`

ALICE COOPER
Welcome 2 My Nightmare
Hip-O Records

After we got over the absolutely dreadful album cover we were able to penetrate more deeply into the music of Alice Cooper’s 2011 sequel to his 1975 conceptual classic. With the “to” swapped out for a”2”, the album reunites Alice with original producer Bob Ezrin and features 14 new cuts that span multiple genres and feature previous members of the Alice Cooper band (including Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith, Michael Bruce and Steve Hunter). Elements of the first Nightmare haunt the current compositions not only bringing back the retro ‘70s sound but catapulting fans back to the original magic of Steven’s encounter with his dark side. Not only does Cooper succeed, but the first cut is blinding! Arranged with Desmond Child “I Am Made Of You” is a riveting ballad that introduces the listener to Steven’s continuing saga. Bathed in Ezrin’s gorgeous piano with a techno beat, Cooper creates a song that is not only elegant but teetering between good and evil – easily taken either way. Cooper’s voice is melodic and beautiful - and at 63, the man delivers the best vocal performance of his career.

After the anguished lullaby, our main character desperately tries to stay awake in the powered up “Caffeine” where Alice dips into his aging influences. Part Detroit rev with a sprinkle of sixties groove makes the song freaky fun as it spirals down into “The Nightmare Returns” a minute long interlude that flashes back ’75. Like Tubular Bells in The Exorcist its eerie beauty is the perfect segue into the twisted plotline. Four songs in and we finally get some real mean guitar in “A Runaway Train” provided by none other than country star Vince Gill who captures the rumble of a reckless freight train with ease and redneck fever. That’s the flash to Cooper’s work – it’s unexpected, novel and catchy.  “Last Man on Earth” switches gears into a carnival atmosphere like Beatlejuice meets The Clown Murders while “The Congregation” brings back the “Schools Out for Summer” riff with a church organ, electric guitar and a punk chorus made up of Ramones rejects. Finding that Detroit groove once again is the lovely titled “I’ll Bite Your Face Off”. An ode to The Rolling Stones, it swaggers in with a 70’s flashback complete with classic Alice lyrics and even pays homage to Elton John’s “Pinball Wizard”.

Personal favorite is the tongue-in-cheek “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever, ” another twist with Alice trying to kill off disco while writing a great disco song. The metaphors are a mile long here with Cooper rapping like Eminem to a disco beat. Remember is was disco that killer ‘70s rock. Classic! Next we find the Coop checking out Zombie chicks in the Surf-rock “Ghouls Gone Wild” followed by what Alice himself calls the prettiest song I’ve ever written in “Something To Remember Me By.” The sadistic darkness returns with “When Hell Comes Home” taken straight tout of the headlines with a gritty tale of child abuse that ends in the death of the song’s culprit. Radio friendly duet with pop star Ke$ha on “What Baby Wants” is priceless. Like Slash with Fergie, Cooper see Ke$ha as the next big rock Godess after a bit more tarnish to her diva crown. The record closes with “I Gotta Get Outta Here,” a light rock number with a twisted ending. It all culminates with the “The Underture” (which owes a huge debt to The Who’s “Tommy”), a beautiful orchestral tune that incorporates bits of every song from the two “Nightmare” albums.

Website: Alice Cooper

THE ITCH
Spreading Like Wildfire
Rambo Music

In the history of the Sweden Rock festival only one unsigned band has played the main stages. That band is The Itch!  Hailing from the south of Sweden (Malmö), the band did a number of club gigs outside the festival for several years. As their audience grew, festival organizers took note and brought them inside the gate. In 2010 we watched them open the festival taking note of their muscle-bound bassist Tobbe Skogh in his bright red-leather trousers. Their brand of southern-fried hard rock falls somewhere between Molly Hatchet and Mötley Crüe with just enough dirt and grim to bring back the true spirit of Hollywood’s sunset strip pre-1985. Guitarist Magnus Wahlberg beats the Devil at his own game cranking out lick after tasty lick with drummer Johan Helgesson setting a tribal beat. Vocalist / guitarist Lukas Landero gets all the girls with his long-haired charm and animal magnetism while prowling the stage and trying to insight a riot. Blasting riff-based rock at full volume with hook-filled choruses kept the audience tuned in and turned on.

Collecting rave reviews, the band has been compared to Great White, The Answer, Electric Mary, Roadstar and the Hellacopters. We’d go a step deeper into the ‘80s arena and bring up names like Tattoo Rodeo, Steelheart and Tangier. The magic of Spreading Like Wildfire is its classic rock vibe. The bluesy, hard rock feel of songs like anthemic “Calling Me Back”, the radio-ready “No Friend of Mine” and the open-chord frenzy of “Loosing My Mind” are all prime examples. In fact, it’s actually a little stunning how tight these guys really are. “Action”, the second track in, really gets the party started as a full-contact cock rocker with the first line “Goddamn it’s been too long since I got me some.” Wahlberg’s guitar nails the solo with all the swagger of CC DeVille. The chunky “Sold My Soul” kicks up a nice little whirlwind as it power through an AC/DC riff with a rumbling rhythm and a class one vocal performance.

The added texture of “Bring In The Wine”, the addictive “If You Could See” and “The Catalyst” with its staccato lick and catchy chorus prove these guy have logged in plenty of time with their Kiss / Grand Funk Railroad records. The more modern rockers “Propaganda”, “Pain” and “What I Am” keep the record fresh with a surprise in the guitar tone and the bass aggression. Giving the disc a little breathing room is the acoustic-based “Mother”, a moody reflective piece showcasing the band’s softer side with stellar musicianship and emotion. For a debut, this is a damn good one. The songs are well rehearsed with years of practice, proving the road test is still the best for capturing a listener’s ear. It maybe dangerous to say, but if the four-piece continue in this direction they could go super nova - quickly.

Website: The Itch

THE NINES
Self-titled
Independent Release

Every once in a while a band comes along with no label support, no publicity machine, no big money production and it still blows your mind. Remarkable is how The Nines found us – but we’re glad they did. The Nines are what rock and roll is all about, not the sissy stuff that’s regurgitated on the FM dial, but honest-to-goodness rawk! The three-piece hail from the streets of Detroit, Michigan where they’ve learned their craft in measure with dirty guitar, groovin’ bass and hard-hitting drums. Out of the gate comes “Sun Don’t Shine” that invites the listener into a band rehearsal, a cappella with a beat thumped out on what sounds like a wooden chair, before kicking into gear with a massive electric riff and power-punch rhythm. Ian Kirwan (guitar/vocals) leads the charge with lyrics that sting and a voice years older than his face – something a kin to Sammy Hagar first thing in the morning. His guitar licks flash back to the’70s - raw, dynamic with loads of energy. In the pocket is bassist Kevin Bernard and drummer Greg Ornazian knocking out a hypnotic beat with brawn and muscle.

You can always tell when a band has it together if the logo, art and music all fit nicely. No doubt, these guys have done their homework. They call what they do electric garage blues boogie rock and that about nails it on the head. Skip over to “Straight Up Down Right” and you get it all in one with an addicting, toe-tapping swagger and a pulsating beat that’s all about groove. If this doesn’t kick your ass try the heavier “Call My Name” with its sledgehammer riff, fist-pumping chorus and old school organ. Then there’s “The Fever” that’s so damn sexy it hurts. Sophisticated songwriting is the bands forte as in their ability to write the hard-driving “As I Dream” leaving space between the grinding guitar just for the drums to breathe. They also know how to jam demonstrated in the Gov’t Mule-like “Broken Way”. Not afraid to slow it down, they pull from the blues with “Harder Everyday” where anguished notes drip like rain. The record closes with two phenomenal tracks, the tough, melodic “Man From Mecca” an anthem built for a big stage and the gorgeous “Walk A Mile” with it’s ambient effects that harken back to Free, Kyuss and the mellower side of Sabbath. A stunning debut!

Website: The Nines

RAINBOW
Live In Germany 1976
Eagle Records

With the passing of the irreplaceable Ronnie James Dio will come a host of releases trying to capitalize on the man’s vocal talents and one-of-a-kind performances. For fans of Rainbow this is merely a 2-disc re-issue originally released in 1990. If you find the LP version, the gatefold is worth picking up alone. As for the recording, the tracks were cherry picked from a series of German dates (Cologne 25-9-76, Düsseldorf 27-9-76 Nuremberg 28-9-76 and Munich 29-9-76) recorded, as the title so indicates, on tour in 1976. The production is stunning and gives credence to the popularity and rich musicianship that existed in the band. The all-star line up included Dio (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Tony Carey (keyboards), Jimmy Bain (bass) and Cozy Powell (drums). The vibe is friendly with the ever-polite Dio introducing each of the individual players. The performance favors Blackmore and reflects his masturbatory relationship with the guitar. The solos are way too long (as they tended to be) and only stoke his ego forcing the audience to suffer through an exercise in noodleing.

The real reason to celebrate this release is Dio, a man of brilliant vocal capabilities and joyful song execution. He could work a note like no one else with class, charisma and beauty. Disc 1 sparks “Kill the King”, a juggernaut of heavy metal with Dio defining how a singer of the genre should interpret a song of immense proportion. The blues-inspired Purple classic “Mistreated” is a jewel in the hands of Dio and has him scale to heights unparalleled. “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves”, a favorite of King Henry VIII (so Dio tells us), is a plodding power monger easily on par with Sabbath. Then we get the cliquey “Catch the Rainbow” a tearful ballad that emanates emotion as only Dio could. Disc 2 features the rousing “Man on the Silver Mountain” although the listener has to endure Blackmore painfully extended intro. “Stargazer”, “Still I’m Sad” and the fist-pumping “Do You Close Your Eyes” all clock in at 10-minutes plus and shine brightly in the wake of their 35-year life span.

Website: Dio, Eagle Records

GARY MOORE
Live At Montreux 2010
Eagle Records

Bless you Eagle Records! This is a personal one for me. Since the death of legendary axe-man Gary Moore, I have thought fondly on seeing the man one last time at the Sweden Rock Festival 2010. The performance was excellent, though the weather was cool with Moore bundled up in a brown leather bomber jacket. His playing was inspired and, as always, with feeling and emotion. Billed as a return to his rock platform, he still included plenty of blues under the moonlit sky. Live at Montreux 2011 was filmed (and recorded) a month after SRF on July 6th. It follows the same basic set list with all the hits up front including the fiery Celtic classic “Over The Hills and Far Away”, the marching “Military Man” and the lavish “So Far Away / Empty Rooms”. Also included are three never-before-released gems, “Days Of Heroes”, “Where Are You Now” and “Oh Wild One,” Moore previewed just for the Montreux audience and intended to put on his new album in the works at the time. The rest of the set pulls heavy from his ‘80s solo work as well as his late ‘60s/70s work with Phil Lynott in Thin Lizzy and Skid Row. Capped off with the blues.

The line up consisted of Moore (guitar, vocals), keyboard / guitarist Neil Carter (ex-UFO, Wild Horses), bassist Jon Noyce (ex-Jethro Tull) and long-time collaborator Darrin Mooney (Primal Scream). The Gary Moore tour was called the “Summer of Rock” and spanned from May to August 2010. Doing primarily festivals, Moore was able to treat and reestablish his core audience with a lengthy set packed full of his best moments as a guitarist, singer and performer. The CD of this show is rock solid but the DVD is astounding. Yeah, he’s put on a few pounds but the man was an artist when it came to playing heartfelt guitar. The close ups on his fingers leave chills as he bends each note like it’s pulled from his soul. It’s amazing someone could make a single note mean so much and have so much character.  His singing is naked and haggard but is still full of passion and honesty. The band are equally on fire with an animated Neil Carter (who Moore recorded most of his ‘80s material with) enjoying life in the spotlight once again. A wonderful piece of history – we’re gonna miss the Irish blueman now jamming with Rory Gallagher!

Website: Gary Moore, Eagle Records

PAUL RODGERS & FRIENDS
Live At Montreux 1994
Eagle Records

Paul Rodgers, singer for Free, Bad Company and the Firm was just coming back on the road after years of self-imposed retirement in 1994. Armed with what would become his second solo album, Grammy-nominated Muddy Water Blues ~ A Tribute to Muddy Waters, he delivered an all-star showcase for the fans at the 28th annual Montreux Jazz festival. At the time, 45-yeard old Rodgers was touring with ¾ of the heavy rock group Bonham (named after drummer Jason Bonham, son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham). The lineup included Rodgers, Jason Bonham, guitarist Ian Hatton and bassist John Smithson. For this event they were joined on stage by none other than Journey’s Neil Schon as second guitarist. Together, they paid deep appreciation for hard rock blues jamming out “Louisiana Blues”, “Good Morning Little School Girl” and “I’m Ready”. The real treat is the diversity of the songs, which also include a span of Rodgers’ career to that point. Free’s “Wishing Well”, “Fire and Water” and “All Right Now” are joined by Bad Company hits “Feel Like Making Love”, and “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love”.

Just when it seems the night couldn’t get any better, rock guitarists Brain May (Queen) and Steve Lukather (Toto) join in on the fun. Blues giants Luther Allison and Eddie Kirkland are spotted on stage was well as Canned Heat’s Robert Lucas, Kenny Neal and Sherman Robertson. This is a landmark performance for Paul Rodgers as the stage is on fire with top-notch talent enjoying every moment under the spotlight. Among all the instruments, it’s the voice that the crowd was there to hear. Rodgers does not disappoint. A master at crafting a soul-drenched, emotionally-charged vocal performance, the UK native is a true inspiration to behold. Even Rod Stewart, Robert Plant and Lou Gramm give credit to Rodgers. When the stage ignites with classic old school blues “Hunter”, “Crossroads” and “Hoochie Coochie Man” generations are transcended and the audience get a show of a lifetime. Hence the reason Eagle has re-released his stunning bit of history. Both the CD and DVD are spectacular in their own right – get ‘em both.

Website: Paul Rodgers, Eagle Records

CANDLELIGHT RED
The Wreckage
Imagen Records

Don’t know much about Candlelight Red? Let us enlighten you. They’re a powerhouse foursome from Williamsport, PA that combine hard-driving, melodic rock ‘n’ roll inlined with Buckcherry, Rev Theory and Hinder. They beat out over 10,000 other bands to win the 2010 National Guitar Center “Onstage” contest. They were chosen from among 22 regional contest winners by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley then got to open for KISS in Pittsburgh. Next, they hooked up tours with Egypt Central, Saving Abel, Rev Theory, Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Hellyeah, The Damned Things, Tantric, and the list goes on. All that roadwork got them a label deal and now we have their debut CD The Wreckage. To help break it down check out their creepy video single “Closer”, a song that’s damn catchy built on the backbone of a solid kick drum and phat bass groove courtesy of drummer Josh Hetrick and bassist Jamie Morral. Singer Ryan Hoke has a killer range that evokes emotion while still delivering a powerful punch with guitarist Jeremy Edge pushing metal at full volume.

The 10-track debut is modern with a tough edge yet showcases the bands sense of melody, separating them from the rest of the pack. There is the tasty solo in “The Dirt” that never over shadows the grind of the chorus or the immensely heavy riff. Aside from the monster production, CLR create a galvanizing texture moving from the open chord chug of “Gone Forever” to the electronic touch of the title cut “The Wreckage”. Some of the best tracks are deeper in the album like the layered “Scream” that unfolds into a crashing, first-pumping anthem with a sprinkle of jazz. The headbangin’ frenzy of “Medicated” is classic Judas Priest with a guitar lick like the devils tongue while the simple driving beat of “Bend and Break” is Metallica with a better singer. Personal favorite “In Your Hand” is Iommi-heavy with a melodic transition that give the song that open space of tension. Influences are wide and varied from Dream Theatre and Black Sabbath to Roxette? Hold on, really? Oh, yeah they crank out a version of “She’s Got The Look” that will have you hitting the repeat button all night.

Website: Candlelight Red, Imagen Records

I DECLINE
Time to Shine
Horns Raised Records

I Decline comes to us from the windy city of Chicago, the home of ‘real’ rock and roll. The five-piece waste no time getting to it as they roar right out of the box with the deafening title track “Time to Shine”. Boasting three vocalist, the band feature each over the track’s chugging guitars, pounding drums and searing solos. They claim to be a cross between stoner, punk and metal leaving complete destruction in the wake of their whirlwind cacophony. By the second track “The Administration” they’ve got their hooks in you as your head starts banging to the tribal beat. The song comes with its own video on the band’s website and is a visual testament to the groups clarity as musicians and not some studio trickery. That being said, the disc is extremely well produced with band drummer John Doyle twiddling the knobs having cut his teeth with Disturbed, Sum 41 and Avenged Sevenfold. In fact the whole packaging is a work of art with a stunning booklet complete with a gold foil finish.

Joining Doyle is bassist (and vocals) Pat McLaughlin, guitarist Mike Pesavento, percussionist (and vocals) Dustin Decline and lead guitarist Dan Dominiak. The five come together in a seamless fusion of liberating styles that bask in ‘heavy’ without being contrived or faceless. “Your Name in Blood”, “Radiation Day”, “Face of Death” and “World Burning Down’ strike with magnum force more a kin to Judas Priest than Iron Maiden. When they take a minute to breathe, as in the soaring “Karma” or the acoustic-building “Jericho”, they broaden their songwriting to embrace added color to their pallet – at times, almost bordering on the progressive. Personal favorite “Her Darkness” drinks from the same chalice as Kiss, Thin Lizzy and Danzig - heavy but melodic as hell with a sticky chorus. Other highlights include the bass-driven “A New Nation” that pays its dues to the funky side of Megadeath and the operatic “Grand Ruin” that weaves its way through graceful time changes, epic vocals and rapid fire drumming. A stunning addition to modern metal.

Website: I Decline

JIM WILSON
Self-titled
Swingin’ Pipe Records

While Mother Superior is currently on hiatus, guitarist and founder Jim Wilson decided it would be a good time to release his self-titled solo album. Packaged like a bootleg, the disc contain 10-tracks that cover the gamut from country to heavy rock. Wilson’s wide range of musical talent has led him to work with Lemmy, Queens of the Stone Age, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Pearl, Emmylou Harris, Anthrax, Wayne Kramer, George Clinton, Sparks, Daniel Lanois and Iggy Pop while his band (Mother Superior) has been Henry Rollins backup band since 1999. Mother Superior themselves have released eight studio albums. What we get on Wilson first solo effort are not discarded MS tracks that needed a home, no - when the needle hits the groove we hear a complicated performer who’s wide range of musical skill crafts soulful melodies with remarkable depth. The record opens with the twangy garage rock anthem “Bleeding” that tips its hat to the mid-western style of the Replacement with a slight surf edge. Wilson voice is as passionate as his guitar is fierce.

Fans of Mother Superior will thrill at the Zeppelin blues in “Bus 27” and Stone-inspired “Hot Shot” showcasing Wilson’s deep love of early seventies rock with strong emphasis on guitar and bass. He pays equal respect to old school country in the lap steel hymn “Honest Mistake” where his voice cracks with Neil Young-like emotion over a Waylon Jennings structure complete with the lyric “promise were made to be broken”. Each composition picks up bits and pieces of Wilson musical journey, yet all weave together in a tapestry of celebration. There’s the ‘80s “Holding Out For Love” with its Steve Stevens riff and Billy Idol thrust, the MC5 swagger of “Killer” and the Fender ‘70s polish of “Convicted”. Funk-filled “Things Are Looking Up” burns with the heat of the Ohio Players in a wicked bass/drum groove while the orchestrated “Cry Now (Pay Later)” touches the heart as an inspired ballad. The disc closes with the appropriate acoustic build of “Let It Run Through You” encouraging the listener let the music find you – a masterwork for the journeyman. The album is released as vinyl only with a download card (the wave of the future) and comes with a 7” single containing “Run and Run” (A-side) and “Slow Rolling & Evilution” (B-side), a dynamic package, well thought out and made just for music fans.

Website: Jim Wilson

UNDERDOGS
Revolution Love
Go Down records

Italy remains a hotbed for all things rock and roll and the Underdogs prove they’re in it for keeps with their latest venture Revolution Love. Having been on the road with a number of international cult bands including Nebula, Josiah, Colour Haze, OJM, The Answer and Brant Bjork (Kyuss) has taught the trio to strike hard and fast while leaving the listener hooked and begging for more. Without comparing them to a million other stoner bands of like ilk, the band take their tuned down riffs, add a hook chorus and keep it simple. Opening track “Prove You Wrong” gets to the point with a chanting, “burn motherfucker burn” before the band swarm around a dirty riff and power-surging rhythm. The hyperactive edge spills over into rapid fire “(feel like…) Mad Cow” and the  “Half A Blowjob” with the hysterical line “put your lips on it.” From there the band delve deeper into the desert psyche and their own trip with bass-led “Beautiful Optional Girl” which breathes hot air and sand as the droning melody spirals into a chugging open chord – the shock, the density and the tonal twist is pure adrenaline.

Bass and vocalist Simone Vian leads through most of the record 10 tracks with guitarist Michele Fontanarosa dancing, jabbing and tearing through the quazi air space and cosmic hammering of drummer Sandro Vazzoler. When the three settle into the groove of “Helpless” it reflects the earthiness of early Animals with the lumbering of Sabbath. Darkness falls on “Into the Wild (O.W.K)” with a monstrous fuzzed out riff and a whispering low-fi vocal featuring the harmony talents of the Black Rainbows Gabriele Fiori. Perfectly titled “Mother Fuzzers (the sound of mud)” amps it up with duel shredding and chopping guitar over a Geeze Butler-like bass whiplash. A Melvins influence creeps into gloomy, moody “Miss Ruler” while the stoned-out love making session of “Devil Dancing” goes primal as the band push it to almost six minutes of in intense instrumental climax. The un-named bonus instrumental at the record’s end is laid back and heavy as any Kyuss jam and made just for freaks and acidheads.

Website: Go Down Records

THE FUZZTONES
Raw Heat – The Real Sound of ‘In Heat’
Go Down Records

The disclaimer on the CD states, “NOT produced by Shel Talmy (The Who, Kinks). The original version of the album ‘In Heat’ as it was intended to sound.” The Fuzztones have been around for over 30 years as a garage rock revival band. Though originally from New York City they work mainly in Europe where their brand of retro 60 trash rock burns up radios from Hungary to Poland to Italy. The original In Heat was released in 1989 at the peak of the Garage Revival when bands like the Chesterfield Kings, Lyres, and Cynics were all the rage. Unsurprising, the music industry turned a blind eye, yet miraculously The Fuzztones signed a major label deal with RCA. Label politics had the band in a ‘real’ studio with a “name’ producer who watered down their unharnessed energy and snotty attitude. In the end the original disc was a second rate affaire with most of the grit rubbed out only to die a sad, quick death at the hands of critics who never appreciated the band’s live act anyway.

With the resurgence in garage rock in the Hives and Strokes, the time may be right again for The Fuzztones to get a second shot. Raw Heat therefore turns the clock back in time when garage rock rivaled punk as the most exciting musical scene to come along in decades. Produced by founder/guitarist/singer Rudi Protrudi and Jordan Tarlow (Outta Place, Morlochs) the recording gets a second wind when “Heathen Set” comes roaring out of the speakers. The running order has changed from the original recording putting more power up front. Both the classic church organ and dangerous guitars are better controlled in the mix (originally the organ overpowered the whole thing). “Hurt on Hold” still stands strong as the band’s real chance at a single although “Me Tarzan, You Jane” with its featured harmonica is a close second. The added punch of the bass and primitive drums give the whole thing a real boost especially on “Cheyenne Rider” and “You Must Be A Witch” – no wonder Ian Asbury of The Cult was so hooked on these guys. Best song in our book is the title track “in Heat” – “We’ll I’m a big bad wolf, can’t ya hear me howl.” Ahh…give the boys the credit they deserve…and all the fame!

Website: The Fuzztones, Go Down Records

THE VOLCANO HEAT
Vive Le Rock
Go Down Records

The band’s press releases calls Vive Le Rock a “high-voltage, real deal rock experience!” Formed during the late summer of 2007, after two self-produced EPs and a live album, Volcano Heat reveal themselves as true fans of the late sixties-early seventies rock scene and sight bands like The Kinks, Black Sabbath and even the White Stripes as influences. Formed in 2007 by Luca Picchetti (guitar, vocals) and ex-Lola Rent bassist Silvano ‘Gene’ Zamarin, the duo quickly found drummer Andrea Vianello and the trio were plugged in and ready to go. With their first long player the band set the bar high with a quick jolt of electricity through songs like the foot-stomping “These Days”, the rattling “Shake Your Head” and the blazing fuzz monster “Restless”.  They even tackle a woolly version of Beatles classic “Come Together” and actually leave their own stamp on it using a thick bass riff and augmented vocals. Not the easiest thing to do as a three-piece but their confidence and production denotes a band that’s not easily intimidated.

There’s a slight hint of Scandi-rock through most of the records 11-tracks, certainly in “Dead Leaves” and “The Sky” as they pull from the Hellacopters and Gluecifer with layered guitars and a charging rhythm section. Other tracks are more subtle. “White Rays White Heat” fuse a sixties garage attack with a punkish start/stop bridge. The pacing is quick tempo-ed and full volume. The disc really heats up with “I Remember” as Picchetti does his best Jim Morrison growl through the verse before the band come in raging. The feedback in the last 30 seconds is worth the price of admission alone. Drummer Andrea Vianello gets his own chance to shine in the jarring Green Day-like “Today”, a track that’s not only catchy but has great melody. Production plays a big part in the record’s ability to literally leap forward and capture it’s listener. Nicely placed “Everything Is Right” quietly closes the disc as the only ballad. Soothing, soulful and artistic, its one and a half minutes holds the frayed ends just long enough to hit the repeat button.

Website: Go Down Records

OZZY OSBOURNE
God Bless Ozzy Osbourne
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Joining the myriad of feature film biographies on the icon that is Ozzy Osbourne is the new home spun version by Ozzy’s son Jack Osbourne. Following the traditional biographical presentation, the film rounds up all the characters surrounding the ‘Prince of Darkness’ and shadows his career rising as a petty thief on the streets of Birmingham to mega rock stardom with a nagging wife. It details his rapid success with Black Sabbath, his headlong addiction into drug and alcohol and falling off the rails of his own crazy train. The film is shot using interviews to tell the story with archive photos of family and bandmates. Ozzy comes off with a sharp wit and keen sense of humor, and seems quite at ease talking about the darker side of the rock and roll life style with his son. Jack as producer was able to wrangle up a few unique individual we’ve not seen in a Ozzy doc including his children from his first marriage and his oldest daughter with wife Sharon, Aimee, the most normal of his kids. The biggest surprise is Jack was able to land Sir Paul McCartney who comes across surprisingly candid.

The emotional element of the movie turns with Ozzy’s dismissal from Sabbath. Treasured unreleased footage of guitarist Randy Rhoads increases the value of this production exponentially. The interviews following Randy’s death are emotional and riveting as the tragedy is not lost in Ozzy’s countenance. Sadly, we still never hear from drummer Lee Kerslake, bassist Bob Daisley of keyboardist Don Aiery regarding the essential Blizzard of Ozz. When is the world going to wake up and credit those guys for saving Ozzy career? There are no interviews with Bernie Torme, Brad Gills or Jake E Lee. Zakk seems to be the only one they credit with the post-Randy years. The film fast forwards to The Osbourne reality show where MTV made an inside joke of Ozzy, focus only on a bumbling, stuttering buffoon. With such glaring errors it becomes more of a Jack fluff piece overseen by Sharon – alienating the hard-core fan. The bonus feature is a joke nothing of real substance just Ozzy yelling at Jack for having answered his questions already. The opportunity to do justice to the man’s career slips by again.

Website: Eagle Rock Entertainment