04 W h i t e s n a k e 06 J a m e s C h r i s t i a n 07 K i n g Ko b r a 08 F e r g i e F r e d e r i k s e n 09 F i n d M e 10 N e w m a n 11 L a w l e s s 12 R e v i e w s 15 O l i v a 17 A r c A n g e l 19 P a t Tr a v e r s B a n d 20 Little River Band 22 Lingua Mortis Orchestra Ft. Rage Melodic Rock Fanzine The official Frontiers Records magazine Year #9 - Nr. 4 / Issue #57 Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi Graphic & Design: Elio Bordi Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Primo Bonali. Headquarters and general contacts: Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 18 80125, Napoli - Italy Tel: +39.081.2399340/7753 Fax: +39.081.2399794 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.frontiers.it Facebook: facebook.com/frontiersrecordsofficial Twitter: twitter.com/frontiersrec Editor and publisher: Frontiers Records s.r.l. Copyright©2013 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy.
band. WHITESNAKE album. made in britain... Interview with. d. coverdale interviewed by:. duncan jamieson
WHITESNAKE - Made in Britain / The World Record (Frontiers Records) Here I go again. With “Made In Japan” still spinning in my CD player, along comes another Whitesnake live album. Like buses, none come along and then suddenly two at once. From the same year 2011 as “Made In Japan”, with one disc recorded in the UK and the other from gigs around the world it’s very similar to “ Made In Japan”, covering most of the same classics; “Here I Go Again”, “Fool for Your Lovin’” and “Still Of The Night” plus some newer material from the more recent “Good To Be Bad” and “Forevermore” records. There are though a couple of different tracks. This one adds the sing along classic “Aint No Love In The Heart Of The City” (RIP Bobby Bland), the Deep Purple classic “Soldier Of Fortune” gets a welcome inclusion and “The Deeper The Love” is also aired. It captures the modern day Whitesnake juggernaut. It’s big, bombastic and goes for shock and awe. Despite the close proximity to the release of “Made in Japan” it’s still an enjoyable ride, although some of the strain on Coverdale’s voice is showing and the overlong solo spots need ditching to make room for some more classic Whitesnake tracks instead. Duncan Jamieson (90/100)
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Question: First “Made In Japan” and now “Made In Britain”. I know you ask the fans what they want. Were these live recordings released on their request? Answer: Well, our supporters are very vocal in what they want from us... They’re already posting on whitesnake.com, Facebook & twittering me that they would like a live record of this years setlist... Go figure... So, we have all those shows recorded if we ever decide to mix them... Q: Our original plan for this year was just the “Made In Britain” plus “The World Record” but, after we saw the footage from the Loud Park show in Tokyo, we were excited, as was Frontiers, to have a new DVD for the fans... & for us, to be honest... A: As this is the Year Of The Snake, EMI wanted in on releasing the “Lil” Box ‘o’ Snakes” CD set, which is also doing remarkably well... & to be honest, I don’t think we’re finished yet... More to come, Boys & Girls... Ha Ha!! Q: Are there any more live recordings in the vault from the past that might see the light of day in the future? A: Yes... We found a huge amount of material once we started archiving some years ago... Some very pleasant surprises which I’ll tell you about later... But, I have no doubt our hardcore fans will be very happy with... Q: You’ve done your fair share of gigs over the years but which gigs stand out as significant in your career for you? A: That’s a tough question for me to answer, to be honest... So many over the years... Purple shows, the shows with Mr Page were very memorable... & working with the different chapters of Whitesnake, including the current line-up, are always memorable in some way... You must remember, I’m not a big “nostalgia” guy where my work is concerned... More so with other artists I admire... I like creating new works, writing new songs... I’ve just bought a new house specifically for our projects... We have acoustic engineers in the place as I type, designing the studio, so, when I come off the road at the end of October, it’s going to be a case
of catching my breath then off to work!! Q: I caught your Wembley show on your recent tour. There was a lot of love in the building. How have you found the tour so far? A: This tour has certainly proved one of the most memorable for me... The band has been incredibly consistent, we have Tommy back on thunderous, driving drums, & the audiences have been with us every step of the way... I am in awe of the fact I’m still blessed with the support we have... Mind blowing... So rewarding. Q: I imagine what goes on after a show has changed through the years. How do you unwind these days after a gig? A: That’s never a problem for me nowadays... It used to be pulling all nighters... ahh... “Youth”... But, now, a couple of good glasses of wine... A hot bath & the rest... Ha Ha!! Q: You’ve said you’ve got at least three years of projects on the go for after this tour. Can you shed any light on what those might be? A: Yes... A little... I bought back 3 projects from EMI that previous executives didn’t particularly support that I feel confident we can remix & add all kinds of solid, interesting content... Video, live recordings, alternate mixes, etc... “Restless Heart”, “Into The Light”, which we found a wealth of unreleased, unfinished material, plus we documented the whole project on video... An expanded “Starkers In Tokyo”... Rehearsal footage & a recent interview with Adrian Vandenberg & myself... Also, solid live recordings from what I thought was “The Last Hurrah” tour in 97... Doug Aldrich & I are working on arrangements for a really fresh acoustic “Best Of” with some new songs... I love working with Doug... It’s relatively effortless... A very gifted musician & producer... Michael McIntyre, our other Brutal Brother is an essential part of the creative team... Part of the my future plans will be to do more intimate concerts, similar to “Starkers” where I can truly interact with the crowd... Smaller venues... Of course, if we can get promoters interested... It will be a refreshing change for me from doing my “Lord Of The Jungle”, chest beat-
ing rock shows that people know me for... With our own studio & current technology, there is nothing we’ll be unable to do, to be honest... Streaming “live” shows... Showing the band recording... I’m embracing new technology to the max, as long as we can maintain the artistic integrity I feel is necessary to our work... Make the digital domain work for us, rather than the other way around... I have always wanted to do a blues/soul album as a tribute to the masters who so influenced me thru the years, but, in my own style, not simply re-creating the originals... That’s a definite... Oh, & a killer revamp of “My Generation” that I’ve wanted to kick arse on for decades!! The really wonderful thing is now I don’t have to go knocking on corporate doors to ask for their blessing, as I had to do for most of my career. It’s a new world & I am grabbing it by the short & curlies... My partners at Frontiers have been fully supportive of my hopes, wishes, dreams & ambitions & I have no doubt we’ll have some wonderful, creative & successful adventures together these next years. Q: Tommy Aldridge has left and returned to Whitesnake three times already. What led you to accepting his comeback is related to the urgent need of a drummer in replacement for Tichy, or it has something to do with your fans demand? A: No... It was time for us to fulfill our musical destiny together... & we are!! The Universe works in mysterious ways, sometimes... & in this case it was the right thing for all of us... I don’t question it... I’m just riding the incredible wave we are experiencing now... Loving it... Q: Doug Aldrich also has a parallel project called Burning Rain, which has recently released a new album entitled “Epic Obsession”. What´s your opinion regarding the possibility of the members of Whitesnake of making a career of their own? Have you listened to this material? A: I encourage my guys to express themselves outside of Whitesnake... It is with my blessing...& I hope it does amazing for Doug...He is a multi talented man... Go for it, Doug!!! MRF | 5
Artist. james Christian album. lay it all on me Interview with. james christian interviewed by:. bruce atkinson
Question: I want to start off then you risk criticism. But what I great. The ideas never stop so now with the title of your new believe is, if you do don’t expand I can take advantage of this is a record, “Lay It All On Me”… The your mind and your writing, you productive way. title track and other songs will just become stale and not Q: In addition, you have cothroughout the album have a taken as a serious writer. Just written with some great Artists, certain ‘if you have issues… doing the same thing over and over on what numbers have you Don’t despair, let me help’ atti- would never work for me. So when done this and with whom? tude. Is this a fair observa- I do a solo CD, I wanna make sure A: I have Jimi Bell and BJ on a few tion… And has this any thing to it is fresh. There is a difference songs but I have also used Jorge do with the health battle you between HOL and my solo cd’s but Salan. He is a guitar player from have recently found yourself the vocals will always be the com- Spain who also tours with Jeff Scott in? mon thread. Soto. He is a very talented player. Answer: This album was a very Q: The recording sessions are Jeff Kent and Chris Pelcer are also personal one for me and “yes” lyri- very recent, late 2012 and early co-writers with me. cally there are times the CD moves this year… So anything done Q: What are some of the highin the direction of Hope. But not all differently this time around? lights during the recording of songs have that message. It is not A: No not really. I record in my “Lay It All On Me”, that come to always the right thing to do. Music home studio which is becoming mind and you wouldn’t mind should be uplifting and well a lyrics. very elaborate. Kind of like a dream sharing? Q: This is now your third solo come true for any musician to be A: A highlight for me was hearing release, and one that sits right able to create whenever you want. the title track “Lay It All On Me” up there with “Meet The Man” The house is always filled with when it was completed. This song and your beautiful “Rude music. If it is not me in the studio, had such a strange birth. I heard Awakening”… And yes knowing then Robin or my daughter Olivia is almost every part before I had it on your involvement with House in there. It is a great thing. tape. But when I heard it done. I Of Lords-that aside for the Q: Now, having your own knew that was a special song. And moment… Why so long between recording facility, you must feel it deserved to be a title track. The solo excursions? a bit more freedom in order to message is just wonderful. I am A: Doing a solo CD can either be a express yourself musically… reminded of why I love to write and curse or a blessing. If you go too A: Yes, Having the ability to record create music Anytime I listen to far from what the listener expects whenever I have an idea is just songs like this. F o c u s o n : J A M E S C H R I S T I A N - Lay It All on Me ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) “Lay It All on Me” shows a side of James that we seldom see, when he is taking up the duties of lead vocals for House of Lords. Opening with the title cut, this collection of musical masterpieces displays an unselfish, romantic side of J.C. that perhaps hasn’t been heard since his first solo foray. As always, James Christian is a very generous soul, and not keeping his Talent to himself. He has collaborated this record with such like minded musicians as Tommy Denander and Jimi Bell… Plus he has brought together some heavyweights, like, Jeff Kent on keyboards, David Sherman on drums, just to name a few. The romantic, richly textured themes work each and every time! “Lay It All on Me” is just such a fine effort that it plays faultless. James is also joined by his very talented wife; Robin Beck, contributing vocals throughout. A very hard working singer, James also produced this collection… And in the process, gave each and every musician their own spotlight-just another sign of his generous heart! The production is lush, and as mentioned-richly textured. Are you hungry for some un-selfish love? This is it! James Christian’s “Lay It All on Me”!! Bruce Atkinson (90/100) 6 | MRF
band. king kobra album. ii Interview with. carmine appice interviewed by. barry mcminn
Question: The new album has been entitled “II” but is actually the sixth album with the King Kobra title, so why go with two instead of six? Answer: Basically it is the second album for Paul Shortino and second for Frontiers Records. Q: How long after the reunion album did you start work on the new album? A: We started on it December 2011. Just having a meeting to talk about songs... It was completed October 2012. Q: The album is a great old school Hard Rock album, was this your intention from the off, to produce an album that was pure King Kobra and not be swayed towards the so called trendy? A: It’s hard to be swayed when the label wanted a 80s King Kobra album. Not a modern sounding album. We tried to make it better than the last album putting more care into songwriting music, lyrics and sounds of the cd. I think we Focus on:
accomplished that. But we all like the direction of the cd. It gave us room to do some cool playing. Q: Do you think today’s King Kobra fits with the music of today hard rock scene? A: I don't know of any hard rock scene of today. It’s all classic rock... Q: I have always been a big fan of Paul Shortino but how did Duke Fame become part of King Kobra? A: When me and Dave our guitarist went to a Keel mix session my engineer friend Pat Regan suggested maybe King Kobra should do a cd. That being said my first singer choice was Paul. I had worked with him a thought he was awesome. So I called him he said yes! Then I called the rest of the band and everyone was in. Q: All the band members have been involved with the music scene for some years now, so what keeps you motivated to doing this style of music when it’s not seen as mainstream as when you all started out?
A: King Kobra music gives us a lot of room to play and have musical fun. Basically that’s why we do it, to have some fun musically. King Kobra is certainly not a huge money maker so it must be fun!! Q: Is it true that “Have a Good Time” was written about Vamp’d in Vegas? A: Yes I think Paul is a great lyric guy and just like the Ronnie James Dio tribute track... Paul’s lyrics were great. He tells a great story about vamp'd I think the song is like Rod's “Hot Legs” but heavier. We loved that song so much we did the video. Q: Are you looking to take King Kobra on the road? A: We have to see how it goes. If we get some promoter offers that make sense we will go. If not we won't. Q: You did a version of “Do You Think I’m Sexy” at the Las Vegas Music awards, is this one going to be a regular in the King Kobra setlist? A: Who knows King Kobra doing sexy? Interesting!!
K I N G K O B R A - II ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) In 2011 we saw the long awaited self titled reunion album from Carmine Appice’s King Kobra, now in 2013 Appice returns along with Paul Shortino once again on vocals, Johnny Rod on bass and stalwarts Mick Sweda and David Michael Philips on guitars. This new album simply entitled “II”, although this is the officially the bands sixth release, it’s the second with this new line-up and is good old fashioned high octane rock n’ roll, with the powerhouse rhythm section of Appice and Rod laying down the foundations for the twin guitars of Phillips and Sweda, which in turn lay down the platform for the unmistakable vocals of Mr Shortino to deliver only as only he can. I must admit in my eyes Mr Shortino can do no wrong and on this album he proves just that. Those raspy vocals just ooze Rock n’ Roll, particularly on the likes of “Have a Good Time” “Hell on Wheels” and “Running Wild”. This is a band having a good time and show that you can’t keep an old dog down. If there is plenty of fire in the belly then you’re never too old to rock n’ roll and there is plenty of rock n’ roll venom left in the Kobra. Barry McMinn (95/100) MRF | 7
BAnd. fergie frederiksen album. any given moment Interview with. fergie frederiksen interviewed by:. duncan jamieson
Question: Let's focus a little bit on your new effort. I believe that there are quite a few similarities between this album and your previous works, yet I have to admit that this time round you sound more mature than ever. Do you agree? Answer: Mature... That's a scary word. I was in good shape and my voice was firing on all cylinders. We did eleven songs vocally in three days. We were on a roll. Why stop when things are working and we're having fun. So long days and a lot of laughs. Maybe that's what your hearing is the consistency and love of doing it. Could that be said to be Mature. Sounds more like a couple kids in a candy store huh! Q: Did you have a specific musical direction you wanted to go in for this album? A: I wanted this CD release to show a harder edge but still have some subtleness too. I think we did all I wanted. The harder rock songs I could really stick my teeth into and loved it. Ale is a great vocal producer as well as everything else, so it was not a chore at all. A big plus I was in Italy. Man we ate well!! Q: Artists tend to say that the new Focus on:
album is always the best of their career... I know it's a sort of cliché, but I think this is really one of your best work to date. What do you honestly think about it? A: I am proud of what we have. “Isolation” will never be beat but as far as a solo effort I have to go with the cliche'. I think it is the best I've done. “Happiness Is the Road” gave me a gift I'll always cherish. Jim Peterik's “Follow Your Heart” and Ale's “How Many Roads” has done the same thing. I now love ballads... Q: Do you normally enjoy being in the studio or do you like most being on tour? Any funny/weird moments that you would like to describe which were associated with the recordings of the new album? A: I love them both. Live shows are great. Both live and studio really depends on the production and who's playing. The one thing is the imediate gratification live. The studio can be tedious but I've been blessed with such great vocal producers it has been a true pleasure. ie: Ricky Phillips, Pamela and Dugan McNiel, Jim Peterik and Larry Millas, Tommy Denander and Alessandro Del Vecchio. A great vocal producer captures the best of
any artist and makes the process fun and enjoyable. Ale did that and more. Hell, he's italian. When Riccardo and Ale were doing Back Grounds and I was helping produce them, there was some funny stuff going on in the vocal booth. No get your minds out of the gutter. Those two guys are close friends and even though I couldn't pick up every word, the faces and sounds that were created had me in stitches. Q: Can you give us a brief description of the album? Both lyrically and musically... A: Musically it comes from a harder edge than I've done in a while. That's were I got my start singing in the DAY. Such great singers and kicking ass. Lyrically it give a synopsis of my battles I go through during this time of my life. “Last Battle of My War” puts it in perspective as well as “Any Given Moment”. You never know when life is going to bite you in the ass. You get run over by a buss or get an illness that changes everything. You fight for all the right reasons. Be grateful for what you have and your loved ones. You never know what may happen. Repair your bridges, tell the one's you love that you love them and fix anything you might regret.
FERGIE FREDERIKSEN - Any Given Moment (Frontiers Records) This is his second solo album on Frontiers since his battle with cancer. Despite the toll taken by the disease, his voice is still a thing of beauty, managing to hit notes above the trees. His previous album “Happiness Is The Road” had Jim Peterik writing many of the songs, and good though it was, this is better. This time out he’s enlisted the help of Alessandro Del Vecchio who writes the material, plays keyboards and produces. “Last Battle Of My War” and “Let Go” have the sheen of his Isolation record with Toto, and indeed “Not Alone” from that album is re-recorded here as a duet with Norwegian diva Issa, who manages to sing even higher than Frederiksen. Elsewhere “Price For Loving You”, “Time Will Change” and “How Many Roads” are as catchy as his work with Mecca while the choruses throughout have the hummability of Le Roux. His recent illness adds a poignancy to the lyrics and the title track becomes the kind of life affirming anthem that the best AOR is so good at doing. The fact that Frederiksen is still making music as good as this is something that should be celebrated. Duncan Jamieson (95/100)
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band.find me album. wings of love Interview with.d. flores interviewed by.b. mcminn
Question: So tell us how the whole Find Me project came into being? Answer: The project was started by Serafino Perugino, the president and head A&R of Frontiers. He has a very good ear for collaborations and every year he comes up with constellations that really sound interesting. This year it was time for Robbie and me. The rest of the band was hand picked by me. Q: Did you have an agenda of how you wanted the music of Find Me to sound and did the final album live up to all your expectations? A: For me the songs steer the wheel of how the album is going to sound. The label works mostly with this style of music and we all wanted to stay true to the giants of AoR. Yeah, we are all really satisfied with the outcome and there is not much I would change. Q: How long have you been working on the album? A: Re-arranging of the songs took me about 1 week and then we started to record everything. All done in two weeks as I wanted that live feeling to be included. Robbie recorded his vocals in the states and that took a bit longer maybe a couple of Focus on:
months as he was in between gigs and family matters. Q: What is it about the Scandinavians that they keep producing great bands and great albums all in the name of Melodic Rock? A: Not sure, I’m not too fond of the scandirock bands here. Most of them are not bald enough to challenge their listeners. As most of FIND ME songs where written by Europeans I knew that I had to work extra hard to create that American sound come alive. As I producer I tend to lean towards the American big sound with lots of bottom and clear lead voice so this might answer the question. Another take might be that we still love the giants of AoR here and you can still hear Chicago or Journey on the major radio stations. There is melody everywhere you go. Q: There have been numerous albums from bands and projects in this genre, do you think there is an air of community about this genre that makes it stand out from the rest? A: Yeah, sure, this is an international collaboration between American, Swedish, Italian, British, Norwegian, Finish musicians and me I’m from
Chile. So this will instantly stand out from the Scandi crowed dilemma we are in at the moment. That fact alone makes sure this record will stand untouched until next. You have to understand the complexity of working with all these cultures and people. It’s a big machine and there are lots of great minds. Q: What was it about Robbie Le Blanc vocals that made him the perfect choice for your vision for Find Me? A: His is the perfect mix of Freddy Mercury, Joseph Williams and has his own style and approach to AoR so this was just a natural choice for the team involved. Q: Do you see Find Me as just a project or with the right musicians would you like to take these songs out on the road as a band? A: Everything is possible at the moment but the complexity geographically makes this a bit hard to take on the road. First things first, lets see how the album is received by the community and then see what happens. But I’ll add that I have been producing record for a couple of years straight and miss playing live so I would certainly be up for it.
F I N D M E - Wings of Love ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) In his relentless quest for the perfect Melodic Rock album, Frontiers Records President Serafino Perugino, envisioned a trans-Atlantic alliance between the multi-talented musician Daniel Flores and one of the most gifted vocalists that graced the AOR scene in the past years, Robbie LaBlanc, the result of over two years work is the stunning debut album from Find Me. Along with LaBlanc and Flores we see Daniel Palmqvist on guitar and Johnny Trobro on bass, along with songwriting collaborations from the likes of Sören Kronqvist and Allessandro Del Vecchio, the result is one of the best Melodic Rock albums of recent times. There are some stunning pieces on the album, the likes of “Another World”, “Firefight”, “One Soul” and “Powerless” will just blow you away. To be honest so will the rest of the album. The phrase “all killer no filler” comes to mind. I defy any true fan of Melodic Rock to find fault with this album. LaBlanc still has a great set of pipes and delivers in bucket loads and the backing band aren’t that shabby either. If you’re looking for the album of the year you’ve found it. Great stuff! Barry McMinn (99/100) MRF | 9
band. newman album. siren Interview with. steve newman interviewed by:. B. Atkinson
Question: Let’s begin with a little catching up… You have made some changes in the last two years… Answer: Yes, that’s correct, I’ve gone through a studio relocation and upgrade which has kept me busy for a little while to say the least!! Q: So, obviously you are feeling refreshed and by the sounds of “Siren”, shall we say a little revitalized? A: Yes, most definitely, and thank you for kind comment. I guess taking a slightly longer break this time has been a good thing, although I was still having ideas and recording them down to a Dictaphone. When it came time to record I had around 20 ideas that were ready to go! Q: Let’s talk about some of the collaboration you have done with this new album…whom have you written with and have you done anything different in the recording process? A: OK, I worked quite closely with Pete Newdeck (Tainted Nation, Eden’s Curse) on the Paris album earlier in the year. Pete and I have Focus on:
been friends for the best part of 14 years and have always wanted to work together. I had a couple of musical ideas that were missing lyrics and vocal melody so it seemed natural to send them over to Pete. I really loved what he sent back to me, those songs became “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and “Waiting for the Day”. I have known Nick Workman (Vega, Kick) for around the same length of time and we’ve become really good friends. Whenever I get a chance to write with Nick it’s always very creative. He is currently on a real songwriting high with Vega and we wrote “When It Comes to Love” together. Q: Is it fair to say, that with the songs in “Siren”, that you have taken a little harder edge? A: Yes Bruce, I think you’re right, the last album “Under Southern Skies” was a little bit more emotional for me, and tended to tread more familiar ground. I think “Siren” is probably more of a follow up to “The Art of Balance”. It certainly has a harder edge and a more “In your face” production.
Q: Also, it seems that you have opened up a bit, with some more musical friends coming in to the sessions and rocking out with you! A: I was listening through some of the songs, I always tend to leave the solos until late in the recording unless I have a very good idea of where I want to take it. Robert Sall (Work Of Art, W.E.T.) and I first met at the Rosewood Festival in Greece and we got on really well. I met him again at Firefest last year and talked about working together. I had written “Feel Her Again” for the new album and thought the style lent itself to Robert’s playing. I was blown away by what he came back with, he is a true talent and a truly nice guy. Shaun Bessant from the Newman live band contributed a solo to “When It Comes to Love” which I really liked, Shaun is a very gifted guitar player and brings something fresh and exciting to that song. Both Pete Newdeck and Nick Workman also supplied Backing Vocals to their co-written songs which gave a great texture to the overall sound.
NEWMAN - Siren (AOR Heaven) Another fine release from Steve Newman, “Siren” marks a push forward for this extraordinary singer/musician. Dealing with tragedy throughout the last couple of years, this record is filled with up-beat messages and explores, for the most part, the finer aspects of the human spirit. Again, self-produced, “Siren” is a showcase of this man’s variety of talents. Mostly a “rocker”, there are some beautiful ballads and everything has a high degree of melody. Some hard hitting, while others are simply beautiful melodic passages coming from the heart. Steve has established himself has one of the most tasteful Melodic Rock singers and song writers of our era, and “Siren” continues that level of success. As we move through this collection, we are touched by Steve thoughtfulness as a songwriter, and as an arranger. The songs presented here are superbly arranged and moves the flow of the album quite exquisitely! As the namesake of this Work suggests, this collection will draw you in, leaving you wanting to embrace that “Siren” from that so distance shore! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)
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band. lawless album. rock savage Interview with. paul hume interviewed by. barry mcminn
Question: What was it that prompted you to form Lawless? Answer: Neil and myself (Paul) currently play in the band Demon, we have worked together for many years it was Neils idea that we form a new project as well as Demon and I know Neil is a fantastic songwriter so it didn't take much persuading for me to know that this would be a special band. Q: Did you have vision from the band from the off, or did it just evolve into the powerhouse outfit that it is? A: Neil and myself just love and write classic rock songs we are inspired by bands such as Y&T, Dio Scorpions, Sabbath etc.. So if you put all theses bands together you kind of get our sound, so we didn't really evolve as a band its just naturally who we are. Q: After the formation of the band how long did it take to start laying down the tracks for “Rock Savage”? A: We wrote everything first and demo'd it then began rehearsing the Focus on:
band before recording and also for playing live, the actual final recording and mixing took about 6 months. Q: The album has some stunning slices of pure energy infused rock like “Misery”, “Rock n’ Roll City” and “Metal Times” as just a few of my favourites, but are there any tracks on the album that you are particulary proud of? A: I love the lyrics in metal time its about something that all metal heads including me probably went through, it’s about that first time you ever heard rock music I can remember the band the place how old I was it’s something that changed my life and probably happened to every metal lover in the world I was young and still at school but the image of that day I still remember clearly I think there will be many people with the same memories. Q: Do you think the British/World Music scene has seen enough to Simon Cowell and the like and we need to bring Rock back kicking and screaming to the main-
stream? A: I think the whole rock scene has struggled for a few years the main reason being that all the lovers of rock from the 70's and 80's all got married had kids got a mortgage and went off the radar, but now the kids have left home the mortgage is almost paid so those lovers of rock want to live again and yes we've had enough of Simon Cowell and all the false music I think rock music is now back on the up I see it everyday and where ever I go. Q: All the band members have been involved in the rock scene for sometime now, what piece of advice would you give to any young band trying to make it today? A: The most important thing is learn your trade don't try and cheat with all the new recording methods learn your art and hone your craft keep at it and don't give up you will get better and you will grow ,always be willing to talk to people in the industry and take advice its a long way up but its a fantastic ride.
L A W L E S S - Rock Savage ( E s c a p e M u s i c ) Founded by Demon members Neil Ogden and Paul Hume, along with Persian Risk’s Howie G and HeadrusH bassist Tabbie Williams, Lawless have set themselves a mission to bring back straight shooting Heavy Metal and Hard Rock back to the masses with their aptly titled debut “Rock Savage”. Taking their influences form the likes of Dio, Saxon, Queensryche, the Scorpions and their like, the band set out their stall early on in the album with the opener ‘Heavy Metal Heaven’, with its soaring guitars and power driven rhythms all encased in a powerful vocal. This is old school but brought kicking and screaming into the now. The album continues its powerful mix of guitars and big rhythms with the likes of ‘Black Widow Ladies’, the storming “F.O.A.D” and the riff laden ‘Rock n’ Roll City’ all great rock anthems. This isn’t a band trying to reinvent the wheel, they are just putting some studs on the rims and taking you on rock n’ roll ride of your life, to unleash your inner Rock Savage. Barry McMinn (85/100) MRF | 11
BRETT WALKER - Straight Jacket Vacation (AOR Heaven) Just when I was starting writing this review, with the sweet melodies of this album on the background, I received the tragic news that the US singer, songwriter and musician Brett Walker passed away in a car accident. After my immediate shock and my thoughts to his wife and his three children, I immediately realized how the life can be cruel and terrible, when the perspectives and the expectations for Brett were instead high and full of joy and happiness. A new brilliant album “Straight Jacket vacation”, to be released on August 30, some planned gigs (“Melodic Rock Fest 3” in Chicago, above all) and in a moment everything’s gone. Sad. Really sad, to say the less. His legacy - besides his legendary career made of great collaborations (Michael Thompson Band, Alias, Jimi Jamison, Jeff Paris) and incredible solo-albums (“Nevertheless” is already considered among the best AOR albums of all time) – are those 12 songs, an huge example of how an AOR-Melodic Rock album have to be written, played and vocally performed. Heart and passion. Class and musicianship. You’ll be missed, Brett. I’m sure you’ll make Heaven a still better place… Primo Bonali (92/100) REVAMP - Wildcard (Nuclear Blast) No one could be accused of not trying hard enough on Revamp’s sophomore release as everyone gives 110%. Floor Jansen’s gothic operatic voice is undeniably impressive. The guitars hammer hard as does the rhythm section and over the top the keyboards swirl creatively. Sometimes the chugging, generic guitars that sit underneath Jansen’s vocals compete too much with her voice and reduce the effect that Jansen’s vocals have. The album would benefit from more songs like “Distorted Lullabies” where Jansen’s fragile vocal is lightly accompanied by piano at the beginning before the momentum in the track builds with the guitars eventually thundering in. “'The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown: On The Sideline” and “Wild Card” have decent hooks and the use of gothic backing vocals on several tracks is interesting, but those chants would benefit from being more varied. “The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia” has Jansen dueting with gruffer male vocals that take the music into heavier territory as does the most diverse track “Amendatory”. If you’re a fan of Jansen’s previous band After Forever or if you like bombastic symphonic metal then this is a sturdy, well sung example. Duncan Jamieson (82/100) LISA PRICE - Priceless (Yesterrock) This is a real unearthed gem. Price, a Canadian, only got as far as releasing this “mini” 6 track album in 1983 and it’s released here on CD for the first time. If you love female fronted AOR, buy this on sight. Even restricted to only 6 tracks there’s much here to recommend it. Sounding like a fruity cocktail of Patty Smyth, Quarterflash and Pat Benetar, Price has all the qualities to suggest she should’ve been a star. She’s aided by a who’s who of cult Canadian AOR players from the bands Wrabit, Zappacosta, Dalbello and Surrender. There’s Derry Grehan from Honeymoon Suite who wrote “Heartache” and also provides guitars on the track meaning, unsurprisingly, it sounds like Honeymoon Suite. It’s very much a product of its time but the songs such as “Can’t Hold on Forever” and “Empty Heart” have everything that was needed back in the 80s to be radio smashes but luck was one ingredient that eluded Price. Duncan Jamieson (90/100) MAT SINNER - Back to the Bullet (AFM Records) Originally released by BMG back in 1990 “Back To The Bullet” was Mat Sinner’s first solo outing, who along with Alex Beyrodt, Tom Naumann, Tommy Geiger and Tommy Resch, put out an all guns blazing Hard Rock album that spawned two singles. This came line-up also went on to be the reformed Sinner and released the album “No More Alibis”, but that’s another story. But it’s back to ‘Back to the Bullet’ where all the tracks have been remastered by Primal Fear’s Achim Köhler and includes the bonus track “She’s Got The Look”, the video clips “Call My Name” and “Every Second Counts” and comes with a completely redesigned cover and booklet layout. The album itself is great old school hard rock that defined the era and pre Grunge Rock and Metal, with great anthems like “Every Second Counts” and “In The Name Of Rock n’ Roll”. There is also a superb cover of the Osmond’s “Crazy Horses” that just rock’s big style. These are just a few of the great rockers on great album that if you missed first time around are worth adding to your collection, if you like me have a soft spot for some heads down headbanging tunes. Barry McMinnn (85/100) SOIL - Whole (AFM Records) Call it Nu Metal, Alternative Metal, Modern Metal… call it what you want, still the question for me is if there’s enough melody in these kind of releases of if they’re just an absolute showing of hate and anger. SOiL’s sixth studio album, called “Whole”, brings on (to my aural pleasure) some more accessible vocals and melodies (“Ugly” and “Way Gone” recalling late Metallica-sound), yet pushing hard the heavy side of their style (“Loaded Gun”, “The Hate Song”, “Psycopath”). Some Grungy guitars (Alice In Chains especially comes to my mind), aggressive still not desperate vocals, a solid production and a nice variety on the songwriting makes “Whole” an album worth to be listened, something that gives you an hidose of energy without leaving you with the sensation that the whole world hates you (a typical effect of many of the albums of the genre… hey, that’s just my personal opinion!). If you want to leave, for an hour, the typical sweet melodies of our beloved AOR movement, you could try Soil, and you’ll enter a new, more cruel, still probably more up-to-date, perspective… Primo Bonali (80/100) OLIVA - Raise the Curtain (AFM Records) “Raise The Curtain” begins with a magnificent overture that gives us a glimpse of what is in store for us. And what is in store? An album’s worth of symphonic cutting edge Rock! Twelve tracks of razor-sharp, precisely arranged musical rivers that run deep and varied. This album exudes a big production, especially if presented live! I can just imagine the spectacular stage presence Jon Olivia will create when he has the opportunity to express this music from the stage boards. There is a lot going on here, but we can experience everything thanks to the production and high degree of musicianship that is consistently displayed within this musical opus. Jon is in fine voice as well, and we should be prepared to be enthralled as the stagehands prepare to “Raise the Curtain”!! Bruce Atkinson (92/100) 12 | MRF
LINGUA MORTIS Feat. RAGE - S/T (Nuclear Blast) What can one say? It is a Masterpiece… Epic in proportion… Diverse in musical passages and Stunning in performance! After the past 3 successfull albums that Rage released with the Lingua Mortis Ochestra (“XIII”, “Ghosts” and “Welcome to the Other Side”), here er are again! Lingua Mortis Orchestra is a Symphonic Metaler’s dream come true! Consisting of Vocalists Jeanette Marchewka and Dana Harnge, & of course Peavy Wagner. Filling out the group is Victor Smolski & Andre Hilgers. A formidable grouping this release just keeps getting more powerful track after track. The album, yes it is full of heavy, fast and melodic music along with cutting to the bone lyrics… However there is also some very beautiful passages displaying the group’s softer side as well. Lingua Mortis Orchestra is a name and group of masterful musicians to watch out for! Bruce Atkinson (95/100) FARRADAY - Shade of Love (AOR Haven) Farraday is a new one-man-band melodic rock project created by greek composer, singer, guitarist & keyboard player Roy Da Vis, who, with the help of producer, drums and bass player Stathis Spiliotopoulos, put together this nice debut called “Shade Of Love”, 10 songs of Classic US ‘80s Melodic Rock. Opening track “One Way Ticket To Hollywood” could easily be an excerpt from BONFIRE “Fireworks” or “Point Blank” with the voice of singer Da Vis sounding so close to Claus Lessmann’ and the infectious almost-Glam chorus giving you something to sing all day long, while “Rock U (The Old fashion Way)” and the title-track show Farraday’s unconditional love for mighty Danger Danger (I totally agree, of course!!!). In some moments (“Can’t Get Enough”, “Breakin Down”) I could also compare this album with late De La Cruz debut “Street Level”, also if with a slightly softer approach and with a (unfortunately) weaker production. All in all, some sweet melodies, soft keyboards, nice vocals and solid guitars make “Shade Of Love” an album definitely to check out. Primo Bonali (83/100) NIVA – Magnitude (AOR Heaven) Third album for the Swedish singer Tony Niva (after the debut “No Capitulation” of 1994 and “Gold from the Future” of 2011, both - unfortunately for us - released only in Japan), and a very very good one, to say the less. Tony Niva’s voice is great, pretty hi-pitched but always really melodic; think Tony Harnell (the 2nd song “Perfect Life” sounds like an unreleased excerpt from TNT “Intuition”) or Tony Mills, and you have the picture. The band’s style is a typical Swedish melodic Hard Rock, a la Treat ("My First And Only One”), Europe and TNT, very ‘80s oriented, with a crystal clear production and a perfect mixing; of course, are especially the vocals to shine through the 11 tracks of this great album. Along with the singer, the band NIVA is composed by Roger Ljunggren on guitars and Marcus Persson (on keys), who’ve written all of the songs together with Tony Niva; to complete the line-up Jan Stal on bass and Tomas Persic on drums. Another melodic treasure that magic Sweden (I love that country!) brought to any fan of the genre. Recommended. Primo Bonali (88/100) JEF SCOTT – Ten Stories (Yesterrock) No, Jeff Scott Sotto hasn’t shortened his name, this Jef Scott released a solo album back in 1986, and it’s finally getting a CD release. Originally from San Diego, Scott is on the lighter end of AOR. He was in Company of Strangers on which he co-wrote most of the tracks, and shared the vocals with James Reyne and Daryl Braithwaite and then his own band The Men later in the 90s. He takes care of most of the instruments here. The production is of its time, bright keyboards and a hi-tech sound that is given some rock clout thanks to some decent stinging guitar solos. Scott’s voice, which sounds a lot like Honeymoon Suite’s Johnnie Dee, also makes the album a touch more rock than pop. “I Watch My City Sleep”, “Graceland” and “Mega-Millionaire” are the tracks that have the best hooks and if the likes of Tom DeLuca, Taxxi or Mask Of Smiles era John Waite tickle your fancy, this is a decent 80s obscurity. Duncan Jamieson (82/100) PARIS – Only One Life (Avenue of Allies) Yes, they’re French. A duo, Frédéric Dechavanne and Sébastien Montet, they’ve been playing together since the 80s but it’s only now they’ve recorded this full album. It’s a mixture of newly written songs and a few that date back as far 20 years ago. Assisted by the very busy Alessandro Del Vecchio who produces, it features guests such as Steve Newman, Robert Säll and the rhythm section from Lionville and Hardline of Anna Portalupi and Alessandro Mori. With this line up you are assured of a lush, professional sound. It harks back to the 80s, and does have a Newman feel in places. Energetic keyboards from Dechavanne and Montet’s guitar bounce along nicely and the huge hummable choruses are infectious. “Dancing on the Edge”, “South of Love”, the optimistic vibe of “America” and “Longer than I Care to Remember” are the pick of the bunch. While the vocals work well on the choruses, some of the verses don’t engage which detracts from the overall effect of the songs. Like Wild Rose earlier this year, it’s 80s inspired AOR that doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel in any way and while you feel you might have it all before that is part of it underlying charm. Duncan Jamieson (82/100) HIBRIA – Silent Revenge (AFM Records) When I read that the new album, called “Silent Revenge”, of brazilian power metallers Hibria has been inspired by the Argentine film “The Secret In Their Eyes” (probably the best movie I’ve seen in the last years and one of my faves ever. I really recommend to anyone out there!!!), I was immediately curious to listen to how the band could have been able to give an aural interpretation of these unique visual atmospheres. Unfortunately the final result has not been really up to my expectations. A classic Power-Heavy Metal album, well played, with powerful guitars, really strong high-pitched vocals (courtesy of the talented singer Iuri Sanson) and a solid songwriting, but without any unique or particular points of interests that can bring this Cd in a higher position than many more of this genre. That said, if what you’re looking for is a good dose of Power Metal played with energy, musicianship and hi-energy, “Silent Revenge” could easily make it for you. Primo Bonali (80/100) MRF | 13
Bruce Atkinson: “Raise the Curtain” is the first solo album in your career – can you let us know why now is the right time to release a solo record? Jon Oliva: The idea actually came to do the solo record when guitarist Matt LaPorte passed away. I have a friend of mine, Dan Fasciano who you see on the record, co-wrote a lot of the material with me, I was working with TSO (TransSiberian Orchestra) in the afternoons
and Dan and I would hang out in the mornings and we just started writing material. I had a few riffs of Criss’ left that I wanted to do something with and it wasn’t really planned that way. Losing Matt, I didn’t want to deal with the whole band situation at that time – I needed something to keep me busy. It’s kind of like what happened when Criss died and I did Handful of Rain, it was kind of living the same movie again. He had some great stuff, I had some great stuff, and if there was ever a time to do a solo record, now was the time to do it. I’m in between what I want to do about replacing Matt for sure, plus the music I had of Criss’s was the earliest stuff we ever wrote, and it was pre-heavy metal, so it didn’t lend itself to a JOP thing. BA: It’s said that “Raise The Curtain” includes the very last ideas that were left from your brother Criss. Please describe a couple of these tracks and what type of emotions get stirred when you know such an amazing songwriter and performer like Criss was taken from the world far too early in life? JO: The first song on the album where you have material written by Criss is “Ten Years.” We were working on this and the chorus part is Criss’. We took Dan’s song and the part from Criss and lobbed them in together. He was 16 or 17 when he wrote that part. The one that’s really cool to me from Criss is “Father Time.” That riff that starts that song is probably the second riff Criss
ever wrote in his life, he was 15 when he came up with that. I took another old Avatar song and worked his riff around this, and wrote the rest around it. “The Witch” is another one, that’s when Criss first bought a 12-string guitar, after three hours we got it in tune, he cranked up the amp and the first thing he played was like a Rush riff, and that’s the main part of that song. The riffing on here is pre-Sirens, the first group of songs that we were writing together. These are the last ones I have of his on tape, and it’s kind of weird how things end with the earliest material I have on tape. It shows people where we started and what we were doing before Savatage. BA: When you look back to Criss’s riffs/solos, is there any one in particular that stands out especially? Or is there maybe an underrated piece? JO: I think Criss’ greatest riff is in “Hall of the Mountain King”, the riff that comes in after the opera part. That and “Power of the Night” are two of his best pieces. Criss was a great riff guy, he was more of a riff guy than a pure songwriter. He didn’t really understand vocals, he would write a great part and then tell me I had to come up with something that I could sing to it. He would give me these cassettes, and give me riffs from that- he would have a half of a song, a chorus part… Paul or myself would finish it off. I also think on the Streets album the song “Can You Hear Me Now” was one of the songs Criss wrote most of the music for. The weirdness of that, I played the drums and bass on that and Criss did the guitars.
BAnd. Arc angel album. harlequins of light Interview with. Jeff cannata interviewed by:. b. atkinson
Question: “Harlequins Of Light” is the name of your new record, a very interesting name, is it related to you resurrecting Arc Angel as a musical entity? Answer: The “Harlequins of Light” are the entities that share the knowledge of the Universe and hopefully you listen, and make the right choices. Q: As a multi-instrumentalist, which instrument do you favour, the Drums? A: Although the drums were in fact my first instrument, I am very much drawn to keyboards, especially for writing, and then guitar for the more powerful stuff. Q: You have assembled many talented people to be with you on this project… Have some of them played and recorded with you before? A: Of course, master keyboardist Jeff Batter will always be there to help out, as well as Jay Rowe on piano. A mainstay on guitar will be Jimi Bell, and from some of the earlier recordings, Jay Jesse Johnson, Mark Proto, David Coe on guitars. This year I had the pleasure of bringing in some new and talented lead players. Gary Maus, Andy Abel and Tony Spada . Also helping out with keys and background vocals, Pete Hodson, Focus on:
and not to forget an old friend from the original Arc Angel recording, Scott Spray on bass. Q: In preparing this recent Work, have you brought any material from the past for this release? A: There are two tracks from previous records. A new studio recording of “ Fortune Teller” and the ballad “Through The Night”. Q: what about your ispirations? A: From a melodic angle, I will sit for a while with my synth , fooling with some chords and sounds, till something takes shape. Lyrically, once I have melodies, the words come that just seem to fit the notes. Q: As you have created and performed through the years… You have visited differing musical plateaus from what is called Pomp-Rock to a more Progressive vibe… What can we expect from this new effort? A: The material on the new record, “Harlequins of Light” still has the melodic rock sensibilities, and there will always be the progressive elements that I have been brought up with. Q: Have any of your songs ever been covered by other artists and if so,which ones? A: Wanted: Dead or Alive
(ArcAngel CD) was covered by a Canadian band, April Wine. Q: Being that you have again surrounded yourself with a band project, Arc Angel, may we expect that this is the vehicle that you will travel on for the future? A: For me, that’s the only way this can be done. You need to bring in additional musicians for their expertise to raise the quality of the music to the next level. I am very fortunate to have friends, at that level… Q: If you could put together a 'dream' line-up for a band, who would would you have in it and why? A: Peter Gabriel: lead vocal, Greg Lake: bass / vocal, Robert Fripp: guitar, Keith Emerson: keyboards, Jeff Cannata, drums / vocal. Why? Why not ! Q: Jeff, do you have any plans for live performances? A: Maybe. Q: In closing, I would like to leave our readers with some final thoughts from you, so please go ahead Jeff… A: While shooting the music video for “Harlequins of Light” last week, it felt very natural and exhilarating to be back on a stage again after all the years. There would certainly be enough material to choose from. We’ll see...
A R C A N G E L - H a r l e q u i n s o f L i g h t (Frontiers Records) Jeff Cannata along with Frontiers Records have decided to give raise to Arc Angel once again! Arc Angel is, of course, the brain child of Jeff’s and has fluttered in the background since the 1980’s. Jeff went on to produce solo works throughout the years and band projects, but 2012 saw him return to his first love-Melodic Symphonic Rock. “Harlequins of Light” harkens back to the first stirrings, strengthened by the growing song writing talent of Mr. Cannata. Jeff has gathered some stellar musical friends on this journey, and the result is perfect! It is big sound! Everyone is playing on all twelve cylinders! Being a multi-instrumentalist himself, Jeff takes up the drums of course, but also displays his proficiency on the keyboards, bass, and even guitars on select creations! A varied collection of melodic passages that aptly deliver those thought provoking lyrics that Jeff is famous for… “Harlequins of Light” is just the beginning for this Arc Angel!! Bruce Atkinson (91/100) MRF | 17
band. pat travers band album. can do nterview with:. pat travers interviewed by:. d. jamieson
Question: Let’s start with you new album “Can Do”. What’s your opinion about it and how is the feedback? Answer: You know, I knew when I started writing and recording this album last year that that I was on a roll. It seemed like the songs were coming easily, my voice was (and is) in great shape and just a whole bunch of the right things happened. We are getting the best reviews of my career on Can Do. Amazing! Q: Where does the inspiration come from? A: The inspiration for the lyrics and the performances came when I was a long way from home for a long time. Although we were in a very beautiful place, there was a lot of longing, and it shows up in the songs, especially in the vocal performances. When I needed to draw some emotion into something, I just thought about how badly I wanted to get home. Everything fell Focus on:
together in an organic fashion. If there was something interesting, I didn’t stop. Q: Do you compose songs by jamming on the guitar, or do you play melodies in your head first? A: Sometimes the riffs come completely packaged out of nowhere. They would come in expecting to play one of my old songs. It’s pretty easy for somebody to learn somebody else’s bass part and ape it back for me. It’s more important for me to see what people are like in a creative situation. I would just come up with some riff totally unexpectedly. Q: Do different guitars inspire different riffs, songs and mood? A: Absolutely. I’ve got different guitars at home, and they make you play in different ways. At the studio, we had a lot of vintage Fenders. One of them was a ’62 Strat. I had no real notion of how
old the guitar was. I just liked it. It felt good, and I liked the sound. When it came to recording the actual songs, I played my Paul Reed Smith Modern Eagle. I used that guitar for virtually everything. It’s beautiful. It’s my number one and has been since I got it. Q: After all your success, what keeps the ideas still fresh and alive? A: I guess one thing that’s happened to me, and time has taken care of that, is just the number of hours that I’ve put into what I do. I’ve got such a vocabulary and such a frame of reference. I’m able to hear stuff in my head and be working on my music. I hear everything. I hear the drums, the bass, the mixing, and the harmonies. It’s wonderful, and it keeps getting more and more detailed. I can do the work in my head while doing other things. Then I go to the studio, and it’s fully formed.
P A T T R A V E R S B A N D - Can Do (Frontiers Records) Canadian rocker Pat Traver’s honest brand of rock catapulted him to fame in the late 70s and early 80s but the fluffier MTV age wasn’t a good match for Traver’s heads down, sweat and toil approach and he’s been up and down since mixing rock albums with more straight-ahead bluesy records. His latest offering is great old school rock album and a potent return to form. There are a clutch of fine bluesy rock numbers like the ZZ Top style “Stand Up”, “Armed and Dangerous”, the humorous “Waiting on the End of Time” and the full tilt of “Red Neck Boogie”. However, the deftly played which has a great floaty guitar solo shows Travers can do finesse as well as supplying serious elbow grease. The cover of The Eurythmics “Here Comes the Rain” doesn’t entirely convince but the uptempo “Long Time Gone” and wistful “Wanted” are nostalgic lyrically, harping back to the good old days when Travers’ star shone brightly. Times may have moved on but for any Hammerheads (the name given to Travers’ fans) and anyone who is a fan of well-rounded sweaty rock music then Travers shows his star is twinkling again. Duncan Jamieson (92/100) MRF | 19
band. little river band album. cuts like a diamond Interview with:. mark lyman interviewed by:. b. mcminn
L I T T L E R I V E R B A N D - Cuts Lihe a Diamond (Frontiers Records) Formed in Melbourne back in 1975, the Little River Band the band set out not only conquering their native Australia, but also the US, selling more than 25 million records, 13 US top 40 hits and numerous awards in Australia. Although the band have gone through many line-up changes since their humble beginnings, one thing has remained the same, the high quality of the bands music. This new opus sees lead singer and bassist Wayne Nelson joined by Richard Herring, Greg Hind, Stephen Housden, Chris Marion and newest member Ryan Ricks. Again Little River Band deliver some classic AOR with this new opus and shows that after some 38 years, they still produce some of the finest West Coast AOR around. The album is a great summertime album. This is a top down sitting by the beach opus, with great soulful rich melodies that will simply sweep you away on a glorious magic carpet ride, with Nelson leading the way with those soulful vocals. Songs of note have to be “Where Do I Run”, the title track “Cuts Like a Diamond” and the stunning “Who Speaks For Me”. This album is sure to be lost on the youth but us old timers can appreciate the album for the pure AOR gold that it is. Barry McMinn (90/100)
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Question: How long have you been working on the new album? Answer: A little over a year. We started writing and listening to songs for the new CD in early 2012. Because we included the label in our song selection process, it took a little bit longer to choose those final titles. And our tour schedule made it difficult to find blocks of time to record once we had the songs chosen. Q: Is there any one song on ‘Cuts Like A Diamond’ that you feel particularly connected to? A: There are many… All of them in fact. Being the senior member of the band AND the lead singer, it was imperative to me that every song be one that I could sing with conviction…and that they all reflect a grown-up perspective that fits a band in its 38th year. But if I have to choose songs for a special connection, I would choose two… “The Lost and The Lonely”, and “Who Speaks For Me”. The first is about the choice to stand up and put your life on the line for what you believe is right in the world. The second is about domestic abuse seen through the eyes of a young child, and it speaks to that horror. Both situations need heroes. Q: Your sound, image and lyrics have a strong identity to them. Is this something you've strived to achieve or something more organic? A: We strive to achieve all of that. LRB has always had a very solid reputation for placing powerful vocal harmonies front and center in our sound. It’s a hallmark for our live show too…the vocals are big. And whether the lyrics came from within the band or from an outside writer, we take the storylines seriously. Again, after 38 years, we are sincere with what we write and sing about. Q: Where do you take ispirations? A: For lyrics and stories…life. That's what means the most to us and our audience. That's what's real. For sounds…like I said earlier, there's a lot of people out there experimenting with some very bizarre sounds. That doesn't necessarily make for good quality… Weird doesn't always mean good. LRB's music has never been built from an
experimental sound up. We try to create a full soundscape, first with big drum sounds, then with good solid rhythm section sounds. Once we feel good about that foundation, we start sneaking in the tasty little "ear worms" that you'll find scattered throughout the CD. Some are instrumental…some are vocal. Q: When people are younger, they imagine what their life is going to be like in the future. How did your expectations for life differ from the reality of right now? A: In terms of career, I didn’t expect bands and musicians to carry on as we have. There was a time when rock bands led pretty self-destructive lives. So just surviving was a roll of the dice. But not many of us felt that we would be relevant to an audience after the age of 30…and then 40… And then 50… No way. I’m 63 and still feel 29 from the neck up. Our audience is made up of people who survived with us, but also passed on the genre of melodic rock to their kids. Their ears are set for that sound, and we still deliver it with energy and enthusiasm. Q: What is the best advice you could give to any budding musician who wants to progress in this dog-eat-dog business? A: Practice your craft, write your own music, and read the fine print. You never know when or how all of that will come back to repay you for your efforts. If a door opens, you need to be ready for what is expected of you when you step through. Q: The whole AOR scene has seen a revival over recent years, what is it about this style of music that motivates you to continue when it’s now seen as an underground scene and not mainstream? A: Without being too specific, mainstream doesn’t mean good. It just means lots of people are buying it. And the audience that still appreciates our music wants to hear it like they used to hear it…LIVE. I’m not sure you could look at pictures of our fans and call them underground… Not like I remember the term being used, anyway. Regardless of the label, melodic rock is still popular to a wide range of ages and lifestyles. Why wouldn’t we want to continue doing what we love to do
when it makes so many people happy?? Q: Would you say for the most part that people are driven by different motivations for buying music and going to shows then when you first started out? A: No I really wouldn’t. Live shows can be for date night, reliving memories, quiet moments at home, party moments in the street…all of the above. I think people are motivated by the same desires as always. Music energizes, it connects audiences, it triggers emotions…its fun when it’s good. And whether paying for a CD or a download, or going to a live show…hooking into your favorite music moves you. Q: These songs will be killer out on the road, how many do you plan to perform in the live environment? A: Yes they will. And we have to walk a fine line between presenting the hits and focusing on the new CD. As it grows in popularity, we’ll be able to blend in more new songs. But we’ve seen other bands with new material do 5 new ones in a row, or ignore their hits altogether. We’re of the mind that the hits and the new songs have to be seen as a continuum. The memories and the history attached to the hits have to be respected. The vast majority of ticket buyers will be there to hear their old favorites… And hopefully appreciate some new songs thrown in because they’re strong and fit the continuum. Q: The band have appeared with some of the biggest names in the business, from the Eagles to the Doobie Brothers, is there one band that you could dream of sharing a stage with? A: Let me put it this way… We all have bucket lists. I think anyone would be proud to say they shared stages with The Eagles, Heart, The Doobies, Cheap Trick, Fleetwood Mac, Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, America, Firefall, Kool and the Gang, Foreigner, Jimmy Buffett, Lover Boy, CSN, AWB, Survivor, ELO, Average White Band, Billy Joel, Poco, BTO, Player, The Guess Who, Boz... And more. But still on that list… Sting, Elton, McCartney, Annie Lennox, Stevie, Toto, Maroon 5… And more. MRF | 21
Bruce Atkinson: This project is huge! A massive undertaking… How did it all begin? Victor Smolski: A couple of years ago we decided to separate Rage and Lingua Mortis Orchestra. Aprox. end of last year I started to compose the material. Three months of recording process in studio were quiete stressfull for me, but otherwise I had a lot of fun to produce this concept album. In year 2000, when we were searching material for my solo album “The Heretic”, we checked a lot of archives in America, Germany and Russia. This was very interesting for us, so Peavy kept looking for more and found the story we use now for LMO. BA: Now, what is the overall vision you have for Lingua Mortis Orchestra? VS: LMO is a new band and we plan to continue in future. I was really motivated to do something special like a Metal Opera. I want to have all different colours of singers and try to find new way of arrangements for the band and orchestra. Two songs I composed together with Peavy. The rest I composed by myself. BAIn regards to this new Masterwork, what is the concept of the new album? VS: It´s a concept album that plays in the late 16th century in the German town of Gelnhausen. It deals with the circumstances that lead to the conviction and the murder of the priests widow Elisabeth Strupp as a witch. BA: With a project as massive as this, were there any major challenges to the actual recording? VS: It´s always stressfull to have many people in studio and for this CD I need more than 100 musicians. Organisation between three different countries, four studios and many different characters cost a lot of nerves. But many years of experience in orchestra recording and producing CDs help me a lot. I found really perfect combination between classical and metal musician. And all of them did perfect job. BA: Who co-produced this musical statement with you? VS: Since more than 10 years Co-producer is Charlie Bauerfeind. BA: What plans to you have for the future? VS: I hope I have time this year to finish my solo album, but we start already to think about the 30th anniversary of Rage next year. So, I don´t know when it will be finished. BA: Thank-you for this chat, and congratulations on such a masterful epic of musical moments! As is my tradition, in interviews, I like to leave our readers with some closing thoughts from you… so please go ahead... VS: Thank you very much to all who support us, we appreciate this and give our best! 22 | MRF
This new issue includes reviews and interviews of Whitesnake, James Christian, King Kobra, Fergie Frederiksen, Find Me, Newman, Lawless, Oli...