Randy Bachman and C.F. "Fred" Turner were the principals and namesakes of '70s rock outfit Bachman Turner Overdrive and B.T.O.'s brand of pile-driving rock is still a force to be reckoned with on classic rock radio where tunes like "Let it Ride," "Takin' Care of Business" and the stuttering "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" still see frequent airplay. These and other hits like "Hey You" and "Roll on Down the Highway" are included here along with the somewhat ominous sounding blues rocker "Blue Collar" and deeper album cuts like "Not Fragile," "Sledgehammer" and "Four Wheel Drive." Bachman was an early member of the Guess Who and that band's output is represented here with a searing guitar-filled take on "American Woman," a song Randy co-wrote, and a version of the Guess Who's first hit, "Shakin' All Over." Fellow Canadian and longtime friend-of-band Paul Shaffer handles the piano pumping on set closer "Takin' Care of Business" and the guys do just that throughout this impressive throwback.
Miss May I
This Troy, Ohio-based band plays melodic metal but don't expect Judas Priest clones; yes the guitars stop slashing here and there long enough to accommodate melody but for the most part Miss May I are a screamo act with plenty of thump and clamor designed to get the circle pit going. There's little variation in tempo to be found in At Heart; don't be fooled by the brief relatively calm intros on some songs because you're about to be pummeled senseless by these high energy headbangers. Guaranteed to make your blood pressure readings shoot right off the chart.
Beyond the Bridge
The Old Man and the Spirit
Beyond the Bridge is a prog-metal band with a sound that's a mash-up of Queensryche and Styx and The Old Man and the Spirit is a concept album. Essentially a conversation between the old man (represented by singer Herbie Langhans) and the spirit (female vocalist Dilenya Mar) referred to in the title, lush and sometimes trippy instrumentation accompanies this hour-long spiritual journey. You'll probably need the lyric sheet if you want to follow the story closely but the tracks run together here and the ride is sublime making this one great for kicking back with the headphones on.
Voodoo Terror Tribe
Stands to Reason E.P.
Voodoo Terror Tribe has tailored their heavy sound to fit modern rock radio, including in songs like "Masquerade" all the necessary elements: a pounding beat and soaring melodies, a memorable chorus and vocals that barely contain the rage apparently at hand. "2012" finds the band channeling Rob Zombie but the most unlikely of tunes on this 5-song sampler has VTT off on a completely different tangent as they cover Journey's "Separate Ways" with only a slight hopping-up of the arrangement.