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Under the Lights

XIII-Devil’s Dozen

At the time, we were celebrating the twelfth release of the musical brainchild of Andre Andersen—“Royal Hunt”, a group that I have listened to and admired since their beginning in 1989.  Just over two years ago, I was able to catch up with Mr. Andersen for the following interview, in which we dealt with then new album-“A Life To Die For”.  We spoke of expanding the boundaries, melting classical and modern musical signatures-but still staying on top of the Metal Mountain.  So, first here is a recap of that interview, and the Review of that very album:

Bruce Atkinson: Andre, when we talked last, “Show Me How To Live” was just about to be released. You were re-united with DC Cooper and he returns on this new work. Going into this session, were you more comfortable in what you were about to create, knowing that you were about to expand the boundaries?

Andre Andersen: I´d say so as it´s always easier to work with the stable line-up: you know what to expect from people, you know their strong sides and general preferences.

BA: Speaking of expanding the boundaries, you are taking the group to a higher level, with expressing yourself more completely in the symphonic area.  Any unique challenges in this regard?

AA: The main one being working with classical musicians and incorporating them into our songs/arrangements; some things just took more time to achieve.

BA: When composing, I know that you keep in mind that the members of Royal Hunt are their own musical personality. How do you accomplish maintaining yours and their musical personalities in the finished creation?

AA: It´s a natural situation for me: I write as I always do and as I´m starting with arrangements I penning everybody´s parts according to their preferences (which I know pretty well by now). Of course we´ll change some bits here and there while recording in order to fit everybody´s style even better, but so far – nothing major.

BA: In our last interview, Andre, you identified a Vision that you and the group have held for several years. Are you still holding to that Vision, or have you found it a tad more difficult in our trying times?

AA: It´s getting harder every year, but look at us today: new album, new tour… We´re still around.

BA: Again, with this album… There are of course, some very strong lyrical statements, including the title of the album itself: “A Life To Die For”. Do you find it harder writing, or are the times we live in stand as a source of inspiration?

AA: The inspiration is everywhere, you just have to look for it… a book, a movie, a headline in the newspaper, a personal event – there´re plenty of issues to be inspired by.

As mentioned in the above interview Andre Andersen continued to work on the Vision he had and still has for “Royal Hunt”…and “A Life To Die For” is a recorded testament to the success he has had.

ROYAL HUNT - A Life to Die For

(Frontiers Records)

The twelfth studio album from perhaps the best Symphonic Melodic rock ensemble: Royal Hunt’s “A Life to Die For” is just that, music to die for! It begins with the paradoxical “Hell Comes Down From Heaven” and epically takes off from there! A complete lyrical & musical masterstroke from Andre Andersen and friends. This five piece have outdone themselves, and I think I said that in my review of

their “Show Me How To Live” opus, but this time they absolutely have! It doesn’t matter if we are talking about Jonas’ guitars, the pounding yet melodic Bass of Andreas’ or Allan’s precise and hard

hitting percussion… Andre & DC Cooper are surrounded by a magnificent team of players. Twelve, historically a number that represents completeness and fullness… Royal Hunt’s twelfth studio expression is utterly complete & with musical excursions that are full to the brim! Bruce Atkinson (91/100)

 

In last week’s column, I made mention of “Royal Hunt’s new upcoming release.  August will see the International release of “XIII-Devil’s Dozen”, and as we spoke of in the interview, Andre Andersen is still capable of creating magical potions from Classical, Symphonic Hard Rock and with hard hitting lyrical subject matter.  Each piece is  crafted, and he also holds his team together, with DC Cooper returning on Vocals and Jonas on guitars.  The new album promises to go a few steps further than “A Life To Die For”, and with twists in the musical stories.  Titles such as “Riches To Rags”, “So Right So Wrong”, and “A Tear In The Rain” should prepare you for some very exciting listening and thinking!

Yes, I’m proud to say I have a Review assignment for this the group’s thirteenth studio release, one that I’m looking forward to totally immersing myself in—but that is the only way you can listen to “Royal Hunt”—a Symphonic Metal group that are totally captivating!


Under The Lights
Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    The Goods:  July 3rd & July 4th   Rumble 100:  July 9th   Uptown 10:  July 10th & July 11th  Zamboni Brothers:  July 16th  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  July 17th & 18th

The Barking Parrot (Penticton):  Bob Bricker-Joey Richards & Paul Gibbons:  July 1st  & July 2nd    Paul Gibbons:  July 4th

Dream Café:  Jim Byrnes:  July 10th & July 11th

Fernando’s Pub:  Dead Fibres/Father’s Lungs/Sugar Coated Killers:  July 8th   Drew Rouse:  July 11th                 Surf Dads:  July 14th

Music In The Park (Riverside Park)  Highlighted Events—Kingpins: July 4th   Gary Comeau & Cannery Row:  July 5th  Mike MacKenzie Blues Band: July 9th  Wild T & The Spirit Blues:  July 14th (complete line-up under Castanet Events: Concerts)

OK Corral Night Club:  The Tumbling Dice:  July 3rd

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Rumble 100:  July 3rd & July 4th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:  Aerosmith:   July 13th  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Journey:   July 10th   Brit Floyd:  (it is the closet to the real thing)   August 12th    “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th    Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 



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It's gonna get heavy

They have grown…from a boutique label to a dominant entity within the world-wide music industry!  Whether it is the uncanny talent of putting certain musicians together or just recognising the fact that veteran musicians still have a lot to sing and play…Frontiers Records have become the label of distinction for Adult Oriented Rock and Melodic Rock genres.  They have created an atmosphere of creativity and approached each Artist and, consequently, each release with deep senses of loyalty and longevity.  Below are some of the Summer fruits of their collective labours:

A favourite band of mine, “Royal Hunt” are about to re-surface with their thirteenth studio offering!  “The Devil’s Dozen” will be released worldwide this coming August!  The group is still led by Andre Andersen, an extraordinary keyboardist and songwriter.  This new release will see a more progressive vein in the music, but those heavy hitting sonic blasts are still there as well!  So, it is about to get heavy this August!

A group that I had the honour of reviewing their first release, “The Murder Of My Sweet” are back with their second release this Summer.  This fantastic Swedish Symphonic Metal group are returning with a concept album like no other!  The subject matter is heady, and will meet with some controversy; however that is how these musicians roll!  Again, being released in August, keep your eye out for “Beth Out Of Hell”…it is not what you may think!

Another great band that fans have been waiting for is “Lynch Mob”.  Finally Mr. Lynch and Mr. Logan are releasing another epic rocker, “Rebel” will undoubtedly burn up the Rock Charts in August and getting us set for their blistering tour in the Autumn of 2015.  And just for us that want to know, this is “Lynch Mob’s” eight studio album!

Now, I’m not sure if this is a result of Serefino’s, (President of Frontiers), talent of putting diverse musicians together or not…but former Stratovarius member, Timo Tolkki has teamed up with extraordinary singer Caterina Nix once again and will be revealing to the world the self-titled “Chaos Magic”…the debut, due out in the latter part of July.  Chilean native Caterina has worked with Timo before, with his own “Avalon” operatic project.  Now, with this release, it is a musical entity built around this extraordinary vocalist and one that is sure to make a positive impact across the musical horizon!

Dare I say, that there is a lot more in the Frontiers musical cannon!  Watch this space for future releases….


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Linus:  June 25th & 27th   The Goods:  June 26th   Zamboni Brothers: July 2nd  The Goods:  July 3rd & July 4th   Rumble 100:  July 9th   Uptown 10:  July 10th & July 11th

The Barking Parrot (Penticton):  Gord McLaren:  June 26th & 27th   Bob Bricker-Joey Richards & Paul Gibbons:  July 1st  & July 2nd    Paul Gibbons:  July 4th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Paperboy And The Messengers:  June 26th

Dream Café:  Steve Hill:  June 27th   Jim Byrnes:  July 10th & July 11th

The Green (Vernon):  Bluesfoot:  June 26th & 27th

Minstrel Café & Bar:  The Rowdymen:  June 27th

OK Corral Night Club:  The Tumbling Dice:  July 3rd

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  June 26th  &  27th    Million Dollar Question:  July 1st (Canada Day—All Day Party!)   Rumble 100:  July 3rd & July 4th

Notable Concerts:   

Canada Day Celebrations-Kelowna:  Waterfront Park:  (beginning @ 12:30pm)                               NFA Rock Dance Band—Lefty—Poppa Dawg—Wheelhouse—Raft Of The Medusa—Hip Replacements—One Night Only—The Fronts—Jesse Roper Band—                                                     Please note:  Many more activities and events throughout the city, for full events schedule please go to: www.festivalskelowna.com  and click on the Canada Day link!

Prospera  Place:  Aerosmith:   July 13th  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Journey:   July 10th   Brit Floyd:  (it is the closet to the real thing)   August 12th    “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th    Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th

Vernon Funtastic Festival:  (Various Venues):   June 26th/27th/28th/29th:   Featuring: Biff Naked—Steve Hill—Moist—Monomyth—plus more!

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....



Human Era

With a new lease on life, “Trixter” are back!  Steve Brown welcomes all of us back to the “Human Era”….

Question: From the release of the last album, you have toured extensively…When did you guys settle down to begin writing the new record?

Answer: After the overwhelming response to NEW AUDIO MACHINE we got a new found confidence and sense of power knowing that we made a great record. I started writing while we were on tour and after "FOR YOU" "GOOD TIMES NOW" and "MIDNIGHT IN YOUR EYES" were produced I knew we had the goods for a new TRIXTER cd better than our last… Welcome "HUMAN ERA".

Q: With “New Audio Machine”, you assembled a great production team that helped you with the production, is it the same here, you being the main producer and enlisting the talents of others to assist?

A: Yes, Chuck Alkazian (Soundgarden, Pop Evil, Kid Rock) mixed a few songs, Pete Evick (Paramore, Bret Michaels) mixed the stellar ballad "BEATS ME UP" and TOMMY KESSLER from BLONDIE mixed “MIDNIGHT IN YOUR EYES”. I love surrounding myself with people who really care about the music and making it sound the best it can be. PJ Farley co produced as well.

Q: Now, whether you like the term or not, Trixter are becoming veterans in this crazy world of Rock! To me that is a good thing, for over twenty some odd years, you and the lads have rocked us with a Capital “R”. What is your secret?

A: Ha ha…Yeah wild to think that we are a CLASSIC ROCK band, but I'll take it. We are blessed to be able to this still.  We are the ALL ORIGINAL band which makes it extra special. We are a band of best friends and brothers. It’s awesome!

Q: Going back to the new record, “Human Era” first, has any of the material come from the “New Audio Machine” sessions?

A: No, but there are some older tracks like "NOT LIKE ALL THE REST" and our first single "ROCKIN' TO THE EDGE OF THE NIGHT" which was written back in 1987 and I reworked it to be a new TRIXTER classic like GIVE IT TO ME GOOD.

Q: Why the name “Human Era” and does it have a special meaning to you?

A: PJ came up with the concept. It goes back to when we started as a band. When there were no cell phones, computers, social media… You had Human contact and had to deal issues face to face. As much as we all love technology it has taken away from positive personal interaction.

Q: Please go through some of the recording process and the sessions.  Have you done anything different?

A: We record all the music and backing vocals here in New Jersey at my studio MOJO VEGAS… Pete does his vocals in Arizona at his house. He then DROPBOXES his vocal tracks to me. We have a really wonderful system for making records. It shows in the end result.

Q: Trixter are obviously a road band… So fill us in on your touring plans for the Summer / Fall period.

A: Oh yeah ..We have about 15 dates booked so far all across the USA and we hope to finally play Europe and go back to JAPAN.

Q: “New Audio Machine” came out on the Frontiers label, and so is “Human

Era”. It seems that you are getting a lot of support from the label…

A: Serafino Perugino and the Frontiers camp have been great to us. They really give their all for us and the fans to get our music out there.

 

TRIXTER “Human Era”

    (Frontiers Music s.r.l.)

A couple of years ago I was privileged to have the assignment of reviewing what was the comeback album of “Trixter”, “New Audio Machine”. Now here we are agin-2015-and “Trixter” are celebrating the “Human Era” with a scorcher of an album! All cylinders are popping on this one! Opening up with “Rockin’ To The Edge Of The Night”, the boys go all-out delivering that energised Hard Rock sound that we all love! And they don’t let-up! But, what’d we expect? Songs like “Crash That Party”, “Good Ties Now”, and “All Night Long” certainly tell us that each member is putting their heart and soul into each jaunt and singing those famous ‘trick of the phrase’s as well! “Human Era” finds the group at the top of their collective rocking game! Twin guitars flying, pulsating and pounding rhythms and nasty, yet soaring vocals! Each track is a stellar rocked out sound experience. Tight as tight can be, this band is amazing!  Raucous slices of anthemic rockers and some slow tempo songs as well! Topping this off, “Trixter” are hitting the road once again! Hopefully headline as well, as if they are opening, then they will just blow whomever

off the stage and steal the show! That is how strong a rocker “Human Era” is! This Summer celebrate the human era with none other than “Trixter”! BA (91/100)

Although released two years ago, this Masterpiece is perhaps Kenny Shields’ best kept secret!  “Letting Go” is Kenny’s latest release…here is a sample of that pure and unique voice and phrasing….


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Zamboni Brothers:  June 18th 19th &  20th  Linus:  June 25th & 27th   The Goods:  June 26th

The Barking Parrot (Penticton):  Steve Jones:  June 19th -20th & 21st   Gord McLaren:  June 26th & 27th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Great White North:  June 19th   Paperboy And The Messengers:  June 26th

Dream Café:  Harpdog Brown & The Travelin’ Blues Show:  June 26th    Steve Hill:  June 27th

Minstrel Café & Bar:  The Rowdymen:  June 27th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Linus:  June 19th & 20th   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  June 26th  &  27th    Million Dollar Question:  July 1st (Canada Day—All Day Party!)

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:  Aerosmith:   July 13th  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Journey:   July 10th   Brit Floyd:  (it is the closet to the real thing)   August 12th    “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th    Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th

Vernon Funtastic Festival:  (Various Venues):   June 26th/27th/28th/29th:   Featuring: Biff Naked—Steve Hill—Moist—Monomyth—plus more!

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 





True Disciples part 2

Back in May, I introduced the progressive rock sounds of one die hard group, “Pyramaze”, under the heading of “True Disciples”…in part here is some of what was written:

They are labelled a ‘Power-Melodic Metal’ band, but this group of dedicated musicians really defy all categories.  Recently, I was assigned to look in to this group and review their fourth album release “Disciples Of The Sun”.  What I found was a group of dedicated and passionate musicians that are true to their cause, and willing participants to a musical vision that goes far beyond any of the individuals involved.…..“Disciples Of The Sun” may be the beginning of a new chapter for this group of hard working and dedicated musicians, and only time will tell.  The album is a very powerful statement musically, and also displays not only the oft mentioned passion of the members of the group, but their undying dedication to a vision that was born back in 2002!  The picture painted here, with this group is one that shows musicians that partake in something larger than themselves, and even though they are seemingly only passing through—while they are there, they are contributing fully to a vision, ”Pyramaze”  is truly a band—one with many faces and one with extraordinary talent!

Now, when I wrote that piece, I was anxiously waiting on answers to some questions from Terje Haroy, the newest member of this struggling group—herein is a story of struggle, perseverance and ultimately triumph!  All very good lessons for aspiring musicians!  So, let’s have Terje tell us the story:

Question: I would like to begin with the current line-up; it seems that there has been much upheaval in the band of late…

Answer: Well, this has been going on for a couple of years, in fact since Matt Barlow left back in 2008. Urban Breed was then the vocalist for the tour the band did with Volbeat in 2008, but Michael Kammeyer (band founder and guitarist) left shortly after the tour and so did bass player Niels Kvist. The band then recruited Jacob Hansen as their guitarist, but Urban Breed felt he was being too busy with other bands and projects, so he quit, and Jacob got hold of me. We met during the mix of our 2nd Teodor Tuff (now CROSSNAIL) album at Jacob's studio, so we were already friends, and when he approached me with the offer to join Pyramaze, I couldn't turn it down. I heard a couple of songs, and the material was very good.

Q: You joined Pyramaze in 2013, and have had two years with the group… So it must be very fulfilling to have completed such a strong musical statement in “Disciples Of The Sun”…

A: Thank you! When I joined, most of the music was already written, but we worked together (with the addition of Henrik Fevre as lyricist and co-writer) on the melodies in the studio, me and Jacob, and it went really smooth. Yes, it is very fulfilling! I tried to do my best for the songs, and it came out really, really strong, also because the guys know what they're doing!  And I really think the whole album is very strong. There's a variety that is important, and we change pace here and there so it goes from really heavy to almost atmospheric. I really like that in an album. It makes me proud.

Q: With all that has been going on around the band, has it been hard to keep the original vision of the group intact?

A: Well, yes and no. I think we wanted to do something new anyway. An updated version of Pyramaze. It was inevitable with the new songwriters and the new line-up, but I really don't think the band has suffered from the change.  Quite the opposite in fact. It felt like it was time to bring in some new, fresh blood, and you can hear that in the songs. Everybody wanted to do their best and show the world that we're a force to be reckoned with. Michael Kammeyer was so kind to let us continue everything like we wanted, since there's still 2 members from the debut, Morten and Jonah, and Toke came in on "Legend Of The Bone Carver", so the core of the band is somehow intact.

Q: Listening to the album, is there any song or songs that are expressing some of the past difficulties?

A: I think in a way they all are. If you want, you can read that into every song. Our feelings making this record and struggling with past troubles shines through, I think, but in a very positive way. I mean, when I listen to the album and the songs, it puts a smile to my face, as it's all good memories from recording the vocals.  It was summer, green leaves everywhere and we enjoyed every minute of it. It felt like there was this extremely positive aura around the band and members. They were so happy that finally this was happening, and everybody was having a great time.

Q: Again, listening to the new material, one would not think that some of you are almost brand new to the fold. It sounds like you have playing together for a long time!

A: We're pros, haha. These guys are all great musicians, and as far as I understand, Jacob (guitars) has been working with Morten (drums) on several occasions, and they all know each other from way back. Jacob recorded and mixed Michael Kammeyers first demo almost 15 years ago, so the whole band was not new to each other. Also, I was guided very well by both Henrik Fevre (Anubis Gate), who was on the phone + Skype and Jacob who's great at what he does. It came out as one solid unit, which is great.

Q: As I write these questions, I am indeed listening to this new Recorded Work, and I don’t mind telling you that the passion of each member is so dominant! While recording, the sessions must have been just as intense…

A: Indeed! Toke, Morten and Jacob went into the studio with I think 5 songs almost ready, and they just went nuts writing and working on the songs, and having a good time. Every time a song was done, they recorded the drums when it was fresh in memory and did more or less first takes on the drums. Morten is a monster, haha! And what they wanted to do, was capture the intense and positive energy, and get that onto tape, which I think went very well.  I think you can tell that here's a band who loves to play these songs! They did the basic recordings as well as writing in 1 week...

Q: So, is “Disciples Of The Sun” more of a solidarity statement from you, the band members?

A: I think so. It's definitely a band achievement.  There's not just 1 person who's behind this or responsible of making this happen. It's very much a collective spirit.

Q: Do all of you contribute to the music or are there distinct songwriters and composers in the band?

A: It's mainly Jacob, Toke and Jonah who's writing, but everybody has a say, and I will

come with ideas here and there as well. I think on the next one it'll be even more, as I am growing accustomed to how things are done and how they write.

 

PYRAMAZE  “Disciples Of The Sun”

(Ulterium Records)

This Pyramaze’s fourth album is a definite Work of labour, love and passion! The group has succeeded in creating a masterful body of work that will eclipse that of “Immortal”. Staying true to the original concepts, having that passion grow stronger, and the Talent combined progressing as well—this effort is perhaps more varied than the previous three. “Disciples Of The Sun” is a collection of twelve forcefully executed symphonic musical rivers that swell to create an immense ocean of sound.

A fantastical set of stories set to song! In this release those present are performing with all of their being! Although a journey that began back in 2002 and has experienced many changes, the one constant is the musical vision of true melodic modern classical expressions. This constant is front and centre in “Disciples Of The Sun” and each member of the group-past and present, are brothers in this epic journey! A most powerful, majestic expression of musical stories that will resonant for years to come!! BA (89/100)


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  June 12th & 13th  Zamboni Brothers:  June 19th &  20th       Linus:  June 25th & 26th

The Barking Parrot (Penticton):  Steve Jones:  June 19th -20th & 21st   Gord McLaren:  June 26th & 27th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Great White North:  June 19th   Paperboy And The Messengers:  June 26th

Dream Café:  Tim Williams: June 12th   Harpdog Brown & The Travelin’ Blues Show:  June 26th            Steve Hill:  June 27th

Fernando’s Pub:   Wild Son:  June 12th

Minstrel Café & Bar:  The Rowdymen:  June 27th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Colt 45:  June 12th  & 13th    Linus:  June 19th & 20th   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  June 26th  &  27th    Million Dollar Question:  July 1st (Canada Day—All Day Party!)

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:  Aerosmith:   July 13th  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Journey:   July 10th   Brit Floyd:  (it is the closet to the real thing)   August 12th    “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th    Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th

Vernon Funtastic Festival:  (Various Venues):   June 26th/27th/28th/29th:   Featuring: Biff Naked—Steve Hill—Moist—Monomyth—plus more!

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 



Read more Under the Lights articles

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.






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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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