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with Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

Every couple weeks Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck will check in with 2 to 4 featured reviews. Keith is a veteran syndicated music critic, his reviews appear in over 35 publications world-wide. To read more of Keith’s work visit muzikreviews.com  Now on to this this installment of MusikMan where Keith tells us about new cds from .
 

Genesis - Inside Genesis-1975-1980
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Inside Genesis-1975-1980 is a splendid overview of the phenomena of the British rock group Genesis. From the art-rock days of Peter Gabriel to the meteoric rise of drummer Phil Collins to a leading front man and eventual solo superstar, this DVD covers it all, including extracts of performances from the tracks “Dance on a Volcano,” “Deep in the Motherlode,”  “Follow You Follow Me,” “Dukes End” and more. There is also some nice bonus features with longtime guitar man Steve Hackett performing “Please Don’t Touch” and “In The Quiet Earth,” which is described on the back of the DVD cover, as "What Genesis would have sounded like if Hackett had remained in the band."

Most of the contributing critics agree that Duke was the pivotal album for the band and the exorcising of Peter Gabriel’s ghost. From that point forward, the development of the band and the ongoing changes that eventually lead to Phil Collins leaving for his solo career, get an in depth overview with commentary from band members as well.

Genesis has consistently been one of my favorite bands over the years and personally, I enjoyed them much more after Gabriel left. I think that the band members had a new sense of creative freedom once his exit was final, and that proved to be true on subsequent albums. This is an excellent documentary highly recommended for all prog-rock and Genesis fans.
 


The Michael Schenker Group - World Wide Live 2004
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Michael Schenker is a rock icon, a guitar hero that has been around the block with the Scorpions, UFO and his own band MSG. He has nothing to prove as a guitar player so taping a recent concert was an updated bonus for all of his fans around the world.

World Wide Live 2004, filmed at the Metalmania Festival this year, includes highlights of all periods of Schenker's long and successful career. He gives equal time to his days with UFO and his own solo work to satisfy the audience.

The band behind Schenker is sharp and tight, however, the vocals of Chris Logan prove to be inadequate for the power of the music. His is range is limited, thus making the entire performance a lackluster one for the band as a unit. As I said, this is one potent musical force; however, I think if Schenker were to seek out a vocalist that can match his guitar wizardry, his music would take on a completely different meaning. 
 


Steven Mark - Distraction
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Steven Mark takes the nod from all of his self-professed influences such as Dylan, Morrison, Townsend and Lennon on his new album Distraction. Mark plays guitar and sings sweetly but with biting dark lyrics. His vocals and harmony actually reminded me of The Byrds. 

To give you an example of how Mark’s deceptively beautifully vocals turn into sardonic repartee is the track “Beer & Nyquil.” 
The first verse goes-You fake each day/Swallow the mirrors with the smoke/Roles that you play/Are who you are/Can’t run away/You’ve grown addicted to the joke/You read today/You’re the latest sinking star. Then the second verse repetitively says…Living on beer and Nyquil. Perhaps it is a requiem for a fallen rock star caught up in the insanity of the lifestyle. I hope it’s not a forecast for the future for this artist! This is unlikely, in any event, it certainly does not sound to far-fetched for anyone to fall into that trap of drugs and demise. 

That is but one example of a CD chock full of catchy hook filled tracks ready to grab you by the ears and pull you in for a good 45 minutes or so. He has the voice, the acumen, and the intellect to take his music to the masses, and no matter how indifferent or dark some of the songs may be to some listeners, there is still humor found in between the lines, and that my friends is what rock music is all about.
 


Speak Easy - Low Moral Character
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Low Moral Character is what this album is all about. Take a look at the titles of the songs…”Serotonin,” “Scum Recital”…. it pretty much tells the story. There is some hard rockin’ music to help the words hit home, and that is what really makes this album digestible. 

A young buck on a mission named Kevin Verni is out to prove a point, that he can play the guitar hard, fast, and sing some ruff and tumble vocals to go along with it. The mix is just right, his vocal style has a roughshod edge to it and it ain’t pretty, but then it should not be. He leaves the niceties to a young lady by the name of Maggie Arnold, whose voice gives the music an entirely different attitude. It is an interesting and entertaining combination to say the least.

When you first hear this CD, you may think it’s just okay, then after another listen you start hear a little more, then you give it another spin and what do you know? It really starts to grow on you. I have always enjoyed music with a punk attitude and feel to it and this music definitely fits the bill. Even if I do call refer to it as alternative rock, I can hear where the punk influence finds its way through Verni’s guitar playing and vocals. They spice it up a bit with an organ that has a reggae island feel to it on some tracks, which again, is a different way to present this type of music. There is not anything new going on here but I have to hand to Verni for his creativity and versatility. I hear nothing but room for growth and a lot of potential for this band.
 


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