CARMEN MAKI'S 5X
LINE-UP: Carmen Maki (vocals), George Azuma (guitar), Kinta Moriyama (bass), Jun Harada (drums)
GUEST MUSICIANS: Akira Takasaki-guitar (LOUDNESS), John Joseph Patterson-background vocals (EASTERN OR-BIT), Mickie Yoshino-keyboards.
PLAYLIST: Fantasy - Sunny - Be My Sun - First Time - Love Is Fading - Gunner - Fever - Higher And Stronger - Love Confession
Carmen Maki started her career in the seventies with her band CARMEN MAKI & OZ. After that, we'll find her back in CARMEN MAKI & LAFF. She also released a solo record in '79 entitled "Nightstalker". On the album, she was supported by the world famous drummer Carmine Appice (OZZY, KING KOBRA, ROD STEWART). In 1981 the band 5X was formed by Carmen Maki and guitarist George Azuma, who knew eachother from CARMEN MAKI & LAFF. The name, 5X, comes from the Japanese police force, who use this name as some kind of code for a person, who's used as a bait. The band released three albums alltogether. "Human Target", "LiveX " and "Carmen Maki's 5X", which is their final album and most certainly their best one either. On this record, the band plays melodic uptempo metal, comparable to LOUDNESS. 5 X was one of the trendsetters of the wave of Japanese hardrock bands in the early eighties. And one of the very few with a female singer. Also 5X was one of the first Japanese bands, who sang in their native language (Japanese) as well as in English. Carmen Maki has a very strong voice with here and there some harsh takes. Next to her, the most important man within the band, is guitarist George Azuma, who plays some really excellent guitar solos and who's responsible for most of the songs and the production of the record. Besides faster songs like "Fantasy", "Be My Sun" and "Gunner", we'll also find back an ultra fast version of the 70's hit song "Sunny" (BONEY M). The only pause here is a ballad called "Love is Fading" and the very beautifully composed semi ballad "Love Confession", which halfway through the song changes into a climax of great guitar solos by George Azuma. I consider "Higher And Stronger" (live) as a poor shot between all the other studio tracks. It's a somewhat easy and very messy hardrock song. Because all the albums of 5X have only been released in Japan so far, I don't think it'll be easy to obtain a copy. If it will also be released on CD in the near future, I really don't know. It would be a good idea though.
reviewed by: Marcel van Santen
Music For Nations
LINE UP: Marlene Apuzzo (guitars), Diane Keyser (drums), Bettina France (vocals), Martens Pace (bass), Rena Sands (guitars)
PLAYLIST: Roadkill - Searching Forever - Snake Pit - Nostradamus - It Seems To Me - Lost Stranger - The Warning - The Congregation
For all intents and purposes, the 80's were a decade that was dominated by leather bound, big haired macho male rock stars - all dressed up and posing on stage. However, the 80's also spawned some very talented female bands and musicians. MEANSTREAK from New York are one such band. Although they released only one album titled "Road Kill" they made there one shot count. Their level of musicianship was right on par (if not better) with a great deal of their male counterparts. "Road Kill" featured eight tracks and thirty-two minutes worth of great material, that you could go back and play over and over again without getting tired and bored with it. Vocalist Bettina France was one of the best singers of her time and genre and was criminally underrated - as was the whole band. The band could be described as GIRLSCHOOL meets ROCK GODDESS, with a touch of classic MAIDEN thrown in, but comparisons do not do this band justice - they must be heard. Song highlights include: "Road Kill", "Searching Forever" (a favorite of mine, and here the girls show off their MAIDEN influence), "Snake Pit", "Nostradamus" & "The Congregation". I could really go on, as there is not one stinker in the bunch. For an album that was released in 1988, the production by Alex Periales is decent and not as dated sounding as some other 80's releases. The band never released a follow-up, which is a shame, as I for one would have loved to follow the natural progression of MEANSTREAK. Two of the members are currently in wedded bliss with two of the members of DREAM THEATRE. Congratulations to them!
reviewed by: Tony Cannella
LINE UP: Paula & Pam Mattioli (vocals), Pedro Riera (guitars/vocals), Bryan Le Mar (guitars), Peter 'Mars' Cowling (bass), Keith Daniel (drums)
ADDITIONAL MUSICIANS: Augie Treto (guitars), Tim Divine (keyboards), Jack Douglas (percussion)
PRODUCER: Jack Douglas
PLAYLIST: Love Is Strange - She Can't Help Herself - Radio - (Hey) Are You Ever Satisfied - Leave Us Alone - Don't Rush Me - Love Is A Shadow - I Still Care - Who Are You - She Wants To Unh
EXTRA CD TRACKS: Where Does Our Love Go - Love Is Strange (remix)
GYPSY QUEEN, fronted by twin sisters Pam and Paula Mattioli, are hailing from Florida (USA). Our first introduction with the sisters is on the "Snarl 'n Stripes" EP. The Matiolli sisters were (more or less) discovered by AEROSMITH producer Jack Douglas, who's also responsible for their record deal. In their backup band, we'll find back a very well-known name, namely bassplayer Peter 'Mars' Cowling , who has played with PAT TRAVERS for many years. The self-titled debut album of GYPSY QUEEN was released in '87. The record distinguished itself by the rather solid melodic hardrock, good guitar work and above all the raw vocals of Pam & Paula. At the same time all songs were written by the band only. Musically, there are some resemblances with a band like VIXEN (at the time of their first album). Except smoothly songs such as "Love Is Strange", "She Wants To Unh", "Who Are You" and "Radio" (the first single), there's also room for an occassionally ballad like "Don't Rush Me" or "I Still Care". As the record didn't bring the success everybody hoped for, the lineup was changed completely. New drummer is Kenny Wendland (former AUTODRIVE) and also Joey O'Jade (bass/keyboards) and guitarist Scotti Migone joins the band. As the press pays more attention to the appearance of Pam & Paula Mattioli rather than their music, they decide to quit the band. Five years after the GYPSY QUEEN record, they suddenly appear with a new record under the name CELL MATES. The band also has a whole new lineup. The record, entitled "Between Two Fires" was released in 1992 on the Scotti Bros. Label and seems to be the only 'feat of arms' of CELL MATES. After this, I haven't heard of any other new records of the sisters. Also I don't know if they still do anything in the music business these days.
reviewed by: Marcel van Santen
LATEST NEWS: Pamela and Paula Mattioli will possibly re-form GYPSY QUEEN!!!The sisters are working very hard on new material (RvP)
LINE UP: Jutta (vocals), Gunnar (guitars), Jimmy (guitars), Tatch (bass), Bubi (drums)
PRODUCER: Ralf Basten
PLAYLIST: Pilgrim's Choir - Pilgrimage - The Fear Of Death - Pioneer Of The Storm - Black Bone Song - Rose Of Martyrdom - The Man Who Stole The Holy Fire - Achilles Heel - The Pale Man - Omega Child - Fallen Angel
Born in Germany in the mid-80's ZED YAGO were a band that could hold their own with all of the Deutsch Metal heavy weights of the day. Unfortunately, the band never achieved the level of success that they so richly deserved. In 1988 they unleashed their watermark release "Pilgrimage". It is a classic slab of late eighties power metal that instantly had the ear of fans and critics alike. Jutta Weinhold was the Metal Maiden in the band and one of the most underrated of vocalists of that era. The HELLOWEEN-ish intro "Pilgrim's Choir" sets the mood perfectly and then comes the opening classic metal sound of "Pilgrimage". This song proves to be a great opener with its majestic metal sound and choir-like background vocals. Just close your eyes and you can picture the band playing to a packed club with fans relentlessly headbanging. Next is "The Fear Of Death" another fine piece of classic sounding heavy metal. Jutta's vocal work is excellent throughout, as she puts all of her heart and soul into each and every song. "Black Bone Song" is probably the most well known song that ZED YAGO ever recorded. One listen and it's easy to see why it was something of an underground classic. Other highlights include: "Pioneer Of The Storm", "Rose Of Martyrdom", "The Man Who Stole The Holy Fire" & "Achilles Heel". ZED YAGO went on to release another album called "From Over Yonder", but it is this release that has metal fans (like myself) looking back to the "old days" with such fondness. They just don't make them like this anymore.
reviewed by: Tony Cannella
PRODUCER: Charles Koppelman; Dan Rubin;
PLAYLIST: Dangerous - Walk Away (If I Could) - True To You - Who Can Sleep - Love On A Rooftop - Burnin' Love - When We Danced - Unfinished Business - Heart Song - Good Love Is Hard to Find
Everybody knows RONNIE SPECTOR as former wife of Phil Spector and of course from all the hits with her band THE RONETTES in the sixties. After THE RONETTES broke up, Ronnie recorded a couple of solo records. One of the most interesting ones is indeed the album "Unfinished Business". When you're in the music business as long as Ronnie is today, it's not that difficult to find well-known guest musicans that want to play on one of your albums. Let alone find a good producer and/or songwriter! To give you an idea, who contributued here. On bass: Kenny Aaronson (DUST/SAMMY HAGAR/FOREIGNER/ RICK DERRINGER/JOAN JETT); on drums: Anton Fig (FREHLEY'S COMET/SPIDER/KIX/LINK WRAY) and Thommy Price (MINK DE VILLE BAND/ JOAN JETT) and on guitars: Bruce Kulick (KISS/BILLY SQUIER). Desmond Child (CHER/ALICE COOPER/AEROSMITH/BON JOVI/RATT/JOAN JETT) wrote a lot of the songs. He was also responsible for the production of the album and you'll hear him on backing vocals with his band DESMOND CHILD & ROUGE. Ronnie's voice sounds quite clear with a few rough edges here and there, which makes it very hard to compare her to other female singers. Musically, the album can be catagorized as AOR - a combination of pop and rock music. The album opens with a rock tune, "Who Can Sleep", which is a duet between Ronnie and EDDIE MONEY, who clearly dominates here with his raw voice. "Love On A Rooftop" is another ballad, written by Desmond Child and Diana Warren. This version doesn't differ much from the original one, put on Mr. Child's solo album "Discipline" and what once became a mega hit worldwide. "Dangerous" was written by the well-known writers duo Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly (MADONNA). We hear Susanna Hoffs (THE BANGLES) on backing vocals. Next one is called "Burnin' Love". It's a cover from ELVIS PRESLEY. By using a drum computer, the song sounds very different from the original. The heavy guitars sound very much upfront and initially you wouldn't recognize it all. Title track "Unfinished Business" is a pop song, which has a very catchy chorus that sticks to your head almost immediately! "(If I Could) Walk Away" remembers of a band like HEART. While "Heart Song" is the total opposite of that. It's another pop song punctuated with some reggae rhythms. "True To You" is a real rock ballad, like you would expect from a hardrock band. Also the ballad "When We Danced" would have suited very well on an album of RICHARD MARX. The album closes with the rock song "Good Love Is Hard To Find", which has many Phil Spector influences and sounds like THE RONETTES new style.
reviewed by: Marcel van Santen
LINE UP: Joyce 'Baby Jean' Kennedy - lead & background vocals; Glenn Murdock - lead & background vocals/rhythm guitar; Wizzard - bass; Gary 'Moses' Moore - guitars; 'B.B.Queen' Borden - Drums
PRODUCER: Jeff Glixman
PLAYLIST: Movin' On - Luv Drug - Rock N' Roll 2 Nite - U Turn Me On - All The Way - Evolution - Illusion (C'mon Over To My House) - Time - Gone With Th' Rain - Earthling
Who doesn't remember the classic rock song "Piece Of The Rock"?!? Yep, that's MOTHER'S FINEST!! Halfway the seventies, this was their biggest selling hit record. The music of MOTHER'S FINEST is a cross between hardrock and funk. And they have two great vocalists, Joyce 'Baby Jean' Kennedy and Glenn Murdock (in real life they are also a couple). Probably inspired by the NWOBHM (=New Wave Of Bristish Heavy Metal), MOTHER'S FINEST came in 1981 with their heaviest album so far. Special thanks to the hardrock producer Jeff Glixman (MAGNUM, YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN, GEOR-GIA SATELLITES), this album should have striked like lightning in these days. The funk sound has moved more to the background and there are a lot of amazing guitarsolos. We can hear the result immediately in "Movin' On", an uptempo song, sung by Baby Jean. The next one, "Luv Drug", has a heavy funky bass sound, which is played by Wizzard and sung by Baby Jean and Glenn. While "Rock 'N Roll 2 Nite" is a very heavy version of a rock and roll song, sung by Glenn. We can also hear him in the heavy mid-tempo song "U Turn Me On". Baby Jean is responsible for the vocal parts in "All The Way". This song is a bit in the old MOTHER'S FINEST style, but they've added some extra guitar elements. The first single taken from the album is "Evolution". It's done by Baby Jean. A heavy song with a commercial touch. "Illusion" sung by Baby Jean is another uptempo hardrock song with great guitarwork. Another one done by Baby Jean is "Time". This also reminds me of the old MOTHER'S FINEST style. Then it's Glenn 's time to do the song "Gone With Th' Rain". It's a heavy mid-tempo song with some great guitar solos. The last song is "Earthling" a heavy uptempo song with a very nice refrain. If you hear it once, you will immediately remember it the second time around. In my opinion, this song should have been another "Piece Of The Rock". The band still exists and has been touring all over Europe recently, but there hasn't been a new album out since 1992, which is a real pity!!! C'mon people, sign them at once!!! For more info, visit the band's website at: www.mothersfinest.com
reviewed by: Marcel van Santen
The 7th Of Never
LINE UP: David T. Chastain (lead guitar), Leather (vocals), Mike Skimmerhorn (bass) & Ken Mary (drums)
PLAYLIST: We Must Carry On – Paradise – It’s Too Late For Yesterday – 827 – The Wicked Are Restless – The 7th Of Never – Take Me Back In Time – Feel His Magic -Forevermore
Originally released in 1987, “The 7th Of Never” from David T. Chastain and crew was a guitar driven, power metal opus, that was a wet dream for any fan of those two genres of music. While the scene was flooded with neo-classically influenced YNGWIE wannabes, David T. Chastain had a sound and style that was all his own. CHASTAIN was more than a one-man show. Joining David T. in the band that bears his name were Mike Skimmerhorn on bass, metal veteran Ken Mary on drums and on vocals a powerhouse front woman by the name of Leather Leone. Each member brought their own style to the table and worked it into the mix to create a classic guitar/metal album. Sometimes bands that feature guitar virtuoso types tend to cater more to the guitar crowd, thus neglecting the non-musician people in the audience. Not so with CHASTAIN. They were a band that had great songs to go along with phenomenal musicianship. “We Must Carry On” is the energized opener and from the start, the listener can’t help but headbang and be amazed by the extraordinary combination of CHASTAIN’s guitar work and Leone’s pure metal vocal delivery. After one listen it is easy to see why Leather was considered one of the top female vocalists of her era. Next is “Paradise” which begins with Ken Mary’s pounding drums and again highlights Leather’s sneering vocals. Other highlights include: “It’s Too Late For Yesterday”, “The Wicked Are Restless”, “Take Me Back In Time” & the title track. “Forevermore” brings this powerful opus to a close after nine tracks and forty-two minutes worth of headbanging fist pumping music. Leather Leone went on to release a solo album (“Shock Waves”), but has since unfortunately disappeared from the music business. David T. Chastain however, has remained active and is reportedly working on a new CHASTAIN album with Kate French once again on vocals. Until then, give this slab of brilliance a few spins. “The 7th Of Never” is a true classic of its time and genre.
reviewed by: Tony Cannella
LINE UP: Ann Wilson (all lead vocals/flute), Nancy Wilson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals), Steve Fossen (bass), Roger Fisher (electric guitar/lap steel), Howard Leese (electric guitar/bells/orchestral arrange-ments/synthesizer/backing vocals), Mike Derosier (drums)
PLAYLIST: Magic Man – Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child) – Crazy On You – Soul Of The Sea – Dreamboat Annie – White Lightning & Wine – (Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song – Sing Child – How Deep It Goes – Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)
PRODUCER: Mike Flicker
Let’s turn back the clock to twenty-six years ago. “Dreamboat Annie” was HEART’s debut album and it captures the first steps on the ladder of success for the Wilson siters. Ann and Nancy Wilson were the driving force behind HEART. They made their first album with Michael Derosier on drums, Roger Fischer on guitar and Steve Fossen on bass. Next to them was a handful of studio musicians (too many to mention), who made the sound on this magnificent album complete. The album contains two great hitsingles of the band. A band that listened a lot to THE BEATLES in their early years. The first hitsingle we hear is “Magic Man”, a song that the late Randy Rhoads used during his seminars for many years. The second hitsingle is “Crazy On You”, another song that beared the recognisable sound of the band. Nancy’s guitar playing is breathtaking, especially when she plays the twelve string acoustical guitar, like in “Soul Of The Sea”. In this song they also unfold their love for another giant rockband. You don’t have to be a professor to hear that this tune was influenced by the beautiful acoustic songs that we know of LED ZEPPELIN. But the most recognisable part of the HEART sound was definately the great rock voice of Ann Wilson. In my eyes, she is still one of the greatest female rock singers in the whole wide world. With a voice similar to the mighty Robert Plant, she can give me the goosebumps all over. She can scream, and on the other hand she can also move you to tears. Her heavenly voice rules all over this record. She also was a great flute player. Just listen to the great flute part in “Sing Child”, which mixes LED ZEPPELIN with good old JETHRO TULL or FOCUS. Seventies rock at its best! And this album was just the beginning of their career. Listen to their other albums, and I think that they never made an amazing album like this anymore, although they still made some very strong records after this glorious debut. Packed in a beautiful gatefold sleeve, which is full of beautiful color pics of the band, it easily stood the test of time. Even after twenty-six long years, in which the rock culture changed a lot, it’s still a pleasure to listen to the magic moments on “Dreamboat Annie”.
reviewed by: Toine van Poorten
LINE UP: Gigi Hangach (l & bv), Michelle Meldrum (g & bv), Nicole Couch (g & bv), Kim Nielsen (b), Linda McDonald (dr)
PRODUCER : Steve Fontano
CO-PRODUCER: Marty Friedman and Peter Marino
PLAYLIST: Going Mad - Last Shot - Why Call It Love - Frantic Zone - Slow it Down -Walking Away - Fought It Out - Never Too Late - Out Of Control
PHANTOM BLUE is a guitar oriented rock outfit from Los Angeles, USA. An all-female band with an impressive technical musical level. Under the guidance of Shrapnel boss Mike Varney, the girls were introduced to Steve Fontano and Marty Friedman. They took care of the production and arrangements on this debut album. We all know guitarist Marty Friedman from his solo projects, as well as bands like VIXEN, HAWAII, CACOPHONY and of course MEGADETH. While we know co-producer Peter Marino as the singer of LE MANS and CACOPHONY. Most of the songs were written by Nicole Couch and Michelle Meldrum with some additional help of Steve Fontano and Marty Friedman. In the first song "Going Mad", we immediately recognize the raw voice of Gigi Hangach. We can compare her voice with someone like Leather Leone from CHASTAIN. "Going Mad" is a fast song with high-speed guitar solos and a lot of influences from CACOPHONY. "Last Shot" is a bit more melodic with great guitarsolos from Nicole and Michelle, whose influences definitely are Marty Friedman and Paul Gilbert. Next is the first single of the album, "Why Call It Love". This is a melodic mid tempo song with a sing along chorus. "Frantic Zone" is very heavy with more great guitarsolos, while "Slow it Down" is a bit simple and in my opinion, the weakest song on this album. Then we get two up tempo songs, namely "Walking Away" and "Fought It Out". "Fought It Out" is the shortest song here. It’s also very different, because of the tempo breaks. Followed by one of the best songs on the album: "Never Too Late". This is a song with good guitar riffs, melodic yet heavy and a nice chorus. The album closes with "Out Of Control", which is a heavy song with a pumping bass rhythm from Kim and pounding drums by Linda. This album was a step forward to a big record deal with Geffen Records to record a second album, called "Built To Perform". After several line up changes, the band PHANTOM BLUE still exists, but unfortunately they are not doing much these days. Original member Linda McDonald plays in the cover band THE IRON MAIDENS, together with Josephine “Jo-Jo”, while former PHANTOM BLUE members Kim Nielsen, Dyna Shirasaki and Tina Wood have an AC/DC cover band, called WHOLE LOTTA ROSIES. Michelle Meldrum has her own band MELDRUM, who released the album "Loaded Mental Canon" last year. I don't know, if Nicole Couch or Gigi Hangach are still in the music business....
reviewed by: Marcel van Santen
Good Girls Don't Last
LINE UP: Tina Listo (g), Jaqui Lynn (v), Stephanie Leigh (dr), Martie Roxan (b)
PRODUCER : Ric Browde
PLAYLIST: No Shame - East Of Eden – Cheater - Good Girls Don't Last - It Could Be You - Wild Wild Life - I Wanna Scream - You're So Cool - A Hard Man Is Good To Find - Sweet Revenge
NO SHAME was founded in Great Britain. When new American member Stephanie Leigh joined this outfit, the band moved to the USA. They signed a record deal with CBS Records and a well known producer at that time, Ric Browde (remember the band POISON?), came by to help the ladies. The late 80's was the period, when the glamrock and hairspray bands were very popular in the USA. So it did not surprise me at all, these ladies showed a bit of this image on the cover of the album and in their songs. These songs are very melodic and easy to sing along to. You can almost hear the enthusiasm, when the ladies recorded the songs. The raw voice of Jaqui Lynn sometimes reminds me of Janet Gardner (VIXEN), but she’s certainly not as good. The rhythm section is solid and the guitar work is reasonable. The girls have written some naughty lyrics, which fitted well with their image. Just listen to "No Shame" and "Good Girls Don't Last". The song "Cheater" is very uptempo and one of the best songs. It reminds me of VIXEN (again) in their early days. The other songs are mainly in the same style, uptempo and party rock and roll. "A Hard Man Is Good To Find" is the ballad on this album. If you listen to "Wild Wild Life", you will be thinking: “Is this MOTLEY CRUE with a new female singer?” While "Sweet Revenge" is a good song to play while driving out on the highway. I don't know, if the record company tried to create a female POISON here, because their sound is so similar to them. Maybe that’s the reason, why we haven’t heard anything of the girls ever since. So if you’re still into the glamrock and party bands from the eighties, and you’ll happen to find this album, just take it with you.
Note: The album’s also released on CD on Aug. 15, 2000 (Collectables Records – COL6453).
reviewed by: Marcel van Santen
Warner Brothers Records
LINE UP: John McVie (b), Lindsey Buckingham (g/v), Stevie Nicks (v), Mick Fleetwood (dr/p), Christine McVie (k/s/v)
PRODUCER : Fleetwood Mac
PLAYLIST: Second Hand News - Dreams - Never Going Back Again - Don't Stop - Go Your Own Way - Songbird - The Chain - You Make Loving Fun - I Don't Wanna Know - Oh Daddy - Gold Dust Woman
The album “Rumours” is certain a rock classic and masterpiece of the band. They sold about five million copies of it. After being a blues rock band in the late sixties, the band got some fresh blood, when they recruited Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in 1974. It was a miracle they even managed to record the album, because at the time it was written, two members (John and his wife Christine McVie) seperated and eventually got a divorce. At the same time, the relationship between Lindsey and Stevie was also falling apart. To make things worse, Mick Fleetwood was also in the midst of divorce proceedings. Maybe it takes so much personal trouble to make such a classic album. Knowing this, it is obvious that most songs are very autobiographical. "Second Hand News" is a bit folky and a strange song to begin an album with. "Dreams" on the other hand is a rock/pop ballad with a nice refrain and it was written by Stevie Nicks. It is one of the four hitsingles on this album. "Never Going Back Again" is accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and written and sung by Lindsey Buckingham. Then one of the best selling singles ever for FLEETWOOD MAC is "Don't Stop". I think everyone knows this song, which was written by Christine McVie. "Don't Stop" is followed by "Go Your Own Way" - another big hit everywhere around the world. This is probably the heaviest song on the album and it has a great guitarsolo by Lindsey. Then the speed goes down a bit with "Songbird". It’s a love song ballad written by Christine. The only song, the bandmembers composed together, is called "The Chain". It has some slow and a few faster parts with a nice refrain sung by Stevie and Lindsey. To my surprise, it was never released as a single. But it was still a very popular song and also covered by a few hardrock bands (f.e. KICK AXE). There’s a great guitarsolo by Lindsey at the end of the song. The fourth hitsingle; "You Make Loving Fun", was also written by Christine. It’s more a pop song with some great guitar work by Lindsey. Then there’s this typical Stevie Nicks song "I Don't Wanna Know". The song is build around an acoustic guitar, then turning into a rock song, when the other instruments set in. It seems Stevie and Lindsey were singing together as a choir on this one. The ballad "Oh Daddy" has a dramatical feel to it and it gets very personal when you listen to the lyrics. Last song on the album is "Gold Dust Woman" written and sung by Stevie. We can hear the raw voice of Stevie in this southern/bluesy song. All in all, this is a very varied album and it definitely meant the restart of a succesful career of a band who are also in 2002 still going on.
reviewed by: Marcel van Santen
PRODUCED BY: Nick DiDia, Stevie Salas, Sass Jordan
PLAYLIST: Damaged – Slave – Pissin’ Down – High Road Easy – Sun’s Gonna Rise – Head – Ugly – I’m Not – Honey – Wish – Breakin’- Give
With her third album "Rats", the Canadian singer SASS JORDAN was poised to take on the world. With the help of guitar maestro STEVIE SALAS, "Rats" was a solid album from top-to-bottom, as SASS finally realized her potential that had been hinted at on her previous two releases "Tell Somebody" & "Racine". "Rats" features twelve songs of some of the most sincere bluesy rock that you are bound to hear, and SASS accentuates the whole thing with her infectious raspy JANIS JOPLIN-esque vocal approach. "Damaged" kicks things off with style. "Rats" is all about attitude and that is evident for all to see from the very first track. Next is the equally rocking "Slave". "Pissin' Down" is a song that has more than a great title. It is an angry track about a loved one's constant battle with heroin. "High Road Easy" is perhaps the best known track, that SASS has ever recorded. Listening to it now, it’s hard to fathom why this song wasn't the breakthrough hit, it should have been. Other highlights include the ballad "Sun's Gonna Rise", "I'm Not" (it would have made a great single), "Head", "Ugly", but I could go on. SASS sings with a fiery conviction throughout and once the last chords of "Give" fades, you know you have just experienced something great. "Rats" is one of those albums that is a moment-in-time and a definining moment in SASS JORDAN's career. Magical, passionate, classic. After listening to "Rats", you really get the feeling that her record label dropped the ball on this one. "Rats" should have been huge! The only thing left would be for SASS to reunite with STEVIE SALAS and record a follow-up to this classic. Still it would be hard to recapture the magic of “Rats”.
reviewed by: Tony Cannella
PRODUCED BY: Kiyoto Tsuda
PLAYLIST: Blue Jeans Lady – Don’t Tell Good-By – Baby! Baby! No Stop! – Gambler – Good Time Bed Time – South Peggy
This brilliant MCD was released in 1990, by the all-female Japanese hard rock band MAGENDA. The band consisted of Miho ‘Honey Bee’ Yamada on vocals, Yoshie ‘Yoch’ Shigeto on guitar, Yumi Tatsube on bass and Naomi ‘Nao’ Ihara on drums. The six songs on this CD have a playing time of a little over twenty minutes. The music of MAGENDA could be described as a catchy style of rock with references to bands like KISS, MÖTLEY CRUE, AEROSMITH, VAN HALEN and BON JOVI. Opener “Blue Jeans Lady” is already one of my favorite songs on this MCD. You can sing along to it from the start. “Don’t Tell Good-By” is a slower tune, but it surely is worth checking out. “Baby! Baby! No Stop” is fast again and contains a nice and heavy ACE FREHLEY like guitar solo in the middle. There’s another firy guitar solo in title track “Gambler”. Yes, these girls really knew how to play a good rock song, that’s catchy on one side yet still heavy on the other side. “Good Time Bed Time” (nice title) is a bit sleazy and dragging song with a dito solo, this to give the happy sound a little more variation. The album closes with “South Peggy”. It’s fast, sleezy and has a little Southern feel to it, like the title already suggests. So, there you go: six varied songs by a Japanese all- female band. I think this was their second release, because we also have a four track picture disc by these ladies, that was made in 1987, with two out of four people from this more recent line up of MAGENDA. What happened after this second (?) release is not really clear to us. You may tell us, if you’ve got more information. This CD release was essential enough for me to make it to the ranks of the ‘Hall Of Fame’ section, although it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a copy somewhere. The music is a rough diamond in the world of no-hopers that launch themselves as the next ‘world wonder’, which they’re definitely not (well, most of the time – that is). MAGENDA was a good band, but somehow they drowned in the pool of countless uninteresting bands and CDs.
reviewed by: Toine van Poorten
Y Kant Tori Read
PRODUCED BY: Joe Chiccarelli
PLAYLIST: The Big Picture - Cool On Your Island – Fayth - Fire On The Side – Pirates - Floating City - Heart Attack At 23 - On The Boundary - You Go To My Head - Etienne Trilogy: a.)The Highlands b.)Etienne c.)Skyeboat Song
TORI AMOS learned to play the piano at a very young age. However, she really got involved into the music scene, when she met Narada Michael Walden at an age of only seventeen. Tori wrote a few dance songs, which have never seen the light of day. When she was twenty-one, she moved to Los Angeles to try her luck. The scene was quite different there, which resulted into a change of music style and she started writing rock songs. Record label Atlantic showed interest pretty soon and arranged producer Joe Chiccarelli (PAT BENATAR/ FRANK ZAPPA), who was quite famous at that time. They hired a few well-experienced session musicians, like guitarist Steve Farris (MR. MISTER), bass player Fernando Saunders, percussion player Paulinho da Costa (TOTO) and Kim Bullard (POCO) on keyboards. Opener "The Big Picture" creates the same atmosphere as "Love Is A Battlefield" of PAT BENATAR . It even has some influences of MR. MISTER, which isn’t strange at all, because of the presence of guitarist Steve Farris. They even shot a video clip for this song, by the way. "Cool On Your Island" was released as a single. It’s a very balladesque song and the use of percussion gives it a real Hawaiian feel. This in contrary to the much heavier “Heart Attack At 23” (the flipside of this single), which is definitely one of the better songs on this album. It’s an uptempo song, containing a musical challenge between the guitarist and the saxophone player in the centre part. “Fayth” sounds a bit like MADONNA with here and there some rap vocals in the verses. We also hear some influences of KATE BUSH for the first time. Rock ballad "Fire On The Side" is obviously an example here, while "Pirates" is another powerful uptempo song, that sounds like music to my ears! Followed by "Floating City" (typical Westcoast/AOR style) and "On The Boundary", which could have been written by HEART. In "You Go To My Head", we hear the more theatrical style of singing of Tori, like on her self-titled debut album. There’s also a leading role for the funky bass guitar, that whips up this song. The album closes with the longest song, "Etienne Trilogy", consisting of three parts. The first part “The Highlands” starts off with an instrumental intro, and then “Etienne” starts – a very poppy KATE BUSH like tune. While “Skyeboat Song” is another instrumental piece with Scottish bagpipe music. After this album, Tori’s music developed into a more alternative style and throughout the years, she seems to estrange herself more and more from the rock sound in her music.
reviewed by: Marcel van Santen
We Want It
PRODUCED BY: Erwin Musper
PLAYLIST: I Want It - Why Is A Good Love - Now That It’s Over - Straight To The Top – Jericho - Heartbreak Road - We Called It Love - Long Shot – Badlands - Higher Ground
Gudrun Laos was the leading lady in this German melodic rock band, that unfortunately only made one album. But it was an album, they can be very proud of indeed. The ten songs were far above average, and a golden future was predicted to this six piece outfit. A band, that consisted of Frank Fricke on guitar, Thomas Röben on bass, Wolfgang Schindler on keyboards, Ralf Hansmeyer on guitar, Jörg Michael on drums and Gudrun Laos on vocals. Listening to the ten songs again, thirteen years after they were written and released, we can conclude that they almost all stood the test of time pretty easy. In the opener Gudrun lets us sing along with “I Want It” in the best BON JOVI, DEF LEPPARD style, topped with the raw voice of the leading lady herself. This song became the second single, that was taken from this album. The opening riff of the ROLLING STONES classic “You Start Me Up” was the inspiration for the beginning of “Why Is A Good Love”. Another compact sing along song, on which you simply can’t stand still. “Now That It’s Over” is one of the ballads, that every melodic rock album needed back in those days, which bears a touch of FOREIGNER. It was also the first single, that was released from this album. While “Straight To The Top” is another straight forward rock and roll song. “Jericho” closes side A after about eighteen minutes, with again a FOREIGNER-like sound. Gudrun also had a certain DORO touch in her voice, but I think that’s because of the little German accent, she had. The B-side of the album opens with “Heartbreak Road”, for a second attack of about nineteen minutes. The opening riff of this song could well be taken from one of the albums of DEEP PURPLE from that same period. However, it gets into the same LAOS atmosphere right after that. In “We Called It Love”, the band recorded a second ballad. And as a good tradition, the ballad is followed by a ballsy rock song again. And “Long Shot” is no exception to this golden rule. The album ends with “Badlands” and “Higher Ground”. Not only the album ends here, it’s also the end of the short story of LAOS. Gudrun returns to the scene with some solo stuff and doing a few backing vocals for artists, but she never knew how to hit back so hard, that people realised she was back again. Jörg Michael is the only one who we see back after this adventure, and he plays on many albums from bands like AXEL RUDI PELL, GRAVE DIGGER, STRATOVARIUS and RUNNING WILD. LAOS disbanded after this great album, but the music on this album seems to last forever.
reviewed by: Toine van Poorten
The Dead Of The Night
PRODUCED AND ENGINEERED BY: Steve Fitton
PLAYLIST: Twisted Tales (intro) – Confined Insanity – Back With A Vengeance – The Dead Of Night – No Light To Die By
Only a few readers of our magazine will recognise and remember the name of this English, Leicester based metal band, I think. That’s why we want to try and get them back to your attention this time. The band only released this mini album, which contains five great metal tracks. MASQUE consisted of Lee Russell on guitars, Pete Jenko on bass, Chris Hyde on drums, Simon Turner on guitar and the frontlady of this mighty band was called Jo Phipps. The EP was recorded in 1988, and unfortunately it never got the attention that was needed to make the band interesting enough for the average metal fans out there. You can leave the short, instrumental opener “Twisted Tales” for what it is. But then…..AAAHHHHHHHHRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!! Cracks appear in the walls. Great riffs are fired through the room, completed by the high vocals of Jo. Before you know it, you start raising your fist, and make uncontrolled movements. A great song opens the EP and it’s called “Confined Insanity”. “Back With A Vengeance” (I don’t mean the FIST album!), starts off as a ballad. But then the speed goes up, and another great speedful song fills the room. Again, the vocals of Jo are high, and I think of her as the English equivalent of great female metal vocalists like Betsy (BITCH), Ann Boleyn (HELLION), Kim La Chance (VIXEN) and Kate (ACID). The guitar solo is fast, and I wonder why this never became a worldwide metal anthem anyway. The title track of the EP is another highlight, which opens side B of this masterpiece. Church bells open this song and I am done for this right away. I love the ominous sounds of growling beasts, church bells or rolling thunder. The song is an absolute killer, and once you’ve heard it, you’ll know why. Just listen to the great speed changes, somewhere in the middle of the song. Jo’s vocals are powerful and I think that a female metal singer should have a voice like this lady: high, pinching and crystal clear! This piece of art ends with a song, called “No Light To Die By”. Another great song by this post NWOBHM band, that unfortunatly got stuck in the pile of thrash releases of that time. It was not interesting anymore for bands to sound like they were leftovers of the NWOBHM scene. Only a few diehard believers kept buying this stuff, while others listened to bands like SACRED REICHE, TESTAMENT and other thrash giants. MASQUE needs recognition, and I think I’ve given them the attention, they deserved. If anyone of the band reads this, and is interested in an interview with us about this EP and the rest of their career, I hereby invite them to get in touch with us. Hail to MASQUE!
reviewed by: Toine van Poorten
Heavy Metal America
PRODUCED AND ENGINEERED BY: Mark Dearnley
PLAYLIST: Playin’ Tuff – 17 Goin’ On Crazy – Eye Of The Storm – Revolteen – It Ain’t Right – Hard To Swallow – Once You’ve Tasted Blood – Dream Away Heartache – Never Take No (For An Answer) – Metal Guru (T-REX cover)
BAND LINE UP: Sally Cato (vocals), Bart Lewis (guitar), Marcel La Fleur (guitar), J.D. Malo (bass) and Matt Stellutto (drums)
For this installment of the MM ‘Hall Of Fame’, we will take you back to 1985 and the self-titled debut album from sleaze rockers SMASHED GLADYS. This was a very strong debut that should have been bigger than it was. Unfortunately, it is a forgotten classic and the band never realized the level of success, that they so richly deserved. “Playin’ Tuff” starts things of with its infectious, down ‘n’ dirty riff and then Sally’s rough vocals come in. Next is “17 Goin’ On Crazy”. This would have been a great party anthem for the times. Next, we have “Eye Of The Storm”. It starts off slow, but by the chorus the pace definitely picks up. Other highlights include “Revolteen”, “It Ain’t Right”, “Hard To Swallow” and “Once You’ve Tasted Blood”. Sally Cato maybe wasn’t the best singer of her day, but she had plenty of attitude. SMASHED GLADYS went on to release one more album, “Social Intercourse” and then they disappeared. That’s sad, because they were a band with tons of potential and promise. Oh well, this album is a reminder of what should have been.
Note by the editor: the CD version of this album has five bonus tracks. namely “Bump In The Night”, “Black Beauties & Blue-Eyed Blondes”, “Sweet Pain”, “Woman” and “Living, Loving , & Learning”.
reviewed by: Tony Cannella
Rock And Roll Women
PRODUCED BY: Vanda & Young for Albert Productions
ENGINEERED BY: Sam Horsburgh Jr.
PLAYLIST: Bang Bang – Suffering Love – Spend The Night – Rock ‘N Roll Woman – Scars of Love – My Man – N.I.T.E. – Come & Get It - Let The Love Begin – I’m Yours
BAND LINE UP: Ray Arnott (drums), Mike Peters (keyboards), Les Karski (bass), Ronnie Peel (rhythm guitar), Ian Miller (guitar), Lyndsay Hammond (vocals) and Chrissie Hammond (vocals).
Listening to the album, I get visions of their huge backdrop again, with big yellow letters spelling out the name of the band. It is 1982, and CHEETAH plays live at the Reading festival in England. One year before that, they released this album, which got quite some attention in magazines like Kerrang! at that time. Lyndsay (the blonde one) and Chrissie Hammond (the dark one) were definitely the two eye-catchers of the band. Born in London, but at the age of nineteen they moved to Australia and formed CHEETAH. A band that played good hard rock, in the style of AC/DC. But they also cranked out a ballad like “Spend The Night”, which became one of their (hit)singles. “Bang Bang” and “Suffering Love” were great openers on this album, which has a beautiful fold out cover. On the inside sleeve, we see large colour pics of the two ladies. After the ballad “Spend The Night”, we can enjoy “Rock ‘N’ Roll Woman”, which reminds me of the glitter rock sound of GARY GLITTER and SUZI QUATRO in a way. It also has a nice sleazy guitar solo, which sounds a bit more like AC/DC and ROSE TATTOO. Side A closes with “Scars Of Love”, another great hard rock song. I also remember, the ladies released some video material of the band playing live. I must take a look at it again, because these ladies had some kind of magic, that you simply can’t explain. The ‘boy magnet’ thing, if you know what I mean. On the B-side you hear this well known AC/DC like riff again. It’s not disturbing, but it’s definitely there in “My Man”. “N.I.T.E.” is a very melodic song, while “Come & Get It” has got more balls. The ladies play much heavier live, by the way, I can assure you that. At least, that’s what I recall from their gig at Reading that time. Which doesn’t mean this record doesn’t rock!! Then it’s time for the second ballad on the album, namely “Let The Love Begin”. The album ends with “I’m Yours”. Let’s rock and roll during this foot stomper! It was a great experience hearing this album again. And I’ve got some good news for the fans of the band. After a lot of searching, it seems that we’ve finally got in touch with Lyndsay Hammond of CHEETAH, and an interview will appear in this magazine soon, I hope. There’s also a slight chance the band will come over to Europe for some shows. That would be really nice after more than twenty years. And it also makes this review a bit more up to date. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Women” was CHEETAH’s only release (plus a handful of singles, taken from the album).
reviewed by: Toine van Poorten
THE MOTHER STATION
Brand New Bag
PRODUCED & ENGINEERED BY: Joe Hardy
PLAYLIST: Put The Blame On Me – Fool For A Pretty Face – Love Don’t Come Easy – Love Me – Somebody Else Will – Spirit In Me – Heart Without A Home – Black Beauty – Hanging ‘On – What’s On Your Mind – Show You The Way – Stranger To My Soul
BAND LINE UP: Susan Marshall (vocals), Gwin Spencer (guitars), Rick Shelton (drums), Paul Brown (keyboards, organ, piano), Michael Jacques (bass).
I don’t know how many southern rock albums there are with female musicians. Not too many, I reckon?! This album has got a southern rock attitude all over. But I also hear some MELISSA ETHERIDGE, SASS JORDAN, ANOUK, FANNY, HUMBLE PIE, THE SMALL FACES, JOE COCKER, BARRELHOUSE, THE BLACK CROWES and BIRTHA influences in the opener of this great (and very hard to find) album. So maybe it’s not really fair to categorise it as southern rock only. Listening to the guitar solos on this album, I think that a lot of fans of this particular music style may like this one hour of soulfoul rock music. Although the album was released in 1994, I wouldn’t be surprised if they said, that it was released in 1975. And yes, “Fool For A Pretty Face” is a cover of the HUMBLE PIE song that was written in the seventies. “Love Don’t Come Easy” could have been a JANIS JOPLIN song, while “Love Me” has a real soul feeling. THE MOTHER STATION hails from Memphis, Tennessee, hometown of the blues. And you can hear this in the undertone of the album. While the overal sound contains a lot of soul, the guitarwork is full with bluesy licks. “Spirit In Me” is another powerful ballad, that could well have been written by MELISSA ETHERIDGE. “Heart Without A Home” is a bluesy JANIS JOPLIN like ballad, with a typical blues solo. Just listen to the almost crying vocals of Susan after the guitar solo. The resemblance is striking! Why didn’t this band get any recognition, and did we find out about this album because we were so lucky to read an article about it somewhere? While so many no-hopers get a record deal, without singing or playing one single note right. This album has got so much soul, and is played with a lot of feeling and love for the music. If the names of the artists, mentioned in this review might appeal to you, then there’s no other option to search for this great release. Susan Marshall sang on several albums, and went on tour as backing vocalist of THE AFGHAN WHIGS. Gwin Spencer was the band leader of an all-girl band, that played live on the Keenan Ivory Waynans Talkshow. Her new band goes by the name of IDA, but if they still exists, nobody knows. The heritage, they left behind with THE MOTHER STATION was good enough to be added in the ‘Hall Of Fame’ in Metal Maidens. Music for the soul, you just can’t get enough!
reviewed by: Toine van Poorten
Some Kinda Woman
PRODUCED & ENGINEERED BY: Robin Freeman Relight Studios
PLAYLIST: Flyin’ – Nothing Going On In The City – City Life – Car Crash Blues – Some Kinda Woman – The One Who Can Screw – Too Tired – Paradise (It’s So Nice) -Country Girl – Decision – Let’s Forget – Never Forget About You
BAND LINE UP: Hanneke Kappen (vocals), Robbie Elzenga (guitar, vocals), Peter Walrecht (drums, vocals), Erwin Java (guitar, slide guitar) and Derk Jolink (bass)
Yes, we won’t forget to add this album to our ‘Hall Of Fame’ section. WHITE HONEY was the band of Hanneke ‘Stampij’ Kappen. And because we were never able to interview this lady for our magazine, I want to pay tribute to Hanneke and her music in this review. In the eighties, Hanneke fulfilled a very important role in the heavy metal scene with her radio show “Stampij” in Holland. She made us aware, that there was more to life than VAN HALEN and JUDAS PRIEST. She introduced her listeners to some great NWOBHM bands, the blooming Dutch metal scene, Japanese metal bands such as BOW WOW and many others. But besides that, she also recorded an album with her own band WHITE HONEY. The album contained twelve songs, that sounded a bit like HERMAN BROOD in general. The rest of the band consisted of Robbie Elzinga on guitar and vocals, Peter Walrecht on drums, Derk Jolink on bass and Erwin Java on guitar. Hanneke provided the vocals, and she did this in a very great way. The album was released in the late seventies (1979, to be exact), when you only had hard rock as a music style, and the real heavy metal was about to be born. And Hanneke herself was one of the ladies, who made it all happen. Especially over here in Holland, she was the lady who did it. She even wrote the song “Nothing Going On In The City”, which later on became a huge success for the American heavy metal band THE RODS. LP opener “Flyin” has got the same groove. As the title may suggest, “Car Crash Blues” is not a blues. In fact, it’s one of the fastest songs on the A-side. Next to “The One Who Can Screw”, it has got a lot of energy and it ROCKS a lot! Maybe the album can not be categorised as heavy metal. And I guess that almost nobody will call it a classic. But I do, and I think that is an essential ‘must have’ for every devoted hard rock and heavy metal fan out there. Their heavy rock was groundbreaking back in these days, and it formed a solid foundation. But after the release of the album, nothing much happened actually. The band released a single of the aforementioned RODS original, completed with a non-album track called “Slow And Easy”, which I remember from one of their many live shows throughout the country. By then, Hanneke had left the band and was replaced by Giny de Bruin. If you have the single with “Paradise (It’s So Nice)” on the B-side, then you have a very rare item in your collection. It was only released as a very limited edition, because the record company with-drew the single, when Hanneke left the band and replaced it with a new version, which has Giny on vocals. Hanneke went on from radio to television, where she presented several programs, like “Je Ziet Maar” being the most interesting for our readers. Right now I believe, that she is working for a radio station in the Northern part of our country. Unfortunately, she never did record a second album with WHITE HONEY. Erwin Java plays in CUBY AND THE BLIZZARDS for many years already. And Peter Walrecht played in the band of HERMAN BROOD for a couple of years. He also played in the NEW ADVENTURES. And Hanneke? She will always be like a metal queen to me. Simply because she taught me so much about this music. Without her, I would never have the knowledge of my favorite music style, and I want to thank her for that from the bottom of my heart. No, this is not the main reason why I made this album a part of the Hall Of Fame. The real reason are these twelve songs, and forty minutes of music. Hanneke……. Well, she was sure “Some Kinda Woman”!
reviewed by: Toine van Poorten
Hot Metal Records
PRODUCED & ENGINEERED BY: Morgana
PLAYLIST: Make Me Love – Lady Winter (from mini LP “Morgana”) – Save Me – Man – Without You – Welcome In The Dark – Skin On Skin (from mini LP “Morgana”) – No Time To Waste (from mini LP “Morgana”) – Save Me – Welcome In The Dark – Man (from mini LP “Morgana”) – We’re On Fire
BAND LINE UP: Morgana (all vocals), Dino (guitars), Fulvio (bass), Claudio (drums) and Franco (keyboards)
This is a re-release on CD, and it’s a kind of compilation from demo stuff (the demo “Welcome In The Dark”), songs from the mini LP “Morgana”, and songs from the never released LP “Three Years Of Madness”. The twelve songs have a total playing time of a full hour. Set the clock back to the sound of the early eighties. This means no gothic, no black metal screams or death metal growls, but simply the best Italian true metal one has to offer. Morgana herself has good looks and a great powerful voice, that matches perfectly with the great metal sound of her band. If you ever find the original version of her demo or her mini LP, then you’d better go for it fast, because these things are worth a bloody fortune. And not without reason. You’ll have the living prove right in your hands, when buying this CD. The music is simply great, especially if you compare it to many of the other Italian metal bands from those days. Biggest eye-catcher is Roberta Morgana Delaude, who comes from a band called HURTFUL WITCH. She’s the beautiful witch, who gives all the epic monster tracks on this re-release some kind of magical touch, that makes her band overclass many others from that same country. One of the many highlights on this CD is the long and mysterious “Welcome In The Dark”. In “No Time To Waste”, we hear many speed changes, while “Save Me” is some kind of MORGANA version of “Overkill”, completed with fast double bass beats. Needless to say, this is an essential buy to every metal freak out there. “Lady Winter” is hot and this might be the best contradiction I’ve ever used in the past ten years. I always save the best for last, prove is given here!
reviewed by: Toine van Poorten