Review round 2019-4

sky empire - the dark towerchinawhite - differentD'Ercole - Made To BurnCranston II

Phil Vincent - HypocriteSlug Comparison - When You Were Living Herestamina liveThe Essential Claudio Delgift

 

 

 

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!

More Reviews

fred mika - withdrawal symptomsCranston IIsouls of deaf - fortune favors the bold

sky empire - the dark tower

D'Ercole - Made To BurnOk, 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:

FRED MIKA
Withdrawal Symptons
Rock Company

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.
Highly Recommended

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.

****

Your Music Blog tell you why (providing you love prog metal) you should buy The Dark Tower from Sky Empire. And some time before the blog wrote about D’Ercole’s Made to Burn.

****

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!

 

Recent reviews!

sky empire - the dark towerstill living - ymmij  souls of deaf - fortune favors the bold age-of-aquariusmarenna - livin no regretsSunrise Auranaut - Inserter

 

 

 

 

It is about time to give you an overview of reviews for our releases!

  • Musipedia of Metal gives Sky Empire a 7/10 and calls it a fairly impressive chunk of prog that will certainly entertain fans of the genre
  • DMME gives 3 4/5 stars to Still Living’s Ymmij album and likes the band best in the heavier songs
  • Rockportaal really enjoy the Souls Of Deaf album and call it a damn fine album with catchy and fast metal
  • Dmitry from  DMME also had some nice things to say about last years Age Of Aquarius release and adds several new genre descriptions to the varied sound of the album
  • Zeitgeist / the Rocker have lots of praise for the Marenna live album and state that Melodic hard rock fans should definitely be giving it a listen
  • Belgian Metal Shredder found several favourites on the Souls Of Deaf album and describe it as an old-school album that aims to bring some of that classic Motörhead vibe to you but with a typically Dutch flavor
  • Metal Temple are very impressed by the Sky Empire album and give a 10 for songwriting and a 9 for originality!

And in Empire 127 Martin Dambeck wrote several impressions. For Chinawhite, Souls Of Deaf and Sunrise Auranaut. Read in the next documents:

Empire_127_PREVIEW 56-57

Empire_127_PREVIEW 59

 

chinawhite - differentAnd last but not least the kind words of Mr. H. for Chinawhite:

CHINAWHITE
Different
Rock Company

Another release from the men who never sleep. Yes, Peter Cox (not that one) and Phil Vincent have made another record to go with all their CranstoN / Forest Field endeavours.

Chinawhite, though, is all about the songs of Peter Cox. With all the vocals taken care of by Vincent and the drums coming from Praying Mantis man Hans in´t Zandt they’ve certainly put together a quality product. It’s mainly eighties styled melodic hard rock but they’ve also thrown in a few prog elements as well. It would be no surprise to find some mid-period Asia albums in the collection of Mr Cox.

They kick things off with one of the album highlights – ‘Kiss Of Fire’ – which is as hard rock as they get. The prog starts to arrive with ‘Hello To The World’ and from then on they mix and match as they please. When it works, it’s really enjoyable, although a couple of songs just miss. And just to reinforce the prog credentials the album closes with an eight minute instrumental. Hey! It’s my album and I’ll do what I like. A good one.

Pre Order Sky Empire open now!

sky empire - the dark towerYou can now pre order the fantastic new album The Dark Tower from Sky Empire on CD. But only in our webshop:

A must for fans of Dream Theater or Symphony X! So it is progressive metal time!

Shipping starts early September. Click here for their artist page.

To get a taste: here some samples:

Sky Empire sign with RC!

sky empire - the dark towerWhile I imagine that most of you will be either in the water, or sticking their head in the fridge, things keep cooking here at RC-HQ. So it gives me a great pleasure to announce that the mighty Sky Empire have signed with us for a worldwide release of their stunning album The Dark Tower.

If you follow their facebook page, you might have noticed our logo on the back of their recently posted message about the CD!
Final release date is yet to be confirmed, but we hope it will be before October! For fans of bands like Symphony X or Dream Theater, this is an album you will not want to miss!
Stay tuned for more details. Or start with reading this review to understand our excitement.
 
Keep cool, Peter
the dark tower back photo
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