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Guardrail Savior, Kerosene

05 May, 2015 Matheson Kamin

 

guardrailGuardrail Savior is a hard rock band based in the Massachusetts area. Guardrail Savior consists of Justin Barclay on Guitars, Vocals; Mike Hudak on Drums, Percussion; Matt Van Voorhies on Bass. The band creates a sound that combines many different modern-day rock influences with a few older influences as well. The combination of the modern-day mixed with the more retro feel seems to keep the band’s sound fresh while still keeping fans of the eighties and nineties music happy. Currently, the band is promoting their new release called Kerosene.

Kerosene from Guardrail Savior begins with the track “Day One”. “Day One” is a song that features a sound that combines a modern rock sound with a little Gin Blossoms influence. The resulting track is a song that has a strong drum feel and a strong driving beat. The song feels like it would easily have been right at home on commercial radio back in the nineties. The lyrics deal with the singer coming to terms with needing to leave the drink behind and start over. That positive message in the lyrics makes the song a good starting point for the band’s new release.

The new release from Guardrail Savior continues with the album’s title track. Like “Day One” before it, “Kerosene” also keeps the sound of the band’s music in the nineties. Halfway between Alternative Rock and Top 40 Rock, “Kerosene” again brings a lot of Gin Blossoms influence into the music. The song feels like something that could have been pulled off of that band’s album entitled Congratulations…I’m Sorry. The commercial feel of the song will make the listener feel as if they are listening to new music from back in the nineties.

“Prometheus” is a track that allows the trio to write a song that contains a lot more energy. The track finds the band creating a track with some Greek mythology in it. And while the track does venture into unusual subject matter, the band does not go too far into the mythology to make the track feel too unusual. In fact, the unusual subject matter makes for a fresh sound in today’s music.  The hard rocking feel of the music helps to keep the listener’s interest as the lyrics are sung.

Guardrail Savior stays in the nineties for the track “Tradeaway”. This track feels like something that could have been written for any of the television-based bands like the American-based The Heights or the Canadian band Catwalk that existed back in the nineties. The sound of the music and the easy feel to the lyrics to the song give the track an over-commercialized rock feel. For those who enjoyed music from those bands, this track is definitely for you.

For the song “Disguise,” Guardrail Savior brings out a harder rock feel to their music. The slower pace and the harder quality to the music create a track that feels different than much of the other songs that make up the Kerosene release. The track also finds the band creating a jam-like track and that allows the three musicians the opportunity to just let the music flow. The easy feel to the pace of the music and the energy found within that music makes up for the over-simplified lyrics to the track.

With the next track of “Harder Than it Looks,” the band creates a track that combines the energy of the music from the nineties with the commercial feel of the music from the eighties. The trio of vocalist and guitarist Justin Barclay, drummer Mike Hudak and bassist Matt Van Voorhies put together a song that feels very timeless as the music cannot be narrowed down to any specific period in rock history. The band creates a track with a very catchy feel to it. The song ends up being one of the best moments on the band’s Kerosene release.

The Kerosene release continues with the track “Devil in the Details”. While most of the tracks on Kerosene feature influences from earlier styles of Rock and Roll, this track finds the band creating a track that is influenced by today’s music. The modern feel of the music puts Guardrail Savior’s three-piece sound to use in a big way as the band allows their music to exist without extra guitar parts hiving been added. The three-piece sound of the band gives the listener a clear indication of what the band would sound like live in concert.

Kerosene from Guardrail Savior is a strong release that puts many different styles of music to use as influences. That makes the album very strong as the music continues to shift and change throughout the release. Sometimes modern, sometimes flavored with older influences, Kerosene from Guardrail Savior is definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of rock and roll.

 

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: ***** (five stars)

Kinesis 4, Satyagraha

20 Apr, 2015 Matheson Kamin

kinesis4Kinesis 4 are a rock trio that hails from Southampton on the south coast of the UK. Made up of Opkar Hans: guitars, keyboards, lead vox; Satpal Hans: bass guitar, b/vox and Gregorio Merchan: drums, percussion, b/vox; Kinesis 4 creates a rock sound that incorporates several different influences including Blues, Prog Rock, and even Jam band Rock, plus other influences that help to shape the band’s music. Together, the band has created a release called Satyagraha.

Satyagraha from Kinesis 4 begins with the track “Come With Me”. The music of the track brings to mind bands like Counting Crows and other groups that have been around for a few years now. The light rock sound of the song feels as if it would have been right at home on FM radio during the late 90s/early 2000s. While the track does have a slightly dated feel to it, the song could easily still fit in with today’s Modern Rock radio formats.

The band picks up the pace of the music with a track that incorporates a harder rock sound. “All I Need” finds the trio creating a Modern Rock track. The song features solid guitar playing from Opkar Hans and lyrics that are rather infectious and easy to sing along with. The chorus of the song could easily become a “call and answer” part of the band’s live performance. While very different from “Come With Me” before it, “All I Need” also has the potential of tons of radio play.

The new release from Kinesis 4 continues with the song “The Word Is Out”. Like “Come With Me” before it, “The Word Is Out” brings out a lot of influences from the late 90s. The track features a very commercial sound in the music and the lyrics. The song once again has a sound that is very radio-friendly.

With the track “City Girl,” Kinesis 4 takes their music in a different direction. The track has a stronger rock feel to it as the band seems to have channeled bands from the late 80s that would have been part of the Power Rock radio formats that were around at that time. The music that the three musicians create in this track brings out the band’s ability to create really strong songs.

Just as the band creates one of the strongest Modern Rock tracks on the release, they change musical directions. On the track “Whiskey Lips,” Kinesis 4 brings out some of their older influences. The track brings to mind bands like Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and other bands that are now considered Classic Rock. Kinesis 4 does a great job on “Whiskey Lips” bringing out the Classic Rock sound. The song sounds as authentic as anything that would have come from the rock bands in the seventies. “Whiskey Lips” ends up being one of the strongest tracks on Satyagraha from Kinesis 4.

Kinesis 4 spends a lot of time on their new album creating songs that are very commercial sounding in nature. The track “Jingophile” finds the band moving from their commercial side into their more progressive side. “Jingophile” features a Rock sound that comes complete with keyboard effects that add a little psychedelic flavor to the music. The track features some of the best music on the release as the trio of Opkar Hans, Satpal Hans and Gregorio Merchan create a track that allows them to let a lot of their creativity out. The result of that creativity is one of the best tracks on Satyagraha.

With the track “Feel Alright,” Kinesis 4 creates a track that brings to mind something from the band Black Crowes. The track features an easy pace to the music. The slower pace to the song brings out the emotional feeling to the lyrics.

With their new album of Satyagraha, Kinesis 4 creates a release that draws from many different artists, genres of rock and roll and time periods. The multi-faceted feeling of the band’s music helps to create a release that should appeal to fans of rock and roll, no matter what their age.

 

 

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: ***** (five stars)

 

 

 

The Fantastic 5, The Revenge of Pancho Villa

04 Feb, 2015 Matheson Kamin

thefantastic5

The Fantastic 5 is a rock band with many different influences in their sound. Part rock, part punk, part Alternative Rock, the band draws on different influences depending on the song. The band is comprised of founding members Tony Nassif (singer/songwriter/guitarist), Roxana “Roxy” Camacho (lead/rhythm guitar), Frank Tatto (bassist) and Christian Roney on drums. The band creates a sound that brings a lot of classic punk rock style to life. And while that punk rock influence is unmistakable, there is plenty of other influences that help shape the band’s sound. That combination creates a style that helps keep punk rock alive and well as well as fresh. Having already released several two other albums, the band is currently promoting their newest release entitled The Revenge of Pancho Villa.

The Revenge of Pancho Villa begins with the track “Buried in Monterey”. The track features a strong punk rock approach to the music and has a very powerful feel. The music flows with a strong intensity that goes along with that punk feeling. The vocals from Tony Nassif add to the powerful feel of the music. The lyrics contain just a hint of humor as the singer tells the subject that he hopes they stay buried and that humor adds so much to the track.

Life so much of today’s rock bands, The Fantastic 5 writes songs that are somewhat topical. The track “Detroit’s Burning” is the perfect example of that as The Fantastic 5 creates a track that reflects on the events that have taken place in the city over the last few months. To go along with the topical feel of the music, the band decided to write the track in a punk rock style. The track also incorporates some lyrics from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Buddy Holly’s song “Oh Boy”. The lyrics add a little nostalgia to the track. “Detroit’s Burning” is a powerful track and once the track’s refrain kicks in, the track has a lot of energy as well.

The track “Execution” begins with a guitar riff that feels very much like the song is actually based in the “surf instrumental” genre. But once the track segues into the main part of the song, the guitars kick in and the band creates a track that is closer to heavy metal than instrumental rock. The track alternates between the two styles throughout the track’s five-minute tracking and that keeps the energy level up and also makes for a very strong track on the release.

“Northern Day” brings to mind the band Green Day with a little bit of Weezer thrown in as well. The track brings back a lot of memories of the music from the nineties. The track features Roxana “Roxy” Camacho who adds not only guitars, but also keyboards to the track. The resulting track has the most commercial feel of any of the track up to that point. The song could very well make Alternative Rock fans very happy.

To add just a little bit of variety to their music, The Fantastic 5 included the song “Guadalajara” to The Revenge of Pancho Villa. The track has a very definite Mexican flavor to the track while still having plenty of energy in its rock and roll base. The guitars on the track bring back a little of the feel of the guitars from the track “Execution”. The track is one of the more complex of the songs on the release.  Along with the Mexican flavor to the music, the track also contains a slight New Wave feel to it. “Guadalajara” is a track many will find fun to listen to.

“Worn Out Photograph” is another commercial track on The Revenge of Pancho Villa from The Fantastic 5. The track ventures into a much more listener-friendly, pop-influenced direction. The guitar/keyboard mixture creates a very nice blend and that adds to the commercial feel of the track. While the track’s lyrics do contain a little attitude, the song is still enjoyable.

The Revenge of Pancho Villa from The Fantastic 5 is a powerful release from beginning to end. With how many different directions the band sends the music, each listener will find many things to enjoy.

 

 

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Zen Juddhism, Zen Juddhism

27 Jan, 2015 Matheson Kamin

zenjuddhismHaving spent years in the band HYBRID 6.0 in Southampton, the guitarist for that band, Jude Ωne Eight, decided to create his own music. That music has a very different feel from the band he has been associated with for so long. The music created by Jude Ωne Eight contains a lot more rock and roll feel to it as it focuses more on his guitar. However, his solo style also allows for the musician to shape his using whatever influences he wants.

In order to release his own music, Jude Ωne Eight exists under the moniker of Zen Juddhism. In Zen Juddhism, Jude Ωne Eight plays the guitar and bass and is joined by various other musicians to help bring the music to life. Having the different musicians on the tracks of the self-titled release adds a nice variety to the music.

The self-titled release from Zen Juddhism begins with the track “Chocolate Cake”. To bring the lyrics of the song to life, the track features Marlene Rodriguez on vocals. The track is rather heavy and is very hard hitting. The energy of the music on the track along with Rodriguez’s vocal delivery combines to create a very strong track.

“Private Banks (So Cold)” is the second track on the release. The style of the music of the track changes to something a little heavier with more of a 1980s Rock flavor to it. The track features Opkar Hans on vocals. While “Chocolate Cake” is more about the power of the music, “Private Banks (So Cold)” is much more commercial. The track features a chorus that is fun to listen to and very infectious. It could easily be one of the strongest tracks on the album.

Zen Juddhism’s self-titled release continues with the track “Want to Be Free”. Just like the track before it, “Want to Be Free” contains a very strong commercial Rock feel with a driving pace to it. The vocals from Naomi Terry may remind some of female rockers like Ann Wilson from Heart. The easy vocal delivery from Naomi Terry and the driving feel of the music work well together as the track is yet another shining moment on the album.

As the album continues, the song “Concrete Beat” brings forward one of Jude Ωne Eight’s influences. The song brings to mind something from the band Garbage as the track has a very infectious feel to the music and a beat that would be great for dancing to. The track once again features vocalist Marlene Rodriguez that helps to bring some of that Garbage influence to life. The fun and energetic track keeps the feel of the album fresh.

Bringing a much harder musical approach to the album, the track “Heart Removal” is a song that pushes the music of Zen Juddhism into a much harder musical vein. The track features screaming guitars as well as screaming vocals from vocalist Andy Thomas. The harsher vocal delivery from Thomas and the faster pace of the song sets the track apart from anything else that came before it, giving the listener something much different than “Want to Be Free” or “Chocolate Cake”.

Taking the energy down just a little bit from the track before, Zen Juddhism’s self-titled release heads off in a different direction once again on the track “Clash from Oblivion”. The track features a strong Rock base but also features a bit of Hip-Hop flavor at the same time as the band is joined by an MC by the name of Lord Lav. The Rock/Hip-Hop combination on the track creates yet another track on the album that sets itself apart from everything else that came before it. The track proceeds as Lord Lav speaks of existing in a state of darkness and then the “Zombie Choir” joins in to bring “life” to the chorus of the track. “Clash from Oblivion” is a track that will speak to many of today’s youth and will be popular among many different music fans because of the Hip-Hop/Rock crossover in the music.

The self-titled release from Zen Juddhism switches from one genre of music to the next throughout the entire length of the release. And because of the changing of styles, you are almost assured of finding a song that will speak to you, no matter what your musical preferences are.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Troy Lindsey & Bosaya, Cold Emotion

19 Jan, 2015 Matheson Kamin

troylindsey

Troy Lindsey is a singer-songwriter that creates songs that contain several different styles in the music. That means that his sound changes from one track to the next and that keeps the listener wondering where the music will head next. To help bring that music to life, Lindsey called upon guitarist Matt Lee, bassist Johnny Stanton, organist Josh Schultz and drummer Scotty Schultz. The five helped bring Troy Lindsey’s latest album of Cold Emotion to life.

Cold Emotion from Troy Lindsey & Bosaya begins with the track “Dark Hour”. “Dark Hour” is a track that looks back at the Columbine High School Massacre, and other senseless killings. The lyrics to the song relive some of the details of that horrible event. The music to the song has a slow tempo and a heavy amount of blues flavor that add to the sad lyrics. The track’s use of a light electric guitar and organ really add to the emotional connection to the subject matter. As a lead-off track, “Dark Hour” is a very strong way to begin an album.

The feel of the album changes with the next track of “Like a Fool”. The track has a much lighter feel to the lyrical matter. The track is a lot lighter and a lot more upbeat than the first track. The light-hearted lyrics are a much needed change of pace from the seriousness of the first track.

Cold Emotion finds Troy Lindsey teaming up with Russian singer Galina Bosaya (known simply as “Bosaya”) for several tracks on the album. The first track on the release that features Bosaya is the song “Your Tomorrow”. The track features a blues/rock musical blend that goes well with the soulful vocals from the Russian singer. The resulting track has plenty of energy and keeps the energy level from “Like a Fool” going.

Things slow down slightly for the beginning of the track “It’s Not Your Fault”. Before long the lite rock feel at the beginning of the track is replaced with a more upbeat and energetic approach. Troy Lindsey and Bosaya blend their vocals together to create a track with a duet-like sound. The emotional feel of the lyrics adds to the easy feel of the song.

With the track “Outlaw’s Love,” Troy Lindsey and the rest of the band create a rock song that has plenty of twang to it. Along with the countrified feel to the music, the track’s lyrics about bad men falling in love with the bad side of the law are written in such a way that the song feels like a story set to music. The track features some of the best playing on the release. Standout performances on the track come from guitarist Matt Lee and organist Josh Schultz whose performances help to make the country-flavored track come to life.

On the album’s title track, Troy Lindsey and Bosaya create a duet that features both English and Russian lyrics. The “emotional” feel to “Cold Emotion” comes through in the lyrics that were written by Lindsey and Bosaya when the two met in Russia. The track ballad-like musical approach sounds like a song that would have been written as part of a romantic comedy. The track comes to life with the help of the keyboards from Josh Schultz. The track is one of the most commercial moments on the album.

The next track of “End of it All” finds Troy Lindsey creating a track that feels as if it could have been created by Eric Clapton. The track has the same laidback feel as Clapton’s track “Tears in Heaven”. The track begins with a slow pace then gradually speeds up as the band creates a jam out of the song. The vocals from Lindsey bring the emotional feel of the lyrics to life.

Cold Emotion from Troy Lindsey & Bosaya is a release that incorporates many different styles of music in the songs that make up the tracking. The songs featured on the release make for a well-rounded release that many people will find enjoyable.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)