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Bryan Banks, Discard the Dream

15 Mar, 2013 Rhonda Readence

“Discard the Dream” is the latest single from artist Bryan Banks, and there is little doubt that it will become a fan favorite.  Fitting in somewhere between classic rock and melodic modern alternative, this classic piece of music contains some of the best guitar work to grace the music world in the recent past.  Likewise, Banks’ vocals are delivered with a strong confidence that many vocalists will envy.

The track starts with a killer guitar hook that sets the tone for the rest of the song.  Vocally, Banks keeps it smooth and in control but graces us with the occasional belt of pure power.  This artist can hit practically any note, and he can sustain it as well.  The lyrics are well-written and deal with the end of a relationship and the denial that can come with it.  This is a song about real life and human emotion, and Banks has an excellent grasp on the songwriting process.

Instrumentally, “Discard the Dream” is performed with skill, particularly with regards to the guitar work.  The song has a great flow from beginning to end and there is a slightly melancholy essence to the rhythm, which suits the lyrics well.  The sound quality is likewise exceptional, making this a very solid offering.  Bryan Banks has written a winner here, and it won’t take long at all for “Discard the Dream” to become a staple in mainstream music.

Review by Rhonda Readence
4 stars (out of 5)


The Gantry “Years And Years”

28 Dec, 2012 Rhonda Readence

The Gantry is a band out of Queens, New York, comprised of Kevin Goldhahn on vocals, Jeff Kay on guitar, Tim Cornish on bass and Adam Knoblach on drums.  Their debut album Years And Years is a ten-song endeavor with warm melodies and great vocal harmonies.  Elements of country western, folk rock and classic rock combined with elegant acoustic rhythms create a brand of music that simply brings forth good feelings.  One could liken The Gantry to The Allman Brothers, Jackson Brown and The Counting Crows.

Years And Years begins with “Six Pack,” which contains some tongue-in-cheek humor and a foot-tapping beat that will have people dancing in their seats.  And on the dance floor, too.  There is a great melodic interlude within this song that changes the tone of it completely, and The Gantry do a fantastic job making the transition smoothly.  “Henry” carries more of a country western essence with twangy guitar licks and a melancholy undertone.  The lyrics are well-written and Goldhahn’s vocal style gives them even more weight.  Kay’s guitar work is flawless and the rhythm section doesn’t miss a beat.  This is a very solid offering.

“Green Eyes” is one of the more energetic pieces on the album, with blazing electric guitar work and a faster tempo.  There are still elements of folk rock in this song, but The Gantry adds their own style of rock to make this perhaps the single most hard-hitting track on the album.  “Broken Glass” moves back into a more country western vibe and the melodic guitar hooks will be sure to pull listeners in.  This is a very lyrically sound band, and their style of writing brings forth feelings of nostalgia and melancholy, but with an underlying sense of optimism.

One of the most haunting songs on the album is “Trouble,” which is filled with such a sad beauty that the heart has no choice but to be moved by it.  This piece also highlights the vocal prowess of Goldhahn, as he hits several higher notes with ease.  The next song is “Mary,” which is perfectly placed on the album, as it takes the listener out of the sadness of the previous track and into a brighter sound.  It’s got a poppy rhythm that will have people dancing, not to mention the upbeat lyrics and signature guitar licks.

“Doors” provides an excellent example of the exquisite vocal harmonizing that The Gantry does so well.  This track is pure folk rock and will become a fan favorite, especially when The Gantry performs it live.  It’s a perfect sing-along song that people will love dancing to.  “April” is another specialty by this group of artists that has the distinct honor of being both melancholy and hopeful.  It is a very skillful trait for musicians to be able to create songs that bring forth sadness and joy within the same piece, and this band does it amazingly well.

“Click” has a great beat and some screaming guitar work, coupled wonderfully with some of the best vocals on the album.  It leads seamlessly into “Confessions,” which is the closing piece and one of the most beautiful songs on the album.  The Gantry is a fantastic band with regards to lyricism and harmonizing.  They are also a very vocally and instrumentally sound group of musicians, and their style of music is by turns heartbreaking and hopeful.  Years And Years is indeed an accomplishment to be proud of and this band will garner fans with little to no effort.
Reviewed by Rhonda Readence
5 stars (out of 5)

Steinroys “Steinroys”

26 Nov, 2012 Rhonda Readence

Steinroys is the musical masterpiece created by Norwegian drummer Henrik Richardson Fossum, who wrote, recorded, and produced his debut EP Steinroys.  Vocalist Jason Mirchandani assists with rhythm guitar and Fossum utilizes an array of other musicians on lead guitar and bass for studio recordings and live performances.  This EP was recorded in Fossum’s home studio in England and it is an accomplishment he can take pride in.

“Victim And I” is a modern-sounding alternative rock track with a fantastic sound.  Fossum’s skill as an engineer is evident here, and each note is clean and clear.  If this is any indication of what the rest of the EP will sound like, listeners are in for a treat.  Mirchandani’s vocals are strong and lend themselves perfectly to the edginess of this song.  Instrumentally, this piece is very well composed and there isn’t a single wasted note.  This is a very solid offering all the way around.

“Cellmate” is a less fluid song than the previous track, but the staccato rhythm is perfect for the lyrics, which carry a sense of urgency.  There is also a desperation to this piece as well, and the lyrics deal with the feeling of being imprisoned and are rife with angst.  Fossum’s skill as a songwriter is showcased very well with this offering.  “Lifeline” is a melodic piece with great guitar work and fantastic vocals.  Mirchandani’s range is spectacular and he never misses a note.  Lyrically, this song is one of the more honest pieces on the EP and Fossum has shown that he has a knack for writing thoughtful and intelligent lyrics that convey a sense of emotion.

The EP closes with “Trading,” a hard-hitting number in which Fossum really lets us have it with his talent on the drums.  The rock ‘n’ roll rhythm of this track is great and this could very well become a fan favorite.  Henrick Richardson Fossum, aka Steinroys, is truly a master of his domain.  From engineering, producing, and mixing an amazing-sounding album in his home studio, to writing his own songs with strong lyrical content, to composing the instrumentation, he does it all and he does it well.  This EP is full of killer music and a tight sound, all brought to fruition in spectacular fashion.


Review by Rhonda Readence
5 stars (out of 5)

The Listener’s Job “No Vacancies”

11 Jul, 2012 Rhonda Readence

Dutch artist Paul van Geldrop has masterminded a solo project that he calls The Listener’s Job. The album No Vacancies is his 2011 debut release. Mixed and mastered by Ton Oortgiesen and adorned with artwork by Bart van Geldrop, this exquisitely creative 5-song album is rife with haunting melodies and a wonderfully clear sound. Paul van Geldrop performs each song on his own and is a master of the piano, guitar, bass and vocals, as well as being the composer and lyricist. Among these accomplishments, van Geldrop also does film scores and theater productions.

Clearly we have an artist who is well-rounded and experienced, and No Vacancies is nothing short of a work of art. “Midnight Prayer” is the opening track, and it carries a dramatic flair and catchy hook. The quality of sound is absolutely fantastic and the elegant piano work makes this piece more than just a song. It transforms it into a living entity with the capacity to touch real human feelings. The gravity of the lyrics takes them to a whole new level. There is an intensity to this track that is undeniable, and the gentle, haunting melody is the perfect balance to the dark and desperate lyrics.

“I Can See Paris” is a graceful piece with light piano playing that makes this track one of the more melancholy offerings on the album. Paul van Geldrop’s vocals are deliberate and rich, the lyrics are thoughtful and full of intelligent content, and this is a perfect example of living art as conveyed through music. “Nowhere Left To Run” has a quicker tempo and a contagious rhythm. Cheerful by comparison, this piece has a slightly Caribbean feel and the beat will have listeners swaying in their seats.

“Eulogy” carries a theatric flair, and as with each of the preceding pieces, this one cannot rightfully be wedged into a restricted genre and termed “alternative” or “classic.” It just is. It’s that simple. The staccato vocal delivery is offset beautifully by the chorus and the drumbeat is hauntingly eerie. The closing offering is “Flying In The Air” and it is perhaps the most captivating song on the album. The lyrics tell a story and they are written with deep thought and intellect. The accompanying piano work is both despairing and hopeful, lending this piece a depth that van Geldrop should take pride in.

No Vacancies is not your average album and attempting to categorize it into a specific genre would be a foolish endeavor. The Listener’s Job, as Paul van Geldrop titles his solo project, is more than just music that can be categorized as something specific. It is art imitating life, or maybe life imitating art. It is creative and full of emotion and grace. The talent that van Geldrop harbors with regards to the performance, arrangement, composition and writing is fantastic. The sound quality is absolutely wonderful throughout as well, and the only complaint listeners will have of No Vacancies is that is entirely too short. We want more.

Reviewed by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Colobar “Behind The Veil of Oblivion”

15 May, 2012 Rhonda Readence

Behind The Veil of Oblivion is the debut hard rock progressive album from the band
Colobar, and this album is rife with intricate composition and phenomenal musicianship.
Colobar is made up of a wide variety of artists with extensive musical backgrounds. The
mastermind behind the project is Angel Angelov, songwriter and producer extraordinaire.
With aid from Konstantin Jambazov on guitars and Carl Sentance on vocals, Colobar
has succeeded in creating a work of musical creativity unrivaled by many. Other artists
featured on Behind The Veil of Oblivion are Emil Kosturkov on drums, Kiril Kirilov on
keys and Radoslav Todorov on piano.

“Change of Ages” is the introductory track and it is quite simply one of the most intricate
pieces of music to be heard. The blazing guitar work is matched note for note by the
hard-hitting rhythm section. The vocals are delivered with a strong confidence and
everything about this piece is polished and professional. Carrying a heavy metal essence,
this progressive rock offering is only the beginning of Colobar’s arsenal. The album’s
title track, “Behind The Veil of Oblivion,” begins with a much slower tempo, carrying
an almost spiritual vibe. The sense of calmness one gets at the beginning of this track is
extraordinary. The instrumentation is skilled throughout this lengthy work and the vocal
harmonizing is excellent. This piece is nearly ten minutes of progressive rock perfection.

“Timeline” is a softer offering, with a more melodic approach. This dramatic track is rife
with stellar keyboard playing, crystal clear guitar work, and clean vocals. Dream Theater
comes to mind while enjoying this song, and the skilled musicianship of everyone
involved with this project shines through with stunning clarity. “Listen” is also a more
melodic track, and perhaps the most artistic one on the album. With a soft elegance,
Sentance’s vocals are seductive and the graceful guitar work is simply enthralling. The
rhythm section also gets a chance to shine brightly here and this track is brimming with
creativity and artistic vision.

Behind The Veil of Oblivion is a journey into musical enlightenment, and it continues
with “Secrets,” a faster-paced progressive tale of whaling guitars and grinding chords.
This track is a study in the intricate and flawless method of composition employed by
this band. The music of Colobar is highly technical with regards to melodic placement
and overall structure, which is evidenced within all of the offerings on the album, but
more so within this offering in particular. “The Way Out” begins with a dramatic flair
and a haunting melody that will send chills down the spine. The lyrics are likewise laden
with a haunting beauty, made even more so by Sentance’s graceful delivery. This piece
carries an edge that has a bit of darkness to it and the grinding guitar riffs are offset nicely
by the light keyboard work.

“Can’t Feel” is the album’s closer, and in keeping with Colobar’s style of music, it
is artistic and visionary and exquisite. Progressive rock is a genre that tends to go
overlooked in many circles of the music scene, and this is unfortunate. It is one of

the most creative genres of music out there and Behind The Veil of Oblivion is on par
with some of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time. The skill with which the
songs are written and performed is fascinating, not to mention the talented and complex
composition of each piece. Colobar has reached new plateaus with their debut album and
the music world will wait hungrily for their follow up effort.

Reviewed by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)