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Helloween – 7 Sinners

Helloween – 7 Sinners (2010, The End Records)

1. “Where The Sinners Go” …3:35
2. “Are You Metal?” …3:37
3. “Who Is Mr. Madman?” … 5:42
4. “Raise The Noise” … 5:06
5. “World Of Fantasy” … 5:14
6. “Long Live The King” … 4:12
7. “The Smile Of The Sun” … 4:36
8. “You Stupid Mankind” … 4:04
9. “If A Mountain Could Talk” … 6:44
10. “The Sage, The Fool, The Sinner” … 3:59
11. “My Sacrifice” … 4:59
12. “Not Yet Today” … 1:11
13. “Far In The Future” … 7:45

Andi Deris – Vocals
Michael Weikath – Guitar
Sascha Gerstner – Guitar, Backing vocals
Markus Grosskopf – Bass
Dani Löble – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Matthias Ulmer – Keyboards
Eberhard Hahn – Flute (“Raise the Noise”)
William “Billy” King and Olaf Senkbeil – Choirs
Ron Deris – Backing Vocals (“Far in the Future”)
Biff Byford – Spoken Prologue (“Who is Mr. Madman?”)

Producer: Charlie Bauerfeind

Up to this point, I’ve never been what you would call a “fan” of Helloween. I own Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II and the Treasure Chest compilation but like with most power metal — I think of Helloween as a fluffy, flowery, keyboard-heavy metal. Not really my thing. I know not all power metal bands follow this formula but it seems to be the norm.

Feeling that way, I really wasn’t going to give a new Helloween album a second (or even first) thought. But then I ran across the video for “Are You Metal?” and was surprised at just how heavy it was. It’s a true heavy metal anthem! Then I found out if you pre-ordered the album you got a t-shirt, a small poster signed by the band and the CD all for $20. So I figured why not?

I’m glad I ended up getting the album. I’ve ready many reviews saying it’s the heaviest Helloween has been in a long time (if ever) and it’s certainly a HEAVY metal album. The band does fall back onto the keyboards from time to time but they more than make up for it with the anger on “Where The Sinners Go”,  the anthem “Are You Metal?” and the creepy “Who Is Mr. Madman?”. It’s really the first four songs that are the best on the album. “Raise The Noise” is another good metal anthem (even though it has a Jethro Tull moment in the form of a flute solo). This song sounds like something Sister Sin would record. “The Smile Of The Sun” is a very good and powerful ballad. One of the few things I think Helloween has always nailed is their ballads.

Overall, the album has become one of my favorites for the year. There are a few bland moments. Specifically, “Far In The Future”, which limps the album to a close but from top to bottom the album is full of solid METAL with so many sing-along moments and much more metal than I ever expected from Helloween. Are they metal? Yes they are!

Highlights: “Where The Sinners Go”, “Are You Metal?”, “Who Is Mr. Madman?”, “Raise The Noise”, “The Smile Of The Sun”, “You Stupid Mankind”

Jettblack – Get Your Hands Dirty

Jettblack – Get Your Hands Dirty (2010, Spinefarm Records – UK Import)

1. “Slip It On” … 3:31
2. “Two Hot Girls” … 3:55
3. “When It Comes To Lovin’” … 3:08
4. “Fooled By A Rose” … 4:32
5. “War Between Us” … 4:43
6. “Get Your Hands Dirty” … 3:27
7. “Not Even Love” … 5:15
8. “Mother Fucker” … 3:53
9. “Sleep” … 3:28
10. “Holding” … 4:19
11. “Innocence Is Mine” … 7:37

Will Stapleton – Vocals, Guitar
Jon Dow – Vocals, Guitar
Tom Wright – Bass
Matt Oliver – Drums

Producer: Dan Weller, Justin Hill and Jettblack

I’ve been on a modern hair metal high lately. After thinking the well was beginning to dry up, in the past few months I’ve come across great bands like Reckless Love, Bad City and now the London-based Jettblack. All three bands have an obvious love for glammed-up ’80s rock/metal but all display that love in different ways. While Reckless Love dives head first into the cheesy AOR side of ’80s metal and are content to keep a completely retro sound, Jettblack (much like Bad City) does the glam thing while balancing it with a modern hard rock sound.

The album starts off with the fantastic “Slip It On”, which is pure ’80s pop metal. “Two Hot Girls” features the typical lyrics you’d expect from a band that has been influenced by glam metal and “When It Comes To Lovin'” is a fun song talking about nailing your friend’s sister. Numbers like “Not Even Love”, “Sleep”, “Holding” and “Innocence Is Mine” show a heavier, modern and sometimes moodier side of the band that’s equally as cool, melodic and catchy as any of the more nostalgic sounding songs. Unlike the band Endeverafter, somehow Jettblack manages to pull this pop metal/modern hard rock blend off perfectly. The album never comes off sounding disjointed or like it was recorded by two different bands. I’ve read some reviews disagreeing with me on just how well the album plays as a whole but you can’t please everyone, I guess.

Of course, a song like “Slip It On” is NOT going to get played on the radio in 2010 (well, not in America at least) but “Not Even Love” and the slow-burning “Innocence Is Mine” could easily find their place on the mainstream rock stations and be hits if only someone would give the band half a chance. Of course, the first step is getting this album a distribution deal in the States, which hasn’t happened as of this writing. I had to track down a used copy on Amazon and ended up paying $13.95 for it but it was worth the price as in the 5 or 6 spins I’ve given this album, it’s become one of my favorites of the year.

Highlights: “Slip It On”, “When It Comes To Lovin””, “War Between Us”, “Not Even Love”, “Sleep”, “Innocence Is Mine”

Coming Up…

Knowing me, it’s probably going to take two (maybe three) weeks to get through all these albums but I just wanted to let the world know that, yes, there are more NEW music reviews on the way!

The latest from Dio, Helloween, Death Angel, Exodus, The Sword, David Rock Feinstein, Jettblack, Skelator and Evestus should all be popping up soon. So keep checking back!

Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol [Deluxe Edition]

Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol [Deluxe Edition] (2010, Universal Music/Sanctuary Records – UK Import)
Original Release: 1987, Warner Bros. Records

Disc One
1. “The Shining” … 5:59
2. “Ancient Warrior” … 5:28
3. “Hard Life to Love” … 5:00
4. “Glory Ride” … 4:49
5. “Born to Lose” … 3:43
6. “Nightmare” … 5:19
7. “Scarlet Pimpernel” … 2:05
8. “Lost Forever” … 4:03
9. “Eternal Idol” … 6:33
Bonus Tracks
10. “Black Moon” … 3:38
11. “Some Kind of Woman” … 3:15

Disc Two
1. “Glory Ride” … 5:21
2. “Born to Lose” … 3:41
3. “Lost Forever” … 4:17
4. “Eternal Idol” … 6:48
5. “The Shining” … 6:30
6. “Hard Life to Love” … 5:20
7. “Nightmare” … 4:49
8. “Ancient Warrior” … 4:54

Tony Martin – Vocals (Disc One)
Ray Gillen – Vocals (Disc Two)
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Dave Spitz – Bass (Credited, does not appear)
Bob Daisley – Bass
Eric Singer – Drums
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Bev Bevan – Percussion

I’m such a freak about the non-Ozzy/Dio years that along with the Seventh Star reissue, this was one of 2010’s most anticipated releases for me. Now they really need to give Born Again and Headless Cross the deluxe treatment as well. If you want my thoughts on the original album, check it out here. Included with the original album are two bonus tracks that were included on “The Shining” single as B-sides: “Black Moon” and “Some Kind of Woman”. “Black Moon” later appeared as a track on Headless Cross but in a different key. So having an alternate take of “Black Moon” and now having “Some Kind of Woman” was a pretty big deal to me. Just for the sake of being a completist.

As with the Seventh Star reissue, the main course in my opinion is the second disc. But there’s no live concert, this time it’s the complete album as it was originally recorded with Ray Gillen (though it is not what would have been the final mix). I’m not sure how Sabbath fans felt at the time, but when I read about Gillen’s short time as Sabbath’s singer from other reviews and whatnot, it seems like a lot of hope and promise rested on Ray’s shoulder as if he singled-handedly could lead Sabbath back to the Promise Land. Did he hold the key to the band becoming a respected and legit group once again? I don’t particularly think so. I think people are fantasizing. They see that the band didn’t work so well commercially with Martin, so they say “oh, if they stuck with Ray they could’ve done so much better”. Plus, I think another reason people embellish with it comes to Gillen is because he died so young. Now I’m not knocking Ray Gillen at all. He’s a great singer but I just don’t think he could’ve ushered in some great new era for Sabbath any better than Martin tried to do.

Let’s be honest, Sabbath was a mess for most of the ’80s and into the early ’90s. While, musically, Iommi was certainly the band’s driving force, I don’t think he was a very good band leader. He was a bit too laid back and seemingly almost shy. That could’ve been countered if the band had great management, but they didn’t. So what you ended up with was poorly promoted and misguided albums & tours along with constant personnel changes. It’s amazing they were able to put out the quality music that they did, even if it wasn’t the evil doom ‘n’ gloom old school Sabbath fans wanted to hear. So yeah — Ray wouldn’t have changed any of that.

What Gillen did do was turn in a great performance live and in the studio. You certainly can’t knock his singing. Whereas Tony Martin had similarities to Dio, Gillen has a bit of a higher register, sounding much more like what I would expect from an ’80s metal singer. Maybe it’s just because I’m more familiar with him or because he does sound more like one of my favorite singers but I still prefer the Martin version over Gillen’s.

If you refuse to believe Sabbath ever did anything worthwhile without Ozzy or Ronnie, well, this reissue isn’t going to change your opinion. But that’s okay because this reissue isn’t meant for you anyway. It’s meant for all of us who can enjoy Sabbath’s later offerings and for us fans, I think this reissue is an important album to own.

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe (2010, Eagle Rock Entertainment/Armoury Records)

1. “The Mob Rules” … 3:47
2. “Children of the Sea” … 6:31
3. “I” … 6:17
4. “Bible Black” … 6:30
5. “Time Machine” … 4:40
6. “Fear” … 4:36
7. “Falling Off the Edge of the World” … 5:40
8. “Follow the Tears” … 6:12
9. “Die Young” … 6:42
10. “Heaven and Hell” … 17:49
11. “Neon Knights” … 5:45

Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Scott Warren – Keyboards

Recorded on July 30, 2009 at the Wacken Open Air festival.

This is one of those albums that has so many titles, it makes you wonder what the real name of the album is. Neon Nights for sure, but anything after that appears to be up for grabs. It becomes even more confusing when you consider the sub-subtitle (“sub-subtitle”?) of Live In Europe is replaced with Live At Wacken for the European release.

If Dio was alive today, I suppose you’d be hearing a number of groans about yet another live album from these guys. This is the third live album they’ve released either as Black Sabbath or Heaven & Hell since 2007 (and fourth total), but given that the great Ronnie James is no longer with us and this album stands to document what came to be the band’s final tour, I think most Dio fans will give this album a warm embrace. It holds a lot of sentimental value for fans I think and Neon Nights does well to hold up the legacy this group started in 1980.

Right up to (and during!) the discovery of cancer, Ronnie was a phenomenal vocalist. For the most part on this album, he sounds just like he always has though with age his voice has gotten a bit gruffer. He’s was still sounding great, still hitting the notes and singing better than almost anyone else around though. Tony is playing great as well. For a guy that never seems to move around much on stage, it’s amazing to hear how fast he can fire off the notes. Even Geezer gets to stretch his fingers during “Heaven and Hell”. That almost makes me wish I did have the DVD, I’ve always enjoyed watching him play bass.

If you’re a big Dio fan, you’re probably going to get this disc no matter what. We all know what to expect from these guys in the studio and on stage and this is good album to close out the chapter of Heaven & Hell. They don’t put on bad shows and they get to show off just how good they can be on the epic 17 minute plus version of “Heaven and Hell”. You just can’t go wrong with these guys in concert.

A DVD version of this show was released simultaneously and features “E5150” and also “Country Girl”. Would’ve been nice to have those two extra tracks and the DVD was only $1 more than the CD but I just don’t have much use for live DVDs compared to CDs.

Highlights: “The Mob Rules”, “I”, “Die Young”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Neon Knights”

Black Sabbath – Seventh Star [Deluxe Edition]

Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi – Seventh Star [Deluxe Edition] (2010, Universal Music/Sanctuary Records – UK Import)
Original Release: 1986, Warner Bros. Records

Disc One: Seventh Star
1. “In for the Kill” … 3:42
2. “No Stranger to Love” … 4:30
3. “Turn to Stone” … 3:29
4. “Sphinx (The Guardian)” … 1:11
5. “Seventh Star” … 5:21
6. “Danger Zone” … 4:27
7. “Heart Like a Wheel” … 6:37
8. “Angry Heart” … 3:07
9. “In Memory…” … 2:38
Bonus Track
10. “No Stranger To Love” (Single Remix) … 4:01

Disc Two: Live at Hammersmith Odeon
1. “Mob Rules” … 2:59
2. “Danger Zone” … 4:44
3. “War Pigs” … 8:11
4. “Seventh Star” … 5:03
5. “Die Young” … 3:58
6. “Black Sabbath” … 9:33
7. “N.I.B.” … 1:37
8. “Neon Knights” … 4:37
9. “Paranoid” … 3:29

Glenn Hughes – Vocals (Disc One)
Ray Gillen – Vocals (Disc Two)
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Dave Spitz – Bass
Eric Singer – Drums
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Gordon Copley – Bass (on “No Stranger to Love”)

Two of 2010’s most anticipated releases for me were the reissues of Black Sabbath’s Seventh Star and The Eternal Idol. The non-Ozzy/Dio years are criminally underrated. While these two albums had not previously been hard to find (they were reissued/remastered in 1996 and again in 2004 by Sanctuary), these expanded versions feature bonus tracks and an extra disc of goodies. Let me say again that the import prices for both of these discs is outrageous. About $30 a piece. So if anyone is interesting in getting these, I suggest going to Amazon UK’s page and ordering the albums straight from jolly old England. After S&H, it was only something like $23 U.S. dollars TOTAL and they arrived pretty quick too.

I won’t comment on the first disc too much. You can read my original review here. I’m a fan of it, the songs are still great. It’s a good bluesy and melodic rock/metal album. The only extra included on Disc One is the single remix of “No Stranger To Love”. Nothing essential, but nice to have, I guess.

Disc Two is the real draw here — a live performance at the Hammersmith Oden in London from June 2 1986 with Ray Gillen on vocals! I’m sure this show has been available in bootleg form for years because it was recorded for a radio broadcast. Ray took over Glenn’s spot in Sabbath after Glenn famously bombed on the tour’s first five shows due to his drug addictions at the time. For some reason or another, after the tour and after already putting down vocals for The Eternal Idol, Gillen left Sabbath. I know there are a few other Gillen shows floating around as bootlegs, but it’s nice to have an official documentation of his short time as the lead singer of Black Sabbath. Reading about this era, it seemed like a lot of people embraced Gillen’s short run and it seemed like maybe Sabbath could’ve even made a return to commercial and critical success but it was not meant to be and Ray formed the group Badlands. He certainly does a fine job with the Dio material.

The audio quality isn’t the best, it’s a radio show recording after all. It’s not like this is what you’d expect from a full-fledged live album, but it’s still an interesting and perfectly acceptable listen and this edition is essential for hardcore fans of the years that didn’t include Ozzy or Dio.

Black Rain – License To Thrill

Black Rain – License To Thrill (2009, Listenable Records)
Original Release: 2008, Thundering Records

1. “Rock Your City” … 4:16
2. “Innocent Rosie” … 4:05
3. “N.A.S.T.Y.” … 4:16
4. “True Girls Are Sixteen” … 3:20
5. “License To Thrill” … 4:22
6. “No Forever” … 4:46
7. “Rock ‘N Roll Is Dead Long Live Rock ‘N Roll” … 5:00
8. “Rockstars Don’t Go To Jail” … 4:26
9. “Party War” … 5:15
10. “Kill ‘Em All” … 5:25
Bonus Track
11. “Baby It’s You” … 3:35

Swan – Vocals, Guitar
Max 2 – Guitar
Heinrich – Bass
Iann Lewis – Drums

Producer: Chris Laney

Is it Blackrain, Black Rain, or BlackRain? I’ve seen it listed all three ways (their Facebook and MySpace pages seem to conflict!). I discovered this band last year thanks to someone posting a YouTube link to their music video for “Innocent Rosie”. I was immediately hooked. It’s one of the greatest sleaze songs ever written. No hyperbole. The song is a gigantic hammer that bashes you in the face! So after over a year of being aware of this album why did I just now get it? It’s those darn import prices! They always rear their ugly heads! I’m sorry, I just can’t bring myself to spend $25-35 for one CD. If I’m spending that much, it better be a double disc super duper deluxe edition with a t-shirt and something autographed or a box set. There’s a market for ’80s inspired rock/metal like this all over the world– I just wish these bands, labels, distributors, whoever would make the music more financially accessible for the fans.

Anyway, Black Rain are a sleaze band from… wait for it… FRANCE! Yep. No Swedish or Finnish sleazers here. They come across as one of the more powerful sleaze metal acts around today and that’s definitely helped by the fantastic shrill ‘n’ sleazy vocals of Swan. Just listen to “Innocent Rosie” to hear an amazing vocal performance. The whole album is a great collection of party metal, featuring the sexed-up lyrics that I’ve come to love from this scene, but typically, the band also has to slow it down for a ballad or two. “No Forever” is a good power ballad as is the band’s cover of the Burt Bacharach-penned “Baby It’s You”, which was originally performed by the Shirelles, then the Beatles, Smith, the Carpenters and even Ace Frehley (another interesting take but I don’t think it ever got past the demo stage)! “Baby It’s You” is another tune where Swan gives a great vocal performance and is only present on the 2009 reissue.

I’ve said before that I think the current sleaze/glam scene is a bit crowded and I’ve grown weary of many bands that have the looks but don’t the hooks but Black Rain is one of the standouts in that community right now.

Highlights: “Rock Your City”, “Innocent Rosie”, “True Girls Are Sixteen”, “No Forever”, “Party War”, “Baby It’s You”

Bon Jovi – Greatest Hits – The Ultimate Collection

Bon Jovi – Greatest Hits – The Ultimate Collection (2010, Island Records)

Disc 1
1. “Livin’ on a Prayer” … 4:13
2. “You Give Love a Bad Name” … 3:46
3. “It’s My Life” … 3:46
4. “Have a Nice Day” … 3:48
5. “Wanted Dead or Alive” … 5:11
6. “Bad Medicine” … 5:16
7. “We Weren’t Born to Follow” … 4:03
8. “I’ll Be There for You” … 5:46
9. “Born to Be My Baby” … 4:40
10. “Blaze of Glory” … 5:40
11. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home (Duet With Jennifer Nettles)” … 3:50
12. “Lay Your Hands on Me” … 3:49
13. “Always” … 5:56
14. “Runaway” … 3:53
15. “What Do You Got?” … 3:47
16. “No Apologies” … 3:44

Disc 2
1. “In These Arms” … 5:19
2. “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night” … 4:39
3. “Lost Highway” … 4:04
4. “Keep the Faith” … 5:46
5. “When We Were Beautiful” … 4:10
6. “Bed of Roses” … 6:38
7. “This Ain’t a Love Song” … 5:06
8. “These Days” … 6:27
9. “(You Want To) Make a Memory” … 4:36
10. “Blood on Blood” … 6:16
11. “This Is Love, This Is Life” … 3:25
12. “The More Things Change” … 3:53

I’m a huge Bon Jovi fan. They’re one of my favorite bands, which is funny because I really can’t stand their last few albums and their shift towards country and adult contemporary rock/pop. Also, I’ve become somewhat jaded because it’s more obvious than ever that the band is really a brand and it’s completely Jon’s show to run. I think as he’s getting older, Jon has started to come off as a bitter guy for whatever reason, he denounces the ’80s hair metal scene they were fully-fledged members of at one time and he just seems to be on a power trip with only Richie having the smallest say in what the band does. To me, their last decent effort was 2002’s Bounce and with a few song exceptions, anything they’ve done since has been extremely bland and lacks the hooks and catchy choruses they built their name on in the ’80s and ’90s.

So anyway, this is the band’s fourth compilation album. Though to most fans, it’s really more like their second legit straight-forward compilation. 2003’s This Left Feels Right was an acoustic reworking of many of their best known songs and 2001 saw a Japan-only greatest hits released called Tokyo Road. The very first compilation was Cross Road. It was released in 1994 so given that the band has had a number of hit songs and albums since then, it was definitely time for another recap.

The tracklist is pretty solid. Sure there are personal favorites I could say I would have liked to seen included but keeping with the “greatest hits” theme, the album does it’s job. Especially in the Ultimate Collection form. It reads like a set list of what you would probably hear the band play in concert these days. I was caught off guard by “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night” (which was a new song included on Cross Road) and These Days getting two songs included but it’s cool because I like all three of those songs. The only studio album not represented on any of the U.S. releases is 7800° Fahrenheit (“In and Out of Love” and “Tokyo Road” appear on international versions).

There are a few different versions of this album. First there is the simply titled Greatest Hits, which is just disc one (featuring two new songs). Then there is Greatest Hits – The Ultimate Collection which features a second disc (and two more new songs). Then there’s also a Target edition of Greatest Hits which has all of disc one plus live versions of “Diamond Ring” and “We Weren’t Born to Follow”. Then the iTunes version features all the material from disc one and two plus a 5th new song called “This Is Our House”.

I definitely wanted The Ultimate Collection because all four new songs were slowly being released on the band’s website for streaming and I liked them all a lot. Someone pointed out to me that they all sounded like modern Bon Jovi (which we’ve already covered I don’t like) and I guess they are right. Maybe I’m just ready to like Bon Jovi again? Who knows! “What Do You Got?” is my favorite of the new songs but I think they’re all good. Maybe not songs that can compare to their classics but very good for modern day Bon Jovi, I think. So I’m happy with my purchase. I’m enjoying the new stuff and while I don’t usually bother listening to compilations these days, you really can’t go wrong with a collection of Bon Jovi’s greatest hits.

Reckless Love – Reckless Love

Reckless Love [European Import] (2010, Universal Music/Mercury Records)

1. “Feel My Heat” … 3:46
2. “One More Time” … 3:37
3. “Badass” … 4:05
4. “Love Machine” … 3:44
5. “Beautiful Bomb” … 3:13
6. “Romance” … 3:16
7. “Sex” … 4:03
8. “Back To Paradise” … 3:57
9. “So Yeah!!” … 3:26
10. “Wild Touch” … 4:09
11. “Born To Rock” … 3:29

Olli Herman – Vocals
Pepe – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jalle Verne – Bass, Backing Vocals
Hessu Maxx – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Ilkka Wirtanen – Keyboards

Producer: Ilkka Wirtanen

Having originally formed under the name of Reckless Life (as a Gun N’ Roses cover band), Reckless Love is a Finnish hair band that’s been garnering LOTS of positive reviews from all over the place. I’ve wanted to check them out for awhile, but high import prices kept me from doing so. Finally, I was able to get my hands on this disc at a reasonable price.

Their original music is a far cry from the GNR songs they would cover in theirs infancy. There’s really not even much of a sleaze influence, this is pure glammed-up pop metal cheese with an AOR influence. While lead singer Olli Herman (who sat in with Swedish sleazers Crashdiet for an album a few years back) may be trying his best to look like a cross between the 80s versions of Vince Neil and Bret Michaels, the band I think they closest resemble in sound would be Danger Danger. The entire album is backed by a slick, glossy, shiny production. The band and songs don’t come across as particularly raw, sleazy or dangerous like some of the ’80s glam masters did, but who cares? The songs are good and extremely catchy and frankly, I’ve been getting tired of some of the modern sleaze bands anyway. A lot of them have their heart in the right place but the music is becoming a bit bland, I think. It’s good to hear a modern band take up the more slick AOR qualities that the hair genre had if for no other reason than a little bit of variety.

The band seems to be doing pretty well for themselves. The album has been a success in their home country, they’re getting good reviews and they’re on a major label. Good for them, I say! Can’t wait to hear what they come up with next but in the mean time, I’m really enjoying this offering the band has presented to the Gods of Glam Metal.

Highlights: “One More Time”, “Badass”, “Love Machine”, “Beautiful Bomb”, “Romance”, “Sex”

Stereoside – Stereoside

Stereoside (2010, Bieler Bros. Records)

1. “Trailer Park Scum” … 3:45
2. “Risktaker” … 3:21
3. “Black Sheep” … 2:55
4. “Walk Alone” … 3:50
5. “By Now” … 3:17
6. “Get On” … 3:05
7. “Life Goes On” … 2:59
8. “Amazing” … 3:31
9. “These Bones” … 4:12
10. “Crazy & Paranoid” … 3:28

Jeff Shields – Vocals
Ben Foster – Guitar
David Oliver – Bass
Chris York – Drums

Producer: Matt LaPlant and Stereoside

The Ocala, Florida-based Stereoside is a band that I’m surprised hasn’t taken off on radio yet. They have a sound very similar to Shinedown or 3 Doors Down, coming across as a  “post-grunge” band with some southern rock influences, the only difference is for some reason I actually like Stereoside. And I discovered them purely by chance. I happened to be browsing through some music on Amazon and this album came up as a recommend. I checked out a few samples and really liked what I was hearing.

This is the band’s third album (second with singer Jeff Shields, who has an amazing voice) but it was just released in August so I guess there’s still plenty of time for this album to “blow up” as the kids say. Probably with some major label support they could garner a larger following but the radio ready songs are already here from the rockin’ “Trailer Park Scum” and “Risktaker” to the slower paced “Crazy & Paranoid” to the ballad “Walk Alone”. Those are the four standouts to me as far as a single goes. Living in the south and being familiar with what gets play at least in my area, I can definitely see Stereoside having a following around here if people were made aware of them. The whole album is full of songs that would be good to kick back, relax and drink some beers to… it’s just too bad I don’t drink!

From top to bottom, there’s really no filler here. I can’t explain it! Usually I wouldn’t give music like this a second thought but for some reason Stereoside has grabbed me and isn’t letting go. I ordered this used off Amazon  for only a few bucks just wanting to try something new but not really expecting much and I have to say this is one of the year’s best surprises for me.

Highlights: “Trailer Park Scum”, “Risktaker”, “Walk Alone”, “Amazing”, “Crazy & Paranoid”

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