Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

HOT NEW REVIEWS
 UPDATED ON  FEBRUARY 1 - 2012

THE REASONING ‘LIVE IN THE USA: THE BOTTLE OF GETTYSBURG’ (COMET MUSIC/UNIVERSAL/UK IMPORT)

THE REASONING is part of the female fronted progressive melodic rockscene that emerged in the UK the past 2 decades, with acts like IONA, MOSTLY AUTUMN, KARNATAKA, MAGENTA, PANIC ROOM, TOUCHSTONE, BREATHING SPACE and several others. Progrock was always a very ‘male’ dominated scene throughout the years, but this development that started in the 1990s finally brought us some female fronted bands into the progscene and among them was THE REASONING. This Cardiff, Wales based band released their debut ‘Awakening’ in 2006, an album which also featured a guest appearance by MARILLION’s STEVE ROTHERY. 2 more albums followed and now 7 years after their formation they have released a live album, which was recorded in Gettysburg, USA. The 12 featured songs on this live disc show a really great band that live sounds even better than on record, so make sure that when you start checking out this band, perhaps this new live record is the perfect way to get going!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)  

ANDROMEDA ‘MANIFEST TYRANNY’ (INNER WOUND RECORDINGS/SWEDEN IMPORT)

Progmetal is definitely a genre that has especially the past 10 years brought us so many sensational releases. A lot of new bands were formed and especially from Scandinavia the amount of quality bands in this genre is endless and ANDROMEDA from Sweden is one of them. They were formed in 1999 and have released 5 superb albums during the 2000s decade, all featuring their excellent singer David Fremberg, who joined the band at a slightly later stage in the early years of the band’s history. Now they make a comeback with their new CD ‘Manifest tyranny’, which is once again a very strong Melodic Progressive Metal with all the hooks, tempo changes, complexity and still memorable choruses the modern day progmetalfan is screaming for! The whole album is a highlight, but if we have to pick and choose, then it would be “Lies R Us”, “Survival of the richest” (beautiful calm epic start), “Chosen by God” (lovely semi-balladish with amazing chorus that sticks in your head) and closing track “Antidote” (Progmetal at it’s very best!). The band is not constantly moving into heavy Progmetal, because there are a lot of calmer moments, in which they almost sound like they are a Neo-Progband actually. However, I do think fans of PAGAN’S MIND and SEVENTH WONDER will absolutely love this band’s excellent new record! Don’t miss out this band at: http://www.andromedaonline.com

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)  

SONS OF NOTHING ‘GREEN AND GREY’ (INDEPENDENT/USA IMPORT)

About 5 years ago we reviewed an album of the band SONS OF NOTHING and now this singer-songwriter duo Thom Bowers (based in Los Angeles CA) and Matt Meldrum (based in Salt Lake City UT) is releasing their 4th album ‘Green and grey’. I have to say that the start of their album is not really that impressive, because opener “Take Back The Thrown” has some average vocalwork and is a somewhat dull song. Thankfully the rest of the album is much better and features some great Harmonyvocals, like during the 90s underground ish progmetal/melodic heavy rocker “Feel it again” and other strong songs such as “Living The Cliche” (semi progreassive melodic rocker) and “Green And Grey” (midtempo a la TEER/STRYPER). Although the bands rocks pretty hard here and there, they are also finding the right balance with a good melody and also a bunch of the included songs is semi-acoustic. Somehow they remind me a lot of the 90s Arizona based band INNUENDO, although one can also hear influences from 3 DOORS DOWN, ALICE IN CHAINS and BOC, while a song like “Thursdays” is a nice 70s acoustic tingled almost sorta THE BYRDS kinda tune. “End of the page” is a pure melodic rocker and so in the end this is a very diverse album actually, taking bits and pieces from 5 decades of Rock and Roll in the USA! Although not a classic and one has to listen to the album a few times, this is nevertheless a nice band to check out at: http://www.sonsofnothing.com/RollCall/

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)  

KLAATU ‘3:47 E.S.T.’ (KLAATUNES RECORDS/MAGENTALANE MUSIC/CANADA IMPORT)

KLAATU is a legendary Canadian band with a very long history that goes back to the 1970s when they were tipped as a sort of secretly reformed THE BEATLES, some even claiming that they actually were THE BEATLES hidden under a new bandname. Although musically some of the material of KLAATU was not too far removed from the later recordings of THE BEATLES, most of their songs were much harder rockin’ and were more in-line with the typical Canuck Rock at that time, like APRIL WINE, a poppier MOXY, CHILLIWACK, STREETHEART and such, but then again KLAATU also had a lot of diversity in their music that even revealed some early prog influences, which sounded a bit like PINK FLOYD, CAMEL, FM Canada and a somewhat more polished version of MAX WEBSTER. I think in the end they were the typical 1970s Rockband that sounded like a mix between all the mentioned bands, which can be heard quite clearly on the band’s debut album ‘3:47 EST’. This first album of KLAATU has now been re-issued, 35 years after its original release. The album’s a real adventure, like so many other 1970s released albums, because it explores many different music genres within the pop and rock field. Sometimes it’s relaxed and laid back, almost proggy ("Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft"), with THE BEATLES ish melodies in most of the songs (especially during “Sub-Rosa Subway”), but also here and there with typical 70s rock a la APRIL WINE (“True Life Hero”) and CHILLIWACK (“California Jam”). The album was produced by the mighty TERRY BROWN (RUSH) and despite the fact that the rumors of the band being THE BEATLES were always denied by the band members back in the day; it helped them gain a lot of popularity. In addition, the well-known pop-band THE CARPENTERS enjoyed success by covering the KLAATU song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (the Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day)", which became a top 40 hit worldwide. Sadly KLAATU were only really having success in Canada and just like for example APRIL WINE, MOXY, STREETHEART and MAX WEBSTER, they were one of many Canadian bands that never got the recognition they should have deserved. In the end, they released 5 albums before splitting up in the early 80s and over the past 10 years a lot of compilations have been released and now also re-issues of their original albums are being done on the band’s own label KLAATUNES RECORDS. This makes it possible for people to become aware of this band that did some interesting stuff in the 1970s, which was long-forgotten until now. Make sure to check them out at: http://www.klaatutheband.com/ and hopefully we will be able to review their other 4 re-issues as well soon.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)  

THE DANA FUCHS BAND ‘LONELY FOR A LIFETIME’ (ANTLER KING RECORDS/BERTUS)

New Jersey born female singer/songwriter DANA FUCHS has already enjoyed quite a lot of success the past 10 years and now we can enjoy her debut ‘Lonely for a lifetime’ once again, because it has been re-released. Dana is an amazingly talented musician with a unique voice, really wonderful to listen to. The music is sorta Classic Rock ish, yet with a lot of Soul, thanks to Dana’s sensational vocals. I must admit that I never really checked out Dana’s music before, but after listening to this album, which was originally released in 2003, it is clear that DANA FUCHS is one of a kind. Someone with such a voice should attract people without any problems. Earlier this year a new album was released, but meanwhile we are here discussing the re-release of the debut-album from 9 years ago. It is like already mentioned quite a rockin’ album, but I never heard so much Soul in a Classic Rockalbum. Dana’s voice is really unbelievable and the bluesy Classic Rock material on her album is picture perfect made for her. I am pretty sure live it will be an evening of excitement to watch Dana sing out her soul and combined with her beautiful looks, you can’t go wrong here. More at: http://www.danafuchs.com/

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)  

LOST REFLECTION ‘FLORIDA’ (SG RECORDS/ITALY IMPORT)

We have reviewed a tape and a CDR of the Italian band LOST REFLECTION a long time ago, but after 2004 it became quiet around the band. However one of the members, FABRIZIO FULCO enjoyed his fifteen minutes of fame when he joined CRIMSON GLORY guitarist BEN JACKSON’s band in 2005. Apparently Fabrizio was a major fan of CRIMSON GLORY, because he even played in a tribute band, which must have made Ben aware of the fact that Fabrizio would be a nice addition to his own solo back-up band. However, eventually CRIMSON GLORY reformed once again and is now touring the world and so, Fabrizio is back in LOST REFLECTION, with whom he recorded a new CD titled ‘Florida’. Sadly it has nothing to do with CRIMSON GLORY musically speaking, because the music of LOST REFLECTION is pure Glamrock as if it was still L.A./Sunset Strip - 1985 and one is constantly reminded of bands like WRATHCHILD, WILD BOYZ, TIGERTAILZ, LIXX, DEADLINE, GUTTERSLUTS… Although it might be interesting for fans of mentioned bands, I am afraid that the average vocalwork spoils it a lot. Fabrizio is a good guitarplayer, but is not convincing enough vocally speaking, while also the songs are just ok 80s Glamrocktunes. Some work needs to be done to come up with something as good as a CRASH DIET for example! More info at: http://lostreflection.tripod.com/

(Points: 6.0 out of 10)  

MYSTICITY ‘AMBASSADORS OF THE HIDDEN SUN’ (TESSILQUE MUSIQUE/USA IMPORT)

What if you have DOUGIE WHITE on lead vocals and people like BOBBY RONDINELLI and DEREK SHERINIAN appearing as guests on your first record? Well, then you already have accomplished something in your life, because anyone who has been a member of bands like RAINBOW and DREAM THEATER is already a legend in my book. Anyway, MYSTICITY is actually the band or should I say project of guitarist/keyboardplayer/songwriter K.C. MELEKYAN, who is settled in North Hollywood, where he is making a living as educator on a high school. However, his main hobby is music and now his dream comes true, because he delivered a CD and gladly it is a very impressive album. The included music is clearly firmed in the Classic Rock format, with strong DIO/BLACK SABBATH/RAINBOW similarities, but also some other influences can be heard, with even a couple of songs reflecting a sort of JETHRO TULLish sound, while also some proggy influences can be heard, especially during the closing track “Mirage in Bahrain”. Other highlights are “Rain” (excellent midtempo, with BLACK SABBATh riffs), “Dad is gone ” (beautiful calm ballad with fantastic vocalwork, even a little DIOish) and “With and without you” (amazing relaxing epic melodic rock ballad with a flute and once again with excellent vocalwork/melodies). Some great musicianship is going on here and thanks to Dougie’s recognizable excellent vocalwork, this MYSTICITY is a must to check out at: http://mysticity.com

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)  

SAL PIAMONTE ‘LIVES IN DEVIL CITY’ (GRAND FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT/CANADA IMPORT)

Canadian rocker SAL PIAMONTE definitely has got all it takes to become the next big Rockstar. His music is quite typical Northern American and resembling a style that combines elements of KID ROCK, LENNY KRAVITZ, KING OF THE HILL and some DAUGHTRY/NICKELBACK/BO BICE. A little Southern Rock here, a lot of groovy gang-vocal driven midtempo Heavy Rock there and even a typical late 80s radio-ready Melodic Power Rockballad is thrown in for good measure as well (“Just a little bit” is basically pure WARRANT circa “Heaven” and “Sometimes she cries”), but Sal also goes for uptempo catchy Melodic Rock sometimes, such as during the best song “Tonight” that has a chorus that would not be out of place on a FRONTIERS RECORDS release! However, these are only a few songs that could be qualified as pure Melodic Rock, because most of the album is a mix of Classic Rock the groovy American Hardrock way and Modern Rock, like KID ROCK meets AEROSMITH meets a rockier THREE DOORS DOWN. Anyway, Sal still has an own identity, as he takes the best of all kinds of Rockstyles, mixes it up and thanks to his very strong production, the overall feeling of this CD is quite good. Sal impresses more than on one occasion and truly delivers here a high quality major label ish release, on which he by the way does a lot on his own (not only the excellent singing, but also the production, guitars and bass). It surely sounds like a 2011 record, very fresh and still interesting enough for the melodic rockfans with an open-mind to check out at: http://www.salpiamonte.com and http://www.facebook.com/salpiamonte and http://www.myspace.com/salpiamontemusic    

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)  

RUSSIAN CIRCLES ‘EMPROS’ (SARGENT HOUSE/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Chicago based RUSSIAN CIRCLES already deliver their 4th CD with ‘Empros’, but for me personally this is the first time I am able to hear and review their works. Pleasantly surprised, this band is offering instrumental music that sounds very dark and underground ish, combining elements of modern progressive rock, death and doom metal, ending up sounding like a cross between OPETH, PORCUPINE TREE, MARS VOLTA and a lot of distortion, yet without any vocals. Fans of the more experimental side of life will definitely appreciate this challenging record, which might become a cult classic someday, as some of the guitarriffs are sounding very memorable and taking you on a trip to higher places. Check it out for yourself at: www.russiancirclesband.com

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)  

KITTY SOLARIS ‘GOLDEN FUTURE PARIS’ (BROKEN SILENCE/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Although the new CD of the Berlin, Germany based singer/songwriter KITTY SOLARIS starts very peaceful and acoustic tingled, reminding of LISA HANNIGAN for example, the following track “Beggar and king” is a more upbeat Pop/rock and actually quite radiofriendly and sort of summerish sounding. The rest of the CD offers more or less a mixture of typical singer/songwriter acoustic based popsongs and here and there a songs that actually are not far removed from FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE (like the slightly experimental and somewhat rocking midtempo “Isolation”). However, it is also clear that PATTI SMITH is a major influence on Kitty, because she sings in the same kinda way that is most of the time low pitched and lyrically quite offensive and depressive. Nevertheless, stories are told here and for fans of mentioned acts, this is definitely worth checking out. More at: www.kitty-solaris.de

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  

THE SONS ‘THE PRIME WORDS COMMITTEE’ (POP UP RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

I have heard a lot of diverse and original records in 2011, but THE SONS from Derby/UK is definitely one of the most original bands out there at the moment. The 13 songs on their 2nd CD ‘The prime words committee’ all sound very different from each other, taking influences from a lot of different musicstyles, but the target is always a catchy melody that makes you remember the particular song. For example opener “Two mind” sounds at first sight as a typical Indie Pop tune from a UK band, but when the chorus comes around it gets uptempo and even Westcoastish, reminding me of THE BUOYS (aka DAKOTA)!, while the melancholic “Open to persuasion” is a very calm song that would make COLDPLAY jealous! On the other hand, the uptempo Powerpop of “Out of sight” suddenly switches back to the classic late 70s/early 80s movement and reminds one of bands like THE PLIMSOULS, THE BOYS, SHOES, 20/20, etc. etc. “Better days” is a song that would do well on radio as this is a very nice mixture of Classic Folk and Modern Britpop, with a catchy memorable chorus a la BIG COUNTRY. Also a highlight is the pure mid 80s New Wave sounding “New obsession” that is deadly catchy and makes you remind of the 1984-1986 period, with even some U2ish guitar licks. “Float together” brings us melancholic Progressive Rock in the 00s MARILLION meets PORCUPINE TREE direction and the late THE BEATLES influences can also be heard here and there. And then how about the Pub-sounding sing-a-long “Round and round”! And so it goes on and on… The band has a fantastic clean melodic sounding lead singer (main songwriter and guitarist/pianist PAUL HERRON), they are signed to German label POP UP RECORDS and without a doubt, this is a highly recommended band to explore a.s.a.p. and although they already exists since 1994, this album might be their big break finally and perhaps 2012 brings them the fame and fortune they truly deserve! More at: http://www.the-sons.com/

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)  

HEROINA ‘HEROINA’ (SIREENA RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

HEROINA was a German duo that recorded a bunch of very diverse covers back in 1990, which now have been collected and released on CD, with the addition of some other tracks. Back in the day, they were groundbreaking with their covers being played all over the dancefloors, as apparently they did something remakarble, because the covers sounded quite different than the original versions. Danceable Indie Rock remakes of songs by EDITH PIAF, REM, PATTI SMITH, SEX POSTOLS, THE STRANGLERS and PRINCE can be heard here. All done very well and sounding like a mix between DEPECHE MODE and NEW ORDER, so a bit 1980s, yet with a drumbeat that belongs to the early 90s. More at: http://sireena.de/cat-h.html#sireena2092

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)  

THE STORY UK ‘JOY RIDE ON MEMORY LANE’ (RAINBOW QUARTZ INTERNATIONAL/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

THE STORY is a UK based band formed around a father and his son, both multi-instrumentalists. The father is MARTIN WELHAM, who was part of the band FOREST in the late 60s/early 70s. However, after a 30-year period of inactivity, Martin founded 10 years ago a new band with his son TOM WELHAM, which is THE STORY. ‘Joy ride on memory lane’ is their 3rd effort and basically it is a late 60/early 70s Psychedelica trip musically speaking, with clear influences from the later recordings of THE BEATLES and THE BYRDS. Done at a very high level and for fans of this sound a total must-have. Mostly acoustic tingled and based around the melodies sung together by Martin and Tom, this singer-songwriter meets psychedelic pop type of record is highly recommended if you want to hear calm music with a story! More at: http://thestoryuk.weebly.com/

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)  

RADIO MOSCOW ‘THE GREAT ESCAPE OF LESLIE MAGNAFUZZ’ (ALIVE NATURAL SOUND RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Just by looking at the frontcover of the 3rd album of the American band RADIO MOSCOW, one can easily guess what this record is all about. Acid, Fuzz, Garage Rock, heavy Bluesrock, Psychedelic Rock… its all there on this CD, so basically what you get is pure late 1960s/early 1970s orientated groovy guitar riff Rock that combines the best of bands like CREAM, BLUE CHEER, JIMI HENDRIX, HAWKWIND and IRON BUTTERFLY. Fans of this sound will absolutely love this record, which by the way also sounds like it was record somewhere in 1968! The guitar solos are so 1970s that one could almost be fooled this release concerns a re-issue of a classic rock album from the golden age of rock and roll! Although not as good as THE BLACK KEYS for example, the fans of this genre nevertheless need to check out this band, so make sure not to miss this release at: http://www.radiomoscow.net/

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)  

NITROVILLE ‘CAN’T STOP WHAT’S COMIN’’ (TIJUANA BROTHERS RECORDS/UK IMPORT)

Now this is how Rock and Roll should sound like! NITROVILLE is a band from London, UK and they play in the exact same style as SAINT JUDE (maybe even better!), a band which currently is being praised a lot, but this NITROVILLE should definitely get the same attention with their excellent CD release ‘’Can’t stop what’s comin’. The band’s female singer TOLA LAMONT has a superb voice and delivers spot-on here, while the somewhat bluesy guitar-driven Hard Rock and Roll of each of the 11 included tracks is  a deadringer for this kind of raw vocalwork. I would absolutely not be surprised if NITROVILLE becomes the next big thing, because this album sounds like a perfect cross between SAINT JUDE, ALANNAH MYLES, SASS JORDAN and a little AC/DC. Songs like “Cheating the hangman”, “Let it roll”, “Dust devil” and “Cuts to the bone” are the kind of perfect rocksongs everyone will love, as they have the same feeling people must have felt the first time they heard for example HEART back in the day! So, who knows, some of these tunes might one day turn out to be Classics in the Rockgenre and you might be one of the first to have heard that! Nevertheless, I have to say that perhaps on a future record the choruses might be a little catchier, because now the band is mostly driven on excellent vocalwork and some great bluesy guitar riffs and this might work live very well, on record it helps to have a memorable song included as well. Anyway, still a recommended band with a terrific female singer! More at: www.nitroville.com

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)  

RAGS AND RIBBONS ‘THE GLASS MASSES’ (USA IMPORT/XO PUBLICITY)

Well, well, well… what have we got here then? Without a doubt, something of a very high level, because RAGS AND RIBBONS’ first CD ‘The glass masses’ sounds massive, not only production wise, but also the included material is very impressive. In fact, they could well become the next big thing. The album starts rather calm, with the almost FLEET FOXES sounding “Even matter”, but next track “Liar” rocks and combines the best of classic Melodic Rock, Progressive Rock and Modern Rock. This song shows that RAGS AND RIBBONS can easily be called a sensational band, because they might be influenced quite heavily by bands like MUSE, COLDPLAY, SNOW PATROL and such British bands of the modern pop/rockscene, they somehow have created something a lot more interesting here with a fresh crystal clear sounding album that combines the complexity and melodic guitar parts of the Progressive Rockgenre with super strong melodies/choruses of the Classic and Modern American Rocksound and finish it off with piano-keys and a monsterous drumsound you only hear on major label releases in the Modern Rockgenre nowadays. If you mix let’s say QUEEN, COLDPLAY, RUSH, U2, KINGS OF LEON and THE KILLERS, then you come close to the sound of this rather excellent debut CD of the American band RAGS AND RIBBONS. Besides the already mentioned tracks, the rest of the album offers much more of this breathtaking modern sounding Melodic semi-progressive Rock with brilliant lead- and harmonyvocals (of Jonathan Hicks, keys and Ben Wyerhaeuser, guitars) with as highlights “The marks you make” (superb melodic harmonyvocals here), “Abacus kids”, ”The minds” (SUPERB!!!), “Lady in the Midnight Sun” (QUEENish, massive sounding song!) and closing track “How the west was lost”. Boy oh boy, this does sound really great and I am convinced we are going to hear a lot more from this Portland, Oregon based band. In the meantime, more info at: http://www.facebook.com/RagsRibbons  

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)  

DARK STARES ‘TELL YOUR FRIENDS’ (INDEPENDENT/UK IMPORT)

The band DARK STARES is coming out of Hertfordshire, which is not removed from London and they release their debut mini-CD with ‘Tell your friends’. Without a doubt, the sound and production of the record is massive and so is the included music. It sounds very rocking and guitar orientated, modern sounding to the bone, yet with somehow a very catchy melodic clean approach in both the vocal and chorus departments. Some have compared them to MANIC STREET PREACHERS, but DARK STARES rocks much harder and for me personally offers during a song like “Whisky” a wonderful catchy almost melodic rock ish chorus. The other 3 songs rock in the same style, with some nice guitar arrangements during “We are the kings tonight”, which should be a VH1/MTV2 Rockhit for sure, as it is as good and catchy as for example THE KILLERS, KINGS OF LEON, INTERPOL, RAZORLIGHT, etc. make sure not to miss out this great new band, because who knows they will be huge in 2012, more at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiFtEHuPlBE

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)  

SYNN ‘SYNN EP’ (INDEPENDENT/USA IMPORT)

Only 2 songs can be found on the CD of the Santa Monica based Californian band, but without a doubt, they sound super sensational on these tracks. The band has an excellent female lead singer (the Australian MELISSA JANE), a massive guitar-wall-of-sound and some really catchy Melodic Heavy Rock to offer here. The song “Blood lust” is a superb uptempo Melodic Rocker with a very catchy haunting chorus that won’t get out of your head after you have heard it! The songs were mastered at the famous STERLING SOUND, so it is no surprise that we are talking about something massive here and this SYNN is really a band to watch out for in the future. More info at: www.synn.us

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)  

CLARA MORONI ‘BAMBINA BRAVA’ (DELTA MUSIC INDUSTRY/EMI ITALIA)

The Italian singer/songwriter CLARA MORONI has been active already since 1986 (!), releasing a couple of AOR albums in the very early 1990s and after a long hiatus, she released an album in 2004, but her real official comeback is the album ‘Bambina brava’, which was released in 2010. This album offers some excellent catchy modern day Melodic Poprock that truly rocks quite hard, has some very catchy tunes on it and features the superb vocalwork of Clara. She is quite popular in Italy, because the album was released on EMI MUSIC Italy. The music has clear similarities to the classic 80s and anyone who heard the last KIM WILDE or KELLY CLARCKSON will definitely like this as well, but any fan of female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock will love this record, because it is most of the time uptempo and rocking while always bringing some really catchy melodies. Although mentioning these 2 female singers, I have to say here that Clara’s music is much rockier and also better than those artists, but some of the material has that same instant catchy approach, so therefore the comparison. The first 2 songs (“Rivoluzione” and “Bambina brava”) are examples of this guitar driven catchy uptempo Melodic Rocksound, while the midtempo groovy Hardrock of “Underground” even has some BLACK SABBATH riffs and 80s LEE AARON/LITA FORD similarities. 3 covers are included among the 12 tracks that can be found here and these concern the classics “Maniac” (MICHAEL SEMBELLO), “Take on me” (A-HA) and “Because the night” (PATTI SMITH), all covered very nicely. The 4th non-Italian sung track is “I feel you”, a song written by Clara herself, but the other 8 tracks are all sung in Italian and for me personally that makes them sound really great and makes me think of legendary Italian bands like ORO and DHAMM. In the same uptempo guitar orientated melodic rock driven style of the first 2 songs we can add the catchy tunes “Io non piango piu”, “Accendi il fuoco” and “Sara come dici tu”. Concluded, this is really a surprise release that can easily be played loud and proud, with everyone having a good time, because it is a damn fine guitar based Melodic Rockalbum filled with catchy tunes and fantastic vocalwork. The guitarwork is mostly thanks to guitarist Michele Vanni, who also co-write a few of the tracks and is a very professional musician who started his career way back in the 1970s and once was a member of that legendary Hardrockband CRYING STEEL! Here he shines with his great guitar licks, but how come we never heard of Clara before? Let’s hope that will change very soon and now I’m also going to track down her earlier records a.s.a.p.! More at: http://www.claramoroni.com

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)  

LISA SMITH’S POWERHAUS ‘MAZE OF SOULS’ (INDEPENDENT/CANADA IMPORT)

Out of Toronto, Canada comes the powerhouse rock duo of vocalist LISA SMITH and guitarist CHUCK PAGE. Together they are LISA SMITH’S POWERHAUS and they released a very strong CD titled ‘Maze of souls’, which was released already back in 2008, but now reaches our head quarters. I am glad it did, because it is a really excellent piece of Classic Rock that can be heard on the album. Thanks to the fantastic vocalwork of Lisa and the precise guitar licks of Chuck, we get here a collection of 11 punchy guitar orientated Classic Rock tunes that feel a bit like a mix between HEADPINS, 70s HEART, 80s LEE AARON and SARAYA, with vocals that are very close to a DARBY MILLS. Songs like the semi-ballad “The needle”, the uptempo rockers “Innocence lost”, “Say whatchu want”, “No more war” and the titletrack are quite timeless songs that are performed very well and for fans of mentioned bands definitely worth to check out. Let’s hope LISA SMITH’S POWERHAUS gets a breakthrough someday soon and we will see a follow-up CD to this 2008 album that is available through http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lspowerhaus and http://www.lisasmithspowerhaus.com/

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)  

ROTATION ‘THE CURSE OF 1990’ (INDEPENDENT/USA IMPORT)

For an independent release, the debut album of the Michigan, USA (from the Detroit suburbs actually) based band ROTATION sounds quite massive. The included music is in the typical modern American Rock/Metal style, so big fat groovy guitar riffs are backed up by a pumping bass and thunderous drums, while the vocalwork is clean and very melodic and each of the 10 included tracks are (mostly midtempo) based Melodic Metal tunes with catchy hooks and memorable choruses. If you’re familiar with bands like RA, THREE DAYS GRACE, HOOBASTANK, SHINEDOWN, SEETHER, DAUGHTRY, THREE DOORS DOWN, DISTURBED, etc. etc. well, then you will know how this ROTATION sounds like and trust me, they are sometimes as good as the mentioned acts, especially during the excellent “Where did you go”, “Rewind” band “Without you”. There is even a remarkable cover of the classic early 80s New Wave tune “I ran” by that obscure band A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS, of whom we reviewed a comeback album about 15 years ago! Anyway, do not miss this great band at: www.rotationnation.com

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

FALLSSTART ‘FALLSSTART’ (INDEPENDENT/USA IMPORT)

It doesn’t happen often that a band is settled in Honolulu, Hawai, but the threesome FALLSSTART is one of them. They are built around singer/rhythm guitarist/bassist/violinist Leatherwood, lead guitarist/manager Adrian Cottmeyer, and drummer Jaron Seuis. Together they recorded a rockalbum that combines (as they say) influences from THE BEATLES, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, YELLOWCARD, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, ERIC CLAPTON etc. etc. The result can be heard on their first album ‘Fallsstart’, which actually is a rather cheerful album that contains quite a few fun uptempo catchy punkpoprockers in the style of SIMPLE PLAN, YELLOWCARD, JIMMY EAT WORLD, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, etc. etc. Perhaps not really original, it is done quite well and fans of mentioned bands might wanna take a look at: http://www.fallsstart.com

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)  

HEARTLESS ‘FIVE BULLETS IN YOUR HEART’ (INDEPENDENT/ATOMIC STUFF/ITALY IMPORT)

HEARTLESS is an Italian band that releases a 5-track mini-CD with ‘Five bullets in your heart’. Although I appreciate their intention to sound like a late 80s LA Sleaze/Glamband, I am not able to really give this a recommendation. The vocals are far below par and the songs are not even close to a second-rate WILD BOYZ/LA GUNS/NASTY IDOLS. The only song that stands out just a little is “Stolen By Summer”. The band really needs to practice a lot more to even reach the standard quality of newcomer bands in this genre (CRASH DIET, CRAZY LIXX, STEEL PANTHER…), let alone that o the late 80s/early 90s US scene! Hear for yourself at: http://www.myspace.com/weareheartless

 (Points: 3.0 out of 10)  

JOLLY POWER ‘LIKE AN EMPTY BOTTLE… AGAIN!’ (STREET SYMPHONIES RECORDS/ANDROMEDA/ATOMIC STUFF/ITALY IMPORT)

Just like HEARTLESS, also the Italian band JOLLY POWER needs to practice a lot more before releasing an album. While reading their bio it is clear that this will not happen, because they released most of the included songs on this CD already in 1994 as a demo. The weak vocals are not that disturbing, as the band is playing punky raw rock and roll with a sleazy undertone, but the material is very average and only touching on a few occasions the likes of AEROSMITH and HANOI ROCKS. Only for the die-hard fans of this genre! More at: http://www.myspace.com/thejollypower      

(Points: 5.9 out of 10) 

VARIOUS ARTISTS ‘BEAT FRAULEINS FEMALE POP IN GERMANY 1964-1968’ (GROSSE FREIHEIT MUSIC/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Now isn’t this lovely? Another compilation album filled with well-known and rare songs from the glorious 1960s. Women were at that time not allowed to rock somehow, but this compilation shows that in the 1960s there already were women active in the back then popular Beat musicgenre. Especially in Germany this was notable and therefore this compilation is a nice one to check out, because the included songs are all a pleasure to listen to and giving you an idea how sweet and kind the 1960s were. Highlights are coming from JOY AND THE KIT KIDS, MARION, INGA, MONIQUE AND THE LIONS and DORTHE. 19 tracks in total and despite a few English sung tracks, most of them are sung in German, but somehow this kind of music still puts a smile on your face!

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  

COASTLAND RIDE ‘COASTLAND RIDE’ (AVENUE OF ALLIES/GERMANY IMPORT)

This here concerns a re-release of the debut album of the Swedish AOR/Westcoast band COASTLINE, so let me reprint the review we did of the album several years ago… 

The Swedish band COASTLAND RIDE is a threesome that is making a mix of Westcoast, AOR and 80s Hi-Tech Pop, ending up sounding like a mix between TOTO, MR. MISTER, LE ROUX and HALL&OATES. A long time ago I reviewed one of their demos, but they now are going to release an official CD next month and it’s only a pity they put some Popsongs on their CD, because now I can hardly call it a pure AOR CD. Besides, also the running time is barely 35 minutes, and then with only 4 real AOR songs time becomes an issue when deciding to purchase the record or not. I must say that the 4 AOR songs on the album are very good. These are “Let me let you go” (classy 80s AOR a la LE ROUX, TOTO), “On the path of greed” (another lovely AOR song, like T’BELL), “Hearts to the flame” (AOR with a lovely catchy chorus a la 1st URBAN TALE) and the SUPERB uptempo AOR ‘Wet-dream’ song “Eyes” which is close to SIGNAL or DRIVE SHE SAID. Unfortunately, the band also offers a lot of Westcoast/Pop which can be heard on the remaining 5 tracks, such as “Believe in me”, “Sleepless” and the pure Popsongs “Never the same” and “Second hand America” (like HALL AND OATES meets CLIMIE FISHER!!!). Anyway, I hope a future CD will see the band making more AOR songs like “Eyes” and “Let me let you go”, with some more guitar included, because now the album is 50% AOR and 50% Westcoast/Pop. Now it’s up to you to decide if this album is worth purchasing, because it ain’t much, but it’s definitely quality music you need to check out! More at: https://www.facebook.com/Coastlandride

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)  

COASTLAND RIDE ‘ON TOP OF THE WORLD’ (AVENUE OF ALLIES/GERMANY IMPORT)

Along with the re-release of the debut album of the Swedish band COASTLAND RIDE, also the new CD ‘On top of the world’ is released by the German label AVENUE OF ALLIES. Despite it is a good quality AOR record, it does not reach the incredible high level of WORK OF ART’s latest effort. The music of COASTLAND RIDE is also somewhat lighter than for example other Swedish bands in the AOR genre, such as WORK OF ART, STREET TALK, T’BELL, etc. etc. The Westcoast/Pop influences are quite clear throughout the album and one can definitely trace influences from the Smooth early 80s LA Westcoast style of for example MICHAEL MCDONALD or PLAYER as well as a tiny bit of the late 80s revival of this style (KING OF HEARTS, WORK FORCE and especially WHAT IF). For people who enjoy the slightly softer side of AOR/Westcoast this is of course a dream come true, but on the other hand I would not put this album at the same level as mentioned acts and it surely doesn’t reach the level of DAVID ROBERTS, of whom 3 albums have been released on AVENUE OF ALLIES. However, with songs like “Act Of Faith (One Million Reasons)”, “Wait”, “Second Chance” and “Sandra”, there are still enough moments to enjoy for the regular AOR/Westcoast fans. More at: https://www.facebook.com/Coastlandride

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  

ANGELINE ‘DISCONNECTED’ (AVENUE OF ALLIES/GERMANY IMPORT)

The Swedish band ANGELINE already have a very long history behind them, which is far from over, because their new album ‘Disconnected’ might as well be their finest recording so far. They started way back in the hair metalling days of the 1980s, releasing a pretty good album titled ‘Don’t settle for second best’. However, despite the fact they have always carried on (yet in different line-ups under different band names, but some of the members have always continued to work together), it seems like in the year 2012 they have finally released a full-length record that might set them on the map. The album is filled with high quality Melodic Hardrock that is dangerously close to the classic HAREM SCAREM sound, both vocally, instrumental and songwise. Songs like “When The Lights Go Down”, “Falling Into You”, “Run Run Run” and “If It’s The Last Thing I Do” are absolute winner to anyone who misses the classic HAREM SCAREM sound. It is even more remarkable that the loss of their original lead singer many moons ago, the band’s guitarist JOCKE NILSSON is now the lead singer and he does a really great job! You don’t want to miss this great album, a must-have for the MHR fans out there! More at: www.angelinetheband.se

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)  

MASTERCASTLE ‘DANGEROUS DIAMONDS’ (LION MUSIC/BERTUS)

‘Dangerous diamonds’ is already the 3rd CD of the Italian band MASTERCASTLE. Musically nothing has changed and so we can once again enjoy the excellent Melodic Metal of this rather interesting band. 30 years ago this band would have been massive, but nowadays they need to get that lucky break, which I truly hope as they deserve it if you listen to their latest record. A song like “Icy Moon” is really amazing and should be played loud and proud on every radio station across the world! Sadly there are way too many bands and also too many album releases in the Melodic Metal field as well as in the female fronted scene, which will make it very hard for MASTERCASTLE to become more popular. The band’s female singer GIORGIA GUEGLIO is sounding very good and combined with a lot of excellent material (already 3 full-length CD releases); it is only a matter of luck and time for them to have a breakthrough. No negative remarks can be made about this band and they can easily become big, so be sure to check them out asap at: www.myspace.com/mastercastle and www.facebook.com/mastercastleband

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)  

UNEXPECT ‘FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE’ (INDEPENDENT/FACTOR/CANADA IMPORT)

In the late 1970s and especially during the 1980s Canada was a very interesting country for new music acts in all kinds of genres and the only regret is that many of them never made it big outside of Canada, despite the incredible high level of their recordings. RUSH and SAGA were one of the few bands that made it big worldwide, but as the 1980s came to an end, it seemed like the Canadian Rockscene was dying as well. The last band of that era however became a major cult act during the 1990s when they released a couple of the best albums of that decade. I am talking about HAREM SCAREM of course! However, during the 1990s not many interesting bands emerged from Canada, but then all of a sudden there were bands like NICKELBACK and SIMPLE PLAN that broke through outside Canada during the turn of the century and actually they paved the way for thousands of new bands playing quality Rock and Hardrock and so the 2000s brought Canada back on the Rockmap. Especially the past 5 years Canada has delivered a lot of exciting new rock acts and as like in the past some of them are playing a very unique own style that combines elements of all kinds of genres. Here we are looking at UNEXPECT, a band from Montreal mixing elements of black/death/symphonic/melodic metal; progressive, classical, electro, folk, jazz,  operatic, mathcore, ambient,  noise, circus music and anything else crossing their minds.  

The band’s CD ‘Fables of the sleepless empire’ is filled with extremely complex music that needs quite a lot of listening turns before making up a good judgment. Hard to compare them of course, because they mix up so many various genres here, but the main core of their music is Metal orientated and despite there is some growling and screaming going on, the vocals are quite a lot of times very clean and melodic as well (mainly the female vocals that are a little Euro Goth Metal orientated). This makes UNEXPECT a rather interesting band to check out, because all together they definitely have something to offer here. This is quite an insane band actually, because it is like INTO ETERNITY going nuts with a female singer and if you’re looking for something unique, this is your chance. The band has rapidly built up a reputation and this new album, which is already their 4th, is without a doubt a musician’s favorite as there is so much to explore. The regular music fans really need to go pretty deep when they start listening to this complex but interesting album. More at: http://www.unexpect.com and http://www.myspace.com/unexpect

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)  

MARC AND THE PLATITUDES ‘BITTER AND SWEET’ (IMPOSSIBLE SONGS/DREAM WILD RECORDS/USA IMPORT)

Guitarist/Songwriter MARC PLATT has been in and out of bands for the past 3 decades in Los Angeles, but now releases a new CD under the moniker MARC AND THE PLATITUDES entitled ‘Bitter and sweet’. The album was co-produced by LISA NEMZO and although the material is not that far away removed from her regular music, Marc’s CD is actually a typical modern pop/rock record that even sounds a bit like FLEET FOXES at the start (“The Life I Wanna Live “) and THE KILLERS. It is not rocking that hard and one can even note some country-rock and Midwestern Heartland/-US Rock (“Could Be Real”) influences here and there. Definitely quality stuff, although in the higher octave vocal range it lacks a bit. TOM PETTY, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and THE BEATLES influences can also be heard quite clearly and Marc’s modest pop/rock does sound quite radiofriendly and enjoyable to listen to. Check more on Marc at: http://marcandtheplattitudes.com

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted) 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE NEW REVIEWS
GO TO THE REVIEWSINDEXPAGE
BACK TO HOMEPAGE