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Under the Lights

Expanding the frontiers

If you are a regular reader…of this column, you have followed the story of Frontiers Records.  Starting out as an unassuming select distribution entity in Italy, promoting Melodic Rock and Hard Rock in that country, the Company grew to first becoming a Label, with lucrative licensing deals, to a full fledged Label that is growing to become one of the largest independent labels in the world!

Frontiers Records has become an elite record label, continually giving voice to veteran rockers and those younger rockers that are steeped in the grand traditions of AOR and Melodic Rock!  The label, founded by Serafino Perugino in 1996, has grown steadily every year since.  Now, the label and Serafino are entering a new phrase, one that has been ongoing since a couple of years ago, whereas most recording contracts are based upon worldwide releases.  No longer just an Italian distribution company of Independent labels, but one of worldwide influence and primarily its own entity.

Again, being a regular reader of this column, you have read that Serafino himself, although not a musician, is a pure musical genius!  Yes, his vision and his ability to combine highly talented musicians to create masterpieces of Melodic Hard Rock is becoming legendary.  All through this, Serafino creates a nurturing and highly creative atmosphere for his Artists…and demands top drawer efforts.  The whole organisation exudes a passion for the music created and the Artists involved!

    

As Frontiers marches on, new signings are occurring, for example:  The original lead vocalist of those “Pomp Rock” sensations “Angel”, Frank Dimino has just signed a worldwide contract, and we can fully expect fantastic things coming from this!  Frank has collaborated with Eddie Ojeda of “Twisted Sister”, and Oz Fox of “Stryper”-amongst others.  His group is named-“Dimino”, and the brand new record will be called “Old Habits die Hard”!  This release will see the light of day in mid-July!!  Frank has also enlisted some additional original members of “Angel”, and quite a surprise this is—anticipating an extraordinary collection of music from this!

Of course there are more Internationally renowned Artists that have and will fill out an ever expanding roster belonging to Frontiers.  Of course there is “Whitesnake”, “Cain’s Offering”, “Stryper”, and many more.   There has been “Uriah Heep”, “Mr. Big”, “Blackmore’s Night”, and many more that have graced the label.  Some are ‘one-off’ collaborations that have displayed the uncanny talent that Serafino has for putting certain musicians together, and yet some have started out that way, but soon become an on-going project and band! 

Frontiers Music Srl will continue to make a large impact upon the recording business, and will essentially keep this type of majestic music alive, supporting both the music veterans, and those that are just starting out.  The passion that this music evokes is matched by the passion of Frontiers, and its founder, and now being a worldwide label of note, we too can share their vision…


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Zamboni Brothers:  May 21st   The Goods:  May 22nd & May 23rd  Hank Stallion:  May 28th   Young ‘Uns:   May 29th & 30th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   The Dudes with Frigg Off:  May 22nd

Fleetwood Public House:  Goodfellas:  May 22nd

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Wild Son:  May 22nd

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 & District Performing Arts Centre:    The Oak Ridge Boys:   June 7th

   …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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True disciples

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.  True disciples you may say.  “Pyramaze” was formed in 2002 around the vision of guitarist Michael Kammeyer.  The vision?  Create Epic and Melodic Metal music, and fearlessly explore the darker sides of our existence—of course through music.  Some would say a tall order, however one that was accomplished in just two short years.  The group’s first album, “Melancholy Beast” was released in 2004, and then came “Legend Of The Bone Carver” two years after in 2006.  Both albums reached critical mass and were welcomed by a discerning segment of the music population.  Although, a difficult trend was developing, even then:  “Pyramaze” would have difficulty in containing a solid membership.  The line up for the first two albums saw a change and then in preparation for their third opus, another change in the line-up occurred.  But these incidents did not take away from the original vision, nor the level of passion each member displayed.  Those musicians that joined up with Michael contributed to each musical journey with all of their talent—creating not only epic music but music that was full of fantastic stories. 

         Going through their biography and then listening to the music, one would wonder why all the changes.  There is no apparent reason present, other than the music and lyrical content seems to ever grow, pushing the talents of each to upper levels.  By 2008, the group were preparing for their third release, Michael Kammeyer and original members Morten Gade Sorensen on drums, and keyboardist Jonah W. with bassist Niels Kvist, were joined by Toke Skjonnemand on guitar-(actually Toke was with the group since the second album), and original singer Lance King was replaced by Matt Barlow, formerly from Iced Earth.  Now, all the players were accounted for, and the creation of “Immortal” took place.  This album reached critical acclaim the world over, and the intensity of the music was overwhelming!  However the line-up changes kept happening, and after the release of “Immortal”, first Matt left to be replaced by Urban Breed for the consequent tour…but the changes kept sneaking up …with Michael himself leaving in 2008.  Bassist Niels Kvist also left, so too Urban Breed!  Morten Gade, and Jonah regrouped along with guitarist Toke,  and enlisted others into the group to further the vision and keep working with the original concept.  Injected in “Pyramaze” was producer and guitarist Jacob Hansen, and the four started to work on what would become the group’s fourth effort.  The group welcomed new vocalist Terje Haroy in 2013 and continued in more intensity with the work before them.   With the line-up solidifying, a song writing team developed.  Jacob, Jonah and Toke…these three represented the original and the new, with the result being a stronger sound-yet that of “Pryamaze”- and a fresher overall feel to the music.

     “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!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Hank Stallion:  May 14th & 15th & 16th    Zamboni Brothers:  May 21st                                The Goods:  May 22nd & May 23rd

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Funk Force: May 16th    The Dudes with Frigg Off:  May 22nd

The Green (Vernon):  Bender:  May 15th & May 16th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Radio Lifeline:  May 15th & May 16th   Wild Son:  May 22nd

Riley’s Pub:   Jimmy Leguilloux Band:  May 15th & 16th

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 & District Performing Arts Centre:    The Oak Ridge Boys:   June 7th

   …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!!.....

 



Stormbringer

As a young and ambitious vocalist, David Coverdale was in the right place at the right time!  Before “Whitesnake”, David, along with Glenn Hughes were brought in to the iconic creative pastures of “Deep Purple”, where the both actually changed the face of that hard rock group of Englishmen.  Remember the albums “Burn” and “Come Taste The Band”?  That very bluesy and soulful voice belting out those timeless tunes was none other than Mr. Coverdale, (for the most part).  Then of course, there was “Stormbringer”—those three records recorded during the time period better known as “Deep Purple” Mk3 and MK4.

Of course we all know the story of his stay with the ‘purps’, and then how David Coverdale helped in founding one of the greatest Blues-rock group ever to come out of the UK, “Whitesnake”—and David does too.   That time period was one that David thinks on fondly, and one that he learned so much from the then members of “Deep Purple”.  Now, what some of us may not know, is that David co-wrote many of those songs from that very different phase of DP.  So, now in 2015, David has prepared a cracking album, “Whitesnake”, ‘The Purple Album’—now, this is not just him rehashing songs because he hasn’t anything new to share with us, no this is actually an album of “Deep Purple” music ‘Snake-ised’!!

Some of the tracks have been re-worked, yet retaining the freshness of the originals.  Some have more guitar passages in them than keyboards, and again-some the other way around!  We hear, “Sail Away”, “Lady Double Dealer”, “Mistreated”, “Stormbringer” and more!  And we hear them with hearing David in very fine voice!  Actually some sound more balliser on this album than they did on the original releases, but that shouldn’t be a surprise as this is for all intense and purpose a Whitesnake album!

So, what am I saying here?—only that the latest “Whitesnake” record is like no other, and for that matter like no other “Deep Purple” album as well!  “The Purple Album” is a definite masterpiece, yes, a journey to David’s past, but one that has the pedigree of “Whitesnake”.  It rocks like “Whitesnake”, and even if the music is forty odd years old, it sounds like 2015!

On this release—David pays homage to the group of musicians that gave him a chance, gave him a vehicle to exercise his musical muscles, and he and his ‘Snake-mates’ do so with such respect and deep affection—all in all not forgetting that they are “Whitesnake”!  I know! Sounds a bit confusing, but it is not—however one must hear this record to really appreciate what I’m trying to say.    “Whitesnake”-‘The Purple Album’ will be in stores across North America on May 19th, watch for it—and hopefully pick it up, I am certain you will be glad you did!  

Now, if you are a regular reader of “Under The Lights”, you know how much I rave about ”The Answer”…well, I found another group that is worthy of all that raving…here is a Review of their debut…

 

Blues Pills  “Live”
Nuclear Blast Records
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson     
                                                                                                                 

 

Exploding straight out of the late 60’s-early 70’s, it seems these four young musicians were frozen in time!  A fusion of rock-hard blues and soul, with a healthy dose of ‘grooved-out’ rhythms—Blues Pills take us on a heavy spaced musical trip like no other!

This release captures the group in their most natural environment—live from the stage!  A multi-national quartet, made up of French-American and Swedish musicians, Blues Pills carry the torch of genuine Blues-rock with conviction.  Comparisons have been made to Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and the blues-master of the 1960’s.  Fronted by the power of lead vocalist Elin Larsson-the group leads us down a musical soundscape that totally absorbs our musical souls!  Joining Elin on this trek: Cory Berry, Zack Anderson and Dorian Sorriaux ensure that the heavy grooves, soaring guitars are ever present and pushing Elin’s lyrics and vocals to places seldom heard now-a-days!

Blues Pills create music that transcend categories.  Yes it is rooted in Blues and Rock, however the sound they create flows well beyond those borders.  Their live performances are an experience—one that has the rare ability to let you forget about everything else going on, and just being enveloped by the sound pulsating from that stage.

Unbelievable vocal performances, extraordinary guitar work, driving and grooved rhythms—Blues Pills are the real deal!  And absolutely amazing on these fronts as well as their age—for such young people to be this advanced in the Rock & Blues sound is utterly mind-boggling!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Zamboni Brothers:  May 7th   Crosstown Bus:  May 8th & 9th   Hank Stallion:  May 14th & 15th & 16th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Colt 45:  May 8th & 9th

Riley’s Pub:   Jimmy Leguilloux Band:  May 15th & 16th

Whiski-jack’s Pub:   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  May 8th & May 9th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    Diana Krall:  May 12th     Aerosmith:   July 13th  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Los Lonely Boys:  May 10th   April Wine:   May 11th

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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Melody In Milan

It was a gathering…of some of the elite in the world of Melodic Rock!  A gathering in one of the most romantic places on earth!-Milan, Italy.  The second annual Frontiers Rock Festival!

Frontiers Records has become an elite record label, continually giving voice to veteran rockers and those youngsters filled with musical ambitions.  Frontiers supports their Artists in unique ways, not just in the traditional sense, and one of those methods is to fashion a multi-day music fest, where the assembled musicians can showcase their new musical journeys!

Some of the talent which appeared in Milan in mid-April were expected, however there were some surprises.  The lead vocalist of “Murder Of My Sweet” opened the festivities with a surprise appearance!  Angelica Rylin hit the stage on the first day with her brand new band, and performing material from her critically acclaimed debut album “Thrive”!  Being her first time at the Frontiers Fest, the energy levels were high and those assembled gave her more than a warm reception! 

As we could expect, the bulk of the line-up during this festival were Artists signed to Frontiers, but it wasn’t all inclusive—as there were Artists that held differing recording contracts, so in the method of Frontiers—this second gathering was all about the music, and it showed in the line-up!  From “Praying Mantis” to “House Of Lords” and everything in between!  Now, some of the groups that appeared have members that are actually in other groups—but their level of creativity is such that no one band can hold them!  Such is the case with the top Swedish group “Eclipse”, whom performed a rock-solid set on day one of the Festival.  “Eclipse” founder Erik Martensson is involved in several musical projects, but he took time out to bring “Eclipse” back to Italy and performed new material from their brand new album “Armaggedonize”! 

Speaking of multi-talented and multi-band members—Doug Aldrich, long time “Whitesnake”  and “Dio” guitarist brought to the stage some “Burning Rain”!  Teamed with ex-Montrose lead singer, Keith St. John, “Burning Rain” did just that on stage!  A blistering set that saw material performed from their debut and second album with some surprises from their latest Recorded Work!

Other musical Artists that appeared throughout really represented the who’s who of Melodic Rock—there were the UK darlings “FM”, and Canadian icons “Harem Scarem” who have a lot to sing and play about—coming out of retirement, armed with a brand new record and setting the stage afire with their superb performance!  Others that appeared, the soulful voice of Joe Lynn Turner, “Vega”, “Pride Of Lions” and more!  The Festival was two days of heaven in Milan and not only was the music hot, but the activity around the stages was very busy—what with film crews and the like—knowing that some tasty DVD packages are well on their way to the public in the months to come!

“House Of Lords” took to the stage to launch their latest recorded opus.  Taking this appearance to also launch their new set and International Tour—Melodic Arena Rock is alive and well with “House Of Lords”—which will hit North America this Summer.

Now, one of the absolute highlights and surprises from this, the second annual Frontiers Rock Festival, was George Lynch and Oni Logen-the kingpins of “Lynch Mob”  Mr. Lynch being one of the most influential guitarists in the world today, and Oni being a stellar vocalist and songwriter—it is no wonder that when these two got together back in the ‘80’s great things were about to happen!  And..they did—with the release of “Wicked Sensation” in 1989, “Lynch Mob” soared to the top of the heap!  Now, both musicians went on to record several other albums under the band’s moniker—each of which were equal to their debut.  But pulls to do other things put an end to their collaboration after seventeen years.  Now, though, the two are back together—and have been for a while—releasing what has become a Masterstroke in the album “Smoke & Mirrors”.  The group’s surprise appearance saw them perform material from every album they recorded, including “Wicked Sensation” and “Smoke & Mirrors”!!  Could this be the beginning of a new chapter?  Only time will tell, however if this is not the case—those that were in attendance at “Frontiers Rock Festival II” were witness to an historic event in the musical world of Melodic Rock!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  May 1st & 2nd    Zamboni Brothers:  May 7th   Crosstown Bus:  May 8th & 9th   Hank Stallion:  May 14th & 15th & 16th

O’Flannigan’s Pub: Rumble 100:  May 1st & 2nd    Colt 45:  May 8th & 9th

Riley’s Pub:   Jimmy Leguilloux Band:  May 15th & 16th

Whiski-jack’s Pub:   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  May 8th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    Diana Krall:  May 12th     Aerosmith:   July 13th  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Los Lonely Boys:  May 10th   April Wine:   May 11th

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!!.....

 



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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