LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE’S TOP 10 SOUNDTRACK SCORES OF 2018

Throughout 2018, Limelight Magazine continued its weekly “Soundtrack Saturday” series on our Facebook pages. For those who are unfamiliar with this series, we feature a different soundtrack score every Saturday from either the past or present from our collection. Since this series continues to receive positive feedback, it will resume for a fourth consecutive year in 2019.

Of the nearly 180 soundtrack scores we listened to in 2018, here are our top 10 favorites. All of these are available in physical format on CD except Upgrade which is on vinyl only.

  1. Suspiria by Thom York

2.  Mandy by Johann Johannsson

3. Searching by Torin Borrowdale

4. Halloween by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies

5. Revenge by Rob

6. You Were Never Really Here by Jonny Greenwood

7. Sicario: Day of Soldado by Hildur Gudnadottir

8. Red Sparrow by James Newton Howard

9. Hereditary by Colin Stetson

10. [TIE] Annihilation by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow

10. [TIE] Upgrade by Jed Palmer

THE BEST OF THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES 2018 – YEAR 2

By JAY ROBERTS

A funny thing happened…(again)

Not being accustomed to any kind of “success”, you can imagine my surprise that there seems to be a continued interest in this series. I’m happy about it of course, just surprised that my rambling thoughts have any kind of audience.

There were forty new albums covered this year and as I was assembling this list, I found it interesting that I’d only ever seen one of the groups live in concert and that wasn’t until this year. But what remains the most important aspect is the experience of discovering albums that were given short shrift or even completely ignored by me when they were first released. So I thought we’d take another look at the ten (or twelve, as the case may be) albums that made the biggest impression on me in this second year of the series. 

Thanks to everyone that has read and offered feedback on the articles.  All I can say is I’m looking forward to Year 3 of The Cassette Chronicles in 2019. It should be quite the musical thrill ride!

Please click on the album title to read the full article!

#10 [tie] – CINDERELLA – NIGHT SONGS  (1986)

#10 [tie] – CINDERELLA – LONG COLD WINTER (1988)

#9 – HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS – SPORTS (1983)

#8 [tie] – .38 SPECIAL – SPECIAL FORCES (1982)

#8 [tie] –  .38 SPECIAL – TOUR DE FORCE (1983) 

#7 – DANGER DANGER – SCREW IT! (1991)

#6 – TORA TORA – SURPRISE ATTACK (1989)

#5 – PRINCESS PANG – PRINCESS PANG (1989)

#4 – HEAVEN’S EDGE – HEAVEN’S EDGE (1990)

#3 – WHITE LION – MANE ATTRACTION (1991)

#2 – HOUSE OF LORDS – SAHARA (1990)

#1 – EUROPE – PRISONERS IN PARADISE (1991)

LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE’S TOP 10 CONCERTS OF 2018

In 2018, we attended 21 concerts, which is down from 28 in 2017. Of the acts we got to see perform, we saw 17 for the first time. It was another great year to remove so many bands from our bucket list.  Many of the other artists who we’ve seen more than once, such as Steve Wilson (six times), Primus (11 times) and Kansas (eight times), put on the best shows we’ve ever seen them perform. So, without further ado, here is Limelight Magazine’s top 10 concerts of 2018, which is followed by the complete list of shows we’ve seen this year. (Please note: this list does not include any shows booked by JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine in 2017).

Top 10 Concerts of 2018

  1. Steve Wilson with Paul Draper (Berklee, Boston)
  2. Primus with Mastodon (Blue Hills Pavilion, Boston)
  3. Ghost (Boch Center, Boston)
  4. Kansas (Hanover Theatre, Worcester)
  5. Lindsey Buckingham (Garde Arts Center, New London, CT)
  6. Glenn Hughes (Strand Theatre, Providence, RI)
  7. Thomas Dolby (Center for the Arts in Natick)
  8. Haken & Leprous with Bent Knee (Sinclair, Cambridge)
  9. Michael Schenker with Bad Marriage (Berklee, Boston)
  10. Hammerfall with Flotsman and Jetsman (The Palladium, Worcester)

Complete List of Concerts for 2018

  1. March 6 – Alice Cooper (Boch Theatre, Boston)
  2. March 9 – Michael Schenker with Bad Marriage (Berklee Performing Arts Center, Boston)
  3. March 31 – Blue Oyster Cult (Narrows Center, Fall River)
  4. April 7 – UDO Dirkschneider (The Palladium, Worcester) [FIRST TIME]
  5. April 27 – Steve Wilson with Paul Draper (Berklee, Boston)
  6. May 10 – Air Supply @ (Plymouth Memorial Hall, Plymouth) [FIRST TIME]
  7. May 12 – Rick Springfield (Twin River Events Center, Lincoln, RI) [FIRST TIME]
  8. May 25 – Hammerfall with Flotsman and Jetsman (The Palladium Worcester) [FIRST TIME]
  9. May 26 – Primus with Mastodon (Bold Point Park, East Providence, RI)
  10. May 29 – Primus with Mastodon (Blue Hills Pavilion, Boston)
  11. July 9 – Joe Jackson (Strand Theatre, Providence, RI) [FIRST TIME]
  12. July 15 – Retro Futura featuring ABC, Belinda Carlisle, Modern English, The Outfield’s Tony Lewis and  Kajagoogoo’s Limahl (Lynn Memorial Auditorium, Lynn) [FIRST TIME, EXCEPT MODERN ENGLISH]
  13. August 4 – Thomas Dolby (Center for the Arts in Natick) [FIRST TIME]
  14. September 8 -Terry Bozzio (Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River)
  15. September 21 – Glenn Hughes (Strand Theatre, Providence, RI) [FIRST TIME]
  16. October 5 – Diana Ross (Providence Performing Arts Center, Providence, RI) [FIRST TIME]
  17. November 4 – Haken & Leprous with Bent Knee (Sinclair, Cambridge) [FIRST TIME]
  18. November 17 – Kansas (Hanover Theatre, Worcester)
  19. November 28 – Steve Wilson (House of Blues, Boston)
  20. November 29 – Lindsey Buckingham (Garde Arts Center, New London, CT) [FIRST TIME]
  21. December 14 – Ghost (Boch Center, Boston) [FIRST TIME]

 

 

 

LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2018

It’s that time of year where Limelight Magazine lists our top 10 albums of the year.  We listened to nearly 200 studio albums that were released in 2018 and these records  are the cream of the crop, showing these talented musicians at the peak of their game.
1. Leather – II

You might be forgiven if you were left wondering just how good the new solo album from Leather Leone would sound after a nearly 30 year break since her first solo disc Shock Waves. I say might because if you’ve ever heard Leather’s vocals, you should know that invariably the material always rises to the top. On the simply titled II, Leather and her “Boys From Brazil,” just annihilate all comers. I got to review the album upon its release back in April and I said that the material would leave you shell shocked with its unrestrained power, aggressive melodies and Leather’s signature vocal sound. I also proclaimed it should be considered a candidate for album of the year. As it turned out, that wasn’t just hyperbole from being on a musically induced high while writing that review. II maintained a thrilling high energy charge each and every time you listen to the album and could be seen not only as an equal to any of her past works but might just be the singularly best album she’s ever done. (Standout Tracks: “Juggernaut” and “Hidden In The Dark”) – Jay Roberts

2. Judas Priest – Firepower

Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill and the rest of Judas Priest have had themselves quite a year. And it all stems from the release of the outstanding Firepower album. While Tipton himself has been somewhat sidelined due to health issues, the band has kept firing on all cylinders with guitarists Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap providing a “youthful” burst of aggressive intensity that fuels the album like you wouldn’t believe. I wrote in my review of the disc that if there was any question about Priest remaining both the Metal Gods and Defenders of the Faith, that Firepower would dispel that notion and leave doubters begging for forgiveness. And that isn’t just blowing smoke. Because the 14 songs on the album are outstanding. Even the one song I initially didn’t care that much for (“Flamethrower”) ended up being one that I would sing along to joyously upon each successive spin of the album. You might think that I’m overstating things a bit given the level of their past discography, but for me at least, the all out aggressive metallic attack that the band spews forth shows that Judas Priest has plenty of ammunition left to them and leaves me with the impression that Firepower is one of the best albums of the band’s storied career. (Standout Tracks: “Traitor’s Gate” and “No Surrender”) – Jay Roberts

3. Metal Church – Damned If You Do

When Metal Church reunited with front man Mike Howe in 2016, they recorded a stellar comeback album called XI to critical acclaim. Now, two years later, the veteran West Coast hard rockers raise the bar even higher with their 12th studio album Damned If You Do. The 10 tracks on this disc have the old school Metal Church sound while proving they can still teach any new hard rock band on the block a trick or two. As guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof commented in a press release, “I feel this album is a very powerful statement to what Metal Church has always been about. A tough and aggressive old school metal album while maintaining a level of musicality and melodic sensibilities. In short, Metal Church have given their fans what they want with Damned If You Do and, if you haven’t checked out the hysterical video for “By the Numbers,” you can do so by clicking HERE. We cannot wait to see these songs played live when they tour in 2019. (Standout Tracks: “By the Numbers” and “The Black Things“)

4. Ghost – Prequelle

As Ghost continues to evolve with each new studio release, Prequelle is their finest album to date. While some fans have expressed disappointment with the band going in a more “pop-orientated” direction, they need to get over themselves and give it another listen to fully digest the material. Prequelle is essentially a concept album chronicling the timeline that someone experienced during the Black Plague. Each song has thought provoking lyrics that remind me of some of the well-crafted Blue Oyster Cult songs of the ‘70s and early ‘80s as well as some of the prog rock albums of that time period where all the songs are tied together with an overriding theme. The musicianship is also dazzling. Just listen to the instrumental track “Miasma” and you’ll hear classic metal guitar hooks, keyboards and organs, and a catchy saxophone solo. In short, every single track is rock solid and this album fires on all cylinders from beginning to end. (Standout Tracks: “Miasma” and “Witch Image”)

5. Riverside – Wasteland

After the unfortunate death of their guitarist Piotr Grudziński due to cardiac arrest in 2016, I was uncertain what would happen to Riverside. Rather than replace him, the band decided to continue as a trio with Mariusz Duda playing guitars on future releases along with session players. Wasteland consists of nine songs that are filled with heartfelt and raw emotion. It’s clear the members of Riverside are still dealing with the loss of their bandmate. However, the music is still excellent with songs that would make Steve Wilson proud. This is a beautiful prog rock album from start to finish. (Standout Tracks: “Vale of Tears” and “The Struggle for Survival”)

6. Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots

On the band’s second self-titled studio album and first with new lead vocalist Jeff Gutt, Stone Temple Pilots have released their best album since Purple (1994). All 12 tracks have the classic STP vibe which has been lacking on their last studio releases. Dean DeLeo’s guitar playing on this record might be his best yet, while the rhythm section of Robert Deleo and Eric Kretz is as solid as ever. What really makes this album work is Gutt’s amazing vocals. His voice is similar in style to the late Scott Weiland but manages to keep his own identity. This album is a welcome return to form. If you want straight up rock and roll, you should have this album in your collection. (Standout Tracks: “Middle of Nowhere” & “Six Eight”)

7. Mass – When 2 Worlds Collide

On their first studio album since the fantastic Sea of Black in 2010, Mass return with another fine collection of songs. While I’ve always been a fan of the band and own every studio album, they are recording the best music of their career now and are at the top of their game. What I like most about this release is the stellar musicianship and modern production. Mass only get better with age. As I’ve said many times, it’s a shame Mass has never made a bigger name for themselves. When 2 Worlds Collide displays a finely honed musical style that will make any hard or melodic rock fan sit up and take notice. (Standout Tracks: “Turn It Over” & “Some Time Ago”)

8. Haken Vector

On their fifth full-length studio album, Haken have gone in a much heavier and more concise direction with the seven song album clocking in at just under 46 minutes. While that may be the result of the band producing the album themselves, they haven’t lost their passion to experiment and explore new sounds in the studio as is evident by “Veil” and destined to be classic instrumental “Nil by Mouth.” As vocalist Ross Jennings said prior to the album’s release, We don’t like to make simple music. We always aim to defy expectations, and I believe we’ve surpassed what we aimed to achieve with our new album.” Clearly, he was right on target with his assessment and we wouldn’t expect anything less from this band. (Standout Tracks: “Veil” & “Nil by Mouth”)

9. Fifth Angel – The Third Secret

After nearly 30 years, Fifth Angel returned with a new studio album in 2018 called The Third Secret via Nuclear Blast Records. While I was excited to hear the band were back in action, I was a little skeptical at first when the news broke that original vocalist Ted Pilot would not be part of the reunion. However, after hearing the 10 tracks on the disc, it’s clear the time away only energized the band in the studio. Kendall Bechtel’s vocals are stellar and even reminiscent of Dioat times, while his guitar solos are blistering. In a press release, the band said this album would “please both their die hard fans and new fans alike” and they delivered on that promise! (Standout Tracks: “Queen of Thieves” & “Fatima”)

10. [TIE] Robert Reed – Sanctuary III

When Robert Reed recorded his classic Sanctuary albums in 2014 and 2016 respectively, he paid homage to the great Mike Oldfield. Sanctuary III continues that tradition with Reed playing most of the instruments himself. The album also features Simon Phillips on drums and contributions from recorder player Les Penning and the Tubular Bells production team of Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth. While Sanctuary III features only two long form compositions like Oldfield’s first three studio albums, Reed is not afraid to experiment on this album, making it more of his own. We can only hope he records Sanctuary IV in the future. (Standout Tracks: “Sanctuary III Part 2” & “Sanctuary III Part 2”)

10. [TIE] Metal Allegiance – Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty

The sophomore album by Metal Allegiance is once again anchored by Mark Menghi, David Ellefson, Mike Portnoy and Alex Skolnick, with contributions from a diverse selection of the heavy metal community. Volume II: Punch Drunk Majesty is much heavier than their debut album and more focused overall. The band’s website sums up this release nicely, “An adrenaline-soaked, thrash-worshipping, groove-driven, diverse, yet more sharply focused effort than its no-less-impressive predecessor, the mere existence and urgent brilliance of Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty silences any doubt as to the band’s earnest intention, purposeful resolve, and resilient dedication to all things heavy metal.(Standout Tracks: “Mother of Sin” & “Terminal Illusion”)

Adrian Belew to perform in Fall River with career spanning set list

Innovative progressive rocker Adrian Belew (formerly of King Crimson, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads and Nine Inch Nails) is ready to re-invent his live show with a new quartet which includes Jordan Perlson on drums, Saul Zonana on keyboards, guitar, and vocals, and bassist extraordinaire Julie Slick. He is touring the U.S. this spring in support of his new studio release POP-SIDED (out in March), with a date at the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, on Friday, April 19, 2019. Purchase tickets HERE.

Adrian Belew is a legendary guitarist well-known for his diverse travels around the musical map. He is a multi-instrumentalist whose solo records are critically acclaimed. His moving singing voice and prolific songwriting has endeared a loyal fan base of music lovers. His music is being discovered everyday by more and more listeners thirsty for great music with a creative standard not often pushed by the commercial music industry.

Adrian describes the show as, “a more complete picture of most things I’ve done. More songs, new songs from the award-winning FLUX app, King Crimson material I haven’t played for years, and a dose of classic Power Trio. It’s my intention to make this the best Adrian Belew show ever!”

Adrian first appeared on the guitar-world radar when he toured with Frank Zappa who later said, “Adrian reinvented electric guitar.” Adrian’s signature tones, unique use of effects and whammy bar remains completely different, and his techniques continue to be a huge influence on today’s guitarists. He was guitarist, songwriter and frontman progressive rock powerhouse King Crimson for over 30 years. “Discipline”, Adrian’s first record with King Crimson, is listed among the most important rock records ever made.

Adrian has had a career that commands both awe and respect from fellow musicians and loyal fans, from his first solo record “The Lone Rhino” to the Atlantic Records hit album “Mr. Music Head” or any of his other 20 plus solo records that push sonic boundaries while maintaining artistic integrity. Adrian shreds on guitar but also writes beautiful songs that will make you cry. Yes, Adrian has taken his fans on a wild ride through countless world tours and albums with David Bowie, Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, and Paul Simon. He truly is the Twang Bar King!

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets can be purchase online at narrowscenter.org or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Adrian Belew (Photo by Jerry LoFaro)

 

The Cassette Chronicles – Firehouse’s ‘Hold Your Fire’

By JAY ROBERTS

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

FIREHOUSE – HOLD YOUR FIRE (1992)

In another example of it being true confession time I have to admit that I’ve never really cared for Firehouse. However, I will say that it is pretty much down to the fact that on their self-titled debut album the band had that overly syrupy sweet diabetic coma inducing ballad “Love Of A Lifetime”. I know that the song is probably their biggest hit but for me, who lacks an overabundance of romantic sensibilities, the song made me want to just hurl. It was such a musical turnoff for me that I never bothered to listen to anything else the band ever did. Truth be told, it took me a few weeks after pulling Hold Your Fire out of the “Big Box of Cassettes” to work up the desire to finally pop the cassette in my player. I just was fearful of having to suffer through an overabundance of lovey-dovey songs.

Thankfully however, I have to say that aside from the two ballads (“When I Look Into Your Eyes” and “Hold The Dream”), songs that had me rolling my eyes, the band’s second album is actually rather entertaining. Seriously, I really enjoyed most of the album’s twelve tracks. With the majority of the songs written by singer C.J. Snare and guitarist Bill Leverty, there was a quite pleasing rocking vibe with a lot of musically aggressive melodic hooks to really catch your ear. 

I know this won’t be any kind of a surprise to people who have been fans of the band for the last three decades but bear with me for this new-to-me musical discovery.

The gold certified album opens with the single “Reach For The Sky”, a musically upbeat rocker that really set the tone for my overall enjoyment of the release. “Sleeping With You” had a nice swinging hook to it and “Get In Touch” was rather strong too. My favorite song on the first side of the album however would have to have been “You’re Too Bad”. The song is a knockout rocker and I think it has a slightly gritter sound to it which made it just that much more appealing to me.

When you flip the cassette over to side two, the rock just about never stops. The album’s title track and songs like “Talk Of The Town” and “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool” get the energy turned up high. 

I think the track “Life In The Real World” serves as the most musically intense track for the entire album. The song had such a killer bent to it musically that I just found myself humming along and rocking out a bit to it.

As for the song “The Meaning Of Love”, if you hadn’t heard it before you’d think the song title itself would mean “here comes another ballad”. You’d be wrong, at least in part. While listening to the lyrics, they are clearly written with a more ballad driven tone to it. But since the song was another of the album’s over the top fast tracks, I found that the song worked far better than it would’ve as a straight up pedestrian power ballad. And maybe that’s part of why I seem to hate a lot of ballads from when metal ruled the world. The slow pacing of the songs just never seem to work all that well. Or maybe they just don’t hold up that well with the passage of time.

Whatever the reasoning on that account, I have to take it back to my generalized opinion on this album. After FINALLY listening to a Firehouse album, I am surprised to find myself writing the following words. I really liked this album. Hold Your Fire, with my aforementioned reservations about the ballads, holds up quite well some 26 years after its initial release.

It does its job so well that I’m actually a bit miffed at myself for not listening to this one sooner (or way back then) because the band played in my area a few months back and I didn’t go. After hearing this album, I think I would’ve had myself a great time at the show. So yes, this is a vastly entertaining album and perhaps I need to re-evaluate my overall opinion of the band as a whole.

NOTE OF INTEREST: Hold Your Fire was the last Firehouse album to have any kind of sales success in the US, but the band remained popular in Asia, Europe and South America for a far longer period of time.

Bassist Perry Richardson was out of the band as of 2000. He went on to play bass for country singers Trace Adkins and Craig Morgan. He joined Stryper, replacing Tim Gaines, in 2017.

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!