Quick plays: X-DRIVE, ADRENALINE RUSH, DALTON, DR JOHN

Adrenaline Rush

ADRENALINE RUSH Adrenaline Rush
Frontiers [Release date:  25.08.14]

‘Adrenaline Rush’ is the debut album from the Scandinavian band of the same name, musically the album is up a notch from most debut albums I’ve heard this year and reminds me in parts of latter day Motley Crue, early Bon Jovi and also Warrant. It was no surprise to find out that vocalist Tåve Wanning was formerly part of the Teen-Pop duo Peaches as whilst her voice is good and suited to the songs, after a while it begins to sound a bit thin in places.

That said, this is an enjoyable album with plenty going for it. Recommended tracks include ‘Black n Blue’, ‘Generation Left Behind’, ‘Want It All’, ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘No,No,No’ and ‘Playing to Win’. Guitarists Ludvig Turner and Alexander Hagman deserve a special mention especially for the solo on ‘Girls Gone Wild’.

With well written songs and a sound that will appeal to a fair few music fans, the band will naturally evolve as they tour in support of ‘Adrenaline Rush’.  ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

X-Drive - Get Your Rock On

X-DRIVE Get Your Rock On
Frontiers [Release date: 25.08.14]

Had X-Drive released their debut album ‘Get Your Rock On’ in the late ‘80’s it would have no doubt sold by the bucket load. Good solid melodic rock that will appeal to fans of Mr Big and Whitesnake, amongst others, whilst not reinventing the genre this is an album that is easy to listen to.

The members of X-Drive have all had a proven track record in the music business, especially bass player James LoMenzo (White Lion, Megadeth, Slash’s Snakepit, John Fogerty and more) and vocalist Keith St John who has spent time in Montrose (would you want to fill Hagar’s shoes?!!).  The album was produced by the legendary Andy Johns before his 2013 death and a great job he has done too.

Opening track ‘Love’s A Bitch’ has a massive drum sound and is a promising start to the album. ‘Turn The Noize Down’ is Damn Yankees meets David Coverdale and those Coverdale like vocals appear throughout ‘Get Your Rock On’, whether it be ‘Rattlesnake Eyes’ or the slower ‘Baby Bye Bye’ and ‘Just Can’t Stay’.

‘Fly Beyond The Angels’ is another ballad whilst ‘Change of Heart’ is a Mr Big style love song. ‘California’ has a vocal that is reminiscent of Axl Rose at times, the song even name checks ‘Rocket Queen ‘ at one point, and the albums highlights are rounded off by ‘Steppin’ On The Rock’.

‘Get Your Rock On’ is packed with great harmonies, hooks a plenty and sing along choruses, and it deserves to do well.  ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

DALTON Pit Stop
Frontiers [Release date: 20.10.14]

Back in the late ’80′s Swedish hair metal band Dalton enjoyed a brief spell of success in their homeland with a run of radio hits and even had artists such as Michael Bolton and Bon Jovi providing them with songs for the two albums the band released. Then, as with so many other bands of the era, their time in the sun was effectively over when the surge of grunge hit Europe. Fast forward twenty five years and the band have not only reformed but are about to release new album ‘Pit Stop’.

Containing eleven tracks which contain all the essential elements of big ’80′s style melodic rock, ‘Pit Stop’ is a good album. Stand out trilogy of ‘Hey You’, ’50/50′ and ‘Something For The Pain’ are all worth a listen, as are opening track ‘Ready or Not’, ‘Bad Love’ and ballad ‘Don’t Tell Me Lies’.

However, once you get to the acoustic ‘Follow Your Dreams’ and the Bon Jovi lite leanings of ‘Here We Are’ you get the feeling that it has become almost a paint by numbers exercise in trying to recapture that bygone era. This is not necessarily a bad thing but in order to survive in today’s musical environment where nostalgia is welcome, you do need to evolve your sound somewhat.  ***1/2

Review by Nikk Gunns

Dr John - Ske-Dat-De-Dat…Spirit of Satch

DR JOHN Ske-Dat-De-Dat…Spirit of Satch
Proper Records [Release date 01.09.14]

With ‘Ske-Dat-De-Dat…Spirit of Satch’ one New Orleans musical legend is paying tribute to another, Dr John has taken 13 songs by Louis Armstrong and with his own jazz, blues and New Orleans touches has made them his own.

The album has numerous guest appearances from the likes of Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama and trumpeters such as Terence Blanchard and horn ensemble The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. With songs including ‘Wonderful World’, ‘When You’re Smiling’ and ‘World On A String’ given a new lease of life there is even a modern rap element to ‘Mack The Knife’.

Whilst it may not be to everybody’s taste, ‘Ske-Dat-De-Dat Spirit of Satch’ is a great collection of songs and highlights include ‘Gutbucket Blues’, ‘Motherless Child’, ‘Dippermouth Blues’ and ‘Sweet Hunk O’ Trash’.  To find Dr John still sounding so enthused by music some 7 decades into his career is something to behold.  ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

STARDUST CIRCUS Monkeys of XXI

‘Monkeys of XXI’ is a debut album full of dark and dirty Euro rock from Belarussian band Stardust Circus. There are a mixed bag of influences and sounds here- at times the vocals of Dave Loretti are similar to latter day Sammy Hagar at other they are totally original (and to be fair the bands singing in English is spot on and does not betray their European roots, unlike many new Euro rock bands of late.

The music is at times old school rock, at other very modern, there are touches of electronic rock, Cult-like moments and even a hint of The Scorpions here and there.  But that said, this is not a bad album, for the most part it is impressive for a self-released debut with no label backing.

Opening intro ‘War Overture’ is a dark and brooding affair that gives way to ‘The Right To Break The Law’ which, along with ‘No Fear’, ‘Perfect Killer’ and ‘Maybe I’m Insane’ are the stand out tracks on the album. There is also the slower ‘I Won’t Save The World’ amongst a handful of tracks which make up the remainder of ‘Monkeys of XXI’.

If this is what Stardust Circus can do under their own steam then I cannot wait to see the band develop with a bit of overseas gigging, a bit of press interest, and a record label behind them.  ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

LUKE GASSER Flicker (Fastball Music)

Guitarist and singer Luke Gasser is a multi-faceted artist;  according to his biog as he is also an author, producer and director – however, it is his second album ‘Flicker’ that has bought the Swiss musician to my attention. Following the success of recent debut album ‘Retribution’ this mix of modern southern rock and all out rock has moments that remind me of The Almighty, Tyla and even at times Michael Monroe.

Opening track ‘Not A Long Way Down’ is almost Lemmy meets southern rock and is a great way to start the album. ‘Blood Money’ would fit in nicely on early albums from The Almighty, the Led Zep like ‘Fire On My Mind’ is country tinged and features Doro, whilst first single ‘Ceremony Man’ has a similar feel to Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’.

There are also a couple of more acoustic tracks but it is tracks like ‘Cold Hearted Woman’, ‘Forget Me Not’ and ‘Bullet From A Gun’ that, combined with those already mentioned, are going to work well live.

Talking of live, Gasser will shortly be supporting Doro on her 30th Anniversary tour- let’s hope that includes the UK as this promises to be a great show.   ****1/2

Review by Nikk Gunns

MAXXWELL Tabula Rasa (Fastball Music)

‘Tabula Rasa’ is the latest album from Switzerland’s Maxxwell, and the first to feature new singer Gilberto Meledez. I loved Skid Row’s 1995 ‘Subhuman Race’ album, as apparently did Maxxwell, whose sound is undoubtedly influenced by Sebastian Bach and co’s last album together. Add to this the influence of bands like Soundgarden and you get an idea of the bands heavy but dynamic sound.

Opening track ‘Partykings’ is an early ‘90’s feel for the year 2014 whilst the quartet of ‘Gone Forever’, ‘Fallin’ Down’, ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘On Your Face’ are the most Skid Row like tracks. ‘Backstabber’ has some RATM style rap in the mix,  ‘Never Let You Go’ is a love song but not a ballad and the album’s highlights are rounded out by ‘Trails of Hate ‘and ‘Cause I’m Lovin’ It’.

As tempted as I am to now visit the band’s back catalogue, I think that this new line up may be the best starting point for Maxxwell.   ***1/2

Review by Nikk Gunns


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Power Plays w/c 9 October


ALMANAC Losing My Mind (Nuclear Blast)
TRIGGERFINGER Colossus (Mascot)
MIKE PETERS & THE ALARM Heroine (indie)
WICKED STONE Another Round (indie)
FOZZY Judas (Sony Music)


Featured Albums w/c 9 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 DANTE FOX Six String Revolver (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Judas (Sony Music)
14:00-16:00 JARROD DICKENSON Ready The Horses (Decca)



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