Category Archives: SONIC WAVES…Album Reviews

Occasionally I will throw down some reviews of albums that I thought were and still are cool to me…..hope you likey!

Kingdom Come: Kingdom Come(1988)

Back in 1988 a fella named Lenny Wolf (vocals)put together a new rock band featuring a bunch of L.A rock dudes and in the process writes a batch of tracks and heads north to Vancouver B.C and Kingdom Come record their self titled debut produced by Bob Rock and Wolf.

This may be Rock’s first stab at the Producers Chair before he took the reigns of other acts like The CULT/Blue Murder/Electric Boys/Metallica/Motley Crue/David Lee Roth/Bon Jovi and made a ton of loot for all parties involved!

Rock gives this album a real  and I mean a real huge drum sound that is so friggin bombastic it will make your walls shake! After this album I was onboard with what Rock produced as you knew the sound of the records would be huge!

Kingdom Come is a 10 song album which for all intent and purposes when the lead single Get It On was released it had a bunch of Zeppelin’s vibe  in the track. Big Bonzo like drums/Robert Plant like vocal phrasing/Jimmy Page like Riff’s all wrapped up tighter than a Taco!

I easily bought this right away due to the Get It On track and the fact that Bob Rock was involved.

It didn’t matter to me that Kingdom Come borrowed(ahem) from Zeppelin it was just when Lenny Wolfe said he never heard of Zeppelin in interviews at the time of the albums release  was just a plain dumbo rock move if any to deny that.

To me it didn’t matter. The songs were good rock tracks peppered with hard rock trimmings throughout!

From opener Living Out of Touch. Guitarists Rick Steier/Danny Stag/Bassist Johnny B Frank and Drummer James Kottack prove that these guy’s are all excellent players. Pushin Hard as well as17 and my personal fav on this album The Shuffle are rock solid tunes.

Course there is the prototypical Ballad as it’s 1988 and Lenny and Crew deliver What Love Can Be which is Yup you guessed it as it does indeed sound like Zep!

Side 2 opens with the heavy drums of Get It On as well as the Guitars   are right locked in with the Bass as this song just reeks of greatness! Seriously man….the Drums lead the charge and carry this tune and listen to that quick little ditty of a smash a roo of the drums that Kottack lays down at the end of the song! Brilliant! Vid is posted below…

Now and Forever almost sounds like to me it could have come from KISS’s Crazy Nights album which was released the year before.(87) It drives at a decent clip as well.

Hideaway is a different sounding rock track that is exact opposite of anything else on this album. Hideaway is a good track as the verses build into the chorus. Loving You puts the breaks on the hard rock tracks of the previous three tunes. Don’t be fooled by the title as you may think it will be a snooze a roo tune but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Use of Mandolins are mixed right up front with Wolf’s voice.

Shout it Out ends the album on a high cranked up note. The album ends with an uptempo beat that ends the album on high….

A year later in 1989 Kingdom Come released the fantastic titled Kingdom Come- In Your Face album and they went about as far as a way as you could from Zep. It was a good album folks but it did not sell as well and by late 89 the original band  broke up….

I  bought this album on CD back upon its release in 1988. So a few months back there it was at New Day Records in mint condition for $9! 9 bucks well spent says I!

Its funny looking back on this album upon the time of its release these guys got hammered by the press for being Zep rip offs. Jimmy Page himself questioned their authenticity.  Than again Zep gets sued themselves for swiping music. Gary Moore(RIP) took it a step further and wrote a tune called Led Clones which I thought was Goofy. Whitesnake was pissing off Robert Plant and on and on it goes! People need to Fuckin Relax as it’s just music man…Everyone is ripping everyone off musically so no biggie in my world but to others it irked them. I guess  when money is being made there’s the root of the problem!

Page was pissed perhaps as Plant didn’t want to reunite and do a Zep tour  so he raged on Kingdom Come.  Page as well released his own solo album in 1988  called Outrider that no one cared about while Moore was maybe mad as well as he could not crack the North American Market…

Kingdom Come went Platinum in both Canada and the U.S.

Ouch …

Who knows, those are my reasons. Look at Greta Van Fleet who are riding high up the charts with their own Zep borrowed riff rock and everyone is chill about it. Greta is a great band  make no mistake about it but everyone is relaxed about what they’re doing.

Guess 30 years between Kingdom Come and Greta Von Fleet has made people not get so bent out about stuff musically …

But than again who buys full albums anymore other than some of us?!

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Queen: News of the World(1977)

 

So my first encounter with Queen ‘News of the World’ was perhaps say the late 70’s or the early 80’s and that wasn’t due to the fact I purchased this album. Nope it was my buddy Chico whose older sister had this on album and it always struck me as a Star Wars like cover with robot like C3PO.

But man it’s amazing that as much as  Queen’s 1980 The Game album has been a total game changer musically in my world of sonic’s for 38 years!(WHUT??!!) I have never owned News of the World until about a month ago when I went record hunting with my daughter Lexie. 

We were at our local record store New Day Records and as per protocol I usually leave with no less than 5 used  albums per visit as New Day owner Jason always has a real good selection of Hard Rock   so as I was paying for my albums on the counter I spotted this copy on a stack of albums.

Lexie of course came across Queen when she along with her sister Lauren performed the  We Will Rock You play in their final year in High School. Learning all those Queen Tunes Lauren and especially Lex developed a deep appreciation for Queen!

Lex especially had to listen to me ramble on about countless facts and babble on and on about how great The Game album was! Lex for my 50th Birthday last year bought me The Game on vinyl  and I was so stoked to own it once again on record….

Sorry for the verbal detour but back to New Day Records I told Lex about News of the World and that this was the album that had the biggie songs We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions. I asked Jason if this copy sitting before me was for sale. Jason replied with an “It could be” He checked it over and sold it to me for a real fair price. What I mean by that is he could have sold it for way  more as used Queen albums I don’t see in the bins too often so thanks Jason for giving me a deal on it and perhaps he heard me rambling on and on about this album…

When it comes this Queen record what do you write about especially in regards to the first two tracks on Side 1?

We Will Rock You featuring those drums doing a stomp clap stomp throughout as Lead Singer(The Late Great ) Freddie Mercury leads the chant of the chorus that everyone knows from front to back. Brian May(who wrote this track)  ramps up his homebuilt Guitar and there’s that distinctive sound from May.

We Will Rock You segues right into We Are The Champions (written by Freddie)which of course we all know with Fred twinkling the ivories before the band ramps up into the chorus that every one  all knows! Man,am I repeating myself here or what?!

Sheer Heart Attack is Drummer Roger Taylors contribution and the cool thing about finally owning the album you can read in the credits that Taylor plays not only the Drums but Rhythm Guitar/Bass on this track. Roger sings  the chorus as Mercury handles the verses! Queen obviously never had a problem of letting everyone in the public know who did what on their albums….

May steps up to the mic on his written tune titled All Dead All Dead which for May being a ripping guitar player basically lets the piano take over on this track.

The Great John Deacon writes another of those tracks that I would term a ‘GEM’. The Gem is indeed Spread Your Wings  which features Queen firing on all four cylinders with great music/vocals/solo’s and this song is such a great track! Deacon is a master at writing tracks that grab you by the collar and take notice!

Taylor takes over the lead vocal on his track Fight From The Inside which has that 70’s like vibe to it but still sounds current today. Once again does the Rhythm guitar and Bass and gives Deacon the day off!

That’s just Side 1…..

Side 2 begins with Freddie and his composition Get Down Make Love with that real cool groove that Mercury could do and the song just ramps up during the chorus. Cool use of effects throughout and the music is just wild with all kinds of craziness going on throughout. Fred could do stuff that was out there but rope it all in with a super-duper catchy chorus and this track delivers it in spades!

Now going from the Crazy White Funk N Roll of Get Down Make Love comes Sleeping on the Sidewalk which is a jiving Blues like tune that has May handling the lead vocals and laying down some brilliant playing…

John Deacon delivers Who Needs You which has a real chill vibe with Fred of course delivering a strong lead vocal with a cowbell keeping the track flowing. May tosses down a brilliant Spanish acoustic guitar solo. Also of note Queen flexes their big backing vocal muscle throughout this track as well!

Its Late (written by May) is that big 6 minute sounding like bombastic track that you do expect from Queen. It’s Late goes all over the Queen musical horizon shifting gears throughout and what a track. After May rips out a classic May solo the song just ramps right up like a Freight Train not wanting to put the brakes on! Queen once again showing their diversity…

News of the World ends with Fred composition of My Melancholy Blues which has guitars. Just Bass/Drums and Piano will do thank you. Than again after the ramped up May guitar extravaganza of May’s on It’s Late that’s ok for him to take a tea break….

What an album and 41 years late to the party on owning this! My bad of course but better late than never I suppose..

Queen are brilliant on here and once again when you dig in and listen you hear Queens diversity shining through as each guy gets a couple of tracks to do his own deal. That is the brilliant thing as there are no co writes as each fella brought his own stuff into the studio and they crafted these songs. Like I mentioned earlier I like the how the album sleeve has who played what and it was out there for the public to see not some big hush hush  secret. If you played or sang on a certain track everyone knew…

Queen=Brilliance!

Aldo Nova: Subject(1983)

 

So Aldo Nova’s Subject was released way back in 1983 and it wasn’t until this year (well a few weeks ago to be honest with you) that I heard Subject in its entirety for the first time!

Ummm that’s like 35 years later!! Yikes but better late than never right?

Aldo’s self titled album from 1981 took off like a rocket especially with Fantasy that went bonkers on radio and video as Fantasy was tune about a dealer and ton of cocaine…

Fast forward to 1983 and Aldo has a song on Subject titled Monkey On Your Back about heroin. Say what you want about blow and smack but Nova wrote two great tracks about em..

I’m getting ahead here…

So Subject once again features a bunch of tunes written and performed by Aldo who basically does everything but the drums and bass on some of this album. Impressive to say the least.

1983 spawned a couple of concept records. One being “Subject” of course the other being Kilroy was Here by Styx. Both of these albums didn’t take the world by storm at the time. Perhaps timing more than anything right? Dunno for sure… Betcha the Suits at the Company wanted Aldo to write a few more Fantasy  like numbers to drive sales but it wasn’t meant to be….

When listening to Subject in 2018 its a pretty good listen. Yeah some drum machines and kooky synth blasts are spread throughout but that was the deal back in 83. Aldo could have rehashed the 81 debut but that wasn’t going to happen here and that’s probably why myself like many others ignored Subject on the first go round in not giving it a chance but it being 1983 allowance could only be spread so far so Subject was one of those albums that I overlooked and then when the Twitch album came out in 85 my buddy Muc bought it. I borrowed it. Spun it and returned it. Aldo in my eyes sold out.

Subject was guilty by association with its relation to Twitch. Oh well better late than never…

Now onto the album itself….

Subject being Aldo himself looks like some futuristic vibe going on with Aldo. Tripping into another reality perhaps or some kind post apocalypse  setting.

Subject is loaded with 14 tracks spread over 41 minutes of music. Mind you 7 of those tracks clock just over 6 minutes as they are short interludes that segue into the longer songs.

Monkey On your Back is the first actual track on Subject and as I mentioned earlier its about as an anti heroin song as any and kudos to Aldo as who was writing this stuff back in 83. ‘Monkey’ is a superb track with Aldo telling the story about Timmy/Sally and Big Willy! Nova had a knack for telling stories in his songs and this track is another one of those. Chorus is fantastic…

Hey! How about a shout out to Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch whose song Hey Operator is covered on Subject. Aldo speeds it up with an almost futuristic vibe in the sonics driving this tune. Pretty decent cover version and a surprise one at that as Coney’s version of this song only came out a year earlier in 1982!

Cry Baby Cry is a tour de force circa 83 featuring Aldo ripping out solos quicker than Mr Books shouting ‘SLAYER’ while also delivering a good verse and chorus to go along with it!

Yup you guessed it …Victim of a Broken Heart is the prototype ballad that would have fit perfectly on Side 2 Boston’s ‘Third Stage’ opus. It’s not a bad track but Aldo man he had to appease the Suits. The Record Company Hacks probably all gave a round of high fives and wondered why it was snowing inside Company Hq’s! HAHA…

Hold Back The Night would have been some more good radio play fodder. Aldo had a knack for writing tracks that could get on the radio. Hold Back The Night could have filled this prerequisite.

Actually the whole rest of the second side is AOR Hard Rock. Always Be Mine/All Night Long and album closer Paradise fit this bill to a ‘T’!

Aldo I have no idea what he thinks of this album now in 2018. I for one think its a fantastic effort and a worthy followup to the debut that sold like crazy.

Give Nova his due he could have rehashed a bunch of tunes and just made a Side 3 & 4 of the debut but chose to go down a Concept path that many did not get or want to get the time( Deke raises his hand shamelessly).

Make no mistake though Aldo steps up plays some blistering guitar along with his songwriting and don’t judge this album by the outdated album cover folks….

Boston wishes they could have made this kind of album instead of Third Stage!

 

 

KROKUS: The Blitz(1984)

 

KROKUS now there’s a band worth writing about!

KROKUS being from Switzerland was a group that I had gotten into the early 80’s and that was through my buddy Muc  who had gotten a copy of the Metal Rendezvous album. The fact that it was the early 80’s and KROKUS Lead Singer Marc Storace sounded like the Late Great  Bon Scott was an added bonus as lot’s of us were scooping up a ton of AC/DC after Back In Black and For Those About To Rock racked up a ton of sales!

So after Metal Rendezvous hit the market whatever  these guys put out I bought afterwards. The very AC/DC sounding One Vice at a Time(1982) and the very Judas Priest sounding HeadHunter(1983) where both pretty good albums as it proved KROKUS was on a roll.

Come 1984 though. KROKUS changed up musical gears. They sauntered up to Vancouver B.C and titled their new album The Blitz which was produced by the Late Great Bruce Fairbairn.

A new sound. A new producer and a pretty big overhaul in the lineup of Krokus would signal a different direction in Krokus.

Lemme explain!

Joining Storace and Guitarist Fernando Von Arb was returning member Mark Kohler and new Drummer Jeff Klaven.

Chris Von Rohr original Bassist was given the boot or quit after the Gold selling Headhunter album while Drummer Steve Pace got canned as well.

So Rhythm Guitarist Mark Kohler switched to Bass and Jeff Klaven was hired on drums and viola onto Vancouver to Blitz!

Krokus I figure could smell huge success for them brewing in the U.S.A as I had mentioned Headhunter went Gold as well as opening for Def Leppard on Lep’s Pyromania Tour until some wonky shit went down with the Headliner  and Krokus got the boot off the tour!(something to do with the managers of both bands getting into a backstage tussle)

So with that I guess Marc and Fernando went about writing a more streamlined Hard Rock Record that would fit in with the times!

The Blitz is more of a commercial Hard Rock album.  Headhunter was a heavy record for the most part and had a heavier sound especially with Tom Allom producing Headhunter.

Fairbairn as we all know knew how to bring out the Hard Rock in artists but also with an ear towards getting the tracks on the radio.

Midnite Manaic first track and lead off single off The Blitz takes you only about 10 seconds to realize that this is a different KROKUS from the one a year earlier. Midnite Maniac  about a crazy chick after dudes or something to that effect. that. Straight ahead Simple Simon Rock.

That is basically the template of this album. Straight ahead rock tracks and of course that style slips right into second track Out of Control.

Boys Nite Out was written with a couple of guys you may have heard and that is Bryan Adams & Jim Vallance. The chorus of this track has Jim and Bryans writing style all over it. Not a bad track really. Totally made for radio and in saying that I don’t think it was ever realeased as a single or maybe it was.

While the slow moody Screaming for the Night worked for Krokus on Headhunter they try to go for the throat on Our Love. This tune is Krokus 101 going for the American Payday in Balladville! Kinda comes up short as It’s Krokus trying waaaaay too hard. Didn’t really buy into this track at the time of its release back in 1984 and in 2018  my thoughts are still the same!

What a great title in Out To Lunch which kinda creeps around in the AC/DC neighbourhood of riffs n roll! Big backing vocals and this one is a decent end of Side 1 track.

Ballroom Blitz was recorded live in the studio as this tune ditches the gloss hard rock production and is a pretty decent cover. Kinda Sloppy. Kinda Cool. Course this cover is from Sweet! Sing along Kids you know it…It’s It’s It’s A Ballroom Blitz! Fernando plays a loud guitar on this one!

Rock The Nation is a no brainer rock track. You know the deal Krokus is going to show up to your town. Kick you in the Ass and split! For simple corny like Rock-O-Holic lyrics look no further than this track!

Ahhh. How about some Hot Stuff? Considering the title you would think it would be a total crazy Backstage Rock Track. Hot Stuff goes the exact opposite way. More of a ballad like with a boot in the ass from Klaven’s Drums! Von Arb tosses down a pretty decent solo as well.

Ready To Rock ends The Blitz. Simple song. Simple lyrics. Simple AC/DC like end of the album song. No Rocket Science approach in this tune. Get Ready To Rock…. Um Ok!

This album was my first ever purchase of a Bruce Fairbairn produced  album. Considering The Blitz came out a full two years before Fairbairn hit the Jack Pot with Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet  you can hear by this album how Bruce loved those big catchy like backing chorus’s  and used them on a lot of his records.

The production is top-notch on The Blitz.

The Blitz went Gold in Canada and the U.S but by 1986 I lost faith in these guys and so did many others as Krokus and their creative Gas Tank went empty and that was it for all the momentum they had going for them.

The Blitz is a decent listen though. It brought back a bunch of memories especially after the release of this album as I caught them when they opened for Samuel Hagar on his V.O.A Tour and Krokus delivered it that night in Duluth.

Impact Albums: Helix-Walkin The Razors Edge(1984)

 

Why wouldn’t this album be an Impact Album around these parts?

Exactly as many of you already know Helix will always be regarded as a band I respect and for those who have no idea what I’m talking about or haven’t heard the story yet.

Well here it goes…

Back in the Spring of 1985 Triumph was headlining across Canada with Helix as openers. I had heard rumblings that this Tour was hitting Thunder Bay which I was psyched about as Triumph’s ‘Thunder 7′ & Helix’s Walkin’ The Razors Edge were on high spins coming off my turntable at the time.

The concert did not happen as our local dump Arena(Fort William Gardens) had hockey booked for that night! Drag right? For sure but as Triumphs Semi’s rolled past the Bay. Helix though put some tickets on sale at our University and made it an all ages show which a bunch of us went to. For that ‘Respect’ as Helix could have kept their Tour bus wheels rolling past and just chugged through.

I reviewed this show a ways back which if you search around the site you will stumble across it.

But lets rewind a little ways back when the boys released 1984’s Walkin’ The Razors Edge.

Tbone was the out of the gate first when he purchased the Major Label Debut of No Rest For The Wicked(1983) on cassette  tape which I quickly dubbed for myself back at that time!

No Rest For The Wicked was a solid album with Dirty Dog/Does A Fool Ever Learn/Heavy Metal Love and the fantastic Check Out The Love In Me.

So the trench work had been laid by the No Rest release and come July 1984 Helix unleashes WTRE!

It of course helped that the lead off single Rock You that opens the album  led the charge. How about that video with Helix in the rock quarry. Lead Singer Brian Vollmer (Chipped Tooth Included) lays down an exceptional vocal. Guitarist Brent Doerner  as well when Brent submerges  out of the swimming hole playing his  solo while the rest of Helix( Drummer Greg Hinz/Guitarist Paul Hackman(RIP) & Bassist Daryl Gray) lay down the musical law of what may be the most recognizable sing along anthem in the Helix Catalogue. Ok ok I will say it…Gimmie  me a ‘R’!

In keeping the fine tradition of keeping albums under 35 minutes Helix manages to bulldoze through Ten Tracks. Two of which are cover songs. The cover songs Gimmie Gimmie Good Lovin’ and Make Me Do Anything You Want are good versions and that was the thing with Helix. They could make cover tunes sound like they had written them. For a further reference point check out the Nazareth Cover of Dream On from 1987’s Wild In The Streets. Helix makes these songs their own and I’m surprised no one has ever said this or has some one?

Backtracking somewhat Side 1 of Razors is strong! Real strong! Following Rock You comes the wicked excellent Young & Wreckless and within milliseconds you realize the guitar fella’s Doerner and Hackman mean business! They blaze power riffs like no ones business throughout this album and that s another point that should not be overlooked.

Funny enough. Helix were the first Canadian Band that I got right into that was a five piece. I just thought of this when I was putting this together as my Can Con listening tastes in the early to 80’s where  power trios like Santers/Triumph and Rush. Coney Hatch were a quartet. Helix though a quintet!

Animal House is a great song that keeps the buzz a going on this album. Great solo/Catchy chorus of “This place is an Animal House. Once you’re in you never get out”. Me and Tbone were committed to the Animal House. We weren’t fighting to get out. We were fighting to keep our heads above water man in the Animal House!

Feel The Fire is one of those unheralded Gems in the Helix musical catalogue. A great simple straightforward ahead Rock Track that features some great backing vocals and wicked excellent chorus!

No taking a break here folks as When The Hammer Falls blazes at 100 mph right out of the gate.  Vollmer and Crew are right on cue with wrapping up Side 1 with a heavy dose of serious riffage along with big time backing vocals that keeps things on track.

Side 2 begins with Gimmie Gimmie Good Lovin’ which has Helix firing on all four cylinders and for it being a cover tune you would never know as I was 15 at the time of this release.

My Kind of Rock keeps the Helix party rolling. Rolling what you would have to ask them what they were rolling back in 1984 whereas I was rolling out of bed everyday to School  at 9 am just trying to pass friggin Math!

Oh Boy here it comes another cover tune yet a ballad to boot. Make Me Do Anything You Want which is an ok track but when I was 15 it was all about When The Hammer Falls and Young and Wreckless! Basically Side 1 was calling me ….not ballads but I get it as Helix was playing the game and that was probably due to the suits wanting  some profit. Plus I’m sure when Helix played this song every night  the lineup of woman to the tour bus at the end of the show  probably was nuts! Yeah. So I do get it!

When I caught Helix live two years ago (2016) they brought back the great Six Strings Nine Lives to there set and it was a welcome return! Once again Helix build momentum on a tune during the verses only to hit the home run come chorus time!

Helix end there 33 minute album with another track with Rock in it(make that a 3 pack of Rock titles at Helix HQ) with a superb end of the album gem You Keep Me Rockin’. Vollmer and the fella’s end the album with what I call a Gem! Love the slow chill guitars at the beginning and viola the song lifts off with Brian needing a rock n roll transfusion. The backing vocals of the Helix clan are top-notch on this track and throughout! Brent and Paul’s guitars as well zip this track into super speed as well. Great move with this song blasting out at the end of the album as it left you wanting more….

Just like that…Album is Done!

Helix had a real good run of material in the 80’s into the 90’s even today there still putting out material and playing shows galore! Added points must be for the fact that they in the roaring 80’s Helix did not rotate members which shows a lot of continuity on the albums that followed.

Helix though were top-notch. Take away the “there from Canada’ tag and they held up against the other Metal Acts especially in the mid 80’s when there were like 1,000,000 bands vying for our attention.

In Brian Vollmer you had a great frontman to go with the vocals. I still remember when he did some crazy ass somersault of the speaker bins at that  1984 University show and not missing a beat! Here I am all these years later still recalling that moment like it happened yesterday!

Paul Hackman and Brent Doerner were right up there on par with all the other two lead guitarists of the era yet never really got there due but they were phenomenal  together. Paul is indeed missed!

The Rhythm section of Daryl Gray and Fritz Hinz were top-notch as they held down the bottom end and kept everything in check.  Nothing slipped through the cracks with those two guys!

Everything in life does not have to be Rocket Science and its ok now and then to Walk The Razors Edge!

 

DOKKEN: Return to the East (Live 2016)

Even though the reunited (and doesn’t it feel so good) Dokken  that being Don Dokken/George Lynch/Mick Brown &Jeff Pilson recorded this live album back in 2016. It finally hit the street this past Friday April 20th on which I had it on preorder for about two months as I love me the Dokken!

Yeah I’m being serious not being a smart ass as you see back in my High Schooling  Days of the early to mid 1980’s Dokken along with Ratt and too a certain extent Motley Crue put out a string of good hard rock albums that today I can still listen to.

Ok.  After Crue’s Shout at the Devil I kinda have a hard time buying into Nikki Sixx’s  silliness of high jinks but that’s another post for another time.

Dokken though were a different Beast(no pun). So close to superstardom and because Don and George could not get along Dokken unraveled at the tail end of the 80’s amongst egos and dope.

They all never recovered  career wise…

Too bad…

But when some promoters came sniffing around with pockets full of dough in 2016 the guys who disliked each other fell in love again  and viola play some shows and record em and put em out!

So here comes Return to the East. The  way overdue followup to 1988’s Beast From The East double live set that was basically the farewell of the original  Dokken from many years ago….

If you recall from Beast in the East the final track on Side Four was the power ballad  studio track Walk Away which of course they all did and here we are 30 years later and Dokken leads off 2018’s Return of the East with a new studio track It’s Another Day. 

It’s Another Day sounds like vintage Dokken. A mid tempo like rock track that harkens back to the mid 80’s version of Dokken. Lynch drops down a real good unlike  Lynch solo and man oh man nice surprise move there  Mr Scary!

Believe me Folks when I tell ya this is not a toss away track! Nope! It’s an excellent Dokken Rock track and its wicked to see that they just didn’t throw a song together for the sake of throwing a song together! I liked this track 2 months ago when the preorder dropped this track onto my iPod and I still like it now!

Now onto the Live Show….

Kiss of Death leads the charge with Lynch and I will say that throughout this album Lynch is BOSS! George plays the songs how he wants to play em and why not he co wrote the music and if wants to shred like there’s no tomorrow let him If he wants to take the gas off the  guitar pedal let him. Lynch is the Master!

This album is a smorgsaboard of the Dokken  hit parade from back in the 80’s. Nothing from the 90’s or any other period of Dokken material here of the  various rotation of Guitar/Bass Players which Don has employed when him and Lynch went Pissy Pants on each other are featured. Just Dapper Don and Curious George at there finest!

My all time fave Dokken Tune The Hunter is finally given it proper live due with the original four playing on it! Love the pace of this tune! Great opening line of “Clouds Roll By As I Look To The Sky” Hahaha..

Unchain The Night/When Heaven Comes Down/Breaking The Chains/Into The Fire/a welcome addition of finally hearing Dream Warriors/Tooth and Nail/Alone Again/It’s Not Love (with a Cool Fuzzy Bass solo from Pilson)/In My Dreams( When I mentioned that Lynch is BOSS watch  George’s solo on the video I posted below!)

Wowzers that’s a slick decent track list eh?! All the hits delivered plus two acoustic tracks in Heaven Sent and Will The Sun Rise round out the album.

Now as I already stated Lynch is the Man on this album. But how about a shout out for Bassist/Backing Vocalist Jeff Pilson whose Bass tone on this album is fantastic and Jeff keeps it simple when George is off and running on his solos but his Bass lines are incredibly catchy! Good for you Mr Pilson as 30 years ago you were buried under an avalanche of Guitar Heroics and Hairspray but no longer will that be the case.

Drummer Dude Mick Brown knows his place in Dokken! Show up! Play the Drums! Handle the Backing Vocals! And Kids …don’t drive Golf Carts backstage all snapped up!

Don Dokken well what am I gonna say about him in 2018! The man has had to reinvent a whole new way to sing. His voice is no where strong as it was like it was back in the day so to speak.  Don  and David Lee Roth have both destroyed their vocal range from whatever it was that they  did which  is there deal and I’m not judging! At least they are still doing it! These songs though resonate with me on a whole other level as Dokken were one of the better L.A Bands to bust out back in 1984! So for that Don gets a pass even though he’s more of a Metal Crooner than a Metal Singer at this point!

Once you wrap your listening ears around Don’s Deal. Everything is ok in DokkenVille!

The production is good …Dunno if that’s the actual crowd but who cares. The mix is little raw on the Guitars while the Bass and Drums are mixed with clarity. Cool sound actually …

My one gripe is the running order of this album. This is not the actual way it went down and I don’t get why. I do like the fact that they put the new studio track as the first song instead of tucking it at the back-end and it being buried. All live songs fade in and fade out. The one head scratcher for me is after Track 9 which is Tooth & Nail (Speaking of the track Tooth & Nail that has to be Lynch’s version of Eruption especially when does that crazy frenzied picking when the music stops before it ramps up again…)which as soon as it ends goes into a few seconds of The Hunter which goes into a quick fade out. Sloppy comes to mind as you can listen to the full track of The Hunter back at Song 3.

Why the powers that  would be would allow this is puzzling. I could see this kind of laziness back in the Coked out 80’s but its 2018 these guys are Grandfathers or some em are I’m sure for! Haha!

They should have released the tracks in order of how the show went down…

My only Gripe!

Actually this is like the 80’s for me when I used to tape music for Tbone and I would cut off a live tune if I was to include that kinda stuff on cassette  tapes. Maybe there’s a Method to Dokken’s Madness?!

Who knows ..

Still though I’m not letting that ruin this one for me as here we are four months into 2018 and Live Albums are dictating my listening taste so far this year! John Corabi’s beyond stellar Live 94 is a must listen. L.A Guns with Made In Milan has also blown me away as Traci Guns is a Beast on Guitar. Not to be outdone KIller Dwarfs Live ..No Guff as well is so good as they are just plain old-fashioned Hard Rock Tunes. Whitesnake with the live Purple Tour release is well..it’s there…

Dokken though! The Original that is ..WELCOME BACK. But only this lineup and if Don packs it in just keep it in-house and get Pilson to sing the songs…

Just Saying!

 

SLOAN: 12 (2018)

When Bassist/Lead Singer Chris Murphy sings the line “There’s only so much time we can kill here. Before we start to Spin Our Wheels”  from the opening song Spin Our Wheels the Power Pop Quartet drops the gauntlet on how you properly go about writing a Catchy Hook Driven tune that is so good you almost want to push rewind and listen to it again!

Course you can push rewind but lets keep going forward for this review as Sloan have crafted an album that is real solid in all of its 12 tracks that make up new album 12.

Impressive Sloan has been recording since 1991 with the same for guys. No silliness with these guys as when its time to write pop rock perfection they just go about doing what they do. The 12th album in the career of Sloan.

It helps when you have four strong personalities along with Murphy is Guitarist/Lead Singer Patrick Pentland. Guitarist/Lead Singer Jay Ferguson along with Drummer/Lead Singer Andrew Scott.

With 12 each Guy gets 3 songs each where they get to do their own thing but as a whole its sounds like Sloan. This album on so many levels especially the Jay Ferguson tracks like The Lions Share/Right To Roam and especially Essential Services sounds like mid 70’s Paul McCartney & Wings output. Slick Lead Vocals but man where Ferguson lifts off is the sonics of Essential Services  where it sounds like Macca is actually playing the keyboards on this track.

Chris Murphy has the knack for writing great catchy Power Pop Tracks. The already mentioned Spinning Our Wheels is as catchy as they come in this style. Don’t  be fooled though friends where Side 2 Opener  Don’t Stop(If It Feels Good Do It) keeps the catchiness moving along  with its positive feel goodness vibe all over it. Murphy’s third contribution Wish Upon A Satellite  features both Chris and Patrick trading off vocal lines in the verse  and this another masterpiece written in Perfect Pop!

Patrick Pentand contributions are brilliant. All of the Voices weaves a certain cool combination of rock chops and power pop that will have you buzzing about this song well after its done! The Day Will Be Mine to my ears anyways is as retro as it comes. What I mean by that this tune reminds me of Sloan from 25 years ago.  Loud Guitars and Patricks laid back Ace Frehley like vibe sold this song to me the first time I heard it! Love the opening power electric  riff that begins Have Faith and within a second the song goes into a whole other direction. Catchy chorus and a wicked bunch of musical tempo changes featuring real short spurts of guitar riffs that push the tune forward.

Gone For Good is Drummer Andrew Scott’s first track on 12.  It’s an trippy like vibe that has a great groove to it.  A laid Back scenario fills this song. Year Zero features a real cool Bass Line that drives the song along with drums. 44 Teenagers is Andrews third composition and the last  the song that ends the 12 album. A song that features the line..

Just the other day
I was reminded of the many ways Gord Downie died
I see a kid in my head
Who will be seeing red

44 Teenagers has some real crunchy like guitars especially at the end of the song as it ramps up with a real hooky guitar lick.

Sloan has released a Brilliant Studio album. It says something that it’s the same 4 guys after what 26 years maybe longer still doing it. Four very strong personalities as I already mentioned but they make it work!   I’ll be the first to admit I was late to this party but I sure won’t be leaving anytime soon as Sloan have put out a real fine slab of Vinyl! Catch em Live if they come are in your town!