I’m late to the party, but here’s the first of 2 volumes of my favourite albums in 2020. 10 rock records, 10 arbitrary rankings, you know the drill.
10. Philip Sayce – Spirit Rising
The guitar solos are on fire in Philip Sayce’s Spirit Rising and no fan should be surprised. The virtuoso’s technical axe skills remain impeccable as before, while his passion and attitude shine brighter than ever in every note.
Granted his 2012 stunner Steamroller is tough to beat, his latest album comes pretty close to taking the top spot in his discography. His music speaks for itself, proving his place as one of the best blues-rock guitarists today.
Continue reading Favourite Rock Albums of 2020
In a perfect world, Slipknot and Trivium would have played one of their finest shows in Singapore earlier this week. But this just hasn’t been the best year. In March, the gig was cancelled as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the planet to a standstill.
It was a disappointment, but our generation lucked out in other ways. At least, we have YouTube! And for now, watching my favourite live bands on screen will have to do.
Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails stopped by Singapore on their Wave Goodbye Tour in 2009, and thankfully, it wasn’t a permanent farewell. The night presented the best concert I’ve ever been to, without the shadow of a doubt. Aurally and visually stunning, their rock show doubles up as an impressive light display. The energy is indescribable, and this video is the closest one can get to the experience off-site.
Continue reading Music Recs: Favourite Live Bands
There is a special place in my heart for acoustic renditions of rock music. Back in 1989, MTV Unplugged showed how it is done as artistes like Nirvana and Bryan Adams stripped down some of the finest songs down to their core.
The show may have come and gone, but the trend has thankfully never gone away. Here are six of my recent favourites showing their other side. One rule before we begin, songs that started off as ballads do not count!
Black Mirrors – Günther Kimmich
Alternative rock group Black Mirrors hails from Brussels and first made waves with their brilliant garage rock EP Funky Queen. Their psychedelic leanings make their music perfect for the acoustic treatment, which they have fully embraced in their latest releases.
Slowing down the uptempo Günther Kimmich is their best move by far. Against the backdrop of steady drums thrum and bluesy guitar slides, Marcella Di Troia’s vocal truly soars above the hypnotic atmosphere.
Continue reading Music Recs: Rock Goes Acoustic
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