The new year is only three days old and already, the new releases are coming in hard and heavy! Here is a quick blurb about three great albums to look out for this month. Also, notice I have expanded the ratings from 5 to 10. After 15 years of stopping at '5' I feel that expanding to '10' will give more freedom and honesty in the review process. I could have made it '11', but that would be too easy.
HEAVY ROCK RADIO 2 - EXECUTING THE CLASSICS by Jorn (Frontiers s.r.l.)
Jorn Landie possesses one of the best rock/metal voices going. Always (rightfully) compared to the late Ronnie James Dio and Whitesnake's David Coverdale should give you an idea of how good he is. On this second collection of covers, Jorn keeps it close to his wheel house with great versions of Bad Attitude (Deep Purple), Mystery (Dio) and other metal anthems, but it's his choice to cover Lonely Nights (Bryan Adams), Winning (Santana) and Needles And Pins (The Searchers) that really make this more than just an album of covers. Love his voice, but really fall for the way he handles some amazing music. (7 out of 10) Release Date - 1/24/2020
ECHOES by A Life Divided (AFM Records)
This German band is near impossible to lump in with any one style or genre... and that gives it very cool listening experience. Lyrically the songs all seem to be about the darker side of the human condition; sadness, isolation, addictions, anger, loneliness... very much like The Cure and New Order, but with a modern rock feel. The production on songs like Dry Your Eyes, Rock N Roll Star and The Ordinary brings the songs to life, making A Life Divided a band to watch for this year. The highest compliment I can give this album is after one listen I need to seek out the bands entire back catalog. Brilliant stuff. (7 out of 10)
Release Date - 1/31/2019
LIGHTING STRIKES TWICE by DECARLO (Frontiers s.l.r.)
Without reading bio about the band, I was struck by how 1970's cool this debut album sounded with so many nods to Boston, a few Foreigner moments as well as America and the legendary band New England. Featuring some amazing songs like A Better Day, the title track and my favorite, There She Goes, a song that can only be described as pure magic. As I would discover (or should have known), vocalist Tommy DeCarlo has been the vocalist with Boston since 2007. But it isn't a great record because it sounds like Boston. It's a great album because of the songs and performances by DeCarlo, Tommy DeCarlo Jr. (guitars) and Dan Hitz (drums) make it great! A feel good album that is needed in times of not feeling good! (8 out of 10)
Release Date - 1/24/2020
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.