AFTERMATH OF THE LOWDOWN
Richie Sambora is an amazing talent who has wasted so much of that talent by toiling away in Bon Jovi for so many crummy, formulaic albums that followed KEEP THE FAITH. Those albums just seemed like lame, adaptive releases that packed little excitement or energy like the original Bon Jovi albums did. For Sambora though, his work outside of the framework has always been underappreciated by the masses, but consistently excellent. Both STRANGER IN THIS TOWN and UNDISCOVERED SOUL showcased not only a different side of Sambora as a player, but absolutely impressive lead vocals that were worthy of heading up a major rock band all by himself.
BLEED & SCREAM
While most bands mellow like wine with age Sweden's Eclipse have followed a different trajectory becoming heavier over the course of their thirteen year career. Bleed & Scream, the band's fourth release, showcases these stellar musicians at the apex of their creativity and aggression. Having slowly shed the melodic hard pop of their early days, this album is pure unadulterated metallic rock of the classiest variety.
Each song glimmers strongly with its own unique identity proving the Swedes have worked hard at evolving their craft rather than finding a "formula" and riding it out. Stand out tracks like "Bleed & Scream" "SOS" "Wake Me Up" & "A Bitter Taste" are as different from one another as they are from any other bands in the melodic metal scene. After a decade of writing, this skill deserves more applause than it gets.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
BIG MOON RITUAL
Man, oh man. Sometimes I hear music that really, really makes me question my decision of 1986 to just quit smoking pot. I've never lied to anyone about it. I loved smoking pot - everything about it. I loved the buzz. I loved the warm, bubbly feeling as you let it find its way through your lungs while you held it in before that euphoric release that was, generally, followed by a soft giggle of the purest enjoyment. I loved the relaxing serenity it can put your mind into, specifically if you had just the right music playing while you enjoyed passing a joint around a campfire or mixing in pipe hits when you grew tired of drinking beer by the six pack. Yes, I do miss smoking pot, but thankfully I am one of those rare breed that still enjoys the best pot smoking music while being completely herb free!
It's been five years since Rush unleashed their SNAKES AND ARROWS release, and to be honest, it's been longer still since they put out a release that was truly great. Like most of their material outside of the 80s, SNAKES AND ARROWS was a little better than competent classic progressive hard rock. For the diehards, always being good but not great leaves them wondering when the next great release will emerge. For those that are just fans in passing (like this guy), the thought of a new release generates very little in the way of expectation.
REGRINDING THE AXES
What could be more useless in 2012 than a new Molly Hatchet studio album? Clearly the band knew. The correct answer is: a Molly Hatchet covers album. Look, I've got no real issues with Molly Hatchet. Every tractor pull and ribfest has to have their live band entertainment, and Foghat always needs a co-headliner. As far as recorded music though, I have to assume that Molly Hatchet recorded music stopped meaning anything to anyone around the time the replacement players started outnumbering the original members in the band. Still, they want to continue on, so God bless 'em.