Gary John Barden – “Eleventh Hour”

Gary John Barden
“Eleventh Hour”
(Escape Music)

Legend. Gary Barden was – and still is – the voice of MSG (Michael Schenker Group). I shall never forget him for saving in my opinion their Reading Festival performance in 1982 following Graham Bonnet’s sacking, who in turn had replaced him! Much more than that though, he almost symbolized the definitive voice and persona of British hard rock: a down to earth lad with a rough n ready voice, he was almost one of us in the crowd, not some fuckin pretentious rock god y’know? Over the years he’s done merry go round stints in Statetrooper, Company Of Snakes, Silver (the band he founded with Michael Voss and Bernie Tormé), a solo career and even returning to MSG in 2007! With “Eleventh Hour” he’s returned with long time buddy Voss to give us a respectable hard rock album and considering he’s approaching 60, he doesn’t sound too bad either! Touching the full hard rock spectrum, from the driving guitar melodies of ‘Fallen By The Wayside’ to the ballad pop of ‘Shine A Light On Me’ to the straight up meat n potatoes ‘Don’t Take Me For A Loser’, Gary once again shows his vocal versatility to deliver fine performances. However, none of the material is anywhere near the level of the classics he did with MSG and whilst I appreciate that times move on, I honestly feel that is where he has always done well and if anything, the “Eleventh Hour” proves that he still has the ability to maintain that legacy as that band’s classic vocalist.

3 – “The Ghost You Gave to Me”

“The Ghost You Gave to Me”
(Metal Blade Records)

It seems almost fitting that 3 were formed in Woodstock back in the 90s. In so many ways they encompass the hippy offshoots of rock from prog to psychedelia to power pop to modern alternative rock – hell, I’m sure I also heard some Spanish guitar chucked in there somewhere too LOL! However, in all cases their material is superbly written, structured and executed. And its effective is quite mesmerizing: uplifting thru its Jellyfish like harmonies like on ‘React’, yet punchy like early Rush bass n synth rhythms on ‘It’s Alive’ and thumping power rock of ‘Numbers’ – no featherlight touch coming from heavyweight drummer Gartdrumm (yep, thas his name folks)! I guess if I were to sum up 3, it would be their incredible array of styles and sounds that can be found in the 12 tracks making up “The Ghost You Gave to Me”, although there is a natural dynamic inherent in each of them, leaving an uncontrived yet memorable impression every time.

BRAND NEW SIN “United State”

“United State”
Brand New Sin as a band name doesn’t say too much about the music they play. They could be death metal, thrash metal or even black metal. The truth is something totally different. This has more in common with Corrosion of Conformity’s southern tinged hardrock/metal. Continue reading