Monday, 31 July 2017

Album Review: THE DEAD DAISIES - Live & Louder

The Dead Daisies - Live & Louder

01. Long Way To Go
02. Mexico
03. Make Some Noise
04. Song And A Prayer
05. Fortunate Son
06. We All Fall Down
07. Lock ‘ N’ Load
08. Something I Said
09. Last Time I Saw The Sun
10. Join Together
11. With You And I
12. Band Intros
13. Mainline
14. Helter Skelter
15. American Band
16. Midnight Moses 

The Dead Daisies came to my attention shortly before their second album came out. They were effectively a super-group of sidekicks and underdogs, at the time boasting Dizzy and Richard Fortus of Guns N' Roses, and most importantly for me, the amazing John Corabi. I really like the self-titled Motley Crue album John sang on, as well as the immensely good Let It Scream, the only record by his band The Scream.

This live album features founder member David Lowy, bassist Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders), Brian Tichy (Foreigner, Pride & Glory, Billy Idol) and  guitarist Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio) alongside John Corabi on lead vocals. The first thing that struck me when I played this live album is how good it sounds. It sounds huge! One could be forgiven for thinking it had been recorded in a high end studio, as it sounds better than most bands' albums.

If you're not familiar with The Dead Daisies, they play American style Hard Rock, like Aerosmith and Slash's Snakepit. It's good time Rock n' Roll, as opposed to the slightly more aggressive approach of similar bands like Guns n' Roses and Skid Row. Give them a listen, and you'll see where I'm coming from.

All of their most popular tracks are here including Mexico, Make Some Noise, and their cover of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band classic Midnight Moses (if you want to geek out, Britny Fox also did an incredible cover of this back in 1991- well worth a listen).

If you're already a fan, this live album is definitely worth picking up as it captures the spirit, energy and enthusiasm of this hard working band. I love the studio versions too, but these live versions add a different dynamic that makes for a great listen.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Album Review: STONE SOUR - Hydrograd

Stone Sour - Hydrograd

01. YSIF
02. Taipei Person / Allah Tea
03. Knievel Has Landed
04. Hydrograd
05. Song #3
06. Fabuless
07. The Witness Trees
08. Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)
09. Thank God It's Over
10. St. Marie
11. Mercy
12. Whiplash Pants
13. Friday Knights
14. Somebody Stole My Eyes
15. When the Fever Broke

If you've been living under a rock for the last decade and a half and aren't already familiar with the band, Stone Sour rose to fame back in 2002, blatently because it featured Corey Taylor and Jim Root from the phenomenonly successful Slipknot. It's been nearly four years since Stone Sour parted ways with key songwriter Jim Root after 'musical differences', or whatever they call it now. Since then, the band have released some EPs of cover versions and have done plenty of touring, but this new album, Hydrograd, features the first post-Root material and marks a new chapter in their musical career.

Stone Sour have always been consistently good. I don't think they've ever made a truly great album if I'm brutally honest, but every single one has been in the 'very good' category, and each has a handful of really strong songs. Hydrograd follows this pattern.

I remember reading Corey Taylor stating that Stone Sour always wanted to release a Hard Rock album, and Hydrograd would be it. He may have been carried away after recording really impressive covers of Rock classics such as Kiss' Love Gun, and Judas Priest's Heading Out To The Highway on their recent EPs. There is definitely a Hard Rock vibe on a handful of the tracks on the new album such as Fabuless and Thank God It's Over, and a willingness to further explore more melodic territories, such as on the awesome single Song #3, but for the most part, Hydrograd is musically very much in the same ballpark that Stone Sour have always been in.

They still have that 'Alter Bridge meets Slipknot' thing going on with their style, and after a run of very successful albums, it's no surprise that they haven't altered the formula anything like as much as Corey would have you believe. If you liked Stone Sour before, I'm sure you'll enjoy the new album. It has all the elements you'd expect from them, as well as enough twists and small surprises to make Hydrograd a worthy addition to a fan's record collection.

Friday, 21 July 2017

EP Review: MCC [MAGNA CARTA CARTEL] - The Demon King

MCC - The Demon King

01. The Demon King
02. Sway
03. Turn
04. Jennifer
05. Mayfire

It's been a few months since guitarist Martin Persner became the first (ex) member of Ghost to reveal his identity to the world. MCC, which stands for Magna Carta Cartel, is the band Martin was in before he, and I believe other members, left to form Ghost. I'm not sure of the full story as it's still clouded in mystery, but regardless, Martin has resurrected MCC with the launch of this new EP.

All five songs are well written and are sonically works of art. The overall sound of the EP reminds me of Pink Floyd, but with the Pop sensibility of an act like ABBA or Fleetwood Mac. It's a very chilled record but a very engaging one nonetheless. Darkness has never sounded so relaxing and under control.

The title track of The Demon King deals with the subject of depression, and the heartfelt emotion running through it makes it a compelling listen. Martin's vocals have an enchanting soothing quality, and this gives a wonderful dimension to the songs. My other favourite is Sway which is pure magic to say the least.

Considering that Martin allegedly only co-wrote a couple of Ghost songs, this EP is very reminiscent of Ghost when they're at their most Prog, but without the heaviness. Hearing The Demon King makes me think that he brought a lot more to the table in that band, than he has been given credit for, if not in writing, certainly in tone and atmosphere.

Whatever happened, Martin is clearly a huge talent and I'm really pleased that he is channelling his creativity into MCC, and is moving forward with his musical career. It deserves to be a very bright one.

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