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Last year we had WIG WAM, the fantastic Norwegian band that participated in the Eurovision Song Contest and have so far released 2 very impressive albums, which musically contain high class Melodic Hardrock a la GOTTHARD, 80s DEF LEPPARD and BON JOVI. This year Sweden took the challenge and almost got THE POODLES into the Eurovision Song Contest. A pity it didn’t happen, because this is surely an awesome new band formed around members of THE RING, TALISMAN, LION’S SHARE, ZAN CLAN and several other Swedish bands (namely singer Jacob Samuel (Talisman,Jekyll and Hyde), guitarist Pontus Norgren (Talisman,Great King Rat), bassist Pontus Egberg (Lions Share) and drummer Christian Lundqvist (Raw)). The band had a great song in the contest, the melodic rocker “Night of passion” (co-written by Matti Alfonzetti, former vocalist in JAGGED EDGE, ALFONZETTI and SKINTRADE), also included on the band’s debut CD “Metal will stand tall”. The song didn?t make it to the Eurovision Song Contest, but nevertheless charted at number 1 in the National Swedish Charts. Now the band has their first CD available and I must say it sounds awesome, almost as good as WIG WAM and GOTTHARD and definitely much better than the new BONFIRE! It?s updated high class 80s inspired Melodic Hardrock with here and there a Metal riff, a bit in the Swedish tradition. The list of guest musicians and co-songwriters is pretty impressive, because names like HOLLY KNIGHT, MATS LEVEN, TOMMY DENANDER, JONAS REINGOLD and MARCEL JACOB pop up. Matti Alfonzetti co-produced the first CD of THE POODLES and it is absolutely stunning what we get to hear, really terrific sensational Melodic Hardrock/Metal with big catchy memorable choruses to sing-a-long with. Highlights include opener “Echoes from the past”, the HELLOWEEN/MANOWAR Metal Hymn “Metal will stand tall”, the Eurovision song “Night of passion”, the superb “Shadows” (which if I am not wrong here was the second song which THE POODLES played in the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest), the GOTTHARD midtempo melodic rocker “Don’t give up on love” and the uptempo melodic rocker “Kingdom of heaven”. The only weaker moments are the cover of the ULTRAVOX classic “Dancing with tears in my eyes” and the song “Number one” which suffers from a catchy chorus, which the rest of the 10 songs all have. Concluded, an absolute winner for fans of WIG WAM and GOTTHARD! More info at: 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Thrash Metal at it’s best from German pioneers DESTRUCTION. This new CD contains re-recorded material from some of the best anthems this band wrote in the 1980s. Besides 13 re-recordings, also 2 new songs are included, so one to own for any Thrash-Metalhead and of course a must-have for the fans of the band!

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Right before the big 2006 explosion of Finnish Melodic Rock/Goth Metal bands, in 2005 a band called SUPERCHRIST released a strong CD, which now finally lands on my desk. Musically heavy, groovy and very 70s Retro Hardrock meets Glamrock orientated, much different than all those other more melodic rock orientated bands from Finland. It’s quite hard to compare this band, but it sounds like a cross between KING’S X, ENUFF’Z’NUFF with a real independent almost late 60s kinda Psychedelic Era guitar buzz sound, very T-REX orientated actually. The band also reminds me of TEENAGE FANCLUB, so even a bit very early 90s Alternative Rock style can be heard. All together a very original band, not at all one to check out if you want catchy fun rocksongs, but more something for the open-minded rocker. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The Italian band NAMELESS CRIME has a new CD out, but unfortunately not much has improved with this band, because they still have an average lead singer. The material on the new CD is also not really earthshaking, so I am afraid we can not place this release next to other sensational Power Metal releases of MACHINE MEN and NOSTRADAMEUS for example. The production on the other hand is quite good, but we miss some really good songs here. In the 1980s you could get away with a release like this, because back then most of the releases of lesser-known bands were in this style, but now in 2007 so many new releases are done it is very hard to make an impact. Only for die-hard Metalfans!

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Last year released in the Spanish version, but now also available in the English version, the latest SARATOGA album. Sadly I prefer the other original version, because the Spanish can not speak English and therefore singing is always with a strong accent, which is also the case now with ‘The fighting clan’, a pity because in Spanish this band sounds very impressive, although not as good as TIERRA SANTA, MAGO DE OZ and RATA BLANCA, the 3 best bands singing in the Spanish language…

(Points: -)


3-piece band from Los Angeles, but sounding like they hail either from New York or from Europe, but they truly are coming out of LA. The band has a female singer and musically it is very experimental but interesting music, sort of mixing Dark Wave, Gothic and Alternative Rock music into an own original sound which owes a lot to bands like DEPECHE MODE and such 80s stuff, although THE GATHERING comparisons are also possible. It is mainly soft keyboard/synthesizer orientated, with vocals that are reminiscent of BLONDIE. “Don’t kill yourself” is the best and most Rock orientated piece, because the rest of the CD is only interesting if you’re an open-minded rocker and dislikes all the typical standard female fronted rock from the USA. Check them out for yourself at:  and 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


Spanish female fronted band with a very experimental yet very 1980s type of danceable pop/rock sound that sounds like it was indeed made in 1982 or something. DEPECHE MODE, NEW ORDER, THE CURE, HUMAN LEAGUE and even BLONDIE come to mind when listening to the already 4th CD f this late 90s formed Basque band. 8 songs complete this 40 minutes counting record. Back to 2007, this is of course a record that could easily find it’s way to the radio-stations, because nowadays the 80s are glorified. This release combines that typical 80s guitar riff of U2/SIMPLE MINDS with sort of a Dancebeat and very lush female vocals of singer Ekhi. Best song definitely “As time breaks off”. More info at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


Described as MELVINS meets THE BEATLES, this Australian band actually goes more in style back to the 1970s Retro Rocksound, with a big touch of early 70s psychedelica era style. You know those big groovy guitar riffs like BLUE CHEER, BLACK SABBATH and JIMI HENDRIX did almost 40 years ago, but THE BAKELITE AGE add an own touch as some Punk and even 80s Alternative Rock can be heard as well. Maybe MELVINS meets BEATLES is a good description after all, but there’s much more behind this band for sure. Check them out at:  and 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


The best Punklabel FAT WRECK RECORDS, also home to NOFX, GOOD RIDDANCE and many more, they have another strong new release, namely the 2nd CD of ONLY CRIME, the US band formed around members of bands like GOOD RIDDANCE, GWAR, BLACK FLAG… The new CD of the band is a very strong real Punkrockalbum with catchy melodic choruses to sing-a-long. GOOD RIDDANCE and IGNITE are clear comparisons here. Highlights between the 12 tracks counting CD are “Shotgun” (VERY CATCHY TUNE!!!), “Now’s the time”, “Just us” and “Too loose”. Only 30 minutes in playing time, but a killer Punkrock release for sure! Check out this project (or band) at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Female fronted pop/rock is at the moment one of the most popular genres in the music business, because in nearly every country we can find a bunch of girls singing and rocking. BELLE comes out of Sweden and sounds like the typical American female rocker at the moment, so here we have comparisons to a KELLY CLARCKON, KRYSTAL MEYERS, STEPHANIE MCINTOSH, JESSIE DANIELS, ANA LAURA, THE VERONICAS, THE BRATZ, SOPHIE, etc. etc. I guess you’ll get the picture, because this is radio-ready catchy melodic pop/rock. The music is a bit soft for the rockers, but if you appreciate the mentioned artists, this is definitely worth checking out. Belle has a nice voice and she co-writes most of her songs, so who knows a new star is born. More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


2nd CD of the Swedish band MAINSTREET, not to be confused with the same named 80s American and German Melodic Rockbands of the same name. This MAINSTREET released their debut in 2005 and more recently a second CD titled ‘Love and play’. Musically we are heading into Retro Rock and Roll, very 1970s sounding, yet also like the more modern bands such as JET, THE CASANOVAS… What is very clear is the fact that their new CD is a very strong album that is radio-ready if you ask me. Pure Rock with the big letters R.O.C.K. Although hailing from Sweden, this could well be the next big thing from the UK or USA. Be sure to check them out at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


BOROK is one of those bands, which will be loved by the people who want to g et away from the standard/traditional metalsound, because there are strong similarities to the experimental sound of bands like TOOL, OPETH, MASTODON, ANATHEMA, PORCUPINE TREE, SYSTEM OF A DOWN... BOROK is a Swedish band and of course it all sounds very professional, but it really is something you have to listen to a few times before understanding the mix of Doom, Death, Gothic, Thrash and Progmetal. The CD was mastered by PETER IN DE BETOU (KATATONIA, DIMMU BORGIR, MESHUGGAH, etc) and this is one of those CDs which will end up high in the yearly charts of the big Metal magazines, but I am afraid it offers not enough melodies for the visitors of our site. Anyway, check out the band at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


It doesn't happen too often that a new band releases a Live DVD within a few years after their debut release, but in the case of MIND KEY it has happened, because this Italian band has released a DVD, which was recorded in Poland. MIND KEY were formed in 1999 and have released just 1 CD so far, namely the 2004 FRONTIERS RECORDS released 'Journey of a rough diamond'. Apparantly the band is quite popular in Poland, because the concert on this DVD was recorded in a Theatre in Katowice, which also has been a home for many other progbands, of which most were also released on DVD, just like this MIND KEY. The footage is excellent and with 120+ minutes a lengthy DVD for sure. Musically MIND KEY is playing ProgMetal of the SYMPHONY X/DREAM THEATER kind, but then a few levels lower. The sad part is that the band hired a new young singer called GIORGIO ADAMO, who struggles a lot, which is a shame, because their orginal singer on the CD sounded pretty good. Nevertheless, the progmetal of MIND KEY is quite good and it is a very nice DVD to watch, because it all looks very professional and it is very enjoyable to watch a performance in such a nice place as the Katowice theatre. Check out the band's site at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Already the 7th CD of the Spanish band DARK MOOR. It is a bit of a shame their former female lead vocalist ELISA C. MARTIN was replaced back in 2003 by a male singer (ALFRED ROMERO), because she was definitely making DARK MOOR sound better than they now sound. Nevertheless, all is done to make this new CD a true winner for fans of Italo Power Metal. The CD was produced by LUIGI STEFANINI (RHAPSODY/LABYRINTH/VISION DIVINE) and of course therefore the sound and production is superb. I must admit that this is the best release of DARK MOORE since the departure of their female singer. Highlights on the new album are "The star", "Wheel of fortune" (almost AORish song), "Lovers", “The hanged man” and the 10 minutes counting bombastic classical music influenced "The moon". Sometimes it is going in a very cliché tingled RHAPSODY/KAMELOT/SONATA style, but happily it is all done very well and especially during the mentioned songs it even sounds quite sensational. OK, this CD will not get an award for being original, because the influences of mentioned bands can be heard all throughout the CD, but it does sound quite impressive for sure.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Yet another new Progressive Rockproject formed around well-known members in the scene, basically a must-have for the fans of KINO, FROST, GPS, RPWL.. You can compare the whole Neo-Prog scene with the AOR scene, because both genres brought a bunch of well-established big bands of which the members now all do side-projects with people from upcoming progbands. BLIND EGO is formed around RPWL Guitarist KALLE WALLNER, bassist JOHN JOWITT (IQ/JADIS), vocalists JOHN MITCHELL (ARENA, IT BITES, KINO) and PAUL WRIGHTSON (ex-ARENA) and German drummer TOMMY EBERHARDT. Guest appearances are coming from CLIVE NOLAN (ARENA/PENDRAGON) and RPWL keyboarder YOGI LANG. It might not be a surprise to hear that the first CD of BLIND EGO is filled with pure Progressive Rock in the style of all the other projects such as RPWL, GPS, FROST, KINO and it also reminds me of JADIS/SYLVAN. Less keyboard orientated and with a modern touch, this is surely one of the promising releases of 2007 and one to own if you're a proggy. Be sure to check out the songs "Don’t ask me why" and "Forbidden to remain". More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Already out in the Far East for a long time, but now also in Europe, the new CD of the French band HEAVENLY. Musically not much has changed and I think they have delivered another fine piece of European melodic metal. Songs like “Spill Blood On Fire” (fantastic bombastic tune, HUGE CHORUS), “Virus” and “Bravery In The Field” are very strong tunes that clearly have a big RHAPSODY approach, so this new album of HEAVENLY is far from original, but why complain if they do it all very very well. Only the cover of the 80s classic “When The Rain Begins To Fall” should have been left out here as it does not bring anything new. The Japanese are gonna love this album, which sounds like a perfect mix of KAMELOT and RHAPSODY. However for something original you should look further, as HEAVENLY’s new album is most of the time sounding very familiar, as they even borrowed from their own previous album here and there… Yet again fans of the typical Italo Power Metalsound will love the new CD of the French band HEAVENLY.

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The Swedish band NOSTRADAMEUS returns with a new CD and it seems they are getting better with every new CD. The new album is titled 'Pathway' and the Melodic Metal of NOSTRADAMEUS is now really not far away in quality to bands like MYSTIC PROPHECY, DREAM EVIL, NOCTURNAL RITES... The absolute highlight on the new CD is the fantastic midtempo anthem "The untouchables" that has a killer chorus to sing-a-long to and is in sound mixing the best of ACCEPT/SCORPIONS riffs from the 80s with a chorus a la NOCTURNAL RITES/MYSTIC PROPHECY. The band started in the 90s with a more friendly melodic hardrocksound, with keys, but on this album it is big sounding European Melodic Metal with a huge guitarsound, but still super melodic in both the vocal department and during the choruses. Just maybe the band has now delivered their finest effort. Must-have for any Melodic metalfan!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


Some time ago we reviewed the CD of the singer HARV, who came up with a fantastic pure 80s AOR album. Especially his vocals were un believable, a little like JOHN LAWTON. The music was sensational at times and really going into classic PREVIEW/SHY/WINTER'S REIGN territory, with a touch of the first HAREM SCAREM/FIORE, while I also heard similarities to FINAL FRONTIER. Anyway, somehow lead singer Harv (John Harv Harbinson - ex SWEET SAVAGE, EMERALD, NO SWEAT, DEN OF THIEVES) formed a band around him called STORMZONE, signed a deal with ESCAPE MUSIC and now their first CD is available. Anyone who did not got the HARV CD should now definitely pick up this first STORMZONE CD. Although most of the songs are taken from the HARV CD, the sound quality is better and you can hear all is done perfectly well in making this now a true winner for the AOR/Melodic Rockfans! Songs like "Spellbound", "Hold Onto Her Love", "Stranger Things Have Happened", "Crying In The Rain, "Beating Of A Heart" and "New World" are lovely classic AOR tunes. Concluded, a winner for anyone who thought the new FINAL FRONTIER was a bit over-the-top...

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


CODE is a brand new band featuring Sherwood Ball (vocals, guitar; JAY GRAYDON), Ola af Trampe (guitar; ex GRAND ILLUSION) and Anders Rydholm (bass, keyboards, guitars; ex GRAND ILLUSION). Together they recorded a very impressive but cliché sounding AOR record, so nothing new, just good enough to give it a few spins from time to time. All the drums were played by Gregg Bissonette (DAVID LEE ROTH, STEVE VAI, JOE SATRIANI, TOTO etc.) and although the sound is ok, I think the production could have been a bit better. Also at times it sounds a bit too clean and CODE takes the easy way. Comparisons to RADIOACTIVE are very clear and especially the beginning of the CD contains some very good AOR tunes, like "The Enemy Within', "Sign Up For Love", "Home Away From Home", "In The Shadows" and the 80s Power AOR ballads "How Do We Stay In Love" and Change The World• Flying High• Sworn To Silence... Not as good as some of the other AOR projects, but for sure one to check out if you also liked last year's SUNSTORM, SLAMER, PHILIP BARDOWELL and of course any TOTO/GRAND ILLUSION/JAY GRAYDON fan...

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The Norwegian Metalband GRAND LUX is making their debut with the release of ‘Carved in stone’. Musically they play a sort of traditional Melodic Metalstyle that reminds me somehow of the 80s (the catchy uptempo “Fallen angel” sounds like a mix between very early STRYPER and FIFTH ANGEL!!!), but yet with an updated approach sometimes. They have a strong lead singer (PHIL GOODE) and after a few spins I was convinced that this is an incredible band, due to both great vocalwork and catchy melodic choruses (such as in the songs “Fallen angel”, “Escaping the clouds”, “Never fall” and the pure 80s “Eye of the storm”) The band even recorded a video for one of their songs (“Escaping the clouds”) and it surely looks like we have another strong new Scandi band trying to make it big. Slightly different than for example NOCTURNAL RITES, DREAM EVIL, MYSTIC PROPHECY, NOSTRADAMEUS, but I do think fans of traditional Melodic Metal will also like this GRAND LUX that most of the time reminds me of a mix between DUNGEON (the choruses), CANDLEMASS (some riffs), TEER (remember them?) and very early STRYPER!!! More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Remember VISION 180, the sensational US AOR band from a few years ago? Well, they changed their name, re-record some of their songs and now released a new CD under the bandname 7TH DB. Most of the songs were also recorded by VISION 180 for previous records, but always nice to see these Classic AOR type of songs get a second chance, because that’s basically what most of the 8 included songs represent. Of course you can not compare it to the label releases, because therefore the sound/production is not big enough, but I am quite sure fans of FINAL FRONTIER, SHY, JOURNEY and such will definitely like the record of 7TH DB. Songs like “All I ever need”, “Will you remember me” and “Don’t be lonely” are perfectly made for the fan of Classic 80s hookladen catchy AOR. Check it out for yourself at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The Finnish band MACHINE MEN returns what might be their finest effort so far. The 3rd CD ‘Circle of fools’ is a Melodic Metal Masterpiece in typical European style, akin a lot to MYSTIC PROPHECY, NOCTURNAL RITES, DREAM EVIL, BLOODBOUND, WOLF and such, which means big heavy Metalsound with classic Twin-guitarwork in true 80s style and very strong Melodic Choruses, sort of mixing HELLOWEEN, MAIDEN and TESTAMENT, that’s what this European Melodic Power Metalsound is all about… The new MACHINE MEN is a very good start for 2007 as this is really a wonderful record with such amazing songs like “No talk without the giant”, “Tyranize”, “Where I stand” and “Dying without a name”. One of the albums that will most definitely end up high in our yearly charts!

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Italian band formed in the early 2000s, but now making their debut with this CD, which is released on the Greek label BURNING STAR RECORDS. Musically pure Progressive Metal in the SYMPHONY X/EVERGREY/DREAM THEATER style, so not that original I am afraid. Nevertheless, fans of the genre will like this record, although I must say it is not the finest release in the genre. You can compare it with other Italo Prog Metal bands such as ETERNIA and especially MIND KEY. The album has been out for a while now and the 12 included songs are a nice introduction to yet another progmetal band. Like I said before, do not expect anything spectacular, because this is just a nice little progmetal album.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Quite popular they are in their homecountry of Finland, this band called SWALLOW THE SUN. Their previous 2 albums charted and now they are about to release a new CD titled ‘Hope’. Musically they have a Dark Doom Metalsound with in the vocal department a mixture of typical Finnish Melodic Goth like (read: HIM) clean vocals and Death male growls, while instrumental they are True Metal orientated. In the end it reminds me of OPETH, AMORPHIS, ATROCITY and IN FLAMES a lot. The new album will probably be loved by the fans of the band, but I had rather heard some more clean vocals, because it is now in each song during the chorus a constant male growling. Anyway, fans of the band will like I said before be proud of this new SWALLOW THE SUN record.

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Melancholic is definitely the right word for this band, which is playing a sort of Gothic/Doom Metalstyle with hard-to-understand Black Metal screams, sort of like a mix between CHILDREN OF BODOM and ORPHANAGE and OPETH. They have released a few CDs before this album and although the sound/production is fine as well as instrumental, it’s the fact the vocals are in the Black Metal department that makes this albumk not really interesting for the melodic fans.

(Points: 6.7 out of 10)


Formed in the late 90s, the Finnish band BATTLELORE has built up a reputation and now releases their 4th CD titled ‘Evernight’. Musically they play epic Fantasy Metal with Medieval themes. The band mixes Death male growls and clean melodic female vocals. This works quite good, although I prefer the female vocals of KAISA JOUHKI for sure, as the male growling gets a bit annoying sometimes. The band sounds like a mix between LEAVES’ EYES and ATROCITY, with a bit of ORPHANAGE here and there. Instrumental and the female vocals are definitely top-notch, but the male growling should be shortened next time. However, that makes this band on the other hand BATTLELORE, because they have done that on 3 albums so far and this 4th CD is no exception to the rule!

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


I am afraid this is Metalcore/Thrashcore, really aggressive without any melodies, so not that interesting for our readers. FEAR MY THOUGHTS is a German band, which already released a bunch of albums, all succesfull among the fans of the more Extreme Metalsound. If you listen closely, they have more to offer, but in general they are a bit too aggressive and only interesting for the fans of Metal with a lot of screaming…

(Points: -)


Better late than never, the 2nd album of PRIVATE LINE. This band from Finland is very popular in their own country, scoring 4 top 10 hitsingles and late last year releasing their 2nd album, which definitely beats their debut ‘21st century pirates’, which we also reviewed. The album contains a mix of 80s Glamrock, Melodic Rock Choruses and typical Finnish HIM/Goth Rock/Metal riffs. Singer SAMMY sounds like an improved version of VINCE NEIL, while instrumental this is pure HIM/LOVEX, although the band also throws in some dirty mean Rock and Roll/Sleaze guitar riffs here and there, but never forgetting the catchy melodic choruses. The beginning of the CD is very impressive, with fantastic tracks like “Broken promised land”, “Alive” and “Sound advice”. After a couple of weaker aggressive tunes (“Prozac nation” and “Uniform”), the band is back in pure Melodic Rock format with the uptempo catchy “Gods of rewind” and “Anyway”, which are 2 more highlights of this rather strong album. PRIVATE LINE are one of many bands in the Finnish scene that combines image with strong melodic rock music. Check out their site at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Like the title of the CD predicts, this is a collection of the favorite songs of this artist. More important however is the fact that MARK WOOD is a legend in the USA, where he performed and appeared with many celebrities such as CELINE DION, JAY LENO and DONALD TRUMP. Mark has made his own Electric Guitar in the shape of a Violin, on which he plays like a sort of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, so faster than the speed of light and strongly into the Neo-Classical Metal side of things. He looks like an 80s Poser, but I assume these are old pictures. Mark released 5 solo-CDs and this best of CD was released in 2001, so it is a bit back-to-back here. Not a problem at all, because the included 12 songs show that Mark is one of the best and has an unique approach to the 80s Metalsound. It’s all instrumental and it sounds like MALMSTEEN meets BACH, so be sure to check this out if you want to hear something of a very high level. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


I reviewed this Finnish band when they were unsigned with just a demo out, but now they are on the PLAYGROUND MUSIC label from Sweden, which is also home to PRIVATE LINE. VANITY INK is a female fronted band and they combine Classic Sleazy Rock and Roll with catchy melodic choruses, packed in a modern sound, reminding me a lot of BITCH/BETSY and also LULLACRY, put it somewhere in between them, with the catchiness of BIF NAKED from Canada. Most of the 11 included 3-minutes counting tunes are uptempo, of which the best are “Voyeur boy”, “Sucker”, the cool TANITA TIKARAM cover “Twist in my sobriety” and “Inside”, all very strong uptempo Melodic Rock orientated pieces that might even do well with the fans of VIXEN. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


It seems like with every new CD, the German Metalband SYMPHORCE becomes heavier and more aggressive. The opener of their new CD ‘Become death’ is a very aggressive song that could almost be labeled as a Thrash metal song with modern Metal riffs. “Darkness fills the sky” is the songtitle of the particular track. The following songs go in the more familiar SYMPHORCE style, combining their Dark metal sound with strong melodic choruses, which can best be heard in “In the hopes of a dream”, “Death has come”, “Inside the cast” (by far the best song, a very smooth Melodic Rocker sounding like a mix between HIM and MAIDEN, with catchy Melodic Rock chorus) and “Towards the light” (SKID ROW meets THE CULT meets HIM, very original song with a catchy chorus). The band sounds a lot like EVERGREY and is really a band to grow on you, because at first the might sound very heavy, but most of their songs feature some very strong melodic choruses. Funny thing is that the opener of the new CD sounds incredible heavy and aggressive, but the rest of the album is much more melodic and also very diverse as many many influences can be heard (Doom Metal, Melodic Rock, Thrash Metal and Gothic Rock find their way into SYMPHORCE’s Power Metal). The fans of SYMPHORCE, BRAINSTORM, EVERGREY, THRESHOLD and maybe even NEVERMORE are gonna love this record for sure…

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


From out of nowhere comes a new DOMINE album titled ‘Ancient spirit rising’. The first 2 songs on the 5th CD of this Italian band even gave me the feeling that this was gonna be their best effort so far, because they sound really sensational. “The messenger” and especially the fast “Tempest calling” are quite superb tunes. “Tempest calling” is one of the best songs DOMINE ever recorded, because this song has a deadly catchy chorus and is a very fast super melodic Power Metal song! The songs are very melodic and move away from the DOMINE sound of their earlier 4 albums, even revealing some slight Italo Power Metal, although mainly the band stays in the classic MAIDEN Metal department on the rest of the CD. However, I feel the 3-years it took the band to come up with a follow-up to their previous album ‘Emperor of the black runes’ has done them well as this new album is very impressive, with another special mention for the song “Tempest calling”, which might be the best Power Metal of 2007 in like 11 months from now!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


MASTERPLAN strike back with a new album, despite the change of lead vocalist. Although the 3rd CD 'MK2' is a very strong European melodic metal release with some killer songs, the classic debut from 2003 is not reached. That does not mean this release is not interesting, because new singer MIKE DIMEO (RIOT) is a very good replacement for JORN LANDE. Definitely not a problem he's on board, because he can carry the songs just as good, although some people might disagree. However, this new MASTERPLAN album would not have sounded better with Jorn at the mic. Songs like "Phoenix Rising", "Warrior’s Cry", "Lost and Gone" and "I’m gonna win" are very strong pure MASTERPLAN monsters, but somehow I feel towards the end the songs are a bit less stronger. Concluded, a strong album, but maybe not good enough to make it into the top 10 albums of 2007 at the end of the year.

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


The Swedish band DREAMLAND returns with their 2nd CD. Although hailed by some as a HAMMERFALL copycat, the band is now starting to develop an own sound on their new album 'Eye for an eye'. The band is of course playing in typical European (read: Swedish) Melodic Metal tradition and this new album is very impressive if I may say so. Comparisons to DIONYSUS, DESTYNATION, EDGUY, NOCTURNAL RITES, MYSTIC PROPHECY, DREAM EVIL are definitely quite easy to make, but thanks to the wonderful lead singer DREAMLAND has an own identity. 11 songs are included, very cliché songtitles, but nevertheless very nice to hear if you like afforementioned bands. Highlights this time are “Eye For An Eye”, “Secret Signs”, “Chosen Ones” and “Shadows Of The Night”. The band is making the kind of metal where you actually need to be a knight on a horse riding through the sky with an iron fist in the air and a sword in the other hand, while fighting a dragon in a forest far far away. OK, enough with the jokes, this is Melodic Metal at it’s best, definitely one of the highlights in 2007 for this kind of genre!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


SILENT FORCE finally return with a new CD after a silence of 2 years. However, the new CD is worth the wait as it is one of the strongest releases the band has done so far. Musically nothing has changed and so once again we can enjoy melodic metal at it's best with fantastic vocalwork of DC COOPER. 12 songs are on the 4th CD and although the band started with a very Power Metal based sound that even recalled memories of JUDAS PRIEST, SILENT FORCE in 2007 is a pure Neo-Classical Melodic Metal band that sounds very much like ROYAL HUNT, in which of course DC COOPER also was present for quite some time. Songs like “Walk The Earth”, “Point Of No Return”, “Running through the fire”, “Goodbye My Ghost” and “My Independence Day “ (lovely like ROYAL HUNT in their best days) are truly wonderful, but so is the whole album! This is a very impressive CD that shows SILENT FORCE at their very best, a must-have for fans of KAMELOT, ROYAL HUNT, ARTENSION, SYMPHONY X…

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


ANGRA’s vocalist EDU FALASCHI has recorded his first solo album, but released it as a project called ALMAH. Although EDU is a very talented singer, songwriter, arranger and producer, he hired some musicians to play the instruments and none-other than drummer Casey Grillo (KAMELOT), guitarist Emppu Vuorinen (NIGHTWISH) and bassist Lauri Porra (STRATOVARIUS) appear as musicians on the ALMAH CD. Also several guest musicians make their entrance, such as Mike Stone (Queensr˙che’s guitar player) and Edu Ardanuy (Dr. Sin’s guitar player), among many others. The CD was mixed in Brazil by producer Adriano Daga, who has worked with many artists during his winning career, including LENNY KRAVITZ and Silverchair. He’s been awarded a Grammy in 2005. Edu Falaschi wrote all the songs and lyrics of the album and recorded all keyboards and acoustic guitar parts by himself. Furthermore Edu came up with the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, vocal and orchestral arrangements, although they were played by the aforementioned musicians. It feels like this is really EDU’s baby and I must admit it does sound as good as ANGRA for sure, although a bit different, more Melodic Heavy/Hardrock here and there, sort of like SHAMAN/PINK CREAM 69 actually, but also pure Metal (MAIDEN/PRIMAL FEAR!). Especially the songs “Take Back Your Spell” (fast catchy Melodic Power Metal), “Scary Zone” (DREAM THEATER meets MAIDEN) and “Golden Empire” (hello 80s QUEENSRYCHE) and the semi-ballad “Primitive chaos”. SHAMAN, ANGRA and now ALMAH, one big family from Brazil, all high quality stuff combining elements of Prog, Power and Melodic Metal.

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Aussie rockers ROSE TATTOO are back with a new CD, which has no surprises of course, because this band has always been of the same kind, which is mean dirty rock and roll that will appeal to both Rock’n’Roll/Sleaze fans and Punkfans. Last year I reviewed their re-issued albums on CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS and although this new CD is not as good as their classic 80s releases, it surely is a winner for the ROSE TATTOO fans as this is serious Rock and Roll in it’s original form, simple and straight-ahead with a lot of Angry vocals! ‘Blood brothers’ is their 3rd album this millennium and it shows the band is still alive and rocking!

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Although the start of the 2nd album ‘Militant mother’ of the German based band NIKKI PUPPET is pretty nice, really strong uptempo female fronted ballsy Melodic Heavy Rock with this first track “Lost in time”, the rest of the CD gets a bit boring, drifting into 80s Teutonic ACCEPT Metalstyle which goes in one ear and out the other, sort of like the recent MATT SINNER project GODDESS SHIVA, but also with some slight Punkrock influences, although this is mainly a Rock and Roll affair. Singer NICKY GRONEWOLD has a great voice really, but there are a bunch of songs included here that suffer from a weak chorus and the BILLY JOEL cover “We didn’t start the fire” doesn’t help either. However, still songs like “Turning in circles”, “Paralized” and the mentioned opener “Lost in time” are nice songs like GIRLSCHOOL and VIXEN forgot to make on their recent reunion albums. Fans of female fronted rock will definitely like this album, but still I feel it could sound better…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Swedish Death-Metal, first release in this genre on MASCOT RECORDS, but unfortunately not interesting.

(Points: - out of 10)


New German band with their debut release, but sadly it is filled with average Thrash-Metal…

(Points: 5.5 out of 10)


STYX in the 1970s and NIGHT RANGER in the 1980s were in those times releasing sensational records which might be classified as Classics, but the 1990s were hard times for these bands, which also resulted in very disappointing releases of them, but nevertheless live they were still amazing. The earlier collaboration between STYX guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw and NIGHT RANGER bassist/vocalist Jack Blades was back in the early 90s with the Melodic Hardrock outfit DAMN YANKEES, but after 2 albums they called it a day. Actually after 1992 they never managed to release anything sensational, even though they released several records with their own bands, released solo-records and now with 'Influence' this is the duo’s first album since their recently re-released 1995 debut, “Hallucination”. The self-produced new CD was mixed by Noel Golden (SSAMMY HAGAR, TRIUMPH, MATCHBOX 20) and GREAT WHITE keyboardist/guitarist Michael Lardie. Musically it is sort of laid-back westcoast music like they only can make in the midwest of the USA, you know the kind with lots of harmonyvocals and mainly acoustic guitar playing. However, as the title predicts, the included songs were an influence on the 2 musicians. It concerns here namely a covers collection, mostly of songs from the 1960s and the 1970s, such as the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work,” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sounds Of Silence". Nicely done, but not really that interesting, because we rather hear STYX and NIGHT RANGER making new music in the style of their classic recordings.

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


MICHAEL VOSS of CASANOVA also keeps his first band MAD MAX alive with a new release titled 'White sands'. 10 songs and musically plain melodic hardrock. It is one of those CDs, which will probably disappear between the rest of the hundreds of releases done each month. MAD MAX once was a great band, making really classic melodic metal in the earlier 80s, but the last couple of albums is more like MICHAEL VOSS restarting the band over and over again with releases that just do not make any impression. A much better decision would be re-issueing the old MAD MAX albums onto CD, but anyway the MICHAEL VOSS fans might enjoy this new one after all because melodic rockers like “Little princess”, “Someone like you”, “Too wrong” and “We fight in white” are nice tunes, but it's definitely not his best recording.

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


New project, but not with a strong release I am afraid. GODDESS SHIVA features ARMIN SABOL(Shiva, Peter Schilling) on guitar, MAT SINNER(Sinner, Primal Fear) on Bass, Vocals and MARTIN SCHMIDT(Atrocity, Leaves Eyes) on Drums, so big names, but the CD they released is just an ok sounding 80s Hardrock/Metal album, nothing more, nothing less. Songs like "Mind of a killer", "This ain't love", "Heat of the night" and "Hold on" are as cliché as you wanna have them. I think fans of the old SINNER/KROKUS might like this, but do not expect anything sensational.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


JIM PETERIK and TOBY HITCHCOCK return with their PRIDE OF LIONS project or should we call them now officially a band. It's the 3rd chapter and musically absolutely nothing has changed and so we are treated once again some lovely Classic 80s based AOR with strong hooks and catchy choruses. Especially the beginning is really superb, with songs like "Heaven on Earth" (uptempo melodic rocker), "Book Of Life" (big chorus a la 70s STYX), "Love's Eternal Flame" (beautiful midtempo AOR ballad), "Language Of The Heart" (classic 80s uptempo AOR), "Let Me Let You Go" (lovely TOTO/LE ROUXish 1982 Pomprock with dut-dut keys) and "Faithful Heart" (lovely AOR ballad), 6 truly amazing songs that show that PRIDE OF LIONS is by far the best AOR band since the early 90s. The 2nd half of the album is somehow a little less sensational, because songs like "Defying Gravity" and "The Roaring Of Dreams" are just OK, but happily it also captures the impressive FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS/ALLIANCE 1982/ ish laid-back AOR songs "Secret Of The Way", "Astonish You" (superb vocalwork of Toby) and "Turnaround" (a duet with Toby's 21-year old sister!)). This is without a doubt the 3rd record of PRIDE OF LIONS which will end up very high on our yearly charts and it belongs together with the 2 other PRIDE OF LIONS releases to the best AOR releases of the 21st century.

(Points: 9.2 out of 10)


Punkbands with a female singer were very rare in the past, but also nowadays it does not happen too often. DEADLINE from the UK have been around for a while now and their latest release is titled 'Take a good look'. Their singer is called LIZ ROSE and she has a great voice making the music of DEADLINE sound very melodic. DEADLINE is a melodic punkpoprockband that might even appeal to fans of THE RUNAWAYS, GIRLSCHOOL... Most of the songs are uptempo and deadly catchy, just listen to "Blood On Your Hands", "Give It Back", "1975" and "Keep On Running". Definitely one of the highlights in the Punkrockscene at the moment, more info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Not sure if this is a compilation of some of the best songs the Czech band recorded over the years or this title should not be taken seriously. Anyway, what you get here is classic 80s Melodic Metal with HELLOWEEN influences, yet with female vocals, a bit reminding me of the Finnish band SYNERGY. I remember reviewing this band in the past, but this ‘new’ CD contains a nice summary of KRLES at their best. The sound/production is good and the lyrics are in English, so understandable for most of us. Recommended if you like female fronted Melodic Metal. Email at:  and check out their site at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


2007 has just started and here we already have the first of an expected new long run of strong Finnish Rock/Metal releases this year. The band is called APRIL and they sound like they are ready to take over the whole US of A. The band mixes several rock and metal styles, but always throw in some lovely catchy melodic choruses. Not that far away from COHEED AND CAMBRIA, yet less proggy and more mixing melodic rock, punk and metal riffs. Songs like “First blood”, “Colourblind” and “Stain” combine the best of the American sound of bands like THREE DAYS GRACE, BREAKING BENJAMIN, DISTURBED with the more traditional Northern European approach that reveals hooks and super melodic choruses as well as a much cleaner classic metal guitarsound, so nothing too distorted here. Melodic, Heavy groovy American Metal riffs, a modern approach and still very catchy, well the result is a very strong debut album of APRIL. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The American band TWISTED TOWER DIRE nicely return with a very strong album that is filled with lovely Classic 80s US Melodic (Power) Metal in the style of HEIR APPARENT, LEATHERWOLF, CRIMSON GLORY, RUFFIANS… 9 songs are included and some of them are really sensational to say the least. Especially closing track “Firebird” is a real Monster track. TWISTED TOWER DIRE show once again how TRUE HEAVY METAL should be done. Most of the bands jump on the faster Italo Power Metal style or the new American Metalsound, but not this band, because they keep delivering the high class sound of the 80s into a new dimension, sounding better than ever!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)