Marco Mendoza - Viva La Rock

Marco Mendoza - Viva La Rock

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(CD, Mighty Music, 2018)

Marco Mendoza is a familiar name as he has been playing with tons of prominent bands and artists. WHITESNAKE, THIN LIZZY, Ted Nugent to mention a few, and now he's on the move with the amazing THE DEAD DAISIES. But I have to admit I'm not all that sighted with his solo work. If fact, seeing him in Copenhagen a year ago was my first encounter with that.

“Viva La Rock” is the first one to dig in to and to my surprise it's a collection of high standard catchy Hard Rock tunes. I mean, his solo gig was great to watch but there were a lot of extensive jams and whaling in each and every track which made them lose the hit factor. Perhaps, it would be awesome for one knowing the stuff, but hard to take in when hearing it all for the first time.

The up-tempo title track kicks the record off and sets a high standard from start. “Sue Is On The Run” takes it a step upward. It's easy to track where Marco comes from listening to this one, where he's spent his years as a musician as this one touches upon both his former employers, Mr. Nugent as well as WHITESNAKE. The dynamics in the song are fantastic and the guitars worth a mention; I mean, Søren Andersen is a genius, both when it comes to playing and the production side of things. The record sounds fantastic and there's a whole lot of things going on but it flows so smooth you really need to pay attention to notice it. The stomp in “Rocketman” goes down well and the rhythm stands out. It's so cool when a beat can be stiff and groovy at the same time. And as it's a sticky and easy to remember chorus-line, this should definitely be a good treat in a live situation.

Marco's R&B, Soul and Funk influences appear in “Sweetest Emotions”. The whole introduction, and specifically the chorus is loaded with brass. Not my favorite trick in the book but I don't mind it here. One favorite on “Viva La Rock” is the THIN LIZZY classic “Chinatown”; I normally don't read up on records before I start to listen for the review. So, it came as a very pleasant surprise when Mike Tramp came in and did some vocals here. His voice differs a lot from Marco's and here they complete each other. The extra touch of emotion Mike possesses add the nerve needed to raise the track even over the original. It sounds fantastic! Grungy “Burned” works great with Marco's soulful voice. The screams weighs off the dark and moody riff in a good way. Also, that the chorus is lighter and catchy sets this song as another favorite. Then, “Leah”, a big ballad in the greatest Arena Rock way. That too is a very good song but it doesn't feel as unique as the rest of the material on the album. The Ted Nugent song “Hey Baby” starts to wrap things up. Sure, it is a fun track but I rather have originals. I know, I contradict myself here as I've been praising “Chinatown” to the skies. But that feels a lot more special than this one.

With mellow “Let It Flow”, Marco and his band say goodbye. And this one is another of those fantastic moments that shows here and there on the album. Again, Søren's fantastic playing stands out and I think that, the musicality of “Viva La Rock” stands out. I fancy that the most here. The songs are good but without the flawless musical performance it wouldn't have been the same.





01. Viva La Rock
02. Sue Is On The Run
03. Rocketman
04. Sweetest Emotions
05. Chinatown
06. Burned
07. Love 2 U
08. Leah
09. Hey Baby
10. Let It Flow


Marco Mendoza - Vocals, Bass
Soren Andersen - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Morten Hellborn - Drums