Expect the latest D’Ercole album Quantum 8 on March 23, 2022. Album 8 (duh) from the band continues seamlessly where the well-received previous release Hard Core left us. So 10 more songs of hard melodic rock and maybe a surprise here and there. Fans of the band or the artists involved can buy this blind as it meets all expected standards. Again mastered by Jacob Hansen, and lead guitars provided by trusted friends Vince O’Regan and label boss Peter Cox on Your Lies, D’Ercole never lose momentum and keep delivering exciting rock music for their fans!
- no less than 18/20 points for Phil Vincent’s Stigmata opus on French site Metal Integral.
- also a whopping 8/10 for Age of Aquarius album Out There on Swiss site Metal Factory
- 4/5 stars for Vincent’s Stigmata album on Get Ready To Rock
- according to White Room Reviews Legion’s Redemption album proves that they are back for good and are worthy to add to your collection
- Clair & Obscure wrote quite a long piece on D’Ercole’s Hard Core album and even contacted Phil with some questions.
- both Stigmata and Hard Core come recommended from Dutch site Rockportaal who applaud the quality on offer
- more praise for AoA’s Out There CD comes from DMME: “a highly entertaining, and intelligent, opus”, resulting in 4,25 / 5 stars
- almost the highest possible score (4,8 / 5) from DMME for Phils Stigmata album “Going from strength to strength”
- crossing many (prog) genres and incorporating many nuances is what Prog Critique says about AoA album Out There
- and somewhere on this Strutter zine page you can find Gabor’s thoughts on D’Ercole, Age Of Aquarius and Phil Vincent!
- another Recommended from Made In Metal (Spain) for D’Ercole
- and according to ViriAOR “This new album from D’Ercole will satisfy even the most demanding listener”
The past year(s) have been pretty crazy, so it is way beyond time to reflect on the many great reviews our releases received. It will take a couple of posts, so here we go! (hit the links for full details)
- The Rocker describes the latest Legion album as “another excellent release”
- White Room Reviews says Tragik’s Faith Healer is a fine album which will please any lover of melodic hard rock
- Tragik is also # 16 in the Top 20 of 2020 by Janne Stark.
- White Room Reviews writes about Phil Vincent’s Today Tomorrow Yesterday: “a CD that celebrates the diversity of PHil Vincent within the hard rock domain”
- The Rocker, a self proclaimed child of the Eighties says about Tragik’s Faith Healer: “It’s the sound of rock the way it used to be. And the way it should be. A gem.”
- Janne Stark writes about Phil’s TTY album: “a really good album. I must also point out that Phil is a kick-ass singer who deserves to be heard! “
- Metal Integral from France describe D’Ercole’s HArd Core album as “Hard US rock the way I like it” and rewards it with 17.5 / 20 points!
- An extensive review of the second Age Of Aquarius album Out There kan be found on Muzikman: “Out There offers a combination of action-packed, comic book imagery, along with surprise hints of pop-up styles inside the effects of progressive-rock. “
- Woody’s praises the D’Ercole album as “A top notch melodic hard rock album, get it, enjoy it, smile and Crank it Up!”
- the 4.5 / 5 stars for Tragik’s Faith Healer from DMME tells you everything. At least it should 🙂
- rockerhead wastes few words on the Age Of Aquarius album: “great piece of work”
- For DMME, Phil’s TTY album is “impressive: arguably, the best Vincent’s album to date.”
Rock Company are proud to announce their 50th release. And even more so since it is the new D’Ercole album Hard Core!
D’Ercole release their brand new opus “Hard Core” in February 2021 on Rock Company Records. Packed with 10 songs of hard melodic rock, this album sets the bar for hook-laden, guitar heavy, melodic music. Mastered by Jacob Hansen, these songs pack the punch you would expect from their discography. From the crunching tones of opener “Keep it All Together” to the Thin Lizzy meets Foreigner “This is Your Life”, to the sheer AOR class of “Bringing Me Down”, all the way to massive closer “The Only One”, “Hard Core” will satisfy even the most discerning listener. Add to that , lead guitar by Legion partner Vince O’Regan and this is a must have for any fan of Winger, Pretty Maids, Dokken, Boston, Foreigner and Thin Lizzy.
Release: February 3, 2021. Pre-order now at a reduced price, shipping starts soon!
Time is long overdue to bring you the next overview of all the great reviews that have reached us the last weeks/ months. So here we go:
- first one is for Claudio Delgift‘s The Essential, coming from French website Prog Critique. In their words: Claudio Delgift demonstrates a great technical mastery combining power and quality. Twelve tracks never run out of energy or inspiration, the musician splits a classic and melodic progressive that allows his guitar playing to flourish. (3.5 / 5)
- Next one is ViriAOR discussing Phil Vincent‘s Hypocrite album: “An album that handles all musical styles in brush strokes, and that personally, is what I liked most about him lately. Highlight guitar solos by experts Vince O’Regan and Peter Cox. A compact, entertaining and interesting album.” (5/5)
- an amazing 4/5 stars for Battersea and Arguments & Sentiments from Dmitry at DMME
- and an even more wonderful 5/5 at ViriAOR for Battersea
- also a 5 stars for Legion and Rising from ViriAOR
- next up Metal Integral reward the Live In The City Of Power album from Stamina with 15/20, no wonder they call them “unjustly unknown”!
- Back to DMME and Phil Vincent. Another 4/5 stars, with Dmitry stating “quite an unexpected move for Phil, but the contemporary sonics show how valid such an approach is in an appropriate context”
- Italian website Aristocrazia had lots of good things to say about Stamina; “trust me, you will not be disappointed. Grit, tenacity and passion: this is fed by the music of Campania and this is the only one you will find inside Live In The City Of Power , energy in abundance!”
- Over to Germany now, where PowerMetal.de has a lot of good things to say about Rising from Legion with qualifications like “flawless”, “no shortage of hooks”, or “still a long way from old-timers and still lots to say” (7.5/10)
- back to Italy and Stamina, where Hardsounds rewards the live album with 77 points calling it a “significant live testimony”
- Strutter and Gabor had a bit of catching up to do. On this page you can find reviews for:
– D’Ercole – Made to Burn (8.1/10)
– Slug Comparison – When You Were Living Here (8.5/10)
– Legion – Rising (7.7/10)
– Stamina – Live In The City Of Power (7.3/10)
– Phil Vincent – Hypocrite (8.1/10)
- and the last one for today is from Belgium’s Concrete Web, talking about Rising from Legion with lots of positives. The songwriting, the sound, the execution. Resulting in a warm Recommended.
Thanks to all the writers!
Since reviews keep coming hard and fast, time is long overdue to update the site with the best ones from recent weeks:
- Whiteroom reviews Legion “Rising shows that Legion can still rock. Good thing they are back”
- Sea Of Tranquility appreciate D’Ercole‘s Made To Burn with 3.5 / 5 stars: “If you enjoy melodic hard rock and AOR with strong lead vocals there should be a lot to love here” and
- Slug Comparison they rate with 4/5 stars! “an excellent modern rock album that might be light on prog but for me that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Well played, well sung and certainly sophisticated enough for the more discerning fan. Recommended”
- the same site and the same rating, 4/5 stars for Cranston – II; “CranstoN proves to be an excellent venture with a professional production and melodies all over the place. A highly recommended release”
- last but not least, another 3.5 / 5 stars for Claudio Delgift: “Claudio is an excellent guitarist, his fills and rhythms, both acoustic and electric highlight every track”
- Then on to Dutch site Lords Of METAL: a 72 / 100 for Phil Vincent‘s Hypocrite album: “another very enjoyable album”
- a very thrilling 77 / 100 for Battersea: “a fine album with beautiful songs”
- an even more thrilling 80 / 100 for Stamina’s Live In The city Of Power: “besides an excellent choice in songs, a very good sound for a live album with a great mix”
- and finally a 75 / 100 for Legion and Rising: ” interesting from start to finish, I like Rising so maybe I should start tracking down their back catalogue”
- now over to France and a stunning 5 / 5 stars for Slug Comparison on Progcritique: “by proposing a colorful content, sometimes rock, sometimes progressive, realizes here a warm and endearing album!”
- from Canada a 3.8 / 5 stars for Stamina from the pen of Dmitry Epstein: ” if they’re willing to projecting such balance onto the future, it wouldn’t take a lot of stamina to reach the higher echelons of heavy champions”
- Phil Vincent did an extensive interview with Swedish site Rock United which you can read in full here
- Musipedia of Metal rate Legion with a 7 / 10: “on the basis of this album I’d happily hear a lot more of this rock band”
- and the last ones of this post; thoughts from Your Music Blog on Slug Comparison and Claudio Delgift
More to come!
At the moment the reviews keep coming! So for the people who are still pondering on how to spend their cash, maybe here some motivation to support our artists. As usual follow the links to read the full story (few exceptions below):
- DMME give Sky Empire a 4/5 stars for The Dark Tower. Dmitry says “British progressive metallurgists debut on a large scale – with no reason to cut it down” and is sure that while they’ve set the bar high for themselves, they will be able to rise to the challenge
- Sea Of Tranquility writer Steven Reid hands Chinawhite’s Different album 3.5/5 stars claiming “Hopefully Different finds Chinawhite fighting fit and reinvigorated, because having to wait nine years between albums isn’t ideal. That said, it has been worth the wait”
- Next up is Rock Hard (SK). Writer Erik Nadudvari shows his appreciation for the Different album from Chinawhite with a 4/5 star review, saying “we have a vibrant new album with pounding guitars and dense bass, plus even more guitars and keyboards to enhance the mood of the entire collection”
- That same Erik and Rock Hard give D’Ercole’s Made To Burn a 3.5/5 star rating. Lots of positives vibes on this one!
- Mr. H from UK site The Rocker writes about Cranston – II:The first CranstoN record saw Phil Vincent team up with Paul Sabu and I reckoned “If you’re the kind of persons who yearns for the likes of classic Aerosmith and Foreigner, albeit with a harder edged sound then this is the record for you. Now I’m not going to claim it’s up there with the classics but it is a very good album.”Which saves me the bother of writing a new review for the follow up album as exactly the same applies to this one. There are a couple of variations on the theme with some boogie licks on ‘Always On The Run’ and a more metal tinge to ‘Throwin’ Down’. There are a couple of fillers weighing down the middle of the record (say hello to ‘One Track Mind’) but given the sheer number of releases that Phil Vincent and company punt out every year there’s bound to be some slips in quality control.Strange to say, this time around, the best track is slightly anomalous as it moves away from the early eighties melodic rock into more seventies fey territory. ‘Wish I Had More Time’ is the tune in question, a lovely slice of acoustic pop which would have seen some US chart action circa 1976. Pound for pound I think this just shades the debut and is well worth a listen for fans of the genre.
- Heavy Paradise rate the latest solo album Hypocrite by Phil Vincent with an 8/10 and tells us that “Hypocrite is yet another strong sample of his really admirable career. Some killer tunes in it, great guitars, an overall tight sound with the necessary modern vibe and some Winger ‘pinches’ here and there makes “Hypocrite” a must ‘listen’ for all the fans of the modern hard rock scene (…and not only)”
- Next one for Hypocrite comes from Dangerdog. Another 4/5 rating. Craig says “Needless to say, Hypocrite finds the multi-talented Phil Vincent in fine form delivering another solid album of his melodic hard and heavy rock. Recommended.”
- One of those awful illegal download sites calls that same album “Strong, varied and interesting”
- Next one from The Rocker is for Slug Comparison:Some Canadian prog via the Netherlands as a Dutch record label brings us the latest offering from vocalist/guitarist Doug Harrison of Canadian progressive rockers Fen. Truly it’s a global village.Now I’ve never heard of Fen or Doug Harrison. He has released a previous solo album and EP and this one sees him collaborating with the likes of guitarist Sam Levin (Fen), bassist Mike Young (The Devin Townsend Band), Randall Stoll (Congenital Fixation, KD Lang), Jeff Caron (Fen), Nando Polesel (Fen) and, Dave Young (Devin Townsend). So that’s a lot of Fen and a lot of Devin Townsend. But not a lot of prog.It’s proggish in the way that King’s X were (and are) proggish. But it has just as much in common with mainstream modern rock bands and post-grunge outfits. Which doesn’t really float my boat. Steven Wilson fans will probably take to it though and as there are a helluva lot more of them than there are of me, then this could do well for him. If they get past the awful band name. He has got a great voice which really comes to the fore when he aims for the jugular with the modern day version of a power ballad. Which is why ‘Fine With It’ is utterly magnificent. It has space to breathe, an impassioned vocal and some glittering guitar. A gem.
A couple more like that and he would have had me. But this is a sound that is hugely attractive to modern ears. If they get to hear it this could be big.
- Next Jason Ritchie from Get Ready To Rock, also on Phil Vincent’s Hypocrite album. A very decent 3.5/5 stars because “not as instant as many of Phil Vincent’s solo albums, ‘Hypocrite’ certainly holds its own musically and is another enjoyable melodic hard rock album”
- Next one is for Cranston – II, this time from German Metal zine Crossfire: an 8/10 rating placing the album somewhere between Giant and Thunder with praise for the compositions!
- GloryDazeMusic rate Hypocrite with a 7/10 and applaud it’s diversity even though writer George does not think every song is of the same high calibre
- then on to the first review of the coming Stamina live CD/ DVD Live In The City Of Power. Metalwinds give it a mesmerising 90/100 rating! No shortage of superlatives in the review
- the next ultra fresh review is for the coming release of Legion; Rising. GloryDazeMusic writer George is pretty happy with the return of the band and rates the album with 8.5/10!
- then on to Spain and This is Rock and their March 2019 edition. First one is for Claudio Delgift – the Essential. Translated:I can’t think of a better way to get into the work of this exceptional Argentine guitarist than through this compilation. With such exquisite class and taste, each song is an ode to Progressive Rock with Blues and melodic influences. He’s in charge of all of the instruments except drums. He has the ability to create great expectation with his music. That can be seen in the unfolding of the songs, which instead of boring us to death with solos and technical parts, it makes us keep our attention on, asking to ourselves if the next section will be just as good as the previous one. “The World As A Whole” sums the album up perfectly. A portent of guitarist and songwriter that will be a big surprise for you.Enrique Gallardo
- Second one is for Cranston – II:Behind this pretty much warrior-like name hides a duet of prolific Hard Rock artists: Paul Sabu and Phil Vincent. Style-wise it reminds us of Sabu’s “In Dreams,” so if you liked that record, this one won’t disappoint you. The first three tracks are spectacular. “Always On The Run” is catchy and powerful. “What’s It Gonna Take” is reminiscent of Sammy Hagar’s best solo moments. And “Wrong Side Of Town” has a distinctive Celtic touch in its chorus that makes your ears prick. The rest maintains the level, though the impact isn’t as immediate. “I Wish I Had More Time” sounds a bit like Southern Rock and “One Track Mind” distils Sleaze Rock, while “Throwin’ Down” is built around a mastodon riff. They still make quality Rock.Enrique Gallardo
- And we end this time with Dutch site Lords Of METAL:
* a 72/100 for Slug Comparison
* a 60/100 for Claudio Delgift
* and a 70/100 for Cranston!
Lots of new reviews headed our way recently. So time for another roundup:
- Dutch site Rockportaal were happy with the second Cranston album and describe it as “tasty melodic hardrock in a modern jacket, inspired by older work. Fans of Eighties rock can buy this on sight”.
- the second Rockportaal review concerns Slug Comparison. Writer Edwin says that “Doug Harrison shows himself an accomplished writer with songs that both lyrically as well as musically are of high calibre. An album that deserves your attention”
- French site Metal Integral next. First Cranston – II gets 17/20 points! “an album that will energise your days”
- Another 17/20 for last years effort from Fred Mika – Withdrawal Symptoms and as they put it “it is never too late to showcase who are both gifted as passionate!”
- Mr. H. from UK site The Rocker did not like all of the D’Ercole album Made To Burn, but did say that what he likes “will be a treat for fans of eighties styled melodic rock” Find the review dated February 12 here
- on to German site Musik Reviews. First a 12/15 for Cranston! Their conclusion is “Above average good, ultra-conservative and therefore surprise-free AOR or melodic rock of two absolute professionals in this field”
- no rating for Claudio Delgift’s The Essential, but they do say it is “likely to appeal to prog rock to metal listeners and friends of virtuously played electric guitars”
- Alas they were one of the few so far not totally impressed by Slug Comparison album When You Were Living Here (10/15). Reading the comments however, I am not sure were the comparisons to Rush and prog-light are coming from?
- Then Brazil, a staggering 9.5/10 for Fred Mika coming from Roadie Metal!
- Then back the UK’s The Rocker. Lots of praise from Mr. H for Claudio Delgift in the February 19 edition of reviews. “There are complex arrangements but it’s all underpinned by a strong sense of melody that keeps you hooked. He’s certainly worthy of being better known so fingers crossed this does its job”. We hope so too!
A big thanks to all the writers!
Here some quotes and links to the reviews:
- Glory Daze Music gave Cranston an 8.5 and admit quite liking the effort
- German site Musik Reviews gave Sunrise Auranaut 10/15 and think they have a full Eastern flair and a clear space sound
- Heavy Paradise were among the first to review Slug Comparison, crediting the album with a 8/10 saying: ” I have to say that is a quite interesting ride all the way through Doug Harrison‘s music world. It includes some excellent melodies, solid arrangements, deep and with meaning lyrics and very good performances”
- Fireworks writer Paul Woodward discussed D’Ercole‘s fifth album Made To Burn and calls it “another quality release involving Vincent and it’s one I highly recommend“
- Next we have Progressive Rock Fanatics writer Stephen Conrad. His first review featured involves Claudio Delgift and his compilation The Essential. Stephen says “Claudio is a prolific musician, and these tracks serve as a good introduction into the breadth and quality of his work so far.”
- The second Conrad review is about Slug Comparison. In one word he calls it “Superb”!
- In Canada’s The Georgia Straight, Slug Comparison is named Album Of The Week by writer Mike Usinger!
- Get Ready To Rock writer Jason Ritchie says “With Cranston both Phil Vincent and Paul Sabu have made musical chemistry and I am already looking forward to hearing what these two come up with next.” 4/5 stars
- and last but certainly not least is a thrilling review for Slug Comparison by The Ringmaster. Pete says “When You Were Living Here is simply intimate splendour with melodic nobility sure to be deserving of every ounce of attention and acclaim it will inevitably garner.”
Ok, halfway through the month it is time to point you to some more reviews! Let’s first start with Mr. H. from Zeitgeist / The Rocker, writing about Fred Mika. Alas no direct link to the review (it was posted November 23) so here his words:
It’s the one fans are all waiting for. You know, The announcement that the drummer is doing a solo album.
So fans of Brazilian band Sunroad must have been besides themselves with joy when this appeared. Turns out said band have punted out half a dozen albums over the last twenty years or so. Nope, me neither. But it explains how Mr Mika has cajoled a host of Brazilian rock singers to appear here. See it’s one of those where a different singer is on each tune. Mind you, it’s as much an Andre Adonis record as he co-writes, plays guitars, bass and keyboards and does some singing as well. And he’s in Sunroad. Which just confuses me.
Never having heard Sunroad I don’t know how much this differs from their records but I’m hazarding a guess that this collection of old school, melodic hard rock won’t be a million miles away. And there are a few good tunes along for the ride. The best two are right in the middle when the class of Carl Dixon and Michael Voss help lift the songs on ‘Wired In’ and ‘Artwork Nightmare’ respectively.
There are nods to classic Deep Purple in a few places when the keyboards are a wee bit more prominent but there just aren’t enough to push the record from good to great. There are some jazzy and instrumental interludes which don’t help the flow so even though I quite enjoyed it but I won’t be rushing back.
Thank you mr. H.!
Another one I cannot point you to is for the latest Cranston album. And it is getting quite the praise:
To be released tomorrow, the simply titled “II” is indeed the second album from CRANSTON, the band formed three years go by vocalist / multi-instrumentalist Phil Vincent, his former band mate in D’Ercole drummer B.F. D’Ercole, and the legendary Paul Sabu on guitar.
What isn’t ‘simply’ for sure is the material on offer here; a strong bunch of classic melodic hard rockers full of bounce and displaying the best Sabu’s guitar work / songwriting in years.
While CranstoN first album was a good one, this second effort blow it out of the water on all aspects: all songs are good, arrangements & production better, and Sabu’s guitar playing is on fire.
Paul Sabu’s last solo album from some years ado resulted ‘cold’ in my humble opinion, then on CranstoN’s self-titled debut his work was fine however with not much room to shine, but here the talented guitarist seems to have re-captured his essence delivering some truly awesome riffs and solos to boot.
CranstoN “II” has the ‘good songs’ you need to success – well written and catchy tunes – Vincent has proven his talents and skills over the years, but what really takes this CD to another level is Sabu’s work.
His sweet riffs on the melodic rock tunes”Always on the Run”, “What’s it Gonna Take” or the AORish “Wrong Side of Town” bringing to mind Paul’s early albums.
Nicely, “II” is not circumscribed to only one genre, and they suddenly drop a poppy melodious song worthy of massive attention in the form of “Wish I Had More Time” (with Sabu performing cool acoustics as well). Here, as happens on some songs on the CD, Vincent sings with a vocal tone reminiscent of Night Ranger’s Keally Keagy which I like a lot and fits the material.
Then, the band change course to insight the hard rock intensity of the groovy “Throwin’ Down”, the Night Ranger circa mid-Nineties “Tables Turning”, and the pretty killer closing number “Dead & Gone”, a punchy cut again with a solid guitar work.
As said previously, while the first CranstoN album was good, I resulted pleasantly surprised with “II”, a very good melodic hard rock album with an early ’90s feeling.
I wasn’t expecting this Sabu return to form but the man delivers some of his magic again, add to that better songs and a more polished production, and we have here a very solid new album from CranstoN.
01. Always on the Run
02. What’s It Gonna Take
03. Wrong Side of Town
04. Soul Crusher
05. Tables Turning
06. Wish I Had More Time
07. One Track Mind
08. Throwin’ Down
09. Sad Truth
10. Take Me
11. Dead & Gone
Phil Vincent – vocals, bass, keyboards
Paul Sabu – guitar, vocals, keyboards
B.F. D’Ercole – drums
Next are Souls Of Deaf. Writer Steven Reid from Sea Of Tranquility gives it 3 stars. Considering they focus on prog and this is a bit more of a metal record, not bad. He does not call it a perfectly decent record for nothing! Thanks Steven.
And closing for the moment is Dmitry Epstein from DMME. He always weaves magic words and finds himself pretty impressed with D’Ercole’s latest offering Made To Burn and hands it a 4/13 out of 5 stars! Thank you Dmitry!