Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CD REVIEW: GRIMMEST HITS by Black Label Society

GRIMMEST HITS by Black Label Society
(Metal/Entertainment One)

Black Label Society are back with their tenth studio release, 'Grimmest Hits'. While the title might insinuate that it's a greatest hits package, it's not, the material is new and like they have with their previous outings BLS unleash what they do oh so well. Intense in your face guitar riffs that beg to be cranked to maximum volume!  For me, it's the BLS's strongest release to date. It has that vibe of 'Sonic Brew' and 'The Blessed Hellride' combined with the laid back swagger of 'Book Of Shadows' and 'Hangover Music'. Album highlights include, “Trampled Down Below”, "Seasons Of Falter", "All That Once Shined", "Room Of Nightmares", "The Day That Heaven Had Gone Away" and "Illusions Of Peace", but all twelve tracks deliver the goods. 'Grimmest Hits' shows BLS expanding and exploring their roots while still remaining true to their fans. Zakk Wylde's songwriting skills keep getting better with each album. The bottom line here is, this is a recording of powerful music and wide range selection. Zakk and the rest of the Doom Crew have cranked out another masterpiece. Its not more of the same, its more of what we need. Rock on! Black Label Society.Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society


(Metropolis Records)

Belfast rockers Maverick continue their amazing momentum with the follow-up to their 2016 smashing release, 'Big Red', with, 'Cold Star Dancer' which is simply loaded with memorable adrenaline pumping guitar driven anthems. Comprised of, David Balfour on vocals, Ryan Balfour on guitar, Richie Diver - bass and  Jonathan Millar on drums. The album was produced by Neal Calderwood in the Manor Park Studios in Belfast. The new album sounds huge and is mixed clearly with great performances from all band members which is all then taken to a whole new level with awesome hook filled vocals and packed with of killer guitar solos. The entire album is pretty stunning but some highlights include the cracking opener, "Dusk/Cold Star Dancer", followed up by the riff intense movers,  "Myrmidon" and "Kiss Of Fire". The rest of album is highlighted by other rocking tracks like, "Goodbye", "Ex Machina" and "Seize The Day". David Balfour's vocals cut through nicely and Ryan Balfour's guitar playing energizes every track giving them extra attitude and swagger. While the rhythm section of Diver and Millar keep the whole unit grounded.I was curious to hear how the band would top, 2016's 'Big Red' and after listening to this new album,  I have to say, Maverick have exceeded my expectations. They have done it yet again and produced another amazing hard rock album with so much energy that it makes you feel like you're listening to one of the best live shows you've ever experienced. 'Cold Star Dancer' is a likely contender to be one of the best hard rock albums released this year and solidifies Maverick as one of the finest hard rock bands to come onto the scene.
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

CD REVIEW: CARVED IN ROCK by Merryweather Stark

CARVED IN ROCK by Merryweather Stark
(GMR Music Group)

Rock rock singer, bass player, Neil Merryweather (Space Rangers / Steve Miller / Lita Ford) and the multi talented guitarist Janne Stark (Mountain Of Power / Locomotive Breath / Overdrive / Constancia / Grand Design) come out swinging for the fences with their intense debut release, 'Carved In Rock', an album that will sends chills down your spine, I know it did mine as soon as I pressed play. This is the kind of album that can only be enjoyed one way, at MAXIMUM VOLUME! The intent is obvious from the start with the gut busting, "Irma la Douce",  opening the album leading into an intense voyage of riff city mayhem. As your listening experience intensifies with tracks like, "It Ain't Pretty", "We Gotta Own This Thing", "Give 'Em Hell", Boy", "Lay Your Body Down" and "Freedom to Love". One thing is certain if you want straight ahead in your face blues based rock that pulls no punches and will make you forget about anything that's ailing you; this album is just what the doctor ordered. Overall, the chemistry between Merryweather and Stark are like hand in glove. The musical interplay between the two is what one would expect from these two talented and veteran musicians. After listening to 'Carved In Rock' your ears will be ringing for days! Be prepared to be slayed!!
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Friday, February 2, 2018


(Purple Pyramid Records)

Kentucky based rockers Otis return with their sophomore effort, 'Eyes Of The Sun',  produced by Grammy winning Blues/Rock guitar great Paul Nelson (Johnny Winter, PNB).Serving up a serious dose southern flavored blues rock. Reminiscent of lots of southern/blue-based rock of the early seventies, with a lot of contemporary influences.
Otis is powered by Boone Froggett (vocals/guitar), Steve Jewell (guitar), John Seeley (bass) and Andrew Gilpin (drums). This album, is 100% solid. There isn't a track I don't like. The soul is so thick you can walk on it, the blues are so blue you could paint a park bench with them, the drive so heavy you could pound nails into the wall and still these guys have energy to spare. Album highlights include, the Allman Bros flavored swagger of, "Change", that opens the album.  The adrenaline driven, "Blind Hawg", "Home", "Shake You" and "Washed My Hands" with its ZZ Top vibe. 'Eye Of The Sun' all in all is a rock solid recording. Great music. solid vocals and great guitars. The songwriting is great and it definitely will set your foot tapping and blood pressure pumping for sure.  I don't know what more you could ask for...Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


(Steamhammer Records)

UK rock icons, Magnum are back with their 20th release, 'Lost On The Road To Eternity'. Another powerful effort and as soon as you press play and the opening riffs of "Peaches And Cream" fire out of your speakers you know you have a Magnum album. From Tony Clarkin's stimulating guitar work combined with Bob Catley's gritty and unique vocals proving that after all these years they still can rock out with the best of them. Other highlights include, "Show Me Your Hands", "Storm Baby", the title track, the lead off single, "Without Love", "Tell Me What You've Got To Say" and "Glory To Ashes", but all the songs are good and hit their marks. The production sounds organic and natural; clear and as perfect a rock sound as you would want. The quality of musicianship is on point and there is essences of classical sounds, with a imprint of that trademark Magnum vibe, strong musical corridors and a decent array of rock riffs sandwiched comfortably within a set of dynamic and well constructed songs. All in all, 'Lost On The Road To Eternity' is a premium rock album. Bob Cately's voice sounding better than ever with Tony Clarkin really pushing his vocals and Catley responding. Tony Clarkin's work on the guitar is stellar and solid as always. He is undoubtedly the most under-rated guitarist as well as under-rated songwriter in the UK, if not the world. If you ask me this album proves that Magnum deserve to be far better known than they are. Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Friday, January 19, 2018


(Grooveyard Records)

The real joy of Jimmy Ryan's latest release, '21st Century Riffology' is the fantastic music this amazing guitarist
paints. Wonderfully varied landscapes on this tour de force of amazing guitar playing and soaring music. Every track offers something different. The guitar playing and tone are astonishing, the sound quality is great. From the hard-rocking tracks like, "Speedloader", "Thor's Hammer", "Stompbox" to the mid tempo burners like, "Untamed" and "Ad Astra" to the slow burning bluesy sway of, "Stardust". Jimmy Ryan's mind blowingly virtuosic music is spellbinding.. His playing is brilliant and stays away from cliche's. That often means eccentric and hard to listen too tones and stylings. Not on this, it is different but a joy to listen too. Inspirational if you play the guitar yourself. Besides your jaw hitting your chest any number of times, this is very accessible guitar virtuosity. Jimmy Ryan is one of the best guitar players I have heard in a long time. He is out of this world talented and knows how to make his guitar sing. Overall, I think this recording displays a well assortment of different musical styles and gives us a taste of the genius that is Jimmy Ryan. '21st Century Riffology' is free of ego boosting trickery and concentrates on composition and content. This album is, simply put, awesome, and is a must for all rock music fans and especially those who are into guitar music. This is the album to have!
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


RE-COVERED by Mike Onesko
(Jib Machine Records)

Being a fan of Mike Onesko's work in Guitar Army and work with the Blindside Blues Band, I was excited to hear what he would bring to the table with his latest solo endeavor, 'Re-Covered', a 10 track reinterpretation of classic rock songs given that Onesko touch. Once I hit play, I was immediately reminded why I was so impressed by his guitar playing. Powerful guitar work that is an inspiring tribute to the masters like Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page. Onesko's playing just hits you right in the face and soars through your ear drums in a way only a seasoned guitarist deliver. 'Re-Covered'  is a testament of his prowess serving up his vision on  classic rock staples. The album opens with two fiery takes of the Robin Trower classics, "Day Of The Eagle" and "Bridge Of Sigh", followed up by a steaming take on the Steppenwolf's "Sookie Sookie" and from there its Mike Onesko putting on a guitar clinic on classics like, "Fire" (Arthur Brown)), "Eleanor Rigby" (Beatles), "Hey Joe" (Hendrix) and "Wishing Well"(Free).  Any blues or rock n' roll fan who hasn't heard of this amazing guitarist  is missing out on some hot music and even hotter guitar playing.  If you like the electric blues and the vintage sound from the past you should give this album a listen.  While 'Re-Discovered' is a covers album it a great way to, if you haven't yet, "Discover", Mike Onesko. His guitar playing is superb and he really puts feeling into the guitar. The ability to mix various influences into his style of blues and his talent on guitar is "Aces" in my book.
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society