Dream Theater: Distance Over Time (2019)

 

 

Now is that a cool cover or what? I love the colour scheme and  the look. Another fine album cover  courtesy of Hugh Syme!

Dream Theater  came into my world when these guys dropped the classic track Pull Me Under from the fantastic Images and Words album from 1992!

Plus the fact that Lead Singer James Labrie is a fellow Canuck also piqued my curiosity as well!

From there I bought 1994’s Awake and 1997’s Falling Into Infinity.

Then that was it! What the PROG is going on here??

I got off the Prog Bus driven by Dream Theater. No reason really. I still would read the interviews and such or news posted about them but I just didn’t buy any more.

Why?

Who knows maybe it was because RUSH set the bar way too high for me for anyone to come close and as well RUSH at the time was pretty active so that wetted my Prog Appetite enough.

Since my last Dream Theater purchase back in 1997 Dream Theater has released 9 studio albums and 7 live albums! So no lack of productivity from these guys  that’s for sure…

So earlier this year Dream Theater released in quick succession three songs from their upcoming release Distance Over Time and I watched one of the tracks which was Fall Into The Light and this  tune blew me away….

I than decided to preorder the album and the first 3 songs dropped right onto my iPod and i can honestly say this is one killer release.

10 songs just checking in at over an hours worth of music!

The Prog Dudes…

In case you didn’t know already these cats can play…

  • James LaBrie – lead vocals
  • John Petrucci – guitars, production
  • John Myung – bass
  • Jordan Rudess – keyboards
  • Mike Mangini – drums

Petrucci has a massive wall of sound coming from his amplifier that is HUGE! Amazing how he can do what he does on solo’s. It’s just nuts..

  1. Untethered Angel
  2. Paralyzed
  3. Fall into the Light
  4. Barstool Warrior
  5. Room 137
  6. S2N
  7. At Wit’s End
  8. Out of Reach
  9. Pale Blue Dot
  10. Viper King (Bonus Track)

So a pretty decent set of tracks. Too be honest if these songs were all   10  minute musical workouts at this point in my life I would have lost interest but while most push the over 6 minute mark and one track clocks in at 9 minutes I’m cool with it. The best thing I can say about this album is that it doesn’t lose me as a listener.

Meaning I can listen to the whole album front to back without skipping. I like the fact that Labrie does a lot of singing and the soloist’s  of the band(Petrucci and Rudess) get to the point quick and the songs move forward.

Distance Over Time surprised me at how good it is. Everything is slick about it musically and as well as the production which is crisp n clear!

From this point forward I will more than likely purchase what Dream Theater is selling as it really is a solid piece of Prog N Roll and that’s all that matters when you really get down to the root of it!

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Y&T: In Rock We Trust(1984)

 

 

Remember my review from last week in regards to Dio’s Last In Line review where I wrote…

“Some Real Heavy Hitters of Rock released albums back in 1984! Van Halen/Judas Priest/Scorpions/RATT/Twisted Sister/Whitesnake/Deep Purple/Rush/Triumph/Dokken/KISS/Iron Maiden!”

One of those bands that fell by the wayside in sales in 1984 was Y&T with In Rock We Trust which is surprising for two specific reason’s….

1- The style of Hard Commercial Rock is plastered  throughout the grooves of IRWT!

2-My good pal Tbone even cracked open his wallet and shelled out his hard earned dough at the time(working at a Gas Station) for the cassette version of IRWT!

One of those mysteries of Rock when a band puts out a solid ball of music yet for some reason falls a wee short in the sales department! Finicky marketplace I suppose as it was no lack of effort from these guys who could write/play and deliver the goods so to speak.

If you recall from my review of Y&T’s Open Fire only Lead Singer/Lead Guitarist Dave Meneketti is still alive while Leonard Haze /Phil Kennemore/Joey Alves have all passed on! R.I.P Fella’s and Thanks for the Music!

Moving on this album featured Tom Allom behind the producers desk as Tom as we know produced all those Judas Priest albums at the time back  in the 1980’s so Y&T even had the ace producer in the back pocket as well. The production on this album is solid as well.

Before the release of IRWT I had heard the two previous studio efforts that being 1982’s Black Tiger and 83’s Meanstreak album. Y&T always dabbled between hard rock tracks on the album mixed with more Melodic Rock tracks. Y&T did this style of rock so they weren’t really following the so-called ‘Trend’ at the time.

Side one
  1. “Rock & Roll’s Gonna Save the World” – 4:39
  2. “Life, Life, Life” – 4:37
  3. “Masters and Slaves” – 3:58
  4. “I’ll Keep on Believin’ (Do You Know)” – 3:50
  5. “Break Out Tonight!” – 4:23
Side two
  1. “Lipstick and Leather” – 3:25
  2. “Don’t Stop Runnin'” – 4:20
  3. “(Your Love Is) Drivin’ Me Crazy” – 4:57
  4. “She’s a Liar” – 3:34
  5. “This Time” – 5:36

In Rock We Trust makes no exception to this rule. You have your straight ahead rock tracks like opener Rock N Rolls Gonna Save the World/Masters and Slaves/Breakout and She’s a Liar.

Whereas these guys would take the foot off the rock gas pedal and dial it slow somewhat usually with a mix of rock n blues with tracks like I’ll Keep On Believin and This Time.

This album does have some cliché on it but fair enough that was the game back in 84 that had to be played  but I will add that the two opening tracks on Side 2 are stellar.

Lipstick and Leather is so oeey gooey its catchy as Hell. Listen to that chorus! Meneketti could sing a great rock track while the next song Don’t Stop Runnin which was the big single from this album was solid as well and why it didn’t lift them the band off to the next level who knows. Once again Finicky Market!

This was a long overdue revisit with an album that has surprisingly stood the test of time! Course the lyrics at time are a bit funny but this was 1984 and it was about Happy Good Time Rock!

Y&T delivered a pretty decent album…..

Record Store Day-2019

 

Record Store Day came and went! Me and my daughter Lexie headed down to our only Record Shop here in Thunder Bay which falls under Sunrise. A National Chain that gobbled up all the HMV Stores when that company tanked…

This morning fellow blogging pals John T Snow and the one an only HMO scored a double Cheap Trick Vinyl that looked real slick.

Too be honest I wasn’t expecting much and I wasn’t disappointed as Sunrise’s Facebook Page didn’t even mention it but had a link from RSD 2018!

But we went anyways and when I got there was small section of stuff set up maybe about 20 release’s like Mumford and Sons(Gah) and three picture discs on the shelf  of Rush’s Hemisphere’s going for $45 Canadian each! No thanks I’ll pass…

Mikey Ladano  mentioned to me earlier today  about Glorious Sons having a double live album out. That intrigued me as I have been meaning to check em out for a while now and why not make my first real introduction to their music than it being a Double Live Album!

Only problem is the Glorious Sons Double Live was going for $60 Canadian.. umm I’ll pass…

I get it that’s the way it is..Limited edition’s are going to cost ya..

I mentioned to Lex that Sunrise should capitalize and lower the cost for one day the regular cost on their albums that have been sitting in there  bIns for days/weeks/months….

Nope not happening…

So after we left Sunrise we split and I went back to my familiar place for vinyl and spent my cash on Three Used Albums at Moon Money Vintage!

KISS-The Elder. Triumph-Thunder 7 and Hear N Aid!

Man, Hear N Aid I only ever bought on cassette tape back upon its release so …kinda psyched to get these added to the collection…

As I was paying for my scores I was talking to store owner Martha who after some small talk said  that the shop was thinking of doing a RSD but just ordering stuff for customers who they know won’t stiff them. As I was paying for my records I told Martha that I would rather support and pay a local business as opposed to a Chain…

If it’s gonna cost me for limited editions I would rather support Local Business…

Great idea! As I told her on the way out I would be totally up for that as the ‘Corporate Store’ doesn’t give a Shit!

Cheers for Local Business! Support em if you can!

Twisted Sister: You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll(1983)

 

COME INSIDE
TAKE A SEAT OR A RIDE
WE’RE SO GLAD THAT YOU’RE HERE
NOW COME ON
HAVE A DRINK OF SOME COKE
GASOLINE OR SOME ROPE
A GUILLOTINE?
ARE YOU GONE?
DON’T TURN AROUND
IGNORE THAT SOUND
JUST LIE ON THIS RACK
ARE YOU STARTING TO CRACK?

I NEED THIS LIKE A KNIFE IN THE BACK
I NEED THIS LIKE A KNIFE IN THE BACK

That paragraph basically sums up the street vibe of Twisted Sisters You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll back in 1983 a full year before Twisted Sister hit the mother lode with the Stay Hungry album!

A pretty ass kicking album that didn’t really set the world on fire at the time. Why? I have no idea as I think its T.S’s best!

The Sisters That are Twisted ….

  • Dee Snider – lead vocals
  • Jay Jay French – lead & rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • Eddie “Fingers” Ojeda – lead & rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • Mark “The Animal” Mendoza – bass, backing vocals, studio assistant
  • A. J. Pero – drums, percussion

You Can’t Stop This 10 Pack of Rock:

1. “The Kids Are Back” 3:16
2. “Like a Knife in the Back” 3:03
3. “Ride to Live, Live to Ride” 4:04
4. “I Am (I’m Me)” 3:34
5. “The Power and the Glory” 4:20
Side two
No. Title Length
6. “We’re Gonna Make It” 3:44
7. “I’ve Had Enough” 4:02
8. “I’ll Take You Alive” 3:08
9. “You’re Not Alone (Suzette’s Song)” 4:02
10. “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” 4:40

This album is a mix bag of barroom brawls which are the first three tracks that open the album(The Kids Are Back/Like a Knife in the Back/Ride to Live) and sensitive type Metal Macho Stuff in I Am (I’m Me) and You’re Not Alone(Suzette’s Song).

YCSRNR in-between those tracks mentioned keep the fist n dukes flying which makes this easily a street rock album  with some decent production by Stuart Epps who does not slick up the production whatsoever. Perhaps maybe that was by financial choice but whatever may be the case these songs sound better with a rough around the edges sound. No polished Gloss!

T.S were good players not exceptional virtuoso’s by any stretch of the imagination but they made it work. Course it helped that your Lead Singer wrote all the band’s music/lyrics on this album so for that you gotta thank Snider as he is one talented fella!

A pretty decent revisit that’s for sure. A solid 10 song effort that has band wanting and driving for success but as I mentioned earlier why this album didn’t do it who knows!

Having said that this album did do pretty well in Britain where the album charted  and the single I Am (I’m Me)  went Top 20!

North America waited for the silly videos from the Stay Hungry album to really get behind T.S but that was how much MTV and to a certain extent MuchMusic  helped propel the songs into sales….

If you come across this album on any format! Grab it and let it Kick Yer Ass!

Dio: Last In Line(1984)

 

Some Real Heavy Hitters of Rock released albums back in 1984! Van Halen/Judas Priest/Scorpions/RATT/Twisted Sister/Whitesnake/Deep Purple/Rush/Triumph/Dokken/KISS/Iron Maiden!

Hows that for a 12 Pack of Rock Releases? Pretty friggin stellar lineup right there and you can easily add Dio’s Last In Line  to that mix as well!

Ronnie Dio was flying high in 1984 and why not. 1983’s Holy Diver album took charge and made us all take notice of Ronnie James  as a solo artist with a stellar cast of characters that crafted out one fine hard rock release that resulted in Last In Line!

Ronnie was smart when he was putting the Dio band together in 1983. When Ronnie split from Black Sabbath(early 80’s) he took Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice with him and hooked up with Bassist Jimmy Bain who Ronnie had played with in Rainbow back in the 70’s!

At the start of the 80’s guys like Eddie Van Halen/Randy Rhoads basically took over the Guitar Hero mantle and blazed a new path and Ronnie was wise to search for a hot Shot himself as it worked out pretty good for his arch nemesis Ozzy Osbourne!

Welcome to Camp Dio Vivian Campbell as Vivian played some serious Guitar Action on Holy Diver as Campbell went into Guitar Hero status  as this Dude could play! Holy Diver features one of Vivian’s best solo that being in the form of   Rainbow In The Dark.

Actually as far as I’m concerned the guitar action  on those first few Dio albums holds a much weight as Ronnie’s vocals do. Meaning, it was the early to mid 80’s and if you were to survive you needed some Young Fire Power on 6 String. Campbell delivers not only on playing but co writing  these tracks…

Young Hot Shot….

So here we have the followup to Holy Diver in the form of Last In Line!

We Rock is the opener and its blast off time as Ronnie and Viv lift off along with Vinnie Appice who is another big clog in the Dio musical machine. Vinnie slams those drums hard. Keeps the Dio ship steady  along with Jimmy Bain(Bass) to be able to let Ronnie and Viv get there rocks off but just …Rocking!

Last in Line in its 40 plus minutes is stuffed with a batch of brilliant written tunes that to this day still hold up 35 years later!

Dio soars vocally(no surprise there) on the title track and how about that solo in Last In Line! Ok, a few paragraphs back I wrote that Campbell laid down some serious axe work on Rainbow in the Dark. I think I might have to go with the solo on Last In Line. I love how the band slows the gears down on the beat while Vivian goes from chill to mega greatness in seconds!

Last In Line features the real cool tune Mystery. Always been a sucker for quirky synth and such.  This was indeed a single and it sounds like a single but who cares as Appice drives his drums on this tune and it features a slick air tight chorus!

Don’t be fooled as the albums is chock full of rockers like Breathless and the sonic fury of I Speed At Night. Eat Your Heart Out features another stellar Campbell solo that takes a normal sounding metal tune into another stratosphere!

How about that rock n stomp of One Night In The City? Great track again as Campbell lifts so many of these tunes with his soloing which is brilliant!

Album closer Egypt(The Chains Are On) is your end of the album Sabbath like Dio-Deal. Love how the song changes tempo and just ramps back up. Pretty decent closer…

Last In Line falls a little short in comparison to Holy Diver which over time Holy Diver  is one of those albums that is hard to be topped. But give Ronnie credit he still crafted a decent rock album and thanks to the brilliant guitar work of Vivian Campbell Last In Line is still a fine solid piece of rock!

Greta Van Fleet: Anthem of the Peaceful Army(2018)

 

Kinda funny how people’s perceptions can change on a musical act in a year. Case in point those 4 young fellows calling themselves Greta Van Fleet!

When these guys first came out with the Highway Song people were falling all over themselves saying how much it sounded like Zeppelin and blah blah blah.

As an old man I get it! It’s just music but I dug Highway Song and bought not only the EP  but the added songs that they put out later on  From the Fires so I basically bought the thing twice! Smart marketing move…

Still though people were ripping on em. Greta to me has become almost Nickelback like in dissing but then again Kroger has made more than a few zillion nickels in his time so who am I to argue…

Give Van Fleet credit. They continue to do what they do and for that I salute them.

So a few months back fellow blogging pal John T Snow shot me an email asking if i had the new Greta release Anthem of the Peaceful Army. I told John I hadn’t purchased it yet from iTunes so John basically had an extra copy kicking around as he bought 4 tickets to an upcoming show that he’s taking the family too and when he bought 4 tickets they sent him 4 copies of the album. So….

Thanks Mr Snow….

Van Fleet is….

  • Joshua Kiszka – vocals
  • Jacob Kiszka – guitar, backing vocals
  • Samuel Kiszka – bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Daniel Wagner – drums, backing vocals

Let GVF Do The Talking!

1. “Age of Man” 6:06
2. “The Cold Wind” 3:16
3. “When the Curtain Falls” 3:42
4. “Watching Over” 4:28
5. “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)” 6:01
6. “You’re the One” 4:25
7. “The New Day” 3:44
8. “Mountain of the Sun” 4:30
9. “Brave New World” 5:00
10. “Anthem” 4:41
Total length: 45:53

A cool little 10 pack of Hard Blues Rock done right! It’s a good rock record folks and these guys are not reinventing the wheel so to speak.

See the thing is with GVF is with all the singles they have put out on radio I have liked. This album as well as when I first heard When The Curtain Falls I liked that Bass line that drives the tune. Hell even there new single You’re The One for a keyboard driven tune is not too shabby as well.

See I get it when music fans can’t stand to give these guys a chance as they do more than borrow from Led Zeppelin. Granted it doesn;’t help their  cause at the start of the album on the opening tune (Age of Man) the lyrics sung are …

To wonder lands of ice and snow
In the desert heat where nothing grows
A tree of life in rain and sun
To reach the sky it’s just begun

So when your kinda sneaking some Vocabulary from Zeppelin 3 you are gonna  pay for it and these guys I know have gotten demolished in some reviews for doing just this sort of thing.

Its funny though as back in 1988 when I was 21 Kingdom Come released their Bob Rock self titled produced album and at times had some tinges of Zeppelin sprinkled throughout. Back than I dug that K.C album and had some Zeppelin in my collection so to me it was no biggie. I know it bothered the late Great Gary Moore as he wrote a tune about bands wanting to sound like Zep called Led Clones that Gary released back in 1989 on his After The War album… check out these lyrics and while were at it I’ll post Moore’s song below it…

You’ve stolen from the houses of the holy. You’ve rolled into the kingdom of the sain. I heard you on the radio. I saw those crummy videos. I don’t think I can take no more. Led clones, Led clones.

Got to get it on, from the still of the night. But you’re gettin’ it wrong, you know it ain’t right.

Gary got Ozzy Osbourne to do the lead vocals on Led Clones. I bought Gary’s album and when I first heard this tune I thought “Wow! The Dude has it out for Kingdom Come and the 1987-88 Whitesnake  band if anything!”.

I quickly realized why. Gary didn’t make any headway in the North America market at the time(80’s) so maybe he was pissed that a new band comes out called Kingdom Come and goes Gold out of the gate.  Perhaps the video of Whitesnake’s Still of the Night  irked Gary as well especially when Adrian Vandenberg played the solo with a violin bow. Hahaha..

Didn’t Zep borrow from some ol Blues Wizards  themselves? Just Saying..

Perhaps GVF’s are nabbing the young  kids out there  who don’t know about Zeppelin  but perhaps will check them out? Dunno but you never know…

Anyways back to the task at hand…

GVF can play their instruments as they are all very schooled in Old School Rock. That I dig. Their wardrobe I find a bit to over the top silly retro but  I  guess it goes with that throw back sound I suppose.

GVF will figure it out so  give them an album or two more or than again maybe they won’t figure it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jared James Nichols: Black Magic(2017)

As many of you already know it takes a lot for me to really dig my heels into any new rock at this point in my life!

One of those acts that has recently come along is Jared James Nichols who smacks a real guitar oriented heavy blues rock in a power trio format or as Jared says “Blues Power”.

It was Frank Loffredo who put me  in the direction of Jared’s music as Frank raved about Jared when he made his Thunder Bay debut a few months back opening for Fozzy and as Frank mentioned  that JJN stole the show that night!

Now Frank has been bringing hundreds perhaps thousands of acts to Thunder Bay for over 30 years so when he says something like that he’s not saying it as Bullshit! Put it this way. Frank even said it on social media and he doesn’t toss those kind of statements lightly! He also told me Jared is a “real chill great guy…”

At the recent John5 show here in town that Jared was opening he didn’t disappoint in backing up what Frank had said about him. Jared fused a ton of heavy blues rock fronting a power trio and kicking all kinds of ass all over the stage that night!

Even at one point Jared told the crowd ” We got T-shirts and CD’s for sale. You don’t have to buy anything even just come back and say Hey Man!”

The chill great guy comment I can also back up as I met him after his set and Jared is a great guy. Perhaps someday I can get a 10 questions or some kind of interview out of him….

YUP! THAT GOOD!

So after Jared’s set which was right behind where me and Tbone were standing was the merch table. I purchased both a T-shirt and CD for $20 each which in this day and age is a steal. Jared and his band obliged and signed my disc….

So the day after the concert it was a quick drop onto the iPod the Black Magic disc via the computer.

Black Magic is a great album. Not just saying that, it seriously is! Jared fuses his own style of Blues Power and that’s what this album is.

From opening track Last Chance to the last track What Love Jared lays down some serious law on the guitar and has a great rock voice as well. Listen to that solo on the opening track posted below!

I love the fact that Jared doesn’t muck about on these songs. Only 2 of the 10 tracks are over 3 minutes long while all other tracks are under 3 minutes!

Short N Sweet and to the Point!

Must mention also that Anthony Perry (Joe’s Son) co wrote and produced this disk with Jared. I love the production on it as it’s not produced to slick and still has a little rough around the edges rawness to keep  it from sounding  over polished!

Other than the drums being played on the album by three different fella’s( Aquiles Priester/Benjamin Tilestone/Dennis Holm )and Perry himself. Jared handles of course all Guitars/Lead Vocals and Bass.( except for one track on the album. Erick Sandin has that honour on Gotta Have You by playing the four string!) I must add the extra use of Percussion and Keys at certain time’s enhances the overall sound of the disc.

These guys kept it in-house with a sound that bleeds blues and heavy rock throughout with no two songs sounding alike. Take the second track The Gun that just goes into the opposite of opener Last Chance. Very diverse sound but maintaining the common thread and when you listen to this disc you get it what Blues Power actually is…

Blues delivered with Power!

If you stumbled across my concert review of the John5/JJN’s show last week you will have read  that I compared Nichols sound to a certain act. There are other influences as well. Give the two vids a watch/listen and tell me your thoughts on it…

Thanks Frank for steering me in the direction of some Blues Power! A highly recommended Disc and if Jared hits your town by all means Go!

Hard Rock Album and Concert Reviews! (Odd Book Review as well!)