Great Rock Albums released in 2018…so far

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Due to studying and life running away with my time I have not been diligent in keeping the blog updated, but hopefully this won’t be a problem any longer. In the past few months I have listened and discovered new music by some talented artists and I even discovered artists that are in a different genre. I absolutely love discovering new bands/music, it makes me want to share it with the world.

Shinedown – Attention Attention

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Shinedown – Attention Attention Album Cover  Copyright: Shinedown / Atlantic Records

Released on the 4th of May 2018, this is a concept album depicting an individual who is overcoming negativity and being reborn as a new person with a healthier mindset. Shinedown always provides us with hard-hitting, in-your face rock music with honest lyrics. They don’t shy away from the uncomfortable truths. Shinedown is able to craft songs that blend different techniques seamlessly. I was blown away the first time I heard their first single from this album “DEVIL”. The drums shine on this track as well as Brent’s intense vocals. “PYRO” is stellar. It builds up through the intro to launch into full on mayhem, especially that chorus! Zach’s guitar riffs provides the basis for this track which is a treat. “HUMAN RADIO” is an interesting commentary on the current state of the world we live in, which I found fascinating. The concept for the video is thought-provoking in the best way possible and memorable. I highly recommend this album as there is not a song on here that I didn’t enjoy.

 

Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger

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Year of the Tiger – Myles Kennedy Album Cover Copyright: Napalm Records

I have wanted to do an album review of YOTT for such a long time. I have to admit that it has been something that I have found quite daunting. As most of you know by now, Myles holds a special place in my heart and mind, as a human being and as a musician. I was in awe the first time I heard the title track, I was surprised by how much I loved it. This might sound strange, but I had no idea what to expect from Myles’ solo album. I would struggle to categorise this album in a specific genre, which to me is actually a good thing.

The day the album was released I was already well acquainted with the title track already. First off, I have to mention that I’m very reserved when it comes to expressing my emotions, except if something gets me really excited. I sat in my car, listening to the album and when “The Great Beyond” came on, my jaw literally dropped. The intro is very theatrical and I was in absolute awe. If you want to know the calibre of the musician that Myles is, then that is the track you need to listen to. His skills on guitar is impeccable and the note that Myles hits in that chorus amazes me every time I listen to it. You can hear the passion in this song and it reminds me a little bit of Spanish guitar combined with theatrics.

“Devil on the Wall” has a great storyline and it has some country swagger to it. “Ghost of Shangri-La” was a neat little surprise tucked away amongst the other songs and despite the lyrics, it has an uplifting feel to it. “Haunted by Design” will haunt your ear, that is for sure. An easy listening song where you can appreciate the lyrics. “Love Can Only Heal” takes you on a sonic, atmospheric journey encapsulated by Myles’ ethereal vocals. This song is definitely a fan favourite.

I had the privilege of seeing and meeting Myles on the first show of his solo tour, read my review here: Myles Kennedy in Cape Town 2018

Tremonti – A Dying Machine

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Tremonti – A Dying Machine Album Cover No copyright infringement intended

It is pretty apparent that this band improves with every album they release. I think there is more variety on this album and the guitar technique/skills always stand out, but that isn’t the only focus. The band has grown and incorporated solid lyrics, vocals and diversity in their sound compared to their other releases. The timing on “A Dying Machine” creates a good contrast to make the chorus stand out, with a more subtle guitar solo in the bridge. “Throw Them To The Lions” is a hard hitter of note and that signature Tremonti sound shines on this track. “The Day When Legions Burned” is a masterclass in drumming, Garrett’s technique on this track is undeniable. I absolutely love “The First The Last” and this track took me by surprise. Mark’s vocals on that track really makes you sit up and take note. This shows how much Mark’s vocal ability has grown these past few years. “The First The Last” tugs at my heart-strings.

“You are the heart that beats within my dying core” – What an incredible lyric.

A solid album for the hard rock/metal lover with a few pleasant surprises in between.

 

Bad Wolves – Disobey

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Bad Wolves – Disobey Album Cover

I probably don’t have to tell you that I heard about Bad Wolves the first time I heard their now extremely popular cover of The Cranberries’ Zombie.

What I didn’t expect was how hard I was going to fall in love with this band. I love the melodic verses surrounded by some serious heavy metal screams/distortions. They have managed to create something that is pleasing to the ear, even if you are not a heavy metal fan. They manage to get the combination just right. “Disobey” and “Learn To Live” are quite heavy and punchy, but they are lifted by melodic choruses. “Remember When” tells the story of Tommy Vext’s childhood and the tragedy that caused him to land up in a hospital bed. I would like to elaborate on this story on the blog soon. It is a powerful song and one of the stars on this album. The bass line on “Better The Devil” reels you in and takes you on a journey that attack your senses. “Hear Me Now” is a tender moment on the album and features hard rock chick DIAMANTE. It is a stellar performance and even the version with only Tommy on vocals is outstanding.

 

Pop Evil – Pop Evil

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Pop Evil Album Cover

Pop Evil knocked it out of the park with this album. This is a hard rock fan’s dream come true. Solid song writing, utilising instruments in a balanced mannner complimented with powerful vocals. The Rock Riff ranked “Waking Lions” as the Number 1 song of 2017, which means the expectations were high for this album. “Art of War” and “Be Legendary” are lyrically captivating and melodic.  “Nothing But Thieves” starts with an interesting intro which incorporates an electronic sound, but you can’t help being intrigued and waiting to hear what will happen next. The inspiring track “When We Were Young” will make you reminisce and have hope for the future. Leigh’s smooth vocals have the ability to transport you to another place, the best example of this is on the track “Rewind”. Hayley Cramer is magic on the drums, especially on “Colors Bleed”, this girl doesn’t need to stand back for any drummer.

 

Honourable Mentions

Turnstile – Time & Space

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Turnstile – Time & Space Album Cover

The intro to “I Wanna Be Blind” is stellar and it is an energizing song with elements of classic rock and funk thrown together. The album is an interesting mix of various styles. The band didn’t hold back on this album and they are not afraid to take risks. They maintain an intense tempo throughout the entire album. This album is more suited to the average punk rock fan.

Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree

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Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree Album Cover

I love this band! I love their sound, because I find it so refreshing. Chris Robertson’s southern drawl is unmatched. This album had some surprising tracks on that I was a little surprised about. “Bad Habits” is the first song off the album and I think it represents the signature Black Stone Cherry sound perfectly. I feel that there needs to be a track on an album that is a classic representation of that specific band’s sound. They have incorporated a slightly more dominant country sound, especially on songs like “Carry Me On Down The Road” and “I Need A Woman” and even some blues on “James Brown”. The album does seem to take on a slower pace overall, but I think the band is developing their sound and trying new things. You have to admire that.

The Temperance Movement – A Deeper Cut

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The Temperence Movement – A Deeper Cut Album Cover

A fantastic band that I discovered on the airplane on my trip back from London to Cape Town. A British band that embodies the groove of true Rock ‘n Roll. You can’t help but be caught in the infectious beat and groove they emit. Their songs inspire me and instantly improves my mood. “Built-In Forgetter” is the one that got me hooked in the first place. “Backwater Zoo” really makes me feel like I have heard this song before, a few decades ago, it is like the song pays homage to classic rock bands in the 70s. The smooth guitar chords layered on top of “Love and Devotion” makes you want to grab someone to dance with. “Beast Nation” is an emotional song that soothes your soul with gritty vocals in the verses and THAT guitar solo in the bridge! The passion of the band members are evident on every track. “The Way It Was and The Way It Is Now” is another standout, the guitar hook on this track is incredible.

Hopefully I have more time to share more music with you.

I can’t wait, I’m excited!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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Skillet – Unleashed Album Review

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SKILLET
“Unleashed”

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(Atlantic/Word)

01. Feel Invincible
02. Back from the Dead
03. Stars
04. I Want to Live
05. Undefeated
06. Famous
07. Lions
08. Out of Hell
09. Burn it Down
10. Watching for Comets
11. Saviors of the World
12. The Resistance

Skillet is one of those bands that allow you to feel astonished when you look at their discography which is equally as impressive as it is lengthy. Two of their past three albums have gone platinum and 2013’s Rise reached Gold status.

Unleashed is truly the most apt name for this album, because you feel that the band poured all their energy into this record. You can really appreciate the fact that every song on this album has the potential to be a single. There are quite a few songs that smack you in the face with its explosive energy and I love it!

“Feel Invincible” is the perfect first single off the album it grabs the listener by the collar and doesn’t let go up until the last note. It is a battle song and a reminder to not give up even when you can’t see the silver lining.

“Back From The Dead” is an unapologetic song about being reborn or reinvented and the possibilities of such a resurrection. The song is the rush of adrenaline when you need it most.

“Stars” in my opinion is the most apparent Christian song on the album and I’m sure it will resonate with a lot of Christian fans of the band. I like how Skillet incorporates religion in their music, if you need it it’s there, but if you don’t you can still appreciate it for the rock music it is. “Undefeated” has amazing energy and dynamics combined in a head-banging track. I dare you not be taken with this one!

“Famous” is a little more upbeat and based on electronic sound than their other tracks.”Lions” is an inspirational song where Jen and John join forces to deliver the message of perseverance and hope. “I Want To Live” is the pick-me-up you never knew you needed.

“Out of Hell” is a song that will make your average hard rock lover happy, due to the frenzied drums and heavy guitar riffs. “Watching for Comets” is a beautiful ballad performed as a duet by Jen Ledger and John Cooper.

“The Resistance” is a call to defend and stand-up for what you believe in, instead of apathy.

The entire album feels like the rush of adrenaline it is meant to be. An intense injection of energy and pure rock music.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

The band’s latest music video for “Feel Invincible” off of their latest album “Unleashed”.

 

Apocalyptic Love Album Review

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The long wait is finally over! I have been waiting patiently to rip the music from this album to my library on my laptop. I received the album a week ago and the wait was definitely worth it, just like I expected. I will try to explain my thoughts and my experiences while taking a trip through Apocalyptic Love.

First off keep in mind that this album was recorded live and it’s recorded to analog. It has all the mistakes and it has the talking in between the takes.

“It’s a traditional way of recording. Because of modern technology, you can make a record without having to be in the same room with the other people on the record. You also don’t have to know how to play, because they can fix that, too.” – Slash quoted by Amy Sciarretto March 24, 2012 on Loudwire

With a guitarist as famous as Slash and a lead singer as popular as Myles you listen to the record differently than you would a band that has played together for a long time. The first time you listen to the album as a whole, then the second time you may pay more attention to the guitar solos and music. The third time you admire Myles’s vocal abilities and the variety that his voice offers to each song.

The first thing that I realised while listening to the album was how much attention was paid to the music. The perfect timing of the screaming guitar solos, the drums and the rhythm guitar played by Myles as well as the bass that ties everything together.

I believe each song was structured in a way to evoke a certain nostalgia or emotion from the listener. Even though I didn’t grow up listening to classic/80s rock I can still tell there are sections that sound very similiar to the rock bands of the 80s, which I love. In my opnion this album is a modern take on classic rock ‘n roll if that makes any sense.

I think this album has reinvented 80’s rock music for the modern audience. I’m writing about modern rock music on my blog, because I believe that in the 21st century we have musicians that are just as talented as musicians in the past. Although I can appreciate a touch of old school here and there, Apocalyptic Love has that combination just right.

One of my favourites is One Last Thrill, how Myles pulls that song off without becoming out of breath I don’t know. It just makes you want to dance. Bad Rain is my overall favourite with its feisty lyrics and guitar licks. It teases the listener with slow verses and an anticipating chorus. Anastasia starts off with an acoustic guitar and the band behind Slash suddenly enters showing what they are capable of. Anastasia is a straight up rock track which is really enjoyable. Shots Fired builds up into a frenzy of instruments and bites into an angry chorus.

So, if you have been salivating to get a taste of some real rock n roll, add this album to your collection you WILL NOT be dissapointed. I feel like I have had a taste of a different brand of rock music and I have to say I like it!

From the many performance I have seen from Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators all of these artists are effortless performers. Myles sings extremely high notes without showing any effort on his face or in his body language. The same goes for Slash who makes playing a guitar look like child’s play.

I highly recommend this album to any rock music lover.

Congratulations to Slash on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Calif. What an amazing achievement and the best thing about it is that he deserves it. Well done!

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Photo can be viewed here:http://www.triplem.com.au/brisbane/music/photos/slash-acoustic-max-sessions-2010

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Original photo can be viewed here: http://loudwire.com/slash-announces-dates-for-2012-north-america-summer-tour/

Rock Regards,

Lauren

Band of the Month – Shinedown

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Shinedown

Shinedown Band Members

I recently received Shinedown’s Amaryllis as a gift from my sister overseas. I listened to the album about 3 times a day for more than a week. Brent Smith’s vocals are incomparable, his voice is so strong and powerful.

“Shinedown is an American rock band from Jacksonville Florida, formed in 2002 and founded by members Brent Smith (vocals), Brad Stewart (bass), Jasin Todd (guitar), and Barry Kerch (drums). A few line-up changes followed, and the band’s current line-up consists of Smith and Kerch, the band’s only two remaining original members, with guitarist Zach Myers and bassist and pianist Eric Bass.” (Insert from Wkipedia)

The album Amaryllis is loud in your face and holds nothing back. It kicks off with the fast-paced Adrenaline, then into the powerful Bully a song that is meant to uplift victims of bullies, Amaryllis is next which is a touching and emotional song about that something/someone special in your life. Unity is about empathy for your fellow human beings and helping others as best you can. Enemies in my mind is about selfish people who never think of others and that there are consequences for their actions. I’m Not Alright is such a beatifully twisted song, the lyrics are dark, yet the start of the song sounds almost like a ballad. The meaning of the song to me is that everyone has quirks and weird habits and that you should be content with that.

Nowhere Kids is about the materialistic society we currently live in and how there is an emptiness beneath the glamour and the glitz. Miracle is about a person that is always there for you and a person who believes in you. I’ll Follow You is certainly one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, its about unconditional love and how you will do anything for someone you love. It is such a powerful song and touches me deeply whenever I listen to it. For My Sake is about someone in your life having a negative impact on your well-being and in order to protect yourself you have to distance yourself from that person. My Name (Wearing Me Out) is about someone always putting you down and how you should rise above that hate and ignore them. Through The Ghost is about about rediscovering yourself and getting your life back on track.

Shinedown is one of my favourite rock bands and individually they are solid, charismatic and decent people. Brent Smith has battled drug addiction and recently he lost weight as well. I really look up to him as a role model and I admire him a lot.

Shinedown is currently on tour and might be on their way to your home country, so keep a lookout for their tour dates that are posted on their official website. http://www.shinedown.com/

You can follow Shinedown’s Fanpage on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ShinedownsNationII) or on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/Shinedown_Fans) and their blog on WordPress (http://shinedownsnation.com/)for updates, news and photographs.

Shinedown Amaryllis Album Cover

Shinedown’s 4th Studio Album Amaryllis

If you’re interested in connecting with the band members on Twitter, here are their individual accounts:

https://twitter.com/#!/ZMyersOfficial

https://twitter.com/#!/ebassprod

https://twitter.com/#!/BKerchofficial

https://twitter.com/#!/TheBrentSmith

and here is Shinedown’s official Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/#!/Shinedown

Rock Regards,

Lauren K