Mick Mars-The Other Side Of Mars   ©2023  1313 LLC
​We've been waiting for quite some time for that evasive Mick Mars solo album. There was a mystery around it as far as how it would sound and where would Mick Mars go from a creative standpoint. Well, now we know and as far as I'm concerned, the results are very good. The songs as a whole tend to carry the day. This isn't a flashy record. It's Mick doing great things including playing guitar. Some of it leans heavier, but there is also some atmospheric more melodic stuff here and there. It's definitely an interesting record. I can't really say I had any expectations in terms of sound. I didn't expect it to sound like Mötley Crüe, and I don't feel like it does. I will say that the intensity in some places may lean closer to the mid 90's self titled Mötley Crüe album. Overall, I am very happy with this and also happy that Mick still has great stuff to offer. Solid outing!
Release Date:  February 23, 2024
Smoking Snakes-Danger Zone    ©2024 Frontiers Records 
​This Swedish band will make a lot of fans of old school hard rock and metal happy. The core of the band's sound will take the listener back to the 80's era, and specifically bands like W.A.S.P. and Dokken, but add a good dose of sleaze as well and you'll have these guys and their sound. The sound is fairly gritty and raw sounding, but with today's modern technology, you'll get a bit of that as well. The intensity is fairly even with the music on the heavier side of the sleaze genre. As an added note, this is the band's debut album and there was a self released demo offered by the band in 2022. Relatively new to the scene, but definitely ready to make their mark on the scene. It's a safe bet that if you were into the 80's hard rock scene or even dig the more modern sleaze metal, these guys will probably suit your tastes!
Release Date:  February 9, 2024
Heavy Load-Riders Of The Ancient Storm  ©2023 Thunderload Records
​Back in the early 80's I used to scour various sources looking for more obscure bands. Artists who most people in the States had probably never heard of. That is where I first ran across Sweden's traditional metal band Heavy Load. 'Stronger Than Evil' was my intro to the band and the bands final album for a very long time. Fast forward 40 years and we finally get the sequel album 'Riders Of The Ancient Storm'. I honestly never felt this band would release again, but they definitely had different plans. The music on this record is in the same formula as the earlier material, but has a slightly different feel to it. It is still that sound that they embraced, but to me it almost feels like there is slightly more melody. Nonetheless, it's been a long wait and I enjoyed my experience with this. Definitely an old school record in sound and approach!
Release Date:  October 6, 2023
Filter-The Algorithm   ©2023 Golden Robot Records
​I had to come back to this album. At the time of release CD's were obtainable, but ridiculously expensive. I finally got around to grabbing this a couple of weeks ago due to it being more reasonable. This album as far as I've heard was actually conceived back in 2018 as a sequel to the band's debut 'Short Bus'. I was a fan of that record and was definitely interested. The band has evolved in their sound through the years and I feel that this album does have similarities in sound and style to the successful debut. It's really cool when an artist can come back many years later and create that similar energy that made 'Short Bus' great. The album has a lot of great material.  Probably my favorite track is 'Be Careful What You Wish For'. This tune has a very catchy groove to it. There is also some cool melodic stuff especially near the end of the album. Another great Filter album!
Release Date: August  25, 2023
Amaranthe-The Catalyst   ©2024 Nuclear Blast Records
​Amaranthe definitely knows consistency. They take their modern sound and three vocalist attack and continue to evolve even if it is in small doses. The core of the sound is similar to the way they approach each album, but with this album, a couple of songs almost felt cinematic in ways. The intensity is there as is the synth sounds and catchy beats. One element to the band that I dig is their approach to taking the music to videos via YouTube. They do some pretty cool stuff once again on songs like 'Re-Vision'. Futuristic type stuff that Sci-Fi fans and metal fans alike will enjoy. I also liked the feel of 'Stay A Little While' which is the melodic tune in the bunch. The album definitely takes you on a great musical journey and the band shows why they have become a force in the genre once again. Definitely a favorite album of mine from the band!
Release Date:  February 23, 2024