Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Tony MacAlpine - Chromaticity 2001

Genre: Instrumental rock, neo-classical metal, jazz fusion
Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 2001
Label: Shrapnel Records

"The Chromaticity session was a perfect opportunity for me to reunite with Steve Smith who of course played drums on my very first release. Steve has and always will be one of my favorite musicians in the world. The energy and positive experience he brings to each session is simply one of a kind. This record was written entirely in Los Angeles and all guitar and keyboard parts were recorded and mixed by Bernie Torelli using a collection of many different amps. Some of the basics were recorded using the Carvin Legacy heads and many of the solos and melodies were recorded using the H&K Access Preamp.....

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Patrick Rondat - On The Edge 1999

Genre: Neo-classical Metal
Format: APE + cue + log
Released: 1999
Label: Inside Out Germany

French guitarist of Jean Michel JARRE is back with the follow up to his magnificent "Amphibia" album from 1996. This one has equally complex compositions as its processor. He has got a well-known drummer in Tommy Aldridge, known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne and WHITESNAKE among others. On this one he also got two guest jazz musicians, Didier Lockwood and the late Michel Petrucciani. The music is instrumental progressive hard rock / heavy metal. Patrick is a very skilful guitarist with a great technique, and his inspirations are Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie Montrose, Eddie Van Halen, and Al Di Meola among others. His guitar playing is also reminiscent to Tony McAlpine, Gary Moore, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. The highlights are "On The Edge", "Burn Out (acoustic version)", "Why Do You Do Things Like That?" and "Cloudy Mountain". This is an incredible album from a talented guitar virtuoso, and probably one of the best guitar albums to come out this year.
Review by Greger

Monday, 29 March 2010

JOE STUMP - Speed Metal Messiah (2004)

Genre: Heavy/Shred Metal
Format: APE + cue + log
Released: 2004
Label: IROND

01. Prelude
02. Speed Metal Messiah
03. The Red Priest
04. Eastern Beast
05. Weapon Of Choice
06. Reflection
07. The Killer Instinct
08. Dragon's Den
09. Unleashing The Fury
10. Retroactivity
11. Psycho Shred Suite 1st Movement
12. Cadneza Diablo
13. Psycho 2nd Movement
14. Chamber Maid

Joe Stump: guitars
James Francis Simpson: bass
Jeff Tortora: drums
Joe Codi: keyboards

"Joe Stump is an American guitarist and composer. His style is similar to Yngwie Malmsteen's neo-classical metal. He released albums with his band, Reign of Terror and also as a solo artist. Stump is a professional shredder, and Guitar One Magazine voted him 6th position among the Top 10 fastest shredders of all time. Joe has taught for many years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston."
Excellent album! Highly recommended! writes in their review of Joe Stump's 2004 CD

"Speed Metal Messiah sees Stump raise his game in every department. The first major apparent improvement is the production of this album - sonically this album is superb with a very clear mix and great separation between the instruments (the album was mixed by Reign Of Terror vocalist Michael Vescera). In addition Joe has really honed his instrumental crafting skills and the sound now is firmly his own. Lastly the actual playing itself has taken several more steps up the ladder (never one thing Stump has been lacking for sure) with the whole guitar work just sounding supremely confident and really going for the jugular with its precision, skill and sheer energy. With Speed Metal Messiah, Joe Stump has delivered the album his previous releases have all hinted at. This release is home to sheer class in every department with enough sonic tapestries to make even the most hardcore guitar nut die with ecstasy, yet enough focus and restraint (where required) to make the album appealing to those not so impressed by instrumental releases."

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Kamelot - The Black Halo 2005

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2005
Label: SPV

01. March of Mephisto
02. When the Lights Are Down
03. The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)
04. Soul Society
05. Interlude I - Dei Gratia
07. This Pain
08. Moonlight
09. Interlude II - Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso
10. The Black Halo
11. Nothing Ever Dies
12. Memento Mori
13. Interlude III - Midnight/Twelve Tolls for a New Day
14. Serenade

Khan: vocals
Thomas Youngblood: guitars
Glenn Barry: bass
Casey Grillo: drums

In the beginning of this album, the sounds of military marching leading to a moderately paced but heavy guitar riff immediately draws this album away from the sound created in previous albums. Unlike Epica, which has a sound reminiscent to their power metal albums: Karma, The Fourth Legacy, etc. This album is of a final stage in the bands prog evolution, which did not carry over as well as it should have to Ghost Opera.

This is not a traditional power/prog album. There is much more compositionally progressive and musical prowess than found in your average power metal band. The use of sound effects, chord progressions, riffs, technical ability raises this bands music to a level not commonly attributed to any other genre than that of prog.

Musically, the album has many subtleties which give it an unusual atmospheric, haunting, sad, eerie feeling which supports a compelling melody, no matter which song you choose. Khan's vocals communicate an emotional feeling fitting perfectly to the nature of any given song. Youngblood's guitar work lifts the songs to a point that would not be the same had anyone else written or played them. However, much the same circumstance with Dream Theater, the bass is hardly noticeable becoming muddled with the bass drum, though, not to the extreme of DT. One must not forget the drummer, Casey Grillo, who gives an impressive show of talent and technical skill that often goes over looked. Keyboard gives the melody it's true foothold, and when special guests such as Jens Johansson are at the keyboard mast, one is guaranteed a truly spectacular song.

The story is based on the transcendentalist Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe's Faust. The story follows the typical Hero's Journey with the subtle transcendental themes, including the balance of evil and good, religion, ascendancy, the Alchemical Process, etc. Musically, these themes are expressed quite appropriately but it remains unclear if Kamelot actually knew the intricacies of this philosophy/psychology (but most likely so). Lyrically, the concepts are expressed, but yet may have been entirely rooted in the basic story-line.

All in all, a magnificent album that artistically transcends power metal to become entirely progressive and a simply beautiful album from start to finish. This is Kamelot's finest album and in my opinion, an essential album to not only metal heads but to all proggers.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Jon Lord - Gemini Suite (1971)

Genre: Symphonic Rock
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1971
Label: Line Records

01. Guitar
02. Piano
03. Drums
04. Vocals
05. Bass

After the cold reception of his first orchestral release, Jon Lord wisely decided to disassociate such work from the Deep Purple name -- even though the lineup here is largely the same. Those who enjoyed "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" will find even more to love here, while the many Deep Purple fans who didn't care for "Concerto" will probably remain unimpressed. Still, even though "Concerto" saw listeners suffering through orchestral noodling for a few minutes of ass-kicking rock, this time around the band and orchestra are better integrated. The first movement contains an eminently sample-worthy bit of ice-cool jazz in a drum roll and walking bassline by Paice and Glover before descending into brittle percussive piano soloing, while the third movement has some wonderfully dissonant bass soloing over the brass and percussion sections by Glover. And in a goofy but appropriate period touch, the London Symphony Orchestra members are listed by their astrological signs, rather than by "woodwinds" or "strings."

Review by Paul Collins

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Uli Jon Roth - Under A Dark Sky 2008

Genre: Symphonic rock
Format: wv + cue + log
Released: 2008
Label: Steamhammer / SPV

01. S.O.S.
02. Tempus Fugit
03. Land of Dawn:
I) Techno Man
II) Land of Dawn
III) Lion Wings

04. The Magic Word
05. Inquisition
06. Letter of the Law
07. Stay in the Light
08. Benediction
09. Light & Shadows
10. Tanz in Die Dammerung:
I) Destination Twilight
II) Morgenrot
III) Searchlights From Hell
IV) Seelenschmerz
V) Inside The Titanic
VI) Fama Errat
VII) Requiem For The Nations
VIII) Morituri
IX) Rex Tremendae
X) Star Peace
XI) Tanz In Die Dämmerung
XII) Silence

Uli Jon Roth : guitars, bass, keyboards
Mark Boals, Liz Vabdall, Peter Ewald, Kerstin Domros, Michael Flexig, Akasha Dawn Roth, Gwen Adams : vocals
Michael Ehre : drums
Nippy Noya : ethnic percussion
Chris Lowe : orchestral percussion

Ex-Scorpions guitar virtuoso Uli Jon Roth is at it again with another solo project sure to excite his fans. Uli Jon Roth’s “Under A Dark Sky” is a continuation from his acclaimed 1996 symphonic legends album “Sky of Avalon”. Additionally, Roth not only has a knack for music, but he also dabbles in painting, writing poetry, and even creating instruments. I could only imagine what amazing journey awaited me.

Roth has become famous over the years for his great technical ability at performing some excellent neo-classical creations. He has been said to be the inspiration for countless guitar players across the world, and is even in Germany’s “Walk of Fame” in Gronau. This epic and ambitious piece of work surely is a testament to those wonderful accolades.

When you begin to listen to this album it almost has an ominous feel to it. With the opening track named “S.O.S” you begin to wonder if maybe you should turn back, but realize that there is too much temptation to do so. A Martin Luther King pop culture reference seems to supply itself in the first track as well. Soaring orchestral and choir musings begin to awaken themselves and you really get a feel for what the entire album is going to be about. Throughout Roth is phenomenal in his own style, but you have to be ready for an avant-garde musical approach.

In addition to Roth and all of his other musical elements Mark Boals, currently of Royal Hunt, and Liz Vandall, ex Sahara, lend their lead vocal talents. These two provide the impetus for the entire album seeming like two wondering spirits telling an elaborate story of humanity in a surreal world of possibility. Tracks like the epic three part “Land of Dawn” is an excellent example of these two working their magic. The last and greatest epic on the album “Tanz in Die Dammerung” brings the two singers to an even more incredible conclusion of musical majesty.

“Under A Dark Sky” unfortunately has a real tendency to carry on pretentiously. Sometimes you wonder if you are listening to one long track only later to find out that you have listened to four tracks. Other times you wish that some of Roth’s musical themes were not so quickly abandoned from one track to the next because of how good they were. The last piece on this album, already mentioned before in Tanz in Die Dammerung, is excellent in its own right but can be difficult to listen to because of its grand scope, so if patience is not your thing you might want to steer clear.

Review - James

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Conception - The Last Sunset 1991

Genre: Melodic Metal
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1991
Label: CSF

01. Prevision
02. Building A Force
03. War Of Hate
04. Bowed Down With Sorrow
05. Fairy's Dance
06.Another World
07. Elegy
08. The Last Sunset
09. Live To Survive
10. Among The Gods

Roy S. Khantatat : vocals
Tore Ostby : guitar
Arve Heimdal : drums
Ingar Amlien : bass

Hans Cristian Gjestvang and Staffan William-Olsson : keboards
Christine Meyer, Werner Skogli, Freddy Sansonstuen, Geir Wentzel, Tom A.Hansen : harmony vocals

At first released as an indie-album, "The Last Sunset" ler to a contract with Berlin-based label Noise Records - more than deserved, because what CONCEPTION is offering us here is slightly progressive Melodic Metal of the highest level!

Borne by Roy Khan's unique voice and Tore Шstby's filigree, partly flamenco-influenced guitarwork the Norwegians are giving us a ride that you do not find often.

After the calm intro "Prevision" "Building A Force" leaps at you, thundering double-bass, shredding guitars with filigree leads and Khans velvety yet powerful voice, a true tour de force! Try to play the guitar-line of "War Of Hate" - I guess that many hobby-guitarists will break their fingers trying it, and the quality-level in terms of guitar-wizardry is more than amazing (I just say Flamenco), Khan's voice, well, no need to elaborate anymore…

CONCEPTION also are a bit rougher and more experimental than on the following albums, but this also fits very well, as well as they do not orient them on any given standards, but have the courage to use different harmonies, like the ballad "Bowed Down With Sorrow" proves impressively.

But there is still one stroke of extra genius, more then ten minutes long, at the end of the album, titled "Among The Gods". This song might very well be the best thing that CONCEPTION ever has done, thundering guitars meet pure flamenco, very varied arrangement with another brilliant vocal performance by Khan - there can be only one word for it: GENIUS!

A more than remarkable debut for this quartet, having created an absolute genre-highlight that still finds its way into my CD-player fairly often, because the combination of the different styles and sounds is just plainly fascinating...

Review - The Metal Observer

Joe Lynn Turner And The New Japan Philharmonic - Tribute To Rainbow 2006 [Bootleg]

Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 4th Aug 2006


A symphonic tribute to Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow featuring instrumentals and songs originally sung by Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Brazen Abbot - Eye Of The Storm (1996)

Genre: Melodic Metal Heavy Rock
Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 1996
Label: Victor Japan

01. Eye of the Storm
02. Twist of Fate
03. Fool in Love
04. Line of Fire
05. Wake Up Everybody
06.Everythings Gonna Be Allright
07. Common People
08. The Road to Hell
09. Restless in Seattle
10. Highway Cindy
11. Devil's Allegro
12. Ill Be There for You

Brazen Abbot is the brainchild of Bulgarian virtuoso guitarist Nikolo "Nik" Kotzev, who currently resides in Finland. Nik created the Brazen Abbot project after exiting the Swedish band Baltimoore in 1994.

The debut album was initially only going to feature one singer: Göran Edman (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Glory). However, due to contractual obligations, Edman was only available for two of the album's songs. Glenn Hughes (ex-Deep Purple, solo, Trapeze) was slated to record the remaining tracks, but also he was hindered by contractual obligations and could only record three songs for the album. Tomas Vikström (ex-Candlemass, solo) recorded the remaining songs for "Live and Learn", which was released in 1995 to rave reviews. Apart from the aforementioned singers, the album also featured bassist Svante Henryson (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Glory), organist Mic Michaeli (Europe) and drummer Ian Haugland (Europe).

The three-singers-concept had turned out to be a successful experiment, so Nik decided to record the follow-up with three singers as well. Edman and Vikström returned for the recordings, and new Brazen Abbot member Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, solo) filled the third vocalist spot. Former Europe member John Levén took over the bass duties as Svante Henryson was unable to record the album due to schedulig conflicts. Haugland and Michaeli completed the backing band for "Eye of the Storm", which was released in 1996.

The same line-up recorded "Bad Religion", which was released in 1997. Continuing the Brazen Abbot tradition of creating high quality rock music, the album also received excellent reviews. Nikolo and Joe Lynn Turner also went on a small acoustic tour in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium together with Jeff Paris and Heartland in November 1997, playing mostly Brazen Abbot songs, and also the occasional Rainbow tune...

After the tour Nikolo started working on the rock opera about the life and times of the famous French prophet Nostradamus. Opting to release the double album under his own name rather than the Brazen Abbot moniker, "Nikolo Kotzev's Nostradamus" was finally released in 2001. Featuring several Brazen Abbot members including Glenn Hughes, Göran Edman, Joe Lynn Turner, Mic Michaeli, John Levén and Ian Haugland and also Jørn Lande, Doogie White, Alannah Myles and Sass Jordan, the album turned out to be another great success, both critical and commercial, for Nikolo.

After doing extensive promotion for "Nostradamus", Nikolo started writing songs for the new Brazen Abbot album in early 2002. Finally in mid-2003, nearly 6 years since the last Brazen Abbot release, "Guilty as Sin" was released. The "Bad Religion" line-up was nearly complete, except for Thomas Vikström, who had been replaced by singer Jørn Lande (ex-ARK, Masterplan). The very first Brazen Abbot concerts with a full band line-up were performed in Bulgaria the same year. This touring line-up consisted of Nikolo Kotzev - guitars; Joe Lynn Turner - vocals; Wayne Banks - bass; Lars Pollack - keyboards; Thoams Broman - drums. A live CD from these performances and a documentary DVD was released under the name "A Decade of Brazen Abbot" in 2004, Brazen Abbot's ten year anniversary.

Following the release of "Guilty as Sin", John Levén, Ian Haugland and Mic Michaeli rejoined the reformed Europe and were thus unable to appear on future albums. As replacements for the fifth Brazen Abbot studio album, Nik hired Blaze bassist Wayne Banks (who also appeared on "A Decade of..."), drummer Mattias Knutas and organist Nelko Kolarov. Edman, Turner and new recruits Tony Harnell (TNT) and Eric Mårtensson (Eclipse) handled the singing duties. Nik also decided to utilize the same Bulgarian symphony orchestra he had previously used in the Nostradamus rock opera. The result was 2005's "My Resurrection".

Brazen Abbot Bio

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Bernie Marsden - Look At Me Now 1981 (2000 Remastered Expanded Edition)

Genre: Rock
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1981
Label: Purple Records

01. Look At me Now
02. So far Away
03. Who's Fooling Who
04. Shakey Ground
05. Behind your Dark Eyes
06. Bylbos Shack Pt 1 & 2
07. Thunder & Lightning
08. Can You Do It ? (Rock City Blues)
09. After All the Madness

10. Always Love You So (b-side)
11. Look At Me Now (live)
12. Bylbos Shack (live)

John Cook - Synthesizer
Jon Lord - Keyboards
Bernie Marsden - Guitar, Vocals
Neil Murray - Bass
Ian Paice, Simon Phillips, Cozy Powell - Drums
Michael Schenker - Handclaps
Doreen Chanter, Irene Chanter - Vocals

Bernie Marsden's second solo album, recorded during his time as Whitesnake's lead guitarist leans towards the more melodic side of rock. The albums, which feature bonus material, include an array of special guests including Jon Lord, Cozy Powell, Neil Murray, Ian Paice, Simon Phillips and others.

By 1981 three quarters of Whitesnake's material was emanating from guitarist Bernie Marsden, and in the same year he finally managed to find time to record a second solo album. The first, 'And About Time Too' had been a Japan only release. It's success in the UK import charts (which it topped for some weeks) lead EMI to ask for a follow up.
Aside from Bernie on guitar and vocals, fellow 'snakes Ian Paice, Neil Murray and Jon Lord were the backbone of the band for the sessions, with Simon Phillips depping as the second drummer. (Bernie also persuaded Micheal Schenker to come in and supply hand-claps to the end of one song!) When it came time for EMI to issue the two Marsden albums in the UK, they asked Bernie which label he'd like it to be on. As a record fan, Bernie immediately said "Parlophone", thinking they'd never agree to it. He was overjoyed when they resurrected the label, complete with the original label design.
There were plans for some live shows but Whitesnake were so busy these couldn't be sorted out. Bernie did manage to get the musicians together again in August 1981 for a radio session, which remains the only contemporary live outing for any of this material. Performing four songs from the album, the session was made even more interesting when David Coverdale turned up to sing one song. Two songs from this session have been added to each Purple Records CD reissue. The pressure was beginning to tell in Whitesnake and half way through the next LP their manager persuaded David that it was the band who were the problem and ended up firing them.
These days Bernie is busier than ever, working with Micky Moody in M3, who aim to get nearer to the spirit of Whitesnake than any of Coverdale's subsequent efforts have ever managed! In June 2000 Bernie even managed to reform Whitesnake (minus Coverdale) for a one-off show at Abbey Road for a rousing set of Bernie's songs such as 'Fool For Your Loving' and 'Don't Break My Heart Again'. - Purple Records

Blues rock guitarist Bernie Marsden's hot licks helped launch the career of Whitesnake, as he played on the group's first eight releases, and lent a major hand in composing some of the band's most renowned songs. Initially inspired to play the guitar as a teenager due to such authentic blues players as Howling Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson, Marsden later picked up on such '60s white blues players as Peter Green, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. The early '70s saw Marsden briefly join several renowned groups - Juicy Lucy and UFO - but each time, the guitarist exited before a full-length album could be completed (Marsden was also a member of a group that drummer Cozy Powell attempted to put together, Hammer, before quickly disbanding). The mid '70s saw Marsden join British prog rockers Babe Ruth for a pair of releases, 1975's Stealin' Home and 1976's Kid's Stuff, before the group broke up, as well. Marsden then supposedly turned down an offer to play with Paul McCartney, and eventually joined up with former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale in Whitesnake.
Early on, Whitesnake pursued a much more bluesy and hard rock-based sound than their latter-day (and much more successful) pop-metal direction, as Marsden played on such albums as 1978's Snakebite and Trouble, 1979's Love Hunter and Live at Hammersmith, 1980's Ready An' Willing, 1981's Live in the Heart of the City, 1982's Come and Get It, and 1983's Saints and Sinners. Although the group achieved substantial success throughout Europe, Coverdale wanted to pursue a more mainstream soundto crack the lucrative U.S. market, which led to Marsden's exit soonafter. Subsequently, a pair of Marsden-Coverdale compositions would be dusted off and re-recorded by Whitesnake in the late '80s ("Here I Go Again" and "Fool for Your Loving"), both of which became sizeable worldwide hits.
It was during his tenure with Whitesnake that Marsden also managed to find the time to issue a pair of solo albums, 1979's And about Time, Too! and 1981's Look at Me Now. But instead of pursuing a solo career full-time after his dismissal from Whitesnake, Marsden opted to form a new band, Alaska, who only managed two releases, 1984's Heart of the Storm and 1985's The Pack, before breaking up. After laying low for the remainder of the '80s, Marsden resurfaced in the '90s, guesting on recordings by such artists as Forcefield and Walter Trout, and forming a new group along with his ex-Whitesnake bandmate, guitarist Mick Moody, called the Moody Marsden Band. The band usually relied on playing classic Whitesnake tunes live, and issued such recordings as 1992's Never turn your Back on the Blues, 1994's Live in Hell: Unplugged and Real Faith, plus 2000's The Nights the Guitars Came to Play and Ozone Friendly (the latter of which was a reissue of Real Faith, albeit with a slightly different tracklisting). The early 21st century saw the duo joined by another former Whitesnake bandmate, bassist Neil Murray, which resulted in the formation of a new group, Company of Snakes (with a pair of releases soon following - 2001's Here They Go Again: Live and 2002's Burst the Bubble).
Marsden has also sporadically issued further solo recordings, including 1992's The Friday Rock Show Sessions and the 1995 Peter Green tribute, Green and Blues. In addition to his music career, Marsden has also tried his hand at acting (the German TV movie, Frankie), and has provided soundtracks for several movie projects in both Germany and the U.S., plus serving as the art director, producer, and author of the three part TV series, The Delta Blues 1926 - Urban Blues 1960. -

Bernie Marsden recorded two solo albums while a member of Whitesnake... Bernie Marsden has just seen his first solo album finished and is beginning to wonder if it will ever see the light of day; now read on... As the seventies drew to a close, Whitesnake continued to keep everyone concerned extremely busy but Bernie did manage to find a few other projects to keep him occupied. Just prior to recording his first solo LP "And About Time Too" he'd helped his old mate Cozy Powell out on his solo album "Over The Top", contributing a track called "El Cid" (which featured Bernie, Cozy, ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce and Rainbow's keyboard player to be Don Airey). There was another session towards the end of that year, a strange cover of "We Wish You Well" done by a vocal group called Company who were managed from the same building as Bernie. Not strictly relevant to this CD I know but it's one which has puzzled fans over the years. "They were two boys, two girls - a bit like Bucks Fizz - they asked me to produce it. It was done very quickly, I said what to you want to do and they said 'we want to record 'We Wish You Well', we think it's great'. It's me, Jon (Lord) and Neil(Murray) on it - I can't remember who did the drums, it wasn't Ian - and Coverdale hated it. It's a curio. Lulu's sister joined them later!"
1980 finally saw "And About Time Too" issued in Japan. The label there Trio also issued two album tracks as a now rare picture sleeve single ("Sad Clown'V'You & Me"). With Whitesnake's last studio album "Lovehunter" (which, apart from the cover, was a great improvement over the previous offering) doing well and an old live album also in the stores, it was well timed. It was just a shame that nobody picked up on the album back in Europe.
Whitesnake then came up with "Ready An' Willing", perhaps their strongest album of the Marsden era. The band's new single "Fool For Your Loving" grabbed the charts by the throat and firmly established them right across Europe. Whitesnake were now an established touring act and the twin-guitar approach of Moody and Marsden became one of their focal points, especially on the instrumental "Belgian Tom's Hat-trick". In addition around three quarters of the band's material was emanating from Bernie, so his importance to the band's success was fairly fundamental. The lengthy tours meant less time was available for studio work however and their next LP "Come & Get It" took three sessions to knock into shape, the last being in early '81. The lack of time showed on the final product but luckily they'd come up with another killer single in "Don't Break My Heart Again" and this kept the momentum going.Between March 20th and April 14th '81, with the Whitesnake set out of the way, Bernie finally managed to find the time to record his second studio album down at Britannia Row in London.
This time theidea came from EMI in the UK who were getting cheesaed off at the number of imports of Bernie's previous LP which were turning up in Britain. Indeed it topped the import charts for a number of weeks, being handled by good old Flyover Records in Hammersmith, who specialised in Japanese albums and pic sleeve singles for a number of years (they cleaned up too but they'd probably be able to buy Japan for what their stock would be worth today on the collectors market).
"Hugh Stanley Clark at EMI came to me and said 'you should do another album and if you do, we'll pick up the UK rights to the first one'. " Bernie had a brief period during which time he was able to finish writing the new material. The recording was interrupted by a couple of Whitesnake video shoots but otherwise went well. "All the stuff was written and ready to roll. I stayed there for three weeks then gave the tapes to Guy and said 'Mix it' I never saw a copy until it came out - as you can see!" By this Bernie means the dodgy illustration which served as the cover. While not iffy in the same way as some Whitesnake sleeves, the bizarre oil painting of a space bound headless guitarist baffled Bernie as much as it did buyers (hence the decision not to go with it on this reissue, though for collectors we've stuck it on the back of the CD booklet).
The guest list this time round was perhaps not quite so awesome, though Bernie did persuade Micheal Schenker to come in and supply some hand-claps to the end of one song!
Otherwise it was a case of "I've written a load of stuff lads, do you want to come and play on it?" Ian Paice, Neil Murray and Jon Lord did most of the honours, with Simon Phillips depping as the second drummer. Oh and "guitar synthesizer programmed by Neil Murray - because I couldn't be bothered! Looking back at it, some of those songs should have been Whitesnake songs - "Look At Me Now" would've sold truck loads, it's a good tune. "
The eagle eyed owners of the original LP may be able to spot a much heavier typeface for a track called "Shakey Ground" on the inner bag and there's a reason for that. Originally the song "Always Love You So" was in its place, as Bernie explains: ""Always Love You So" was very very wimpish. It was almost a sixties pastiche and EMI said 'er sorry Bernie but we really don't think it'll be good for your image' and I agreed with them and said 'what do you want me to do'?" They offered to pay for another track which was "Shakey Ground", because with Cozy Powell at the helm what else could they call it? "I'm glad now because it's a good track and it got a lot of airplay too. " The missing track later appeared as a b-side in the UK and for completeness sake is included on this CD...
There were plans for some live shows to promote the UK releases but Whitesnake were so busy at this time that these couldn't be sorted out. Indeed the day after the album was finished, Bernie rejoined Whitesnake for the start of a lengthy German tour. "The offers were there but by the time I got back I didn't feel like doing anything. " Bernie did manage to get the musicians together in August '81 for a radio session however, which remains the only contemporary live outing for any of this material. Performing four songs from the album, the session was made even more interesting when Coverdale turned up to sing one song. "When he heard that particular number he said 7 should've sung that on the album' and I said 'well you didn't come did you?!" This session has been added to the CD with Bernie's permission, with two tracks on each volume to even up the running times...
As noted, after all this it was off on the road once more, but by now the pressure was beginning to tell in Whitesnake and relations on the road became strained at times. Towards the end of the year Jon Lord took his turn in the studio for a solo set, "Before I Forget", which was taped in September Bernie played on many of the tracks and Guy Bidmead who had produced Bernie's second album was again at the helm. Guy then went on to produce the next Whitesnake studio album, work on which began in early October. Bernie also sneaked off to play on one track from Cozy Powell's new solo LP "Tilt".
The Whitesnake sessions themselves proved a problem. The root cause behind a lot of the discontent at this time was the band's belief that someone somewhere was earning a lot of money from Whitesnake but it sure as hell wasn't them.
Thus they set about what became the "Saints & Sinners" album in October 1981 with something less than unbridled enthusiasm. "We were in Britannia Row and Jon was supposed to come in and do some solo but phoned to say he couldn't get a baby sitter or something and I just threw my hands up and said 'this is crazy'. Coverdale was looking more and more... and I just said 'we might as well knock this on the head' and he looked at me and said 'are you thinking this as well?' I said I'd been thinking this for weeks. We're one of the biggest bands in the country, in Europe, yet none of us has got any money."
The band members got together and decided to tell their manager his services were no longer required. They'd finish the LP, take a well earned break and start afresh.
It didn't work out like that. Instead their manager persuaded David that it was the band who were the problem and ended up firing them. It was presented to the public as a period of "taking stock of the situation". While some of the band were rehired
- Lord and Moody
- the others were replaced with by new members. Cozy came in on drums, Colin Hodgkinson on bass and Mel Galley stepping into Bernie Marsden's shoes.
As a cushion, Bernie was offered a new deal which in the shock of the collapse of Whitesnake he took. By August '82 his group SOS were up and gigging with Richard Bailey handling keyboards and Rob Hawthorne on vocals, though Bernie told "Sounds" that he wouldn't be touring too extensively until after the World Cup was over! In retrospect Bernie has less than fond memories of the band who played only a handful of shows and the '82 Reading festival before fading from the scene, leaving just one track titled "SOS" on a live Reading compilation album.
Whitesnake's subsequent career became ever more convoluted as Coverdale searched for a line-up which suited him. The "Saints & Sinners" album which had been so rudely interrupted didn't finally appear until September 1982 but although Bernie had been long-gone, his guitar work graced several tracks, while two songs he co-wrote with David also turned up on the LP. Eventually Coverdale dropped everyone in exchange for a total makeover - going for the glam look and finally taking America by storm, which is probably what he'd wanted all along. Bernie must have been pleased to find them re-recording several of the old songs which he'd co-written including "Here I Go Again" and which went on to sell millions.
Bernie resurfaced in early 1984 with a new band (though with the vocalist and keyboard player from SOS) called ALASKA, and pursued Bernie's bluesy AOR direction with a vengeance. A lot of preparation had obviously gone into the band who issued two albums, "Heart Of The Storm" and "The Pack" (with Don Airey replacing Bailey on keyboards for the latter -Bailey taking the Whitesnake shilling, though he had to play hidden behind curtains during his stay with them!). In June '85 Alaska found themselves part of the Knebworth festival bill, which climaxed in the oft-talked of return of Deep Purple to the UK stage. "/ rang Ian and Jon up and asked them if we could play and they said leave it to us. " In fact the band's music was probably more suited for the American market but without a deal there it was an impossible task.
"It's all their fault!" Is Bernie's comment today, referring to the classic Whitesnake line-up.
"Once you've worked with players of that class it's hard to adapt to anything else. "...
...Come the nineties, he and Micky also began gigging occasionally with an outfit they called
Company Of Snakes, which, with a singer from one of the later Bad Company line-ups, went out playing both Whitesnake and Bad Co. material when the Moody/Marsden Band weren't busy.
Come the new millennium, this extra curricular activity paid off when Whitesnake's classic line-up (with Murray, Lord, Paice and Moody but minus David) reformed as part of a special evening at Abbey Road in honour of Tony Ashton. "I shouldn't have done it," mused Bernie afterwards. "It took me nearly twenty years to get over playing with those guys last time!"

Taken from CD Notes

Monday, 15 March 2010

Alcatrazz - No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll 1983

Genre: Rock
Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 1983
Label: Grand Slamm

1. I'll keep this short. Its Malmsteens first "real" band with the excellent Graham Bonnett (ex-Rainbow) on vocals. Every song is an absolute gem, a melodic heaven, and the solo on Hiroshima Mon Amour has to be heard to be believed. Its Malmsteen's best ever. Pure melodic hard rock that grabs your attention. You owe it to yourself to hear these songs.

2. When this album was released back in 1984 it didn't leave my turntable (!) for literally weeks.
Originally released on Rocshire Records with a major label distribution deal, this was the uniting of Ex-Rainbow & MSG front man Graham Bonnet with the 21 year old guitar whiz Yngwie Malmsteen. That union lasted two albums, this one and a live album......

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Music of Pink Floyd Orchestral Maneuvers - David Palmer And The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 1991

Genre: Classical, Rock
Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 1991
Label: RCA

01. Run Like Hell
02. Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1- Happiest Days of Our Lives/Another
03. Goodbye Blue Sky
04. Money
05. Hey You
06. Wish You Were Here
07. On the Turning Away
08. Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Part. 1-5
09. When the Tigers Broke Free/Eclipse


Recorded January-April 1989 on Mitsubishi X850 32-track at C.T.S. Wembley, Middlesex; Lansdowne Studios, London; Jacobs Studios, Farnham, Surrey
Sound effects: Mayflower Studios, London

Monday, 8 March 2010

Queensryche - Empire 1990 [2000 DCC 24k Gold GZS-1138]

Genre: Rock
Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 1990
Label: DCC Compact Classics

This outstanding DCC 24k GOLD PROMO Audiophile CD is Non-SEALED (opened / used) & in "EXCELLENT" Condition. Promo-issue. The sound quality on this CD is astounding. Remastered from the original master recordings by Steve Hoffman. DCC Compact Classics did an outstanding job with this limited edition, re-issued audiophile edition CD....

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant - No Quarter (1994) (SHM-CD Japanese UICY-93586)

Genre: Rock
Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 1994
Label: Universal Music

Ever since Led Zeppelin parted ways after the death of drummer John Bonham, fans were clamoring for the mighty band to reunite. This willfully ignored both the vital contribution Bonham gave to the group's mystique and Zeppelin's woeful one-off reunion at the 1985 Live Aid charity concert, but the legend of the band was so strong, reunion rumors reached a fever pitch whenever vocalist Robert Plant or guitarist Jimmy Page had a new album in the stores. In 1994, following Plant's moody, misunderstood 1993 album Fate of Nations and Page's widely lambasted collaboration with Whitesnake singer David Coverdale, the two quietly reunited to record a concert for MTV's then-popular acoustic concert series Unplugged. Page & Plant interpreted the Unplugged moniker rather liberally, bringing in a full orchestra, mandolins, and a hurdy-gurdy among other instruments, and Page turned to an electric guitar on occasion. Nevertheless, the "unplugged" setting did give the duo an opportunity to gracefully back away from the bombast that was assumed to be Zeppelin's stock-in-trade; after all, it would have been very hard to do "Whole Lotta Love," "Dazed and Confused," or "Trampled Underfoot" in this setting....