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HOT NEW REVIEWS UPDATED ON JULY 4 - 2006

TRIBAL ‘CARDBOARD HEROES’ (INDEPENDENT/KB MANAGEMENT)

Swiss band with a strong original Hardrocksound, a little like 80s THE CULT. 13 songs are on their CD, which looks and sounds quite impressive. The band’s singer has got that IAN ASTBURY sort of voice, while musically THE CULT is also very much coming to mind, although the band is best described as a pure 80s rockband with strong melodies, not unlike bands such as NOISEWORKS, BIG COUNTRY, ICEHOUSE, THE HOOTERS… but a bit more rockier (even a bit AOR/Melodic Poprock orientated a la GLASS TIGER/1927/HONEYMOON SUITE). You don’t hear so many new rockbands playing this kind of rock anymore, but TRIBAL from Switzerland is the exception and they do it very well. Songs like “Final illusion”, “Free” (even AORish), “Between us”, “Pickin’ up the pieces” and the very catchy closing track “Too many times” (uptempo melodic rock a la WHITE LION) make you long back to a time when this kind of rock was in the charts. Definitely a band worth checking out as they sound very professional and probably would have secured a major label deal 15-20 years ago. More info on TRIBAL at: http://www.tribal-rock.com  and e-mail at: tribal@tribal-rock.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

CYRCUS ‘NU ENTERTAINMENT’ (ROCKWERK RECORDS/KB MANAGEMENT)

Reviewed a long time ago, so you have to check out our archives for this review, but giving it a second spin the German band CYRCUS is playing modern American orientated Hardrock with aggressive (Rapish parts) and melodic choruses, sort of mixing Emo/Punk, Rock and Hardcore with catchy melodic choruses. Something you gotta love and is only interesting for open-minded rockfans. Perhaps if you’re interested in a mix between KING’S X, LIVING COLOUR, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and LINKIN PARK, this CYRCUS might be well up your alley! Not saying it is a bad release, but sometimes a bit too experimental, while on the other hand there are some catchy melodic tunes here and there, such as “How its gonna be” and “In motion”. More info at: http://www.cyrcus.com  

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)

VARIOUS ARTISTS ‘KB MANAGEMENT SAMPLER’ (KB MANAGEMENT)

Nice compilation put together by bands signed to KB MANAGEMENT. CD contains a bunch of bands, mostly playing Melodic Rock/Metal of which the most interesting acts are CRYSTALION, IRONY, AETERNOM, DOGS ON LEAD (awesome song a la GOTTHARD), CHOLANE (WHITESNAKE style), and VOZ EN OFF. Very interesting compilation CD of new up and coming melodic rockbands from (mostly) the G.A.S. countries (Germany/Switzerland/Austria). More info on the bands at: http://www.kbmanagement.org  

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

BOULEVARD ‘VICE AND DARING’ (INDEPENDENT)

In the 1980s there were thousands of bands playing the kind of catchy Melodic Poprock this Georgia/USA based band BOULEVARD is doing on their 6-tracks counting mini-CD ‘Vice and daring’. Due to the fact this style is coming back big time, this BOULEVARD has created a perfect radio-ready sound, which could get them a major label deal, as the songs all sound very strong. Clear comparison is THE CARS for sure, as the songs not only remind me of that legendary band, but also vocally, the catchiness and still the quirkiness of the material is damn close to THE CARS. Not saying this BOULEVARD is a copycat, because that would be unfair, as there are also other influences notable, such as THE CURE during “Marie” (a very catchy tune actually, radio-hit for sure!). One way or the other, this band is ready for the majors and their 80s influenced catchy melodic poprock should do well today on especially the US and UK market. Check out this BOULEVARD (not to be confused of course with all the other same named bands!) at: http://www.boulevardrock.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

MAJOR ACCIDENT ‘MASSACRED MELODIES’ (CAPTAIN OI RECORDS)

MAJOR ACCIDENT is another of many UK Punkbands from the early 80s, which released a few albums before disappearing into obscurity, although also this band had their fifteen minutes of fame. CAPTAIN OI! once again released an impressive re-issue of the band’s 1982 debut album ‘Massacred melodies’. 4 additional bonustracks have been included and it is clear that this release contains the classic Punk/Oi! a la THE BUSINESS after CAPTAIN OI! recently went into a more radiofriendly Poprock/New Wave re-issue period with the re-issues of the THE MOTORS albums. Now with MAJOR ACCIDENT it is all about catchy Oi! in the best early 80s style, because songs like “Standing on the sidelines”, “Last night”, “Mr. Nobody” (huge difference between the album version and ‘polished’ single version, both included on this CD) and “Terrorist gang” are pure BLITZ/THE BUSINESS type of fast uptempo Oi!/Street Punkrockers, sometimes bordering on the early Hardcore barrier (GBH/EXPLOITED). Definitely one to own if you’re a fan of the classic early 80s no-compromise Oi! style! Available through: http://www.captainoi.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

THE MEMBERS ‘UPRHYTHM DOWNBEAT’ (CAPTAIN OI RECORDS)

UK bands always have seem to follow the trends, because in the late 70s you could go 3 ways musically speaking, either play Punk, NWOBHM (Heavy Metal) or Disco, with a sidestep to Ska music as well. In the early 80s New Wave became the next big thing and many Punkbands changed their style to that format, although there were also bands playing a mix of all popular styles and THE MEMBERS went doing that after being a Punkband for a few years (see other re-issues on CAPTAIN OI!). The re-issue of the THE MEMBERS album ‘Uprhythm downbeat’ has nothing to do with Punk or Oi!, but is filled with pure 80s Pop/Rock as well as a bunch of Reggea/Ska influenced 80s Top 40 Popmusic. Their major hit “Working girl” was obviously the best song on the album (a catchy poprocker), while the rest was sounding like a mix between UB40, HUMAN LEAGUE and MADNESS. 80s Popfreaks will surely have to buy this CAPTAIN OI! re-issue, but the Punk addicts need to look for the 2 earlier THE MEMBERS re-issues. Available through: http://www.captainoi.com 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)

COCK SPARRER ‘THE DECCA YEARS’ (CAPTAIN OI RECORDS)

Legendary UK Punkrockers get a new collection CD release in the shape of the DECCA YEARS on CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS. It concerns the period when they were signed to DECCA RECORDS, which I believe is currently owned by UNIVERSAL MUSIC. Anyway, 15 classic tracks which definitely show there were much better bands than SEX PISTOLS, because this COCK SPARRER was much more diverse and also added influences from the 70s Glamrock (the “Jean Genie”/”Can the can” guitar riffs are used a lot of time) and early 80s NWOBHM style. They were obviously one of the better UK Punkrockbands, because songs like “We love you” (pure SEX PISTOLS), “Sister Suzie” (an almost NWOBHM sounding tune!), “Platinum blonde” (pure 70s Glamrock!) and “Again and again” (hello NWOBHM style, sounds like QUARTZ) show that COCK SPARRER were a very strong diverse band that should have become much bigger than an average Punkband like SEX PISTOLS! One of the cathiest tunes on the record is the uptempo “Chip on my shoulder” which sounds like THE SWEET doing a Punkrock anthem! I had not heard much of COCK SPARRER before, but this compilation CD definitely gave me the feeling these guys should have deserved much more attention back in the day! Available through: http://www.captainoi.com 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

TORA TORA ‘WILD AMERICA’ (LEMON RECORDINGS/CHERRY RED RECORDS)

The late 80 saw hundreds of Hair Metal bands releasing records on major labels in the USA. Although most of the same sounded the same, especially when 1990 came in sight, there was a slight difference, because a band like TORA TORA followed the Bluesy Hardrockstyle earlier created by TESLA, FASTWAY and GREAT WHITE, whom were then again influenced by LED ZEPPELIN and AEROSMITH, bands that were influenced directly from the 60s Blues Rock style of CHUCK BERRY. Anyway, by 1989 the sound was not far removed from the Hair Metal style out of LA, so then it could happen a UK band like TORA TORA was signed by a major label. In the studio the band’s sound was made radio-ready polished and therefore the albums the band released were in the same style as all the other major label signed bands in the late 80s/early 90s (SLAUGHTER, EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE, WARRANT, SOUTHGANG, CRYSTAL ROXX, SHARK ISLAND, BLONZ, COMPANY OF WOLVES, BABYLON AD, TANGIER, BADLANDS, BATON ROUGE, etc. etc.). Nevertheless, I do think TORA TORA were more akin to the sound of TESLA, early FASTWAY and GREAT WHITE due to the very strong bluesy vocals of singer Anthony Corder, while some of the arrangements sometimes gave them a slight BLACK CROWES/BANG TANGO/CINDERELLA (or should I say AEROSMITH!) touch (such as in the song “Dead man’s hand”). Take it from me, this was one of those typical American sounding rockalbum from the late 80s/early 90s, which was the end of an era, as Grunge pretty much destroyed all true Rock. I think the reason was that by 1991 everything started to sound the same, produced to perfection and then again all mentioned bands simply could not deliver really strong songs, so a band like NIRVANA was a welcome as they pretty much could not play a single note and just recorded a song that sounded like 3 ordinary people picking up an instrument for the first time and then imagine to be a rockstar playing BOSTON’s “More than a feeling” while singing it smells like teen spirit! Anyway, TORA TORA scored with their 1989 debut ‘Surprise attack’, but 3 years later ‘Wild America’ got lost, despite some MTV airplay, but now 14 years later they get a second chance through the re-issue of their 2nd album (which by the way also features JIMI JAMISON of SURVIVOR on backing vocals here and there!). Recommended to all AEROSMITH/TESLA/GREAT WHITE addicts! Available through: http://www.lemonrecordings.co.uk  and http://www.cherryred.co.uk 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

TRAPEZE ‘TRAPEZE’ (LEMON RECORDINGS/CHERRY RED RECORDS)

Originally released in 1970, the legendary UK band TRAPEZE delivered the world GLENN HUGHES. 36 years ago he sounded a little different, although still veryu soulful a la SAM COOKE, but the music on the first TRAPEZE was more of the late 60s Progressive Rock kind, very much akin to MOODY BLUES. The reason why this re-issue is very interesting is the fact that on this TRAPEZE album members of WHITESNAKE, DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN, CREAM, JUDAS PRIEST and MOODY BLUES made their appearance and the album itself is a classic in it’s own right. Definitely the best TRAPEZE album, as the later albums went into a Funkrock style. This 1970 album of TRAPEZE however is a very strong record that featured typical Progrock in the MOODY BLUES/THE NICE style with those typical British harmonyvocals reminiscent of THE BEATLES. 14 songs can be found on this CD and for a fan of this style a must-have, but also the die-hard rockers among us will certainly be interested in hearing how members of their favorite Rock and Metalbands of all times sounded in 1970. Available through: http://www.lemonrecordings.co.uk  and http://www.cherryred.co.uk 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

THE SWEET ‘LEVEL HEADED’ (LEMON RECORDINGS/CHERRY RED RECORDS)

1978 saw THE SWEET releasing a true Poprecord, which they had not done in years, because they were more and more going into a Hardrock direction, but ‘Level headed’ broke the string as this was a pure Poprecord. Opener “Dream on” alone was one of the softest Popsongs ever recorded by a Popband, kinda like GENE SIMMONS did on his solo-record from 1978! Was it the year many rockbands wanted to have a Popalbum, because even URIAH HEEP were lost in those years. Anyway, THE SWEET did had at least one classic on this album, because “Love is like Oxygen” was to be found on ‘Level headed’ and this is THE SWEET’s best-known song, a true classic rocker that is as big as any QUEEN song! The rest of the album was a boring collection of Popsongs even SMOKIE would have rejected to record because they would have been too soft! This re-issue is of course still interesting, as LEMON RECORDINGS did some excellent work in making it a good re-issue with liner notes and pics of the band in the CD booklet, with as additional bonustrack the single version of “Love is like Oxygen”. The rockers however need to check out the other SWEET records! This one is available through: http://www.lemonrecordings.co.uk  and http://www.cherryred.co.uk 

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)

NIGHT RANGER ‘DAWN PATROL’ (LEMON RECORDINGS/CHERRY RED RECORDS)

Originally released in 1982, the debut album of US AOR/Melodic Rockband NIGHT RANGER is an instant classic which was also their best release, even almost 25 years later. The band featured 2 excellent guitarists (BRAD GILLIS, JEFF WATSON – both playing on loads more records by other acts in the following years), vocalist/bassist JACK BLADES (who also had fifteen minutes of fame as DAMN YANKEES member), drummer KELLY KEAGY (a guy with a great voice) and keyboardplayer ALAN ‘FITZ’ GERALD. The band was formed out of the ashes of RUBICON, a 70s Funkrockband which delivered 2 albums and although NIGHT RANGER is still active nowadays, released 3 records in the 1990s, the magic has gone away through the years, which can be heard while listening to the re-issue of their 1982 debut ‘Dawn patrol’. This album is a true classic AOR/Melodic Rock record, with such superb tracks like “Don’t tell me you love me”, “Sing me away”, “Eddie’s comin’ out tonight” and “Penny”, all classic 80s AOR./Melodic Rock at it’s best with catchy hooks, memorable choruses and awesome twin-guitarwork (especially the guitar solo in “Don’t tell me you love me” is classic!). I am not sure but this re-issue is not containing remastered material, just the 1982 album as it was mastered back then, so not a full-blown sound, but the original 1982 recording, which doesn’t make it sound too loud, but anyway, it is NIGHT RANGER’s best record, so if you don’t own it get this re-issue, which also features some nice liner notes. Available through: http://www.lemonrecordings.co.uk  and http://www.cherryred.co.uk 

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)

GRAND PRIX ‘THERE FOR NONE TO SEE’ (LEMON RECORDINGS/CHERRY RED RECORDS)

Underrated UK band which delivered a couple very strong melodic rockalbums in the 1980s, of which their 2nd LP ‘There for none to see’ from 1982 has now been re-issued onto CD by LEMON RECORDINGS/CHERRY RED RECORDS. The band is best known for lead singer ROBIN MCAULEY, an awesome vocalist who was the best singer MICHAEL SCHENKER ever had in his band’s line-up. He shines on this GRAND PRIX album, which featured 11 strong Melodic Rocksongs, of which especially “Heaven to hell”, “Troubadour”, “Paradise” and “Runaway” (a classic tune with a deadly catchy chorus I never got out of my head after hearing it the first time) are truly wonderful songs. Shame the album didn’t get that big, because it was surely the best GRAND PRIX album out of the 3 they recorded and it also is one of the top UK Melodic Rockalbums from the 80s. Must-have if you like that typical British Melodic Rocksound from the early 80s (read: RAGE, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, EXPORT, SHY, TOBRUK, LIONHEART, PRAYING MANTIS, STRATUS, STATETROOPER, etc. etc.) Good to see it now being re-issued onto CD. Available through: http://www.lemonrecordings.co.uk  and http://www.cherryred.co.uk 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

DAY OF FIRE ‘CUT AND MOVE’ (ESSENTIAL/PROVIDENT LABEL GROUP/SONY BMG USA)

A band out of Tennessee, USA, formed a few years ago and with ‘Cut and move’ releasing their 2nd CD. The album has been released on a sublabel of major label SONY BMG, so these guys are becoming very popular across the Atlantic. The music of DAY OF FIRE is typical modern day America, with a mix of Classic Rock melodies, raw vocals and a modern rock approach, ending up sounding close to acts like CREED, CHEVELLE, FOO FIGHTERS, RELIENT K, CLUTCH, NICKELBACK, BUCKCHERRY, HINDER…. It’s melodic, but it’s modern, however, all-round rockfans will like this band a lot, because songs such as “Hole in my hand”, “Cut and move”, “For and gone” (very good) and “Regret” (best song, very catchy, like modern HAREM SCAREM) are quite strong modern melodic heavy rocksongs. The only let-down is that the CD has a playing time of just 32 minutes, so 10 short 3-minutes songs, but nevertheless it is somewhat a must-have for modern melodic rockfans. More info on DAY OF FIRE at: http://www.DayOfFire.com  and http://www.EssentialRecords.com  and http://www.whizbang.com  

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

RED ‘END OF SILENCE’ (ESSENTIAL/PROVIDENT LABEL GROUP/SONY BMG USA)

Another major label release from a new modern rockband. The band is called RED and they once again (like many other modern American rockbands) mix modern low-tuned guitars with superstrong melodic vocals and catchy choruses. Gone is the screaming or the depressive singing in today’s American rockmusic, but welcome back the melodic rocksound (yet with modern guitarsound). It really is not far removed from Finnish bands like THE RASMUS and HIM, believe me, this RED is as melodic as those bands. If you like your melodic rock to sound modern, but still with superstrong melodic choruses, this band is definitely highly recommended. Maybe nothing new is brought here, but on the other hand songs like “Breathe into me”, “Already over” (very catchy, hello THE RASMUS!!!), “Gave it all away” and “Lost” are super impressive modern melodic rocksongs with very good clean melodic lead vocals of RED singer MICHAEL BARNES. Better check out this RED a.s.a.p. at: http://www.REDMusicOnline.com  and http://www.EssentialRecords.com 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

BLACKLIST UNION ‘AFTER THE MOURNING’ (BLU RECORDS)

Out of Los Angeles comes the band BLACKLIST UNION, whom are playing dirty sleazy American Rock and Roll like a mix between VELVET REVOLVER, BACKYARD BABIES, HANOI ROCKS, CATS IN BOOTS, FASTER PUSSYCAT, GUNS’N’ROSES with a little ALICE IN CHAINS thrown in for a darker feeling while the singer sounds like OZZY and the songs are catchy and very melodic in the choruses department (just have a listen to the strong uptempo rocker “Everything you need”). 10 songs are included and without a doubt this could be the kind of CD released on an American major label, because we are talking here about a high quality CD release. Produced by CHRIS JOHNSON (EVANESCENCE/BUCKCHERRY), this CD is a must-have for anyone waiting to hear some serious old fashioned dirty mean rock and roll with still a melodic approach and also an updated sound to it. Check out BLACKLIST UNION at: http://www.blacklistunion.com  and e-mail at: info@blacklistunion.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

TRENTE ‘VU DU CIEL’ (BAD REPUTATION RECORDS)

Formed in Paris/France in 2003, this band has released a strong melodic rockalbum, although lyrics are in French, so it’s all about the melodies and they are quite pleasant. The songs do have a groovy approach, like GLENN HUGHES and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, but then completely different in the final rock approach, as the band is keen on strong melodic vocals and strong choruses. 13 songs are included and despite the fact this is not a sensational record, it sure is a nice French speaking rockalbum, with as highlight closing track “Laissons sonner”, which happens to be a strong uptempo 80s aor/poprocker, but is included as a bonustrack here! More info at: http://www.trente.net  and http://www.badreputation.fr 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

TRICKY WOO ‘FIRST BLUSH’ (BAD REPUTATION RECORDS)

Already the fifth CD of the Canadian band TRICKY WOO, whom were formed in 1995, so more than 10 years ago, but this is the first recording I actually hear and review. TRICKY WOO is playing good strong raw original Rock and Roll with a Sleazy approach and biting high class guitarwork. The production is very good and this band is really sounding like the next big thing, even better than similar major label acts such as HINDER and BUCKCHERRY, actually a bit more sounding like classic early 80s, read AC/DC with a touch of late 80s LA Sleaze/Glam of acts like VAIN, FASTER PUSSYCAT, LA GUNS and JAILHOUSE. Definitely a must-have for fans of original pure Hardrock. More info at: http://www.badreputation.fr 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

TIMEMAGE ‘NIGHTMARES’ (INDEPENDENT)

The German band TIMEMAGE returns with a new CD titled ‘Nightmares’, which musically is a mixture of various styles, because it is situated somewhere between Gothic, Power, Doom and Progressive Metal, with also elements from Medieval music, Symphonic bombastic keyboards and some slight Death Metal (the male growling here and there, also Thrash Metal type of singing he does, but also melodic singing is possible such as in the catchy “Duality of mind”). It reminds me a bit of THERION, another very unique band, but then again we will have to add that TIMEAGE is of course an independent band, so the production is not high class (drumsound is a bit thick). However, in general speaking, the band has come up with a good strong album that will definitely appeal to open-minded Metalfans of the THERION, AYREON, STAR ONE kind. Check out more info on their new CD ‘Nightmares’ and TIMEAGE at: http://www.timemage.de  and e-mail at: stefan@timemage.de 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

HUNTER ‘TELI’ (METAL MIND PRODUCTIONS)

Heavy modern Metal with raw vocals is what to expect from HUNTER, a Polish band which I am afraid will not go into history as being the best Polish Metalband ever, because that belongs to bands like TSA and TURBO. The band was formed 20 years ago and their new CD ‘T.E.L.I.’ contains 13 songs with definitely not a polished sound as the songs and overall sound is very aggressive like a mix between the American and European Metalsound (kinda like SOULFLY meets PANTERA) of the present day. Not bad, but sadly also not good enough to make a big impact on the Metalscene, especially since the vocals are in Polish. More info at: http://www.hunter.art.pl 

(Points: 7.6 out of 10)

LIZARD ‘SPAM’ (METAL MIND PRODUCTIONS)

The Polish band LIZARD was formed 16 years ago and through the years they have developed themselves into becoming one of the most important progbands from Poland, alongside QUIDAM, RIVERSIDE, SBB and several other well-known Polish bands in the progscene. The band’s new CD ‘Spam’ (their 5th CD) is yet another masterpiece in their growing catalogue, once again featuring very strong material. Although also LIZARD sings in the Polish language, with this band it is no problem, because the melodic clean vocals are very good and contribute to the strong melodies of the songs. 6 long songs are included and they are simply titled Spam 1, Spam 2, etc. It probably concerns here a concept-record, but that does not matter for the progfans. Highly recommended for all Progfreaks! More info at: http://www.artrock.pl/lizard 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

SHARK ISLAND ‘GATHERING OF THE FAITHFUL’ (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

I always thought SHARK ISLAND to be an overrated band and I am afraid their comeback CD ‘Gathering of the faithful’ will not change that as this is just a nice standard Hardrockalbum. Not saying it is bad, but despite a few nice more melodic rock orientated songs (such as “Go west”), most of the album sounds like a weaker version of LA GUNS meets THE CULT. If you like your rock to sound a bit raw, then this is surely an album to check out, but melodic rockfans can better invest their money in other FRONTIERS releases.

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

ANGEL ‘ANGEL/HELLUVA BAND’ (BGO RECORDS)

Classic stuff from the 1970s of a very underrated band, because ANGEL should have been big, but instead had a few minor hits before eventually breaking up in the late 70s/early 80s. Recently the band reformed, released an album and even toured (including a show in Holland). However, the band’s peak was during the mid 1970s when they released the 2 albums ‘Angel’ and ‘Helluva band’ on the KISS label CASABLANCA RECORDS, now re-issued onto a 2-CD set by BGO RECORDS, which comes with extensive liner notes. All together a nice package of classic 70s Pomprock. ANGEL were the inventors of POMPROCK, a style made popular by KANSAS and STYX around the same time, yet ANGEL was a bit heavier in it’s approach, owing it to the fantastic keyboard/synthesizerplayer GREGG GIUFFRIA, who later formed bands like GIUFFRIA and HOUSE OF LORDS. Anyway, with ANGEL it was all about Pomprock, especially on their same titled debut CD from 1975. This album mixed the best of Rock&Roll/Glamrock 70s style and Progressive Rock, but ended up being a true Pomprock classic with anthems like “Tower” and “Long time” that would make STYX and KANSAS proud if they had made these songs. The 2nd album of ANGEL ‘Helluva band’, from 1976, saw the band moving into a more straight-forward 70s KISS like Rock and Roll adventure, which would on later albums eventually become the band’s end as they were seen as a KISS rip-off, which they definitely weren’t, especially on their fantastic debut. Nevertheless, the fun rock and roll of the 2nd CD was also quite interesting, because songs like “Anyway you want it”, “Feelin’ right” and “Pressure point” were quite strong, although the few Pomprock type of songs were definitely the highlights (“The fortune” and “Dr. Ice”). It’s a good thing to see the best ANGEL albums being re-issued as a 2-CD set, so now you can get both their records. No bonustracks are included sadly, but the recordings have recently been remastered, so a must-have for any 70s Rock Collector! Available through: http://www.bgo-records.com 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

LOVERBOY ‘LOVERBOY/GET LUCKY’ (BGO RECORDS)

The most important release for Canadian Rock was done in the very early 80s, 1980 to be exact. This concerned the classic debut LP of LOVERBOY. This album would be the beginning of Canadian AOR/Poprock, with many awesome sensational bands releasing albums throughout the 1980s. It all ended with the best Canadian AOR release ever, namely the first HAREM SCAREM album in 1991, but it started in 1980 with LOVERBOY and around the same time bands like HARLEQUIN, PRISM and of course BRYAN ADAMS would soon hit the charts, but it was LOVERBOY whom started it all in 1980 with their debut album ‘Loverboy’ that contains classics like “The kid is hot tonite” and “Turn me loose”. These 2 songs alone would bring LOVERBOY fortune and fame and was the start of a new decade of catchy rock, completely forgetting the 80s. It was just 1980, but the sound was just so 80s, uptempo fun catchy poprock with strong melodies and hooks, nothing like the raw groovy rock and roll of the 70s or the calm acoustic pop of the previous decade. No, this was the 1980s and LOVERBOY became one of the prime time bands of that decade. Although they reformed a couple of times in the 90s, their 80s period is definitely the most interesting and the fact their first 2 albums have been re-issued onto 1 CD by BGO RECORDS is of course a must-have for anyone wanting to hear classic 80s Rock. Songs like “The kid is hot tonite”, “Always on my mind” and “Turn me loose” (from their first) and “Working for the weekend”, “When it’s over”, “Gangs in the street”, “Lucky ones”, “Watch out” and “Take me to the top” (from their 1981 album ‘Get lucky’) are all instant classics and reflect the 80s Canadian AOR/Poprocksound which throughout the 80s would deliver us many similar sounding records by hundreds of different bands. Let’s hope also their other 3 records of the 80s will be re-issued. In the meantime, check out this CD that contains the first 2 LOVERBOY records. No bonustracks unfortunately, but it happily concerns here a new remastered version of both records by ANDREW THOMPSON, so definitely worth checking out for the LOVERBOY fans. Available through: http://www.bgo-records.com 

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)

HANOI ROCKS ‘TWO STEPS FROM THE MOVE’ (BGO RECORDS)

Originally released in 1984, this was without a doubt the strongest and most American orientated Rockalbum of the legendary Finnish rockband HANOI ROCKS. This new re-issue contains not only a fully remastered version of the original album, but also an additional 8 bonustracks. Although I never was a big fan of MICHAEL MONROE and co., this CD contains a bunch of great tracks, such as the catchy sing-a-long “High school”, the cover “Up around the bend”, the melodic rocker “Boulevard of broken dreams”, “Tragedy” and the ballad “Don’t you ever leave me”. Just like all the other BGO RECORDS releases, also this release comes along with extensive liner notes. Definitely one to own if you’re a HANOI ROCKS fan. Available through: http://www.bgo-records.com  

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

FASTWAY ‘WAITING FOR THE ROAR’ (BGO RECORDS)

Formed in the early 80s, the legendary UK band FASTWAY featured ex-MOTORHEAD guitarist FAST EDDIE CLARKE and WAYSTED bassist PETE WAY (who left the band quite soon). They recorded a bunch of albums in the 1980s, starting as a Heavy Blues/Metal band that owed a lot to LED ZEPPELIN and BAD COMPANY, yet with infected Metal riffs, but in the mid 80s the band changed their format to radiofriendly AOR with many keys, harmonyvocals and catchy choruses (in the same style as the band RIO if anyone remembers them!). This can best be heard on their 1986 album ‘Waiting for the roar’, which has been re-issued (in a remastered version) on CD by BGO RECORDS, with the addition of a bonustrack titled ‘Doin’ just fine”. Although the songs were very commercial American AOR/FM-Rock and sometimes interesting, the majority of the album was a bit average and only interesting due to the fantastic vocals of singer DAVE KING, who has always been the most important factor for FASTWAY’s music. Despite a couple nice songs (“Waiting for the roar”, “Tired of your love” and “Kill me with your heart”), this was definitely not the best FASTWAY album and therefore I rather see their ‘Trick or treat’ album being re-issued, because that was a very strong rockalbum. Nevertheless, this is a nice re-issue of a band which had two faces in the 80s, loud big Bluesrock and keyboard dominated American FM Rock and that’s the style of this album, which is a vailable through: http://www.bgo-records.com 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

STREET TALK ‘5’ (MTM MUSIC)

STREET TALK was the wonderful AOR project/band of FREDRIK BERGH, releasing 4 sensational albums in the 90s and early 00s, but sadly last year he announced the end of STREET TALK. He then concentrated on a Metal project called BLOODBOUND, which released a superb first record earlier this year and now Fredrik wanted to do some AOR again, so he reformed STREET TALK, with the amazing GORAN EDMAN on vocals again. Goran is of course one of the best Swedish lead singers, so it is blessing to see STREET TALK returning with yet another sensational release titled ‘5’. The included 11 songs follows the same AOR as their previous albums, so a lot of catchy uptempo melodic aor rockers a la JOURNEY, with a bit of TOTO mixed into and smooth ballads in BAD ENGLISH style, but also not far removed from the TOMMY DENANDER projects such as RADIOACTIVE. Any AOR fan will instantly fall in love with uptempo AOR rockers like “Responsible”, “Don’t believe”, “If I could” and “Just a little appetizer” and the midtempo AOR ballad “Oh Maddy”. STREET TALK shows once again how high quality AOR should be done and therefore this will probably be one of the best AOR releases at the end of 2006 (although it is not as good as their earlier records)! Also check out the band’s website at: http://biphost.spray.se/berg.fredrik 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

ROGER LAPOINTE ‘HANDLE WITH CARE’ (INDEPENDENT)

A re-issue of a late 90s record of singer/songwriter ROGER LAPOINTE. I remember reviewing the record somewhat 6 years ago, it was a sort of mixed affair, as you got yourself a bunch of great MICHAEL MORALES meets GARY HUGHES meets STAN BUSH type of AOR songs, but also a couple of Popsongs that even BILLY JOEL would find too dreadful (“Be my Balloon”, “Prodigal girl” and “Ain’t no tellin”). Nevertheless, this re-issue makes clear the ROGER LAPOINTE album had it’s highlights for AOR fans, such as the songs “Tie you up”, “Matter of time”, “Confusion” (awesome!) and “Go on and dream”, which features good singing and will be interesting for STAN BUSH fans, although I have to inform you it is a little poppy in general. It is now available through: http://www.targetrecords.de  Only for the die-hard AOR fans, who don’t mind a little poppier approach every now and then.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

VON BENZO ‘MEDICINE’ (INDEPENDENT)

Out of Sweden comes VON BENZO, a band with a superstrong 6 tracks counting mini-CD titled ‘Medicine’. Musically pure raw original mean rock and roll with a sleazy approach and sensational guitarwork. DANKO JONES, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, BUCKCHERRY, MOTLEY CRUE, LA GUNS all come to mind when hearing VON BENZO, maybe not that original, but definitely rock and roll the way it should sound and these guys do it very well. Any fan of high class Rock N Roll will absolutely love this band, especially the uptempo “Let myself go” with it’s deadly catchy chorus. The production is very good and the songs rock big time, so better check them out at: http://www.vonbenzo.com  and e-mail them at: info@vonbenzo.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

NIGHTSIDE ECLIPSE ‘THE END OF ETERNITY’ (INDEPENDENT)

High quality Italo Prog/Power Metal, heavy on the keys, strong vocals and neo-classical guitar shredding, that’s basically what you get to hear on the 4 tracks counting CD ‘The end of eternity’ of the Italian band NIGHTSIDE ECLIPSE. You would not believe this is just an independent CD, because it sounds very impressive. Especially opener and titletrack “The end of eternity” sounds like a great mixture of LABYRINTH, TIME MACHINE and EDGUY. Check out this band at: http://www.nightsideeclipse.it  and e-mail at: corwalker@hotmail.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

DARK EMPIRE ‘TRACKS ON THE BLOODY SANDS’ (BLU MIX PRODUCTIONS)

This is really sensational stuff! Formed 10 years ago, DARK EMPIRE is a band from Columbia with their debut full-length CD ‘Tracks on the bloody sands’ on an Italian label (BLU MIX PRODUCTIONS). The band is playing high quality Melodic Metal with influences from 80s Power and today’s Neo-Classical Power/Progressive Metal. Everything sounds very impressive (only the production is not that good), but the absolute winner is the band’s fantastic vocalist Carlos Montes, who is basically making DARK EMPIRE a must to hear! His voice goes up to high octaves without any troubles and songs like “Foggy eternal light”, “No way to escape” and “Beggars”. I’ll bet if this band goes into a major studio with a well-known Metal producer, they are able to release a super sensational CD, but for now they already show they are the best band ever to come out of Columbia! More info at: http://www.blumix.net 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

FORTE ‘TELL THE WORLD’ (INDEPENDENT)

I guess this is a huge surprise, because the Christian band FORTE from North Carolina/USA is playing high quality AOR, kinda like a mix between the SURVIVOR, SUGARCREEK, CRY HOLY, JOURNEY, SWEET COMFORT BAND, FAITH NATION and ALLIES. The vocals are superb (Rick Lee), the keys very 80s AOR and most of the 11 included songs are sensational pure AOR. Most of all the band reminds me of the band CHASE (‘In pursuit’), if anyone remembers that act, but also WHITE HEART, WHITE HEAT and SURE CONVICTION come to mind. Highlights are “Step by step”, “On the clock”, “Salms” and “PR8UP?” (best song by the far, a fantastic midtempo AOR rocker a la ATLANTIC, must-hear for dedicated AOR freaks!). A definite must for any AOR fan! More info at: http://www.fortewebsite.com  and e-mail at: forteband@hotmail.com  

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

BOLT ‘MOVEMENT AND DETAIL’ (10T RECORDS)

New progrockband from the USA. They ARE called BOLT and their first CD is also on a new label called 10T RECORDS. Included is high quality instrumental progressive rock with strong guitarwork in a sort of JADIS style, but most of the album is focused on instrumental passages, which sounds quite good. All I can say is that any progfan will love this album for sure. Let’s see what the future will bring from this new band and it’s new American proglabel 10T RECORDS. Check out more info at: http://www.10trecords.com  and http://www.10tornado.com  and http://www.boltband2001.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

EPIC HERO ‘BLACKING OUT THE STARS’ (ORANGE BETTY RECORDS)

Strong modern rock with high class melodies is what to expect from the band EPIC HERO, whom are formed around 3 musicians and their new (2nd) CD is produced by DAN WILSON (lead singer of SEMISONIC and songwriter for ROBBIE WILLIAMS (!!!), DIXIE CHICKS and countless others. Their 6 tracks counting mini-CD ‘Blacking out the stars’ shows this EPIC HERO is ready to attack the charts, because all songs are very strong, moving into an American modern rock meets British melancholic pop/rock sound somewhere between U2, SIMPLE MINDS and FOR ABSENT FRIENDS if that makes sense to anyone. Songs like “Stars” and “Separate ways” are very impressive and this band will have a breakthrough someday soon if they get enough promotion, because they certainly sound as if they are well-known yet. More info at: http://www.epichero.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

KEVIN LEE ‘FLIP THE SWITCH’ (SIGUS RECORDS)

Singer/songwriter KEVIN LEE from Chicago returns with a new CD, which musically follows the same style as his previous albums. I remember well hearing his first record 14 years ago, which was then on the major label MCA RECORDS, also his finest record so far. Through the years music genres came and left, but KEVIN LEE has always been making traditional guitar orientated American Melodic Poprock that fits somewhere between BRYAN ADAMS, TOM KIMMEL and DANNY WILDE, catchy with strong melodies. This time songs like “Built to burn” (rocker), “Can’t believe you’re mine” (rocker), “Won’t shed a tear” (beautiful semi-AOR ballad like STAN MEISSNER/STAN BUSH, really a gorgeous song with a sort of nostalgic feeling as if we are looking back to the mid 1980s) and “Hollywood trash” (rocker) come out best and anyone into this catchy classic melodic poprocksound will like this new CD of KEVIN LEE a lot. More info at: http://www.kevinleeonline.com  and e-mail at: kevinlee12@gmail.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

SONIC MUSIC ‘THE PRISONER’ (INDEPENDENT)

Superb high quality 70s orientated progressive rock is what to expect from SONIC MUSIC. This American band is basically situated around one man only, namely LARRY BENIGNO, who is responsible for writing and recording the majority of the music on the first SONIC MUSIC CD ‘The prisoner’. Vocally Larry has a great typical prog voice of the PETER GABRIEL kind, while the songs are really terrific Melodic Progressive Rock in the old 70s GENESIS style, with some 80s MARILLION/ARENA keys added to make it sound a bit updated and also some melodic pomprock as well classic hardrock influences are notable. The progfans will absolutely love this disc I am quite sure, so better check out this SONIC MUSIC at: http://www.sonicmusic.net  and e-mail at: polymod@optonline.net 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

MISFIT ‘MORE POWER’ (INDEPENDENT)

Here we have a superb high quality female fronted classic 80s inspired melodic hardrockband from Germany. They sound like a cross between LAOS, LEE AARON, VIXEN and GIRLSCHOOL, with very strong vocals and catchy tunes. Production is very good and all together the 5 songs show that this MISFIT is a must-have if you call yourself a fan of female fronted melodic heavy rock. Especially “Path of vengeance” and “Stay with me” are really terrific songs, with also biting guitarwork from the band’s male and female guitarists. This band should be watched out for in the near future and let’s hope for a full-length CD soon, because this mini-CD dates back 2 years in time. Nevertheless, it is a superb piece of classic melodic hardrock! More info at: http://www.misfit-roxx.de  

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

BRANDED ‘BETTER DEAL’ (HOLLYWOOD ROSE RECORDS)

Not to be confused with the same named German Hardrockband, this BRANDED comes out of California and they play original 70s Hard Rock and Roll that reminds me of THE GODZ. 6 tracks are included and I guess if you like classic rock and roll the 70s way this might be up your liking for sure. Check out this band at: http://www.brandedonline.net  and e-mail at: info@brandedonline.net 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)

L.A. UNDERSCORE ‘WWW.LAUNDERSCORE.COM’ (INDEPENDENT)

High quality instrumental melodic rock with sensational guitarwork from this Californian band, whom have special guests on their mini-CD by JERRY GOODMAN of DIXIE DREGS, DAVID RAGSDALE of KANSAS and RYO OKUMOTO of SPOCK’S BEARD. 4 songs are on this mini-CD and I can’t wait for a full-length CD, which should be released someday soon. Highly recommended to fans of instrumental classic guitar shredding hardrock of the old STEVE VAI almost MALMSTEEN/MACALPINE kind. More info at: http://www.launderscore.com  and e-mail at: info@launderscore.com 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

SUPERVILLAIN ‘EARTHQUAKE MACHINE’ (INDEPENDENT)

Here we have a high quality independent CD (distributed through CENTURY MEDIA) from the New York based band SUPERVILLAIN. Musically the band is playing classic Hardrock with some Metal, Rock and Roll and Sleaze Metal influences, it sounds like KISS mixing it with MANOWAR and not forgetting to add some GUNS’NROSES influences. Typical strong American Poser Hardrock we call it in Europe (although it definitely sounds quite Metalish here and there) and it sure sounds pretty good, with lots of raw vocals and groovy heavy guitar riffs. 11 songs are included and if you like one you will love them all! Be sure to check out this band at: http://www.musicrealms.com/supervillain  or http://www.myspace.com/svnyc  and e-mail at: krstorm@optonline.net  

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

GODYVA ‘IN GOOD AND EVIL’ (RAZAR ICE RECORDS/SORCERY STUDIOS MEDIA GROUP)

Not to be confused with the Swiss band GODIVA, this GODYVA comes out of Italy and are yet another very impressive female fronted Gothic Metalband in the style of AFTER FOREVER, LEAVES’ EYES, NIGHTWISH, etc. Their debut CD ‘In good and evil’ is a high class product for sure and any fan of mentioned bands will absolute fall in love with GODYVA’s music. GODYVA is formed around female singer Lady Godyva. She has a great voice a la LIV KRISTINE and the music is almost as good as acts like AFTER FOREVER, EVANESCENCE, XANDRIA, LEAVES’ EYES, EDENBRIDGE, SENGIR… Songs like “Dreams of a child”, “In good and evil”, “Light at last!” and “Flame flower” are just a couple highlights. Production is also impressive, so what more can I add here than the fact that any fan of mentioned bands should track down this GODYVA a.s.a.p. More info at: http://www.godyva.it 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

PRESENCE OF MIND ‘TO SET OUT ON THE LIGHT’ (STF RECORDS)

German all-female rockband playing so-called Emo-Rock, which is more or less punky modern melodic rock. The melodies are quite strong throughout the 13 included songs on the band’s new CD ‘To set out on the light’. Not surprisingly new what we get to hear, but at least it sounds quite decent and memorable, sort of like a female version of THE RASMUS with an American approach (the few screamo’s which I would rather not have heard). Anyway, most of the songs go in a similar style, which is rocking as in modern times, but always with a strong hook and a catchy chorus. More info at: http://www.stf-records.de or http://www.presenceofmind.de  and the CD is available through: http://www.m-system.de 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

THE BLEEDING ALARM ‘BEAUTY IN DESTRUCTION’ (IMMORTAL RECORDS)

Another strong new band from the USA, they are called THE BLEEDING ALARM and the advertisements indicate this is a must-have for fans of MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, STORY OF THE YEAR and SILVERSTEIN. However, you can also add THE RASMUS to that list, because THE BLEEDING ALARM is all about modern melodic rock with catchy memorable hooks and strong melodic choruses, yet with a typical modern approach (very American), but also sadly some screamo’s and punky influences. Call it Emo-rock, call it melodic rock, call it modern rock, whatever you call it, it’s melodic and it rocks, so then it’s good! 11 songs are included and while listening to tracks like “This girl has a gun”, “Amber in ashes” and “Sorrows the seas of my heart” (now, this has a strong melodic chorus which sticks in your head for days!), this THE BLEEDING ALARM sounds like the next big thing in The States, where they love this kind of rock. This is radio-ready if you ask me and any fan of today’s modern melodic rock will love this kind. Once again not too far away from the modern HAREM SCAREM sound as well! More info at: http://www.thebleedingalarm.com  and http://www.immortalrecords.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

THE DESCENT ‘ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK’ (COOKING VINYL/BERTUS)

This is not really a music CD, but the soundtrack to the movie ‘The descent’. I have pretty much lost interest in movies the past few years, because it is the same thing over and over again, lots of sequels and just a few really interesting original movies. So I am not sure if the horror movie ‘The descent’ was a cinema hit (DVD sold 200,000 unites, so it must be!), but the soundtrack is typical background movie music, which is classical music. Of course it sounds perfect, but apart from the fact it has nothing to do with rockmusic what more can I say? Recommended if you like typical Soundtrack/Movie music!

(Points: -)

ST. STEVEN ‘OVER THE HILLS/THE BASTICH’ (ECLECTIC DISCS)

SAINT STEVEN was a rare American Acid-rockband from the 1960s with a release in 1969 titled ‘Over the hills/The bastich’ which has now been re-issued onto CD by the UK label ECLECTIC DISCS. Included music is strong 60s orientated Garage Rock/Acid-Rock with that typical late 60s psychedelic approach. The band had a very strong singer (guitarist STEVE CATALDO) and the included 16 tracks (of which the final two songs were previously unreleased, both recorded in 1966, so that’s 40 years ago!). Nice to see a piece of music history make it’s first appearance on CD. Highly recommended to fans who want to explore the beginning of rare American rockmusic. Available through: http://www.eclecticdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

PSYCHO SYMPHONY ‘SILENT FALL/SCHIZOID’ (INDEPENDENT)

Band from Hungary with 2 CD releases. Musically this is Techno-Progressive Metal with many complicated structures and some raw vocals here and there (MEGADETH style), while the songs itself follow a style which in the past was done by bands like WATCHTOWER, SIEGES EVEN and even SAVATAGE. 2 CDs were sent to me and although it sounds truly like independent releases, you can hear this band could really something very good if they would enter a major studio as they definitely can play original Metal. Check them out for yourself at: http://www.psychosymphony.com  and e-mail at: psychosymphony@yahoo.com  

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)

KATE HALL ‘I FEEL SO REAL’ (313 MUSIC/UNIVERSAL MUSIC GERMANY)

Only 1 song by this female singer called KATE HALL. The song is called “I feel so real” and is featured in 4 versions on the same titled CD-single. The song is currently a major hitsingle in Germany and that’s not that surprising if you consider the fact this is a very catchy uptempo melodic poprocker in the style of KELLY CLARCKSON, PAT BENATAR, KIM WILDE, BELINDA CARLISLE, THE VERONICAS, VANILLA NINJA, a true SUMMER RADIO/TV hit by a beautiful girl. More info at: http://www.katehall.com  Looking forward to a full-length CD by Kate…

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

DORRN ‘WE’RE OUT’ (INDEPENDENT)

Modern influences, but also strong melodies can be heard throughout the 11 songs counting CD of the Hamburg/Germany based female fronted rockband DORRN. However, most of the songs do have a sort of modern rap metal approach, although the female singer happily doesn’t rap, but it has such a dark modern feeling it should actually not be called melodic rock. DORRN is a heavy dark modern rockband with a female singer who reminds me of WENDY O. WILLIAMS. Check out this German band at: http://www.dorrn.de  and e-mail at: info@dorrn.de 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)

DESTRUCTORS666 ’06:06:06’ (INDEPENDENT)

2 songs are on the new CD of the UK band DESTRUCTOR 666, a band mixing the best of NWOBHM, Punkrock and Sleazy Hardrock, sort of putting ANGELIC UPSTARTS and JAGUAR into the same room, while W. AXL ROSE takes care of the production. Good solid raw sleazy punk’n’roll with Metal influences is what to expect. Now, when can we expect a full-length CD of this promising band! More info at: http://www.destructors666.co.uk 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND ‘BANDAGES/LIVE HITS HARDER’ (ECLECTIC DISCS)

Another couple of re-issues of the EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND. This band released a bunch of albums in the 1970s, which now have been re-issued. Musically they were original and quite different than the rest, sort of playing Krautrock a la AMON DUUL, so sometimes very bizarre and with influences of World Music. The open-minded rock/prog fan will like this band a lot, but I think they were a bit too experimental to consider them a rockband, although especially the live CD from 1979 contains some strong rock (a song like “Love in the rain” even reminded me of THIN LIZZY). If you’re interested you will be happy to learn many CDs of the EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND are available through: : http://www.eclecticdiscs.com 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)

HIGH TIDE ‘HIGH TIDE’ (ECLECTIC DISCS)

How many more rare 60s/70s rock records are still unreleased on CD you may wonder! Here’s another from 1970, which has been re-issued onto CD, with the addition of 4 unreleased bonustracks. With a playing time of 67 minutes this is a definite must for any collector of rare 60s/70s rock progressive rock. HIGH TIDE from the UK were such a great band and this remastered re-issue CD of their 1970 album is definitely worth checking out, due to the fact this is timeless rock and although rare it is as good as any other well-known record from that period, as the music is long guitar solo orientated 70s progressive rock. The extensive liner notes in the CD booklet make this a very interesting re-issue. Available through: : http://www.eclecticdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

NATASCHA SOHL ‘VARIOUS RECORDINGS’ (GRANITE MUSIC)

A full-length CD from 2003 and 2 new CD-singles is what I received from female singer/songwriter NATASCHA SOHL. She is making good fun melodic poprock, although different than for example KELLY CLARCKSON, still it has the same old 80s female poprock touch (PAT BENATAR style). The songs of NATASCHA SOIL are radio-ready, because they are catchy, but happily rocking enough for the melodic rockfans among us. Highlights on her first full-length CD ‘Strange fascination’ are “Give it all away”, “Five with me” and “What do you want”. The 2 new CD-singles show a more mature Natascha. The included songs on these 2 CD-singles are much rockier and therefore better instead of the softer approach on her THE VERONICAS/BELINDA CARLISLE kinda first CD. New songs like “Dirty little word” and “Naked” are very impressive strong melodic rockers in a sort of LITA FORD/LEE AARON/FIONA style and a little AOR touch can be heard in a song like “Beauty in the silence”, so we are all looking forward to Natascha’s upcoming new full-length CD. While Natascha looked like a nice innocent girl in 2003 making sweet poprock, in 2006 she looks and sounds like a Rockchick! More info on Natascha at: http://www.nataschasohl.com  and e-mail her at: info@nataschasohl.com 

(Points: 2003 CD: 8.0 out of 10 / 2006 CD singles: 8.5 out of 10)

DESPERADO ‘ACE’ (ANGEL AIR RECORDS)

In 1990 the band DESPERADO was yet another so-called supergroup made up of well-known musicians, just like other acts at the time such as BLUE MURDER, BAD ENGLISH, BADLANDS, DAMN YANKEES, etc. Musically they played typical late 80s/early 90s powerful American Hardrock with strong melodies, not far removed from DAMN YANKEES. The band was about to release their debut CD, but the major label involved decided a week before release to drop the band and it’s release. This was eventually the end of the band and it’s members, although some of the songs were used for DESPERADO’s frontman DEE SNIDER’s new band WIDOWMAKER, with whom he released 2 CDs in the early 90s. Anyway, now 16 years later the band around DEE SNIDER (vocals, TWISTED SISTER), drummer CLIVE BURR (IRON MAIDEN), BERNIE TORME (guitars, OZZY/GILLAN/GIRL) and bassist Marc Russell is finally getting an official CD release for their DESPERADO project from 1990 through the UK label ANGEL AIR RECORDS. Without a doubt, it is a very strong record which should have been released back then, but nevertheless it is a good thing to see it released after all. It does not sound dated at all, because songs like “Heart is a lonely hunter”, “Calling for you”, “See you at sunrise”, “Made for trouble” and “Ride thru the storm” (fantastic!!!) are all very sensational Melodic American Hardrocksongs in the best late 80s style. The extensive liner notes and perfect sound quality make this a release worth checking out for sure. Available through: http://www.angelair.co.uk 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

SENSITIVE TO LIGHT ‘ALMOST HUMAN’ (PROMO CDR)

A surprise from France from where I received this high quality Progressive Rockalbum of a band called SENSITIVE TO LIGHT. The band is formed around vocalist JENNY LEWIS and guitarplayer/songwriter VYNCE LEFF, the 2 main members of the band. 10 songs are included and with influences from other music genres, this is a very open-minded Progressive Rockalbum, which might appeal to a lot of people. It sounds very impressive from start to finish, with a lot of space for instrumental passages, but also vocal songs happily on which Jenny shows she is an excellent singer. These vocal songs (such as “ii Birth”, “Something happened in the garden of Eden” and “Snow”) are sounding like a perfect cross between LANDMARQ, LANA LANE and MOSTLY AUTUMN. Any progfan wants this I am sure of, so check out SENSITIVE TO LIGHT at: http://www.sensitivetolight.net  and e-mail at: vynceleff@hotmail.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

TAZ TAYLOR BAND ‘WELCOME TO AMERICA’ (ESCAPE MUSIC/GERMUSICA)

Guitarist TAZ TAYLOR from Birmingham/UK was able to get GRAHAM BONNET involved in his project. Taz was hugely influenced as a young kid when watching Graham performing “Since you been gone” with RAINBOW back in the late 70s/early 80s on TV. He picked up the guitar and now in 2006 releases his first vocal CD, after releasing an instrumental CD sometime ago. Musically it is filled with Classic Hardrock with the typical vocals of GRAHAM BONNET, but despite a few nice tracks it is not a sensational record. 10 songs are included, of which some covers and a couple instrumentals. I am afraid this release will get lost between all the other rock and metal releases, although it features Graham Bonnet on vocals and the music is classic hardrock, which then again should make this release stand out between the rest.

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)

EDEN’S FALL ‘HARMONY OF LIES’ (NOTHINGHEART RECORDS)

Out of Chicago/USA comes EDEN’S FALL, a band with a high quality full-length CD release titled ‘Harmony of lies’, which musically mixes classic 80s US Power Metal with the aggressiveness of today’s modern Metal approach, ending up sounding like a mix between METAL CHURCH, NEVERMORE, MAIDEN, TESTAMENT and ICED EARTH. The vocalstyle is aggressive and in Thrash Metal style, the guitarsound a mix of classic MAIDEN twin-guitars and big Thrash Metal riffs, while the choruses are pure Power Metal in a METAL CHURCH meets ICED EARTH style, although in general the band reminds me most of all of the last couple of ANNIHILATOR records. The CD took 2 years to make and was mixed by DAN SWANO and mastered by JAMES MURPHY, so a few well-known people helped the band. The CD sounds very good and could have been a major label release for sure. The riffs are really strong and all real Metalheads will absolutely love this band, although sometimes it gets a bit too aggressive and then for the fans looking for strong melodies will not be able to find it here. Nevertheless, it will be a record which will be loved by the real Metalheads, because it is a big Metal riff CD with a sound of today. More info at: http://www.edensfall.com  and e-mail at: edensfall@edensfall.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

CALENTURE ‘CHAINS OF LOVE’ (INDEPENDENT)

80s influenced Melodic Rock is what to expect from the band CALENTURE out of Finland. 2 songs are on their CD and they sound pretty nice, nothing new, but both “Chains of love” and “Michaela Ma Chere” are good strong melodic rocksongs. They remind me a bit of 220 VOLT, TREAT, DALTON and PRAYING MANTIS. Must for Scandi melodic rockfans! More info at: http://www.calenture.net  and e-mail at: calenture@calenture.net 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

ELECTRIC OUTLET ‘ON!’ (LION MUSIC/BERTUS)

New band with a strong instrumental release. Band is called ELECTRIC OUTLET and album is titled ‘On!’. They are made up of musicians whom played with such diverse acts like BOBBY KIMBALL, CHAKA KHAN, SAGA and KINGDOM COME. The result is a very nice instrumental progressive rockalbum, which will definitely be loved by the progfans among us (with some TOTO as well as Jazz.Fusion influences added)!

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

JOSE DEL RIO ’JOURNEY INTO THE FOURTH DIMENSION’ (LION MUSIC/BERTUS)

High quality release from a bunch of well-seasoned musicians. Most important involved musicians are keyboardplayer VITALIJ KUPRIJ (ARTENSION) and Chilean guitarist JOSE L. DEL RIO (founder of the project). CD was mixed by MIKA JUSSILA at the famous Finnish Finnvox studios and it all sounds super impressive. Included music is instrumental (except one song) Neo-Classical Guitar vs. Keyboard shredding and any fan of this style will have to check out this release a.s.a.p.!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

MIND’S EYE ‘WAITING FOR THE TIDE’ (LION MUSIC/BERTUS)

Recently the Swedish Melodic Progrock/Metalband MIND’S EYE released a stunning new CD titled ‘Walking on H20’, but the band released a couple albums prior to that release. Their 2000 album ‘Waiting for the tide’ has now been re-released. We already did a review of it back then, so this review is only to inform you about the LION MUSIC re-release, which also included 2 unreleased bonustracks (of which “Endless passages” is a very strong song). Musically this is prime-time melodic progrock/metal with the awesome vocals of singer Andreas Novak, highly recommended in case you missed it 6 years ago!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

BENEA REACH ‘MONUMENT BINEOTHAN’ (TABU RECORDS/BERTUS)

Sometimes you get albums you absolutely have no idea why they are sent, because also this BENEA REACH is Metalcore of the worst kind, so endless screaming which gets boring after just a few seconds. Not interesting at all this CD which has zero melodies…

(Points: 3.2 out of 10)

7DAYS ‘THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD’ (RIVEL RECORDS/GERMUSICA)

Another new Swedish Melodic Metal product. This 7DAYS is formed around guitarist/keyboardplayer MARKUS SIGFRIDSSON (HARMONY/DARK WATER), bassist ANDREAS OLSSON (ex-HARMONY/ NARNIA/DIVINE FIRE), drummer DANIEL FLORES (MIND’S EYE, NOVAK and countless other bands) and none-other than lead singer THOMAS VIKSTROM (TALK OF THE TOWN, CANDLEMASS, STORMWIND). The CD of 7DAYS has been released on the label of NARNIA singer CHRISTIAN RIVEL (RIVEL RECORDS) and other mentions to add are the guest appearance of female singer CAROLINE SIGFRIDSSON on one song (“Fall again”), all keyboardsolo’s are played by KASPAR DAHLQVIST (who worked with DIONYSUS, TREASURE LAND, STORMWIND) and finally, there is a cover of the VENI DOMINE song “Wisdom calls”. Anyway, 9 songs are included on the first 7DAYS CD, which is a non-stop typical Swedish melodic metal product, with some really great songs (“Confession”, “Fall again”, “Save me” and “With you forever”), although nothing new is brought here. However if you like typical Swedish melodic metal of the DIVINEFIRE, NARNIA, STORMWIND, HARMONY kind you will love this too! More info at: http://www.7-days.se 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

OSIRYS ‘OSIRYS’ (DREAMING RECORDS/MUSEA RECORDS)

OSIRYS comes out of France and is based around multi-instrumentalist JEAN PIERRE PRUDENT. The 9 tracks on the first CD are very long, with even a 28 minutes counting song. Musically it is not really progrock, as it is more electronic based music, sort of like TANGERINE DREAM with some Jazzy FRANK ZAPPA movements, so actually perfectly suitable to use as background music in a movie. Jean Pierre has done a good job in making this CD indeed a winner for a fan of TANGERINE DREAM. More info at: http://members.aol.com/jpposirys  and e-mail at: PrudentJP@aol.com 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

INBETWEEN ‘THE SEARCH’ (INDEPENDENT)

Released 4 years ago, this is a strong album of a band from Luxemburg. Musically they play typical melodic Progressive Rock like a mix between SIEGES EVEN, SIGMA, MIND’S EYE and IQ, although there are also some 80s influences to be heard (vocally it reminds me of SIMPLE MINDS actually, just listen to the poppy “Eye to eye”. 60 minutes of quality progrock/metal, maybe not as good as mentioned bands, but for sure one of the best acts I ever heard from Luxemburg (in the same style and as good as NO NAME, another Progband from Luxemburg), even beating the legendary FISC! This is quite good stuff, very much like most progrockbands from Holland and Germany, so be sure to check them out at: http://www.inbetween.lu 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

MOBILE ‘TOMORROW STARTS TODAY’ (INTERSCOPE RECORDS/UNIVERSAL MUSIC CANADA)

So this is like typical Modern Rock of the KAISER CHIEFS and ARCTIC MONKEYS kind, pretty good if you ask me and I truly consider this band as one of the next bands to have a major break! However, they are coming out of Canada, which might be the reason why they haven’t had their breakthrough yet, because Canadian bands always have a hard time to break out of the Canadian borders. Anyway, their CD has been released on UNIVERSAL MUSIC in Canada, so who knows this might lead to bigger things in the near future. After listening to the CD a couple times I could easily make up my mind this is a high quality rockband. Songs like “New York minute” (very catchy tune!), “Out of my head”, “Montreal calling” (THE POLICE style) and “Lookin’ out” (best song, lovely catchy chorus, pure 80s!) are quite superb rocksongs with very impressive melodies and just showing there are still good rockbands coming out of Canada. It is also clear the band is hugely influenced by the early 80s Rock movement, because some of these songs would not have been out of place if it was 1982 (note the similarities to THE CURE, THE POLICE, U2, TALK TALK). I am sure any one who likes KAISER CHIEFS, PANIC AT THE DISCO, THE EDITORS, ARCTIC MONKEYS and whatever they are called all these UK bands should also check out this Canadian MOBILE. More info at: http://www.mobiletheband.com  

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

SUNRISE AVENUE ‘ON THE WAY TO WONDERLAND’ (HONEST PRODUCTIONS/BONNIER AMIGO MUSIC GROUP FINLAND)

Here’s the latest sensation from Finland, just hot on the heels of LOVEX, another HIM meets THE RASMUS type of Modern Melodic Rockact with a bunch of catchy tunes on their CD ‘On the way to wonderland’. The CD starts with the super catchy “Choose to be me” and from there on this young fresh band which was formed in 2002 just keeps coming with nothing but catchy melodic poprockers filled with lots of classic 80s AOR harmonyvocals during the choruses that even remind me of SPIN GALLERY, TALK OF THE TOWN and ALIEN, yet with a modern approach and a typical Finnish vocalstyle (a la HIM). Besides the first track other highlights are “All because of you” (radio-ready, also a bit like LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM), “Sunny day”, “It ain’t the way”, “” (super catchy melodic rocker, very much like THE RASMUS, radio-ready chorus) and “Fairytale gone bad”. Worth checking out for any melodic rockfan, because it will appeal to the fans of the old and new style, so imagine a mix between let’s say ALIEN and THE RASMUS! Awesome band, more info at: http://www.sunriseave.com 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem) 

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