Empire 21-Empire 21 ©2014 Empire 21 Records
Solid debut album from former Narnia, Rob Rock, and Darkwater members as well as others. The music is solid riff oriented metal with a good dose of melody mixed in to make the album memorable. To me the album is pretty consistent in terms of quality. Some of the tracks have a bit more mainstream feel than others, but overall this is a good balanced listen. Good vocals on the album as well courtesy of Ricard Hulteke. Some of my favorite tracks include '100 Nights', 'Empire 21', and the crunchy and memorable rocker 'Heard it All'. Easy recommend to fans of more mainstream metal. Solid!
Exodus-Blood In Blood Out ©2014 Nuclear Blast Records
Been a fan of Exodus for a very long time. I've seen many changes in the band in terms of sound and members through the years. What you get with the band's latest record is some familiarity. Steve Souza is fronting the band and the sound is a bit more old school than previous efforts. This is a very good thrashing record that never really lets up. You also have some notable guest appearances including Kirk Hammett, Chuck Billy, and Dan the Automator. From the opening sounds of 'Black 13', you just know this is going to be a great record. It never disappoints. Highly recommended for fans of Thrash!
Ten-Albion ©2014 Rocktopia Records
I cut my teeth on Ten with the album 'The Name of the Rose'. Been quite a few years now and many albums later we have 'Albion'. The album is exactly what you would expect from Ten. Very disciplined melodic metal music. I always think of this band as being very smooth in their sound and writing. That veteran feel the band has always had is evident once again with a great batch of tracks. Nothing ever gets overly flashy with the album being geared more to great songwriting. A decent amount of finesse and really no point where I feel the album dips. You know what Ten offers and you get it again.
Sixx A.M.-Modern Vintage ©2014 Eleven Seven Records
Another solid effort from these veteran rockers. That DJ Ashba flash shows up pretty quickly with the album's opener 'Stars'. The album progresses through some good music including a decent cover of The Cars classic 'Drive' which has some great vocal work. The album to me dipped a little with the last two tracks, but overall this is a pretty good record. Sixx A.M. typically isn't afraid to do things that others may stay away from and they tend to benefit from it. These are seasoned veterans that at this point in their careers have nothing to prove. Good results in the way of good music once again.
October Rage-Fallout, Dust and Guns ©2014 October Rage
New e.p. from this modern rock band from Australia. The album has 5 tracks of which all are good in my opinion. As mentioned, the band is more modern in sound but really has a flare for getting it done when it comes to writing good memorable music. This band has been in the trenches now for awhile putting in the work in terms of touring that might make other acts cringe. 120 Shows in 2012 on the 'Outrage' tour in the U.S. is enough to prove these guys are serious about their music. If you like modern rock with an edge and haven't heard October Rage, you really ought to check them out!