Metal Overlord

Moshpit Mayhem

Hotel Diablo – The Return To Psycho, California

Hotel Diablo stink of attitude, the type of attitude that excellent rock and roll bands need to have to be noticed. The four members of the band are no newcomers to the game, and this shows as they bring their experience to this hard rock heaven of an album. If you like heavy rock, like a big chorus and a good guitar solo then you need to be investing in this album. There is something here for most rockers, a little sleaze, a lot of attitude, huge hooks and the kind of sing-a-long chorus’s you need when getting ready for a good night out.

The album starts in dynamic fashion with the opening blast of Taken, a song that wastes no time in showcasing the bands talents. The power of the rhythm section created by Mike Duda and Mike Dupke perfectly compliment the six string work of Alex Grossi. Rick Stitch’s vocal prowess adds the colouring and texture to the song. All These Years starts off as a big bouncing rock song and holds the interest until the huge chorus hits us. The song is built around the chorus, so it should be, the band have hit paydirt with this one.

What You Do To Me  is the first ballad of the album and has everything that you want from a rock ballad. The acoustic guitar is there, the emotional lyrics and the excellent guitar solo to bring the tune home. It has a true classic rock feel to it. The next track, Psycho California, brings the sleazy Rock n Roll to the party. Full of driving guitars that hammer the song into your head, the song then hits with infectious chorus to make sure that you don’t forget this one in a hurry.

Bury You starts nice and gentley before building into one of the most memorable chorus’s I’ve heard in a long time. It’s the kind of song that would be huge on rock radio, it has all the right ingredients to be a huge single, it will be if there is any justice. Set It Off kicks off with a load of fuzzy guitar before kicking into a sleazy rock n roll song. It’s a good solid rock n roll drinking song which should be a great live favourite.

Wicked Lines starts with some acoustic guitar before hitting into another fantastic song that the likes of Buckcherry or even Shinedown would love to have. The song writing on this album is first class, the individuals in the band have all paid their dues in bands like W.A.S.P, Quiet Riot and Adlers Appetite, so they are all aware of what makes a good rock song and this really shows throughout. The next song caught me well and truly by surprise. Out of the speakers comes Wonderwall, yeah, you read that right, Wonderwall. Any self respecting rock fan will only ever sing along to this whilst in a take away after a drunken night out. However, Hotel Diablo have turned it into a respectable rock song, much to my surprise.

Trigger then grabs your attention straight away with a great guitar hook, the kind that you want to jump around to, and a chorus that will make you spill your beer when played live. Hell, you can even sing along to the guitar solo, another winner. To end the album we get the alterrnate versions of What You Do To Me and Bury You. Both are excellent songs in their own right but these stripped down versions really do give the songs another dimension.

All in all, this is one hell of a rock album. It is classic rock with a modern feel, it leaves you wanting more and if an album can do that then it’s done it’s job. If you get the chance to catch Hotel Diablo live then make sure you take it, I get the feeling it will be one hell of a show.

Produced by Gilby Clarke, this album is a must for rock fans

An Outstanding  9/10

Rick Stitch – vocals

Alex Grossi – guitar

Mike Duda – bass

Mike Dupke – drums

@HotelDiablo – twitter


Wind Rose – Shadows Over Lothadruin

Wind Rose were described to me as Symphonic Power Metal, a description that made me roll my eyes and think “What? Another one”. HOW WRONG I WAS.

There are so many elements to this album that even after multiple listens, I am still hearing many new things. To categorize this band would be a crime, they reach across so many rock/metal genres. This is a very exciting debut album with depth, power, heaviness and energy.

(Awakening) kicks the album off as a mood setting opener, full of a brooding atmosphere. The Endless Prophecy then kicks off in urgent fashion before a tolling bell takes us to a darker heavier place. There are progressive influences all over this song, touches of Dream Theater at their heaviest and even Symphony X. (The Tournament) races by and straight into Siderion, which opens with a Celtic/Folk  feel before heading off into Celtic/Folk metal. The song retains this influence throughout but it is never overpowering, this song has a unique charm to it, the musicianship is first class throughout.

The spoken word interlude that is (The Grand March) leads us to Son Of A Thousand Nights. This is a slow song with progressive twists and turns along the way. An excellent lead vocal from Francesco Cavalieri drives this song along with the underlying wind intruments. The Fourth Vanguard hits us with the heaviest riff yet on the album, this will get fists pumping and heads nodding along, the song has everything you could wish for. The guitars are heavy, the bass adds to the depth of heaviness, the drumming of Daniele Viscont is adds a swing that other bands wish they had. His double bass drumming is exceptionally quick but never overpowering.

(Dark Horizons) then introduces the epic Majesty. The Keyboards in this have a medieval vibe to them, they flow in and out throughout the song. This song is over nine minutes long but at no time does it out stay it’s welcome. This epic song could well become a true melodic masterpiece. The music has scope and it has been given time to breathe, the song benefits so much from that, nothing sounds forced. (The Havoc) leads into the furious beginning of Oath To Betray. Speed gives way to a guitar driven rocker, again there are enough twists and turns to keep the listener interested. The guitar/keyboard solo would make John Petrucci/ Jordan Rudess sit up and take notice.

Led By Light once again has slight Celtic influences flowing through it, with an excellent chorus that is instantly drummed into your mind, great melodic singing in this one. The song turns heavier just after halfway, and takes us on a little journey before leading into the monstrous chorus once again. (Sacred Fount) guides us into Moontear Sanctuary, a song that begins with some gentle woodwind and acoustic guitars. This song has a medieval vibe throughout which builds and builds throughout, this could be a mass sing-a-long when played live.

(Vererath) with it’s middle eastern vibe, sends us crashing into the final song on the album, Close To The End. The heaviness of the opening gives way to a piano/voice track which builds into the full band, and the heaviness returns. At over ten minutes, this song has every chance of being overbearing but it never is. It is a very uplifting track, that as a lover of well played music I find very enjoyable.

Wind Rose have the chance to appeal to a broad spectrum of music lovers. There is enough metal to keep the metallers happy, there are time changes a plenty to more than satisfy the prog fans. There is the dramatical atmosphere to pacify the fans of symphonic metal. Although this album has a lot of different influences flowing through it, it never comes across as confused or mashed up. The band have a definate identity. There is so much on this album to enjoy that you simply must listen to it again and again. 

As Wind Rose continue to develop and progress then there are going to be some big times ahead.

 Rating: A magnificent 8/10

Francesco Cavalieri – Vocals
Daniele Visconti – Drums
Alessio Consani – Bass
Claudio Falconcini – Guitars
Federico Meranda – Keyboards