THE DAMN TRUTH – NOW OR NOWHERE Released – May 2021
Montreal-based rock band The Damn Truth have recently bubbled up from an underground presence with the release of their third album, Now Or Nowhere, mostly produced by the legendary Bob Rock who got heavily involved in the recording process by introducing the band to a range of vintage guitars and amps to tie in with the 1970’s attitude and live sound.
MIDNITE CITY ITCH YOU CAN’T SCRATCH Released – June 11th
Since bursting out onto the scene with a vengeance in 2017, Midnite City have taken on the world and hustled themselves to the top of the pile to be considered one of the top modern exponents of quality melodic rock. Their debut self-titled album was a cracker, with Harry Hess mastering their demos, the full band being pulled together, and the formal release gave enough support for the band to be considered as leaders of a resurgence in commercial AOR hair-metal heaven!
THE LOST SEARCH PARTY EP – AN INVITATION TO…. Released – May 28th 2021
In keeping with so many bands over the last year thanks to COVID-19, Kent rock band The Lost Search Party have had a tricky time recording and preparing their self-financed debut EP ready for release. As their social media post says it’s been a case of “5 songs, 4 recording studios, 3 national lockdowns, 2 bass players to produce 1 EP! After this lengthy preparation, it’s now here. I picked up on the first single, Getaway last week and was immediately attracted to the catchy hook-laden guitars, and requested a copy of the EP to review.
As someone who first came across Dellacoma fronting Sydney rock band Sunset Riot in 2012 or thereabouts, I have always been interested in seeing what he has been doing – and the first solo album South Of Everything that came out in 2015 was a terrific opening release.
A regular event in the Mangrove Mountain hall in the past 8 years, thanks to the enthusiasm of promoter Ryan Howard, an evening of Blues / Folk / Roots music from a range of local and national artists, this weekend saw the multi-talented Ash Grunwald head the bill, and he agreed to do two shows to assist with the COVID-19 capacity restrictions.
THE L.A. MAYBE DIRTY DAMN TRICKS Released – March 26 2021
The L.A. Maybe is a 6-piece rock ‘n’ roll band hailing from the southern heat of the Carolinas. If you’re a fan of Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, or Van Halen, with a touch of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Black Crowes then you will feel right at home adding these guys to your record collection.
THE TREATMENT Waiting For Good Luck Released – April 9 2021
Waiting For Good Luck is the fifth full-length album from British hard rockers The Treatment, who have now cemented their position in the rock world in their own right, over the past 12 years and 4 previous album releases. Showcasing an intense sonic power only hinted at thus far, the band is truly firing on all cylinders now with the 2021 release.
CHEZ KANE Released – 12th March 2021 Frontiers Music
A talented, young vocalist who fronts, with her two sisters, the UK melodic rock band Kane’d, Chez Kane was brought to the attention of the label after conversations with Danny Rexon of Crazy Lixx about the possibility of him scouting and producing some exciting new talent. Subsequently, Danny started working on some demos with Chez and the label did not pass up the opportunity to collaborate on this solo album as a songwriter and producer, that also happened to mastered by one Erik Mårtensson from Swedish AOR monsters, Eclipse.
The Press Release for The Dust Coda‘s forthcoming album Mojo Skyline tells us that it was recorded at Modern World Studios with the multi-platinum, award-winning producer Clint Murphy (Manic Street Preachers, Thunder, Devilskin), and offers a plenitude of tracks that leap across the spectrum of rock’n’roll, containing half a decade’s worth of the band’s raw soul and innermost demons.
THUNDER All The Right Noises Released – March 12th 2021
Thunder may be the band who will just never give up – having been a fan from the earliest Terraplane days, and having been lucky enough to be present at the 10th Anniversary “farewell” tour in 1999, and the 20 Years & Out show at Hammersmith Odeon in 2009 (despite moving to Australia in 1998) and even getting to shoot the sold-out Hammersmith show in March 2015, we felt thrilled to get the band to Australia in 2017 for some intimate, but very raucous club shows.
JIM KIRKPATRICK Ballad of A Prodigal Son Released – Oct 2020
I bought this album when first released – Jim Kirkpatrick is currently the lead guitarist of my favourite AOR band, FM, and has always offered a finely balanced melodic blues-rock tone to the live and recorded output of that wonderful band since he joined in 2008.
THE MERCY KILLS – NEW RULE EP Released 15th Feb 2021
This is an interesting piece of Melbourne’s rock’n’roll history that finally gets to see the light of day thanks to the team at Golden Robot Records.
New Rule is the debut EP by Melbourne dirty / sleaze rock band The Mercy Kills. Written and produced in 2010, this five-track release has strong elements of the four members influences, with elements of post-punk, grunge and rock ‘n’ roll. TMK are proud that it stands strong, alongside the music they have produced over the ten years since.
JOANNA CONNOR 4801 South Indiana Avenue Release Date Feb 26th 2021
Chicago-based slide guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter, Joanna Connor, who is best known as one of the reigning Queens of blues rock guitar, releases her 14th album 4801 South Indiana Avenue on Joe Bonamassa’s new independent blues record label Keeping The Blues Alive on February 26, 2021, and the record features a serious dose of Joe Bonamassa himself in the production, alongside blues guitar great Josh Smith, and both of them playing guitar all through the album.
INGLORIOUS – WE WILL RIDE Release Date 12th Feb 2021
A new line-up for Inglorious, a band that has seen a few personnel changes in the years since I was at one of their early major gigs in Birmingham almost exactly 5 years ago – with the constants of Nathan James up front on the voice, and Phil Beaver at the back behind the kit both still in place.
The sound on this fourth album remains very much as it was from the start, a fresh modern take on those classic British rock bands – Deep Purple, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin and others, with Nathan James being heavily influenced by David Coverdale, with that raw bluesy edge to the enormous vocal power he brings.
We Will Ride has been written and recorded through the COVID-19 lockdown in Wales, with producer Romesh Gogandoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine, Motörhead) at the helm, and saw the band take a more relaxed and fun approach to the writing process, despite the delays caused by the pandemic, and they reckon this has been a real rejuvenation of the Inglorious phenomenon.
The upbeat riff-heavy She Won’t Let You Go opens up with a familiar touch of the solo guitar providing the intro, before the band powers in behind the guitar and we are off – a straight-forward no-nonsense verse that leads into a powerful pre-chorus and an absolute monster of a chorus – and features the first of many ripping solos (not sure which guitarist contributes which). The two newer band members Danny Dela Cruz and DanStevens are clearly working in perfect harmony on the guitars, and this forms a key part of the Inglorious sound – topped off by the power and passion of Nathan James on the voice.
Messiah has a slightly ‘eastern’ tinge to the melodies, and some atmospheric vocals, but is another example of the huge sound, and the great production values here. There is lots of light and shade here with a real contrast between verse and chorus. The newest single release is Medusa, which kicks off with a brutal slide guitar intro, and a vocal delivery that is as big as anything David Coverdale delivered in his prime – again a slightly ‘eastern’ vibe in some of the guitars, in the same vein as fellow Brit-rockers Ten have delivered. There is some sensational drumming in the track as Phil Beaver confirms what a solid performer he is behind the drums, with some excellent touches throughout.
There is a more stripped-back opening to Eye Of The Storm which suggests a power-ballad, with lots of effects and echoes on the spacey guitars, and a softer lead vocal line which lasts until the massive build-up into the super-catchy chorus which powers along at double-time. The dynamic changes continue between the verse and chorus, and there is a brief interlude that sees Nathan’s voice at full force, before the huge guitars power back in and we get the closing chorus in all its glory.
A similar approach is suggested by the very sparse guitar intro to Cruel Intentions, which is soon overtaken by the upbeat rocking guitars and immense AOR backing vocals – this is just classic power melodic rock of the highest quality. James’ vocals show off his huge range and power, and the guitars are off the scale. There is a change of feel with the piano intro (from Rob Lindop) and the guitar tone to the epic My Misery, and Nathan delivers a sensitive feel to the vocals in the verses, and then the goosebumps appear with the opening lines of the chorus, which rises to soaring heights, and they don’t go away! The pumping guitar-fuelled middle-eight is glorious, and then we get another chorus and a powerful outro to close!
Do You Like It is an Inglorious classic full of all the trademarks of the band – a crushing riff, a huge lead vocal line, a chorus full of hooks and backing harmonies and a searing solo that explodes out of the chorus! The rhythm section of Beaver and bassist Vinnie Colla absolutely lock down the beat and perfectly support the outrageous harmonies going on above!
There is only one track that gets over the 5 minute mark which might be a surprise, and He Will Provide gives us a moody riff and a slightly menacing lead vocal (think Ozzy in classic Blizzard of Ozz days), and also features an atmospheric mid-section that leads into another ripper of a solo over that grungy riff – the solo may be a combination of both Danny and Dan doing their thing. We Will Meet Again delivers another powerhouse melodic rock beast, with a really contemporary feel to the riff and melody, and some strong backing vocals to add depth to the delivery which is restrained without losing the power.
The last two tracks continue to deliver the power and passion of the rest of the album, with God Of War really letting the two guitarists excel as they trade-off delicate fretwork in the verses, brutal powerchords in the chorus and frenetic harmony licks in between. The band picks up the pace in the outro, with a double-time beat and more guitar soloing to the last chord.
We Will Ride is the perfect title track and album-closer – a dark and moody verse, and another soaring chorus full of layers, while the guitars weave their magic underneath it all.
The twin guitars certainly add a dimension to the band that perhaps has not been quite so apparent in the last album or two – Danny and Dan appear to have quickly developed a level of rapport and interaction that finds them intuitively working around each other in the riffs and melodies, and then through the interplay in the lead breaks and solos!
I really hope this one pushes all the right buttons around the place, because a band that has worked as long and hard as this one to find the right formula really deserves it!
Line-up: Nathan James – Lead Vocals Danny De La Cruz – Guitar Dan Stevens – Guitar Vinnie Colla – Bass Guitar Phil Beaver – Drums/Percussion