I recently received guitarist LOU DiBELLO’S new album Heat Wave (Independent, out now) from my good friends over at Chipster PR. I’m usually game to pop in anything they send my way because the team over there pretty much knows my tastes. I can definitely say they made the right call getting this one to me because it is a fun yet shredding guitar-driven rock and metal record. This is the kind of thing I would have been blasting the shit out of back in the day. It surprises me that DiBello has been relatively under the radar for almost 30 years, what with his skill set and the way he puts songs together. I can’t believe his first three records slipped past me.
Joining him on Heat Wave are some very special guests: Mike LePond on bass, vocalist Carsten Lizard Schulz, Tim Rixstine on the keys and synth, drums by Bobby Whiles, and last but not least, Ross “The Boss” Friedman playing lead guitar on one song. The music itself features four songs with vocals and four instrumentals. Where they are placed in the tracklisting is key because the album flows very nicely between the two. “Heat Wave” opens things up in toe-tappin’ fashion and after a minute I was like, “Uhhhh, is someone gonna sing?” I had no idea there were any non-vocal tracks, silly me.
Schulz makes his first appearance on the fist-pumping “Let Me Hear You Scream – Rock & Roll”, a balls-out rocker for driving fast to. One of the album highlights for sure is “Blood On the Cross” which features Friedman. He and DiBello play duelling leads and harmonies and the duo really make some magic here, and the chorus is mighty. On the instrumental front “Full Throttle” and “Drop Deadly” (definitely my favorite!) really fly off the page and make for some some great listens. The solo work on the latter is some of my favorite on the disc. Things slow down for ballad “When All Is Lost”, Schulz’s voice having a longing quality that makes the track work.
Oh, and DiBello’s take on Michael Schenker classic “Into the Arena” is fucking amazing!! You can hear Rixstine more so on this one than the others, Whiles gets to flex his muscles some, and LePond basically gave me a musical organasm with his bass work, most notably around the two minute mark where he really goes to town. Plus, DiBello’s playing is just incredible on this tune, especially with the solos. All told I thoroughly enjoyed Heat Wave and while it may not reinvent the wheel, that’s OK. But this is definitely a cool disc to throw on after a rough day. I guarantee your mood will pick right up 30 seconds in and you’ll be air-jammin’ away!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Blood On the Cross”, “Full Throttle”, “Drop Deadly”, “Into the Arena”