Here’s yet another quality CD from someone who does everything on his own. VINCE LUPONE comes out of Arizona/USA and the first track of his CD ‘Screaming into the abyss’ hits like a hammer, because this is fantastic hard hitting midtempo melodic progressive metal, with beautiful guitar melodies in the classic VAI/SATRIANI/PETRUCCI ranks. The only thing that might put some people off here is the drum programming, which makes it sound a bit modern a la MARILYN MANSON, but because it’s instrumental and the fact that Vince can especially the guitar very well, this is another must-have CD for anyone into instrumental progressive metal. Most of the tracks move on in the same style, so from start to finish this is a quality CD, with once again the mention of Vince being his best as the guitarist, although he also plays bass and keys. This is the way how real metal with real guitars should sound instead of all the Nu-Metal crap that nowadays comes out of the USA. Vince is a very talented man, and his CD is much-recommended to the fans of real music. Check it out for yourself at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The American band PRAVDA released a CD titled ‘The echoing sounds’, which musically is a sort of modern meets retro kinda progressive rockalbum, which sometimes reminds me of ECHOLYN quite a lot, yet less melodic. 14 songs are on the CD, and the band goes from softer progrock to even progmetal, so quite diverse in approach. Only the vocals are a bit of a let-down sometimes, but I think nevertheless this CD has still enough to offer for the progrockfan, who is open-minded, because this is not your standard progrock release, because the song are very experimental sometimes, such as “Saving your soul”, which even has early 80s New Wave influences (a la DEPECHE MODE). If you’re becoming interested, then go for more info to: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.2 out of 10)


We’re heading to Austria where we can find GOS, which is a good strong AOR/Melodic Rockband with a female singer. She (Magdalena Bonner) is able to sing quite well, although it sounds forced sometimes in the higher ranks, but most of the time she is able to keep up with the music. The CD contains 10 professionally played and produced songs, which musically go very much into an AOR/Melodic Rock direction, although the band’s guitarist (Mario Sterns) is clearly a talent, because his skills on the guitar in most of the songs is remarkable and he is clearly influenced by BLACK SABBATH and RAINBOW (read: Ritchie Blackmore!). The keyboardwork on the first track reveals some classical music experience, while the vocalwork sounds a bit raw (a la PAT BENATAR). So what have we got here, a strong melodic rock record with influences from classical music (the keys) and classic hardrock/metal (the guitars), and 10 really great memorable songs, of which I think the best ones are “Power of paradise”, “The feast” and “On the top”. Definitely a recommended CD to anyone who likes to hear quality melodic rock, with a classical music and classic hardrock influence! More info at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


This is a very nice CD of JESSE HARMS, a singer-songwriter who wrote hundreds of songs for many different AOR/Rock musicians (including JOHN WAITE, FREDDY CURCI, BEAU NASTY). Now he has a solo CD out titled 'The best of what I've got', and musically it is not far away from RICHARD MARX, STAN BUSH, JOHN FARNHAM, FREDDY CURCI, JOHN WAITE, EDDIE MONEY, MICHAEL MORALES… It's not really heavy or anything, but it is definitely high quality music that is very melodic and interesting for any AOR fan! Jesse has a good voice, and also plays keys and percussion, besides writing all 11 songs. Notable musicians that appear on the album are bassist RICKY PHILLIPS (BABYS/BAD ENGLISH) and drummer Ron Wikso (THE STORM). If we have a look at the included tunes, songs like "Things've changed", "Both sides" (a SAMMY HAGAR co-written track), "Walk on water" and "All I want is you" (should have been a number 1 hit for ALIAS 10+ years ago, but remained unreleased until now on this JESSE HARMS release) are all great calmer (midtempo) melodic pop/aor rocksongs with a strong 80s approach. Without a doubt a must if you miss the good old 80s melodic poprock/aor sound, which so many artists played back then! More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The Canadian band FORGOTTEN TALES returns with a new CD, which is actually very sensational , because basically 'All the sinners' is a superb piece of Melodic Power Metal. First of all, the production and sound quality is of a very high level. Then of course the musicians are all highly skilled, especially the guitarist Martin Desharnais, who throws in some fantastic MAIDEN riffs here and there. Another positive thing about FORGOTTEN TALES is the superb female lead singer Sonia Pineault, who has an amazing voice, almost beating the legendary Canadian Metal lady LEE AARON as best female singer ever! Finally the included 10 songs are all wonderful pieces of high class Melodic Metal with a strong European touch, kinda like MAIDEN, RHAPSODY/HELLOWEEN and very early LEE AARON mixed into an exciting up-to-date style. The first couple of songs hit like a hammer in your head, with both "Lady of the forest" and "All the sinners" being sensational Melodic Metal pieces, with fantastic catchy hooks and memorable choruses. The vocal work of Sonia is some of the best I heard the past few years in the female metal genre. Canada has brought us many good things in the past (RUSH, LEE AARON, HONEYMOON SUITE, HAYWIRE, HAREM SCAREM, LOVERBOY, etc. etc.), but the past few years the scene died. However, out of Quebec comes the fantastic female fronted Melodic Metalband FORGOTTEN TALES, whom just delivered a sensational 2nd CD titled 'All the sinners'. Besides the already mentioned songs, other highlights are "March for freedom", "Three wishes" and the superb "My soul" (AFTER FOREVER eat your heart out!). Definitely a must-have if you want to hear how RHAPSODY would have sounded if they had LEE AARON on vocals, and Adrian Smith of MAIDEN as guitarist. More info at: 

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


Out of Canada comes HOUSE OF NOT, a 3-piece band that combines electronic avant-garde music with progressive rocksounds, ending up sounding like a mix between the dark wave Gothic of 80s underground acts like SISTERS OF MERCY and Neo-progacts such as PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES, FLAMBOROUGH HEAD… They definitely have a sound of their own, which sounds very impressive, especially during the songs "Stranger", "Mainstream" and "Blood from a stone". This CD is definitely something different than the usual progressive rock influences. I think even the progfans that will appreciate SIMPLE MINDS might like this a lot, because HOUSE OF NOT is not that far away from that legendary Scottish band. This is one of those albums you need to listen a few times before it grabs you. It's not an easy album, because the songstructures and vocal style is quite unique. The open-minded progressive rockfans are gonna love this record, because of it's own identity, which should be appreciated by anyone in the musicworld. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


MANOWAR move over, because here is another new band out of the huge Swedish Metalscene. They are called RAM and they play high quality Melodic Power Metal in a MANOWAR meets PRIEST style, yet with the typical Swedish melodic touch (catchy strong hooks and memorable choruses). The production is good and also the 6 (mostly uptempo) included tracks do sound pretty strong. Highlights on 'Sudden impact' are "Judgement and punishment", "Infuriator" and "Black path". More info at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Out of Austria comes ADRENALINE KINGS, a great 80s inspired Melodic Hardrock, with a lovely twin-guitarsound. Although nothing new is brought here, I can inform you that this is really great fun stuff, because the uptempo melodic rock is played very nicely (especially the guitarsolo's are awesome, Matthias Schneider seems to be a real talented guitarplayer). 12 tracks are on this professional CD (booklet and production is all perfect) and songs like "Without your love", "Exotic lady", "When the rain comes down" and "Flying high" are really great uptempo melodic hardrocksongs. Of course the band also throws in a ballad here and there ("Leaving song" and "Crystal tears), and so basically this is a recommended piece to anyone into classy 80s Melodic Hardrock a la DOKKEN, WHITE LION, BONFIRE, ICON, RATT… More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


We're heading to France where we can find a band called HEAVY AND LOUD, whom are playing pure 80s Melodic Hardrock. Their demo has 9 tracks on it, and of course you can not compare the sound quality to a label production, so we should take that in consideration when reviewing this CD. However, the included music is quite good, especially the melodic heavy rocker "Joe" which even has a touch of AOR. If the band would go into a real studio with a big producer I think they would be able to make an even better record, if they do, let's hope they record the song "Joe" over again, because this is really a great songs. Other highlights are "Don't say no" (back to the early 80s, strong AOR melodies during the chorus), "War", "We reach the end" (another classic early 80s type of uptempo melodic heavy rocker, with nice Pomp orientated keyboardwork if I hear it correctly, the song is 2nd best after "Joe") and "Danger" that do sound like a mix between SCORPIONS and ACCEPT. More info on the band at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Here's another NWOBHM compilation CD, which I find always very interesting, although most are not really interesting, because they consists of the well-known bands from that early 80s British movement (MAIDEN, SAXON, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, etc). However, this new compilation release of the American label OLD SCHOOL RECORDS is one of the most interesting compilations. The big difference is not only the fact that we see some lesser-known names, but more over it's a compilation CD of both old and new recordings in the spirit of the old NWOBHM style. However, within the NWOBHM genre there were loads of subgenres, and happily this compilation CD contains songs in the directions Melodic Rock, Glamrock, Heavy Metal, Speed/Thrash and just plain Hard Rock of 14 bands in total. My copy unfortunately has a random order which does not match the songorder of the booklet, which is a pity, but I do can inform you there are all kinds of rare tracks on this CD by the bands BRONZ, GROUND ATTACK, SOLDIER, ATOMKRAFT, IRONHEART, BLOOD MONEY, BLACK ROSE, EF BAND and BURNER. Without a doubt, this CD is a must-have for any fan of the old NWOBHM genre, with both material recorded back in 1983 as well as recently. It proves one thing for sure, the NWOBHM movement will never die! More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Out of Sweden comes STONECAKE, a band that has a sound like no other band we review, however, it is still quite good. The band draws influences from the mid to late 1960s British sound, including a lot of BEATLES influences, but also the late 60s era Psychedelic Rock has influenced this band a lot (JEFFERSON STARSHIP). I think if it had been the 60s this band would definitely be quite big, because their songs are catchy and sometimes as good as the classic 60s stuff of bands like THE HOLLIES, THE TURTLES, THE BEATLES… Opener "Aiya napa night" is a damn catchy uptempo poprocker with a very strong memorable chorus, while a song like "Under the autumn skies" sounds like the song THE BEATLES never recorded, yet the guitarsolo reflects a more up-to-date approach. Let me make this clear that this band is very good in what they're doing, and their sound is heavily influenced by the 1960s British Rockscene, but they are on the other hand up-to-date. Besides the mentioned songs, I also need to mention songs like "Come after Louise" (if it had been 1965 this would have been a definite big hitsingle!) and "A stranded whale", which all reflect that strong 60s British rocksound (a la THE KINKS, THE TURTLES, THE SEARCHERS, THE BEATLES, etc.). If there's anyone out there who only appreciates classic 60s Rock wants to know if there are bands out there reflecting this genre, then look no further, because STONECAKE from Sweden has it all! Besides, the production is very good and I think anyone will agree that this release is high quality, which should by all means interest anyone who wants to hear real music. More info at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Out of Sweden comes the Progressive/Power Metalband ILLUSION OF CLARITY. 4 tracks are on their latest demo CDR, which definitely sounds very impressive. It all starts with the great fast uptempo Melodic Power Metalsong "Faceless", the way they are only able to make 'em in Europe (a bit HELLOWEEN). Next track "Beyond borders of logic" is heavier, more akin to classic 80s US Power Metal (a la HELSTAR/JAG PANZER), while following track "Legacy of a cold heart" has some Progressive Metal elements. Closing track "Unconscious minds" is then again very good classic 80s Melodic US Power Metal in the style of METAL CHURCH, ARMORED SAINT and very early ANTHRAX, but also with a modern middle part that is strongly REAM THEATER influenced. In the end, this band combines perfect melodies with heavy guitar riffs, while being quite diverse in it's approach. Like any other Swedish band, also ILLUSION OF CLARITY is blessed with a great melodic lead singer (Patrik Forsberg). Concluded, recommended band to check out, although maybe the songs need some catchier choruses, because that's the only thing that didn't turn out that well. Nevertheless, these 4 long songs proof there are a lot of quality bands out of the big Swedish underground scene waiting to be discovered. For now, check out this band at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


I already said it a few years ago, when the TIME MACHINE album 'Evil' was released for the first time. That particular album of the Italian band is one of the absolute best Italian music products of all times! If I think about Italian music, I must mention as absolute masterpieces the LABYRINTH 'Return to heaven denied' CD, first couple of RHAPSODY albums, the recent VISION DIVINE album and TIME MACHINE's 'Evil'. This CD hit me big time back in 2001, playing it time and again, because the album is just such a superb Melodic Progressive meets Power meets Neo-Classical Metal record. However, it seems like it didn't get a fair chance back then, because LIMB MUSIC decided to give it another go, which is a really good thing, because this album MUST be heard by each and everyone of you. Songs like "Army of the dead", "Eyes of fire", "Angel of death", "Evil lies" and "Where's my heaven" are instant classics, which combine the melodies and catchy choruses of AOR, the 80s guitarsound of DOKKEN, Neo-Classical and bombastic sounds of RHAPSODY with the Progressive Metal of a DREAM THEATER and VANDENPLAS. What more can I say than the fact that this masterpiece should be in your hands asap if you do not have it yet. The bonustrack on this re-release if by the way just a mixed version of "Eyes of fire", so if you happen to own the album yet, this re-release might not be that interesting, but for those of you who aren't familiar with this classic, better get it quickly. It's a shame the band's recent new CD didn't turn out to be such a winner as this amazing album, but who knows a future release will be better, but if they ever beat this 'Evil', I have my doubts…

(Points: 9.4 out of 10)


Just like the recent re-release of TIME MACHINE's 'Evil', also this CD of KHALI was released a few years ago, but never got that much attention, so LIMB MUSIC re-released it. KHALI was a sort of one-off project of most of the TIME MACHINE members. Musically KHALI was a bit more Progressive Metal than TIME MACHINE, like VANDENPLAS, although while listening to the CD there really is not too much difference with TIME MACHINE, so the album could also have been released under that moniker. The additional bonustrack on this re-release is "Will you remember", which is in fact a TIME MACHINE song. Anyway, like I said before, musically we get to hear a bunch of high quality melodic Progressive Metal on this CD, which has it's highlights in the shape of "Cyberpleasure", "Heaven again" and "So far away". Without a doubt, a must-have for any TIME MACHINE or Progressive Metalfan out there!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


FASTBACK is a new US band featuring former HAIR OF THE DOG bassist Brian Saunders and guitarist/vocalist Michael Thomas. Musically they play a sort of updated retro-Sleazy Hardrocksound, which sounds like a good mixture between TUFF, BANG TANGO, LA GUNS and THE CULT. 10 tracks can be found on the CD, which has a very professional and high quality production. Songs like "Step up", "Find a way", "Goodbye to you" (very catchy) and "Friend of mine" are really strong uptempo Heavy Rocksongs that have a perfect 80s LA Metal meets THE CULT kinda sound. The songs have catchy melodies during the choruses and I think any fan of mentioned bands will appreciate the own sound FASTBACK created on their debut CD. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


2 songs are on this single, which is a sneak preview of a full-length CD later to be released by this American musician. SPIKE IVORY is coming out of New Jersey and is playing early 80s inspired melodic poprock with some catchy hook and memorable choruses a la RICK SPRINGFIELD, DANNY WILDE, BRIAN SPENCE, TOM KIMMEL… It sounds a bit quirky sometimes and Spike's vocalwork is not as good as his guitar riffs, but we can live with this, especially if you miss the good old 80s. Check out the uptempo rocker "My Maria", which is a catchy little tune. More info at: 

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)


This Canadian band is on the border of Progressive Metal, kinda like PAIN OF SALVATION, so they are able to write fantastic melodic progressive metalsongs (such as "Shadowed" with it's lovely melodic vocals), but also throw in some modern Nu-Metal aggressiveness (like in opener "Wasting away"). Their mini-CD consists of 3 songs, and for the people who want to know how the third song sounds like, well closing track "Bottled sorrow" is a nice calmer semi-ballad. Write a full CD next time in the style of "Shadowed" and then we're talking about a sensational melodic progmetalact. Check it out for yourself at: and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


The Italian band SCALA MERCALLI was formed 13 years ago, and in that period they released a few demos before releasing this mini-CD 'My daemons'. Soon the band will release their first full length CD, but this is already a good sneak preview. Musically they play pure Metal, of course influenced by MANOWAR, PRIEST and MAIDEN, which means we can hear a lot of guitar riffs. There are 4 songs on the CD, and although it reminds me also a lot of DOMINE, their countrymen who are signed to a label, it is clear that this band is in it's demo process, because it doesn't sounds as big as mentioned band. However, the band can always grow when they go into a real studio and record a full CD. The guitarist can definitely play, but the singer has some problems when going into the higher vocal range. Nevertheless, songs like "My daemons" and "Banshee's whisper" are nice to hear for a Metalhead! More info at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


It's always a good sign when we receive a demo from Finland, because most of the time it's quality music what we get to hear. ANCARA is the latest addition, because they play very strong Melodic Metal on their 3-track mini-CD. Opener "Bound to roam" sounds really strong, a big sounding midtempo Melodic Metalsong that sounds like a NOCTURNAL RITES, MASTERPLAN or EVERGREY, so a compliment to the band. The song has a very catchy chorus, which sticks in your head and that's always a good thing. Next track "Come apart" is slightly more modern (and even a bit Doom Metalish a la CANDLEMASS), but is still melodic in the chorus, although the chorus itself is not as good as the opening track. Closing track "Why" is the most commercial track on the CD, but that isn't a problem at all, because after all, "Why" is a damn catchy uptempo melodic rocker. I even find this last track the best song of ANCARA, which really has potential in turning out to be the song that got the band signed to a label someday soon. Finland proves once again to be one of the most important countries in the melodic metalscene. More info at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


This band from Japan is clearly still in the demo process, because opener "A seed" on their CD sounds like it was recorded in a small basement somewhere in a narrow alley down the streets of Sapporo. This song is barely listenable, due to a bass guitar that is produced upfront, while the vocals are impossible to hear. However, next track "2 (No title)" is much better, as this is a well-thought and produced Melodic Heavy Rocker in the late 80s LOUDNESS/ANTHEM style. Happily, the rest of the CD is following the style and sound of track 2, so we can enjoy some good powerful melodic heavy rock/metal from Japan, which has further highlights in the shape of "Into the light" (very impressive faster NWOBHM influenced Melodic Metal, with some good vocals actually) and "Alive". Then getting back to that first song, why did they put that on the CD? Anyway, looking forward to a third CD, because SILVERBACK is one of many Japanese bands out there that know how to play good Melodic Metal! More info at: 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Without a doubt, this is a great high quality CD filled with pleasant melodic hardrock. The bandmembers of MYSTERIOUS NOISE can definitely play very well, while their lead singer has a good strong voice. Their songs sound catchy, very 80s and are most of the time straight-forward. It all sounds a bit American (80s way), but for an Austrian band they surely are one of the better ones I heard lately. 12 songs are included, and tracks like “Transylvanian night”, “Black & White”, “Fight or fall” and “Music freak” represent some great straight-forward Melodic Hardrock/Party Metal in 80s US style (KEEL, RATT, CRUE, KROKUS, with some slight Power Metal (PRIEST) influences sometimes). Check it out for yourself at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


I believe this is already the fifth CD of the Greek metalband VARATHRON, but it’s the first one I get to hear. Instrumental it sounds pretty good, reminding of classic 80s melodic metal (MAIDEN), but unfortunately the vocal department is Death growling, and the 10 included songs are actually also pure Death Metal, so only interesting for the fans of that genre.

(Points: -)


This German band is playing Thrash Metal the way it is supposed to sound, in the good old Bay Area tradition, which means it is fast, raw and sounding quite big. Of course they never have the same level of TESTAMENT or DEATH ANGEL for that matter, but songs like “Desperation”, “Death train” and especially “The hunt” (which has a very melodic chorus a la THRESHOLD!!!) show that this band has potential for a Thrash Metal act to survive these days. Besides, the band has a very good looking female guitarist, so another positive thing why this band has changes to become bigger. Hopefully more songs a la “The hunt” next time, because that song is really great. For now, definitely a highly recommended band to the fans of TESTAMENT, OVERKILL, KREATOR, SODOM…

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


High quality stuff from Sweden once again in the shape of a band called ALTERED AEON, whom deliver their first CD on the Greek label BLACK LOTUS RECORDS. The band is playing a sort of mix of Melodic Power Metal and Thrash Metal, ending up sounding aggressive and melodic at the same, while also throwing in some technical elements into their songs. 10 songs are included, and besides a big production and great sound quality, the CD has enough to offer for a Thrash Metalfan, although like any other Swedish band, the band also has some pleasant melodies on offer, so even the Power Metalfans might find something of interest here. In the end a fine release, and a promise for the future!

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


This band from Greece has already released a bunch of albums the past 15 years, and ‘Lyssa’ is their latest addition to their catalogue. Somehow they sound like a melodic Black Metalband. It’s not superfast all the time, because they also have some calmer parts and melodic choruses. Melodic I mean the fact that they sound like MOTORHEAD during the choruses, while other parts of the songs are more sounding like a modern VENOM. Fans of the band will be pleased to hear that NIGHTFALL has released a good quality album, which follows the style of their earlier albums. Imagine a mix between MOTORHEAD, CHILDREN OF BODOM, VENOM and BATHORY, then you have the sound of NIGHTFALL!

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Normally we do not review Death Metal, but within this genre we can find bands that experiment and mix other styles into their Death Metal. THE BEREAVED from Sweden however is not an exception, because they play pure Death Metal the way the real fans want to hear it. Growling and fast, but still with keys added. Nevertheless, only interesting for the CHILDREN OF BODOM fans!

(Points: -)


We can be short about this band from Greece, because they play Nu-Metal, and this style is not appreciated at our office, so this is an unacceptable release from BLACK LOTUS RECORDS to cash in on the Nu-Metalscene, because the damn record sounds like LIMP BIZKIT, KORN and SLIPKNOT. The reason they get a slightly higher rating is because their guitarist can play and the production was done at Finnvox.

(Points: 2.0 out of 10)


NOSGOTH is another new band in the Female Fronted Gothic Metalscene. The Austrian band has released a demo, consisting of 5 tracks. What we get to hear is definitely high quality Melodic Gothic Metal, which is reminding one of a AFTER FOREVER, NEMESEA, WITHIN TEMPTATION, XANDRIA, etc. The band has a very good lead singer (Kerstin) and instrumental it also sounds quite good, while the production is impressive as well. This means we have a winner on our hands within the Goth Metalscene, although nothing new is brought here. Nevertheless, songs like “Sonnet of the moon” and “Care, charmer sleep” show we are dealing here with a good typical Gothic Metalband in the best European tradition. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The project SILENCE was created 9 years ago in France by guitarist/keyboardplayer Bruno Levesque. Their new CD ‘Nostalgia’ is a high quality AOR/Melodic Rockalbum, which actually has an own identity, although I hear some GIANT similarities, which is an incredible comparison to receive, because GIANT was one of the best bands within the AOR genre! Anyway, this album is from start to finish high quality, and probably one of the best AOR releases ever to hail from France! Multi-instrumentalist Bruno Levesque received help from lead singer Jerome Cazard, who happens to have an excellent voice, which can be heard all throughout this wonderful CD. Jerome’s guitarwork is beautiful, with pleasant melodies coming out of his guitar (a la NEAL SCHON). Without a doubt, this is a pure AOR release that falls in between GIANT, SIGNAL, JOURNEY and STREET TALK, which are comparisons that will attract any AOR fan out there. Of course I wish there were thousands of releases within the AOR genre that sounded like this, but SILENCE is definitely one if it’s kind here. Each month there’s one release in the AOR genre that stands head and shoulders above the rest. The past few months these were the releases of GREENHOUZE and PRIDE OF LIONS, while also the new SHY is a must-have for the AOR fans, and the new SILENCE is another top release for the AOR lovers, so go ahead and buy this without any doubts! Finally, I want to give you some detailed information about the included 13 songs, of which the highlights are opener “Stupid man” (midtempo AOR piece a la STREET TALK), “Electric harps” (very catchy uptempo AOR like SHY meets JOURNEY), “Chrome&glass” (fresh and crystal clear uptempo AOR, every much reminding me of AGENT circa their wonderful classic debut album), “Easy way” (hello JOURNEY!) and “Time” (high class uptempo AOR). Concluded, a must-have for the AOR fans! Available through 

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


In the series of tributes, the latest one is a tribute to TED NUGENT! Happily it’s a quality tribute featuring the whole LA scene, among which we can find singers like John Corabi (ex-CRUE), Taime Downe (FASTER PUSSYCAT), Jani Lane (ex-WARRANT), Jizzy Pearl (LOVE/HATE), Phil Lewis (LA GUNS), Stevie Rachelle (TUFF), guitarist JAKE E. LEE and drummer Randy Castillo. Nice to see such a good line-up from the LA scene paying tribute to TED NUGENT, who is very well-known of course, although most of his famous songs date back to the 1970s. This can also be seen when having a look at the track listing, where we can find tracks like “Cat scratch fever” (of course!), Free for all”, “Stranglehold” and “Wango tango”. His biggest hit is also included, but this cover of “Journey to the center of the mind” is not a TED NUGENT solo song, but one from his AMBOY DUKES period. Anyway, a nice tribute, performed nicely, with nothing but well-known singers, whom deliver a good job.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Surprise surprise! Russia has their Goth Metalband now as well, because THE AERIUM deliver an album that falls exactly in the same style as EPICA, NIGHTWISH, WITHIN TEMPTATION… At the moment there’s an overload of new Goth metalalbums, and it seems like every country wants to have their own female fronted Goth Metalband. Russia was one of the very few countries which didn’t had one, but now there’s THE AERIUM. The CD they released is good, but to me it’s just another release, which just can not compete with all those wonderful Dutch releases we have had in this genre recently (WITHIN TEMPTATION, NEMESEA, AUTUMN and last year’s AFTER FOREVER and EPICA). Nevertheless, it’s a good quality album, which will definitely be loved by fans of the genre. 8 songs are on their debut CD, and songs like “Song for the dead king”, “Queen of snows” and “Midnight” are very nice to listen to. Although nothing new is brought here, I can imagine fans of EDENBRIDGE, EPICA, AFTER FOREVER, NIGHTWISH… will be interested to check out this Russian band!

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Not everything that is released in the Metalscene is interesting, because this LEICHENWETTER for example is another RAMMSTEIN wanneebee, which means Industrial/Techno-Metal with many drum machines and distorted guitars, which is not interesting for the readers of our magazine/website. Besides, the German language is another barrier for many people, although if you happen to like RRAMMSTEIN, then this might be interesting after all!

(Points: 5.0 out of 10)


Out of Italy comes the wonderful band CONQUEROR, who deliver a fantastic album. The band is playing very melodic Neo-prog a la IQ, yet with a female singer called Simona Rigano. She has a great voice and she can play keys as well. The 8 long songs on their album are really beautiful, of course in Italian tradition (PFM), but because the band has a female singer, they sound different than most other bands in the genre. The material is of a very high level, and I even think this is one of the best Italian Progressive Rock releases I have heard in a long time. Everything sounds really perfect, the keys, the vocals, the guitars and also the whole package of the CD (production/booklet) is impressive, so why spend more words on this CD, because the best thing you can do is checking out this wonderful melodic progrock CD. Especially fans of IQ, LANA LANE, MOSTLY AUTUMN will like this a lot! More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


The CD of CAMPO DI MARTE, a legendary Italian progressive rockband, consists of 2 discs. The first disc is a registration of a live concert from 1972, and although for the die-hard fans this is an interesting concert to hear, I am afraid the sound quality is too bad to make it a pleasant listen. However, the 2nd CD is ten thousand times better, because the sound quality is superb. This is hardly a surprise, because the particular concert was recorded 31 years after the concert of disc 1. Disc 2 features a concert from 2003. Musically the band has high quality typical Italo prog to offer. Italo prog stands for melodies, long keyboard passages and most of the time really emotions coming out of the bandmembers during a performance, and this is also the case with CAMPO DI MARRTE. They deliver a beautiful piece of music on the 8 tracks, which are on this live disc. The fans of the band will appreciate this release, and also for the fans of Neo-Prog who don’t know anything about this band, this live CD is recommended to check out. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


This is what I exactly expect from a Heavy Metalband, because this CD is filled with high quality music that sounds heavy and catchy at the same time. IMAGIKA comes out of the USA, and they play a mix of Power Metal and Bay Area Thrash-Metal, which sounds like the perfect mix between PRIEST and TESTAMENT. Finally an album in this genre which really is impressive from start to finish. The CD sounds HUGE, thanks to legendary producer NEIL KERNON (of QUEENSRYCHE, AUTOGRAPH, MICHAEL BOLTON, FM, PRIEST…), who gave it a superb sound. I haven’t heard so many big fat guitar riffs since PANTERA, but then again IMAGIKA is sounding like a real metalband needs to sound. They offer 10 songs on their 3rd CD ‘Devils on both sides’. It’s remarkable I haven’t heard of this band before, because they sound very sensational. They remind me of PRIMAL FEAR, but also similarities to classic 80s US Power Metal is possible (read METAL CHURCH, VICIOUS RUMORS, ARMORED SAINT and even AGENT STEEL, EXCITER, ANVIL…). Songs like “Hexed”, “Evil’s rising” and “Voice of prejudice” are hard-hitting Power Metalsongs (with Thrash influences) with monsterous big guitar riffs and superb vocalwork! Lead singer Norman Skinner is able to go all the way, screaming, shouting, but also singing very melodic (like in “Devils on both sides” and the superb “Back to the beginning” – which is one of the best metalsongs I have heard in years!!!). The guitar wall-of-sound is also True Power Metal, so what more do I need to add here that this is one of the best True Metal releases in a long time. I have my doubts if the new PRIEST will be a better record than this one! If you like PRIMAL FEAR, then this is a total must for you to check out!

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


There’s now a compilation available through MAUSOLEUM RECORDS, which contains the 17 best songs of the first 3 albums of this legendary US Hardcoreband. The band introduced in the early 80s a new style in the USA, which was a crossover between Punk and Metal. Over in the UK bands like GBH and EXPLOITED had already introduced Hardcore to the British public, but DRI were among the first in the USA. They were formed in the very early 80s in Texas, and from there the Hardcore scene started to grow into the big scene it has been for the past 10-15 years, although not particularly in Texas. Anyway, this CD offers a nice collection of songs from the band’s early years. It’s nice to see where it all started, because DRI were definitely one of the first US Hardcore bands, and on this CD you can hear the first steps of American hardcore…

(Points: -)


The Swedish band SEVEN WISHES return with a new CD, which musically is still the same old 80s type of Melodic Hardrock as on their previous albums, yet with a different line-up. The band has a new singer called Pelle Andersson, but like I already said also on this album we can hear good clean quality Melodic Hardrock in the best late 80s US style, which reminds me a lot of DOKKEN, XYZ, FIREHOUSE, HEAVENS EDGE… The vocals sound lower better than in the higher range, but we can live with it. Although this isn’t a sensational release, and nothing new is brought here, the new SEVEN WISHES CD has some nice songs to offer here. Most of the time it’s uptempo guitar orientated melodic hardrock, with as highlights “Won’t see me cry”, “Fortune teller”, “Goes around comes around” and “Picked up my pieces”. Interesting to check out if you’re a fan of mentioned bands!

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Never heard of the band, but it seems they have already 4 CDs out, and this is their fifth album. They hail from Italy, and play a sort of melodic progressive metal, with neo-classical influences, but sadly with a singer that is only able to scream and growl as if he is in a Black/Death-Metalband. This is a pity, because instrumental OPERA IX sounds pretty good, however the growls/grunts are making this band only interesting for the death/black-fan, who probably find the keys too dominant, but if CHILDREN OF BODOM can get away with it, OPERA XI will then also be appreciated within this genre…

(Points: 6.9 out of 10)


What do we have here then, well very fast Extreme Pure Black Metal, which gets bored after a few seconds, but is nice to play during times when you want to express your angry feelings about something that is bothering you, such as people who you don’t like. Then just give them something to listen to and they will most definitely be hating you for letting them listen to such extreme music!

(Points: 5.0 out of 10)


One of the worst albums I have heard in a long time. STURMGEIST are from Norway, but they play a sort of Anglo-Industrial-Metal, which is very much sounding like RAMMSTEIN, only then much worse. Please do not release such crap next time!

(Points: 1.3 out of 10)


It’s already the 6th CD of the Italian band MORTUARY DRAPE, but I think also with this new album the boys won’t be making any noise outside Italy, although I must admit that they definitely can play very well. Instrumental everything sounds great, but the Death growls are spoiling things once again, just like the other releases on this label. It’s not even pure Death-Metal, but more Thrash-Metal with Death-growls. Only recommended to the fans of this genre!

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


A new label, with a very cheap Word Art logo, but it’s the music that counts, but I am afraid their very first release of the US band PYREXIA is one of those typical US/New York Hardcore releases a la PANTERA and CROWBAR. However, the band has a very good guitarist in their line-up, and the songs are sometimes very fast (akin to Black/Death a la DEICIDE), but most of the time it’s pure US Hardcore, which means a lot of aggressive screams, but like I said also good guitarwork. More info at: 

(Points: 6.0 out of 10)


Let me get this straight, I have also been a fan of Punkrock and sooner or later I also wanted to include reviews of the releases in this style over here. In fact, if you have copies of our first couple of issues, there are clearly many reviews that could be classified as Punkrock. However, through the years this scene became bored and up until now most of the releases sound the same. The old Punkscene is still so much better than the we-all-sound-the-same-scene from the USA, with all these childish acts like GREENDAY, BLINK 182 and whatever. Good Punk to me was made in the late 70s with UK bands like THE CLASH, THE BUZZCOCKS, THE JAM, THE BOYS, THE UNDERTONES, VICE SQUAD, etc. etc. and of course the inventors of Punk, THE RAMONES from New York, who started playing old BEACH BOYS songs at fast speed with one loud guitar riff, and they called it Punk. Anyway, nowadays there are so many bands out there, and it seems like either you play Happy Power Pop Punk a la GREENDAY or fast angry Hardcore a la PANTERA. But like always there are exceptions and 7 SECONDS is definitely one of the better new bands. It’s the first album I hear from this US band, and they play good clean uptempo Punkrock with some strong melodies and nice clean vocals. However, complaints are the fact the 17 short songs barely make the 30 minutes of playing time, while these songs also are all in the same fast uptempo happy style, which means that you’re pretty fast done with the album. I’m not saying it’s a bad album, because without a doubt, this is finally a good melodic punkrockband on my desk, but give the fans something more than just 28 minutes of the same. Nevertheless, it’s a must if you’re a Punkrocker, because these guys are definitely more in THE RAMONES and old UK Punkstyle than any other band at the moment, which is a good thing…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


I don’t understand why so-called True Metal labels are releasing such terrible Nu/Hardcore-Metal, because after all, this Spanish band is nothing more than a LINKIN PARK wannabees. I’ll pass…

(Points: 2.0 out of 10)


What to say about this Norwegian band? Well, they play a sort of slowed down Black Metal, which sounds OK for what it is, but after a while it gets bored…

(Points: 5.5 out of 10)


I’m afraid this Italian band went a little bit too soon into the studio, because it sounds if I am listening to a demo. First of all, the CD cover looks very cheap, secondly the lead vocals are not good for this kind of Metal and finally, the included 10 songs do not make any impression. I remember I reviewed a demo of this band, but somehow that has gone out of my memory, so therefore I thought this CD was going to be interesting perhaps. However, the lead singer completely fails to impress here, although on the slower parts he shows he is able to sing well. Nevertheless, when the music goes all the way up, which happens a lot, because after all, RAISING FEAR is playing PRIEST meets MAIDEN kinda True Metal, the singer sounds forced, and he doesn’t convince at all. The best thing about the band is the fantastic guitarist, who is the real winner of RAISING FEAR. Now if only they could change their singer and write some better stronger material next time, because now it’s only interesting for the absolute die-hard metalfreaks out there!

(Points: 6.6 out of 10)


CIRCLE 2 CIRCLE returns with a new album, which is without a doubt a high class Melodic Metal record, which will please any fan of SAVATAGE, 80s BLACK SABBATH, DIO… It all starts very calm with “In this life”, which builds up to a great midtempo Melodic Heavy Rock/Metal piece. And from there on this album won’t let you go for a minute, because the remaining 9 tracks are showing how high quality Melodic Metal should be made. ZAK STEVENS’ vocals are very impressive (and somehow remind me of DEE SNIDER of TWISTED SISTER) and the guitarwork of Andrew Lee and Evan Christopher is huge, and like I already mentioned the 10 included songs on the CD are superb. This is a Metal record the way it is supposed to sound. The choruses in the songs are catchy, with a little help from some harmony vocals, and I think any Rock/Metal fan is gonna love this record. Although I compare it to SAVATAGE, I must add that it sounds more like the older SAVATAGE, because most of the material on this new CIRCLE 2 CIRCLE is straight-forward. Songs like “Open season”, “Hollow” (classy 80s guitar riff), “Faces in the dark and “Psycho motor” show that we are dealing here with something special, because actually all 10 songs are melodic metal of the upper class, as good as (or maybe even better than) the latest DIO record. Without a doubt, a highly recommended CD!

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


Punk was invented by the legendary New York band THE RAMONES, who started playing old 60s tunes (mostly BEACH BOYS) at a faster speed, but also were making original tunes in this style. Eventually they were the first real Punkband, although even in the 60s some bands could be labelled Punk, but in the 1970s they had an overdrive for the guitar, so it sounded heavier. When THE RAMONES started playing their songs in the famous New York club CBGB, people became influenced by this new type of music. Some fellow from the UK (such as SEX PISTOLS members) were influenced and started playing this new kind of rockstyle in the UK, and so from then on many new bands popped up until there was an explosion in 1977 when SEX PISTOLS hit big time. Many bands got signed to major labels, such as BUZZCOCKS, CLASH and UNDERTONES. However, there were also quite a lot Independent labels, among which CHERRY RED RECORDS, a label that was one of the most important labels for UK Punk, and they still exist. The label has done a lot of re-issues on CD the past decades, and now they have released a Book, which covers the 2nd generation of UK Punkbands in the period 1980-1984. The book was written by Ian Glasper, who has done a marvellous job in bringing forward all the information you need to know about the most important Punkbands from the period 1980-1984. You must know before reading the book a little history about UK Punk, because after the big breakthrough in 1977 so many bands were signed, but no less than 2 years later Punk was out and NWOBHM became the new style, which so many UK bands started playing. However in the very early 80s a whole new scene came to exist, mainly in the underground of the UK, which brought forward a lot of bands that still exist nowadays and were as important as the inventors of Punk in the mid/late 70s. This book carefully tells us all you need to know about this movement within the Punkgenre. The whole UK scene from 1980-1983 is reviewed on 400 pages. Some of the most well-known bands that started in this period are ANGELIC UPSTARTS, TOY DOLLS, DISCHARGE, UK SUBS, ANTO NOWHERE LEAGUE, PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES, COCKNEY REJECTS, EXPLOITED, BLITZ, GBH and VICE SQUAD. Biographies on all these bands and many more are featured in this book, which is not only interesting for the Punkfan, but for any music fan to understand the importance the Punk movement has had after the 1977 breakthrough. The recent 3rd wave of new Punkbands is more or less only happening in the USA, because after 1984 UK Punk seemed to have died, although many of the included bands in this book still perform and release records, such as UK SUBS who are at the moment doing a European tour. Anyway, besides the book, there is also a fantastic DVD available, which contains 30 video clips (yes, real clips, but also a lot live clips) of 30 different bands. Most notable acts on this DVD are GBH, PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES, ABRASIVE WHEELS, VICE SQUAD, THE BUSINESS, ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE, TOY DOLLS and UK SUBS. Not all of them were actually recorded between 1980-1984, but then again, in this period now many people owned a video camera and the few promo video clips that were shot are very rare, so I think a Punkfan will after all be very pleased with this DVD. However, the Book and DVD are sold separate. The Book is an enjoyable read for any music fan, while the Punkrockfan will be pleased with the DVD version, although of course the serious Punk collector needs to own a copy of the book as well. It is a very good book to keep with you whenever you’re listening to any of the featured bands, and I guess when you listen to good Punk, then you will definitely be playing one of these bands. Let’s hope there will also be a book published that covers the first wave of UK bands, because that explosion in 1977 brought us some of the best Punkbands ever (THE BOYS, THE UNDERTONES, VICE SQUAD, THE BUZZCOCKS, THE JAM, THE BUSINESS, SHAM 69, THE CLASH, etc.). The Book and DVD are available through: 

(Points: Book – 8.8 out of 10, DVD – 8.3 out of 10)


TIMEMAGE is an incredible huge project/band from Germany, which is not your typical Metalband, but that fact is making it very interesting, because their new CD ‘Shadow realm’ (which is their 6th CD so far) is filled with high quality music which can best be compared to AINA, AYREON, NOSTRADAMEUS… So this is a concept record, which contains all kinds of music influences, although most of the time it’s a mix between Progressive Metal and Classical Music. Although this is an independent release, I can easily qualify it is a A+ release. The CD contains 12 tracks, which will please you for a while. The songs are diverse, and the album in general is really a typical Concept Rock-Opera album, which contains influences from each Metalstyle, although there is enough melody included to make it interesting for the fans of AYREON, AINA… The CD has a big production, and most important member of TIMEMAGE is keyboardplayer/songwriter/vocalist STEFAN C. SCHENKEL, who is actually the man behind TIMEAGE, although he is helped by musicians such as Tobias Bradneck and Thomas Gaddum on guitar and some unknown singers. However, this is mainly Stefan’s project, who has done a very good job here I think, because it all sounds quite big and even sensational. Songs like “Fly”, “Still alive” and “Our souls will unite” are very strong songs that combine Power, Melodic and Prog Metal with Classical Music. I think the whole CD should appeal to many people, because it has the same kind of structure as AINA, AYREON and other Rock-Opera’s which are all quite famous. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Out of the Czech Republic comes RIMORTIS, a band being praised by the Czech Rock magazines. This is their first official release, because I remember reviewing a demo of them a long time ago. Although there have been quite a lot good bands coming out of the Czech Republic, it is clear that there never has been a really sensational band. Happily, RIMORTIS is one of the better sounding bands to hail from eastern Europe, because most of the band sound very much the same. RIMORTIS however are playing a higher level of Melodic Metal, which is a bit akin to EDGUY and STRATOVARIUS, with some SONATA ARCTICA influences as well, although the lead vocals are not that strong, because singing English without an accent is almost impossible for this band. Nevertheless, the melodies in songs like “Kingdom of the sun” and “The cry of angels” are quite nice, and they do contain some lovely keyboard and guitarwork, so instrumental it’s all pretty good, even the production of the 6 songs on this demo is pretty good. If only the vocals could improve next time, maybe sing a bit higher and faster, because it now sounds a bit monotonous. However, the first 3 songs are in English and the last 3 tracks in the band’s own language, and then you can hear the difference, because in Czech this band sounds much better, so maybe stick to your own language, but then again a breakthrough will never happen. Anyway, check out this band at: 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Finally a tribute to one of the best bands that emerged out of the NWOBHM movement. Although MAIDEN is of course the most important band, I think after 1988 they never released a good record, while SAXON has always been very confident in releasing good quality Metal records. In fact, if you compare both of the 2004 records of SAXON and MAIDEN, it is easy to tell the new SAXON is so much better than the average MAIDEN record. Anyway, now there’s a tribute available, which contains 18 songs (and 13 bonustracks if you can get hold of the limited edition version). Of course the best SAXON songs are included, and most of the featured bands are relatively unknown, but for the die-hard Metalfans it’s a must to hear what bands like PARAGON, STORMWARRIOR, TWISTED TOWER DIRE, AIRBORN, SEVENTH SON, REVIVER and TWYSTER did with such legendary SAXON classics like “20,000 feet”, “Power and the glory” and “Dallas 1 PM”. Check it out if you’re a real Metalhead!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Once again it is clear that VALENSIA is a big QUEEN fan, because he is again making a good FREDDIE MERCURY impression, although not that good. Musically on his project albums of METAL MAJESTY he goes back in time to the 1980s when this kind of Melodic Hardrock was huge. Comparisons to WHITESNAKE are sometimes quite clear, especially in opener “We rocked”, a very strong catchy uptempo melodic rocker in the best 80s style (also akin to DOKKEN and SCORPIONS). The rest of the album is a mix of 80s Melodic Arena Hardrock and 70s QUEEN, so rock and roll all night and party everyday! The melodies are quite pleasant and VALENSIA is a real good performer, and just like his debut as METAL MAJESTY, also this new album is definitely better than the ‘way-too-adventurous- solo albums of VALENSIA. Highlights besides the great opener are “Hold on to the night”, “Hell hounds on my trail’, the STYX influenced “Alone, unknown and on my own” and the superb uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker “Aurelia’s night” – which sounds like a mix between WHITE SISTER and ROBBY VALENTINE, containing a very strong catchy chorus. Recommended to people who miss the days of VANDENBERGM SCORPS, DOKKEN, WHITESNAKE and of course QUEEN fans, because also quite a few songs could be QUEEN tunes (such as “Love will make you bleed” – which has “Another bites the dust” written all over the place!!! and “Burying heather” – which has BEATLES – “Eleneaor rigby” written all over!)

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


ZAKK WYLDE has been the guitarist for BLACK LABEL SOCIETY for about 18 years now, but during this period he has also been doing some other things musically, such as his side projects PRIDE AND GLORY and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. With that last band he is about to release a new CD, which is titled ‘Mafia’. The music is modern Metal, very American sounding with big groovy guitarwork and aggressive vocals. This is definitely a record for the Guitarfreaks and people who are into the American kinda Metal of nowadays, but do not expect any pleasant melodies, because sometimes this is a record that comes close to Hardcore a la PANTERA. However, it’s still a good Metalrecord, with some strong OZZY similarities as well, so in the end it’s quite diverse in approach, but take it from me that this is one of those record you need to listen to a few times before it grabs you. One thing is clear, you must not hate modern metal, because this record has absolutely nothing to do with classy 80s metal, I would rather think early BLACK SABBATH, so groovy, dark and raw to the bone, which isn’t bad either of course, but maybe not interesting for every metalfan! Nevertheless, this is one of those records that is gonna do well in the USA I think, but we’ll see what happens when it is released early March.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The Swedish band WINTERLONG returns with a new CD, which is simply titled ‘Winterlong’. Although it is a good Melodic Metal record, it’s not as sensational as other bands from Sweden, such as NOCTURNAL RITES, LAST TRIBE and DREAM EVIL, which are at the moment the best bands in Metal world at this very moment, so nothing to be ashamed if an album doesn’t reach that high level! Nevertheless, the new WINTERLONG CD is a very nice welcome to add to your collection, because I rate them at the same level as for example NOSTRADAMEUS, which means there are a few fantastic sensational tracks on their album, which in this case are “Ten digits of the future” (lovely!), “Judgement day”, “Each day we die” (even a bit LABYRINTH/VISION DIVINE) and “We’ll ride from the dead”, all very strong uptempo Melodic Metal pieces with some lovely catchy choruses. Not an absolute top release like NOCTURNAL RITES or DREAM EVIL, but still a must to own if you’re a fan of typical Swedish Melodic Metal a la mentioned bands, because there’s some great stuff here and there on the new WINTERLONG album that makes this album their best effort so far!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)