Sunday, February 15, 2009

CDs of the Week – 2/9/2009 to 2/15/2009

Each week I am going to review a few CDs that I am currently listening too. Some music that I think should be shared with everyone. You may or may not like some of these genres, but I listen to just about everything. Give some of what you might not like a try, and you'll see why I wrote about it. Mostly what I seek when I am listening to music is talent, feeling, emotion and the story and drive behind the song. The message that the artist is trying to share with us and what it is that the message is trying to share or teach us. Its what I love about music and why it drives my life so much. Here are the first two CDs in this mix.

Gotthard – Lipservice
Two CDs are swapping between my car CD player and my MP3 player at work. I just can’t seem to get enough of them for some reason, and they are both different genre’s in the rock and roll world.

First, is a little known Swiss band that doesn’t play here very often, by the name of Gotthard. I bought a CD/DVD pack a few weeks ago of a show they did in Switzerland back in 2005 in support of their album Lipservice. I had purchased Lipservice about four years ago when it came out and listened to it a few times. I was going through so many music purchases and moods back then that the album never sank in. When I saw concert for Made In Switzerland, I dug my popped Lipservice back into my playlist on my MP3 player and started to listen to it. I have not gotten that album off of my playlist all week long. I forgot what a great band these guys are and how excellent their songwriting is for straight forward hard rock pop music. Every, and I do mean EVERY, song on this CD could be a hit in this country, easily.

I’ve always loved the positive nature of these fellows as well. They sing about love, human kindness, hope and lifting people up from their sorrow. A fine example of this is “Lift U Up”. That song alone could carry this album in this country. The hard hitting beat and riffing at the beginning of the song are so cool, but the way Steve Lee sings the song from the beginning, in a syncopation that isn’t straightforward, sells me on the energy of the rest of the song.
“Anytime, Anywhere” is another supportive song about being there for someone in need, or in some cases, if the relationship doesn’t work out, I’ll be there for you. Kind of a typical rock track in that way, but again, the energy of this song just makes you do the head bob thing.

“All We Are” is a right out of the gate rocker. Straight on sing along song. It’s all about not losing sight of who you are and just how powerful of a person you are. Like I said, these guys write some pretty powerful positive lyrics in their songs with a strong message. Here is the chorus for this song:

“All we are, is more than in the mirror
All we are, is more than what you see
All we are, is what we got together
Is all we need, cause life belongs to me n’ you
And things we do right now
Right now”

I can go on and on about these guys. I’ve listened to this album over and over this week and its just a great CD. Next week I’ll get re-hooked again on their follow up called “Domino Effect” which is just as good. For right now, go search YouTube for some video from the Made In Switzerland concert and watch Leo Leoni and Steve Lee rock the house. Songs like their classic hits from the 90s named “Sister Moon” and “Mountain Mama” are just classic hits. I don’t know how else to describe these guys other than they are AC/DC meets Aerosmith. Steve Lee has the David Coverdale (from Whitesnake) and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith feel to his voice, with a little bit of Bon Scott from time to time and throw in some Robert Plant to top it off. “The Other Side of Me” from this CD also has that Led Zeppelin feel to it. The band has its own niche, right up there with Aerosmith, but I can’t class them in with AC/DC on the instrumentals because the guitar work is way more intricate and stylish than AC/DC seems to get. Not knocking Angus, but he is very simplistic for his lead guitar work. Leo can get crankin and so can Freddy Scherer, who plays a full bodied hollow body electric on stage that adds a whole other sound.

I think these guys took off for me, right after they released Human Zoo, which was a pretty descent album. One of my all time favorite songs from Gottard is “Someday” which is on their D-Frosted CD, a live acoustic/unplugged concert. Just a great song about human potential.

Check out the video links below for a taste of Gotthard from the Lipservice CD. Most of these are from the Made in Switzerland DVD. It’s a great concert from beginning to end, lots of energy. The covers of “Hush” by Deep Purple, “The Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin and “The Might Quinn” by Manfred Mann are excellent as well.

Vanden Plas – Christ0

Okay, the second CD that has been stuck in my car all week is Vanden Plas – Christ0. A concept album that I am still trying to figure out. I’ve been loving the music because it reminds me so much of the original Dream Theater line up on the first album and some of the second album. But my favorite track on this CD is the bonus track and cover of the song “Gethsemane” from Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s the second cover of a song from that play/movie that I’ve heard in the last week. The other being from Queensryche with “Heaven on Their Minds”. Vanden Plas’ execution and interpretation of the song “Gethsemane” is just amazingly good. With some heavy metal progressive traits towards the end of the song, but the piano and singing at the beginning just drew me in. I’ve always loved JCS as a play and movie, and have loved the soundtrack for years, but its is so cool to hear another band want to perform the material. Especially a song so intricate as “Gethsemane”.

My other favorite tracks on this CD are “Silently” and “Wish You Were Here”. Both very early Dream Theater influenced and a touch of Yes in there for good measure.

I know both Vanden Plas and Gotthard on Rhapsody/Real Player and I’m pretty sure that Gotthard is on iTunes. Rhapsody has Gotthard for sale, all of their CDs, but Vanden Plas is only out there to listen to on their subscription service. So whatever you subscribe to, look them up. Give a few of the songs a listen, if you like Hard Rock and Progressive Metal music. These aren’t your typical bands. Gotthard will grow on you, because their songs are so catchy. J




Lift U Up

Dream On

Anytime Anywhere

All We Are

The Other Side of Me

Vanden Plas




  1. Awesome singing on Gethesmane...

  2. Thank You David....This whole article was a Blast! a lot of folks have dismissed this Genre
    as a thing of the past.....I guess they've forgotten just how Awesome this stuff can be. The Vocal on Gethsemane for example...Geez!