Monday, September 1, 2014

Heaven - Ep152

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The guys are back from a week that nearly put Aaron Camaro out of commission and into recovery. After a health scare of pre-pneumonia, Aaron is back to help Chris tackle this week's subject; and is it ever a doozy.

This week the guys cover the first half of two very common subjects in songwriting; Heaven and Hell. Rock and metal bands have written about these subjects for decades and that only stands to continue in the future.This week Aaron and Chris spin some of their favorite tracks about the great beyond that is Heaven. In this episode you'll hear great tracks from artists such as Dio, Gunpowder Gray, Volbeat, Suicidal Tendencies, Stryper, Dokken, and much more.

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Dokken
Yngwie Malmsteen
Gunpowder Gray
Volbeat
Dio
Suicidal Tendencies
Black Sabbath
Great White
Bride
Stryper

Jason Becker Movie

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Meister Hears A Sound of Thunder

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A Sound of Thunder are a heavy metal band based in Washington DC and are set to issue their latest full length studio album on September 9, 2014.  The band is fronted with the operatic wails of pint
sized (standing a mere 5'2) classically trained (and hot) vocalist Nina Osegueda.  Osegueda has been described as "the lovechild of Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson" and also as a "heavy metal Swiss Army knife" for her ability to move from a delicate whisper to the overwhelming power of her vocal prowess.  The band began back in 2008 with the union of guitarist Josh Schwartz and drummer Chris Haren with the addition of Osegueda taking place in 2009.  It would take until 2011 before they found and completed the definitive line-up in bassist Jesse Keen.  A Sound of Thunder effectively combines elements of classic heavy metal, progressive and rock to formulate their unique sound.  the forthcoming The Lesser Key Of Solomon will be their fourth full length outing and a fine addition to the library I must say!  The album was funded with a crowd funding campaign in which their fans, dubbed "The Legion of Thunder" raised over $23000.

The Lesser Key of Solomon begins with a more than two minute long, basically instrumental, intro titled "The Nexus of Realities" which doesn't do much for me but I stick with it as the opening riffs of "Udoroth" begin. "Udoroth", is a headbanging, power metal delight and medieval fantasy treat, a lyrical theme that is carried throughout the album.  The album has some definite progressive elements and style combined with a NWOBHM sound that works all around.  The compositions for the most part are lengthy in run time and serve as a showcase for Osegueda's emotion laden vocal prowess and ranges as exampled on tracks such as "The Boy Who Could Fly".  Guitarist Josh
 Schwartz's soaring solos and bludgeoning riffs are peppered throughout the release.  The real progressiveness comes out on the near ten minute long "Elijah" containing many changes and even some spoken word story telling, none of which, I confess is my usual style but it just works for me here.  "Master of Pain" is reminiscent of the great Dio and another opus with the 8 1/2 minute long "Blood From the Mummy's Tomb" adds another depth with the inclusion of tinkling bells.  The slow build of "Black Secrets" serves as a playground for Schwartz and "One Empty Grave" is a definite standout for me from this album, but it's not the only one that's made it onto my MP3 player's regular listening rotation.  "House of Bones" serves as the final inclusion, another approaching the nine minute mark and is again a standout, helping me to find the latter half of this release stronger than the beginning.

Throughout this record I can hear the influences of great artists such as Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Dio and King Diamond combined with A Sound of Thunder's unique blend of the progressive elements.  With A Sound of Thunder issuing this kind of high quality metal it's no wonder they've developed a loyal fanbase dubbed "The Legion of Thunder"......so to join the legion do I have to sign in blood?

Meister Music (The Meister's top tracks): "Udoroth", "Master of Pain", "Black Secrets", "One Empty Grave" and "House of Bones".

Cheers,
The Meister

(The Meister on Facebook) (Meister on Twitter)

(A Sound of Thunder Website) (A Sound of Thunder Facebook) (ASoT Twitter)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Meister Spends Some Time on Skid Row

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Skid Row promo poster
"Sebastian who?" was a text I received from a friend during the Skid Row concert in Toronto on Wednesday August 20, 2014.  He was situated across the Virgin Mobile Mod Club in a different vantage point than I was for the show and this text came by the end of the second song of the setlist.  I had caught the live Skid Row experience previously while at Sweden Rock Festival 2013 and learned the advantages of vocalist Johnny Solinger over Sebastian Bach but this was my friend's first experience.  Solinger has been a full fledged member of Skid Row for over fourteen years now, longer than his predecessor, the arrogant Sebastian Bach and handles the material of both eras well, an excellent and crowd appreciative frontman.  Many say things like "No Bach, no Skid Row", but I personally can do
Johnny Solinger-by Meister
without the arrogant, insulting and offensive attitude that we all know Bach to possess, something I witnessed during Bach's performance at 2014's M3 Festival.  In any case Solinger and the rest of the band, originals Dave "Snake" Sabo (guitar), Scotti Hill (guitar), Rachel Bolan (bass) and relatively new drummer Rob Hammersmith delivered a high energy, raucous rock n' roll experience in Toronto that night.  The boys whipped the "decent sized for a Wednesday night" crowd into a frenzy with a setlist encompassing almost everything you'd want from the 
Scotti Hill-photo by Meister
early days of Skid Row and a selection of more recent compositions scattered throughout.  They began with "Let's Go" from 2013's EP United World Rebellion: Chapter One and from there it was over to 1989's self titled debut album for a wicked four pack of "Makin' a Mess", "Big Guns", "Piece of Me" and "18 and Life".  By now the floor was a little tighter packed as everyone surged closer to the stage, fists high in the air, caught up in the frenzy of an awesome rock n' roll show.  We also rocked out to classics such as "Riot Act", "In a Darkened Room", "I Remember You" and "Monkey Business" as well as newer tracks like "Thick Is the Skin", "Kings of Demolition" and "Ghost".
Rachel Bolan-by Meister
 Also in the mix was a Rachel Bolan sung version of The Ramones' "Psycho Therapy" and the three punch to the balls encore set of "We Are the Damned" (from Rise of the Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two), "Slave to the Grind" and "Youth Gone Wild" to raise the house lights.  Grab your copy of Rise of the Damnation Army - United World Rebellion: Chapter Two through this link: Buy: The new Skid Row EP and don't miss Skid Row on tour!  Keep an eye on the Decibel Geek YouTube channel for a couple of videos from the Toronto show being uploaded soon Decibel Geek YouTube Channel

Cheers,
The Meister

(The Meister on Facebook) (Meister on Twitter)

(Skid Row Website) (Skid Row Facebook)

PHOTOS: Concert photos by The Meister 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ace's Covers Contenders - Ep151

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It's no secret that we like Ace Frehley around here and the new 'Space Invader' album is in constant rotation in the studio and we can't wait to hear more from the original Spaceman. And on that note....

Recently, Ace announced that the wait for his next album won't be as long as us Frehley fans are accustomed to. In fact, Ace is planning an all-covers album for the near future.

This week Aaron and Chris spin their wish list of covers that they think would benefit from an Ace-lift. You'll definitely be surprised by some of their choices that include songs from Budgie, Billy Joel, Deep Purple, Head East, Cheap Trick and much more! We also share YOUR suggestions for songs that Ace should consider for this new album. Enjoy this hour+ of songs that we want to hear covered by the space cowboy!

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Head East
Deep Purple
Billy Joel
Budgie
Gerry Rafferty
FLIPP
The First Edition
BTO
Cheap Trick
The Normal
George Harrison
Daddy Cool
Thin Lizzy
Ace Frehley

Geeks of the Week:
Todd Cunningham, Robert De Pasqua, David Alpizar, James Brendon Dunn, Brian Bates, Andy Lafon, Billy Hardaway, Derik Novak, Shane Hebert, I-am Hoops, Lee Maslin (Audio Junkies Podcast), Joe Lascon, Matt Syverson (Paperback Rocker podcast), Mike Blount, Brent Walter, Warren Money, Joe Royland, JTB’s Groovy Record Room, Gang Forward, MusicMagsAndWax, Shane Stuckless, Don Nitschke, Nashville Metal Bands, Stitcher Radio, Adam Cox

LISTENER SUGGESTIONS:

Rhys Lett:
KISS – Crazy Nights
Daddy Cool – Eagle Rock (anthem in Australia)

Warren Money:
AC/DC – Back in Black
Van Halen – I’m the One
George Harrison – What is Life?

I-am Hoops:
Rush – Working Man

Brent Walter:
Ace demos – Catch Me When I Fall aka Audio/Video

Todd Cunningham:
Judas Priest – Victim of Changes

Ryan Bales:
Eric Clapton – Cocaine
Rolling Stones – Satisfaction
Jimi Hendrix – Manic Depression

Ben van Belzen:
VVI – Back on the Streets

James Geike:
Sea of Love
Flipp – Freak

Thomas Mucaji/Gregory Muse/Steven Conley:
Deep Purple – Space Truckin’

Robert Jackson:
Free – All Right Now

Paul Wozniak:
Motorhead – Ace of Spades

Mensch Maschine :
The Normal – Warm Leatherette

Kent Bennett:
David Bowie – Diamond Dogs

Collins Janus:
Joe Perry Project – Shooting Star

Danny Silvers:
Thin Lizzy – Thunder & Lightning, Bad Reputation, Do Anything You Want to, Havin’ a Good Time, Jailbreak

PJ Brown:  

KISS - 2000 Man

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Oddities of The Meister's I-pod (Meister's Fresh Blood)

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The Oddities of The Meister's I-Pod (or Meister's Fresh Blood)
In conjunction with this week's Decibel Geek Podcast Episode #150-Fresh Blood Vol. #2 in which Chris and Aaron spin tracks from bands that you are probably unfamiliar with I decided to take a look at my current listening selection.  Rather than do a specific album review on each and every one of these I thought that I’d take a quick look at some of the albums playing on my I-pod (actually I don’t own an I-pod and instead have an MP3 player, but you get the idea and I-pod just sounded better) at the moment, something that does change fairly regularly.  I have left out the regular, more mainstream, more well-known names in hopes of introducing you to some new music.

Here’s five reasonably recently released "Fresh Blood" albums that you should take a look at (listen to) that are currently in my listening mix: 

Ammotrack (2014)-Raise Your Hands.  Ammotrack are a Swedish band, one of the many excellent outputs from that Nordic land.  I discovered them when their name appeared on the huge list of bands performing at 2014’s Sweden Rock Festival in early June.  Each year the names and a brief bio on all 80 plus bands of that year’s festival are posted on the Sweden Rock website including links to some you-tube videos so the festival goers can familiarize themselves with the bands.  I liked the brief listen I gave them prior to the event and they did not disappoint in the live setting! Raise Your Hands is a compilation album taking material fromAmmotrack's previous efforts, 2008’s Ammotrack and 2011’s Come Die With Us.  Leading off with the title track, "Raise Your Hands", a new composition it seems that Ammotrack prefers their sophomore album.  Of the remaining eleven tracks seven are from the later issue, however the whole collection is fully loaded with their brand of street rock/sleaze metal packed with anthem choruses and melodic hooks.  A couple of songs to check out: "Living Like An Angel"     /     "Hitman"     /     "Come Die With Me"
Ammotrack Website     /     Ammotrack Facebook     /     Buy: Ammotrack - Raise Your Hands 


Acacia Avenue (2014)-Cold.  At first I suspected that this would be just an Iron Maiden tribute album named after the New Wave of British Heavy Metal pioneer’s song “22 Acacia Avenue” but that is not the case.  This is the brainchild of Denmark’s Torben Enevoldsen who it seems is more of a one-man show than a band, handling the writing, guitars, bass, keyboards and some background vocals!  Aside from the roster of guest vocalists, a new/different voice on almost every track, the only other musician credited is drummer Dennis Hansen.  Having the seven different vocalists also collaborate with the song writing makes for a fresh and exciting melodic hard rock/AOR album from start to finish.  The two Steve Newman sung tracks, the opener of “Time” and catchy vocal chorus of “Angelina” are my favorites but I’d venture to say that there’s not a bad composition in the collection.  Listening selections: "Time"     /     "Love Will Survive"
Torben Enveoldsen Website     /     Acacia Avenue Facebook     /     Buy: Acacia Avenue - Cold
 

Thundermother (2014)-Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster.  Another Swedish outfit, I seem to have a real penchant for the Swedish metal scene, this time a quintet of ladies.  These girls came across my radar while I was watching another Swedish band (Sister Sin)’s concert video in which Thundermother were the next band on stage and I haven’t looked back.  I caught their spirited set at 2014’s Sweden Rock Festival and have become even more of a fan, wanting to purchase the CD and shirt at the festival (I failed to achieve this).  These ladies could have easily been AC/DC had those guys been younger and of the opposite gender with a little of a punk influence thrown in for good measure, a mix that equals anything other than a disaster!  As for their debut release, Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster, the lead track, “Man With Blues” gets things going, but it only gets better from there once we get into “The Dangerous Kind”, “Thunderous”, “Please Me”"Shoot to Kill" and “Cheers”.  Chosen by Aaron Camaro to feature on this week's episode and previously reviewed by The Meister (Thundermother Review), take a listen to this no frills, ball busting rock and roll!
Thundermother Website     /     Thundermother Facebook     /     Buy: Thundermother - Rock n Roll Disaster 


Skrou (2014)-Skrou.  Skrou are an unsigned band based in Toronto Ontario.  The name is derived from a play on words using the name of singer/songwriter/founder Sam Kirou.  I’ve had the pleasure to catch the group live on several occasions and they have always delivered a fantastic and spirited set comprising of their original material and some classic 80’s metal covers.  Skrou saw their debut CD issued in January 2014, but songs such as “A Place to Shake”, “No One’s Home”, "Cold Heart”, "Ride On", and “Dirty Little Fantasy” are still members of my ever changing set list.  Behind Sam Kirou we find John DeFino on guitar, R.C. Ricci on bass and Eric Bonatti behind the kit.  Together these guys are booking shows all over southern Ontario with over 70 scheduled so far throughout the summer of 2014.  Skrou are also available for private parties or functions…..maybe it’s time The Meister threw himself a birthday party!  Check out "A Place to Shake" with the recently filmed official video and message the band to purchase your own copy of the CD.
Skrou Website     /     Skrou on Facebook     /        


Battleaxe (2014)-Heavy Metal Sanctuary.  Battleaxe enjoyed a short tenure as part of the NWOBHM movement and existed during the early 80’s, spawning two full length albums.  They re-united in 2010 and Heavy Metal Sanctuary saw the light of day in early 2014.  This album simply kicks ass from start to finish for old school metal lovers.  The band started out under the moniker Warrior in early 1980 with vocalist Dave King, bassist Brian Smith, guitarist Steve Hardy and drummer Ian Thompson and this album sees Mick Percy and Paul Atkinson replacing Hardy and Thompson respectively.  It seems that some things went south and there's some inner turmoil and confusingly two websites for Battleaxe, but the band is soldiering forward having just appeared at Bloodstock Open Air Festival in England with new drummer Ricky Squires.  Here's the official the title track "Heavy Metal Sanctuary" for you to check out.
Battleaxe Website     /     Battleaxe Facebook     /     Buy: Battleaxe - Heavy Metal Sanctuary

Cheers,
The Meister

(The Meister on Facebook) (Meister on Twitter)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sweden's Adrenaline Rush

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The debut release from Adrenaline Rush was recently sent to me for review and upon hearing they hailed from Stockholm, Sweden I instantly cued it up anxious to hear the next revelation from the
Wanning-by Armand Dormmer
Scandinavian country.  The accompanying press release says things like "fronted by one of the most talented and hottest chicks in today’s Hard Rock scene", "promises to fire up the Rock scene with their lethal dose of heavy guitars, infectious hooks and full blown RnR attitude" and "features live oriented tracks with strong melodies, powerful guitars and interesting arrangements".  Well at least I definitely get one out of the three.  Front woman Tave Wanning is certainly hot, albeit perhaps rather young looking.  As for the other two statements, Wanning came from a teen-pop duo called Peaches and I can hear the pop bleed through more than anything throughout this effort.  There are a couple of tracks at the beginning, like "Change", "Black n' Blue" and "Girls Gone Wild", that have the potential to be really good hard rock/glam songs and I imagine would come off well in a live setting with a heavier edge"Generation Left Behind" is the clear standout with it's pulsating riff but the album quickly loses it's hold before too long, much of it being a little on the poppy side for my particular tastes.  Wanning's vocals could do with being a little deeper and
Adrenaline Rush Band Photo
grittier and the guitars need to be more in the forefront and a little beefier.    The band started as a solo project for Wanning but she soon recruited Ludvig Turner (lead guitar, vocals), Alexander Hagman (guitar, vocals), Soufian Ma'Aoui (bass, vocals) and Marcus Johansson (drums) from bands around the Stockholm area.  Erik Martensson (Eclipse, W.E.T) helmed the project in the producers chair, but even he can't bring substance to this album.  While the album is not available in North America until August 25th the lead single, "Change" hit the airwaves in late April and I've included the video below.  Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Cheers,
The Meister

(The Meister on Facebook) (Meister on Twitter)

(Adrenaline Rush Website) (Adrenaline Rush Facebook)

PHOTOS: Band photo from Official Website / Tave Wanning photo by Armand Dommer

Monday, August 18, 2014

Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers Turns 30.

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1984 saw the return of the classic or "Mark II" lineup of one of the most popular bands in the world: Deep Purple. The waters of forgiveness were set to be tested in 1982 with plans for a comeback album and tour to follow but vocalist Ian Gillan was sidelined by his doctors and ordered not to sing for at least six months or risk permanent damage to his vocal chords, thus canceling the remaining dates of touring with his solo band Gillan. The remaining Mark II alumni carried on a while longer with the bands they were in at that point: Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover in Rainbow, keyboardist Jon Lord in Whitesnake, and drummer Ian Paice with Gary Moore. In the spring of 1984 the members got together once again and began planning a triumphant return with a new album and tour. It's rumored that Ritchie Blackmore wanted Whitesnake vocalist and former Mark III member David Coverdale on the mic but apparently that was not to be.

In my opinion, DP returned in fine form with their signature blend of classical and blues influenced yet slightly progressive hard rock solidifying why some have called the band 1/3 of the Unholy Trinity of British Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, along with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The album Perfect Strangers was recorded in the state of Vermont in the summer of 84 and released that fall. It reached #17 on the Billboard Top 200 and went to #5 in the UK. Roger Glover is named 1st in production credit and would explain the bass guitar being in the forefront of the album mix. The album produced three singles. The title track Perfect Strangers reached #12 on Billboards Mainstream Rock Tracks and the opener Knocking at Your Back Door reached #61 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both of these songs, for me, are very underwhelming. A third single, Nobody's Home, reached #20 on Billboards Mainstream Rock Tracks. It's this track, along with the two other songs sandwiched between the album opener and the title track that is the hot spot for me. Under The Gun is a tight organ/guitar driven rocker with solid bass and drums creating firm foundation. Nobody's Home begins with a bit of tell tale early 80's synthesizer before busting in with a fat guitar lick and great bass groove. Mean Streak is pure vintage Mark II Deep Purple; blues-kissed hard rock.


A massive and quite lucrative world tour would follow the album release and carry over through the following year. This classic yet fragile lineup would go on to release 2 more albums; The House Of Blue Light in '87 and Nobody's Perfect( Live) in '88 before Ian Gillan would be axed due to continuing tension between Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore. But as luck would have it, the vocalist would return again in '92 and the classic Mark II lineup would record their last studio album The Battle Rages On in '93. Ritchie Blackmore would exit Deep Purple for good in the Fall of that year. Who knew how prophetic Perfect Strangers would become? To this day, Deep Purple have continued to tour and record music.  Dixie Dregs/Kansas guitarist Steve Morse has since taken over on guitar. Keyboardist Don Airey joined in 2002 when Jon Lord retired from the band. Lord passed away in 2012. Throughout the bands 38 years of combined formation, drummer Ian Paice has remained the only member who has not left and returned to Deep Purple while they were active. For me, DP are truly one of the few true pioneers of hard rock and Heavy Metal. They have influenced countless American and European bands, as well as The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Personally, I prefer the material from the Mark II and Mark III lineups, but their catalog as a whole is brilliant. 100 million albums sold worldwide can't be wrong. 
Happy 30th Perfect Strangers!

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