- first up a review of Sunrise Auranaut’s Inserter album on Sea Of Tranquility. Revieuwer Michael Popke rates it with 3/5 stars.
- been a while since Melodic Rock dot com have done reviews, so happy to report that the second Cranston album got a 78% score. Andrew says: “If American melodic hard rock with a pomp touch and a heavy Winger influence is your thing, then look no further”.
- Dutch site Progwereld review Claudio Delgift’s The Essential here. They praise his talent and think the collection is a good way to introduce yourself to Claudio’s music.
- another Dutch site, Background Magazine, gives the same album a 3/5 star rating. Read the review here. They think the album is great, but do not like the vocals much.
- DPRP on the other hand, beg to differ and find lots more positives, read their thoughts here.
- and our friends from Rock Hard Slovakia rate Fred Mika’s album with 4/5 stars. Read here why writer Erik calls it a pleasant and varied melodic hard rock album.
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!
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!
The reviews keep coming in! And most of them we are very happy to share with you:
Brian from The Midlands Rocks wrote about Chinawhite and Fred Mika here. Lots of positives, so thank you Brian for you kind words.
Next up is Italian site Giornale Metal! They honoured Marenna with 8/10, and Sunrise Auranaut and Fred Mika with a 7/10. The site is obviously in Italian, but Google can translate automatically for you. Thank you Bob, Silvio and Angelica.
To move on we have Dutch site Rock Portaal. Lots of good things about Souls of Deaf. Thank you Filip.
The same applies to LiveReviewer.com. Also lots of praise for the Souls Of Deaf album. Thank you Winston.
French site Metal Integral gave Chinawhite a 4.5/5 stars! Thank you Noctus.
To conclude this gathering, I present a beautiful one published in French magazine Highlands #92, about the Inserter album by Sunrise Auranaut:
For his first title, The Flight Continues, SUNRISE AURANAUT remains in his comfort zone by using what he knows best: a rhythmic Progressive feeling good 70s, with keyboards also retro futuristic. We always hear the programmed battery, limit drum machine, which can annoy by its sound.
In The Old House is more imaginative: varied and articulate on an intriguing Glockenspiel, it establishes a well marked atmosphere in just four minutes.
The rhythm is both more present and better used, serving keyboards from the Moog from the 70s to the 80s. Vitaly KISELEV skilfully slides guitar parts for a more energetic and relevant overall rendering. Keeper Of The Castle Forest push INSERTER in this way, in equal quality.
Based on a very nice guitar part freely inspired by Steve HACKETT, this title is part of a very good balance between guitar-keyboards-drums.
SUNRISE AURANAUT knows his classics and he never hesitates to refer to them, for the good cause. Identification Man (Psychedelic Inserter) could be his sequel: the Hammond organ always holds a place of choice, for a very progressive piece, in the spirit of In The Old House.
Rhythm breaks and other tempo changes are part of the journey and thanks to the contribution of MALAKHOV, KISELEV can refine the programming and the guitar playing, forming a solid and always interesting. The pair works perfectly, which allows him to offer the short but beautiful Fog. This time, we hear the contribution and influences of the Classic claimed by SUNRISE AURANAUT. With his guitar evoking the harpsichord, the keyboard can play its sweet and ethereal part that makes us enjoy a different and pleasant music.
Auspicious before the trilogy The Saga Of The Discovers.
The first two are grouped on the same title and this choice is judicious: it allows us to focus on his six beautiful minutes; SUNRISE AURANAUT is more ambitious than ever and this is reflected in his arrangements: the rhythm section seems more and more natural, serving at best this powerful Progressive rock, in the wake of a romanticism at GENESIS and Steve HACKETT.
The duo makes us take advantage of their great range of sounds, by packing this piece which finds its climax in an excellent third final part.
Taking advantage of the change of track to rest with a soothing introduction, this Saga resumes its cruising pace by finishing as well as it started.
A flawless for this suite that marks his imprint album. The World Of Light keeps in itself the aesthetics of its predecessors, without taking all its strength: the piece is good but with less strength of conviction. The strange One Strange Morning will bring another atmosphere, between Dany ELFMAN and that of a haunted mansion.
Despite an electronic drum too present, we revel in this title lighter, tinged with irony, in a state of mind finally very Russian. Hello, Star Man is very honorably closing the set: even if it does not reach the height of the saga, it returns without complex to a progressive progressive pleasant, without surprise but effective.
By diversifying with the contribution of a musician for this fifth album, Vitaly KISELEV was able to reinvent itself in his style, making INSERTER an excellent record if this is the best of SUNRISE AURANAUT.
In addition to the programmed battery that can displease, the whole is very homogeneous, creative, always located in the Progressive referenced period 70 but not without brilliance and panache. He even surprised us, like The Saga Of The Discoverers, brilliant.
Lovers of instrumental rock, listen to this endearing album. (*** ¾)
Been rather busy with lots of things lately, and in the meantime quite a few reviews have seen the light a day. So here a wrap up for you:
Lords of Metal talk about:
- Chinawhite – Different and give it 80 points!
- sadly only 58 points for Fred Mika’s Withdrawal Symptoms
- Marenna’s Livin’ No Regrets does better with 64 points
- and last but not least; Souls of Deaf album Fortune Favors The Bold got 73 points
Thanks to all the writers.
On DMME a rather nice review of the previous Sunrise Auranaut album The Ocean Of Unspoken Words has been published. Thank you Dmitry!
On to UK site Uber Rock now:
- even when Mark Ashby did not seem to understand the idea behind Different from Chinawhite, he still liked many things on offer
- so it’s a good thing Marenna’s Livin’No Regrets got a better reception, thanks Mark
In Italy site Metalhead gave Marenna an 8/10 for Livin’ No Regrets. Nice one, thanks!
And to close for now, how about a 80% for Fred Mika’s Withdrawal Symptoms on AngelicWarlord? Much better, thanks!
The first solo album from Sunroad drummer Fred Mika is a real hammer! With an all star line up including Carl Dixon, Michael Voss, Rod Marenna, Daniel Vargas, Mario Pastore, Tito Falashi, Andre Adonis, Steph Honde and Haig Berberian. Check out some songs in this EPK and be amazed…
Next it is time to get acquainted with the massive debut from new Dutch hard rockers Souls Of Deaf! Impressive hard rock that on one hand harks back to the sound of the big names from the eighties, yet stays firmly rooted in the now.
Both album are available for pre order and start shipping next week. Limited price up until their official release!
okay, early May we will release the Withdrawal Symptoms album from Fred Mika. One of Brazil’s best known drummers (Sun Road) and with a plethora of well known guests (Carl Dixon, Michael Voss, Daniel Vargas, Rod Marenna, Steph Honde, André Adonis to name a few) he recorded his first solo album. Grab a taste here:
preparing 2 new releases for manufacturing!
We have signed Fred Mika for a worldwide release of Withdrawal Symptoms. This hard rock album includes a bunch of seasoned scene veterans like Carl Dixon, Michael Voss and many more. Release date early May!
The Souls Of Deaf album Fortune Favors The Bold will release on May 11. Expect a mix of the metal from Ozzy and Motörhead, with some other elements thrown in for good measure. Another exciting release!
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