PR statement. With a clear mind I listened on and found that this is one of the most pleasant sounding albums I’ve listened to in a while.

I was hit with tight songwriting and smooth production.  The music was this 70’s style soft rock, you know the kind of stuff that we don’t usually cover here on Valkyrian Music. This really beautiful soft acoustic soft rock, with light elements of psychedelic indie rock music. The sounds are so fluent and cerebral.  It has this way of getting lodged in your brain. It’s not catchy as such, there are no real ear worms here. More just beautiful tones that sink into your memory without you even realising it.  There’s some creative riffs and superbly simplistic, but effective, writing ideas. The harmonies really grab your attention in a way that you wouldn’t think.  All of the songs are designed so that you pay attention to them as a whole, instead of nitpicking the individual aspects. It’s the same joy I feel from listening to stoner metal or outlaw country music.  Just music that switches off my overthinking capacity and switches on my pure enjoyment.

I don’t want you to think that this production is small scale or under planned.  There’s a lot of work that goes into making music that sounds like this.  To achieve this the duo have recruited a pretty nice backing band that really bring all of the elements of this album together. Names like, Frank Bessard (Joe Satriani, Stanley Clarke) and Dave Getz (Big Brother Holding Co.) on Drums. Danny Oakhill on Keyboards (Queen Tribute, Turk Tresize).  Jerry Donahue on Guitar (Fairport Convention, Hellecasters). All of them bring their energy to the album, yet like I’ve said the production never lets any one member really over shine the others.  There is is this really nice balance to it all. So the listener never feels overwhelmed by any one part of the production.

Genuinely, I have loved this album. It’s a beautiful sounding record with a lot to offer in its production and in its songwriting. With songs of passion, abstract concepts and social commentary. The Eye of Tilos is such a nice sounding album.  It mixes old school hippie jams with classic rock and adds some modern style production to really keep it in today’s market. I am really liking this band.  Hopefully this won’t be the last I hear from them. Also, it makes for awesome driving music.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Jupiter Falls – Faces In The Sand Part One

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , on 3rd April 2017 by izaforestspirit

Jupiter Falls
Faces In The Sand Part One
Released 24th March 2017
Melodic Hard Rock
Released via Broken Road Records

Image result for jupiter falls faces in the sand

Faces In The Sand Part One’ is the third album from the British hard rock band Jupiter Falls. The band was formed in 2013 and they have released two albums and one EP prior to this.

I’m not entirely sure what the tag ‘melodic hard rock’ actually means. For me hard rock has always referred to music that is heavier than classic rock but not quite “heavy” or aggressive enough to be considered metal. On the whole it tends to be more radio-friendly and tends to appeal to a larger audience. As far as the genre classifications go, there is a very wide spectrum of bands that have been labeled “hard rock”. Jupiter Falls’s influences range from Guns’N’Roses and Metallica to Bullet For My Valentine so that doesn’t really narrow it down to any specific category.

After the first few songs it soon becomes apparent that these guys don’t really stick to just one specific style. Their music is very guitar-orientated and relies heavily on the use of twin-guitar harmonies. But as far as genre goes, what we have here is an amalgamation of various styles within both rock and metal. On the heavier, more metal end, we get tracks like Its Your Problem Now and Sickened in which you can hear the groove-metal tones in the guitars and particularly the bass. Then we have the classic rock -style, power ballads Call Me and Follow You representing the band’s more melodic side. The vocals on these two reminded me of the early works of an American post-grunge/hard rock band Creed. If there is one track that really shows off the skill of the guitarists and proves just how well the twin-guitar harmonies can work, it’s Voices. That song is by far the most guitar-centered as well as being one of the heaviest tracks on the album.

In summary, ‘Faces In The Sand Part One’ is a fine example of modern hard rock. I’m not a guitarist so I can’t comment too much on the intricacies of the riff work, but I can tell that these guys are really skilled musicians. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock power ballads, modern metal or hard rock there will be something on this album that appeals to you.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Voodoo Highway – Pervert County

Posted in Rock with tags , , , on 27th August 2016 by izaforestspirit

Voodoo Highway
Pervert County EP
Released: 1st June 2016
Classic Rock/Hard Rock
Self-Released

‘Pervert County’ is the new EP from the Italian hard rockers Voodoo Highway. The band have released two albums prior to this; ‘Broken Uncle’s Inn’ and the critically acclaimed ‘Showdown’ which I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. This release is available from the band’s Bandcamp page as a free download.

Well, I’m not sure what to make of the cover or the title for that matter. It’s hard to know what to expect from the words “pervert county” and a very plump-looking pig on the front cover. Let’s just hope that the music is better or at least less confusing.

This particular EP is rather short with only three tracks, so I will do my best to say something about each of them. First up is NY Dancer starting with a slow, bluesy guitar riff before gradually picking up the pace and revealing its true nature as a good, old school hard rock tune. It’s great to see that the vocalist hasn’t lost his edge either. The single and the track that they made a video for, Grace of the Lord is very much guitar-driven offering a good mix of catchy rocking style with the occasional groove guitar melodies. Last but certainly not least is my favourite, Tears of a Brand New Sea, a very cheerful, classic rock song marking the end to what has been a very enjoyable EP.

Overall, all I can say is “don’t let the cover or the title put you off”. The music is actually pretty good. I’d happily recommend this to fans of classic rock and hard rock. So far, so good – I’m looking forward to the new album.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Space Elevator – Space Elevator

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , on 26th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Space Elevator
Space Elevator
Released 13th May 2016
Hard Rock/Classic Rock
Released via SE Productions/Cargo Records

‘Space Elevator’ is the debut album from the British classic rock band of the same name. Several of the members were involved in the famous West End musical We Will Rock You. Their music has been compared to the likes of Queen, Genesis and Fleetwood Mac.

It’s hard to know what to expect from a band whose name is Space Elevator… At a quick glance it’s clear that other than the flamboyant cover art there’s not much reference to space travel or anything science-fiction in the song titles or the lyrical themes. Instead, what we have here is some melodic and highly entertaining hard rock with the same theatrical vocal style that was present in Queen.

Right from the start my attention was drawn to their singer, The Duchess’s voice and her impressive vocal range. She seems just as comfortable with singing the slower ballad-like song such as We are the Losers as she is with the more catchy hard rock tunes like Little White Lies and Really Don’t Care. Little White Lies happens to be one of my favourite tracks on here thanks to the additional keyboards along with the cheerful and super catchy chorus.

Yet it’s not just the vocals that sound great on here. The guitar and keyboard work is really good too. Take The Loneliness of Love for instance, the guitars give the track a playful and uplifting feel. Similar things can be said about the ultra vibrant hard rock tune We Can Fly.

Overall, listening to Space Elevator has been a pleasant experience. There’s not a single song that I dislike on here. The songs are so infectiously catchy and fun that you almost want to jump into that elevator and rise up into outer space, off on your own little space adventure.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Jartse Tuominen – Untold Stories

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , on 12th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Jartse Tuominen
Untold Stories
Released 18th March 2016
Instrumental Rock with Jazz influences/ Classic Rock
Released via M.I.G Music GmbH

‘Untold Stories’ is the new album from the Finnish rock musician and composer Jartse Tuominen. In addition to his experience as a rock guitarist, Mr. Tuominen has also produced music for movies and TV programs. This particular album was recorded with the help of a few session musicians including Pekka Siistonen on keyboards, drummer Brannen Temple (Dixie Chicks, G3) and bassist Steve Bernal.

So, what we have here are ten tracks of instrumental and predominately guitar-driven rock music with a certain jazz flare. The “jazz” element means that the overall song structure is fairly loose and a lot of the songs resemble a jamming session. The guitar melodies are somewhat unpredictable at times and there’s a sizable amount of experimentation and improvisation in both the pace and the overall style.

The rock ballad Time to Go caught my attention, being one of the slower and more melancholic-sounding songs on here. It features some impressive guitar work and it has that good old, classic rock feel to it without the jazz fusion elements. Then there’s catchy rock’n’roll track Trouble Shuffle which forms a sharp contrast to the other songs on here due to a simple, effective structure and uplifting guitar tunes which leave the listener in a good mood.

In summary, this album is bound to please fans of both classic and progressive rock. Jartse Tuominen has proven that he is a very talented, highly skilled guitar player and composer. I’d think that any decent classic rock bar or lounge would like to add his new songs to their playlist.

4/5
Iza Raittila