[ALBUM REVIEW] Marco Mendoza – Viva La Rock


1. Viva La Rock
2. Sue Is On The Run
3. Rocketman
4. Sweetest Emotions
5. Chinatown (feat. Mike Tramp)
6. Burned
7. Love 2 U
8. Leah
9. Hey Baby
10. Let It Flow


Reviewed by Casper of Rohan

The magnificent man of rhythmic magic Marco Mendoza is back this year with his third solo album release Viva La Rock, available 2nd March via Mighty Music.   Those who have witnessed Marco perform live will certainly identify with the reference to magnificent and if the recorded medium is where you have experienced his work, then indeed his rhythmic magic is that that has held in time the wailing’s of many a revered axe man and singing sensation.   At present, Marco works together with Deen Castonovo to provide the pounding heart of The Dead Daisies, where Marco has held the coveted bass place since 2013.

Now prior to all that the style and swagger brought to the The Dead Daisies table, Marco has performed several stints with Thin Lizzy and worked beside a range of legendary protagonists, worked with Whitesnake, including tenures right beside current band-mate Doug Aldrich. Marco co-founded Black Star Riders with fellow, latter Thin Lizzy band mates Ricky Warwick and Scott Gorham along with Jimmy DeGrasso and Damon Johnson, played and recorded with former Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, recorded and toured with Ted Nugent, recorded with Derek Sherinian on his album Mythology, toured with Lynch Mob, played with Soul SirkUS, collaborated with Tom Ripper Owens and this is merely the tip of the super-cool rock iceberg.  Phew.

Marco has been at the very heart of rock and roll since 1989 and just like papa, Marco is a rolling stone and there is no moss to be seen when we Live For Tomorrow.  He been hard at work performing and recording, therefore almost eight years has passed since the last solo release from Marco in Casa Mendoza. It is fair to expect that this recording would represent the culmination those eight years at the forefront of contemporary hard rock played at its finest, all blessed Marco Mendoza’s unique perspective, ear and style.  Well, you will not be disappointed because you receive exactly that, but so much more.

The protagonists are Marco on vocals and bass, Soren Andersen performing on the guitars and backing vocals with Morten Hellborn on drums, but when you spin this collection you are looking for several other band members that are surely responsible for providing such a massive rock sound.

Viva La Rock opens proceedings by musically, lyrically and vocally conveying the very heart and soul of rock and roll.   With that title you are expecting big things, but nothing can really prepare you for what you are to witness.  Turn it up loud and brace yourself because Marco and co are about to give you a glimpse of the view from the stage and just a little pinch of what it surely feels like to play to a heaving mass of celebrating revelers.  From either side of the stage, this song is what its all about.  Wow, what an opener.

Sue Is On The Run eases off the throttle and provides us with opportunity to settle back in the saddle, but with no less of the raw rumble of the mighty rock machine we are aloft.   The story of teenage Sue who is escaping the bounds of a dysfunctional home life, but it seems that she is armed only with the tools provided by drug and alcohol riddled parent and struggles to adjust into some semblance of a purposeful life.   The lyrics are superb with the musical accompaniment matching the subject and vocal delivery to absolute perfection.

Sonic pings of a depth sounder introduce the heavy groove of Rocket Man and this track is particularly well written both musically and lyrically.  Don’t be confused by the concept of a Rocket man and a sonic ping, nor write it off as an inaccuracy. The track is catchy as hell and almost playful in its outward facade of innocence, but one is aware throughout of a most wicked, malevolent side and we are provided with an air of foreboding.  Just as our subject who is outwardly a designer, rocket propulsion systems engineer and co founder of Copenhagen Sub orbitals, submarine builder and entrepreneur but our Danish subject has, allegedly, a much darker side.  August 10th, 2017, a Swedish journalist Kim Wall who was researching for an article about the activities of Peter Madsen, reportedly went on a journey with him in his homemade submarine and was not seen alive again.  With much speculation, insinuation and allegation surrounding the accused motives, I will simply stick to the reported facts, namely differing stories from Madsen as to what events transpired that led to the discovery of Kim Wall, in several segments beginning with a headless torso washing ashore in Copenhagen.  Madsen’s claims regarding the deceased’s fate have been discounted by physical evidence since uncovered and a cause of death has not been finally determined.  Rather than describe these despicable deeds further and afford further attention, I will simply suggest your own research should you require more.  Suffice it to say that this song works superbly as a medium for narration of current affairs and sheds light on the events superbly.   Further, I choose to believe that the track honors the memory of Kim Wall by exposing the evil deeds that befell her.  By shedding light on the circumstances via the medium of song, a greater global audience learns of these terrible events and exposes what might otherwise sink into the depth of history for many, unnoticed.  To be fair and equitable to Marco, I must also volunteer that at the time of this review, you are merely reading my presumptions and any relationship between the song and the case detailed above, could be entirely coincidental.  Maybe?

Sweetest Emotion needs no subject embellishment from yours truly, so I will concentrate on the magnificent manner in which this upbeat melody, dances to the exact beat of your heightened heart rate when you first lay eyes on her, or him and the spectrum of romantic possibility unfolds before your very eyes.  The guitar solo’s soar like your excitement when you first begin the dance of courtship and the swagger of this track will be replicated all over the world when those first steps of approach are made toward the subject of your myocardial pyrotechnics.  OH MAN! If only I entered the romantic fray armed with this jazzy number when I was 18.

Chinatown is a cover of the Thin Lizzy title track from their 1980 album, and doubtless a song of celebration, hallmarking Marco’s contributions to the band over many years.  I cant help but think Phil himself would love this cover of the timeless track, featuring danish rocker Mike Tramp. Just Superb.

Burned is mid album rocker that keeps you up and celebrating this superb album complete with hard rock screams from our outstanding orator.  I wont join the rank and file of mis-attribution by alleging that Benjamin Franklin or Albert Einstein coined the phrase “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome“, but this song sure puts is in sensational perspective.  Call me guilty, I don’t care so long as I can enjoy this superb song.

Love 2 U and Leah are sequenced to utter perfection with the former being a soaring rock gem of infatuated intentions and the later representing the realities of love and time apart from that which completes you.  Utterly sensational songs in their own right and together, contrast to extremes of the heart, beautifully.

Who could introduce this cover any better than Marco himself? “And now, a big salute and a tribute to the one and only, the biggest rocker of the century, the one and only Ted Nugent…..and of course, Derek St. Holmes”.  This is a phenomenally magnificent cover of Hey Baby and highlights Marco’s voice brilliantly.  Bravura guys.

This superb collection is completed with Let It Flow which leaves you with the road of possibility and encouragement laid out before you.  This track does indeed flow forth smoothly and splendidly before bursting into a roaring rock triumph, encouraging the listener to go forth, kick down the barriers and be all you can be.  The post crescendo calm chills you out and sends you on you way, but safe in the knowledge that you can go back to track one and enjoy the journey all over again.

This album is a triumphant representation of the skill, passion and heritage that resides within Marco Mendoza.  Fortunately for rock aficionados all over the globe, Marco opens the treasure chest every once in a while, and gives us a glimpse into his magnificent musical ability.  Occasionally he releases a timeless collection, sure never to age, that the world can enjoy forever.

2018’s assembly of performers called The Dead Daisies are together essentially best described as a super-group and their bass blasting rocker Marco Mendoza releasing such a fantastic collection in Viva La Rock, is a perfect defining example of why.

Bravo, magnífico, VIVA LA ROCK

You can pre-Order Viva La Rock on itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/viva-la-rock/1326764651