Sunday, March 1, 2015

Blind Guardian - Beyond The Red Mirror

Band:Blind Guardian


Album:Beyond The Red Mirror


Date Released:Jan 30 2015



The Ninth Wave
Twilight Of The Gods
At The Edge Of Time
Ashes Of Eternity
The Holy Grail
The Throne
Sacred Mind
Miracle Machine
Grand Parade


Band Members:

Hansi Kürsch
André Olbrich
Marcus Siepen
Frederik Ehmke
Barend Courbois 


Formed:Mid 80's

Genre:Prog/Power Metal/Symphonic Metal


Label:Nuclear Blast


Quality & Originality:Blind Guardian has really put some serious time and effort keeping up there signature sound and song writing on ''Beyond The Red Mirror''. Hansi Kürsch & André Olbrich wrote a huge chunk of this release with Hansi Kürsch writing the lyrics. For this sound to reach the heights that it has on this album the band had Hungarian Studio Orchestra Budapest, FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague, Hungarian Studio Choir Budapest, FILMharmonic Choir Prague and Vox Futura Choir Boston all help get the magic of the backing vocals and amazing orchestra that is rich and damn vibrant. This is kinda a part two or a continuation of ''Imaginations from the other side'' released in 1995. Blind Guardian really did put one of there most significant albums to date with the sound, production and song writing as strong if not stronger then anything they have done to date!!!!!


My Opinion:This is the German metal mad men's tenth studio album. This is also the longest in between albums I can remember from Blind Guardian. It is no surprise they have flown to the top of there genre with great releases one right after another all resulting in a powerful presence. I think BTRM is or at least should be considered one of the best if not the best release the band has done to date with impressive production and song writing. Hansi never does a bad job with his returning magical voice that can do the roughest to the silky smooth all in the same second. This really is the best album that has come across my desk this year. I do not care if you are a Prog/Power fan or not you will rock this album out at a volume not meant for mortals ears!!!!


Overall & Favorites:The Ninth Wave, The Holy Grail, The Throne. The Red Mirror rocked my socks off to the tune of a 9.9/10 on such a brilliant freaking album!!!!!!





ISSA - Crossfire





Date Released:Feb 20 2015



New Horizon
Long Time Coming
Fight Fire With Rain
Electric Lights
Ghost Inside My Heart
Red Lights
We Rise
Only You


Band Members:

Issa - vocals and bv's
James Martin – Keyboards
Tom Martin - bass and Guitars
Michael Cruise – Drums

Steve Overland – Duet on Raintown 


Label:Frontiers Music Srl


Quality & Originality:Issa and her velvet sweet voice is back with her new album entitled Crossfire. The Norwegian beauty has taken her brilliant style of almost pop rock mixed with AOR and prog to a grand new level of a beautiful arrangements and melodies. The album was produced by John Greatwood & James Martin. Sessions started in early 2013 with a bunch of songs ISSA had co-written or demoed in the Martin Brothers songwriting sessions. Guest musicians include Daniel Palmqvist (XORIGIN), Alessandro Del Vecchio (HARDLINE), Steve Newman (NEWMAN), Robert Sall (WORK OF ART), Daniel Johansson (DEGREED), Stephen Chesney. As well as powerhouse choir including Pete Newdeck (IN FAITH/TAINTED NATION), Matt Black (FAHRAN) and Michael Kew (VEGA).


My Opinion:Issa has always been a hard artist to nail down for me cause she could have easily went for the full on pop road cause of her amazing voice but she stays just on this side of the rock road to blend into almost any style or genre she damn well pleases. ''Crossfire'' is easily my favorite album of this gifted singer cause she seems to have matured a bit in her singing and song writing giving just enough to melt any metal heads heart and soul. The duet Issa does with Steve Overland on the song ''Raintown'' is beautifully executed and performed almost taking a different approach then the rest of the songs on the album. If you are into pop to metal or prog to symphonic this is a great album that will satisfy your appetite for something pretty special.


Overall & Favorites:Raintown, Crossfire, Fight Fire With Rain. I give this beautifully talented singer a brilliant 8/10 for making another spectacular album!!!!


December Band Spotlight M.I.C

              January Band Spotlight M.I.C
Since the days of Elvis and The Beatles legions of people have flocked to guitars, basses, keyboards, drums to pay tribute to the bands that come before them or try to invent a new world all there own. This day in age there are so many genres in rock and metal that no matter what your taste is you can indulge yourself from bands all over the world. When most people think of rock they think of the British invasion or them classic rock bands from the United States. Yvon Serre and his band M.I.C has  been all over the world in one form or another showing there own take on rock from mixing funk and blues with a hint of classic rock mixed with enriched riffs and catchy hooks giving them a following from almost all continents. Yvon is such a great guy that always has time to talk music or day to day life with anyone that wants to talk. He is a family man always putting his family circle first in his life what is such a respectable thing cause in the music world that is not something that happens all the time. This months Band Spotlight is really special to me cause I have followed Yvon and been a fan of his band for a while now and being able to share his magic to you all is such a huge honor!!!!

                                                                                                            M.I.C 2013

Yvon for the readers that might have not heard of M.I.C tell us a bit of history on the band? 

It was 2004 when I decided to permanently move to China..I had been playing music in Canada with bands since the age of 11 and had taken a little break from the music scene in 2002. after playing the 55th Anniversary Of The Liberation Of Chengdu T.V. show in December of 2004 I though it was time to come back to the music scene..I formed the band M.I.C. in 2005, played locally in the Chengdu China (Population 10 million) for a few years before recording the first M.I.C. Album in 2008. Now 5 albums later and another album on the way we have been lucky enough to play many T.V. shows in China. One  show worthy   of mention is where M.I.C. represented the City of  Chengdu in 2007, being broadcast to millions across China. Following that 5 CDs  have  generated  considerable  airplay  across  Europe, particularly  in  Spain, Germany, Netherlands,  U.K.,  France,  Poland,  Belgium,  U.S.A, Canada  &  Japan. Other media  features  include  a  full-page interview in the 2010 Sep/Oct issue of Heavy Magazine Germany's most  prestigious  Metal/Rock publication. In  addition they have  been reviewed in other major European magazines and countless webzines around the world.

More recently, M.I.C. has opened shows for various renown Chinese Pop Stars, including  Wang  Feng, An Youqi  &  Xian  Zion  on  live TV  broadcasts. In August of 2011 M.I.C. Opened the show for famous Hong Kong band Beyond. .M.I.C. makes it on the Front page of the Entertainment section of Chengdu's Biggest  Newspaper...Chengdu is one of  the  top Cities in  China  with  a population  of  10  million  people. October 3rd The 8th International Tour Music  Festival &  on  October 4th M.I.C. Headline The East Chengdu Music Festival in Chengdu as well as doing many shows across China.

When did you decide to become a musician? What all instruments do you play?

It wasn't my decision really ..from when I can remember I always wanted to play music..It was an obsession.
I play Guitar, Bass..drums and keys..

                                                                  Yvon Serre rocking out!
Give us a run down of the members of the band and what they play?

The new line-up boasts new members Emilo Meleca on drums (Skip Tracer/Scarecrow), Dennis Papadatos on Bass (Tia Carrera, Liberty Silver, Natalie Cole,  Loverboy,  GOB,  Biff Naked, Dixie  Chicks,  Paul Brandt, Randy  Bachman) Silvio Potito on Keyboards (Perfect Strangers), and Mike O'Neil on backup Vocals and Guitar (Wednesday). Mike had a #1 Hit in Canada with "Last Kiss" back in 1974. The new album also includes special  guests Steve Skingley, on bass (Rik Emmit band, Triumph) and David Colin Burt on Guitar (CANO), plus lyrics on "LOVE HATE" by Jon Wilde (Bangalore Choir, Powerworld).

What is the band doing now any new music coming out?


We are currently in the studio recording M.I.C. 6th Sense - many new guests will appear on the new Album
due out spring/Summer 2015..

I have a few of your albums and the songs are always very strong and well structured what is your writing process when you are writing new songs?


Most of the time I scream my head off, play a few chords..until I like what I've got..then work at it until I'm satisfied.
Re work it if I think it's still good a few months later..sometimes I'll get a text from my co writer Jon Wilde..take my guitar and like magic music and Melodie will come out of me...

Lets talk gear a few, What is some of your favorite gear you use?

I've had, Les Pauls, Strats, Hiwatt etc..but at this point  I'm using my own custom guitars or cheap Chinese guitars I was able to buy in China..which play well..and a Digitech pedal ..ha ha ha..I'm not a Gear guy like you Jon..

                                                                                Yvon in China
What is some of your favorite bands and or music?

The Beatles will always be the top band for me..They're still blowing peoples minds second favorite is the Alice Cooper Band
I loved their music and the theatrics were out of this world..then there's the Who, Johnny Winter, Brownsville Station, Mott The Hoople and more..

You have toured some really amazing places and have been all around the world any certain tour or show stand out or any great stories to share about the road?

One time we were asked to play a show somewhere in China..The promoter told us to bring long cords for our instruments..
We show up at the gig and it turned out to be a stadium..The best shows were in never knew what venue you'd be playing until you got there..really a lot of fun..most of the times it was huge crowds..big stages..

I have seen some of the live video's on Youtube and you have such a spectacular stage presence do you have any shows or tours lined up for 2015 yet?

We've been asked to play a few shows already, but no dates have been confirmed yet..

                                                                                  M.I.C rocking out
The music world can be a bit brutal for them new bands that are just getting there feet wet any advice for them to help them get them rolling?

You're right the music business is brutal..I would say..Don't loose hope..when everything seems magic something appears in your life that gives you that extra boost you need to continue..History has shown that most bands that made it big ..became big because they stuck it out through thick and thin they worked hard..and of course they got lucky and found a good manager who worked even harder got them their first record deal..and after they became famous thought they made it because of their talent..that's what they heard from their groupies..ha ha ha..Ya need more than talent to make it..

If you was not doing MIC what do you think you would be doing?

I've though about quitting many times..then I start writing new songs then record a new album
Maybe someday a popular artist will choose one of my songs and have a big hit so I can make some real money..ha ha ha
I was lucky to have one of my song play on a Canadian T.V. show back in 2011, The series is still playing around the world in syndication.


                                                                                   Yvon striking a pose
Yvon is the ultimate front man winning people over at every show he has ever done. What makes Yvon so special is he is the real deal from the music to the lives he has touched he has that unforgettable presence about him that draws people to him. I cannot wait to see what the new line up and music brings for one of rocks hardest working musicians cause M.I.C has payed more dues in the years they have been together then any ten bands do in twice the time. If you are a fan of good ol Rock N Roll then this is a band you really need to give a chance with there positive upbeat songs and great hooks that are easily implanted in your head. Yvon also has other projects he does from his solo work and The Harry Straight Band there is plenty of his work out there for just about any fan!!

Links For Yvon & M.I.C
Yvon Serre Personal Facebook Page
M.I.C Facebook Page
Yvon Serre Website

I had to share this also it is a picture that Yvon make up for one of my radio shows I did a few years ago.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Voices Of Destiny - Crisis Cult

Band:Voices Of Destiny


Album:Crisis Cult


Date Released:Crisis Cult



The Easy Prey
To The Slaughter
21 Heroes
At The Edge
Under Control
The Great Hunt
Your Creation (Digipak Bonus)


Band Members:

Ada Flechtner
Chris Gutjahr
Lukas Palme
Jens Hartwig
Klaus Ackermann 



Genre:Epic/Goth Metal


Label:Massacre Records


Located:Ludwigsburg Germany


Quality & Originality:Crisis Cult is there third full release I think this band went into the studio really determined to blow the doors off anything they had done to date. I love what the band has done on this album they have almost re-invented themselves a bit. The songs are extremely well structured with Andy Horn at Red Room taking on the producing, mixing and mastering on this album. I have always felt this band to be really original in there songs and a tribute to there genre with this album taking them a notch higher with a bit more balance and structure to this now veteran band. The album has so much power and raw emotion that Andy was able to take what the band had written and make it one of the best yet!!!


My Opinion:I first listened to this band on there first full release and was hooked. I knew that they was going to rise up the ranks pretty fast with the amazing song writing and the production of there albums. With a new singer and drummer on board I think they have almost come full circle in some ways hitting the best yet from this band. I along with some of there fans was a bit worried when the word that Ada was coming on board but after about 30 seconds into listening to this I knew something special had happened. This band has proved themselves time and time again in the competitive world of music sharing the stage with the likes of Epica, Xandria and Arven. If you like the goth, symphonic or female fronted metal this is really a early 2015 must have album!!!! 


Overall & Favorites:Wolfpack, 21 Heros, To The Slaughter. I have to admit I am so brought in by Ada that I have to give this a solid 9/10. I like so many musicians would give anything to work with a female like her!! 


December 2014 Band Spotlight Chainfist

                   December Spotlight Artist Chainfist
Since the day of bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest the term ''Metal Music'' has become probably the most diverse of all genres. There is everything from rock, thrash, prog, death, goth, industrial and on and on opening the doors for bands that do not want to follow the FM popular bands or anyone else for that reason to do things there own way. The styles of ''Metal'' are so diverse depending on what country they are hailing from with some adding more keyboards or some choosing to down tune to the point it sounds like hell is opening up. Denmark native Chainfist decided to go there own way not following the FM sheep nor anyone else for that matter. They are a no non sense straight up in your face full on metal band with great melodic overtones. Chainfist almost sound like a mix of modern metal and prog mixed with a bit of classic rock thrown in for good luck. With heavy riffs and smooth well balanced leads a singer that knows when to turn on the heat and when to harmonize and last but not least a rhythm section that is about as tight as you can get. The band released there latest album called ''Scarred'' on October 6 2014. 

RBJ caught up with Mike Kopietz & Thomas Hvisel behind the massive guitars of the band!


For them that might not have heard of Chainfist lets roll on some basics.

When was the band formed, Where is the band from, Who are the members and what do they play?

MK: Chainfist started out back in 2007 in Slagelse. I came from the death metal scene and wanted to try some more down to earth groove rhythms. At that time I was really alone with the song writing. We tried all sorts of styles, which was to be found on our debut „Black Out Sunday“ from 2010. We just wanted to play live shows, getting the name out there, letting people know that we exist. And for Chainfist, and 2014, its like pedal to the metal, full speed ahead.

                                                                                                 Chainfist consist today of                         

Jackie Petersen- Vocal. Sm58 Microphone.

Thomas Hvisel- Lead Guitar. He plays Dean Razorback, Gibson les Paul Custom guitars,and uses Randall & Marshall amps, TC Electronic G-Major aso.

Braca Pedersen- Bass. He plays 4 and 5 strings Schecter bases. Warwick 450watts amp.

Jesper Heidelbach- Drums. Jesper plays Tama Starclassic performer.

Michael Kopietz- 2 Gibson Explorer, 1 Gibson Les Paul, 1 Silvertone ”KISS Paul Stanly Custom), TC Electronic 1140 Pre-amp/parametic EQ, TC Electronic G-Major and a Yamaha SPX900 Studio effect processor, with Korg rack-tuner. 1 HiWatt Custom 100Watt Power Amp. With some MesaBoogie Dual-Rectifier parts here and there…

The band released a new album not long ago called ''Scarred'' what was the writing process like on it?

TH:Well, we all had many ideas, but they were pointing in many directions. Mainly because of our different backgrounds and influences. But when we found what we had in common, we began to make some good riffs and Melody's. Some songs came out of nowhere, others needed a lot more work and attention.

MK: Yeah, it was and is a very creative process. Thomas and I are the ones providing the riffs, and ideas to the others, we all have to take out what we like and don’t like, present it to each other, and rewrite some of the shit again.

Where was ''Scarred'' recorded and who did the production on it?

MK: ''SCARRED“, was produced by Michael Hansen and the band, and it was recorded in two studios… We did the recordings of the guitars and bass in „Phon Studio“ with Michael Hansen from the danish band „Phonomik“ (Google it). And the drums and vocals was recorded in Jacob Hansen's studios ''Hansen Studios.“ Giving us to opportunity to use some more time, prerecording the songs first. Hard word I must say, but intense, spontaneous, and you can really hear the amount of energy that was put into this recording.

                                                                   Chainfist's new album entitled Scarred

Has the band done any video's for the album. If so how did the band decide what song or songs to make into a video?

TH: Yeah. We have made a lyric video for 1000 ways to bleed, you can find it here:

I guess the reason for this song, is that its one of the first we made together... and its a killer!

MK: It was pretty natural for us to pick out this one as Thomas say, this one was one of the songs that write itself, and really shows Chainfist from our strong side, not that the other songs doesn't, but check it out!

I have read that to really get a feel for Chainfist a person must see the band perform live is there any shows coming up and what do you think the band brings to the stage that makes them a must see?

TH:We have two shows coming up atm. 4 Dec. 2014 in Amagerbio – Supporting Pretty Maids, and 30 Jan. 2015 at Lygten Station in Denmark. Our Booker is preparing some more shows for us in 2015, so stay tuned for more updates regarding Tour.

A must see band, is something unique for you. But for me, its well played energetic heavy f**king metal!

MK: Basically all good music must be heard live. Live is where all the real magic happens, its were all the united metal heads stand together and the music comes to a new level of intensity!

I wanted to talk a second about the song ''Black Rebel Noise''. The band added a acoustic version of the song to the album what made the band decide to show a softer side?

TH: Well it was discussed a lot! laugh! But hell why not? who hates acoustic guitar?

MK: When the song was done as a promo track, Jackie put out my western guitar, and started playing the song as a ”Band camp” song… I was like… You know what, this is a radio song, promoting the band, in a acoustic kinda way. Well… We could do it, and we did, like or not, its there.

We are a music and gear blog so what bands are your favorites and inspired you to be a musician?

TH: I‘ll try to keep it short. Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimmy Hendrix and stuff. Later Judas Priest, W.A.S.P, Metallica, Death and Pantera.

MK: KISS has always been major icons for me, together with Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Testament, Pantera etc.

Like the last question a lot of the readers are gear whore's also what gear makes Chainfist rock n roll and is there a certain piece of gear you cannot live without?

TH: We are a metal band, so we need tons of CONTROLLED distortion! Huge amps, and cabinets. The more the merrier! I think my friend Michael kopietz would say he cant live without EMG pickups!

MK: True, my EMG’s these are a must for me, but not only this. I love heavy guitars like Gibson. Put some 012 strings on them, and just do those fast picks, and down strokes, then you can feel the love coming out of the speaker.

Where can people find Chainfist online and also pick up the new album?

MK: Jackie, just did a amazing job putting together our brand new web shop ( There you can buy all our products, hoodies, cd’s, mugs, tanktops… Check it out, pretty cool stuff there.

There are new bands starting in garage's and basements all over the world what words of wisdom would you give them from not just the band portion but the business side of being a band?

TH: I would say. Don't do it for the money, cause business is bad. Do it because you cant stop playing.

MK: I agree… Do it because you cannot live without it, do it because you feel at home, do it cause you feel as a person doing it. JUST DO IT, for the love of music.

Any last words to the amazing people reading this today?

THANK YOU for reading this! For more on Chainfist, check out our website or Facebook: – C-ya out there on stage, more to come from us.

Thomas and Michael – Axemen from Chainfist!

With so much music and bands following what is popular on the FM dial or following the latest fads there are still a few true to there roots bands like Chainfist left in this world. There is nothing fancy about what Chainfist does it is just right in your face metal done by people that believe in what they do and could not do anything else but rock the masses!!! If you get a chance to see them perform live I suggest you jump on it cause they promise to make it a show you will never forget.

We did a talk about there latest release entitled ''Scarred''

You can find Chainfist on the web or on facebook both

                                                                         Teaser for the album ''Scarred''

Monday, December 1, 2014

At The Gates - At War With Reality

  By Kris Martens

Band:At The Gates


Album:At War With Reality


Date Released:Oct 27 2014



El Altar Del Dios Desconocido
Death And The Labyrinth
At War With Reality
The Circular Ruins
Heroes And Tombs
The Conspiracy Of The Blind
Order From Chaos
The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)
The Head Of The Hydra
City Of Mirrors
Eater Of Gods
Upon Pillars Of Dust
The Night Eternal



Band Members:

Tomas Lindberg - Vocals
Anders Björler - Guitars
Jonas Björler - Bass
Martin Larsson - Guitars
Adrian Erlandsson - Drums



Genre:Death Metal


Label:Century Media Records


Quality & Originality:At the Gates are the original melodic death metal band. They are the originators of the Swedish melodic death metal sound. At war with reality picks up where the band left off when they disbanded in 1996. This album is amazing. The quality of the tracks is very high. Heavy as hell but highly melodic at the same time. This album is a thick slab of metal and one of the most anticipated metal albums of the year.
AWWR is an amazing follow up to the genre defining Slaughter of the Soul.


My Opinion:I have always felt that At the Gates were way ahead of their time. They are as relevant as ever and At War with Reality fits into the modern metal category. Bjorler's riffs are fantastic! The album ranges from really aggressive material to absolutely mind numbingly beautiful. The heavy riffs match well with the avant garde stuff and the leads are the best to date. I have always loved the contrast in styles that AtG play. Erlandson always seems to play the right beat for the tune. Lindberg is in top form and sounds like a possessed beast! You can really hear the passion he brings to the band.


Overall & Favorites:The circular ruins, At war with reality, the night eternal. I'm gonna rate this album at a 9/10. It is a great follow up to Slaughter of the Soul and as an old fan it is very satisfying.


In Faith - There's A Storm Coming

Band:In Faith


Album:There's A Storm Coming


Date Released:Oct 24 2014



Does If Feel Like Love
Church Of Rock n' Roll
Where I Wanna Be
If That's What Love Means
All Or Nothing
In Flames
Million Ways
Leave Me Now
Bitter End


Band Members:

Pete Godfrey

 Tony Marshall -Ex Contagious, Pride,Vaughn

Pete Newdeck -Tainted Nation, Newman, Ex Edens's Curse



Brooke St. James -Tyketto
Chris Green -Rubicon Cross, Ex Pride, Furyon
Pat Heath - Ex Furyon


Label:Rocktopia/Cargo Records


Promotion:Rock N Growl


Genre: Rock/Prog Rock/AOR


Quality & Originality:Before I had even listened to this album reading all about band to the guests and even the producer Pete Newdeck(Tainted Nation, Newman, Ex Eden's Curse)and Mastering By Harry Hess (Harem Scarem)I knew that this was going to be something really special. When I finally was able to give it a respectable listen I knew this was pure gold with a pure golden approach of a already amazing mixture of AOR and prog rock/metal. This is the real deal with originality overflowing from every song!!!!!!!


My Opinion:In Faith have come out of the gate swinging to make a lasting impression on fans of so many styles. I love the upbeat mix of 80's with a hit of rock and hard rock and a blast of prog and AOR. This is a brilliantly written album that really takes me back when people really cared about there music. With the resume of musicians that play on this album really shine into a brilliant collection of 11 songs just about anyone can fall in love with the first time listening!! My favorite part is the production on this album cause so many times in this style of music the keys or guitars are really dominate and this album is flawless with the mix giving all instruments a perfect home and place to flow the music!!!!


Overall & Favorites:Radio,Addicted, All Or Nothing. I give this album a 9/10 cause this album made me be totally In Faith just on the first listen!!!