· BLINDSTONE - Rise Above (GYR061) ·
::T R A C K S::
01. RISE ABOVE
FORMAT: Audio CD / Digipack
"Rise Above", the beyond excellent third studio disc by this outstanding, bad-ass, killer power trio "riff:machine" from Denmark, features 10 tracks (58 minutes) of powerful, hard-hitting, groove-induced, soul-powered, bluesy heavy guitar three piece rock of world-class proportions. From start to finish, an amazing display of incredible, blues-based guitar heavy riffage. Fronted by the talented/gifted Martin J. Andersen on guitar & vox, the Man is an awesome "six string rock machine" who is prolific in his Hendrix-inspired musical output. An unstoppable heavy guitar tour de force complete with excellent, soul-powered vocals strongly define his vast musicality as he speaks volumes through his instrument. Anderson is a true riff:master who knows what time of day it is when it comes down to the riffage that matters. Blindstone also features the talents of Jesper Bunk on Bass and Anders Hvidtfeldt on Drums, both awesome players who deliver the Blindstone "Groove Machine" message on solid ground. Brothers Bunk and Hvidtfeldt lock in and nail down a strong musical foundation for Andersen to rip up his guitar with style, class and authority. Blindstone gives the term "power trio" new meaning. True to their heavy 70s roots, Blindstone digs in deep, trips the riffage fantastic and will definitely rock your ass off.
"Rise Above" also features two phenomenal Special Guests: Ty Tabor (King's X) who lands on the "title" track for an amazing, deep extended lead solo that will blow your heavy guitar mind. Also of special note, Ty Tabor mastered the "Rise Above" disc to complete the awesome, powerful "sonic delivery". Poul Halberg (one of Denmark's best rock guitarists) also lands on an incredible, hard-assed, funky version of "House Burning Down" by Jimi Hendrix. This is one of the most difficult and challenging Hendrix Jams known to man. Martin J. Andersen & the Blindstone Brothers along with Poul Halberg definitely do serious, legitimate musical justice to this amazing, timeless heavy guitar track and it lands as one killer jam that needs to go down in the Danish music history books. We are all HUGE fans of the King's X riff:master (Ty Tabor) and the ever-amazing Poul Halberg @ the Grooveyard and it was an honor working with both of these exceptional, talented axemasters on the "Rise Above" disc.
The Blindstone: "Rise Above" disc is Highly recommended to fans of JIMI HENDRIX, ROBIN TROWER, FRANK MARINO, ERIC GALES, LANCE LOPEZ, KING'S X, RICHIE KOTZEN, STEVIE SALAS, etc. and to fans of the two previous awesome BLINDSTONE discs. If you dig serious bad-ass, blues-based heavy guitar power trio rock, tune in @ all costs.
"Rise Above" is a true testament that REAL Hendrix-inspired heavy guitar rock still lives today in the form of Blindstone and their killer riffage. Classic and Essential is an understatement.
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01. RISE ABOVE
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· reviews ·
Martin J. Anderson is the unsung hero of guitar rock in the modern age. Period. Known to guitarists and people who love guitar music, this virtuoso player will soon dominate the hard rock guitar scene, at least if there is any justice in the world. His latest guitar, bass, and drums offering with his band, Blindstone, carries on in the hard funky blues tradition of Deep Purple and Mahogany Rush. In fact, the band covers "He's Calling," a Frank Marino classic, an Isley Brothers tune, and "House Burning Down" -- a version Hendrix himself would be proud of! With guests Ty Tabor and Poul Halberg, great guitarists in their own right, Anderson makes an all-important contribution for lovers of six-string madness.
Steve Rosen (Author) (2.10)
Riff-machine Blindstone deliver a serious ass-kicking third album in Rise Above. Power trio Martin J. Andersen (guitar/voice), Jesper Bunk (bass) and Anders Hvidtfeldt (drums) converge like the basic elements of a hurricane and roar through ten tracks of hard rock electric blues with a generous dose of funk. Jump to "Sonic Motor King" and listen to what this Danish three-some can do in four minutes of mind-blowing heaviness. Andersen can go "stoner" deep in the rhythmic chug of "Wiser" and still deliver a Hendrix scorching lead in the astounding JHB cover "House Burning Down". He not only pays respect but adds his own signature at full-throttle. "Beyond The Purple Sky" completes his adoration with a wicked Frank Marino workout in "He's Calling" as a bonus "hidden" track. Title tune "Rise Above" is so massive it sets the new standard for guitar-heavy classics. The song has all the ingredients including a thick riff, catchy chorus and clever lyrics with Ty Tabor of King's X stepping in to take a solo. The anthem "Keep The Rock Alive" is not only a grand biographical statement but name-checks the Grooveyard when Andersen shouts out, "I work the Grooveyard shift keeping rock alive."
Stirring up the record's dynamic is the funky "New Direction" which pulls Hvidtfeldt out front and allows him full command to wail on his kit with intense abandonment. Bunk's bass flies wingman riding the beat and jumping in for the fills. The rhythm section really asserts itself in the Isley Brothers "Climbing The Ladder" taking on a great '70s R&B bump while Andersen's guitar soars above dropping metallic leads like sonic bombs. Fans of big, fat, open chords with loads of amplification will flock to the Trower-like "Power Man" where the guitar twist and turns in an arched display of total supremacy. Thirty years ago, when songs like this were on the airwaves, Blindstone would have been hailed as a world leader with the likes of Nugent, Mahogany Rush and Pat Travers. To make our point, try "Horizontal Activity" on for size. A proud display of testosterone, its throbbing back beat and hard rocking riff make it a perfect sex romp coupled with the lyrics "leave behind the world and lay down with me / for a little horizontal activity." Kinda like the Ohio Players gone metal.
Todd K. Smith (The Cutting Edge) (March 2010)
Formed in 2002 in Thisted Denmark, Blindstone are a heavy rocking blues power trio who possess a riff based ferocity that not only demands every second of your attention, but also grooves with a spectacular intensity that just gets greater and greater with every listen.
Releasing their debut album Manifesto one year after they formed and following that up with the excellent Freedom's Calling in 2008, Rise Above is the band's third album. The main focal point for Blindstone is the phenomenal guitar attack and bluesy, earthy vocals of Martin J. Andersen, however he is backed up by a ridiculously tight and focused rhythm combo of Jesper Bunk whose bass grooves lock solid with Andersen's stellar rhythm work and the sharp unfussy drumming of Anders Hvidtfeldt.
Like all Grooveyard Records releases, the first thing that strikes you, well knocks you off your feet, is the massive sound and perfect production. Cranked up as all good hard hitting rock should be, Rise Above will have you (and every stick of your furniture) bouncing to the infectious beats. Andersen and label boss Joe Romagnola have done a wonderful job creating a huge yet warm sound, however when you have someone of the pedigree of Kings X's Ty Tabor mastering the disc, well it's hard to go wrong. More important than the production however is the fact that Blindstone have put together a collection of fantastic tracks that add up to an album that drips with authentic blues rock intensity however still sounds remarkably fresh and vibrant.
Right from the first note of the opening title track, Rise Above contains a confident swagger and a pitch perfect guest solo from Tabor (reminiscent of Dave Meniketti at his restrained best),that will appeal to fans of the likes of Robin Trower, Frank Marino or even Richie Kotzen and whilst the feel of the album is certainly more current, there is more than a whiff of Hendrix about the overall vibe running through the disc. In fact the swirling groove of track two "Power Man" illustrates that Hendrix influence perfectly with a pulsing "Crosstown Traffic" riff and guitar solos that are blistering one moment and effectively under stated the next.
A sharp stop start snare crack punctuates another compact riff in the shape of "Keep The Rock Alive" and the lyrics tell you why this album is just so convincing. Blindstone are not another band going through the motions, no this is a band playing music they love and giving every ounce of sweat they possess. "Climbing Up The Ladder" is the first of three cover versions on the album and it transforms a light funky Isley Brothers classic into a punchy hard hitting monster of a track. Whilst remaining faithful to the original in structure the huge guitar and bass sound up the intensity times ten and the track is a huge amount of fun. The other two covers come in the shape of the excellent Hendrix song "House Burning Down", which features some excellent fret burning from one of Denmark's finest players Poul Halberg and a near nine minute rendition of the Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush song "He's Calling" which is a hidden bonus track and is worth the price of admission on its own!
With such excellent covers it would be easy to make the mistake that Blindstone need to bolster the original tracks on show, however that couldn't be further from the truth. "New Direction" and "Horizontal Activity" (I wonder what that could be about?!) both strut into view with a cocksure confidence that is well merited, while "Sonic Motor King" and "Wiser" once more hang on wonderful bass lines that allow Andersen to rip out more effortless solos. The quite wonderful "Beyond The Purple Sky" with it's obvious nod to Hendrix closes the album proper with the most restrained yet ranging solo six string work on the disc and while it may be a more down beat vibe to end on, the mix of poise and melancholy are captivating. Then of course comes that final killer blow of "He's Calling" to finish on an intense groove packed high.
Rise Above is a glorious, hard hitting and memorable album that is packed with wonderful musicianship and cracking songs that you just want to hear again and again and if intense classy blues that rocks your ass off appeals to you, then you will have to go some to find a better album all year. Simply tremendous!
Steven Reid (Sea Of Tranquility) (March - 2010)
I think I alluded to it before, but it bears repeating: there's a helluva lot of "blindness" going on around The Realm these days. From the Blindside Blues Band to me being blindsided by the Gallows Pole LP to now, this newest release from Denmark's BLINDSTONE, I'm starting to think about Laskik Surgery. Well, the fact of the matter is, it's pretty clear that we've had some real visionaries lately and Martin J. Andersen (guitar, vocals) is no exception. (BLINDSTONE is completed by Jesper Bunk - bass & Anders Hvidtfeldt - drums).
See, (oh come on!) I'd love to say that the 3rd time's the charm for BLINDSTONE but if you've read the reviews of their previous 2 records on this site (see November '08 blog), you'll know they hit the ground motoring. That's not to say that "Rise Above" doesn't see this trio continue to stoke the fires even higher, however. Put an ear to the title cut and see what I mean. It's a smokin' cross between classic Mountain and something a lot more current-day, and the meeting of the ages works wonders in it's 10-ton riff. Plus, right off the bat, I love the fact that axeman Andersen is cool enough to let King's X man Ty Tabor (who also mastered the disc) take the solo in the very first song. Ty's laid-back lead action here smolders like a campfire at an Eagle Scout convention & opens the door for Martin, who lets loose like mad on the rest of the disc.
"New Direction", for instance, brings a stop-start Zep "Presence" groove to the table. And, like that one, "Sonic Motor King" fuses the styles of '70s git-down blues-rock with a modern edge that speaks of melodic thumpers like King's X and Galactic Cowboys. Even a song like "Horizontal Activity", with it's kinda sophomoric lyrics is rendered fresh and vital by the funked-up riffing and Strat-wah lead beating administered by Martin Andersen. And while some might criticize the inclusion of 3 covers on an 11-track album, I've got nothing but green lights for these. First off, The Isley's "Climbing Up The Ladder" sees Martin just set his fretboard on fire.. 3 different times! Man, this cat can blow! Hendrix's "House Burning Down" (a real bitch of a number to tackle, as any player will tell you!) sees M.A. teaming up with Paul Halberg to hand down the solo business and "He's Calling" (Frank Marino) is a surprising AND wicked entry.
Tying the whole thing together are Andersen's vocals which, while maybe not as devastating as his Strat destruction, are steeped in a rich, bluesy vibe. In conclusion, I can say that BLINDSTONE's "Rise Above" is not only another 6-string salvo from the guns of Grooveyard but is also the brightest star so far in Martin Andersen's rising universe. Buy it and "see" what I mean.
Ray Dorsey (RaysRealm) (3.10)
Rise Above is Danish heavy blues rockers Blindstone's third album. They are a three piece band fronted by killer string bender and vocalist Martin J Andersen, Jesper Bunke on bass and drummer Anders Hvidtfeldt. Compared to the band's second album, "Freedom's Calling", which was an all-out super heavy blues rock feast, "Rise Above" sounds more refined and relaxed. Don't worry, everything is relative and I can inform you that it's still a scorcher of an album full of amazing guitar playing and groovy heavy riffs with a slight funky feel. Their music is best described as a cross between Hendrix, Frank Marino, Robin Trower and perhaps a stench of King's X.
Ty Tabor (King's X) makes a guest appearance on the title track where he delivers a killer solo. On Jimi Hendrix's "House Burning Down" it's time for another guest, Poul Halberg. That song is considered one of Hendrix's toughest songs/jams to play but the two axe-players really have what it takes and make it a thrilling listen.
If you haven't heard this band before do yourself a favour and check them out because they are truly great and deserve to be big. Start with the "Rise Above" CD but don't miss their previous two, "Freedoms Calling" (2008) and "Manifesto" (2008). All three are out on Grooveyard Records, today's leading label for people in love with guitar-music.
BigRedMachine (RockProg.com) (2.10)
Since their inception in 2002 BLINDSTONE have been holding up the flag for 70's inspired blues-rock power trios everywhere. The band's third full length release RISE ABOVE follows the trend set by the albums before it and supplies the listener with some of the finest groovy blues rock they are likely to hear anywhere.
The band is centered around guitarist and vocalist MARTIN J. ANDERSON, who over the past few years has become well regarded in guitarist circles and fans of people like JIMI HENDRIX. Anderson has truly become a master of his instrument not just in playability terms, but also as a world class song writer and astounding live performer. For me personally, I'm not a massive fan of his voice even though it does seem to suit the material. But, even considering all of the accolades ANDERSON has received, BLINDSTONE is by no means a one man band. Quite the opposite really as the rhythm section of JESPER BUNK and ANDERS HVIDTFELDT are perfectly tight and gusty with enough oomph to make the band sound much larger than a three piece.
Of the ten songs on offer, seven are original compositions and three are cover songs. The cover songs are HOUSE BURNING DOWN by Jimi Hendrix, CLIMBING UP THE LADDER by the Isley brothers and HE'S CALLING by Frank Marino. The Hendrix track is the best of the three and fans of the man should be well pleased with this version. The album highlight comes right at the end in the track BEYOND THE PURPLE SKY which is clearly inspired by Hendrix, and features the best lead guitar work of the album and will more than likely be the song people recall when talking about this album. Opening track RISE ABOVE is another awesome display of hard rock groove and reminds me of an obscure Aussie band from the nineties called THE TRUTH. RISE ABOVE is another fine effort from BLINDSTONE and comes to you highly recommended.
Zeezee (www.myglobalmind.info) (4.10)
The Danish band, Blindstone are back with yet another powerful record of 70s blues and hard rock with lots of guitar solos! This is a killer record.
It starts off with the title track and features none other than Ty Tabor from King's X on lead guitar! This is a super cool track with some great guitar work. "Power Man", a political track about financial managers, etc. Some great soloing and your first taste of Martin's style. "Keep The Rock Alive" is more an 80s style rock track in some ways. "Climbing Up The Ladder", an old Isley Brothers number is performed well. A bit funky and a some killer jamming. "New Directions" slows things down before the power riff kicks in and some nice wah solos. "Horizontal Activity" is another track that reminds me more of the 80s rock, especially with it's lyrical content! "Sonic Motor King" has an almost stoner rock riff and reminds me of Montrose! "Wiser" has yet another pretty killer riff and a new pedal sound kicks in for the opening solo. A more laid back vocal on this track as well but some ripping guitar. The band now takes on "House Burning Down" by Hendrix. "Beyond the Purple Sky" is a totally killer blues track that ends the official CD. After a minute of silence or so, the band kicks into an instrumental version of Frank Marino's "He's Calling" from the "Eye of the Storm" CD. This is a true guitar monster track and it takes some balls to take this on as a cover song. Great album. I can't wait to see these guys live.
If you are a fan of Frank Marino, Robin Trower, Randy Hansen, Montrose, and heavy blues rock, check out this great band.
Scott Heller (Lowcut - Denmark) (5.10)
Blindstone wake the axe hero that sleeps in all of us. Sounding distinctly like Robin Trower, Mahogany Rush, Jimi Hendrix, Gov't Mule, or even ZZ Top bitten by the current vintage groove rock bug, but with very very good guitar solos, this Danish powerhouse trio is one of those bands who will definitely appeal to anyone into the above groups. The most notable things upon first listens are the fact the guitars are in full force, the rhythm section is of course quite busy, and Martin J. Andersen's solo playing is electrifying. Needless to say, this is prime true bluesy rock that blazes a wonderful and powerful sound without a single drop of pretention. Songs like "Powerman", the bouncy "Sonic Motor King", "Wiser" where his guitar sears and soars, teases and thrills and the soulful groove "Horizontal activity" are instantly memorable and uplifting all at once. Among the 10 tracks there are 3 amazing covers called "House Burning Down" (Jimi Hendrix), "He's Calling" (Frank Marino) and the extremely funky hot "Climbing Up The Ladder" (Isley Brothers). Guitarist/Vocalist Martin J. Andersen sounds at times like Brant Bjork (as on the groovy cut "New Direction") and at others like Zak Wylde from Black Label Society. Meanwhile, he knows how to make the best of a lead and can make his guitar wail when necessary and carve out the rhythm when the time is right. Martin J. Andersen also knows when to let the terrific backbone of Anders Hvidtfeldt's drums and Jesper Bunk's bass do most of the work. The band is able to both sound well produced and dirty, which means they can avoid that death knell of being overproduced or slick.
Cosmicmasseur (Concrete Web - Belgium) (4.11)
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