Hard rock fans may already be familiar with the name, Michael. Hailing from South Amherst, Ohio, Shane Freeman, Todd Waites, Mike Slone and Dennis Raymond released their debut album, “The Battle Rages On” in 1995. With the support of Roxx Records, this cassette-only release was mastered to CD in 2019. While work on “Michael II” began shortly after the release of “The Battle Rages On”, personal setbacks meant a sophomore release was in the balance – until earlier this year. On 29 May Roxx Records proudly released “Michael II”, a testament to the tenacity of its then two remaining band members, Shane Freeman (guitar, vocals) and Vaughn Zajicek (drums, programming).
When Michael started tracking this album, the power trio of Freeman, Zajicek and Slone (bass guitar) remained. With their focus more squarely on guitar-driven rock, they created such gems as “Lost At The Cross”, “You Need Some Faith” and “We Got A Prayer”. When Slone had to leave because of ill health, the two remaining members agreed to finish the album before going their separate ways.
Freeman and Zajicek pared down each song to its essence, each with its own mood and story. “Fire In Me” is a great hard rock ballad, while “No” deals with the dangers of drug addiction. “We Got A Prayer” also stands out because Freeman favours the acoustic guitar on this one. Its rhythm qualifies it as a college rock classic for sure. Rob Colwell of Bombworks Sound completely remastered the album for CD release and hats off to Bill and Scott of Roxx Records for liberating “Michael II” from the musical vaults.
“Michael II” scores 7/10.
Written by Karakul
Fire In Me
Lost At The Cross
We Don’t Care What They Say
Kick Down The Walls
You Need Some Faith
We Got A Prayer
Will You Love Me?
When You Feel The Love
Shane Freeman (guitar, voicals)
Vaughn Zajicek (drums, programming)
Mike Slone (bass guitar)
“The Battle Rages On” (full-length, cassette – 1995, CD – 2019)
“Michael II” (full-length, 29 May 2020)
Release Date: May 29th. 2020
Record label: Roxx Records
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