Strange World
Dancetone Music

Ray has been around the block a few times and his latest release proves his comfort with a number of different styles. He has toured with many top groups including Iron Maiden's original singer, Paul Dianno in the band KILLERS, and Drive, She Said and has performed in the NYC area with countless bands, including pop/R&B recording artists, Gemini.

As a professional guitarist DeTone has been featured in Guitar Player magazine hailing him as an, “eclectic player, fusing the elements of rock, blues, progressive, country, metal, alternative and even bluegrass which in turn create a signature sound that stands out amidst today’s' onslaught of redundancy”.

“Feeling” is the word which comes to mind most often in listening to Strange World. From the emotional Gateway through the hard rockin’ Strange World, Hard Ride and personal favorite The Journey Begins/King’s Court Ray handles all guitars, occasional drums and keyboards. The disc shines with presence and is mostly instrumental. However, Ric Prince lends his whiskey-soaked larynx to Strange World and Untold.

Website: www.raydetone.com

Songs About Drinking & F*ckin’
Outlaw Records

Michael Hannon did it. He put all his party buddies in one room and locked the door with only the band and strippers for entertainment – then he recorded the whole damn thing: Songs About Drinking & Fuckin’ is the result.

Most of you know by now that Hannon originated from Salty Dog (Geffen) and Dangerous Toys (Columbia), two party-hardy ‘80s metalers. Where most retired rock stars went on to the safety of computer networks, Michael preferred the stale dank clubs to a four-foot cubicle. And this is what he has to show for it. Honestly, it’s brilliant! The art work and packaging is sharp, witty and full of fun and the songs...well, the titles speak for themselves.

Let’s see there’s Drinkin’ and Fuckin’, Drinkin About You, Too Damn Sober, Just An Alcoholic, Drank Too Much and I’ll Drink To That. Did you miss the common thread? That’s right, 100% fueled by alcohol. The recording is perfectly raunchy with lots of bar-room banter, the band sounds amazingly tight and full of charm. A must really! Oh, and each disc ships with an AD bottle opener.

Website: www.americandog.net

Extra Terrestrial Discs

Boston-based musician Bill T. Miller has a lot going on. His head is so full of ideas that there may not be enough plastic made to record them all. Kings of Feedback is only one of his many side projects and what a doozie it is. Miller’s method of recording is a musical collage of sound bites, TV snippets (or the like) with a droning guitar and layered backbeats. Each song is a painting in and of itself.

Miller’s bizarre charm is his use of sound sample as lyrics and, in most places, works very well (Wank My Whammy, Geetar Gawd and Violent and Aggressive). When Miller does sing, his voice is reminiscent of Accept’s Udo Dirkschneider. Lot’s of folks lend a hand playing a myriad of instruments. However, Miller’s own playing shines on TV Addict a blistering blues number with some ripping leads.

Miller knows his complex “Orgy of Noise” is a stretch and even spoofs himself on Freakin’ Perverted when an adult voice shouts “You call that music?” or the beginning of track 17 “What’s noise to some people is music to others”. Industrial heavy metal thunder noise rock!

Website: billtmiller.com/kof

Horror Show
Century Media

Iced Earth’s Horror Show may become a landmark album to a world hungry for something musically significant. Founded by the burning ambition of a 16-year-old runaway kid in Indiana, Jon Schaffer's vision has remained unadulterated since the beginning. Nothing is more important to him than the music he writes, his band and the fans who support him.

On their eighth disc, the band musically recreate a pictureesuqe matinee of all the horror shows burned onto black and white celluloid. The Werewolf, Damien Thorne, Jack The Ripper, The Mummy, Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Dracula and Frankenstein are all there screaming from the nooks and crannies of each of the albums 11 songs.

Remaining faithful and dedicated to defiant, non-commercial heavy metal, the new opus gives power metal a serious shot in the arm. See them on the Priest tour.

Website: www.centurymedia.com

In Search Of Truth
Century Media

Sweden's kings of morose metal Evergrey have set themselves apart, finding a sound that is distinctly their own in a scene populated by too many clones. Instantly recognizable by the rich but visceral timbre of Thomas S. Englund, Evergrey’s gloomy metal tapestries weave a hypnotic spell about the listener and is embraced by a ring of cerebral fire.

“In Search Of Truth is representative of our current sound,” says Englund from his New York local. “The new record has a theme that is loosely based on this novel about abduction - a man in his mid-thirties who suffers from a number of fears to the point where he is losing his mind. He goes to see a psychiatrist where it’s decided they should do a hypnotic regression session. They go back through his life trying to discover the hidden problems that started his fears. They then find out that when he was five years old he was abducted by alien visitors. I was reading the book at the time and wrote the lyrics around the idea."

Not uncommon to Swedish Power Metal, the clean, subtle elements of Queensryche, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest creep in. Yet within this band there is a certain finesse that is unmistakable especially in the songs State of Paralysis, Dark Waters, and The Encounter. “This is our third album,” says Englund, “and the most developed in our song writing. We wanted something special since it’s our biggest release so far. We tour Europe every year but with this record we want it to go worldwide. Next week we’re touring 11 countries in 20 days”

Much of Evergrey’s fan base has seen the quintet play a number of the European Festivals with other top Swedish bands including Hammerfall, and In Flames. Oddly enough they are all from the same city (Gothenberg) so they see each other not only on the raods but at home and in the studios as well. “It’s a close-knit family.”

The chemistry changed somewhat last year when the band’s original guitarist left and was replaced by Sven Karlsson “We had studio time already booked in January so we needed to find a guitar replacement quickly,” remembers Englund. “It took about a month to find Sven, by then it was November and we had no songs written so we had to write an album in about six weeks. Maybe it was the pressure, but the ideas seemed to flow. Then the music took on a life of it’s own.”

Website: www.centurymedia.com

Lack Of Luxury

Ronnie Younkins of Kix fame has a new independent release out entitled Lack Of Luxury. The 11-track opus, though bathed in the Glam-Sleaze-Stones tub of murky blues, still comes out clean and refreshing. “I put this together with Jeremy White, a friend of mine from here in Baltimore,” says Ronnie. “It took a couple of years but came out like we wanted.”

After Kix called it a day in ’95, Younkins and White formed a bar band called Jeremy and the Suicides. “It was a bluesy-Stones sort of thing, less hard rock – more edgy,’ says Younkins. “Then I got a call from Steven Adler of Guns ‘n Roses who asked me to come out and play with his band. It was through Steven that I hooked up with Gilby Clark. Gilby had this jam thing every Tuesday night at a club called The Baked Potato. Everybody would show up, Eric Singer (Kiss) would be playing drums, Teddy Andreadis (G’nR) would be playing keys. One night I met this guy who claimed to be a huge Kix fan named Brent Fitz. He plays with Union (Bruce Kulick,John Corabi) and we hit it off great. He said he’d love to record so we used Gibly’s studio and started what would become Lack Of Luxury.”

Ronnie and Jeremy used a number of the musicians from the Tuesday night jam to assist in the recording including Teddy, Brent and Gilby Clark. But, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Jeremy’s father got ill and eventually died, then Ronnie’s mother also passed away. The pain of the loss and the lack of money had them flying back and forth from coast to coast working to save up enough to continue recording. “These songs have been around for almost eight years,” states Younkins. “We would work on three or four songs each time we went in. When I’d saved up enough money we’d go back. Gilby was great. He handled the production and not only is he a very competent musician but records the best guitar sound around.”

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Thunder & Lightning
Canyon Records

Looking for that special sound, rich with culture and aged with passion? Canyon has delivered a wonderful set of current favorites each aimed to find its own niche. Every year the best in Native American Pow Wow groups are recorded and this year the label offers Southern Cree Thunder & Lightning. One of the most powerful drum groups of today. They travel extensively throughout the US and Canada dazzling audiences and calling dancers to their feet. A tremendous collection. Tha Tribe from Lawrence, Kansas are another top performing group known for its dynamic singing style. The 14 track disc was recorded live at the Apache Gold Casino in San Carlos Arizona and captures the colorful ambiance unique to a theater setting with this superb group.

One of the most eagerly anticipated arrivals
Edge Of The Century sees Grammy Award winner R. Carlos Nakai (flute, trumpet, percussion, vocals) paired with AmoChip Dabney (Saxophones, synthesizer, guitar, percussion, vocals). The two make up one half of the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet, a mixture of Jazz fusion with Native American overtones. The disc is rich with a combination of delicate melodies and layered sound.

A variation would be Enter Tribal also featuring Nakai and Cliff Sarde. The mixture here is more direct and technical with a range of effects both on voice and instrument, but amazingly soothing. The flavor of each number various as combination of singers and musicians are spotlighted.

This year Canyon was nominated for 22 NAMA awards ranging from solo artists to group performances. They are the premier recording outlet for Native American Music.

Website: www.canyonrecords.com