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ROB talks about the intense new solo album and what inspiration lays behind the songs included on the album (Thu, 5 May 2005 14:17:57 -0400)


METAL FROM THE ROCK:  First off - I have to say how impressed with the album I was! I was really blown away by it. When did you start out to write this new album "Holy Hell"?

ROB ROCK:  Well, Roy Z and I had a group of songs ready to go for the album over a year ago when I got the chance to have Bobby Jarzombek record the drums for me.  We recorded the drums out in L.A. and then I spent many months working on the vocal melodies/lyrics and working with guitar solos while Roy Z was producing several other albums including the new Judas Priest record.


METAL FROM THE ROCK:  Your time in Impellitteri and also in the past two albums "Rage of Creation" and "Eyes of Eternity" has been more focused on melodic metal and progressive hard rock. Holy Hell is far more heavier hard rock album. What prompted your move to a more heavier canvas?

ROB ROCK:  The songs dictate the album. When we decide what songs will be on an album, they all have to flow together and make a good collection of songs. I did not want to repeat any albums that I have done before so when we were writing we just focused on great songs. We didn't try to manufacture a certain course, we just went for all great songs - "all killer - no filler" - that was our concept this time. With Rage of Creation, I was focused on making a statement that "Here I am, I'm starting a solo career" and with Eyes of Eternity I was focused more on melody and more European style songs, and this time with Holy Hell, it was all about great songs. I didn't even realize that it was any heavier than the previous albums until I put the song order together at the end of the mix.


METAL FROM THE ROCK:  Please introduce the album studio players?  I noticed that you brought with you some european players during your album tour.

ROB ROCK:  Roy Z and Carljohan Grimmark played all of the rhythm guitars and most of the solos on the album, Roy played bass on 5 songs and Andreas Olson played bass on 5 songs, Ricky Renstrom and Bob Rossi added some solo guitar parts and Mistheria played most of the keyboard parts. Tobias Sammet sang a duet with me on the Abba cover ballad "Move On".  Liza Shekhter added some keys on "I'll Be Waiting For You" and added some backing vocals to the end chorus of "Move On"


METAL FROM THE ROCK:  Speaking of emotion, the album is super intense. The energy and emotion wrapped up in the songs is amazing. I hope I am not getting too personal, but the lyrics and the angst in the songs seem to come from a very real place - can you tell us the background behind the songs?

ROB ROCK:  The songs were written in a very dark season for me. I had my Dad die last March, 6 other close relatives and friends died too later in the year, 3 hurricanes to deal with, Tsunamis and war going on in the world, and a lot of personal emotional struggles were going on...for a long time. Writing this album was good therapy for me!!


METAL FROM THE ROCK: What is behind the title of the album - Holy Hell?

ROB ROCK:  The idea for the title started when I heard those two words spoken together. I thought to myself "Wow! Holy-Hell. That's sounds very cool and very heavy - what a great album title it would be!".  Then I thought of what it could mean, the age old battle between heaven and hell, the two powerful extremes of their meanings, how can hell be holy, the spiritual struggle between the spirit and the flesh etc...

METAL FROM THE ROCK:  The production quality including the artwork design is first rate - sensational! How difficult was it to get everything right in the studio?

ROB ROCK:  The whole process was chaotic to say the least! Nothing went as planned and everything had to be dealt with "on the fly". There was no time to over-think, only instinct to work with and it amazes me how well everything came out in the end. I had problems with schedules and recordings and everything else, but I believe there was a bigger spiritual hand moving behind the scenes so it all came together eventually. I missed a few deadlines for the label but they stood behind me and believed in the songs and gave me the quality control I needed to have in my possession, even though the pressure to get the album done before the tour was tremendous.


METAL FROM THE ROCK:  Do you have any favourite tracks? I'll recall a couple of mine – there are couple of amazing tracks including the ballad "Move On" and the utterly brilliant tracks Holy Hell and Calling Angels.

ROB ROCK:  The best thing about Holy Hell is that the more you listen to it, the more trouble you have deciding which song is your favorite! Really, I go back and forth about my own favorites. Slayer of Souls, Lion of Judah, and Calling Angels were big surprises at the mixing stage because I always loved Warrior, First Winds of the End of Time and I'll be Waiting for You from day one. Now Revelation, When Darkness Reigns, and especially Holy Hell and Move On are rising to the top of my list! So I really love them all and I think this album has a lot of "growing power" as you listen to it more and more.

METAL FROM THE ROCK:  This is your third time recording the track "I am a Warrior"....what's the reason behind the recording of this amazing song?

ROB ROCK:  Well, actually it is the second release on a real record label and both versions are different from each other. The song was originally released on the "Answer to the Master" with Chris Impellitteri on guitars on JVC/Victor Entertainment in 1994. Now it's released again with Roy Z on guitars on AFM Records. Both versions have different guitar rythyms, and some lyric changes too and of course they include completely different performances.  The Driver 1989 version was a 24 track demo tape that was used for shopping to labels and was only sold on cassette at our "live" shows, It was  bootlegged in Europe however, so the Driver version was never heard on a real label until now.  Another reason is that this song is one of my favorites and it is a staple of my live show and I wanted to have it recorded on a "Rob Rock" album.


METAL FROM THE ROCK:  Of all your other work as a singer on various projects and with others, what do you rate as your best work and why?

ROB ROCK:  I always do my best so it's hard to say what is my best work when all of my work is quite varied I think.  Holy Hell" is smoking! "Rage of Creation" was my first solo album - gotta love that one! "Warrior- Code of Life" and "Axel Rudi Pell - Nasty Reputation" were both one off recordings and they both have great vocal performances on them, and with Impellitteri - "Answer to the Master" and "Screaming Symphony" are my favorites. But I can't forget "M.A.R.S. Project: Driver" - there's nothing like your first album, especially when it includes an all-star band!


METAL FROM THE ROCK:  Any chance of working again with Impellitteri?

ROB ROCK:  Of course there is always a chance of that... Chris and I are good friends and if the opportunity arises and the timing is right, it may happen again. We'll just have to wait and see...meanwhile, I wish Chris the best in all that he does.


METAL FROM THE ROCK:  Many thanks for your time once again and take care for now....

ROB ROCK:  Thank you, enjoy the new album!



Everyone knows I am a huge Rob Rock fan. So I'm being upfront in my appreciation for Rob's music, but I have never held back from an honest review in the past and that remains the case here. But you will see from the points awarded that there is really nothing but good news to report on here. And once fans hear the album in it's entirely, I believe that almost everyone will agree in principle with my positive review.  I doubt you will find a single negative review about this album anywhere.  How good it rates with individual fans will vary, but I believe the consensus will be that this is Rob's heaviest recorded album to date and possibly his best ever album to date.  It gained some real awesome reviews and soundcheck positions so far, for example it went position #1 Album of the Month in the METAL HEART MAGAZINE!

"Extraordinary singer Rob Rock kindles an acoustical barrage with his new album and songs such as "Slayer Of Souls" or "Calling Angels". The gun always in hand and a bundle of insane melodies in the back of his head, that's the way Rob is sounding on HOLY HELL" - HEAVY ODER WAS?!? MAGAZINE
(#4 Album of the Month, 12 reviewers, 67 CD's reviewed, 11 out of 12 points on the featured review, 2 page article)

"...Mr. Rock - an honourable family name for this inflammable record!" - METAL HEART MAGAZINE

"...rock fans of bands like Axel Rudi Pell, Impellitteri and many more will have fun with this album!" - MY REVELATIONS Webzine


Rock Hard - #4 Album of the Month
11 reviewers, 61 CD's reviewed
Live 2 page Tour review, 8.5 out of 10 featured review, Song 2 on Dynamit CD (Slayer of Souls)

Metal Hammer - #4 Album of the Month
11 Reviewers, 30 CD's reviewed
6 out of 7 points in the featured review, Off Road Tracks Song 5 (Slayer of Souls)

The message is clear: The feeling was that fans wanted a more rocking album this time around and Rob delivers big time. This is one of his hardest rocking releases, with some top of the line songwriting backing up the tougher band feel of the album.

Let me just touch in some tracks that I felt are superb tracks: “Move On” is the album’s second ballad. This features a very cool acoustic intro…followed by the opening vocals of Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet …... The chorus sees the full band come in and complete another classy ballad. The truly strong and soulful vocals make it one of Rob Rock's best ever ballads.  “Holy Hell” sees a return to the hard hitting guitar sound of Rob’s previous album “Eyes of Eternity” featuring an aggressive edge and using several different layers to fully paint a picture. Bobby Jarzombek shines again with his thunderous drum parts.  Calling Angels ?…... I thank God for this amazing rocks! 

Quite noticeable are the new versions from Rob’s
Driver Ep “I am A Warrior” and “When darkness Reigns”….. both songs found its way back here. Simply put, this tracks are a hard rocking monsters! It starts with a burst of guitars, gets straight to business with a smoldering riff, then explodes come chorus time. This is a fabulous harmony driven rock n roll anthem that's best played at maximum volume.

But wait, there's a bonus video clip and multimedia extra’s on offer and what a great addition to the album (buy the album and check it out).

Each review I do for Rob Rock seems to be more enthusiastic than the last. There's a good reason for that – the material and the delivery just keep getting better.  When listening back to this one gets the feeling that everything just came naturally and what results is a classic slice of heavier rock music that will not only blow established fans away, but also draw in a new range of converts. 

Here is the track listing for the European release (AFM CD 091-2) of "Holy Hell":

1) Slayer of Souls
2) First Winds Of The End Of Time
3) Calling Angels
4) Holy Hell
5) Lion Of Judah
6) I'm A Warrior
7) I'll Be Waiting For You
8) When Darkness Reigns
9) The Revelation
10) Move On

Produced by Roy Z, Mixed by Jacob Hansen

Rob Rock "Holy Hell" album release date is April 04, 2005 on AFM Records. USA release date on AFM and Asia release date on JVC/Victor Entertainment is to be announced soon.

Atty. Charlie L. Yap