Not original at all, but nevertheless a high quality CD, the third CD of the German female fronted Gothic band XANDRIA. Their Goth Metal sounds almost identical to WITHIN TEMPTATION, so it is clear that XANDRIA will never get a real own face, but still it is very nice to listen to their music, because also the new album is filled with a lot of strong songs. Highlights are “Now and forever”, “In love with the darkness”, “Widescreen”, “Who we are” and the beautiful calmer “Dancer”. Some of these songs are easily suitable to become major hits if bands like WITHIN TEMPTATION and NIGHTWISH had not been there first. Still also the new XANDRIA CD is a must-have record, despite the fact there is zero originality to be found on the disc…

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


We finally are able to review the full-length CD of the new German band/project SAVAGE CIRCUS, the band formed around some well-known musicians of BLIND GUARDIAN and producer PIET SILCK releases an awesome debut CD which sounds like the record BLIND GUARDIAN never made. The album contains 9 songs, which are all very strong huge sounding Melodic Power Metal. Songs like “Evil eyes”, “Between the devil and the seas”, “Tomorrowland”, “It – the gathering” and “Ghost story” are all a must-hear for fans of ICED EARTH, BLIND GUARDIAN and HELLOWEEN. Although comparisons to these bands are being made, a ballad like “Beyond reality” has strong MANOWAR similarities. Also it sometimes sounds like a heavier version of early TWISTED SISTER meets early PRETTY MAIDS, but then again it is very simple to say and conclude that SAVAGE CIRCUS is the perfect alternative if you don’t want to wait any longer for a new BLIND GUARDIAN release. Let’s hope more records will follow in the future…

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Never change a winning team! In 1982 ASIA released their debut, which become one of the best selling records in that year, with the song “Heat of the moment” reaching the number 1 spot. The band was as popular as a band like GREENDAY or DISTURBED now is in the USA. That debut record of ASIA is absolutely a masterpiece and every record they released after 1982 never reached that high level. After many line-up changes, earlier this year former ASIA lead singer JOHN WETTON teamed up with longtime ASIA member GEOFFREY DOWNES to start a new project. They released a nice CD in the spirit of the early ASIA days and now there is the single/mini-EP ‘Heat of the moment 05’ which contains besides a disappointing and unnecessary 2005 version of the ASIA classic “Heat of the moment”, 1 new song (“There in your bed”) and 4 remixed/new versions of ASIA/WETTON-DOWNES songs. Interesting for the fan of Mr. WETTON and at a time the titlesong is used in a couple of big movies a chance for FRONTIERS to sell a few more records commercially. “Let me go”’s new version comes dangerously close to the classic 1982 ASIA record, so if you haven’t been able to check out the full-length, this mini-CD might well be more interesting to check out first…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


They have done it again! ‘Grand illusion’ is the 7th CD of the Swedish band NOCTURNAL RITES since their start in the mid 90s. Since the arrival of new singer JOHNNY LINDQVIST 5 years ago, the band has been releasing nothing but sensational Melodic Metal albums. Johnny is a superb singer, maybe the best in Europe at the moment, because he sings like a mix between MICHAEL SWEET, RONNIE JAMES DIO, DAVID COVERDALE (or the GOTTHARD singer), JEFF SCOTT SOTO and BON JOVI, never misses a note and basically sounds perfect for this kind of Metal. In addition, the songs of NOCTURNAL RITES are each time very sensational, basically perfect European Melodic Metal. Where to start mentioning the highlights on ‘Grand illusion’, because each song is sensational and this new NOCTURNAL RITES album is already a classic at the day it is released! Songs like “Still alive”, “Something undefined”, “End of our rope” and “Never ending” are absolutely Melodic Metal at it’s very best! Together with their 2 previous albums (‘Shadowland’ and ‘New world messiah’) this new album ‘Grand illusion’ belong to the absolute best in Melodic Metal. 2005 has brought us so far 2 superb classic Melodic Metal albums in the shape of ALLEN LANDE and this new NOCTURNAL RITES, both reaching more than 9 out of 10 points…

(Points: 9.3 out of 10)


REVOLVER is not an original name for a new band, but apparently good enough for this new Canadian outfit, which features lead singer NICK WALSH, who once was singer in the band SLIK TOXIK almost 15 years ago. With that act he released some successful CDs on EMI Records, even receiving several JUNO AWARDS in his homecountry of Canada. Now it’s the year 2005 and SLIK TOXIK has split up along time ago, with Nick now fronting REVOLVER, which musically sounds like a modern version of the SLIK TOXIK type of Sleazy Metal. Heavy, groovy, dirty, mean, raw are all terms that come up when listening to this CD, which will please definitely fans of VELVET REVOLVER, BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION, SKID ROW… Tiny difference is the fact that the choruses of the songs on this REVOLVER CD are a bit more Melodic Hardrock based than the mentioned bands. For example the songs “Juggernaut” and “Nosebleed” both have a beautiful melodic chorus, while the songs at first sight are sounding dangerously close to SKID ROW. Like I said, the 11 included songs will please fans of mentioned bands for sure, but even the regular Melodic Hardrockfan might like this release a lot, because some BON JOVI (like their new record ‘Have a nice day’) comparisons are also not out of place (listen to “Pandoras box” and the wonderful semi-ballad “Blue sky” which also has DEF LEPPARD/BRYAN ADAMS similarities) here. Combined with good strong lead vocals and a big sound/production, this is a surprisingly good CD that combines the best of the past 3 decades (Sleaze Metal meets Melodic Hardrock meets modern Poprock) into a radio-ready sound sometimes.

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


In 2004 TNT made a very good comeback with the album ‘My religion’ and although they played only a few concerts, they showed they are live still sounding very good after all those years. Only 1 year after the successful comeback TNT releases a follow-up titled ‘All the way to the sun’, which musically follows the same style as the previous effort, so again an updated classic TNT Melodic Heavy Rocksound can be heard. The combination of TONY HARNELL’s wonderful high pitched lead vocals, RONNI LE TEKRO’s superb guitarwork and DIESEL DAHL’s tight drumming still works very well, resulting in another strong new TNT CD, which contains 12 new songs of which 1 cover (“What a wonderful world”). Despite a few weaker moments (“Me and I” and “All the way to the sun”), this CD contains mostly high quality Melodic Hardrock in typical TNT style. Highlights this time are “Too late” (classic 80s TNT fun uptempo melodic rocker), “Driving” (strong late 80s US uptempo Melodic Hardrock), “Sometimes” (great midtempo melodic rocker a la DEF LEPPARD!), “The letter” (uptempo melodic rocker) and closing track “Ready to fly” (best song, lovely classic 80s uptempo Melodic Rock). Another fine CD from the legendary Norwegian Hardrockband with American singer…

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


OSMI PUTNIK is a legendary band from Croatia that has been active for about 20+ years now. They are still active, which becomes reality in the shape of this new CD they just released. I have heard some of their earlier records many years ago and remember they played good strong RAINBOW type of Classic Hardrock. In 2005 they still sound like a classic hardrock based band, although the style sometimes moves into pure AOR/Melodic Rock. It is a pleasure to listen to this CD, although the lyrics are in the Croatian language, but the music is very strong Melodic Rock. The band sounds at their best during the wonderful catchy uptempo Melodic Rockers “Dajem sto trazis’, “Nije to ljubav”, “Vatra I led”, “Kraj”, “Zid od suza” and closing track “Srce od kamena (2005). All those songs are in the same style and make this record a very strong recommended album to fans of 80s AOR/Melodic Rock. Also check out the great midtempo “Rijeci”… Definitely an album worth checking out. More info at: and and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


16 ballads on the new MTM Compilation. Only interesting for die-hards or people who can not afford to buy all the regular releases of MTM. For them this is a nice collection of ballads, with 2 (so far) unreleased songs, namely the RADIOACTIVE song “This I promise you” and a song by a vocalist called CHRIS ANTBLAD, which sounds quite good actually, so a forthcoming release we should keep our eyes and ears open for in the near future. Further songs are all ballads that can also be found on the regular releases of bands like TNT (their new record out late October), NOVAK, BROKE’N’BLUE, PEO, EDGE OF FOREVER, NORTHERN LIGHT, RETURN, HEARTPLAY, MARTIE PETERS GROUP, STRYPER, DARE, SHY, SILVER and JAY MILES…

(Points: - )


Californian band which is playing the kind of Hardcore Thrash Metal I thought was dead by now, but apparently there are still bands in the US playing this fake kind of Metal, which instrumental sounds good (just like PANTERA) but in the vocal department is rather horrible to listen to. Instrumental pure Metal, vocally Hardcore a la HATEBREED, PANTERA and MESHUGGAH. Only for the fans of that genre (screamo metal).

(Points: 5.0 out of 10)


Faster than is actually possible. Vocally grunting and growling all over the place. 6th CD of Canadian band, which was formed 15 years ago. Musically Black Metal. End of message!

(Points: -)


Only 37 minutes, this CD of OLD MAN’S CHILD, a band formed around Norwegian multi-instrumentalist OLD MAN’S CHILD. His 6th CD in 10 years time, but not interesting for our readers, because this is Black Metal, although instrumental it does sound quite good!

(Points: -)


The Dutch band SMOGUS has a DVD out, nice for the fans, but it also shows that this band is just a standard Nu-Metalband. Instrumental it does sound quite good, pure Metal, but vocally or should I say their rapper and clean singer (who actually sounds very weak) disturb everything. So this DVD is only interesting if you’re a fan of the band, because otherwise I can not see any reason why this should be interesting, because it is basically fake metal. In total the DVD contains a live concert recorded in Paradiso and an unplugged show. Only for SMOGUS fans…

(Points: -)


4 songs are on the demo cdr of the Hungarian band JOYSTICK. Musically this is typical Sleazy Rock’n’Roll that grabs back to the 70s and 80s, but due to the success of bands like DANKO JONES, HELLACOPTERS, BACKYARD BABIES, etc. it is a very popular genre nowadays, especially in Sweden. JOYSTICK play their kind of Glam/Rock’n’Roll very well and during the 4 songs similarities to aforementioned bands are very clear. Most of the songs are uptempo rockers, very catchy sometimes and the nice thing from JOYSTICK is that all songs are available for download on their site, so better go to:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


A very strong album is what I can conclude after listening to the CD of guitarist/vocalist EROL SORA. This Canadian musician has played with many well-known musicians in the past, including ex-URIAH HEEP singer JOHN LAWTON. It’s a pity he couldn’t sing the songs on the EROL SORA record, because without a doubt then this would be a very sensational CD (John is a superb singer in case you didn’t know that!). Nevertheless, Erol also has a good voice, like a slightly weaker version of DAVE MENIKETTI and GARY MOORE. Musically this is good old tight melodic hardrock with influences from the old WHITESNAKE, RAINBOW, THIN LIZZY and URIAH HEEP albums. Especially uptempo melodic rockers “Highway to nowhere”, “Barstool corner”, “Broken dreams” and ”If you ever need love”. Actually it reminds me a bit of the first SILVER CONDOR album from 25 years ago, if anyone actually remembers that record! Definitely one to check out if you’re one of those fans of classic melodic hardrock the British way. More info at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


A Metal Fusion band from Munich, mixing heavy guitar riffs with ska/big band music, a very very strange adventure which will only appeal to people who want to hear something completely different, because that is what basically happens on the debut CD of LEE HARVEY AND THE OSWALDS. 8 songs can be found on the CD, and the various Metal styles to be heard go from Nu-Metal, Death Metal right up to MOTORHEAD influences (“Fat fred”) and even some ACCEPT type of Metal. As diverse as this CD you probably haven’t heard it before, because in the middle of each song there is a break into a Jazz meets Ska meets Big Band style. Strange but it is the truth, more info at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.1 out of 10)


Why on earth this German band throws in Nu-Metal influences (the screams and scratches) into their music is a big question, because when the singer sings clean it all sounds very melodic (just listen to the great chorus of opener “Everything dies” which is pure melodic rock). Unfortunately all throughout the CD the screams and scratches disturb the music and make it sound like a poor man’s LINKIN PARK. Therefore only interesting for fans of that band, which is a pity because some songs like “Ghosts” are actually very nice melodic rocksongs. Maybe on a future CD the Nu-Metal will be dropped… More info at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.2 out of 10)


This Italian band must have stepped into a time machine back to the mid 1960s when Garage Rock was introduced in Europe by the arrival of hundreds of UK bands. Influences from STONES, KINKS, THE WHO, BEATLES etc. can be heard all over the place on the CD of LES BONDAGE. 7 songs are included and with the addition of some 1977 UK Punkrock this record sounds like it mixed the best of the mid 60s and later 70s UK Rockgenres. Definitely worth checking out, no matter if you’re a fan of THE KINKS or THE RAMONES/SEX PISTOLS. Raw, mean and uptempo rocking without looking back. Go check it out for yourself at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)

S&M ‘DEMO 2005’ (DEMO CDR)

The band S&M from the Chicago area deliver a good strong 3-track demo CDR. It’s good to see melodic vocals back again into American Rock/Metal music, because the past 10+ years were completely Disturbed by grunting and screaming, but now with the new DISTURBED record hitting the number 1 spot (that being a True Melodic Metal Masterpiece) it seems like The States is changing it’s Rock and Metal formats back to Melodic Rock/Metal. Hopefully we will welcome many more new bands soon that play Melodic Rock/Prog Metal and one of the latest additions is S&M. The 3 songs on their demo sound very good, great singer and all songs good Melodic Progressive Metaltunes based around a riff and a strong melodic chorus, nothing more, nothing less, so no complicated song structures, endless guitarsolos… just a riff and a melody, and all songs are built around these facts with closing track “Regret” being the best song. Maybe a full length CD will bring some more in-depth visions, but nevertheless these 3 songs are still quite interesting as they offer some very strong melodies. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Here we have something quite sensational. The band doesn’t have an original name, because I have seen many bands in the past with the bandname LEGION, including a famous Russian Metalband. This LEGION comes out of the USA, New Jersey to be exact and they play pure early 80s Melodic Metal in the style of JACK STARR, VIRGIN STEELE, SILVER MOUNTAIN, MALMSTEEN (his ‘Marching out’ Soto period), RIOT, OBSESSION… The vocalwork of singer Mike Bunk is high pitched and very good, pure classic 80s Metal sounding, not unlike MARK BOALS and MIKE VESCARA at times. The guitarwork is also typical 80s sounding, some twin-guitarwork here and MALMSTEEN similarities there. If someone had told me this was a re-issue of an album from 1983 I would have believed it, but LEGION is truly a new band that captures the classic earlier 80s Melodic Metal sound. Every song of the 8 included (some very lengthy) is a winner for fans of mentioned bands. Especially “Illusion”, “Heart of stone”, “Stay away from the night” (pure MALMSTEEN “I’ll see the light tonight” and the superb Melodic Hardrock Masterpiece “Medicine man” (an absolute classic tune like a mix between WHITESNAKE, DOKKEN, SCORPIONS and DIO) are very sensational songs with stunning vocal and guitarwork. The CD also reminds me a lot of the KUNI projects (with JEFF SCOTT SOTO on vocals) and LOUDNESS when they had MIKE VESCARA on vocals, so I think you now know in what direction you must think when this CD pops up. If you’re a real Melodic Metal fan, then better check out the site of the band at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


A Hungarian band with a female singer and it does sound very well. The 2 songs on their demo CD show that TOMERA is a high quality band. The band is made up of ex-members of WITHOUT FACE and EXTREME NOISE TERROR. Both songs feature high class Melodic Progressive Metal with influences from Gothic (the female vocals) and Power Metal during the instrumental breaks and solo’s. This is a band to watch out for in the future, so better check them out if you’re interested in a sort of Hungarian AFTER FOREVER. Then better go to: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


We reviewed their independent CD debut last year and now they have released their new album on the Italian label CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC. Musically still classic 80s Melodic Metal with sadly some Black Metal influences in the screaming vocals of male singer/guitarist Christof, who also can sing clean. However, the band also has a superb female lead singer (a la LITA FORD) and the guitarwork is amazing sometimes. The new WIDOW CD contains 10 great Melodic Metal songs in the style of WARLORD, early MALMSTEEN, early CRIMSON GLORY, KINGDOM COME, yet with sometimes the combination of beautiful female vocals and annoying Black Metal screams. The songs where the female lead singer may sing full time are definitely the best, such as the terrific Melodic Metal Masterpiece “Here to stay”. Better check this out to hear a unique mix between LITA FORD , WARLORD, VENOM and KINGDOM COME! More info on this American band at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Multi-instrumentalist MARCO GALLETTI comes out of Italy and it took him 3 years (2002-2005) to finish his second solo-CD ‘La luce che illumine I sogni’ which is the follow-up to his 1993 debut ‘Boxes for foxes’. The lyrics are in Italian, but that isn’t a problem at all, because what we get to hear is very impressive Progressive Rock. Easy comparisons can be made to classic Italian bands such as PFM and LE ORME, but Marco added more influences into his music. One thing I must not forget to mention is the fact that Marco did everything on his own here, so definitely a one-man’s project. 8 tracks are included and any progfan might want to check out this release. Marco used to be in the band ARCANSIEL before he started his solo career, with whom he released 2 albums, ‘Four diasies’ in 1988 and ‘Still searching’ in 1990, both being less Progressive Rock orientated, more a mix of Sympho and some New Wave elements, with a clear 80s pop/rock approach as well. The debut from 1988 being a more instrumental orientated piece. Anyway, if you want to check out Marco’s music go to: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


In the past there have been quite some bands called EMERALD. I remember a Dutch Metalband from the 80s, but this new EMERALD is a band from Tilburg which is a city in Holland. The band consists of 5 students, who study at the Rock Academy in Tilburg, and with this CD they hope to graduate. After listening to their debut CD I can easily conclude that they will graduate, because the album sounds very impressive in all places. The band mixes the best of Prog, Sympho, Pomp and Melodic Rock, ending up sounding like a mix between the old GENESIS, STYX and KAYAK. The CD has a playing time of almost 60 minutes, divided into 9 separate tracks, of which the highlights are opener “The reverse side of masquito’s battle” (strong midtempo Pomprock a la STYX with Peter Gabrielish vocalwork), “Insubstantial liberation” (high class Progressive Rock, as good as any UK band at the moment) and “No straight story” (more uptempo melodic rock, a bit like KAYAK) . This EMERALD is a must-have for both aor/pomp and progressive rockfans, it offers melodies and interesting songstructures, so no doubt that this band will graduate with this project. It would not surprise me if this band is signed by one of the Prog labels someday soon, because they have everything you need to have in becoming huge in the Progressive Rockscene! More info at: and e-mail them at: 

(SECOND OPINION REVIEW: Points: 8.5 out of 10)


35 years ago the UK band QUINTESSENCE had some success and after an absence of more than 30 years former lead singer/songwriter of the band, SHIVA JONES, formed a new version of the band together with new music partner RUDRA BEAUVERT. Together they created something that has not much to do with the past, because the 2-CD set ‘Cosmic surfer’ they created is filled with experimental modern New Wave, which can best be heard on disc 1. Disc 2 seems to be a bit more Progressive Rock orientated, but I find this release a bit too experimental and it actually has nothing to do with Progressive Rock. Only for the die-hard fans of this band, who wonder whatever happened to it’s members.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Here we have something special, because the first CD of the Swiss band FELONY sounds very impressive, mixing the best elements of 80s Melodic Rock/AOR with today’s Gothic/Power Metal genre. Here and there links to STRATOVARIUS, TIME MACHINE (a lot!), PLACE VENDOME and SONATA ARCTICA are possible, but also KAMELOT must have been a big influence for this band. That’s not a real coincidence, because none-other than SASCHA PAETH (KAMELOT, AINA, EPICA, EDGUY, RHAPSODY…) mixed and mastered the album. There are some absolute true gems on this album, such as the superb catchy uptempo melodic rocker “Justice”. In total we can find 12 tracks on the CD, and without a doubt, it all sounds perfect, the sound, the production, the songs, instrumental and also the vocals of singer Andreas Wildi, who is able to sing very well a la MICHAEL KISKE, sometimes accompanied by a fantastic female singer called Andrea Richner (who sounds like LANA LANE). Anyway, this is one of those exceptional impressive CDs out of the underground that could be the first step in a process eventually leading to a label signing and from there on upwards until reaching superstardom. I can not guarantee success, but this FELONY CD sounds impressive enough to make it one of the best indie releases this year so far. Other highlights besides the fantastic “Justice” are the lovely uptempo melodic rockers “My way”, “After the rain” and “Cyberspace”. This CD should appeal to both Melodic Rock and Power Metal fans, just like bands such as KAMELOT, LAST TRIBE, TIME MACHINE and ALLEN LANDE all have done the past few years. More info at: and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


From out of nowhere comes a new Z RECORDS release, well that has been like a year or so since I last reviewed a release of that UK based Melodic Rock label. Anyway, this new Z release is definitely a very good one, because the CD of the MITCH PERRY PROJECTS covers the period of the late 80s – early 90s and basically concerns 2 bands in which guitarist MITCH PERRY played. The first is BADD BOYZ, whom released a CD somewhere in 1992 and 7% SOLUTION during the Grunge area in the USA. Both released demos and all can be heard on this CD. The sound is crystal clear as it should be and the music is what I would like to call KICK ASS MELODIC ARENA ROCK in the tradition of WHITESNAKE, XYZ, DOKKEN and BATON ROUGE. Of course the lead vocals of PAUL SHORTINO are making this CD even more interesting, because he is an awesome singer in the DAVID COVERDALE style, which can be heard in sensational songs like “Straight to my heart” (uptempo melodic rocker) and the beautiful ballad “Hear your heartbreak” (hello DOKKEN!!!). It’s a pity not all of the songs feature the wonderful vocals of Paul, because then this CD would have been totally superb. The other singer isn’t bad, but he ain’t no PAUL SHORTINO! Nevertheless, the songs on which he sang still sound awesome after almost 15 years, so this CD is definitely worth checking out if you’re into XYZ, DOKKEN, WHITESNAKE…

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Brasil is a country which has been going upwards when it comes to delivering quality bands in the progressive/power metal genre. Ever since ANGRA broke through, there have been many bands releasing CDs, mostly very impressive records as well, kinda like the Finnish Metal explosion we saw at the end of the 90s. KHALICE is one of many great new Progressive Metalbands to hail from the biggest South American country. They released their CD on the Brasilian label HELLION RECORDS. The band has a good singer and the sound/production of their songs is also very impressive, although not all of the 10 (the 10th song you need to download from their site) included songs is sensational, because somehow the songs don’t hang around in your head after hearing them. That doesn’t mean this is a bad CD, because what I mean to say that this is a grower that needs to be heard a couple times before making a real good judgement. It feels like a quality Progressive Metal CD, yet without the catchiness and ability to impress songwise. Of course DREAM THEATER references can easily be made, but I also feel a strong 80s melodic rock influence here and there, especially in the keyboardwork (just listen to the closing track “The journey”, which happens to be the best song). I think a future CD will see if this band will grow, because they certainly have all it takes in becoming better, but for now really strong songs are not included…

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


2005 brought us a DVD release of ISILDURS BANE, the legendary Swedish progressive rockband, but we had never released any album of the band, so I decided to also review their latest CD release, which is ‘Mind volume 4: Pass’. This concept record is divided into 16 separate tracks. Musically this is the kind of progressive rock which will please any fan of the genre, as it sounds original and still familiar sitting in a comfortable old GENESIS, FLOWER KINGS and GENTLE GIANT style. This is the way progrock was created some 30 years ago in the UK, but we are talking 2000s here and ISILDURS BANE is a Swedish band. Of course the band throws in enough modern influences to make it sound like the present day. The result is an album that sometimes goes very experimental (“Good”), while at other times it is typical 70s prog (“Heal”, “Eyes” and “Cage) and quite sensational too (“Idea”). An album to own if you call yourself a progfan… More info at: and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The Norwegian band LAVA is a very well-known band in their own country, but outside Norway not many people are aware of them. They have been active for over 20 years now. I have heard some of their 80s records in the past, vaguely remember them as a sort of mix between TOTO and WHITE HEART, so Westcoast orientated Pop/AOR. It seems like the band never changed it’s sound, because also the new CD ‘Alibi’ has captured the classic 80s Westcoast-Pop-AOR sound of their earlier albums. No rocksongs can be heard on the CD, but on the other hand you’ll get calmer high class mix of Westcoast, Pop and AOR, sort of 70s meets 80s and highly recommended if you’re into TOTO, DAVID ROBERTS, CHICAGO, MARK SPIRO, SPIN GALLERY and the Tommy Denander projects, yet without any real rocksongs. Nevertheless, songs like “Cover me”, “Alibi”, “Lonely planet” and “Missing you” are all very nice calmer AOR/Westcoast songs that even remind me of good old FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, including some very strong lead and harmonyvocals. Without being too optimistic I would rather call this a pure Westcoast album with Pop influences, a bit like KING OF HEARTS with Tommy Funderburk if anyone remembers that record from 10+ years ago. Anyway, do check it out if you’re a fan of Westcoast in the 80s TOTO style. More info at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The Italian band SKY LARK returns with a new CD, but I am not sure if we should be glad about it, because the new CD ‘Fairytales’ might well be their weakest CD so far. The band’s new CD is split in 2 sections, the first part featuring female lead vocals (very average singer) and this is by far the least interesting material SKY LARK recorded in their history. The band has been going strong for more than 10 years now and in the past they released some very good CDs, but this new CD only receives a reasonable rating due to the stronger 2nd part of the CD, which contains some nice Italo Power Metal. I think it would be best if SKY LARK leader EDDY ANTONINI next time handles the lead vocals by himself, because he saved the record during the last couple of tunes…

(Points: 6.9 out of 10)


Melodic Hardrock out of Italy. Production and sound is quite good and despite the weaker lead vocals the Melodic Hardrock of DEADLY TIDE does sound quite nice, sitting in a sort of late 80s DANGER DANGER, KEEL, DOKKEN, WINGER, WARRANT style. 7 songs are included on their CD, which has it’s highlights in swinging melodic rockers like “Come back with me”, “Downtown” (best song, better vocals, big time midtempo melodic heavy rocker) and “King of the world”. The band even shot a nice video of their song “Last blood”. Check it out for yourself at: and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


DIVINE FIRE is the band around vocalist CHRISTIAN RIVEL and ‘Hero’ is their 2nd CD, which is the follow-up to ‘Glory thy name’. Their debut was released at the start of this year, so within 11 months DIVINE FIRE releases another CD. Of course what we get to hear is high quality Melodic (Power) Metal, not far away from MALMSTEEN, ROYAL HUNT… Songs like “Secret weapon”, “Divine fire” (a la KAMELOT), “Leaving the shadows”, “Open your eyes” and “New beginning” (awesome, best song) are all great Melodic Metal songs. Must-have for MALMSTEEN/ROYAL HUNT fans… There’s also a great cover of the QUEEN classic “The show must go on” which features guest singers THOMAS VIKSTROM and a great female singer called Maria Rasten who released a very successful record as ONE MORE TIME in the early 90s in Sweden. Basically, this 2nd DIVINE FIRE is another nice Swedish Melodic Metal record, which is without a doubt a must have for the fans of that typical Scandi Melodic Metal (with Neo-Classical influences) sound.

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Going back in time to the year 1975 when the band LEGS DIAMOND was formed in Los Angeles, California by keyboardplayer/guitarist MICHAEL PRINCE, guitarist ROGER ROMEO and drummer JEFF POOLE, all still going strong in the band’s line-up after 30 years. During the late 1970s they released a bunch of great Hardrockalbums that are highly underrated and should have given them more credit than any AEROSMITH album released around the same time. The 80s saw the band developing a more mature AOR sound with rich keys, catchy hooks and memorable choruses. In the late 80s and early 90s they entered a tougher Melodic Hardrocksound, but after the 1993 studio album ‘The wish’ it became quiet. However, the recent CD releases of old material caused some the demand for new LEGS DIAMOND and now there is a reunion with a complete new CD titled ‘Diamonds are forever’. Sadly they replaced their original fantastic lead singer (RICK SANFORD), although new singer JOHN LEVESQUE also proves he is able to sing quite well. The music on the new CD is a mix of old 1970s LEGS DIAMOND groovy hardrock and 80s polished AOR (keys, hooks) LEGS DIAMOND. Being an 80s AOR freak I must confess that I absolutely dig the 80s type of AOR tunes included here such as “Time will never change” (which sounds like some 80s AOR classic, a heavily repeated chorus and reminding me of SPYS), “This time around”, “Will you remember” (an 8 minutes counting epic ballad) and “Loneliness” (classic 80s melodic rocker). The fan of the early LEGS DIAMOND albums will however prefer the heavier tracks like “Don’t turn away”, “King of speed” (great uptempo rocker like DEEP PURPLE meets RAINBOW), “Let it go” and “Trouble” and as you can see this is the style which is played most of the time on the new CD. Finally, there are also a few weaker simpler rockers on the album, such as the AC/DC orientated “Good time”, “Rain down” and “Get you home”, but that’s only a small part of the 13 tracks counting CD. Concluded, a nice comeback from this legendary band…

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


3RD album from the Finnish band REQUIEM. No music changes, so once again fast forward typical Finnish melodic Power Metal in the familiar STRATO/SONATA style, yet a bit rawer in places. Songs like “Hold on”, “Shadowhunt”, “Painting the wind”, “Invincible enemy” and “The tower” are a must to hear if you love that typical Northern European melodic Power Metal sound with keys and catchy memorable choruses. Not as good as some of their similar sounding bands and definitely not original, but worth having a listen to if STRATOVARIUS, THUNDERSTONE, SONATA ARCTICA etc. are your favourite acts. The only negative comment I would like to make is the song “Violate”, which completely falls out of place here and is basically a Nu-Metal song, so I don’t know what the reason was for putting that song on a typical Melodic Power Metal record!

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The best station on the internet, MUNCH’S HARDEST HTS, returns with a new compilation CD, which is the 7th in the series. Without a doubt, this is the best compilation CD series since the 80s, when this kind of CD compilations were a common thing in the USA to discover the latest new acts in the AOR-Hardrock-Metal scene. Now there are hardly good compilation CD series out there, but the German based MUNICH’S HARDEST HITS is doing a great job promoting the big underground scene with acts from all over the world. Also volume 7 contains a bunch of great acts, such as BOYSTOWN (with their fantastic AOR Classic “Something in the way you touch”), VENDETTA (their classic “The night” from their one and only album is included here, an awesome IAN PARRY type of uptempo AOR rocker), FAITH NATION (“How can I”), MATREX, MATT GARBO and an unreleased acoustic version of the DAKOTA classic “Last standing man”. In total 15 acts are presented on this CD, all featured with 1 track and like the previous releases, also this compilation comes along with biographies and extensive liner notes about each and every included act. Definitely a great way to discover the lesser known (mostly independent) acts. More info at: and don’t forget to check in their internet radio station from there. E-mail them at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The Italian band THY MAJESTIE has rapidly become one of the better Italian bands in the Power Metal genre. Although some might call them another RHAPSODY meets LABYRINTH clone, they have created on their previous 2 albums an own sound, which made the 2nd album ‘The lasting power’ an absolute classic in the Power Metal genre. Now after a break of a few years THY MAJESTIE returns with a new CD based around the legendary ‘Jeanne D’Arc’. At first listen not as good as ‘The lasting power’, but after repeated listens the album becomes stronger and is basically a great original (yes you read that right) Melodic Power Metal album with a lot of bombastic influences (OK, some RHAPSODY influences, but without a doubt this album is better than the latest album of RHAPSODY). Highlights are “Maiden of steel”, “Ride to Chinon” and “The rise of a king”. Definitely a highly recommended CD!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Not original, but without a doubt, the 2nd of the Finnish band DYECREST is a very impressive Melodic Metal album in the style of MEDUZA, NOCTURNAL RITES, DREAM EVIL… The band has a great singer and a lot of the 10 included songs on their new CD are sensational. Examples are the songs “Fight fear with fire” (midtempo), “Rush of life” (uptempo), “Hollow” (uptempo), “Banished” (uptempo) and “My only sin”, all fantastic Melodic Power Metal songs at it’s very best. Also semi-ballads/rockers like “Dream of crown” and “Took my will to feel” are very impressive songs. Concluded, a fantastic album to please any Melodic Metalfan!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Multi-instrumentalist BRUCE TURGON worked with some very well-known acts in the past, such as FOREIGNER, SHADOW KING, PRISM, NICK GILDER, WARRIOR… Now the man has released an own CD titled ‘Outside looking in’, which musically is not far away from FOREIGNER and SHADOW KING, so 80s melodic rock. Bruce has a good voice, which he finally can show after years of working with LOU GRAMM, who by the way also makes an appearance on backing vocals here. Among a few other guests, most notable guest musician is the legendary RONNIE MONTROSE, who plays a few guitarsolos. I would not classify this CD as a sensational AOR/Melodic Rock release, but nevertheless, the CD has it’s highlights here and there and fans of mentioned acts should really check out this release. The frontcover shows a picture of Bruce in a way reminding me of 80s AOR frontcover records (didn’t BENNY MARDONES have a same kinda frontcover for one of his albums?). Anyway, songs like “Any other time” (very catchy AOR in best 80s style), “Walk thru fire” and “On a wing and a prayer” are nice AOR/Melodic Rocksongs. Recommended to die-hard fans of 80s AOR!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


THE MOB is a new supergroup with a release on FRONTIERS RECORDS. The band features some very well-known musicians, like guitarist REB BEACH (DOKKEN/WINGER), keyboardplayer Timothy Drury (WHITESNAKE), drummer Kelly Keaggy (ALICE COOPER) and as guest bass player/producer KIP WINGER. 11 songs are included and as singer THE MOB features none other than Doug Pinnick, who in another lifetime is the main member of KING’S X. Although the music has some 80s DOKKEN similarities, a comparison to KING’S X would be better to make, just because it sounds a little different, a little straighter and more catchy. I am not a big fan of KING’S X, because vocally it isn’t that strong and none of their songs make any lasting impression, but this THE MOB does sound quite nice in places. The best song is the Kelly Keaggy sung “The magic” which is a great semi ballad in classic NIGHT RANGER style. The other 10 songs feature Doug on vocals, so slightly weaker. I am not saying the rest of the CD is average (a song like “Turn to stone” is pretty awesome melodic rock actually, a la CROWN OF THORNS and also the guitarwork of Reb is terrific!), but probably only interesting for KING’S X fans, although GLENN HUGHES is also a comparison I would like to make. Good CD, different than the standard AOR/Melodic Rockalbum, kinda like that band THE DISTANCE if anyone remembers that ROBERT HART featured band and of course reminding a lot of KING’S X if they drop their psychedelic influences, so a grower for sure!

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Big in America, because they sold more than 150,000 copies from their debut, but I am not sure if many people heard of SILVERSTEIN outside The States. The band’s latest CD ‘Discovering the waterfront’ is a mix of Punk Rock (a la BLINK 182), Melodic Rock (the catchy choruses) and Hardcore (the screams). It’s a pity lead singer Shane Told starts screaming in every song, because he can also sing melodic. The choruses of all songs are however very melodic and memorable. It’s just that we all have heard it before and also the screams make SILVERSTEIN yet another typical American band like we have heard it many times before. That doesn’t mean the CD lacks good material, because songs like “Three hours back” and “Call it karma” (nice twin-guitarwork) are quite good, but sadly the screams disturb the music of SILVERSTEIN in becoming a band to check out for the modern melodic rockfans.

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


Questions have been asked whether we can call this a new WHITE LION live CD, because after all it’s only singer MIKE TRAMP as original member. OK, Mike was the founder and most important member of the band, but still we can regret WHITE LION has not been active in original line-up for over a decade. Then back to MIKE TRAMP, because he has a voice you sometimes love, sometimes hate. Whenever you hear him you recognize his voice immediately, but somehow he always has had that kinda Grunge voice, because sometimes he sounded like a singer from SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM of NIRVANA, so despite the pretty boy image of WHITE LION in the 80s Mike might have been some sort of influence vocally to all those early 90s US Grunge acts sadly. The albums he made with WHITE LION were phenomenal, high class Melodic Rock, but since 1991 he hasn’t released anything good, so this step back in time seems like a good idea. As MIKE TRAMP’S WHITE LION Mike toured the USA earlier in 2005, where this 2-CD set is a nice representation of the tour. The earlier tracks on the CD see Mike struggle in finding the right vocal performance, sometimes even making the song sound like a Grungy 90s Rocksong, but throughout the set the songs sound like classic WHITE LION, the way they were written 20 years ago. Just listen to the beautiful classic melodic rockers “Hungry”, “Lonely nights”, “Broken heart” (absolutely one of the best 80s Hardrocksongs, written in 1983!), “Cry for freedom”, “Little fighter”, “Lady of the valley”, “Wait” and the ballads “When the children cry” (a US number 1 hitsingle in 1987!) and “You’re all I need”), all performed like it was still 1989! Wish I could have witnessed one of these recent shows, because the 2 CDs sound quite good, although this might have been due to the fact that none-other than 80s Hair Metal producer MICHAEL WAGENER mixed the CDs. Must-have for fans of the old WHITE LION style! Now up to Mike to record some new material in the old WHITE LION style…

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Original releases are very rare on VICTORY RECORDS, because every band starts to sound the same and the fact their releases start charting in the Billboard album charts is the reason for releasing more of the same. The bands all play Melodic Rock (or Emocore like they are calling it in the USA) with a Punky attitude, some sounding very clean and others throw in Screaming vocals, but every band has the same kind of sound which made bands like BLINK 182 and GREENDAY very big in the USA. THE AUDITION is another band in the VICTORY school. Their album ‘Controversy loves company is not original at all, also very short (30 minutes!’), but happily it sounds quite good actually. Most of the songs are catchy little uptempo Melodic Rockers with catchy hooks and memorable choruses. Best songs are “The ultimate cover up”, “Don’t be so hard”, “Smoke and mirrors” and “Lawyers”. Although a very cliché album, definitely a good release that might do very well in America.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


3 musicians whom together have an enormous history in the music industry, releasing records that combined sold 50 million copies. I am talking about the new band THE JONES GANG, formed about 5/6 years ago by 3 veteran musicians whom have been playing and recording for over 35 years in several well-known bands (THE WHO, BAD COMPANY, THE SMALL FACES, FOREIGNER) and now released an album that should bring back the Classic Rock format into the USA. Heavily promoted, but musically slightly less rocking than I had hoped for. Don’t get me wrong here, because this CD is filled with very good calmer AOR/Westcoast with the superb vocalwork of ROBERT HART, but apart from a few rockers it is not really a rockalbum. Still fans of BRIAN HOWE, ROBERT HART, LOU GRAMM, RICHARD MARX, BRYAN ADAMS might find something of interest in here, because the CD offers some great melodic calmer AOR in the shape of songs like “The time of your life”, “Mr. Brown” and “Angel” (a remake of an old ROBERT HART song). Towards the end of the CD we can find some rockers, such as the light radio-ready poprocker “Lucky” (a very catchy tune) and the final 2 tracks (“Where are you?” and “Red hot”) that remind me of THE WHO. A nice mixture of calmer melodic AOR and mid 70s light Rock is being presented on the first THE JONES GANG CD. Final note that needs to be added is the guest appearance of ROLLING STONES guitarist RONNIE WOOD. More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


What do we call this then, DROPKICK MURPHYS without electric guitars? THE TOSSERS doesn’t play Rock, Punk or Metal. They play a sort of medieval Irish Folk sound, the way you should hear it when entering one of the famous Irish pubs in Dublin. They play it mostly uptempo with medieval instruments (mandolin, banjo, tin whistle, fiddle) and modern instruments (guitar, bass, drums). Sounds like they’re having a lot of fun, but this kind of music is actually only doing well being played live in an Irish pub, so when putting it on you gotta to be in the Pub, drink a beer and then sing-a-long with the crowd!

(Points: - )


Emocore or should I say modern Melodic Poprock is very popular in the USA, with some acts selling hundreds of thousands of records. STRAYLIGHT RUN is one of them, from their debut selling more than 200,000 copies, so this new EP CD will probably rapidly enter the Billboard Charts someday soon after it’s release. It’s not a complete new album, but an EP with 6 songs that sadly don’t rock that much, because these are stripped semi-acoustic semi-ballads/rockers. Sounding like COLDPLAY at times, yet less depressing and more melodic poprock at times, also this new EP has got all it takes for modern radio to make it a big selling album. For standard melodic rockfans however much too modern, so only interesting for open-minded rockers who are into Nu-Breed type of stuff.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


MTM CLASSIX has been re-releasing some great classic 80s female fronted AOR/Poprock lately, because after the re-issues of ANNICA, ERIKA and LAOS it is now time for the re-issue of the legendary AINA album ‘Living in a boys world’. Without a doubt, this record was filled with high class 80s AOR/Melodic Poprock in the style of FIONA, 1st two TONE NORUM classics, ERIKA, ALEXA, 80s HEART, CINDY CRUSE, etc. This re-issue is therefore a welcome for any fan of classic 80s female AOR and besides the 10 original tracks there are also 5 bonustracks included, which are a bit heavier and darker, sounding like LANA LANE and PHANTOM BLUE, so quite interesting and a song like “Too good to be true” even has some serious hit potential nowadays! The original album tracks from 1989 are all very good, such as the lovely AOR ballads “Believe in me” and “You baby you”, both should have been big US hits 15+ years ago. Also the uptempo AOR rockers “Rocks off” (hello ERIKA!), “Shot down in flames” (PAT BENATAR style), “Living in a boy’s world” (didn’t FIONA record this song too?) and “A love forever story” will please any fan of FIONA, ROBIN BECK, 80s HEART, TONE NORUM… Definitely a must-have and another real classic on the MTM CLASSIX label, way to go, now perhaps also re-issue all those other long forgotten classy female AOR albums from the 80s of ELLEN SHIPLEY, SHEILA, STEFFANIE, DONNA CRISTY, CINDY CRUSE, CONNIE SCOTT…

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Of course another Emocore release on VICTORY RECORDS. However, the debut CD (?) of this American band is slightly better than the average release in this genre, because somehow their songs are catchier and instrumental sounding much stronger. Just listen to the fantastic opener “Devotion and desire”, a very catchy uptempo melodic modern heavy rocker that features some classic Hardrock guitar riffs and a very nice melodic guitarsolo besides the catchy chorus. This song proves that there is hope that between all those emo bands we can find acts that can truly make good music. BAYSIDE is one of them, because they combine the simpler catchy melodic punky poprock with classy Hardrocking guitar riffs. This is not only shown on the mentioned track, but can be heard on most of the 11 included tracks. Emocore at it’s best, but actually catchy melodic poprock with a taste of both modern and classic rock approaches. Nice band to start with if you want to explore this Emo Rockgenre.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


When having heard a bunch of VICTORY RECORDS releases it’s like you have listened to 1 and the same album, because it’s all the same kind of Emocore. It’s melodic and it’s catchy, which is good, but the biggest problem is that all lead singers sound the same and have absolutely zero character. This will eventually destroy this Rockstyle, because the lead singer is the most important factor in a band. That doesn’t mean the American band JUNE has released a record which is not interesting, but unless you’re a fan of catchy punky poprock with nu-breed/emocore influences and a bit childish vocals, this record offers more of the same kind of stuff VICTORY RECORDS has been releasing the past few years.

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)