Just Reviews II

A Live documentation that announces Heart to the Frontiers Family in a huge way!  “Fanatic Live From…” sees this long running powerhouse in top form! Celebrating a critically acclaimed reception for their latest studio effort; “Fanatic”… The Wilson sisters

and Company hit the road in 2013 bringing this “back to form” music to the masses!  Of course, anything that Heart does, they do so well! This live package is no exception, showcasing the group’s exceptional Talent and heartfelt execution in a live concert setting.  Now, not only do we hear and see Heart’s extraordinary catalogue of music, but several selections from Fanatic are front and centre, and well they should be! This is pure Heart, stellar performances, each song done with renewed energy, high emotion and conviction… An all-encompassing Concert experience. Frontiers is releasing this in several configurations, including CD / DVD, Blu-ray DVD and also regular DVD! Certainly a “must-have”, Heart’s latest will renew your love for Melodic Rock music, and done only the way that Masters can do!

RING OF FIRE - Battle Of Leningrad (Frontiers Records)

Perhaps one can say that it took nine years for Mark Boals and Company to complete this opus! “Battle of Leningrad” goes that deep, and is that complicated as a musical document. Returning from a nine year hiatus, this “Ring Of Fire” effort is very welcome in the Neo-classical music world! The group’s fourth effort, this is a musical history lesson. Taken from one of the darkest periods of World War II, the little known siege of Leningrad: musically presented here in all of its pathos and drama. The musical movements portray the moods, the desperation, and finally the hope and triumph of those courageous citizens of this great Russian city! “Ring Of Fire” have returned with a masterful Work, one that re-establishes them as a top-drawer classical driven power-house of Classical Metal! Let’s hope that “Battle of Leningrad” is just the beginning of a series of Power from this group of reigning Masters!!

Bruce Atkinson (88/100)


GRAND MAGUS - Triumph & Power (Nuclear Blast)

“Triumph & Power” marks the seventh studio album for this powerful Northern entity, a collection of Metal Kings!! Going from strength to strength, these ten tracks deliver an album that is cinematic in nature! Shut your eyes and see yourself journey with the great Vikings of yesteryear- conquering untold lands and their people! Yes all of this on one record!! “Grand Magus” are skilled story tellers, and each song is a story upon itself, but all the while, related with one another. The music, solid Rock with a heavy dose of Metal and not burdensome or dragging. Hard-hitting and at times lively, this collection of performances display fluidness seldom heard in Power Metal. Yes, each piece stands on its own; but taken collectively-not only is a story unfolding-the music in of itself grows more powerful! Seven being a number of completeness this, the seventh album of “Grand Magus” is a suitable statement of their “Triumph and Power”!

Time will tell what their next collective chapter will be! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)


Tuomas Holopainen  “The Life And Times Of Scrooge”
Nuclear Blast  Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson   

-Bloody amazing!!  But what would we expect from the mastermind of “Nightwish”?  “The Life And Times Of Scrooge” is a stunning adaptation of novelist Don Rosa’s “The Life & Times Of Scrooge McDuck”.  This novel has enthralled Toumas Holopainen for twenty some years!  In his own words: “This is my long-time dream come true…”—a dream that Tuomas is about to share with all of us!     Inspired by the author’s detail and emotional renderings, Tuomas set about transforming this piece to music some fourteen years ago!  As is his way, what we hear is a brilliant cinematic body of music that is atmospheric and uplifting…lifting us to the highest levels of heavenly music.  Tuomas creates an absolute stunning ten song suite, with full orchestra, voice choir combined with multiple textures performed by some of the finest musicians of Europe!  His transformation of this story is epic in presentation and proportion.  The use of unique instruments just adds to the colour and flavour of this interesting story.  A musical journey that is deep, colourful, a virtual musical painting that simply draws us in.  A musical journey that we must take!—one that completely reveals the musical genius that this man is!  “The Life And Times Of Scrooge” is Tuomas’ first solo outing—and what a majestic one at that!

Pretty Maids  “Louder Than Ever” Frontiers Records Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson

It is time for a new chapter for these thirty-year veterans!  “Louder Than Ever” marks that new chapter for Danish rockers “Pretty Maids”   “Louder Than Ever” brings a new sheen to some of the band’s staples, plus gives us a peek in to where they are heading.  Opening with the brand new “Deranged”; this group still has a full tank of gas!!  This new CD/DVD package has some re-worked gems—five brand new pieces and a retrospective of the group’s thirty year career, (on the DVD). If we thought that “Motherland” was the pinnacle of ‘Pretty Maids’, we must think again!  New rockers like “My Soul To Take” and “A Heart Without A Home” will become timeless as Ronnie leads his mates into the next thirty years!  With twelve tracks—all either re-worked or new-“Louder Than Ever” leaves no doubt that “Pretty Maids” will be rocking us for years to come!!

Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator: (Sunday Evenings: ‘Okanagan Spotlight’-with Jimmy LeGuilloux: begins May 4th )   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  May 2nd & 3rd    Zamboni Brothers:  May 8th        Young‘Uns:  May 9th  & 10th    

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Head Of The Heard:  May 1st   Deep Sea Gypsies:  May 2nd               The Devon Coyote Trio:  May 9th

Minstrel Café:  Poppa Dawg Blues Band:  May 3rd  Kevin John Cook:  May 7th  Wild Son: May 9th   Blue City Trio: May 10th

Notable Concerts:  

Konquer Motorcycles:  Loverboy:  May 31st 2014

South Okanagan Events Centre (Penticton):     Kenny Rogers:   June 12th

Funtastic: (Vernon)  Nazareth:   June 27th 

Prospera Place:  Heart:  June 28th

Kenny Shields & Streetheart:   July 18th at Summer Stomp  (Sicamous)

  …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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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.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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