Music Reviews

Music Reviews

Unearth -Extinction(s) (Review)

Review: Incomparable heaviness rains down upon the head of the listener of Unearth's latest masterpiece "Extinction(s).  A brutally heavy metal album from beginning to end, it's relentlessness will have you pummeled into dust before it' reaches it's finish.  Starting with the incredible song "Incinerate", the band simply shreds your hearing, imagination and ultimately your existence with this warning of impending doom. These are some of the best songs ever recorded by Unearth.  Like a machine programmed to destroy,  the band deliver the goods song after song.  If your requirement for metal is that it must be heavy....you have found the mother lode with this album.  This album shows Unearth to be a worthy successor to the heavier metal bands that have been slowly leaving the game, like Slayer and Pantera.  The band sounds tight and completely in sync while maintaining a brutal, almost primitive sound.  Metal fans rejoice. You have...

Dan Reed Network – Origins (Review)

Heard of the 30 year overnight sensation that is Dan Reed Network? I wasn’t born when DRN first hit the music scene in the late 80's, but I grew up listening to their music thanks to my parents, Since they reformed 5 years ago I've become an even bigger fan and the band are now perhaps more popular than they were the first time around. Origins is the second album to be released since the band’s comeback in 2013. In truth it is more of an EP, featuring 4 new tracks that sit alongside re-recordings of some of the band’s best loved songs, and it works so well. https://youtu.be/eJQogH3ZfRg    Watch the video for Fade To Light The record gets off to a great start with first single, Fade To Light, a song based around the concept that not only can things in life get worse and go badly, but they...

The Wizards – Rise Of The Serpent (Review)

Artist: The Wizards Album: Rise Of The Serpent Genre: Metal Label: High Roller Records Release Date: November 9, 2018 Reviewed by: Bobby Caughron Review: The Wizards have a lot of fire and energy in their album "Rise Of The Serpent".  With shades of Black Sabbath throughout, while incorporating a vocal style closer to Iron Maiden with Dianno at the helm.  There should be a lot for fans who like bands like "The Sword" and other doom laden stoner sounds mixed with metal. Musically, the band hits all of the right notes with this retro mix of classic sounds. My least favorite thing is probably the vocals, but they don't prevent me from enjoying the songs. The opening song Apocalyptic Weapons gives you a taste of what to expect and the band deliver consistently throughout the entire release. Those hungry for monster drum beats and hellacious riffs have found a real treat with...

Stephen Pearcy – View to a Thrill (Review)

Review: Extra! Extra! Read all about it....The latest news headlines should read Stephen Pearcy releases great new Ratt album, on his own!  Why? Because the material on Pearcy's latest release "View To A Thrill" sounds so much like Ratt, that only the names differentiates them.  Yeah, I know....A bunch of you are going to jump in and say it's not Ratt without Warren, Juan or Bobby performing.  But, I'm going to argue otherwise.  First of all, Stephen Pearcy is Ratt! I love the original band and the new breed of Ratt sounds really good as well, but nothing sounds like the Ratt sound without Pearcy on vocals.  Oh sure, the other band members tried to replace Pearcy with Jizzy Pearl once, but let's be honest, it didn't sound like Ratt, even with most of the original band backing him.  So, now that I've got all of that out of the...

Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel – Patina (Review)

Review: I loved Jake E Lee when he was Ozzy's guitarist. I always thought he got a bad rap for unfortunately having to be the guy to follow Randy Rhoads. The fans put Randy on an other-worldy level after his death. And while I loved Randy's guitar work too, his death seemed to overshadow Jake E' Lee's brilliant guitar playing for Ozzy.  The two stellar albums that he made with Osbourne in the 80's are burned into my brain, simply because I have played them so many times.  After Jake's exit from the Prince of Darkness' band, he went on to form the absolutely fantastic band known as Badlands.  Again the albums produced under the Badlands name were absolutely brilliant. Now, Jake has followed up his Red Dragon Cartel's first album with their sophomore release entitled "Patina".  I'm here to proclaim that it indeed is everything that I had hoped...

Greta Van Fleet – Anthem Of The Peaceful Army (Review)

Review: When I first heard Greta Van Fleet, I,  much like many others, was amazed at how much the band reminded me of Led Zeppelin.  However, I was simply blown away by the great original songs that they produced on their debut EP.  Now, the guys have followed it up with their first full length album and after my first spin, I'm really impressed. The opening track, Age Of Man has a bit of a different sound than what I heard in the first two, previously released singles. Most notably, the addition of keyboards that deliver the song, like a drifting ship along a winding river. The Cold Wind follows, with a nice guitar riff that opens the uptempo track.  It's a really nice straight ahead rock n' roll song that will be sure to put a smile on your face. When The Curtain Falls is simply fantastic.  It was...

Groundbreaker (Review)

Review: Let’s face it, Steve Overland has sung on a lot of records. Whilst fronting the mighty FM, Steve has worked on a number of other outside projects over the years. His vocals have been always been top notch, but some of these albums have been stronger than others. Groundbreaker is the latest venture to feature Mr O’s glorious voice, a self-titled release on Frontiers Records. It’s a collaboration between Steve and Robert Sall, Swedish guitarist and songwriter with Work Of Art and W.E.T. Let me tell you - this album is right up there as one of the best that Steve Overland has appeared on. Opening track, Over My Shoulder was the first single to be released. It took a while to grow on me, but in context with the full album, it’s a really great fit. The catchy melody line over genius guitar solo is just wonderful! However, my favourite track is without a doubt Will...

Dream Child – Until Death Do We Meet Again (Review)

Artist: Dream Child  Album: Until Death Do We Meet Again Genre: Hard Rock / Metal Label: Frontiers Music Srl. Release Date: September 14, 2018 Review: Dream Child are a real supergroup of musicians that seemingly were brought together by the gods of metal. With members of Dream Child having previously played in bands like Dio, Giuffria, MSG, AC/DC, Operation: Mindcrime, Quiet Riot, Ozzy, and Whitesnake how could this not be spectacular? And the band stands up to all of the hype and then some.  Starting with the fantastic "Under The Wire" the band kick off with a song that very easily could have been on one of the early Dio albums, with Diego Valdez sounding remarkably like Ronnie James Dio at times.  This is a who's who of rock musicians who made the 80's rock scene rise to the top of the charts and the forefront of the music world. I know that I already mentioned...

Clutch – Book Of Bad Decisions (Review)

Artist: ClutchAlbum: Book Of Bad DecisionsGenre: RockLabel: Weathermaker MusicRelease Date: September 7, 2018Reviewed by: Bobby Caughron Review: Clutch have returned with another magnificent album.  This is weaponized funk!  Vocalist Neil Fallon has always been a silver tongued devil and Book of Bad Decisions is no exception.  The band rip through no less than 15 solid tracks of raucous rock n' roll bliss.   One of the greatest assets to Clutch's album releases is that while still always sounding like Clutch, they each have their own unique sound and personality. In "How To Shake Hands" Fallon daydreams of being President Of The United States and vowing to add Jimi Hendrix to the $20 bill and comedian Bill Hicks to the $5, while releasing all the top secret UFO info that's been withheld. "In Walks Barbarella" sees the band experiment with adding horns to the sound to create that weaponized funk that I mentioned...

Trash Deity – Cross & Divide (Review)

Review: I have to say that I'm quite pleasantly surprised with how infectious the debut album by Trash Deity is.  I shouldn't really be that surprised considering that the personnel involved in making it is none other than Groovie Mann from My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and John D Norten of Blue Eyed Christ. If your a fan of TKK you're going to love Trash Deity, especially if you really dig the earlier material by Thrill Kill Kult.  This has all of the sleaze and grit that TKK does.  I'm a huge fan of the Wax Trax era and loved the albums by TKK like I see Good Spirits... and Confessions Of  A Knife.  Trash Deity lives up the infamy of the albums from that time period and then some.  This is like a retro throwback but done with more modern equipment. The opening track "Cross & Divide"...

The Veer Union – Decade II: Rock & Acoustic (Review)

Review: Listening to the new album by The Veer Union makes me wonder how on earth is this band not poised a the top of the radio airplay list and Billboard charts. I mean this album is some of the best material that the band has ever released.  It's a really nice balance between heavy rock tracks and acoustic melody that really allow the band to be story tellers with these songs. The lyrics are written with intelligence and style that allow the listener to be transported to another place for a while.  Opening the album is the sensational "Living Not Alive" that really cements the band's presence as a true force. Other great tracks include "Save Yourself" which should be destined to be a #1 hit on rock radio, Last Regret and Letting Go. The acoustic material is spectacular as well and sort of helps the material to be...

U.D.O. -Steelfactory (Review)

Udo Dirkschneider Returns With A Brilliant New Metal Album Artist: U.D.O.Album: SteelfactoryGenre: MetalLabel: AFM RecordsRelease Date: August 31, 2018Reviewed by: Bobby Caughron Review: Once again. former Accept vocalist, Udo Dirkshneider has returned with a brilliant new album entitled "Steelfactory". The album kicks off with the very metal track "Tongue Reaper".  This track hits you hard, fast and furiously with blazing guitars. pounding drums and of course Udo's familiar vocal screams. The second track "Make The Move" literally sounds like a long lost Accept song and will not disappoint fans of Accept or Udo's solo career. "Keeper Of My Soul" shows a different side of the band's sound with a great melodic chorus, making it an instant hit. Although I've thoroughly enjoyed most of U.D.O.'s albums, this one comes in as one of the best of his career. Throughout you get great blistering tracks like "Raise The Game", Blood On Fire",...

Cancer Bats – The Spark That Moves (Review)

Review: Artist: Cancer Bats Album: The Spark That Moves Genre: Metal Label: BAT SKULL RECORDS Release Date: April 20, 2018 Reviewed by: Bobby Caughron Holy shit! This is outrageously good! The Cancer Bats decided to release an under the radar album entitled "The Spark That Moves" and it simply kills! Starting with "Gatekeeper", the first song on the album, the boys just rip it all to shreds. I've been a fan of these guys for years and they continue to improve with each album they put out. Following that logic, I'm here to state that "The Spark That Moves" is their best album to date. Heavy enough to please the most discerning headbanger, punk enough to keep that hardcore edge and just different enough to appeal to those with an alternative taste in their heavy music. This album really is one of the best kept secrets out there of 2018. There's not a...

Blacktop Mojo – Burn The Ships (Review)

Review: If you haven't heard Blacktop Mojo yet, hang on....you will....very soon.  The band is making serious waves throughout the rock world and with the release of Burn The Ships the band prove that they're for real. With a catchy sound that combines a modern hard rock edge with about 10% Lynyrd Skynyrd thrown in for good measure, Blacktop Mojo stand apart from the current crowd of cookie cutter radio rock bands.  Starting out with "Where The Wind Blows" the band should immediately appeal to fans of Zakk Wylde's brand of metal with a southern twist. The band have a really hard edge while maintaining a catchy as hell melodic quality too. End of Days starts out with a great rock shuffle beat that doesn't let you forget that they're here to kick ass. "Burn The Ships" is a simply great song that deserves to own the title of the record. A...

Jungle Rot – Jungle Rot (Review)

Review: Jungle Rot is currently celebrating their 25th year as a band and their new self-titled album may just be the best of their career.  You can't go wrong with this brilliant metal masterpiece.  I have long touted Jungle Rot as one of the best in a genre that includes Kreator, Exodus, Testament, Overkill, Destruction and more.  It's raw in your face, straight up metal, but it's also done with technical prowess and the results are pure bliss for any headbanger. Send Forth Oblivion bursts out of the gate immediately as the first track on the album and it's an explosive way to start the record. Rhythmically, it reminds me a lot of Ministry's heavy riffing, which I happen to rank among my favorites. Great tracks include A Burning Cinder, Triggered,  and a great cover of Kreator's Terrible Certainty.   Musically, the band is on fire and sound as tight as...

Adrian Galysh – Venusian Sunrise (20th Anniversary Edition) Review

Review: Adrian Galysh has re-released a re-recorded version of Venusian Sunrise for it's 20th anniversary release . Galysh is well known for being an online contributor to Guitar World Magazine and those who follow his work should be really pleased with the results of this album.  His guitar playing is very fluid-like and runs the gambit from jazz and blues to rock.  Fans of guitar virtuosos like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai should absolutely pick this up. My favorite tracks are The Blue Jungle, So Close So Far and In The End. The original version of Venusian Sunrise was recorded on 8-track recorder, so Adrian decided it was time to give these songs the full production value that they deserve. The sound quality is really great and you can hear even the slightest nuance in his tones throughout. While Galysh can definitely shred it's also nice to see someone who...

Marduk -Viktoria (Review)

Review: I'll be one of the first to admit that Black or Blackened Metal is not my favorite genre. I've really only enjoyed listening to a small handful of these bands including Satyricon, Abbath and Marduk.  Marduk's latest album is brutally heavy and infectious.  The opening track "Werwolf" is one of my favorites and will immediately make you want to bang your head.  I know the band has taken some grief about possible Nazism in their lyrics. The band have said they have no affiliation with Nazism while others say they do.  Unfortunately, it's hard to know the truth about most things in the world today so I'm not going to touch on the lyrical content at all. But musically, this album rips and shreds like it's going for your jugular. This one of the best blackened metal albums I have ever heard.  The band sounds tight and the production is...

Graveyard – Peace (Review)

Review: Wow! If you're looking for a great new rock band, look no further than Graveyard! Filled with Sabbath-like tones and a mix of Clutch and classic rock influenced sounds, what's not to like? I was absolutely hooked once the first song started up. "It Ain't Over Yet" is a nod to the early days of psychedelic metal and it simply rips through your ears and mind like a sonic boom. While the band has a diverse style throughout, it's also very cohesive and an incredibly cool journey to take in the course of listening to the album "Peace". I can easily say that I like every track on this album and the band's musicianship is incredible. If you're looking for the next modern rock cookie cutter band that's being played on commercial radio, then look elsewhere, but if you're looking for a blast from the past that seems remarkably...

Vega – Only Human (Review)

Review: It’s time the world woke up to VEGA. When I heard the huge riff of Let’s Have Fun Tonight, opening track of the brand new album Only Human, I knew that the British melodic rockers were back, and better than ever.Following up their hugely popular 2016 release, Who We Are, this record has the classic VEGA sound, but is a touch tougher sounding, but still offers plenty of light and shade with classy ballads, AOR, and tracks that really rock.The album was self-produced with Harry Hess (Harem Scarem) again mixing and mastering, and the results are stunning. Pairing this with the formidable writing of brothers Tom and James Martin and Nick Workman, the band has created an album that will please fans and surely convert others. https://youtu.be/7ffofwP9VnE What do VEGA sound like? Well it’s not quite Take That with guitars, they’re more Def Leppard jamming with Muse, but however you...

Frank Hannon – From One Place to Another, Vol. 2 (Review)

Review: Frank Hannon is back with another great solo album. I'm sure most of you know Frank from his work in the critically acclaimed rock band Tesla. However he's built quite a following with his solo albums as well as with The Frank Hannon Band. From One Place To Another, Vol. 2 picks up where Vol. 1 left off and he adds some great cover tunes from bands like Deep Purple, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and even Seal. Yes...you heard me right, there's even a cover of Seal's Kiss From A Rose.And it's brilliant! If you're a fan of Tesla's Real To Reel albums, you're going to love what Frank's done on this solo album as well. If anything these solo albums are a great reminder of just how talented Frank Hannon really is. I mean, the guy can literally play just about anything, and play...

TNT – XIII (Review)

Review:  So I have to admit I was curious what would happen with TNT after Tony Harnell left the band for what seems like the millionth time. Good news! I am quite pleasantly surprised with the new TNT album, simply titled XIII. In this case, perhaps 13 is TNT's lucky number. The new vocalist can mimic the familiar sound of Harnell, but I was surprised to see that he he isn't just trying to sound like the former vocalist for the band, but is getting a chance to unleash his individual voice, which is really quite impressive. The opening track, We're Gonna Make it, sounds like a Harnell era track for sure, but the album is really eclectic. It's almost as if guitar virtuoso, Ronni Le Tekro is re-energized with new vocalist Baol Bardot Bulsara in the band.  Le Tekro started the band and has seen his share of ups and downs over...

Sunstorm – Road To Hell (Review)

Review: Sunstorm have returned with a magnificent new album entitled Road To Hell. Joe Lynn Turner's vocals are simply outstanding on every song. Lyrically, there's some great work going on as well, with Turner poring his heart out in many places. This is Sunstorm's best effort to date. And, dare I say, some of Joe Lynn Turner's best work as well. Turner, who is unbelievably, 66 years old now, sounds as good as he did 30 years ago. A great album that's comprised of both rockers and ballads, Road To Hell is one of the best rock albums I've heard in 2018 so far. If you're not familiar with the band, this is a great place to start. The production quality and musicianship represented here is superb. Frontiers Music has a great history of releasing quality albums and this one is one of the best. Stand out tracks for me...

Jizzy Pearl – All You Need Is Soul (Review)

Artist: Jizzy Pearl Album: All You Need Is Soul Genre: Hard Rock Label: Frontiers Music Srl. Release Date: May 11, 2018 Review: If there's anyone in the rock business that falls under the title "Journeyman" it's Jizzy Pearl. One of the hardest working guys in hard rock, Pearl is back with an outstanding solo album entitled "All You Need Is Soul". After fronting Love /Hate for years, Jizzy Pearl went on to sing for Ratt during Stephen Pearcy's hiatus from the band, took over vocal duties for L.A. Guns with Tracii Guns and was the lead vocalist for Quiet Riot for several years. Pearl left Quiet Riot to focus on a solo career and if this is the result, then he has made a very wise decision indeed. This album will remind you of how great a band that Love /Hate was. This is without a doubt some of the best...

PIG – Risen (Review)

Review: Fans of Raymond Watts work already know that he was part of KMFDM for some time and created PIG during his tenure with the band.  PIG has always been an interesting project and has the tendency to be somewhat diverse, while still staying within the industrial rock, electronica genre.  Dark and Gothic tinged throughout, the first track "The Chosen Few" has a nice funky back beat mixed with a brooding feeling. Morphine Machine should please fans of Marilyn Manson as it has that same gritty dark feeling.  Loud, Lawless & Lost is a super funky new-wave disco beat that gets heavier in the chorus and sounds a bit like a nod to "Fame" by David Bowie. The Revelation (Misinterpretation Mix) is a fantastic song in the vein of "Drug Against War" from Watt's time with KMFDM. The Revelation and Prey and Obey are my two favorite tracks on Risen. That's...

Lords Of Acid – Pretty In Kink (Review)

Review: My first experience with Lords of Acid came in the late 80' early 90's. Whenever the local progressive clubs' DJ would spin "I Sit On Acid" everyone in the place would go wild. People would rush to the dance floor as as the intro started. Prior to that time most of my music had been that of metal and hard rock bands, but I quickly became exposed to a lot of great electro, industrial and techno bands that had a super heavy beat.  This was my crossover, so to speak to a new world of underground music at the time. Bands like Ministry, Nitzer Ebb and Lords Of Acid were building a cult like following, strictly in the underground dance club scene. Being an avid music collector, I naturally sought out the Lord of Acid CD that contained "I Sit on Acid". I was hooked on the sound and...

À TOUT LE MONDE – Megadeth Beer (Review)

À TOUT LE MONDE - Megadeth Beer (Review) So recently I decided to seek out Megadeth's own brand of beer called À TOUT LE MONDE, which is appropriately named after one of the band's great songs.  Made by Unibroue a Canadian beer company with a good reputation for making high quality beer, I was pretty sure I was going to like what I found. After locating a local store that carried it, I was on my way home to get it chilled so I could enjoy it properly. The packaging is pretty cool and features Vic Rattlehead, the Megadeth mascot dressed in a nice outfit and tie, presumably to represent the quality of the product, on both the bottle and carrier. The coloring of the beer is absolutely astoundingly similar to honey with a orange-yellow glow. As soon as you open it, it's filled with rich carbonation and pours incredibly smoothly. It...

Dokken – Return To The East Live 2016 (Review)

So Dokken finally reunited the original lineup for a brief tour of Japan and they recorded the event for history. But, here's what everyone really wants to know....How's Don voice sound? So, here's my two cents worth....Don Dokken has battled vocal issues in the past, and a lot of critics and fans have stated that his voice is shot. But, first let's go back in time for just a moment. Dokken released their first album in 1983 with Breaking The Chains. That's 35 years ago for those bad at math. I doubt very few,  if any singers of that time period still sound like they did then. But here's what Don has done that's really smart, since he is no longer able to hit all of the high notes, he has changed the way he sings. Not drastically, but the songs have a slightly different arrangement to accommodate his current...

Gus G. – Fearless (Review)

Review: Gus G has unleashed a really great solo album with Fearless. Gus is known for being Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist for a stint and for fronting the great metal band Firewind. With Fearless, Gus takes a lot of chances. He spreads his wings and ultimately soars like never before.  The choice of Dennis Ward as vocalist is spot on as he delivers these songs in a classic hard rock / metal vein that deserves your attention. The album kicks off with Letting Go, an outstanding song with blazing guitar work. Of course this sets the mood and tone for the entire album. Gus G is simply incredible. I've always known what a great guitarist he is, but this album gives him full range to rip and shred in a way that I've previously not heard before. Big City, Mr. Manson, Fearless (Instrumental) and a great cover of Dire Staits' Money...

Leather – II (Review)

Review: Blown away! ...That's what I am with one listen of Leather Leone's second solo album, appropriately titled II! This IS heavy metal! Bringing to mind epic rock bands like Judas Priest, Dio and Iron Maiden, Leather has released what almost feels to me, like her first true solo album. Don't get me wrong, I loved Shock Waves, but there's something really different about her new album. It's like she's been holding back and finally decided to drop any inhibitions and any past version of herself and unleash one of the best albums that I've heard in years. If you're not familiar with Leather, where have you been? She's been the long time vocalist in guitar virtuoso, David Chastain's band for years and has always deserved more credit than she's ever gotten. The album kicks off with "Juggernaut" and it simply comes out of the gates with all guns blazing....

FM: Atomic Generation – Review

Artist: FM Album: Atomic Generation Genre: Melodic Hard Rock Label: Frontiers Music Srl. Release Date: March 23, 2018 Reviewed by: Madz Lethall Review: OK. It’s no secret that FM are one of my all-time favourite bands. I have grown up listening to them and to my ears Steve overland is one of the very best vocalists there is.  FM are one of a small number of bands who formed in the 80's and are still regularly touring and releasing new material. I was lucky enough to talk to the band at length last year about Atomic Generation, their eleventh studio album. What came across was that they are certainly proud of this record, and so they should be. What I expect with FM albums are great performances, super songs and brilliant production and Atomic Generation has all of these and more. It is perhaps a more varied record than their...

XSROCK Music Reviews

XS ROCK reviews material from many different labels, bands, artists and distributors. Reviews are done by various members of the XS ROCK team and reflect the opinion of the writer for each individual review. 

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