Categories
Hard 20 Reviews

20 Reviews including Jon Anderson, Freedom Call, Dark Funeral & more

Jon Anderson | Freedom Call | Dark Funeral | The Donnas | Helloween | Silverchair | Scum of the Earth | Vixen | Karate High School | Pale Moon Gang | Don Moore | Prong | Cipes & The People | Motley Crue | Rick Wakeman | Gentle Giant | Patrick Moraz | Freevil | Steve Cone | Shalini


Jon Anderson
“TheMother’s Day Concert”
Voice print Records
by Jonathan Mariante

Jon Anderson
"TheMother's Day Concert"

Yes-man Jon Anderson played an outdoor, unplugged concert on Mother’s Day of ’96, and now it’s finally seeing the light of day. It’s to be part of a box set. At this concert, Jon played fifteen songs, some old, some new. A few of his own, a few Yes classics, a few new Yes tunes, all given the “unplugged” treatment. The music has a very earthy feel to it and a folksy flavor. There are also some elements of Native American music added. This certainly gives the music an interesting twist. All the songs are upbeat, uplifting tunes, and Jon and his band play very well. It goes without saying that Jon is one of the all time great rock musicians, and that he is one of the godfathers of progressive rock and has amazing musical abilities. Of course I’m stating the obvious here, but Jon’s talents really show at this performance. The songs are all beautifully played, and they do the classics in a different way. Many of the songs are about peace and social change, and Jon talks of that between the songs. In fact, one track is a speech given by Longwalker, a Dakota Indian who is a friend of Jon’s. He has some very interesting things to say, and what he and Jon both say can really make you think. Words to live by and music to live by. Jon also didn’t forget that we all need some comic relief sometimes, and he does this by playing the Charlie Brown song. You know the one, that bouncy little jazz number they always play on the Peanuts TV specials. That sure was a kick to hear. A humorous element to an enjoyable concert.

http://www.jonboxset.com

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Freedom Call
“Dimensions”
SPV/Steamhammer
by Jonathan Mariante

Freedom Call
"Dimensions"

Dimensions is a good title for the German power metallers’ latest opus. Instead of merely giving us “the usual”, like many bands do, they’ve begun to branch out musically a bit. That’s not to say they’ve completely changed. They’re still very much a power metal band, and do not betray their trademark style. They still make full speed ahead, riff happy, galloping power metal anthems, with plenty of melody and double kick drum (courtesy of Dan Zimmerman, also of Gamma Ray). However, Some of the songs venture into some different musical territory. Like the album’s final cut, “Far Away”, is a bouncy, upbeat, pop-flavored number, with some Cheap Trick influence. They even use some bagpipes in this one, not something you’d expect a metal band to do. “Dimensions” is a somewhat lighter, keyboard oriented song, but still gallops along at a fast pace. By contrast, “Blackened Sun” is a darker, heavier tune, more so than Freedom Call’s other music. We also have the obligatory ballad in “Words Of Endeavor”. The rest of the album is classic Freedom Call style melodic power metal. Many might have thought that Freedom Call were “just another power metal band”, but they now seem to be progressing a bit and breaking their mold, but still staying true to their style.

http://www.freedom-call.net

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DARK FUNERAL
The Secrets Of The Black Arts
(Regain Records)
by Chris Forbes

DARK FUNERAL
The Secrets Of The Black Arts

This is a re-issue of this with 8 bonus tracks. This band if you don’t know are one of the premier death/black metal bands and this when it came out was a classic and still is. Pure death/black metal that will bring the weak to their fuckin knees. This is the real deal and is not for wimps. If you have this, you’ll want this again for the 8 bonus tracks and if you missed them and want some real death/black metal, then my friend buy this and prepare to be eliminated. Info: http://www.regainrecords.com

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THE DONNAS
Bitchin’ (2007) PURPLE FEATHER RECORDS
by Jym Harris

THE DONNAS
Bitchin' (2007)

It’s been a while since I’ve written about this band, but I took it upon myself to purchase the new Donnas album & review the first release on their own label. Following the nearly instrumental title track is the infectious “Don’t Wait Up For Me”, a number for which the all-girl foursome chose to shoot their new music video, and will most likely become a big radio hit. There are hints of the quartet’s infamous ‘party anthem’ style here with a uniquely fresh Arena Rock feel. The same can be said about “Wasted”, the cheerleader-esque “Girl Talk” (complete with a chanted spelling of the aforementioned title in the chorus) and my personal favorite “Like An Animal” which I sincerely hope becomes the next single because It’s sure to put these girls back on the charts. Overall, “Bitchin’ is a strong record with not much filler, wrapping up with the well-written “When The Show Is Over”. The CD is packaged with a code redeemable for the downloadable bonus track called “Randi”; a nice addition to an already powerful album. I can honestly say I’m glad they returned to their roots on this disc since their last effort “Gold Medal” was certainly good, but quite a departure from the traditional Donnas theme. No experimenting here, folks, just tons of fist-pounding, feel-good, danceable hard rock. Take my word for it, fans of Joan Jett, Billy Idol & Def Leppard will love every moment of this “Bitchin'” album (available on purple vinyl as well as CD).

http://www.thedonnas.com

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Helloween
“Gambling With The Devil”
SPV/Steamhammer
by Jonathan Mariante

Helloween
"Gambling With The Devil"

Teutonic Metal Titans Helloween return with their latest opus, and it’s a stormer! This is classic Helloween all the way-full throttle, galloping, twin-lead metal anthems that are melodic but still pack a punch. Andi Deris sings in his gutsy, operatic voice, sometimes hitting some high notes a la Halford, and the rest of the band is at full steam all the way. Guitarists Michael Weikath and Sascha Gerstner crank out those high speed dual leads and guitar harmonies that have made Helloween famous over the past two decades. Meanwhile, bassist Marcus Grosskopf and new drummer Dani Loble keep things pumping at the bottom end. The playing is fast and furious, and all the songs really get the adrenaline pumping, but there is also a good sense of melody, with well written songs. The balance of melody and aggression has always been one of Helloween’s trademarks. They ease off the gas pedal a bit for a couple of songs, “As Long As I Fall” and “Fallen To Pieces”, but the rest of the songs are the full speed ahead metal anthems Helloween is famous for. They are also very talented and skilled musicians and songwriters, with a style that’s all their own, that’s given them legendary status. They have become a band others are measured against. The production, by Charlie Bauerfield, is also very good. It’s slick and polished, but doesn’t take the edge off the music. Just like a stainless steel blade. Helloween’s “edge” is also something that has made their sound what it is. As a little bonus, Saxon’s Biff Byford lends his voice to the intro, “Crack The Riddle”. “Gambling…” is one of Helloween’s best outings yet, right up there with the “Seven Keys” albums-Everything a Helloween fan could want.

http://wwww.helloween.org

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Silverchair
“Young Modern”
(ILG)
by Paul Autry

Silverchair
"Young Modern"

Before I even get into this little write up, I guess I should admit that I’m not much of a Silverchair fan. They were never really my cup of tea. But, from what I remember, I always thought they were a rock band. However, on this release, it almost sounds like they’re trying to go in a glam/glitter rock direction. Some of these tunes, dare I say, sound almost Beatlesque, which is quite a compliment since they’re still somewhat of a young band. I mean, it’s not like they’re “legendary” yet. Anyway, all I can say is…WOW! There’s actually a lot of good material on this release. I was impressed. Totally not what I expected. I was really keen on “If You Keep Losing Sleep,” which is just all over the place. It sounds like a tune right out of some strange rock stage musical. I wasn’t even sure what to think when I first heard it. I had to play it back a few times in order for it to sink in. It’s amazing. It’s probably the most unique track on the album. I never thought I’d have a Silverchair album in my collection. But, this one’s a keeper. I don’t know, I guess it all comes down to personal opinion. Not sure what long time fans will have to say about this one. I think it’s a brilliant release and, years from now, I think people will look back on it as a classic.

http://www.chairpage.com

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SCUM OF THE EARTH
Sleaze Freak-CD/DVD
(Eclipse Records)
by Chris Forbes

SCUM OF THE EARTH
Sleaze Freak-CD/DVD

This is Rob Zombie’s guitar player’s release and what a killer release it is. I have always liked White Zombie and Rob’s solo stuff and this is similair to that with that wicked guitar sound. This contains some of the heaviest and catchiest riffs this side of the Atlantic. The singer is great on this and this just kicked my ass from start to finish. The prouction is right on the money and I love the guitar sound and the riffs just make you want to get up and move and this guy has a knack for finding some of the best riffs money can buy. An excellent release and you also get a DVD that takes you behind the scenes of the making of the record and some live stuff too. A cool exta bonus. Info: http://www.eclipserecords.com

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Vixen
“Live In Sweden”
(Sanctuary)
by Paul Autry

Vixen
"Live In Sweden"

The first live album from Vixen is a pretty decent effort with a good song selection. Of course, they had to include the hits from the first album, “Edge Of A Broken Heart” and “Cryin’,” as well as “Love Made Me,” “Cruisin'” and “I Want You To Rock Me,” during which they also include a cover of the Queen classic, “We Will Rock You.” The “Rev It Up” album has the honor of being featured the most here with a total of six tunes. Makes sense to me since that was a much stronger album than their debut. Besides “Rev It Up,” we also get “Streets In Paradise,” “How Much Love,” “Love Is A Killer,” “Not A Minute Too Soon” and “Bad Reputation.” The “Tangerine” album is completely ignored while the final three tracks come from Vixen’s most recent studio release, “Live & Learn.” The featured tunes from that album include “Anyway,” “Little Voice” and “Love Song.”

It’s classic Vixen. The only difference between this release and their previous efforts is the fact that this is a live album. If you’re a Vixen fan, you’ll dig it. If you’re not familiar with their music, it’s a pretty good way to get a taste of what they’re all about and I’d suggest picking it up. I’d also suggest picking up the first two releases. Those are the best.

http://www.vixenrock.com
http://www.myspace.com/vixenrock

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Karate High School
“The League Of Tomorrow”
(Evo Recordings) by Paul Autry

Karate High School
"The League Of Tomorrow"

Here’s a fun little album. Eleven tunes. Has a running time of about 40 minutes. Musical style is described as rock, punk and experimental. I think it’s the experimental part that makes this release stand out. I would’ve simply called this a pop punk album. But, every now and then, they go off in some strange direction and that kind of throws you for a loop. Makes you pay attention more, which is good. I mean, I heard some stuff on here that brought Duran Duran to mind. I also heard some screamo. That might just be me since I tend to view music a lot differently than most other people. But, what I’m sure we’ll agree on is the fact that, at the end of the day, this is a kick ass release. It went though my CD player a number of times since I got it and I’m sure it’ll go through a few more times, especially when I’m in the mood to feel good. So, yeah…fun little, feel good, pop rock album with a little bit of experimental thrown into the mix to keep you on your toes. Gotta love it. I know I do.

http://www.karatehighschool.com
http://www.myspace.com/karatehighschool

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Pale Moon Gang
“Pale Moon Gang”
(Fast Loose Records)
by Paul Autry

Pale Moon Gang
"Pale Moon Gang"

There’s been a few reviews that I’ve written where I’ve said something about how they don’t make ’em like that anymore. I’m usually talkin’ about an older release and my comment comes from the fact that, back in the day, music actually meant something. It wasn’t the business that it is today. It was more of a feeling…a feeling which Pale Moon Gang seems more than happy to tap into. This is rock ‘n’ roll slash punk that reminds me of Johnny Thunders, early Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, The Clash and anyone else who seemed to create music from the gut in order to throw it into the face of an audience that was more than willing to stand there, fist in the air, screamin’ for this style of music. It may be a new musical world. But, this is old school, man. This is what I’m talkin’ about. Not a lot of people will make ’em like this anymore. Luckily, for the people who happen to like a good musical kick in the face, Pale Moon Gang is willing to deliver. For those of you who refuse to grow up and accept all the crap that’s floating around out there today…crap that they call music…this release is for you. This is the real deal. This album’s still fresh in my CD player and I’m already lookin’ forward to their next release.

http://www.palemoongang.com

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Don Moore
“Axe Attack”
by Paul Autry

Don Moore
"Axe Attack"

I guess it’s true when they say that you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover. When I saw the CD cover and the name of the album, I thought this would be a 80’s shred metal kind of release. Needless to say, that’s not what kind of music is on the disc. I’m not really sure how to describe Don’s playing style because I’m not really into instrumental music. I can listen to it from time to time, when I’m in the mood. But, it’s not something that’s in my CD player on a regular basis. What can I say…I like lyrics. Anyway, he can play and he does do some different things on this album. Some of the tunes were pretty laid back. Smooth playing I guess I would call it. The tunes that I was drawn to were ones like “I Died For You,” which was a pretty good rock song, “Escape To Fantasy” had kind of a raw feel to it, which I really liked, “Alone Inside,” at least to me, sounded somewhat progressive. The track that really stood out for me was “All Hope Lost,” which was kick ass. Probably the best track on the album. That’s just my opinion. I don’t know what you look for in an instrumental recording. But, this guy’s worth checkin’ out.

http://www.Don-Moore.com
http://www.myspace.com/paguitarist2002

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Prong
“Power Of The Damager”
13th Planet Records/Megaforce Records
by Jonathan Mariante

Prong
"Power Of The Damager"

Prong are still at it, and the years have done nothing to soften them. They’re still as hard as ever, still playing their classic brand of metal/hardcore fusion. If you want to know where today’s metalcore bands (Hatebreed, Soilwork, etc) got their ideas from, the answer is Prong. Prong were metalcore before there was metalcore. Ahead of their time when they began, and still in a league of their own, Prong never hit the bigtime like some the bands they’ve inspired, but have maintained a strong, dedicated cult following. It’s kept them going for over twenty years. Prong have stayed true to their roots through the years, and have never strayed an inch from their classic style. “Power…” is as Prong as ever-aggressive, furious, and high octane, but with a good amount of skill and sophistication. Band leader Tommy Victor, singer and axeman, sings in his rough, aggressive, gravel throated voice that he’s become famous for, sounding as pissed off as ever. On the guitar, he cranks out the riffs at lightning speed. His playing is totally in your face, but also very skillful. He puts a smoking solo on just about all the songs, giving the music its metallic touch, as always. He’s backed up by his sidekicks, bassist Monti Pittman and drummer Aaron Rossi, respectfully. These two make up a hell of a rhythm section. There are as hard as concrete and as skilled as can be, giving Prong its trademark TKO. The band rage their way through this album full throttle, never letting up for a minute. By the time it’s over you’ll know what it is to have a can of whoop ass opened on you! While many bands these days have taken up this style or something similar, Prong continue to show how it’s done. Often imitated and never duplicated, Prong created a style that’s both sophisticated and savage, that only they can do the right way.

http://www.prongmusic.com

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Cipes & The People
“Conscious Revolution”
(KG2 Music)
by Paul Autry

Cipes & The People
"Conscious Revolution"

Okay, well, I’m not into reggae music at all. Sorry to say, it does nothing for me and having to sit through an 18 track album that goes on for more than an hour was something I could’ve done without. Personal opinion aside, this release has a top notch sound and the music does seem to flow rather well. It does seem to create a visual image…a nice, clear blue sky, the sweet sound of the ocean, layin’ on a beach catchin’ some sunshine. That’s the thought that went through my mind as I listened to these tunes. Maybe that’s the way this album’s supposed to make you feel. I don’t know. It does give off a feel good energy. I think if you’re a fan of this style of music…you’ll enjoy this release. As for me, one listen was enough.

http://www.cipesandthepeople.com

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Motley Crue
“Carnival Of Sins Live”
(Eleven Seven Music)
by Paul Autry

Motley Crue
"Carnival Of Sins Live"

This is not a new Motley Crue album so to speak. I’m not actually sure why this disc was even released again. I say again because this is the same album that was released as a two disc set through Wal-Mart last year. I’m disappointed with this release for the same reason that I was disappointed in it before. It’s freakin’ censored, dude. How lame. I was lucky enough to actually catch a Motley Crue show during the “Carnival Of Sins” tour and I also have the “Carnival Of Sins” DVD and, let me tell you something, the show and the DVD were far from censored. That’s my biggest complaint about this release. This is like the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood version of a Motley Crue show. It was bad enough the first time around. But, to do it again? Seriously dude…LAME! I guess naughty language is too much of a sin for Motley Crue to include in their carnival, huh? Which is a shame, really, because this disc would’ve been a great album had it not been for the censorship. When I listen to it, it doesn’t seem to pack the same punch as the actual live show or the DVD. It’s like Motley Crue for children.

Other than that, I would’ve really gotten into this disc. I’ve read some reviews where people have complained about the sound quality and, to me, it sounds great. It actually sounds like a live album. Nothing to complain about there. As for the song selection, disc one is the stronger of the two. Motley Crue rocks hard for the first half of the show. They pound out classic tunes like “Shout At The Devil,” “Too Fast For Love,” “Ten Seconds To Love,” “Red Hot,” “Too Young To Fall In Love,” “Looks That Kill,” “Louder Than Hell,” Live Wire,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Wild Side.” The only slow moment is “On With The Show,” which is a good tune. It just breaks up the way the rest of the songs flow.

Disc two isn’t bad. There’s a lot of good songs to be found here. It’s just that they slap three ballads, “Glitter,” “Without You” and “Home Sweet Home,” between “Primal Scream” and “Dr. Feelgood.” While I enjoy all those songs, it does slow the album down a bit. They also throw their two more recent tunes, “Sick Love Song” and “If I Die Tomorrow” back to back which also kind of upsets the flow of the album. However, they end the album with the one, two, three punch of “Kickstart My Heart,” “Helter Skelter” and Anarchy In The UK,” which is cool because you wanna end the album on a high note and that’s just what Motley Crue does here.

If you caught the band live during this tour, this disc is a good way to keep the show fresh in your mind. However, I’d probably feel more comfortable if I said that this release is for the hardcore fan. If you want the full effect of “Carnival Of Sins Live,” I would suggest picking up a copy of the DVD. That’s the way this Motley Crue show was meant to be heard…and seen.

http://www.motley.com

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Rick Wakeman
“G’ole!”
Music Fusion
by Jonathan Mariante

Rick Wakeman
"G'ole!"

A soundtrack to a sporting event that happened 25 years ago? That’s kind of odd, I thought at first. Since Rick Wakeman did all the music to this, I guess die hard Yes fans would be interested in this, and maybe die hard soccer fans. Rick was asked to make the music for the 1982 World Cup, which is basically the Superbowl of soccer. Twenty five years later, the music sees the light of day. Rick wrote all the music and played most everything, except the guitars and percussion. Anyone who’s heard Rick’s work with Yes will know that he’s a phenomenal musician, so he was definitely the right man for the job here. He did a great job with the music. He’s a wizard songwriter and musician, and everything is beautifully played. However, it’s not the kind of thing that would appeal to most rock listeners. It’s all instrumental, and there’s a variety of different musicals styles used in it. Much of it sounds like it could have done by Yes, and there’s also a lot of classical influence. The songwriting and playing is very sophisticated and technical, everything done to a T. I guess it would have to be for an important event like the World Cup. Many of the songs have an epic feel to them with a lot of pomp and circumstance, while others are perky, upbeat numbers. “Latin Reel” and “Spanish Holiday” have some Latin/Spanish music flavor, as the titles suggest. There’s some Flamenco style guitar in the latter. Some other songs have a bit of rock in them, with a bouncy beat. Some might wonder what’s so great about music used to soundtrack a sporting event, but this turned out very nicely. Rick did a great job with everything, and the playing is masterful. It might not be the kind of thing one would expect from a rock musician but it’s more than worth a listen. It’s the kind of thing that will grow on you, if you appreciate good music and true talent. As I said, Yes fanatics will certainly dig this, as it’s very similar to what he does in the band. He uses all the keyboard and songwriting techniques he’s famous for in Yes, and also puts in many other different things.

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Gentle Giant
“Live In Santa Monica 1975”
Glasshouse Records
by Jonathan Mariante

Gentle Giant
"Live In Santa Monica 1975"

This is a previously unreleased live recording made these 70s progressive rockers. This is over three decades old and it’s finally seeing the light of day. Gentle Giant were around the same time, and on the same musical page, as the other prog rock giants (no pun intended) of the era (Yes, ELP, Genesis, etc), but never achieved the level of success of those bands. It’s somewhat puzzling, because GG are as good as, if not better than, their prog-rock compatriots that became household names. Giant are extremely talented and very original, with amazing musical skills. They can be compared to other prog-rock bands, but GG have a style that’s all their own. Their influences range across the board, from classical to folk to jazz, and even a touch of R&B here and there. And of course, they don’t forget about the rock side of things. Many of the songs have a driving rock beat, with some good guitar work. The songs change gears very frequently, going from an epic of grandeur to a lilting folk tune to a bouncy jazz number. They use a lot of complex, classically oriented song structures and arrangements, but also keep things relatively simple in other places. They use a variety of instruments, some of them rather unusual, from strings to organs and keyboards to flutes, and even a xylophone. This appears in the song “Proclamation” (long tune, at almost fifteen minutes)-this one has a xylophone solo, the first one I’ve ever heard in a rock song. It’s very well done though, the player sure knew how to tickle those keys! I was not familiar with Gentle Giant before I heard this CD but upon hearing them, I found them very impressive. The only problem with this CD is the production is kind of gritty. It almost sounds like a bootleg. Also, the last two songs, “For Nobody” # 1 & 2, are very short, and really just sound like jam sessions. For those reasons I would only recommend this to die hard fans. Anyone new to the band might want to check out one of their other releases.

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Patrick Moraz
“Future Memories I andII”
Time Wave Music
by Jonathan Mariante

Patrick Moraz
"Future Memories I andII"

All keyboards, all the time, that’s what this album is. Patrick Moraz is a keyboard wizard from Switzerland (I presume), and he shows his talents on this CD. He is like a one man orchestra. Patrick makes his keyboard skills the main thing on here. There’s no guitars, vocals on only one song (“Video Games”), and the percussion appears to be done with a drum machine (which isn’t used on all the songs). Nothing but Patrick and lots of key-work. Now Patrick is a very good keyboard player. He goes hog wild on this CD, showing us what he can do with those ivories, and he certainly can do a lot. He is very skilled and talented, and works some magic with his keys, synthesizers, and other tools and toys. His music takes you on a trip. He is right up there with, and comparable to, Keith Emerson and other key-masters like him. I dare say he could give Keith a run for his money! Patrick wrote and played everything on this album, and he explores a variety of musical style on this album. Some classical, some jazz, some pop, much progressive, some “new wave” styles. Sometimes he combines these styles. Some songs are a bit trippy, some have a mellow vibe, and some are perkier and more rock oriented. Some even sound like they could be on a sci-fi movie’s soundtrack. One song, “Flippers”, has a bit of a 50s rockabilly beat to it. That’s an interesting blending of opposites-50s style music done with high tech synthesizers! This one stood out because of that, and also because it’s the fastest and shortest song on the album. This CD is quite long at 73 minutes, and one song, “Metamorphoses II and III”, is over eleven minutes long. Those things made this CD a bit self indulgent, and some might find that hard to listen to. However, there’s no denying Patrick’s talents. He’s a genius on those keyboards. Not only is his playing great but he also wrote and played everything here, and put everything together very well, so that shows he possesses a lot of talent. His style was also a little ahead of its time. This was originally recorded in 1979 and broadcast on Swiss TV (a couple of songs were recorded in the 80s). This sounds like something that would have come along years later, and it was all done before we had pro-tools or any of the other technologies we have today. It shows what one man is capable of and brings up the question, do we really need those “toys”? I don’t know why it took so long for this to be released, or even if Patrick is still playing. Even if he isn’t, he’s left us some good music, even if it took a while for it to be released. Patrick certainly deserved some credit for his work.

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Freevil
“Freevil Burning”
(Nastified Productions)
by Paul Autry

Freevil
"Freevil Burning"

I’m not a huge fan of extreme music and when I saw this release, I figured it would be one that I wasn’t gonna get into. But, to my suprise, it was actually rather impressive. The music is a sonic blast of heaviness and speed played to perfection and the vocalist is kind of like Udo on crack and, at times, it brings King Diamond to mind. More so for the screech style vocals. I’ll be honest with you, when it comes to this style of music, it’s usually the vocal style that I have a problem with. They’re not really too bad on this release. I can tolerate them because, in this case, they really work well with the music. They actually add to it instead of being a distraction, which is a good thing in my book. Musical style…ah…I don’t know…I’d have to say it’s a little bit of everything….speed, thrash, death, black metal and, while you’re at it, throw in a more than healthy amount of power. There’s also a slight gothic feel from time to time, which is probably because of the keyboards.

Also, extreme music tends to appeal to a pretty select audience. However, I believe Freevil has the potential to attract a much larger audience due to the fact that they don’t limit their musical style to just one genre. There’s a lot of variety from song to song, which is something that a lot of releases such as this don’t have. This band can actually play…and they do it rather well. A lot of the issues I have with extreme music is that it all sounds the same. You can’t tell one song from the next. That’s not the case here and I think that’s what really attracted me to this release. Not only do they have substance…they have quality…and high quality at that. It’s quite impressive if you ask me.

Even if you’re not into this style of music, I would at least suggest you give ’em a listen. I think you might actually like what you hear. I sure as hell did.

http://www.freevil.se
http://www.myspace.com/freevil

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Steve Cone
“In My Bones”
(Dilligaf Entertainment)
by Paul Autry

Steve Cone
"In My Bones"

Pretty much everything you hear on this release, with the exception of the drum tracks, which were performed by Erik Fehrenbach, was done by Steve Cone himself. So, this is a true solo album in every sense of the word. Now, when you do everything on your own, it’s kind of a risk. On one hand, it’s a good thing because you have complete and total control of your vision and you can pretty much do what you wanna do without having to worry about other people. On the other hand, the only point of view you have is your own and that’s not always a good thing. Believe me, I’m speaking from experience. I’ve heard solo releases that didn’t turn out too well because the artist did everything himself. Luckily, that’s not the case here. Steve did one hell of a job with this release. The quality of the music is fantastic. It sounds like a full band to me. As for his musical style, call it what you want…hard rock, heavy metal, whatever…it’s simply a kick ass release in my opinion. A lot of these tunes sound like instant metal classics. They stick with you after the first listen. I’m talking about tunes like “Killing Machine,” “Like The Dog I Am,” “Get Down” and “Dead Like Me.” If I never listen to this release again…I’ll still have these tunes in my head and that’s the sign of a release that’s well worth checkin’ out. Remember the old school hard rock/heavy metal that probably got you into music in the first place? Well, Steve took everything that made that music worth listening to and he gave it a fresh and modern sound. Yeah…this is metal for right now. Need I say more?

http://www.myspace.com/stevecone

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Shalini
“The Surface & The Shine”
(Electric Devil Records)
by Paul Autry

Shalini
"The Surface & The Shine"

This is great…I totally love it. This is a really fun album. One you can crank up and just rock out with. In the bio that came with the disc, it mentions that Shalini’s influences range from The Supremes and other Motown acts to Elvis, The Beatles, Go Go’s and R.E.M. I don’t really hear any of that in her music with the exception of the Go Go’s. She has a garage rock sound…and I mean that in a good way. I’d love to hear how these tunes sound when performed live. The energy level probably goes to a whole other level. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying there’s a lack of energy on the disc because there is. It’s just that these songs seem to be made for the stage. There’s some really good tunes on here…”The Surface & The Shine,” “White Widow,” “Escape Velocity,” “Rose In December,” “Magenta Rules,” and pretty much every other track on the album. They seem to balance each other out rather well. One song doesn’t rise above another. Instead, they all come together to form a single, solid listening experience and that’s the real beauty of this release. Don’t let this one get away from you. Pick up a copy as soon as you can.

http://www.myspace.com/shaliniband

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