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It must have been the early 1990s when I bought a copy of the first CD of the band BANGALORE CHOIR. It was laying in the bargain bins of a record store in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. I was triggered by the front cover of the album, so I bought it, but little did I knew something about the included music, so it turned out to be a wild guess. Although at first sight, it didn’t make a real impression on me, I am safe to say that 20 years later the album actually wasn’t that bad. Of course it was around the time NIRVANA basically killed everything close to happy fun hardrock, so it wasn’t that strange the album found its way to the bargain bins pretty quickly, because BANGALORE CHOIR was a pure Melodic Hardrockband, with some bluesy and glamrock influences here and there. The band featured a great lead singer (DAVID REECE), who happened to have sung in ACCEPT for a while after UDO had left that band. Probably thanks to this adventure, David’s new band BANGALORE CHOIR was signed to a major label in the early hours of the 1990s. It was a time when so many similar sounding bands were signed to a major label, but dropped pretty quickly due to the changing music climate and BANGALORE CHOIR was one of them, because after that one release they disappeared from the face of the earth. David went on doing other projects, go solo for a while and got involved with several bands (I believe), but recently reformed his old band BANGALORE CHOIR again and now releases a comeback record titled ‘Metaphor’. Although musically no big changes 20 years later, the production is not as good as the first album and also the songs are most of the time fitting the category ‘so-and-so’ and most of the time the band is focused on bluesy and groovy based material. Actually David’s vocals are not what they used to be and sound a bit average here and there. The Melodic Hardrock is quite standard, reminding a bit of VENGEANCE actually. When going for a more catchy melodic approach it does sound pretty good during for example “Trojan horse”, “Always be my angel” and the awesome “Scandinavian Rose” (TYKETTO ish). However, the CD is definitely not as good as their debut from 20 years ago, but still nice to listen to if you’re a die-hard fan of bands like BATON ROUGE, EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE, WHITESNAKE, VAUGHN, XYZ, HURRICANE, etc. etc. More at: 

(Points: 7.6 out of 10)


CIRCLE 7 is a band from San Diego, California whom are delivering their 2nd album with ‘In between’. The included music is typical modern day sounding American Post-Grunge Rock in the style of SOUNDGARDEN, CREED, ALTER BRIDGE and LIVE. Based on downtuned distorted guitars and strong melodies, this band will go down well among the fans of mentioned bands. Although it has been done a lot of times before, CIRCLE 7 do it quite well and sound like a major label band, especially during songs like Cage”, “Free” (a more uptempo traditional Melodic Metal piece) and “Army”. Recommended to the fans of CREED, SOUNDGARDEN and such. More at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The Portuguese band ATRIUM already released 2 full-length studio-albums in the past few years and ‘Places’ their latest effort, an EP consisting of 2 tracks. Musically they head into Symphonic Neo-Prog that contains influences from bands like ELOY, IQ and PENDRAGON. Although nicely done, the high level of such bands is not reached here, which is also due to the vocals which are not as strong I’m afraid, because there is a clear accent to be heard here. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 7.2 out of 10)


The 2001 formed band THE DIRTY PANTIES are one of the few all-female Girl-Punkbands around and they are damn proud of it. Their sound is catchy and melodic, mostly fast and uptempo with sing-a-long choruses and a positive attitude. They sound like a faster version of the classic THE RUNAWAYS sound and also remind one of THE DONNAS and THE RIPLETS more than a few times. MELANIE ASH has a strong Rockvoice that gives THE DIRTY PANTIES the desperately needed additional touch and also their first full-length album ‘I am a robot’ is graced with a quality production (thanks to the fact they are signed to a label, which in this case is SQUIDHAT RECORDS), so all together the 13 catchy tunes make this band interesting enough to check out. Highlights are “Wet”, “Take it to the grave” (pure THE DONNAS!) and “Get off your ass” (hello THE RUNAWAYS!), but any song will do here. Without a doubt, this Las Vegas based band is one to watch out for in the future, because they have something that other bands do not have. More at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


THE RABID WHOLE is a Toronto, Canada based band whom deliver their 2nd album with ‘Refuge’. Although the band has a strong male singer in the shape of guitarist ANDREAS WEISS, the additional female singer/keyboardplayer CHASLEY NOELLE, who joined the band at a later stage, she also has a great voice and gives the band an extra dimension. The sound of THE RABID WHOLE is modern, but very accessible, combining electronic/industrial rock-keyboardwork with distorted guitars and catchy melodies, making almost each of the 10 included tracks sound rather attractive and memorable. If you mix 30 SECONDS TO MARS, SKILLET, METRIC and NINE INCH NAILS you might end up with the sound of this THE RABID WHOLE. Done very well and definitely ready for today’s music business, this band will appeal to a wide audience. However, I hope for more female fronted songs like the excellent Gothic-Industrial Rock of “Serenity falls” next time, because somehow Chasley has a more interesting voice than Andreas. Anyway, check them out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


As the bandname already might predict, this North Carolina, USA based band is focusing on Southern Rock and they do it quite well on their album ‘Where I’m from’. The production is very impressive (with a little help of MARSHALL TUCKER BAND members Rusty Milner and Tim Lawter) and the performance is excellent, with a nice balance between the instrumental parts and the vocals. The lead vocals of guitarist/keyboardplayer SCOTT SANDERS are very strong and definitely contribute to the overall sound of SOUTHERN EXPERIENCE. Instrumental it all sound perfect, with great precise guitarwork and a nice funky/groovy rhythm section backing it up. Highlights are the AOR influenced “Make me or break me”, “Could be better” (superb guitarwork!), “You and me” and “Rockin it out”. DOC HOLIDAY, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, THE OUTLAWS, ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION, ALLMAN BROTHERS, ROSSINGTON COLLINS BAND and such all come to mind more than a few times and thankfully it is done at a very similar high level here, so this is something to check out for sure. By far one of the better Southern Rock based albums of the past few years! More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


German singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardplayer KLAUS LULEY has already a long history in music behind him, because he was the bandleader of the early 1980s AOR/Pomprockband TOKYO, with whom he released several awesome AOR records and later he formed the Melodic Hardrockband CRAAFT during the mid 1980s to early 1990s and with them he also managed to release a couple major label releases. When Alternative Rock took over the mainstream music scene, Klaus became more involved in session work and didn’t release any albums with a band or project until the year 2012, because he’s now back under his own name LULEY. The album he recorded is titled ‘Today’s tomorrow’, which has been produced by MICHAEL VOSS (MAD MAX) and musically speaking it is grabbing back to the classic glorious 1980s sound. The music is strong pure Melodic Hardrock in the classic German style of CRAAFT, ZENO, FAIR WARNING and TOKYO, wrapped up in a big sound, featuring excellent vocals and a lot of catchy tunes, of which the highlights are “Mountain of love” (midtempo AOR ish), “Don’t wanna see your face” (melodic rocker), “Higher” (very catchy uptempo melodic rocker, classic 80s DOMINOE/DAYTONA in their best prime-time) and closing track “When the night comes down” (semi meloic rocker). Of course Klaus couldn’t resist to re-record his all-time classic tune “Tokyo”. Nice comeback and without a doubt a highly recommended piece to the AOR/Melodic Rockfans out there.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The band BIG ENGINE is coming out of a small town not far from Southern Rock Capital of the world, Jacksonville, Florida and ‘Turn it on’ is their 3rd CD so far. The band is playing pure Southern fried Hardrock with a touch of Melodic Rock during the catchy “If I could” and the lovely laid-back AORish semi-ballad “No more time”. However, most of the time this band is playing in the style of BLACKFOOT and LYNYRD SKYNYRD, yet with a clear uptempo AC/DC like beat/tempo. Although not really original, what they are doing is of a reasonable quality level and I think even the fans of KROKUS are going to love this band. Hardly 30 minutes and only 8 included tracks is making this a shorty, but still one to check out for sure as what is offered is quite good. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Aggressive Extreme Hardcore Metal is what is displayed on the CD of the Australian band ISAW and although I hear it is done well, it is a little too much out of our league, as melodies are hard to find here, except for a few choruses! More at: 

(Points: -)


E.V.E. is an American/Greek band formed in 2010 and now releasing their debut EP, which will be followed by a full-length record in 2013. The band is playing a sorta Progressive Rockstyle, which features the fantastic vocals of female singer VICKY PSARAKIS. Her voice definitely makes this band stand out between the rest out there and I am already looking forward to an official full-length record, because the music featured on this EP is showing a very high level. It feels very laid-back and melodic, but still with some experimental moves as well, taking this of Prog and that of Gothic. They sound like a more relaxed and prog version of AFTER FOREVER, with similar superb female vocalwork. Just listen to the lovely “The planet’s cry” and you’re hooked for sure. Interesting band to keep our eyes wide open for in the near future. More at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Chicago settled multi-instrumentalist JOSE PIMENTEL is the man behind RETROVATI, a one man’s band which released an EP titled ‘Mechanical love’. Musically it is going into instrumental guitar based rock/prog with some Fusion, New Age and Soundtrack elements slipped right through. STEVE VAI would be a good comparison, but many other musicians made this kind of instrumental music in the past and especially due to the rather cool keyboardwork it really feels like classic 80s Movie Soundtrack/Background Music. It is done very well and anyone interested should go to: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Now here we have a very interesting band, which is still independent, but this Columbus, Ohio based band is playing music at such a high level that they should become bigger soon for sure if they are of course discovered by the major media out there. They have a Classic 1980s inspired US Melodic Hardrocksound, yet without sounding dated and also minus all the image aspects. They are blessed with a fantastic lead singer (Devan Stokosa) and a terrific guitarist (Nick Mucci) and their same titled full-length debut CD has a high quality sound/production, while the included material (last but certainly not least) offers some really great tunes. They remind a bit of classic FIREHOUSE, KNOW ILLUSION, BRITTON, 80s DOKKEN, TEER, STEELHEART, TALON and such, but as mentioned thanks to the superb vocalwork they should be taken very seriously and not be called a second-rate copycat band of the past Hair Metal sound. Besides a bunch of really sensational catchy pure 80s Melodic Rock/AOR masterpieces/gems (the midtempo “Sinking”, the semi-melodic rocker “Broken”, the uptempo melodic rocker “Beautiful mask” and the semi-ballads “Tennessee Rain” for example, all sounding dangerously close to BILOXI, VOXEN, TALON and TEER!), the band is also going for that Classic traditional Hardrocksound that nowadays brings bands like RIVAL SONS and AIRBOURNE fame and fortune, which can be heard here during the straight-ahead uptempo Hardrock of songs like “Dancing with the devil”, “Set it free” and “Two times heavy”. These guys could become the next big thing in CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE if they are lucky, but for now they are sitting nicely in the underground scene of the US state of Ohio. Hopefully not for long, because this is Hardrock the way it should sound like! More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


PLACE CALLED RAGE was a sort of New Jersey based supergroup consisting of members of bands like SARAYA, ASIA, SAVATAGE, BLUE OYSTER CULT and future members of TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. However, they never managed to release their album officially, because the recordings of the CD which is currently released through ESCAPE MUSIC date back to the early 1990s and are now available for the first time. Nevertheless, it sounds quite up-to-date and could well be something newly recorded. Quality stuff for sure, although nothing sensational, despite all the involved musicians (AL PITRELLI, TOMMY FARESE, CHUCK BONFONTE, MARK MANGOLD, etc.) Groovy Hardrock is what is happening here and then I mean really groovy and close to Heavy Bluesrock, down to the bone, with raw guitarwork and bluesy DAVID GLENN EISLEY/DAVID COVERDALEish vocalwork. Actually, the music is not far removed from the last couple of WHITESNAKE and EUROPE records and even a bit BLUE MURDER and HOUSE OF LORDS come to mind, so then you know more or less in which direction this is going. Like stated before, nicely done, but perhaps a bit boring after a while, as eventually you miss some catchy melodies.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


‘The stranger within’ is the debut album of the Australian Progressive Rockband VITRUVIAN MAN. They hail from the city of Melbourne and deliver a fine piece of art with ‘The stranger within’. THE MARS VOLTA, RUSH, FLYING COLORS, COHEED AND COMBRIA, PORCUPINE TREE and such bands come to mind when listening to the modern progrock sounding record. The vocals of singer DAN SWAN are quite good, easily reaching the higher vocal range most of the time and instrumental, it is especially guitarist GLENN KIRKWOOD who delivers some nice guitarwork. 7 songs are included in total and some are quite lengthy, but VITRUVIAN MAN have succeeded in the fact that it was a pleasure to listen to their album from start to finish and the forward button was not used, which in the present time does not happen often. Sometimes the band reminds me quite a bit of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, so quite melodic and proggy stuff going on here, although the almost AORish “As it falls” might even attract fans of let’s say MARA (remember their classic ‘Poetry and motion’. On the other hand I have to say that the production is not superb, so some work on that next time around would really make this band a highly recommended band. Nevertheless, they are still worth checking out for sure, especially if you dig any of the mentioned bands. More at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


What impressed me most of this album was the fact that it is a new album released on the legendary ROCKWERK RECORDS label! This is a German label responsible for some great AOR/Melodic Rock releases during the late 1980s and 1990s, such as BAD SISTER and HEAT, but also a lot of average stuff (remember WILD CHAMPAGNE !!!). Anyway, they are still alive and kicking and have released a CD of the German band KRIS POHLMANN BAND. This band is formed around guitarist/vocalist KRIS POHLMANN. Musically they are pure Bluesrock, with a focus on pure Blues most of the time, so we get to hear slow songs that is situated around a laid-back bluesy guitar and raw vocals, both done by Kris. You might compare him to JOHN MAYER, but that might be a little too ambitious for the time being, because vocally Kris is not as good as someone like JOHN MAYER or JOE BONAMASSA. However, a song like the more midtempo rocking “Believe” reveals that there is definitely potention and I’m quite sure that all fans of pure Bluesrock will love this album. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The legendary US Metalband OBSESSION returns with a new album titled ‘Order of chaos’. Musically no changes and also vocalist MIKE VESCARA is still on board. The band released a couple legendary records on major label ENIGMA RECORDS back in the mid 80s, had a long pause during the 1990s, before returning to the scene in the 2000s with several album releases. After 3 years of hard work, the new album is released. Although it starts with a rather standard Metal tune, the next song “Twist of the knife” is a very strong Classic 80s US Melodic Power Metal tune that will please any fan of RIOT, LEATHERWOLF, FIFTH ANGEL, SAVAGE GRACE and such. Mike does not always sound as good as in his heydays with YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, with whom he worked on 2 albums. Nevertheless, the production is rather impressive and as the instrumental back-up of former members of HOUSE OF LORDS, MVP and X FACTOR X is making it all sound picture-perfect, so there is no reasons to complain. Fans of classic 80s US Melodic Metal will love this album a lot I guess, with as absolute highlight the song “When the smoke clears”, which contains a deadly catchy chorus and superb guitarwork. Not a classic and you have to appreciate the high pitched vocals of MICHAEL VESCARA (remember his days with LOUDNESS and MALMSTEEN?), but still also not one you must miss if you’re a fan of JAG PANZER, MALICE, HEIR APPARENT, SAVAGE GRACE and of course OBSESSION!

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The Italian band REPLOSION was formed by the brothers Gianmarco (guitars) and Mike Galletto (drums) in 2000 and eventually it took them the whole decade to record an official debut CD in the shape of ‘The resting place of illusion’. Thankfully it is a very impressive album that more or less contains Classic Melodic Italo Power Metal with Prog and Neo-Classical influences, not far removed from VISION DIVINE, LABYRINTH and such bands. One listen to the opening track, which in this case is the titletrack “The resting place of illusion” and you will agree that this is of a very high level, easily reaching the VISION DIVINE quality, also vocally, because singer FIL PALMER has a great vibrato, with only a slight accent. I have to admit though that this is not really original and it has been done a lot of times before in the past, especially in Italy, but it is done quite well, so I am safe to say that fans of VISION DIVINE will definitely enjoy songs like the already mentioned titletrack, “The unknown God”, the ultrafast “Push me down” and the ballad “Starless night”. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


‘Shake your skull’ is already the 3rd album of the Swedish band CHILLIHOUNDS. Musically they are heavily influenced by classic 1970s Stoner/Bluesrocksound and as this genre is currently very popular, CHILLIHOUNDS will have tough competition of similar bands like KYUSS, THE BLACK KEYS, RIVAL SONS, WOLFMOTHER and so on… Nevertheless, fans of CLASSIC ROCK will absolutely be interested to check out this band. Production is good and the guitarwork is very impressive, but vocally it ain’t splendid yet. Check them out at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The Spanish band EDEN LOST was formed back in 1999 and their debut ‘Road of desire’ was released in 2005 through AOR HEAVEN. It took them 7 years before a new album was released, but now ‘Breaking the silence’ is released on the Madrid based label VASO MUSIC. Although vocally there are clear traces of a Southern European accent, the music is nice typical Melodic Hardrock that reminds me a lot of their countrymen of 91 SUITE and also BON JOVI and JADED HEART are coming to mind more than a few times when listening to the 12 included tracks. The material is ranging from uptempo to midtempo rockers and a ballad here and there, so basically your typical 80s influenced Melodic Hardrockalbum. Especially fans of 80s BON JOVI, DANGER DANGER, TOKYO ROSE and such will be interested in checking out this album. The band is at their best during the more uptempo catchy melodic rockers, such as “Sun keep shining”. Although I would not call this a classic, I am sure fans of the typical 80s American Stadium Melodic Rocksound of mentioned bands will like this a lot! More info at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


PAIGE LEWIS is a singer/songwriter from Texas who has already had her fifteen minutes of fame in the early 2000s when she released her debut album on the WORD music label and 2 of her songs landed on the soundtrack of the NICOLAS CAGE movie MATCHSTICK MEN. Although she did release 2 more albums in the following years and she lived in L.A. for a long time, at one point she decided to go to University and she got her Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising in 2009. However, when you’re a musician you always get back to the music business eventually and in 2011 PAIGE LEWIS released the album ‘One good day’. This album contains mature radiofriendly Melodic Poprock with touches of AOR and it sometimes remind me of JAIME KYLE meets SHERRI AUSTIN, with a touch of HEATHER NOVA, MEREDITH BROOKS and JENNIFER PAIGE. Paige has a great strong clean voice and the songs are very catchy, with as highlights the summerish uptempo poprockers “Other side”, “You will be last”. “Where you left me” and “Much to learn”. Definitely worth checking out for sure! More info on this talented female singer/songwriter can be found on her homepage at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The American band BRIAN BUCKLEY BAND is likewise formed around BRIAN BUCKLEY, a singer/songwriter/guitarist with a very extraordinary falsetto voice. Almost impossible to compare, the voice of Brian sounds like a cross between GEDDY LEE (RUSH), STING and the COHEED AND CAMRBIA singer. The music is semi-progrock, with traces of Modern Rock as well, sounding a bit like a more song orientated version of RUSH, yet with somehow Soul/Funk influences slipped right through, although overall speaking it is mostly kept in the rock direction. The songs are very melodic and are situated around that unique voice of Brian, but also the precise guitarwork is interesting, just listen to a great song like “With grace” and you will agree with me that this outfit from L.A. is offering something different than the usual rock stuff. Besides Brian, the other members in the band are Mike McGraw (Lead Guitar), Albert Estiamba, Jr. (Drums) and Daniel Bodeman (Bass/Keys) and perhaps it is nice to mention that some well-known persons of the music/movie industry have already worked with Brian in the past and present time, because Arthur Barrow (FRANK ZAPPA, BILLY IDOL) and MARK HOWARD (U2 and BOB DYLAN) were involved at some point and especially the link to the SF-TV show “Supernatural” is remarkable, because the main characters of that show are huge fans and have now even appeared in one of the band’s most recent videos. Anyway, back to ‘Hysterical blindness’, this is a hugely recommended and very unique sounding album that is not prog at all, but might as well be called prog here and there, because it dares to sound different, yet also modern and also mxies influences of Folk, Soul and Singer/Songwriter Pop/Rock, so think RADIOHEAD meets RUSH meets THE KILLERS meets BEN HOWARD and then you’re close to the sound of this band! Could become huge, because European press loves this kind of music. More at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


It will be almost impossible to ignore the first English album of the 2 beautiful French girls SARAH and MELISSA FONTAINE, because not only are these girls looking very attractive, they can both sing very well too and if you look at the impressive guest list it should definitely appeal to any AOR fan out there. It’s actually thanks to FREDERIC SLAMA (the French multi-instrumentalist, who is known for his AOR projects) that this duo is now entering the female fronted AOR world, because after meeting him, it became clear that he had all the right connections to make this album sound as good as it turned out to be. He wrote all the songs, produced the record and hired a whole list of respected musicians, singers and songwriters from the AOR world, including GORAN EDMAN, PHILIP BARDOWELL, JERRY HLUDZIK (DAKOTA), TOMMY DENANDER (the ultimate session guitarist in AOR music, STEVE LUKATHER’s little brother), MICHAEL LANDAU (too many to mention), BRUCE GAITSCH (RICHARD MARX and thousands of others!), ROBERT SALL (WORK OF ART), TIM MANFORD (DANTE FOX), CHRISTIAN TOLLE, JOEY SUMMER, PAUL SABU, etc. etc. The result is a very strong female fronted AOR album that will easily be loved by fans of FIONA, ROBIN BECK, WITNESS, DANTE FOX, JACKLYN, ANGELA AND THE RUDE and such. I have to say, it is sounding much better than the overpraised ISSA and to be honest, this is one of the finest female fronted pure AOR releases in ages. AOR songs like the uptempo “I can’t love no more”, “Above suspicion” (excellent 80s uptempo AOR rocker) and closing track “Just wanna be your heroin” (the best one and the rockiest one!) and the midtempo “When the darkness falls”, “No one’s gonna hurt me anymore” (lovely chorus!) and “Voices in the wind”. The overall approach vocally of the two sisters is somewhat laid-back, so no high-pitched screams a la ANN WILSON or ROBIN BECK, but nevertheless both ladies are singing very well and the duets with some of the guest male singers (especially the ones with GORAN EDMAN) make it all sounding even catchier! High quality stuff for sure and a complete must-have for any fan of female fronted AOR! More at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


‘Unholy rites’ is the 2nd album of the band FATAL FORCE, which is actually a project of Danish guitarist TORBEN ENEVOLDSEN, who this time got help from MICHAEL VESCARA (MALMSTEEN, LOUDNESS) for the vocal part. The included music is quality Melodic Heavy Rock/Metal in the style of the material Michael recorded in the past, so no surprises to be found here. Happily, it is done very well and you will not be disappointed at all with ‘Unholy rites’. 1 of those records you can put on without pushing the ‘forward’ button, so good quality stuff, recommended to the fans of the MICHAEL VESCARA and ROB ROCK bands and projects…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The German band PERZONAL WAR has been going strong for 16 years now and their new album ‘Captive breeding’ is once again filled with high quality Thrash Metal. The guitarwork is superb and songs like “The cocoon”, “The last day” and “Lost” could make METALLICA jealous! Must-have for all Thrash metalfans out there!

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


‘New world disorder’ is the latest album of the Italian band MERENDINE. Their previous albums saw guests like JEFF WATERS (ANNIHILATOR) and CHRIS CAFFERY (SAVATAGE, TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA) making their appearance. Musically speaking MERENDINE is playing Aggressive Groovy Metal with Thrash Metal influences, but also Heavy Rock can be heard here and there. There are some similarities to BLACK LABEL SOCIETY sometimes, but most of the time the band can be described as a modern sounding groovy thrash metalband. Not bad, but not really interesting for the ‘melodic’ fans out there either…

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


Out of Canada comes THE WAXBILLS, a band formed in 2008 on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls. They have already released 2 albums and are now presenting their very strong sounding new album ‘When love comes down’. Musically it goes into different directions, although most of the time it sounds clean, melodic, catchy and rocking. The uptempo Poprocker “First aid kit” for example does sound like a definite Summer hit, although the summer of 2012 in Western Europe is not all about sun and catchy tunes, but with a song like that we sorta feel the warmth of the Summer Sunshine. Anyway, on the other hand there’s also the light Psychedelic Rocker “Animals” that recalls memories of the current modern Hardrockscene. We can also hear some interesting influences from both Indie Folk and Southern Rock in a song like “Blood on the road” that sounds like a mixture between FLEETWOOD MAC and LYNYRD SKYNYRD! British Indie Pop seems to be the biggest influence on songs like “Bells” and “Let us in” (a very happy tune with a shuffle beat and melodies that do recall THE HOUSEMARTINS). The band sounds at their best however during the somewhat easier uptempo Melodic Powerpop material, such as the already mentioned “First aid kit”, “Skeleton man”, “Break free” and “When love comes” that remind me a bit of THE POSIES, WEEZER and TEENAGE FANCLUB, but then with a slightly rockier approach. There’s a bit of every Pop and Rockstyle of the past 5 decades to be found in the sound of THE WAXBILLS, which in the current musicscene happens a lot actually, but on this album it is all done very well, so here’s a recommendation from our side for sure! More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


DELORENTOS is a band from Dublin, Ireland and ‘Little sparks’ is their 3rd album so far. The sound is as British as one can imagine, which means a collection of short, sweet uptempo melodic Powerpop meets New Wave meets Post-Punk anthemic tunes that feature some deadly serious catchy chorusus to sing-a-long to. Opener “Did we ever really try” sums it up quite clearly, because this is melodic British Poprock at it’s very best, including an infectious chorus that will spin in your head for days. Of course many similar records are released nowadays and it is always a matter of luck and timing if something is going to be the next best thing. DELORENTOS are doing things quite perfectly and most of the songs are very Radio accessible and besides the already mentioned excellent first track, other highlights are “Right to know”, Give it up now”, “Pace yourself” and “The stream”. What makes this band stand out between the rest is the fact that all 4 members are singer/songwriters, so all of them are contributing to the group’s overall sound, which makes DELORENTOS a very strong and compact unit. Fans of bands like THE EDITORS, BLOC PARTY, MAXIMO PARK and such will absolutely instantly fall in love this record that will be released in late September 2012. This is the latest British sensation in the Pop/Rock world, but guess what… they are actually coming out of Ireland! More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Swedish singer/songwriter LOUISA HOFFSTEN has been in the musi business ever since the early to mid 1980s. She released her first album in 1987 and despite the fact that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996, she has always continued to write, tour and perform music. 14 albums have been released so far and now we can hear and review her latest effort ‘Looking for Mr. God’. Although she has sung in her own Swedish language on several records, every now and then also an album sung in English is released and this new record is one of them. She has a great strong powerful voice that suits her music quite well. The music itself is a combination of Rock, Blues, Folk and Singer/Songwriter, with a touch of AOR/Melodic Rock here and there. Some of the material on the album is very smooth almost Westcoastish Melodic Poprock (“I’ll get by” and “Walk with the rhythm”), while others are Bluesy Rock in the style of let’s say ALANNAH MYLES and even a bit DARBY MILLS (listen to the excellent “Don’t steal my dreams” and the melodic rocker “Tough love”), JAIME KYLE, LENITA ERICKSSON and ROBIN BECK. Laid-back Singer/Songwriter semi-acoustic tingled tunes can also be found on the album (“Go for love”, “I fall down” and “Hey Mr. Hyde”), so in the end it is a mix of a few different pop/rock styles. For the Dutch out there, MISS MONTREAL might be a very good comparison, but of course LOUISA HOFFSTEN is a more well-known and experienced musician, who especially in her homeland Sweden is quite big. If you like your female fronted pop/rock to sound clean and melodic, not far removed from mentioned artists and also moving close to our well-beloved AOR/Melodic Rockgenre, then do check out Louisa’s new album out at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Out of the San Jose/California area comes FRICTION LAND, a raw sounding modern rockband with influences from Punk, 90s Alternative Rock and Post-Grunge, reminding most of the time of the mid 1990s US wave of major label signed Rockbands. In fact, they remind me a lot of JANE’S ADDICTION, CATHERINE WHEEL, LIVE, INCUBUS, CONCRETE BLONDE, COLLECTIVE SOUL… and considering that their material dates back to the earlier 2000s that might not sound strange. The band was active in the early 2000s, but around 2006 they were inactive for a while. However just a few years ago they reformed and recorded old and new material, which resulted in this first album. The sound and production is very independent, but for fans of mentioned bands there’s definitely a lot to like about the album. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


The music history of MICHAEL DES BARRES goes back to the mid 1960s when he started in the Beat Explosion generation, but during the 1970s his love for Blues and Rock developed and eventually he found his fifteen minutes of fame and fortune with the bands SILVERHEAD, DETECTIVE and CHEQUERED PAST, with whom he released several records. He went solo for a while during the 1980s, but it was also during this period in L.A. he started to move into the acting/movie industry. He starred in several movies and TV series (MACGYVER), but of course when one gets older the hunger for the past is becoming an obsession (“Obsession” was a song he penned for the legendary 80s Pop/Rockband ANIMOTION) and so in 2012 he rocks again. He released a new solo-CD titled ‘Carnaby street’, which musically grabs to the time he spent in London 45 years ago when Blues, Beat and Rock started to develop. The album therefore is more or less a sorta tribute to long-gone days, but as it is done very well actually, the included music sounds rather modern, although of course the Bluesy Rock has many similarities to bands like THE SMALL FACES and THE ROLLING STONES. Michael is back and rocking again on tunes like “You’re my pain killer”, “Carnaby street”, “Route 69” and “Hot and sticky” are a must-hear for anyone who misses the days when ROD STEWART and MICK JAGGER truly rocked. Although Michael nowadays looks like a cross between GRAHAM BONNETT, KIM FOWLEY and MICHAEL SCHENKER, he rocks as if he is still 19 years old and it is the year 1967, London City, but fast forward 45 years and the whole music climate has drastically changed. Michael is still there thankfully and so go check out his site at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Out of Oxford, UK comes the band A SILENT FILM, another early 80s Synth New Wave driven band that is about to become the next big thing. Although not very original, it all does sound remarkably well on the band’s 2nd album ‘Sand and snow’, which holds together 11 tunes in total and among them are a lot of winners. Even fans of 80s keyboard obsessed AOR/Poprock might like this, because for example a few of the songs do even recall PLATINUM BLONDE and SHY TALK. It’s all 1980s what we get to hear here, but damn good, with a song like “Danny, Dakota and The Wishing Well” aiming to become a contender for Summer Hit of 2012, because this is as catchy as any tune by the commercial driven band NEON TREES. However, A SILENT FILM is definitely more leaning towards the classic 80s UK sound of bands like ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN and the very first WHITE LIES album. It’s all been done before and it might attract people into song driven pop/rock, but thankfully A SILENT FILM is doing it rather perfect and therefore one should check out their music. More info can be found at: 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


I have no idea how the ASTRAL DOORS guitarist JOACHIM NORDLUND found the lead singer for his side-project SKY OF RAGE, but vocalist STAFFAN CARLSSON has got a fantastic Rock/Metal voice and it seems that we are seriously looking at one of 2012’s Melodic Metal highlights year with the debut album of SKY OF RAGE. The band is filled up by former members of ASTRAL DOORS and I am relieved to see them playing in a band that doesn’t feature a DIO copycat on vocals. In fact, this might well be the best work these musicians have deliver so far, because the album is filled with top-notch Melodic Metal anthems in the style of DREAM EVIL, NOCTURNAL RITES, MYSTIC PROPHECY and FIREWIND. Songs like “Stardust”, “Soldiers in a line”, “Sacrifice” and “Speed of light” are a must-hear for fans of those bands. This is picture-perfect Melodic Metal with stunning vocals, catchy melodic choruses and killer guitarwork. This is how Metal should be played and any Metalhead out there should check out this album asap! More at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Now signed to the legendary SUGARHILL RECORDS label, Singer/Songwriter MARTY STUART has been signed to major labels like MCA and COLUMBIA in the past. In fact, he has been releasing records ever since the mid 1980s, so without a doubt, this musician has built up quite a reputation throughout the years. His new album is titled ‘Nashville Volume 1 and is musically featuring the same kinda mix of Bluegrass, Honkytonk, Country and Rockabilly as all his past solo-albums. Some of the material has strong similarities to TRAVIS TRAVITT, with whom he worked together in the past, but I have to say that the album’s finest tracks is the more polished Country-Pop ish “Holding on to nothing”, which is quite the contrary of the rest of the album that seems to be in favor of the Bluegrass/Honky-Tonk style that marty has been making for over decades now. Anyway, more info at: and the CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted)