This Is The Sound: Cellar Darling

Rating: 95%

cellar.jpgAfter leaving Eluveitie, vocalist Anna Murphy, guitarist/bassist Ivo Henzi, and drummer Merlin Sutter formed Cellar Darling in 2016. Shortly after the formation of their new band, “This Is The Sound” was released. This album is a perfect blend of Rock, Metal, and European Folk. So, if you’re into Folk Metal with strong female vocals, then this may be something you’ll want to check out.

The band itself is very tight. After all, they played with each other for ten years in Eluveitie. The vocals are outstanding. The music has lot’s of guitar riffs. There’s lot’s of great drummer. The hurdy-gurdy is a great touch to the overall sound of the music.   

This trio of musicians had something to prove and they did. The result is a solid debut album. Musically, this is a step down from full fledged Heavy Metal, and more along the lines of modern Hard Rock. It’s very tasteful, creative, original and well balanced. The album has some heavy melodies. It has a along with a great overall sound.

Track list:

Avalanche
Black Moon
Challenge
Hullaballoo
Six Days
The Hermit
Water
Fire, Wind & Earth
Rebels
Under The Oak Tree…
…High Above These Crowns
Starcrusher
Hedonia
Redemption

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Suzi Quatro: Suzi Quatro

Rating: 90%

Suziquatroalbum.jpgBefore the Runaways, there was Suzi Quatro. The first successful female front woman who played the bass guitar. The debut released in 1973, made Suzi Quatro and her band a force to be reckoned with. Let me say, this record was a smash hit. It was Rock n’ Roll, it was Hard Rock, it was Punk, and yet it was Bluesy. It was an amazing experience to listen to. Let me tell you, this album was far ahead of the times.

Musically, this album just rocks! I love every aspect of the guitars, bass, drums, vocals, and the keyboards.  The music is so damn catchy and enjoyable.  It’s Garage Rock at it’s best. It comes complete with these rich guitar riffs some of which are heavy as hell. It’s not overly complex, but at the same time it isn’t simple. There is a good balance within the rhythm section of every song. There is a certain degree of rawness that gives this album the drive and power that it needs to be one of the best Rock albums.

Suzi Quatro is among one of the most influential female artist of all time. She not only proves to sing, but her bass guitar is amazing. Then you have the lead guitarist and master of the riffs, Len Tuckey. Keeping pace with the timing of it all is drummer Dave Neal. Add the key work of  Alastair McKenzie and you have a Rock n’ Roll and that is very enjoyable to listen or jam too.

So, when I saw this record for sale, I had to grab it. Not only is this a very underrated or forgotten album, but it is also one of the best forgotten albums of the 1970’s.

Track listing:

Side one
“48 Crash” – 3:54
“Glycerine Queen” – 3:47
“Shine My Machine” – 3:49
“Official Suburbian Superman” – 3:05
“I Wanna Be Your Man”  – 3:09
“Primitive Love” – 4:13

Side two
“All Shook Up” – 3:48
“Sticks & Stones” – 3:41
“Skin Tight Skin” – 4:21
“Get Back Mama” – 5:52
“Shakin’ All Over”  – 3:33
“Can the Can” – 3:34

I Love Rock ‘n Roll: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Rating: 95%

I_love_rock_n'_roll_-_joan_jett_(album_cover)Fresh out of the Runaways and after releasing her first solo record, Joan Jett now backed the her hand The Blackhearts released “I love Rock n’ Roll” in 1981. This to me was a solid record. It flirted with both Punk and Hard Rock as well as keeping it as close to pure Rock n’ Roll as possible.

The musicianship is good. Joan Jett proves that she can have solo career while performing lead vocals and guitar as she did toward the end of the Runaways. She also proves to be a good song writer. She is backed by a series of good musicians. Ricky Byrd on guitar, bassist Gary Ryan, and drummer Lee Crystal. It also features Eric Ambel on tracks 5 & 10 as guitarist. 

Musically, again we have influences that range from pure Rock n’ Roll to Punk Rock itself. Everything is blended together decently. The music is strong, it’s original, edgy, and interesting. I don’t think there is a boring part to this album at all. It’s got some very impressive melodies. The vocals of the entire band is expressive and has lots of feeling. The vocals of Joan herself are stylish and raw. Everything seems to be perfectly balanced. The best riff is the actual title track of the album. But it does feature other good guitar riffs as well as leads done in both Punk and Rock format.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” 2:55
2. “(I’m Gonna) Run Away” 2:27
3. “Love Is Pain” 3:07
4. “Nag” 2:46
5. “Crimson and Clover” 3:17

Side two
6. “Victim of Circumstance” 2:54
7. “Bits and Pieces” 2:07
8. “Be Straight” 2:40
9. “You’re Too Possessive” 3:35
10. “Little Drummer Boy” 4:14

Mareridt: Myrkur

Rating: 90%

Myrkur,_Mareridt_Album_CoverDuring the later half of 2017, Myrkur released her second record “Mareridt”, meaning “nightmare” in Danish. I remember when her first album came out and how metalheads bashed her being more or less a Pop star, which she was. But, I really enjoyed her first album and saw a lot of potential for the crossover success.

Musically, there’s a lot of things going on that makes this album very exciting. I really like the Folk Metal elements she has used along with some of the experimental styles such as Goth that makes this album fall more or less into Ambient Metal style. Several of the songs seem to be built around a heavier Atmospheric sound. I really enjoy the mid tempo and melodic rhythms. I think when you combine everything, it gives her style of Heavy Metal, texture.

As far as the instrumentation, I like the usage of crushing guitar riffs one minute and then the blast of drum beats the next. This really helps to break up the pace of the music. The piano work on “Crown” along with the eerie fiddle work is amazing. Her vocals are very strong from her clean to her harsh. Lyrically, this is a concept album about her nightmares that occurred during sleep paralysis.

Track listing:

1. “Mareridt” 3:24
2. “Måneblôt” 3:33
3. “The Serpent” 4:04
4. “Crown” 4:56
5. “Elleskudt” 4:22
6. “De tre piker” 3:12
7. “Funeral” (Featuring Chelsea Wolfe) 3:00
8. “Ulvinde” 4:24
9. “Gladiatrix” 2:51
10. “Kætteren” 2:11
11. “Børnehjem” 2:22

Rev It Up: Vixen

Rating: 75%

Vixenrev.jpgVixen followed up on their debut in 1990 with “Rev It Up.” Unfortunately, this album didn’t do so well. This was mostly due to the change in music popularity. Grunge was hitting the airwaves. Just like most of the Hair/Glam Metal bands, Vixen would fall victim to the new Pop Alternative and Grunge hitting the airwaves. Shame too! As Vixen could’ve been so much more.

Janet Gardner still sounds amazing. She can hit those high notes. Jan Kuehnemund throws out some decent riffs and leads. Nothing killer, but decent. The rhythm section of bassist Share Pedersen and drummer Roxy Petrucci are still on top of their game. All of the band in fact are great.

Musically, this album is very pop orientated. Think along the lines of Bon Jovi. The music itself is very polished and filtered. It’s not heavy, but it is hard. Either way, Vixen is a band that deserves respect. If it wasn’t for a change in the mainstream, Vixen could’ve been something larger.

 

Track listing:

Rev It Up 4:55
How Much Love 4:38
Love Is A Killer 4:41
Not A Minute Too Soon 4:23
Streets In Paradise 4:29
Hard 16 4:01
Bad Reputation 4:08
Fallen Hero 5:17
Only A Heartbeat Away 5:08
It Wouldn’t Be Love 4:39
Wrecking Ball 5:12

Be My Slave: Bitch

Rating: 90%

Be_my_slave_4_5.jpg1983 was the debut release by Bitch. This isn’t your ordinary band. It features lyrics of sex and bondage, plus humor. It features vocalist Betsy Bitch, guitarist David Carruth, bassist Mark Anthony Webb, and drummer Robby Settles. So, you don’t know who any of these guys and girl are?

Musically, this album is much heavier and more raw than the second album “Bitch is Back” released in 1987. The vocals are more screamed. Discharge comes to mind when listening to Betsy’s vocals. Her vocals are very strong and powerful on this album. The rest of the band sounds pretty good. It’s got a lot of great riffs and leads. The drumming and bass sound just as good.

The overall sound is pretty impressive. It’s raw, meaty, and in some parts gritty. For 1983, the music is very original, not taking in any of the Glam/Hair Metal scene that was just starting to hit the airwaves. This is a solid introduction to Bitch. It’s straight in your face Heavy Metal. The tempos are based upon mid to faster paced tempos and melodies. Even the more slower songs are heavy.

Track listing:

Right From The Start
Be My Slave
Leatherbound
Riding In Thunder
Save You From The World
Heavy Metal Breakdown
Gimme A Kiss
In Heat
Make It Real (Make It Rock)
World War III

Vixen: Vixen

Rating: 85%

R-2005870-1371458879-8701.jpeg.jpgI remember when Vixen released their debut in 1988. I must admit, I thought Vixen was a good band. They proved that girls could rock as hard as dudes. So, when I caught wind of this band in one of the Heavy Metal magazines, I was like “Damn!” The music of Vixen, although, was along the lines of Glam/Hair Metal, I thought was a good band.

The musicianship of lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist Janet Gardner, lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, bassist Share Pedersen, and drummer Roxy Petrucci was outstanding. Janet Gardner’s vocals were amazing. She had and still has the range. Jan Kuehnemund provides some killer riffs as well as some kick ass leads. The drumming and bass are good as well.

Musically, the overall sound was crisp and clean. It was very polished and at times could even have a strong Pop sound to the music. “I Want You To Rock Me” and “Cryin'” are good examples of that.  “Edge Of A Broken Heart” by Richard Marx was made popular by the band. Other songs put in mind of the Runaways or early Lita Ford. Also, some of the songs have a ballad structure. Most of the songs are based upon a much mid level tempo. Other songs are built around more of a Hard Rock structure than Heavy Metal.

R-2005870-1371458888-7646.jpeg

So, if you like 1980’s Heavy Metal or Hard Rock, Vixen may be a good band for you to check out. I can honestly say, Vixen is one of those underrated bands and I am glad to see that the band, for the most part, is still performing.

Track listing:

Edge Of A Broken Heart 4:22
I Want You To Rock Me 3:28
Cryin’ 3:32
American Dream 4:17
Desperate 4:17
One Night Alone 3:48
Hell Raisers 4:25
Love Made Me 3:16
Waiting 3:09
Cruisin’ 4:23