To be honest, I have never cared much for Pink Cream 69. Not that I think that they suck, it’s just that their music has never stuck with me at all. My first introduction with the band was when a friend of mine brought their second album One Size Fits All (1992) over to my place and said that I just had to check this band out. So I did. And even though I found songs like “Livin’ My Life For You” and “Talk To The Moon” pretty great songs, I really couldn’t hear the greatness my friend heard and consequently I never started to follow the band even though I have listened through that album multiple times since I first heard it. A good album by a good band that didn’t stood out properly for me. I almost saw them live when they opened for White Lion in the late 80’s (I think) but I decided White Lion weren’t great enough for me buying a ticket and I never went. I wonder if I would have looked different on Pink Cream 69 if I had gone to that concert…
You’ve gotta hand it to Frontiers Records, they are damn good at dusting off old arena rock bands and making them reunite. Even the bands that wasn’t big in the first place. But just because they didn’t make it back when doesn’t mean that they were bad. Quite the contrary, many 80’s/ early 90’s arena rock bands that never won the hearts of millions were damn good. Babylon A.D. are such a band. They formed back in 1987, released their self titled debut album in 1989, followed it up with Nothing Sacred in 1992 and split up shortly after because they didn’t sell squat and in 1992, grunge had taken over more and more, leaving even many of the bigger bands from that era crawling in their dust. They reformed briefly in 2000 and released American Blitzkrieg, an album I never gave the time a day after watching a video for one of its songs. A horrible song, I might add. But back in the day, Babylon A.D. were a really good band and together with smaller acts such as Baton Rouge and Beau Nasty, they never got the recognition they deserved.
In this day and age when your favorite bands takes some three, four, five etc. years in between albums, it feels good to be a Michael Sweet fan. More or less every year brings us fans something new from this highly creative singer/guitarist, be it with Stryper, his solo stuff or his latest project Sweet & Lynch that he started with Dokken / Lynch Mob guitarist George Lynch. The brilliant rhythm section of bass player James Lomenzo (White Lion, Pride & Glory, Megadeth) and Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, SUN, The Dead Daisies, Pride & Glory, Geoff Tate) must not be forgotten either. With them, Sweet & Lynch feels more like a real band than just another project now, but more of that later so let’s not jump the gun here. He have also spoken of yet another project with guitarist Joel Hoeckstra (Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Trans-Sibrian Orchestra). I guess vacations aren’t Michael Sweet’s bag of crisps.
When was the last time you ever heard a Russian band that gave you the thoughts: “These guys will make it huge”? Never? Well, to speak the truth, I actually don’t know of that many Russian hard rock bands at all. I do remember Gorky Park, though. Back in 1989, the released their self-titled debut album and under the wings of manager Doc McGhee and with lots of help from both Bon Jovi and the Scorpions, they had a really big shot at making it. That album – and it’s follow-up Moscow Calling (1993) were both great albums but the big break never came and the band is now defunct even though they reunite for occasional gigs every now and then. But besides them? Well, I googled “Russian hard and heavy metal bands” and I got a quite a lot of hits, but of all of those bands that have released albums – 83 of them to be precise – I haven’t heard of a single one of them. Except for Kruiz. But I never liked them. That’s a shame. So when I got the e-mail asking if I wanted to review the debut album from Russian band Strangers, I thought, why not? Sure, the album has been out since May this year and usually, I don’t review albums that has been out for so long but I thought I’d make an exception here just for the hell of it.
Oh my God, the L.A. Guns are back. Again. I didn’t mean that as an insult to the band, I meant that this is a band I haven’t even thought about for years and years and years. That’s probably because I have never been much of a fan of this band in the first place. When they – Tracii Guns and Mick Cripps on guitars, Phil Lewis on vocals, Kelly Nickels on bass and Steve Riley (Ex- W.A.S.P.) on drums – released their self-titled debut album in 1988, I found it underwhelming and the same went for the follow-up Cocked & Loaded (1989). I still hold Hollywood Vampires (1991) as their finest disc to date and even that one is, in my opinion, just good. After that, I haven’t heard a note from this band if you don’t include that I saw them live, opening for Dokken in Anaheim in 2004, without founder Tracii Guns. And speaking of members, this band has changed members more often than I change socks, so I won’t get into that. Let’s just say that both Lewis and Guns have been in and out the band and at one point there were two versions of the band touring the States.
Sometime in the early 90’s, maybe 1990 or 1991, I remember Vanessa Warwick, VJ on Headbanger’s Ball Europe premiered the debut video from Every Mother’s Nightmare, “Walls Come Down” and told us that they would be the next big thing or something like that, if I remember things correctly. I didn’t get it. Next big thing? These guys? I didn’t like the song and I thought they sounded like the bastard child of Skid Row and Poison. They looked like that as well. Now, I was a big Skid Row fan and I didn’t mind Poison either, but it just felt like EMN were just another bunch of guys jumping on the sleaze metal bandwagon. I thought the follow-up single, the ballad “Love Can Make You Blind” was ok, but again, it was just another MTV power ballad as far as I was concerned. Needless to say, I never bothered to even check out their 1990 self-titled debut and since I just didn’t give a rat, I never looked further into the band. I actually thought they had split up after the debut and when I got the reviewers link to their brand new album, I thought EMN had reformed just recently and that Grind was their second album. I was wrong.
Coldspell are one of those bands that I have talked about in other reviews, you know the bands that you know of but never bothered to check out. Back in 2013, when they released their then new record Frozen Paradise I decided it was time to do so. And for one reason only. They had recruited a new bass player, Chris Goldsmith, who I am acquainted with and I just thought I’d check in and see how his new band sounded. And like so many other times, after only one spin, I wondered why I hadn’t done so earlier. Frozen Paradise happened to be a damn good album, full of melodic hard rock with influences from both hard rock, heavy metal and even a small chunk of power metal here and there and also some AOR-ish undertones. So when the band now, four years later, releases a new record, a check out by me is clear as a bell. Fact is, I have really been looking forward to sink my teeth into this one a lot. But I also have to admit, that I still haven’t gotten my thumb out of my arse and checked out their two first records Infinite Stargaze (2009) and Out From The Cold (2011). That’s gonna change as I’m writing this.
For some reason, Scottish rockers Gun are more associated with their cover of Cameo’s hit “Word Up” than anything else. At least I get that impression from reading reviews of Gun’s albums. Sure, the song was their biggest hit but there are more, so much more, to the band than that song. I have always been a fan of Gun but I don’t think they ever topped their debut album Taking On The World (1989). But that doesn’t mean that the rest of their discography is bad because it’s not. It’s actually the opposite. Gallus (1992) and Swagger (1994) are brilliant records which makes it a bit of a mystery that Gun never made it huge because quite frankly, they deserve to be. It’s even weirder when you think of the fact that they got to open for bands such as Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and even The Rolling Stones – and that they sported a sound that was their own. The band always mixed their influences from regular hard rock, a bit of arena rock and bands such as U2 and Simple Minds, something that never made them just another melodic rocker band from the 80’s. Gun were never a stereotype and played music that should have worked brilliantly no matter which trend that was hip at the moment.
When Dokken broke up back in 1988, guitarist George Lynch had already been sketching on a new band and he decided early on that it was going to be called Lynch Mob. So George took drummer Mick Brown with him, recruited singer Oni Logan and bass player Anthony Esposito and recorded Wicked Sensation, released in 1990, an album that now is regarded as one of the big arena rock classics from that time – and rightfully so. Apart from a couple of fillers, the album is a monster. But it was all downhill after that. Logan left the band and was replaced by Robert Mason (ex- Cry Of Love, now in Warrant) and the band released a self titled follow-up in 1992. The album failed to match the debut both in quality and sold items and the band fell apart. Lynch recorded a great solo album in 1993 called Sacred Groove and it was pretty quiet around Lynch until the original line-up reunited for an ill-fated E.P. called Syzygy in 1998 and the band called it quits again. But just one year after, Lynch Mob were resurrected once more although this time with a completely new line-up.
The first thing I thought when I got the download link for this record was: “What the Hell of a name is Hell In The Club?”. And then I saw the cover and thought: “Is this for real? Is this some kind of joke?”. Something in me just couldn’t take this seriously, but I just had to listen to the album and hear for myself. But I must admit that I thought that I was in for a laugh. But as we all know, judging a book (record) by its cover is stupid – and unfair. No, I would give this band the same fair shot as every other record that I sink my teeth into. HITC are an Italian band and this link was the first time I had ever heard of them, but apparently the band released their debut album Let The Games Begin in 2011 and since then two more albums – Devil On My Shoulder (2014) and Shadow Of The Monster (2016) – have been released. The press release tells me that this album is for fans of Crazy Lixx, Mötley Crüe, Crashdïet, Helloween and Def Leppard (that’s me, folks) which caught my interest, but some of the members have their homes in a very different genre.