Artist: Stream Of Passion
Title: “Live In The Real World”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 7/18/2006
Genre: Gothic Melodic Rock
Simply put the Stream Of Passion is another sign of the genius that is Arjen Lucassen. The guitarist best known for his creative output in sorcery and medieval themed Ayreon formed this group that brings his musical ideas into an entirely new and different direction. Focused on lead singer Marcela Bovio, this Gothic Melodic Rock outfit was set loose on an unsuspecting public in 2005 with their debut release “Embrace The Storm”. The album was full of deep and rich melody that with every cut showcased the talents of this amazing singer. It was not a Progressive or Power Metal band like Ayreon, or his other Star One project but it was not some lame commercial production either. Fans of the music of Evanescence and perhaps even a little of the slower Nightwish tracks would be able to find a level of appeal to this group. There was an intelligence and groove in every song and once you hear Marcela sing, you will be an instant fan. She has also recorded “The Human Equation” with Ayreon and I am sure that outside of this recording we have not heard the last of her. The concert was recorded in Arjen’s native Holland in front of a sold out audience. To make it more interesting for the fans the group does not only focus on the Stream material but also treats you to a great number of Ayreon tunes and makes sure to slip a little Star One in there as well. There is a booklet that features pictures of the band from the concert and some liner notes but the main news is that this product is also available as a DVD.
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Artist: Uli Jon Roth
Title: “Legends Of Rock: Live At Castle Donnington”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 5/23/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
The “Legends Of Rock” performance by Uli Jon Roth would find the master guitarist as the headliner for a concert taking place at the famous Castle Donnington – to make it a little more special he decided the show would also feature some of his friends who would perform alongside him during the course of the evening. The performance was documented with Uli as being a “last minute” headliner for this show that was filmed in 2001 and Uli of course was happy to oblige. There are many who know of Uli’s work and have been fans since he originally played with Hard Rock royalty The Scorpions, his abilities on the guitar have influenced thousands of guitar players and without citing any particular names, the second you hear him play you will instantly know who subscribed to his doctrine. When Uli was asked to perform he made sure to increase the level of appeal people who attended would have for this show and as result viewers get to enjoy the appearance of Michael Schenker, Pete Way & Phil Mogg (UFO) and Jack Bruce (Cream). With each of the individuals being legends in their own right it was a fantastic thing to be a part of for this audience who would get to experience it all first hand. We as viewers of the DVD are treated well for the production and sound on this release is excellent. I did sometimes have an issue with no seeing a guitar solo here and there but the overall performance level was so mind-blowing that it didn’t matter in the end, how often are you going to see these players on the same stage? With UFO’s Way and Mogg, Uli jams their classics “Rock Bottom” and “Let It Roll” along with Michael Schenker while with Cream legend Bruce, two of their most revered numbers are visited. The Scorpions fans will enjoy seeing the two former band members performing together as well. Above it all, the talent of Uli Jon Roth shines through and quickly makes you realize where a lot of the Neo-Classical guitar style comes from. Performers such as Yngwie Malmsteen made sure to expand on this format in the eighties but way back in the early seventies Uli was one of the key reasons for it coming into play. All players of the form owe him a world of thanks and respect. This was also an easy DVD to sit through and watch from start to finish (an important factor for any film). I did not find myself bored or scanning through tracks at any time.
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Title: “One Cold Night”
Label: Wind-Up Records
Release Date: 7/11/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
I heard Seether a few years after they had started up as a band but when Wind-Up Records re-issued their first album and loaded up the bonus features I became an instant fan. Their songs are very similar to the sorrow-laden angst one finds in bands like Staind however, I felt that Seether had much better songs when the two are compared side to side. The recording of “One Cold Night” finds the band performing live but instead of delivering their music electrically, they have opted to do the show acoustically and I felt that this was great for it brought back memories of the “MTV Unplugged” show. I’m sure I was not the only fan of the program which allowed us to see many of our favorite bands and how awesome their songs sounded when done in this fashion. Seether is no different as their material really translates well in the acoustic format and everything sounds very clean and perfect. As you watch the band perform you can’t help but be reminded a little of Nirvana’s famous Kurt Cobain, as singer Shaun Morgan really has a close vocal register. This might annoy some people, but in all honesty I think this is part of the bands appeal to me. The best songs on the release “Fine Again”, “Gasoline” and of course the chart-topping “Broken”, the latter tune being a different sounding tune without the presence of Evanescence’s Amy Lee. Morgan is joined by Dale Stewart on bass and John Humphrey on drums. The band is very together all through the performance.
This CD comes with a bonus DVD in the same package and on this you will find the full concert as the audio disk along with a couple of bonus features. There is an interview with the group and a bonus video for “The Gift” but of course the best part of the film is getting to watch the performance itself. It’s a pretty straight shot performance with little activity from the band outside of the playing. No guests appear during the set but it truly is a nice way to catch a different side of a very talented Rock band. I recommend this for fans of this style of Alt-Rock for the guys in Seether stand out a little more than some of the other less memorable bands to arrive at the same time.
2. Driven Under
6. Tied My Hands
8. Fine Again
10. The Gift
12. Plastic Man
13. The Gift – bonus mix
Official Web site: www.seether.com
Artist: Rory Gallagher
Title: “Live At Montreux”
Label: Eagle Records
Release Date: 7/25/2006
Genre: Progressive Rock
The “Live At Montreux” videos from Eagle Vision are certainly a wondrous collection of music from some of the worlds finest talents as they graced the stage of this popular festival over the years. Rory Gallagher is among the guitar greats to be featured five times on the esteemed stage and in celebration of these appearances Eagle Rock Entertainments has made two separate pieces for the fans of the performer. The CD release while a single disk, covers a wide number of years with tracks coming from 1976, 77, 79 and 85 running 12 tracks. It’s a nice collection for the novice and new fan but will only serve the long time supporters as a teaser for the main product release which is the DVD collection. The CD was released as a compliment to the double DVD concert piece that features not one full appearance but six of this legendary player. I enjoyed listening to the CD especially tracks like “Mississippi Sheiks” and “I Take What I Want”, but was more interested in watching the DVD performances since from these you are able to absorb better the level of talent that Gallagher possessed. Sadly the music world would lose Gallagher in 1995 from complications after a liver transplant. To this day Gallagher is referred to as one of the finest Rhythm & Blues guitar players the world had seen. I must say that while I highly recommend the DVD I am not so sure of the CD, since it is only the twelve selections. It’s more for the fan who wants to complete his Rory Gallagher collection and since the “Montreux” releases are so well-done this makes investigating them both something any discerning music fan should do.
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Title: “You Have The Right To Remain Violent”
Genre: Heavy Metal
The Mighty Metal Mike Chlasciak and his bringers of the mayhem “Painmuseum” have returned with an EP of material to whet the palette for Metal just a little more. The EP is a nice treat for fans of the shredder who are waiting for another full-length album from the band but yet I was a bit surprised that there was only one new tune included on this disk. “Scars In Black” is a thriller of a Metal track with a pounding display by drummer Bobby Jarzombek along with the six string insanity that is Metal Mike at his best. Given the CD includes three previously released tracks from “Metal For Life”, this CD might have only a small amount of appeal to existing fans of the band and quite personally I think Mike should have waited a little before releasing this on the world. He does give you the “Speak The Name” video and a bunch of bonus features but those implements would be best suited for a DVD release than on a CD. The band is also comprised of Tim Clayborne (Hatred) and Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Testament) and considering the busy touring and recording schedule it is most probably the reasoning behind limited material from this excellent Pure Metal outfit. Jarzombek and Mike now are part of Sebastian Bach’s band and have worked extensively with Rob Halford and at last mention would be working on the Metal God’s third album.
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