Album review: Barb Wire Dolls “Rub My Mind”

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Barely a year after their last album, Barb Wire Dolls are back with a new studio album packed with attitude and catchy tunes.

There’s something about Barb Wire Dolls’ sound that I love. The band has plenty of attitude but also the skills to back it up. “Rub My Mind” is the band’s third album and it builds further on the achievements of 2016’s album “Desperate”.

Originally from Greece, the band relocated to Los Angeles in 2010 and got discovered by the late Lemmy, who signed them up to Motörhead Music.

Musically this is quite different from Motörhead. It’s somewhat closer to Lemmy’s other band, The Head Cat. Barb Wire Dolls have crafted an easily recognisable signature sound. If we need to mention references, it is perhaps best described as the Ramones meets Blondie with some The Cramps and Transvision Vamp thrown into the mix. It’s catchy, melodic punk rock crowned by Isis Queen’s characteristic vocals. Her voice is addictive.

The politically charged “Back in the USSA” is fantastic. Another clear favourite of mine on this new album is “If I Fall” and the emotional “Gold” is a treat.

Barb Wire Dolls are a hard-touring band. The experience of countless gigs around the world shows in their new material. The band knows what it takes. Currently they are touring North America as part of the Vans Warped Tour package.

Barb Wire Dolls’ “Rub My Mind” is out now on Motörhead Music.

Gig review: The Dead Daisies makes some terrific noise in Tokyo

The Dead Daisies on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Rock’n’roll knockout delivered in Tokyo by the fab The Dead Daisies.

The Dead Daisies‘ Australian founder and guitarist David Lowy has managed to take the best bits from rock history and put together a vital, high-energy band full of attitude, skill and abilities. This is a band that is having fun performing for its fans and with the skills to deliver a proper rock show.

With the band’s members having solid rock industry pedigree (Dio, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Ozzy Osbourne, Journey, Slash, Glenn Hughes, Billy Idol…), they know how to put together a world-class rock show.

The Dead Daisies on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

They kick off in style with “Long Way to Go” and then move on to the fabulous “Mexico” before we get the rock anthem “Make Some Noise”.

The Dead Daisies on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Frontman John Corabi knows how to entertain and leads from the front. But he’s also experienced enough to not overshadow his bandmates the whole time. Fierce bassist Marco Mendoza is hard to ignore as he takes possession of the stage while drummer Brian Tichy bangs away on his drums like it’s nobody’s business. The newest addition to the band, guitarist Doug Aldrich who joined in 2016, has taken the band to a whole new level. His guitar wankery and classic rock poses make this band complete. This evening in Tokyo we get a two-hour rock’n’roll party. The audience at the sold-out gig is with the band the whole way. What we get is like a deluxe, in-the-flesh version of the band’s new live album “Live & Louder”.

The set list is terrific. The best bits from the band’s catalogue plus a few carefully chosen rock classics in “Fortunate Son”, “Join Together”, “Helter Skelter”, “We’re an American Band”, “Midnight Moses” and “Highway Star”.

The Dead Daisies on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

We do get an extended drum solo by Brian Tichy in the middle of the gig. No major fan of drum solos, I feared the worst, but Tichy delivers. Like a possessed maniac he attacks the drums and shows us his skills. Even goes full-on Tommy Aldrige on us and does part of his solo with his bare hands.

The whole band’s tight and work very well together. Having initially been a band with a constantly changing line-up, since last year it now seems there is a real band here and not a project with rock star guests. Wow! What a night of great fun rock’n’roll!

The Dead Daisies on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

The Dead Daisies – Club Quattro, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan – 5th July 2017 – set list

  • Long Way to Go
  • Mexico
  • Make Some Noise
  • Song and a Prayer
  • Fortunate Son
  • We All Fall Down
  • Lock N Load
  • The Last Time I Saw the Sun
  • Brian Tichy drum solo
  • Join Together
  • All the Same
  • With You and I
  • Mainline
  • Helter Skelter
  • We’re an American Band
  • Midnight Moses
  • Highway Star

EP review: Aborted “Bathos” | Sheer extreme metal brilliance

Aborted on stage in Tokyo in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Nowadays I expect nothing short of perfection from Belgian extreme metal maniacs Aborted. On their new EP we get it. This is nothing short of a brutal masterpiece.

Aborted’s music is intense, a punch in the stomach. It’s fast and technical extreme metal with twists at every corner. On top of the fantastic music there is Sven De Caluwe. He is one of a kind. His voice and performance makes Aborted stand head and shoulders above the crowd. The “Bathos” EP is faultless, it can’t be improved. It’s complete. The beauty of a two-track EP is that there is no time to get bored, no fillers, no dips. This is sheer extreme metal brilliance from these sick Belgian bastards. The combination of great musicians, fab songwriters, bundles of never-ending energy and an insanely gifted frontman, takes Aborted to perfection. Love it! When a record company descries its artists as “busy-as-a-beaver death metal sickos”, you know it has to be good. This is ridiculously great extreme metal.

The new EP continues where last year’s splendid full-length album “Retrogore” left off. In addition to the intense title track “Bathos”, we get the phenomenally named song “Fallacious Crescendo”. It’s quite possibly the band’s best song so far. Terrific evil awesomeness in a song format with a rather tasty guitar solo in the middle of all the brutal chaos.

Aborted’s EP “Bathos” will be released on 7th July via Century Media Records. Yes, you should by this one.

Sven De Caluwe of Aborted on stage in Tokyo in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Dynazty vocalist Nils Molin officially joins Amaranthe

Nils Molin backstage in Tokyo in February 2017 while on tour with Dynazty. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Dynazty vocalist Nils Molin has become an official member of Amaranthe.

Hardly a surprise, but now Dynazty vocalist Nils Molin has officially joined Amaranthe. He joins the band as one of its three lead vocalists and replaces the band’s co-founder Jake E who departed the group earlier this year. Roppongi Rocks learnt already early this year of Amaranthe’s interest in Nils Molin’s services. When Molin was in Tokyo in February with Dynazty, he smiled when we mentioned Amaranthe to him (“we know that you know that we know”, kind of) but without revealing what was coming up.

Having earlier used Chris Adam from the band Smash Into Pieces as a stand in for Jake E, in March Amaranthe started using Nils Molin for gigs in Europe.

When Amaranthe’s Elize Ryd played in Japan with Gus G in March, she said of Molin who had then done his first few gigs with Amaranthe: “Nils is top of the list. We had fun with these gigs in Sweden. It was so much fun! He’s a cool and great guy. Thus it would be great to have him in the band. Exciting! It’s great with some new blood. He’s awesome. It sounded really great. His voice fits us really well. He can even reach the high octaves together with me. That was cool! We want him! We obviously would like to have him. We’ll see what happens. We’ll find out.” Now we have found out. Nils Molin is now a permanent member of Amaranthe. What remains unclear is his future with Dynazty. Officially it seems he will do both bands, but with the kind of schedule Amaranthe normally has, there is bound to be very little time left over for Dynazty.

Graham Bonnet Band reveals new guitarist

The new line-up of Graham Bonnet Band with new guitarist Joey Tafolla on the left.

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Graham Bonnet Band reveals Joey Tafolla as Conrado Pesinato’s replacement.

As previously reported by Roppongi Rocks, fab guitarist Conrado Pesinato recently left Graham Bonnet Band. While no official explanation has been given for Pesinato’s departure, today the band revealed who will replace him: Jag Panzer guitarist Joey Tafolla. Tafolla has released a number of solo albums via Shrapnel Records. Back in February, Tafolla was a guest with Graham Bonnet Band when they performed with Uli Jon Roth. Now he is the latest in a long row of phenomenal guitarists who have been creating terrific music with Graham Bonnet over the years.

Graham Bonnet and Conrado Pesinato in Tokyo in March 2017. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks