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 UPDATED ON  JULY 9 - 2012


A long long time ago we actually did a lengthy story on the legendary Midwestern US Pomprockband ROADMASTER in our Strutter’zine-The past- magazine. This must have been 15 years ago by now and who would have thought it would actually take this long before this band got their well-deserved remastered CDs. Thankfully ROCK CANDY RECORDS managed to fully remaster the band’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th record and so we can now enjoy in the year 2012 the best possible sound quality of these legendary releases. It was not that surprising that the band’s debut was not re-issued, because that record was filled with average boogie Rock and Roll. What followed were 3 excellent releases that have now all been remastered and re-issued onto CD. It all started with the band’s 2nd effort ‘Sweet music’ from 1978, which saw the band moving into Pomprock meets Melodic Hardrock territory. Clearly influenced by the likes of STYX, FOREIGNER and KANSAS, on this album they added massive keyboards, clean harmonies, catchy hooks and melodic choruses to their upgraded Midwestern US 1970s Hardrocksound (HEAD EAST/REO SPEEDWAGON style), with as result a few songs that are nowadays regarded as true Pomprock Classics in the style of TOUCH, TRILLION, STARCASTLE and of course STYX and early ANGEL. Especially the final 3 songs (“Higher Higher”, “Circle Of Love” and “Sweet Music”) are examples of the perfect late 1970s US Pomprocksound with massive keys, 70s guitar riffs, beautiful harmonyvocals, catchy hooks and super melodic choruses, all backed up by a steady midtempo rocking rhythm section. It was rather surprising that side-A of the original LP was a bit AOR/Radiorock/Hardrock orientated, with such enjoyable tracks like “It Doesn’t Mean A Thing” and “Ya Move Me”, while side-B gave us those 3 already mentioned Pomprock Classics! Although they were searching for the right sound, this album definitely showed they were able to do some amazing things, owing a lot of thanks to their fantastic vocalist, the late Stephen ‘Mac’ McNally. Great to see this classic now on CD for the first time, so make sure to grab a copy! More at: 

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)



The first few seconds of the 3rd album of ROADMASTER might well be the greatest Pomprock moment in Music History, because the enormous orgasm of keys and synths of that titletrack, as well as the song itself, is right up there with the best of STYX and TOUCH and even they never produced something as massive sounding as that ROADMASTER track. It was also my first introduction to the band a few decades ago and right away this was and still is absolutely my personal favorite track of them! Although the rest of the album didn’t reach such an incredible high level as that first track, it is now after 33 years sounding crystal clear on this re-issue CD. Other highlights are “My Eyes Have Been Opened”, “Say You Wanna Be With Me” and “Good To Be Back Home”, all balancing between 70s Hardrock, Boogie Rock and Roll and AOR/Pomprock. MONTROSE meets REO SPEEDWAGON meets early STYX, because that is the name of the game here and in the hands of ROADMASTER this sounded and still sounds very strong, so it is good to see it remastered and being made available on CD for the first time. More at:  

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)



Although ROADMASTER’s 3rd album ‘Fortress’ featured another Classic Pomprocker in the shape of the superb midtempo “Someday”, most of the album saw the band moving into a constructive AOR/Radiorockband ready for the American 1980s TV and Radio Rock movement. The similarities to JOURNEY, SURVIVOR and LOVERBOY were quite obvious and glad fully ROADMASTER were doing this at a high level as well, especially during such excellent tracks like “Ride The Wind Away”, “I Didn’t Notice”, the THE AUTOMATIX/FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS slow tempo ”You Make Me Feel Alright”, “New York, New York” and the already mentioned “Someday”. Completely restored for today’s world, this album sounds fresh and highly attractive, representing that glorious early 80s American AOR sound. Actually the album is as good as their previous efforts, despite the less pompy approach, but it is all done at such a high level it just needs to be heard by any AOR fan. It also marked the official studio-album end of the band, because despite several reunions and a live-album that featured a few new tracks, no official full-length studio-album was released after ‘Fortress’. A real pity, because after the tragic death of the band’s fantastic lead singer Stephen ‘Mac’ McNally, we will never see the band reunite and do a new album. What remains is an excellent back catalogue that is now fully restored on CD by ROCK CANDY RECORDS. More at:  

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)



I remember it well, the day I discovered the legendary SHERIFF album. It must have been back in 1993 when I ranted a copy of the original record from a local library in the city of Rotterdam, done after reading something about it in an old encyclopedia. It was the time I personally discovered AOR music and I was on the hunt for all the classic 1980s AOR gems. Here in Europe it wasn’t easy at all to trace the old records and in the pre-internet days it was even harder to learn about its existence. Anyway, by then SHERIFF and even its successor band ALIAS already had given up the ghost, so I was quite amazed that the back catalogue of both these bands turned out to be just their 2 same titled records. Although unfamiliar with both bands 20 years ago, I did knew some of the songs actually, because SHERIFF’s “When I’m with you” had been a US number 1 hitsingle in 1988, 6 years after the original release and several songs of ALIAS had its videos spinning on MTV in 1990. However, the real connection and discovery of these 2 albums for me happened during the summer of 1993. Starting with the SHERIFF album, this has now been re-issued onto CD by ROCK CANDY RECORDS. The album from 1982 has been fully remastered and also includes as bonus the much-sought after rare live record, of which only 100 were pressed back in the early 1980s. Musically speaking it is Classic picture-perfect early 1980s AOR/Radiorock with catchy hooks, smooth melodies, biting guitarwork and superb vocals by AOR God FREDDY CURCI. From start to finish this album showed how well AOR sounded back in the day and now thanks to the recent remastering it sounds even more impressive. The album is by far the greatest Canadian AOR album of all times and it must have been a major let-down it didn’t turn out to be a major success. The members each went their own way; some formed a semi-successful band called FROZEN GHOST, while others left the music business more or less, but somehow in 1989 a DJ at a local radio station in the USA started playing the SHERIFF tune “When I’m with you” and from then on the ball went rolling’ into an unexpected direction. The song was released as a single and people started buying it and then at one point it was number 1 on the US Billboard Charts! It took almost 7 years after the original release, but there was justice after all, because SHERIFF now reached their fifteen minutes of fame. Although no reunion took place, it helped to pave way for the band’s singer FREDDY CURCI to form the new band ALIAS and score massive hits in 1990. Back to the SHERIFF Classic, from start to finish we are put in a trance with such AOR Monsters like “You remind me”, “California”, “Crazy without you”, “Elisa” and of course the song that started it all, the 80s Power Ballad “When I’m with you”. Although this new CD re-issue will probably not lead to a reunion, it does however provide the perfect sound quality of this legendary SHERIFF Classic from 30 years ago! More at:  

(Points: 9.6 out of 10)



 Although LE ROUX’s defining moment of AOR/Pomprock can be heard on their ‘So fired up’ release, which was their final effort, also their 3rd album ‘Up’ is an AOR/Pomp Classic. This LE ROUX album has now been re-issued onto CD by ROCK CANDY RECORDS, completely remastered and sounding massive. As always, the efforts in making it the ultimate edition to own of a certain release is once again very impressive, so also this release is another milestone in the ever-growing catalogue of ROCK CANDY RECORDS. Besides the extensive liner notes and rare photos from the band’s past, of course it’s the incredible songs that matters the most. Here you get such timeless AOR tunes like “Let Me Be Your Fantasy”, “Get It Right The First Time”, “Mystery”, “Waiting for your love”, “Crying inside” and “I won’t be staying”. This is the kind of sensational perfect AOR that isn’t created anymore at such a high level. Actually, such AOR was only created in North-America back in the early 1980s and despite several attempts in re-creating it elsewhere, one listen to a classic album like this, you will never be able to listen to so-called new stuff in this Classic AOR style ever again! If you’re just starting collecting or discovering AOR, you definitely must get yourself a copy of this album! More at:  

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)



It’s almost impossible that the female singer/songwriter EMMA LEE is still unknown, because one listen to her 2nd album ‘Backseat heroine’ and one will be amazed by the incredible talent displayed during the 11 included tracks of this talented musician from Toronto, Canada. Anyway, this album should really give her the well-deserved breakthrough, because Emma’s voice is definitely one of a kind. She can go anywhere with her vocal range and combined with a diversity of music style on this new album, it is a pleasure to listen to ‘Backseat heroine’. She’s already been compared to FEIST, KD LANG, ADELE and perhaps even AMY WHINEHOUSE! Musically however I do feel that EMMA LEE’s material is much more diverse and more importantly, her voice feels really natural and super-melodic and in the end it is that unique instrument which makes EMMA LEE stand-out between the millions of other singer-songwriters in the world. The music is a mix of Folk, Melodic Pop/Rock and Singer-Songwriter based music, with a slight Jazzy touch and a little Country. If we have a run through the track listing of the album, I would like to point out as highlights the songs “Backseat Heroine” and “I'll Dream For You” (both featuring beautiful melodies), “Just Looking” (calm acoustic piece like a mix between FLEET FOXES, LOVELL SISTERS and THE WEBB SISTERS), “Phoenix” (ballad, with an incredible voice, ADELE eat your heart out!), “Figure It Out” (uptempo pop/rock with a sorta 60s Motown touch, excellent stuff…), “Shadow of a Ghost” (another uptempo pop/rocker with a 60s touch as well) and closing track “I Could Live With Dying Tonight” (calm piano-ballad). Believe me… she could be massive and who knows at the end of 2012 EMMA LEE will be the next ADELE or AMY WHINEHOUSE! Sensational stuff you need to check out at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)



A few years ago we were surprised by the Swedish AOR/Melodic Rock sensation H.E.A.T. They caused quite a stir with their excellent self-titled debut album. Follow-up ‘Freedom rock’ brought us more AOR and fortune and they even participated in the Eurovision Song Contest. However, in 2010 the band’s vocalist KENNY LECKREMO left the band and was replaced by the Swedish Idol winner ERIK GRONWALL. This move resulted in even more exposure and since Erik is a terrific singer and born-entertainer, the future is looking very bright for H.E.A.T. The first time I saw them live on Stage was at Germany’s ‘Rock the Nation’ in 2011 and already then the signs were there that the upcoming new album would be a real MEGA AOR/Melodic Rock record. Now ‘Address the nation’ is released and I have to say that this must well be their finest hour so far. The new album was produced by TOBIAS LINDELL (who worked with EUROPE, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and even BRITNEY SPEARS (!) and SNOOP DOGG (!!!)) and the result is a massive sounding AOR/Melodic Rockalbum with a lot of references to the glorious 1980s of course. BON JOVI and EUROPE will never make this kind of catchy hookladen fun summer uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock anymore, but why bother them when you have H.E.A.T. and such sensational tunes like “Living On The Run”, “Falling Down”, “In And Out Of Trouble” and “Need Her”. This is 80s AOR/Melodic Rock at it’s very best! Nothing new under the sun of course, because we can hear all kinds of influences quite clearly here, with 80s BON JOVI, 80s EUROPE, GIANT, FAIR WARNING and DANGER DANGER all over the place, but if it is done as well as on this record, then it shouldn’t be a problem at all! The vocals are spot-on, the catchy hooks and melodic choruses are completely stuck in the memory after hearing them and the guitarwork is picture-perfect, even reminding of the classic JOHN NORUM style. You don’t want to miss this album, more at: and

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)



MICHAEL KISKE is one of the greatest German lead singers in Rock/Metal history, but after he left HELLOWEEN we weren’t able to hear any real good music from him for many years. Then came FRONTIERS RECORDS somewhere in the mid 2000s offering Michael to sing on a few of their projects, with as result that especially the 2nd PLACE VENDOME record became one of the greatest albums of the past few years. Fast forward to 2012, we were pleased to hear another new project on which Michael is singing, namely the supergroup UNISONIC, with their debut album release on EAR MUSIC/EDEL MUSIC. The band also consists of Dennis Ward (bass) and Kosta Zafiriou (drums) from PINK CREAM 69, Swiss guitarist Mandy Meyer (ASIA, GOTTHARD, KROKUS, COBRA) and Kai Hansen (ex-HELLOWEEN/GAMMA RAY). The music is a mix of all these bands, so typical European sounding Melodic Metal meets traditional Melodic Hardrock. I have to say that the somewhat heavier tunes are a slight let-down, as the choruses kinda disappoint. Gladly, the pure Melodic Hardrocksongs are quite sensational and then I am talking about uptempo songs like “Souls Alive”, “I’ve Tried”, “Never Change Me”, “My Sanctuary” and “We Rise”. That is the kind of material we want to hear Michael sing, bringing a lot of catchy melodies and a soul, which is missed a lot in this kind of music the past few years. Definitely a quality album, but some ups and downs as well, so far from being as perfect as for example PLACE VENDOME. Nevertheless, fans of Michael will like this album, but don’t expect close to HELLOWEEN, because it’s not at all!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



It’s not bad when your debut album is released on a label that is also home to bands like DEEP PURPLE, FOREIGNER, EUROPE, YES, GAMMA RAY, KAMELOT, DURAN DURAN, MARILLION, STATUS QUO and many more. In the case it concerns the first CD of DEVIL’S TRAIN, a new band formed around MYSTIC PROPHECY mainman/producer R.D. Liapakis, STRATOVARIUS drummer Jorg Michael, guitarist Laki Ragazas, as well as bassist Jari Kainulainen (ex EVERGREY, ex STRATOVARIUS). This semi-Supergroup doesn’t sound too far away from MYSTIC PROPHECY, not only due to the fact both bands feature the same singer/songwriter, but the whole vibe is just the same, combining a massive guitarsound with strong melodies. Overall, DEVIL’S TRAIN is a tiny bit calmer than MYSTIC PROPHECY, but the strong melodies and choruses are basically the same. Highlights on the album are “Forever”, “Sweet Devil's Kiss”, “Find New Love” and “Coming Home”, but basically any of the 12 tracks will be up your alley if you enjoy the likes of MYSTIC PROPHECY. Only closing track “American Woman”, the THE GUESS WHO cover feels a bit useless. Check out this new project at: and

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Greek AOR/Melodic Rock is rare, but we have seen a few bands playing it the past 30 years, with as most notable act the legendary RAW SILK. However, there is now a band active in Greece, which might well be the finest piece of Greek AOR you will ever find, because WILD ROSE delivered a fantastic pure AOR record titled ‘Half past midnight’ last year on the American label RETROSPECT RECORDS. I believe we reviewed one of their demos in the past, but something must have happened the past few years, because they sound very sensational here. One quick ‘google’ and we can learn the reason why WILD ROSE is now all of a sudden a super sensational band, because they hired a new lead singer called GEORGE BITZIOS ( ), who is the brother of their guitarist JOHN BITZIOS. I have no idea how they convinced him to join the band (as he seems to be a Classical/Opera singer), but his voice is clearly incredible and perhaps one of the finest discoveries of this century in the Rockworld. His vocal range is really terrific and the way he sings the melodies in each and every song is lifting up the AOR of WILD ROSE to dazzling higher places. In fact, despite the cliché tingled lyrics and pure 80s AOR by-the-numbers sound (a la ROXUS, early FM, STRANGEWAYS, SIGNAL…) of all the songs, George is the person who gives WILD ROSE that additional touch we need to hear on an AOR record, which is melodies with a lot of soul! The material varies between uptempo and midtempo type of tunes, of which “Hold me”, “Want you back” (brilliant guitarwork!), “Goodbye” (vocally top-notch!) and “Fire in the night” are wonderful pure AOR tunes, but each track here is very enjoyable to listen to! Nothing new is brought here and it is far from original, but thanks to the amazing vocalwork and also high quality guitarwork of bandleader ANDY PEYOS, combined with a lot of beautiful pure AOR melodies one can not stop humming for days, this is one of the better AOR releases of the past few years, right up there with WORK OF ART and H.E.A.T.! Check them out at:  

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)



Out of Sweden comes THIS VISION, a duo consisting of vocalist MARCUS LANTZ and Synthesizer player/programmer CHRISTIAN LIEDHOLM HARTMANN. They have known each other all their lives, since they grew up in the same street close to the city of Helsingborg. Musically they share the same dream and with THIS VISION this all comes true, because after their same titled debut album in 2009, they are back with their 2nd album ‘The golden age we lost’. Musically speaking we get to hear pure 1980s Euro Synth Pop/Rock, as if ALPHAVILLE, ULTRAVOX, DEPECHE MODE and NEW ORDER still ruled the European charts. They are doing it really picture perfect and it is very enjoyable to listen to the 10 wonderful tracks on this new album. Most of the songs have a nostalgic kinda approach, making you feel like you’re dreaming about the times when everything was better and then in particular the 1980s of course due to the catchy melodies and massive synths on the record. Songs like “20th century” and “Dance with me” are the best example of this sound, but any song on the album will fulfill the hearts of the 1980s generation! Make sure to check out this vision at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



From out of nowhere comes a new album by the legendary Glamrockband THE SWEET. The album is clearly a tribute to their beloved city of New York, because all the included songs are about New York. Quite a few covers are included, such as PATTI SMITH’s “Because the night”, ACE FREHLEY’s “New York Groove” and even THE RAMONES’ “Blitzkrieg bop”. Although the performance is quite well and the only original member ANDY SCOTT is doing some nice guitar licks, I can’t help but feel this is not really a groundbreaking album. The fact that the band now features the excellent lead singer TONY O’HARA does not help either. The material is just a little bit too simple Rock and Roll orientated and including so many covers does not make it an interesting record at all. THE SWEET were once becoming a sensational band during the 1970s and even during the 1990s they did some great stuff, but ANDY SCOTT is really able to come up with something better than this record. Nevertheless, absolute die-hard THE SWEET fans will be relieved to see a sign of life from Andy! More info at:

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)



Not one, but we received in total two new CDs of SILENCE, the French band formed around multi-instrumentalist BRUNO LEVESQUE. We reviewed most of his albums in the past and it seems that with every new release he is learning how to create an even better AOR record, because these 2 new albums contain some really excellent AOR actually. It reminds me a lot of the Brazilian multi-instrumentalist MARCO FERREIRA, who creates the exact same kinda AOR on his recordings. Bruno also takes care of basically everything, except for the vocal part. For a French band, the AOR on the 2 albums sounds really international and can easily be checked out by all the AOR fans worldwide. The band features a great lead singer called BEN VENET and if we have a quick run through the tracks on both albums, the absolute highlights on the ‘Days’ CD are the midtempo AOR pieces of “The end of the day” and “Lift me up” (with female guest singer JUSTINE VENET) and the uptempo DAREish “Guardian angel”, but each track of the included 11 is a pleasure to listen to. This is prime-time AOR, played at a high level and therefore recommended to check out. The best songs on the other CD ‘Nights’ are uptempo pieces like “Drifting away”, “Ghosts”, “Crashing down” and “Just one kiss on your heart” and despite the split on 2 CDs, also this album is also pure AOR based, although perhaps a little heavier and rockier sometimes, with a couple of Melodic Hardrock based tunes slipped through. The difference might be that the night CD is more uptempo, where as the day CD is midtempo orientated. Anyway, both albums are highly recommended to the AOR fans, so make sure not to miss this great AOR adventure at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



It’s almost unbelievable, but the band MOUNT WASHINGTON is really coming out of Norway, despite the fact they sound as if they are coming out of either a Midwestern US State or the English countryside. The band was formed about 10 years ago and already released a couple of full-length records. Now they release a very impressive 4th album, which seems to be a new start for them, as the album is simply titled ‘Mount Washington’. The included music is a mix of Folk Rock, Americana and a dash of British 80s New Wave in the Synthesizer department, basically not far removed from bands like FLEET FOXES and SHEARWATER, yet with a British touch in the vocal and synth department that reminds one of WHITE LIES, THE EDITORS and especially JOY DIVISION. What they are doing here is of a very high level and this might well become their breakthrough album, because it contains the perfect sound of the present day, despite references to the glorious music past most of the time. Songs like “How does it feel” (one of the few songs that also features some high pitched vocals, a definite potential hit song by the way, must-have for fans of WHITE LIES and JOY DIVISION), “Lisboa” (absolutely the best tune, very strong and combining the best of both worlds) or “Concords” (calmer laid-back tune that reveal the FLEET FOXES influences) could easily become major summer hits all across Europe this year, but I guess it all depends on luck eventually. It is hard to predict of course when a band becomes big or has that fifteen minutes of fame, but take it from me that MOUNT WASHINGTON is definitely one of the contenders to become a major band someday soon. The songs are mostly based around the typical English way of singing, which could be linked to any 80s band (DEPECHE MODE, SIMPLE MINDS, THE SMITHS, etc. etc.), while the 80s Synths contribute to the fact also should be compared to WHITE LIES and the already mentioned JOY DIVISION, but then comes the American Folk Rock influences as well here and there, so we also might add similarities to FLEET FOXES and SHEARWATER. Throw them all in one big package, then you might have Norwegians MOUNT WASHINGTON! You don’t want to miss this band, especially if you are into any of the mentioned bands… then go to:   

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



Not to be confused with the all-female American Country-Rockband from the 1970s, because this CALAMITY JANE is coming out of Germany and released a mini-CD titled ‘Burn the city’ in 2011. 5 tracks are included and musically speaking this almost all-female band (their drummer is male!) is playing a somewhat groovy but Melodic Hardrock style. The opener “American nightmare” is not a really strong tune, but next track “Envy” is a very good Melodic Hardrocksong that reminds a bit of PHANTOM BLUE. Production wise we are clearly dealing with an independent release and also vocally OANA (the singer) needs to understand where her limitations are, because she is sometimes getting singing way out of her vocal league (such as during the already mentioned opening track and also on the closing track “Burn the city”). So some more work needs to be done here, but there is definitely some potential for this semi-all-female band from Germany! More info at:

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)



Now here we have a musician, who has already achieved a lot of fame and fortune, because the man behind G TOM MAC is multi-instrumentalist GERARD MCMAHON, who has been in the music business for 40 years now. Besides a solo career that brought some great AOR/Poprock records during the early 1980s, the English born Gerard found a lot of success in writing for other music acts and also for movies, which resulted in a few very popular songs during the 1980s decade, such as the KISS classic “Is that you” and the theme song “Cry little sister for the legendary horror movie ‘The Lost Boys’. He also wrote songs for such well-known legendary vocalists like ROBERT PLANT, ROGER DALTREY, CARLY SIMON and several others, while even EMINEM (!) recorded one of his songs.  By the 2000s, Gerard had formed his own band called G TOM MAC, under which he already released a few albums, with ‘Untame the songs’ being the latest effort. 11 tracks are included and the music is a mix of a lot of different styles, but Industrial meets Commercial 80s Melodic Hardrock, like NINE INCH NAILS/MARILYN MANSON/PAIN meets KANE ROBERTS/ALICE COOPER, with a sorta DAVID BOWIE influence as well, that may be the best description. It’s a little quirky too and definitely edgy, far removed from his early 1980s Classic Poprocksound, although a song like “Slave that you are” does remind one a bit of the old days, as being an uptempo rocker. Vocally speaking Gerard is sounding a bit like BILLY IDOL and even JOHNNY CASH comes to mind here and there, so he does sound quite raw actually. Besides the already mentioned tune, other highlights are “Watch Over Me” (with some very nice calmer great female vocals by TADIA K. TAYLOR), “Crave You” (calmer, gets rockier halfway) and the acoustic “ What’s left of Me”, which might be the best song on the whole album). There are also songs that go for the real industrial Dark Gothrock approach and then I must think personally a lot of PAIN or NINE INCH NAILS, but a little softer. The CD has a big production, sounding quite massive and anyone who ever wondered what happened to Gerad, then check out his band G TOM MAC at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



Now this is an interesting band from Finland called SCYTHE OF ORION and they release their 3rd CD with ‘Sun-dial’. The band is female fronted (ANU LAMMINSAARI) and is musically playing interesting Symphonic Melodic Hardrock, which sounds like a more polished and less epic and bombastic version of the current NIGHTWISH. 11 songs are included and thanks to a Violin player in the band, the Folk influences are clearly present, but most of the uptempo songs are quite melodic rock orientated, so it is a mix of Folk, Symphonic Hardrock and Melodic Rock, with some very accessible melodic choruses. Especially uptempo rockers like “Ice soldiers”, “Perfect silence” and “Power invested in money” are pretty good straight-forward Symphonic Melodic Rockers like NIGHTWISH meets LANA LANE, with also some LANDMARQ references. Nice band to check out at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



Greek Singer/songwriter GEORGE GAKIS has already released a bunch of albums in his 25-year career, but is now releasing his latest CD ‘Too much ain’t never enough’ through US label PERRIS RECORDS. He has some very special guests appearing on the album, such as JOE LYNN TURNER, BOBBY RONDINELLI, JAMES KOTTAK, while KIP WINGER co-produced, mixed and mastered the album. The result is a nice Melodic Hardrock affair with a bluesy touch, dangerously close to WHITESNAKE and BAD MOON RISING. George’s lead vocals are quite strong and remind a lot of KAL SWAN and KELLY HANSEN and among the 11 included tracks, the highlights are “When opposites attract”, “License for love” and “Under my skin”. Without a doubt, this is a quality release that is recommended to fans of HURRICANE, BATON ROUGE, XYZ, WHITESNAKE, BAD MOON RISING and BADLANDS. More info at:   

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



Danish musician releases his latest CD ‘Tip of the tongue’ on the US label PERRIS RECORDS. Musically speaking we get to hear 80s type of Party Hardrock/Metal and despite the mixing/mastering job of TOMMY HANSEN, this CD is only interested if you’re a die-hard fan of such 80s standard Party Hardrock meets Euro Metal of bands like VICE, VETO, RESTLESS, VICTORY and ACCEPT. It’s  actually not that bad, but I’m afraid it will also not have a real major impact on the music scene. This kind of material was heard on thousands of records back in the 1980s, but if you happen to like Teutonic Metal you might probably love this anyway… More at: 

(Points: 6.7 out of 10)



This talented multi-instrumentalist as well as singer/songwriter comes out Rio De Janeiro and releases his 3rd CD on the American label PERRIS RECORDS. Although the music on ‘One bite from paradise’ is typical 1980s AOR/Melodic Rock which we have heard many times before, it is done exceptionally well and therefore very listenable from start to finish, especially if you’re into Classic 80s AOR in the style of the 80s FM, AVIATOR, FROM THE FIRE, TYKETTO, OUTSIDE EDGE… FREDRIK BERGH (STREET TALK), FREDERIC SLAMA (AOR) and TOMMY DENANDER all make a guest appearance on the album and without a doubt, this is JOEY SUMMER’s finest record so far. He really knows how to write and perform a Classic AOR tingled tune, because the SURVIVOR meets JOURNEYish orientated pieces “Running through the night”, “Sailor on the moon”, “Addicted to your love” and “No Margin’ for Erro” (STONE SOUP/CAPTIVE HEART style as well) do feature some lovely melodies, both the choruses and the guitarsolos from Joey himself. In the end, this album is a surprise, because it sounds really impressive and the AOR fans really need to check it out. Check out Joey’s site at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



The Spanish band NOCTURNIA was reviewed by us back in 2009 (see ) and now they are returning with the follow-up ‘Sin retorno’. Musically no big changes, although a bit more keyboards are added here and there, but overall this is prime-time European Melodic Rock/Power Metal with Neo-Classical influences, not far removed from classic STRATOVARIUS and SONATA ARCTICA, yet with Spanish lyrics. The band is very keen on giving you big hooks and melodic memorable choruses, which works best in the uptempo melodic heavy rockers “Sin mirar atras”, “Hermanos” (with superstrong vocals, a bit like VISION DIVINE/LABYRINTH), “Destino” and “Que nunca se apague tu corazon” that should go down well live on stage I assume. SARATOGA, AVALANCH, RATA BLANCA, TIERRA SANTA, MAGO DE OZ and why not add NOCTURNIA to this list, because they are doing this at the same high level as those well-known bands in the Spanish sung Melodic Heavy Rock/Power Metal genre. Must-have if you like those bands and personally I think that NOCTURNIA’s new CD ‘Sin retorno’ is one of the better ones in this genre of the past few years. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



Greek musician BABIS KAISAS was able to get lead singer TONY MILLS (ex-SHY/TNT) on board for the debut release ‘Unify’ of his band KAISAS. The result is a very nice Melodic Rock affair that obviously sounds a lot like the old SHY. Songs like “Sins of mankind”, “Innocent cry” and “Somewhere someplace” are high quality SHYish Melodic Rock, but also several songs are a bit average, such as the Christmas song “Jingle bells” that clearly should have been left off the album. Nevertheless, SHY fans will definitely love this album! The band is currently working with MARK EVANS of HEAVEN’S EDGE on a second album that should be released soon, but in the meantime Melodic Rockfans might want to check out this first album of KAISAS, because it definitely has some interesting material to offer, although like already mentioned not everything is impressive. However, for a first album, this Greek musician shows he is able to come up with some great old fashioned Melodic Rock. More info at: www.facebook.comkaisasband

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



New York based Singer/songwriter and producer PHIL NARO has been in the music business for over 30 years now and was involved in many bands, projects and recordings during that period. Actually, ever since he started his recording career with the band CHAIN REACTION, he has been a respected performer in the Melodic Rockscene. Through the years he also released a lot of solo albums, but every now and then he is part of a band or project, such as the case with this Canadian band called DRUCKFARBEN. Musically speaking perhaps one of his most adventurous releases, because from start to finish, this album is filled with high quality Melodic Progressive Rock. RUSH, YES, 1970s GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT, SPOCK’S BEARD and THE FLOWER KINGS are clear comparisons when listening to the debut album of the band. As usual, Phil is the fantastic lead singer, who gives DRUKCFARBEN that extra bit needed to stand out between the rest. On one of the more commercial songs “Walk away”, Phil sings out the melodies really beautifully and actually this song is almost pure late 1970s Pomprock-AOR in the style of ROADMASTER! However, most of the 9 included tracks are a must-hear for the fans of YES, SPOCK’S BEARD and RUSH. This is Progrock of the highest level, with superb guitarwork by the way from the band’s guitarist ED BERNARD, who also plays violin and mandolin, while he co-wrote most of the tracks together with Phil. Definitely an album worth checking out, especially if you’re a proghead and for PHIL NARO fans even more appealing as on this disc we can hear Phil singing pure prog, instead of the typical Melodic (Hard) Rock he is best known for. More info at: and

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



It’s a pity the la Porte, Indiana, USA based band PURSUIT OF POWER only added a bassist and drummer to their line-up after the release of their debut album ‘Across the world’, because now the programming of bass and drums on their first recording is spoiling things a bit. Nevertheless, they show they are definitely able to write a good decent Melodic Metal tune. Most remarkable tune on the album is definitely the KROKUS cover “Russian winter”. Besides the beautiful “Into your dreams” and the uptempo URIAH HEEP/PRAYING MANTISish “From a land so far away”, the titletrack “Across the world” is definitely one of the highlights, as this midtempo tune has a very classic melodic rock feeling and also shows the band’s singer STEVE MULLIGAN Jr. at his very best. Main leader of the band however is guitarist MARTIN MCCANN, who plays guitars and keys, as well as writing all of the songs on the album. Although an interesting release, I do feel that this band can deliver something even better, especially since they now a bassist and drummer in the line-up, which should provide them the missing rhythm section. Regardless of that, fans of classic 80s US Melodic Rock/Metal will definitely like this band, so go check them out at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



Out of the Canadian city of Edmunton comes the female fronted band ONE SOUL THRUST. This band features a truly amazing lead singer called SALEM JONES, who sounds as good as ANN WILSON of HEART. The music of ONE SOUL THRUST is slightly heavier, more akin to a rockier HEART circa “Barracuda”, so heavy Bluesrock with however a Melodic Hardrock approach. Opener “We gotta change” is a nice groovy Hardrock tune, but following track “Drivin” is a really awesome uptempo Melodic Rocker with a rather catchy chorus and a great guitarsolo by JAG MOLLERUP. In total 12 tracks are included and I am quite convinced that this ONE SOUL THRUST might have a big break someday soon, because if you have such a great singer in your line-up, then you simply can not go wrong, especially when you are backed up by a strong guitarplayer and a tight rhythm section. Despite a few weaker slow bluesy tunes (such as “Laughin’ all the way to heaven” and “No”), the band offers enough to keep you interested, although they are at their very best during the uptempo rockers like the earlier mentioned “Drivin” and “Never too late”. Any fan of female fronted rock must check this sensational band out at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



XUFO is made up of veterans of the NWOBHM scene from the 1980s and is not exactly a tribute band to UFO, because 2 of the members even played and recorded with UFO. Anyway, in the UK there are so many different versions of Classic Hardrockbands, with SAXON and ASIA being just 2 prime examples. However, this version of UFO does sound really well on the CD ‘Volume 1: The live files’, which contains recordings that took place live on stage in Europe in 2011. Although I am never a big fan of such albums, this XUFO record isn’t bad at all, because after all, the members definitely know how to fill up a show with nothing but UFO Classics. That’s what CLIVE EDWARDS (drums), LAURENCE ARCHER (guitars), DANNY PEYRONEL (keyboards, vocals) and bassist ROCKY NEWTON do on such UFO Classics like “Doctor doctor”, “Rock bottom”, “Love to love”, “Only you can rock me”, “Lights out” and the MSG classic “Armed and ready”. Nicely done, although perhaps only interesting for the die-hard UFO fans. More at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



Singer/songwriter MICHAEL PAUL SCALLY is coming out of Southern California and in contrary to what one might expect, his album ‘America’ is not a smooth Westcoast type of record, because it is filled with quite dark singer/songwriter music that reminds one of JOHNNY CASH and sometimes BOB DYLAN. A little Folk here and a lot Singer/Songwriter with a dark approach all throughout the album. Michael did everything on his own and fans of mentioned artists are definitely gonna love this mostly acoustic guitar driven album of Michael. More info at:

(Points: 7.6 out of 10)



Out of Seattle comes multi-instrumentalist CHRIS KLIMECKY, who already has a long music career behind him, which started in the 1980s. He released several records with the Progressive Rockband JESTER’S CROWN during the 1990s. ‘This journey’ is his latest solo effort, which musically is a mix of classic 80s US AOR/Melodic Rock melodies with a more Modern American Poprocksound, balancing somewhere between TONIC, COLLECTIVE SOUL and THREE DOORS DOWN. Chris did everything on his own and I have to admit it does sound very professional. The melodies of songs like “This journey”, “The Age Old story” and “Lap of luxury” are quite impressive actually. There are also some similarities to PHIL VINCENT and JOHN TAGLIERI here and there, so that might give you an idea how CHRIS KLIMECKY’s music should be described. Check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)



Out of Nurnberg, Germany comes the female fronted band EFFLORESCE. Although at first sight the band actually sounds like yet another EPICA/AFTER FOREVER clone, some further in-depth listening definitely shows that this band is more on the prog side of life. 6 lenghty tracks are included on their debut CD ‘Coma ghosts’ and especially OPETH seems to be a major influence. Especially closing track “Shuteye wanderer” is this band’s classic tune. Everything is done very well and lead singer NICKI WEBER can not only sing clean and melodic like the EPICA/AFTER FOREVER singers, but is also growling a few times. Happily not that much, so we can very much enjoy the smooth and clean sounds of this rather impressive band from start to finish. The album was mastered by the mastermind DAN SWANO from Sweden, who of course is known for being involved with many bands and projects through the years. He even worked with OPETH, so EFFLORESCE should have been quite happy to get him on board for their debut release ‘Coma ghosts’. Anyway, definitely a quality release, sounding like a more progressive version of EPICA. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



LOADASMOON is a band from Ireland, formed around guitarist KEVIN STANBURY, who is an excellent guitarplayer. He also wrote all the music on the debut CD of the band. The band’s lead singer SHAWN ALLEN has a very raw tone in his voice and there’s definitely some similarity to classic THIN LIZZY to be heard, although WHITESNAKE and BLUE MURDER also come to mind. Although they aren’t the new THE ANSWER yet, the 10 included tracks on the first CD of the band do sound pretty nice, mostly massive guitar riff based groovy Hardrock. The highlight on the CD is definitely the Classic Rock based midtempo “The towers” that sounds like a cross between THUNDER and LED ZEPPELIN, with some RAINBOW influences. Kevin is definitely the winner on the album, because his guitar playing is of a very high level. It’s just that the songs are not always convincing. Nevertheless, check out this band at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)



VARIAH is a Danish band making their debut with the CD ‘Betrayfull sins’. Musically speaking we are drifting into semi-Progressive Melodic Metal, not too far removed from EVERGREY actually. The vocals of singer MAGNUS THOMSON are not 100% convincing yet, as there is this kind of raspy tone to be heard. However, the production and also the included songs are quite good and the additional keyboardwork is giving the band an interesting Progmetal approach. Not saying we are listening to a band that might compete with PAGAN’S MIND, but for a first album, they actually sound pretty decent. Somehow the titletrack ‘Betrayfull sins’ is the highlight on the album. More info on VARIAH at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted)