New reviews

Lynyrd Skynyrd / Christmas Time Again / SPV 085-71022 CD


Lynyrd Skynyrd! Tracklisting:Santa's messin' with the Kid; Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Christmas Time Again; Greensleeves; Santa Claus is Coming to Town; Run run Rudolph; Mama's Song; Santa Claus wants some Lovin'; Classical Christmas; Hallelujah, It's Christmas; Skynyrd Family.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has made their first ever Christmas album - and what a joyful, cozy and inspiring experience it is!
I am not the biggest fan of albums made for the market around Christmas time, but in this case I have to make an exception.
The record is made in the traditional Lynyrd Skynyrd way. Boogie rock in the good ole' Southern way. The band this time featuring Johnny Van Zant on lead vocals and an army of six-strings: Rickey Medlocke on guitars, Hughie Thomasson on guitars, Gary Rossington on guitars - besides them there are guest appearences by Michael Cartellone on drums and Mike Brignardello on bass, Bill Cuomo on keyboards and the whole gang of .38 Special on track #10 "Hallelujah, It's Christmas".
Besides some classic Christmas carols like "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer", "Santa Claus is coming to Town" and "Run run Rudolph" - all in rockier versions - there are some new tracks written to this very occasion and one of my future favorites will definitly be the mighty ballad "Mama's song", which is about caring and remembering especially around Christmas Time - very strong and emotional!
I must say that "Christmas Time Again" will be in my CD player probably for a very long time - I simply love the swinging boogie chords, honky tonk pianos and Van Zants hoarse voice. Lynyrd Skynyrd is a must for every fan of rock music and ideal for a place under the Christmas tree. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!

Cornerstone / Arrival / MAS CD0266


Cornerstone! Tracklisting:Arrival; Walked on the Water; Jungle; Straight to the Bone;Top of the World; Reload; Gift of Flesh; Grain of Sand; Fooled; I'm alive.

Cornerstone is danish/scottish duo featuring the talented danish bassist Steen Mogensen of Royal Hunt and star vocalist Dougie White famed for his excellent vocals on Rainbow's "Stanger in us all".
Cornerstone was founded when these two musicians joined forces in 1999 and they are on this release joined by a bunch of other great danish guest musicians. Jacob Kjær (Royal Hunt) on guitars, Tonni Rahm (Force Majeure & Prime Time) on guitars, André Andersen (Royal Hunt) on keyboards and Allan Sørensen (Prime Time & Royal Hunt) on drums. On backing vocals they have Kenny Lübcke (Narita) and Henrik Brockmann (Royal Hunt) - so Mr. Mogensen has gathered some of his finest native collegues around him.
Steen Mogensen founded Royal Hunt back in 1988 and after over 10 years of recording and touring - especially Japan - the band members decided to have a break. But Steen Mogensen would not rest and decided to use the period to release some of his own ideas. "Arrival"s songwriting is heavily influenced by symphonic bands like Royal Hunt (surprise) and Queensrÿche as well as more rockier bands like the works of Deep Purple and Saga. The total feeling on the album is more slow and emotional than Royal Hunt's, though!
The biggest surprise to me though is the fact that every musician on this album gets a fair amount of space and "air" which allows the music to be very dynamic on one hand and complex on the other.
My favorite tracks are "Fooled" where the melody line is in the vein of Dougie White's work with Rainbow combined with the artistic guitar and powerful drumming and the slower "Walked on the Water" where White's vocals reaches a very emotional level.
I guess that all fans of Mogensen's and White's previous work will not be disappointed with "Arrival" - they have made a very solid debut wrapped in a very powerful production by André Andersen and Mogensen himself. I'm danish and PROUD of it, too!

Rob Rock / Rage of Creation / MAS CD0263


Rob Rock! Tracklisting: In the Beginning; The Sun Rise again; One Way out; Judgement Day; Streets of Madness; Eagle; All I need; Media Machine; In the Night; Never too late; Forever.

Rob Rock has been around the metal scene since the mid 80's. His career had a head start when he was featured on M.A.R.S "Project Driver" from 1986. A group which included the musical talents of MacAlpine, Aldridge, Rock & Sarzo. All very established names in the genre at that time.
In 1987 he joined Chris Impellitteri on his debut E.P.. My favorite performances by Rob Rock so far, though was on Joshua's "Intense Defence" from 1988 and Angelica "S/T" from 1989. In 1990 his band Driver released their firstand only CD. After that he joined Axel Rudi Pell for his "Nasty Reputation" and finally he re-joined Impellitteri in the period of 1992 - 2000 with 7 CD's in the trunk! Now it's time for his forst solo release "Rage of Creation".
On this release Rob Rock is joined by long-time friend and collegue Roy Z (from Tribe of Gypsies) on guitar, bass and keyboards and also handles the job as producer, by the way. These two are joined by master guitarist Jake E. Lee on some tracks, Reynold Butch Carlson (from Driver), Gregory Analla (Tripe of Gypsies) on backing vocals and finally Ray Burke on some bass.
The overall feeling on "Rage of Creation" is Metal with a capitol "M" - in the vein of DIO, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. All packed by a very dynamic production and guitar companionship with Roy Z. These two also wrote all tracks on this release - except for the cover of the old ABBA hit "Eagle" - performed in the vein of Black Sabbath!!
Rob Rock's vocal abillities are very big, and I suppose he will outrank most of his inspiration sources like Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford. But my favorite tracks will be the tracks featuring Jake E. Lee. "All I need" and "Media Machine" with the characteristic sound and feeling from the more "bluesy" influenced Lee - awesome!
All in all I must say that this release surprised me in a positive way. Nomally I'm more AOR or melodic orientated but this metal-album from Rob Rock is really good.

© Steen Peitersen 2000