The proposed idea that rock and roll died long ago just doesn’t seem to apply to the majority of rock groups and musicians who are still out on the scene and formulating new material.
2015 has even had it’s fair share of monumental returns, unexpected comebacks, solo careers and return-to-forms, and we’ve just barely through the first half of the year.
In what has become somewhat of a tradition here at Music Enthusiast, we’ve comprised ten standalone songs that have been released this year so far that encompass the blues rock, progressive rock and hard rock communities.
“Bang the Lid”
Def Leppard has an album of their own that’s expected for release this October, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy guitarist Phil Collen‘s energy for songwriting. It’s with the members of his new blues rock project Delta Deep that Collen says he’s able to channel his indigenous playing style. While the band’s self-titled album features multiple notable collaborations with Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale and Leppard lead vocalist Joe Elliott, it’s during songs like the opening number “Bang the Lid” that Delta Deep truly stand out as force to be recognized.
While we’re on the topic of ax wielders and their personal ventures, FireHouse guitarist Bill Leverty has continued to develop a body of work as a solo artist that has explored everything from instrumental guitar rock to southern blues territory. Leverty’s latest single “Strong” is a strong example of the latter, and shows the guitar player known for his role in glam metal stepping up to the plate as a soulful lead vocalist with the support of FireHouse percussionist Michael Foster. These standalone singles will eventually find their way onto an upcoming solo album, in what is bound to be a varietal and worthwhile listen.
David Coverdale decided to pilot the Whitesnake vessel full circle with their latest installment ‘The Purple Album.’ Just as the title implies, this effort shows the members of Whitesnake providing revised renditions of vintage staples from Coverdale’s tenure with Deep Purple back during the 1970s. Accompanying the rock frontman on the album are Winger guitarist Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra of Night Ranger and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who unleash appropriate levels of fretted wizardry on songs such as the revitalized “Stormbringer.”
“Love Song to a Vampire”
Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett revisited classic unreleased material during the making of his new album ‘Wolflight,’ in an attempt to deliver a modernized take on the classic progressive rock character that he is readily associated with. Such attempts are done so successfully throughout ‘Wolflight,’ which musically embraces multiple cultures from across the world that Hackett has encountered in his travels. “Love Song to a Vampire” unifies delicate orchestra arrangements and impressionable acoustic guitar into one memorable compilation.
Randy Bachman has been takin’ care of business since stepping out onto the rock scene with The Guess Who during the early 1960s, even prior to become one the leading forces behind Bachman-Turner Overdrive. It is with his new blues rock trio Bachman, however, that the seasoned vocalist and guitarist delivers one of his most fashionable studio performances in decades. Part of that credit has to go toward the twin female talents of bassist Anna Ruddick and drummer Dale Anne Brendan, not to mention an all-star cast of guitar talent that includes Peter Frampton and Neil Young. The intensity that this unit delivers is proudly showcased on such tracks as the slightly Hendrix-esque “Bad Child.”
“Days of Rock ‘N’ Roll”
With their new effort ‘War of Kings,’ the members of Europe made a welcome return to the distinctive hard rock methodology that initially highlighted such earlier presentations as 1984’s ‘Wings of Tomorrow’ and the self-titled 1983 album ‘Europe.’ The intention behind the release was to revisit the group’s original inspirations in Black Sabbath and Rainbow and incorporate those elements into a new record, and Europe does exactly this during the high energy “Days of Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Centered firmly around blistering synthesizers and the soaring vocals of mainman Joey Tempest, this cut stands as one of the most assertive tracks from the band’s catalog in recent memory.
“I Can’t Take It”
There are almost always some negative emotions when a band heads their separate ways. Estranged Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy is perhaps using that energy as motivation on his latest single “I Can’t Take It,” which invokes a similar breed of hard rock that he’s readily recognized for delivering back in the 1980s. Snarling lead vocals and melodic chord progressions highlight this mid-tempo rocker, which could have perhaps found a comfortable home on ‘Invasion of Your Privacy.’
Guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani has been formulating atmospheric compositions since first stepping out on the scene with 1986’s ‘Not of This Earth,’ and he’s still going strong on his forthcoming effort ‘Shockwave Supernova.’ While the album does feature multiple expansive ventures into reggae rock and seasoned blues territory, Satriani seems at his most confident during selections such as the manic self-titled track “Shockwave Supernova.” Plummeting string bends and gloaming overtones make this guitar-oriented anthem an instant favorite for both longtime and occasional listeners alike.
“Rattle That Lock”
Longtime Pink Floyd leader David Gilmour has always been recognized as a creative musical genius, and he’s reasserts this title with the title track from his upcoming solo album ‘Rattle That Lock.’ The song takes inspiration from (of all things) a four note jingle that’s played before announcements on a French train station. Combined with lyrics from wife Polly Samson that draw from the 17th century epic poem Paradise Lost, the song stands as one colossal artistic statement from one of the defining forces in progressive rock.
“To Hell and Back”
Heavy metal frontman Dee Snider is ambitiously delving head-first into a solo career nearly forty years after becoming the lead vocalist for Twisted Sister. “To Hell and Back” has been described by Snider as the first time in decades that he was inspired to write, much to the credit of Silverwind guitarist and song co-author Nick Perri. “Lyrically, the song raises a bold middle finger to those who whine and complain about the difficulties of life, but have no real clue what difficult is,” says Snider, who delivers a compelling vocal performance that retains the attitude of his earlier recordings.