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HOT NEW REVIEWS UPDATED ON OCTOBER 16 - 2006

3 WISHES ‘IN YOUR EYES’ (3 SONG MUSIC)

The German band 3 WISHES is back with their 3rd CD ‘In your eyes’, which might well be their finest release so far, as the CD is filled with lovely high class 80s type of AOR/Melodic Rock in a FRONTLINE/TERRA NOVA/FAIR WARNING style. 12 songs are included in total and with a crystal clear production it is a very nice listen with such awesome catchy uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocktracks like “Face your fears”, “She is a liar”, “Two young hearts”, “Circle of life”, “All or nothing” and “Life ain’t easy”. Most of the songs are uptempo and with keys, catchy hooks and memorable choruses not really far removed from the classic 80s sound of bands like AVIATOR, first FM, AIRKRAFT, first DANGER DANGER… Better check it out asap if you’re a fan of that style! More info at: http://www.3-wishes.de 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

FAIR HAVEN ‘NOT EVEN CLOSE’ (MEMBRANE RECORDS)

The Swiss band FAIR HAVEN was formed in 1998 and so far released 4 CDs, while doing support act shows for TOTO, EUROPE and DIE TOTEN HOSEN. Their latest CD ‘Not even close’ is a compilation of their 2nd and 3rd CD from the early 2000s. Musically strong pure 80s Melodic Hardrock in the style of DOKKEN, WHITESNAKE, HEAVENS EDGE, WHITE LION, DANGER DANGER… 13 songs are included and from start to finish this band shows they are a very good band. Maybe not as good as GOTTHARD, but surely worth checking out if you’re a Melodic Hardrockfan. More info at: http://www.fairhavenrocks.com  and http://www.membranerecords.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

DREAM EVIL ‘UNITED’ (CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS/PIMP)

The best Swedish Metalband (along with NOCTURNAL RITES) at the moment has got to be DREAM EVIL. With 3 releases under their wings, this band is unstoppable, although it took 2 years to release their 4th CD ‘Unite’, which almost didn’t happen when the band seemed to fell apart earlier this year. All is well though and now the band is back with another sensational Melodic Metal release. Together with the earlier this year released debut albums of Swedish bands DESTYNATION and BLOODBOUND, this new DREAM EVIL will compete in becoming the best Melodic Metal release from 2006. Without a doubt, it is an excellent release, all sounding perfect, although it seemed the band has toughened up their sound and took away a bit of the melodic stuff from the earlier records, because this time it is more DIO/MANOWAR than EUROPE/MALMSTEEN if you know what I mean. Fear not, because there are still a bunch of lovely more super melodic choruses on this disc, such as the superb fast uptempo tunes “Blind evil”, “Doomlord” and “Falling” and the lovely midtempo “Kingdom at war” (amazing chorus!), all showing DREAM EVIL at their best. On the other hand, this band is all about METAL as in True Metal as in Teutonic and they show it loud and proud during songs like “Fire! Battle! In Metal!”, “United”, “Evilution” and “Let me out”. Only one ballad this time and sadly not as strong as on their past records, but still “Love is blind” is a nice tune. The only song which I found a bit useless was closing track “My number one”, which is a remake of the Greek Eurovision Song Contest winning song from 2005, of course a Metal version, but still I am desperate in hearing more of the original DREAM EVIL hooks… Not the best of the 4 DREAM EVIL albums, but nevertheless a huge sound and a bunch of fantastic tunes, so all together it still is one of the Melodic Metal highlights from 2006!

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)

WUTHERING HEIGHTS ‘THE SHADOW CABINET’ (LOCOMOTIVE MUSIC/ROCK INC)

Formed way back in 1989, but active as WUTHERING HEIGHTS since the late 90s, this Danish band has released 3 albums before this new CD ‘The shadow cabinet’. The line-up of the band reveals members of MANTICORA, PYRAMAZE and most important, also lead singer Nils Patrik Johansson of SPACE ODYSSEY and ASTRAL DOORS is present as he also was on the previous album ‘Far from the madding crowd’. Musically nothing changed and the band comes up with another very strong mix of Progressive, Power, Folk and Neo-Classical Melodic Metal, with as highlights between the 11 included tracks “Faith (Apathy Divine Part 1)”, “Snow (Apathy Divine Part 2)” (SUPERB!) and “I shall not yield”. Must-have release for any fan of real neo-classical power/prog metal of the kind MALMSTEEN has not delivered in 15 years!

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)

CANDYGRAM FOR MONGO ‘THE RED PILL’ (C4 MEDIA)

Original mix of rock, metal and punk, ending up sounding like a Oi! band really, as songs like “The kids have all gone crazy” and “Moon” make me think of SHAM 69 and THE BUSINESS! Anyway, the band CANDYGRAM FOR MONGO is coming out of California, were formed in late 2005 and pull out their debut CD with the title ‘The red pill’. It’s quite original the style they are playing, just taking the best out of 30 years rock and roll mixing it up with today’s sound. Sound is good and the music is enjoyable to listen to. More info at: http://www.candygramformongo.com  and e-mail at: gsharp@candygramformongo.com  

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

VICIOUS RUMORS ‘WARBALL’ (MASCOT RECORDS)

Mid 1980s, the US band VICIOUS RUMORS is predicted a great future as one of the most promising Metalbands, along with ARMORED SAINT, ANTHRAX, METALLICA, SAVATAGE, JAG PANZER, VIRGIN STEELE, MANOWAR and a lot others bands of the first wave of American Metalbands. Some became huge, but VICIOUS RUMORS took the wrong turn, changing styles several times, however, after a 5-year break since their latest release, the band fully returns with a strong new True Power Metal record in the best 80s PRIEST/MANOWAR/SAVATAGE style. 2006 VICIOUS RUMORS brings forward lead singer JAMES RIVERA (of HELSTAR/SEVEN WITCHES), guitarists GEOFF THORPE and BRAD GILLIS (of NIGHT RANGER/OZZY), bassist Dave Starr and drummer Larry Howe. Together they recorded a very strong album, in which the Power Metal conquers on such tracks like “Sonic rebellion”, “Mr. Miracle”, “Crossthreaded”, “The wheels of madness” and “Ghost within”, all in a PRIEST style, although the more epic “Windows of memories” reveals SAVATAGE influences. One to own if you call yourself a fan of True Metal, as this is the best VICIOUS RUMORS record since the 1980s!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

MADMEN AND DREAMERS ‘THE CHILDREN OF CHILDREN’ (MADELF PRODUCTIONS)

A rockopera spread on 2 CDs, sounding quite huge and adventureous. MADMEN AND DREAMERS come out of New Jersey and they have instrumental speaking a good deal of classic progrock on offer here. Similarities to DREAM THEATER, RUSH and YES and even AYREON/STAR ONE are possible here, so we have to deal here with a high quality release for sure. The CD booklet is huge and tells all about the story behind this CD, which is quite interesting. The music really takes you on a journey, typical epic prog rock opera style and especially fans of the NIKOLO KOTZEV project NOSTRADAMEUS CD from a few years ago will love this CD, although comparisons to the KAYAK album ‘Nostradameus’ are also very clear. Vocally it is a mix of lower male and higher female vocals, performed by 4 various singers, namely DENNIS JOHNSON, CHRISTINE HULL, BEN RAUCH and ERIKA A. CROCCO. Instrumental the band is very sensational and all together, the 33 tracks on these 2 CDs are a must-hear for fans of mentioned acts. Any progfan will love this for sure!!! A lot of worked has been put into this project, something which should be appreciated and I can really recommend this 2-CD set to fans of such projects like NOSTRADAMEUS, STAR ONE, AYREON, KAYAK… More info at: http://www.madelf.com  and http://www.madmen-and-dreamers.com  

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

DESTRUCTORS 666/THE 925S ‘STURM UNT DRANG’ (ROWDY FARRAGO RECORDS)

Once again a split CD of the UK band DESTRUCTORS 666. Musically this is a good mix of classic Oi!/Punk and NWOBHM, sounding quite catchy. The band has 3 songs on the CD, so has the other band THE 925S, but they are more clean modern day retro Punkrock orientated, not bad at all and a must if you like bands such as ARCTIC MONKEYS and KAISER CHIEFS (the song “Miss timing” could become a huge hit actually!). More info on this release at: http://www.destructors666.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

DAME ‘SO WAS IT WORTH DYING FOR’ (HMC RECORDS FINLAND)

Once again we are looking at Finland. The label is called HMC RECORDS, which stands for Helsinki Music Group and they were kind enough to sent us 3 releases they have done. The first CD is the debut from DAME, a band formed around the talented EMILIA, who does not only sing here, but also plays guitars, bass and keyboards as well as writing all music and lyrics for DAME. The only other member is drummer Lari Takala. Musically it is sort of mixing typical Finnish Dark Gothmetal with American catchy Melodic Poprock, sort of mixing HIM/ENTWINE with EVANESCENE/KELLY CLARCKSON. The result is a very strong radio-ready album with bothing but hits, although with a playing time of 37 minutes a bit short. 10 songs are included, although opener “Intro” is an instrumental uptempo melodic rocker. Sound and production is HUGE and without a doubt, this album may easily find it’s way into the Finnish charts, where acts like LOVEX, SUNRISE AVENUE, POISONBLACK, ENTWINE, TO DIE FOR, HIM etc. all conquer the charts the whole year around and this DAME is not out of place at all. Rockers like “Scream”, “Adios”, “I can’t sleep alone in a tourbus”, “Friday princess” and “Pony” (huge hitsingle in Finland) are very impressive tunes that mix up the best of HIM, ENTWINE, KELLY CLARCKSON and EVANESCENE into an exciting style, where Emilia seems to be one of the few girls in rock to actually do all of her music on her own. Much respect and be sure to check it out if this sounds interesting for you. More info at: http://www.dame.fi  and http://www.hmc.fi  and http://www.popgee.fi/site/ 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

BRIGHTBOY ‘LOVE FOR THE STREETS’ (HMC RECORDS FINLAND)

Finally not the typical Finnish style, because BRIGHTBOY is playing an original mix of 80s Melodic Poprock and today’s retro-rock, although the hunger for catchy 80s melodic poprock is much stronger on most of the songs included on the first CD of the Finnish band BRIGHTBOY. Of course with the eyes and focus on the American and British market, this band could easily become the next big thing, despite the fact they are from Finland. A song like “Wear out the soles” has all it takes in becoming the summer hit of 2006, although summer’s almost over. The same catchiness as THE RASMUS, but musically more original and in 80s retro poprock style (think THE CARS). In Finland they already scored some huge hits, such as the pure 80s orientated “Vanity fair” and “1989”. “Heart so cold”, “This town” and “Landmarks” are really catchy tunes that sound like a poppier THE RASMUS/SUNRISE AVENUE, although like I said before BRIGHTBOY is different and more classic 80s keyboard poprock orientated, even reminding me of MR. MISTER and THE CARS. This is a band to watch out for in the near future, so be sure to check out their debut asap. More info at: http://www.hmc.fi  and http://www.brightboy.fi 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

BLEAK ‘BURNS INSIDE’ (HMC RECORDS FINLAND)

With already 2 number 2 hitsingles in Finland and a well selling album release, the Finnish band BLEAK is just like the 2 other acts on the new label HMC RECORDS, BRIGHTBOY and DAME, yet another promising band from the Northern part of Europe. BLEAK is playing clearly American influenced Rock/Metal with a lot of melodies, also a bit owing to HIM, although more in the style of THREE DAYS GRACE, BREAKING BENJAMIN, DECYFER DOWN... The songs feature very heavy modern Metal riffs, but the vocals are clean and melodic (in fact singer Caleb is a fantastic singer), although the strongest part of the songs are the super catchy choruses. Just listen to the songs “Play”, “What you are” (HIM/LOVEX/ENTWINE style), “Modual”, “Good Girl” (fantastic catchy uptempo melodic rocker) and “Stains” (uptempo, very strong) are you’re hooked. Recommended if you want to hear a mix between THREE DAYS GRACE and HIM. Definitely a band that could easily become HUGE if promoted enough… More info at: http://www.bleakmusic.com 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

ANTHEMON ‘KADAVRESKI’ (THUNDERING RECORDS/MANITOU MUSIC)

Out of France comes ANTHEMON, a band playing a mix of different rock and metal styles, ranging from pure progressive rock to black metal growls. This has result in a very diverse sounding CD, which sometimes impress, but on the other hand is not convincing all the way. There are only 4 songs on the CD, of which the 23 minutes counting titletrack is the most interesting track as that one goes from pure prog rock/metal to fast black metal screaming, quite confusing actually! It’s all very experimental and although it is not as good as bands like INTO ETERNITY, WOLVERINE, SCAR SYMMETRY, MERCENARY… I think fans of such bands might definitely be interested in checking out this French band. More info at: http://www.anthemon.com 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)

SKYWARD ‘SKYWARD’ (THUNDERING RECORDS/MANITOU MUSIC)

Not original at all, people will probably also say this Finnish band is a rip-off from NIGHTWISH, but on the other hand they are a very good version of NIGHTWISH, so not just a copycat. OK, admitted, constantly you think you’re listening to NIGHTWISH, but nevertheless the female fronted Melodic Goth Power Metal with orchestral arrangements here and there sounds really good. Especially uptempo songs like “Yesternight”, “Travel in time” and “Vaya con diablo” are really awesome songs. In case you already miss NIGHTWISH, this is the perfect solution, because the Finnish SKYWARD has released a very strong album that at times recalls the high quality of the earlier NIGHTWISH recordings. More info at: http://www.skyward.fi  and http://www.thundering-records.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

KEMET ‘THE RULES OF EQUILIBRIUM’ (THUNDERING RECORDS/MANITOU MUSIC)

A sort of Melodic Goth Heavy Rockband in Finnish tradition is what to expect from the French band KEMET. They sound pretty good, although vocally it is not that strong, however if you’re a fan of bands like HIM, TO/DIE/FOR, ENTWINE, THE NEGATIVE… this band might be something up your alley, although throughout the CD also progmetal elements are added to the sound. They deliver a good high quality 9 tracks counting CD with this ‘The rules of equilibrium’. Especially the song “Saturday night sinne” is quite excellent, an almost Melodic Progmetal sounding tune that even recalls some VANDENPLAS similarities during the catchy melodic chorus. Good band and although sometimes they go into slightly aggressive directions, such as opener “Fuck with the enemy”, the band is a very melodic band that fits somewhere between HIM and VANDENPLAS musically. More info at: http://kemetmusic.free.fr/ 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

DIRTY PERFECT ‘QUARTERBACK-HAIRSTYLE’ (WORK HARD PR/SOUND FOUNDATION RECORDS/GENEPOOL/UNIVERSAL)

UK band with a Classic early 70s Hardrocksound reminding of bands like MOTT THE HOOPLE, SMALL FACES, STARZ, REX, really raw original rock and roll the way it was meant to be played. The band has a 2-track single out, which lasts only 5 minutes, so a bit short and only a short introduction to this Cardiff/Wales based band. Looking forward to a full-length CD in the future. More info at: http://www.dirtyperfect.com 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)

RED STAR REBELS ‘TOO YOUNG TO CARE EP’ (REBEL STAR REBELS RECORDS/WORK HARD PR)

RED STAR REBELS is playing Classic early 80s raw sleazy glam rock and roll in the style of TEEZE, MOTLEY CRUE, LONDON, GUNS’N’ROSES, WASP, HANOI ROCKS… This band from the UK released a very strong EP that calls memories when the LA Sunset Strip was the place to be if you were a Hair Metal Head! The 4 included songs are very catchy and if anyone misses the days of the vgery early MOTLEY CRUE (first 2 albums), then this record is the one to own. The song “Hold” however is more like a 80s semi AOR ballad in SHY style, so there’s some difference to be noted here with the MOTLEY CRUE guys! Hopefully a full-length CD in the near future! In the meantime check out this EP, which also has a cool DVD as bonus! More info at: http://www.redstarrebels.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

JOHNNY AND LONNIE ‘GREATEST AND MISSES’ (NOZEN GLAZZES RECORDS)

JOHNNY AND LONNIE stands for lead singer John West and musician/producer Lonnie Park. Together they have created a lot of memorable music in the 18 years they have known each other, on records by COZY POWELL, ARTENSION, JOHN WEST or solo on records by ROYAL HUNT, FEINSTEIN and WRATHCHILD AMERICA. Now in 2006 the two musicians have released a CD filled with their greatest moments as well as a couple unreleased tracks. Musically it is top-notch high quality musicianship, which is bordering on the AOR/Melodic Rock map, although mostly soulful ballad orientated. Especially the songs “High time to fly”, “Slipping away” and “You better believe” are truly wonderful semi AOR ballads with of course the incredible lead vocals of JOHN WEST, who is one of the absolute best singers in rock history, even beating GLENN HUGHES if you ask me! Anyway, this is a really great CD, with some songs already released on the JOHN WEST solo-albums, but also 3 unreleased tracks and 2 songs from rare albums of the late COZY POWELL and MANY MOONS. Check it out asap if you want to hear some sensational singing and beautiful musicianship. Available through: http://www.johnwestmusic.com  and http://www.lonniepark.com 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

THE ANSWER ‘RISE’ (PIAS)

Earlier this year the band WOLFMOTHER put Australia back on the Rock and Roll map. Now it is time to put back Ireland on the Rock and Roll map, because THE ANSWER is taking the world by storm with their Classic 70s Hardrocksound that sounds like a mix between LED ZEPPELIN, FREE/BAD COMPANY, WHITESNAKE, BADLANDS and THE BLACK CROWES. The band’s lead singer Cormac Neeson has an incredible soulful bluesy rockvoice which sounds like a mix between early 70s ROBERT PLANT, DAVID COVERDALE, PAUL RODGERS, the late RAY GILLEN and CHRIS ROBINSON, indeed the singers from aforementioned bands, so by all means this THE ANSWER is the Irish answer to those classic 70s British Rockbands (yeah, THE BLACK CROWES and BADLANDS were 80s American bands, but they sounded as British and classic 70s Hardrock as any other band at that time in the USA). Together with guitarist Paul Mahon and bassist Micky Waters, singer Cormac Neeson formed THE ANSWER back in 1999. The UK has brought us similar bands like THUNDER, LITTLE ANGELS and a few others through the years, but Ireland has not brought such a rockband since the days of MAMA’S BOYS in the early 80s. I think we’re safe to say here that THE ANSWER is one of the best new rockbands since THIN LIZZY actually, because they have such a tight sound and should be praised along the likes of WOLFMOTHER, whom saw their exposure to the world exploding this summer. Anyway, this band’s debut CD is one which will be loved by every rock critic and fan, no doubt about that. Maybe it is the Irish answer to LED ZEPPELIN, who knows! Somehow it sounds to me like the perfect mix between early WHITESNAKE and THE BLACK CROWES. If DAVID COVERDALE ever quits the WHITESNAKE saga, well then the singer of THE ANSWER would be perfect to fill the gap. Musically the rock and roll of THE ANSWER is groovier and less melodic than WHITESNAKE, much more soulful and bluesier actually, with as highlights between the 11 tracks included “Under the sky”, “Sometimes your love”, “Always” and “Leavin’ today”. A band to watch out for sure in the near future as they are together with WOLFMOTHER about to take over the flag from 30+ years old leading Classic Rockbands like WHITESNAKE, URIAH HEEP, DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN… just to make sure we can enjoy new bands playing the classic old rockstyle live on stage for the next 30+ years!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

EVERGRACE ‘EVERGRACE’ (ULTERIUM RECORDS)

A hot new band on the horizon! EVERGRACE hail from Sweden, were formed in 2001 and their professional full-length debut CD is a great melodic metal piece, which is not far away from other Scandi bands like WUTHERING HEIGHTS, TAD MOROSE, DREAM EVIL, BLOODBOUND, NOSTRADAMEUS, DESTYNATION, but also some EDGUY, KAMELOT and DIONYSUS can be heard on their music. It is a very European Melodic Metal orientated record, which means mostly uptempo songs with catchy melodic choruses and vocal lines which go up to high octaves. The band’s record is a very strong record, although not as sensational as some of the mentioned bands. However, with songs like “The escape”, “Ulterior world”, “I am you” and “I am sorry for you (Part 1)” they show we have yet another winner in the Swedish melodic metal contest. Fans of mentioned bands will definuitely love this band. Their CD was mixed by Per Ryberg (TAD MOROSE, MORGANA LEFAY, BLOODBOUND) and the stunning CD artcover was designed by MATTIAS NOREN (of KAMELOT, EVERGREY… fame). If you call yourself a Melodic Metalfan, then be sure to get this EVERGRACE asap! More info at: http://www.evergrace.se

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

PROTOTYPE ‘CONTINUUM’ (NIGHTMARE RECORDS)

Formed way back in 1994, the US band PROTOTYPE makes a return with their 3rd CD ‘Continuum’. Musically it is filled with classic 80s Bay Area Thrash Metal riffs and strong melodic Progmetal vocals/choruses, so definitely an interesting album to check out if you’re a fan of ICED EARTH, RAGE or BLIND GUARDIAN for example. 11 songs are included with a total playing length of just 42 minutes, but on the other hand from start to finish it is nothing but quality stuff. Songs like “The way it ends”, “Devotion” and “Seed” are very memorable songs with huge Metal riffs and beautiful melodic vocalwork. Fine new album of this Californian band! More info at: http://www.intromental.com/prototype  and http://www.myspace.com/prototypeonline 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

FALL OF ECHOES ‘RED TREE DEMO’ (INDEPENDENT)

Just a demo release from this American band, but already showing we are dealing here with a very strong act. The band is made up of members of the bands VISUAL CLIFF and ORPHAN PROJECT and they play a nice mix of 90s progmetal and melodic progrock. The calmer moments on the album show a strong ENCHANT similarity and without a doubt, it’s these songs like “Mr. Orion”, “Little girl lost”, “9th floor and “Behind my closed eyes” that make this band a very interesting act. Some of the other tracks are a bit rawer and more progmetal, still good, but FALL OF ECHOES really sounds at their best when going for a more melodic mood direction like in afforementioned songs. A band with a future for sure and recommended to the progrock and progmetal community! More info at: http://www.fallofechoes.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

MICHAEL SWEET ‘HIM’ (NASHVILLE PUBLICITY GROUP)

STRYPER main man is back on the solo pad with the new CD ‘Him’. Just having released a strong comeback modern melodic rock record with STRYPER last year with ‘Reborn’, the singer now also makes a solo comeback CD titled ‘Him’. Musically better than anything he has done solo since he started it in the early 90s, in fact, ‘Him’ is a bit classic 80s AOR/Melodic Rock orientated, which of course is a very good thing. Michael sounds very impressive vocally and the included 10 songs are filled with catchy hooks and melodic memorable choruses. Mix STAN BUSH with BON JOVI and add a voice a la JAMES LABRIE and you’ll have the hooky AOR sound of the new record of MICHAEL SWEET. Songs like “Calvary”, “Alleluia”, “Giliad” and “Oh Holy night” are very strong AOR/Melodic Pop/Rocksongs, not as rocky as STRYPER, but surely a hit for anyone wanting to hear something in the style of the classic melodic rock/aor of NELSON, DEF LEPPARD, BON JOVI, STAN BUSH, MITCH MALLOY, MICHAEL MORALES, yet with a dash of westcoast poprock thrown in for a lighter mood and of course a Gospel wall behind each of the songs… Michael also takes us into some new areas, such as the poppy but very catchy and summer-radio ready hit “I k now”, which sounds like FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS/ZAPPACOSTA would have sounded in 2006, although the drum machine should have been replaced by real drums here. In general, this is a good strong solo AOR/Melodic Pop/Rock release of Mr. STRYPER, although heavy on the ballad side, but for rockers you should get the latest STRYPER record I guess. More info at: http://www.michaelsweet.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

DUSTSUCKER ‘JACK KNIFE RENDEZVOUS’ (LIMB MUSIC)

The 5th CD of the German band is probably their most professional. The band was helped on the production side of things by none-other than the mighty R.D. LIAPAKIS (MYSTIC PROPHECY, CHASTAIN, JACK STARR). Musically this early 90s formed band is going into the dirty mean sleazy punky rock and roll direction that sounds like a mix between MOTORHEAD, HELLACOPTERS and BACKYARD BABIES. Most of the time uptempo and not looking back, with the raw LEMMY like singing of singer/guitarist Max Count Farmer. What they have done is a strong release in the genre and therefore I am sure fans of mentioned bands will be loving this band’s new CD for sure.

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

DOMAIN ‘STARDAWN’ (LIMB MUSIC)

It all started in the 80s and still continues, the legacy of DOMAIN, a German Melodic Hardrockband which through the years got competition from bands like JADED HEART, ZENO, FAIR WARNING, CRAAFT, FRONTLINE, BONFIRE and many others, but were also one of the very first bands in the genre during the mid 80s in Germany, along with MAD MAX, ZENO and BONFIRE. The band never really changed musically and in the past 5 years released 5 new studio albums, so a very busy band. There’s not that much difference between this new CD ‘Stardawn’ and the previous 4 releases of the 2000s, so once again good strong Melodic Hardrock. This time the band has a list of guest musicians appearing on the CD, among which are members of the bands MAJESTY, IRON MASK, CIRCLE OF PAIN, ROUGH SILK and CASANOVA/MAD MAX shouter MICHAEL VOSS. The production is big and the included 9 songs are quite impressive actually. Closing track is the 25 minutes counting “Shadowhall”, a very proggy track in contrast to the more straight-ahead 80s melodic hardrock the band usually makes and I have to say I prefer the band’s shorter melodic hardrock instead of this almost 30 minutes counting epic prog journey. The band sounds quite strong during the 8 Melodic Hard/Heavy Rocksongs on “Stardawn’, which sound like a cross between ZENO and JADED HEART. The band is lucky enough to have a very strong lead singer (CARSTEN LIZARD SCHULZ) who joined the band at a later stage and in the meantime also has another band called EVIDENCE ONCE, with whom he released a sensational 2nd CD sometime ago, hoping to see a follow-up someday soon. In the meantime, this new DOMAIN record proudly gives you strong Melodic Hardrock in the shape of songs like “All in the name of fire” (fast like AXEL RUDI PELL meets THE SYGNET), “I ain’t no hero” (ballad), the CHRIS DE BURGH cover “Don’t pay the ferryman” (sounding like 80s BON JOVI now) and “Headfirst into disaster” (strong chorus). Huge in South Korea, but anyone should check out the new DOMAIN, especially if you like the typical German Melodic Hardrocksound of ZENO, FAIR WARNING, MAD MAX, BONFIRE…

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

TRACING DAYS ‘CONTROL’ (FULL COLOR RECORDS/NASHVILLE PUBLICITY GROUP/INFINITY MUSIC DISTRIBUTION/CENTRAL SOUTH DISTRIBUTION)

These are the modern times and although rock sounds different in the USA than 20 years ago, melodies are welcomed back in the rockstyle, which has not been really interesting since NIRVANA basically killed all that was fun about rock and roll. Christian Rockband TRACING DAYS captures the typical American modern rocksound of today and they do that quite well on their debut CD release ‘Control’, which sounds like a mix between U2, SIMPLE MINDS, KANE, KEANE, LIFEHOUSE and RELIENT K. It rocks and here and there we can hear some strong material, such as the songs “Life outside”, “Printed”, “House of cards” (best song U2 never wrote) and “Miles of mystery” (with classic early 80s guitar riff). You have to like the typical sound and also vocal style, which is so American meets British and not like your typical mainland European melodic way of singing, but in the end TRACING DAYS are definitely a good strong rockband with a decent debut CD release that should be in the hands of not just all the typical modern rockfans, but also classic 80s SIMPLE MINDS/U2 similarities can be heard all throughout the CD. More info at: http://www.tracingdays.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

THE GOLDEN GODS ‘THE THORNY CROWN OF ROCK AND ROLL’ (24 HOUR ENTERTAINMENT/THE CONTROL GROUP)

Superb high quality 70s inspired Rock and Roll is what THE GOLDEN GODS is all about. This is a US band, with as most important member SIMON SCOTT, who sings like a new Rock God and plays guitar like the next guitar God, with fat groovy guitar riffs and superb singing like a mix between GLENN HUGHES and LOU GRAMM. The band’s music sounds like a mix between 70s FOREIGNER/BAD COMPANY, THIN LIZZY and LED ZEPPELIN/BLACK SABBATH, touching classic hardrock and stoner rock, yet with an own style. They are not far away from ROADSTAR, WOLFMOTHER and THUNDER actually, but after a couple of spins of the THE GOLDEN GODS debut CD, I have to conclude that this band is one of the best new Rock and Roll acts out there, really superb. Simon Scott is a very talented musician and should be praised all over the USA, incredible singer and guitarist. 11 songs are included on the first CD of the band and from start to finish this rocks like it should rock. Also fans of JEFF SCOTT SOTO/SOUL SIRKUS will be enjoying this band for sure. These guys could become the next superstars, so be sure to check out this band at: http://www.thegoldengods.com  and www.myspace.com/thegoldengods  (PS just read on their site they have quit, unbelievable because they truly sounded amazing…

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

HELLHOUND ‘TOKYO FLYING V MASSACRE’ (MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS)

MAJESTIC ROCK has been focusing on new Japanese bands lately and HELLHOUND is one of them. Musically and visually pure 80s Heavy Metal as in the way British bands sounded. GRIM REAPER is a good comparison, although vocally it is a bit too much screaming I am afraid. If you’re a 80s Metalhead you probably will be screaming along, but I am afraid this sounds even more dated than most of the re-issues MAJESTIC ROCK has done. With songtitles like “Metal Attack”, “Rock Like Hell”, “Metal Zone”, “Metal Assassin”, “Heavy Metal Patrol”, “Metal Warrior” and “Heavy Metal Generation” I am not sure wether to take this serious or see it as a SPINAL TAP joke! Best comparison is really GRIM REAPER/GRAVE DIGGER/RUNNING WILD, who did more or less the same some 20 years ago…

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)

WIZARD’S HYMN ‘HYMNAL’ (MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS)

A few years ago I reviewed a couple mini-CDs of the Japanese band WIZARD’S HYMN. Now in 2006 the British label MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS releases their official first full-length CD titled ‘Hymnal’. Musically a bit over-the-top European Neo-Classical Melodic Power Metal in the RHAPSODY/STRATOVARIUS style, yet with Japanese female vocals, which might put some people off. Anyway, the CD sounds good for what it is, although the high quality of Italian, Finnish and Swedish bands in this genre is not reached, but instrumental of course it sounds perfect as most Japanese bands sound. Problem is that it vocally is sounding the same as all the other Japanese bands, LOUDNESS, CONCERTO MOON, GALNERYUS… If you like those bands you will love the WIZARD’S HYMN CD.

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

TYTAN ‘ROUGH JUSTICE’ (MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS)

The first band of the fantastic lead singer KAL SWAN (LION/BAD MOON RISING) has had their only album release already re-issued onto a CD a few years ago by MAJESTIC ROCK, but the label re-releases it again now, with the addition of a bonus disc, which contains a nice DVD that features a live concert from TYTAN recorded in February 1982 in London. Sound and footage is not of the best quality, but it sure is nostalgic for some of you, and in case you missed the first re-issue of the TYTAN album a very good second try here, because with 4 additional bonustracks taken from BBC sessions enough fun for a few hours here. Only missing TYTAN tracks are “Hold on” and “Nothing ever lasts” that were scrapped from the original LP release 20+ years ago and should have daserved a chance on CD by now. Nevertheless, a nice repacked edition of the TYTAN classic, which contained some of the best rare NWOBHM that should have been much bigger back in the early 80s, because this band sounded sometimes as good as RAINBOW, DIO and WHITESNAKE (just listen to the classic “Forever gone”), many thanks to their wonderful singer KAL SWAN…

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

HEAVY PETTIN’ ‘PETTOLOGY’ (MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS)

MAJESTIC ROCK had already re-issued the first 2 HEAVY PETTIN’ albums recently, but now they throw a new packaging of the releases on the market, which looks very nice, but more importantly contains a wonderful concert of the band as bonus on a DVD and CD. The DVD+CD contains a 1984 performed gig at The Astoria in London. The performance was excellent and also the sound/footage is excellent, so really a must-see if you were one of the loyal supporters of this UK band which had all it took in becoming as big as DEF LEPPARD and SAXON some 20 years ago, but ultimately failed due to bad managers and no support of their major label. Anyway, all that is missing here is the rare 3rd CD of the band, but anyway, this package of 2 studio CDs and live DVD/CD is a sure hit for fans of classic 80s Melodic Hardrock/Hair Metal. More to follow, hopefully a new record and a re-issue of their 3rd album.

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

MANNING ‘ANSER’S TREE’ (PROGROCK RECORDS)

Multi-instrumentalist GUY MANNING has released a new solo-CD each year since 1999, making this new CD ‘Anser’s tree’ is 8th CD release so far. In the meantime he also became a member of the band THE TANGENT. The first 5 solo releases were done on the UK label CYCLOPS RECORDS, while for the last 3 releases, including this new one, he found the American label PROGROCK RECORDS suitable. Included music is the 70s kind of PETER GABRIEL era GENESIS style Prog, calm and epic with lots of tempo changes, but also strong melodies. 7 songs are included and each track deals with a legendary (also fictional) person in history, such as MARGARETH MONTGOMERY, JACK ROBERTS and even persons in the future, such as the 2089 born DR. JONATHAN ANSER, on which ‘Anser’s tree’ is built around. A nice concept album situated around 7 tracks, must-have for prog fanatics for sure. More info at: http://www.guymanning.com  and http://www.progrockrecords.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

WHITE SKULL ‘THE RING OF THE ANCIENTS’ (DRAGONHEART/METAL BLADE/SPV)

One of the few Italian bands with a pure German style Metalsound that sounds like a mix between GRAVE DIGGER, MANOWAR and PRIMAL FEAR. The new CD ‘The ring of the ancients’ is their 8th CD and after line-up changes (especially singers) and label switches (FRONTIERS, NUCLEAR BLAST, UNDERGROUND SYMPHONY) the 1991 formed band is now on the DRAGONHEART, SPV sublabel and their new CD sounds like a very strong True Metal album, with great songs like “Guardians”, “Head hunters”, “After the battle” and “Valhalla”. A fine return of WHITE SKULL with this new album.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

SCHOOLYARD HEROES ‘FANTASTIC WOUNDS’ (THE CONTROL GROUP)

This is the American female fronted version of UK’s THE DARKNESS if you ask me. Although instrumental and even songwise this is good old time heavy rock and roll, the female lead singer sounds like a mix between a cat and NINA HAGEN, really annoying at times. I know for a fact there are people out there actually liking a female singer singing like this, but this gets very boring after a few songs, the non-stop yelling of the singer. It’s a pity, because the rock and roll does not sound bad at all, reminding of MORNINGWOOD at times. Recommended to fans of NINA HAGEN for sure! More info at: www.schoolyardheroes.com 

(Points: 6.9 out of 10)

POTHEAD ‘LEARN TO HYPNOTIZE!’ (JANITOR RECORDS)

Soon a new CD out, but in the meantime a re-release of the band’s 1997 album ‘Learn to hypnotize’, this German/American band called POTHEAD is making their own kind of original Stoner Hardrock. It sounds like the 1970s for sure, mix up BLACK SABBATH (Ozzy period) with typical 70s rock of bands like BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRIVE or THIN LIZZY and add to that a sort of DAVID BOWIE freakiness, well then you’ll have something like POTHEAD. The band is quite popular in Europe, where I have seen their name popping up here and there through the streets of various cities. The band has released 9 albums, of which this ‘Learn to hypnotize’ has now been re-released. Band to check out if you want to hear original strong 70s rock and roll. More info at: http://www.pothead.de 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

SIRENS SISTER ‘ECHOES FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR’ (THE CONTROL GROUP)

Finally a strong new rockband in the tradition of the 80s style of SIMPLE MINDS, U2, A-HA, THE ALARM, ICEHOUSE, TALK TALK, BIG COUNTRY, etc. The band is called SIRENS SISTER and their debut CD ‘Echoes from the ocean floor’ is one of the best albums in this pure 80s rockgenre since the particular decade ended 16 years ago. If this album was released in 1986, SIRENS SISTER would have been in every chart! Anyway, it is 2006 and this new Seattle based band has done something very impressive, just listen to songs like “Womb dreams from the ether”, “Hold on”, “Closer and closer” and “Echoes”, all very strong 80s radio-ready rockers with strong melodies U2 has forgotten to write since the late 80s. More info at: http://www.myspace.com/sirenssister 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

THE LONGING ‘THE LONGING’ (INDELIBLE CREATIVE GROUP/TALAN INC/WORD DISTRIBUTION)

The Christian U2 is what this THE LONGING could be called. 12 songs are on their same titled debut CD and it does sound like a really good true Rock record that also recalls memories of KEANE, KANE and SIMPLE MINDS, so traditional rock. The CD was produced by TOM LAUNE (MICHAEL W. SMITH/AMY GRANT/JEREMY CAMP…) and with strong rocksongs like “Heal this land”, “Only your love”, “Unleashed” and “To God be the glory” showing that this THE LONGING is a very interesting band to check out. The only pity is that there are more ballads than rockers on the CD, which is a pity if you consider the fact that the rockers show this band at their best. More info at: http://www.thelongingmusic.com  

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

PHIDEAUX ‘THE GREAT LEAP’ (BLOODFISH MUSIC)

Out of New York City comes the talented band PHIDEAUX, formed around songwriter PHIDEAUX XAVIER. They have already released 4 albums, but this new 5th CD ‘The great leap’ is the first I hear and review. Musically very original, going back to the experimental side of 70s theatrical pop/rock, sort of ALICE COOPER, DAVID BOWIE and JOHN LENNON mixed into one style, that is what PHIDEAUX is all about. I also feel some sort of 70s GENESIS prog/artrock influence, so concluded a very original 70s rock affair. Something to check out if you’re in the mood for something completely different, very underground sounding and particularly recommended to fans of the later 70s ALICE COOPER, ROGER GLOVER melancholic theatrical pop/rock style. More info at: http://www.bloodfish.com/main.html 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

KILLERLIPS ‘SEX SELLS WHEN MUSIC SUCKS’ (INDEPENDENT)

I remember putting on the first THE DONNAS album and they sounded so amateuristic, while only a few years later they released some very impressive albums. KILLERLIPS from Germany have also released an album that really sounds like a starting band, so with a very average sound/production and not the blown away rocksound you always hope for. This is so much sounding like the first THE DONNAS, basic classic rock and roll by this all-female band called KILLERLIPS. Mostly uptempo and pretty catchy, but definitely there needs some work to be done as it all sounds very independent right now, so unless you don’t mind that and you also love the first THE DONNAS record, this is worth checking out. I however think this band needs to develop themselves and a future release of these 4 girls will sound better. More info at: http://www.killerlips.de  and e-mail at: info@killerlips.de 

(Points: 6.7 out of 10)

STEVE CONE ‘DISTORTION’ (INDEPENDENT)

‘Distortion’ is the latest CD of the multi-instrumentalist STEVE CONE from New York. The album is filled with high quality Melodic Metal like mixing OZZY, RIOT and VIRGIN STEELE into one rocking metalstyle, all done by Steve himself. He has already put out 10 CDs, making this new one ‘Distortion’ his 11th CD. 15 rocking tracks are included, mostly uptempo with really strong guitarwork. What surprises me is the fact that it does sound quite impressive actually. This guy should be put somewhere between PHIL VINCENT and DAVID CHASTAIN, 2 more talented musicians from the USA releasing many solo records. More info at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/stevecone  and http://www.stevecone.net/  and e-mail at: steve@stevecone.net 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

PRAVDA ‘WALKING THROUGH WALLS’ (SONUS WEST RECORDS)

2nd CD of this American instrumental progressive rockband called PRAVDA. They play very impressive high quality progressive rock and ‘Walking through walls’ is the follow-up to the band’s first release ‘The echoing sounds’, which we reviewed back in 2004. The new CD counts 10 instrumental epic journeys that of course sound like DREAM THEATER, yet more rock than metal and without vocals. It’s all been done very well and for the prog rock community definitely something to check out. More info at: http://www.sonuswestrecords.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

MIRROR MIRROR ‘KICK IT!’ (A SOCIAL RECORDS PRODUCTION)

Apparantly we reviewed a CD of the American band MIRROR MIRROR before, well, looking into the archives I found a CD of this band, but still not remembering it really well, which is a pity, because their new CD ‘Kick it!’ sounds very impressive. MIRROR MIRROR comes out of West Virginia, USA and are playing classic 80s US Melodic Rock with Pomp Rock keyboards, twin-guitars, multi-layered harmonyvocals, catchy hooks and memorable choruses as if it was still 1987 and comparisons to CITA, WHITE SISTER, PROPHET, BLUE TEARS, MELIDIAN, BON JOVI and DANGER DANGER are quite obvious. This CD is by far the most catchy 80s melodic rock orientated piece I have heard since NORWAY’s debut ‘Night dreams’ was released some 10 years ago! It is an independent release, but it sounds as good as a European Melodic Rocklabel release. In fact, it beats every single melodic rock release from the labels, as good as for example FINAL FRONTIER. The only pity is the playing length of just 32 minutes, because what you get are 8 songs, with as absolute highlights “Let it die” and “The bitter end”, both superb melodic rockers. Some of the songs are a bit simpler rough in the house rockers such as “Kick it!” and “Shaken not stirred” which are more WARRANT/SKID ROW/BILLIONAIRES BOYS CLUB groovy Hardrocktunes, but those first 2 melodic rockers are a MUST-HAVE FOR ANY MELODIC ROCKFAN!!! More info at: http://www.Mirror2Rocks.com  and e-mail at: mail@mirror2rocks.com 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

ANGELI DI PIETRA ‘BELIEVE IN ANGELS’ (DEMO CDR)

5 songs are on the demo CDR of the Belgian band ANGELI DI PIETRA, which consists of 5 male musicians and 2 female singers. Musically they play a mix of Death grunts and typical female Opera-Gothic Metal, very much akin to AFTER FOREVER, although not of such a high level. However, for a demo, the 5 included songs sound pretty good. The band was formed a few years ago, but show they have a bright future. They are not as good as for example that other Belgian act SENGIR, but surely a band to watch out for. More info at: http://www.angeli-di-pietra.com 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

MARTIN BRILEY ‘IT COMES IN WAVES’ (MTM MUSIC/SUBURBAN)

Legendary singer/songwriter/guitarist MARTIN BRILEY makes a comeback with this new solo-CD. He has worked with many artists, including CELINE DION, MEATLOAF, MICHAEL BOLTON, PAT BENATAR, KENNY LOGGINS, etc. etc. He released a couple of solo-records in the 80s, some AOR/Poprock orientated and now has a new solo-CD out. However, this new album is more a mix of Westcoast and Pop, with only 2 semi aor rockers in the shape of “Church of Disney” and “Me and my invisible friend”. Not an album to own if you look for AOR material, but more a recommended piece to fans of middle of the road/westcoast-Pop a la TOM PETTY…

(Points: 6.3 out of 10)

INDICA ‘IKUINEN VIRTA’ (COLUMBIA RECORDS/SONY BMG FINLAND)

In Finland this all-female band is very popular, with albums having spent more than 30 weeks on the national charts. Outside Finland probably nobody has ever heard of INDICA, because they sing in the Finnish language. Musically it is very light epic melodic poprock with some celtic influences, sort of a mix between ENYA, THE CORRS and VANILLA NINJA! What they do they do very well, writing catchy tunes such as “Scarlett”, “Valehtelen” and “Ihmisen lento”, also adding some classical music and light Goth elements into their radio-ready poprock music. It’s not heavy and for some the vocalwork might sound a bit childish, but for open-minded fans of melodic poprock in a different language, something to check out at: http://www.indica.fi 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

DIAMOND DOGS ‘UP THE ROCK’ (SMILODON/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Swedish band of whom we reviewed a CD in the past and now they have a new record out titled ‘Up the rock’. Musically this is old fashioned retro glam/rock and roll with a lot of whiskey involved as if you stepped in a pub somewhere in Ireland and sing a long with the local lads, sort of a mix between MOTT THE HOOPLE, T-REX, QUIREBOYS, NEW YORK DOLLS and early ROLLING STONES, with some ALICE COOPER added for fun and a bit Glamrock. 12 songs are included and it sounds really convincing. Especially fans of mentioned bands will absolutely love this DIAMOND DOGS’ new CD, which perfectly smells that late 60s/early 70s style. More info at: http://www.diamonddogs.info 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

HAINLOOSE ‘BURDEN STATE’ (SWAMP ROOM/STONER ROCK/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Not many German bands play Doom/Stoner Rock, but HAINLOOSE is a clear exception to the rule, because they play a pure Stoner Rock style and they do it very well. 10 groovy 70s inspired heavy rocksongs are included and of course comparisons to 70s BLACK SABBATH, KYUSS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, etc are easy to make here. Any Stoner Rockfan should check out this band asap at: http://www.hainloose.de 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

SUBHUMANS CANADA ‘NEW DARK AGE PARADE’ (ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Out of Canada comes SUBHUMANS, a band playing Punkrock the way it should be as in the old UK spirit. Besides their lyrics are about going to war, which is really in the classic Punk tradition. This feels like old ANGELIC UPSTARTS records, Punkrock with a message and guitarists that can play. The Oi! fans will like it too I guess, because it is not too far away from THE BUSINESS or SHAM 69 either. I am not familiar with many Canadian Punkrockacts, but this SUBHUMANS is definitely one of the better Canadian Punkbands I am sure of. More info at: http://www.subhumanscanada.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

STRIKE ANYWHERE ‘DEAD FM’ (FAT WRECK RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

3rd CD of the American Punkrockband STRIKE ANYWHERE. Actually they are a little more leaning towards Hardcore and are surely kicking every so-called Punkrockband in the USA. The band is rapidly becoming very popular across the USA, where they toured with acts like ANTI-FLAG and RISE AGAINST. The Punkrock/Hardcore sounds very melodic and is sounding like a cross between NOFX and IGNITE, with on their new album ‘Dead FM’ 14 strong uptempo tracks, of which the highlights are “How to pray”, “Pirsoner echoes”, Speak to our empty pockets”, “Dead hours”, “Ballad of bloody run” and “House arrest”. Another fine Punk/Hardcore release, must-have for IGNITE fans!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

BLOWFLY’S ‘PUNK ROCK PARTY’ (ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Not sure if this should be taken serious, because this is a band which covers classic Punkrocksongs but give them a new approach due to sexual lyrics they wrote. Example: THE CLASH’ classic “Should I stay or should I go” is reworked to “Should I fuck this big fat ho?”. In total 25 songs are included and JELLO BIAFRA of DEAD KENNEDYS makes a guest appearance, but in the end it sounds like a weaker version of THE DICTATORS. Only for die-hards interesting!

(Points: 6.2 out of 10)

ALL TIME LOW ‘PUT UP OR SHUT UP’ (HOPELESS RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Melodic Rock, Emo and Punkrock are mixed up and that’s the sound the American band ALL TIME LOW is playing on their new EP CD ‘Put up or shut up’. 7 catchy 3-minutes counting melodic emo/punkpoprockers are included here and they all sound very well. Maybe nothing new and done like a zillion times by so many American/Canadian bands the past 10 years since GREENDAY hit it big time in The States, but still ALL TIME LOW is a very decent band with a good catchy sound that might even put a smile on the face of a melodic rockfan, because the choruses on this CD are very melodic and catchy as hell (just listen to “The girl’s a straight-up hustler”). More info at: http://www.alltimelow.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

LAURA MONICA CUCU ‘STEVE PERRY: A SINGER’S JOURNEY’ (PUBLICACIONES DIGITALES/LULU)

Not an official book on one of the best singers of all times, but who cares, because will there ever be a book about JOURNEY that is official… Anyway, Romanian writer LAURA MONICA CUCU is a huge STEVE PERRY fan and therefore wrote a book about him. She is a professional writer and this book about STEVE PERRY is her first English book. The reason why this book is really interesting as the fact it is very rare to read about the ex-JOURNEY singer, as most of us only know his vocals from recordings heard on CD/LP/mp3/Tape… This book tells us more about the man himself, where he grew up, when he started with music, although any JOURNEY fan will enjoy this book too, because of course it sort of describes most of the time the most important chapter of STEVE PERRY’s life, which is of course the golden years of JOURNEY between 1978 and 1986 as well as the mid 90s. The book reads and looks as professional as any other regular book and it surely is en enjoyable book to read. Many quotes from Steve Perry taken from interviews with music magazines in mostly the 80s have been used and basically make the story complete from start to finish. This story is told in about 150 pages, with the rest of the 215 counting pages of the book filled with stories from fans, pictures of Steve and a full discography. The end of the book describes the first meeting of STEVE PERRY with the remaining JOURNEY members in the new decade (the 2000s), which happened due to the fact JOURNEY was inducted into the famous Hollywood Walk Of Fame. An event that happened in early 2005. Now almost 2 years later still no STEVE PERRY returning to JOURNEY, although in the meantime a change of lead singer once again happened (SOTO replaced AUGERI), but who knows the future will eventually bring back the man with the golden voice, the voice of AOR music… STEVE PERRY…Don’t stop believin’! Anyway, check out this book if you call yourself a STEVE PERRY fan, a JOURNEY fan or a AOR/Melodic Rock fanatic. Finally a book about someone of whom has been said a lot, but has never been really written about… Book is available through: http://www.lulu.com  and e-mail Laura at: spbook2006@yahoo.com 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

HAPPORADIO ‘VUOSIPAIVA’ (EPIC/SONY BMG FINLAND)

The albums of this Finnish bands didn’t score that high in the national Finnish charts, just touching the top 40, but their new CD ‘Vuosipaiva’ might see a change in that pattern as this is a very strong album. Sung in Finnish, this band mixes groovy Hardrock/Stoner Rocksongs with lighter catchy radio-ready melodic poprock, which can be heard on the first 2 songs of their new CD ‘Vuosipaiva’. Starting with heavy groovy Stoner Rock in “Varo miesta”, the band goes into lighter THE RASMUS poprockstyle on next track “Hc-Saa”, and this actually sets the record straight for this band, as it continues this way all throughout the CD, so Stoner Rock and Melodic Poprock can be heard here and there, with always strong melodic choruses in typical Finnish style. Highlights include “Suru on”, “Hc-Saa”, the lovely “Tavikset” and the HIM/LOVEXish “Tomu”. Not the best Finnish release this year, but definitely another good strong album from a Finnish band. More info at: http://www.happoradio.net 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

EMPEROR MULTIMEDIA ‘THE POLISHING OF METAL’ (EMPEROR MULTIMEDIA)

The best non-CD/DVD/Audio recording I received was a Boardgame/Trivia from Canada which was actually based on Metal! Furthermore some books are always an interesting read. This time I received a Book onto CD-Rom from a writer called DEREK MCDONALD. Obviously a fan of Hardrock/Metal he published his book as CD-Rom, on which he included over 900 album reviews. Looking back at my 10 years of writing reviews, I think I lost the count somewhere, but be sure I have written over 10,000 reviews (!!!). I think I will collect every review I did and bundle them as a book all together when I am old in 50 years from now, but who knows I will by then have written 50,000 reviews. Anyway, this is a CD-Rom Book review and let’s stick to the subject, which is about Derek’s adventure through the Hardrock/Metal past. Of course he has knowledge, but obviously many bands are missing. The most interesting fact is that Derek included loads of rare underground Canadian Metal. Least interesting is the huge amount of Black/Death Metal reviews. Besides the 900 reviews, also 1600 biographies, 10,000 digital pages and 5+ hours of mp3 and video music is included on the 2 discs of this CD-Rom Encyclopedia. All nicely done, but like always, an encyclopedia is never complete, there’s always stuff missing. This is more the opinion of one person on a lot of Hardrock/Metal related acts and you have to respect that, although I sometimes have my doubts (LEE AARON is classic rock/metal and one of the best female singers, especially during the 1980s, but obviously Derek isn’t that enthousiastic about this Canadian singer!). Anyway, the CD-Rom is available through: http://www.diskery.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

LENINGRAD COWBOYS ‘ZOMBIES PARADISE’ (SONY BMG FINLAND)

10 years ago HUGE in Finland, the band LENINGRAD COWBOYS. In later years the band lost some of it’s popularity, but the new CD ‘Zombies paradise’ might set the record straight again, because this sounds… cool… The new CD contains 13 covers in a hilarious version, namely like a mix between MARILYN MANSON, MANOWAR and LORDI, so mixing Industrial with True Metal, but still featuring the original melodies. Although it might sound very weird sometimes, I can guarantee you it all sounds very professional and impressive. This is high quality performed cover material of legendary popsongs by HADDAWAY, MODERN TALKING, DAVID BOWIE, THE BANGLES, THE KNACK, etc. Mostly the originals are a pain in the ass, but these new version are just cool… The covers of the DAVID BOWIE song “Starman” and the LOU REED song “Perfect day” show the band can make really great new versions that kick ass, including very strong vocalwork, basically 2 whole new songs! With LORDI being that popular in Finland, I am sure the new LENINGRAD COWBOYS will hit big time as well! More info at: http://www.leningradcowboys.fi 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

EGOTRIPPI ‘VIELA KOITTAA UUSI AIKA’ (SONY BMG FINLAND)

Very well-known in homecountry Finland, but elsewhere EGOTRIPPI will be unknown for sure. They sing in the Finnish language and have a new CD coming out. They do not play the typical Finnish style, so no loud rockguitars, big synths and melodic rock vocals/choruses. Instead EGOTRIPPI go for a sort of mix between 70s calmer Westcoast meets British Pop/Rock with a singer/songwriter approach. I guess if you like REM, COLDPLAY, this might be up your alley for sure. The rest will have to pass here… More info at: http://www.egotrippi.com 

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)

TOKYO DRAGONS ‘COME ON BABY EP’ (ESCAPI MUSIC/SUBURBAN)

OK, so they are better than THE DARKNESS, but still TOKYO DRAGONS is overhyped, as their rock and roll sounds so standard. We heard this kind of rock like a million times and it doesn’t get anything better, just back-to-basic rock and roll rocked up to today’s standards. TOKYO DRAGONS is a mix between LA GUNS, GIRL and AC/DC and it just is nothing special. Not on their first CD and also not on their new EP… Average band with a standard rocksound…

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem) 

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