August / September 2021 because August was hot weather-wise, but cold release... wise.
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Because it's got to be out there, and someone needs to find it. My new year's resolution was not to buy new releases in 2021, because I have no room left to store the CDs. In order to stick to my plan, I had to cease digging through the news, quit streaming, and ultimately stop buying CDs. However, music didn't stop existing, and whether I liked it or not I couldn't escape being exposed to it.
So, I streamed a few. No harm there. It's still not a buy (for now) and I think I can resist the urge on a great many GOOD albums, but what about those rare, perfect, 10 out of 10 releases that sneak up on you once in a while? Would I be able to zip my pocket tight on them? I don't know. I guess I'll cross that bridge when it happens. In a meantime, you can follow my quest here, Month-by-Month.
Note: I rate albums on a scale of 1 to 10, with 0.5 increments. Listening to a release on my home stereo could increase my final rating by 0.5 or even 1 whole point in comparison to my initial grading of the same album via streaming experience.
Note 2: I'm only going to stream "in your face" projects, meaning well-known acts (to me). Sucks to be a completely new band/artist in this scenario, but I'm joining the ranks of my peers in a Cult of Groupies for Legends. (You know who they are). That being said, I consider my knowledge well above the average groupie, so, here and there you'll still find an act you haven't heard of yet. Also... last year I sampled a bit over 1000 new releases of different genres. To blend in with my fellow groupies, that number will greatly dwindle. In the month of January, there was only
4. THE DEAD DAISIES - Holy Ground
Thanks to Hughes the vocals are better, yet, nothing special. Music is the same as before. No hooks, decent but short solos, and "middle of the road" tenure. I like the cover. That's a purty skull. The two crows are a nice touch too.
My steaming experience: 4.5 out of 10.
3. WIG WAM - Never Say Die
LORDI gets all the glory for winning the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest as the first Hard Rock band to achieve that, but WIG WAM paved the road. Unfortunately, pioneers usually take one for the team. And WIG WAM did that in 2005 reaching position #9 in that year's contest. Following that success, they released 3 more albums before quitting, and I like them all. Naturally, I was excited to hear them reuniting and even their first single sounded great. I had high hopes. However, this is not the same music from their 2005 era nor the one reminiscent of their last album from 2012. No. This album shows all the signs of Serafino Perugino's meddling (Frontiers Records director). Wouldn't be surprised if the band came together on his initiative. The album sounds more like a run of the mill Frontiers record.
My steaming experience: 5 out of 10.
2. THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP - Immortal
Great opening track and a few outstanding followups see the guitar legend return to catchy songs. The arrangements are great, and so are the vocal performances. Lots of guests too. The only song that doesn't blend well with the rest of them for me, is the Scorpions cover "In Search Of The Peace Of Mind" which also closes the album with a sole dull moment.
My steaming experience: 6.5 out of 10.
1. ACCEPT - Too Mean To Die
After listening to the singles released prior to the album, I got this feeling "something is off". Now, after streaming the album, as a whole it actually plays well. The tunes are more memorable and less predictable than on their previous album, and they left their 2 greatest songs for last. "Not My Problem" is a catchy anthem, in line with their best efforts, while "Samson And Deliah" is a great "band instrumental". My only complaint would be the absence of the true triple-guitar attack. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of guitars and great solo's as well, just not bouncing left-right-and-center off your speakers, if you know what I mean.
My steaming experience: 7 out of 10.
Feel free to add your thoughts, reviews, and quests to find the perfect record.
Ahhh...we so disagree about the Robin McAuley album.
I really wanted to like the album. He is an awesome vocalist, and still sings well, however... you know... Del Vecchio... eh.
2. DENNIS DeYOUNG – 26 East, Vol. 2
Once a member of The BEATLES... Oops, scratch that... I meant STYX... DeYoung released what suppose to be his very last recordings... ever... in the style of the Liverpudlians??? Yeah, then I saw the back insert of this release and everything become much clearer. Dream on buddy. Not that he was required to follow the sound of his former band, I still think the expectations, understandably, were geared towards that sentiment. Well, I'll try to look listen to it through my Pop music equalizers. I could say something like: " All that was worth in this "split the album in two, for a maximum money grab" scheme, came from Vol.1, but let's just say what's really on my mind... Meh.
My streaming experience: 4 out of 10
1. STYX – Crash Of The Crown
The album is not one escalating ride, with its dips and soars your excitement will fluctuate, but in the end, you will feel like Styx made two steps forward and one back. Yet, these opposite directions do not come across as clashes of the current, rather as a homogeneous unity of elements brought back from the past, such as glorious harmony vocals, with new principles of exciting keyboard parts, and fresh arrangements to round up your listening pleasure.
My streaming experience: 6.5 out of 10
I hadn't planned on buying the Dennis DeYoung album anyway but your take sure helps keep that plan intact.
I really haven't bought anything from Styx other than a couple cassettes for my series. I haven't really been planning on buying the new album but I may have to take a listen to whatever songs they've released on Youtube to see if I might change my mind.
Even my subsequent listenings tell me you are making a wise deceision.
1. STEVE HOWE – Homebrew 7
If you are familiar with Steve Howe's Homebrew series then you know what to expect from the 7th album in the row. If you are new to them, they are recordings from the Yes, GTR, Asia guitarists vault. The one-piece oddity is that this time these songs have never been released before in any form. They are mostly short Instrumentals, where the guitar is in the center (more than I like it to be) with his son adding drums to the background, which does not blend well, to these ears. The album also has 4 vocal tracks among its offerings, of which one is from the GTR era and supported by Phil Spalding on bass.
My streaming experience: 5 out of 10
2. IRON MAIDEN – Senjutsu
With studio absence lasting for almost six years, you knew the Brits will come back with something truly special. But little did you expect a Samurai themed album and a music video where 4 leprosy-ridden, bike-riders-of-the-apocalypse head towards an American pyramid where brainless fans are manipulated by an Evil-DJ-Clown with quintuple arms in order to feed the youth-sucking, long-haired ruler who later turns out to be a quadruple horned, purple goat. Now, did you!? And if you saw all that coming, then probably the Adam feeding Eva with an apple is just as up your allegory-alley as the rest was. Me? I mixed up my hearing aids with wireless earbuds and had some quite average Heavy Metal band playing on the Mp3 player throughout the whole time. Oh, wait. No, I didn't. This is... Iron Maiden. Or at least what's left of them. Shame. One thing I'll admit though: it's better than Book Of Souls by a single hair sliced in half with a katana.
My streaming experience: 6 out of 10
1. THE TRIP – Caronte 50 Years Later
It's not unheard of artists to cross borders in order to be closer to the epicenter of the music they play. What might seem unusual to ignorants is the fact that a British Beat band could relocate to Italy to pursue a career. Of course, the novice of music history never heard of the best-kept secret, how the Italian Progressive Rock scene was second to none in the '70s. It's worth to be noted that young Ritchie Blackmore (before Deep Purple) was part of this band. The Trip's second album "Caronte" from 1971, although not widely known, earned them a cult status among the fans of this complex genre, worldwide. For its 50th anniversary, the album was re-recorded to utilize better studio equipment without sacrificing its ferocity and quality.
My streaming experience 7 out of 10