Friday, September 9, 2016

50SHR #50: Full Blown Mosey (Wyoming)


Band: Full Blown Mosey
Release: Temporal Cadence
Year: 2008
Line-up: Kirk Warren (vocals, bass), Rocky Harting (lead guitar), Greg Scott (rhythm guitar), Dale Ortega (drums).

Track Listing:
1. Mistaken           4:14
2. Saturday Night    2:34
3. Berserker           7:02  
4. In Reverence     2:50
5. Time the Master    6:24
6. Crazy Desire     5:08
7. Nite Drive             4:03
8. You're the Fire    3:30
9. Fast Moving Shadow    4:42
10. Now I Know      4:30

Fletchanator's comment: Closing out this countdown is Wyoming-based melodic hard rock band Full Blown Mosey. Finding a hair metal/hard rock band from this sparsely-populated country music-loving state was no easy task, so thank goodness for these guys!
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!

50SHR #49: Dizzy Lane (Wisconsin)


Band: Dizzy Lane
Release: It Ain't Easy
Year: 1990
Line-up: Scott Williams (vocals, guitar), Nick Summers (guitar), Brian Lemay (bass), Rob E Dee (drums)

Track Listing:
01. Shot of Your Love
02. Summer Vacation
03. I've Had Enough
04. It Ain't Easy
05. D.W.I.
06. Outlaw Kid

Fletchanator's comment: The penultimate entry in our 50 States of Hard Rock countdown comes to us from the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, home of obscure melodic hard rock band Dizzy Lane. Formed in 1988, they sold around 3000 copies of this, their debut album. Five years later they released a second album, Cheap Thrills, which goes for big money if you can get your hands on it.
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

50SHR #48: Wrathchild America (West Virginia)


Band: Wrathchild America
Release: Climbin' the Walls
Year: 1990
Line-up: Brad Divens (vocals, bass), Jay Abbene (guitars), Terry Carter (guitars), Shannon Larkin (drums).

Track Listing:
1.     "Climbin' the Walls"       4:28
2.     "Hell's Gate"       4:06
3.     "No Deposit, No Return"       3:21
4.     "Hernia"       3:20
5.     "London After Midnight"       5:55
6.     "Candy from a Madman"       5:44
7.     "Silent Darkness (Smothered Life)"       4:29
8.     "Time" (Pink Floyd cover)     5:39
9.     "Day of the Thunder"       6:37

Fletchanator's comment: Wrathchild America are often listed as a Maryland band, but they got their start in Martinsburg, West Virginia in the late 1970s. First known as Atlantis, then Tyrant, they settled on the name Wrathchild and became a fixture in East Coast clubs and bars throughout the 80s. In 1988 they were signed by Atlantic Records, but a lawsuit by UK glam rockers Wrathchild delayed the release of this, their debut album, for a couple of years. As a result they attached the word America to the back of their name.
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.

50SHR #47: Bloodgood (Washington)


Band: Bloodgood
Release: Rock in a Hard Place
Year: 1988
Line-up: Les Carlson (vocals), David Zaffiro (guitars), Michael Bloodgood (bass), Mark Welling (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  Shakin' It  2:57
2.  Never be the Same  4:00
3.  The Presence  3:31
4.  What Have I Done?  3:46
5.  Heaven on Earth  3:49
6.  Do or Die  2:26
7.  She's Gone  4:36
8.  The World (Keeps Movin' Around)  4:14
9.  Seven  4:56

Fletchanator's comment: Washington, and Seattle in particular, are more associated with the death of hair metal than the genre itself. But that city did produce some good hard rock/heavy metal bands, like Queensryche, Metal Church and TKO. It is also the home of Christian rockers Bloodgood, named after bassist and principal songwriter Michael Bloodgood.
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

50SHR #46: Giuffria (Virginia/Washington DC)


Band: Giuffria
Release: Giuffria
Year: 1984
Line-up: David Glen Eisley (vocals), Craig Goldy (guitars), Chuck Wright (bass), Alan Krigger (drums), Gregg Giuffria (keyboards)

Track Listing:
1. Do Me Right  4:12
2.  Call to the Heart  4:37
3.  Don't Tear Me Down  4:54
4.  Dance  4:08
5.  Lonely in Love  4:53
6.  Trouble Again  5:24
7.  Turn me On  4:25
8.  Line of Fire  4:56
9.  The Awakening  2:34
10.  Out of the Blue  5:32

Fletchanator's comment: I decided to lump Washington D.C. in with Virginia, mainly so I could post some Giuffria. Formed by former Angel keyboardist Gregg Giuffria, this would mark one of the few occasions where a band was named after a keyboard-player, but what a keyboard-player he is!
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

50SHR #45: 8084 (Vermont)


Band: 8084
Release: Eight Oh Eight Four
Year: 1987
Line-up: Randy Smith (vocals), Andre Maquera (guitars), Frank Barnes (bass), Gary Spaulding (drums), Charles Hawthorne (keyboards)

Track Listing:
1.  Bad Man  
2.  Lover's Feel  
3.  Fire  
4.  Beat of the City  
5.  Thunder In Her Heart  
6.  Hold On  
7.  When I Think of You  
8.  Stop Me  

Fletchanator's comment: The band 8084 formed in Burlington, Vermont in 1982 and toured the northeast for a few years before recording this, their debut album, which was released on vinyl in Europe through Dutch label Semaphore Records.
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!

50SHR #44: Starbreaker (Utah)


Band: Starbreaker
Release: Love's Dying Wish
Year: 2008
Line-up: Tony Harnell (vocals), Magnus Karlsson (guitars), Jonni Lightfoot (bass), John Macaluso (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  End of Alone  
2.  Evaporate  
3.  Love's Dying Wish  
4.  Unknown Superstar  
5.  Hide  
6.  Building a Wall  
7.  Beautiful Disaster  
8.  Live Your Life  
9.  Hello, Are You Listening?  
10.  Changes Me  
11.  The Day Belongs to Us  
12.  This Close  

Fletchanator's comment: Okay, so Starbreaker aren't actually from Utah, but bassist Jonni Lightfoot is one of the state's most prolific musicians and I wanted to include something featuring him. Lightfoot was originally in a Salt Lake City hair metal band called Skit Skat in the 1990s, but sadly I've been unable to lay my hands on a copy of their work. He was also with soft-rockers Air Supply from 2001 until recently, but their music doesn't really fit on this blog. So Starbreaker it is!
A side-project of former TNT and (blink and you'll miss it) Skid Row vocalist Tony Harnell, Starbreaker has released two albums so far (the first featuring a different bassist). Joining Harnell and Lightfoot are Harnell's TNT bandmate Macaluso on drums and guitarist Magnus Karlsson, who has worked a lot with Norwegian singer Jorn Lande.
Love's Dying Wish has that typical modern sound - well-polished, lots of harmonies - and unfortunately like a lot of 2000s releases the guitar gets lost in the mix, resulting in some of the songs sounding more akin to Evanesence than classic hair metal. But Harnell is a great singer and there is enough good hard rockin' material here to make it a worthwhile listen.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

50SHR #43: Lix (Texas)


Band: Lix
Release: Lix
Year: 1988
Line-up: Paul "Turk" Henry (vocals), Tony Marsh (guitars), Bruce Adams (guitars), Stacey Shew (bass), Mike Reiner (drums).

Track Listing:
1. Out On The Street  
2.  Be What You Want To Be  
3.  On Hold  
4.  Overdrive  
5.  Angelaine  
6.  Witchlein (Tommyknockers)  
7.  Want Me Love Me  
8.  (She's So Nice) Long Way Home  
9.  Guardians  
10.  All The Way  
11.  On The Radio  

Fletchanator's comment: This band hailed from the self-claimed "Rose Capital of the World", Tyler Texas, but its roots were also firmly in Middle Earth. That's because Lix started out as Hobbit, a 1970s fantasy rock band with lyrics about Tolkien-esque adventures. But by the mid-80s Hobbit had "broken up" and the members adopted the name Lix, changing their sound to a more radio-friendly style of hard rock and recording this one album, before eventually returning to the Hobbit name.
Another self release, this album understandably has sub-par production values. But if you can look past the poor sound quality, you'll find a fairly decent 80s hair metal band. Singer Henry sounds an awful lot like KISS's Paul Stanley, making that band's Animalize/Asylum-era the most obvious comparison, with bits and pieces of Quiet Riot and Twisted Sister in the mix.

50SHR #42: Lust (Tennessee)


Band: Lust
Release: Lust
Year: 1985
Line-up: David Bush (vocals), Ken Kennedy (guitars), Kurt Menck (guitars), Mike Easlo (bass), John Ulinger (drums).

Track Listing:
1. Hooker 05:22  
2. Nites Are Lonely 05:23  
3. We're Gonna Come Gunnin'     03:47  
4. Don't Say It's Over 03:58  
5. You Can't Rape the Willing 03:44

Fletchanator's comment: Lust were a melodic heavy metal band from Murfreesboro Tennessee, active from 1979 until 1986, when they changed their name to Hocus Pocus. The line-up for this, their only release, came together in 1983 when Bush and Menck joined.
The sound quality on this regional release is not great, but the music makes up for it. With driving heavy metal guitars and drums, mixed with melodic vocals, Lust will appeal most to fans of bands like WASP, Riot, Accept and Lizzy Borden.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

50SHR #41: Zion (South Dakota)


Band: Zion
Release: Thunder From The Mountain
Year: 1989
Line-up: Rex Scott (vocals, rhythm guitar), David Moore (lead guitar), Marlin Saner (bass), Tommy Bozung (drums).

Track Listing:
1.     Who Pulls the Strings     04:27    
2.     Kick in the Gates     03:18    
3.     Is It a Crime     05:28    
4.     Help Me     03:10      
5.     Thrillseeker     03:17      
6.     Sold You a Lie     04:23      
7.     Roll the Rock     03:46      
8.     Less of Me     04:32      
9.     He Loves You     03:51

Fletchanator's comment: The names of this band and album, coupled with the LP cover art, are clues to Zion's driving force. This Christian rock band was formed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1981. They underwent a few line-up changes - including Rex Scott moving from behind the drumkit to take over lead vocals and rhythm guitar - and released a handful of singles and demos before getting their big break and heading to Seattle to record this album.
Unfortunately that big break never amounted to much. The story goes that the record label push they were promised instead went to fellow Christian rockers Holy Soldier and soon after Scott left to front the band X-Sinner. By 1992 Zion had called it quits, although they had a reunion in the early 2000s and Retrospect Records released a compilation of old material in 2007.
Whether you're Christian or not, you owe it to yourself to check it out as it's simply awesome melodic hard rock. Their sound reminds me of a mix of Quiet Riot, Sammy Hagar, KISS and Firehouse. Check it out!

50SHR #40: Mainiax (South Carolina)


Band: Mainiax
Release: Boys Night Out
Year: 1986
Line-up: Don Garrison (vocals), Richie Smith (guitars), Tony Ray (bass), James the Bulldozer (drums).

Track Listing:
1.Life of Crime 03:46  
2. Boys Night Out 04:11  
3. Love Machine 03:01  
4. Night of the Polizei 04:32  
5. What You See Is What You Get     05:31  
6. The Witching Hour 09:34  
7. Yellow Star 07:08  
8. One Size 02:31

Fletchanator's comment: Mainiax, a heavy metal band from Spartanburg, South Carolina, were active from 1981 until 1990 and released just this one album, Boys Night Out.
Mainiax can best be described as traditional heavy metal, but they have enough melodic flourishes to warrant inclusion on this blog. Everything from Deep Purple to Dio and Dokken can be heard in their sound. Singer Garrison shrieks like Rob Halford one moment and sings more melodically the next - his voice isn't super strong but it does the job. What You See Is What You Get is the most "melodic hard rock" of the tracks and as such is my favourite on the album. The Witching Hour is another great song, mixing creepy Addams Family-esque keyboards with a nice guitar riff.
I can't rave about this album but it's a good listen, especially if you're in the mood for some heavy metal to break up your sleaze and glam playlist.

50SHR #39: Blindside Thunder (Rhode Island)


Band: Blindside Thunder
Release: 100 Proof
Year: 2015
Line-up: John E Wilde (vocals, rhythm guitar), Mike "Gunslinger" Green (lead guitar), Double D (bass), Andy K (drums).

Track Listing:
1 Rock N Roll Junkie  04:37
2 Bad Reputation  03:30
3 Tequila  04:11
4 Takes My Breath Away  04:05
5 Daddy's Farm  04:58
6 Rebel Revolution  04:39
7 Human Race  04:05
8 Burn  04:37

Fletchanator's comment: For the past two years, Rhode Island-based Blindside Thunder have been nominated for Metal Act of the Year in the New England Music Awards. Despite that fact though, you shouldn't go into this album expecting to hear metal. Blindside Thunder - or BST as they refer to themselves - lie somewhere between rock and hard rock with a blues influence.
100 Proof is BST's third album and it's full of the kind of music you'd expect to hear playing in a dive bar with a line-up of Harleys parked outside. The lyrics are predictably about women (Takes My Breath Away), drinking (Tequila) or being rebellious (Rebel Revolution). Their sound is tight though and the production is good, so if you dig this kind of music I recommend checking it out.