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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Myles Kennedy, Cape Town Concert Review 6.03.2018

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MK

 

The event that I have been patiently waiting for, for the past 3 months had finally arrived. I was going to have the opportunity to meet and watch my favourite musician in the world launch his solo album tour here in my hometown. I honestly never thought this moment would come around.

I arrived at the venue four hours prior to the start of the show and went to check-in with the organisers of the meet and greet packages. On my way to the merchandise stand I saw some of  the fans that were going to join me in meeting Myles. While I was waiting at the merch stand, deciding how I was going to avoid spending all my money I met two other Myles’ fans and it was wonderful to meet like-minded people who adored the man as much as I did. We spent the rest of our time at the concert together and I really enjoyed their company.

Later on we got ushered into the venue, where we were allowed to watch Myles do a sound check. He seemed at ease and even joked around a little bit. He played “Haunted By Design” with Tim Tournier accompanying him on the acoustic guitar. A real treat was watching Myles tune and play the steel resonator guitar in a lap slide guitar style. Myles didn’t need to spend much time doing a sound check, as he would have if he was performing with his band. He seemed eager to wrap up sound check in order to meet us. Being even more eager, the fans started to line up for their chance to briefly chat to Myles.

I was feeling excited, but not nervous up until I stood face-to-face with him. I just thanked him for launching his solo album tour here in Cape Town and I told him that he was the only reason I went to watch “Kings of Chaos” in 2013. He seemed surprised that I held him in such high regard. What an honour…I will never forget that moment.

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There were two hours left before the show would start, which meant that we had a chance to absorb the experience we just had.

I made my way to my seat, which was perfectly positioned in the second row, right in line of the mic stand. Andy Mac introduced Myles to the audience, I felt quite emotional as he was speaking and had goosebumps the whole time.

Myles opened up the show with “Devil On The Wall”, the third song that has been released from his solo album “Year of the Tiger”. He entered with the haunting intro being played in the background, before he launched into the first verse of the song. I find the lyrics of this song very poignant and the guitar work is exceptional.

“Standing In The Sun” was a pleasant surprise, a song that comes off the first album with Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators’ “Apocalyptic Love”. The song suited the acoustic set, with Myles belting out the chorus, true to form.

“Before Tomorrow Comes” was a hit with the audience and a welcome addition to the set. A song with lyrics that have the ability to make you wonder what a difference you can make to the world around you. This song was originally released as part of Alter Bridge’s second album “Blackbird”.

“All Ends Well” has never been performed live by Alter Bridge, so this is the first time that this song has been played live by any of the band members. I love the fact that Myles played this song and I think that was part of the vision for this tour, for him to get the opportunity to play songs he wouldn’t get the chance to perform with Alter Bridge. This song comes from the band’s fourth studio album “Fortress”.

“Addicted To Pain” is one of my favourite “heavy” songs from Alter Bridge’s catalogue and its rare that a song like that translates to acoustic so well. The power and intensity of the song is still evident, even through the acoustic version. This song also appears on “Fortress”.

“Life Must Go On” a track off of ABIII, has only been performed by Alter Bridge twice. It is an inspirational track that has meant a lot to fans, but is one of the lesser known songs that hide in the shadow of the monster that is “Blackbird”, among others. You know you are being spoiled when the artist performs a rare track and it sweetens the experience.

“Starlight” on the other hand was not a surprising addition to the set list, because it has been a staple when Myles and Slash do their acoustic sets together, wherever they perform. Fans will know that Myles’ vocal abilities shine on this track and last night was no exception.

“Open Your Eyes” was a killer sing along song for the crowd and Myles gave the audience a chance to harmonize which went well up until those high notes, much to Myles’s delight. He threw his head back and laughed at our feeble vocals.

I was so happy when Myles started playing “Traveling Riverside Blues”, he is so adept at performing that Robert Johnson song and he has a creative way of playing it that suits the style of the song perfectly. I’m sorry to report that I was jamming so hard to this song, I neglected to film it, but I’m not sure if I should be apologising for that.

There were a few gems from the Mayfield Four era that Myles treated us to, namely “Eden”, “Mars Hotel”, “Lyla”. I have to say that I really enjoyed his performance of “Lyla”, the entire song has a great melody to it and it still manages to lyrically convey the story to the audience. “Mars Hotel” is another popular acoustic track that Myles has been known to perform on occassion.

Myles Kennedy even performed two cover songs for the crowd. He performed “Levon”, an Elton John cover and the highlight of the two was when he performed a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” which showcased his technical ability on the guitar.

“Haunted By Design” is one of the songs from Myles upcoming solo album, that will be released on the 9th of March 2018. The song was performed with guitarist Tim Tournier accompanying Myles to perform the song that sounds like it was meant to be performed acoustically.

The stellar “Year of the Tiger” met all of my expectations. I have loved the song from the moment I heard it and the crowd really got into it. Tim Tournier joined the performance once again, which added another dimension to the song.

The popular and highly regarded “Watch Over You” inevitably featured on the set list. Myles actually received a well-deserved standing ovation for that one. The song comes from Alter Bridge’s second studio album, “Blackbird”.

Myles left the stage and to my sheer delight returned for an encore which ended the night with “Rise Today”. An absolute Alter Bridge staple, that originated from their “Blackbird” album.

The entire night you could see that Myles was having fun, he became more and more at ease as the night went on with plenty of jokes and charisma to mesmerize the audience even further.

I want to thank Andy Mac and the team at AMP events that they made my dreams come true. I honestly thought I was lucky to see him when he came down with “Kings of Chaos” in 2013 , but I never knew I would have the honour to witness my idol playing solo on stage let alone being able to meet him.

Myles has been an inspiration to me and many others, he remains a humble human being despite his success and he keeps pursuing what he loves.

Thank you.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

 

 

Best 17 Rock Songs of 2017

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Best Rock Songs of 2017

17: Imminence – Up

Imminence, a Swedish band which took me completely by surprise! The song starts out like any other modern rock song and then escalates, becoming more intense with each verse. The band’s material is diverse and their music often crosses over genre boundaries.

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16: Skarlett Riot – Warrior

A high-energy song that is enveloped by powerful female vocals and some truly impressive breakdowns that is enough to get you hooked on to the band’s material. The band incorporates hard rock mixed with a metal edge into their sound which creates a great experience for rock fans. This song stood out to me, because it has so much heart and the drumming creates a solid support base for the song.

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15: Avatar – A Statue Of The King

A truly theatrical experience, as we have come to expect from Avatar. A spectacle of metal perfection and phenomenal musicianship. Avatar is releasing their new album “Avatar Country” on the 12th of January 2018 and I’m salivating!

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14: I Prevail – Come and Get It

I don’t think the band could have compiled a better video to convey the amount of energy and passion they have for what they do. This live performance video montage conveys the raw energy that I Prevail possess. This song is incredible, because it is heavy but at the same time it has great rhythm to it. Throw me in the pit!!

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13: Papa Roach – Born for Greatness

A great arena rocker and a music video to match the energy of the song. Papa Roach delivers a solid crowd-pleaser with this song. An instant way to improve your mood!!

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12: Incubus – Nimble Bastard

Incubus deliver an undeniable groove with this song and lighthearted lyrical content. The video plays out like a meme and you can see the band members having a lot of fun with this one. A refreshing departure from the rock music genre’s heavier subject matter.

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11: While She Sleeps – Empire of Silence

The only way I can describe this song is by comparing it to a roller coaster, from the use of the strategic silences to the smashing drums combined with the switch between clean and unclean vocals. This song is a feast to any metal head’s  ears.

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10: Seether – Let You Down

The lyrics are melancholy and the hook tends to reel in the listener slowly but surely. I’m in love with the visuals of this video and it has been expertly crafted to be creepy while still leaving a lot to the imagination. Art house horror is the only way I feel I can describe the video.

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9: Escape The Fate – Empire

I made the mistake of reading some comments posted on YouTube below this video, which were very negative. I disagree with all of them. This song has grit, energy and fuels the need to head bang. It is a party song and can get you in the mood for the weekend from the first note. I don’t think fans should take it so seriously, it is not meant to be debated about. It is meant to be enjoyed.

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8: Asking Alexandria – Into The Fire

Asking Alexandria released a video for “Into The Fire” that plays out more like a scene straight from Sin City than a music video. I’m definitely not complaining, because I loved every second of it. The highlight of this song, in my opinion, is Danny’s vocals. The song really shows off his vocal range and versatility, not taking anything away from the band’s performance at all.

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7: In This Moment – Roots

The lyrics of the song is empowering and I can’t help but feel that this is an incredibly personal song to Maria Brink. A blistering chorus combined with verses that hypnotize the listener. A solid delivery by the band.

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6: Fozzy – Judas

A charismatic front man combined with an entertaining video supported by solid bass playing surrounded by flames and Marshall speakers, sounds like a recipe for success to me! This describes Fozzy’s latest music video in a nutshell.

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5: Marmozets – Major System Error

The Marmozets are back! A delicious bombardment of guitars, drums topped off with girl power in the form of Becca’s vocals. I can dance and head bang to this song, a rare combination. 😀

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4: Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger

I will start by admitting that I’m biased when it comes to Myles Kennedy. He has been working on his solo album since 2009!! It seems like his solo project will finally see the light of day. Year of the Tiger is different to any of Myles’ previous projects, but that was the goal. Myles loves blues and has incorporated that sound into his solo work. His debut album will be released on the 9th of March 2018. This song is refreshing and the lyrical content tells the deeply personal story of the emotions Myles went through as a child when he lost his father. I’m so proud to be a fan.

PS: Myles is launching his solo tour in my home town of Cape Town in 2018! I can hardly contain myself!

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3: Nothing More – Go To War

Grammy nominated rock song, just says it all, doesn’t it? The song is relevant to today’s current political climate and the chorus is incredibly powerful. Jonny Hawkins never holds back and you can definitely tell with this song, his vocal range is impressive as well. The band managed to nab 3 Grammy nominations and I couldn’t be prouder.

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2: Five Finger Death Punch – Gone Away

All of us are well aware of what Five Finger Death Punch are capable of, but I for one did not expect this. The band released a cover of Offspring’s song “Gone Away” and I’m in love with it. I was not aware that Ivan Moody’s voice was capable of the subtleties of this vocal performance. An immaculate performance by the entire band and an instant classic.

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1: Pop Evil – Waking Lions

I’m delighted with the approach that Pop Evil took with this song. The heavier sound compared to their previous album is a pleasant surprise. A soaring chorus framed by heavier verses is refreshing and I have to admit Hayley’s drumming is impeccable. Bottom line….we need more!

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Cheers to 2017!!

It has been a great year for rock music!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K