George Lynch has been one of the busiest guys in rock of late, so it seems. Aside from producing a cool 4-track instrumental EP, collaborations with Stryper vocalist Michael Sweet and his old Dokken band mates who’s names aren’t Don Dokken. And arguably, my favorite album of the past year, the power trio KXM (Still cannot get that riff from “Rescue Me” out of my head!), we’re rewarded with a new Lynch Mob album to end the summer!
Another line-up change in and Praying Mantis are back with their 10th studio album ‘Legacy’. Featuring 11 tracks of melodic hard rock the beast is certainly unleashed. Featuring new vocalist Jaycee Cuijpers and drummer Hans In’t Zandtnew dimensions have been added to this album giving it a whole new flavour in comparison to previous projects and rightly so, this is definitely a well-practiced and matured band that know their instruments.
In these days of streamed music and quick to rise, quick to fall bands, it is hard to root out those that live and breathe rock right down to their bones. Motorhead is one of these truly exceptional oddities whom would say: “screw the rest of you, we are going to do it our way.” That is exactly what they have been doing for the past 40 years. It is easy to forget the rich writing heritage of icon Lemmy.
While known for his work with Firewind, Dream Evil, Nightrage and Mystic Prophecy, the wider American audience will probably recognize Gus G for his performance on Ozzy Ozbourne’s 2010 album “Scream.” To me the guitar sounded like second hand Zakk Wylde and it left me unimpressed. But try not to think of that album — Gus’ second solo L.P. is a pretty decent blast of melodic metal.
The name Kelly Keeling is pretty known in the Hard Rock/AOR world, yet sadly not as widespread as it should. Since his days fronting Baton Rouge in 1990 he has become synonymous with some of the best singers on the scene, like James Christian, Jeff Scott Soto, Jimi Jamison and countless others. No matter what band or recording his name is attached too you can bet that it is going to be a strong album, at least vocally. I have been a fan for a long time now, and can’t think of an album off the top of my head that he sang on that I wasn’t a pretty big fan of; from Baton Rouge to John Norum to King Kobra- his soulful voice has always entertained me.
EP’s are one of those things that even when I love them, I hate them. I hate them because there is typically very few songs on them, which if the band isn’t good then I guess it’s a good thing, but if it’s a band I love, it just pisses me off and leaves me wanting more. When it happens to be an aggressive band that I love, it pisses me off even more because the brutality makes me want to break stuff AND there aren’t enough songs on it. This is what I encountered with the new Skinkage EP Tyrants.
I love Cattle Decapitation. From the moment I heard the name I knew I had to check them out. I was not disappointed when I did. Lucky enough I was already getting more and more into extreme metal at the time, and they are one of the best extreme metal bands out there. Combining Death and Grindcore to make their own distinct sound, they have been carving out their piece of the metal world for 19 years now.
When a band records a first album that is so amazing, you wonder if that band will be able to follow it up and come even close to its greatness. Look at a band like GNR: Appetite For Destruction remains one of the greatest hard rock albums ever recorded, yet they never were able to achieve that same level of awesome.
Hibria is a band I’ve had some serious ups and downs with. Most notably, the Brazilians started off strong with their heavily speed metal influenced debut Defying the Rules, a more classic sounding power metal album that left me impressed, while their third album Blind Ride introduced more modern elements and left me with some pretty mixed feelings. Between my disappointment with that album, and news about further lineup changes for their one, I wasn’t terribly excited about the band moving forward at that point.
I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a lucky man when it comes to getting to write about bands. The many years I have been doing this I have managed to discover some bands that have absolutely blown me away and remained a constant in my life from that moment forward. Of course, for every album I listen to that I love; there are at least 10 more that I have had to work my way through that has been the complete opposite. After wading through a sea of crap it’s nice to find an album that I connect with.