Mark Slaughter-Halfway There ©2017 EMP Label Group
My history of listening to Slaughter vocalist Mark Slaughter goes back to the days of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Been a long time now with a lot of good music through the years. With a decent percentage of his catalogue catering to a melodic hard rock sound, one might go into this record expecting more of the typical. To a point you would be correct. To a point. This record feels a bit heavier to me. The term that came to mind when listening to it was gritty. It is a bit more raw but at the core, the songs are memorable. There are a good mix of heavier songs, but Mark never forgets the melodic stuff. Overall, this is a pretty even record. I have heard a bit of a buzz in the fan base with it. For good reason too. I had expectations for this record and Mark far exceeded them. This is a really good record that isn't quite as polished as previous, but holds its own!
Release Date: May 26, 2017
Secret Sphere-The Nature of Time ©2017 Frontiers Records
I am still fairly new to Secret Sphere, but the more I hear, the more I like. Took a few listens to really get a feel of this new record. This is pretty sophisticated stuff in different ways. The band have the ability to offer many different sounds on the same record and do all of them equally well. At times it sounds very cinematic. There are also plenty of different tempos on this record. At one point you will get finesse, then you get further into the album and there is a ferocity to it. This is an attribute that I like about Secret Sphere very much. Their ability to do all things well. With the flow and feel of this new album, you can put on your headphones, close your eyes and take a journey with the band. At this point I think Secret Sphere should be claiming a decent portion of the progressive or symphonic market. They are a tremendous talent with a great new album!
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Harem Scarem-United ©2017 Frontiers Records
When mentioning great melodic hard rock bands through the years, Harem Scarem definitely would have to be included in some of the best bands of the genre. The band has been on the scene and have nothing to prove at this point. What we have with "United' is another platter of great melodic tunes not unlike the bands previous work. What was really cool about this album was the consistency. Every song was really good in its own way. The album opens with a good punch and sets the tone for the rest of the album. There is a decent amount of polish to this record which is to be expected with the bands sound. As you take the ride through the album you realize that just about any song could be a candidate for a single. That's what a lot of good hard rock bands do, they write with the intent on delivering a good album, not just a few songs. Essential!
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Radiation Romeos-Radiation Romeos ©2017 Frontiers Records
New album and band that features former Warrior frontman Parramore McCarty who also was on hand for Steve Stevens 'Atomic Playboys'. Anyone familiar with the title track of Steven's album will get the inspiration of the name 'Radiation Romeos'. Being a big fan of McCartys, I was definitely all in on checking out his latest effort and quite honestly, it does not disappoint. It is melodically driven and some of it may have a familiar feel to some of McCartys previous work, but at the same time it is also a bit different. Songs are really good with there being decent variety throughout the listen. Everything done here is done well. 'Fighting for the Earth' is one of my all time favorites. While this is definitely not that, this album has a decent sound to it. I'm hoping to see more from McCarty and this project as I think this has a lot of potential!
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Junkyard-High Water ©2017 Acetate Records
Here is an album that came completely out of left field for me. Of all of the bands that I listened to back in the heyday of hard rock, this is one I did not expect to see with a new album. I was a pretty big fan of the two releases that featured tracks like 'Simple Man', 'Hollywood' and 'Misery Loves Company'. So how does the band sound at this point one will be wondering? Pretty damn good actually. The band still embrace the same style as they did in that earlier era. Raw hard rock sounds that translate well from record to live show. While the songs may be slightly less accessible, everything here is still quite good. it's always nice to see a band hold to what they believe in musically and know what they are good at. Junkyard has always been great at playing their style of hard rock and this album continues that tradition. Great to see these guys release again!
Release Date: April 21, 2017