You know what the best thing about having your own guitar website is? It’s meeting new exciting artists and awe-inspiring bands. This can be really exhilarating when you are working with some of the best musicians in the business.
Just to bring everyone up to date… as of late, I have been working with guitar virtuoso instrumentalist Prashant Aswani with some promo things, and he turned me on to this band the Screamin’ Lords out of L.A. I asked who they were and he told me that Jose Ferro (former Agentz bass player and songwriter) was looking for some exposure and was wondering if I would give his album a review. I was like “Yeah… Let’s do it!” I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t know the music, the artist, nothing.
So I got in touch with Jose, we had an upbeat chat, and I gave him my address where to send the CD. On his return note, Mr. Ferro also gave me a link to his Screamin’ Lords page on CD Baby.com to take a listen to the short clips listed. Man… was I in for a surprise. I remember thinking… “What the f@#k is this?” I just stumbled upon a pure hard rock jewel and a “for sure” classic gem. Unfortunately however, you can only hear short clips of each song. Excruciatingly, I had to wait over a freakin’ week to get the actual CD. I even had the tracking hounds out searching for it. I remember getting home from work seeing the red, white and black CD in my office and couldn’t wait to tear it open and slap it into my CD player.
I impatiently scratched at the plastic wrap from the really cool looking CD cover. The eye-candy artwork is of an artistically designed crest with wings. On the crest is drawn a old English cross, a four-point star, and a Kiser Cross that all over lap each other perfect harmony. I put the CD in and hit “Play >>>” on my ol’ faithful and trusty boom box. From the first note to the last, I was just in metal bliss. “Finally, a band that brings back screamin’ vocals, guitar oriented songs, and lead solo driven riffs… and that’s been missing far too long.”
This debut CD, Long Live Me, came together with an extremely talented core band and impressive selection of guest artists, which includes guitarists George Lynch(Lynch Mob, Dokken),Chris Poland(OHM, Megadeth),Gus G.(Firewind, Dream Evil),Loren Molinare (Little Caesar, The Dogs), and lead vocalists Robin McAuley(Survivor, MSG) and Kelly Keeling (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Lynch Mob, MSG). The results of this venture speak for themselves—outstanding musicianship, exceptional performances, and most importantly, a collection of excellent tunes which spotlight each of the players.
The Screamin’ Lords – “Long Live Me” CD Review by Scott Thomas
Bio referenced from The Screamin’ Lords Myspace Page
Song 1 – “Long Live Me”(Guitar Solo – Gus G.)
The bell rings, the gates shoot open… a-a-a-and their-r-r-rrr OFF! And the first song out of the chute by a long nose is…“Long Live Me.” Jose’s writing and bass playing on this tune are exceptional. The song kicks in full force with some awesome double pump bass pedal drumming and fearsome electric rhythm guitar reminiscent of alaJudas Priest’s “Screamin’ for Vengeance” has that KK Downing, Glenn Tipton feel… real powerful… with a thumpin’ bass that relentlessly hits you in the chest like a rapid-fired shot of burning gasoline. The percussions are cleverly played, fresh and new sounding. Kelly Keeling’s voice is as Jose puts it in his credits, “True icing on the cake.” Kelly is known for being the front man and collaborator with several established artist and bands such as, Alice Cooper, John Sykes, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Don Dokken, and Roger Daltry to say just a few. The lead solo on this (hold on for dear life) tune is played by Gus G, from the band Firewind. Gus has played with Arch Enemy, Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage, and Dream Evil. He is one of the younger players in metal who has reached an awesome proficiency in metal guitar technique. If this first song is a sign of things to come, then I know I surely have a winner on my hands.
Starting out like most players who have a vision of becoming a successful artist, bassist Jose Ferro worked his way through the New York music scene, making his mark as a musician and songwriter while holding down day jobs in music stores, and then later going on to work for musical instrument manufacturers. Being at the center of the industry only helped the bassists find better players and opportunities for his musical outlet. Like others, Jose was always pursuing his musical dreams, and never gave up, no matter how tough it was—and still is—to make and break a band.
Song 2 - “Halo”(Guitar Solo - George Lynch)
Simplicity can be bliss… Foot-Stompin’, head shaking, R-O-C-K!!! As the song suggests, “How Does it Feel?” I really dig the crunching rhythmic Furious George-ism riffs and kick ass lead solos to boot! Mr. Scary really knows how to find the groove and give the song exactly what it needs. He knows how to milk a motif for all it’s worth and then when he’s done with that; he’ll shred it all to pieces. The beat on this tune is infectious. What’s more, the energy given off is enough to supply the neighborhood’s power grid for a week. It’s almost like Jose is a melodic historian of hard rock metal music. “He knows how to bring the past and the future together in one sweeping moment, leaving you breathless and gasping for air. That's when you realize that… You are in the NOW!”
After playing with several New York-based cover acts, Jose formed Agentz, which grew in popularity through gigging and self-promotion, and eventually recorded an album of original material called Stick to Your Guns, released in 1987. The album was recently remastered and released on CD (see www.myspace.com/agentztheband for more information). Although the group was recognized as one of the top bands in the area, musical trends were changing at the end of the decade, and many metal bands found themselves having a more difficult time than ever trying to get ahead as the grunge movement quickly took over. Jose saw this as an opportunity to make a change for himself and wanted to do something a bit different. Agentz split in 1990, when Jose moved west to California.
Song 3 - “Evil”(Guitar Solo – Jason Gile)
This song has a dark and mysterious feel to it… Kelly’s vocals and lyrics conjure up images of dark streets, shadows, wrong turns, talking backwards, and upside down signs. My man can definitely tell an aural/visual story… The middle part of this tune picks up the pace and just rocks with some really cool Zep type riff-romp… Witty indeed! Jason Gile plays some incredible and remember-able lead guitar work on the solo… the arrangement on the break down progression and the lead solos’ ending is very creative. In addition, the phrasing is superbly done showing us the high caliber of musicianship that we’re dealing with here.
It was there in California that Jose met up with guitarists Jason Gile, Dustin Boyer, and drummer Chris Collier. Eventually, the four musicians joined forces, and it was clear from the start that this mixture of players had something special together. The seeds were planted, and the Screamin' Lords were born.
Song 4 - “Fire In The Blue Sky”(Guitar Solo – Chris Poland)
This song talks about New Orleans and all the crap that has happen to that city in recent years. What has happened to the coastal metropolis has and will continue to effects us in one way or the other for years to come. The crime, the floods and destruction, lost lives and broken families has left an appalling mark on our countries history. Kelly’s lyrics say, “Taking matters in your own hands. Nobody cares, No one ever hears. They’re making other plans, you gotta understand. IT’S ALL LEADING BACK TO YOU!” Chris’ solo on the tune is fearsomely melodic with awesome tone and fast runs. Chris is a former member of Megadeth, and now has his avant-garde fusion rock band Ohm. Does Jose know how to pick a line up or what?!
Well… So far this album has many different facets to it. Each song has its own vibe and feel going on… There are so many different rock influences that I hear, you want to make the CD part of the family right away. “This is the CD that stays in your multi-disc player awhile just incase you need that fix for your metal health.”
Song 5- “Out of Control”(Guitar Solo – Dustin Boyer, Loren Molinare)
The intro to this song really gives you that AC/DC feel. Yes… fist in the air, and singin’ “Little movie star you drove me out of control.” This is the perfect Gentlemen’s Club anthem… Good time, feel good rock and roll. Dustin’s lead work really shows off his awe-inspiring riffing. I really dig his phrasing too… Dustin really knows how to make that guitar say something. And let’s not forget his kick-ass guitar tone on top of all that… The Screamin’ Lords are from the real School of Rock.
Song 6 – “Say What You Will”(Guitar Solo – Jason Gile)
Yeah, that’s right… “A blast from the past rock classic…” Remember the early 80’s hard rock band Fastway? I actually saw them open up for AC/DC during the headliners Flick of the Switch Tour and they rock our faces off. Talk about the real deal… yes sir, Fast Eddie Clarke, also former member of Motorhead’s classic line-up wrote this song. Jason Giles guitar antics breathe new life into this all ready flawless rock song. And Kelly definitely hits all the marks when it comes to those throaty vocal screams. Jose’s thumping base keeps a steady quick pulse, so if you’re driving… don’t forget to glance at your speedometer. You don’t want to get a speeding ticket.
Song 7 – Gladrags and Limozenes” (Vocals Robin McAuley, Guitar Solo – Jason Gile, Loren Molinare)
Very Catchy… The song starts out with Loren’s signature bounching rhythm guitar playing between the channels, and the rock drumming in the intro is very smartly executed. Chris Collier is somewhat of a rock historian too. He really understands the concept of playing for the song. Chris really gives this collection of songs vibrant dynamics, energetic beats and last but not least… CLASS! I’ve always been a sucker for a hit song, so if I was to bank my money, this would be the one for rock radio. As the song goes, “Yeah! We did Sunset on our heels.” Robin’s lyric suggest… “We made it…” we survived the party scene, now we can look back and laugh. McAuley sings this song with such conviction on the chorus that he’ll have you singing along to it too! I had to stop and play this feel good melody twice.
Song 8 – Sail On
Sail On… And that is exactly what the acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies do… Every great hard rock album has its ballad, and “Sail On” was saved for last in perfect fashion. The song reminisces the easy listening side of the Eagles. What a way to end a fantastic, brilliant album.
On a scale from one to ten… I give The Screamin’ Lords CD “Long Live Me” a ***9.5*** I would have given it a 10… However, I had to shave a half a point off for only having 8 songs.Damn, I wanted more!