Home Run: Black World

If melodic hard rock with some delicious dark tones permeating its veins is your kind of flavour to relax to then the new release from Italian rockers Home Run has to be on your next list of bands needing attention. Returning with Black World, their follow up to debut Dont Stop, the band with its new line-up are pushing  to step up a few levels by giving 13 tracks of striking melodic rock n roll to please all hard rockers.

Formed in 2000 under the name Dead Poets the band soon moved from a cover band into creating their own strong songs. As they worked on a debut demo they changed the name to Home Run in reference to the Gotthard album and also as it represented the bands new sound and ideas that were as tight, fast and strong as a baseball homerun hit. Plenty of gigs followed as the band blended in their own compositions with covers  and then in 2005 they released a demo EP, Start Again to some strong acclaim. Work on their debut album Dont Stop began in 2007 accompanied by help from guitarist Frank Caruso of Arachnes and Stefano ‘Sebo’ Xotta in working on a deal to have the album released which happened in April 2008. The album too garnered strong acclaim from media and fans but then came a line-up change as members left. The following year saw bassist Paolo Luoni, drummer William Battiston, and guitarist Valerio Castiglioni join band founders vocalist Matteo Albarelli, guitarist Andrea Ringoli and Walter Borrelli who played the keyboards. With Black World completed early 2011 the sextet signed with Italian independent label Tanzan Music for its release and immediately found more strong praise.

The songs within the album run from straight rock, southern flavoured sounds, to melodic tunes with a power ballad feel. It is a light album even with the darker tinged elements and aggression and run throughout lyrics and music. After an ominous combative intro the album kicks off with Silences Broken. It too begins on a sinister edge before the track builds into a fine rock piece with flowing keys. Immediately one is impressed with the harmonies and melodies achieved  and the compulsive throbbing bass line beneath all the smoother sounds. Albarelli joins the mix with strong vocals and delivery bringing more of the defined hard rock sound, his voice using the standards approach and very well.

The hard rock sound is a set base for most of the tracks on Black World with different layers placed upon them and tracks like Ephemeral Light, the funky pulsating Intoxication Of Love, and the ballad As We Did Before all show the bands skill at writing songs to engage and please, each in their own way playing with ease within the ear and with strong satisfaction.

For non hard rock fans at times there does seem a sameness across the album and a lack of real surprises though three tracks do stand out to elevate the album into a higher level. No More hits firmly with strutting riffs and synth sounds that wrap pleasingly around the song, whilst the title track swoops in with a vibrant and enticing riff and flowing keys once more. The bass throbs with mischief as it leads one through the track with a wicked glint and the guitars play like a dancing girl swinging all their wanton skills for the ear to digest. The third song is the albums highlight and another where bassist Luoni is the mesmeric lure. Lipstick has a slight 80’s feel especially from the keys and the song itself is semi anthemic with its fist pumping chorus.

It is fair to say if the likes of Suicide Silence or Behemoth are your ideal sound there is not a lot on Black World to excite but for anyone who breathes in hard rock readily, the album though not a classic has more than enough quality and fun to spend plenty of time with. http://www.homerunrock.it

RingMaster 26/10/2011

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David Stockdale – Dark Riders

American Folk/blues songwriter David Stockdale has pleased audiences with his folk/blues music and albums for over a decade, sending his soulful sounds into eager hearts. With his fourth album Dark Riders released via Tanzan Music, he has returned with a new direction in his musics evolution.  Maybe direction is a bit dramatic but he has certainly expanded it with added pop and R&B sounds and across the release there is a pacier feel without any detriment to his trademark emotive essence lyrically and aurally.

Santa Barbara born Stockdale has brought an even deeper and attentive touch lyrically to his songs on Dark Riders, relating social themes and personal experiences with very adept skill and feeling. He gives the songs with his poetic words, a depth that behind the livelier sounds continues his reputation for bringing introspective and emotionally strong power into his music. Dark Riders has a freshness and familiarity that instantly endears itself to listener and brings one into its heart with ease.

From the opening grace of Here Comes The Night the album plays nicely within the ear. Stockdales vocals are smooth and full of feeling and he is immediately shown as an artist in confident control of his ability and vision. Behind Stockdale the delightful voices of Elisa Paganelli and Martha Tansini give a soothing and extra layer to the tone of this and each song, and whether on this mid pace opener, the ballad Oh To Be Loved or the poppy Boogaloo You the combination is eagerly welcome.

High As A Kite a song combining a soul groove and pop essences, is another to light up the senses with its easy flow, and the guitar of Marco Tansini, who also provides the album’s keys, bass, production and more, within it is a joy. He never overdoes things to become the focal point of any song but flavours them with distinct and exciting touches. The track is an example of the good variation within the album and even if your taste is for heavier and striking riff laden sounds there is plenty within Dark Riders to get enthused about.

Tracks like the touching Earthquake, the excitable and lightly bustling Who, plus closing song Right From The Heart featuring Sofia Fragile on backing vocals and another track that rings deeply with an honesty and truth most can relate to in some degree, show the strength of Stockdales writing and performance. Though this is not the kind of music that would be first choice on this reviewer’s daily playlist it is impossible not to become wrapped up in its flow and tender arms and certainly for all singer/songwriter fans David Stockdale and Dark Riders is worth more than a moment of your time.

RingMaster 23/02/2012

Copyrighted 2011-10-29 15:06:50 UTC

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Johnny Get The Gun – Never Far From What We Know EP

Recently Essex rock/pop punk band Johnny Get The Gun released their new single containing two tracks that came from their Never Far From What We Know EP released earlier in the year. Because of the quality and overwhelming infectiousness of all songs concerned we are going to look at the EP to kill both birds with one review. In a year that has seen the glorious rise of rock lined pop punk infused with additive melodies, incessant riffs, mesmeric hooks, and sing-a-long choruses with the likes of Top Buzzer, Innercity Pirates and Max Raptor, the quartet of Johnny Get The Gun stand to the fore with music that gives something extra not only to the ear but the day, their sounds igniting impulses and the heart.

The band started in 2007 instantly gathering eager support and acclaim for their energetic and impressive live shows and even greater attention once their 2010 self-titled mini album and this EP unveiled their charms to a wider array of ears. With an album in the pipeline it is only a matter of time before the band explodes in to a bigger arena and further infatuation from a swelling mass of new fans.

The EP starts as it means to go on, revealing songs of anthemic ease, beckoning hooks, and compulsive melodies all wrapped in an eagerness and originality that cleverly is fresh and at the same time recognisable, like unknown friends turning up to brighten the day. Good As It Gets strolls in on a confident beat and throbbing bassline backing the instantly magnetic vocals of Wayne Lightowler  before exploding into a furnace of passionate riffs and emotive energy. As he proves throughout the release Lightowler is a stunning vocalist that employs and delivers all the emotion of the lyrics and energy of the music with stunning effect. The song is pop punk at its finest, a track that pulls one in eagerly to become part of and join in with the addictive chorus.

Hills & Knives takes over with a less instantaneous pull but as equal in quality and engagement. The guitar of Jack Lawson less crazed but more soulful and sensitively creative lies well amongst more great basslines from Joe Williams and the ever strong and powerful drums of Jamie Abela, the drummer able to play with unbridled aggression or a more delicate attack with equal skill and ability. The song is an impressively structured piece of songwriting with again Lightowler and his vocals taking a great track up a level, his voice finishing off a fine song with a glorious topping of emotive attachment.

Third track Lead Hearts follows on with more passion preferred over a direct punk attack though with driven riffs and enthusiastic energy it rumbles with a deliberate intent to excite the ear. The change of pace within it is smooth and as touching as the vocals, both switching seamlessly from stoked energy and back again to end on a stirring climax.

The final two tracks are the ones that make up their glorious recent single. In The Middle is a deceiving track, it reels the listener in with more infectious hooks and sweet sounding melodies that accumulate in another greedy siren like coaxing of the senses. What it does not make clear despite its delicious sound is how it will stay and linger long after it finishes, days in fact, the chorus and melodies repeatedly playing in the head to open the day and end its light. With a mix of Jimmy Eat World and Dommin sound wise the song is a triumph, a success similarly attained by closing song Take It.

Dynamic and consuming the track is not afraid to openly show its intentions to tease and entertain. With a voracious appetite the crashing and frenetic guitars uncork their pumped urgency as each member leaves nothing in their creative tank. The song is a non-stop burst of energy that leaves one spent by its end though the band do help out with a melodic respite for the listener to take a deep breath before the explosive ending.

Johnny Get The Gun makes music that flaunts its addictive melodic wares wantonly whilst inviting investigation of its deeper creative veins, the band melodic puppeteers of the finest nature. With their album planned for release early 2012 now is the time to sample their contagious pop punk sounds.

RingMaster 17/10/2011

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