New Releases – March 8th Tesla, Damon Johnson, Children Of Bodom + More

Damon Johnson Memoirs Of An Uprising


Here are some of the albums that come out today:

Tesla – Shock

I’ve already seen this labeled as Tesleppard, and it seems that the reviews of the album either trash it or love it, kind of no in between. The album was produced by Def Leppard’s Phil Collen, he also co-wrote every track on the album. Have you been looking for a second part to Hysteria?

Well, you’ve found it! Everything I’ve heard off of the album sounds like Def Leppard, I love Tesla, but I can’t help but think this is them wanting to get back on the radio one more time and pander to an audience that just isn’t there. This album will only serve to alienate the audience, this is akin to Scorpions Eye To Eye, it may appeal to the casual fan, or those wearing Tesla horse blinders.

The last album that I really loved by the band was Into The Now, and as much as I thought parting with Tommy Skeoch was a good thing, given all of the stories that were floating around.  I figured, sure, let’s see what Dave Rude, can do, I wanted him and the band to wow me, but I’m not sure I feel that way anymore.

I see a lot of parallels between Def Leppard and Tesla, the biggest being the fact that the meat and potatoes, the harder edge is missing from both bands.  With the absence of Tommy, they lost the majority of their bite, and in the case of Def Leppard, Steve Clark’s passing did the same exact thing.

There are no huge riffs, like “Solution” that just get stuck in your head, that intertwines with a melody that makes it a hard rock earworm. I want to love this, as I’ve spent hours upon hours listening to them, but I can’t help but think it’s a poor attempt at doing what a lot of bands were doing in the late 80s, essentially what Tesla originally shied away from.

Tesla was definitely a band that wasn’t original, pulling from 70s hard rock, but were great songwriters, and didn’t need to follow trends, they didn’t dawn the eyeliner or aqua net, they did their thing, and were unfortunately grouped in with others that tried to copy Def Leppard’s sound and look.

If anything they sounded closer to the albums that helped build up to Hysteria like Pyromania, High N Dry, and On Through The Night. All these years later it seems like they’ve decided to finally join the club, and put out the glam metal album they never did in their initial run.

The sucker in me will keep coming back because I am still a huge fan of their music, especially their first five albums.  But I can’t help but think that they keep getting farther and farther off course.

Damon Johnson – Memoirs Of An Uprising

This album and Damon have been all over Talking Rock for the last few months. You want a review of the album? We got you covered. How about an interview with Damon talking about the album, and his career?

Yep, we got that too. What’s missing? How about Damon giving you a rundown of his gear, well check that out here.

In the event that you’re not aware of Damon, or his music, he’s best known for Brother Cane, Alice Cooper, and Black Star Riders. He’s worked with people like Stevie Nicks and Carlos Santana.

He’s a member of Thin Lizzy current touring lineup. And he stepped away from Black Star Riders, the Thin Lizzy offshoot, to invest more time in his solo career. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the album, can’t wait to check it out myself.

Buckcherry – Warpaint

This is the band’s first album with their new revamped Buckcherry lineup, the first without founding member and guitarist, Keith Nelson. It is also their first on the Sony-owned Century Media and their first time since 15 that they’ve worked with producer Mike Plotnikoff.

I have to admit that I think their first two albums are their best, and actually prefer lead singer Josh Todd’s solo album, and his side project Josh Todd & The Conspiracy over pretty much everything Buckcherry has recorded.

But I do enjoy what I heard off of the album so far the song “Bent” reminds me of Electric era The Cult, well both bands have had previously sipped from the well of AC/DC.

Children of Bodom – Hexed

Alexi Laiho and the gang return with their 10th studio album and marks the first with guitarist Daniel Freyberg. If you’re a die-hard that has been turned off by the last few albums, this is being heralded as a return to form by the band.

Not to say that their last few albums were bad, they have experimented a lot more after the success of Hate Crew Deathroll, and I get that they didn’t want to get pigeonholed or referred to as a one-trick pony.

Hexed, seems to focus more on what got them to the dance, and although the band is spreading their wings, their experimentation isn’t as pronounced on this album.  It’s there, a lot more subtle than in the past, with slightly different tempos than we’re accustomed to by the band, and perhaps a more thought-out approach to the musical composition of the album.

Freyberg has also been a welcome addition to the band, as his style is so different from Alexi’s that it works perfectly to add something different that previous guitarist Roope Latvala didn’t bring to the table.

Meat Puppets – Dusty Notes

The Phoenix, Arizona band released their first album, a self-titled debut in 1982. And has released a new album on a yearly basis, all the way up until 1995’s No Joke!  But their notoriety comes from Nirvana covering them and inviting members of the band out to play with them during their MTV Unplugged In New York album.

Shortly after they had a hit with the song “Backwater”, and then came a series of on-again, off-again breakups and reunions before the brothers Kirkwood decided to get back together again in 2006. Dusty Notes is the band’s 15th studio album and marks the return of original drummer Derrick Bostrom.

Here are some other albums of interest that also drop today:

Weezer – The Teal Album (Physical)

Whitesnake – Slide It In: The Ultimate Special Edition

Doro – Backstage To Heaven (EP)

Iron Savior – Kill Or Get Killed

Misery Index – Rituals of Power

Tyr – Hel

Indestructible Noise Command – Terrible Things

Iron Fire – Beyond The Void

The Raven Age – Conspiracy

The Royal – Deathwatch

Subway To Sally – Hey!

Zebrahead – Brain Invaders

Article by Victor M. Ruiz of Mars Attacks Radio & Podcast, and Galaxy Of Geeks Podcast.  Connect with him on Twitter:  @vmr907