The Chemical Wedding
CMC International

“I see this album as being somewhere between Black Sabbath Vol. 4 and Rainbow Rising,” says Bruce Dickinson of his sixth solo record. By all accounts it stands as his best work yet, vicious yet tuneful, thunderous yet delicate. Since leaving the ranks of Iron Maiden in 1993, Bruce has released one album and tour a year as well as dipping into his hobbies as a novel writer, a poet, a world class fencer and a small aircraft pilot.

“I can’t ever see myself as some wimp-ass Bon Jovi,” Bruce goes on to say. “My stuff has got to have a lot of balls.” And that it does! From track #3 to #8 The Chemical Wedding is positively lethal. 18th Century Poet/Artist William Blake sketches the framework of the recording and even Arthur Brown stands in for a bit of narration.

Dickinson’s line up has remained constant since last year’s, Accident of Birth bringing the toxic level of Roy Z and ex-Maiden bandmate Adrian Smith to the forefront while David Ingraham and Eddie Casillas keep the rhythm tight and meaty. Matched with Dickinson’s voice, the maturity of this band is astounding.


Blue Guru
Fountainbleu Int.

Known primarily among the ranks of steamy R&B songwriters, New York-based Jon Tiven is a blues traditionalist with a flare for slick, sticky tunes. His current release Blue Guru is chalk-full of tasty morsels. Give He Don’t Know a spin then jump to Tricks of The Trade and River Of No Return (which sounds like an Eddy Money/Robert Cray track), Second Hand Paradise and Laugh guests John Waite on backing vocals and Protection melds the writing partnership he shares with wife, Sally.

The musician’s songs maintain a strong sense of balance and a passion for mood and atmosphere. This might explain why his compositions have been covered by B.B. King, Ben E. King, Huey Lewis & The News and Buddy Guy. “I love writing songs and working in the studio but it’s only been recently that I’ve enjoyed performing live,” Tiven explains from his Manhattan home. “Living in New York, I’ve been able to work with some of my R&B heroes. I’ve learned a lot working with the older writers, guy’s who’ve been around and know a good song.”

To order the CD: Jon Tiven, 528 Lambert Rd., Orange CT, 06477.


Sewn Mouth Secrets
Relapse Records

Do you want some real swamp metal as dark as the Baton Rouge marshlands? Dial up Relapse and order an arm full of Soilent Green’s Sewn Mouth Secrets. Voted in Rolling Stone #805 as one of the best Metal bands to invade 1999, Soilent Green are the demonic flesh-eating prisoners portrayed in the 1973 Charlton Heston classic.

The brain child of throaty vocalist, Ben Falgoust, this Louisiana five-piece bring to the table a double-edge guitar barrage leaping with seething intensity. So Hatred, Cold-Steel Kiss, Gagged Whore and It Was Just An Accident are virgins on the altar, the rest like Her Unsober Ways are ladies in waiting.

As with many struggling upstarts, Green’s mission is to spread the word. Several times in the past few months they’ve made the all-night drive up to Philly to play the local underground club Stalag 13. Live they are the mechanics of nitro eruptions. The burst of full volume sputters from their amplifiers as Falgoust growls, “closet master reveal yourself / clenching the truth in your throat...tell me a secret, I’ll tell you a lie.”


Moving Target
Magna Carta Records

Andre Anderson, Royal Hunt’s guitarist and keyboard wizard believes that melodic hard rock is back to being more excepted than shunned these days. “A few years ago we and a few other bands were the only ones left doing this kind of music. Everyone else had gone away. But now we are seeing more and more bands starting to surface especially in Japan and Europe.”

Royal Hunt are themselves considered media and stage darlings in Japan and parts of Europe. “We’ve been lucky, a lot of people like what we do and have grown with us from the beginning,” says Andersen. “Much of our success comes from the loyal fans.” Moving Target is the band recent release and, judging by the fan reaction, is just what the doctor ordered - a water-tight package of swelling power metal laced with D.C. Cooper’s golden vox.

Andersen maintains, “When we changed singers a couple records ago, there was a small adjustment period but D.C fits in so well, it’s like he’s been with us all along.” The sole American amid a bunch of Danes is the perfect challenge for D.C. and may be responsible the the Americanized sound on Moving Target.


Spells of Fear
DeRock Records

Joey Belladonna may well be one of the nicest guys in rock. So why the vicious looking cover? His answer; “to go with the aggression I’ve tried to get out on this record.” For the ex-Anthrax singer, it’s been an unusually quiet past few years. “After I left Anthrax in the early nineties, I took some time to re-think where I wanted to go and what I wanted my music to sound like,” speaks Belladonna from his Upstate New York digs. “I did eight albums with Anthrax in about eight years and toured for each one (they were also nominated for three Grammy Awards) and I just wanted some time.”

Belladonna has retured with his first record for Canada’s DeRock Records. The music is, as he states himself “very aggressive”. The singer produced and arranged the record with additional efforts being made in the creative core by guitarist Peter Scheithauer, a frenchman who contacted the singer via mail. The two found common ground and within a short time were ready to form a band. In stepped Wasp drummer Stet Howland and bassist Fleisch. The result, Spells Of Fear. “We put a ton of work into this and we all are into the music,” tells Belladonna. “We are looking forward to putting this over live.”


If We Only Knew Then...
Metal Blade Records

Talas were three kids from Buffalo, NY that put a band together to have and good time and strut around for the girls. It was basically three guys, Paul Varga (d), Dave Constantino (g, v) and a little know bass player, called Billy Sheehan. They had one minor hit outside upstate New York Shyboy, but other than that they were generally regarded as a white-hot, ass-kickin’ bar-band.

Sheehan dismantled the band when offered a gig to tour Europe with UFO then went on to David Lee Roth’s band and hit pay dirt with Mr. Big. Varga and Constantino basically vanished until November 29th, 1997.

Considered the world’s ace bass player, Sheehan decided it was time to put the old gang back for another romp and see if they were still the wild boy’s of yester-year. “We didn’t know if it would be possible,” Sheehan admitted over the phone, “but everything worked out.” If We Only Knew Then... is the result of that very special night. Shady in spots, yet brilliant around the edges, Talas appeases their hometown crowd with a raw, stellular performance.

Mr. Big guitarist, Paul Gilbert is doing a road-side clinic tour behind his King Of Clubs CD on Mayhem.


(sky above)
Hybrid Records

Martin’s Dam is one of Philadelphia’s elite rock bands and much like their cross-platform rivals, The Bacon Brothers, they build their foundation around the core talents of Scott and Brian, the Bricklin brothers. “We grew up with music,” Scott mentions in a recent interview. “And that’s basically all we know. We wouldn’t have much satisfaction doing anything else.”

Ten years ago, after attracting the attention of A&M, the brothers released Bricklin and began a recording history together. But life with A&M was brief and the next decade would see Martin’s Dam moving through the ranks of independent releases to finally land a significant deal with New York’s Hybrid Records. “We got a real good feeling about working with Hybrid,” says Scott, “It’s important to us that the label like the album and really support it”

Recently Martin’s Dam showcased songs from their Hybrid debut, Sky Above in front of the packed North Star Bar for family, friends and Record Execs. Bass player Mark Gorman and drummer Gary Gold accompanied the Bricklin’s and together they memorized the crowd with their dynamic marriage of songwriting and stage-craft. Hit single Fear of Flying started the set with rousing renditions of Mercy Blue, Come See Julia, Carousel, The Sky Above and Angel.

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Heartbreakers and Homewreckers
Delinquent Records

Behind the soup kitchen in the alley playing leaf-tail with the rats may just well be the next generation of Punk-Glam hell-raisers. Fashioned after LA’s pre-“Big Hair” metal days, Paradise Alley bask in a brash lack of discipline and over indulgence while still playing at full watt“age.”

They hail from England where their Clash-like delivery dampens the seats of concert halls across the continent. “Yeah, a lot of girls come to the gigs,” chimes vocalist Steve Vincent. “We think it might be our tight trousers.” Having played just about every club in the UK and Scandinavia, Paradise Alley brought their outrageous show to the US for a slog on foreign soil.

“We love New York,” says Vincent. “All our influences from the NY Dolls to Hanoi Rocks and the Pistols played there. It’s our spiritual home.” To complete their religious quest, they had to play CBGB’s. Evidently the seats needed a thorough washing there as well.

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Bar & Grill
Southbound Records

If you could bottle up six-gun thunder, let it ferment for a couple weeks, shake it up a few times and let it go after 12 hours in the heat of the sun, the Regulator would be the hot suds hitting you in the face. A seven member guitar threat running down the tracks, this outlaw band sounds like Skynyrd, Nugent and Molly Hatchet all on the same stage.

The name Regulators might turn some lights on as their self-titled, first album, added songs to the soundtracks Under Siege, Kuffs and Girls Of Rock vol3. Their second release Bar & Grill is a home-spun affair and has become a favorite for the Sturgis jukeboxes and among the biker communities. Produced by Juan Croucier (Ratt) and mixed by Billy Sherwood (Yes), the CD relies heavily on the back-bone of it’s four guitars. Chris Turbis’s work on the piano is another essential element to the groups sustaining sound. Running from Breakin’ Out to Maple Leaf Rag through to Sweet Sustain. (dedicated to deceits member Jimi Hughes) The piano is consistent and appealing even as a backdrop adding color to the blizzard of guitar.

Adapting to the theme of the music is the sway of their lyrics. I see you eatin’ crow/ Serve it on a plate/ To justify your fate ...time is right for the real deal. This is a must for fans of Southern Rock.