Site hosted by Build your free website today!



It looks and also sounds like we have stepped into a time machine to the year 1966 or something when this kind of electricified guitar orientated Garage Rock was very famous throughout Europe (and actually the rest of the world), with many bands in especially the UK beginning to record music. It was all started of course a few years earlier by STONES, BEATLES, WHO… but the next generation was sounding even heavier and rawer. Well, the Swedish band WIRED FOR MONO could have been one of those bands. This new band sounds like 40 years ago, without sounding dated, as their Rock and Roll sounds really up to date, even better than the new THE WHO record. This is Rock and Roll the way it sounded in the first place and although bands like JET and KAISER CHIEFS are very popular, I really think this WIRED FOR MONO is even better in producing a Classic Rock and Roll sound. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Keyboardplayer/songwriter WOOLLY WOLSTENHOLME is best known as a member of the band BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST, with whom he recorded 9 albums between 1967 and 1979. Moving on his own, he recorded a bunch of solo-albums, of which ECLECTIC DISCS now has been doing their job in re-issueing them onto CD. The latest one is his 1980 album ‘Maestoso’, which comes along with 2 bonus live tracks that were currently unreleased. Musically this is very 80s Synthesizer dominated Symphonic Popmusic that sometimes remind me a lot of KAYAK! Very soft sometimes, but also here and there prog rocking, such as during “Lives on the line” and the catchy almost AOR based “Gates of heaven” that sounds like SAGA meets ASIA. The absolute highlights are the 2 bonustracks, both superb 80s AOR/Pomprock tunes, titled “Even the night” and “Has to be a reason”, but unfortunately they suffer from a weak sound, however if Wooly would release a full album with songs like those 2 rockers it would be quite sensational. Not being familiar with the man’s work that close, I am not sure if these appeared on other albums, but no doubt these 2 bonustracks are a must-hear for the 80s AOR/Pomprock freaks. They remind me so much of ASIA, GTR, ROBERT BERRY, 3, ARC ANGEL…. And believe they appeared on the upcoming re-issue of the album ‘Black Box recovered’. Wooly recently reunited with BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST and will tour through 2007. In the meantime, check out the re-issues of the old BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST albums, the 3 MAESTOSO (his new band) albums he recently released and also this re-issue of one of his solo-albums. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


We’re back in the Sleazy Rock and Roll world of Sweden again with REVOLUTION RIOT, a band with a sound straight out of the late 80s LA scene, kicking the ass of any band that wants to be the next 2006 version of FASTER PUSSYCAT, LA GUNS, GUNS’N’ROSES, NASTY IDOLS. Yes, Sweden brought us GEMINI FIVE, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, BACKYARD BABIES, CRASH DIET and now there is REVOLUTION RIOT. They are seriously rocking the right way and even beating the hell out of the aforementioned bands. OK, some MOTLEY CRUE here and some GUNS’N’ROSES there, but all done very honest and with a strong singer and huge sound, this REVOLUTION RIOT is ready to make a big impact for sure. If it was 1989, they would have been praised all around the world, especially if they had been settled in LA with a major label deal, but this is 2006 and although times have been hard for this kind of music for a while, now is the time again to enjoy some good old fashioned US Rock and Roll from a Swedish band! They deliver with a high class musicianship and Sleazy Rock and Roll never sounded better than on this record. Sensational stuff and a must if you are still set back by the death of the CRASH DIET singer earlier this year, because this band is ready to follow in their footsteps with this amazing debut CD! More info at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Good old fashioned Rock and Roll is what to expect from the BURDEN BROTHERS out of Texas, USA. Some well-known names are involved here, none of them named BURDEN, so the bandname has got to deal with something else. Anyway, the band was formed by singer Vaden Todd Lewis (formerly of Toadies) and drummer Patrick "Taz" Bentley (formerly of Reverend Horton Heat, Tenderloin, and the Izzy Stradlin Band) in 2002. ‘Mercy’ is their 2nd album, which musically sounds both modern and retro 70s, not far away from HINDER and BUCKCHERRY actually. They played shows with VELVET REVOLVER and PAPA ROACH and for this new album they got the likes of the legendary JOE CHICCARELLI as producer. Joe has a long history going back in time, even producing the classic ROBERT TEPPER song “No easy way out” for the Rocky 4 movie in 1985 as well as many other acts such as TORONTO, FRANK ZAPPA, TORI AMOS, BEE GEES, BON JOVI, THE CULT, JUICE NEWTON… He made this BURDEN BROTHERS sound like a very strong Hardrockalbum with a modern approach, but still a favorite for the fans of real rock and roll. 15 tracks are included and with a playing time of 60 minutes it gives you 1 hour of excitement and pleasure, a real party record if you ask me with such catchy tunes like “She’s not home”, “Good night from Chicago” and “Oh Cecilia”. Definitely a record that could get a big break in the USA, like we have seen with HINDER the past few months. Check out their sites at:  and 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


HELIX are the legendary band from Canada, which released many records between the mid 70s and late 80s,l but the whole Grunge movement killed their rock and roll sound, but they continued through the 90s and now that real Rock and Roll is allowed again, well then they make their best album in like 20 years. Basically ‘Get up’ is their strongest effort in ages, featuring some real high class back to basic Rock and Roll anthems. Founder and singer BRIAN VOLLMER still waves the flag for HELIX, sounds as strong as 30 years ago and the new album is actually a mini-CD as it consists of 7 short hard hitting classic sounding HELIX tracks, including the remake of their legendary “Heavy Metal love”. This is Rock and Roll the way it should sound and it also shows this band ain’t over yet. Better than QUIET RIOT’s new one, this is HELIX with their new album ‘Get up’, available through: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


I remember very well when I bought one of the early albums from this musician, which was I think his 1992 debut CD. Now 14 years later ED ALLEYNE JOHNSON has a new CD out, which he shines not only as an Electric Violin Player, but he also plays bass, mandolin, acoustic guitar and keyboards. He basically did everything on his own, did a great job, with this time covers of rock classics by LED ZEPPELIN, PINK FLOYD, GARY MOORE, DEEP PURPLE, FOCUS, DAVID BOWIE, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, etc. The instrumental Electric Violin played covers sound very well and you can tell Ed learnt a lot these past 15 years since his debut. Fine instrumental release with no electric guitar to be found!

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Her 1999 album was a real 90s ok rock record, but with the 2000s released album ‘Rock and Road’, French female singer ANNIE DUFRESNE is delivering very catchy typical modern day Melodic Female Fronted Poprock with a punky approach. Sung in French, this sounds a bit like JOAN JETT. ANNIE DUFRESNE is helped by STEVE SCALA, who plays guitar here. The Frenchy lyrics might put some off, but one can not deny that this ‘Rock and road’ is a very catchy fun record which blends classic rock and roll, 70s punk and typical modern female fronted rock perfectly together. 12 songs are included and be sure to check out this girl’s website at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


COSMO stands for FRAN COSMO on vocals, the man who sang with BOSTON since the early 80s and also sang on the classic ORION album from 20 years ago (when is this going to be re-issued???) and also his brother ANTONIO COSMO, who plays most of the instruments here. Together with a couple other musicians they have released an album under the name of COSMO. Fran still has that incredible AOR voice, but musically this is not like the classic 80s AOR sound of ORION. Nevertheless, the slightly modern sounding melodic rock has a lot of similarities to ZEBRA and RETURN TO ZERO, but also of course BOSTON. No classics can be found between the included tracks, but still this is a good melodic rockalbum of a very high level. This is not the catchy hookladen fun 80s keyboard driven AOR you hope for, because this is more laid-back sort of CANNATA/MARK SPIRO going heavier melodic rock, so with sort of a slight Psychedelic Rock touch, very much like ZEBRA does (in fact this is quite close, yet with big BOSTON harmonyvocals added). This is a real grower, the more you play it the better it gets, trust me… A song like “Can’t run away” could well become a fave among the AOR crowd, despite the modern groovier rock approach. If you mix KING’S X, ZEBRA, 90s ASIA and BOSTON, you have… COSMO!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


He played with stadium acts like POISON and MR. BIG, but always continued a solo career in the meantime and now in 2006 we are looking at a new solo-album titled ‘Into the black’. He did EVERYTHING on his own, all the instruments, production, songwriting and the singing, which he actually does quite good as he sounds like GLENN HUGHES/GARY MOORE, yet a bit less soulful and more rock. The music is groovy hardrock with strong melodies, very retro 70s sound and not far away from GLENN HUGHES. Highlights among the 10 included tracks are “You can’t save me”, “The shadow” and “Sacred ground”. Most of the tracks are in a similar style, very groovy with strong vocalwork. This man alone beats the crap out of POISON if you don’t mind me saying this, a very talented man who was in his early 20s when he joined POISON, but he was way better than anyone who ever was in that band. Anyway, this new solo-CD shows his talents once again…

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


FREDDY CURCI is without any doubts one of the greatest vocalists ever existed in music history. His vocals on the SHERIFF and ALIAS albums are incredible, with even a note in the Guiness Book of Records for holding the longest note in history. Anyway, it is a damn shame, Freddy performed live rarely and his studio recordings are very few. In fact, besides a solo-record titled ‘Dreamer’s road’ in 1994, Freddy released just 3 albums in 25 years! Nevertheless, hopes were high for a new album a few years ago, but it all took much more time to finish it, due to some vocal problems. Happily all is well now in 2006 and at the end of the year ZION presents the debut record. Just like SHERIFF in 1982, ALIAS in 1990 and now ZION in 2006, it is a same titled record and let’s just hope it does not take 32 years now for a new band record of Freddy (double the figures between the records!). Freddy sounds excellent as ever, musically it is all a bit heavier and groovier, less AOR than SHERIFF and ALIAS, despite the fact there are a couple of re-recorded unreleased ALIAS songs, which are then again the best songs here on offer, as I am talking about the wonderful songs “How much longer is forever” and “Who do you think you are”. This is definitely a high quality Melodic Rockalbum with fantastic vocalwork and some great songs, such as “The sky is falling” and “All it takes is a minute” as well as the 2 mentioned songs. However, do not expect a classic album a la ALIAS/SHERIFF, more like ALIAS going heavier, so still melodic rock, yet a bit less sensational, although the vocals are of a very high level. In the end, still very much worth getting if you’re a fan of the man’s past recordings! He scored several number 1 US Billboard Chart hits with SHERIFF and ALIAS, but if that happens with ZION, I am not that positive, although the mentioned songs would have done well if it had been released 20 years ago…

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


If you have STYX on your label you are sure keen on releasing records of them. The covers album of them from last year was useless and well this new live-CD is also not really interesting. Not saying it is bad, but maybe a DVD release would have been better, because a live-CD with an orchestra just doesn’t work. You have to see it live on a screen, like we have seen with DEEP PURPLE, KISS, WIG WAM in recent years. Another fact is that STYX 2006 is sounding like a complete new STYX. They are so much different than for example JOURNEY, who are playing almost nothing but pre-1986 material. STYX is the other way around, with TOMMY SHAW leading the band, despite the fact he joined the band at a later stage. Of course his classics from 70s STYX are played here very well, with Tommy sounding better than ever, but to play so many new songs that are just o.k. does not do justice to the STYX classics on which DENNIS DE YOUNG sang 30 years ago. I do not understand this, because replacement LAWRENCE GOWAN has a great equal voice to Dennis and could easily sang classics like “The best of times”, “Lady” and “”. For such STYX classics, we will have to check out DENNIS DE YOUNG’s solo performances. This is STYX 2006 and they sound like a modern rockband with here and there a classic song from the past. They sound very good of course, but somehow you want to hear something more from the classics. The CD was recorded with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra by the way, whom can be heard mostly during the older STYX songs, such as “Blue collar man”. Nice release, but I would have rather seen a DVD, some more DENNIS DE YOUNG sung classics by Lawrence (who stole the show last year at Arrow Rock Festival) and most of all, when are they going to record a real new STYX studio-album with songs in the style of the old classic STYX style…

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


In Norway these 3 girls are HUGE, but outside the Scandinavian countries not many people have heard of the LILLYJETS, although somehow their song “Perfect picture” sounds like it has been a worldwide hitsingle lifted from a movie with Hugh Grant (!). Anyway, the music ain’t that rocky as anyone had hoped for, but if you are one of those people addicted to the typical female fronted melodic poprockstyle of today (read: LILLIX, STEPHANIE MCINTOSH, ALY AND AJ, THE VERONICAS, VANILLA NINJA, KRYSTAL MEYERS, JESSIE DANIELS, etc etc) you will love these 3 girls. Here we have the LILLYJETS and of course everything sounds picture perfect here, a little less rocky than mentioned acts, more going into a THE CORSS meets WILSON PHILIPS kinda direction, so a lot of acoustic guitars and harmonyvocals can be heard in their very melodic radiofriendly poprock. Sometimes it gets a bit too poppy (“Today”), but fair enough these girls did a nice job with this release and one to own if you’re a female fronted pop/rock fan. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


ANA JOHNSSON is a Swedish singer who scored a major hitsingle in 2003 with the song “We are” for the Spiderman 2 movie. 2 years after her debut full-length CD we can welcome her 2nd CD ‘Little angel’, once again filled with typical radio ready melodic poprock not far away from ROXETTE, KELLY CLARCKSON and such… Opener “Little angel” might fool ya, as this is a very soft epic pop song, almost like ENYA! But then the US influenced produced way of polishing things up to a certain level for the radio market starts with the strong semi-ballad “Break through time” which could easily become as huge as a KELLY CLARKCSON. Other highlights are “Catch me if you can’ (very strong uptempo melodic rocker a la THE DONNAS), “The harder we fall”, “Playing God” and “Days of summer” (very strong rocker, pure ROBIN BECK!). Nothing new and could have used some more uptempo rockers, but nevertheless a pretty good female fronted rockalbum (at times it also rocks a lot like THE DONNAS (such as “Spit it out”)! More info at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Once again we spread our wings and head to Scandinavia to find a sensational new release of a new project called ESSENCE OF SORROW. Involved members here are all Finnish, such as ex-SONATA ARCTICA keyboardplayer Mikko Harkin and DIVINE FIRE guitarist Jani Stefanovic, while some of the guest spots are filled by the likes of MATS LEVEN (MALMSTEEN, AT VANCE, KRUX…) and ANDREAS OLSSON (NARNIA, DIVINE FIRE). The included music is very high quality typical Scandi Melodic Progressive/Power Metal not far away from DIVINE FIRE, DIONYSUS, AT VANCE, DESTYNATION, SPACE ODYSSEY… For a first album, this is definitely one of those releases that stands high above all the other releases in the genre. The singer (Christian Palin) has a great voice and songs like “Hollow”, “Trail of tears” and “The mirror” are superb masterpieces with beautiful melodies. This is definitely a highly recommended piece to anyone into high quality prog/power metal with a focus on strong melodic hooks and choruses. I even rate this one higher than the new recent DIVINE FIRE, as this ESSENCE OF SORROW is more melodic and very AT VANCE/NARNIA orientated, which is even for the melodic rocker something worth checking out!

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Swedish band with an original late 60s/early 70s rock and roll as if it were still the times of THE WHO, MC5 and LED ZEPPELIN, but on the other hand this retro-rock style has made a major comeback the past few years. DOLLHOUSE do it very well on their 2nd album, which sounds very much like if it was recorded in 1968, without sounding dated. The band performed and recorded in recent years with members of MC5 and THE HELLACOPTERS. If only this release would have been done 40 years ago, it would have been sensational and people would still be talking about it. If you miss a real classic rock sound of the late 60s, you know the sound between 60s Garage Rock and 70s Hardrock, then this DOLLHOUSE is the best answer. They sound very original, but still familiar, better check out their sites asap at:  and www.myspace.comrockandsoul 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


A huge surprise from Germany! The band is coming out of the city of Munich and were formed in 1983, but now finally they have released their debut CD ‘Unexpected’, so that took them 23 years. Although they are said to be a progrockband a la PINK FLOYD, they are much more a Symphonic AOR/Pomprockband that even sounds like HARLAN CAGE/FORTUNE at times, with some ASIA similarities as well, so we are talking something really special here. The CD is not only musically awesome, but also the whole art/package of the CD release is stunning, with an extra DVD as bonus, which by the way includes 20 minutes live footage, 15 minutes backstage footage and a couple of old 80s videos (13 minutes). Back to the CD, which is like said before the first album of CENTRAL PARK and especially the first 2 songs hit like a hammer, both “Face the space” and especially the SUPERB AOR/POMPROCK CLASSIC sounding “Witness of today” are songs that will appeal to HARLAN CAGE/ASIA fans for sure. Then the band goes into epic calm progrock territory a la 70s GENESIS/PINK FLOYD with the song “Recycling”. At times they also remind me of FOR ABSENT FRIENDS and SHAKARY, but then more diverse with straight-ahead AOR/Pomprocksongs as well as pure Progrocksongs, while also a bunch of songs that are somewhere in between. Anyway, the rest of the CD is a pleasant listen, but the absolute highlight remains to be “Witness of today” which is such an amazing song. Fans of STYX/SUGARCREEK/LE ROUX might also like a lot of songs here, such as “Sleep on Mr. President” which has keyboardwork a la MIKE OLDFIELD and how about the pure POMPROCK of “Desert angels”, which sounds like mixing LE ROUX and FORTUNE (1985 – USA). On the other hand there is a long epic Neo-Prog tune called “Don’t look back”, 22 minutes of pleasure for the IQ/SYLVAN fan. I think you get the picture now, as this is a mix of AOR, Prog, Sympho, all very 70s/80s sounding with many keys and lovely melodic vocalwork, but also strong choruses. Most of the songs were recorded in the 1980s, but sound very fresh. The new song “Silent garden” is a beautiful ARENA goes AOR type of semi-ballad with nice piano-keyboardwork and a beautiful chorus. I was surprised by this band and this is definitely one of the best German releases so far this year! Must-have if you’re a fan of KAYAK, KANSAS, STYX, ASIA, HARLAN CAGE… More info at: 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


The leader of this French band is called HUGO, but it is not the HUGO from Spain or the HUGO from the USA, who we all know as one of the great STEVE PERRY soundalikes! Anyway, this HUGO is French and his project ANTHROPIA is his baby, as he played almost all instruments (except drums), sang, wrote and produced almost everything, which I quite impressive, because it all sounds very much like a band. Musically we are treated with a huge sounding Neo-Classical Melodic Power/Progressive Metalsound a la ANGRA/SYMPHONY X, yet a bit less sensational, as the choruses of the songs are not as good as those 2 bands, but musically it falls in the same style for sure. 10 songs are included and with the exception of 2 short instrumentals, most of them are very lengthy. Somehow the CD also reminds me of bands like POWER OF OMENS, SIGMA and PAGAN’S MIND, yet a bit heavier with more Power Metal influences. Anyway, a second part is already on the way and it is safe to say that if you’re a fan of neo-classical Prog/Power Metal you will like this for sure! More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


At the same time I receive the ANTHROPIA CD, another similar sounding CD is released, also part 1 of an epic story to be continued in the near future. This band is called ODD LOGIC and their neo-classical prog/power metal sounds very impressive, although much more melodic and progrock/pomprock related than ANTHROPIA. It’s a 3-piece band, with SEAN THOMPSON being the most important member, as he is singing, playing guitar and bass. It’s a shame some of the songs are done with drum programming, because this epic journey of ODD LOGIC is really amazing most of the time, so a slightly better sounding production with real drums all the time could have turned this into a masterpiece. Nevertheless it is still a very strong album that shows influences of STYX, KANSAS, ENCHANT and QUEENSRYCHE, all blended perfectly with truly superb lead vocals of Sean. Songs like “Beacon of hope”, “Nova’s escape” and “The great council” are reflecting ODD LOGIC’s amazing capabilities. The CD is divided into 2 acts, with 24 scenes in total. It is a pleasure to listen to the whole record and especially fans of ENCHANT and also SYMPHONY X will like this a lot. More info at:  and  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


It is a shame ROYAL HUNT mainly focuses on Japan, where they are superstars, because in Europe we rarely see them perform, but they made an exception last year for Russia, where they performed in a beautiful Theatre in St. Petersburg. The now released live CD and DVD captures what went down that night, although they definitely did a lot of work in the studio afterwards to make it sound perfect. The performance was excellent and although the line-up changes from time to time, bandleader ANDRE ANDERSEN on keys and JOHN WEST on vocals are both amazing to watch and listen to as their incredible qualities are together the most important part of ROYAL HUNT’s music. The music of ROYAL HUNT is timeless, mixing classic AOR melodies with Classical Music, while adding Power Metal and Hardrock rhythms as background, with the soulful vocalwork of JOHN WEST, who shows to be one of the best singers of all times! Everybody will agree that this band is amazing to listen to and with this new DVD release you can also check ‘em out visually, where you can notice how ANDRE ANDERSEN shows off many times, but he surely is credible enough to do that. Anyway, the DVD has the almost 2 hours counting concert as well as some backstage footage, which is cool to watch, although the concert on CD and DVD is the main feature here. Maybe it sounds too perfect sometimes, something which also was the case of the recent TNT DVD, so it all sounds a bit freshened up here and there, but still it is enough for an enjoyable night of ROYAL HUNT music!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


The band HAMMERHEART from Slovakia makes a comeback with their new CD ‘Dreamworks’, which musically is pure 1980s MAIDEN influenced Melodic Metal. It sounds also a lot like WOLF and DOMINE on their early albums, so be prepared that it needs some more power and better production to make it sound as good as those 2 bands, but nevertheless HAMMERHEART is getting better and better. The twin-guitarsound is very well and the back-to-back NWOBHM sound is very impressive at times, especially during songs like “Back from serenity”, “The last twilight’ and “The revival”. More info at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


I don’t know how much time there was between the first and last 6 songs on the new CD of JOSEPH LEE WOOD, but fact it they were recorded in different studios. The first 6 songs are probably new and sadly not really sensational AOR songs, unlike his wonderful debut CD we raved about a few years ago. However, the second part of the CD reveals a bunch of lost recordings from the 1980s (I think) that were recorded in a Vancouver/Canada based studio. From track 7 “Love detective” onwards the CD is saved as this is high quality 80s AOR/Pomprock a la STAN BUSH/SURVIVOR/JOURNEY/FORTUNE with huge keys, catchy hooks and memorable choruses. Pity not the whole CD is like this, because for me it all starts from track 7 on. Other highlights for this matter are “Holding my heart in your hand”, “Social climber” and “Heart of mine”, all superb high class 80s AOR-Rock a la STAN BUSH, MICHAEL O’BRIEN, ERIC MARTIN BAND, MICHAEL MORALES, MICHAEL BOLTON (1983), BALANCE, PREVIEW… AOR fans must check out tracks 7-12 first before listening to the weaker first 6 tunes. In the end, the conclusion is simple, first 6 songs ok melodic rock, final 6 songs lovely sensational 80s AOR at it’s purest! More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Here we go again! Beautiful girl making catchy melodic poprock, very close to THE VERONICAS, KELLY CLARCKSON, BARLOWGIRL, KRYSTAL MEYERS, XOCH, ALY AND AJ, STEPHANIE MCINTOSH, BIFF NAKED… It seems like every label out there wants to have their version of this female fronted melodic poprock revival, because that is basically what it is, a sort of updated version of classic early 80s PAT BENATAR with the catchy hooks of ROXETTE. Happily, the first CD of the very young singer/songwriter JESSIE DANIELS is a very strong album filled with a bunch of fantastic catchy melodic poprockers like “The noise”, “Everyday”, “Next to you” and “Hello/Goodbye”. Somehow this CD of JESSIE DANIELS might as well be one of the best releases in this genre, combining superb catchy melodies with strong vocalwork, while still really rocking. This should be right up in every chart if you ask me, so damn catchy you can’t get it out of your head after hearing it just once! Check it out for yourself at:  and 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


In Finland very popular, but with a big thank you to the Finnish Idols, where she finished second. The debut CD on SONY BMG Finland shows she is a very good lead singer, although the music is very lightweight poprock, very typical Idols style, so like a KELLY CLARKCSON, but then a bit softer. There are a lot of ballads on the CD, radio-ready, but some more rockers would have been great for sure, as the rockers on this CD show KATRI at her best. Uptempo melodic poprockers like “Ei kiinosta”, Vuorollaan” and “Piste” are very catchy and remind me of ERIKA in her early 90s period. As you can see the lyrics are in Finnish, but as it sounds not unlike French and Spanish for us non-Scandi rockers it sounds quite nice actually. As I said before it is not really a rocking album, but on the other hand the melodies are quite nice and could well please the regular AOR fan. More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


KARA is the latest Hardrock/Metalband in Finland to be signed by a major label. It seems like since LORDI hit the jackpot, Finnish Metal is even more the main focus for major labels in the cold North of Europe. KARA may be put next to UNIKLUBI, TERRASBETONI… They play traditional Melodic Metal, with Finnish lyrics. 10 songs are included and although this band is not as good as aforementioned bands, it surely is another great act whom deliver great tunes like “Kuori”, “Pahat kielet” and “Tama pimea”. Must-have if you like the Finnish way of thinking making catchy Melodic Metal, because that’s what they do pretty well. Not sure if they are big in Finland, but they are on SONY BMG and their CD was mastered at Finnvox, so be prepared for a strong big sound. Only vocally it is slightly disappointing, because the band’s singer is singing a bit too low all the time, which of course is very typical Finnish, but maybe some vocal changes would have been more interesting. Nevertheless, a good typical Finnish product this is….

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Big surprise from Austin/Texas, USA, because this MEVYN presents us with a very strong Neo-Classical Melodic Prog/Power Metal sound a la SYMPHONY X, BALANCE OF POWER and POWER OF OMENS. They have a fantastic lead singer (Rick Clark), who shows there are still undiscovered talents out there in the vocalworld, because he goes up without any problems, never missing a note and same goes for the keyboardist and guitarist, whom make the slightly complicated Neo-Classical Progressive/Power Metal sound quite perfect. Opener “How far we fall” is an absolute winner here, very much like SYMPHONY X at their best. Next song “Disturbed” is not as good as the first song, but it shows this band has put down a sound of their own, as also some Thrash Metal influences can be heard, although fear not as this is mostly a pure Neo-Classical Power Metal record. 11 long songs make up this 73 minutes counting debut CD of MEVYN and besides the first cut also the songs “Future untold”, “In whose name” (superb song!) and “Power of fear” are very impressive. Definitely a must-have for fans of mentioned bands, although I also smell some influences of early 90s Techno-Prog Metal (WATCHTOWER/NEVERMORE for example). More info at:  or and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


HALLOWED was an obscure Italian band which released one album in 1986. That album is now for the first time released on CD, fully remastered from the original tapes. If you buy the album you can read a nice story in the liner notes about why this album is released on CD. Besides the nine songs from the LP there are also four demo songs edited as bonus tracks. The quality of these tracks is not that great because they came from cassette tapes. I would describe HALLOWED’s music as melodic Euro Metal in the vein of STORMWITCH and PRETTY MAIDS. The song that really stands out is “Cry no more”, which was also released as a single in the eighties. The profits of this single went to UNICEF. Through a member of the band VENOM they got in contact with NOISE RECORDS, signed a contract but unfortunately the album was never released. A pity because this band had the potential to become a great Metal band. The CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


SHIVA is back with their third CD ‘The curse of the gift’, which shows the band moving more and more into an own style, which is a mixture of Melodic Metal, AOR, Progressive Metal and Heavy Rock, with the extraordinary lead vocals of singer ANETTE JOHANSSON. Although the first song “When tomorrow never comes” starts very heavy and modern with male growling, the chorus is very melodic and sounds like MASTERPLAN. The CD contains more of these beauties, such as “Kill the past”, “The fly”, “The black widow” and especially the melodic rocker “The chameleon” which you can not get out of the head after hearing it the first time, because the chorus is very catchy. SHIVA are not your standard female fronted band, as they have something that makes them different than most other female fronted bands out there, which is of course due to their singer, who has a very raw voice a la GRACE SLICK and also the slightly modern complexity of the band’s instrumental approach. This all together with some very smooth melodic choruses makes SHIVA sound very different, although they could well be called the female version of MASTERPLAN, because the Melodic (Prog) Metal goes into that direction for sure. Definitely the band’s best release so far! Check out more on them at: 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


Japanese band, not original at all, as they copy HELLOWEEN and SONATA ARCTICA completely, but happily it does sound very professional, both instrumental and even vocally the band’s singer sounds quite good for a Japanese singer, sounding like MICHAEL KISKE. Besides, songs like the uptempo Melodic Euro Power Metal tunes “Awakening”, “End this misery”, “End of time”, “Burning wild” and “A false charge” are very impressive songs to be loved by fans of HELLOWEEN, SONATA ARCTICA, WONDERLAND… More info on this great Japanese band and their 2nd CD ‘Tempest’ can be found at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


This is for sure a band with an absolute underground kind of sound. It’s not really rocking, but is slow dark almost Goth like, but then different, impossible to compare. VENUS INFERS are a 2-piece band from California and they are female fronted, with this mini-CD being their first release. Check ‘em out for yourself at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.6 out of 10)


Another strong female singer. LIBBIE SCHRADER comes out of California and her mini-CD sounds very good. She has a great voice and the 5 included songs are very strong Melodic Poprocksongs. Maybe not rocking that hard, but for sure very melodic and recommended to the fans of typical female fronted singer/songwriter pop/rock. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Out of Chicago comes this hot rock and roll band which sounds like the next big thing. TEAM ROCKIT is signed to a German label and although they released some EPs in the past, this CD is their official full-length debut album. 12 hard-hitting pure Rock and Roll songs make up this CD. It has a strong 70s kinda vibe, kinda like DANKO JONES also has, so a bit groovy here and there, with raw singing. Although Punkrock influences are mentioned in their bio, this TEAM ROCKIT is definitely a pure 70s rock and roll sounding band. They also remind me musically a bit of NASHVILLY PUSSY. More info on this band at:  and 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The Swedish melodic metalband DRAGONLAND is back with their 4th CD. Through the years the band has developed themselves a lot, with the result that the new CD ‘Astronomy’ is their strongest effort so far. The album is a really impressive diverse album that mixes the best of Progressive and Power Metal. Unlike their earlier records, the band has went into a more progressive direction, which can be heard right from the start with the fantastic Progmetal pieces “Supernova” and “Cassiopeia”. However, the band is back at full speed with the SUPERB catchy uptempo Melodic Power Metal tune “Contact” that simply blows away anything DRAGONFORCE has done the past few years, because this song of DRAGONLAND is just so much better than all those DRAGONFORCE songs… Anyway, the band also adds some Gothic female vocals, a few Death growls (not much), Classical Music (“The book of shadows part 4”) and some aggressive Thrash Metal riffs here and there (“Antimatter”), but always stays in the Melodic Prog/Power Metal style, with thanks to the wonderful typical Swedish lead vocals of singer Jonas Heidgert. The first 3 songs are without a doubt the strongest part of the album, with as other highlights “Beethoven’s nightmare”, “Direction: Perfection” and “Too late for sorrow”. DRAGONLAND is with this new record almost reaching the high level of their fellow countrymen of DREAM EVIL and NOCTURNAL RITES. Must-have for all Euro Melodic Prog/Power Metalfans!

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


The Italian band ANTHENORA was formed back in 1990, but it took them up until 2004 before they would release a CD, which was ‘The last command’ on LOCOMOTIVE MUSIC. I was not too positive about the band 2 years ago, but with this new album ‘Soulgrinder’ they surely sound a lot better. They play traditional Melodic Metal that reminds me a bit of MYSTIC PROPHECY, although not as sensational as them of course. Nevertheless, it all sounds very promising and it will surely please all the fans of True Metal a la MAJESTY, MYSTIC PROPHECY, PRIMAL FEAR… The CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Just a promotional CD of this Spanish band, which was formed in 1998 and so far only released a couple demos, but are working on a full-length CD at the moment. The band is playing nice typical traditional Melodic Metal and this promo CD contains a couple of videos. However, the real waiting is for a real CD, which should be out soon…

(Points: -)


Typical Italo Power Metal once again on the new CD of KALEDON, an Italian band which is quite popular actually, although their bombastic melodic Power Metal is not as good as for example DERDIAN, WONDERLAND, RHAPSODY, LABYRINTH, VISION DIVINE… Nevertheless, the new CD of KALEDON is one to own if you’re keen on such catchy polished power metal with keys upfront, many vocalparts/harmonyvocals and catchy choruses, sort of AOR influenced Power Metal. Most of the 11 included songs are fast and if you like one you will like them all, with “Eyes of fire” being the best song, although the biggest surprise is “The fury” which is a very sensational song actually, huge harmonyvocals a la BOSTON/FINAL FRONTIER here, almost an AOR tune! Sometimes they remind me of SKYLARK, but KALEDON is definitely better than that average band. More info at: and the CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


‘Home’ is the 2nd CD of ex-AT VANCE lead singer OLIVER HARTMANN. Once again he present us an enjoyable thinking man’s melodic rock journey which sounds like a perfect cross between GIANT, TEN, MARK SPIRO and TOTO. The songs are super melodic, but also well-thought at times, so not just AOR by the numbers here. The production was done by Oliver together with SASCHA PAETH of KAMELOT/AINA/ANGRA… Opener “Coming home to you” is definitely the best song here, a very caychy uptempo melodic rocker with lovely chorus, although it sounds a bit like “The boys of summer” of DON HENLEY, yet rockier. The rest of the album is a nice mix of midtempo rockers and (semi) ballads, with sadly only a few more uptempo rockers. Nevertheless, this is one of those albums you need to listen over and over again to discover it is a gem after all (a song like the TOTOish “Why do I” then again is a superb tune at first listen!). That’s something which does not happen much in the melodic rockworld, as most releases hit like a hammer the first time it is played. HARTMANN’s new CD ‘Home’ might be better than the first one, but like I said, therefore we need to listen to the record many more times in the coming months for it to grow to a winner…

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Together with JIM PETERIK (PRIDE OF LIONS/SURVIVOR), NIGHT RANGER drummer/vocalist KELLY KEAGY has recorded a 2nd solo-CD titled ‘I’m alive’. Musically not far away from other FRONTIERS projects of FRONTIERS like SUNSTORM, SLAMER, PHILIP BARDOWELL, etc. this is a very strong AOR release like NIGHT RANGER has not recorded since 1988. Maybe nothing new is brought here, but definitely this is a high quality CD that will be loved by the AOR fans. Kelly’s vocals are good, but not as good as for example PHILIP BARDOWELL, but without a doubt AOR songs like “Stolen”, “When nobody’s looking”, “World before and after” (one of the few uptempo rockers, a catchy PRIDE OF LIONS type of tune) and “” are quite catchy and memorable. Better than Kelly’s first album and one to own if you miss NIGHT RANGER doing pure AOR, but on the other hand I think with another (better) lead singer this CD could have been better as Kelly’s voice is nice for a couple songs (like in NIGHT RANGER), but not on 13 songs…

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Here we go again! Finland brings us another sensational new band. They are called WINTERBORN and their first CD ‘Cold reality’ is a lovely mix of AOR/Melodic and typical European Melodic (Power/Prog) Metal, sounding like a cross between VANDENPLAS, SONATA ARCTICA and ALTARIA. The songs are very melodic, catchy and memorable, just what you expect from a Melodic Hardrock/Metalband. Songs like “Wildheart”, “On the edge of eternity” and “Coming home” are very sensational Melodic Metal Masterpieces. The band does not yet belong to the absolute high level of for example SONATA ARCTICA, THUNDERSTONE, DREAM EVIL, NOCTURNAL RITES, VISION DIVINE… but they are for sure showing they can make some really sensational songs on the first album ‘Cold reality’. More info on WINTERBORN at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


ROCKSTAR was a huge TV hit in the USA, where INXS searched for a new singer in the first season. Season 2 saw the likes of drummer TOMMY LEE (MOTLEY CRUE), bassist JASON NEWSTED (METALLICA) and guitarist GILBY CLARKE (GUNS’N’ROSES) working on a record together with Canadian Idol LUKAS ROSSI. Signed to major label SONY BMG, this charted quite good in the USA, while in Europe it will reach a smaller audience, due to the fact that the show has not been aired I am afraid. Nevertheless, the music included on the CD is all original happily. Musically this is going into a very early 70s GLAM ROCK type of style, very much akin to MOTT THE HOOPLE, T-REX and also ENUFF’Z’NUFF comes to mind (check “ It’s all love”). The sound is huge and quite commercial with big choruses, thanks to the wonderful production of BUTCH WALKER (PINK, AVRIL LAVIGNE). Not saying this is the best CD of 2006, but it surely sounds better than what the members have done with their own bands the past 15 years! Besides, singer LUKAS ROSSI has a good strong Rockvoice, which sounds so much like MARC BOLAN, it’s like he is back from the dead! Catchiest tune is the rocker “Make no mistakes”. Must-have for fans of MOTT THE HOOPLE, T-REX, NEW YORK DOLLS, ENUFF’N’NUFF…

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


HOLY ***!!! Please take your seat and read on, because here I present you the absolute most sensational new AOR band I have heard in ages!!! NEON DIVER come out of Sweden and their 4-track demo CDR sounds like the best independent AOR I have heard in like 10 years!!! Their pure 80s AOR sound is almost as good as FM (their first), STRANGEWAYS (80s), ATLANTIC, PASSION STREET, ROXUS, SIGNAL… This is like the best pure AOR sound I have heard since the 80s ended!!! OK, it is also very close to RADIOACTIVE. Trust me, I don’t know how they have done it, but they are one of the few bands that shocked me as they sound that good. 4 songs are on the demo CDR, with the first 2 being the most sensational AOR songs from the past few years, these are “High above” and “Court and spark”. “Radio kids” is not that sensational, still pure 80s AOR a la SAFIRE. Closing track is “Hearts”, with dut-dut keys in best 80s tradition, a very good fun AOR rocker a la first FM. Anyone who is still waiting for a new pure AOR band, look no further as NEON DRIVER is the answer. This band should be signed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, because this is the best unsigned AOR band at the moment, with just a demo that even beats the hell out of most label releases! The band has a fantastic lead singer (MAGNUS FLORIN) and great highly skilled players, with as most important member the drummer Kristofer Von Wachfeldt of PLATITUDE. You can download the mp3s of the songs at:  and 

(Points: 9.2 out of 10)


Hot new band out of the UK, with a promising year ahead (2007), as their EP CD will then be released and should be one of the bands to follow-up the success of acts like ARCTIC MONKEYS, THE KILLERS and KAISER CHIEFS in 2006. Their 4-track EP sounds quite good, very British, but rocks hard enough and is also melodic, but always with that typical British Melancholic touch. The CD was produced by MARK WILLIAMS (BLOC PARTY) and fans of the present British Rocksound will absolutely love this band and I am sure they will have their fifteen minutes of fame soon. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Punky Glamrock from Finland and be sure this sounds very good. They sent me a 7 tracks counting independent CD, which is reminding me of HANOI ROCKS and PRIVATE LINE, 2 other Finnish acts which are quite popular. First song “Drowned” is a very catchy tune that sets the record straight here, making you aware that THE JADE is a great new band. Although Punk and Glam go hand in hand here, it sometimes is a bit more melodic rock orientated that even reminds me of 70s DAVID BOWIE here and there, with a slight HIMish approach to make it sound edgier and more modern sounding. Anyway, check out this band at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Still waiting for the classic 1985 VAN ZANT album to be re-issued on CD, but in the meantime ROCK CANDY RECORDS re-issued the JOHNNY VAN ZANT album ‘No more dirty deals’ on CD. This was the first album of Johnny, brother of the late Ronnie (LYNYRD SKYNYRD) and Donnie (38 SPECIAL) Van Zant. Musically 38 SPECIAL and VAN ZANT went into a more AOR direction. The first JOHNNY VAN ZANT album re-issued here was not pure AOR, but a mix of Southern Rock and AOR, just like 38 SPECIAL in their early years. Be sure to check out “Never too late”, “Only the strong survive” and the CLASSIC “Standing In The Darkness”, all great tunes. The next couple of releases saw Johnny moving more and more into pure AOR, with eventually releasing a classic in 1985. Then it became quiet, with a release in the 90s, fronting LYNYRD SKYNYRD, but then the big success came after all in 2006, when VAN ZANT released a new record, but musically it was modern country-rock, so the AOR and even Southern Rock had disappeared. This re-issue recalls better times of VAN ZANT, dating back to 1980.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The debut album of New York based DIVING FOR PEARLS was an instant classic, produced by DAVID PRATER for CBS records it even sold 250,000 copies in the USA back in 1989, but that did not had any influence for the decision to drop the band and up until recently it was the only album of the band. The recently released 2nd album was not quite different than awesome debut album of the band. Now 17 years after the original release the first DIVING FOR PEARLS has been re-issued onto CD, with the addition of 5 bonus tracks. A very good decision, because this was one of those AOR classics just waiting for a remastered re-issue on CD. ROCK CANDY RECORDS once again did a terrific job, because besides the huge sound the album now has, also the extensive booklet looks excellent. Songs like “Gimme Your Good Lovin”, “Have You Forgotten”, “I Close My Eyes” and “Never On Monday” are timeless classics, pure AOR, but due to the slightly different way of singing of lead vocalist DANNY MALON it stood out between the rest of the major label releases in the late 80s. Unfortunately Grunge destroyed the original AOR Rocksound of the USA in the early 90s and so we are now looking at the first DIVING FOR PEARLS release again as being a classic made available again. Be sure to check it out asap in case you missed it in 1989, not only for the music, because the sound is incredible (excellent remastering, blew my ears away and the impressive liner notes by DAVID PRATER, producer of the record). Must-have!

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


One of the most used names in rock history, the bandname STORM. Of course the best one was the KEVIN CHALFANT fronted THE STORM, which released 2 sensational releases in the early/mid 1990s. However, in the late 70s there was a female fronted band called STORM. This STORM from the late 70s/early 80s released 2 records, although their best was yet to come in the shape of a bunch of sensational AOR demos in the late 80s (please release them officially!). The first album has been re-issued by ROCK CANDY RECORDS just recently, while the 2nd (which was also titled 'Storm') has now been re-issued onto CD as well. Complete with an extensive booklet, this re-issue is pretty much another must-have for the collectors among us. The album is much better than their 1979 debut, as this 1983 final STORM album was a very strong AOR album with such strong songs like "Settle down", "Take me away", "So long" and "Play with me". And you also get 6 demos as a bonus, so what more do you want! Definitely another impressive re-issue on ROCK CANDY RECORDS!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


HOUSE OF LORDS live is a very enjoyable event, as I witnessed myself in 2006. JAMES CHRISTIAN and co. made the best out of their short European Tour which saw them mainly perform in Holland and the UK. FRONTIERS RECORDS was impressed as well, which leads us to the release of a live CD of the band. A DVD would have been more interesting and we know live HOUSE OF LORDS uses tapes to make the sound more complete, so yes of course this Live CD is sounding as good as the studio-album. Negative point is that there is less space for jams and longer versions of the HOUSE OF LORDS classics (which were all played during the concerts), because the band has to play along with the tapes for backing vocals and keyboards. For the real live freaks of course a disappointment, but for the die-hard fans of the band this is a nice addition. A strange thing however about this release is that it was recorded in late 2005, as no songs of the new 2006 album are played here, but looking at the line-up (Mary/Wright/Cordola/Christian) learns us that only JAMES CHRISTIAN is left a year later and back then the missing of a live keyboardplayer also showed the band was not up there with the big boys, which is still the case. If only GREGG GIUFFRIA would return live on stage, this band could become really huge, because then they would sound like they sounded some 18 years ago! Nevertheless they still sound pretty good, although a bit safe most of the time, which can be heard on this live CD as well as during the recent live concerts….

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Not one, but two new albums of JORN LANDE are released on FRONTIERS RECORDS on the same day (January 2007). The 'Unlocking the past' release includes some previously unreleased cover songs that were originally considered to be “leftovers” or additional bonus tracks for previous JORN albums. It is a nice collection and the performance is rather excellent, with musicians like DON AIREY, MORTY BLACK, RONNIE LE TEKRO, RALPH SANTOLLA, JOHN MACALUSO, etc. etc. Jorn sings at his best, with his typical DAVID COVERDALE meets RONNIE JAMES DIO way of singing. I don't think more needs to be said about this release, as all covers sound impressive to say the least. However, if you want to hear Jorn singing own material, better check out the other solo release 'The gathering'.

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


2 new albums by JORN LANDE, but both of them are not really filled with new material, as the ‘Unlocking the past’ release is just a sort of an unreleased covers album, while this ‘The gathering’ is a collection of songs recorded in Jorn’s earlier years before his MASTERPLAN adventure. However, all songs have been digitally mastered by Tommy Hansen and this ‘The gathering’ surely is a nice renewed introduction to the strong solo work of JORN LANDE, with 16 tracks in total, of which “Young forever”, “Bridges will burn”, “Hourglass” and “Sunset station” are definitely very sensational Melodic Metal pieces (almost classics!!!). Better check out this release asap if you never heard Jorn’s solowork, because here you get the best of it on a single CD!

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Out of Dublin, Ireland comes FRANCIS COURCHINOUX, a very talented musician who is singing, playing guitar and al;so writing/producing all his own material. Now he has released a good quality CD that contains a sort of celtic/folk influenced progrockstyle. Hard to compare, because Francis has created an own style, which is especially interesting for open-minded progfans out there. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Punk/Hardcore is not really the style you associate with Christian music, but THE LEAD were definitely one of the few Christian bands playing pure Punk/Hardcore with a message about God. Musically it was close to DEAD KENNEDYS, although with a female vocalist as well (bassist was a female singer, drummer and guitarist both male also sang) they also sounded a bit more like a rougher version of THE RUNAWAYS. Now there is a 2-CD set available of this legendary 3-piece band, which contains all the recordings of the band from the period 1985-1989. The songs with the female vocals are definitely the best, musically more melodic, but still pure late 70s Punkrock in UK style, but it was really the mid 80s keyboard dominated world back in 1985, so that might be the reason THE LEAD remained a cult underground band, because nowadays such a style would be pretty trendy. Anyway, for a fan of the band this is of course a must-have release and also regular Punkfans should check out the 50 songs on the 2 CDs here. More info and CD available through: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Guitarist KEVIN FERGUSON comes out of Oregon/USA and he released a nice instrumental CD featuring 20 songs with flashy guitarwork. It all reminds me a bit of RICK RAY. Nice job, one to own for the guitarfreaks. More info at: 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


After 2 releases on LIMB MUSIC, the Finnish band BURNING POINT has signed with METAL HEAVEN. Musically not that much has changed, as the new CD ‘Burned down the enemy’ offers us once again very impressive Melodic Metal with sometimes a step into pure Power Metal (“Parasite” and “Hell awaits”) while at other times the band drifts into a pure Melodic Rocksound (“Heart of Gold” and “From the beginning of it all”), but all together this is Melodic Metal at it’s best, because all the songs are catchy and super melodic, with still enough room for a good old big guitarsound in classic Metal territory. It is very nice to see the keys produced upfront several times as well, which gives it a 80s PRETTY MAIDS/MALMSTEEN kinda approach such as in the wonderful “Deceiver”. Another strong Finnish release is what we have here, which is a must-have if you like DIONYSUS, DESTYNATION, DREAM EVIL, NOSTRADAMEUS, MYSTIC PROPHECY, BLOODBOUND, NOCTURNAL RITES, EDGUY and such Melodic Metal…

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)