Back with his fourth solo album and accompanied by former members of Ratt and White Lion Stephen Pearcy shows us that while he still has plenty of party left, his roots are firmly in pedigree classic rock, just as much old school as old skool if you get our drift. Lyrical content is diverse and so while there are party songs, be prepared for philosophy, perception and positivity showing that he can do more than the hair metal three ps (party, pussy and paycheck) although those are still inevitably around. This particular rodent is now far more aware having escaped the hazy eighties intact and with smarts honed by experience.
Stephen’s voice is still his unique calling card and is unmistakeable and so there is plenty of continuity from the old days particularly say in ‘Hit Me with A Bullet’ and ‘Ten Miles Wide’ which cranks out the Ratt riffs from the off. However there’s more of the Led Zeppelin groove about tracks like ‘Shut Down Baby’, ‘What Do Ya think’ and more feelin in guitar on tracks like ‘I know I’m crazy’ going back to the roots of Ratt n Roll not just the externals. Sleaze and fun are still present, ‘Lollipop’ leaving little to the imagination, but appreciation of life and relationships comes to the fore in tracks like ‘Rain’ about Stephen’s daughter, ‘You want too much’ and ‘Dead Roses’ about those that have crossed him (recent Ratt events coming to the fore). That feelin of the streets skills needed from livin with the seedy and less than inspiration side of LA (always present in Ratt material) shines through loud and clear. Rats are nothing if not clever survivors.
So Pearcy arrives in 2017 unscathed, indeed reinvigorated by the poison of street life. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Despite the Japanese reference this is in fact a collaboration between Ted Poley, singer of Danger Danger and guitarist/producer Steve Brown of Trixter, Greg Smith (Ted Nugent, Rainbow, Alice Cooper) and Chuck Burgi (Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult and Joe Lynn Turner). Out on the Frontiers label it is not surprising with all that pedigree that this is a wonderful slice of mature adult oriented rock which fits easily into a collection of a die hard 80s classic rock fan. How bands like this keep knocking it out of the park without a hint of déjà vu we just don’t know, but that’s all part of the magic.
‘Picking up the Pieces’ and ‘Love Me insane” are good openers, great singalong joyful material and although they’re about relationship difficulties the outlook and musical phrasing are so upbeat they bring a smile to the face instantly. However, when we get onto ‘Shameless’ the ante is upped again with a totally infectious chorus which we think we must have heard before, but we just know we haven’t. ‘Love’ goes down smoother than caramel down the throat. Like most great songs, simple and beautiful it has a fantastically positive message that we just loved. “Black and Blue’ and ‘You’re my Revolution’ are up tempo numbers about human relationships and in this world of social media and computer interaction we’re lovin the human touch. “Don’t let me go’ is a big ballad in the grand style with some nice delicate guitar work. ‘Put Me to Shame’ is an old Skool rock out in the style of bands like King Kobra. ‘Done to Me’ has a definite Def Leppard vibe but it’s crossed with a Tyketto style ear for melody which means it never gets obvious. ‘Get You off My Mind’ is super polished like a good Nightranger song. It’s verging on pop, but since it’s as smooth as a baby’s behind we hardly notice. ‘Fallin Apart’ is a rockier closer. This is music written for guitarists to pirouette across the stage in the grand showmanship we took so much for granted a few decades ago. Don’t be surprised if Ted jumps for joy!
The art of this record is to become one of your favourite albums, just like that! Instantly accessible, full of feel good factor and a real winner, don’t miss this one!
Burnt Out Wreck is the new project of Gary Moat of Scottish rockers Heavy Pettin fame who enjoyed a stellar career signed with Polydor and Warner Chapell recording with producer Brian May of Queen and toured with Kiss, Ozzy, Whitesnake, Ratt and Motley Crue and well as headlining. So members of that band have serious chops. In those days Gary was drummer and songwriter, but he is now responsible for lead vocals (having developed his vocal style with Mother’s Ruin) and with help from his new band Adrian Dunn (Sweet) on lead guitar, Alex Carmichael on bass, Miles Goodman (rhythm guitar) and Paul Gray on drums have given us ‘Swallow’ and there isn’t a bad track on the album.
Opener ‘Burnt Out Wreck’ has the big riffs you’d expect from a band with NWOBHM heritage. The sound is mature and accessible. Moat has the voice to front a rock band no doubt about that. Guitar solos are old Skool and accomplished. Title track ‘Swallow’ sounds a lot like Australian rockers AC/DC, but it definitely has a twist of English and Southern Rock thrown in for good measure. As such this is definitely a case of inspiration rather than ‘rip off’ and, hey AC/DC, have influenced the entire metal scene for decades, no shame in that. ‘She’s the One’ has a memorable chorus and some nice fretboard travelling for sure. ‘Pullin it Out’ is a song about sex of which Young and Co would be proud. No beating about the bush here! ‘Talk about Love’ has a nicely written unexpected chorus and some grade A shredding. ‘Medusa’ reminded me a little of Thunder in its commercial hard rock approach, although the vocal remains Brian Johnson channelled. ‘Flames’ is another great track which will bring AC/DC to mind, but it is done so well and has such great guitar, it is easy to applaud. ‘She’s a Dirty Love’ has blistering guitar from the off and is a traditional rocker. ‘Your Love (Is all I need) is a change of pace and is more of a stoner feel with a hint of Skynyrd in the guitar. ‘Rockin Man’ and ‘Best of Your Life’ both contain guitar passages that remind of that rock n roll intensity we get when Angus really gets into his zone and is allowed the limelight.
Fans of good solid English rock and AC/DC should really enjoy this and by extension this should be very popular across the pond in the USA. Dripping authenticity (there being no substitute for experience of having been there and done that in the old days) it is a very worthwhile release. Grab yourself a slice of direct, grab you by the balls, no nonsense classic rock. If you like it right between the eyes with no frills, this is for you!
This is the tenth studio album of House of Lords and they have undergone something of an evolution since the first album. Sophisticated layers of musicianship like the best chocolate cake with spice thrown in, the complexity of some of the tracks reminded us a lot of Winger. James Christian on vocals also recorded and produced the album, Jimi Bell is still on guitar, with a new bassist Chris Tristram and BJ Zampa on rhythm. Strangely for an album said to ‘lean a bit more towards keyboards’ this time, publicity for the album had no named keyboard player. However, we hear James Christian is primarily responsible for the ivories and Michele Luppi of Whitesnake helped out.
‘Harlequin’ which kicks things off has a lengthy keyboard intro showing that the band still has roots in epic grand affairs. However, there’s a move (as with later tracks ‘Saints of the Lost Souls’, ‘New Day Breakin’, ‘Reign of Fire’, ‘Concussion’ and ‘Grains of Sand’) to influences from the east, unusual key changes and rhythms (similar to those we have seen Kip Winger introduce to great effect in his work), but this does not stop them being accessible to the western ear. ‘Concussion’, in particular, is very accessible with a memorable chorus despite it’s unexpected nature. ‘Oceans Divide’ is a more traditionally structured aor track showcasing vocals with an insistent pace. ‘Hit the Wall’ is more laid back and understated, as is ‘The Sun Will Never Set Again’ an electric acoustic ballad and ‘The Art of Letting Go’ with its hushed style vocals, all nevertheless effective. ‘The Other Option’ is more American in its approach, with a bouncy chorus more like something Danger Danger might do.
Experimental in parts, but kind to the ear, we think House of Lords fans should be very happy with this release!
Take no prisoners! The Vikings are back and they’re gonna take your heart and soul! A triumphant return from the Swedes who can show many others how to do melodic rock with knobs on!
‘Vertigo’, the opening track, is truly infectious. Chunky pounding riffs, it’s not for the faint hearted, rock to get the blood pumping and make you feel alive! ‘Never Look Back’ is more towards the pop persuasion, but is nevertheless great singalong concert material. Equally as commercial ‘Killing Me’ has killer guitar that never makes you doubt its rock credentials. ‘The Downfall of Eden’ reminds of Europe the band, another high flying Swedish crew despite the song’s slightly Scottish sounding refrain mid song. ‘Hurt’ is a slower track with more of the pace of a ballad and Martensson and Henriksson’s sense for accessibility and monumentality shines through in this slightly sparer format. It’s back to fast pace for ‘Jaded’ and the substance and energy of this music would make it ideal for film. Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger comes to mind for the fighting driving pace and indomitable spirit of this album encapsulated in ‘Born to Lead’ and ‘For Better Or For Worse’. ‘No Way Back’ and ‘Night Comes Crawling’ are both decent accessible rockin tunes. ‘Black Rain’ closes on a high point with monster riffs and is a great anthem with classical music style composition on guitar, traditional roots and yet somehow manages to have a totally modern sound.
Eclipse have really come of age with this album (note its Monumentum or monument in latin, not momentum). Mature, well rounded, enjoyable, addictive and indeed built to last. What more could we ask for?!