Interview: James Michael of Sixx:A.M. “This is us being a band”

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks, backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

California rock band Sixx:A.M. – featuring Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba and James Michael – has a new album out and are on the road on a successful tour to back it up. Roppongi Rocks met the band backstage after a gig during their recent Japan visit for a conversation with vocalist James Michael about the evolution of Sixx:A.M. – from being a soundtrack, to becoming a side project, to now emerge as a real band touring the world. “We’re just getting started!” says James Michael with a big smile.

Nikki Sixx and DJ Ashba of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Nikki Sixx and DJ Ashba of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

One thing that stands out with Sixx:A.M. in 2016, both live and on the new album, “Prayers for the Blessed, Vol 2”, is DJ Ashba’s guitar playing. It seems that his six years of service in Guns N’ Roses have seen him develop. Now that he is no longer in Guns, he can focus on Sixx:A.M. and help the band stand out from other bands by having a guitarist that is above and beyond what most of the other bands have. “Thanks for noticing!” says Ashba backstage when I congratulate him on his fine guitar playing. “We’re a real band now,” says Ashba of the fact that he and bassist Nikki Sixx now can concentrate on this band as they are no longer touring with Guns N’ Roses and Mötley Crüe. “DJ was always a great guitar player, but, boy, after his six years with Guns N’ Roses, it’s a joy to record him! He is one of the most underrated phenomenal guitar players out there. I can’t wait for the day that the world really get the chance to understand how great he is,” says Sixx:A.M.’s vocalist and producer James Michael as we sit down backstage after their gig at the packed Saitama Super Arena outside of Tokyo.

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks, backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

On parts of the new album and certainly during the band’s live shows, we are treated to a heavier-sounding Sixx:A.M. “I think it was something that happened right around the ‘Modern Vintage’ tour. Because obviously ‘Modern Vintage’ was a little bit of a departure for us. It was a lighter record, I think in a lot of ways. It didn’t have the weight of a heavy rock record. So, when we went on and did that tour, we really got a sense of what songs worked well live and what songs didn’t. It typically tended to be the ones that had a heavier, more weighted feel to them. So, as soon as we got off the road, which was in April of 2015, we immediately started writing both ‘Prayers for the Damned’ and ‘Prayers for the Blessed’. The first thing that we decided was let’s make this a record that will translate well to live arenas, to big live rock shows. Also, because we knew we were gonna be out touring, doing a bunch of festivals with a lot of heavy metal bands. We didn’t want to show up there and kind of be the lightweights! So we really intentionally did that. We really made a very guitar heavy record, very drum heavy, very bass heavy record. It’s served us well. Now we have a nice collection of songs that we can go either open up for Disturbed or Korn, play on the same stage with those guys, or more of the melodic type of bands. I think what we are doing is starting to shape this thing into something that could potentially have multiple formats that it would work at. Fingers crossed! We’re loving the heaviness of it. It’s just so nice to be able to come out to rock shows and really deliver!”

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Sixx:A.M. has appeared at many rock festivals (such as Loud Park during this Japan visit), where there is a mix of all kinds of hard rock and heavy metal acts performing. “That’s what I love about things like this. I think bands quite often will underestimate their fans. Fans like a lot of different stuff. They can palate a lot of different stuff in one night. It’s exciting! For as much time as we all spend in this business, I’m sure that you do all the time too, hearing that rock is dead. Well, record sales are dead, but rock isn’t dead. When you come to a show like this, OK, I get it. These people get it.”

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks, backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

With Sixx and Ashba no longer in Mötley Crüe and GNR, Sixx:A.M. has become more of a proper band than just a project. “For the three of us, we are incredibly inspired now, so it’s exciting. We really felt we had our hands tied for so many years and it still is a labour of love for us. But now we are seeing the fact that this is a real band, this has a real future. We’re just glad now that the three of us can bring it to the forefront of our lives and really give it the energy and the passion and the time that it needs. Next year is the ten-year anniversary of ‘The Heroin Diaries’ soundtrack which is kind of crazy to even think of. For a band that has done very little touring in that ten years, we have such a loyal fan base. It surprises me because fans also need to know that you support your own project. Are they gonna dedicate themselves to a band if they’re not sure if the band itself is dedicated to the band? It’s kind of amazing that we’ve got this far with the loyal support of our fans. Because they could have easily turned their backs: ‘You guys don’t tour. You’re not really a band.’ Because at the beginning we weren’t really a band. It has definitely evolved. We are very, very grateful for the fact that fans have stuck with us. All three of us feel like we are just getting started. In a way we are a baby band. We’re just getting started, but we have now five studio albums and a string of hits to kick start this thing.”

Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Sixx:A.M. is focused around its three founders but they now have a proper touring band (Michael refers to them as Sixx:A.M.’s “extended family”) consisting of drummer Dustin Steinke and back-up vocalists Amber VanBuskirk and Melissa Harding. “We actually brought them into the studio for these two records. Because we wanted these records to feel live and sound the way that we sound live. Nikki, DJ and myself have put in ten years of blood, sweat and tears into this project that we are incredibly passionate about. We birthed this band. We will always be the parents. It excites us to bring in new members and get that new energy and get that new thing, but at its core, the core family is the three of us and always will be.”

DJ Ashba of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

DJ Ashba of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

In 2016, the band has released two albums, “Prayers for the Damned, Vol 1” in April and “Prayers for the Blessed, Vol 2” in November. They are related but were not released as a double album. “In our minds it is a double album. I think that arguably over the years double albums have gotten kind of a bad reputation. We could list a few where you just get a sense that they went into the studio to record a record, they had a couple of extra songs left over and they figured, fuck it, if we polish these up and put a few more together, we can have a double album and charge twice as much and all that. That was obviously not what we wanted. We went into the studio and said: ‘Let’s write two records.’ There’s a reason for this. We wanted to have two full albums that were related to one another. But we didn’t want to release them at the same time because 24 songs is a lot of music. Especially when you’re dealing with Sixx:A.M. music which is very heavy. The subject matter is very heavy, there’s a lot to absorb in a Sixx:A.M. record. I would say that with any one of our records, it’s a good one-listen record, it’s a better two-listen record and it’s a fantastic hundred-listen record. So, if you live with the record for ten years, now you’re really getting a sense of what this record was intended to be. We want these songs to be so important in a person’s life that they kind of become part of the soundtrack. When we got off the road from the ‘Modern Vintage’ tour, we made the decision: we’re gonna tour a lot, we’re gonna treat this like a real band now. What better way to do that then give our fans a lot of music to start? Here’s the other thing about it – as I was producing this record, my mindset was this: hopefully more people are going to learn about Sixx:A.M. with volume one and volume two – these two new records – than what we’ve done in the past, because now we are gonna be touring, no we’re gonna be doing what bands do, really working these records hard. Getting around the world, playing these shows, doing a lot of shows. If the theory was then that more people are going to be introduced to Sixx:A.M. now, then we need these two records to really, really reflect who we have become as a band, really reflect the best of us. Then what we hope will happen as people – like all the people we just played for – hopefully for everyone who maybe have heard Sixx:A.M.’s name or knew of us because of maybe one song or two songs. Now they will be able to go back and binge listen to all of our records if they’re streaming. I approached these two records as a starting point for us. This is who Sixx:A.M. is now. Then people can go back and listen to the other ones and moving forward hopefully we’ll bring them with us. That was really the mindset of these records. Everything up until now was us getting to know each other, it was us becoming a band. This is us being a band. Does that make sense?”

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks, backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

On the new album, lyrically it is a mix of standard rock themes and some more serious, existentialist themes. “Messaging has been incredibly important to Sixx:A.M. from the very beginning. We’ve always spent a lot of time writing the lyrics. We have evolved as songwriters to a point where we are now taking on global issues. We will never be a political band! But right now there’s so much shit going on in the world.”

James Michael is evidently very proud of the band’s latest album. “We really love it. As a band I feel like it represents what we’ve become. Because I’ve produced and mixed the records as well, for me as a producer I feel like I’ve finally accomplished a few things on this record that I just wasn’t skilled to do in previous records. So for me personally, it was a bit of a landmark for me. I’m very, very proud of it for many reasons that probably no one will ever be able to hear.”

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Sixx, Ashba and Michael are very hands-on with everything to do with the band, from production to album cover art. They’re a bit of a deluxe DIY band. Are they perhaps control freaks? “I thought it was because we just kind of complemented each other, but now that you’ve mentioned it, maybe we are complete control freaks! No, both! Actually, at the end of recording and mixing these records, I made the decision that I’m not gonna produce any more Sixx:A.M. records. I really want to bring in a new producer. I want to bring in an outside thing. Part of that is because I want to test that theory that you just proposed. I’m excited, we’re all excited about the idea of bringing in another producer. We’re also probably very terrified about it. Because we are all to a degree control freaks and we’ve established this process that works so well. Nikki and I have had a lot of conversations about it and I think he’s apprehensive about it as well because I have developed such a good, solid production working relationship with DJ and with Nikki. We’ve just figured out how to do this. To dump that task on somebody else, it’s gonna be tough. I’m just excited about being able to come into the studio as the artist only and not having to work two hats.”

Nikki Sixx of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Nikki Sixx of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael has not only produced himself – something he finds easy to do as he has established a routine where he records himself all alone in the studio – he has also produced other major artists during his career. “I love the record I produced for Papa Roach. I love the connection so much. I spent around nine months living with them, making that record. They are my dear friends. They are family to me, they are my brothers. We went through so much turmoil personally during the making of that record, that it can’t help but to be a very dominant memory in my life. When I get to the end of my career and look back, that will just be one of those beacon times. I love the work I have done with Mötley Crüe, I love the work that I have done with the Scorpions. Each project is so different. I have been so blessed with the fact that almost every band that I have ever produced, I am still friends with. That is a rare thing in this business. It’s a thankless job sometimes, but I have been very blessed to consider almost everyone I have produced as a friend still to this day.”

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks, backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. posing for Roppongi Rocks backstage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Sixx:A.M. has already toured Canada and Asia and they are currently on a big US arena tour in support of the new album. “Beginning of next year we have a couple special surprises. We’re gonna go into the studio to do something cool. We’re also going to start writing the next record. So next year, 2017, we will probably spend a couple of months on the road, but we’re going to be off the road, in the studio for the rest of it.”

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael and his bandmates are busy but they are clearly enjoying themselves. “We’re having the time of our lives! Nikki and I was just talking about it, the fact that sometimes we’re so happy, we all love each other, the whole band, the whole crew. Sometimes it just feels like the dream vacation. We get to come to these amazing places, go up on stage, have a freaking blast and just experience all of these incredible people and cities and countries. It’s hard to find anything negative about it. We’ve toured with bands that just obviously can’t get along. I don’t know if it’s the case but sometimes it starts to feel like they just don’t appreciate the opportunity they’ve been given.”

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

James Michael of Sixx:A.M. on stage in Japan in Oct 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Read Roppongi Rocks Sixx:A.M. album review here.

www.facebook.com/sixxammusic / www.sixxammusic.com

Album review: Witchery “In His Infernal Majesty’s Service”

Witchery

Witchery

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Witchery, the blackened extreme metal band from Sweden, is back with a new smoking album.

Witchery has been around for two decades and this is their sixth studio album. While they’re not (yet) the most famous band on the scene, there is some serious pedigree in this band: current and former band members have played with bands such as Arch Enemy, LIK, Dark Funeral, Mercyful Fate, The Haunted, Marduk and many more.

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“In His Infernal Majesty’s Service” is the band’s first studio album in six years and they have assembled a new line-up to get the job done: Angus Norder (vocals), Jensen (guitar), Rikard Rimfält (lead guitar), Sharlee D’Angelo (bass) and Chris Barkensjö (drums). The new album also features guest appearances by Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate, Denner/Shermann), Jason Netherton (Misery Index) and Nicholas Barker (Lock Up, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Brujeria, Ancient, Leaves’ Eyes).

This is a fast and brutal album and it is very, very good. If you like quality extreme metal, Witchery is well placed to be one of your favourites. To define the band’s music and shove it into a certain sub category of metal is tricky. Here we get a lot influences from across the metal spectrum: death metal, black metal, thrash metal, some speed metal, good old heavy metal and a lot more.

Witchery

Witchery

They have the musical skills, the songs, the production and the attitude to make this work properly. The biggest threat to Witchery’s continued success is perhaps the fact that many of its members are also busy with other bands and projects. Bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, for example, has a busy career as a current member of Arch Enemy and Spiritual Beggars.

The new album is full of great songs. “In Warm Blood” is terrific and “Gilded Fang” is even better while “Nosferatu” is a fabulous track that packs in so much good stuff into one short song, that it is like a mini concept album. Love it. On “Feed the Gun” we get a splendid guitar solo that makes the track stand out. The album has a great but straightforward production. It has been produced and mixed at Dug Out Studio in Uppsala, Sweden by Daniel Bergstrand (Behemoth, In Flames, Soilwork, Meshuggah, Dimmu Borgir, Dark Funeral).

Witchery’s “In His Infernal Majesty’s Service” will be released on Century Media Records on 25th November.

www.facebook.com/officialwitchery

EP review: Lamb of God “The Duke”

Lamb of God

Lamb of God

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Lamb of God sounds fantastic on this new EP on which we get treated to two new studio tracks and some festival live recordings. Great stuff.

Perhaps now that the confusion over whether Chris Adler was joining Megadeth or not is over, Lamb of God is firmly focused on the music and working together as a band? What do I know? Not much about that, but I do know that the band delivers on this new EP. They sound great. They sound focused and they’re back in fine form.

On this new EP, Lamb of God – Randy Blythe (vocals), Mark Morton (guitar), Willie Adler (guitar), John Campbell (bass) and Chris Adler (drums) – gives us two brand new studio tracks and three live tracks.

Lamb of God "The Duke"

Lamb of God “The Duke”

The new studio songs, “The Duke” and “Culling”, are both very good. The title track was inspired by a fan who recently passed away in leukemia. Lamb of God gives us big, heavy modern metal with some alternative rock touches on the title track. “Culling” is more straightforward, hard-hitting modern metal with brutal vocals. It is a song that the band has worked on for a number of years. It was recently finished to be included on this EP.

We get a great recording of “Still Echoes” live from the German rock festival Rock am Ring, while the live recordings of “512” and “Engage the Fear Machine” were both recorded at the American festival Bonnaroo. All three tracks are live versions of songs from the band’s 2015 album “VII: Sturm und Drang”. Live the band is heavy and quite aggressive and they sound very tight. These live tracks may help the band sell some concert tickets: it’s a great showcase for Lamb of God as a world-class live metal act.

This EP is a real treat. In these times of challenging record sales, this type of product is what is needed. Give the fans some new songs and couple them with some live goodies and rarities. This kind of EP (also available as a vinyl verison) is much more exciting than just a new track released digitally.

“The Duke EP” is out now on Epic Records.

www.lamb-of-god.com / www.facebook.com/lambofgod

Gig review: New England at Club Citta in Kawasaki

Gary Shea and John Fannon of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

Gary Shea and John Fannon of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks 

Sensational first-ever gig in Japan by classic American rock band New England. Few other classic rock bands have the songs, the musicianship and creativity that this band has.

New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

Forty years after forming, New England opens their first-ever set in Japan strongly with “Seal It With a Kiss” and “L-5” before performing the playful “Hello Hello Hello”, the first song on the band’s debut album from 1979. We get no less than eight songs from that debut album during this gig, but we also get treated to favourites from their other classical albums (“Explorer Suite” from 1980 and “Walking Wild” from 1981) as well as the newer song “I Know There’s Something Here” from 2015.

John Fannon of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

John Fannon of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

New England is a quartet of musicians who all play a unique part in the band’s sound. Replacing any one member would change everything (which was evident in the great, but very different, Warrior demos three of the band members did with Vinnie Vincent in 1982 when John Fannon quit the band). All four members are fundamental parts to the New England sound.

Gary Shea of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

Gary Shea of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

While New England is basically a guitar-based band, Jimmy Waldo’s keyboards are a major part of the backbone of this band’s music. His wizardry adds a whole new dimension to many of the songs. Hirsh Gardner is a heavy-hitting drummer (evident as he breaks one of his drum sticks during a song). Gary Shea’s bass guitar has a life of its own in many of the songs. John Fannon not only has an unmistakable voice, he’s also a great guitarist. But the real New England magic lies in how it all comes together and how the four members flawlessly change instruments and roles in order to deliver the New England experience. Waldo plays guitar on several songs while Gardner jumps in to sing lead on a few occasions. His unique voice is very different from Fannon’s and thereby adds a twist and depth to the music. During an acoustic part of the show, which kicks off with “Conversation”,  Shea suddenly plays a ukulele while Gardner brings out a tambourine and chimes, Waldo rocks it out on a guitar and Fannon plays the harmonica. In a later part of the show we get both Waldo and Gardner on keyboards at the same time and no drummer. The playfulness of this band of multi-instrumentalists is great stuff. Very creative and the result is phenomenal. Obviously, they also have the songs to match their performing skills.

Jimmy Waldo of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

Jimmy Waldo of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

In the splendid “Turn Out the Light”, Fannon performs solo with an acoustic guitar. To the fans’ delight he steps down from the stage and into the audience and performs the whole song among and with his audience. That’s how a real showman does it.

Hirsh Gardner of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

Hirsh Gardner of New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

Musically the show spans a wide range of styles of classic rock. Some of the songs get a heavier sound live, not least because of Gardner’s hard-hitting drumming style, while other songs are performed scaled down with little or no drumming. New England can do it all. This band’s musicianship and creativity go far beyond what most other bands can do. At the end of the evening they come back twice for encores. A great gig is finished with the splendid “P.U.N.K.”.

On Sunday 20th November there is a second chance to see the band at the same venue. Don’t miss it. Hopefully we will see New England back in Japan soon, but in the meantime there will be a chance to see at least Gary Shea and Jimmy Waldo on tour in Japan with Graham Bonnet Band and Alcatrazz in March next year.

New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

New England – set list – Club Citta, Kawasaki, Japan, 18th November 2016

  1. Seal It With A Kiss
  2. L-5
  3. Hello Hello Hello
  4. Alone Tonight
  5. Shoot
  6. Get It Up
  7. Honey Money
  8. Holdin’ Out On Me
  9. I Know There’s Something Here
  10. Conversation
  11. Shall I Run Away
  12. Turn Out the Light (John Fannon solo)
  13. Explorer Suite
  14. Hope
  15. Nothing to Fear
  16. Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya
  17. Elevator
  18. You’ll Be Born Again
  19. P.U.N.K.
New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

New England on stage at Club Citta. Photo: Yuki Kuroyanagi

www.newenglandrocks.com

www.facebook.com/newenglandtheband

Graham Bonnet Band and Alcatrazz to tour Japan in 2017

Graham Bonnet Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Graham Bonnet on stage in Tokyo in June 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

It’s been confirmed! Graham Bonnet Band will tour Japan in 2017 and the Japanese fans will get a special Alcatrazz encore during the tour.bonnet-flyer

In 2015, an early version of the Graham Bonnet Band toured Japan as opening act for Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock. A few months ago, Graham Bonnet was back in Japan as one of the guest vocalists during the Japanese Michael Schenker Fest tour. In the spring of 2017, we will finally get the now-finalised Graham Bonnet Band line-up on stage in Japan.

The Japan tour will consist of three gigs in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo in mid-March. Graham Bonnet Band – Graham Bonnet (vocals), Beth-Ami Heavenstone (bass), Conrado Pesinato (guitar), Jimmy Waldo (keyboards) and Mark Zonder (drums) – will perform a full set and as a treat, they will be joined by bassist Gary Shea for a special Alcatrazz encore. While Shea and Waldo are on a Japan tour right now with their New England band, the planned shows with Bonnet in March will be the first time since 1984 that the three founding members of Alcatrazz will perform together in Japan. This will be special and not something you want to miss. Get your tickets now: www.ameblo.jp/tokyoonkyorock

www.facebook.com/grahambonnetmusic

Album review: Vanderberg “Devil May Care”

artwork-_-devil-may-care

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

German guitarist Marc Vanderberg’s promising debut album is filled with 80s-style European melodic hard rock.

German guitarist Marc Vanderberg’s debut album opens with an instrumental track, “Godfather”. The rest of the album consists of nine melodic hard rock songs heavily influenced by 80s icons like Yngwie Malmsteen and Europe. In addition to Yngwie, Vanderberg names the two Europe guitarists John Norum and Kee Marcello as major influences. His devotion to Swedish guitar heroes is obvious, especially when a former Yngwie Malmsteen and John Norum vocalist appears on the album: Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, Madison, Vinnie Vincent) sings lead on two tracks, “Devil May Care” and “Infinite Love”.

The songwriting and the production smells of the 1980s. The lyrical themes are also mainly of the type that were the norm back in the day. That is not a bad thing with this kind of guitar-based melodic hard rock. This may be an album that will appeal to those of you who don’t mind stepping in to a time machine and go back 30 years in time to a period when Swedish metal was dominated by melodic hard rock with plenty of guitars and keyboards, long before Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia turned into a centre for extreme metal.

Marc Vanderberg

Marc Vanderberg

While the two songs sung by Edman are great, “Corrosion of Society”, with Paulo Cuevas on vocals, is a clear favourite track with heaps of energy and a drive that sets it apart. On “Pray”, Vanderberg handles vocals himself while other vocalists appearing on the album include Boban Vasileski and Chris Divine.

This is a rather promising debut album. As a next step it would be great to see Marc Vanderberg put together a proper band with a permanent vocalist. Albums like this with many different guest vocalists often has the feeling of being a project and it creates the problem of how the album can be performed live.

Vanderberg’s debut album “Devil May Care” will be released on 18th November on HearYou Music.

www.facebook.com/marcvanderbergofficial

www.facebook.com/hearyoumusic