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  • Bryon Harris

Bongo Boy Records - 'Raw & Reckless Rock Bands, Volume Two by Various Artists

Raw & Reckless Volume Two, released worldwide by Bongo Boy Records features Rezmanian Devils Society, Troy Tipton, Wayne Olivieri, Gar Francis, Charles Brown, The Corridors, Lon Michaels, Bruce Lev, DJ Buddy Holly, Ricky Persaud Jr., Raftree, Inches From Sin and Chickahominy Vibe. This compilation album, comprised of 15 killer tracks, is sure to please fans of raw rock, guitar Gods, metal, indie-rock and more. If you haven’t turned up the volume in a while, Raw & Reckless will give you a reason to turn it up loud.

The first track on the compilation is ”Devil of Love” by Rezmanian Devils Society. Blasting things off, the song’s intro leaves the gate hard with crunchy guitar chords and riffs reminiscent of Van Halen, The vocals excel at standing above the thick mix. Mid-way, clear and precise guitar solos cut through the crunch. The band sets the perfect vibe for ‘Raw and Reckless’ with a classic and raw hard rockin’ sound that showcases their melodic sensibilities and lead guitar chops. The chorus is catchy, “I’m a devil of love. I got what you need. I’m a devil of love, and you’ll be down on your knees.” This song is about a smooth operator who knows what he is doing, musically and otherwise. Track two, Troy Tipton’s “Never” keeps the energy of the album moving forward. “In a world of people, you’re the one I see and you’re smiling back at me.” With good, clear vocal tone, the song is highly melodic and very catchy. In “Never,” Troy showcases a knack for writing infectious rock hooks that stick with you long after you hear them. The catchy chorus repeats the phrase, “Never, Never, Never let me go.” Troy does a great job with the bridge of the song that leads to an instrumental section which highlights some very nice, lead guitar work. Up next is “I Am A Music Man” by Wayne Olivieri which was one of our favorite tracks on the album. The intro grabs you from the start with a swampy guitar picking and bluesy harmonica. Wayne enters singing, “I never listen to the preacher. I always listen to my own. I’m trying hard to find my way and let the music take me home ‘cause I’m a music man…yes, I am.” Wayne’s vocal tone is excellent; he sings with passion and clarity like he owns the stage. The song kicks in with a great, foot-stomping groove that will have you up and moving. This song has a nice blue-grass-blues tinged rock feel.

Gar Francis presents “Tell the Truth” on track 4. With a classic rock edge that completely jams, “Tell the Truth,” is a great contribution to the compilation. Reminiscent of the Rolling Stones, Gar is a strong songwriter with grit and edge. The song is all about covering things up, hiding secrets and coming clean. Instrumentally, tasteful guitar licks and solos demonstrate Gar’s smooth and swift skills as a top-rate musician who has artistic chops. The more you listen to the song, the more addicted you become. Heck, the guitar layering alone is phenomenal.

Charles Brown’s “Explorer of Life” offers an expansive sound experience. “Explorers of Life” is an instrumental contribution that features synth and organic instrumentation. Melodic motifs played on guitar highlight this track. There are plenty of guitar solos throughout presenting crisp execution in speed and articulation. Mood changes range from mysterious and soft to energetic and grand with each section melting seamlessly into the next perfectly capturing life’s expansive journey

“End of The Times” by the Corridors is a reflective alternative rock song that delivers thoughtful lyrics to an atmospheric rock music background. “And we don’t know what will happen now. Reaching low just to feel so high….” The song kicks off with some good drum work followed by a full wall of sound that combines guitar, bass and drums along with electronic fills and nuances. The vocals are excellent and the chorus is addictive. The Corridors are a band can easily attract an international audience of rock connoisseurs with their thoughtful music.

Lon Michaels creates a slice of rock heaven on Track 7 with “Tell Me There’s No God.” “Tell Me There’s No God” has a steady beat that accompanies distorted guitar playing. “Yahweh, savior won’t you come and rescue me right now?" Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God used in the Bible. “Tell Me There’s No God” takes listeners to the place where music and spirituality connect. The song is catchy and will have inspirational rock fans singing along. Bruce Lev is next with a killer rock cut titled “20th Century Man” that features monster guitar chops. The song opens with some intentional static before the band clears a path to a solid classic rock foundation. Bruce’s vocals are straight forward and his lyrics are poignant. “Ceilings made of glass. You’re at the heavier class until the pink slips waiting on the edge of your chair…So is it getting you somewhere?” From start to finish “20th Century Man” impresses with great songwriting, musicianship and artistic lyrics. “20th Century Man’ crosses universally into indie-rock, punk-rock and alt-rock making it a song that can generate mass appeal.

Track 9, DJ Buddy Holly's “Keep Spinning,” presents indie-rock with a nice punk edge. The simple power chord intro builds with tight drums and bass. DJ Buddy Holly sings, “I’ll spin you around and around. You spin me’ round love.” Immediately, DJ Buddy presents the perfect rock attitude, vocally, as he sings with articulated passion and digs into the music. “Keep Spinning” is the kind of song that gets you off your feet and moving and before you know it, the music has stopped and you are hitting replay, to...keep it spinning.

Ricky Persaud Jr’s. song Goodbye 16 offers a nice mid-way selection for the album with a sound that combines reggae and rock. A high-scaled guitar solo shines in the intro before switching to a steady reggae groove. The multi-talented Ricky Persaud demonstrates artistic songwriting sensibilities in “Goodbye 16” with smooth vocals, melodic guitar motifs and rhythmic change-ups that keeps the song interesting. The song is about losing your innocence, temptations of the adult world and consequences. Mid-way, the bridge highlights Ricky’s musical artistry with a diversion in the song’s texture and mood. Ricky impresses with his ability to seamlessly convey multiple genres and textures for an entrancing music experience.

The 10th song on the compilation is Raftree’s “All The Time.” Drums kick the song off followed by swift guitar strumming. Immediately the vocals stand out with a powerful rock presentation. The instrumental work is stellar with the drums and bass tight and in-the-pocket while the guitar whips off arpeggios and wailing solos with ease. “All the time you spent believing your own lies. All the times I spent creating alibis…spinning in your own web believing your own lies.” This song is about thinking you know someone and finding out that it was all false. Gar Francis is up again on track 11 with his song “If You Love Me.” “If You Love Me” mixes elements of nostalgic pop and rock for a sound that will appeal to fans of many genres. The nostalgic tinge can be heard in the background vocals and innocent lyrics. The hook is very catchy and Gar does a great job capturing the song’s emotion. “If You Love Me” is solid proof that Gar is an exceptional songwriter full of surprises. The guitar solo is very tasteful as Gar plays upon the melodic content of the song’s chorus showing that he doesn’t aim to just show off his skills (because he could), but rather aims to serve the song’s style. Inches From Sin’s “Heartbroken” is up next with the duo of Karen Holloway and Robert Brewer. “My heart’s been sliced, once or twice. I’ve been slapped in the back, keep comin’ back.“ The song talks about repeated patterns of heartbreak and being on the “same old road.” This well-written song has an upbeat vibe with elements of pop, R & B and soul with smooth vocals that blend very well The simple chorus is infectious and will have you singing along.

Track 14, Chickahominy Vibe’s “#Bitter,” opens with a mellow introduction which soon breaks wide open with hard hitting drums. Chickahominy Vibe comes in vocally, at first with a deep and forbidding speaking voice. “21 Big Screen. Big Fun” he says, talking about the materialism and bitter nature of the fame game. The song presents many textures and is artistically entrancing both musically and lyrically. Later, Chickahominy Vibe’ sings, “Bitter….get over it” and “what you see is what you get.” The use of different vocal styles, electronic elements and lead guitar solos make this song a stand-out.

Lon Michael is back on the last track with “Anastasia.” Presenting his signature distorted guitar vibe and laid- back vocal style, this mid-tempo rock ballad has an old-fashioned flare in terms of the lyrics which are refreshing and inviting. “Is this love that you feel? Anastasia. I can’t tame ya. Anastasia. I won’t change ya. I wouldn’t change a thing except a brand new diamond ring.” Keeping it real, Lon delivers a solid, melody-driven track.

For more information on'Raw & Reckless Rock Bands, Volume Two by Various Artists, please visit Bongo Boy Records.

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