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I love clean melodic vocals and I’m a big fan of progressive rock structures and when those aspects are combined with precise musicianship, strong melodies and a massive production, the result is almost always interesting enough to check out and in the case of the debut-CD of the Bay Area based band CASE IN THEORY, we even have something sensational. This band sounds like the latest sensation in the Progressive Rockworld. Although their rhythm section is said to have a hip-hop/funk background, vocally and musically this CASE IN THEORY is pure Melodic Progressive Rock, reminding me more than once of Californian legends ENCHANT. Guitarist JONATHAN POSADAS has a terrific melodic voice that makes each vocal line in every song a pleasure to listen to and combined with catchy hooks and melodic choruses, this is American progressive melodic rock at it’s very best! Songs like “The day”, “National Ave.”, “Righteous path” (LOVELY!), “The fall of Golden gate” (super melodic catchy chorus) and “Cinematic” offer so much beautiful haunting melodies, I am actually still in a coma, even though the CD has left the player 1 hour ago! The band is said to be sounding like INCUBUS, DREDG and CIRCA SURVIVE, but take it from me that ENCHANT is also a very good comparison, though a little edgier and more modern sounding, so perhaps closer to the late 1990s/early 2000s records of that band. Do not miss this excellent band at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)  


Every new generation grows up with a certain rocksound and especially in the USA and Canada a sort of Rockstyle is developed every once in a while, mostly thanks to just one single band. It lasts a few years until a new sound emerges somewhere. If you go back in time, you will see that this happened a lot of times since the introduction of Rock and Roll in the 1950s. In contrary to mainland Europe where different genres can be popular at the same time during several decades, the North American continent has a very strict ‘policy’ that is clearly focused on the sound of the most popular band at a certain time and then all labels and producers are working on getting as many similar sounding records out as possible, just to give the people something similar in style. The Americans are very good in this and whatever band is the most popular one at a certain time, they are almost always able to release similar records that usually are also quality albums. Europe is sadly only open for a few of the absolute major acts and therefore so many bands never made it to the old continent. This is starting to sound like an essay, but ever since the Grunge/Alternative Rockscene tore the Classic American Hardrocksound upside down 20 years ago, a new style has developed within the Rockworld. The past 10 years the sound has gone more melodic, catchy and accessible than the whole 1990s decade. Although a few bands have found fame and fortune here in Europe, such as NICKELBACK, THREE DOORS DOWN, LIVE, DAUGHTRY and ALTER BRIDGE, the majority of the bands active in the current modern North American way of Rock do not break out of their continent. This is a major pity, because at the moment the melodies in a lot of new rocksongs by Northern American bands never sounded so melodic. Actually, the new Modern Rocksound of the USA and Canada should be called Modern AOR, because the vocal lines, hooks and catchy choruses are reminiscent of the early – mid 1980s when a similar development happened across the Atlantic Ocean. Back then only HEART, FOREIGNER and TOTO really broke through in Europe, but bands like SURVIVOR, LOVERBOY, JOURNEY and several others never found the same glory as in their homeland(s). The only difference is of course that the current Rocksound is heavier, with slightly distorted guitars and an aggressive approach instrumental speaking. Anyway, the past few years brought us not only superb albums by the already mentioned bands NICKELBACK, THREE DOORS DOWN, LIVE, DAUGHTRY and ALTER BRIDGE, but also from lesser known acts like RED, MY DARKEST DAYS, THREE DAYS GRACE, CREED, STONE SOUR, SIXX AM, CROSSFADE, NINE LEFT DEAD, 7EVENTH TIME DOWN, ABUSED ROMANCE, ADELITAS WAY, CHEVELLE, COLD, SALIVA, STAIND and many more but none of them scored big time in Europe and so their market was primarily USA and Canada, which is a pity, because without a doubt these band’s releases were all high quality albums. Back to reality, we have another act that fits between all these mentioned bands and they are called STEALING EDEN. They are coming out of Canada’s number 1 city for music, Vancouver, and are making their debut with this fantastic album titled ‘Truth in tragedy’. Although at first sight, it sounds very cliché-tingled and is a typical product of the Northern American Modern Rocksound, it is by far one of the finest releases in the genre the past few years, easily beating the latest records by the established acts. Together with the new albums of RED, DAUGHTRY, BLACK STONE CHERRY and THREE DOORS DOWN, this is the 5th best Modern American (Melodic) Rock record of the year 2011. Songs like “All I Need”, “Too Late”, “Just a Memory”, “Never Give up” and “Where We Belong” and the almost AORish closing track “Right in Front of You” deliver the goods perfectly and resemble a sound that European bands will never be able to accomplish. It might sound a little polished for some, but without a doubt, this is high quality Rock with a capital “R” and should be heard by everyone. Check out this sensational new Canadian band at:

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)  


At the end of 2011 the new CD of the Connecticut, USA based band FOOLS FAITH is dropped in the mailbox. This band was already reviewed by us in the past, in 2007 to be exact when they released an album titled ‘Undone’. Musically speaking they are close to the classic late 80s New Jersey Melodic Rocksound, yet with a clear prog touch. They sound like a mix between TALON, 80s BON JOVI, PHANTOM’S OPERA, TOKYO ROSE, KNOW ILLUSION, WINTER ROSE, MARA, FLYTE and here and there a pure proggy touch of the very very early DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X kind (both their debut albums) and also SHADOW GALLERY comes around sometimes. I think you’ll get the picture by now, because 80s melodic rock and 90s progmetal are combined here and after an uptempo melodic rock start with the songs “Across the sky” and “Forgotten” that remind a lot of TALON, the band switches to that semi-progstyle on the fantastic songs “Break me” and “Change of direction”. Both are showing a very impressive band that can write some ‘classic’ sounding material that are quite close to a band like SHADOW GALLERY, although the latter is even sounding like a SKID ROWish semi-ballad (“18 and life”, “In a darkened room” style). Then the band switches back to a more groovy Melodic Hardrocksound a la BEGGARS AND THIEVES during the titletrack, which is one of the few weaker songs, but happily FOOLS FAITH finds their way back on the right track during the following track “Wait for me”. This song has some great arrangement in classic 80s tradition and is basically a very memorable melodic rocker that even recalls memories of underrated early 90s AORish melodic rockbands such as RED DAWN, TYKETTO, VALENTINE and especially MARA.  

The band continues with another high quality midtempo progmetal meets melodic rock orientated song called “Posession”, which has once again a great guitar melody line and also excellent catchy hooks, while overall the song has a sorta early DREAM THEATER vibe due to the tempo changes. Definitely a song you want to play over and over again, as it contains a lot of variation.

 Personally I am a sucker for songs with a classic piano vs guitar intro and the semi-ballad “Ordinary man” has got that lovely start written all over. The song itself is a very nice tune that could have probably been more memorable if it had been stretched out just a little longer, as it now seems to have that legendary 80s fade-out, which is a pity, because when the guitarsolo kicks in, it has a cool proggy break that gives the song a face and could have brought the song a ‘classic rock’ touch, but then it gets cut off sadly a bit too soon. Nevertheless, the band really digs the (semi)-ballad material, because also next track “Won’t be home (tonight)” is a lovely almost AORish ballad that also once again features the classic guitarsolo and arrangements we once heard on many major label releases by the Hardrockbands. The lead – and harmonyvocals as well as the guitarwork on this song are close to perfection if you ask me. The CD closes with the midtempo “Lies” that has some great guitar licks and is a Progressive MHR song that reminds me a lot of CRIMSON GLORY actually.  

 The vocals of guitarist JOEY DIA are sometimes a bit rough around the edges, as they are closer to JON BON JOVI and MIDNIGHT (the deceased vocalist of CRIMSON GLORY) than someone like PAUL LAINE for example, so you have to get used to it, but after a while it sounds definitely good enough for this kind of music and as the CD plays on it gets better and better, while the incredible high level of musicianship displayed on this CD is also something to admire.

 Not many people will understand what I mean when I say that this band is the missing link between MARA and PHANTOM’S OPERA, 2 highly underrated bands that operated in the exact same style as this FOOLS FAITH. If you are however familiar with these acts, then you can easily check out this band from Connecticut, USA, but of course any melodic rock or even a progfan will appreciate this CD, which is available at: and

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Out of Austin, Texas comes the hot new sensation THE SAINT JAMES SOCIETY, whom are releasing their debut EP ‘Pray for us’ on the NYC based label TEE PEE RECORDS. Of course the popular press/media have been praising bands like BLACK KEYS and WOLFMOTHER, but how about a similar band with stunning backup female vocals (ELZA BURKART and CANDICE BERTALAN), because that is basically what SAINT JAMES SOCIETY is all about. Although the band’s lead singer is the male bassist BRANDON BURKART, the band also features the already mentioned 2 great female singers, whom give it a sorta JEFFERSON AIRPLANE/THE DEVIL’S BLOOD/early EARTH AND FIRE, COVEN and SHOCKING BLUEish touch, while instrumental the band has a pure late 1960s/1970s based Classic Rock meets almost Doom/Stoner Rock section (listen to the big fat groovy JIMI HENDRIX meets BLACK SABBATH guitarsound), sometimes reminding of a rougher version of JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and the overrated THE BLACK KEYS. It’s a pity we are only dealing here with a mini-album, because this is one of those bands you want to play loud and proud for a longer time than the short playing length of their debut. It’s always hard to tell if a band will have a breakthrough, but SAINT JAMES SOCIETY has got all it takes (and more) to at least make a big impression on more than a few people in 2012 with this debut CD. Actually they also have something in common with THE DEVIL’S BLOOD and the legendary band COVEN, so in case you’re a fan of those bands you might want to check out SAINT JAMES SOCIETY. Look forward to hear more from this band in the future, which will definitely happen sometime soon. For now, check them out at: and and mark my words... This band COULD BECOME A MAJOR ACT sometime soon, as they have got a certain spark in their sound!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)  


The explosion of female fronted rock/metal bands in the 2000s decade has now also reached Israel, where we can find the band EARLY RISE. This Tel Aviv based band was formed in 2009 and have released their high quality debut CD ‘What if’ independently. Lead vocalist Orly Lari and guitarist Raz Klinghoffer are the core members of the band and despite the overall sound of the album is very typical female fronted modern day melodic rock meets melodic goth metal like a mix of PARAMORE, WITHIN TEMPTATION, DELAIN, XANDRIA, LACUNA COIL and EVANESCENCE… the result of this first album is very impressive and is a must-hear for fans of this genre. Here and there it sounds quite polished and you start to wonder if you’re not listening to a new American band, but EARLY RISE comes out of Israel and are delivering something really good here. Just listen to songs like the very catchy PARAMOREish uptempo rocker “Leave Me Alone”, “Old friend”, “Face Me” and “Junkie” and you’re hooked for sure. Although nothing new is brought here, ‘What if’ has an incredible high level, usually only to be heard on major American label releases, so if you want to hear a mix between PARAMORE and EVANESCENCE, then EARLY RISE is all yours! Check them out here: and and and e-mail them at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)  


No surprises on this record, but just a good deal of old fashioned British Heavy Rock, borderline NWOBHM, delivered by veterans of the scene, because AL ATKINS was the original JUDAS PRIEST vocalist, while guitarist PAUL MAY also has already built up a long history in the music business, playing with many acts in both the regular and Christian musicscene. It’s quite nice visually to look at the CD cover, but that is not a surprise either because RODNEY MATTHEWS (ASIA, MAIDEN, MAGNUM, URIAH HEEP) took care of that. However like already mentioned twice by now, no surprises on this album and most of the songs go in one ear and out the other. It’s one of those CDs you can put on and nobody will say it’s good or it’s bad, because it is a very plain album actually. Perhaps you may think differently after you checked out their site at:

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)  


Now this is a very original band, which already released 3 albums in the past, but their 4th CD ‘Trails out of gloom’ is the very first to reach our office. Gladly it did, because without any doubts, FEN is a very impressive band, based on what we can hear on this album. FEN is settled in Vancouver, Canada and was formed all the way back in 1998 by guitarist/vocalist Doug Harrison and guitarist Sam Levin. It’s actually a pity I haven’t heard their earlier material, because now I am not able to conclude if they have made any progression and/or if this is their finest effort to date. On the other hand, after repeated listens to this album, the only conclusion to draw here is that this is a very sensational record that sounds basically picture perfect. The album has been released on the American label RIPPLE MUSIC, whom were kind enough to sent along a bunch of other releases they have done so far and it is clear that FEN is their best signing. The vocals are quite fantastic and the music of FEN is a mix of Progressive Rock and Modern Alternative Rock. Songs like “Through the Night” (fantastic quite depressing but atmospheric and melodic slow alternative progrocker a la PORCUPINE TREE, with even some 90s grunge influences), “The World Is Young” (quite superb!), “Miracle” (even AORish during chorus that features the line “and when it rains”, with lovely harmonyvocals!) and “End of the Dream (one of the few more uptempo based tunes with high pitched vocals during the chorus, fantastic vocals and a rather excellent tune) are really stunning and make this band one of the more original bands that will be appreciated by especially fans of the already mentioned PORCUPINE TREE and the latest OPETH classic album. Check out more at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)  


STONE AXE is a Seattle based band formed around multi-instrumentalist Tony Reed (MOS GENERATOR) and vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff (THE SWINOS). Although the music is not too far removed from label mates MOS GENERATOR, STONE AXE is just a little grittier and more balanced and more importantly features much better lead vocals and overall has a sound that can actually only be called ‘true Rock and Roll’ or should I say Classic Rock, because basically you get to hear a bunch of FREE, BAD COMPANY, early WHITESNAKE and THIN LIZZY type of crackin’ bluesy Classic British Hardrocksongs here. They already released this debut album a couple years ago, but this re-release is nevertheless very interesting, also for the die-hard fans, as it concerns a 2-disc set that features 8 bonus live tracks on the original 10 song CD as well as over 70 minutes of video footage captured throughout the bands’ career on an additional DVD. Some great 1970s Classic British Bluesy Hardrock is hearable on this CD of STONE AXE and rest assured that a lot more music from them will follow in the near future, because at times they truly sound like they are a Classic Rockband from the long but not forgotten past! If bands like RIVAL SONS, THE BLACK KEYS and THE ANSWER are your favorite acts, then you will definitely also appreciate this STONE AXE, whom are perhaps much closer to the original British bluesy hardrocksound of the early 1970s than those bands actually are praised for! Just listen to a song like “My darkest days” and you hear something that if recorded by LED ZEPPELIN back in 1971 would have been regarded a classic nowadays! Or how about “There’d be days” that features some amazing vocalwork and sounds like a true British Classic Rocksong a la SMALL FACES, BAD COMPANY, THE STOOGES or MOTT THE HOOPLE! In total you’ll get almost 75 minutes of music on a CD and the same amount of time visually on a DVD that is a really nice mix of rare live performances and videos. Now go check out this band asap at: and

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)  


4 bands deliver the songs for this rather cool looking and sounding VINYL EP release of the RIPPLE MUSIC label. It’s STONE AXE and GRIFTER, whom both already have a CD out on the label and the lesser known MIGHTY HIGH and SUN GODS IN EXILE, whom are actually signed to SMALL STONE RECORDS. Of course I have to be honest here and STONE AXE’s “Nightwolf” is by far the finest track on offer here, but as usual with vinyl, it’s always nice to spin it on your turntable and get a real good idea of a band. Available through

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)  


In 2000 the band MOS GENERATOR was formed in Seattle by Shawn Johnson (ex-Mindfunk), Scooter Haslip (ex-Voodoo Gearshift) and Tony Reed (ex-Tree people, Goodbye Harry) and just 2 years later they released their same titled debut album. The following 10 years they managed to release a few more records, but the past few years it became quiet around them as the band MOS GENERATOR, but its members were still active, such as multi-instrumentalist Tony Reed who formed the band STONE AXE. A new album of MOS GENERATOR is on the way, but meanwhile a cool Vinyl / LP version has been released of that debut album from 10 years ago. This re-issue is definitely worth it to check out, especially when it concerns a gatefold vinyl release. Musically speaking we are dealing with Stoner Rock that has clear BLACK SABBATH influences and actually also sounds like if it was a re-issue of a 1970s Underground Cult Classic. I would not call this a classic, but for fans of QOTSA, KYUSS and the good old BLACK SABBATH, this MOS GENERATOR is definitely worth checking out. More info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  


Classic 80s American AOR/Melodic Rock is what you will hear on the first album of the Philadelphia, USA based band KEYSTONE. The CD is titled ‘Flight to paradise’ and features besides bandleader (and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist) PATRICK KREISL also the legendary ROBERT BERRY on drums, bass, hammond and keys. I have to say that the 2 songs (“With you” and “Walk away”) with guest singer KIRA KRAKOVESKY on lead vocals are the best tracks by far, because her voice is really good (a la ISSA), while Patrick himself is not the strongest factor as a lead singer on the remaining 10 tracks. A pity, because instrumental and songwise Patrick shows he is a very talented musician with a good ear for a melody and his mind set at creating that classic 80s AOR sound. A lot of the material is really perfectly played and produced AOR/Melodic Rock in the style of the classic 80s US tradition (BOSTON, REO SPEEDWAGON, DAKOTA), with as highlights “This time”, “I know” and the very catchy “Song on the radio”. However I do think that if Kira had sung on all tracks, this would have been one-helluva sensational AOR record, but it still is a recommended album for all the AOR fans out there. More info at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)  


What if… that is a question you sometimes ask yourself if a certain band had a lucky break sometime in the past and would have become a major act later on. Sadly this never was the case with the short-lived late 60s/early 70s Scottish band IRON CLAW. This band was one of many local bands active over 40 years ago, but never managed to release anything official and after their split in 1974 nobody would have believed that around 2009 they would release their first official CD and now in 2011 release a new album with all-new material. 3 original members joined forces with a local singer called GORDON BROWN and the result is quite impressive. If you have a great singer in your line-up you’re halfway down the road and guess what, this GORDON BROWN is a fantastic typical Classic UK Bluesy Hard rock type of singer, kinda singing in the style of JIMMY BARNES, the NAZARETH singer, PAUL RODGERS and even some ROD STEWART, so with a whiskey ish raw edge to it, which really rocks! Besides, instrumental the band sounds pretty good, with some great heavy guitarwork and all I can say is that the album ‘A different game’ is a very stunning Classic Hardrockalbum that sounds like FREE/CREAM/NAZARETH/LED ZEPPELIN/BAD COMPANY being fronted by JIMMY BARNES and with BLACK SABBATHish guitar riffs! Songs like “What love left”, “The traveler”, the MANOWARish (!!!) “See them fall” and the superb ballad “It’s easy” are easily a must-hear for any fan of Classic (Hard) Rock! Check out all info on this legendary band at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)  


Now this is how real Rock and Roll should sound like! TRUCKER DIABLO is a band from Northern Ireland and their debut CD ‘The devil rhythm’ is a massive sounding very heavy groovy guitar riff driven Rock and Roll/Metalalbum with a Punk attitude, but nevertheless also featuring quite catchy memorable melodic choruses. The vocals are very strong and make them definitely standout between all the other bands in this genre. They sound heavier and dirtier than for example ALTER BRIDGE, BLACK STONE CHERRY and CLUTCH, although they are not that far away from those bands, yet they add a little rawness and also clearly not shy from influences of bands like BLACK SABBATH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and JIMMY EAT WORLD (!). Opener “Drink, beer, detroy” is a catchy uptempo stompin’ hardrock tune with a catchy punkpopish chorus, while following track “Juggernaut” also features RICKY WARWICK as guest singer and is actually quite a sensational tune due to once again a very catchy chorus. It seems like this band is really combining the groovy almost Southern US Rockstyle with big fat Metal riffs and finish it off with a radiofriendly melodic chorus like JIMMY EAT WORLD, because also the song “Big truck” starts very heavy and groovy a la THE ANSWER, but during the chorus gets uptempo and super melodic. The guitarsolos are by the way are also very impressive, kinda Classic Hardrock orientated (AC/DCish) and besides the already mentioned first 3 songs, the whole CD continues in this style, which makes them a very interesting band to check out! Here and there it’s like you’re listening to a Melodic Hardrockband, but then with Southern Rock and Metal influences of the modern age of Rock and Roll. More at: and

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)  


JPT SCARE BAND is a BLUE OYSTER CULTish sounding band from Kansas City that was locked up in a basement for way too many years! In fact, they started back in 1973, but it took them all the way to 1994 before an album would be released. However, since then 9 more albums have been released, a lot of them filled with rare archive material. Now another CD worthy of rare archive material has been released. The album is titled ‘Acid blues is the white man’s burden’ and although the title of the record makes is a little misleading, the first track “Long day” is a pretty good uptempo early 80s sounding melodic rocker like a mix between BLUE OYSTER CULT and ALDO NOVA, with great guitar- and vocalwork. Without a doubt, this first introduction to this band for me is rather impressive, because without a doubt it shows the incredible talent of this underground band. The musicstyle on this CD is quite diverse, because the recordings took places in different time frames, although mostly in the early 2000s and the 1970s. The guitarwork however is always very strong and apart from the great first melodic rock ish sounding tune, the rest of the CD is more a mix of Blues and Psychedelic Classic Rock, which does not always sound impressive I’m afraid, also due to the demo quality of some of the material. I am still quite anxious in hearing/reviewing some of their other recordings, but meanwhile you now know what to expect from their new ‘archive’ CD ‘Acid blues is the white man’s burden’. More at:

(Points: 7.4 out of 10)  


The UK based band GRIFTER is delivering a great timeless Classic, but Modern sounding Hard Rockalbum that combines the classic guitar riffs of BLACK SABBATH and LED ZEPPELIN with today’s modern sounding Rock of AUDIOSLAVE, BLACK STONE CHERRY, THE ANSWER, CLUTCH and add a bit of let’s say QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and KYUSS. Their debut album fits right between all those mentioned bands, so people know what to expect from them I think. Most of the songs are slow to midtempo orientated and despite it is not all really original sounding, GRIFTER definitely does it at a very high level, also thanks to a massive sound/production, some great guitarwork and last but certainly not least, with the help of a very strong powerful lead singer by the name of OLLIE, who also happens to be the band’s guitarplayer. If they can come up with a few memorable songs next time, because that is the only negative remark I can make, as apart from the catchy “Bucktooth woman” (including funny handclapping!), there are no remarkable songs to be found on the CD, perhaps then we are looking at the next big thing here. For now, they are still a great band, which is highly recommended if you like any of the mentioned bands. Bands like RIVAL SONS, THE BLACK KEYS, VINTAGE TROUBLE, WOLFMOTHER and THE ANSWER might be looking at another competitor in the next few years. In the meantime, more at: and

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)  


The Argentinean band/project CIDES LEYS is formed around musicians Guillermo Cides and Alex Leys. Guillermo is a well experienced musician, who is at the moment also working on a project with JON ANDERSON (YES), with an album release in 2012. Meanwhile this CIDES LEYS project is a live recording that is only available through Guillermo’s facebook site (http://facebook/guillermocides). It however is a limited edition, hand numbered and signed, so you have to be quick to obtain a copy. The features music may be described as instrumental semi-prog, but then without the rock and with more traditional / folk / jazz influences as well. It feels like a Fusion kinda record, but then with the structures of pure Prog, sometimes laid-back and here and there more uptempo based. It is actually quite calm and relaxing music that might serve well as background music while checking your facebook updates! The high level musicianship is remarkable and it is no wonder that in 2012 musician GUILLERMO CIDES will record an album with the legendary former YES vocalist JON ANDERSON. Looking forward to that quite a lot, but in the meantime check out: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)  


‘Phénomènes’ is the first album of the French band SCEAU DE L’ANGE. The album was mixed and mastered by Brett Caldas Lima (Kalisia, To-Mera, Auspex, Whyzdom) and the artwork was done by American illustrator Travis Smith (Opeth, Iced Earth, Katatonia, Eluveitie,…), so we are dealing with quality stuff here. The music is typical female fronted Goth Metal, with a touch of Progmetal and some male growling here and there. The lyrics are in French and sometimes you might want to compare them to MANIGANCE, although the band states that they are more inspired by OPETH and PORCUPINE TREE. 8 songs can be found on the album and it listens quite nicely, although not yet as spectacular as for example EPICA and AFTER FOREVER, but who knows that will happen on future recordings, because ‘Phénomènes’ shows that SCEAU DE L’ANGE definitely has skills to become bigger. More at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  


It’s the first time I get exposed to the music of the band INTERCOOLER and I have to admit that their new album ‘Time to let go’ is a very strong record that makes me very eager to check out their earlier recordings. The band was formed in Brisbane, Australia back in 2001 by songwriting trio Phil Ballantyne, Joel Potter and Michael Caso. Now 10 years later the band consists of Darek Mudge (guitars), Joel Potter (bass), Damon Cox (drums/vocals) and Phil Ballantyne (vocals/guitars) and they released their 3rd CD with ‘Time to let go’. The included material is actually quite diverse, because I hear a lot of various influences and comparisons to quite a few acts are possible while listening to the album. All together, this makes the band very attractive, especially since it’s all done at a very high level. The band has a male singer, but sometimes we can hear female vocals, so that’s where even more diversity comes along, because one can note similarities to ST. VINCENT, DALBELLO, LUBA and FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE during songs like “Good morning” and “War + Peace”. Besides these 80s type of tunes, the band also digs into old school 60s Garage Rock during a song like the catchy “Ready” that even sounds a bit like DUM DUM GIRLS. Other interesting tracks are “Trumpet song” (radiofriendly 70s Power Poprocker, very catchy), “Easy” (laid-back song singer/songwriter style) and “I don’t wanna” (big fat drumsound a la FLEET FOXES). Somehow they remind me a bit of FLEETWOOD MAC pre-1982, including some great melodic harmonyvocals during most of the songs. In the end this is a really (INTER) cool (ER) band and they could become the next big thing worldwide, because the popular press might jump all over them. However nowadays you really got to be lucky with so many other acts active, but INTERCOOLER already has achieved some fame and fortune, although I feel that with this new record they might become a lot bigger. More at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)  


BIRDS OF PASSAGE is a pseudonym of New Zealand musician ALICIA MERZ. She is a singer/songwriter, although the new album ‘Winter lady’ is definitely not your typical singer/songwriter ish album, because the included music is very experimental and quite dark, with not the standard use of acoustic guitar, drums and clear vocals, but instead an almost ambient, atmospheric approach with synths as main instruments. Although it might be compared to acts like AUSTRA, SIGUR ROS, GROUPER and ZOLA JESUS, one can also trace similarities to typical late 60s/70s German music orientated, which is sorta electronic meets krautrock, but then without the rock (drums are not included). Perhaps TANGERINE DREAM, CAN and KLAUS SCHULZE are good comparisons, with the addition of vague background female vocals that sound epic in the ENYA/CLANNAD style, but in a weird kinda melancholic minimalistic way. This is not a commercial/radiofriendly album, which is of course not important, because the included music is really interesting and very underground/cult ish that probably will be loved by the more intelligent musicpress. Not an easy record, but still very interesting, so check it out for yourself at: and and

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)  


GRAVEYARD JOHNNYS is a Welsh band that has been working quite hard on a reputation, with success, because musically they are quite original. The Rockabilly ish Rock and Roll reminds a bit of VOLLBEAT, but also some sleazy rock and roll influences of HELLACOPTERS can be traced. Even MOTORHEAD similarities are possible, but each song has that pure Rockabilly/50s Rock and Roll beat that is actually damn catchy. Mostly uptempo with a pumping contrabass style, this is a band you need to check out live on stage and during the summer festivals they will definitely win new fans with their catchy beat. With this new album they show they are a band to reckon with, due to the original approach of their music. More info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  


TIGERS OF THE TEMPLE is a band from Gothenburg, Sweden and it’s a pity their CD ‘Death light fire and darkness’ only contains 4 songs, because the included music is typical modern day slow melancholic pop/rock that sounds very impressive. Vocally singer Martin Hansen is not too far removed from BONO VOX’ voice, but musically speaking it also has some similarities to FLEET FOXES and WHITE STRIPES besides the U2 reference, although the typical new wave of British Pop/Rock is also hearable most of the time. The songs are mainly uptempo and very memorable. TIGERS OF THE TEMPLE could be one of those bands that will be praised by the press in 2012 and could easily end up as becoming the latest new sensation. Who knows! They are without a doubt a high quality band you should check out at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)  


ACID BABY JESUS is a band from Athens, Greece whom are making their debut with their same titled CD on SLOVENLY RECORDS. The included music on the album is close to 1960s Garage Punk Rock, although a lot of times it seems like this band is trying to fill the gap between the old and the new ROLLING STONES records. Actually most of the songs follow the exact same path THE STONES once were known for (and still are of course), which is creating ballsy dirty mean rock and roll tunes with a raw edge. ACID BABY JESUS is doing it quite well and anyone into good old fashioned rock and roll might want to check them out at:

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)  


JUANITA Y LOS FEOS is a Spanish band, formed in Madrid in 2004 and already with some releases out. Their latest album ‘Pesadilla adulta’ is following the same style as their earlier records. Sung in Spanish and female fronted, this band has somehow an own identity, although the music is clearly classic early New Wave / Post Punk influenced. The keyboards are upfront and most of the songs are quirky and uptempo, reminding a bit of THE CURE/ULTRAVOX, yet with female vocals and therefore perhaps also comparable to a less commercial NENA, SIXSIOU AND THE BANSHEES, SHANDI and even early PAT BENATAR. After a while, the punky early 80s new wave meets poprock style gets a bit ‘jumpy’ and even boring, because all the songs are in a similar style. Nevertheless, it’s all done quite nicely and for fans of mentioned bands worth checking out. More at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)  


It is weird when you receive a press release that mentions the 100th release of a label, but you have never heard any of the previous 99 releases! In the case of J.C. SATAN and their new album ‘Hell death samba’ it is the case, because none of the releases on their rlabel SLOVENLY RECORDS have been reviewed by us in the past. Not a big deal, because for everything there is a first time and this new album of the French/Italian band J.C. SATAN is an interesting experimental, 1960s Garage Rock orientated act featuring 3 gentlemen from Bordeaux, France and two girls from Turin. The band combines a slightly distorted acid fuzz guitarsound with some cool melodies that make the band sound actually catchy and original. Of course this has been done more than a few times before by bands like DUM DUM GIRLS, THE LIKE, VIVIAN GIRLS, CRYSTAL STILTS, BEST COAST, but still it is quite pleasant to listen to, especially during the great tune Dear Dark J”. It sounds almost like Noise Rock during “Heil Mary”, where SMASHING PUMPKINS is probably an influence, but between all the noisy/distorted rocksongs, we can also hear some calmer material, such as “Close to me” and “Abandon”. And after repeated listens of the whole album, you can really hear this band is influenced by a lot of bands from the past, because even THE BEATLES and PINK FLOYD pass by a few times. You should definitely check out this band at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)  


A few years ago guitarist/keyboardplayer/drummer ALESSANDRO MONOPOLI released an instrumental solo-CD, which must have been a high quality record, judging on the excellent guitar performance on the first CD of his new band CHANTRY. It’s almost impossible to track down each and every record in the current female fronted Gothic Melodic Metal genre, but CHANTRY is yet another one. Although instrumental and also production wise, the debut album of the Italian band CHANTRY sounds like a good decent typical EPICA/XANDRIA/NEMESEA, EDENBRIDGE type of record. The only point that really need to approve next time are the struggling lead vocals of the band’s female singer FRANCESCA VERNACCINI. The vocalist in a band makes or break the sound and in this case, I have to inform that she is not giving CHANTRY that extra needed touch in making them standout between the countless other bands in this genre. Nevertheless, do check out for yourself at: and

(Points: 6.8 out of 10)  


New Country is a music genre that does not leave the USA, the place where it all started so many years ago and still continues to shine all over the country. OK, some acts like KEITH URBAN, DIXIE CHICKS, INDIGO GIRLS, LADY ANTEBELLUM and SWIFT TAYLOR had a touch of fame and fortune here and there in Europe and perhaps Australia, but a real breakthrough has never occurred and so many acts are quite unknown, especially the ones that are barely making a living in the USA alone. For example, singer/songwriter STEVEN CASPER from L.A., California (yes, there are new Country Rock artists active outside Nashville!), who delivers a new album titled ‘Kindness’. This album is not primarily based on New Country, because influences from Heartland Rock and Singer/Songwriter of the BOB DYLAN kind are also notable here and there, just listen to the pure BOB DYLAN “Like a Rolling Stone” influenced midtempo rocking titletrack. Some of the material is more uptempo rockin’ based with a slight New Country twang (with as finest tracks “Be my baby tonight” and “A girl like you”), sounding less commercial than for example KEITH URBAN, but still catchy enough for the typical American radio market. However, Steven also delivers the classic American Country ballads with Steel Guitar, such as during the radio-ready A/C Ballad “Bring on the pain” and the more AOR based ballad “Falling” (DANNY WILDE meets THE REMBRANDTS). Sometimes I even hear some similarities to NEIL DIAMOND (!), but that is only vocally speaking, because the music of Steven is way more diverse and interesting to check out. This is the kind of album JON BON JOVI wanted to record one day, but miserably failed, but if you want to hear how it really should be done, mixing Classic American New Country with Singer/Songwriter Pop/Rock, then do check out STEVEN CASPER at: and

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)  


The Swedish band HION MAERTELL already released 6 albums before ‘Will cure any disease’, but to be honest I had never heard about this band until their 7th CD was dropped in my mailbox. I have to admit that what we get to hear is musically speaking quite original in these modern rock days. It doesn’t happen everyday that a band mixes Glamrock of the 1970s THE SWEET kind with Classic STONES/AC/DC like Rock and Roll and thrown in a bit American Southern Rockish LYNYRD SKYNYRD here and there, while an AOR melody can also be heard (“May Anne”) and BOWIE (“Brand new day”) meets STATUS QUO (“Don’t mess”) is also part of the game. The result is very impressive for sure, because the included songs are actually quite catchy and really make you think this is a Classic Rockband that writes and records new 70s style Classic Rock tunes. Tunes like “Fed up” (THE SWEET), “Wasting time” (AC/DC), “Any disease” and “B.D.M.” are very easy for the ears and I guess live they will definitely be excellent crowd-pleasers! Swedish musicians seem to be able to play each genre perfectly and on this new CD of HION MARTELL there are actually several rock genres of the 1970s played to perfection! Check them out at: and

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)  


Leader of the band BONEDOME is Dallas, Texas based vocalist/guitarist/bassist ALLAN HAYSLIP and musically speaking this band is delivering a quality record here, which was by the way already released back in 2009. The included music is quite diverse, because some of the songs are straight-forward Classic Rock type of tunes, while at other times we are drifting into an almost progrock direction, but during “Girl one” and “Slow Jesus Xing” the band sound a lot like 1970s DAVID BOWIE. Nevertheless, Allan and his unique vocalwork are making each and every song sound different and that is what is making this CD are very interesting. It definitely rocks all the time and all together you should really check them out at: and

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)  


The American rockband POOBAH was formed in a town in Ohio way back in the early 1970s and until this very day they have continued releasing records, but their first couple of albums remain their strongest and have therefore been re-issued many times. Almost 40 years after its original release, their debut record ‘Let me in’ is now re-issued onto CD, available as both 2-LP set and CD version, with the inclusion of a bunch of rare bonustracks. Judging on the band’s material on this CD, it is clear that they could have been bigger if they had that wanted lucky break in the 1970s, because their music is quite challenging and interesting. Some songs have a calm almost psychedelic THE BYRDS type of touch, while at other times the band sounds quite rocking, reminding of THE WHO, although even BLACK SABBATH meets CREAM/HENDRIX type of Classic Hardrock is also notable a lot of times. Leader of the band is Jim Gustafson (Guitars/Vocals), who has always been in the band ever since he started it in 1972. With a dozen amount of CDs, POOBAH has built up a rather large catalogue of music and with the re-issue of this debut album from 40 years ago, they should be able to regain some more interest. Check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  


GERRY GRIFFIN is a Canadian musician with a very long history already behind him, playing in all kinds of bands since the 1960s. Eventually he became a singer/songwriter and now releases his latest CD ‘Moment to moment’ on his own record label RENEGADE MUSIC. The included music is a mix of Americana, acoustic tingled Singer/Songwriter and some Blues. Actually the result is an album that is acoustically with whiskey soaked vocals and paying a sort of tribute to the legendary JIMMY RODGERS of the 1930s and also some similarities to HANK WILLIAMS. Perhaps it is better to describe this album as a pure Country record, but then in the old spirit of the pre-second world war days. Check out more

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)  


MICK RHODES and THE HARD EIGHT is a band made up of seasoned veterans of Los Angeles’ roots, punk and rock scenes, with Mickon vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, Wyman Reese on keyboards and piano, Brian Hall on electric lead guitar, Brian Wells on drums and percussion, John Sleeger on bass and background vocals; and Steve Sturgis on acoustic guitar and background vocals. Additional musicians are Emily Moultrie and Robin Banks on background vocals, Jim Shirey on fiddle and mandolin, Roofie Barnes on cello and Jeff Masters on harp. Musically speaking their debut album ‘Till I am dust’ is mixing traditional American Heartland Rock and Roll of the TOM PETTY, MICHAEL STANLEY kind with Americana almost JOHNNY CASH singer/songwriter rootsy pop/rock. Thanks to the extensive back-up of musicians called as already mentioned THE HARD EIGHT, MICK RHODES’ music is rocking quit hard and is filled with good vocals/harmonyvocals as well. Mix up KEITH URBAN, TOM PETTY and THE KINKS, with a slight Country twist in the vocal department, but when singing in a low key and slowing musically things down, there is definitely a JOHNNY CASH touch to be heard. However generally speaking the TOM PETTY approach is reached most of the time, both musically and vocally, but also a few rockier moments like the Rock and Roll BRYAN ADAMS has done since the mid 1990s. Highlights are uptempo rockers such as “It's Too Late”, “But You”, “All Right”, “'Til I am Dust” and “Sapulpa” (pure TOM PETTY, TOMMY TUTONE, featuring a very catchy melodic chorus), the strong ballad “Vital Love” and “Rainbows” (which is even a little THE RAMONESish uptempo powerpunkpoprock). Check out all info on this interesting band at: and and

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)  


Mixed by MIKE SHIPLEY (JOURNEY, IRON MAIDEN) and featuring a massive guest list, which includes MICHAEL RUFF as well as the legendary DAVID CROSBY and GRAHAM NASH on backing vocals during the song “The longest ride” and members of acts like BONNIE RAITT, NEIL YOUNG, VAN MORRISON, JAMES TAYLOR, the 5th CD ‘Deep water’ from American musician ALLAN THOMAS is at forehand already a high quality CD. Allan is a professional musician since the 1970s, releasing several records, doing recordings with many musicians and now on his latest CD we can hear smooth and quite soft Westcoast meets Jazz/Fusion that really has that late 1970s/early 1980s L.A. Sound. It is not that strange it sounds quite a lot like MICHAEL RUFF, because he plays on most songs piano, organ, etc. Allan’s vocals are very strong, perhaps even better than Michael and sometimes the material even sounds like a laid-back version of DAVID ROBERTS/TOTO/early AMBROSIA, AMERICA, POCO and such acts from the late 1970s LA Scene of Westcoast, yet with a sort of jazz/fusion instrumental back-up. Anyone who miss that late 70s LA westcoast sound, just listen to “Everything Happens For A Reason” and “The Longest Ride”, grab it here! A song like “Deep Water” also has a typical acoustic tingled singer/songwriter style, but mainly this is late 70s soft Westcoast Pop music with Jazzy influences. More at: and and

 (Points: 8.4 out of 10)  


During the 1980s singer-songwriter-guitarist SCOTT MCCLATCHY was part of the Philadelphia based band THE STAND, whom recorded a couple of albums back then, which musically were a typical 80s New Wave influenced Poprockband. After Scott left Philadelphia and went to New York City, he started a solo career, releasing his debut CD in 2000, following it up with 2 more CDs during the 2000s and now together with Nashville songwriter & producer, BILLY LEE, Scott releases his 4th solo CD ‘A dark rage’, on which we can hear a mix of Americana, Powerpop, Folk and Country, meaning this is a diverse record that should be compared to bands like BODEANS, THE BRANDOS and such, although some similarities to BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and TOM PETTY are also quite clear. The vocals of Scott are quite raw and during a song like “Toasting My Friends” it actually feels like you’re somewhere in an Irish pub! I feel this album is a grower and the diversity gives it something special. Scott has toured extensively in recent years, travelling as guitarist for Rock N Roll Hall of Famer, DION and with THE BRANDOS’ Dave Kincaid. 3 songs from Scott can be heard on the soundtrack of the independent film, ‘God, Sex & Apple Pie’, which won the ‘Award For Best Picture’ at the 30th Parallel Film Festival. It seems like Scott’s career is reaching more and more peaks, so make sure to check him out at: and

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  


Now this is something quite original, because the band TOO SLIM AND THE TAILDRAGGERS mixes Rock&Roll, Rockabilly, Southern Rock, Country, Blues Rock and Americana, which might have been done before, but not with the addition of soul vocals that sound straight out of the Soul scene from the 1950s/1960s! The soul vocals come from CURTIS SALGADO, who sings on a few tracks here and I have to say that if this guy would have sung on all tracks, this album might have been a must-have record! Actually Curtis acts as guest singer and is no part of the band in reality, but his vocals are from another planet and give the music of the band a very interesting twist. TOO SLIM by the way is the nickname for Tim Langford, the vocalist/guitarist who formed this band way back in 1986 in Seattle, Washington and already released 16 albums since then! Their latest and first I ever heard is titled ‘Shiver’, which apart from the original Soul injected tunes that feature Curtis on vocals, it is a nice record that combines all subgenres of American Music. Sometimes rocking hard and at other times sounding very laid-back, it is a nice collection of Americana, Nashville type of twangle, Swamp Rock, Blues and Rockabilly Rock &Roll orientated materialMore at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  


Acoustic calm folk ish music that features melodic clean vocals, but is sung in the Icelandic language, that is what ARSTIDIR is all about. Actually this is campfire type of music, which really works well and is at the moment quite popular with acts like FLEET FOXES being praised a lot. Actually the music is more or less an updated version of what SIMON AND GARFUNKEL were doing 50 years ago. This is melancholic singer/songwriter folk ish and very beautiful laid-back music that is highly recommended to fans of FLEET FOXES, despite the Icelandic language. The beauty of this kind of music is that it vocal based and these really need to be good to impress and thankfully in this case ARSTIDIR offers high quality vocalwork. The music is very calm and without electric guitars, bass and drums, as the main used instruments are acoustic and baritone guitars, piano, and strings, so the whole atmosphere is sorta epic and almost celtic based, but nevertheless even Progfans of the POCUPINE TREE kind might appreciate this band a lot. It’s their 2nd album and for more info you have to go to and and

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)  


Guitarist SLOWMAN, which is actually the nickname of Swedish musician Svante Törngren, is paying tribute to JIMI HENDRIX with the release of this album ‘Hey Jimi’. It is clear that SLOWMAN is a dedicated musician, who gathered a few fellow musicians and recorded this high quality CD. He is quite familiar with Jimi’s music as in the past he has done a lot of JIMI HENDRIX covers live on stage. He even was part of a JIMI HENDRIX coverband called CROSSROADS way back in the 1980s. In the meantime under his stage name SLOWMAN he already released a few albums, but this is his first that is entirely dedicated to the legendary guitarist. Done quite nicely by covering 11 tunes, he even included a song by himself called “Electric Angel”, which he has written to honour his hero. Check out more info on this talented guitarist at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)  


We already reviewed a CD of the Italian band CANADA a few years ago and now they are making a comeback with this mini-CD titled ‘Recycled’. The band has a long history behind them, splitting up several times, but as of 2010 the band really seems to take shape and is seriously on their way back. This latest album contains 5 tracks and is a bit sounding like a more AOR based version of RUSH, but vocally it isn’t not 100% perfect. “Eyes on you” is a proggy aor rocker, while “Don’t throw your heart” is almost pure AOR/Melodic Rock. This last mentioned song is an uptempo rocker with also some similarities to AXXIS/ANGEL HEART, so in a German style, catchy and really strong song that somehow impresses. Next track “Angel of the city” offers more pure AOR with almost JOURNEYish keyboardwork and also 80s AOR dut-dut keys, another catchy tune actually! “Never surrender” is an instrumental, while closing track “Tom Sawyer” is a RUSH cover. Instrumental CANADA is very good, but vocally some improvements are possible. Comparisons to CRAAFT, JOJO, ZAR, ZENO, TOKYO and such are quite easy to make. Sound/production is good and so we have a quality release after all! More at: and and

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted)