Ron Coolen has done it all. Over the years, the Dutch musician has played in cover bands, raised funds for guitar legend Jason Becker, and hosted a regional radio show in Netherlands. Now, he has gone ahead to release his debut solo album RISE, and it is safe to say that hard rock has gained a star.
Not one for words? Just take a listen to Big Devil Data, the perfect first single to unleash upon unsuspecting audiophiles:
This brilliant opening track sums up the album’s merits, and a little more. The multi-instrumentalist rocks steadily on bass, drums, rhythm guitar, and keyboard, flaunting his flair for rousing riffs and catchy choruses.
It is more than musicality alone that pleases the ear. Penned by Keith St. John (Burning Rain, Lynch Mob) and Francoise Vaal, its lyrical content has something to say, tackling anxieties in a modern world that relinquishes privacy for convenience with no regard for consequence.
Continue reading Album Review: Ron Coolen – Rise
Schedules are not my strong suit, but the talons of procrastination have finally receded as Volume 2 lands. The countdown restarts for the metal albums that I loved in 2019.
10. Enforcer – Zenith
Enforcer‘s Zenith may not be the peak of their career, but this new record still qualifies as a strong highlight for the Swedish metallers. From electric solos on Thunder and Hell to the stunning power ballad Regrets, their usually speed-driven compositions show no fear of venturing beyond familiarity.
Never mind the lyrics that verge on campy, acknowledging eternal life and professing their love for the Devil in both English and Spanish. In the recent resurgence of timeless heavy metal, this is one outstanding entry for one of the best live bands I have ever had the chance to see.
Continue reading Favourite Rock and Metal Albums of 2019 Vol. 2
I may have run out of 2019, but I have yet to run out of lists. There remain triumphant musical comebacks to look back on, and new born earworms from veterans and up-and-comers alike. Before yet another year passes me by, here are my favourite rock and metal releases of 2019 in two volumes respectively with no further ado.
10. Goodbye June – Community Inn
Community Inn landed on my radar when Live in the Now dropped last year and has not left my playlist since. Despite the long wait, Goodbye June did not disappoint. Of mega riffs and soul-baring vocal work, the passion they inject in every note is audible. One only has to look to Secrets in the Sunset to fall deeper in love.
While their Zeppelin influence is stronger in this than in their debut, it never overshadows their own unique sound. Flowing between the mellow ballads and spirited bangers effortlessly, the blues-fuelled rockers prove that the brilliance of Magic Valley was no accident.
Continue reading Favourite Rock and Metal Albums of 2019 Vol. 1
October is coming to an end. It is time to retire This is Halloween and Monster Mash from your Halloween playlists this year, for fresher tracks on monsters, ghouls, sharp knives, and loaded guns. Life’s no fun without a good scare and duller still, without good music. Have fun with these six horror-inspired picks from the 2000s. Do share your own recommendations below. x
American Murder Song – Jenny Was A Friend of Mine
Not enough people have seen Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich’s Repo! The Genetic Opera, which deserved more love than it received. The passion project has since paved way for other equally underrated ventures, such as American Murder Song. This murder ballad collection is the brainchild of Zdunich and his co-writer of The Devil’s Carnival Saar Hendelman. Therein lies an excellent cover of Jenny Was a Friend of Mine, originally by… The Killers. (Sorry)
We took a walk that night
But it wasn’t the same
We had a fight on the promenade
Out in the rain
She said she loved me
But she had somewhere to go
She couldn’t scream while I held her close
I swore I’d never let her go
Continue reading Music Recs: Songs for Samhain
Alter Bridge – Wouldn’t You Rather
Between big tours and album releases, does Myles Kennedy ever get time to sleep? While we may never know the true answer, we say cheers to the tireless music man for never failing in his delivery of consistent bangers.
Following his solo debut, he returns to Alter Bridge, working towards their sixth studio album Walk the Sky. Their first single Wouldn’t You Rather proves an explosive anthem, with Kennedy’s impossible vocals on an addictive refrain matched by Tremonti’s stunning heavy riffs.
Continue reading Music Recs: Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Killswitch Engage
Yesterday (dir. Danny Boyle, 2019) – Following a road accident, musician Jack Malik wakes up to find himself in an alternate timeline, where the Beatles do not exist.
Leaving the cultural legacy of the Beatles to the sidelines, Yesterday serves up its charming romance with a disappointing side of missed opportunities.
Imagine there’s no Beatles. What would the world be without Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Yellow Submarine? Who, if anyone, would have led the cultural revolution in place of the Fab Four?What of the myriad bands influenced by John, Paul, George, and Ringo to begin playing music in the first place?
Oddly enough, no major changes occur in this alternate timeline of Yesterday. That is at least in the aspect of music, which continues to thrive with the gaping hole in cultural history. The whimsical concept remains uninterested in exploring the lasting legacy of the Beatles, operating on arbitrary rules of logic.
Continue reading Movie Review: Yesterday (2019)