MATT MITCHELL & THE COLD HEARTS Independent [Release date 19.04.19]
Matt Mitchell has fronted AOR band Pride, the more metal flavoured Furyon and then Colour Of Noise, who featured former Little Angels guitarist Bruce John Dickinson. Despite a strong album that band fell apart. Now Matt Mitchell is back with a solo album in all but name as he has said the Cold Hearts will be a fluctuating band line-up depending on who is available. On this album he is joined by Matt Cherry (drums), Dom Ladd (bass), Mauro Laconi (guitar) and Stevie Watts (keyboards).
‘Black Diamonds’ has already been picking up plenty of airplay on Planet Rock and sounds like Alter Bridge at times. ‘Home’ is a gentler song, with the Hammond playing of Stevie Watts weaving its way in and out of the song.
‘On And On’ is another possible contender for a single containing a classy guitar riff and Matt nailing those higher notes on the chorus. Again a lovely bit of Hammond precedes the guitar solo.
It is the varied styles on here that are a plus, be it the grungy ‘Do You Wanna Be My God’, the acoustic country on ‘Keep Me Safe’ or the wistful ballad ‘Old Enough & Good Enough’.
Matt Mitchell has been through many genres of music in his past and with this album he has taken those experiences to produce his own sound. Highly impressive debut and one that has a perfect mix of rockers and mellower tunes. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
PRETTY ARCHIE Hanging On Curve Music [Release date 22.02.19]
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia based Pretty Archie take a brief, nine tracks over 31 minutes, trawl through the full spectrum of country rock on their fifth outing.
It’s probably fair to say the five-piece haven’t created waves on either sound of the Atlantic, perhaps as a result of their genre-bending mix of folk, bluegrass, country, rock and soul making them difficult to pigeonhole.
Hanging On covers that full gamut, from the gospel infused 50′s railroad style country rock ‘n’ roll (with plenty of twang and bluesy harmonica) on the set opener ‘Ain’t No Saving Me’, through the hillbilly banjo infused 60′s Roy Orbison country style of ‘Stay The Same’, through to the more up to date sub-Springsteen style country rock of ‘This Whole Town’, and the Eagles style balladry of ‘No One To Blame’.
Yes, there’s something here for everyone who likes Country in one form or another and the band will be touring the UK and Europe later this year. Worth checking out if they’re playing near you. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
A NEW REVENGE Enemies and Lovers Golden Robot Records
[Release date 29.03.19]
A New Revenge is the third album in as many months to feature former Judas Priest vocalist Tom ‘Ripper’ Owens and on A New Revenge he teams up with guitarist Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper, Slash, Night Ranger), bassist Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake, Quiet Riot) and drummer James Kottak (Scorpions, Kingdom Come). Yes it is one of those supergroup team-ups which more often than not fail to deliver on the expectations based upon the assembled musicians.
All of them have toured and played together under the Project Rock name playing covers including those from their collective past bands. However, this isn’t a covers album and the lead song ‘The Way’ gives a good example of what to expect, with guitars to the fore and ‘Ripper’ Owens on fine vocal form, tapping into his more melodic style of singing. ‘Never Let You Go’ is the album’s catchiest song complete with a Slash approved solo and a hypnotic keyboard riff. These two songs alone make it worth giving the album a listen.
You can play spot the influence on here – a little Dee Snider on the uptempo ‘Glorious’ and an Alice Cooper rip off on ‘Only The Pretty Ones’, albeit with ‘Ripper’ Owens going a bit heavy in a Savatage way on the verses. Pedal to the metal time on ‘Here’s To Us’, bit of a filler being honest and ‘Scars’ isn’t much better.
You can’t fault the musicianship as the band members have been involved in an impressive amount of music over the years, however it is not an all killer and no filler album. Not sure if the band/project will get to album number two given the band members various other musical commitments (by the time you have read this review ‘Ripper’ Owens may well have released another album…). ***
Review by Jason Ritchie
RAIN OR SHINE The Darkest Part of Me Perris Records
“The Darkest Part of Me” is the sophomore album from Greek band Rain Or Shine, an album that will appeal to fans of early Bon Jovi, latter day Europe and a host of more recent bands as this record is modern melodic rock as it should be heard.
Two years in the making, vocalist Steve S.R wrote, arranged, produced and mixed all the songs on the album and has done a great job. The self-titled opening track has those essential keyboard flourishes and harmonies of classic melodic rock but with a modern edge, this can also be said of “Top Of The World”, “Shot Of Life”, “We All Back Down” and “Into The Storm” and it is these tracks that form the album’s highlights.
Amongst the album’s ten tracks there are a couple of songs, “Back On Track” and “Where Are You Now”, that I would describe as bigger and slower and these are joined by the almost ballad like “We Only Live Once”. In fact, there is only one track on the album that really jarred with me and that is “Around The Corner” and for some reason this reminds me of Euro pop but done a bit heavier.
Melodic rock fans are going to like “The Darkest Part Of Me”, as will rock radio stations, this is one of those albums that just sort of appears from nowhere and takes you by surprise. ****
Review by Nikk Gunns
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BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
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09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
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BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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