Axel Rudi Pell
CIRCLE OF THE OATH
I've got to say this about Axel Rudi Pell. The guy (and/or the band) writes some of the best unmemorable music of anyone out there today. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it is a fact. Every metalhead I know seemingly likes everything they hear from ARP. Over the last decade, I've not heard a single person badmouth this band at all. Yet, ask 10 metalheads that you know have heard previously released Axel Rudi Pell albums, and it's likely that 9 of them wouldn't be able to name a single song. It's very strange how they have created great music that just never seems to be that memorable.
NEW AUDIO MACHINE
Definitely an interesting release, to say the least. While I consider guitarist Steve Brown a music friend of sorts, I can't say in any way that I was EVER a Trixter fan. Being completely honest, they were kind of like the pilot light of bands that came after all the good ones were out and established in the 80s. After the "name" bands of the 80s - Dokken, Ratt, Poison, Warrant, Motley Crue, etc., you had this wave - Trixter, Kik Tracee, Alias, and to some degree Firehouse. That's not to say that I hated every song that second wave had, but I can pretty honestly say I hated all of their albums.
Well, Running Wild is back! It wasn't that long ago we were reading about them calling it a day and sailing off into the proverbial sunset. Apparently they have changed their mind. Listening to SHADOWMAKER, maybe they shouldn't have reconsidered retirement.
To be fair here, that's a bit misleading. SHADOWMAKER is, pretty much, a middle of the road album that is as average as steamed rice served with a gourmet dinner. The hardcore fans that have loved everything from "Victims Of States Power" to "The Fall Of Dorkas" will probably like this. People that never got these pirate metallers will continue to not care. As a fan in passing of some of their material, I can say honestly that I'll probably never encounter this release again, but wouldn't turn off a song or two if they came on my Ipod shuffle. In short, SHADOWMAKER is pretty much standard fare for these feisty Germans.
Well, this is a first for me - a band reaching out and asking me to review their new music by listening to it on Spotify. I guess that's an OK strategy, although if I really liked the material this would not be acceptable to have to burn up my 3G bandwidth that AT&T robs me for using. Still, I'm in front of the computer most of the time, so why not give this a listen.
For those that don't know, Scalp is a project who's mere mention probably put Andrew McNeice of MelodicRock.com into convulsions! This is an AOR supergroup of sorts - featuring members of acts like W.E.T., Insania, Eclipse, Baltimoore and Sabaton). Unfortunately for Scalp, the amalgamation of a lot of talent doesn't always translate into a great project. SCALP is a pretty sub-standard AOR rocker that suffers from somewhat murky production as well as fairly drab material.
This almost never happens. It almost never happens that a band of some notoriety finds a way to come all the way back from the dead and be better than ever. That's exactly what has happened here. For all intents and purposes, Accept was dead. Udo Dirkschneider started an Accept clone band called U.D.O., and the remaining guys were doing nothing. For many, Accept was over. Somehow though, they brought in the surprisingly awesome Mark Tornillo from TT Quick, and came roaring back with BLOOD OF THE NATIONS. To say they stunned the world would be an understatement, as I think even the most staunch believers didn't come close to imagining that release being very good. That said though, the band's follow-up STALINGRAD could actually be more important for them. Would it live up to the last album, or was NATIONS just a fluke?