Rob Rock - Holy Hell
Well, it's finally here! The much anticipated third solo album by Rob Rock. With Rock's first two solo albums after his break with Impellitteri, he showed the world that he was more than capable of doing things without his former band, and this third album continues that in a huge way. And to tell you the truth, this is probably the solo album of Rob Rock's that Impelletteri fans will enjoy the most.
I'd have to say that this is probably Rock's heaviest album to date as well. The music has a great punch to it and Rock's vocals sound very aggressive throughout, save for the ballad "I'll Be Waiting for You". It's amazing how awesome this guy's vocals still sound after all these years of making metal. He is showing no signs of slowing at all. Whether he pierces the rafters with his high octaves or gets low and sinister, he sounds right at home.
The opening track "Slayer of Souls" wastes no time in grabbing you by the neck and yanking you into Rock's world of melodic metal. The song has a huge crunch and the band sounds like a caged lion. The lyrics alternate between describing the evil slayer of souls (which would be the devil) and what he and everyone else will be doing on judgment day...every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. Killer start to the album.
After "Slayer of Souls" finishes, the next song "First Winds of the End of Time" doesn't let up at all with its galloping rhythms. The rest of the album just flat out rocks - song after song. Like I said earlier, the one exception is the ballad "I'll Be Waiting for You". However, it's a well done song and is full of passion. What makes it even more moving is when you find out that it is about Rock's father, who passed away recently.
It's almost impossible to pick favorite songs on this disc. You have the ripping "Slayer of Souls" to start things, you have the addictingly catchy "Calling Angels", the super-aggressive "Holy Hell", the apocalyptic sounding "Lion of Judah", the list just goes on and on. Not a weak tune among the bunch. The cool thing about Rob Rock is that he has that ability to sound modern enough to attract the metalhead of 2005 without even hinting at being trendy. But he also will attract those '80's metalheads with a sound that doesn't sound dated at all. He and his band members just go out there and kick you in the backside for 45 plus minutes.
And to aid in this fantastic sound, Rob has again enlisted the talents of Roy Z, along with drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Iced Earth, Riot), Carljohan Grimmark and Andreas Olsson (Narnia), Italian keyboard sensation, Mistheria, and even Edguy vocalist, Tobias Sammet. Everything on this disc is laid down by top notch talent. Couple that with solid lyrical content, a sweet album cover, and great production, and you just can't go wrong.
I guess the only disappointing point on my part is that this is a promo and the way AFM Records did it is a little different from promos I've received in the past. There are two full length songs - "Slayer of Souls" and "Calling Angels". The rest of the songs are all cut short anywhere between 20 and 30 seconds. Plus, the final song "Move On" that supposedly has Tobias Sammet on it was not included on the promo. So, I get a pretty good idea of the quality of the album, but there are a few parts missing. But I guess labels have to do stuff like this with all the file sharing that goes on now-a-days...so I don't blame them. The other bummer is, the CD is supposed to have enhanced stuff on it like cover artwork, promo pictures, band logo, biography, etc...but I can't get the enhanced material to work on any of the three computers I have access to at home and at work. So, if it's not already listed on the Rob Rock website then I was out of luck. All is well though as I plan on buying this disc soon anyway and I'll just update this review with any other pertinent info later.
All in all, this is another excellent effort by Rob Rock. This guy seems to get better the older that he gets, which is good for all metal lovers. If you like Rock's other solo albums, this is an absolute must. And if you love melodic metal and don't have any of Rock's work...shame on you!
Review By: Matt Morrow
Label: AFM Records
Total Songs: 10
Total Time: 45:13
Tracklisting: 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.
Best Songs: Tracks 1, 3, and 4.
Band Lineup: Rob Rock - Vocals, Carl Johan Grimmark - Guitars, Daniel Hall - Guitars, Andreas Olsson - Bass, Andreas Johansson - Drums.
Band Website: http://www.robrock.com