I remember back in the late 80’s / early 90’s (yes, I’m an old fart…) when every band and their f**king mother got a record deal and hard rock bands grew like weeds in your backyard. It was almost impossible to keep up and check out every band that came along – and I was a young and single guy back then with all the time in the world. Things have changed since then, but in the last few years, the same thing has happened. Today there are so many bands around – new bands, old bands and reunited bands and all of them keep throwing out records like it was no tomorrow. Good thing, though, is that most of them take three – four years in between records now – in the early 90’s, two years in between records was a long time. But as an older – but still a music geek – man, I now have a family, job and other responsibilities and just like back then, it’s impossible to keep up. So, I just have to pick and choose which bands I have time to check out and review.
When melodic New Jersey rockers Trixter reunited back in 2007, their reunion wasn’t the only surprise. More so the fact that their reunion album New Audio Machine (2012) was a real killer. Trixter were never the world’s biggest band, to put it mildly, and their career didn’t really last long and when they split up I never heard anyone say they missed them. If we shall be honest here, Trixter were looked upon – and still are by some, I might add – as a bit of a joke – a band that people mention when the talk about what went wrong with the melodic pop-metal of the early 90’s (or Hair Metal as some people like to call it. How stupid!). Both Poison and Winger has been exposed to that kind of treatment before, but at least the latter never did deserve that. You don’t have to like them but if you can’t hear that Winger is a high quality rock band, you’re tone-deaf. Trixter didn’t deserve that treatment either. But I must admit, I was never a big fan even though I own their debut self titled album from 1990. And many people do, over one million Americans, to be precise.
If you’re a Kiss fan, there’s not a chance in Hell that you have missed the name Jean Beauvoir. As the co-writer for 80’s Kiss songs such as “Thrills In The Night”, “Who Wants To Be Lonely” and “Uh! All Night” with Paul Stanley, he has made himself a name in the Kiss community. Also, Beauvoir plays bass on a few tracks on both Animalize (1984) and Asylum (1985). Paul returned the favour by co-writing the songs “A Lover Like You” from Beauvoir’s band Voodoo X’s only album Volume 1 : The Awakening (1989) (a fantastic AOR / Melodic Rock album) and “Winterland” from the band Crown Of Thorn’s self titled debut from 1993. We’ll get back to them later. He has also written songs with the Ramones, Glenn Hughes, Doro, N’Sync, Debbie Harry and John Waite. Before that he made three records as the bass player with punk/trash rockers The Plasmatics, that featured wild singer Wendy O’ Williams (1949 – 1998), moved to Sweden for a few years and recorded two extremely underrated pop solo albums Drums Along The Mohawk (1986) and Jacknifed (1988) before he formed Voodoo X.
To once again write down an introduction for House Of Lords feels like a big waste of time after having reviewed several (two) of their earlier records (you can check out old reviews here and here). But what we can state is that this version of the band is a very creative and fast working band. This is their sixth album since this version of the band first popped up in 2006 with their critically acclaimed album World Upside Down. What’s remarkable is that band leader, lead vocalist and song writer James Christian also releases solo albums and works with his missus Robin Beck on her albums as well, still keeping the quality of both music and production intact. The thing is, even though there are dips on the albums here and there and some records are better than others, all the House Of Lords albums since 2006 has been really good and I think it’s quite impressing that Christian and his band, plus their song writing helping hands such as Jeff Kent and Tommy Denander, manages to reach such high quality album after album. To me, World Upside Down wasn’t all that, it felt more like Christian starting over, going slow and figuring out where the music would land and which way they would go.
Better late than never, right? I know, this mini album was released June 1st, but since I write all the reviews myself on this site and I do have a day job, family etc. it’s hard to keep up with all the releases. Also, a week of vacation on Sardinia, Italy didn’t speed things up either. But now I’m on it again. This is a mini album – or an E.P. if you like – and I have issues with mini albums. I never got the whole idea of making them, I mean, if you’re cutting an album then make a whole album, not just a few songs. Ah well, I guess there are good reasons for doing so and maybe it’s just me, but I really want at least 10 songs instead of only five. Exorcism is a new acquaintance for me.
The Dead Daisies are a band that was really close to fall on the wayside with me and there was a big risk that I’d never did listen to them at all. Why? Well, as much as I try to be open-minded when it comes to music, I too have a shallow and narrow-minded side sometimes. See, band-names that I think suck has a tendency to get on my tits and when that happens, I can get really obstinate. My first acquaintance with the band was when they gave away their self-titled debut album to us that subscribe to Classic Rock Magazine and even then I wasn’t sure whether I’d give it a fair shot. But since Slash had decided to guest the album with a guitar solo on the song “Lock ‘n’ Load”, I thought, why not? The album didn’t sound all that bad so I decided to give it a fair chance. Besides, there were some interesting members in the band.
I recently revisited my review of Night Flight Orchestra’s debut album Internal Affairs (2012) and I saw that gave it a 9/10. Say what, now??? I’m not sure what I was thinking or maybe the album has grown on me after I wrote the review, but if there is one album that deserves a 10/10, then it’s that album. I have listened to that record constantly since it came out and I can’t find one second on it that isn’t brilliant – and I still can’t find one person in my circle of music loving friends that don’t like that record. I also saw them live at Sweden Rock Festival last year and they were bloody awesome. A short introduction to the band for you who don’t have the urge to read it here might be in place then. This classic rock band was put together when lead vocalist Björn Strid (Soilwork) and David Andersson (guitar, Mean Streak) was touring together many moons ago and in between gigs they discovered their mutual love for classic rock music from the 70’s. Now, I’m not talking only about the usual suspects like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, no, with these guys, the musical stretch was longer. Add Kiss, Boston, Bruce Springsteen, Journey and even The Temptations to the mix and you’re getting there.
Back in 1988, when I was only 20 years young, my musical taste was this: Def Leppard, Europe, Bon Jovi, Treat… Melodic rock where keyboards were as important as guitars, where big choruses and catchy, radio friendly melodies were a must. Sure, I dug Iron Maiden and Judas Priest still, but I thought it was a brilliant idea when they started to use keyboards in their music. I thought that Crazy Nights was one of Kiss’ finest moments and that the fact that the keyboards were as high in the mix as the guitars was exactly how things should be. Oh Lord! Well, that year was the first time I was acquainted with Helloween for real for the first time. Sure, I knew about the band and had heard a song or two from their debut LP Walls Of Jericho (1985), but I didn’t like what I heard and dismissed them as just another useless speed metal band. See, I hated speed, thrash and black metal back then. I didn’t even like Metallica – thought they were crap. So when Helloween added lead singer Michael Kiske to take over vocals from the underwhelming Kai Hansen (Hansen’s vocals on Jericho is plain horrible) and released Keeper Of The Seven Keys in 1987, I couldn’t care less. To me, they were still a speed metal band and speed metal was crap.
June is my favourite month of the whole year. Why? Well, because that is the month when we – 33 000 of us – leave the everyday boredom behind us and start to live in a “Groundhog Day” bubble for four days. No work, no bills, no real life at all, just fun, friends, music, beer and, hopefully, sun. Since we started to fly down to Sölvesborg from Stockholm, instead og going by car, things have become way easier as well. Instead of sitting in van for seven hours or so, we sit in a plane for 45 minutes instead. That makes the trip home a lot easier, anyway. After renting a nice little picturesque summer-house for the last ten years, the place has become our home away from home. Just a 10 minute walk from the festival area and close enough to hear and smell the camping, it’s easy to get a festival vibe while still getting all the comforts – a real bed, a shower, a stove, oven, microwave, fridge – I need to be comfortable in a festival environment. Tent? Yeah, right. Not in this lifetime. To enjoy a festival properly, the weather is an important issue. Late March have been disastrous for us Swedes, so it was just to keep our fingers crossed – so hard they turned white – that the weather Gods would be with us this year. The day we arrived, Wednesday 3:rd, didn’t look good at all. It was raining a bit now and again during the first half of the day, but it was ok, I really wasn’t interested in many the bands that were booked that day anyway, except for The Quireboys and Evergrey and when the Quireboys went on stage it had stopped raining hours ago and the sun was bidding us welcome. It was a good start but as the night came creeping up on us, it got cold pretty fast. D.A.D. was the first day’s headliner – the first day is always a “half day” and not the whole area is being used and the headliner plays on one of the smaller stages, Sweden Stage – but since I have never been much of a fan of that band, I couldn’t be arsed to stick around for their gig. Besides, a huge part of their show is their two stringed bass player Stig Pedersen and he had broken his arm the week before and was replaced with someone else. It wasn’t a hard choice to head on home for a quick beer before bed.
One thing that I really like about reviewing music is those downloads links I am being sent. Because I have always liked finding new bands and I am one of those geeks that like it when I am being proved wrong about a band or an artist that I don’t like, for some reason. Especially, the links that contains music with bands from more “unusual” countries. I mean, we’re all used to English and American bands. German, Swedish and even Danish and Finish bands aren’t anything that anyone will even raise an eyebrow for. But then there are countries like France, Italy, Greece and Spain that holds big hard rock / metal audiences, but that might not gush us with bands. I recently wrote a review on a French band called Dygitals, a band I would never ever have even known of if it wasn’t for this site. And here comes the next one, this time from Belgium. Being the sole reviewer on this site, I might not have the time to review everything that being sent my way, but when it comes to bands from countries like France or Belgium, I get very curious.