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Rob Rock
Holy Hell
June 2005
Released: 2005, AFM
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Rick

Little did anyone know that in 1986, when Ozzy’s rhythm section teamed with Tony MacAlpine for M.A.R.S. PROJECT: DRIVER they would find a vocalist who almost 20 years later would be one of the THE premier metal vocalists on the planet. M.A.R.S. was a supergroup, albeit one that was fronted by a relatively unknown vocalist named Rob Rock. Today Rock has around 20 albums under his belt, numerous world tours and a plethora of guest appearances to his credit. Now Rock has taken one of the biggest steps in his career; his third solo album has been released through AFM records with some serious distribution power behind it. If Rob Rock ever had a chance to prove that he is in charge of his own destiny, now is the time.



HOLY HELL is an apt title for the disc as Rock serves up some of the most aggressive music of his career. One of the things that grabbed me right away was the aggressive drumming on the CD from Iced Earth, Riot, Halford skin pounder Bobby Jarzombek. This guy is am amazing talent that can put his mark on any disc that he plays on. Songs on the album including “Holy Hell”, “Slayer of Souls” and “When Darkness Reigns” showcase Rock’s wide vocal range with him outshining many of the one dimensional vocalists who inhabit the melodic metal genre today. For the rest of the disc Rock and Jarzombek, along with Carl Johan Grimmark on lead guitar/backing vocals Andreas Olsson on bass guitar/backing vocals slip into a groove that fall somewhere between classic Dio and modern day Hammerfall.



Rob Rock knows where his bread is buttered. He sticks to what he knows best and that is melodic/traditional metal with power. His voice is strong and can carry almost any material but he again has come up with a great selection of songs to showcase his talents. But not only is his material strong, so is his supporting cast. Besides the excellent band he assembled for recording this CD he also again collaborated with his old friend Roy Z who’s stock in metal has gone way up since playing with and producing Bruce Dickinson along with helping resurrect the careers of not only Rob Halford as a solo metal artist but also producing the reunion of the Metal God with the Metal Legends, Judas Priest. As strong as Rock’s previous solo releases are this one is every bit as good as those and better. With the support of AFM and Rock’s "Flying Aces Tour 2005" in Europe with Masterplan, Circle 2 Circle and Pure Inc, this could be Rob Rock’s time to shine.
Track Listing

1) Slayer of Souls
2) First Winds Of The End Of Time
3) Calling Angels
4) Holy Hell
5) Lion Of Judah
6) I'm A Warrior
7) I'll Be Waiting For You
8) When Darkness Reigns
9) The Revelation
10) Move On

Lineup

Rob Rock: vocals
Bobby Jarzombek: drums
Carljohan Grimmark: guitar
Andreas Olsson: bass


Bob Rossi: guitar
Rick Renstrom: guitar
Roy Z: guitar
Tobias Sammet: vocals
Mistheria: keyboards

Interviews

Next review: » Rob Rock - Holy Hell
Previous review: » Rob Rock - Garden of Chaos

Rob Rock
Holy Hell
July 2005
Released: 2005, AFM Records/Sound Pollution
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Rob Rock’s solo debut, RAGE OF CREATION, was released in 2000. garnering rave reviews from the press. After years of touring, a follow-up, EYES OF ETERNITY, would be released in 2003. This album spawned an endless amount of touring as well, highlights of that tour being the Bang Your Head festival in Germany in 2003, and a tour through Japan during 2004. Besides these solo albums, Rob has lent his voice to the metal opera Avantasia, as well as Impellitterri, Driver, Angelica, and Axel Rudi Pell.



For this third album, Rob has signed with AFM Records; and, like previous outings, has co-written the material with Roy Z (Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford), who also produced. The album was mixed in Denmark with Jacob Hansen, which—according to Rob—gave the record “a fat and powerful sound.”



The production, to me, sounds fairly standard—nothing out of the ordinary. It is heavy, yet melodic in certain places, the focus being on Rob’s vocals and the heavy guitar play.



Rob’s music sounds like traditional heavy metal combined with modern Power Metal, with some more melodic hard rock blended in. There are both up-tempo “power” ballads, and pure ballads, here as well.



On the promo copy I received from AFM Records they have messed it all up as usual. First we have 2 songs that the copy opens with called “Slayer of souls” and “Calling angels” which are fully featured. Then we have the other 10 songs that features the already mentioned songs once again, and as always have the label cut down the tracks with about 20-30 seconds a thing that only contributes to make the reviewing harder ‘cause I can’t hear the whole songs. And if that’s not enough are the 10th song, “Move on”, missing on my copy and I can’t see the point of sending out promo’s where the songs are missing.



This material is fairly standard, with the exception of the two opening tracks. The only truly unnecessary song is the ballad, “I’ll Be Waiting For You,” which is mediocre, and nothing more. Some of the songs have a tendency of blending together in the listener’s mind, because they sound so much alike; thus, my lasting impression of the material is that it has its ups and downs. Rob has a very powerful voice, with a wide vocal range that truly impresses. His fellow musicians are enormously skilled, and should have lifted this material over average.



I am undecided as to what to think of this album: On one hand, the record includes skilled musicians, an excellent singer, and stunning cover art by Derek Gores (Kamelot, Axxis, Edguy etc); on the other hand, this is merely average material, with few standouts, combined with a mediocre production.



This is an album for the fans; however, I think he will gain many more followers after the upcoming Flying Aces Tour through Europe (with label mates Masterplan, Circle II Circle and Pure Inc.). He also stopped by the Sweden Rock Festival this June to do a show.



Killer tracks: “Slayer Of Souls”, “Calling Angels” and “Holy Hell.”



Labels: http://www.afm-records.de AND http://www.soundpollution.se
Track Listing

Slayer of souls
First winds of the end of time
Calling angels
Holy hell
Lion of Judah
I’m a warrior
I’ll be waiting for you
When darkness reigns
The revelation
Move on (not on this promo CD)

Lineup

Rob Rock – lead vocals
Carl-Johan Grimmark – guitar
Daniel Hall – guitar
Andreas Olsson – bass
Andreas Johansson – drums

Interviews

Next review: » Rob Rock - Rage of Creation
Previous review: » Rob Rock - Garden of Chaos





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