Scorpions-Return to Forever ©2015 Sony Music Entertainment
When word came of the band's retirement I have to say I was disappointed. Been a fan for a very long time now and the Scorpions are just a normal part of what I listen to. When more recent word came that the band was only going to slow down a bit and still release, I felt much better about this decision. The bands new album is really good. Good rockers, good ballad style tracks. Everything a fan of the band would expect. To this point, this is probably the most played Scorpions album in my player since the mid 90's. Just something that hit me perfect. Glad you changed your mind! Recommended!
Europe-War of Kings ©2015 UDR
For a lot of fans, when you hear the name Europe, you thing of the more melodic radio friendly version of the band from the mid 80's. Before that era was a pretty serious and more rock oriented act which is really where the band has been on a good portion of their catalog. 'War of Kings' is another gem. Very much rock oriented and in ways has a decent heavy groove. The album is very consistent in it's tone. The sound is fairly raw sounding which to me always translates very well to the stage. Another band I'm glad is still carrying the torch. If you haven't heard them in awhile, do check this out!
Venrez-Children of the Drones ©2015 Monarch Music Group
Here's a fairly unique band for you. I listened to this album quite a bit trying to figure out their sound and who it reminded me of. There's some Alice in Chains in doses, but this band has a sound that's not as common in today's market. The album has a very cool vibe with it's rich sounding atmospheric sound and smooth vocal work. Some albums are easy to figure out and some grow with time and become equally enjoyable. This album fits into the latter. Venrez are ambitious and determined. This is a good step in their journey. It will be cool to watch them continue to grow with each record.
Jace Pawlak-Perspective ©2015 Jace Pawlak
Every now and then an album comes across my desk that isn't the norm for what we discuss, but is so cool you just want to mention it. Songwritier Jace Pawlak's latest album is exactly that. It's a melodic rock record that is never all that heavy but has a lot of heart. I love the honesty of independent artists. The music has to be first and foremost. Pawlak reminds me a lot of Richard Marx in the fact that he writes songs for others, but shines equally well on his own recordings. If you are looking for something a little out of the heavy norm that will keep you interested start to finish, this record is really worth a look!
Pyramaze-Disciples of the Sun ©2015 Inner Wound Recordings
This latest album from Pyramaze has all of the goods. It's hard driving, yet melodic. Listening to the record you get a feel for how epic it is going to be just by the intro. The album really opens up from there and never lets go. Things that came to mind for me while listening was the proficiency of the band and the sheer ability to keep the listener engaged. There are quite a few bands that embrace a sound like this and to me Pyramaze definitely has their chops down. The record overall is solid and becomes memorable fairly quickly. It is heavy throughout, but the melody offers a great balance. Solid!