Lee Speaks About Music… #131

Black Riders Part 2 – HeartScore

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Introduction…

The latest album and follow up to last year’s release of HeartScore’s Black Riders Part 1 is upon us, and Black Riders Part 2 hits the shelves so to speak exactly a year to the very day. A lot of things have changed over the past year including the fact that the man behind the project Dirk Radloff decided to bring in a new singer to take on all the vocal duties. It’s perhaps a bit of a strange thing to do especially has this is a particular series of work that follows on and is based around the words of a 19th century American poet known as Stephen Crane. But it also could be more of a step in the right direction regarding attracting more attention to his music.

I’ve known Dirk for a good few years now, you could even say that I am his number one fan since I stumbled across his music on Soundcloud about 5 or 6 years ago. He’s always looking at other avenues to try and get a bit more attention paid to his music. He’s also willing to make a few changes here and there and it was only last year that he decided to change from his normal style of prog rock to something with a bit more of a metal approach. Metal is also more to his own particular taste in music even though it was only his 6th album Black Riders Part 1 he put out last year when he decided to make the change over to that particular style.

He will even make changes regarding the formats he chooses to release his music on and keeps his eye on market research to look for the best possible angles and ways of trying to make it appeal to more people. For example, last year Black Riders Part 1 was released in 4 formats if you count the digital download and Limited Edition that came with a 48-page hardback book.

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The fact that Cassettes were also making a bit of a comeback enticed him to even include the format with that release as well along with the other physical format on CD. The one thing you cannot say he’s not doing is trying and in many ways I admire what he’s doing  and let’s face it, if you made something you were proud of you would want it to look the part and put it out in all formats. But on the other hand, for the unknown musician this can also be costly especially in today’s world were music does not sell as well as it used to many moons ago. But thankfully least Dirk had the sense not to have so many copies made up and I would not like to see any musician be left with a pile of albums cluttering up their own basement or garage so to speak.

Personally I think his decision to go with a new singer is more of a positive step in the right direction especially when you want to make your music ROCK! harder you very much need the right voice to go with the power and I have to say he has chosen one hell of a singer who certainly has all the right qualities to fit to his music. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork as usual.

The Packaging & Artwork…

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Things certainly have changed for this new release and gone are the physical formats of the CD and Cassette we seen last year and the new album comes in the form of a Digital Download only. Like I mentioned earlier it probably makes a lot of sense for any unknown artist to go with this format with how music sells in this day and age, especially when you are not gonna exactly sell your album by the bucket load. However, it’s not strictly true that he did not put the album onto a physical format although it is extremely limited and it is the most expensive format of them all these days.

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Extremely Limited Vinyl Edition

There comes a time when I am sure all of us would want our albums put onto a vinyl record but it is a very expensive game these days in relation to what it was years ago. It’s something many mainstream artists still do today since vinyl has been making a come back since around 2017 and the fact that mainstream artists can shift them by the bucket load means that they can order them in much larger quantities to keep the cost of the record down. Basically you need to be ordering at least 1,000 – 2,000 units and even then you are still looking at charging around £25 – £30 per album to make any sort of profit at all. That’s around the price you would pay for most lesser known mainstream prog rock artists vinyl albums.

More well known mainstream artists who sell their albums by several bucket loads due to their bigger popularity can easily afford to have 20,000 – 40,000 and much more pressed at a time. Which is why they can afford sell their vinyl albums from around £14 – £18 each. Simply because the larger quantity you order the cheaper you can get them for. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and many others would have no problem shifting that many copies which is why they can afford to sell them at a much lower price. For an unknown artist like Dirk Radloff who is lucky to sell 10 albums it would be suicidal to go down this road and the only alternative would be to have 1 copy pressed onto vinyl as a personal collectors item for himself and that was his original intention.

Many companies who press vinyl will charge you £100 and more to have just one of your albums pressed onto a single 12 inch LP. I dare say for those who are proud of their music they would be willing to shell out that price even if it was just to have a personal copy they could hang on a wall or put on display in a cabinet in their homes. It’s something both myself and he have discussed and looked into over the past couple of years, and it was only more recently that Dirk happened to stumble across a company here in the UK who was doing 1 single unit at a much cheaper price.

He even managed to cut a bit of a better deal with the company by having 5 units pressed instead of 1 cutting the cost down a bit more and has decided to keep 2 of them so he has a back up, and the other 3 have been made available to purchase. So the vinyl release is extremely Limited and even though the price tag of 45 Euro might look extravagant and extortionate. I can assure you that he is hardly making a bean from the sales of them if they do manage to sell. But so far lucky for him one has already sold and only 2 are available to purchase.

The Artwork.

The artwork and albums sleeve design were designed by Dirk Radloff himself using photos he purchased and pieced together to which are licensed by Shutterstock DOT COM. The Norse FONT he used was created by Joel Carrouche who is a graphic and type designer from France. Overall, I think it looks very good and I think it suits the album and is perhaps the right kind of artwork that you would find associated with Metal’s genre.

Black Riders Part 2 Album In Review…

Black Riders Part 2 by HeartScore was released on the 1st November 2019. It’s the 7th album of Dirk Radloff’s to be released under his project name and comes with 10 tracks spanned over an overall playing time of 36 minutes, 27 seconds. Whereas its predecessor Black Riders Part 1 was the longest HeartScore album and near enough twice the length and contained twice as many tracks, his latest album is officially the shortest album to be released in the HeartScore discography. Although the shorter time slot would have been taken into consideration for him wanting the album to be put onto vinyl and complying with vinyl restrictions. Personally, I myself prefer the old 70’s vinyl time slot of 30 – 40 minutes for an album. It not only means I can squeeze more albums into my daily listening pleasure, but also makes them a damn site easier to review.

There is no doubt that Radloff’s previous album Black Riders Part 1 was a step into a newer direction and in some respects was also more of a experimentation in that he was fusing electronica with metal to some degree and it was something he put out to test the water to see if it would attract more people to his music. I thought overall that album was quite a good effort but I was not entirely sure that fusing metal with electronic elements really worked that well. Having recently listened to the album again I do feel that my original rating in my review a year ago was a bit generous and to be honest my overall ratings of many albums I quite often find may have been on the generous side, especially having returned to the album at a much later date.

The album Black Riders Part 2 is very much a different ball game in that many of the elements that was on it’s predecessor have been stripped down and back to the bare bones. For example, gone are the electronics, the violin and other guest musicians playing saxophone for example and all that is left are guitars, bass and drums and these basic instruments give the album much more raw power. They are certainly the main ingredients in metal and rock music and in many cases that is all you really need apart from a decent singer who has balls to belt out the words.

In many ways a voice is a very powerful instrument, it can in some cases be a more powerful thing than the rest of the band. I am sure I am not the only one who has followed a singer who has left a band and left the band he was in behind to follow him instead. I done that with both Black Sabbath and Marillion and for me personally both Ozzy Osbourne and Fish went on to make better music than what the both bands did without them. Whenever a band changes a musician it’s not necessarily going to be that big or enough of a change for their fans to leave the band behind. But when a band changes a singer it becomes a lot more problematic and is not always easy for many to accept.

HeartScore is very much the brain child of a one man project regarding the musical side of things, the very fact that the man behind it also took on the vocals himself in the beginning and produced 4 albums with him as the main singer, is what I personally liked from the start and I truly felt that Dirk’s own voice suited the music he was making back then. That much so that even though more recently he has remade a few of those older songs with the latest singer he now has onboard with him on this new album. I still prefer the originals. Although in reality there is no doubt the new singer does have one hell of a voice in comparison to Dirk’s own voice and is perhaps on a much higher level.

Having a good singer is very important to any band and it can make all the difference especially when it comes down to the genres of heavy rock and metal, and its this new direction of where HeartScore’s music is now heading is where the new singer does have exactly what is required of a singer to make it work a lot more so than the previous singer Dirk hired or for even himself to sing on that score. There is no doubt that Chris who came by Courtesy of Studiopros is a professional singer and does have a GREAT! voice. But it’s perhaps not the kind of voice you want for this genre of music for it to work properly.

The new singer Giacomo Rossi is like your Ian Gillian’s and Rob Halford’s of this world who has vocal chords that can stretch much further and reach GREAT! heights. He is very much like those GREAT! rock singers who are in complete control of their voice. To put it in a nutshell he can reach parts most vocalists would struggle to reach and has GREAT! vibrato and is able to sustain, hold, bend and shape his vocal chords around the music. Singers like this don’t come ten a penny and are very hard to come across. It’s not the first time that Radloff has collaborated with Rossi either and he did stumble across him on Soundcloud about 5 years ago and done a few Led Zeppelin covers together.

Giacomo Rossi is Italian and currently resides in Reggio Emilia (RE), Italy. He is still very young and approaching the latter end of his 20’s and had singing lessons himself and holds a Masters Degree from the Modern Music Institute which guarantees him professional competence in modern singing. He now runs his own classes and teaches other people to sing.

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Giacomo Rossi

Italy is a renowned country for its many GREAT! opera singers and many of the GREATEST! operatic singers in the world came out of that country. Although opera is not really my cup of tea, I do have a lot of admiration for the skilful trained voice and can be amazed at what the voice alone can do with its range and the powerful dynamics it can reach and produce. Even though opera singers do have lessons you do very much have to be gifted and born with that voice in the first place, it’s not something you could achieve by simply having singing lessons.

I am not saying that Rossi is an opera singer but he does possess some of those qualities and range in his voice which allows him to sing many alternative styles of music. He himself is involved in many other project bands a couple of which do covers of more well-known pop songs and he is also in a Deep Purple tribute band called PurpleMore. Probably one of the more interesting bands he is in do more of their own material, and is an alternative metal band that go by the name of P.O.E. which stands for Philosophy Of Evil and is based around the haunting horror of the author Edgar Allan Poe.

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It was only last month that the band released their debut album entitled Of Evil Humanity And Other Odd Things and 4 years prior to that back in 2015 they put out a 5 track EP entitled The Tell-Tale Heart. I’ve taken the liberty to listen to a couple of tracks from them both and I have to say they sound very good and I might have to give them some further attention and investigate both releases a bit more.

Musicians & Credits…

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All music composed, arranged and produced by Dirk Radloff. All lyrics written by Stephen Crane. Mixed & Mastered by Dirk Radloff at his home studio. Artwork and sleeve design by Dirk Radloff. Photos licensed by Shutterstock DOT COM. Norse FONT by Joel Carrouche.

Musicians.

Dirk Radloff: Electric & Acoustic Guitars/Bass/Piano, Synth & Drum Programming.
Giacomo Rossi: Vocals.

The Album Tracks In Review…

The album consists mostly of short vocal tracks and a couple of instrumental tracks plus a piano ballad of a song has been thrown in to break it up a bit. But even though the tracks are short they still pack in some GREAT! progression and it has the power to deliver the goods. With the music being put to short poems by Stephen Crane that came from his first book of poems entitled The Black Riders and Other Lines. The poems do not really have enough words to make songs without having to repeat the words. It’s perhaps a difficult task for any singer to be able to work with and stretch them out further to make them fit in, and the only real work around is to express them a bit differently so it does not sound like you are repeating yourself all the time. This is something I feel Rossi has coped with extremely well so, let’s now take a look at the albums tracks and see how it all pans out so to speak.

Track 1. A Man Went Before A Strange God.

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The album gets off to quite a flying start after the short little intro and GALLOPS! its way along as if its GALLOPING! its way into a raging battle of war. Although the war in question in this battle is over which god you put your trust in. I think that Stephen Crane would quite often turn the tables around in his poetry and portray the real god as the devil and that is precisely what he has done in this poem of his. Cranes poems were very short and this particular one is perhaps longer than most in that it contains a couple of short paragraphs, and I like how the first three lines of the opening paragraph have been used to make up the chorus leaving the rest of the lines or sentences to make up a couple of verses. Quite often in many songs the chorus will repeat the same words and the fact that the song does open up with the chorus does really help the song by not sounding too repetitive.

Musically it’s driving along on all cylinders and the guitars, bass and drums are hammering there way along and it is a very powerful song. It’s the longest vocal track on the album but only by 3 seconds and weighs in at 4 minutes, 5 seconds so, you can certainly see how short the songs are on the album. But the length of any song has never been of importance to me not even in my own preferred genre of music prog rock. I personally think that it’s a damn site technically harder to throw in bags of transitional changes and progression into a song over 2 – 5 minutes and make it work than it ever is in relation to some 20 – 30 minute epic. I also praise the very few who successfully have managed to do so as well. Fundamental changes are what I like to see and not stitching songs together like many prog rock bands do today like The Beatles did back in 1969 on their Abbey Road album with a track they called the “Medley” or the “Long Piece“.

I am not saying I dislike those type of songs and that this particular song has bags of progression and transitional changes because it does not. But that is where metal has always differed to prog rock but there are also many different styles of metal these days too, such as progressive metal, heavy metal and death metal to name a few. But I quite like how this song takes it’s foot off the pedal around the 1:04 mark to come down for a bit with a nice little short change which allows Rossi to express a short one off sentence and for Radloff to throw in a nice little guitar solo and pick up back to its blistering pace. “A Man Went Before A Strange God” is GREAT! song that DJENTS! like metal with its guitars and has the voice of a powerful ROCK! singer and both deliver the goods here. It’s very much a contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 2. It Was Wrong To Do This.

This one chugs and marches its way along and once again the song starts with the chorus to try and prevent what little words of Crane’s sound too repetitive. It’s perhaps too hard to conceal the repetitiveness on this one but nevertheless the harmonies and the way the words have been expressed do help it as far as the words are concerned. The harmonies have always been a trademark with HeartScore’s music and they are generally done by Radloff himself and can be quite familiar with the harmonies the band Queen do. This is the first album he has left his voice off completely and left all the vocals and harmonies to Rossi and they still sound GREAT! and work extremely well.

Lyrically the words are pertaining to the differences between the spiritual world and the real world were things do work differently. For example, the effects of war would not really have a bearing in the spiritual world of an angel where war does not exist and one has to fight to survive sort of thing. I think Crane liked to try and prove that the bible was blacker than white and he may have been right. Overall the song packs in the power over its 3 minutes and contains GREAT! vocals, harmonies and the short guitar solo works effectively enough to break it up, the bass works really well on this song too.

Track 3. A Man Toiled On A Burning Road.

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The heat is turned up and this one is quite HOT! and is a SCORCHER! Musically its very well constructed with some GREAT! progression and travels along at a BLISTERING! pace. Once again there is very little words for Rossi to sing but you do get more musical interludes in between over the 3 minute and 55 seconds here to help out. The vocal sections Rossi does a really super job of and he even does Ian Gillan like screams in parts, watch out for Radloff’s BLISTERING! guitar solo between the 0:45 – 1:07 mark and this is really running along at high speed.

There is a GREAT! change around the 2:09 mark that GRINDS! it all down and it CHUGS! it’s way along slowly and Radloff has even thrown in some synth strings on this song which work quite well in this come down section. At the 2:40 mark we get another little burst of a solo on the guitar and the song picks back up its BLISTERING! pace to finish it all off. “A Man Toiled On A Burning Road” is a very strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! and Stephen Crane’s words here are pertaining to those lazy bums who do nothing and have nothing better to do than ridicule and snigger at those who are working their butt off to make a living.

Track 4. There Was Set Before Me A Mighty Hill.

It’s time to simmer things right down with this next song which is a BEAUTIFUL! ballad composed for the piano and beautifully sung by Rossi. I like how the double track vocals come into play at all the right parts too which work very well. Although the music was written for the piano it is actually programmed by Radloff and his main instruments he plays are violin and guitar. He can play a bit on the piano and most likely played the synth strings on the previous track rather than programmed them. To be honest a ballad like this might be out of place on a metal album like this, but when I look at the words in Cranes poem, I can see why Radloff chose to do a ballad and use the piano for it.

There was set before me a mighty hill,
And long days I climbed
Through regions of snow.
When I had before me the summit-view,
It seemed that my labour
Had been to see gardens
Lying at impossible distances

Glancing at Cranes words they reflect something he may have seen and experienced out in the country on a walk. But they also pertain to the uphill struggles that life can present us at times. They also could pertain to the struggle it takes to save for something materialistic and the time it takes us to get what we want. However, you look at them they are certainly different in relation to many poems he wrote about god, the devil and war for example.

Most of Cranes poems are very short like this so you can see how hard it would be to use them for songs. But I like the way how Radloff has cleverly took certain parts out to use and make them work, and the words he re-uses to make up the chorus on this particular song do work very well as do all the others.

Long days I climbed
Through regions of snow.
When I had before me the summit-view

To be honest this is something I never really picked up on his previous album Black Riders Part 1 and it may be down to how Rossi handles and expresses the words in relation to his previous singer Chris why I have paid closer attention to everything. The other thing I have noticed though is that Rossi can at times struggle a bit with the English language in pronouncing certain words properly. For example, on this song the word “Distances” does sound like he’s singing “Listances”. But these are only minor things and nothing to really write home about especially when you have a voice like he has and I rather think that outweighs everything and I certainly would not shoot him in the foot for it so to speak.

There Was Set Before Me A Mighty Hill” is a GREAT! song and I also love how well it ends off on the piano too and I wish some of my own endings on the piano were more constructed like that too.

Track 5. Many Workmen.

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Shoddy workmanship and cowboy builders’ springs to mind with this poem of Cranes and sometimes things might not be as GRAND! as they appear to be :))))) especially when being crushed to death whilst you step back and gaze at how good you think your work looks. Sometimes it pays to get on with things and the poor chaps met their fate for not doing so in this case. I rather think Cranes short story here is something like you would find in British comedy sketches in comedy shows such as Monty Python, The Odd Job Man and Some Mothers Do Have Them. I like the way that Giacomo Rossi SQUEALS! into action on this song too.

The song involves rocks and does ROCK! and you get the familiar HeartScore harmonies and with Rossi’s voice used for them they do sound a bit like a cross between Yes & 10 CC and work very well. It also has a nice little lead guitar break from Radloff and CHUGS! its way along quite well too. It’s perhaps my least favourite track on the album but is not a bad song and it must be extremely difficult for Rossi to work with Cranes words but he’s done extremely well here and once again they have been very cleverly divided up to make the song work.

Track 6. There Was A Man And A Woman.

Now we go from my least favourite track into my personal favourite track on the album and this has to be the HIT! single of the album and is a SUPERB! very well written song. I think it’s one that Dirk Radloff must be extremely proud of too and why he chose to make an official video for the song. This song purely ROCKS! and I think the video he made is very well done too and you can see Giacomo Rossi do his Ian Gillan like screams. I think the only thing that would have made the video better is if Dirk Radloff put himself playing the guitar in the video. But apart from that he’s done quite a professional job of it all as you can see by the video below.

There Was A Man And A Woman” is a song that packs in a lot over 2 minutes and 50 seconds and very much merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! It contains all the right elements to make it the stand out track on the album and its quite a classic rock song like many others done by more well-known artists and just as good.

Track 7. Once There Was A Man.

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Once there was man and now there is nothing, and nothing is what I can make out of Crane’s words for this poem either. Crane often wrote things in a very bizarre way and I think that is why for many he is so interesting and become a subject for the people to study his works and try and decipher and make sense of it all. But despite the meaning of the words they work very well here and I even like how the song ends off with Rossi repeating the words “There is nothing” and the abrupt ending works a treat. The song also has a nice little intro before it settles into more of a Djent on the guitar and it also has more of a longer guitar solo during the break. Overall another TOP JOB is done by them both and it’s a GREAT! song.

Track 8. To My Tiny Throes And Struggles.

It’s time for the first of the two instrumental tracks on the album and this is the shortest track on the album and only 1 minute and 23 seconds long but it is a most BEAUTIFUL! acoustic solo WONDERFULLY! played by Radloff. The title he gave to the piece comes from Crane’s poem “If There Is A Witness To My Little Life” that is also a very short poem and perhaps why he never chose to make it into a song with words and do an instrumental ditty instead. It works really well in having a piece like this to break the album up and is perhaps like how Steve Howe of Yes would also do so on The Yes Album with “Clap” and it shows you his ability on the acoustic guitar which is really GREAT! You can see how short Crane’s original poem was.

If there is a witness to my little life,
To my tiny throes and struggles,
He sees a fool;
And it is not fine for gods to menace fools.

It really is a GORGEOUS! piece and has a folky baroque feel to it and is wonderfully executed. I like it that much that this also has to be one of the contenders for the albums TOP SPOT! I only wished Dirk would have videoed himself playing the piece so I could include it here. I have seen him play a few classical pieces on his YouTube channel that he played a good few years ago and would like to see him do more acoustic stuff.

Track 9. I Looked Here.

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This next song might be a bit out of place on the album in relation to the more heavier metal songs and verges more along the lines of a pop song but I have to say a really excellent pop rock song that has a bit of Steely Dan feel to it. Radloff’s guitar work and even the bass work on this song is SUPERB! I have to confess that when I first heard it back in June, I honestly thought it would not be fitting for the album but I am so glad it got included and this is my second favourite song on the album and another contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

The words to Crane’s poem are entirely different to his normal dark and ruthless side that are contained in the Black Riders and they pertain to love. They were most likely written for his wife who he married whilst he was over in England. Besides all the EXCELLENT! work Radloff has done on the music this has some GREAT! harmonies and it also gives Rossi a chance to express himself a bit differently and bring out a few more qualities with his vocal range. It really is a GREAT! song.

Track 10. Mankind.

The albums closes with the longest track on the album weighing in at 5 minutes, 31 seconds and is another instrumental piece. This one is not named after one of Stephen Crane’s poems and keeps the album in line with Black Riders Part 1 to which he also included one of his own instrumental pieces entitled “Gods“. Radloff has always had the knack of writing GREAT! instrumental pieces and playing fine lead lines on the electric guitar. I suppose it stretches way back to the days when he used to be in a band called The Golden Tornadoes to which he was the lead guitarist and played surf songs mostly written by himself very much in the same sort of style you would get with Hank Marvin of The Shadows. Radloff will often tell you that the violin is his number one instrument and the one he’s most comfortable with, but in all honesty, he is a very good guitarist too.

Mankind” contains some GREAT! lead and melody lines and is a piece that builds itself up and runs along like a juggler in a carnival sort of thing and contains some fine chord progression and changes along the way in some parts the guitar even sounds like it’s singing the words to the nursery rhyme “Daisy, Daisy” and I often find myself singing those words along with it even though it’s not exactly like it at all. It’s a really GREAT! well-structured piece of work and I love how the lead guitar takes off and flies along at greater speed at the 4:28 mark for the final stretch and it ends off the album very well and this has to be another contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Summary…

To sum up the latest HeartScore album Black Riders Part 2. I personally feel that this album represents more of the right change Dirk Radloff should have gone along with in the first place regarding his decision to go down the road towards metal. To be perfectly honest I cannot really fault the written material on Black Riders Part 1 but where his latest album wins over it is really down to stripping out all the ambient electronics and having a vocalist who is more suited to the genre of music. Giacomo Rossi very much has the power you need to deliver these songs and he has got what it takes to make them stand out and ROCK! and I personally think this is a more of a winning formula.  

But as to if the album does attract more attention and win over more listeners and buyers that is still remained to be seen. But I certainly think it should because it’s quite a good album that has good material and a really good stand out track. Although having one stand out track might not be enough these days and you perhaps need a good three or four at least to attract more attention. This is something that Dirk Radloff might need to re-address and take more time in making an album that has the type of material it needs to stand out that much more. 

But for me personally I do see this new album as a step in the right direction and my personal highlights from the album are as follows: “There Was A Man And A Woman“. “I Looked Here“. “A Man Toiled On A Burning Road“. “A Man Went Before A Strange God“. “To My Tiny Throes And Struggles” and “Mankind“. 

Conclusion…

To conclude my review of Black Riders Part 2 by HeartScore. I personally think this is a lot stronger album than the previous album down to the changes that have been made. I feel the track placement works well and the combination between Dirk Radloff and Giacomo Rossi is something I would like to see continue. I personally get more satisfaction from this album and it is an album I can play more often in relation to its predecessor. But as to if it’s an album that will appeal to the Metal Heads out there is another thing, and there is a bit more diversity here which suits my particular taste but not necessarily for those who are into Hardcore Metal.  

However, it is an album I certainly feel that more people should investigate and give it some attention. You never know it might just ROCK! your boat as it does mine. You can listen or even purchase Black Riders Part 2 by clicking on the following link:  https://heartscore.bandcamp.com/album/black-riders-part-ii

He Was A Brave Heart

The track listing is as follows:

01. A Man Went Before A Strange God. 4:05.
02. It Was Wrong To Do This. 3:03.
03. A Man Toiled On A Burning Road. 3:55.
04. There Was Set Before Me A Mighty Hill. 4:02.
05. Many Workmen. 3:56.
06. There Was A Man And A Woman. 2:50.
07. Once There Was A Man. 3:46.
08. To My Tiny Throes And Struggles. 1:23.
09. I Looked Here. 3:56.
10. Mankind. 5:31.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

2 thoughts on “Lee Speaks About Music… #131

  1. Wow, this is what I call a review
    First I want to say, that Giacomo is a phantastic singer to work with and I plan to go on with him.
    I encourage you to give further attention to P.O.E., because I think they really deserve it. They offer a quite theatric version of Metal and besides the Edgar Allan Poe connection they seem to be influenced by theater and opera. I agree, that Giacomo fits better to the harder style, which I try to establish since the last album. If a singer can sing as high as Giacomo it’s also easier to mix the album, because the singer is nicely separated from the guitars and both don’t have to battle about the mids in the frequency-spectrum. I am a fan of dramatic Rock-tenors. And after Robert Plant, who is the blueprint of this type of a Rock-singer, there came many more highly talented shouters like Ronnie James Did, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Eric Adams to name a few. As an Italian singer Giacomo stands indeed in a long tradition of his country and as somebody, who loves classical music, I have always admired operas, especially Wagner and Pucchini, and this might be one reason, that I tend to pack many transitions and more complicated chord-progressions in a song (even if it is short). In fact sometimes I would like to write straighter songs and I believe, that the material on „Black riders part 2“ is to some extend less sophisticated than older songs, but on the other hand it rocks more.
    While I read, what you have to say about the lyrics I have the impression, that you liked the poems here more than in the past and that you get used to the short, but sharp language of Crane.
    The two tracks, which contrast the metal on this album, the ballad and the acoustic guitar-solo, were composed with two of my idols in mind. The piano-ballad was inspired by Freddie Mercury’s piano-ballads, think on „Lilly of the valley“, or „Nevermore“ and the acoustic guitar-solo was inspired (you guessed right) by Steve Howe, though I did not have „The Clap“ in mind, but „Mood for a day“, which is my favorite of him. I admit, that this solo guitar piece was composed a long time ago during the time, when I uploaded Youtube-videos of similar solo acoustic guitar pieces on Youtube. It’s a good idea to make a video of myself, while playing it, but it would take a lot more practice to be able to play it in one take in front of a cam, because in the studio you can do much more trickery with editing, but playing a song through in front of a cam is like playing it live in front of an audience.
    Talking about „hits“ of the new album I see, that we have a very similar opinion. When I thought about, which songs I should feature from this album I thought on „It was wrong to do this“, „There was a man and a woman“ and „It was set before me a mighty hill“ first.
    By the way I think you should lower the rating of „Black riders part 1“ from 8/10 to 7/10, because you say, that part 2 is stronger. I am satisfied myself with the new work and also think, that the electronic experiments of part 1 led to a dead end. Maybe I will do an alternative version some day without the electronics.

    All in all I am very grateful for this detailed review and moments like this motivate me to go on,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked the review Dirk and this album inspired me more to run a bit deeper into it. I will at some stage check out P.O.E. further and they did sound interesting to me to want to delve more into them. The reason I used “Clap” instead of “Mood For A Day” was down to the fact that it did come off an album that only had 1 instrumental track where as the other one came off the album Fragile which was an album that also featured individual tracks from all musicians.

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