Meat Loaf – “Going All The Way”
If you were excited about the newest Jim Steinman/Meat Loaf collaboration coming September, this single is sure to dispel any hope in humanity. Meat Loaf sounds like he’s slobbering all over his microphone, obviously ready for his next dose of geritol. The mandatory female vocalist character makes Meat Loaf sound even older, and the production’s synthesized instruments give it a super cheap feel. I don’t think Jim Steinman remembers what it’s like to be teenaged anymore either, making the entire affair a flaccid dullride.
Ghost Community – Cycle of Life
Prog is a very dirty four-letter word, but Ghost Community’s brand of adult alternative/AOR/prog/Dio/rock definitely excels. The secret is great songwriting. There’s never a moment wasted, with instrumental passages serving only to push all six tracks to a powerful climax. John Paul Vaughan has a clean, silky power, while Moray Macdonald’s whirling keyboards always left me wanting more. Hopefully this stuff isn’t too dense for the melodic rock crowd: nothing is under seven minutes, all tracks like an epic juggernaut of emotion and atmosphere. Sometimes you dig the music, but this music digs into you.
Ally Gold – The Noise Collective
Twenty years too late, these noise-pop zombies have some decent hooks to share. The opener “Caffeine” has this twangy shoegaze James Bond guitar thing going on, while “All My Old Friends (Follow New Trends)” displays rockin’ capabilities. The remaining two get a little too self-conscious for me, aping shoegaze and lo-fi sensibilities in that order, but if I knew anything about indie credibility, this website would have millions of hits a day and earn me and Ay-hole enough money to comfortably retire on a remote private island off the coast of Argentina where I’d sip on expensive margaritas made by my private Chilean bartender Franco Vicente. Ally Gold could play there sometimes if they want.
Sequestered Keep – Dawn of Battle
More metal than you’ll ever be, Sequestered Keep’s take on medieval ambient is absolutely perfect. I can feel my blood pump listening to “Parapet Wizard” and “Into A Grim Forest Battle”, their swirling synth-orchestra and subtle military beats filling my soul with delicious melancholy. “Upon Its Hilt A Shining Light” and “The Silent Call of Hidden Paths” also nail the dark atmosphere, but the real killer is “Tattered Banners Across the Fields of Thousands-Slain”. I don’t think the title could be more appropriate. This is my new vote for best kept secret in underground music.