domingo, 12 de maio de 2019


Surprise, surprise, surprise! NTH Ascension are back with a new record. Guys, I have to tell you that if you still don't know about them, now it's the time to get acquainted with the band's work.
They're from Fleetwood near liverpool, the keyboard player also does his best in the humongous outfit TEN, Gary Hughes' brainchild.
This is the time, they can no longer be ignored, the quality is so immense that you have to be foolish not to give them a try.
The human is a multitude of functions, electric impulses that makes us move, breath, love, hate,... there are humans made of numbers, humans made of words, humans made of an array of habilities,... me, i'm a human made of music. i feel music, rhythm, beats, like on that movie TRON, i'm an infinite world of music, and so when i tell you you're missing something true and amazing, believe me, you are.
England is a hive of prog music, since the 60's hundreds of bands emerged and took the world by sound engeneering, giving images to our senses that lived for so long in darkness, From Pink Floyd to Marillion, Yes to Genesis, King Crimson to ELP, Asia to It Bites, Alan Parsons to Threshold, Barclay James Harvest to Arena, etc,... they all made life more clearer, and still do, and now we have the likes of NTH Ascension holding the flag of prog rock.
I started this review with the word surprise 3 times, and it was not about the fact that there's a new record in stores, it's because i am really surprised with the work these Fleetwood boys just presented us. Michael Alan Taylor – Vocals; Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards (TEN); and the walker family, father and sons, Craig Walker – Drums & Percussion, Gavin Walker – Bass Guitar; and Martin Walker – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, come together as a tigh outfit and were we in the golden era, and the record companies would be fighting for their signatures and give them the final push towards stardom.
In one of my early reviews, i commented that they needed someone from the outside to take hold of the tables and somehow it happened. Darrel and Martin did the engeneering but the famed Eric Gillette did the rest in the USA. The job went so far that they stepped the ladder so high and now there's no turning back. They entered the realm of the holy, and now there is the big responsability to keep doing better and better each time; big task ahead. The quality is that good!
Let's talk about the surprise. Eight tracks, around 70 min. of music and lots of great moments to enjoy.
This time the quality just baffled me. Throughout the record there's a multitude of things to enjoy so well crafted that we can only find in the elite bands. From jazz fusion to eighties more happy moments, theatrical rock, power riffs bordering highest plains of metal, the force is strong in this one. just read the following:
The Opening- An instrumental stormy weather in the highlands slowly clearing for the take off with flutes from afar telling us there is life in the greens before the guitar floats side to side, leaving the grounds clearer...
True Identity- ... for this majestic piece that seems to come right out of a broadway show. Very heavy and dark, there's a lot of theatrical and vocal games, stints of Marillion\Fish. This is something done by very accomplished musicians, and with this tune i rest my case, only the good ones can do this. A favorite.
Fire in the Sky- The pounding on the keyboards is really powerfull, a complete rhythm section, i can imagine the keyboard player as a maestro driving the band throughout space and beyond, i just don't know how but there's something here that drives my senses to Asia and Geoff Downes in this one. you can't no longer ignore this keyboard player, he studied the best and he turned in to one. this tune has a lyric that shows the band's misfortunes in the last months ending up creating their own label; graciously turned into a up tune. Another favorite.
Reconciled- And now we have our 80's moment perfectly combined with subtle prog movements in order not to be displaced from the record alignment. Very well done!
Following tracks 5,6 and 7 are a continuation of the conceptual work started on the first record of the band the "Clanaan Chronicles", a fictional story in the vein of lotr\narnia, about the battle between good an evil beings an the subsequent hero that emerges to put the balance back again. So, musically it's a movie with lots of moods and ambients, very accessible and melodic were you can lay back and hipnotize yourself in deep worlds. There isn't a dull moment in these almost 30 min. of musical fiction.
Sound to Light- And for last we have another 80's moment starting in the form of an acoustic ballad and growing to a power riff driven movement. from there to another dimension far and beyond space, very keyboard driven. Then turning to some fusion jazz with pounding keys and finally back again to the 80's power moment. 18 minutes of pure delight. what a voyage!!! 

There's no weak song on this record, no bad leg, this is really good, ultra professional. You have to be that good to produce such a wine, full of flavours and yet all combined make a powerful liquid that really fills you up inside.
For a prog rock album, it's very strong, melodic and melodie driven, it's a formidable job! Darrel Treece-Birch is an amazing keyplayer, alongside now with the best of the best, wakeman, emerson, downes, etc...
But the rest of the band don't came after him, they complement each other perfectly, even the vocal performer goes further in his job this time, daring higher fields.
I am really surprised and thankfull for this amazing album. congratulations to the band, they nailed it good!
The best i've heard in a long time among lots and lots of fish and chips. I just wish them that someone comes and gives them the push they need to become noticed by the masses in order to enjoy this superb work.
In stores 31th of may 2019! Don't miss it!
mcLeod has spoken!

domingo, 23 de dezembro de 2018


Hello dear brothers of this fascinating world we call music. Long time no see. I'm so sorry but after a long time unemployed a ton of work came my way, so,...
A few days ago i came across something that caught my attention. Being portuguese i have to say that in this small piece of land fronting europe against the trump feud, it breaks my heart to say that Portugal doesn't have a rock scene, everyone who attempts it, has to live underground, so it was with enormous joy that i received a copy of a new rock project called 47 de FEVEREIRO. (47 of February; the same is to say 19th of march). The name of the band says it all, or better yet, says nothing. Eheheh. I like this, i truly do. Uncompromised rock with a lot of everything and then again a lot of nothing. Nonsense with humorous play, but... there is a lot of maturity in it, everything was made with a purpose, so if you start to listen to this collection of pieces of irresponsible music i might just take your fun right now and spoil it for you, these 4 boys know exactly what they are doing, and they are very hardcore, (on the attitude towards life and society, not the music itself, allthough,...).
As musicians they have been around for a long time in several well known projects in the portuguese music scene, and now they came together like a "buzz" on a sunday night, saying i don't want to go to work tomorrow, man ...
This is a street fight statement on society. Random acts of inglorious lives that instead of being captured by a camera were captured on musical statements; a true exhibit for the Casa de Serralves.
The record then. Songs build upon slogans and football metaphores, with some very higly regarded passages of people like Gunter Grass or George Orwell. "stayed for the intention, in extremis, la favorita, infiltrated, vagabond, pigs in the attic, outside the law, extra time"; are a bouquet of fabulastic musical arrangements, flute, portuguese guitar, vocals that sang in italian or in medieval expressionism; what do you say to some doom metal played with portuguese guitar melodies and arrangements in fresh and captivating theme called "á margem da lei"? Or some psycho prog in "la favorita". And again some misterious flute played on first take as if on a jam in a dark prog ambient of Gunter Grass. who is Jon Anderson? Jethro Tull on a heavier tuxido.
This record was made under no influence, that means, no record company pressure, in fact there's non what soever, this is an independent effort and if you dont like it, the band says; "that's cool, bro! we do! and that's enuff". For the record companies, well, some "green mint". As for the other kind of influences, only the band can confirm or deny.
Before listening to this record, i was adressed to the new effort of the swedish outfit Freak Kitchen in wich i find a lot of resemblances with this 47 de Fevereiro's debut. I believe they don't know of each other but the influences could very well be the same, Rage Against the Machine, Body Count, Motorhead, Metallica, or some electric jazz fusion; this is what some people call "a Trip". Let's take one? So what are you waiting for, go listen,...
For the rest of the world, this record might seem a frustrating journey, but music is universal and "gUgle" translator might help you surpass some of that disapoitment. For the latin boys and girls, this will be an amazing treatment, or as my dear friend Roque Xandeiro used to say, espantástico!(a mix word of amazing and fantastic); remember this, old friend?
This record was edited on the 19th of march 2018, that saying, 47 of february, cool, hah?
Glad to be here for all of you!
McLeod has spoken!


This is a Very Rare gem long forgotten in my dusty vinyl trunk, that i've rediscovered again while taking some time to clean up. Does any one know who Peter Jacobson is? or Tony Niemistö? Or Micael kiriakos Delaoglou? Hal Patino? Joewall randall? Yenz Cheyenne?
Well, let's see if i can remember it all. Peter Jacobson, aka Pete Blakk, was the axeman for King Diamond from 1988 to 1992. Tony Niemisto aka Tony Reno aka Tony Lace, was the first drummer for the ginormous band Europe, from 1979 to 1984, in wich he played on the first two albums and subsequently substituted by Ian Haugland. Micael k. Delaoglou aka Mikkey Dee, also needs no introdution, is currently the basher for the teutonic champions, Scorpions, and also played with king Diamond, Don Dokken and Motorhead, as on Helloween and Thin Lizzy. Hal Patino, another King Diamond employee; joel Starander formerly on Blakk Totem, and finally Yenz Cheyenne, who was also the bass player for Piet Sielk's Iron Savior, among others.
So given the premisse, the band. Geisha were a hard sleaze metal band from Denmark. They were quite known in scandinavia and after few line-up changes and demos edited, they recorded an album in 1987 baptized "Phantasmagoria". The line-up for the record was Yenz Cheyenne on vocals, (this one afterwards formed the band Y with Tony Lace; yes, the one and the same Tony Reno); Pete Blakk on guitars, Tony Niemisto on drums and Joel Starander on bass
This is amazing hard'n'heavy with not one bad cut, with lots of "tilsentown" influences. For the year 1987, this is a great rock album with only 7 songs but catchy enough to put you banging your head, but with a not so good production. It's good enough, believe me, but this could have been big. They tried to play it by the book, and that they did, but the result wasn't the one that was expected. Never-the- less, for that year, when bands like Guns'n'Roses were emerging it was a good thing to hear, i really did enjoyed it, and i'm enjoying it again. they were on to a good thing but... strange ways parted them to other projects. it was fun finding this again because they were full of potential and i recomend you to give it a go, but please do it with an open mind and not like if you were to find the holy grail or you'll miss something very interesting. For this 31 year run i thank my good friends herr Olli making his way in the swiss alps and Joe aka DEV, who were the ones that presented me to this rare gem.
McLeod has spoken! 


Who knows anything about this misterious new heavy metal outfit? Well, i don't, but if you pay attention you'll see that the frontman is non other than Niklas Itsfeldt from Dream Evil and i'm not 100% sure but the axeman is the hellenic Gus G. from the same band as well as ozzy's guitarrist. Another commercial coup? I wouldn't like to think so, but... you see, the songs are Dream Evil "Book of Heavy metal" era, and inspite the record cover this is not Manowar. To keep doing the same thing in another set of clothes i just don't see the point, or maybe i do...
Good songs? Well, if you like Dream Evil revisited, yes they are. If Dream Evil went separate ways i think this could be a very good new restart for some of the ex-members, but the KISS era is dead and buried and as for Crimson Glory, well time speaks for itself. In todays world of digital transcendence, anonimacy has no place in public life, I like it but "big brother" doesn't; and in this case BB is all of the interested parties this game, so,...
Heard, seen and done. for the newcomers to the genre this might be amazing, has for me...
McLeod has sopken!


It had to be this way. Sometimes when we follow something or someone's life or evolution, even if we don't pay much attention, we came to a point were we know almost exactly what's going to happen. Ins't the powers of the mind amazing?
A few weeks ago, i was informed of the new record about to be released by the fabulous TEN. For the ones new to the hard 'n' heavy music world, TEN are an english supergroup wit a few million albums sold and if this doesn't open your appettite to discover more about the band, well, there's three out of two, either you're lazy, or you don't care or you're in the wrong page. Just to tell you that they have a fabulastic record named "Babylon" wich is a masterpiece and a reference in rock, a conceptual album about a not so futuristic love story in a digital world. Is it good enough now?
Moving on; my first thoughts about the new recordings were: what it will be like? heavier, with a lot of class? a strong theme? more direct and yet in your face atittude? Yes to all! You see, i've been following the bands career for decades now, inclusively my first record was "The Robe" in the distant year of 1997. The times when Gary Hughes was enjoying a status of the new british rock sensation artist, then accompannied by the british guitar hero Vinnie Burns, and well deserved for that young boy back in the last century, when he had a lot more hair, sorry Gary, couldn't resist the joke while i take the time to remember those videos again as i write, don't worry, i don't have that much too, sign of the times my friend...
Concerning the new times, i just bought this new record and it's a nuke ready to radio-active you to air-guitar or whatever...
"Illuminati" really is a powerful theme. For the ones acquainted with history or Dan Brown's books, you'll understand it. Heavier? well, when the acoustic prelude of the first theme ends and the main introduction riff starts, the heavy-speed german outfit Running Wild, came to mind, and from here you can imagine,... eheheheh, no, this is not speed power metal, but the power of the riff is really in your face, you lazy monks.
"Shield walls" is a battle tune with a triumvirate of screaming shred guitars, can't get enough of this, it's really powerfull to the core, well done Gary! not to forget the keyboards that set the pace to the holy taking of Jerusalem, courtesy of Darrel Treece-Birch.
"Esoteric ocean" is a first world class tune. Reminding me of past tunes from bands like Pretty Maids when metal was uprising and taking the world by storm. The dark environment given by the dark-noir set of keyboard playing sets the way for another fiercing guitar moment. A fantastic evolution of the band is the voice game in the songs, several chorus in falsetto, even i who can't sing a note feel like a first class singer, eheheh, really an amazing and fun album so far...
"Jericho" comes to me as a prologue, a direct rock tune but with a voice-off feeling, like in a history tv documentary, a bit too long, but then again...
This time they dare to enter the field of prog metal with a classic rock feeling, ideal for the main theme, a timeless tune, "illuminati"; just like history itself.
This is a concept record, not so direct like a story of sorts but history like, a journey through time.
just love it, and i'm pretty shure you will like it too. It's money well spent and one of 2018's best records so far; stil there's a lot to listen, i just couldn't find another 24 hours in the day to listen to them all, but i'll try.
McLeod has spoken!

terça-feira, 12 de setembro de 2017


Wouldn't everybody like to be healed by touch? I most certainly would! But then again, i think i'd rather be the healer, because sometimes by healing others we heal ourselves. Just like Darrel Treece-Birch does with is new opus, fresh from the mixing tables;
He manages to give us a natural treatment of sounds that we can't stay indiferent to it. Darrel's new idea is to give us a healing touch through music; it's not new, but not many can acomplish that. He reached inside and with the help of that little particle of god that each and everyone of us has inside, in that place where we call our soul, he redacted a speech of musical notes transforming it in a conceptual manifesto for a better human being.
The 23rd of september 2017, will be the official premiere of the new work from blackpool's son, Darrel Treece Birch. For the less understood in the music business, Darrel is non other than the key player for the british top hardrock band TEN. As a musician,
he also drives a solo career were the prog ambients are is nature. Being a son of the senventies, Darrel explores his roots in that amazing era when the explosion of the prog, art, psychadelic and sympho movements aroused. ELP, King Crimson, YES, Mike Oldfield, Alan Parsons, Manfred Mann, Pink Floyd, JM Jarre, Vangelis and many others reached the top of the music scene, were they still stand high and will keep on being acknowledge for their capacity of touching inside of us until the end of times, because they didn't made music for the masses, they made music for the soul. Are you indiferent to Alan Parsons' "Sirius", or Vangelis' "Conquest of paradise", Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells", ELPs "Fanfarre"? No you're not! And Why? Because it's fuel for the soul. And today, giving the pleasure of pre-listening the new collection of themes that DTB produced; and as a matter of fact he also did everything else on this record, inclusively he painted the cover; once again i vow to the fact that this new record is in fact music for the soul.
Ambient, art, prog, a bit psychadelic a times, and a little vanguard, why not; also with some good guitars, i believe we can place this new record among prog rocks' best moments. I must tell you all in advance, that this is a collection of musical moments that will come to you as hard work. I sincerely think not, but unless you think that opening one to himself is that much of a trouble, or you're tired and bored and many other stupid excuses, well, i work too, but good things come first, so let's give it a good spin.
Healing Touch is a conceptual record. It's a humongous task to do it without words, but, guess what, Darrel did it!
"God's prescription" is a  nice way to start. a wanderer tune that implies HE is everywhere soothing our souls and telling us to be happy. But then, HE becomes serious and warns us to live within boundaries or a road to an oblivion in pain will be our prize. A 12 min. theme that send us on the path of introspection.
"From the mouth" comes straight from that era where psycadelic rock ruled. A power tune that connects the default of loud mouth to the non sense alter ego that so many times we succumb to. Too much words, not so much work. Can you hear it? Well, not yet, but you will.
"Cast it out" comes as a mass to take the evil from you. Like an exorcism. not so dark, but anyway, tubular bells also wasn't a dark tune. Love this one.
"Re-boot" is just it, start all over. New hopes, new ways to follow... if only you could feel it too.
"The fruits of the spirit" is like giving birth. Sorry guys, i'm man enough and i don't have any issues with my manhood, but to give birth isn't just making babies. When you create something of your own, your giving birth to something. Heavy or confusing terms? No. Just lack of use and fear of others ignorance.
"The stand". Can you take one? Don't fear, your time is now, your time is here! Protect yourself and stand for what you created. This is my favourite tune of this record. A "light up your mood" tune with voices from a guitar. Amazing.
"The release" is the follow up of your stand. Grow wings and fly, go where you've never been before and release your life among equals.
"The expanse" as the intro of the theme plays, it's a command for spreading your seed, and that being everything you intend it to be. Life, art, good will, whatever you want, it's up to you...
"No fear here" will be your follow up stage of life. when we create, give birth, we expand, we enter a new almost supernatural stage of life, we know it all, been all over, seen it all, heard it all, and it's time not to fear but to teach, to leave a legacy not of ours but of life itself through our own experiences.
"God's medicine" is the prize of the accomplishment. if you hear this record and execute the same exercice that i made writing this considerations about what i felt by doing it, i'm pretty sure you'll be amazed with the final result; and that's God's medicine.
In a declaration of interest, i must tell you that i haven't spoken with the artist or anyone else about what was that he intended with this conceptual trial to our brain capabilities. The presentation of this pre-listening said that this is a conceptual instrumental record, and from there i started my journey. I don't know if what i wrote about this new DTB opus is near, on the spot or far away from the artist's intended to present us, but one thing i can tell you with exact assurance, music talks! I Listened, i felt it, i incorporated it and then i spoke my peace. And That my friends, is the prime goal of the artist, to get to you! If we make this exercice with his creation, he will be an accomplished human being; as will we; a medicine man with is own method of God's medicine, just like HE wants us to, by diferent ways, the same result, and that is to enjoy the majesty of life!
Darrel is no longer a stranger, a very acomplished composer and musician, as i said before, he played all the instruments; and now he rightfully owns his spot among the best. maybe nxt time he will amaze us with a record for the soul that will reach the masses, like the classic and top musicians did.
This isn't a record to top the charts and fill stadiums, although he deserves it, and like JM Jarre or Mike Oldfield he will get there most likely, this is a record for the ones that "will be the seed". The others don't mind, don't care, just want to live fast and always receiving and never giving, they won't ever feel the "healing touch", poor things. And just because they don't want to learn it.
This is a ten out of ten because it does what it is meant to, get inside and talk to us. It doe to me, will it do the same with you? It most certainly will!
By McLeod!

quarta-feira, 5 de julho de 2017


These sons of the setting sun never cease to amaze me. A few days ago i came across with ANTHEM's new release, the "Engraved" new album and i must say, if you're in the neoclassical genre with lots of classic rock influencies, well you'll love this one. Graham Bonnett and Don Airey were at one time part of this japanese band, so if you're suspicious about their quality, well you've got another thing coming. Akio Shimizu is a hell of a shredder, one of the best around the world, so expect the unexpected, melody, speed and insanity until you drop. This new album brings not much of novelties, some bad boy songs, again a trend among the big acts; such a waste; and a follow up on their sound, still heavy has hell. Again the only problem is,... they sing in japanese with some english words here and there. I've said it many times and i'll say it again, why not 2 versions of the record, one in their mother language and another in english? The vocalist sings the english phrases with a very good pronounce, so there's no excuse there. Damn, i'll sing them if they want it, this is to good just to be confined to japan, but it's their choice, maybe the expansion experience with Graham Bonnett wasn't very well succeeded around 2000, like other japanese acts such as EZO (Produced by Gene Simmons), LOUDNESS (with Mike Vescera), VOW WOW (with Neil Murray), ...
Okay, this is heavy metal at it's best and worthy of at least a listining and "Far Away" deserves at least more than ten listenings. Very well crafted songs, excelent musicianship, and still their trade mark of writing songs with verse, bridge, verse bridge, chorus, solo; is still captivating. Again an instrumental song like in many of their past albums shows Akio at his best. "Sacred Trace" delivers a very eighties sound, like Impellitteri or MSG, a must for the hard and heavy fanatics. No ballads this time, just full frontal attack.
Lov'em or leav'em, but don't hate them, their too good for that.
By Mcleod!