Very strong American orientated modern sounding melodic metal from the Swedish band POUND. The band has a very good lead singer (guitarist/keyboardplayer Stefan Gustavsson) and the 4 songs on their mini-CD ‘Phantomkiller’ are very impressive tunes that actually not only are pure American orientated (a la DISTURBED), but also have the typical Swedish catchy chorus approach (like a modern sounding NOCTURNAL RITES/BLOODBOUND). Especially the uptempo “I hate you too” is a very sensational Melodic Metal piece. Excellent mixture between DISTURBED and NOCTURNAL RITES to check out asap at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


‘The remedy of abstraction’ is the 6th CD of the American Progressive Rockband A TRIGGERING MYTH. The band was formed at the end of the 1980s, after most of the members of the band had already played in several other bands. With A TRIGGERING MYTH the band was destined to play high quality instrumental Progressive Rock with an own approach, definitely attracting fans of SOFT MACHINE, NATIONAL HEALTH, PINK FLOYD, HAPPY THE MAN, UNIVERS ZERO, GENTLE GIANT, VANDERGRAAFGENERATOR, PORCUPINE TREE… Without a doubt, a band which is praised a lot in the progressive rockscene and with this new CD they will once again be honoured by progfans. The insiders know what to do with the new CD of A TRIGGERING MYTH.

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


In 2000 French guitarist Charly Sahona formed together with drummer Diego Rapacchietti (ZERO, PAGANINI) the band VENTURIA. In the following years the line-up was completed by bassist Thomas James, keyboardplayer Kevin Godfert (ASAGIO) and 2 excellent singers. The lead singers are male singer MARC FERREIRA, who is known for his solo-material as well as with his own band MONKEY BITE, both reviewed by us and both excellent aor/melodic rock projects, and also female singer Lydie Robin, who has got a beautiful voice. In this line-up, the band recorded a CD titled ‘The new kingdom’, which is released through LION MUSIC. Included music is high quality melodic progressive metal, which sounds really superb at times, especially during the songs “New kingdom”, “Words of silence” and “Take me down”. Compare this release to other high quality prog metal releases from the past few months (PAGAN’S MIND, MIND’S EYE, ZEELION, SECTION A, SUSPYRE, STRIDE…). If you like quality progressive metal with strong melodies, then this is another you should own…

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


For a very short period in the early 90s the band ENUFF’Z’NUFF was kinda popular in the USA, because they had an original sound, which went back to the late 1960s Flower Powersound, although the band mixed it with a more modern melodic hardrocksound like the other LA bands back then. Unfortunately for the band, grunge entered the scene and killed original rockmusic. The band went on releasing records on smaller labels and also the quality went downwards, so this new best of release is focused on the band’s career, but it is clear they had their best songs in the beginning, with some great psychedelic melodic rockers like “New thing”, “Fly high Michelle’, “baby loves you” and “Mother’s eyes”, all from their debut LP. The remaining 10 songs on the CD are from later albums and more experimental, although the band always held on to their late 60s Flower Power influences. Nevertheless, despite a few nice songs, I have always find this band overrated, although it was a good thing to see a band developing an own sound during the late 80s. This greatest hits (I believe they only had 1 hitsingle) is a nice overview from what the band did all through the years…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Formed in 2000 by 2 fellow students (keyboardplayer Linus Kase and bassist Kristofer Eng) from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm/Sweden, this band has been working it’s way up with their 1970s influenced Progressive Rock. BRIGHTEYE BRISON is completed by guitarist Johan Oijen, drummer Daniel Kase and vocalist Per Hallman. YES, ELP, GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT, KAIPA are all bands that come to mind when hearing their 2nd CD ‘Stories’, which is the follow-up to their 2003 same titled debut CD. 10 songs are included on ‘Stories’, which has it’s highlight towards the end with the fantastic “We wanna return”, a pure 1970s Pomprock Classic tune that has harmonies not heard since STYX, SPY and TOUCH, a pure Pomprock Bliss and so is the titletrack (that has a little KAYAK symphorock thrown in for good measure), but the rest is typical 70s progressive rock, so not as catchy and melodic as “We wanna return”. Still for fans of old GENESIS, KAIPA, YES, PFM, ECHOLYN, etc. something to check out asap, because this Swedish band does it very well.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


FELSKINN is the new band of ex-KROKUS singer ANDY PORTMANN, who also released 2 solo albums before. However, now he has a real band around him, which musically goes into a Melodic Hard/Heavy Rock direction, with also some Progmetal influences. The band reminds me quite a lot of PURE INC, which is another Swiss band and coincidence or not, they played together for quite a few times. Anyway, highlights between the 10 included tracks are “The way” (uptempo melodic heavy rocker a la AXXIS), “Still stand” (cool midtempo song in German) and “Nothing” (great ballad, best song, here the singer shows he is a good singer). However, there are also some weaker more modern based tunes such as “Love and hate”. For the main part however, this is your typical German/Swiss/Austrian Melodic Heavy Rock record. More info at:  or  or 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Formed in 2002 in Nashville, USA, the band LYNDEN has released their debut CD ‘Pieces volume 1’ recently, which is a sort of mini-CD, because it counts 5 songs along with acoustic versions of 3 tracks. Musically the band is very much playing melodic rock that reminds me of GLASS TIGER. The band has a very good lead singer called Coury Palermo and is actually a duo, because the only other member of the band is Matt Buttler, who plays most of the instruments (including cello). Some of the included songs are very impressive, such as “First time (you were mine)” and “I’m on fire”. The band has a catchy radio-ready sound, which should gain them exposure in the USA for sure. In the meantime, check out their site at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


2nd album of Finnish band, but unfortunately it is fast Black/Death-Metal with zero melodies, so not interesting for us…

(Points: -)


Formed 10 years ago, this Finnish band has already released 3 albums before they recorded ‘Seducia’. The 4th CD is about to be released and musically not much has changed through the years, because they still have the typical present day female fronted (and some male vocals) melodic gothic power metal sound that sometimes is radiofriendly a la WITHIN TEMPTATION, while at other times it is much heavier and goes into a NIGHTWISH meets AFTER FOREVER direction. It all sounds really huge and impressive, although nothing new is brought here. Happily, lead singer Riina Rinkinen has a wonderful voice and instrumental it all sounds perfect. Besides, songs like “Hangman’s lullaby”, “Dead silent”, “Frostnight” and the calmer WITHIN TEMPTATION piano ballad “Unbroken” are quite sensational, so nothing stands in my way in giving this new CD of SILENTIUM a high rating. Must-have if you like the typical Goth Metal sound of bands like LACUNA COIL, AFTER FOREVER, WITHIN TEMPTATION, XANDRIA, NIGHTWISH, LEAVES EYES… More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Band from San Francisco/USA with a very strong debut CD release, which musically is a mix of typical American Punkrock and more straight-ahead Melodic Hard Rock (just listen to the song “Lottery” and you will agree with me that this is pure MHR, by the way, also one of the best songs included on the CD). However, in the first place this is a Punkrockband and surprisingly they do it very well, owing thanks to a very good lead singer (Chon Travis), great guitarplaying (by singer Chon and guitarist Duffs) and a big sounding production. This band could well break into the Billboard Charts as their sound is basically perfect for the US market. The song “When we fall” is one of the catchiest uptempo Punkrocksongs I have heard in a long time, . During the Punkrockers you can hear similarities to especially PENNYWISE and NOFX, so this is definitely much better than the standard Teen-Punk from the other side of the Atlantic. This CD will also definitely appeal to fans of the Scandi Sleazy Hardrocksound of bands like HELLACOPTERS, BACKYARD BABIES, 69 EYES..., which can clearly be heard in songs like “Black rain”. It’s super melodic and damn catchy at times, so you better check out this band a.s.a.p. at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


NOTA BENE comes out of Italy, where they were formed 3 years ago and rapidly they built up a reputation, resulting in their debut CD release on the label MELLOW RECORDS. Musically we get to hear typical Italian Progressive Rock in the style of PFM. 5 long songs are included, with long instrumental passages, but also good melodic vocalwork. Actually they recorded this CD as a demo back in 2004, but with the help of their label MELLOW RECORDS they remixed it in late 2005, resulting in this official full-length CD. Without a doubt, this CD is a must-have for any fan of classic progrock in the style of the old GENESIS/PINK FLOYD... More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


A very nice compilation CD from the GEARHEAD RECORDS label, which features 26 tracks, musically ranging from pure Raw Rock and Roll/Stoner Rock to Punkrock. Without a doubt, bands like ROCK N ROLL SOLDIERS, THE TURBO AC’S, BLACK FURIES, ELECTRIC EEL SHOCK, NEW BOMB TURKS, THE DRAGONS and THE HELLACOPTERS all come up with strong Stoner Rock and Roll. Despite a few weaker acts, towards the end 2 more interesting new bands I would like to explore come up. These are MENSEN and RED PLANET. Enough new bands besides a few very well-known acts on this compilation CD. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The Californian band IGNITE was formed in 1994. They have already released quite a lot albums in the past, but this is the first I get to hear and it actually surprised me as it sounds very impressive actually. This is by far the catchiest American Punkrockrecord I have heard in a long time. Comparisons to NOFX, PENNYWISE, SUM41 are of course easy to make, but somehow this band’s new CD sounds catchier and better than those acts. First off, the band has a fantastic superstrong lead singer (Zoli Teglas) who could have been a Metal singer if you ask me (his vocal style reminds me of the NOCTURNAL RITES/DREAM EVIL singers!). Besides, the songs included are not just standard Punkrocksongs, because the overall sound is heavier, with big Metal riffs and the choruses are super melodic and meorable. Songs like “Bleeding”, “Fear is our tradition”, “Let it burn”, “Slowdown”, “Save yourself” and “Three years” are all very strong catchy uptempo punky rockers with memorable sing-a-long choruses and strong vocalwork. One of the better Punkbands I recently discovered, although they have been active for 12 years already!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Not an original bandname, but on the other hand that’s not a problem at all, because it occurs a lot bands come up with the same name. Anyway, this HERO comes out of Sweden and they sent me their first full-length CD, which contains nice Melodic Hardrock. However, the slight problem is that the lead vocals of guitarist/bandleader MICHAEL HERO are not always strong enough to make the band sound sensational. Songs like “All on fire”, “Forever”, “Heart of gold”, etc. are however nice Melodic Heavy Rocksongs that remind me a bit of 220 VOLT. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


Canadian band with their 3rd release so far. Musically Punkrock, very raw in the vocal department, although the choruses are quite melodic. The band has 3 guitarists in their line-up, which does not happen too often and their sound is therefore big. The band’s punk is akin to Hardcore, although they do not forget the poppy melodic sing-a-long choruses, such as in the songs “Burn Guelph burn” and “Confession of a revolution”. Recommended to fans of 7 SECONDS, LEATHERFACE...

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Not much info on this band, but they come out of Germany. Their CD ‘Public transport’ is filled with modern rock the British way, very much leaning towards COLDPLAY and RADIOHEAD, so not really interesting, but happily the band also jumps on the U2 style several times (the instrumental “Last night the secret service saved my life”) and even ALAN PARSONS PROJECT comes to mind several times, so in the end not all is that bad about this OCKER. It’s just something you will like more when you have listened to it a several times. One for the open-minded popfan. More info at: 

(Points: 7.6 out of 10)


5th CD of the band NEWMAN, which is actually STEVE NEWMAN, with a little help from Rob McEwen on drums, but basically Steve did once again everything himself (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, writing and producing all 12 songs). Musically nothing has changed in the 10 years Steve has been active in the music scene, which started back in 1997 with his same titled release. His debut is still his finest release, with every following release sadly bringing him to a more standardized melodic rocksound. Happily, the new album ‘Heaven knows’ is better than the previous albums and contains nice strong typical 80s influenced AOR/Melodic Rock. NEWMAN is at their best during the catchy fun uptempo melodic rockers, such as “Heaven knows”, “Higher”, “Aint gonna cry forever” and “The circle”. If you don’t mind your melodic rock to be standard, friendly and without any surprises, just the good old fashioned way, kinda like ATLANTIC, FM, WALK THE WIRE, PASSION STREET, TEN, but then less sensational of course, this NEWMAN is your CD for sure. It’s a good album, but nothing more than that, so not the best AOR release at the moment, just a safe/by-the-numbers AOR/Melodic Rock record...

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Band from Ohio/USA formed in 1998 by guitarist/vocalist JOHNNY WALKER, along with Piano/Sax/Guitarplayer Oliver Henry, drummer Ben Swank and Bass/Organ/Sitarplayer Dechman. Musically they make very original traditional Bluesrock with some references to the real Blues from a long time ago. Comparisons are possible to JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION and IMMORTAL LEE COUNTY KILLERS. It all sounds really against anything popular at the moment, but might appeal to fans of ROLLING STONES and NEIL YOUNG just as well, although this is really dark bluesrock. Band has an own style, which is appreciated and interested people should check out their label’s site for more info at: 

(Points: 7.2 out of 10)


Absolutely zero originality is what to expect from this American band and their mini-CD release ‘Best friends our worst enemies’. That doesn’t mean it’s bad what we hear, but it’s just that in the USA millions of bands are playing this punky poprockstyle, with some screams here and there. This band is in the exact same style as FALL OUT BOY, GREENDAY and HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS, so if you’re a fan of such typical American happy Punk you will love ROYDEN, but do not expect anything new, because the 5 short songs included here are not making any impression...

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Founded in 1993, this Finnish band has come a long way, releasing their debut ‘Nightflight to paradise’ back in 2004. That record and a demo/CD-single before it’s release showed this was a very good band with a typical 80s Scandi Melodic Rocksound. Now they make a comeback with their new album ‘Desolation’, an album that once again contains typical Scandi melodic rock. You would honestly think they come out of Sweden, because it all sounds so EUROPE, MALMSTEEN and 220 VOLTish... Maybe nothing new is brought here, but for a fan of typical classic Scandi Melodic Rock this new HOUSE OF MIRRORS CD is of course a must-have. Still I had to admit that their debut was slightly better, with some really catchy songs, while this time most of the songs are just nice melodic rockers, but mentioning songs like “Where are you now” (hello 80s midtempo Scandi AOR Chorus, hello ALIEN, DAVINCI, BAD HABIT!!!), “Waiting in the wings” (I am almost singing “Love is meant to last forever” by JOHN NORUM here!) and “Masquerade” as highlights should be enough to recommend this CD to fans of TREAT, DALTON, DAVINCI, EUROPE, MALMSTEEN, 220 VOLT... Most surprising song is definitely the Westcoast-AOR trip of “Gone with the summer” that has TOTO similarities all over the place, a very laid-back ‘hot summernight’ song. Improvement with regards to their debut is that this time instrumental it sounds all much bigger and quite impressive, typical Neo-Classical MALMSTEEN style (just listen to the awesome guitarwork in “Fallen leaf”) and also the harmonyvocals sound really perfect. So the 11 songs are all quite good, but somehow the instrumental parts are slightly more impressive than the choruses this time, although for a fan of mentioned bands it sounds good enough for a purchase, definitely!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Recently reviewed, but this concerns the Japanese release of the 3rd CD of the Finnish band ALTARIA. This Japanese import release has a bonustrack titled “Metality”, which is a nice strong uptempo Melodic Hardrocker, but not the best song on the CD. Nevertheless, their new CD is their best release so far and the band is heading for a big European tour together with giants DORO and SONATA ARCTICA soon. The 2 earlier records featured the SONATA ARCTICA guitarist Jani Liimatainen, but he left to fully concentrate on SONATA ARCTICA. His replacement is the CELESTY guitarist J-P Alanen, but no real big difference can be noticed as the music is still high class Melodic Metal. This time there are guest appearances by former DIO guitarist Rowan Robertson and SONATA ARCTICA keyboardplayer Henrik Klingenberg. As I said earlier, the CD is filled with sensational high class Melodic Metal in the style of DREAM EVIL, THUNDERSTONE, STRATOVARIUS, actually typical melodic European/Scandi Melodic Heavy Rock/Metal, although sometimes clearly moving into a pure 80s Melodic Rock style as well. The band’s lead singer Taage Laino is very famous in Finland, because over there he is known as the singer for the band KILPI, a popular act we reviewed several times in the past. Anyway, ALTARIA clearly has released their strongest effort so far, because songs like “Valley of rainbows”(very catchy!), “Abyss of twilight”, “Frozen hearts” (actually pure Melodic Rock), “Access denied” and “Chosen one” are instant winners for fans of catchy Melodic Heavy Rock/Metal. Better check it out asap if you’re heart belongs to Melodic Metal! Available through: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Maybe not original, but from an unbelievable high level is the new CD of LUCA TURILLI, the Italian keyboardplayer from RHAPSODY, who delivers not one, but actually two new solo-CDs. Both albums are in the same style, which is a mix of typical female fronted Gothic Metal, big Orchestra choirs, Techno-keys and lovely strong melodic choruses, sounding like a perfect cross between EPICA, NIGHTWISH and AFTER FOREVER. Most of the time, the 2 CDs are even as good as those bands, so if you’re a fan of this style you will absolutely love this release, which easily beats other copycats like LEAVES’ EYES, EDENBRIDGE, XANDRIA... Luca is helped by vocalist Olaf Hayer, bassist Sascha Paeth (who also co-produced the CDs), drummer Robert Hunecke-Rizzo and female vocalist Bridget Fogle. Bridget is the star of the show here, because what an incredible voice this girl has, almost blowing away our beloved singers from AFTER FOREVER and EPICA, really unbelievable what a terrific voice she has, going all the way to the top without a problem. Luca has found a girl who can sing this kind of music perfectly, with a big promotion behind it, these releases could well turn out a major success. It’s a step away from RHAPSODY’s Power Metal, but fear not, it also captures a big sound, which is Metalish, but leaves a lot of room open for Techno-keyboardwork, big Gothic Choirs and melodic choruses. This is as good as AFTER FOREVER or EPICA without any doubts. Songs like “Virus”, “Black rose”, “Energy” and “Too late” from the first CD ‘Lost horizons’ and “Mother nature”, “Angels of the winter dawn”, “Mystic and divine” and “The miracle of life” from ‘The infinite wonders of creation’ are all wonderful songs that might sound like your typical present day female fronted Gothic Metal act, but with an own identity due to superb vocalwork and strong melodic choruses in the songs. Definitely a must for any fan of AFTER FOREVER, NIGHTWISH, EPICA, WITHIN TEMPTATION, etc... and basically these 2 CDs are two seperate masterpieces!

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


3rd CD of German band, a band which is actually quite well-known since their formation in the early 2000s as they have built up a big reputation. The band is playing Sleazy Rock and Roll as if it was 1989 all over again. Comparisons to FASTER PUSSYCAT, GUNS’N’ROSES, VAIN, LOVE/HATE, etc. are very clear in strong uptempo rockers like “My evil girlfriend”, “Silver lining”, “She’s back (and she’s mine) and “Watch me run”. However, the band also experiments on weird songs like “Instead”, “Room for improvement”, “Mr. Marple” and “Lost”. Somehow “Sunflower” is a rather catchy tune that sounds like DAVID BOWIE doing a PINK CREAM 69 cover in a 70s kinda pop/rockstyle with a sort of light discobeat. A band with a lot of faces actually, because some songs even reveal a Punk/Hardcore style (“Some people are more comfortable in hell”)and I definitely prefer their raw rock and roll sound, which sounds very impressive on the mentioned songs. Fans of mentioned bands will definitely like this band’s new CD a lot most of the time, but be aware there are also quite a few lighter non-rock and roll songs included.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Legendary German Metalband TANKARD returns with a new CD and in the 20+ years they have been active they have never changed their sound, which has been from the start Thrash Metal with lyrics about Beer. TANKARD fans will love the new CD ‘The beauty and the beer’ without any doubts...

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


Vocalist/guitarist DENNIS WARD is a busy guy, because besides producing so many records, playing guitar in PINK CREAM 69, recently releasing a fantastic AOR/Melodic Rockalbum as KHYMERA (where he even sang on very well), he also found the time to form yet another band which musically is Melodic Hardrock/Heavy Rock, not that far away from PINK CREAM 69. Dennis does not sing here, but as singer we can hear ALEX KRAFT,who also plays guitar and is one of the main members of the band. Their CD ‘The legend and the truth’ is based on a story from 1881, settled in the middle of the midwest period from America back then, but musically like I said sitting in a PINK CREAM 69 sort of melodic heavy rock, which comes best to life in songs like “Dust of history”, “Deadman walkin”, “Friends till the end” and “Shootout”. Sadly there are also a bunch of absolute fillers included here, such as the countryish “March to destiny”, “Tombstone” and “Rawhide”. Besides, after a rather strong sound, the rest of the CD simply goes further downhill with many average songs and also sometimes uninspired singing, which is a pity, because songs like “Dust of history” and “Deadman walkin’ show that they can make good high quality music. Next time more songs like that and we’ll have something to recommend, because now this is only interesting for die-hard melodic hard/heavy rockfans!

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Death Metal produced by JOEY DEMAIO (MANOWAR), who did a great job, but sadly this release is nothing of interest, as the growling gets boring after a while. Missing the melodies, which is obviously always the case with Death Metal.

(Points: -)


So guitarist MICHAEL SCHENKER has been 25 years in the music business. Well, ever since his departure from UFO in the late 1970s, he has been struggling with alcohol abuse and not making much decent records. His early MSG records were quite decent, but I would nowhere near call them classics. I am most positive about his MCAULEY SCHENKER GROUP period, which brought 3 strong Melodic Hardrockalbums. Howeverm since 1992 not a decent MSG record has been released, but the new comeback full band sounding CD ‘tales of rock and roll’ is definitely the best MSG album in a decade. Not saying this is a sensational release, but good strong melodies can once again be heard next to Michael’s guitarwork. Especially songs like “Setting sun”, “Dreams inside”, “Shadow lady”, “Life vacation”, “Tell a story” and “Bitter sweet” are quite strong bluesy Melodic Heavy Rockers with a groovy guitar approach and melodic choruses. Michael got help from some well-known names, such as lead singers Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Leif Sundin, Robin Mcauley, Chri Logan, Jari Tiura and Kelly Keeling as well as bassist Pete Way, drummer Jeff Martin and guitarist/keyboardplayer Wayne Findlay. The result is better than anything Michael has done the past 15 years, although not all songs are that impressive, because opener “The ride” and the GRAHAM BONNET sung “Dust to dust” do not click at all. Nevertheless, with 19 new songs included, this CD is one to check out if you’re a Classic Hardrockfan!

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


It’s a pity this Polish band does not have a drummer in their line-up, because now the drumming has been sampled and programmed, which sadly disturbs the band’s music. This is a real shame, because VAN has a very good female lead singer (Barbara Zielinska-VAN) and also the music is quite nice Gothic Progressive Rock with strong melodies. 3 songs are included on their new demo CDR and the only thing that stands in their way is a real drummer. Hopefully that will happen next time, because then a song like “The maiden – gate” comes much more to life then. Still a band to check out if you like THE GATHERING. More info at:  and 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Without a doubt, another strong impressive CD from the one-man’s band SONIQ THEATER. This band is based around multi-instrumentalist ALFRED MUELLER, who did everything on his own on this new SONIQ THEATER CD, producing, writing, performing, composing, mixing, mastering, etc. The included music is high quality instrumental Neo-Progressive Rock/Sympho-Rock, kinda like SAGA without vocals. Something to check out asap if you’re a dedicated fan of this genre. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


BEAUTIFUL SIN is the new project of UIL KUSCH (ex-HELLOWEEN/MASTERPLAN) who gathered around a few Norwegian musicians, his MASTERPLAN-mate Axel Mackenrott on keyboards and Belgian singer Magali Luyten. Magali has a very strong voice and the music is Melodic Heavy Rock-Metal, not that far away from MASTERPLAN, yet of course with female vocals. The sound is big and especially during the uptempo tracks it sounds sensational, because songs like “This is not the original dream”, “Take me home” and “Give up once for all” are all very catchy uptempo melodic heavy rock/metalsongs. The midtempo tunes are more 80s Heavy Metal inspired (ACCEPT), with gang-vocal choruses. So finally not your typical female goth metal release, but a traditional melodic metal release with strong metalish vocalwork. Definitely worth checking out if you call yourself a real Metalhead!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


The Dannish band FATE has released a comeback CD after all these years, but somehow I lost interest in the band after their 1988 ‘Cruisin’ for a bruisin’ album. The band’s only original member is bassplayer Pete Steiner and musically they have changed from a strong catchy 80s AOR/Melodic Poprockact into a standard German sounding Melodic Metalband like ACCEPT meets VENGEANCE, but then forgetting to write strong songs. I don’t have a clue if anyone is actually interested in this CD, as it all sounds so standard and very average. Especially lead singer Per Johansson is singing in the same key all the time, like a weaker UDO. The 11 included songs are all going into one ear and out the other, without ever sticking into your head, which is a shame, because on their first couple of albums FATE wrote some classic aor songs with hooks and choruses you will never forget, but times have changed, which has resulted in this new FATE, which is only interesting for the die-hard fans of ACCEPT, VICTORY, MOON’DOC, because in that style this new FATE CD is quite a recommendation, but it surely has nothing to do with the 80s FATE records at all.

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


The US band BUCKCHERRY found themselves in a position 7 years ago where any rockband dreams about, because with a major label deal (DREAMWORKS), several hitsingles and a platinum selling first CD release, their fifteen minutes of fame in the USA had started at the beginning of their carreer. Of course this was hard to keep going in the following years and so the follow-up ‘Timebomb’ struggled a bit, still selling 100,000, but less impressive than their million selling debut. Nevertheless, BUCKCHERRY kept going and now have released their 3rd CD ’15’ on the label ELEVEN SEVEN MUSIC. Musically nothing has changed, so it is still classic raw dirty mean rock and roll with some typical modernized American vocal lines (post-grunge CREED style), but with catchy melodic choruses and also big groovy guitar riffs here and there, kinda like a mix between AC/DC, BLACK CROWES, NICKELBACK, HAREM SCAREM and BRITNY FOX. Imagine a mix between these bands and you’re definitely close to the BUCKCHERRY sound. Best songs are the uptempo rockers “Out of line”, “Everything” and “Onset”. Maybe it is time for this band to focus on Europe instead of America, as over here we have not heard much about BUCKCHERRY, whom apparently were big time in the late 1990s in the USA. For now, more info at:  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Band from Tennessee/USA with a nice instrumental release, which musically is not too complicated, just ballsy Classic Hardrock with Southern Rock influences. 13 songs are included and best ones are “Last ride”, “Toadie and the Ayatollah” and “Pachelballs”. Check out this 3-piece band for yourself at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


Although the legendary supergroup HOUSE OF LORDS made a comeback a few years ago with the CD ‘The Power & The Myth’, I am very safe to say that the new CD ‘World upside down’ completely blows away the previous album of the band. This is their 5th CD release, which might well be their finest release so far, because it is not only a return to their sound of the first 3 major label releases, but it is combined with the strong melodic choruses which has always been the case on the solo records of lead singer JAMES CHRISTIAN. Big improvements on the production, because the 4th CD ‘The power and the myth’ had a weak sound quality. Also James’ vocals seem to sound much stronger and then the songs or should I say the music, because from start to finish this is how classic Melodic Rock needs to sound. A comparison to SEVENTH KEY’s 2nd record is very clear here, because both move in the same direction, hard hitting guitarwork with catchy melodic choruses, mixed into a big huge sound reminiscent of the first 3 HOUSE OF LORDS classics. Although there is not much left from the classic HOUSE OF LORDS line-up, because only original members JAMES CHRISTIAN (vocals) and GREGG GIUFFRIA (keys) are left, with Jimi Bell on guitars, B.J Zampa on drums and Jeff Kent on bass & keyboards joining them, but it all sounds so much better than the previously recorded album ‘The power and the myth’, which did feature the classic line-up. Anyway, uptempo rockers like “These Are The Times”, “Ghost Of Time”, “SOS” and “Million miles” as well as AOR Powerballads such as “Your Eyes” and “World upside down” make this new HOUSE OF LORDS CD a true winner for any fan of high class AOR/Melodic Rock. It seems like this is a JAMES CHRISTIAN’ solo release, but it sure feels as good as the classic HOUSE OF LORDS albums, so I think the fans will be glad that this record really is a comeback of the HOUSE OF LORDS sound.

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


16 songs are included on this JEFF SCOTT SOTO compilation CD, which for the most part has already been released on Jeff’s solo records, but happily FRONTIERS RECORDS also put some rare and unreleased tracks on the CD, such as the 3 new songs “Through It All”, “Last Mistake” and “Another Try” and the JOURNEY cover “Send Her My Love”. 71 minutes long you can hear Jeff singing his emotional heart out at his best, because besides the mentioned 4 songs, actually all 16 tracks are beautiful aor melodic rockballads, of which the highlights are definitely “If This Is The End” and “Holding On” taken from his most recent solo-CD and “Don't Wanna Say Goodbye”. Die-hard SOTO fans need to get this asap for it’s unreleased songs, although we are actually all waiting for a full new CD of the number one entertainer at this moment, because in the past he released under several monikers each year at least 3-4 records and so far this year no release with Soto on vocals, but 2006 has at least a new TALISMAN coming up…

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Most of you know the story of German singer MICHAEL KISKE, which started in the mid 80s with a couple very successful HELLOWEEN records on which he sang, but after leaving the band, he decided to go into a more pop/rock direction, resulting in 2 average solo albums and an album with the band SUPARED. The first real good release on which he sang after his HELLOWEEN departure was the PLACE VENDOME project from last year. This was instantly a classic melodic rock record which showed that Michael is a very impressive singer. Now he has released his 3rd solo-album, simply titled ‘Kiske’, which marks the beginning of another new period for the singer. The album is nowhere near the sensational AOR/Melodic Rock of PLACE VENDOME. This new solo-CD is actually a continuation of the man’s earlier records, so we get to hear very slow almost depressive 90s orientated alternative rock which is only saved due to Michael’s strong vocalwork, because none of the 11 songs make any impression. Whyd didn’t Michael just release a follow-up to the PLACE VENDOME record, because I think it now is only interesting if you liked the MIKE TRAMP and KIP WINGER solo records of recent years, despite a few nice more melodic rockballad orientated songs such as “Painted”.

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)


HEED is yet another new sensational band from Sweden, with the typical Melodic Metalsound a la NOCTURNAL RITES, DREAM EVIL, MYSTIC PROPHECY, NOSTRADAMEUS, BLOODBOUND, HAMMERFALL, yet with a modern edge here and there and perhaps even more melodic vocalwork and catchier choruses than mentioned bands (is that possible?). Anyway, HEED features former members of LOST HORIZON (the fantastic lead singer Daniel Heiman and guitarist Fredrik Olsson), with bassist Tommy Larsson, drummer Utuk Demir and guitarist Martin Andersson completing the band’s line-up. 12 songs are included and like I already said it is typical classic Melodic Metal like only the Swedish bands are able to make. Highlights are “Last drop of blood”, “Enemy”, “The other side” and “The permanent end celebration”. A superb album, which should be in the hands of fans of mentioned bands.

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


2nd CD of the Swedish band CLOUDSCAPE, which once again contains high class melodic metal. However, in contrary to their debut from 2005, which consisted of older material, this new record ‘Crimson skies’ contains all-new material. The CD was co-produced by ANDERS ‘THEO’ THEANDER and contains 12 tracks. Highlights are “Shadowland”, “Take the blame”, “Psychic imbalance (very strong) and “Hope”. Without a doubt another very sensational Melodic Metal from Sweden, unstoppable the Scandi invasion! Besides CLOUDSCAPE, lead singer Mike Andersson is also busy working with Bob Daisley, Magnus Karlsson, Anders Johansson and several other well-known musicians on a new project called PLANET ALLIANCE, which could become another killer record in the Metal industry, but more on that when the release date gets closer. Be sure to check out this new CLOUDSCAPE release, which is a must if you like high quality typical Swedish Melodic Metal…

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


FROM BEHIND is a new band featuring British and Swedish musicians, of which the most well-known are vocalist Nicky Moore (SAMSON/MAMMOTH) and guitarist Manuel 'Manny' Charlton (NAZARETH). The line-up is completed by Andreas Grufstedt, Mikael Fässberg, Fredrik Borg and Carl-Michael "Hilton" Hildesjö, whom played in bands like JET BLACK COMBO, BURNING ENGINES and CONTACTOR, so the Swedish are clearly lesser-known, although some also played as backing group for PAUL DI’ANNO recently. The CD FROM BEHIND has released contains a Classic Rock style, but sadly it gets a bit boring and none of the songs are really appealing. It sounds like a weaker version of classic BAD COMPANY, with a more Whiskey kinda voice instead of the soulful bluesy vocals of PAUL RODGERS. Not saying it is all bad what we hear, because the songs “Play dirty” and “Size doesn’t matter” are strong uptempo rockers and it definitely is a quality record, especially interesting if you’re interested in hearing a mix between BAD COMPANY and NAZARETH.

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)