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Together with a few session musicians lead singer JOSE SANCHEZ has formed a band around him and recorded a CD, which musically contains pure 1980s Melodic Hardrock. Not really original, because comparisons to VICE, BONFIRE, DOKKEN, WHITE LION, KEEL, etc. are all easy to make, but then it does not reach the high level of those acts. Production wise it is quite ok, with the harmonyvocals of this kind of ‘Hair Metal’ produced upfront and very professional sounding. Some will probably say the 11 included songs on the debut CD of SANCHEZ go in one ear and out the other, but for fans of classic 80s big Arena sounding American Melodic Hardrock/Hair Metal a la DOKKEN, DANGER DANGER, FIREHOUSE, ROXXI, ROUGHOUSE, HERICANE ALICE, VICE, VICTORY and so on, well they will like it a lot. Highlights are the beautiful ballad “Don’t treat me like a fool” (a mix between BLONZ, MELIDIAN and FIREHOUSE) and the Melodic Rockers “Little bit of love”, the AORish “The runner” (SHY meets TOBRUK) and “Lies!”. Check it out quickly if mentioned bands are your cup of tea! More info at: and www.myspace.comartistservice

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


SHADE is a hot new sensation from the UK. The band is formed around female lead singer EMMA SHADE, who has got an excellent voice by the way, and also DARE members SIMON GARDNER on keys and ANDREW MOORE on guitars. Together under the name SHADE they recorded a fantastic typical 80s influenced female fronted AOR/Melodic Rockalbum that smells like ROBIN BECK. A few songs are a bit more modern in a way we are familiar from MARION RAVEN, KELLY CLARCKSON and such (“It’s alright”, “Shouldn’t have let you go” and “All I am”), but still catchy Melodic Poprock, yet SHADE is at their best during classic 80s type of tunes, such as the superb “Lean on me” (stunning uptempo classic FF AOR a la CINDY CRUSE, ROBIN BECK, DONNA CRISTY, STEFFANIE and such), the AOR ballads “Save me”, “Now it’s for real” and “Maybe this time” and the catchy uptempo melodic poprockers “One way line” and “Waiting for you”. Some more uptempo rockers wouldn’t have hurt, but nevertheless this is a killer album for all fans of female fronted melodic poprock/aor, especially if you like ROBIN BECK, go check it out at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Guitarist RICHIE KOTZEN has had quite a successful career which started in the AOR band ARTHUR’S MUSEUM, a local AOR band and evolved into a solo career when he was a teenager, joining POISON in his 20s and during the 2000s he did all sorts of projects, playing with STANLEY CLARKE, MR, BIG and also here and there some side-projects, as well as his own solo stuff. The album he now has released is the ‘Return of the Mother Head’s family reunion’, which is a sort of tribute to the 1970s Funky and somewhat Bluesy yet clearly soulful Hardrock of MOTHER’S FINEST, GLENN HUGHES, TRAPEZE, BAD COMPANY, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD and such, yet with own original songs on which Richie does not only play guitar, but also sings like he is Mr. GLENN HUGHES himself! It sounds quite excellent really and should be classified as Soulful Funky Groovy 70s Rock with strong melodies and ERIC CLAPTON/FLEETWOOD MACish guitarwork after a couple of listens. Definitely an album which will be loved by Rock critics, although it has nothing to do with the AOR releases which are usually released on FRONTIERS RECORDS.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Ever since MICHAEL BORMANN left JADED HEART, the band hasn’t been the same, although their first non-Bormann album ‘Helluva time’ was a good album, yet not nearly as good as the original JADED HEART line-up albums from the past. New CD ‘Sinister mind’ is definitely better than ‘Helluva time’, Melodic Hardrockin’ reminding of the 2nd JADED HEART album ‘Slaves and masters’, with good vocals of singer JOHAN FAHLBERG (ex-SCUDIERO), who sadly does not sound as good as Michael Bormann. Nevertheless, the new CD ‘Sinister mind’ is a very good Melodic Hardrockalbum, with the band reaching highlights in the shape of “Hero”, “Justice is deserved”, “Always on my mind”, “Heavenly devotion”, “Hellucinate” and “Crush that fear”, all uptempo rockers with big harmonyvocal driven choruses that rightaway stick in your head after hearing it. Maybe not as good as the first couple of JADED HEART albums, still an album to check out if you call yourself a Melodic Hardrockfan!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Although lead singer TED POLEY has done a lot the past 18 years, he never was able to reach the incredible high level of the sensational debut CD of DANGER DANGER from 1989, which after all these years is still his finest work. Not forgetting the debut album of PROPHET, which was released more than 20+ years ago and still today is held high in the AOR scene! The man has aged quite well, because he doesn’t look that different from the pictures of that first PROPHET release from 1985! Anyway, the new TED POLEY album ‘Smile’ is without a doubt his best work in a long time, a real strong AOR/Melodic Rockalbum with many great songs, such as “Waiting line”, “Going blind”, “Smile” and “Where it ends”. Like I said in the beginning of this review, it might not be as good as the DANGER DANGER classic debut album, still it is a good thing to see TED POLEY still making high class catchy summerish fun Melodic Rock in best 80s style, which BON JOVI has forgotten to do since the 80s ended!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


ROAD TO RUIN is a new Swedish superband formed around guitarist LARS CHRISS (LION’S SHARE), bassist/keyboardplayer SAMPO AXELSSON (GLENN HUGHES), drummer THOMAS BROMAN (JOHN NORUM, GLENN HUGHES) and vocalist MATTI ALFONZETTI (SKINTRADE, ALFONZETTI, JAGGED EDGE). Together they recorded a very strong album which contains Melodic Hardrock with 70s and 80s influences, combining the best of BLACK SABBATH, early EUROPE, RAINBOW and WHITESNAKE. 9 songs are included and especially the uptempo melodic rocker “The only one”, the midtempo “Face of an angel” and the amazing ballad “For your soul”, but also faster uptempo “Walk the line” (VANDENBERG meets RAINBOW) and closing track “Until I see the sun” (a la early JOHN NORUM/GARY MOORE albums) are all songs to check out if you’re a Melodic Hardrockfan of the classic kind, with an important part for the guitar and soulful vocals. RAINBOW and WHITESNAKE are very clear the bands that inspired ROAD TO RUIN and I am positive to say they succeeded in making out an excellent record in the European Melodic Hardrock tradition. The band also throws in some very groovy 70s Hardrock/Metal songs here and there that give it the BLACK SABBATH touch I was talking about, notable in “Pale rider” and “Pleasure and pain”. The recent new LION’S SHARE did slightly disappoint, but this ROAD TO RUIN album makes it up big time, because it reminds me a lot of the classic LION’S SHARE debut from the mid 90s. Highly recommended to fans of classic European Melodic Hardrock!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


With a very long history behind him, lead singer STEVE GRIMMETT has always been making more or less Classic Melodic NWOBHM type of Metal, either with GRIM REAPER in the 1980s (which made him very popular in the USA, because the albums sold millions of copies!), ONSLAUGHT during the turn of the decade 80s/90s (slightly more Thrash orientated), LIONSHEART during the early 90s (more Melodic Hardrock orientated, very successful in Japan) and now on his new solo-record ‘Personal crisis’. The man hasn’t changed much and actually now releases his finest work since the LIONSHEART debut from the early 90s. Together with producer DENNIS WARD and musicians from EVIDENCE ONE and the JSS band, ‘Personal crisis’ is a very impressive Melodic Metal album, with as highlights “Karma”, “Wait for ever” and the more MHR orientated “Promises” and “Invincible”. In the end, this album sounds like a mix between the best of GRIM REAPER and LIONSHEART, so fans of Steve should definitely check this release out asap!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


If you live in Israel you will probably know SYNERGIA, a band which is extremely popular over there, selling loads of records and being voted as number one rockband in Israel at the moment. Anyway, for me they are a new band and their CD is containing some great music that combines influences of Melodic Rock, AOR, Prog and Americanised modern Rock into an exciting own style, which will appeal to fans of Rock/Metal with strong melodies. The band sings in their own language, which for most of you will be impossible to understand, but it’s the music that counts. Opener 1 for example is a very strong light Progressive Rock/Metal kinda tune, yet not so much focused on instrumental guitar parts, but more on keen melodies, sort of like SYLVAN and ENCHANT. Other highlights are 6 (a beautiful semi AOR ballad), 10 (another Radio orientated Ballad) and 11 (uptempo melodic rocker). Most of the songs on the CD are slowtempo or midtempo, quite relaxing and somewhat proggy, so that might be the only complaint, because some more uptempo rockers like 11 would have been interesting. Nevertheless, the band succeeds in bringing some great melodies into their music and in the end it reminds me a lot of CARTOON/MARCO FERREIRA, the Brazilian act not many people might remember, but it also is reminding of RA, HOOBASTANK and THREE DAYS GRACE and even the Dutch band DE KAST comes to mind in a song like 12. All together a nice modern slightly Progressive sounding Melodic Rockband from Israel, which you can check out at:  and 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


‘God burns like flesh’ is the 2nd album of the band SHATTER MESSIA, a US band formed around ex-NEVERMORE/ANNIHILATOR guitarist CURRAN MURPHY. With impressive ex-BREAKER/ARCHETYPE vocalist GREG WAGNER, SHATTER MESSIAH is playing a sort of Thrashy US Power Metal style that combines the best of ICED EARTH, MANOWAR, BRAINSTORM/SYMPHORCE and NEVERMORE, with as result that this new CD of them is a very strong record that truly is recommended to fans of mentioned bands. True Metal is the name of the game here and a lot of US so-called Metalbands can learn from SHATTER MESSIAH, because this is the way to play Metal. What is remarkable that this album could become huge among the fans of True Metal, because songs like “Buried in black”, “God burns like flesh” and “Pathway” sound indeed like True Metal anthems. Quite a surprise this release and a must for fans of mentioned bands! More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


MAGICA is a band from Romania and with ‘Everafter’ they already release their 3rd CD, although it’s their first official international label release. The band has toured with AFTER FOREVER, VANDENPLAS and APOCALYPTICA and actually I have personally not listened that well to their earlier releases, so was sort of unprepared of what to expect from the band’s AFM RECORDS released new CD ‘Everafter’. The surprise was quite big when the included music sounded very impressive, although far from original. MAGICA is playing typical female fronted Melodic Gothic Power Metal that sounds very Symphonic, well then you’re in the world of the Dutch, so comparisons to DELAIN, EPICA, AFTER FOREVER and also NIGHTWISH are easy to make. The band has a very good female soprano singer (ANA MLADINOVICI) and I can safely say here that MAGICA’s new CD ‘Everafter’ is a fantastic high quality album that will be loved very much by fans of EPICA and AFTER FOREVER, as it fits perfectly in between those acts. Songs like “All waters have the colour of drowning”, “Turn to stone”, “Shallow grave” (amazing melodies!), “Weight of the world” and “No matter what” (SUPERB!) are truly wonderful pieces of today’s female fronted melodic gothmetalsound, with both superstrong melodies and also the big keyboards and symphonic arrangements to make it all complete. Concluded, another masterpiece in this HUGE scene of female fronted Goth Power Symphonic Metal orientated bands and a clear threat for the Dutch bands! More info at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


A pity this isn’t a DVD release, because that would have been very interesting. Nevertheless, the CD of the live performance VIXEN did at Sweden Rock sounds very good, despite the fact the band’s comeback was more or less only featuring original member JAN KUEHNEMUND on guitars. The band played all the classics and did that very well, with as highlights “Rev it up”, “How much love”, “Love made me”, “Cryin’”, “Rock me” and “Edge of a broken heart”. The band also previewed some of their new songs of their then to be released new studio-CD, which sadly was a slight disappointment, although live a song like “Little voice” sounds pretty good between the older tunes. VIXEN’s first 2 albums still belong to the best in female fronted melodic hardrock and happily live the band still can perform them quite well, yet with a lot of fresh blood in the line-up, but it sounds almost as good as in their heydays, so no problem with that. Check it out if you like female fronted rock!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


One of the surprises in 2006 was when a new band called THE POODLES stepped up and conquered Sweden with their catchy Melodic Rock, almost reaching the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. The band scored several hitsingles from their album ‘Metal will stand tall’, which was re-released through AFM RECORDS at the beginning of this year, because the German label discovered that this incredible band was only signed to a small label in Sweden, so they were keen on getting them on their own label and see here, AFM already releases a 2nd album titled ‘Sweet trade’. The new album of THE POODLES has a much bigger sound than their debut and maybe the overall tracklisting is better, although one can not forget those catchy tunes from the band’s debut, such as “One night of passion” and “Metal will stand tall”. Happily, also ‘Sweet trade’ delivers catchy 80s Melodic Rock of the best DANGER DANGER, JADED HEART, TREAT, BONFIRE, 80s BON JOVI kind, with as highlights uptempo melodic rockers like “Band of brother” (let’s all sing-a-long and pretend we are back in 1987 when BON JOVI was scoring hits with “Living on a prayer” and “You give love a bad name”), “Heaven’s closing in”, “Seven seas” and “Kiss goodbye”. Maybe not the album of the year, but without a doubt, this is a fantastic Melodic Hardrockalbum that will be loved by fans of mentioned bands and after repeated listens this new album is not only beating the band’s debut soundwise, but at times also songwise. Check out their site at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Singer/songwriter MICHELLE DARKNESS is known for being a member of the band END OF GREEN, but now also releases a solo-CD titled ‘Brand new drug’ on AFM RECORDS. On this album he did everything on his own, so not only singing, but also playing bass, guitar and drum programming. 10 originals are included as well as 3 covers, which includes a duet with HANNA PAKARINEN (Finnish Idols winner and Eurovision Song Contender, CD reviewed recently) on the JOY DIVISION cover “Love will tear us apart”. Musically a typical Finnish product, mostly midtempo dark melancholic HIM type Goth Metal. Best song is “The dawn”, which has a very strong melodic chorus, although most of the songs are in a similar mood. Fans of HIM might like this a lot, but of course also the END OF GREEN fans!

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


A compilation from a new label which is focused on bringing new Melodic Rock talent. We have already seen some interesting new releases of the label, such as SHADE and SANCHEZ, but there is more coming up. This compilation is nice overview of what to expect. I believe they are more or less a promotion agency that will sort of distribute foreign label releases and not necessarily release own products. Anyway, ARTISTWORXX has some very interesting acts on offer here, with as highlights on this CD the new songs of the bands SHYLOCK (“You feel” is a very catchy midtempo melodic rocker a la old BONFIRE), DAFNE (their song “Fight time” is a classic 80s midtempo Pomp Melodic rocker a la WHITE SISTER/PROPHET/RESTLESS), ELYSION (WOW, a new undiscovered act a la XANDRIA/WITHIN TEMPTATION, not original, but definitely high quality is their song “Dreamer”), LIQUID HORIZON (Progmetal a la VANDENPLAS) and the Brazilian band TEMPESTT, which we reviewed recently. Keep your eyes wide open for these acts in the coming period, because their albums might surprise each and everyone of you out there!

(Points: -)


‘Ever after’ is the third release of New Jersey/USA based band SPIDER ROCKETS, a female fronted act which is signed to Spanish label Locomotive Music. The band is playing very heavy groovy Metal that reminds me a lot of the later sound of PHANTOM BLUE, not really melodic and quite average after a while, although you will not hear me saying this is a bad release. ‘Ever after’ is definitely a quality release, yet one without any remarkable songs or moments, it just moves on quite slowly towards the end of the CD and at the end the album has not made any impression. Nevertheless, fans of groovy Hardrock with female vocals might want to check this out. A sort of female version of VELVET REVOLVER is what to expect, also thinking a bit of how WENDY O. WILLIAMS would have sounded if she had not died of an overdose of drugs and too much drinking, but would have lived a more normal life and had fronted a new rock/metalband since the early 2000s. Anyway, check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


A very heavy band we have here on our hands, namely the French band KRAGENS, which is focused on playing aggressive Thrashy Power Metal, sounding like a mix between MEGADETH, ACCEPT, GRAVE DIGGER and the Bay Area Thrash Metal of the late 80s, with a bit of an updated approach. I guess the French press will be all over this band! Although their debut (?) CD ‘Infight’ does sound huge and will appeal to fans of aggressive Metal and also some GRAVE DIGGER fans, I think at the end of 2007 not many people will list this record as one of their favorites, but anyway if this all makes you interested, then be sure to check out KRAGENS at: 

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


More ugly aggressive Thrash Metal, only recommended to the absolute die-hard fans of this genre, because the Spanish band is doing something we have heard much better before from bands like DARK ANGEL, DEATH ANGEL, XENTRIX, TESTAMENT and such. Like I said, only interesting for the true followers of this late 80s buried Bay Area genre. More info at: 

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


‘Univers’ is the 2nd album of the Australian band VOYAGER, a Progressive Metalband which besides bringing the typical melodies of this genre also puts other influences into their music, such as Gothic Rock (THE MISSION and HIM) and light Black Metal. However, judging on their new CD, the band is mainly a Progressive Metalband that sounds like a mix between EVERGREY, VANDENPLAS, VANISHING POINT and RUSH/SAGA, with a bit of HIM and also featuring some typical Aussie vocals as well. 11 songs are included, of which the highlights are “Everwaiting” (lovely almost AORish chorus), “Sober” (video included, perfect mix between Progmetal, HIM and Aussie Melodic Rock of PSEUDO ECHO/ROXUS) and “Cross the line”. A real grower and therefore highly recommended to the Progmetalfans! More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The German band SYZZY ROXX is more or less the follow-up to the band GAMBLIN' CREW. That band released a few demo CDRs, which we also reviewed and now we are welcomed by SYZZY ROXX. With this band they are clearly focusing on WIG WAM/THE POODLES type of activities, so clearly 80s type of Glam meets Melodic Hardrock, a mix between MOTLEY CRUE, VAN HALEN, POISON and WHITE LION is the result on the first 8 tracks counting CD. Not really original, but who cares if it is brought as good as on this record, so be sure to check out this catchy CD if any of the mentioned bands is among your favorites! More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


With already a few releases in their pocket, the Finnish band MY FATE now releases a new EP. Musically we are in a completely different direction than the usual stuff we receive from Finland, although there is light at the end of the tunnel. The band is making Metalcore, yet with here and there some nice melodies, although it all sounds a bit too aggressive and Americanised Nu-Metalish to my ears. Nevertheless, the mini-CD is of a high level that can easily match with the American major label releases and the diversity of the band's lead singer, because he growls, he screams and can sing melodic makes this band quite appealing to some of you, but like I said I had rather heard some more melodies instead of the screams and growls that mainly concern MY FATE's music. Check it out for yourself at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Finland brings us another quality band. The band is called NITROKISS and they play Rock and Roll, with strong melodies and some typical Finnish influences, kinda like mixing the best of 69 EYES, HANOI ROCKS and HIM, with mostly an uptempo rock sound that has also some very strong melodic choruses, such as in the songs "Suck me dry", "Addiction" and "Restless", which makes them almost a pure melodic rockband, yet with the typical dark melancholic Finnish approach attached to each song. The band released a full-length CD titled 'Addicted to' and recently a mini-CD 'Tales from the pit', with a new CD coming up spring 2008, so the NITROKISS really wants to let the world know they are ready to rock you! More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The Greek guitarist Ioannis Anastassakis is a very talented musician and on his solo-CD 'Suspended of disbelief' he shows his talents and this instrumental album does indeed sound very good, of the typical VAI/SATRIANI/MACALPINE kind, well-thought instrumental guitar based hardrock/neo-classical metal. However, not only we can enjoy Iannis' guitar talents, because guests on his CD are other talented Greek guitarists such as BOB KATSIONIS, THEODORE ZIRAS and the Dutch MARCEL COENEN, whom also all released solo-CDs we reviewed. I guess you can say that if you liked these guitarists, you will surely be enjoying the CD of Ioannis as well. The CD comes along with a nice booklet in a digipack with pictures of him with his teachers, including STEVE LUKATHER, VINNIE MOORE and STEVE VAI, so be sure to check out this CD if you're a guitarfreak, because it is as good as these guitarists at times! More info at:  and  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Formed way back in 1980, the US band STEEL ASSASSIN has come a long way, because in all those years they only managed to release demo tapes, do live shows and were featured on several compilation albums, such as the legendary METAL MASSACRE series. The band also was inactive for a long time, mainly throughout the 1990s. Now however, in 2007 the band releases their first album and without a doubt, this ‘War of the eight saints’ is a classic 80s US Melodic Power Metal release in it’s best and most traditional way, because comparisons to LEATHERWOLF, HEIR APPARENT, JAG PANZER, LIZZY BORDEN, with vocals reaching DIO/DICKINSON heights and a strong MAIDENish guitarsound. Definitely an album to check out if you’re into classic 80s traditional Metal with one fist in the air and the other for keeping the balance while headbanging your way throughout the songs which you play loud on your stereo (not on an I-POD please!), because the neighbourhood must hear you are a TRUE METALHEAD and do not care about the fake modern Nu-Metal. All fans of TRUE METAL should go and buy this CD asap. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


FINAL STAGE is a new 3-piece band from Canada with so far a successful mini-EP release titled ‘Flight of the phoenix’ and now a full-length CD titled ‘Through the mirror’. Musically we are listening to some high class 80s inspired Melodic Metal that also has a bit in common with the more melodic acts of the NWOBHM movement from the early 80s, like very early PRAYING MANTIS, TYGERS OF PAN TANG and also MAD MAX and PRETTY MAIDS in their early days come up sometimes. Highlights among the 11 included tracks are opener “Rise again”, “Age of ashes”, the SAINT sounding “In the night” and the TITANIC cover “Gods of war” (anyone actually remember this song, because I know several TITANIC called acts from the 80s and not even sure which one, I assume the Canadian?). A very interesting band rising out of the Canadian underground scene, which is starting to grow by the way and that is a good thing, because in the early 80s the Canadian Rock/Metal scene was huge, but sadly died during the 90s. Be sure to check out FINAL STAGE at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE (OSC) is a 1970s inspired trip back to the times of Space Rock and Krautrock, which meant endless psychedelic instrumental parts with lots of synthezisers, kinda like PINK FLOYD meets JEFFERSON STARSHIP meets CAN and OZRIC TENTACLES. It sounds quite like you’re having a weird kind of drug trip through time, really just giving you that late 60s/early 70s kinda Psychedelic Rock sound. The trip on their 3rd CD is divided into 2 very long tracks and a shorter one, with a total playing time of almost 80 minutes. Fans of 70s type of long instrumental Psychedelic Hardrock should check out this band at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


GRAVEYARD are a new band from Gothenburg, Sweden, which was formed in 2006 and already a CD released. The same titled debut CD of the band contains 70s orientated Psychedelic Hardrock that reminds one a lot of the experimental earlier 1970s period, kinda like BLUE CHEER, CREAM, so actually a bit late 1960s orientated, yet due to the somewhat heavier guitarsound a reference to early 70s should be more at it’s place here. What surprises me however is the fact that this CD is really high class and fans of this genre will absolutely call this a masterpiece. Edgier than WOLFMOTHER, although fans of that band will probably also like GRAVEYARD a lot, similar vibe and as good as them, so why not give these Swedish guys a lucky break. Check ‘em out at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Interesting band mixing Doom Metal riffs a la BLACK SABBATH and 70s Hard Rock melodies a la URIAH HEEP. The band is coming from Örebro, Sweden and has been active since 2003 and with 'Nymphs and weavers' they have released their 3rd CD already, which will be their debut for their new Swedish label TRANSUBSTANS RECORDS. The new CD also marks the debut for their new vocalist, because original vocalist/guitarist Andrei Amartinesei parted ways with the band in late 2006 and was replaced by Fredrik Andersson on vocals. I had not heard the band's earlier records, so 'Nymphs and weavers' is completely new to me and the 70s Melodic Hardrock meets Doom Metal sounds very impressive actually. Opener “Looking after the phyre” sounds like a classic recorded in 1973 or something. It sets the record straight and from there on it is a dream come true for anyone into 70s type of Classic Rock/Metal. Little different than WOLFMOTHER, heavier, more HEEP meets SABBATH, less ZEPPELIN and also some JETHRO TULL added here and there. Highlight is the NWOBHM sounding melodic chorus meets 1981ish axe guitarwork like MAIDEN’81 meets PRAYING MANTIS tune “Dreaming of pastries” Definitely a band to watch out for in the future, although this is already their 3rd CD. More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The Italian band OVERTURES was formed in June 2003 and they have already released a few demo CDRs, but now they have released their first full-length album 'Beyond the waterfall', containing 8 original songs with a total length of about 40 minutes. The band is playing Melodic Heavy Rock with high-pitched vocals, sort of like AXXIS and ANGEL HEART, you know the kind of Melodic Hardrock I mean. Also OVERTURES is reminding me a lot of that long forgotten but recently resurrected band CRYING STEEL, remember them? Anyway, songs like “Beyond the waterfall”, “Toy” and “Faded Dream” are nice examples of the AXXIS type of Melodic Heavy Rocksound I was talking about. Check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Debut album from a new Swedish band which is clearly 70s orientated, focusing on the Pomp/Progressive Rock kind of side that shows influences from YES, KING CRIMSON, CITY BOY, SAGA and does remind therefore a lot of their fellow countrymen of A.C.T. and BLACK BONZO. Definitely a band to check out if you're interested in this kind of prog, which is very melodic and richly filled with melodic vocals, hooks, choruses and harmonies that even reveal STYX influences. A song like “Welcome” for example is sounding like a true late 70sPomprock sounding classic! SONIQ CIRCUS has a real late 70s American kinda sound that reminds one of bands like ALL SPORTS BAND, STYX, AVIARY, ROADMASTER, STINGRAY and such, with a slight updated approach a la ACT. On the other hand there are also clear Neo-Prog kinda tunes a la FOR ABSENT FRIENDS/SYLVAN, so something for everyone here. All together a must-have if you’re into both Pomp and Prog! More info at: and

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The LIQUID TENSION PROJECT is a so-called superband formed around some of the world's most respected musicians, such as Tony Levin, Mike Portnoy, Jordan Rudess, John Petrucci, with 3/4 of course known for being the main members in DREAM THEATER. They released 2 albums, 'Liquid Tension Experiment' in 1998 and 'Liquid Tension Experiment 2' in 1999 on Magna Carta Records. Several songs and riffs from the project have been incorporated into Dream Theater's live performances, such as "Instrumedley" from Live at Budokan. The band was actually only active for a few years during the late 90s, but on October 23rd 2007, a new CD of jams from the 2nd LTE recording sessions is released under the name LIQUID TRIO EXPERIMENT. Actually the album is more a sort of collection of studio improvisations from the trio of Portnoy, Levin and Rudess, because Petrucci was with his wife and newborn daughter, Kiara. Anyway, for the fans that does not matter, because they are delighted with a new CD filled with instrumental high quality Progressive Rock/Fusion of the highest level, but with like said before a lot of improvisation going on and making the sound drift away, actually far removed from DREAM THEATER’s Progmetal. This is more a JAM session of a bassist, a keyboardplayer and a drummer, reminding one of bands like UK, AMERICAN TEARS and ELP. Fans of improvisation insttrumental Prog/Fusion will love this! 'Spontaneous Combustion' is definitely an album to check out if you're enjoying the way these 3 musicians play there instruments in their regular band(s), but don’t expect something like DREAM THEATER!

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Back in 1990, guitarist MICHAEL LEE FIRKINS released his self-titled debut album and right from the start it was a success, because eventually it sold more than 100,000 copies. He won several awards in his early years, including an Edison Award, which is a very important Dutch award. It marked the start for an exciting career, with many releases to follow and his latest is 'Blacklight Sonatas'. Consisting of 9 songs, it features just like his earlier releases high quality instrumental bluesy rock, very relaxing and very suitable for a late night. The fan of Michael's music will certainly enjoy this new one as well. More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Actually RIDE THE SKY should be seen as the new MASTERPLAN or the follow-up to TEARS OF ANGER, because that band's former drummer/songwriter ULI KUSCH is the main force behind RIDE THE SKY. Together with TEARS OF ANGER members vocalist Bjørn Jansson (ex-BEYOND TWILIGHT) and guitarist Benny Jansson (who released a bunch solo-albums) they are RIDE THE SKY, with as addition bassist Mathias Garnås (XSAVIOR) and keyboardplayer Kaspar Dahlqvist (CIRCLE 2 CIRCLE). Their first CD 'New protection' is already a classic that smells like that classic debut of MASTERPLAN. Hopefully RIDE THE SKY will not slip away and continue releasing impressive albums. They set the mark very high for the future, because 'New protection' is a very sensational album, with such excellent Melodic Metal tunes like "New Protection", the beautiful "A Smile from Heavens Eye", "The End of Days" and "Far Beyond the Stars" that sound like HELLOWEEN meets the first MASTERPLAN. Better check it out asap, because you don't want to miss this Melodic Metal Monster!

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


German band SHYLOCK debuted a few years ago with a very good release titled 'Welcome to Illusion'. Although nothing new was brought and they played typical German Melodic Hardrock a la BONFIRE, JADED HEART, SHAKRA, BOYSVOICE, VAMP, DARXON, VICE, etc. etc. they came up with some very catchy material. Now there is a follow-up, which musically is in the same direction, so another BONFIRE/JADED HEART type record, but between the 14 included tracks we can find some very catchy Melodic Rocksongs, such as "U Feel" (wow, incredible catchy tune, what an amazing chorus!), "New Attraction", "Anybody Out There?", "I Wanna Live" and the bonustrack "Farewell (To The Champion)", which is a tribute to the farewell of THOMAS HASSLER, the famous German soccerplayer and melodic rockfan who was part of MTM MUSIC for many years. Most of the songs are in a similar style, midtempo with catchy hooks and super melodic choruses, showing there's more than DEF LEPPARD, BON JOVI and BONFIRE out there writing decent radio-ready melodic rocksongs. Maybe this is not a groundbreaking album, it does offer some great melodic rock that will please fans of mentioned bands and besides the band has a really strong lead singer, a real MICHAEL BORMANNish sounding guy and also musically it reminds a lot of the days when Michael fronted JADED HEART, so go check out this band at: 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


Formed in the city of Potsdam, Germany in the early 1990s, the band SUBWAY TO SALLY has rapidly built up a large repuation, partly thanks to their unique sound, which combines influences of rock with clear folk and medieval influences and in recent times the band has gone more and more into a gothic metal direction. The upcoming new album 'Bastard' is their 3rd album for NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS, but already their 9th studio-album. In German speaking countries they are huge, due to their German lyrics, but thanks to RAMMSTEIN also other countries are getting familiar with SUBWAY TO SALLY. Anyway, the sneak preview CD-single 'Umbra' contains 2 very strong songs that show we can expect another high quality album. "Umbra" and "Tanz auf dem vulkan" show nothing new on the horizon, but are nevertheless 2 great songs taken from their upcoming new CD 'Bastard'. A little taster of things to come very soon...

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)