· MOUNTAIN OF POWER - Volume Two (GYR060) ·
::T R A C K S::
01. URBAN GUERILLA (SAMMY HAGAR)
FORMAT: Audio CD / Six Panel Digipack
Mega-awesome, brain-damaging second disc from the Grooveyard's bad-ass, heavy-duty, retro-70s heavy guitar "tribute" project from Sweden featuring Janne "Rock Machine" Stark and an amazing cast of outstanding, killer "special guest" axerippers and vocalists that truly deliver on a solid mission to Keep the Rock alive. Includes 14 tracks (76 minutes) of Classic, over-the-top, obscure, powerful, intense, retro-70s, blues-based heavy guitar riffage that will kick your ass & rock your world.
On this outstanding follow-up to the first Mountain of Power disc, Janne Stark & Co. dig in deep on an awesome collection of killer 70s hard & heavy rock that lands bad-ass with tons of outstanding riffage and "musical brotherhood" all in the name of serious Guitar Rock. Brother Janne Stark (Locomotive Breath / Constancia / BALLS / Overdrive) is a solid man of rock with an impeccable ear for the riffage that matters. The Man is an unstoppable heavy guitar force who successfully nails down this incredible guitar-heavy musical document. "Volume II" includes righteous, mind-blowing, heavy, retro-70s "cover jams" complete with extended lead-guitar action by the following bands/guitarists: FRANK MARINO & MAHOGANY RUSH, ULI JON ROTH & ELECTRIC SUN, UFO WITH SCHENKER, PAT TRAVERS, RORY GALLAGHER, LESLIE WEST, ZZTOP, BLACKFOOT, TRAPEZE, Y&T, OZZ, TRIGGER, SAMMY HAGAR and the RESURRECTION BAND that are all guaranteed to rock your good jam:house into the ground. If you love Classic obscure 70's heavy guitar rock dig in deep, brothers & sisters, the MOUNTAIN OF POWER is just what the doctor ordered.
The MOUNTAIN OF POWER: "Volume II" disc features many amazing, world-class "special guest" axerippers in the form of JOHN NORUM, TY TABOR (KING'S X), RUSTY BURNS (POINT BLANK), CLAS YNGSTROM (SKY HIGH), THOMAS LARSSON (GLENN HUGHES), SVEN CIRNSKI (TRUTH), THOMAS JUNEOR ANDERSSON (KAMCHATKA), MARTIN J. ANDERSEN (BLINDSTONE), KJELL BERGENDAHL (THALAMUS), GREG MARTIN (RUFUS HUFF), CONNY BLOOM (ELECTRIC BOYS), MICK NORD, TOMMY DENANDER, CRAIG ERICKSON, JAY JESSE JOHNSON, grOOveDaWg & MR. STARK all rippin' up their bad-ass axes in mighty fine heavy guitar fashion. "Volume II" also features the following way-kool, awesome vocalists: PAUL SHORTINO (ROUGH CUTT/QUIET RIOT), DAVID FREMBERG (TRUTH), JARROD ENGLAND (RUFUS HUFF), CONNY BLOOM (ELECTRIC BOYS), PONTUS SNIBB (BONAFIDE), CLAS YNGSTROM (SKY HIGH), CHRISTIAN RIVEL, MICK NORD, MARTIN J. ANDERSEN (BLINDSTONE), KJELL BERGENDAHL (THALAMUS), MATTIAS OSBACK (LOCOMOTIVE BREATH), CINDY WEICHMAN (NAIL), MARIA RADSTEN & PERILOZ KARLSSON. The MOUNTAIN OF POWER "Groove Machine" is provided by TRUMPETER SVENSON and JAMES COLLINS (POD) on powerhouse Drums and the "SACRED ALIEN" lays down the "low-end bottom kool". Mixing went down @ Studio Underground by Swedish studio veteran Pelle Saether and the mastering was excellently done by Ty Tabor (King's X) @ Alien Beans Studio. All the above talented players produce and deliver the serious rock "goods" on the bad-ass, phenomenal MOUNTAIN OF POWER "Volume II" disc. An Essential slab of monumental heavy guitar rock from the Grooveyard.
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· reviews ·
If you liked "Mountain Of Power Volume One", you are going to love what Volume Two of the Mountain Of Power project brings to the table! Picking up with the energized riffage that Volume One served up, the powerhouse rock project formed by guitarist Janne Stark of Locomotive Breath returns with an amazing cast of outstanding musicians from not only Sweden this time around, but from around the world as well! Volume Two comes fully loaded with 14 blistering songs rocking in at 76 minutes. No one song stands out as they are all done to perfection by bands that have proven track records. "Volume Two" was mastered by Ty Tabor of King's X, who also plays on the album, who did one heck of a job! By giving each song such powerful intensity that is guaranteed to shake your foundation! Highlights include mind-blowing, heavy, retro-70s cover jams complete with extended six string fury renditions of "Urban Guerrilla" (Sammy Hagar) featuring Cindy Weichman (Nail/Helix) and Jay Jesse Johnson. "Makin’ Magic/Makes No Difference" (Pat Travers) feat. Mikael Nord Andersson, Jay Jesse Johnson, "Reasons Love/This Kids" (UFO) feat. Martin J Andersen (Blindstone), Sven Cirnski (Bad Habit/Truth), "Struck Down/25 Hours A Day" (Y&T) feat. Mikael Nord Andersen, "Waves" (Resurrection Band) feat. Ty Tabor (King’s X), "Bad Penny/Keychain" (Rory Gallagher) feat. Conny Bloom (Electric Boys), Pontus Snibb (Bonafide), Mikael Nord Andersson and "I Stand Alone" (Blackfoot) feat. Mattias Osbäck (Locomotive Breath), Per Karlsson (Overdrive), Rusty Burns (Point Blank), Craig Erickson, Tommy Denander. If you're looking for a great rocking album that goes for the throat and hits the spot every time, get your hands on this gem! Vintage, pure rock music revival. Everybody needs some ass-kickin' air guitar moments, and "Mountain Of Power Volume Two" delivers the goods and more!
- Highly Recommended
Tony Sison - The Dedicated Rocker Society / All Access Magazine (June 2014)
It's been three years since Volume One introduced us to the shear energy and guitar fury of Mountain of Power. A collaborative brotherhood between Sweden's Janne Stark (Locomotive Breath) and Rochester, NY's Joe Romagnola (Grooveyard Records), Mountain of Power continues to be a tribute to classic obscure 70s heavy guitar riffage that's stood the test of time. With Volume Two, it's all about the rock as fourteen songs pull deep cuts from Sammy Hagar, Pat Travers, and Leslie West. Among the better-known songs are buried treasures like "Checkin' It Out/Sister Madness" from the tragically underrated Ozz, "Monkey" by UK power trio Trapeze and the killer "Waves" by the classic Christian rockers, Resurrection Band. Notice, before the disc goes into the player the packaging oozes retro from the cover, with its erupting mountain of lava, to the worn-out vinyl image on the inside. Lift the disc to reveal a photo of amps, heads, and guitars bursting to get out. When the laser hits celluloid, the transformation is complete as a warm '70s production with a big bottom end greets the listener.
From the top, Janne Stark is in full overdrive as he takes on Hagar's "Urban Guerilla." The guitar tone is thick and chunky with a solo lead shredding over the rhythm. Cindy Weichman (Nail/Helix) does a superb job with the vocals adding her own style and presence while guests Romagnola (Character) and Jay Jesse Johnson (Arc Angel, Cannata) join Stark in radiant solo bursts. In fact, guests abound on this masterpiece bringing together some of the biggest names in thunder rock including Martin J Andersen (Blindstone), Sven Cirnski (Bad Habit/Truth), Clas Yngstrom (Sky High), Kjell Bergendahl (Thalamus) and Ty Tabor (King's X). Each adding their own distinct carbon prints to these cherished gems. Several tracks amplify the originals as they come alive in the hands of the Swedish master. "Checking It Out/Sister Madness" (Ozz) features Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot) and is mind-blowing superb - much heavier than the original and putting great emphasis on open-chord riffing. Blackfoot's "I Stand Alone" with Point Blank's Rusty Burns and Craig Erickson adding guitar, breathes new life into vintage southern rock.
Several of the songs were custom built for this extensive and celebrated compilation. UFO's "Reasons Love/This Kids" joins Pat Travers' "Makin' Magic/Makes No Difference" in an explosive surge of guitar power. That was one of the best double-headline tours of 1977-78. "Indian Dawn/Hellcat" not only tribute Uli Roth, but his idol Jimi Hendrix as does the Mahogany Rush "Talkin' 'Bout A Feeling" with John Norum lending six strings of sonic supremacy. A chain of blues-inspired hard rock swells the disc's midsection from ZZ Top's "Bedroom Thang" and Rory Gallagher's "Bad Penny/Keychain" to the Leslie West Band's "Money (Whatcha Gonna Do)" and Y&T's "Struck Down/25 Hours a Day." Singers Clas Yngstrom, Conny Bloom, Kjell Bergendahl, and Mikael Nord Andersen respectively, leave just as big of an impression as the guitar players. Two surprises caught us off guard because not only are they eclectic, but also they are phenomenally done. Trigger's "Deadly Weapon" will make you wish you had bought the record the thousand times you passed by it in the bargain bin and the Resurrection Band's "Waves" featuring Ty Tabor (King's X) and Christian Liljegren will save your soul. This is an essential purchase for 2010!
Todd K. Smith (The Cutting Edge) (February 2010)
"Oh no, not another covers album" I hear you cry, "There's hundreds, nay thousands of the bloody things already". But hang on a minute Mountain Of Power are here to change how the tribute album should be done. Take a batch of under-appreciated heavy riffin' 70's classics, add a stellar cast of musicians who are obviously blasting out the tracks for the love of it and not to pay their mortgage. Then allow said guitar slingers and vocalists to stamp their own personalities on the music and in places cover two tracks by the same artist and mould them together via some of the tastiest fret blazing action you are likely to come across.
Sound slightly more interesting now? Indeed it does!
Mountain Of Power are masterminded by Janne Stark (Overdrive, Locomotive Breath, BALLS) who fires out some phenomenal bass and rhythm guitar as well as trading spectacular solos with the assembled cast throughout the whole album, and he along with drummers TrumPeter Svensson (Faith, Chris Catena) and James Collins (Pod) form the rock solid back bone that allows the guests to really strut their stuff and what eclectic and impressive guests they are. On the guitar front there's John Norum (Europe, Don Dokken), Conny Bloom (Electric Boys), Jay Jesse Johnson (Arc Angel, Cannata), Thomas Larsson (Glenn Hughes), Greg Martin (Rufus Huff), Ty Tabor (Kings X), everybody's favourite session musician Tommy Denander and that doesn't ever cover half the fretmeisters on show. Behind the mic stand is an equally impressive cast with Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot), David Freemberg (Truth), Martin J. Andersson (Blindstone) and Cindy Weichman (Nail) being some of the great voices that grace the disc.
Then there's the song choice itself. What a master stroke to mix some more unexpected choices from well established and respected acts like ZZ Top, Rory Gallagher, UFO and Y&T and then embellish them with selections from some completely over looked yet fantastic acts like Resurrection Band, Ozz or Trigger. Whilst it's easy to pick out riffs and licks from all the songs covered, the real joy in this experience is that they have been loosely reworked to allow the individual musicians to breathe their own style into the songs and not just ape how they were originally done. Take for example "Reasons Love/This Kids" which blends the two UFO classics via some tasteful blues licks courtesy of Stark, Andersen and Sven Cirnski (Truth). Listening to the two tracks come and go as they segue between themselves is hugely enjoyable and shows how much time has been put in arranging the music. This was definitely not a project thrown together in an afternoon.
Choosing highlights is extremely difficult as every time you slam this disc in the player something else smacks you between the eyes, however Mikael Nord Andersson's smooth melodic vocal delivery is perfect for the early Y&T pairing of "Struck Down/25 Hours A Day" and he, Stark and Joe Romagnola (Grooveyard Records supremo) tear through countless hard hitting solos that just keep you coming back for more. Slightly less well known are Trigger however Mountain Of Power's version of "Deadly Weapon", once more featuring Martin J Andersen and Stark, will have you searching auction sites for their self titled album as its hook laden chorus and killer riff have you singing along and throwing shapes before you know it. There really are too many fantastic performances to name check them all, however you need to check out Shortino's faultless vocal on Ozz's "Checkin' It Out/Sister Madness", Norum duelling with Stark as they spark off each other during "Talkin' 'Bout A Feeling" originally by Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush and Conny Bloom's vocal and solos on Rory Gallagher's "Bad Penny" which possess the vigour and urgency of the late great man himself.
The production from Romagnola and Stark is warm, full and very reminiscent of the era these tracks were first brought to life in and along with Ty Tabor's mastering, add to the whole experience greatly. Usually a throw away exercise, Mountain Of Power have proven with Volume Two that it is still possible to release an album of cover versions that sounds fresh, vital and even more importantly give a huge amount of pleasure with every listen.
Steven Reid (Sea Of Tranquility) (March - 2010)
- "My mind rolls back the years, long time ago." These were the words sung by Steve Walsh on Kansas' plundering "Lonely Street" from 1975's "Song For America" and they come to mind when thinking about this 2nd disc from MOUNTAIN OF POWER. Wanna know why? Wow, I thought you'd never ask! See, back in the mists of time.. let's say the late '70s/early '80s.. I used to get together with the ol' posse.. Andre, Doug & Dan.. after a hard day of work in the record store. That day would typically have included eating a couple large pizzas, drinking 3 large Cokes and maybe 6 beers and trying to chat up the tight-jeaned, halter-top-wearing female metal fans who would wander in. Having been suitably exhausted by such a trying day, I'd ring up the other 3 musketeers and we'd go out cruising in the '79 Malibu. Our search was simple: good-looking women and better-sounding music. We rarely found the former. Or should I say, we found them but they ignored us. Of course, when you consider the fact that we looked like a motley collection of a male version of Tracey Chapman, Dave Holland, the keyboardist from Quarterflash and some bit actor from an Italian western, it was no wonder. We did, on the other hand, occasionally find the latter. It came in haunts with names like The Seagull Inn, The Sandbar or Mack & Myers and took the form of bands like Deceiver, Rockit and Attack. These groups would man the boards with set-lists that included the heavy rock fare of the day, songs like "Hell Bent For Leather", "Three Mile Smile" and "Highway To Hell". What upped the ante was that every so often, once or twice a set, they'd reach back into what seemed like Ray's own magic juke box and pull out a more obscure gem that would flatten our asses. Just knowing it was possible to witness the brilliant performance of an underground classic like Saxon's "Dallas 1 P.M." or Montrose's "I Don't Want It" was enough to keep our rapt attention. On the drive home, then, we'd relish those moments and then wonder what it would be like to find a cover band who did full sets of such wondrous non-mainstream crushdom. It's now 2010 and MOUNTAIN OF POWER has risen to complete our Marshall-driven fantasy.
It's not really fair to say that MOUNTAIN OF POWER has just shown up in 2010 as their eponymous disc hit the streets 4 years ago. Still, with this 2nd installment, the mountain is rising to epic proportions. MOP has it's foundation in Janne Stark (guitar & bass) and TrumPeter Svensson (drums). Savvy rawkers will recognize Stark's name from his tenures in brilliant bands like Overdrive & Locomotive Breath where his scalding guitar work has presided over albums like "Swords & Axes" and "Change Of Track". Svensson also has served in Loco Breath, besides killing the skins in '80s doom kings Mercy, Faith and a host of other drum summits. Along with James Collins (drums on 3 tracks here), the MOUNTAIN also brings to the table the talents of a host of guitarists & singers that read like a who's-who of the heavy rawk elite. Crooners who lay down the business involve names like: Paul Shortino, Jarrod England, Martin J. Andersen and David Fremberg, among others. Some of the axe slingers who join Stark in solo frenzy include luminaries such as: Craig Erickson, Joe Romagnola, Ty Tabor & Clas Yngstrom. You're getting the idea already, right? To quote David Byrne, this ain't no disco. This ain't no fooling around.
See folks, if just the axe-ripping, lung-busting line-up isn't enough to send you scurrying for your wallet, wait until you take a gander at the list of bludgeon riffola these cats are rolling out as ambrosia for your kick-ass ears. Sure, some will be more apparent than others, especially to those who haven't plied the deep underground. Sammy Hagar's "Urban Guerilla" and the medleys of UFO's "Reasons Love" / "This Kids" and Pat Travers' "Makin' Magic" / "Makes No Difference" probably bent the FM airwaves a time or 2 back in those late '70s. The real joy for me, however, comes in the lesser-known stuff, handled with such wonderful care here by Stark and Co. "Checkin' It Out" / "Sister Madness" by Ozz, Trigger's "Deadly Weapon" and Uli Jon Roth's "Indian Dawn". Are you kidding me, this is fucking awesome! Add to that the phenomenal 11+ minute version of Blackfoot's Southern opus "I Stand Alone" (the true father of "Highway Song") that ends this disc and you have a hard rock collector like me in an orgasmic state that could barely be equaled by finding Jill Hennessy in my bed. (Easy, Jennifer, as Aldo Nova would say "Just a fantasy!"). Now of course, the musicianship is top-drawer, the vocals are brilliant throughout and the lead guitar work is something that would beat the word devastating like a red-headed stepchild. Still, the thing that makes this record such a positive joy to listen to time and time again is the way the songs are treated with such immense respect. Through every chord, every note you know that these guys feel the tunes and relate to them and their history with every fiber of their being. Listen to Yngstrom's lyrical little slide at the beginning of the ZZ's "Bedroom Thang". Check out the way Stark & Erickson (among others) speak conversationally with their leads at the end of "I Stand Alone". This is the pinnacle of obscure hard rock, written by the masters and played by the masters who have not only followed them but understood fully and taken the baton with the utmost reverence.. and the desire to kick ass. Funny, but my only regret is that MOUNTAIN OF POWER didn't lay down the business a lot earlier than they did. Instead of making all those mixed tapes for the car those nights I could've just brought "Volume Two" along for the ride. Then I'd've had more chance to chat up that blonde from the liquor store.
NOTE: Make sure you don't pass up MOP's debut release either, featuring some massive takes on cuts by bands you know like Budgie & Mountain not to mention some you may not (but should) like Marcus and Goddo!
Ray Dorsey (RaysRealm Rock Blog) (February 2010)
Mountain Of Power is a project masterminded by Swedish axe-maestro Janne Stark. The purpose is to pay tribute to guitar driven 70s rock music. In 2006 Vol.1 was released which featured covers of bands like Budgie, Captain Beyond, Stray Dog, etc. Now it's time for Vol.2 and, like the first time around, he has invited lots of guitar friends to help him out. On Vol.1 it was only Swedish guests but this time he has brought in some international guitar slingers like Ty Tabor (King's X), Rusty Burns (Point Blank) and Danish hot-shot Martin J Andersen (Blindstone). The Swedes are among others Johan Norum (Europe), Claes Yngstrom (Sky High) and Conny Bloom (Electric Boys). In addition to playing lead guitar, Janne himself handles all rhythm guitars and bass.
This album is really a guitar bonanza of the highest order but without great vocals it would not work so therefore Janne also invited vocalists like Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt/Quiet Riot), Pontus Snibb (Bonafide), Conny Bloom, Claes Yngstrom, etc.
A 70s covers album may not sound too exciting because it has been done many times before, but what makes this such an enjoyable affair is the relative obscurity of the chosen material. Doing a cover of songs like Y&T's "Struck Down", Rory Gallagher's "Bad Penny", UFO's "Reasons Love" and Frank Marino's "Takin' Bout A Feeling" is really not standard fodder.
If you dig guitar oriented music with lots of soloing this album is a must have. It's 14 songs long and that is maybe a little bit too much to take in one blow, but why complain when you get value for money. Picking favourites is not easy but John Norum's, Martin J Andersen's and Thomas Andersson's work on "Takin' Bout A Feeling" is absolutely brilliant. Two other is "Waves" (Ty Tabor) and "Indian Dawn" (Thomas Larsson).
BigRedMachine (RockProg.com) (February 2010)
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