DIG IN DEEP
Tyketto is one of those bands from the 80s that I always liked, but really never caught on very much. They had a couple hits that were cool, but even their best songs like "Forever Young" and "Seasons" were marginally successful at best. The band was a highlight reel for former Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn, who shined and ended up building a solid solo career outside of Tyketto in the AOR world when Tyketto disbanded.
They are back with the original lineup I'm told, and interestingly, DIG IN DEEP is exactly what they've always produced. It's an album full of solid tunes that aren't especially memorable, yet feature some great playing and even better vocals. Simply put, Vaughn is a great singer. His voice is pretty much a mish mosh of Survivor vocalist Jimi Jamison and Thunder lead man Danny Bowes. He sounds great as always here on songs like the mid-tempo, yet punchy "Here's Hoping It Hurts". The thing to remember though is that while Vaughn is a great singer, he never has a distinctive moment like either Bowes or Jamison do to separate their vocals from the music. Vaughn is certainly clear vocally and clean throughout, but there's no memorable or emotional moment where you latch onto any song on the disc. Songs like "Love To Love" are nice songs, but really fall into the unmemorable category five minutes after listening to them.
UNDER MY SKIN
Contrary to popular belief and a lot of silly bits that I've done throughout the years on THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW and THE METAL SHOW respectively, I really am a fan of Doro. I loved her work in Warlock, and I like her work even more as a solo artist. I'm one of those guys that even liked that period where she tried to stop being metal and attempted to be more of a vocalist than the reigning queen of metal. But all that said, at what point do we just say "enough" to all these rehashes, reissues, and repackaging of her's (or any artists) greatest hits? I think now is as good a time as any.
THE LORD OF STEEL
I'm sure Manowar had to make this album. I'm sure the Magic Circle of Manowarriors expected it. Just like Kiss keeps putting out records that pander to the "character" the band created, so too does Manowar need to create a record steeped in the tricks and turns of its back catalog.
That's the only reason I can gather that guys looking at 60 are still compelled to write material like this.
To my ears, the band sounds a bit like a middling Scandinavian power metal band bashing out NWOBHM-styled tunes. In theory, that would be great for me, but the band keeps trotting out the same tired ideas, the same riffs, the same choruses, the same Valhalla battles fought over and over since 1982's Battle Hymns.
WHAT'S IT TO YA
What is there to say about Snew? They are the quintessential shit kicker band. There's several out there. There's bands like Broken Teeth, Rhinobucket and American Dog to name a few. Then, there's Snew. Snew has been kicking around for a few years now, growing a couple fans at a time but making an impact independently with a level of persistence that only guys that are truly dedicated to their craft can appreciate. Given that life forces me to be wedged in with a lot of image conscious, douchey modern metal/post hardcore bands that would never understand this level of commitment, I'm always one to give a DIY band like Snew every chance. Thankfully, they have proven the musical chops once again to warrant some attention from not only me, but the hard rock community at large. WHAT'S IT TO YOU feels just like the boot hitting your ass when you were a teenager telling your dad that you couldn't do something because it was too hard.
It's been a decade of growth, development, change and experimentation for the guys in Pennsylvania's Icarus Witch. The band that exists today simply would not have written albums like CAPTURE THE MAGIC or SONGS FOR THE LOST. Being completely honest, it just seems like a completely new band. Not only has this band gone through numerous member changes (I think they are the modern day Spinal Tap as I believe they are on drummer #5), but those new members have all instilled creative changes to where the music is different from what was first experienced. If your first taste of Icarus Witch is RISE, you would never suspect that this was once a traditional metal/power metal band only a few years ago. That said, it's doubtful you'd be disappointed either.