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Yet another sensational new band from Finland, Tampere to be exact and the 2 songs on their debut CD-single ‘The blood in your hands’ show we are dealing here with a high quality tough Melodic Metal band that will be loved by fans of BLOODBOUND, MYSTIC PROPHECY, NOCTURNAL RITES and such. The band was formed in 2004 and built up rapidly a steady reputation, which now has resulted in their first single, which even charted in Finland. With the 2 songs on this CD-single alone, 2008 is gonna be yet another promising year for Finnish music, because then we will see the debut release of WHEN THE EMPIRE FALLS, a band not to be missed if you like MYSTIC PROPHECY, THUNDERSTONE… More info in the meantime at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


Here we have what might become the best Melodic Metal album of 2008, because the new Swedish band SAINT DEAMON are about to release an amazing debut album, which combines the best of NOCTURNAL RITES, HAMMERFALL, BLOODBOUND, MASTERPLAN and DREAM EVIL. Fans of these bands will absolutely be stunned by the incredible high level of this release. The songs… the vocals… the hooks… the sound… well, basically this is the ultimate Melodic Metal release that is right up there with the best of the best, meaning the NOCTURNAL RITES, RIDE THE SKY and BLOODBOUND albums of the past few years! SAINT DEAMON features besides guitarist Toya Johansson, ex-DIONYSUS members (drummer) Ronny Milianowicz and (bassist) Nobby Noberg an excellent lead singer called Jan Thore Grefstad, who sang with HIGHLAND GLORY and is able to reach diverse ranges, sounding like JOEY TEMPEST in his 80s EUROPE days during the first single of the album, “My heart”, a midtempo Melodic Metal Masterpiece, of which also a video is shot. However, he can also sing rougher and then the similarities to NOCTURNAL RITES come clearly forward, such as in opener “My Judas”, especially during the chorus. HAMMERFALL is a good comparison during the uptempo “In shadows lost from the brave”. “The burden” is a little less melodic, sounding like JUDAS PRIEST meets ICED EARTH during a DIO chorus when DREAM EVILing it all together, so one for the True Metal fans! As you see, these first couple of songs set the record straight, because what we have here is a SUPERB MELODIC METAL MASTERPIECE! Maybe not original and close to mentioned bands, but without a doubt, it is done so well, I can already call this a MASTERPIECE that will end up high in the yearly album charts for 2008! Besides the mentioned songs, other highlights are “Black symphony”, “The brave never bleeds”, “Run for your life” (sorta like THE POODLES Melodic Hardrock) and the beautiful HUGE sounding sing-a-long-all-together-now ballad “My sorrow” (EUROPE meets DREAM EVIL/HAMMERFALL ballads). A must-have for fans of mentioned bands, a true Melodic Metal Masterpiece! More info at: 

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)



Formed in 1999, it took the Finnish Melodic Metalband IRONICA a long time before they would get somke recognition, but 2007 is bringing them fame and fortune. First off they had one of their single almost topping the Finnish charts, then they had a 2nd single placed into a soon-to-be released worldwide Horror-movie and last but not least, they were picked by a sublabel of EMI MUSIC, who gave them the support to record a high quality debut CD, which is now finished and titled ‘Consequences’. The album starts with a bunch of uptempo huge sounding Melodic Metal monsters titled “Consequences”, “All that I drain” and “My own solution”, songs that have nothing to do with the typical Finnish sounds of Gothic, melodies and keys, instead reminding one of bands like WARLOCK/DORO, BITCH, SYNERGY, ROUGH and PHANTOM BLUE. However, the band does sound best when they go for a more melodic typical Finnish approach in songs like “Make me whole again” (very catchy song, HIMish of course) and “Anybody out there” as well as the (semi-) ballads “Fear for lust” and “Before the leaves fall”. Somehow the band’s lead singer (Elina Iron) is struggling during the more aggressive thrashy like tunes “Backstabber”, “Fragile devoted disgraced” and “My last stroke”, but that should not stop you checking out this quality release of yet another female fronted act. More info at: and

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Tampere, Finland is a place where many rock and metal bands have found their origin and LINES OF LEAVING is yet another act. Their debut CD sounds a bit different from the usual Finnish stuff, as their music is a mix of all kinds of styles, ranging from Emo, Punk, Rock, Metal, Gothic and Melodic Rock to some weird experimental stuff, although most of the songs have a great melodic chorus, giving them a Popmusic touch to be loved by the mainstream as well. They scored a hit earlier this year and their album contains a very diversity in styles, but the band is at their best during the songs “Slut#1”, “Hearts in overdrive” and “Sacrifice for a greater cause”, where they come up with some very strong melodies. Comparisons are not really possible, because they are as original as bands like SYSTEM OF A DOWN, COHEED AND CAMBRIA, so check their music out for yourself at: and 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


A long long long time ago there was a UK band called BURN. I vaguely remember seeing their first CD from the early 90s in the bargain bins a few months after it's release (1991's 'So far so bad'). Of course as a melodic rockfan already 15+ years ago I immediately bought the album and thought it was a very good melodic rockalbum. Anyway, these were the dark ages of Grunge and Alternative Rock, so in Europe/USA it didn't stand a chance (although the band toured these continents), but in Japan the band did very well as the mid 90s were the times of melodic rock in Japan. In 1995 they released their 2nd album 'Spark to a Flame', actually one of the first albums we reviewed in Strutter'zine. It took them 12 years to release a follow-up, but now the band's third album 'Global Warning' has been out since May 2007. Musically they did not change a bit, although sounding a bit rougher and updated, kinda having a huge sound now reminding me a lot of JADED HEART, EDEN'S CURSE, EVIDENCE ONE... Songs like "Dangerous Times", "Down In Flames", "Pray For Rain" and "Give Me Tonight" are all very strong melodic rocksongs that are a must to hear if you're a fan of mentioned bands. This is Melodic Hardrock at it's best, with strong vocals, catchy choruses/hooks, big guitar riffs and a huge sound, be sure to check out their sites at: and  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


I think everyone is fooled when they look and listen to the CD of the Chicago based band THE BUSY SIGNALS, an all-female band truly sounding and looking like they were active around 1981, because their catchy Powerpop sounds like a mix between early KIM WILDE, BLONDIE and PAT BENATAR. Not a re-issue at all, because the debut CD of THE BUSY SIGNALS was recently recorded and they are truly a new band. The 12 included songs are short catchy and combine the best elements of Poprock, New Wave and Punk, with most of the songs sounding like true early 80s uptempo Powerpop songs, of which the highlights are “Plastic girl”, “Look the other way” and “Matter of time”. Also highly recommended if you like obscure stuff such as SHANGHAI, SPIDER, SHANDI, SHEILA and such… Check it out at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Without a doubt, this SOHO ROSES is a pure Glamrockband in the style of WRATHCHILD, BABYSITTERS, LAST OF THE TEENAGE IDOLS, TIGERTAILZ, MARIONETTE and such typical UK 80s Glamrock. Yet they do have a very slight Punk touch, very much like HANOI ROCKS actually. Anyway, this band recorded an LP, an EP and a single in the late 1980s and apparently they have all been put together now along with some new remixes of old tunes, making this the ultimate SOHO ROSES CD release. The sound is good and some of the songs are pretty catchy too, really pure Glamrock the British way! Not original, but fans of mentioned bands as well as of new Swedish stuff like CRASH DIET, GEMINI FIVE and such will probably like this too a lot. They looked ridiculous, but sounded not that bad, so be sure to check out this release if you’re a fan of long-forgotten bands such as WRATHCHILD and MARIONETTE. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Absolutely zero originality on the 2nd CD of the American band SO THEY SAY, but nevertheless the Melodic Emo/Punkrock sounds very catchy. 11 songs are included and with a big sound/production by MATT HYDE of STRUNG OUT, the band has a CD that could easily end up high in the US Billboard Charts. The music is only a cry away from acts like GOOD CHARLOTTE, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, FALL OUT BOY, AFI and such, maybe a bit rougher here and there, due to some Hardcore influences. Anyway, songs like “Just forget my name”, “Wake me up”, “Whisper of sin” and “Nuclear sunrise” are pretty good nevertheless, which might even please the IGNITE fans, although SO THEY SAY keep their songs midtempo and groovy, but just as catchy as either IGNITE’s Hardcore or the US Billboard Emo-Punkrock of MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE. More info at: and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


AMERICAN STEEL are a band formed way back in 1995, so long before America was caught by the Emo/Punkrock virus, although GREENDAY were at that time getting quite big already. Anyway, AMERICAN STEEL apparently sounded rougher and more diverse in their early years. In fact, not that Punky at all, because they added Motown and Folk influences in their Rock based sound. However, after a couple of releases, 2001 saw the abrupt ending of the band. Now 6 years later AMERICAN STEEL is back with a new CD titled ‘Destroy their future’, which musically is very typical American Melodic Punkrock, almost Emo sounding, so very melodic, catchy and radio-ready for the American market. The older fans might drop the band now, but that doesn’t mean this a release to avoid, because without a doubt, this new AMERICAN STEEL album offers some great catchy material, such as “Dead and gone”, “Smile on me” and “To the sea”. FAT WRECK RECORDS once again shows us they have some of the best Melodic Punkrock around at the moment. Check out all about AMERICAN STEEL at: and

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Quirky early 80s Poprock is what suits this band best, because ZOLAR X is reminding of bands like THE CARS, CHEAP TRICK, THE SPARKS a lot. Although they are were described as BLACK SABBATH meets PINK FLOYD, that is absolutely an impossible mixture, because after a few spins the label of Quirky Poprock definitely is the best description. Fans of mentioned bands will love the band’s mix of Punk, New Wave, Poprock, Glamrock and even Progrock. ZOLAR X is not a new band by the way, because this US band released albums back in the 1970s when they were situated in Los Angeles, yes years before the Glam explosion took place over there. More info at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


A new band on a major label, ALPHA GALATES from Toronto, Canada. Although this is a new band, they were formerly known as THE HOLLOW and their debut CD was mixed by JOE BARRESI (TOOL, THE MELVINS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE), so the bandmembers did built up a reputation through the years. With a debut CD to be released on major label CAPITOL MUSIC CANADA, ALPHA GALATES does have a promising future already. The cover artwork looks like we are dealing with a 70s Symphonic Rockband, but that is certainly not the case, because the CD is filled with modernized complex Progressive Rock with a lot of experimental moves as well, sounding like a mix between NEVERMORE, TOOL, ALTER BRIDGE, COHEED AND CAMBRIA, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, mixing Modern Rock and Progmetal, with very groovy heavy guitar riffs, very American orientated, although the songs are all very lengthy and with some strong melodies here and there, such as in the highlights on the album, “Standing”, “Love despair” (11 minutes) and the epic “Entrophy and chaos” (11 minutes). Progmetalfans who like their music to sound very modern, complex in an American kinda way should check out this ALPHA GALATES for sure. The sound is huge (with a mastering by BOB LUDWIG) and the mentioned 3 tracks show this is a band to watch out for in 2008, when this album is gonna be released on major label CAPITOL MUSIC CANADA. More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


GARY HUGHES is an English singer/songwriter who has not been sitting in a corner the past 2 decades, because he released many various records, of which the albums with TEN are best known. ONCE AND FUTURE KING was a very big project from a few years ago and Gary was also heavily involved with the BOB CATLEY and HUGO solo-albums. In the meantime he continued a solo career, which started actually before he had released any band/project record. Somewhere in the late 80s he recorded for a German label an excellent AOR/Poprock album a la STAN BUSH/TIM FEEHAN/ROBERT TEPPER, which is still a very wanted and hard to find record nowadays. However, Gary became better known as the TEN frontmen in the early/mid 90s, of which their debut is till now still the best record he has ever done! Anyway, he released a couple more solo-albums during the 1990s, but the 2000s were more TEN and ONCE AND FUTURE KING times. However, Gary found some time to record a new solo-record, which sounds a bit different than his past work. Of course AOR melodies are still present, but it all sounds a bit darker and less catchy than in the past. I always found Gary sounding a lot like the HIM singer (or better said the other way round, because Gary has been in the music business much longer of course) and this time even some songs sound like HIM, although it still is a pure AOR/Melodic Rock record. Big difference with TEN is the lighter sound of this new GARY HUGHES album, because keys are upfront and a song like "I Pray For You" is very light and does not sound like anything Gary has ever done, because this is an almost 80s Gothic Rock sounding tune that recalls memories of THE ALARM and THE MISSION... but this is only 1 song as the rest is more Melodic Rock orientated the way we know it. Especially in the beginning with songs like “See love through my eyes”, “In my head”, “Time to pray” and “Wide awake in dreamland” Gary delivers some lovely AOR choruses. Funnily enough the best song can be found towards the end, because that is the catchy uptempo AOR Rocker "I Know It's Time" that goes back to Gary's late 80s solo debut in style, which makes you wonder if the whole album would be in that style, then we would have an absolute winner on our hands here, although there are still enough highlights on the album to please the fans. Still the general feeling of this new GARY HUGHES record is that it is not his strongest record, because songs like “Veritas”, “Synchronicity”, “Strange” and “All I want is you” disappoint a little. On the other hand, this CD is a grower, which needs to be listened a few times more probably to make up a really good mind. Still, considering the man's past maybe a little more was expected on this new solo-CD than 5 really great songs, but don't get me wrong, because it also isn’t an album you should avoid, so better be sure to check it out if you can…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


It seems like Swedish multi-instrumentalist MAGNUS KARLSSON is a workaholic, because within a few years he has done a lot of side-projects besides his own band LAST TRIBE. ALLEN/LANDE and STARBREAKER are his 2 most successful projects. With THE CODEX he starts another project, which musically is in the same style as all his other projects, so Melodic Metal of a very high level. Singer this time is none-other than ex-MALMSTEEN/RING OF FIRE vocalist MARK BOALS. He is an excellent singer and for this kind of catchy Melodic Metal, which Magnus once again has done very well, he is the perfect match, making this CD a true winner for fans of ALLEN/LANDE, MALMSTEEN, LAST TRIBE and such Swedish big sounding catchy chorus driven Melodic Metal. Not as sensational as ALLEN/LANDE, but nevertheless songs like "Beyond The Dark", "Whole Again", "You Can Have It All" and "Garden Of Grief" are examples of the incredible talent of Magnus in writing sensational Melodic Metal Monsters!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


EMPIRE is a superband formed around Rolf Munkes (guitars), Dougie White (vocals), Neil Murray (bass) and Mike Terrana (drums), all musicians who played on many albums, including RAINBOW, MALMSTEEN, RAGE, WHITESNAKE, BLACK SABBATH, MASTERPLAN, AXEL RUDI PELL, etc. etc. 'Chasing shadows' is already the 4th album of this UK/USA/German act and I must say it does sound like their strongest record so far. Somehow it has a perfect balance between classic hardrock and modern melodic power metal, which does not happen too much, but here we have a record that has songs a la WHITESNAKE/RAINBOW and fast heavy modern power melodic metal pieces a la HAMMERFALL/NOCTURNAL RITES, although towards the end the style changes a bit more in favor of the classic hardrocksound. I think MASTERPLAN is quite a good comparison to make here, although EMPIRE is more guitar orientated and also a bit groovy/bluesy here and there. Anyway, the beginning of the CD captures the album's highlights, such as "The Alter", "Sail Away" and "Child Of The Light". Be sure to check this release out if you're interesting in hearing high quality Melodic Hard/Heavy Rock/Metal from 4 well-seasoned musicians.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


2006 saw the comeback of VENGEANCE, Dutch Hardrock legends of the 80s, but it seems like they now switched labels during their recent tour and therefore this new live-CD of the band has been released on AOR HEAVEN instead of MTM MUSIC, which was their label previously (a few months ago MTM completely vanished, not sure if they are still active). The recordings took place all over Europe and the sound of the CD is very good. All their hits can be heard, such as "Take It Or Leave It", "May Heaven Strike Me Down", "Dream World", "Take Me To The Limit", "She Is The Woman", "Rock'n Roll Shower" and "Arabia". The mix has been handled by Michael Voss (MAD MAX, CASANOVA, DEMON DRIVE) and you can hear the band had a lot of fun with their VAN HALENesque shows. Interested in how this will further develop in the future.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


As I recall correctly this is the first WINGER Live CD and it's not even a single CD, but a 2-CD set and of course, more interesting, a DVD release of a performance the band recently did somewhere in the USA. Pro shot, this is a very nice visual performance of a band which rose to fame quickly in the late 80s/early 90s, but sadly were completely ignored after BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD and the whole Grunge movement killed the melodic rock scene around 1992. Anyway, Kip went solo, but last year the reunion of WINGER was complete and the result was a new studio CD, with now a year later a Live-CD/DVD package. Result is interesting, although it's only a concert, so no extra/bonus stuff is included. Nevertheless the performance is very good and musically very diverse, because the band had so many different genres in their music, not just the standard melodic rock hits, but also songs that could be qualified as Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, some TOTOish Jazz/Fusion inspired AOR and calm acoustic pop, but also hard-hit guitar riffing parts. The highlights are songs like "Rainbow in the rose" (pure TOTOish AOR/Prog), "Hungry", "Miles away", "Seventeen" and "Headed for a heartbreak", so yes the more well-known songs, as the more experimental songs are still too unfamiliar with the audience and it's then more like WINGER doing some jamming. Anyway, great DVD to see and definitely a must-have for all WINGER fans out there!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


6 years ago ZOOM CLUB RECORDS re-issued the legendary CHEQUERED PAST album onto CD. Later MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS was a spin-off label of ZOOM CLUB RECORDS, which apparantly has now another spin-off label in the shape of KRESCENDO RECORDS. This label now has once again re-issued the CHEQUERED PAST album, which was originally released on EMI in 1984. The band was formed around Clem Burke and Nigel Harrison (both ex-BLONDIE), Steve Jones (ex-SEX PISTOLS) lead singer MICHAEL DES BARRES (ex-DETECTIVE, he later became a famous actor) and guitarist Tony Sales, who played with IGGY POP and TODD RUNDGREN. Basically this line-up was a sort of supergroup, which recorded this one album back in 1984. Musically it was not the expected Punkrockalbum, but instead a typical 80s Rockalbum, which even featured some classic 80s sounding Melodic (Pop) Rocksongs that remind me somehow of bands like URGENT, LOVERBOY... Especially songs like "How Much Is Too Much", "Only The Strong Will Survive", "Underworld" and "Tonight And Every Night" are very catchy tunes that the melodic rockfans will definitely appreciate. Not saying this is a classic AOR/Melodic Rockalbum, because the beginning contains just plain-old Rock and Roll like THE WHO meets BAD COMPANY, still quite good of course. In case you missed the first re-issue pressing, here is another chance. Only pity is no bonustracks are included.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


MARCUS was a US band in the 1970s featuring VANILLA FUDGE, CACTUS and BECK, BOGERT AND APPICE bassist TIM BOGERT, although the band was named after their singer Marcus Malone. They recorded an album for the United Artists label in 1976 that now 31 years later find it's way onto CD due to the re-issue of the new label KRESCENDO RECORDS. The band's main man MARCUS MALONE disappeared after its release, but the other members played in the 1980s for SABU and DEVICE. Surprisingly enough the band had their track 'Black Magic' covered on LOCOMOTIVE BREATH guitarist Janne Stark's November 2006 MOUNTAIN OF POWER tribute collection. 8 songs are included on this re-issue and musically we are listening to a very nice mixture of Groovy Hardrock and Funkrock with a dash of 70s Classic Rock, although here and there some Pop elements are also included. The band is at their best during the more rock orientated material, such as "Black Magic", "Salmon Ball", "Pillow Stars" and "Dream Wheel" (a song which even has Pomprock influences, due to synths and harmonyvocals a la STARCASTLE!). Definitely one to own if you're a fan of 70s rock, although some might find this sounding a bit to dated. Nevertheless an interesting re-issue of a long-forgotten (for most of you) release from 1976...

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The UK band MARSHALL LAW has been active a very long time, starting up during the NWOBHM movement almost 30 years ago. They started as a typical NWOBHM band, they became more melodic and heavier (a la PRETTY MAIDS) during the 1980s, while the 90s saw them going into a darker almost Power Metalish direction (a la PRIEST). Their 1992 album '' fits somewhere between PRETTY MAIDS, PRIEST and PRAYING MANTIS. This album now has been re-released on KRESCENDO RECORDS. The CD contains a bonustrack in the shape of a 2007 version of the song “Naked aggression”. It was produced by ROBIN GEORGE, who gave it a melodic touch here and there, such as in the catchy “Searching for paradise”, although the beginning it sounds very close to PRIEST. Actually it still sounds quite fresh and updated, although the CD was originally recorded 15 years ago. Anyone who missed it the first time, this is your chance to get hold of it now.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Chicago based AOR/Pomprockband M&R RUSH makes a return with their new CD ‘Keep on rockin’. Starting in the 1970s as a pure Progressive Pomprockband, they became more AOR (a la SURVIVOR/JOURNEY) in later years and since their reunion a few years ago they have been releasing new CDs, of which ‘Keep on rockin’ is the latest product. Musically very 1980s type of Rock, including covers of JOURNEY and FREE (both 70s songs by the way). The sound on this CD is somewhere between 38 SPECIAL and SURVIVOR, although not that sensational, but somewhere in the middle of the CD there are some high class pure AOR songs, such as “One more night” and “Come back to me”. The last couple of songs go more stylish into an American Midwestern/Southern Rock style a la DOC HOLIDAY/THE OUTLAWS, so with some Boogie Rock influences as well. Chip Z’nuff from the band ENUFF’Z’NUFF makes a special guest appearance on three of the 11 songs by the way. Not 100% pure AOR, but anyway, fans of 80s Rock a la 38 SPECIAL might want to check out the new M&R RUSH CD at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Not really original, but surprisingly quite an excellent release, the debut CD of the Canadian female fronted Rockband THE FLAIRS, whom have a sound not too far away from THE DONNAS, BIF NAKED, DAMONE, PARAMORE… This means the songs are short, straight-ahead, 80s guitar-riff orientated with catchy hooks and memorable singable choruses. Especially songs like “Stinger”, “Under my skin”, “Enemy” and second single “Sorry 4 lovin you” are really strong uptempo rockers with pleasant melodies. The band also cover SKID ROW’s classic “18 and life” as the first video/single, a song which has been covered by quite a few female fronted acts the past few years! Anyway, this CD sounds quite huge and fans of ballsy classic Hardrock’n’Roll with female vocals like a mix between LITA FORD, GIRLSCHOOL, THE DONNAS and DAMONE should look no further as THE FLAIRS deliver it with flair! More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


SEAN KELLY is the leader of the Canadian band CRASH KELLY, an act which is combining the best of 70s Classic Rock and 80s Glamrock, kinda like T-REX meets the Sunset Strip sound of LA from 1985, resulting in a very strong release titled ‘Love you electric’. Sean looks like a cross between MARC BOLAN, PAUL STANLEY and DAVE MENIKETTI. The band already released an album, but this is the first I am able to hear and review, surprising me in how good it really is. The album was recorded and produced by GILBY CLARKE (formerly with GUNS’N’ROSES) and it actually sounds huge and updated, although it captures the spirit of the past, meaning powerful riffs and catchy hooks of the Glamrock era. The song “Rock N Roll disasters (on the radio)” is the tune to check out asap as this is Classic Glamrock Powerpop POISON could never deliver. The band comes along as a perfect cross between CHEAP TRICK, T-REX and MOTLEY CRUE/RATT. Be sure to check out one of Canadian’s new hopes for the future! More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


New project formed around multi-instrumentalist GEORGE BELLAS (ex-RING OF FIRE/ex-MOGG/WAY and releasing a bunch solo instrumental CDs) with a CD that will easily find it’s way to the fans of Neo-Classical Melodic Rock/Metal, imagine a mix between KAMELOT, SHADOW GALLERY, a lighter SYMPHONY X, some MALMSTEEN and ENCHANT and you’re quite close. Vocals are handled perfectly by an unknown singer called Jonathan R Marshall, who has a great voice. Songs like “Chaos Theory”, “Time Will Tell” (some 70s KANSAS influences), “Mesmerized” and “End of Time” are showing this project has something interesting to offer. Production could have been a bit bigger, but on the other hand the songs are very impressive to say the least. Fans of Neo-Classical Rock/Metal will absolutely love this release! More info at:  and  and  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


SEVEN WITCHES has established them as one of the US leading Power Metalbands through the years and with ‘Deadly sins’ they have released their 7th CD. Not as good as their past recordings and also hard to compare with the high level of the ICED EARTH albums, it seems like the band has lost some of their strength during the past few releases. Also the new CD ‘Deadly sins’ is nothing more than a nice album that contains all the clichés of the US Power Metal Book. ARMORED SAINT, HELSTAR, PRIEST and such are the names that come up when hearing this new SEVEN WITCHES release. Personally I think LIZZY BORDEN’s new release is much better, although that does not mean you should avoid this release, because with a line-up that includes musicians of ARMORED SAINT/FATES WARNING (bassist JOEY VERA), HADES/WATCHTOWER (vocalist ALAN TECCHO) and of course guitarist JACK FROST, the CD is still a quality release and interesting for the die-hard US Power Metalfans!

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


A new Canadian project featuring RIK EMMETT (legendary ex-TRIUMPH singer/guitarist) on lead vocals, guitars and bass and Michael Shotton (VON GROOVE) on drums, keyboards and background vocals. These 2 musicians stand for quality and that's what we get to hear on the AIRTIME album, high quality Classic Rock a la TRIUMPH, RUSH, QUEEN, JOURNEY, LED ZEPPELIN and such. Produced by Rik and Michael, mastered by NICK BLAGONA (DEEP PURPLE, TEA PARTY, APRIL WINE), this CD sounds quite huge with such great songs like "Edge of your mind”, “Liberty”, “River runs deep” (awesome song!) and “Find your way” (incredible AOR melodies). Rik and Michael wrote together all of the songs, except "Rise", which was written by Rik and JIM PETERIK (PRIDE OF LIONS, ex-SURVIVOR). It's not a typical AOR/Melodic Rockalbum, but a well-thought diverse rockalbum that combines the best of AOR, Progrock and Hardrock with the same kinda melodies TRIUMPH once delivered, so better be sure to check this release out, because this album sounds quite timeless.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


If there's one band that should get a medal for 'never change a winning team' it should be HEARTLAND. This UK based band was formed out of the ashes of VIRGINIA WOLF, a band which had 2 major label released back in the mid 1980s, both very sensational AOR releases. With HEARTLAND they went on to make more intimate modest AOR, well-thought and quite strong, with an own identity and after their debut from the early 90s they have now been going strong for about 17 years, making their new release 'Mind your head' their 10th CD so far. They never changed style and so the fans know what to expect here, because with songs like "For Pity's Sake”, “Frozen Hearted”, “A Richer Vein” and “Run For Your Life” they come up once again with some very good quality AOR songs. Slight difference with the past is that there are also a bunch of groovy Hardrocksongs included, such as the BAD COMPANY/THUNDER like “A mountain to climb”. Maybe nothing new is brought here and the band never reaches the sensational level of the VIRGINIA WOLF albums, still this is an album you can easily purchase if you’re an AOR fan. Hats off to vocalist Chris Ousey and guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Steve Morris for 10 quality AOR albums these past 17 years, on to the next 10 I would say!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


VENDETTA is a new band from the UK formed in early 2006 by guitarist/vocalist EDWARD BOX, an instrumentalist who already has released 2 solo albums on LION MUSIC. With VENDETTA he not only plays guitar, but also sings and does a very good job actually, as we get to hear high class 80s inspired traditional Melodic Heavy Rock/Metal that reminds me a bit of a heavier version of BONFIRE, MILLION, VICTORY, PC'69 and such. It sounds quite powerful and for a British album it sounds really good, because we haven't seen many releases in this style the past 15 years, with here and there an exception of course, but in general this kinda Melodic Hardrock is not the flavor of the week in the UK. Anyway, songs like "Generation Kill", "I Executioner", "Red Skies" and "All Fall Down". Recommended to the Melodic Hardrockfans out there! More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Alex Masi - Guitar, Randy Coven - Bass and John Macaluso - Drums are 3 well-respected musicians whom together have played on many records, always showing their high quality musicianship. Recently they played a bunch of live shows throughout the USA and Central America, which were recorded and now currently the best moments have been released as a live CD through LION MUSIC. What we get to hear is musicianship of a very high level, with as ALEX MASI comments, "The only written, composed parts are pretty obvious, most intros, some outros and occasionally some bit in the middle but each piece include at least 80% of improvisation". In other words, this is something for the instrumental (prog) fans to check out asap, because there is so much diversity to be heard in here. Definitely a must-have if you're a fan of one (or all) of these musicians.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


What happens if you combine JADED HEART and ROYAL HUNT with MALMSTEEN's classic virtuosity, well probably ANGEL OF EDEN, a new project of ARTENSION guitarist Roger Stafffelbach. Together with vocalist Carsten "Lizard" Schulz (EVIDENCE ONE), keyboard wizard MISTHERIA (solo, BRUCE DICKINSON) and drummer Rami Ali (EVIDENCE ONE) he recorded the album 'The End Of Never'. Without a doubt, this is a first class album featuring some really great Melodic Hardrock meets Neo-Classical Metal, although must be said that it is not done as good as the recent new ASTRAL DOORS album, which also contained such a mixture. Nevertheless, songs like "The End Of Never", "Dreamchaser", "Angel Of Eden" and especially the JOHN WEST sung "The Battle Of 1386" are very strong songs. Roger also has built in some space for instrumental virtuosity, which can be heard mainly in "Return Of The Pharaoh". Besides ex-ROYAL HUNT/ARTENSION singer John West, other guest appearances are from bassist Steve Di Giorgio (ex-TESTAMENT), David Shankle (ex-MANOWAR) and Ferdy Doernberg (AXEL RUDI PELL). More info at: ,  and 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Basically the band WATERCLIME is a certain Mr V (mainman of the band VINTERSORG), who does everything on his own (Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Keyboards, Organs, Mellotron & Programming, production, mixing and mastering!!!) on the 2nd WATERCLIME album. The result is a surprisingly great Neo-Progressive Rockalbum which sounds like it was created by a true progband in the sense of IQ, SYLVAN, PENDRAGON... Songs like "Vision or Void", "Moonstream Portrait", "A Journey to the Center of the Soul" and "Twilight" will easily find it's way to all the Neo-Progfans. Progfans should check this out definitely, more info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Swedish melodic rockers HOUSE OF SHAKIRA make a return with their 5th CD release. Musically they have always been making Melodic Hardrock and also their new CD 'Retox' follows that style. Although it is not THE melodic hardrockalbum of the year, it still is a high quality original Melodic Hardrockalbum that will please the fans of no-nonsense uptempo 80s American inspired good time rock and roll with strong melodic choruses in the style of DOKKEN, HEAVEN'S EDGE, VYPER, ICON and such. Especially the beginning with uptempo rockers like "Small Town", "No Faith", "Crazy But No Fool" and "Life And Death" and closing ballad “Turkish Nights” are showing the high level of HOUSE OF SHAKIRA's music. The CD has a full-blown production and therefore fans of mentioned bands should get it asap... More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


I always compare legendary singer GARY JOHN BARDEN with GRAHAM BONETT, both sang on legendary records (RAINBOW, MSG) and had a few side-projects (especially in the 1980s, Graham with ALCATRAZZ and Gary with STATETROOPER, both high quality Melodic Rock), but actually did not record anything sensational the past 20 years. Both also have a solo career going on (and both have released solo records on ESCAPE MUSIC), with Gary now releasing his latest solo-record 'Love and war', his 3rd solo record and actually it sounds quite nice to be honest, really breathing out a typical Classic British Melodic Hardrocksound a la RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE and such, with as highlights “Unchain me”, “You”, “Deja vu”, “Voices in the rain” and “Last sumarai”, very strong songs with good vocalwork and catchy choruses packed in a huge Melodic Hardrocksound. Definitely the man’s best work in ages, easily beating the previous solo-albums and also the comeback album of STATETROOPER.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Already in 1985 the Swedish band GALLEON were more or less making music, although it would take until 1992 before they would release their first CD. During the next 15 years they built up a good reputation and as of today they are one of the leading Neo-Progbands from Sweden due to the release of some very strong albums. Now in 2007 a new CD is released titled 'Prologue'. Musically they never changed, always making high quality Neo-Prog a la IQ, PALLAS, PENDRAGON... Of course they had a long past, with many ups and downs, but they have shown they are a stayer and to last longer, although that is something which is common for Neo-Progbands. They get their support from dedicated fans and those fans will certainly also like their new CD 'Prologue', an album filled with high quality Neo-Progressive Rock. With a tour coming up and now this new album, the fans of neo-Prog music will be delighted for sure. Check out their sites at: and  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


In the past we reviewed a couple of demos from the band THE STREET, an original five piece rock band from Salt Lake City, Utah. Musically they were mixing the best of the 80s melodies with today's heavy groovy guitar riffs. Now they have a full-length CD out, which looks very good visually (artwork) and also musically (big sound, some great songs). Despite some modern touches, the CD is actually pretty much early 90s American Melodic Heavy Rock orientated in the SKID ROW, FIREHOUSE style, with as highlights uptempo rockers like "Devils dilemma", "Light of day" and the very catchy midtempo HAREM SCAREM circa 'Mood swings' midtempo sounding melodic rockers "Bitter" and "Walls". The sound is huge and also reminds one of EVERY MOTHER'S NIGHMARE, SLIK TOXIK and such and even TALISMAN ("Shovel"). Like said before there are also some more modern sounds, such as in opener "Greetings from the Ghetto", "Head or be dead and "Step it up", which are the(3 weaker songs, but the band is happily mostly focused on mixing the heavy groovy guitar riffs of today's sound with catchy 80s melodies, ending up sounding like TEER/TALON and HAREM SCAREM. The band also isn't shy from making some ballad orientated material, such as "One man battle" (a classic 80s sounding Melodic Power AOR ballad a la SLYBOYZ/FIREHOUSE, a very strong song) and "A voluntary loss of innocence" (a semi-ballad a la FIREHOUSE). Definitely something worth checking out for fans of big late 80s American orientated Mainstream Hardrock (especially the vocals/choruses) with a touch of today's modern approach in the guitar department. Check out all about THE STREET at:  and  and e-mail them at:  and 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Has Glamrock ever left the scene? Well Hollywood went completely off the map for Glamrock around 1991. If you wanted to play Glamrock Hollywood was not the place to be anymore, because the 1980s were the decade when on every street corner in LA Glamrock was played, while in the 1990s you were a fool when playing Glam. However Glam didn't went away completely, because somewhere else in the World Glamrock started to rise and towards the end of the 1990s Sweden and Italy started to produce many new Glamrockbands. Now in 2007 CRASH DIET and HARDCORE SUPERSTAR are the leaders of Glamrock in Sweden, but in Italy we also have a lot of potential new bands, among which this Venice based SEX DEPARTMENT. they are as 1980s LA Glamrock as you imagine, with references to bands CRUE, POISON, PRETTY BOY FLOYD, WRATHCHILD, TEAZE, TIGERTAILZ and you name it. The band is at their best during the catchy uptempo rockers, such as "Call Me, Baby Call Me", "Revenge of Vampires", One Way Ticket to Rock", "Sir Yes Sir" and "Rock n' Roll" (this is like as cliche as you can possibly get). Ballads like "Drive Me Insane" and "Rock n' Roll Never Dies" are not that strong, due to the slightly weaker vocalwork that reminds a lot of VINCE NEIL though. Anyway, for Glamrockfans a dream come true this SEX DEPARTMENT! More info at:  and  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Pittsburgh, USA based band which debuted a few years ago with the album 'Capture The Magic', an album that contained classy 80s Melodic US Power Metal. The CD featured guests GEORGE LYNCH of DOKKEN and Frank X. Aresti of FATES WARNING. Now they have a new CD out, which continues the style created on their first album, which means we get to hear quality Melodic Metal once again. The first couple of songs are not that strong, but with "The Sky Is Falling", "Nature Of The Beast" and the DEF LEPPARD cover "Mirror Mirror" (with guest vocals of JOE LYNN TURNER), they have come up with some very strong typical 80s sounding Melodic US Metal a la LIZZY BORDEN, METAL CHURCH, early FATES WARNING, DOMINE... the absolute highlights are the Classic Epic Melodic Metal tunes "Devil's Hour" and "Afterlife" that sound like LIZZY BORDEN meets FATES WARNING in their early days. Singer Matthew Bizilia is your typical Metal singer, high pitched and basically pure US Power Metal orientated (although also reminding of the HELLOWEEN singer). Although the sound is not as huge as for example an ICED EARTH album, still the fans of Underground 80s inspired Classic US Metal will absolutely love this record. More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


DREAMSCAPE guitarist Wolfgang Kerinnis also has a side-project/band in the shape of SHENANIGANZ, with whom he recorded the album 'Four finger fist fight'. Musically very different than DREAMSCAPE, because here we are facing real rock and roll, rough and loud in the ROSE TATTOO style. Definitely a quality release as the sound is huge and the raweness of the songs really gives this the ultimate Rock and Roll sound, the way it is meant to sound, dirty, mean, rough and without compromise. Be sure to check out SHENANIGANZ if you're into ROSE TATTOO, KINGS OF THE SUN, MOTORHEAD, because then you will be kicking ass on songs like "25 Years Ago", "Hangin' With The Boys", "Jesus Was A Rock 'n' Roller" and "Social Misfit". More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Besides playing in a Hardrockband titled WICKED TOYZ, Italian guitar shredder BLACKALEXXX also has a solo career, with this 'Underground' CD being his first release. He did everything on his own and with 8 songs it is a nice record for anyone into Neo-Classical Guitar shredding of the VAI/SATRIANI school of art. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


KRESTA is a Munich, Germany based project formed around PETER KRESTA, who is actually a Czech Republic born guitarist/keyboardplayer. Anyway, together with 3 different singers (all sounding quite good, but the best one is definitely the one singing “Fantasy”) and other musicians from bands like KREYSON, DARKSIDE, RAILWAY, MT EYES and CHOLANE as well as BOBBY ALTVATER (BONFIRE, FRONTLINE, AFFAIR, etc.) for mastering the CD, Peter created this very interesting project. On the CD ‘Damaged passion’ he played guitars and keys (and he really is an excellent guitarist!), as well as composing the 12 included tracks. Musically speaking KRESTA is all about classic German Melodic Hardrock in the style of ZENO, ZAR, ROKO, FAIR WARNING, BONFIRE, FRONTLINE, JADED HEART, etc. etc. Right when putting on the opening track “Fantasy” loud on your stereo, you are blown away by a huge sound and you know you’re in for a really good ride here, because this first song alone is already an excellent ZENO/FAIR WARNINGish uptempo Melodic Hardrock with a fantastic chorus and classic guitar riffs out of the ROTH/SCHENKER book. Then we have 10 more tracks to go and they present us more of such high quality Melodic Hardrock. Fans of FAIR WARNING and ZENO are gonna love songs such as “Passion of the fire”, “Dream away” (a ballad with also great female vocals a la ALYSON AVENUE) and “Golden time”. Melodic Hardrock at it’s best and be sure to check out this KRESTA asap at:  and 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


DOUG PINNICK is best known as the bassist/vocalist of the band KING'S X. However he also has a solo career going on (where he sings and plays guitar), with 'Dug strum sum up' being the latest release. Additional musicians are Wally Farkas of GALACTIC COWBOYS, ARMY OF ANYONE's Ray Luzier, BILLY IDOL's guitarist STEVE STEVENS, Hal Sparks, 11's Alain Johannes, Kellii Scott and David Henning. Of course with KING'S X he more or less wrote history, as their music has influenced many bands and they were part of the first wave of Progressive Metalbands. The band had built up an own identity, so many fans will probably also be interested in this solo-CD of DOUG, which sounds a bit lighter than KING'S X. It is not as good or memorable as KING'S X and also does not reach the level of his other projects (POUNDHOUND, SUPERSHINE and THE MOB), but still shows that Doug is a top musician.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Here we have a book about the whole history of GENESIS. 40 years after the release of their first single, GENESIS are back with a full tour, which has ended about now. Author ROBIN PLATTS wrote a book about GENESIS, including the group's entire career, from the early days with Peter Gabriel, featuring progressive classics like "Supper s Ready" and "The Musical Box"; through the Phil Collins years, with hits like "That s All," "Invisible Touch" and "I Can't Dance"; the post-Collins Genesis; and right up to the present day. The book tells the story of the music - the songs and how they were written and recorded; the concerts, from early college gigs to packed stadiums; and how Genesis music evolved over the past four decades. The book holds together a lot of pictures, rare ones and of every release GENESIS ever did, all black and white by the way. Also interesting is the extensive discography, which includes also bootlegs. Interesting read and especially for a GENESIS fan a must-have book! More info at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


THEODORE ZIRAS is a Greek guitarist, who already released a few solo-albums and played on several other albums, such as the EUROFORCE record. Now he has a new CD out titled 'Hyperpyrexia', once again filled with high quality instrumental Neo-Classical Progressive/Fusion/Shred that also features Derek Sherinian (ex-DREAM THEATER) on Keyboards and Brian Tichy on Drums. Without a doubt, this is a really strong album and a must-have for all the Neo-Classical guitarfreaks out there, be sure to check out songs like "Child of Scotland", "Rapid Eye Movement" and "Night of the Dead". Check it out for yourself at: and and e-mail at: and 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Formed way back in the late 80s, also releasing an album in their early years (1993), but through the 90s it became quiet and eventually the band split up. However in 2002 they reformed and now in late 2007 the band releases their full-length comeback album ‘R U naughty enough’. Musically they play very strong big sounding Melodic Hardrock that reminds me a lot of bands like WIG WAM, THE POODLES, BONFIRE, WHITE LION, SHYLOCK and such. Songs like “Only God”, “Trail of tears” and “Is this love” are very powerful uptempo melodic rockers. Towards the end of the CD, which counts 13 tracks in total, it becomes a bit less stronger, but nevertheless this CD is a must-have for the Melodic Hardrockfans! More info at: and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Ex-ANNIHILATOR drummer Ray Hartmann formed RANDOM DAMAGE back in 1994, releasing the debut CD 2 years later on MASCOT RECORDS. Now another 11 years later the band releases a new CD in the shape of ‘Human flytrap’. Musically RANDOM DAMAGE is quite aggressive and on the borders of modern sounding Thrash Metal, yet here and there a bit more melodic than ANNIHILATOR, especially towards the end of the CD, with songs like “Man of sin” and “Amplify”. Still it is not really a strong album, only for fans of ANNIHILATOR a must-have!

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)


Besides a new RANDON DAMAGE CD, 2 of it’s members also recorded an album as DEAN BOLAND, who is actually in RANDOM DAMAGE the guitarist. However, he now also has a solo record out, on which drummer RAY HARTMANN of RANDOM DAMAGE also drums. Besides playing guitar, Dean also sings on the record and actually does a pretty good job. In fact the 5 included songs are also quite strong, very much pure Melodic Hardrock. This record is much better than the new RANDOM DAMAGE CD actually, because songs like “In my corner” and “Too late” are really great uptempo melodic rockers. Next year a full-length CD will be released, and in the meantime this mini-CD is only added as bonus CD to the limited edition release of the new RANDOM DAMAGE CD. Strangely enough this solo-CD is much better than the RANDOM DAMAGE record. More info at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The Polish band SATELLITE returns with maybe their strongest effort so far. The new CD ‘Into the night’ is another pearl in the Neo-Progworld. Fans of IQ, PENDRAGON and PALLAS will absolutely love this new record of SATELLITE. The band comes up with 7 songs, some quite lengthy, such as the epic 26 minutes counting “Dreams”. However, the highlights are “Into the night”, “Downtown skyline” and “Heaven can wait”, 3 wonderful Neo-Progsongs with excellent vocalwork of ROBERT AMIRIAN and high level musicianship. This band is a stayer and will definitely become one of the leading Neo-Progbands within a few years, reaching the same high level of IQ, PENDRAGON and PALLAS. Definitely a must-have for the Neo-Progfans!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


Out of Italy comes DANNIE DAMIEN, who delivers his first CD with 'Have a good time'. Dannie is a multi-instrumentalist, so he does everything on his own, including singing. He formerly was with the band SEX DEPARTMENT, who were recently reviewed by us. However, while that band is pure Glamrock, DANNIE AMIEN is more focused on Melodic Hardrock, the 80s American way, kinda like VICE, BONFIRE, ICON and such. However, vocally it is not as strong as such acts and in that department there really should be made some improvements in the future. On the other hand the music is nice 80s Melodic Rock, with as highlights "Rosannah", "One way ticket to rock", "Tonight" and "Fuel and fire". Needs to be added here that Dannie did not intend to sing, but in order to finish the CD he was only able to let 2 singers sing on 2 songs, so he did sang the rest of the songs. The 2 singers by the way are Rachel O'neill ( ) and Ciccio Ronchi ( ). Dannie shows he is able to write classy 80s melodic rock and perhaps in the future with more time and money he should be able to get a real lead singer to do the most important job when making classic melodic rock... Nevertheless, for a starter this is a good deal of melodic rock. More info at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


A South American band, which somehow had some success in the USA a few years ago with their debut CD 'Metalness', which reached the 34th place in the U.S. national chart. Now there is a follow-up titled 'World in chains', for which the band so far has no recordlabel to release it. Musically we are looking at Thrashy Metal, nothing more, nothing less, so only interesting for fans of this genre. More info at: 

(Points: 6.8 out of 10)



By far the best AOR/Melodic Rock Station on the internet releases another strong compilation CD, which will guide you through some of the best bands in the underground scene. 15 bands are included this time, with rare tracks from FORTUNE ("Home free", taken from their re-issued 1985 classic), Terry Ilous' XYZ ("Made for love", classic 80s melodic rocker) and a brand new song from Canadian cult AOR rockers HARLEQUIN. Especially the HARLEQUIN sing "Rise" is quite remarkable, as this Canadian band released some AOR Classics in the past and now returns with a very nice classic late 70s AOR style rocker. The best song comes from CRYSTAL, but the particular song "I'm A Dreamer" was released a few years ago, nevertheless it still is an amazing AOR/Pomprock Classic. The biggest surprise is the start, with an unknown act called KRESTA, which gives us a great 80s orientated melodic rocker in the shape of "Fantasy". BOOTCAMP is one of those lost cult-acts, of which I hope to see someday an official CD release (but this is the case with many acts from the 80s with only a mini-LP release), but anyway, they are featured here with the great AOR rocker "A Woman's Touch". Not forgetting the new bands of today, because the Finnish act REFLEXION can be found here with their great close-to-HIM sounding melodic rocker "Army Of Broken Hearts". SOLID STATE and WILDSTREET are 2 more bands I am not familiar with, both good Melodic Hardrock. Remaining acts are Dutch acts AVALON and CHINAWHITE, the awesome recently reviewed bands LINEHOUSE (Swedish Poprock/AOR) and MIRROR MIRROR (with their one-off 80s Classic Pompmelodic rocker a la PROPHET/WHITE SISTER "Let It Die"), the Japanese Melodic Hardrockband BLINDMAN (their song "The Silence Of Fate" sounds like Y&T meets XYZ) and finally, FRAZE GANG, a band we also reviewed, but I found them not that strong. Concluded, another great compilation CD from the best Internet Station around today. For more information please check out and you can order through 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


For 30 years now the New York settled band ZEBRA has been making their own kind of Rock, which in the mid 1970s was developed as being a mix between LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH and THE BEATLES, but sadly another band from Canada called RUSH had already invented this so-called early Progressive Rock/Metal style and therefore ZEBRA never became that big, despite the fact they had their fifteen minutes of fame. In the mid 80s they became more AOR like TRIUMPH and there also was a long period of inactivity. However in recent years they started up again and the result is what might be called one of the highlights in the ZEBRA history, because the 30th year anniversary comes along with an excellent DVD release, which not only contains concerts recorded at the House Of Blues in New Orleans/Lousianna and Long Island's club The Downtown, but also a complete story on the band as told by the bandmembers, managers and related crew members, all done in a 2-hours spanning documentary, the perfect mix of the band live on stage and the story of the band. We learn the band was originally formed in New Orleans, but found more fame and fortune in New York City, so that makes the recordings even more interesting, because it shows the band live at a place where they were formed and live in their current native Long Island's club. Besides the interesting story on the band, the 16 live songs are very much based on the early classic ZEBRA years, with songs like "Bears", "Tell Me What You Want" and "Who's Behind The Door" and one of the highlights "The La La Song", a very unique song that sounds like a mix between FOCUS and RUSH. Like said before, the band really was big in the USA when they released their debut in 1983, selling an amazing 75,000 copies in the first week (even more than any album is selling at this moment!). The album stayed on the Billboard charts for eight months, peaking at number 29. However somewhere along the way, the band's success was short-lived, as the following 2 albums did not become such big-sellers. During the 1990s Randy went on working on other projects, such as CHINA RAIN and THE SIGN, before eventually reforming ZEBRA, with whom he even released a new CD a few years ago on FRONTIERS RECORDS. Well, now there's the DVD, which tells us the complete story on ZEBRA, which goes back to 1976, when some of their songs were already written ("The La La Song"). Must-have for any fan of the band! For more information go to: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)