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The Singles Lowdown With Gerald Stansbury

Tora Tora - ‘Rose of Jericho’ (Frontiers)

Let’s welcome back one of the bands that ultimately got overlooked three decades ago, despite putting out one of my favorite albums (‘Wild America’) of all time. ‘Rose Of Jericho’ is our first taste of new album ‘Bastards Of Beale,’ and this is some awesome Bluesy Hard Rock with Anthony Corder sounding as great as he did when their first two albums were released. Keith Douglas works an excellent guitar riff as Patrick Francis and John Patterson give the song its groove. Welcome back guys!

In Flames - ‘I Am Above’ (Eleven Seven Music)

It has been a long time since their ‘Whoracle’ CD was getting blasted on my stereo, and I must say that In Flames has not really grabbed me much since they released the excellent ‘Colony’ album. I always give them a shot though and must say that I find myself binging on this song a lot. While it is obviously a long ways away from what originally brought me to the band, I think the dynamic between the vocal styles here shines as the clean vocals make the chorus extremely catchy which should serve them well among fans of commercial Metal. I really like the guitar solo here as well. Now, I am not going to mention the other new song they also just released that just leaves me scratching my head.

A Joker’s Rage - ‘Ballet To The Masses’ (Self Released)

Sometimes unexpected events present themselves that can really create an opportunity for a band to get some notoriety if they act quickly. As a singer from another band had a public meltdown on video, Zakky Boy Taylor and the guys decided to release a satire video in “support” of the other singer. It made me laugh and then they added part of this song to the end of the video which made me go investigating. ‘Ballet To The Masses’ is a tribute to Freddie Mercury and is extremely well done. Taylor provides some vocal gymnastics throughout the song as the band channel a Modern Rock sound which could find a lot of mainstream acceptance if the band could get some airplay. In the short time, A Joker’s Rage can temporarily be our secret as you add this song to your daily playlist.

Queensryche - ‘Man The Machine’ (Century Media)

First song from their third album with Todd La Torre on vocals, and I must say his involvement totally reignited my interest in the band after the dark uninteresting rabbit hole where Geoff Tate had taken them. This song channels the origins of their early sound but still sounds fresh. Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren continue to show great chemistry between them with Eddie Jackson (bass) working with Todd La Torre on the drums here to create a tight fast rhythm overlaid with a powerful hook delivered in a powerful voice. The turnaround in this band has been amazing, and this is one of my must hear albums in the first quarter of 2019.

Wade Bowen - ‘Cold December’ (Bowen Sounds)

Leave it to Texas music great singer/songwriter Wade Bowen to put out a tearjerker at the holidays about watching everyone else participate in holiday activities while you sit alone missing that special someone who is not with you and never coming back. I take this as a widow going through the first holiday season without his wife. Bowen’s lyrics paint the picture perfectly over the slow red dirt beat. Great song Wade!

Time Of The Mouth - ‘Beautiful Storm’ (Self Released)

Healthy doses of current Pop Punk here that brings the likes of the Wonder Years to mind for me. Chris Jones has an engaging voice that encourages the listener to sing along and also utilizes a very cool guitar riff that almost feels inside out to me. Ollie Badger has a really good drum sound here with the overall production reminding me of Bowling for Soup. Consider this part of your new year playlist.

Glam Skanks ‘Bring My Baby Back Home for Christmas’ (Unison Music Group)

They might not be the band you expect to be delivering a Christmas song, but this should hold some extra interest for a lot of us as it makes the studio debut of Vanessa on lead vocals. I will admit I have a bias now because I think Ali Cat was a perfect fit and frontwoman. With that said, Vanessa delivers the goods here on a song that encompasses the glammy glittery high energy Rock 'n' Roll that we expect musically with her vocal fitting in naturally and in her own way. Veronica (guitar) and Millie (bass) have amped up my excitement for their second full length album.

Review - Gerald Stansbury

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