Warnot - His Blood Is Yours 2012

Warnot is one man band project by the alumni of Sweden progressive metal band Cloudscape, guitarist composer Bjorn Eliasson. This is his debut album following his departure from Cloudscape in 2009. Bring along the project is seven other vocalists in helping Eliasson to pulled out all his creative creation into live. Thick in progressive metal as in Cloudscape, but the album also diverse into symphonic metal and several heavy metal tunes. All wrap in a recording titled His Blood Is Yours.

Raptures Of The Deep is our first tune. Opening organ background followed by progressive guitar riff is what make the song. If you like Symphony X and of course Cloudscape, this sounds very much home. Eliasson compositional skill is reflected in the second track, The Crow Will Die. It has the bite of synthesizer ornamental, over lapping singing lines, and of course melodious guitar solos. My Darkest Hour is memorable for its killer clean guitar in the background. Another point of interest is Secrets Of Mythology that immediately stealth the attention with violin intro, then the verse and chorus singing line are easy to remember. This lead to another similar approach in RIP, where ambient string dominate the mood. New York is another tune where the mood is different again. Here a brave mix between several vocalist , including female voice, into the song to make this unique among others. The Patriot is the song where female voice is clearly there as main contributor.

Until the last track called Sirens, we are passing through the jungle of melodious progressive metal. Creative song writing is the strong point in this album. The only slightly input is, Eliasson’s sometimes a rather flat singing can be monotonous. The multiple vocalist is also proved problematic in mixing, since some of unique voice characters trimmed to get the universal sound, maybe the minor flaw in production. Artificial drumming, maybe should be considered  replace with in person drummer to get more feel and better acoustic. But here, Bjorn Eliasson completely enjoy his freedom as single composer, and able to enriched the composition in liberty by putting many ornamental phrases. Lover of progressive metal, especially Cloudscape must listen to this.

Metalharem class: ******* seven stars out of ten

Warnot – His Blood Is Yours (2012)
Buy it here at Amazon

1. Raptures Of The Deep
2. The Crow Will Die
3. My Darkest Hour
4. A Late Night Dance With Death
5. Secrets Of Mythology
6. His Blood Is Yours
7. RIP
8. New York
9. The Patriot
10. I Am A Ghost
11. The Wrong Path
12. Sirens

Bjorn Eliasson : guitarist and others
Thomas Bursell known for his voice in Second Heat and Helsingborgs symphony Choirs.
Mike Andersson, Cloudscape, Full Force, Star One, Silent Memorial etc.
Sussi Sorensen, Bo Wilson Band.
Bjorn Persson, Doctor Weird.
Sara Andersson, Helsingborg choirs
Bjorn Eliasson, Cloudscape.
André Mollestam, Growls


Gretchen Menn - Hale Souls 2012

Gretchen Menn is rapidly gaining praise as new shred-lady. She is home base at San Francisco. Her virtuosity is a mix between rock and light jazz influence, can be heard in her debut instrumental album, Hale Souls. The official social network bio on Gretchen said she isn’t your average guitar hero on the rise, and how true is it. The music is actually mature and very Steve Morse influence.

The opening track that also shoot for YouTube video is Scrap Metal. In this opening, Gretchen try to steal listener's attention with catchy riff and dynamic arrangement. The solo parts maybe the simplest in the album. Mean for the next tracks, there are plenty of mind blowing shreds. Listen to the second composition Oleo Strut one will think that this is Steve Morse stuff. The chromatic licks is very Morse-sian. Even the running bass by Stu Hamm is almost identically to what Dave LaRue done. Déjà vu coming up next, is melodious mid tempo song, the combination of overdrive and clean guitar tone is what made the song. We are once again witness Gretchen versatility on fret board in Valentino’s Victory Lap, most of it Steve Morse inspired licks and with a bite of Ritchie Blackmore Rainbow’s riff. Fast Crowd is amazing acoustic guitar show, the strumming groove is fresh. Is It Not Strange bring the mood to melancholy. This is a gutar duet composition. Next is the ‘80s Shrapnel era mood, as set in the song Captured Barricade. A rather dissonance composition for Struck Sleepless, going to the direction of Frank Zappa-ish. The album close with duet of tapping guitar with violin in Fading. Talking about violin, of course this is after Walking Shadow, a solo violin that interrupt all the distortion in track eight.

So, here we got a new breed of Steve Morse’s variation, that still contains a lot original idea by the artist. Gretchen surely bring a new unique sounds with her improvisation. Song writing is creative, and first time listener is likely to lure into her composition that are very captivating. Her style is soft with lot of jazz phrases bring along, this is not your typical pentatonic shred. Being a female guitarist with such extra ordinary talent, surely a bright future and interesting personality to followed by each guitar fans.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Gretchen Menn - Hale Souls 2012

1. Scrap Metal
2. Oleo Strut
3. Déjà vu
4. Valentino’s Victory Lap
5. Fast Crowd
6. Is It Not Strange
7. Captured Barricade
8. Walking Shadow
9. Struck Sleepless
10. Fading

Gretchen Menn – guitar
Stu Hamm – bass
John Mader – drums
Emily Palen – violin
Guest artists:
Angeline Saris – bass on “Scrap Metal”
Jude Gold – second acoustic guitar on “Fast Crowd”
Kirsten Menn – vocals on “Fading”


Demon Hunter - True Defiance 2012

Hail from Seattle is band Demon Hunter. Doing a metalcore act, and inspired their music mostly on Christian believe, the band released their latest album in around April 2012. If you are into metalcore I safe to speak that this album is a great addition to your collections. It is quite diverse in sounds. In this album called True Defiance Demon Hunter throwing tons of headbanging riff and groove to spend sixty minutes of your time sick. The key word is strong melodic driven metalcore in each song. Singing style is powerful but not that too over harsh.

The album begin with Crucifix. The old-tape intro then followed by metalcore riff, the singing is something old school thrash metal sounds. The second song is their best in term of melodic writting. God Forsaken is so much tricks inside. Tight groove, multiple melodic chorus, and a cooling breakdown before the guitar solos. Then My Destiny is going even heavier, the intro riff with a slightly minor thing make this feel epic. Singing style is again heavier than before, remind me of Kreator. The lyric about founding a life goal and life destiny. The next song Wake come in more drumming madness by their drummer, Yogi Watts. Tomorrow Never Comes is a mellow ballad adding dynamic to the album. It comes with melancholy melody intro ala '80s ballad metal. Something with Means To An End which is a cooling down acoustic instrumental after two thrashy groovy songs in Someone To Hate and This I Know. Dead Flowers is last recommend, a mid tempo song full develop into emotional ending track.

There are enough groove to make the live audience shake in constant motion by each songs. Surely Demon Hunter combined many best part of thrash, hardcore and metalcore. Guitar tones are round and clear, leading solos are melodious and rhythm are chugging. Singer Ryan Clark is very versatile in giving the song the dynamic their required, can go into heavier and harsh type then switch to clean voice. Enjoyable album for this genre, especially if you are also into Christian metal act.

Demon Hunter - True Defiance 2012

1. Crucifix
2. God Forsaken
3. My Destiny
4. Wake
5. Tomorrow Never Comes
6. Someone To Hate
7. This I Know
8. Means To An End
9. We Don’t Care
10. Resistance
11. Dead Flowers
12. What Is Left
13. I Am A Stone

Ryan Clark - Vocals 
Patrick Judge - Lead Guitar 
Jeremiah Scott - Rhythm Guitar 
Jonathan Dunn - Bass 
Yogi Watts - Drums 


Aerosmith Music From Another Dimension! 2012

Although I'm not overly fancy about Aerosmith, I do miss them. Their tetralogy Permanent Vacation  - Pump - Get A Grip and Nine Lives were what decorated my CD cabinet back in late eighties / '90s. In their forty years of music producing, I guess every rock / metal fans have a slice of experience with Aerosmith. I wasn't following much their 2000s years. From what I remember Aerosmith keep experimenting in each album. The last album Honkin' on Bobo was a blues concept. For this new album however, we presented a wide variety of styles. What a troubling years Aerosmith had to come before this album is a news widely spread. Steven Tyler health, his career in American Idol, was not taken well by the members, especially Joe Perry. But, when listen to Music From Another Dimension! looks safe to say that that much didn't disturbed this comeback album, after years of absent in original stuffs.

The album begin with LUV XXX, a well audio engineered hypnotize speec. Then a light rock n roll with a bite of female soul singing in Oh Yeah. Second song, Beautiful is much more back to Steven Tyler stuff, a combination of modern rock then accentuation with creative backing vocals.  Tell Me is a ballad similar as Cryin' or I Don't Want to Miss A Thing, which is easily can be top ten single if this were out in the '90 era. Looks like a souls backing vocals is favorite stuff in this album, because in Out Go The Lights is best described as Aerosmith with a Disney's soundtrack-like backing vocals. Guitar solos is shine in this track, melodious blues rock licks enable you to stay relax, especially the extended harmonica solos and 'Uh ah-uh' encore. The riff and song writing level is still keep high in next track, Legendary Child. Now it's the male backing vocals that in charge, and guitar effect accentuation is what made this song memorable. Come next is something Boyzone-ish ballad, What Could Have Been Love. Luckily then it has a power chorus best sings by Steven Tyler. Street Jesus is aggresive hard rock combined elements of Sweet Emotion, fast singing style and funky intro riff.

The second half of album started with country feel Can't Stop Lovin' You, a duet with Carrie Underwood. Making this song something like Shania Twain in hard rock setup. It's wonderful  how  Steven Tyler's voice can be put in a duet with almost every singer and get a great result. Lover Alot trying to break the ice and wake up listener with intermezzo drumming intro. Not stopping here, is We All Fall Down. Piano accompaniment and orchestration to mimic what done in Dream On. Last notable to mentioned is Something, a rather experimental stuff full of psychotic instrumentation. Another Last Goodbye, that co-write with Desmond Child, a vocal-singing-lecture song.

Good accomplishment in this album. Very versatile in styles. This may be because of vast contribution from many co-writers in each song. Aerosmith might be already done most of tricks we hear before, but still they are fresh in this album. Steven Tyler singing is never away too make every song uniquely Aerosmith. Not a bad album by the veteran of rock n roll.

Metalharem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Aerosmith - Music From Another Dimension! (2012)
buy it here at Amazon

1. LUV XXX 5:16
2. Oh Yeah 3:40
3. Beautiful 3:04
4. Tell Me 3:45
5. Out Go The Lights 6:55
6. Legendary Child 4:13
7. What Could Have Been Love 3:44
8. Street Jesus 6:43
9. Can't Stop Lovin' You (Duet with Carrie Underwood) 4:04
10. Lover Alot 3:35
11. We All Fall Down 5:14
12. Freedom Fighter 3:19
13. Closer 4:04
14. Something 4:37
15. Another Last Goodbye 5:47

Steven Tyler – lead vocals, harmonica on "Out Go the Lights", piano on "We All Fall Down", drums on "Something", mandolin on "Tell Me", production
Tom Hamilton – bass guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Up on a Mountain"
Joey Kramer – drums, backing vocals
Joe Perry – lead guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Something" and "Freedom Fighter", production
Brad Whitford – rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar on "Tell Me", backing vocals

Additional musicians

Russ Irwin – keyboards, backing vocals
Julian Lennon – background vocals on "LUV XXX"
Lauren Alaina – background vocals on "Oh Yeah"
Mia Tyler – backing vocals on "Beautiful"
Carrie Underwood – featured vocals on "Can't Stop Loving You"
Johnny Depp – background vocals on "Freedom Fighter"
Rick Dufay – rhythm guitar on "Shakey Ground"

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