Before I get into the review, I want to note that I did not pay for this CD, it was sent to me. However, it wasn’t sent by the band or even any PR team, but by the Mighty Mike Ladano as a gift because he thought I would like it (very cool of him…thanks Mike!). He knows the band though so I guess he is their PR guy. I hope he is getting paid. Anyway, the review set forth is my honest take on the album.
Max the Axe is a Canadian band out of Kitchener, Ontario (yeah, I don’t know where that is either). The songs are filled with some gritty, distorted guitars and the lyrics at times have a slight comedic flare which makes me think that this band is the bastard child of Black Sabbath and Barenaked Ladies.
Mike “Max” Koutis – guitar
Eric Litwiller – vocals
Dave Haslam – drums
Mike “Mitch” Mitchell on bass.
When the band shined was when they were completely in beast mode with the songs “River Grand” and “Scales of Justice”. The guitar work was outstanding with the distortion and the drum fills were great. “Scales of Justice” was an epic song at over 6 minutes and some of the best riffs. What might be my favorite song off the album is “Sick of Living”. The band slays it in what I thought sounded like a mix of Sabbath and Priest. The guitar solo was one of the best on the album and that scream was so rock & roll.
How can a band so new get its own Memes collection? Well, because it is my site and I can feature anyone. I tried not to make it all Led Zeppelin comparisons and its not, but there are a lot. I hope you still enjoy it.
I was walking through an Antique Mall as my daughter had found another great place to buy used vinyl. We came to a booth that didn’t have a ton of books, but there was one book there that immediately caught my eye. It was the Gene Simmons’ autobiography called “Kiss and Make-Up”. I had not read yet, so I grabbed it. And at only $5, it was a steal.
And what did I think? It was okay. It was an easy read, but there was really nothing surprising or earth shattering. I did forget he dated Diana Ross, but I knew about Cher so no shocker. I had forgotten about some of the movies he did, but not ‘Runaway’ as I loved that one.
It was interesting to read about his childhood as it did explain a lot about who he is and why he is the way he is. Gene is definitely full of himself and you know what, that is okay. He knows it and I was worried I would like him even less after reading this, but I didn’t. I actually like a little more. I feel I understand him a little more.
For My Sunday Song #128, the instrumental this week is the great “Frankenstein” by The Edgar Winter Group. The song was off the band’s 1972 album ‘They Only Come Out at Night’ and went all the way to #1 for one week in May 1973. The song sold over a million copies and you probably know it and don’t even realize it.
The title of “Frankenstein” is interesting. The title came from the fact the song was pieced together from a very long version of the song as the band would often just jam. So pieces from that jam were spliced together to form the 4 minute album version. It sounds seamless, but the song is an amalgamation of so many different sounds and styles from funk to progressive rock to just plain experimentation. It is a monster for sure.
Speaking of monster, what a monster line-up on this song. You have Dan Hartman on bass, Chuck Ruff on drums, Ronnie Montrose on guitar and Edgar Winter synthesizers and keyboards as well as Rick Derringer producing the song. What a fine group of musicians.
Back to the song, the song is also famous for the double drum solo between Chuck Ruff and Edgar Winter. Chuck on the drums and Edgar playing a set of timbales. It really adds to the song. And don’t forget all the synthesizers music, sound and whatever strange noises were being made. It was just such a weird song sandwiched in between those awesome Montrose guitar riffs. And Ronnie Montrose is a beast on this one.
Now we are in to full swing in the new year. The albums are starting to come out and today we have a long list of releases. There will hopefully be something for everyone. There are bunch I am interested in, but might not necessarily buy right now. They will be streamed to start with and I will pick up the ones I like the best. My choices are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you like or are interested in. Thanks and have a great musical weekend.
Starbreaker – Dysphoria – (Frontiers Records): Tony Harnell and Magnus Karlsson team up again with the band’s third album and first in over 11 years…damn…way too long. It is metal, it is hard rock and it is usually great. Can’t wait to hear this one.
Rival Sons – Feral Roots – (Atlantic Records): Rival Sons are one of those bands you just fall in love with immediately when you hear them. Now on their 6th studio album they just keep getting better. They are straight up rock & roll with a heavy blues influence and worth a listen. Give them a try.
For this installment of The Original Vs. The Cover, we are discussing the classic Aretha Franklin song “Respect” which is actually a cover of the song originally written and performed by Otis Redding just two years earlier. The Otis Redding song was written for Speedo Sims and his band the Singing Demons, but they were unable to find the sound they liked and so Otis decided to sing the song.
The song came out in 1965 and went to the Top 5 on the Black Charts, but actually crossed-over to the pop charts where it reached #35. It was one of a couple songs that crossed-over for Otis. The Redding version is about a man’s plea to his woman to show him some respect for bringing home the bacon. He could care less if she does him wrong, but just wants his due from her.
In looking through his roster of musicians, he had a couple that stood out for me. There were two keyboard players on the song, one goes by the name Booker T. Jones and the other is Isaac Hayes. The rest of the band were all Booker T. & the MG’s band members except for the horn section, they were not part of Booker’s band.
I normally don’t do Country, but I’ll do Carrie Underwood…wait that sounds really bad. It’s true, but not what I meant. I will do a collection of memes on Carrie Underwood. She deserves, plus she threatened to beat the shit out of my car is I didn’t. So, I hope you enjoy them.
Norwegian rocker, Jorn Lande, turned 50 this year and to celebrate that fact, Frontiers Records released a collection of 9 of his studio albums and three bonus discs. That is 12 disc in all for a very reasonable price of about $60 ($5 per CD). I will take that deal any day!
Jorn’s voice is so powerful and he could hold is own with some of the more well known vocalist out there. When he sings, he does sound almost exactly like David Coverdale of Whitesnake. And when he covers any Whitesnake song, the resemblance is uncanny. That is probably why I like him so much as I am huge Whitesnake fan.
Frontiers does a great job with the set. The box is real sturdy and should hold up well for years. Each CD is packaged in a cardboard sleeve that looks like the original CD and includes the original CD booklet as well. Sometimes sets have left that piece out. The CD itself looks like a small vinyl replica which seems to be a trend for some box sets (The Kip Winger Set did that as well). It is a nicely packaged set.
For My Sunday Song #127, I am covering the instrumental classic Steve Vai song “For the Love of God”. The song is off his 1990 album ‘Passion and Warfare’ which was my first Steve Vai album. After hearing him play with David Lee Roth and with Whitesnake, I was a huge fan of his and had to have this on CD.
The song has this dreamlike feel to it as if it is floating around you in the heavens. It is strange and wonderful all at the same time. His playing is exceptional and out of this world. Per Wikipedia…
Vai recorded the track on the fourth day of a ten-day fast. During an interview, he explained, “I do try to push myself into relatively altered states of consciousness. Because in those states you can come up with things that are unique even for yourself”.
The song goes on for over 6 minutes and actually ends with some spoken words. Those words are spoken by David Coverdale and are “Walking the fine line between Pagan and Christian.” So, does this still count as an instrumental? Yes, it most certainly does.
Last week did not have a bunch of releases and this week isn’t that much better, but there are at least more than last week. And there are a few I am actually interested in giving a spin. Those will be highlighted in Blue. There are a lot of Metal releases for those that like it a little bit harder than the rest. Hopefully there is something that will interest everyone. Let me know what you like or what I might have missed. Thanks and have a great weekend.
Switchfoot – Native Tongue – (Fantasy Records): The Christian/Alternative band is back with their 11th Studio album. I came across the band back in 2003 with their 4th album ‘The Beautiful Letdown” and have been a fan since. They can be pop, rock and sometimes even a beachy California Surf feel, but they are always consistent and the songs have a great message or story. I love Jon Foreman’s voice and I usually find very little wrong with their music. Give them a try.
Papa Roach – Who Do You Trust? – (Eleven Seven Records): After less than 2 years since their last release, ‘Crooked Teeth’, Papa Roach are storming back on the scene. I like it when bands don’t wait the obligatory 2-3 years for new music. The last one was great so hoping for more of the same.