Start of vacation Mixtape

So I got to listen to a few CDs today but I got lazy and didn’t really want to change discs in the stereo so I plugged in the iPod and hit Shuffle. Here’s the first 20 songs…..

  1. Twisted Sister – ‘Leader Of The Pack’ (1985)
  2. Black ‘N Blue – ‘Action’ (1984)
  3. Saxon – ‘Denim And Leather’ (1981)
  4. D.C. Cooper – ‘Chained’ (1999)
  5. Mogg-Way – ‘Fortune Town’ (1997)
  6. Anvil – ‘Bondage’ (1981)
  7. UFO – ‘A Self-Made Man’ (1995)
  8. Dio – ‘Otherworld’ (2000)
  9. FarCry – ‘Heaven’ (2009)
  10. KISS – ‘Get All You Can Take’ (1984)
  11. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Euthanasia’ (1980)
  12. Balance Of Power – ‘Miracles And Dreams’ (1999)
  13. Lillian Axe – ‘The 2nd Of May’ (2007)
  14. AC/DC – ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ (1977)
  15. Phil Vincent – ‘How Long’ (2008)
  16. Iron Maiden – The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner’ (1986)
  17. KISS – ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ (1987)
  18. Bullet – ‘No Mercy’ (1983)
  19. Black Sabbath – ‘No Stranger To Love’ (1986)
  20. Loudness – ‘Gravity’ (2008)

Bonus Track: Whitesnake – ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’ (1984)

Phil Vincent – Passion & Pain (2009)

Phil Vincent - Passion & Pain (2009)

Phil Vincent – Passion & Pain (2009, independent release)

  1. New Way To Live
  2. Locked Up In Love
  3. Comin’ Apart At The Seams
  4. Rumors (Part 1 & 2)
  5. All Because Of You
  6. One Chance
  7. Keep Runnin’
  8. Top Of The World
  9. Will You Remember?
  10. Wastin’ My Time
  11. Who Do You Think You Are?
  12. I Want You Now

Musicians:
Phil Vincent - All Vocals, Lead/Acoustic/Rhythm Guitars, Piano, Organ, Keyboards, Bass & Drums
Michael Riesenbeck – Lead Guitars on tracks 9 & 11
Steven Albanese – Lead Guitars on tracks 1, 5 & 6
Michael J. Sprague – Electric Guitar fills & Acoustic guitar on track 6
William Roux – Lead Guitar on track 4

Producer: Phil Vincent

Country: Rhode Island, USA

Total Time = 51:24

Phil Vincent
Phil Vincent MySpace page

New England melodic rocker Phil Vincent has released another album this year, this time a solo release, titled PASSION & PAIN. You might remember reading about Phil when I reviewed another album that he did, OUTLAW, with other local musicians in the band Tragik. If you read that review and checked out the album then you know that Phil Vincent and quality AOR/Melodic Rock go hand in hand. If you take a look at Phil’s website, you’ll see the influences he lists: The Beatles, Boston, Journey, Dokken, Harem Scarem, Talisman, Pink Floyd and Survivor. With this being album #11, Phil has made himself a solid career just under the radar of the national spotlight by tapping those influences and creating some exciting Hard Rock.

The album kicks off with the hard charging ‘New Way To Live’ that features some excellent guitar work from Steven Albanese and the heavy groove of ‘Locked Up In Love’. These two songs set the tone for the rest of the album right away: solid production, good songwriting, lots of guitars and passionate lyrics. Definitely a winning formula! ‘Comin’ Apart At The Seams’ continues the heavy guitar rock but with some subtle keyboard touches and intricate guitar solos…..one of my favorites from the album.

The longest song on the album is ‘Rumors (Pts. 1 & 2)’ with it’s mid-tempo pace and accompanying piano and harmonies. It’s got that power ballad feel to it but there’s enough gritty guitar and a good beat to kind of keep it out of pure ballad criteria, love the sweeping guitar and the soulful vocals. More pure Hard Rock pumps with ‘All Because Of You’, a track that sounds like the more modern and heavier side of Dokken, while the heavier mid-tempo crunch of ‘One Chance’ with the Dokken influence and a heavy Rainbow/Uriah Heep Hammond Organ. There’s always something about songs with that organ sound in it that I like. Same thing with ‘Keep Runnin’, it has that ’70s Rock sound going for it with the heavy guitars and space prog opening but it actually moves into a more melodic state. I really like the ’80s melodic rock of ‘Top Of The World’, one of the best songs on the album full of melody and hooks.

‘Will You Remember?’ continues the Hard Rock punch with some good harmonies but a heavy modern rock sound while ‘Wastin’ My Time’ has a more melodic delivery. Both songs are quality Hard Rock and they fall in line with the rest of the album but I kind of get the feeling that I’ve heard them already. I like the change-up with the mid-tempo/ballad ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, the song has this thumping bass that puts in a certain groove and the melodies really drive the song. There’s an ’80s influence and the guitars sound really good, they actually get heavier as the song progresses, and the keyboards are subtle…..a very cool tune. Closing out the record is the modern rock of ‘I Want You Now’. For some reason I just can’t get into this song, it just sounds too simplistic especially in the chorus and the vocals sound processed.

Bottom Line:
Overall a solid record! Like I said when I reviewed the Tragik album, it’s always good to hear quality music from local bands. Phil Vincent has been a mainstay on the RI/MA local scene for a long time and he always releases quality albums, PASSION & PAIN keeps the streak alive.  The album is excellent melodic Hard Rock with a few ballad/mid-tempo tracks thrown in for good measure. Everything here is top notch from the songwriting, to the performances, to the production. Phil Vincent should get more exposure worldwide, he’s definitely a hidden gem that people need to discover.

Favorite Songs:
‘New Way To Live’, ‘Locked Up In Love’, ‘Comin’ Apart At The Seams’, ‘One Chance’, ‘Top Of The World

Tragik – Outlaw (2009)

cd-tragik_outlaw

Tragik – Outlaw (2009, indepentdent release)

  1. …..In the Name Of…..
  2. Two Timer
  3. On The Other Side
  4. You Are Everything To Me
  5. What You Give
  6. Everything Changes
  7. Forgive Me
  8. Just Can’t Get Enough
  9. Loneliness
  10. Who’s Gonna Make The First Move
  11. Go Down Fightin’
  12. Give It Up

Band Lineup:
Phil Vincent – Vocals, Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar
Damian D’Ercole – Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Bass
Dirk Phillips – Drums & Percussion

Additional Musicians:
Steven Albanese – Lead Guitar (tracks 5, 7, 11)
Billy Roux – Lead Guitar (tracks 3 & 12)
Paul Colombo – Lead Guitar (track 9) & Rhythm Guitar (tracks 2, 8, 9, 12)

Producers: Phil Vincent & Dirk Phillips

Total Time = 53:36

Tragik MySpace page
Phil Vincent

It’s always really cool to get an album from a local artist…..Phil Vincent has been a part of the local Rhode Island/Massachusetts scene for a long time, his debut solo album, RISING, was released in 1996. Using his extensive talents as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Phil has also been a catalyst in the bands Circular Logik and Tragik. The first Tragik album, POETIC JUSTICE, was released in 2007 and now the follow-up, OUTLAW, has hit the shelves.

Taking a quick glance at the cover (you can’t help it!), one might expect an ’80s Hard Rock feast but the album starts off unexpectedly with a piano-based ballad ‘…In The Name Of…’, nothing like throwing in a curveball right away! I expected to get a rocking track right off the bat but instead there is this very melodic pure ballad that sounds a bit like ‘Love Walks In’ from the Hagar-era Van Halen crossed with some mid ’70s Queen. Listen to the guitar solo, it screams Brian May, very well done. The pace picks up right away with the uptempo ‘Two Timer’ and ‘On The Other Side’. Both songs are heavy on guitar but they stay melodic and have that hook that drags you in and gets you singing along. Both songs remind me a little of Dokken, especially ‘On The Other Side’ which sounds like something off SHADOWLIFE (1997) or LONG WAY HOME (2002). ‘You Are Everything To Me’ is the second ballad, although it does Rock up with the guitar solo, and it has this quirky keyboard sequence running through it. The sound gets filled out after the solo and it’s better for it, I wouldn’t mind hearing the guitar through the whole song.

‘What You Give’ is similar to ‘You Are Everything To Me’ and is very melodic in a Beatles/Journey/Styx kind of way but with a heavier classic rock style guitar throughout. Listen for the guitar solos on this one and try to pick out a little Brian May again, very cool. I like how the song builds up and by the end really rocks with a second solo. More heavy Melodic Rock on ‘Everything Changes’ with plenty of guitar and vocal harmonies…..one of my favorites on the album. I wasn’t sure what to think about ‘Forgive Me’ because the opening piano and percussion had a something of a slow dance beat to it but as the song progresses the guitars kick in and the song gets heavier. It stays in it’s melodic mid-tempo groove but has a lot of bite to it while retaining the piano throughout…..another unpredictable track that has become a favorite on the album. Same thing with ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, I wasn’t sure about it at first but repeated listens has hooked me in with it’s melody and harmonies with heavy modern guitar. It reminds me of the direction on the latest Night Ranger album HOLE IN THE SUN, modern & melodic.

‘Loneliness’ is slow and brooding and has this early ’80s Rock thing to it, not my favorite off OUTLAW but definitely something different. Same thing for ‘Who’s Gonna Make The First Move’, it has that early ’80s ballad sound kind of like Foreigner or Journey and is definitely a companion track to the album opener ‘In The Name Of…’. Tragik really has a knack for capturing that AOR/MHR sound that was big two decades ago and is missing from today’s radio, ‘Who’s Gonna Make The First Move’ is perfect for popular Rock radio. While the melodic side has been displayed throughout the album, the band doesn’t forget to throw out the Hard Rock and the final two songs (‘Go Down Fightin’ and ‘Give It Up’) definitely conclude the record with some serious power chords and solos recalling some early Dokken, a little Bon Jovi, and a touch of Sammy Hagar.

Bottom Line:
It’s always good to hear an album from a band in the local scene and getting a listen to the latest Tragik has to offer proves that good solid Rock music hasn’t died here in the southern New England area. What I like most about OUTLAW, and Tragik as a band, is that there is a lot of diversity to the sound. There are smooth ballads mixed in with driving rockers mixed with powerful mid-tempo tracks…..the band retains the heavy guitars throughout and uses the piano/keyboards in many tracks as a base. The guitar tones especially grabbed me throughout the album and I was definitely trying to pick out some of the influences. There are a lot of different styles to enjoy here but if AOR/Melodic Hard Rock is your thing, then this is an album to get a hold of. I grew up on Metal but also the Journeys, Bon Jovis and Night Rangers of the Rock world so this is definitely an album I’ve been playing constantly. Now I have to track down Tragik’s first album POETIC JUSTICE (2007) and give that a spin!

Favorite Songs: ‘Two Timer’, ‘Everything Changes’, ‘Forgive Me’, ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, ‘Who’s Gonna Make The First Move’