Hi guys, just a quick note to let you know that House of Hairspray isn't dead, it's just on temporary hiatus.
The reason for this is that in late September I migrated from my native New Zealand to live in the United States (my fiancee is American). We're currently living with family so I don't have the time or space necessary to work on the blog, but hopefully that situation will be changing soon. Until then, rock on!
Friday, September 9, 2016
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #50: WYOMING
Release: Temporal Cadence
Line-up: Kirk Warren (vocals, bass), Rocky Harting (lead guitar), Greg Scott (rhythm guitar), Dale Ortega (drums).
This is the debut (and so far only) album by Full Blown Mosey. Although it was released in 2008 it doesn't have that "modern melodic rock" sound that a lot of 2000s releases have - it sounds like it could very easily have been recorded in 1990.
The band list influences as varied as Black Sabbath, KISS and Rush, and you can actually hear all of that in their sound. On songs like Berserker they sound like melodic heavy metal, while on songs like Crazy Desire and Fast Moving Shadow they have a 1980s KISS hard rock sound. And there's moments of prog rock influences in there, although thankfully not a lot.
Singer Kirk Warren doesn't have the strongest voice, but guitarist Rocky Harting makes up for it with some kickass guitar licks. Sadly drummer Dale Ortega died during the making of the album, which is dedicated to his memory.
Temporal Cadence is a solid low budget indy release and definitely worth checking out!
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #49: WISCONSIN
Release: It Ain't Easy
Line-up: Scott Williams (vocals, guitar), Nick Summers (guitar), Brian Lemay (bass), Rob E Dee (drums)
The band most people compare Dizzy Lane to is Enuff Z'Nuff, mainly due to Scott Williams' voice sounding a lot like Chip Z'Nuff. Overall their sound is a bit glam, a bit sleazy and a whole lot of great hard rock guitar licks. This album won't necessarily blow you away, but it's good stuff and it's as rare as hen's teeth so check it out!
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Release: Climbin' the Walls
Line-up: Brad Divens (vocals, bass), Jay Abbene (guitars), Terry Carter (guitars), Shannon Larkin (drums).
After releasing another album in 1991, Wrathchild America were dropped by Atlantic and subsequently changed their name to Souls at Zero, adopting a heavier and more modern sound for two albums, before folding. After that drummer Shannon Larkin tasted mainstream success with Ugly Kid Joe and Godsmack. Singer Brad Divens (who played guitar on Kix's 1983 album Cool Kids) is now a sound engineer.
Wrathchild America are widely considered a thrash metal band, but on this album they skirt a number of different genres, from hard rock to melodic heavy metal to thrash. Singer Brad Divens has a voice that one moment sounds like Sammy Hagar, the next like James Hetfield and the next like Dee Snider. There's enough variety here to make it enjoyable for fans of hard rock who don't necessarily listen to thrash metal, but if your tastes are varied you'll definitely enjoy it more.
Release: Rock in a Hard Place
Line-up: Les Carlson (vocals), David Zaffiro (guitars), Michael Bloodgood (bass), Mark Welling (drums).
Bloodgood formed in 1985 and released a demo that same year. Full-length albums quickly followed in 1986 and 1987, portraying a distinctly melodic heavy metal sound. But for this, their third album, Bloodgood changed to a more radio-friendly AOR/hard rock sound.
Singer Les Carlsen sounds a lot like Steve Perry, so Journey is the best comparison I can make for Bloodgood. They don't have the standout hits that band did, but this album is definitely a good listen - guitarist David Zaffiro (who later joined fellow Christian rockers Whitecross) shows some good axemanship.
After a further two studio albums and three live releases, Bloodgood called it quits in 1994. However, they got back together in 2006 and released a new album in 2013 called Dangerously Close, which features Stryper's Oz Fox on guitar (replacing Zaffiro).
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #46: VIRGINIA/WASHINGTON D.C.
Line-up: David Glen Eisley (vocals), Craig Goldy (guitars), Chuck Wright (bass), Alan Krigger (drums), Gregg Giuffria (keyboards)
Right from the opening keys of Do Me Right, through to the last track, this debut album is one killer slice of keyboard-oriented AOR/hard rock. Eisley's voice is excellent and perfectly suited to this kind of music, Goldy provides the rocking edge and Gregg Giuffria underpins everything with some of the best AOR keyboards you're ever likely to hear.
The track Call to the Heart, which went to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, is purely and simply one of the great AOR ballads of all time, right up there with any of Journey's best tracks. Lonely in Love is another great ballad.
Giuffria released a second album in 1986, Silk and Steel, minus Craig Goldy. Goldy would later join Dio, while Eisley went on to front Dirty White Boy (you can find their album Bad Reputation here). Gregg Giuffria and Wright (who played on Quiet Riot's Metal Health album) hooked up again in House of Lords, which was essentially a Giuffria spin-off band.
If you've never heard this album before, you need to download it right now! 1980s keyboard-oriented AOR doesn't get much better than this!
Monday, September 5, 2016
Release: Eight Oh Eight Four
Line-up: Randy Smith (vocals), Andre Maquera (guitars), Frank Barnes (bass), Gary Spaulding (drums), Charles Hawthorne (keyboards)
In 1987 they won the Rock Search International competition in Canada and throughout the rest of the 80s and 90s 8084 continued to tour North America while working with the likes of Aldo Nova and Richie Valens. They released two more albums in the early 90s and have also put out a couple more in the 2000s. 8084 continue to play together to this day, albeit as a quartet - keyboardist Charles Hawthorne sadly died in a car crash on Christmas Eve 1989 and Smith took over keyboards after that.
This album is excellent pomp rock/AOR in the style of Honeymoon Suite, Journey and Night Ranger. Highly recommended if you like that kind of music!