Appice – Sinister

Appice – Sinister
Steamhammer/SPV
When the names of Carmine and Vinny Appice are spoken, it is easy to immediately have the word “power” come to the forefront of your consciousness. Because this family of rock drumming royalty has been driving the rhythm power plants of numerous legendary bands and musicians for nearly half a century. Now they have unleashed that power into a masterful CD of original works featuring a prodigious amount of insane drumming and so much more. “Sinister” explodes like the Tsar Bomba and doesn’t throttle back on the intensity throughout the thirteen tracks. The brothers enlist a plethora of highly-talented guest stars including vocalists Jim Crean, Paul Shortino, and Chas West; guitarists Craig Goldy, Bumblefoot, and Mick Sweda; bassists Tony Franklin and Phil Soussan; keyboardist Erik Norlander, among others. The songs range from full-ahead rock to subtly progressive works and face-melting metal. It is obvious that Carmine’s and Vinny’s talent runs much deeper than their drumming prowess…this has considering their cumulative previous works. The music is just flat-out phenomenal in every direction and easily competes with any hard rock or metal releases available today. Of course, there is plenty of stunning drum work from Carmine and Vinny, allowing their cohorts to unleash their musical strengths as well.  Rock and drumming fans: pay heed. This is a definite must-have CD/download. The Appice brothers have graced the rock world with some of the best and most dynamic beats here and we hope to see more excellent work like this in the near future.  – MW
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Jim Crean – Insatiable

Jim Crean – Insatiable
Rocker Records – RKR-1143
There is no denying that Jim Crean knows how to rock. A lot of his friends know this about him. That is why they are joining him on his latest potent release “Insatiable.” We are talking about friends like Mike Tramp, Frank DiMino, Tony Franklin, Phil Lewis, the late-great Jimmy Bain, the Appice brothers Carmine and Vinny, and many other well-known rockers. When you can rock like Jim and possess his songwriting talents, you can draw those kind of folks into your recording sessions. What Jim creates here is powerful magic – music that blends the perfect amount of seething intensities and melodic sensibilities. Take a song such as “Touch” for example: the grittiness of the powerful guitar snarl is nicely balanced by harmonic vocals and the right waft of hookiness. “Follow Your Heart” rips your head off with a relentless attack, but still snares your soul with fervent vocal passages. The quasi-ballad “Miss Me” has a kiss of prog rock leanings that has a comforting and epic feel to it. Jim also creates some excellent cover versions from bands his cohorts on the recording were members of including exciting takes on the L.A. Guns nugget “Over The Edge” and Dio’s “Caught In The Middle” featuring one of the last studio appearances of bassist Jimmy Bain. Jim’s talents are firing on all cylinders from his sonic but melodic vocal pyrotechnics to his prolific songwriting capabilities. This is pure hard rock at its finest, proving once again that Jim Crean is more than up to the task of rocking at the same high level of some of the best in the business. – MW

King Kobra – King Kobra II

King Kobra – King Kobra II
Frontiers Records
This album by hard rocking supergroup King Kobra, a somewhat overlooked band that was a lot better than many bands back in the day, still rocks a lot harder now than many of their contemporaries. Perhaps it’s because of the reunion of four of the original members; guitarists David Michael-Philips and Mick Sweda, bassist Johnny Rod, and drumming legend/founder Carmine Appice. Enlisting the prodigious vocal talents of Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot), the power is unleashed full throttle from the first chords of “Hell On Wheels” and does not let up throughout the CD. Songs like “Have A Good Time” and “The Crunch” are good time hard rock party tunes. “Don’t Keep Me Waiting” is one of those fist pumping songs that will test how many calcium deposits you have in your neck. “Take Me Back” is a blues-edged power ballad that flat out scorches. Definitely not a band short on talented players, the boys are all in top form here, with plenty of powerful riffs, blistering solos, thundering rhythms and soaring but gritty vocal work. It is an effort that makes you hope there will be more to come from these guys, because none have them have lost their ability to flat out rock. – MW
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Official-King-Kobra/270854497159

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Tune In To MIND Radio: A tribute to multi-talented vocalist Kelly Keeling

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For those who don’t know of Kelly Keeling, he is one of those journeymen rock vocalists who has immense talent but has not always received the recognition he deserves. “Tune In To Mind Radio” tributes Keeling with an eclectic collection of songs that nod to another faucet of Keeling’s abilities – his prolific songwriting. “Perfect Day” originally featured on “Carmine Appice’s Guitar Zeus” kicks off the CD with an edgier alt-rock slant arranged by Atlanta based Anthony Z’sler, and features the original Guitar Zeus rhythm tandem of Appice and bassist Tony Franklin. “Rising of the Snake”, originally from Keeling’s solo CD “Giving Sight To The Eye”, retains the hard-hitting, metal-grunge punch fueled by vocalist/guitarist Park Sipes of NC based band Sunset Strip. “Free”, with the original version making an appearance in the indie movie “Kill Speed”, is a powerful acoustic ballad interpreted by North Carolinian Marty Paris (Barbarian Way), who also recorded the Paris Keeling project with Keeling. There are also three wonderful instrumental takes of Keeling’s works here. “Morning Song” is turned into a stunningly beautiful piano ballad by veteran new age pianist Jeffrey Michael. Greg “Cos” Cerenzia cranks up a hard rocking take on “In And Out of Time” that shows excellent guitar work without being too flashy. New age guitarist Dominic Gaudious contributes his own originally written tribute “Hombre Salvaje,” a rocking, funky repast with just the right touch of didjeridoo. This highly enjoyable collection of songs is a great tribute to Keeling as it is itself a microcosm of the eclectic songwriting styles and deep pool of talents he possesses. Any fan of Kelly Keeling should love this, as well as fans of the musicians who performed on it, and people who just love good, highly listenable songs from multiple genres. http://www.facebook.com/kellykeelingmusic; http://www.kellykeeling.net – MW

On iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tune-in-to-mind-radio-tribute/id580716059