Here’s a band that don’t need any introduction. Much have been said about the Rival Sons, from them being geniuses to complete rip-offs, but no matter what you think, it’s hard to overlook the fact that the band have been building a big following throughout the years. Me, I was somewhat obstinate when Rival Sons first came into the spotlight but when I gave in, I really did gave in. Even though Rival Sons have existed since 2009 – ten years – they feel like a new band to me, a new band that plays old music but in truth, they’re almost veterans by now. Prior to this new record, five albums have been released, albums I truly love and to this day, I haven’t heard one bad track by them. Their last album Hollow Bones (2016) got some critique for being repetitive and no taking the band forward but I beg to differ, I think Rival Sons take steps with each album.
After two brilliant albums with lots of great reviews by both media and fans – they were even hailed as the great new hope of Rock – the shit hit fan big time. The band that Brian May of Queen said to be new Deep Purple fell apart in the blink of an eye. Inglorious had just finished recording their third album – this one – and even had a video-single out when three members – guitarists Andreas Z Eriksson and Drew Lowe and bassist Colin Parkinson – quit the band right on the spot. The confusion was total as no real explanation was given at the time. Voices said that singer Nathan James’ big ego and dictatorship was the reason, something that was fuelled when a replacement for Eriksson came the day after his leaving, a young guy named Danny Dela Cruz, but nothing could really confirm that James was the bad guy here. Very little has been said of the matter more than some fans’ outbursts on social media. What stands clear though is that Inglorious have/had a lot bigger following than I knew of and that the break-up hardly was beneficial for the band.
I have an imaginary file that I call “Reunited bands that kick their past’s butt”. There’s a few acts in there – Europe, Winger and Stryper to mention a few – but it’s far from being full. Many bands that reunites are really good but few manages to better their glory days. Here’s another such band – the Electric Boys. I have been a big Electric Boys fan ever since I saw singer/lead guitarist Conny Bloom and bass player Andy Christell perform “All Lips And Hips” playback as a duo in 1988 (guitarist Franco Santunione and drummer Niclas Sigevall joined up shortly after) on a Swedish music show and I loved every album back in the day. Electric Boys split up in the mid 90’s clearly affected by the Grunge movement after their 1994 album Freewheelin’ bombed. Except for Bloom, who released a solo album and one album with a new outfit – Titanic Truth, it was deadly quiet from the rest of the band until Conny and Andy showed up in Hanoi Rocks in 2004.
Once in every while a big hype comes along, a hype so big that if you’re just a little too late picking it up it’s easy to get obstinate and refuse to even give the artist a break. At least I work like that. Rival Sons are the first to come to mind. When they showed up they were everywhere and everybody and their mother seemed to simply adore them as soon as they even laid a fart. So I became obstinate. But when I finally couldn’t resist checking them out, I also totally got why the hype was so big. So they didn’t reinvent the wheel and they wore their influences on their sleeves but they were so good at what they were doing and they had a treasure chest full of brilliant songs so who the hell gives a crap? I’m a huge Rival Sons fan now. This time they hype is called Greta Van Fleet, a band made of three brothers and a buddy of theirs, from Frankenmuth, Michigan, USA.
Ace is back and he told you so! And since he left Kiss for the last (?) time back in 2001 to get sober once and for all and to get the second coming of his solo career off the ground, it sure seems like good ole Ace really is back because in later years he really has proven to be one creative dude. His first album since Trouble Walkin’ (1989), Anomaly (2009) turned out to be a bit on the uneven side but it was good enough and showed us that he meant business this time. Today, Ace has been sober for almost 12 years and at the age of 67, Ace feels more creative than ever before. 2014’s Space Invader proved that Ace had a lot left to give, a brilliant album that nailed everything that is Ace Frehley and in my book his best effort since awesome as his 1978 solo debut. Hell, the guy even managed to record a great cover album, something that’s pretty unusual. With his life in order and his career back on track, it’s time for Ace to prove that his last album wasn’t just a lucky shot and that he’s relevant in 2018 with a brand new album.
Here’s another classic Hard Rock band that have more or less passed me by. Just like the case of Uriah Heep, Nazareth has always been around by name and despite me growing up with contemporary bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and their branches Rainbow, Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne, Nazareth just like Heep never made it to my record collection. I have of course heard the big hits such as “Razamanaz”, “Hair Of The Dog” and “Love Hurts” and yes, there have been a few songs by the band on a mixed tape here and there but that’s pretty much it. What’s even more weird is that the songs I have heard, I have really liked, so why not go all in and get the albums, like I have done with so many other bands after only listening to the odd song or two? Beats me, but I guess some bands just don’t catch my attention the way others do.
Back in 2015, a reviewer’s download link of a band called Federal Charm took a dive into my mailbox, a band that I hadn’t even heard of then. It turned out that Federal Charm were an English band that had released a self-titled debut album back in 2013 and consisted of four young blokes who had a weak spot for 70’s Classic Rock. The link I got was for their then brand new album Across The Divide, an album full of catchy, groovy and stomping Classic Rock tunes that really rocked my socks off. I even thought that this band had a big shot at being the next big thing, but things turned awfully quiet and I didn’t hear much of the band after that. The next big thing/hype instead went to Greta Van Fleet. But now, three years later, Federal Charm is back with a new album – and a new singer since Nick Bowden left the band. His replacement’s name is Tom Guyer and if that change has affected the band’s music and direction remains to be seen (heard). But personally, I had some high hopes for this record.
For our non-swedish readers, Prins Svart means Prince Black in Swedish. By that, it’s easy to figure out that Prins Svart are a Swedish band – but they also sing in Swedish which means that most of you won’t understand squat of what they’re singing about. This four piece was formed out of a Led Zeppelin tribute act called Four Sticks that were active in the mid 90’s – this is actually a reunion – so one doesn’t have to be Einstein to figure out in which genre of Rock these guys dwell. Since then the members of the band have been going out on their own escapades in different musical directions. Singer Stefan Berggren helped forming Swedish AOR act Snakes In Paradise, a band that recently reunited and released a new album, Step Into The Light, in September. He has also sung with Company Of Snakes, a band featuring ex Whitesnake members Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden (both guitarists) and Neil Murray (bass). He was also the singer for Don Airey’s (Rainbow, Deep Purple) solo band.
Ever since I became a real Hard Rock / Metal fan in my teens in the early 80’s, 70’s based acts were my first loves. Kiss and Sweet came first, as a kid in the 70’s, but when all Hell broke loose for me, it was with bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow and Whitesnake. Led Zeppelin, I didn’t get at first so they came onboard later – much later. But one band that I read about constantly but never stuck with me was Uriah Heep. As a classic Hard Rock band and one the first, they should really had come along for the ride but for some reason, I just wasn’t interested. And it has been that way ever since. Sure, I have listened to the odd album or two in the eighties and yes, I have heard their most famous songs – “Easy Living”, “Lady In Black”, “Gypsy” and the likes and sure, some of them were really good but still, something kept my interest at bay.
What’s more to say about The Night Flight Orchestra that I haven’t already said in my earlier (three) reviews of this band’s records? I really can’t think of anything. The story of the band is there, the introduction of the band members and where they come from is there. But for all of those who have followed my reviews throughout the years probably knows that I’m a huge fan of this band which makes it harder and harder to review their music every time they release something new. At least it feels that way. My expectations grow bigger and bigger with every album and since this lot refuse to write anything that’s remotely close to bad, I now expect brilliance from them every time. Maybe that’s not fair because the fact is, for every astounding record released they’re one step closer to the big failure because frankly, it’s more or less impossible to keep up the standard that these boys have been doing forever.