“You have to hear Myrath!” Those words came from the mouth of my brother’s wife one evening of chilling out, devouring unhealthy snacks washed down with just as unhealthy beverages while having a movie-night at our place. I had never heard of the band so movie-night turned into YouTube night for like half an hour or so. Video after video by Myrath was played and I was completely floored. The next day I googled the band because I knew I had to get me something by them but I didn’t know where to start. I found out that Myrath had released five studio albums (six if you count the new one) albeit the 2005 debut Double Face was released under the X-Tazy moniker. I decided a compilation album would do the trick for starters so a copy of the double compilation album Merciless Times (2018) was ordered. And boy, was this band great or what? Hot damn!
Remember when the CD came around? I mean, when it totally threw vinyl into the garbage bin? All of a sudden, you as an artist didn’t have to think about if there was room enough for another couple of songs. The days of 8-10 songs an album were gone. All of a sudden 12-14 songs was more or less the norm and many bands and artists were giving that all they were worth. Every last song written did suddenly appear on albums and 15 – 18 tracks weren’t unusual at all. Which also meant filler-time deluxe. At first I loved it but it quickly wore me out. All that music was a bit too much to digest at one time. Luckily enough, that seem to have changed back now and we’re back to 10-11 tracks per album. Why I bring this up is because I saw the tracklist for this album and went “Oh no. 18 songs!!”. A closer look told me that seven of the tracks were interludes which is basically intros. Still, 11 tracks plus seven intros is a bit of an overkill.
I knew I had seen the name Leverage somewhere, but I couldn’t put my finger on where. Some digging at home put an answer to that question. I found a burnt copy of one of their early albums, Tides from 2006. I can’t remember who gave it to me or why and I can’t remember what they sounded like but I have a faint memory of liking the CD at the time. However, that album obviously didn’t make a lasting impression on me as I don’t recall much of it. Again, I’m not sure why my memory serves me that way. What I do know now is that Leverage hails from Helsinki, Finland, that they took their first steps back in 2002, that their debut came out in 2006 and that they, according to Wikipedia, plays a mix of melodic Hard Rock and 80’s Metal with symphonic strains and that they has released four albums, including their brand new one – the last of which came out 10 years ago.
Jim Peterik is one dude that shouldn’t need a closer introduction when you think of what he has accomplished during his years as a professional musician that started with The Ides Of March back in 1970, a band he still belongs to and has made five albums with, the last one released in 2010 . But it is, of course, as the guitarist/keyboardist/song writer for Survivor this 68-year old AOR icon is mostly known for. His days as a member of Survivor are gone since 1996 and even if Survivor have continued without him, he’ll always be remembered as one of the writers behind mega-hits like “Eye Of The Tiger” and “Burning Heart”. Besides that he already got three solo albums to his name, two with the group Chase, two with the Henry Paul Band, three with Jim Peterik’s Lifeforce, eight with Pride Of Lions plus he’s on records with Jimi Jamison, Kelly Keagy and Marc Sherer. Not a guy who likes sitting idle, in other words.
Once upon a time, two brothers – let’s call them the Fortune brothers for simplicity’s sake – decided that it was about time they formed a band. Said and done, brother Mick decided that drums was his thing and brother Richard figured he could might as well be a cool guitar hero. Kind of. The brothers brought in some other dudes and signed a deal with Warner Bros and released a self-titled record in 1978. But members were in and out and in 1982, Fortune didn’t look the same as four years earlier. With new keyboard player Roger Scott Craig, singer Larry Greene and bassist Bob Birch, Fortune released another self-titled record in 1985, an album that today is looked upon as a true classic in AOR circles. But back then, no one really gave a rat, something that’s not that unusual in the music biz. No matter how a brilliant record you release, people sometimes don’t give a damn anyway.
Ok. Where shall I start? I must admit that I’m not that well versed in Alan Parsons and all his activities. Thing is, I really don’t know squat about the guy other than that I have seen his name in articles and such. Before this review, I didn’t even know what the guy looked like and I can’t name a single song of his. According to Wikipedia, Parsons started his band The Alan Parsons Project back in 1975 and in 1976 they released their debut album Tales Of Mystery And Imagination and has to this day released eleven albums, the last one, The Sicilian Defense came out in 2014. Parsons has also released five solo albums, including this new one of which the first one, Try Anything Once, came out in 1993. But his musical career started back in 1967 when he, at the age of 18, got the job as an assistant engineer at Abbey Road studios and has since then worked on classic albums with bands such as The Beatles, Wings and Pink Floyd.
Axel Rudi Pell. Gioeli – Castronovo. A solo album. And now a new record with his own version of Hardline. That’s a lot of records in just a couple of years. Add to that, Johnny Gioeli’s voice will be heard on a few tracks on an album with a project called Restless Spirit, owned by guitarist Tony Hernando, in May. Mr Gioeli have to watch out so that his (potential) listeners doesn’t feel like we’re on a Gioeli overkill here. Because, if you’re in people’s faces too often, you’re running the risk of tiring people – or being just a shrug of the shoulder. “Oh, is it that Gioeli guy again, didn’t he release an album recently?”. On the good side, Johnny’s projects are often musically different. Well, not like 180 degrees different, but different enough. Axel Rudi Pell is 70’s Hard Rock based with Rainbow and Black Sabbath as the biggest influence while the Giolei-Castronovo project was full-on AOR, Gioeli’s solo album was a more laid-back pop-rock album with a modern twist and Hardline is more Hard Rock based with AOR and Melodic Rock tendencies.
I love Avantasia. The fact that Tobias Sammet decided to take this spectacle out on the road for the first time some 10 years ago is really cool – and a bit unexpected. I mean, it must cost a fortune to put all these musicians on a pay-roll, especially as Avantasia hardly plays arenas. I have seen them live on two occasions in the past, both times at Sweden Rock Festival. Both times, Avantasia delivered the goods brilliantly but the fact is, those were festival gigs which means shorter play-time which means that Avantasia had to cut their set for more than an hour. So when it was announced that they would play Stockholm on their Moonglow world tour, me and my wife bought tickets as soon as they were released. So what would turn into a 24 song, three hour plus show was lying in wait for us – and my expectations were high. And then some.
Back in the early 90’s there was a Canadian melodic Hard Rock band called Gypsy Rose. They released an album called Prey in 1990, picked up by a good friend of mine. Back then, the way we file-shared our stuff was to borrow a record from a friend and having it taped on an empty cassette, something I did with that album. I dug it so much I had to get my own copy but after that record, I didn’t hear squat from that band. Fast-forward to 2005 and all of a sudden, Gypsy Rose appeared out of nowhere with a self-titled album. The only problem was, it wasn’t that Gypsy Rose but a Swedish band who used the same name. When that info reached me, disappointment had me not checking the record out, but the name popped up here and there throughout the years. A second album, Another World, was released in 2008 and featured former Accept singer David Reece (also in Bonfire for five minutes).
To give The Quireboys a bashing because they keep on playing the same style of music album after album is like bashing bands like AC/DC and Iron Maiden because of the same thing. You’re very well entitled to do just that but I kind of think it’s a bit unjust and unfair. Some bands have their brand and they go for that whole-heartedly. To rewrite the same songs time after time is a whole other matter and I don’t think The Quireboys do that, even though I have heard some people clain that they do. I do not agree one bit. That said, the quality of their albums has been a bit up and down since their reformation back in 2001. To expect them to come up with another masterpiece like their debut A Bit Of What You Fancy (1990) or even the underrated follow-up Bitter Sweet And Twisted (1993) would probably be to ask a bit too much, but the the fact is, the Quireboys has released some damn fine records since then. Hopefully, their brand new one will be one of those.