Site hosted by Build your free website today!




The 14th edition of Motel Moza´que festival will kick off in three weeks’s time, on April 4th & April 5th. Like every other year, Motel Moza´que offers a mix of pop, dance and alternative music alongside theatre and visual arts. The two-day festival will take place across several venues in the city centre of Rotterdam. We are very pleased to present our already announced string of names (more acts to be announced):



Motel Moza´que kicks off at 4pm on Friday 4th April and will finish in the early hours of Sunday 6th April, two evenings plus an extended day programme. The heart of the festival is Schouwburgplein, which is turned into a small, intimate square called Plaza Moza´que; this is where the festival programme, refreshments and architecture come together. Besides this, the festival takes places within several indoor locations in the centre of Rotterdam creating an ongoing festival.

Guides During the daytime about 30 festival guides are ready to lead the visitors to their favorite spots in town or within the festival. Twenty-five tours will make sure you experience Rotterdam and/or Motel Moza´que in a completely different way than you had expected it to be.

Sleeping in Architecture For the upcoming edition of Motel Moza´que, the special sleeping project has already been announced and tickets for both nights sold out in just one hour. This year’s theme is ‘Sleeping in Architecture’. Festival visitors can spend the night in the new lifestyle hotel nhow in the largest building in Europe, designed by famous architect OMA/Rem Koolhaas: ‘De Rotterdam’.

Every festival edition, visitors are given the opportunity to spend the night in a playful, exciting way. Locations are turned into a real motel, where guests can sleep and an artist collective will take care of breakfast. During previous editions guests slept in tree huts, churches, shop windows, on a construction site, in hospitals, at the festival venues, on the rooftop of a national monument or like last year in concert venue de Doelen. In the morning the guest were woken up by performers and enjoyed a very nice breakfast.

Ticket information Tickets are sold for the programme on Friday 4 April and/or Saturday 5 April.

1-Dayticket 4 or 5 April € 37,50 2-Dayticket 4 and 5 April € 65

Tickets are on sale via 

Please notice that the timetables will be published on our website about two weeks before the festival.

Website For more information please visit the website





March 6, 2014...Finalists for the 2013 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) have now been announced. Recognized as the most prestigious international songwriting competition in the world, ISC awards excellence in the field of songwriting. Representing a broad variety of musical genres, finalists were selected from 124 countries worldwide. To view the list, go to 

Winners will be announced at the end of April, 2014. Prizes include over $150,000 in cash, merchandise, and services (including a Grand Prize of $25,000 cash and $40,000 in additional prizes). ISC is open to amateur and professional songwriters from all over the world, including bands and solo performers. Winners are selected by a panel of high-profile recording artists and music industry executives.

In addition to the winners selected by the panel of judges, ISC opens voting to the public to pick their favorite song. The ISC People's Voice runs for the entire month of March and is open for voting at

Over the years ISC has become a benchmark for songwriting talent, and winning ISC can be a tremendous career booster. Winners have included artists such as Gotye, Kimbra, Gin Wigmore, The Band Perry, Passenger, Bastille, Kasey Chambers, Gregory Porter, Lindsey Stirling, and many more. Many winners have gone on to be signed to record label deals and have secured publishing deals, licensing deals, and distribution deals, in addition to getting more gigs, fans, and recognition.

The complete list of ISC judges includes:

Recording Artists: Tom Waits; Nas; Imagine Dragons; Josh Turner; Bernie Taupin; Martina McBride; Duran Duran; Garbage; Robert Smith (The Cure); Selena Gomez; Bruce Hornsby; Florida Georgia Line; Dido; Michael W. Smith; Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC); Mark Foster (Foster The People); Alejandro Sanz; Gerald Casale (Devo); Jason Isbell; Joshua Redman; Brian Setzer; Avicii; Keane; Jeremy Camp; McCoy Tyner; Jon Secada; Ketch Secor (Old Crow Medicine Show); Boney James; Craig Morgan; James Cotton; Black Francis (Pixies); John Mayall; Anoushka Shankar; Toots Hibbert (Toots & The Maytals); Bombino; Chayanne; Jimmy Needham; and Matt Thiessen (Relient K).

Industry Executives: Dan McCarroll (President, Capitol/Virgin Label Group); Monte Lipman (President, Universal Republic Records); Alison Donald (Co-President, Columbia Records UK); Ed Vetri (President, Wind-Up Records); Bryan Leach (Sr. VP of A&R Urban, RCA Records and President, Polo Grounds Music); Richard Stumpf (President, Imagem Music US); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); Albert Schilcher (VP Music & Music Mktg, MTV International); Angel Carrasco (Sr. VP A&R, Latin America, Sony/BMG); Dan Storper (President, Putamayo World Music Records and Putumayo Kids); Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment); Lori Tieg (VP of Talent, VEVO); Steve Lillywhite (Producer); Kim Buie (Head of A&R, Thirty Tigers); Douglas C. Cohn (Sr. VP, Music Marketing & Talent, Nickelodeon); Leib Ostrow (Founder/CEO, Music For Little People); and Jamie Masada (Owner, Laugh Factory).

ISC is sponsored by: Presonus, Lowden, Marshall Amplification, Solid State Logic, Berklee College of Music, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Airplay Direct, D'Addario, DiscMakers, Thayers,, Sonicbids, The Music Business Registry, Indie Venue Bible, Celebrity Access, TuneCore, Independent Mastering, George Stein, Esq., Songtrust, and Taxi

ISC is now accepting entries for 2014. More information can be found at 

Contact: Candace Avery at or call 615.251.4441.

International Songwriting Competition 1307 Eastland Avenue Nashville, TN 37206 ph: 615.251.4441 fx: 615.251.4442


NEIL DANIELS is launched.

Author Neil Daniels - who recently published his first book of 2014, a biography of Journey guitarist Neal Schon - has launched his new official website  It contains information on all of his books; music biographies, Createspace, collected works, fiction and eBooks as well as his upcoming projects, foreign editions, sleeve notes and journalism. There's a biography, links to interviews, links to other websites, a gallery, social media links, current news, press releases and a newsletter and much more. The site is regularly updated and includes information on his forthcoming titles on ZZ Top, Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi. Check it out.




Yes, we're back on track, due to a pretty intense personal life and heavy workload on my regular pay job, it has been very quiet around here, but we're catching up and please find in the reviews section a 100+ new reviews from the past months.






Live Gig Report by Gabor Kleinbloesem (Journalist/Writer/Contributor), lay-out by Myglobalmind Webzine


Saturday, 1th June 2013:

TOTO 9:00 p.m

SURVIVOR 7:15 p.m



FM 3:00 p.m

Entry 1:30 p.m


Sunday, 2nd June 2013:


JOURNEY 7:30 p.m

EUROPE 5:45 p.m


H.E.A.T 3:00 p.m

Entry 1:30 p.m


If there’s one location in the world where the sound during concerts is absolutely picture perfect and the views are breathtaking, then it should definitely be the Loreley location in Germany. Every summer this location is home to festivals and concerts featuring some of the most well-known acts in the music business, from the past to the present. The Loreley is an UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE, so a lot of foreign visitors come to see this beautiful part of the world. The venue is actually an outdoor-amphitheater at the top of a hill, standing tall at 150 meters. The closest village is the typical German Rhine River town of St. Goarshausen, where everybody comes together during the weekends before going up the hill to see some memorable performances in the afternoon and evening.

Anyway, the first weekend of June 2013 brought us the HI ROCK Festival, which is more or less a similar festival to the ROCK THE NATION and ARROW ROCK festivals of the 2000s. 2 days of live music (mainly covering the Classic Rock, AOR and Melodic Rock genres) at such a beautiful location is a must-see, especially when the weather conditions are summer ish, but in the few days the festival took place the biggest concern was the weather. However, believe it or not, not a single drop of rain fell during the festival, but the flooding of the rivers, caused due to the heavy rainfall elsewhere in Germany, this made it quite an adventurous trip. The day after the festival the whole town was under water, so if that had happened just one day earlier, the second day of the festival would probably have been cancelled. This did happen to the counterpart location of the same HI ROCK festival that took place in South Germany (Inzell), where the water in the rivers caused a lot of damage to the towns, with many flooded streets and roads. It was supposed to be a festival taking place on 2 days at 2 different locations, with a switch of the full line-up, so the Saturday acts of the Loreley location would move to Inzell for the Sunday schedule and vice versa the Saturday Inzell line-up play on Sunday at Loreley. Sadly the Sunday in Inzell was cancelled, but thankfully the Loreley festival location didn’t face any problems and so it was 2 days of high class live music.

The weather itself wasn’t too bad, although there was a major difference between Saturday and Sunday, because on Saturday it was freezing and bitterly cold, with winterish ‘feel’ temperatures far below 10 degrees, while on Sunday it was extremely hot with full-blown sunshine all day. Anyway, the festival consisted of a line-up that featured FM, RICK SPRINGFIELD, SURVIVOR and TOTO on Saturday and H.E.A.T., BLACK STAR RIDERS, EUROPE, WHITESNAKE and JOURNEY on Sunday.

FM opened the festival and it was good to see that right from the start a large crowd was enjoying this wonderful British AOR band. They performed at the same location 2 years ago and it felt like this time they sounded better and made a bigger impression. Lead singer/guitarist STEVE OVERLAND still has one of the greatest voices in Classic Rock/AOR and the overall performance was musically speaking picture perfect. The songs from especially their first album ‘Indiscreet’ sounded very close to the original version and that might just be the only negative remark to be made about FM, because everything sounds really excellent, but there’s hardly any improvisation. Nonetheless, it is fantastic to hear AOR classics like “Face to face”, “I belong to the night”, “That girl” and ”Other side of midnight” live at such a beautiful location, while also the cover “I heard it through the grapevine” and the newer songs “Over you” and “Crosstown train” should be mentioned as being the highlights of this strong performance by FM. The sound was so perfect and with the hills around the Loreley in the background, it feels a bit like we are “Closer to heaven”, one of the surprising songs played during the 1-hour performance of FM.

Up next was RICK SPRINGFIELD, who hasn’t performed in Germany since 1985 (!), so it was a nice welcome back for this legendary Australian singer-songwriter. It was also clear that a lot of people came to see his show, because normally speaking Rick only performs in the USA and just recently he started to also focus on the European continent. Anyway, if you never witnessed a show of Rick before, then you have no idea what to expect and so a lot of the visitors were entertained at a very high level for more than 1 hour. The sound board was not as good as during the FM show, because there were some troubles with the mixing of the vocals and the tuning of Rick’s guitar during the beginning of the show, but basically this was a true Rock and Roll show like you don’t see that often. Especially the interaction with the audience was remarkable. Rick went into the crowd during “Human touch”, walking like a madman through the audience and eventually trying to find his way back to the stage. “Don’t talk to strangers” featured a sing-a-long part for the audience, where he challenged people to sing the chorus and this led to a young child standing alone at the stage singing the chorus in front of thousands of people. Rick himself was running all over the stage, throwing guitars in the air and from a distance you wouldn’t think he was already 64 years old! Besides a string of the classics from the past (“Jessie’s girl”, “Affair of the heart”, “Living in Oz”, “Celebrate youth”), also a couple of new songs were played, including the recent song Rick wrote with DAVE GROHL from the FOO FIGHTERS for the SOUND CITY movie. In contrary to the FM show, this was entertainment at a high scale, although the difference might be that musically speaking FM was better than Rick. I guess you can say that both were a must-see/hear, with FM being a must-hear and Rick a must-see.

Then it was up to SURVIVOR to put on a show they haven’t done in ages, because usually they play in front of a few hundred people in the USA and now they had a huge crowd to perform for and secondly, they had a very interesting recent line-up change. 2 years ago they cancelled their show at the Loreley, but now they entered the stage and performed a full show. Just a couple of weeks ago their original lead singer DAVE BICKLER joined the band and so it was beforehand going to be an interesting performance, because also JIMI JAMISON was present as lead singer. This way, guitarist FRANKIE SULLIVAN could easily switch between old and less older material from the SURVIVOR catalogue, but also dig out some of the more rare stuff from the glorious SURVIVOR past. Although Jimi is much more a frontman and a better singer than Dave nowadays, it turned out to be a great gig with both singers doing quite well. The soundboard during the first couple of songs was a bit messy and so we had to wait until the 2 surprises before we could really get into the show. “Rebel girl” was actually a major surprise, because not only is this is a great classic SURVIVOR tune from the early days, but also the performance of the song with Dave on vocals sounded sensational. Jimi’s answer with “It’s the singer, not the song” was another highlight in the setlist. It almost felt like SURVIVOR was about to become the winner of Saturday when the keyboards signaled the intro of “I’m not that man anymore”, but sadly it was only a glimpse of that classic tune, because the tempo was slowed down and “The search is over” was played. Despite this is a classic SURVIVOR ballad, the performance on the HI ROCK FESTIVAL was a boring version that sounded like an old vinyl single being played at 33 RPM instead of 45 RPM! The Rocky anthems “Burning heart” and “Eye of the tiger” were of course played as well and they got the audience back on their feet again, jumping up and down and singing-along enthusiastically. After the show, there were clearly mixed feelings about the performance, because it had its fair share of ups and downs, but overall it was a memorable SURVIVOR concert. I think they need to practice and improve a bit more, work on the setlist and make advantage of the unique selling point of having both SURVIVOR on stage. Likewise we will always miss the energy of JIM PETERIK on keyboards, because without him it’s just not 100% SURVIVOR, but compared to earlier performances of the past 10-15 years (such as the dreadful Arrow Rock show or probably any ROBIN MCAULEY fronted gig), this must have been the best SURVIVOR concert since the early 1990s.

25 minutes before TOTO was scheduled to play, they already entered the stage, because apparently the band couldn’t wait longer. Right from the very first minute it was also clear that this was by far the best act of the whole festival. Everything sounded and looked perfect and actually it seemed like this was the best TOTO line-up ever, because lead singer JOSEPH WILLIAMS never sounded better and instrumental the bandmembers were definitely reaching the best you can get in musicianship. The sound was crystal clear and visually it looked absolutely amazing, with the glorious landscape and mountains in the background, this TOTO concert belonged to one of the best I have witnessed in ages. The setlist was also interesting, because besides the typical classics (“Rosanna”, “Africa”, “Hold the line”, “Home of the brave”, “Stop loving you”, etc.), especially the beginning of the concert featured some of the more rare material of the band’s back catalogue (“On the run”, “Goin’ home”, etc.). Not a single negative remark can be said about this TOTO concert, because everything ran smoothly during the 100+ minutes counting adventure. It felt like a beautiful movie we were all part of, really taking you into a long journey that taught you a music history lesson, because that is basically what TOTO is all about, combining all music genres and still making everyone happy. For me personally, TOTO is the ultimate live and also the most diverse AOR band ever, easily beating the somewhat standardized JOURNEY. Towards 22:30 it was completely dark outside and the TOTO show ended. Without a doubt, it was clear that it would seem unlikely for any other band (on Sunday) to beat TOTO.

Whereas the Saturday was an AOR/lightweight Poprock affair, the Sunday was a Hardrock orientated line-up, with as only real AOR band JOURNEY whom actually closed the festival. The summer sun already began to shine during the morning, so everything looked perfect for this 2nd day. The Swedish newcomers of H.E.A.T. kicked off and it was clear that they wanted to show an even better performance than 2 years earlier when they were part of the Loreley festival ROCK THE NATION. The energy of the band was really appealing, just like the performance by RICK SPRINGFIELD the day before. Musically the guys bring 80s type of fun uptempo DANGER DANGER/BON JOVIish Melodic Rock that is made for Arena’s like this. Although vocally it is not 100% picture perfect, H.E.A.T.’s 1 hour concert is very entertaining, with quite a nice selection of songs from their catalogue, such as “100 miles”, “Falling down” and “Living on the run”, which are all easy to sing-a-long tunes that feature clever infectious melodic choruses. The combination of warm sunny weather, beautiful women, a fantastic landscape as background and some great live music, that makes this 2nd day visually better than the 1st day.

blackstarriders 2 300x199 HI Rock Festival at Loreley, Germany June 1st and 2nd, 2013blackstarriders 1 300x199 HI Rock Festival at Loreley, Germany June 1st and 2nd, 2013

However, the 2nd act BLACK STAR RIDERS is more or less musically not as good as one might expect when learning about the fact that this actually concerns a band made up of ex-THIN LIZZY guitarist SCOTT GORHAM, vocalist RICKY WARWICK, guitarist DAMON JOHNSON, bassist MARCO MENDOZA and drummer JIMMY DEGRASSO. Although they are said to be a homage to THIN LIZZY, with many songs of that band in their setlist and a full album worth of original material in the style of the old THIN LIZZY, this concert was nowhere near the legendary THIN LIZZY concerts. Spell breaker is definitely vocalist RICKY WARWICK, who just is not able to sing very well and the only time the band has something of interest to offer are during the THIN LIZZY classic “The boys are back in town” and the band’s own song “Bound for glory”. Especially the part where Ricky invited the crowd to sing-a-long was not something to be proud of at all. Anyway, a lot of people thought differently as much closer to the stage there were quite a lot of enthusiastic fans.

Although JOURNEY eventually became the headliner of the Sunday, it was clear that EUROPE and WHITESNAKE were also headline status acts and especially EUROPE completely blew away most of the other bands on Sunday. The only slight remark one can make about them is the standard setlist, because EUROPE has a huge back catalogue, but has been playing the same songs ever since their comeback (kind alike JOURNEY actually) and only adds a few new tunes whenever a new record is released. Nonetheless, the show of EUROPE is pure masterclass, the way a good entertaining Hardrockshow needs to be. Of course the classics pass by and despite a slightly manufactured version of “Carrie”, the band truly rocks during the songs from the first couple of albums (“Seven doors hotel” and “Scream of anger”) and the newer bluesy melodic hardrock material, but to most people the absolute highlights are of course the anthems “The final countdown”, “Cherokee” and “Rock the night” when nobody was able to ignore singing along. JOEY TEMPEST is a fantastic frontman and JOHN NORUM a must-hear for any guitarists, so combined with a tight performance and high quality material, EUROPE should now be considered as a Classic Rockband that should last until the end of time!

whitesnake 1 300x199 HI Rock Festival at Loreley, Germany June 1st and 2nd, 2013whitesnake 2 300x199 HI Rock Festival at Loreley, Germany June 1st and 2nd, 2013


For me personally WHITESNAKE is over and out, because DAVID COVERDALE is not only the weakest link in his own band, but also the full line-up of the band does not make any sense to still call it WHITESNAKE. Of course it is David’s band, but after the performance here on HIROCK it is clear that there is no future left for this band, in contrary to previous act EUROPE. First of all, the sound/mixboard in the beginning of the concert was extremely loud and must have turned people deaf who were standing upfront. And David’s continuous screaming through his mic didn’t help either, so the first couple of songs were quite annoying actually. It became a little better during “Is this love”, although this classic sounded quite boring, with David singing in an uninspired low key. More WHITESNAKE classics followed, all performed instrumentally quite well, but vocally (especially during “Still of the night”) sounding very weak. Also the endless drum- and guitar solo’s couldn’t prevent David’s vocal problems, so all together it was quite an embarrassing performance that was completely overshadowed by the excellent performances of especially TOTO, EUROPE and closing headliner act JOURNEY. 

JOURNEY put on an almost similar performance to their appearance 2 years ago when they also headlined the similar ROCK THE NATION festival at the Loreley location. Of course vocalist Arnel Pineda is not STEVE PERRY and he will never ever be able to replace him, but the high energy and fun of a JOURNEY show is always entertaining and without a doubt, from start to finish this is a high quality performance. It has all the tricks and trades one expects from a good solid rockshow. The setlist is focused on the older STEVE PERRY sung AOR Classics from the 1978-1983 period and here you get to hear and see them all, with of course “Separate ways”, “Don’t stop believin’”, “Open arms”, “Only the young”, “Stone in love” and so many others being the absolute highlights and perfectly ending this successful HI ROCK FESTIVAL at the stunning Loreley location.

Please find all additional info on the festival at their websites at: and  





With less than 1 month to go, the AOR/Classic Rockfans will be pleased to hear about the upcoming Hi-Rock Festival in Germany. At two of the most stunning locations in Germany, this festival takes place during the first weekend of June. We will attend the Loreley location, where the festival takes place up in the mountains, with a beautiful view over the fantastic area around St. Goarshausen. The FreilichtbŘhne is the main stage of this festival and ever since 1932 it has been home to many outdoor activities, including music performances by MARILLION, METALLICA, ERIC BURDON, U2, SIMPLE MINDS, CARLOS SANTANA, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, STING, RORY GALLAGHER and countless others. The other location is Chiemgau, which is actually indoors, namely at the Max Aicher Arena. The line-up of both locations is almost identical to each other, with the Saturday and Sunday being swapped with each other during the same weekend, which makes it possible for people to see the same acts at both locations.

One glance at the line-up of this festival should already be enough to make plans to come and visit this festival, because nowhere on earth you can find the 3 greatest AOR bands of all times (SURVIVOR, JOURNEY and TOTO) along with legendary Classic Hardrockbands like WHITESNAKE, ex-THIN LIZZY and EUROPE as well as the legendary RICK SPRINGFIELD at one stage at such spectacular locations. Please find below the full final line-up of the festival:

LORELEY: FreilichtbŘhne Loreley / St. Goarshausen – Outdoor

Saturday, 1th June 2013:

TOTO 9:00 p.m
SURVIVOR 7:15 p.m
FM 3:00 p.m
Entry 1:30 p.m

Sunday, 2nd June 2013:

JOURNEY 7:30 p.m
EUROPE 5:45 p.m
H.E.A.T 3:00 p.m
Entry 1:30 p.m

CHIEMGAU: Max-Aicher-Arena / Inzell – Indoor

Saturday, 1th June 2013:

WHITESNAKE 21:30 p.m
JOURNEY 19:30 p.m
EUROPE 18:00 p.m
H.E.A.T 15:00 p.m
Entry 13:30 p.m

Sunday, 2nd June 2013

TOTO 9:00 p.m
SURVIVOR 7:15 p.m
FM 3:00 p.m
Entry 1:30 p.m

Please find all additional info on the festival at their websites at: and  

We will make a full report of the Loreley Festival, which will be possible to read over here a few days later.






Ending the year with a hot new female fronted AOR sensation from The Netherlands named M-GENES, featuring Mike van Mulukom on guitar and Maaike Janssen on vocals. If you like JACKLYN, FIONA, TORONTO, HEART, IF ONLY, PAT BENATAR, etc. then you are going to love this a lot. I was blown away by the incredible high quality of these 2 gifted musicians, whom are combining superb guitarwork with beautiful melodies that are sung brilliantly. Maaike has got an incredible tone in her voice and every fan of the classic 80s female aor/melodic rocksound will fall in love here! I am already looking forward to 2013, when they will release a first full-length CD (hopefully also on Vinyl), so to speak I feel very confident to promote this sensational act from my own country in the forthcoming months. In the meantime check out their video of their song "Rat race" below... 







4 pages with almost 100 new reviews, go check them out now, starting here:





The good old LP / Vinyl record faced a difficult time during the 1990s and 2000s, but since the beginning of 2010 it seems the LP is making a huge comeback and now in 2012 it is the only format within the music industry that seems be heading for a bright future in actually making profit, especially compared to the downward trend of sales in the CD market. Personally speaking I have always been more of a vinyl junkie than a CD collector, but between 1991 and 2009 hardly anything of the new releases was released on LP, so the only existing format one could turn to was the CD. One way or the other, money making recordlabels are now aware of the fact that they can make more profit with a vinyl release than a CD release, so at the moment a lot of new albums are released on both formats and I do suspect that in 10 years from now the CD will be beaten by the LP/Vinyl record again. Although I am more than happy this change of music format climate has happened, I feel quite concerned about the quality of some of the releases, because some of the re-issues do sound quite awful. For instance the 1980s METALLICA re-issues on LP from a few years ago were really awful, both the sound of the vinyl and the artwork did not have any soul, so be especially aware with any vinyl re-issue.

However, also some of the vinyl releases of new albums seem to be a cash-in/rush-hush effect and that is of course not a good thing, because if you listen carefully to some of the 1980s original LP releases, one can clearly hear that vinyl is able to provide you the best possible sound quality. The most annoying thing about new vinyl is that the volume of the music has a real soft sound, especially compared to the old vinyl records and almost every new vinyl record requires you to turn up the volume up to max in order to really hear the included music.

I do feel that it’s all a matter of money and passion for the love of vinyl that can make the difference and happily there are still enough people out there who do care in bringing a high quality vinyl release of a new album. Anyway, I have myself bought these past few years over 100 new vinyl releases and although some did sound a bit so-and-so and are perhaps overshadowed by a higher quality CD release of the same album, the incredible almost “happy-child feeling” one gets when opening the sealed record, putting the album on the turntable and looking at the artwork is the same feeling you get when you get home after a long day of working hard!

Anyway, I already own a huge collection of vinyl records dating back to the 1968-1993 period, of which most were actually bought during the 1990s, when there was a major clear-out of vinyl at record stores and trades. Now it is nice to see all these new albums being released on vinyl, so the collection can grow with newly recorded material and that of course is really interesting, also to share on Strutter’zine. Below is a short overview of the records I bought myself these past 2 or 3 years, with a small review/comment on the album.

A few of the specialized labels really jumped on the vinyl releasing business, because especially NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS, ROADRUNNER, AFM RECORDS and FRONTIERS RECORDS are delivering a lot of vinyl records of their most well-known new album releases. It’s no wonder that these are all high quality releases, which you can easily purchase. AVANTASIA’s ‘The Metal Opera’ has been very nicely released as double-vinyl sets each part and all of them look and sound very collector-ish, so definitely something to check out, especially since they were never available on vinyl and without a doubt, the artwork looks so much better now than on the tiny crappy CD covers. Also highly recommended are the 4 vinyl releases that were released of all the PSYCHOTIC WALTZ albums, because the artwork and also the included Progressive Metal is just amazing. This American band one of the most underrated bands in this genre and their reunion live performances earlier this year showed this band is still able to provide high quality music that was far ahead of its time in the early 1990s. The NWOBHM genre is one that simply screams for vinyl releases and we have seen many releases on the LP format the past few years, both independently and on the NWOBHM specialized label HIGH ROLLER RECORDS. On this label a lot of old/early 80s ‘rare’ NWOBHM bands’ recordings are released on vinyl, usually a collection of demos, singles and rare live recordings. These are visually always high quality releases, but the sound/production is not always picture-perfect, because some of the releases suffer from a weaker sound quality due to the fact these are rare homemade recordings from 30+ years ago. Nevertheless I did enjoy my purchases of the album releases by AXIS, SPARTA and such. More interesting however are the wave of new NWOBHM style bands that emerge from all over the world and their new albums sound really great on vinyl. I am talking about CAULDRON (‘Burning fortune’/Canada), GHOST (‘Opus eponymous’/Sweden), IN SOLITUDE (‘The world: the flesh: the devil’/Sweden), SKULL FIST ‘Head of the pack’/Canada), WHITE WIZZARD (‘Flying tigers’/USA), VANDERBUYST (‘In Dutch’/Holland) and TWISTED TOWER DIRE (‘Make it dark’/USA), 6 highly recommended albums with excellent artwork as well. All sounding like a cross between the classic sound of early IRON MAIDEN, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, TOKYO BLADE and JAGUAR. The vinyl world is very kind to this genre, releasing new albums of old (30+ years!) and new (2011) recordings.

Almost any major act from the past, whom haven’t released anything on vinyl the past 20 years and/or any of the bands that have been active the past 20 years, they are all now jumping to vinyl and the ones I bought the past few years are the new albums of JOURNEY, MAGNUM, THE SCORPIONS, STRATOVARIUS, URIAH HEEP, MR. BIG, NEVERMORE, BLIND GUARDIAN, KAMELOT, OPETH, ORPHANED LAND and several others. Although some of these are really not groundbreaking musically speaking, this year’s new albums of MR. BIG, URIAH HEEP, SYMPHONY X (gotta love those Gatefold records!), PAGAN’S MIND (one of the highlights in progmetal this year) and OPETH are worth checking out definitely. OPETH seems to be a pure progband on their new record ‘Heritage’, which is an incredible progfest in the style of SPOCK’S BEARD and TRANSATLANTIC and perhaps might become the finest progalbum in 2011 and without a doubt, you gotta get the vinyl version, which comes as a beautiful gatefold record.

Across the Atlantic, the US Major Labels were quite desperately a few years ago before the Vinyl Explosion, because the music industry drastically changed regarding sales in CDs, but of course the Americans surely know how to make or create new business again and so almost any major release is now pressed onto Vinyl. It is however a huge pity that a lot of these releases do not make it to Europe and are only available for expensive prices through the Internet. Luckily I managed to get some of the rare US Import Vinyl releases, such as WE ARE THE FALLEN (EVANESCENCE members with a superb AMERICAN IDOLS finalist as singer, sounds heavier and more akin to the European Female Fronted Melodic Metalsound), THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM (cool traditional US Rockband), CASTLE and ROYAL THUNDER (Underground Doom sounding, female fronted bands a la THE DEVIL’S BLOOD), NEON TREES (typical modern sounding New Wave ish Poprock, quite melodic and sometimes filled with 80s AOR like melodies), STEEL PANTHER (although they just released their new album, their debut is so much better, a classic in the parody genre, easily beats any SPINAL TAP release!) and the bunch of ROADRUNNER RECORDS releases of DREAM THEATER (haven’t bought the new one yet!) and modern-day American Nu-Metal releases of BLACK STONE CHERRY, ALTER BRIDGE and STONE SOUR that all sound way more melodic than anyone would guess!

Really major acts like WITHIN TEMPTATION and FOO FIGHTERS also deliver some great new Vinyl records earlier in 2011 and I do have to remind anyone to try to pick-up any of the Picture Discs that have been released by the Swedish label @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ whom deliver really excellent collector item’s for the AOR/Melodic Rockfans among us, namely the latest albums of GIANT, W.E.T and DANGER DANGER, with high hopes for more releases in the near future.

Although the artwork looks quite stunning most of the time, sometimes the sound is not always crystal clear and I can only hope that in the future new material will be recorded specifically for a Vinyl release and if necessary is printed on CD afterwards, because now some of the releases seem to be taken just from the CD mastering tapes and one can clearly hear that. Another remark that should be mentioned is regarding the diversity in Vinyl appearance, because you never know what to expect. In the past and especially during the 1980s records were almost only released on the well-known black vinyl format, which is by far the best sounding format for Vinyl. However, the new releases seem to be coming in all kinds of colours (orange, blue, pink…) and then there are the PICTURE DISCS… it all looks very nice, but personally I prefer the good old fashioned black appearance, because that provides the best possible sound quality and does not make you go confused when looking at the turntable as the record is making its 33 inch spinning!

Concluded, we still have a long way to go, but the trend is clearly pointing in the right direction, which is an acceptance of the comeback of the vinyl record and more and more new albums are pressed onto it. It only seems that quantity is getting an issue, because there are so many new Vinyl releases done each week, it is hard to get track of every release and also which of them are really quality releases. If anyone actually read my essay here and is interested in more info or in-depth reviews of new vinyl releases, then feel free to sent a message to: also if you have an LP you want to see reviewed by us, please sent a copy and we will always do a full in-depth review...