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Under the Lights

Rising Thunder

Several years ago, I wrote about this five piece from the heart of Great Britain during their decision to retire from active duty.  In one publication, the review below appeared,  briefing  some of their,then, last activities…as they set about fading from the scene:

 

 

Thunder The EP Sessions 2007-2008

Metal Heaven
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson

Most appropriately—Thunder will go out with a Bang!...yes it is official, this storied group will embark on a final Farewell Tour of Europe and the UK later this summer.

    One of the group’s parting shots-“The EP Sessions 2007-2008” is a collection that shows why this group of over twenty years has rocked and rolled at the top of the rockpile.  Sixteen slices of pure thunderous magic. this release may well be their last.  Complete with live versions of such Thunder staples as “Like A Satellite” and “Last Man Standing…we at last have a lasting document of what has made these five musicians the darlings of serious Blues-rock music lovers the world over!

“The EP Sessions…” are just that—perfectly performed claps of Thunder culled from the last year or so.  New-old-borrowed and rocked out blues…this record will leave you on your feet with thunderous applause saluting these Elder Rock Statesmen!   

 

Now, six years later—we are about to hear that Thunder once again!  Louder and more powerful than ever!  The group have had several “reunions” during the last six years, but only in regards to touring and special concerts.  In 2014, movement was underway for a full scale reunion:  although the individual members of the group would continue with their various other projects, the entity we know as Thunder is set to rise again.  Thunder rose to be one of Britain’s most popular straight forward Rock bands in the last twenty plus years…creating number one singles and charting albums throughout.  Returning to the stage in force, during the later part of 2014—almost like a gauge as to measure if it would be worthwhile to carry on, the band found very enthusiastic audiences throughout the world!  Obviously, the rivers of creativity were also overflowing, and a decision to record a brand new set of songs was set.  The upcoming “Wonder Days” will bring that sweet sound of Thunder back to our ears, and fill the skies with some of the best straight forward Rock—sounds that we haven’t heard since 2008!

Rest assured we will hear more from Thunder, and below is just the beginning!!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Non-Prophet Society:   Jan. 23rd  & 24th  Zamboni Brothers:  Jan. 29th & 30th / 31st    Hank Stallion:  Feb. 5th & 6th / 7th

Fernando’s Pub:  Tiger Moon & The Shrugs:  Jan. 30th   Michael Averill:  Jan. 31st                                         Two Bears North & Wild Son:  Feb. 5th

Flashback’s Nite Club:  Elliott Brood:  Feb. 12th

The Green (Vernon):  The Strays:  Jan. 23rd & 24th

Minstrel Café:  The Trips:  Jan. 24th   Bruce Spencer:  Jan. 28th  Poppa Dawg Blues Band:  Jan. 31st

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Linus:   Jan. 23rd & 24th   Young’Uns:  Jan. 30th & 31st   Colt 45:  Feb. 6th & 7th

Whiski-Jack’s:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Jan. 30th  & 31st

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015     Lynyrd Skynyrd:  March 19th  Diana Krall:    May 12th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jonny Lang:   March 13th   Burton Cummings:  March 11th    Colin James:  March 28th   Whitehorse:  April 10th

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre:  Burton Cummings:  March 12th 

Performing Arts Centre (Vernon):  The Irish Rovers:   March 9th   Burton Cummings:  March 15th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015   Marilyn Manson:  March 28th    Def Leppard:  April 15th

 

   …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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Epically Bombastic

Since 2004, this group has been pushing the boundaries of “Power Metal” with each and every release.  Now, a six piece—this Swedish no-nonsense rock group continues to push both the musical and lyrical borders of their creative Masterpieces!  In the dying weeks of 2014, “Bloodbound” released an amazing set of music and songs…below is just a little of their story:

Bruce: I was introduced to “Bloodbound” back in 2006, with their debut album… The group had a massive impact then and with the release of “Stormborn”, I would say that you and your mates will repeat that feat!

Patrik: When we started to record the album we felt we had something really good going on. And now with all the amazing response so far, it seems that people agree with us and that is just a great feeling.

Bruce: Patrik, How long have you been with the group-five years?

Patrik: I joined the band in April 2010, so a little bit over four years now.

Bruce: Are you able to partake in the song writing as well as laying down your fine vocals?

Patrik: I haven’t been very involved in the song writing so far, but that’s not because I can’t be. Tomas and Fredrik who are the main song writers want me and the others to participate more and are encouraging us to come up with songs and ideas.  For me, I just think that those two are doing such a good job and don’t feel that I, for my own ego or anything, need to contribute with material just for the sake of it. I write songs all the time and co-wrote a couple of songs on “Unholy Cross” and “In The Name Of Metal”, but this time I didn’t have any material that suited the album. Maybe I’ll have more for the next one.

Bruce: Now, with the way that “Bloodbound” delivers their musical creations with the operatic elements and such, do you find that reproducing all of this live is somewhat difficult?  It certainly must have a strain on your voice, what do you do to keep your voice in top form?

Patrik: With Stormborn we have a lot more keyboards and choirs and stuff so for some things we’re gonna need to use a sampler or backing tracks to reproduce the sound live. We haven’t rehearsed the new material yet, but if we manage to do the songs justice live, which I really think we can, it’s gonna be very powerful.  About to keep the voice in form. I don’t do too much in that matter to be honest. But for me the best way is to sing a lot to keep the motor running so to speak. As long as you don’t feel sore in the throat of course.

Bruce: May we talk more about the new album? Is “Stormborn” another conceptual piece?

Patrik: I would not exactly call it a conceptual album. Most of the songs have their own story. But Tomas who wrote most of the lyrics were very inspired by the tv show “Game of Thrones” this time. So songs like  “Stormborn” and “Iron Throne” are based on that. Which I think fits the music perfectly.

Bruce: If we think back to when you first joined up with your fellow bandmates…

And going through the years and albums, “Unholy Cross”, and “In The Name Of Metal”, did you feel that a change of direction was happening?

Patrik: When I joined the band they made it very clear that they wanted to return to what “Bloodbound” was from the beginning.  They had released “Tabula Rasa” and felt that that direction wasn’t the right way for the band to go, musically.  Which suited me perfectly because I loved the first album “Nosferatu” and are more into that kind of music. Then “In The Name Of Metal” was more of a “back to the roots”-album, a celebration to Metal if you like, and contained these Metal anthems that are made for live shows. And I think we kept the foundation of the “Bloodbound” sound.

Bloodbound Stormborn - AFM Records

Back in ’06, I had the distinct pleasure in reviewing “Bloodhound’s debut!  It was exhilarating to say the least.  Eight years later, these Swedish musicians of the highest order are giving us “Stormborn”, an exquisite Work, and carrying on their unique sound and style.  As this group progressed through the years, they broke every standard there was.  2014’s offering continues in presenting epic fantasies from the ‘dark side’ of myth and life.  Again the group excels, and they painstakingly break every standard set in Neo-Classical Metal!

Patrik Johansson seems to have fitted in nicely with “Bloodbound”, and this being his third album with them, seems to be flexing his musical muscles a little more aggressively!

Of course, this is music that is not for the faint of heart…both in lyrical content, and the compositions themselves.  “Bloodbound” have created a complicated and telling story—with the waves of music creating the cinematic atmosphere of an epic tale that will not fade very quickly.  In fact, I’m thinking the group have outdone themselves on this release! 

Prepare yourselves for a musical journey that is full of drama, aggressive, melodic yet molten and very thought provoking.  The musicianship heard here is beyond “10”, the writing and lyrical content is full of emotion and mystery…and the whole of this Recorded Work can be described as Epically Bombastic!  It exudes confidence from each and every member to the extent that we are in for some surprises regarding some of the musical elements employed herein.

“Bloodbound”—‘Stormborn’ is setting a high water mark, one that will resonant for a long time to come!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Zamboni Brothers:  Jan. 15th  Jimmy LeGuilloux:  Jan. 16th & 17th                                   Hank Stallion:  Jan. 22nd

Fernando’s Pub:  Floyd Meets Brown:  Jan. 17th   Honest Woods & The Bonsais:   Jan. 22nd

Flashback’s Nite Club:  Elliott Brood:  Feb. 12th

Minstrel Café:  Joshua Smith:  Jan. 16th Kenny Wayne & Sherman Doucette:  Jan. 17th                             Bruce Spencer:  Jan. 21st

O’Flannigan’s Pub:     Rockaholicks:  Jan. 16th & 17th   

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015     Lynyrd Skynyrd:  March 19th  Diana Krall:    May 12th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jonny Lang:   March 13th   Burton Cummings:  March 11th   Colin James:  March 28th  Whitehorse:  April 10th

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre:  Burton Cummings:  March 12th 

Performing Arts Centre (Vernon):  Burton Cummings:  March 15th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015   Marilyn Manson:  March 28th    Def Leppard:  April 15th

 

   …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!!.....

 



A Familiar Voice

His, was the distinctive voice of one of Norway’s premiere Melodic Hard Rock groups: ‘Wigwam’, consistently producing up-tempo and riff oriented hits throughout all of Northern Europe.  Then, in 2014,   they went silent!  Thankfully not for long—as Age Sten Nilsen started writing with renowned guitarist and producer Erik Martensson—taking up performances in his home country, to road test his new found creative streak.  Since last year Age and his merry music men have polished their wares, and are ready to unleash some of the tastiest hard hitting rock in years! 

“Ammunition” is the name of the new six piece, and “Shanghaied” is the new juggernaut of an album!  Age’s voice is surrounded by Hal Patino-ex King Diamond and Pretty Maids on bass, Jon Pettersen on guitar, Lasse Finbrathen- ex Wigwam on keyboards—with Eclipse’s drummer Robban Back.  Erik Martensson has taken a break from his own band Eclipse and musical project W.E.T. to join Age’s group contributing not only song writing, but guitar and producing this latest effort.

Age Sten’s “Shanghaied” shows a musical maturity that retains the same big choruses we heard in “Wigwam”, but adds a rougher and wider dynamic than his previous work.  He has definitely come upon an absolute ‘dream team’ of musical partners in the aforementioned group of players…and it shows!  Road testing this material in Norway and beyond, the group is not only exciting, but hardened road warriors that know what it takes to make a mark on the international music scene.  Age Sten Nilsen’s “Ammunition”-(the official name)- will most certainly take the rock world by storm in the next year!  Every song on this debut is chartable, delivered with an awesome amount of high energy and will translate to a storm when played live!

It is fantastic to hear this distinctive voice once again!  Melodic Hard Rock is set to energise 2015!  We now have the Ammunition!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Hank Stallion:  Jan. 8th    Zamboni Brothers:  Jan. 15th                                                           Jimmy LeGuilloux:  Jan. 16th & 17th

Fernando’s Pub:  Waking Scarlet:  Jan 9th   Frig Off:   Jan. 10th

Flashback’s Nite Club:  Elliott Brood:  Feb. 12th

Minstrel Café:   Blue City Trio:  Jan. 10th   Bruce Spencer:   Jan. 14th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:    Radio Lifeline:  Jan. 9th & 10th  Young’uns:  Jan. 16th & 17th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    Bryan Adams:  January 15th  2015   The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015    Diana Krall:    May 12th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jonny Lang:   March 13th   Colin James:  March 28th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015   Marilyn Manson:  March 28th    Def Leppard:  April 15th

 

   …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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Looking Forward II

Continuing with looking in to 2015, as we did last week…the new year just seems to be brighter and a stronger start in the world of Hard Rock and Symphonic Rock.  Plus, something started by the President of Frontiers Records seems to be catching on with other Artists—the unlikely pairing of varied Talents creating some fresh and exciting music:

That unique singer, Russell Allen of Symphony X & Adrenaline Mob has teamed up with one of Europe’s most prolific musicians—the one and only Mat Sinner—creating a musical masterpiece that will kick off 2015 with fire!  “Level 10” is a true uniting of the masterful creative minds of these two monster Talents!  These two got to work on forging a sound that takes the aggression of Adrenaline Mob and melting it in to the more straight forward Sonics of Primal Fear.  The result?—a powerful, yet understated slice of traditional Hard Rock that will restore the faith that this style of music hasn’t gone by the wayside.  “Level 10” may have started as an experiment and an album project, however I predict that the impact of this effort will certainly have Allen and Mat thinking of a more permanent musical marriage! 

Another pairing, and another unlikely subject set to music is the very unique Rock Opera, “Swing Of Death”-the partial story of Dracula.  Jorn Lande, that legendary vocalist out of Norway has teamed with the fluid guitarist of Wig Wam-Mr. Trond Holter!  Both have created, written and arranged a new Rock Opera on the historic figure of Count Vlad the III, the Prince of Wallachia.  Not only have these two put a different twist on this historic tale, but Jorn acts as Dracula within this musical tale!  The music…again, not your typical operatic piece.  The songs are all self contained, yet stay connected and are presented without long instrumental passages.  More straight up, powerful Rock with melodic choruses and where the message of the songs come right to the point!  This may not be to everyone’s liking—however, with the amount of creative substance and the various Talents involved, “Swing Of Death” is yet another sign of high level collaboration from musicians that we normally don’t think would get together.

So, as we enter in to a new year, just a sneak peek in to what I’m working on:  The Okanagan area still has a rich and varied music scene, and one that is quite dynamic!  In future columns, we will talk with and profile some well known musicians of the area, and some not so well known!  I hope to have some news on past groups that I have written about, namely the Flu and Fields Of Green—what, if anything, are they up to—can we expect new material or new versions of the groups.  Hopefully, we will have some stories on the business side of the local music scene, what does it take to promote an event, going inside some of the recording facilities that are in the area, and find out if the rumour is true that a new independent label is about to be launched with its headquarters’ being in Kelowna!

So, with all of that I wish to leave you with a very big Happy New Year and a big thank-you in supporting this column…it has been an honour bringing this to you each and every week.


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Papa Wheely:    January 2nd & 3rd   Poppa Dawg-(Blues Night):  Jan. 7th                          Hank Stallion:  Jan. 8th    Zamboni Brothers:  Jan. 15th   Jimmy LeGuilloux:  Jan. 16th & 17th

Fernando’s Pub:  Wild Son:  January 2nd

Flashback’s Nite Club:  Elliott Brood:  Feb. 12th

Minstrel Café:   Zamboni  Brothers:  Jan. 3rd   Bruce Spencer:  Jan. 7th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:    Rockaholicks:  Jan. 9th & 10th   Young’uns:  Jan. 16th & 17th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    Bryan Adams:  January 15th  2015   The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015    Diana Krall:    May 12th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jonny Lang:   March 13th   Colin James:  March 28th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015   Marilyn Manson:  March 28th    Def Leppard:  April 15th

 

   …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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