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Sammy HAGAR and the Waboritas : "TEN 13 " 9

Cabowabo/Beyond 2001

Review by Nick Baldrian 01-06-12

Ah, my old buddy and genuine rock god returns with his third post Van Halen effort. Sam the man's new record, shows as much lyrical and musical diversity as it shows typical one way to rock stadium anthems, particularly on 'Serious Juju' which has a dead mean bass and guitar part.

Hagar's vocals throughout this album are as what you would expect, magic! but what I enjoyed about this album is the vibe and crunchiness of the songs which all shine with the typical Hagar tounge n cheek lyrics we've all come to expect, but "Ten 12" also reminds me of Sam's Montrose days and his "Marching To Mars" album and features great bluesy riffs thrown in here and there on songs like 'The Real Deal' and the balladish 'Little Bit More', whilst the acoustic 'Tropic Of Capricorn' smells of Caribbean off shore winds and is a great catchy song with a great "Mas Tequila" kinda vibe.

'The Message' is a classic Hagar tune, I love his vocals and guitar riff on this track, it's on this tracks that the Voice Of America shines in all it's glory, a perfect single. 'Deeper Kind Of Love' is also great, how on Earth can you ignore a song like this? Sammy Hagar has probably one of the most distinctive voices in rock. It's scary how much this album rocks, try turning the volume up to max and feel your walls vibrating as your neighbours yell at you to turn the old boom box down as songs like 'Protection','Shaka Doobie (The Limit)', 'Let Sally Drive' and the headbanging Metallicaish '3 In The Middle' send gigantic shock vibrations across the rock world's nightclubs. And on a humourous note it's only Hagar who can get away with singing "Happy Birthday" to himself on the song "Ten 13" which is Hagars D.O.B and contnues the traditon of songs like 'Shag' and 'Mas Tequila'. Buy this album folks and listen to it at full volume and all will come crystal clear why Hagar felt he had to leave the ranks of Van Halen. Whilst VH have lost their creative energy and lost a huge amount of fans after the awful "3" album, Hagar has delivered three top notch solo records in one go. One hopes that the Roth reunion will ignite their creative sparks once again, but we all know that they're doing it for the money, where as Mr. Hagar is doing it simply for the love of the music, and it shows as "Ten 13" is a damn fine album that is well worth buying. Remember folks there's only one way to rock - and that's the Hagar way!! Recommended

Sammy HAGAR: "Live Hallelujah"

Metal Is 2003
Review by 1 May 2003

Hallelujah! The Red Rocker is back with a live album filled with his rock'n'roll hymns. Sammy Hagar & the backing band 'The Wabo's' [Jesse Harms - keys, Vic Johnson - Guitar, Mona - Bass, David Lauser - Drums], is taking us back to their summer tour of 2002 here.

Expect a no frill and all thrill experiance as the ex-Montrose, Van Halen frontman, puts down the pedal to the metal. One thing's for sure, this man can't drive 55 and he knows there's only one way to rock. Yep! You go out at full speed and only increase it, while you're screaming down the highway.

Hagar is a real entertainer and I see nothing wrong in his performance. However, this is his first release at Metal-Is (a part of Snactuary/Noise) and you'd think it be something special, right? What's the worst and most annoying thing you can do with a "live" album??? Yeah... let's fade down between songs and take away everything that's fun with live recordings. This is not the "real deal" with all songs from one night only. This shouldn't come as a suprise either as most of our live records, is a mish-mash from several nights. Not to mention all the overdubbing and re-recording in studio. Still, you can't help feeling disappointed and frankly pissed here. The first 5-6 tracks are all from the same night I guess? Since there's no fading between songs to be found here. I'm going to be completely honest here.... I would never buy this myself as I hate to hear live-songs fade out. You can't complain on the musicians involved though as they're doing a great work here. But who ever came up with "fading" down between live-songs, should be shot. It's really up to you to decided if you're against or ok with it. You can find 16 live tracks with all the hits + the studio bonus track "Hallelujah". The latter is taken from the limited studio album 'Not 4 Sale'. A rather funny duet version of "When It's Love", featuring Hagar & Gary Cherone (ex-Van Halen, Extreme), can also be found here. And bassist Michael Anthony (Van Halen) guest appears on "Right Now". There may be a Hallelujah here but I don't hear any Amen.

Sammy HAGAR and The Waboritas: "The Long Road To Cabo" 8

Sanctuary 2003
Review by 13 November 2003

I've never been that big a Hagar fan. Granted, my favourite Van Halen albums are the ones with him on vocals, but I never really followed his solo career. To this day, I think I have heard two of his solo albums...but you know what? I've been converted! After watching this DVD, and especially checking out the bonus DVD, I've set my sights on getting some of his albums.

The actual "Long Road To Cabo" DVD is a documentary, including over dozen live performances, some with special guests, including Ted Nugent, Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and ex-Van Halen/Extreme singer Gary Cherone. Even good ol' Diamond Dave makes a short appearance! Some may say that the documentary parts ruin the whole DVD, but for me they add much needed flavour. As for the music, the chosen Hagar numbers aren't quite as good as the few Van Halen tracks featured, but all in all it's an okay selection. Gotta hand it to the camera crew too - I don't think that many girls without shirts went unnoticed and unfilmed!

For me, the bonus CD was more interesting than the "real" product. It includes a dozen or so promovideos, commentary to some of them, a Sammy Karaoke, Discography, a Trivia Game and Sammy's "cooking class". Some of the videos are hilariously dated, but many of the songs are great, like "Give To Live", "Two Sides Of Love" and "The Winner Takes It All". The Discography includes short clips of all songs, so one can check out which albums sound like worth hunting down...I found at least three or four albums like that! Hell, I even might try Sammy's Pasta Surprise one of these days!


HAIR OF THE DOG: "Rise" ****

Spitfire Records 2000
Review by Vesa Nourala

I've been listening the title song for a few months now on my PC and it really ha grown on me so I had to get this record. The fun in rock is back with HOTD. Good rockin' all through the CD, some slower ones too, but every song rocks pretty damn well. This time I'll go through the songs one by one.

"Rise": a really good song in my opinion, a bit heavier than the rest of the CD but kicks my ass anyway. "Five to Nine": well almost every one works from nine to five but some of us party from five to nine. I think the lyrics say it the best: "I tell the boss to kiss my ass, it's party time!" "Color Me Fire": party song again. Typical rock song but never the less a good song again. "You Are The One": a so called ballad. The guys are getting sentimental. I think this song suits anyone who has ever been swept away by someone. " Mokur Jahobees": the weirdest song title I have ever seen. This must be one of the songs the guys like to play live because they shout "Show us your ...". I wonder what they mean. "I Can't Fight You": love song again, it's about someone being desperate about loving someone. "Rescue Me": the title I guess says it all. [Ed's note: No it doesn't!] "Twice": this song is about doing things twice so you get a better effect. Bluesy song. "The Almighty Strut": back to rocking but maybe the one song that I like less than the others. "Sometimes Is Enough": a much better song than the previous one, has AC/DC written all over it. "Hammered": I guess we all like being hammered sometimes. Let's have a beer for this song! "I": a medley of Kiss songs. Love it!

The music isn't really something new but it's much better than the new ones that are coming out at the moment. The guys seem to like beer and so do I, so I have to like this. This also brings a band called The Poor in my mind. If you want dirty, rocking music then this one is it. Let's get Hammered!

Rob HALFORD: "Resurrection" 8

Sanctuary 2000

Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom 01-03-16

He´s baaaaaackkkkk... The Heavy Metal Voice finally understands that nobody really wants to hear him sing crap music in crap bands/projects like FIGHT & TWO. It took him 10 years to get it, but it was "almost" worth the wait. RESURRECTION is an album that brings him back to the JUDAS PRIEST days.

This is an album that proves once and for all that ROB HALFORD still is and has always been the best HEAVY METAL vocalist in the biz. The production by Roy Z is big & powerful but maybe a bit too sterile to be perfect, but then again... who is? I really can´t complain too much cuz this album rocks.

We can even find a duet with another classic hardrock vocalist BRUCE DICKINSON (Iron Maiden) on the song "The One You Love to Hate" and I must say that it´s a pure joy to listen to. Sure... some of the songs are a bit "modern" but not at all as bad as FIGHT or TWO, It´s more like a continue of the JUDAS PRIEST album "Painkiller" if anything. Like the opener and title track "Resurrection" which is a good uptempo metal song that easily could have been on the album "Made in Hell"; it has a powerful guitar riff and some superb vocals by "The Man" and remember that this guy has been in the biz for 30 years and he can still sing like an air siren. "Night fall" is a classic Priest song a-la the early 80´s and "Silent screams" is a killer track... goosebumps for sure and the rest pretty much rocks too. By the way "Twist" is co-written by BOB MARLETTE (Rick Springfield/Storm). Bottom line: BUY OR DIE!!!

HALL/OATES: "Change Of Season"

Arista 1990
Review by

Okay, I know some of you might wonder what this album is doing here. Others might have never heard these names (even better that way because then they learn about something very precious again). To cool the ones thinking there's no room here for these guys and this album I just mention that Jon Bon Jovi and Michael Thompson are also featured (well, more or less) in the album. Are you sitting again by now?! Can we start?

If this is the first time you have heard these names, these guys are both top songwriters and singers and have worked with lots of other acts (AOR, pop, etc.) too. "So Close" opens the album and this song has probably been their biggest "hit" of this era. The song was produced by Jon Bon Jovi and he is also credited as an additional songwriter for the acoustic version of the song that closes the album. This acoustic version is not one of those acoustic fooling you things when they take the electric guitars out of the final mix and they sell the mix they got as "acoustic version" (the ugliest example of this is the first Swedish Erotica album where they mixed the song down when the solo part was coming because they didn't even put any effort into writing an acoustic solo for the acoustic version). This acoustic version of So Close is a completely new arrangement and adds extra perspective to the original song. Now that the Bon Jovi fans came back after running to the local second hand CD store we go on.

"Starting All Over Again" might not please the die hard rock fans as much as the opening track. It's a more withdrawn tune but it features wonderful arrangements and the vocal parts are full of harmonies. Actually, the strongest points of these guys are the songwriting and the arrangements. Though these albums probably do not grab you for the first listening, they always offer something new to discover and if you are a musician you can learn a lot from them. The album features an army of musicians playing on the different songs, you can find four five different guitar parts, guitar sounds in each of the songs and the balance of the mix is more than perfect. "I Ain't Gonna Take It This Time" probably pleases ANY AOR fan. This one is a power ballad in Giant/Journey style piano-electric organ arrangement. The following "Everywhere I Look" is another one of the more rocking vein. I can't rave enough about the arrangements; a headphone can do wonders to (you and to) these songs. If you like Richard Marx then you'd love this one and the following "Give It Up " (produced by Ric Wake) too. The backing vocal parts are a gem on this one. Another type of arrangement an acoustic ballad of the finest comes next "Don't Hold Back Your Love". "Halfway There" is another fine pop-rock song similar to the Richard Marx or to the poppier Toto albums.

If you are open enough for the less rocking side of AOR and like Toto, Richard Marx, Kyle Vincent, maybe even T'Pau or Prince than you can't go wrong with this album. Highly recommended to listeners without prejudice.

HALL & OATES: "Live In Concert [DVD + CD]" 8

SPV 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
10 June 2004

Stand Up! Stand Up You Muthas! That's exactly what I was thinking out loud, while watching this otherwise fine live DVD. Don't you just hate the audience... when all they can do is sit on their lazy asses during an entire rock concert. It's not like they are all cripples or too drunk to stand either. I guess it's the "American" way or something??? Why bother standing up and cheering for your favorite act, when you can sit back and relax instead. Bloody'ell... that's not what rock'n'roll is all about. Thank God for the sheilas at stage left as they're at least trying to bring up the party mood. Nevermind if they're still stuck in the 80'ies... with matching make-up... and dresses.

"Live In Concert" was recorded for A&E's Live By Request at John Jay College in New York City on March 24, 2003. It's the first and only live DVD by the #1 duo of all time? Well, no-one can take away the success of Daryl Hall & John Oates, during the 70ies and throughout the 80ies. The whole she-bang comes along with a nice box set from SPV, with the whole concert on audio CD too. Nice... no need for you maniacs out there to burn the DVD into CD in other words.

My first ever connection with the band as a kid was the video of their smash hit "Method Of Modern Love". A rather cheesy pop tune at the time, but I learned to like it somehow. Imagine my suprise and disappointment when I realised it's not even included here. Oh crap... and they've even turned "Out Of Touch", into this acoustic segment along side "Say It Isn't So". Oh crap again... I want the real version and not some old bassist going over-the-moon, as he finally gets his chance to show off as (acoustic) solo guitarist. They open up the show with "Maneater" and close it all down with "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)". In between you have twelve other tracks where "Private Eyes", is a personal favorite and cracking piece of rock/pop. Daryl Hall seems to be in excellent shape and mood, which obviously shows in his soulful voice and performance. A top class vocalist if ever, and extra kudos for the smashing backing vocals by the entire band. Some of their 70ies music aren't exactly winners in my book. Much like Chicago with Cetera, I prefer the less "Tower Of Power" influenced music of the 80ies. You'll also get five bonus live tracks with another favorite [Family Man], and the rather cheesy, but still fun, "Kiss On My List". Add to that an exclusie DVD interview with the two and you'll end up pretty pleased anyhow. Running time of the whole concert (incl. the bonus tracks) : 98 minutes.


Bob HALLIGAN: "Window In The Wall"

Atlantic 1991
Review by Updated 30 June 2002

Bob Halligan has written some great songs for others in the past, so this album was on my want list for quite a while. I finally tracked it down in 1997 or thereabout. I was excpecting to hear powerful melodic rockers in the vein of the tracks he wrote for Icon's classic "Night Of The Crime" album, but I was disappointed to find out that this album was quite heavy on ballads. However, I have got over my disappointment, and most of the songs won me over.

I still feel Mr. Halligan could have included more uptempo tracks, but one can't really blame him for including tracks like "Still Feels Like Love" and "Who's Loving You Now", which are fine AOR ballads. And it's not all ballads, there are a few more rockier tracks there, "Hard Rain", the excellent title track "Window In The Wall" and the opener "Could've Been You", which has also been covered by Cher.

If you want comparisons, interestingly enough the closest one I can think is solo material of another master songsmith, Desmond Child. His "Discipline" album is similary balladic and lyrically kind of nostalgic. What's even more strange is that Halligan and Child sound quite alike vocally! Other references could be Chicago and Rick Cua, for whom Halligan has written a lot of songs, and who also plays on this album.

HALLOWED: "End Of The Age" 6

Little Rose Productions/House Of Kicks

Review by 10 May 2001

Hallowed are a new(ish) Finnish Christian Metal band who have secured a distribution deal with House OF Kicks for this 5-track Cd of theirs. For this reason and the fact that their package was addressed to "Reviews" I am throwing them here instead of A&R dept. And as you can see from my rating, these guys can certainly compete with some of the bigger, more established acts.

Hallowed play melodic metal with some modern metal touches. Bands like Iron Maiden and Queensryche may have influenced the guys a great deal, but unlike some other bands of the genre, I would say that they have a certain sense of originality. They seem to have attempted to create a style of their own. I do feel though, that there's still work to be done, but I would say that they are a very promising act. The sound is good, the musicianship also, and the songs aren't too bad either. My favourites are the opener "End Of The Age" and the keyboard-driven "The Challenge", and the balladic "The Chosen One" I like too.

What really bothers me sometimes are the vocals. Michael Majalahti is not a bad vocalist, and thankfully not a falsetto screamer, but I can't say I'm too impressed with the "REAL METAL" type of phrasing he goes for sometimes...or should I say ppppphrrrrassssssssssing! That kind of vocalizing requires a total poker face to pull 'em off, and Michael just doesn't have that yet. OR he might have it, but he sounds like he's holding back.

I'm no expert, but I think there aren't that many "White Metal" bands in Finland - or in Europe for that matter, so there might be a demand for a band with a "Message". I wish them luck, and stay tuned for further releases.

HAMADRYAD : "Conservation Of Mass" 3

Unicorn Records 2000

Review by 17 May 2001

Hamadryad are a new progressive band from Canada, signed to the Unicorn label. While the last Unicron release I reviewed - Mystery - was a pleasant surprise with a lot of melodic rock/prog metal crossover potential, I'm afraid that Hamadryad will remain a favourite of the prog fans only.

As a showcase of highly talented musicians this album works just fine but as a collection of songs this doesn't appeal to me. Call me simple but this is just too progressive for my money... Some might take that as a recommendation... to which I say go right ahead! Anyway, although the songs are not that bad, they are not too memorable either. You can find tons of tempo changes, instrumental passages and extremely high pitched vocals but I'll be damned if you can remember any of the songs afterwards!

Still, I know there's an audience for this kind of music and I guess there are quite a few prog fans visiting our site as well. If you belong to that group and have enjoyed the likes of Dream Theater or Rush in the past, you might like this album. Especially if you have thought that both of the aforementioned bands have flirted way too much with commercial style of songwriting...

Stuart HAMM: "Kings Of Sleep"

Relativity 1989

Review by 16 April 2001

Now this is something VERY unusual. How many bass guitarists could you name who released an instrumental solo album? Well, I bet not too many. However Stu Hamm wasn't unfamiliar with the creation/production of this kind of releases, as he has been Joe Satriani's bass player for long-long years. The music on this album is not much different from Satch's, however this one might be a bit easier to digest (for non-guitar-freaks, I mean), and of course this one focuses on the bass more than the guitar. Still at the same time there are SONGS on the album and that is the main reason I've dug it up for you. The compositions can also reach an audience that is not instrumental orientated.

"Black Ice" kicks the album off and when listening to the intro of the song, the expert's jaws drop: 'what a bass sound?!" The song is an uptempo rocker a bit in the Satriani vein but somewhat smoother in arrangement; definitely a great opener. The following balladesque "Surely The Best" would convince any hesitant that this is an album for the "public" and not for "professionals only". A great melodic tune with lots of guitar contra bass harmonies. After a short, withdrawn intro "Call Of The Wild" speeds the album up, probably the most Satriani flavored song of the album.

"Terminal Beach" sounds like a technical display, this track is surely not for the hesitant. Softskins would want to skip "Count Zero" too, as this one is a true headbanger with a slight psychedelic feel. However "I Want To Know" could be another favorite, wonderful melodic piece with that typical "rainy movie soundtrack" feel. This one is my personal favorite of the album, reminding me of Jan Ackerman's classic "The Noise Of Art" album (that I might dig up one day too). "Prelude In C" is another winner when it comes to convincing non-instrumental people; a wonderful example that a bass guitar can also be a melody instrument and is NOT predestined to deliver the bumm-bumm-chack base for the guitarist. The title track, another personal favorite of mine, a song with very positive atmosphere closes the album, leaving you wanting more and wishing there were many more bass guitarists who dare to experiment with instrumental releases. After all we have soooooo many guitar heroes (and lots of them do not deserve this title attached to them) why can't we have more bass heroes then? Stu Hamm is definitely one of them!

HANOI ROCKS: "People Like Me/In My Darkest Moment"

Akashic Rocks 2002

Review by 30 May 2002

Legends never die huh? I'm sure you've all heard about the rumors by now, then again... these kind of rumors have been circulating in the media, ever freakin' year since they broke up back in 1984. Well, hold on to your hats kiddies as they are back for good (?) this time.

Hanoi Rocks is mainly the reason to why bands such as Poison, Guns'N'Roses, Mötley Crue etc. sounded like they did in the 80's. Then again... Hanoi Rocks borrowed a lot from Johnny Thunders & The New York Dolls (and Rolling Stones huh?) in the first place. Finland's biggest Hard Rock act ever (and I doubt there'll ever be a bigger one) and their comeback single "People Like Me" was released a couple of weeks ago in Finland. Needless to say, it went straight to #1 in the charts over there.

This is a promo only CD with their first single "People Like Me", their next single "In My Darkest Moment" which will be released in August, + two other songs and the video for People Like Me. Michael Monroe (vocals) and Andy McCoy (guitars) has managed to re-create the classic sound with a couple of new ideas. "People Like Me" is a nice tune with a pretty catchy beat, even if must admit that I expected more. The piano ballad "In My Darkest Moment" sounds a bit "dated" but I find myself shouting along to the chorus and that's always a good sign. It does remind me of the time when KISS tried to create a new "Beth" and failed big time though. It's violins and a freakin saxophone solo, which takes away alot of the hard rockin' mood. "Lucky" sounds like something straight from the 70's and the cover "Delirious" does rock. The overall impression would be okay, but nothin' special so far. Let's hope the album will hold some more rockin' tracks and I do kinda miss Nasty Suicide [:-)]. Just remember that everytime you'll hear thunder in the sky, it's only Razzle banging his drums up there (R.I.P.)

HANOI ROCKS: "Twelve Shots on the Rocks" 9

RLF Music 2002
Review by 30 November 2002

It’s been 17 long years for Hanoi Rocks fans. The band has toured and the crowds have welcomed them, but it all comes down to new material. Was it worth the wait? Is the magic still there? Good news people! This is THE release of the year so far for rock ‘n’ roll fans all over the world.

A short intro takes you to “Obscured” which is the first song of the release. A good pick to get it going, this is a true rocker with great hooks and chorus. It’s followed by “Whatcha Want” which is a bit rougher song than the opener and it ends with a killer guitar. “People Like Me” has a really positive vibe to it and I think many of the people who buy the CD can agree with Monroe when he sings: “Radio and MTV you need people like me”. The first ballad of the album “In My Darkest Moment” works well but somehow I feel that guitar solo would have worked better here than a saxophone solo. There are two covers on the album which did surprise me. “Delirious” (originally by “Heavy Metal Kids) is the first of the two. The song rocks so why complain. “A Day Late, a Dollar Short” stands out as a “McCoy” song, a strong and catchy melody and different parts and hooks for more than just one song. In that lies the strength of this song. It just keeps surprising you. Again a saxophone solo that kinda interrupts the experience, but this is still one of the best songs of the album. “New York City” is not the highlight of the album but still a good song. “Winged Bull”, a slow song, is the second cover of the album (originally by Daryl Hall and John Oates). Then again an excellent rocker “Watch This” with an infectious chorus. “Gypsy Boots” is a fun rocker with a lot of harmonica. “Lucky” is a pretty basic rocker and “Designs on You”, third slow song of the album, takes this baby home.

If you compare with the old days Monroe is taking a big leap forward here as a Hanoi Rocks songwriter. There is just one song that is credited to Andy McCoy, thou he has co-written four songs with Monroe. This is still very much a Hanoi Rocks album and a good proof of the real reason behind the rebirth which is plain and simple: rock ‘n’ roll. Razzle can sleep peacefully; Hanoi Rocks is in good hands.


HANSON: "Middle Of Nowhere"

Mercury 1997
Review by

It seems that the age of these boys is turning some rock fans away from enjoying this album. Why? How come the Bad 4 Good album is a sought-after CD these days? They weren't much older!

Okay, I admit I wasn't expecting this CD to be as good as it is. I had heard the singles and liked them, but I was wondering if they could come up with more than three good songs. Thankfully, they did manage to come up with a decent album. Sure there are fillers, but I think the good songs outnumber them.

Apart from the singles, I'd suggest you'd check out "Yearbook", a good moody number; "A Minute Without You", a song that has a hook to die for, even though it reminds me of "Everlasting love" (by The Supremes?) and "Man From Milwaukee", another song with a great chorus.

HARDATTACK: "New Rock City"

Indie 2003
Review by 26 April 2003

"New Rock City" is the latest CD release by the hardrock outfit, Hardattack. Founded in Germany during the mid-80's (under the Truce banner), these rockers have seen a lotta' water under the bridge ever since. The band name and music direction change (to the present update), took place in 1995. Vocalist Rich Ponath and guitarist Volker Scheiemann are the only original members left though.

"New Rock City" is a 6-track CD with 5 uptempo rockers and 1 ballad, all in the 70's meets 80's (Uriah Heep vs. Accept?) hardrock tradition. Powerful rock with a powerful vocalist!!! Hardattack is mostly a bunch of old rockers from the 80's, without any cool attributes or fresh ideas though. Really? And you can't say the exactelly same thing about each and every band out there, you ask? Perhaps? The main difference would be that, this wouldn't... or obviously didn't, work back then either. They are all good musicians and know their way around the instruments by now. That's not the problem at all! However, the songmaterial can only be described as poorly and only the ballad "Take Me As I Am", is a winner here. That's on the other hand, a really great ballad with lots of emotion and hooks. You can't help to ask yorself: Why can't they write songs like this all of the time??? From the other tracks, only "Something Wrong" gets me into the party mood for awhile. The best part is the guitar work and the main riff as the song itself (like all the other rockers), lacks in the chorus/hooks department.


Music for Nations 2003
Review by 13 November 2003

Hardcore Superstar really made an impression on me with their first two albums. I thought they were a bit unfairly critisiced as being unoriginal. I wouldn’t say that they were just copy cats, they had great songs with good melodies with the all important hooks. And the lead singer Jocke Berg’s voice surely didn’t lack originality so I didn’t really see the need to judge them so harshly. As mentioned I truly liked their music and got my friends interested in them too. Well, now their third album "No regrets" is out and you just gotta ask: what the hell has happened?

It might be that I expected a lot more from this album but in my mind quite many things have changed for the worse. The melodies are mostly average and in some songs you can’t really tell if there is one. The vocals that enlivened the previous two albums are now somewhat annoying. I’d say the positive feeling that once conveyed through their music is gone. The songs lack content and at times they are just focusing more on sounding rough enough than on what’s really essential.

There are still a few decent songs on this CD. "Still I’m Glad" and "I Can’t Change" are good examples that they still have what it takes to write a good, catchy rock song. I’m not saying that they totally failed with this album but it’s certainly not the highlight of their career either. To sum it up, I have a 35 minute drive to work and if I put the CD in my player when I leave it is hard to make the whole trip without changing the CD. Let’s hope that this is just temporary and they’ll get back on track with their next album.
Hardcore Superstar website


Frontiers Records 2002
Review by 31 August 2002

It's been ten long years since Hardline recorded their debut album "Double Eclipse" and toured all over the states, with big shots such as Van Halen and Mr.Big. Formed by the Gioeli brothers (Johnny - vocals & Joey guitar) in the late 80's as the band Brunette, they would later team up with Journey guitarist Neil Schon (also ex. Santana, Bad English) to record their debut.

At first they hired Schon as the producer only, but he decided to join the band, together with Bad English drummer Deen Castronovo as soon as Bad English broke up. Schon does a performance as special guest here, but the new guitarist is Josh Ramos (The Storm, Two Fires etc.) and he does a good work indeed. The man with the biggest hair in the 80's (check out his photo at the backcover of VV's invasion), Mr Bob Rock (ex. Nelson, Vinnie Vincent, Nitro etc.) is the drummer here.

Sadly the song material isn't quite as good as back then! I actually miss some cool uptempo rockers a-la Hot Cherrie or Rhythm From A Red Car and the slower material is way better this time. Both the midtempo track "Y" and "Face The Night" are darn fine examples of slow songs at its best. The first one will probably end up at my favorite songs of the year list, while the latter is a really good ballad. "Only A Night" is yet another darn fine midtempo tune with a catchy chorus while "Do Or Die" is the only uptempo track I really enjoy here. OK, opener "Hold Me Down" is actually a bit funny with its nerdy KISS chorus. Nah, this will not end up at my list at the end of the year!! It seems like the guys have forgotten how to write fun, catchy, guitar uptempo tracks this time. Good ballads, and a couple of good mid tempo tracks wont make a whole album though. I'll have to admit that "Y" is nothing less than pure magic... oh 'tell me why can it just be'... like this all of the time?

HARDLINE: "Westwood One - Live"

Live Bootleg
Review by

One of the best sounding bootlegs I have ever heard. Must be a mixer board recording but if it is then there must have been some space microphones used to record the response of the crowd and add to the final mix too. The result is a professional sounding concert record that is rough, in your face, without any edits or after-show polishing (read: no Kiss syndrome here). Personally, this is what I want to hear on a live record: what the band REALLY can, how they really sound live and not what some engineer can do in the studio, replacing off-key backing vocals, adding extra guitar harmonies, etc. And Hardline really proves why they earned their cult status: Johnny Gioeli is a Vocal God, and Neal Schon is just a category in itself.

The set is very short but extremely energetic and the crowd is absolutely enthusiastic about it. After an intro characterized by Neal's guitar, they kick off with "Dr. Love". The performance is as tight as Meat Loaf's leather pants can be after his lunch and the backing vocals are thicker than the results of Kiss spending a fortnight in studio after their live show. The band jumps on "Life's A Bitch" without any break between the two songs and the crowd cheers the hit. I can't say it enough: they play so tight that it's hard to believe they only spent a year together. Ease and professionalism are shining through the speakers. No stop before "Taking Me Down" either. The song really kicks ass live. The overall sound is more harsh than on the album and it does good to the songs, the guitars bite, especially during the solos.

The only slow-down is "Hands Of Time" with another brilliant performance from Johnny. Though I prefer the other two ballads from the album I enjoyed this one too. Schon's solo is a gem though the tremolo trick at the end is far from perfect. But once more: this is what bootlegs are good for, you get it the way it was played right then right there. We get a very short solo from him before getting to "Hot Cherry", the first song of the bootleg where I felt I prefer the studio version. Most probably because the whole refrain is filled with backing vocals all through it and the polished studio version is smoother and more melodic. Not that it was bad or the guys had dropped the ball, I just prefer the studio version that's all. And unfortunately, that's all for the show too. The bootleg is a radio recording, you hear the DJ's smart-ass voice for a while and you wish you were 16 again and it was 1992 and you could go down to the local club to watch Hardline playing there.

HARDLINE: "Live At The Gods Festival 2002" 4

Frontiers 2003
Review by 12 October 2003

A pretty lame introduction by an otherwise lovely female DJ... and the members of the band are all set to rock. And with six of them plus three background vocalists, you'd expect the outcoming of the whole event to sound better than this.

Hardline with Gioeli brothers Johnny (vocals) & Joey (guitars) upfront, recorded the comeback album "II" last year. They made it also over the pond and their live performance at The Gods in UK. With just a few rehearsals, they came out with all guns blasting and hard hitting drummer Bob "Machine Gun" Rock, covering the back of the stage.

You can't complain about Johnny Gioeli's performance since his voice is stronger than steel. None of the other members do effect the whole picture much either... at least not poorly or in a otherwise annoying manner. The main problem is the rather weak mix... and not to mention the horrible background vocals. They are way too loud and sadly off-key (or borderline off-key) most of the time. I can't figure out why they didn't edit or simply deleted them in the studio afterwards? A lovely ballad such as "Face The Night" is being butchered to death due to awful backing vocals. Another favorite "Rhythm From A Red Car" is also destroyed by the high-pitched screaming clowns in the back. Guitarist John Ramos (The Storm, solo, etc.) is probably not too happy with this record either as he "disapears" every now and then. It's too bad really as Hardline goes through all of their hits and best tracks here. With all this in mind, you can still find things to cheer about. "Life's A Bitch" and "Takin' Me Down" are still a-rocking, Bob Rock delivers a fine solo, and Johnny Gioeli proves once and for all that he's a great singer.

HARDREAMS: "Calling Everywhere" 2

Vinny Records 2004
Review by Jorge Antonaya,
17 May 2004

Calling Everywhere is the debut album by these Barcelona based melodic rockers called Hardreams. It was recorded at Auhra Studios and Nautilus Studios, in Barcelona and it’s self produced, although production credits have been given as well to Carlos Creator, who mixed and mastered the album. The info sheet attached to the cd names Asia, Magnum, Dokken, Queensryche, Survivor and Whitesnake. Believe it not, at there’s little or none at all from the above here, not even nearer.

Let’s put it straight, Calling Everywhere is a rather dull, flat record with nothing outstanding on it. Same old cliches, same old dated sound, uninspired songwritting along with a sub-par production makes of this a completely forgetable album you don’t need to have in your collection. I wish I could say otherwise, since it’s always nice to have a melodic rock release by an Spanish band these days, but I’m affraid it takes a lot more than Hardreams have done to make a decent album. The voice of Manu Esteve (lead vocals) sounds quite flat, and so does the music behind it. As so often, it’s difficult to pick up any highlits, but this time because of the lack of good songs in here. The only interesting moments comes near the end of the album, with tracks like the ballad A Place For Love, the AORish Million Miles Away or the pomp sounding Pain, but they come too late to change the overall boredom feeling that this album puts me into.

So I won’t bother you any longer. I’m sorry to have to give this album such a bad rating, since I’m pretty sure the guys put all their efforts and illusion on this project, but it’s simply not enough for me. You’ll probably read much more good reviews on this record, and maybe it’s me who is wrong this time, but be warned this is one of these albums you have to listen to well in advance before considering buying it. Only recommended for collectionists of Spanish melodic rock releases (like me), sadly not because of the quality, but to fill in the gap, if you know what I mean.

H.A.R.E.M.: "You’re Fascinating"

Indie 2000

Review by 16 August 2000

H.A.R.E.M. is from Italy and I got this 4 track album directly from “Freddy Delirio” Pedichini, the singer/keyboard player of the band who was also credited for producing the album and did most of the songwriting. The other permanent member of the band is Alex Viani guitarist, according to the info they sent with the CD, the others have changed several times, till they found Nick Gianelli (bass) and Michael Ristagno (drums) and they are currently working with them.

When listening to this CD it’s important to keep in mind that all we can hear is an independent effort, recorded in Freddy’s studio, produced by him, and it seems to me that there is no helping hand in the promotion/distribution either. Taking all these into account this album is not bad at all. My real problem is that I can’t see where these guys are really heading. The music is quite eclectic. The opening “Hey You!” starts with some electric drums and techno sound (why???) then it turns to a punk-glam rocker, something similar to Pretty Boy Floyd or Tigertailz. Freddy’s voice reminds me of those glam singers too. The music is less melodic and a lot heavier than early Poison though. The second “You’re Fascinating” has fascinating, almost AOR-ish keyboards and guitars. The verse and the bridge are great then the song turns into a screaming “German” metal trotting for the refrain. The lyrics aren’t as annoying as on “Hey You!” and Alex’s solo is great, shows respectable talent. If you ask me this (verse, bridge, solo) should be the line to follow. This song is more than promising. “Grind Your Teeth” starts with a speed metal riff, a little lighter than Megadeth that turns into a keyboard driven melodic verse. Strange but not bad or annoying at all. The guitars and the keyboards are the strong point here again. Freddy’s voice is strong and sounds very good in the deeper parts, I wish he forgot about the screaming parts in the future. “Jumpin’ Outside” begins with great keyboards again, very melodic, almost AOR again but then comes that screaming again! God, Freddy, leave it to those 15 years old girls! This song has very promising parts again.

This band is more than promising however I think the ears of an “outsider” could help them a lot. Probably a producer with a good feel for melodies. I’m not talking about Desmond Child or Dianne Warren here (they could do wonders to these songs because the original ideas are very good) but someone (maybe a musician friend) who takes the weight a bit off the shoulder of the guys and can contribute to the songwriting period too. The biggest problem is that Freddy seems to do everything alone and this is more than he could manage so the songs and the recording aren’t the only thing to concentrate on. In case they manage to move into a more melodic direction with a bit more “clear” songwriting, we’ll hear more from them for sure. Till that time check them out for some good enough, non-serious party glam/hard rock music by visiting their site or writing to Freddy.


H.A.R.E.M.: "You're Facinating" **

H.A.R.E.M. 2000
Review by

This italian band offers diversity: they manage to sound like Poison-meets-Sigue Sigue Sputnik kind of a glam hybrid, yet the high pitched, screamy vocals of Freddy Delirio bring back memories of some more metallic bands, such as early Pink Cream 69 with Andi Deris. At times they resemble them musically too; sharp guitar riffs and some cool melodies. The choruses are quite weak though and when Freddy hits those high notes I'm really "Grinding My Teeth" (as one of their songtitles sugggests). In conclusion, their songwriting shows promise, and once they find their direction (and lose those falsetto vocals!), they might become a band to watch for.


HAREM SCAREM: "Harem Scarem"

WEA 1991
Review by

Back in 1997, when I originally reviewed this album, Harem Scarem were one of those many bands whose albums weren't very widely available in Finland. I had read some articles about them in English music magazines, and the things I read aroused my interest. My first copy of the album was a tape from my good friend Pedro, and it was one of my most listened tapes for a few months!

The "Harem Scarem" album has to be one of the greatest AOR albums ever. When I first heard this album, I thought it sounded like a combination of 38 Special and Coney Hatch, but only ten times better! I was hooked instantly when I heard the brilliant opener "Hard To Love", and the likes of "Distant Memory", "Love Reaction" and the brilliant power ballad "Slowly Slipping Away" only proved that this was something very special. I can honestly say that there is not a single dull track on this album, and probably half of the songs would be included on my Top Ten Harem Scarem songs-list, if I was to make one.


HAREM SCAREM: "Mood Swings"

Warner 1993
Review by

The second album is a step in the heavier direction. Again, the opener "Saviours Never Cry" is a great song. The hook is just brilliant. "No Justice" is a more progressive song, almost Dream Theater-like. "Stanger Than Love" reminds me of Def Leppard, it is one of the more AOR type of songs on this album, as is "Sentimental Blvd", another favourite of mine. The weirdest song on the album must be "Just Like I Planned", an accapella song!


HAREM SCAREM: "Voice Of Reason"

Warner 1995
Review by

I figured that since I'm going to review the "Believe" album as well, I might write about their previous album first. With this album the band moved to a heavier, darker direction, yet still retaining some of their old qualities.

The biggest flaw of this album in my opinion is that most of the songs are too slow, they just plod along. The title track, which also opens the album, is one of the few uptempo numbers on the whole album. Then we are subjected to 6 slow numbers... Don't get me wrong, they are good tracks, but...

"The Paint Thins" does provide a welcomed change of pace, but otherwise it's not a very good track. It's probably the most "alternative"-sounding song here. Then it's back to the Plodland with the three remaining tracks, none of which are my favourites. "Necessary Evil" is quite refreshing though, it's much lighter than the rest of the album.

While listening to this album I was reminded of King's X quite often, and The Beatles were another band that I started to think of. My favourite track is "Warming A Frozen Rose", which sounded like Enuff Z'nuff mixed with Pretty Maids!



Review by

A step in the right direction definitely, if you ask me. The first two numbers prove instantly that the band is on the right track again. They are both good melodic rockers, "Die Off Hard" especially. "Hail, Hail" is a good track too, similar to the better tracks on "VOR", heavy but melodic. "Staying Away", an old track, has been re-recorded with the drummer singing, and quite a good job he does too. I still prefer the old version though. The instrumental "Baby With A Nail Gun" isn't too bad either, it's more like a real song than guitar acrobatics. Also worth mentioning are "Victim Of Fate" (great chorus!) and the ballad "Rain". I "Believe" again in Harem Scarem!

HAREM SCAREM: "Weight Of The World" 9

Frontiers 2002
Review by 22 February 2002

Canada's finest, Harem Scarem, have been around for 15 years, releasing quality releases year after year and still they remain virtually unknown outside their home turf and Japan, where they keep releasing at least a couple of collections or live albums a year, it seems. They took a shot at stardom with a somewhat different style under the name of RUBBER recently, but fame eluded them and now Rubber is on hold, while the boys are back in a big way and ready to do some serious melodic rockin'!

The Frontiers' marketing have been banging the drum about this album being a return to the sound of their classic "Mood Swings" album, but fortunately this isn't a pure retro thing. "Weight Of The World" is more like "Mood Swings Updated", it has many of the elements we all liked on "MS" but mixed with some new influences.

The title track opens the album and does it in a grand fashion: it is an outstanding track that wouldn't have sounded too out of place on "MS", yet it sounds very fresh at the same time. It is my favourite track on the album, and a surefire "Top Ten Song Of The Year Candidate". "Killing Me" and "Outside Your Window" are very good tracks too, both reminding me of the latter HS albums, while "All I Want" is even better, another favourite of mine with a catchy hook. "This Ain't Over" is the ballad of the album, a bit Queen-like, good but not necessarily one of my favourites.

"Internude" is a short instrumental interlude (who would've guessed?), and then we get a trio of somewhat more modern sounding tracks. And with modern I mean new breed melodic rockers like Marvelous 3, not The Prodigy or Limp Whatzit! "You Ruined Everything", "Charmed Life" are good but the highlight is "If You", with an infectious chorus. Finally, there's a decent enough instrumental "See Saw" and "Voice Inside" a good track that takes us back to the earlier HS style, if the three tracks mentioned before had more to do with the sound of Rubber.

There's not too much to complain here - maybe this album is a bit short by today's standards, but it's pretty much "all killers no fillers" kind of an affair...

HAREM SCAREM: "Live At The Gods 2002" 8

Frontiers 2002
Review by 24 November 2002

Although Harem Scarem have released several live albums in Japan, this is the first one I've heard. They are one of my favourite bands, and this CD proves that they can cut it live pretty well too. I am not a big fan of live albums, and to be honest, I don't know how often I'll take this CD off the shelf and play it now that it has gotten some serious spinning from me because of the review, even though it isn't too bad. It does have a fine selection of songs covering the band's history from the first self-titled album to this year's "Weight Of The World". They've even managed to include the only song I really liked from "Voice Of Reason" - "Warming A Frozen Rose".

As energetic as these live versions are, they are also a bit more stripped down than the studio versions, which means that there are no keyboards and the harmony vocals HS are known for are a bit rough around the edges. The same goes for Harry Hess' lead vocals. To sum it up, what you'll get here is a "Best Of Harem Scarem" with a raw sound.

Frontiers are also going to release a DVD of the gig, which would be closer to a live experience, as you'd also get to see the band on stage. Personally, that would be the more interesting one of these releases. The fans will of couse purchase these both, but for someone getting into the band, I guess the DVD might be worthy. Still, you can't really go wrong with this CD either - they do have the songs to rock your socks off!

HAREM SCAREM: "The Early Years" 8

Frontiers/Now & Then 2003
Review by 1 May 2003

The early Harem Scarem demos have been floating around with several different tracklistings for several years. Most of the people who have heard them have agreed that they are just too good to be left gathering dust. Now thanks to the band and Frontiers/Now & Then, they will see the light officially, remastered and repackaged. The CD even features some worthy bonustracks. As an archival release, this is one of the most worthy ones, as majority of these songs have never been released in any format. Don't know about you, but I am not that interested in listening to poor quality demos of tracks that are also available as big budget recordings, no matter how "original and raw" versions they may be.

So what do we have here? Let's take a look at the familiar stuff first..."All Over Again" and "Honestly" made it to the first HS album, while "Out Of Love" and "Whatever I Want" were covered by FIORE. "Staying Away" was featured on the "Believe" album, although this version sees Harry taking over the vocals and it also has a cool accapella intro. "End Of Time" is marked as a bonustrack, as it is from the "Weight Of The World" sessions (and featured on the Japanese version of the said album). "I Can Hear Them Now" is marked as a bonustrack too, and I think it's another recent recording.

The rest of the songs are previously unreleased. Of course the production isn't up to their usual level, but the songwriting is. Some of these songs are diamonds in the rough, like the Bon Jovi-esque "Lovin' Like 90", "Last Time" and "One Of The Wounded", and the HS version of "Out Of Love" is quite brilliant as well. I might add that weaker tracks than "End Of Time" made it to the european version of "Weight Of The World"...

Now & Then Productions

HAREM SCAREM: "Higher" 8

Frontiers 2003
Review by 12 August 2003

After doing a couple of more powerpop-like albums as Rubber, Canadian rockers Harem Scarem returned to hard rock last year with the fine "Weight Of The World" album. The album proved to be a success and confirmed the band that they're on the right road again. "Higher" sees the band continuing on the same "hard and rocky road", without forgetting their fine melodies.

While "Higher" doesn't reach the heights of "WOTW", it is by no means a disappointment. IN fact, if you skip the somehow plodding and boring opening track "Reach", you'll find much to enjoy. There are tracks that will remind you of the band's early work, the brilliant melodic gem "Waited" and "Lost" most notably, and then there are a bunch of mondern melodic rock tracks like "Torn Right Out" and "Give It To You" that really should grace the playlists of rock radio stations all over the world. One of the biggest highlights is "Lucky Ones", which sounds like a missing link between the "old" and the "new" - a killer hook and a completely up-to-date sound.

Interestingly enough, I found that two of the "key tracks" didn't really appeal that much to me - the aforementioned opener and the title track. These two and "Gone" dropped the rating a bit, but still...Harem Scarem stands for quality hard rock!