Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Shaggy – Fighting Angels And Demons (LP/digital)




If you have read my review of Swedish hard rockers Shaggy’s pompy/proggy return album “Destination Nowhere”, you noticed I said I was expecting a hard/heavy rock album, but instead they went proggy/pompy. Well, THIS album is actually what I would have expected. Opening track “Black Hearted Angel” kicks off in a full-throttle Heep/Purple vein with power and conviction. It has some cool twists and turns in the solo section which really makes it stand out. “Bouldless Love” brings me back to Deep Purple’s “Perfect Strangers” but with a touch of Black Sabbath! Damn, this is REALLY great stuff!! Fat and heavy mix, killer vocals by Ulrich Carlsson (ex-M.ill.ion). The line-up again features original members Fidde Rognås on guitar and Tom Ryan on keyboards, introducing Stefan Husar on drums, Robert Ottosson on bass and, I presume, Fidde’s son Hannes Rognås on guitar. “No Soldier Of God” continues in the heavy vein, with a touch of prog. “A Thousand Miles” started with a quirkt loop-thing and continues in a vein more akin to the previous album, until the bridge kicks in with a ton of bricks weighing it down. A really cool and quirky song, indeed! “Dark Symphony” starts off with some really dark and heavy Sabbathy semi-tones and could have been something from “Seventh Star”. Heavy and dark, but not completely doomy. Love it! “Runner In The Dark” really reminds me of Uriah Heep, like a mix of “Salisbury” era Heep and the latter day albums. The album finishes with “Self Destruction” kicking off with a mean and brutal guitar riff, distorted Hammond organ and a kick-ass drive! One of the best tracks on an album filled with killer stuff! This rocks, big time!!

Janne Stark
Year: 2019
Label: GMR Music
Country: Sweden

Monday, 21 January 2019

Rockicks – Keep On Rockin’ (A Retrospective Anthology)



FINALLY!!!! G’daaaam! I’ve been waiting for this 70s classic to be released on CD since Moses was running around in shorts. Rockicks classic album “Inside” was released on RSO Records back in 1976 and I bought the LP back then. The band delivers a big chunk of southern influenced hard rock with dual guitars all over the place. There are heavy rockers like “Consideration”, rockers like “Rock N’ Roll Band”, powerful hard rockers like “Sweet Wealth” and “Keep On Rockin”. What was a huge surprise was that besides the 8 tracks from the original album there’s a SHITLOAD of previously unreleased bonus tracks here!! 7 tracks on the CD containing the album AND an extra CD with another 14 (!!) tracks!!! There’s a whole lot of killer stuff here! Damn, I wish they would have been given the opportunity to record a follow-up. Not that these tracks are badly recorded, but they could have been even better! 16 of the bonus tracks are from 1977! Damn! That’s even two albums (ok, there are a few alternate versions). There are also three really great tracks from 1991-1992. The quality of these tracks makes me wonder why there wasn’t another album there and then! The quality, both musically and soundwise is killer! The final track is a 2005 alternate version of “Consideration”, a sort of lounge version. Not bad at all, but I do prefer the heavy version. Unfortunately, two of the original members have passed, Rick Altschuler in 2004 and Brian Naughton in 2012, so I guess a Rockicks re-union is out of the question. Well, this double shot will at least give you the bands outstanding music in digital shape and form. A must!!

Janne Stark
Label: Grooveyard Records
Year: 2018

Country: USA

Vindicata – Beneath The Surface (CD)


This was not really what I expected to hear from the Grooveyard, I must admit! Vindicata, fronted by the raspy and fiery power pack Mary Magill leans more towards modern detuned riff-oriented hard rock (think Sevendust, Alter Bridge etc.) than the 70s influenced bluesy stuff we’re used to hearing from the guitar label of guitar labels. However, I must say I do not mind at all. This is some heavy shit! The band was previously called Half The World and released two CDs, now really rare and hard to find. The band changed their name to Vindicata and “Beneath The Surface” is a compilation of these two albums, but with a couple of changes. The band has also added the talent of Chris Poland (Ohm, OHMphrey, Megadeth etc). He has added some outstanding solos on almost all the tracks!  Even though the albums were written and originally recorded a few years apart and they were released some years ago, this does feel like a very homogenous and fresh album! You definitely can’t tell it’s a not a "new" album (I was actually halfway through the album before I was like – Where the hell have I heard this before??). Guess the band was a bit ahead of its time. Great band! Looking forward to hearing some new material!

Janne Stark
Label: Grooveyard Records
Year: 2018
Country: USA
Link: www.facebook.com/vindicataband

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