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HOT NEW REVIEWS

UPDATED ON FEBRUARY 6 - 2005

DORNFALL ‘DORNFALL’ (BRENNUS RECORDS)

The French band DORNFALL was formed a few years ago, and they now have released their full-length debut CD. Musically they play Progressive Metal, and they do it really well. The lyrics are in French, but that isn’t a problem, because all together it sounds very impressive. The band has a very good lead singer (Stef Molino), who sounds like one of the best French singers I ever heard, but there’s always a but, and this time it’s the fact that every now and then we can hear some ‘black metal’ screams in the songs. This sadly disturbs the melodic progressive metal sometimes, especially during opener “Les tables de sable”. During the following songs it doesn’t happen too much anymore, but I think the band is able to make a stronger album next time, because they surely prove to make good quality progressive metal, which sometimes reminds me of MANIGANCE, yet less catchy. However, like I already said the band has a very strong lead singer, while some of the songs (“Les Tables des Mages”, “Jack” and the English sung “Murderers from outer space”) are quite sensational Melodic Progressive Metalsongs. However, I am safe to say that this band is able to make something even better in the future, nevertheless, for a new band they have released a very good album, which is highly recommended to fans of VANDENPLAS and MANIGANCE.

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

GIANLUCA GALLI ‘BACK HOME’ (HORUS MUSIC/AUDIOGLOBE/ROCK INC)

Guitarist GIANLUCA GALLI comes out of Italy, and at the same time he releases a solo-CD, he also released a new CD with his band MANTRA. Both albums are filled with high quality music, where Galli’s solo-CD ‘Back home’ features good instrumental guitar based melodic hardrock/metal, with progmetal influences. 12 songs are included and like I already mentioned, this is high quality stuff, especially interesting for the guitarfreaks among us!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

DICE ‘TIME IN ELEVEN PICTURES’ (SCENE RECORDS)

The unstoppable German band DICE is back with a new CD, their 11th CD and compared to their previous albums, the new CD ‘Time in eleven pictures’ is slightly rockier sometimes. The music is of course still neo-progressive rock, which will definitely please fans of IQ, FLOWER KINGS, PENDRAGON, etc. For the past 8 years, DICE has been able to release a new CD each year. ‘Time in eleven pictures’ is the latest release, which is yet another classy piece of neo-progressive rock. The CD has a playing time of 60 minutes, and songs like “Could freedom”, “Time machine”, “In just one day” and “Time is always ending” are definitely interesting for any fan of Neo-Progressive Rock. Check it out at: http://www.dice-band.de or http://www.scene-records.de 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

MASTERPLAN 'AERONAUTS' (AFM RECORDS/ROCK INC)

Norwegian Vocalist Jorn Lande, German guitarist Roland Grapow and co. return with the 2nd CD of their band MASTERPLAN, which is titled 'Aeronauts'. Without a doubt, this new release is going to be one of 2005's best releases, because from start to finish it's one-helluva melodic metal ride. Jorn's vocals are better than ever, and the 10 included songs are all superb high-class melodic metal pieces. Songs like "Wounds", "I'm not afraid", "Into the arena" and "Falling sparrow" are some of the best Melodic Metalsongs I heard in a long time. The production is huge, while the songs all feature superb catchy memorable chorus. It will not surprise me if this CD is going to give the band an even BIGGER breakthrough in- and outside Europe than the breakthrough they had with their debut release. Their debut CD already went to number 1 in Japan 2 years ago, and this new album is even better, so it should become a worldwide million-seller. The promotion behind the release is also HUGE, so it should be possible that this CD is going to be one of the best selling Metal records of 2005! One thing is certain and that's the fact that this CD might become the best Metal CD of 2005!

(Points: 9.3 out of 10)

LABYRINTH 'FREEMAN' (ARISE RECORDS)

LABYRINTH returns with a new CD, and this time they have released it on ARISE RECORDS, a smaller Metal label from Spain. So they switched with every release to a new label, but happily they are still playing high quality music. The new CD is definitely less Power Metal than the band's earlier releases, and I think it is for the better, because they sound much stronger now, although not as good as their classic 'Return to heaven denied'. However, the start is very sensational, because opener "L.Y.A.F.H." is a superb melodic Progressive Metalsong, which even reminds me of the new FATES WARNING, ENCHANT, yet a bit more Metal here and there, but also with some lovely melodic vocals and a deadly catchy chorus. This first track is definitely one of the stronger songs, and for the fan of old LABYRINTH, there is still enough to enjoy, because a song like "Dive in open waters" is fantastic uptempo Melodic Power Metal, but like I said before, the band has created a much more open sound, which reveals clear progressive and melodic rock influences. I think they have succeeded in releasing a really good album, which will please not only the LABYRINTH fans, but is even highly recommended to any progfan or a melodic rockfreak, so in the end a very diverse release. Other highlights, besides the already mentioned 2 songs, are "M3", "Face and pray", "Infidels", "Meanings" and "Nothing new". Roberto's vocals are very good, and the big sound of the record makes the 10 songs on the album sound really sensational, so you know what to do when this record is released early March. The only pity is that I am unsure if all tracks are really good, because the promo I received shortened a lot of tracks, and especially "Freeman" was cut very quickly, right before the guitarsolo, and the song itself had a strange drumbeat somewhere in the middle of the song, so I don't have a clue what happened after that 'weird' break. The same goes for the songs "Face and pray", "Nothing new" and "Meanings", which all get cut halfway, so I can not tell is the full songs are high-class, because for example a song like "Face and pray" has a jazzy break, which would work for some people, but maybe not for the die-hard fans, as I am not sure what happens after this break. If labels keep shorten the promos, it will be hard to give new releases a really high rating, because it is unsure how a song further develops, if it is cut halfway! Anyway, it seems like LABYRINTH has released another great album!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

DARK MOOR 'BEYOND THE SEA' (ARISE RECORDS)

DARK MOOR has released a whole series of albums up until now, and 2005 is already bringing another new album of this Spanish band. The band is playing high quality neo-classical Melodic Power Metal, which reminds one of LABYRINTH, KAMELOT and ANGRA. 10 songs are on the new DARK MOOR album, which sound quite good, although nothing new is brought here. Just like the other promo CDs of the label ARISE RECORDS, also this DARK MOOR has shortened tracks, which makes it hard to give a good rating to the album, because I can not judge all the songs. However, from what I have heard, I am safe to say that songs like "Before the duel", "The silver key" and "Going on" are very strong Melodic Power Metal tunes. Recommended if you like KAMELOT and ANGRA!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

DREAMAKER 'ENCLOSED' (ARISE RECORDS)

DREAMAKER is a Spanish band, which features 4 ex-DARK MOOR (!) members, including female singer Elisa C. Martin, so I guess you can say this DREAMAKER is actually DARK MOOR, because that band went on with a male singer instead and lost all it's members to this new band. Anyway, DREAMAKER just released their 2nd CD 'Enclosed', which musically is not too far away from DARK MOOR's new release, although the female vocals give a different dimension to DREAMAKER's music and here and there this CD is heavier and has a more modern Power Metal approach (adding NIGHTWISH influences, but also sadly some guest male nu-metal a few times). Just like the other new Arise releases, also here songs are shortened, so that makes it hard to give a good judgement of the whole CD, but I think this new CD of DREAMAKER is filled with good quality Melodic Power Metal, which has it's highlights in the songs "I live my own life", "Enclosed", "Face to face", "Reverse universe", "Living in fear" and the melodic rocker "Take me higher". Another recommended Melodic Power Metal release!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

IQ 'IQ 20 - THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY SHOW DVD'
(GIANT ELECTRIC PEA/SUBURBAN)

IQ's 2nd DVD I am able to review, and without a doubt, another highly recommended piece. These are the kind of DVDs, which are not only a must-have, but they also show the way DVDs should be made in the first place! IQ's new DVD is a real pleasure to watch from start to finish. 2 discs are included, of which Disc 1 features the full show, which saw the band celebrating it's 20th anniversary show. The show was recorded in London, and saw pre-IQ band THE LENS performing as support-act. The filming of the show looks super professional, and so is the sound quality, so all I can say about this show, the DVD really gives a perfect view of what went down that night in good ole London. The song collection is very nicely chosen, as it contains songs from most IQ albums of the past. Disc 2 contains the encores of the show (4 tracks, of which unique covers of the Paul/Linda McCartney written "Jet" and the OSMONDS classic "Crazy horses"), as well as the performance of THE LENS. This is really a unique bonus feature, because only during the tour IQ gave last year they performed as THE LENS, which was the band prior to IQ, from the late 70s. Musically they played instrumental progressive rock of a very high level, which would eventually become IQ's brandmark, yet with singer Peter Nicholls added to the line-up. Peter by the way gives away a perfect performance, just like the other members, such as drummer Paul Cook, guitarist Michael Holmes, bassist John Jowitt and of course IQ leader Martin Orford, who delivers some of the best keyboardwork in the progressive rockworld! Anyway, further items on disc 2 are backstage footage, and the bandmembers preparing before or relaxing after the show, which resulted in some very funny clips, recorded all over Europe! Also, the feature of the band performing "Mama Mia", the ABBA classic, in Zaandam, Holland is very well-done. All together the 2 discs take up to a stunning 230 minutes, which is all nicely packed on 2 discs in a sort of DVD digipack edition. Without a doubt, a must-have for the IQ fans, but I think any progfan might be interested in checking out this fantastic DVD! More info at: http://www.gep.co.uk/iq/ 

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)

ANGELHEART 'CAUTION IT ROCKS!' (POINT MUSIC/ROCK INC)

'Caution it rocks!' is the 3rd CD of ANGELHEART, a Swiss band, which features female lead singer JANET LA ROSE, who found fame and fortune in 1994 as the singer of ALLISON, whom had their song "Dreams of glory" promoted as the ARD (German National Television) theme song for the Football World Championship. Now more than 10 years later the band ANGEL HEART has a new CD out, which musically is a sort of 70s influenced melodic heavy rockstyle, including some Bluesrock influences, kinda like MOTHER'S FINEST mixed with SASS JORDAN and ALANNAH MYLES, and some LEE AARON here and there. 11 songs are included, of which the highlights are "Died inside", "I'll try", "I feel you" and "Maybe". Don't expect any fun uptempo rockers here, because this CD is mostly filled with slow heavy bluesy hardrock, with the raw vocals of Janet. Nevertheless, a good strong quality release. More info at: http://www.angelheart.ch 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

ERIKA 'IN THE ARMS OF A STRANGER'
(MTM CLASSIX/SUBURBAN)

The Swedish female singer ERIKA is very popular in her own country, but outside the borders of Sweden only the melodic rock insiders know about this girl, who was once married to guitar wizzard YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. She released about 4 solo CDs, of which some were very successfull in Sweden, such as the number 1 single "Together we're lost" from 1990. Anyway, the album are quite hard to get, so the decision of MTM MUSIC to re-release the albums of ERIKA was a good choice, although I would not call her releases classics. Sure, ERIKA was a good looking lady, but she wasn't able to sing that well, and most of her songs were light poprockers that could have been on any BELINDA CARLISLE or SANDRA record. Nevertheless, the music may be labelled as good clean fun melodic rock with here and there some AOR influences. Most of the songs she recorded were catchy and radio-ready. The album 'In the arms of a stranger', which has now been re-released by MTM was maybe one of her finest releases, with such good uptempo melodic poprockers like "Rock me into heaven", "In the arms of a stranger", "Made of stone" and "Shadows in rain". This is the kind of female fronted melodic poprock we heard from PAT BENATAR, ROBIN BECK and even CHER in the 80s. Not really heavy, but rocking enough for the melodic rock/aor fan. Still, I rate the first 2 TONE NORUM classics much higher than ERIKA's albums, so if you want to hear a better female singer from Sweden, then do check out TONE NORUM's first 2 albums. If you already own TONE NORUM, then you might still find something of interest in here, because this was a good melodic pop/rockalbum, but it's only a pity there aren't any bonustracks included…

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

SHY ‘SUNSET AND VINE’ (MTM MUSIC/SUBURBAN)

The boys from SHY return with one of their best releases in over a decade. ‘Sunset and vine’ is basically a major AOR/Melodic Rock release, which I would put right between the last TNT album ‘New religion’ and the SHY classic ‘Excess all areas’, with some JOURNEY influences all throughout the CD. In the past the UK AOR band SHY delivered some truly AOR Classics in the shape of songs like “Can’t fight the nights”, ‘Emergency”, “Only you”, “It’s over”, “When the love is over” and recently “Breakaway”. Now we can add a few more Classic tunes to their catalogue, because the new SHY CD is filled with some of the best AOR/Melodic Rock out there today. Tony Mills’ lead vocals sound better than ever, coming across like a mix between STEVE PERRY and TONY HARNELL. The music is excellent AOR/Melodic Rock in the best 80s spirit, yet with a fresh up-to-date sound. From start to finish this is an amazing AOR/Melodic Rock record, which simply is one of the strongest SHY records ever! 10 tracks are on the CD, which has a big production, and it all starts with the fantastic classic 80s uptempo AOR rocker “High time”, which has JOURNEY written all over the place. Next track “Open your heart” is basically the best SHY song since “Can’t fight the nights”, because this tune is SUPERB CLASSIC SHY AOR, with a really AMAZING AOR CHORUS. By the end of 2005, this could well be THE AOR SONG OF 2005! It’s unbelievable to see SHY delivering such a fantastic album, because the rest of the CD features many more Classic Melodic Rocktunes such as “Don’t jump the gun” (fun 80s AOR/Melodic Rock), “First love” (pure JOURNEY uptempo AOR), “I’ll be home tonight” (lovely relaxing semi-AOR Ballad in a pure 80s FOREIGNER kinda style, if it has been 1983 this song could have been a really huge US hitsingle) and “Slowly” (another JOURNEY type of AOR rocker). Concluded, this is a MUST-HAVE release for the AOR/Melodic Rockfans! Probably at the end of 2005 the album will end up high in the polls!

(Points: 9.2 out of 10)

DOL AMMAD 'STAR TALES' (BLACK LOTUS RECORDS)

DOL AMNAD is the brainchild of the Greek composer-keyboardplayer Thanasis Lightbridge. The CD he created with the help of big women and men choirs, drummer Alex Holzwarth (RHAPSODY/SIEGES EVEN), guitarist Jimmy Wicked and bassist Nick Terry, is a very impressive CD, which has a huge sound (thanks to Sascha Paeth). The music is big sounding Neo-Classical Symphonic Orchestral Epic Metal, mostly instrumental, only with some choirs here and there, which sounds like RHAPSODY at times, but then again without a real lead singer. I am safe to say that this is a very good album, which will be loved by fans of EPICA, RHAPSODY, THERION… 12 songs are included, and of course the keyboardwork is most dominant, because after all Thanasis is the leader of the band, and he plays synthesizers, but the choirs and guitarsound is also very impressive. The sound is big, and it's really interesting to check out if you're a fan of mentioned bands (especially THERION meets RHAPSODY meets KAMELOT and some CHILDREN OF BODOM influences, without any lead vocals, but with big choirs is a good description of DOL AMNAD's music). Definitely a quality release, which combines fast Power Metal, Classical Music, Opera Music and Electronica Music into one exciting style. Recommended!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

YANN ARMELLINO 'CROSS-ROCKS' (BRENNUS MUSIC)

French guitarist YANN ARMELLINO was not only influenced by bands like KISS, DEF LEPPARD, but also by legendary Blues gitarist Robert Johnson. Robert died at the age of 27 back in 1938, but in his short career he recorded some legendary Bluesrockmusic, who influenced many people (BB KING, MUDDY WATERS and JIMI HENDRIX). Also Yann was influenced by Robert, and decided to make a full-length CD, with about 5 covers of Robert's original songs, as well as songs in the style of Robert. The result is a stunning instrumental Bluesrockalbum, with excellent guitarwork (and some vocals) of Yann. 14 songs are included, and the fans of guitar based isntrumental music are gonna love this record a lot. Most remarkable song on the CD is the KISS cover "Shandi" (!!!), which is performed very nicely (instrumental version), while it was interesting to see MICHAEL SPIRO performing percussion on the album. Anyway, 2 more albums are already in the can, and I really look forward to them, but in the meantime do check out this CD of YANN ARMELLINO, which is a great (semi-) instrumental Bluesrockalbum.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

DOUBLE HEART PROJECT 'HUMAN NATURE'S FIGHT' (BRENNUS MUSIC)

The DOUBLE HEART PROJECT is a project of 2 French guitarist, Vincent Fabre (who is actually a multi-instrumentalist) and Franck Ribiere. Together they have created a very impressive instrumental album, which contains 9 songs in total. Worth mentioning is the fact that MEGADETH guitarist CHRIS POLAND and CCYRIL ACHARD make guest appearances on the album. One of the songs is dedicated to the late SHAWN LANE, who influenced both guitarists of DOUBLE HEART PROJECT a lot, because you can definitely hear some of Shawn's emotional guitar melodies throughout this CD. Recommended to fans of JASON BECKER, MARTY FRIEDMAN, STEVE VAI, JOE SATRIANI, CHRIS POLAND and of course SHAWN LANE. Especially the song "Echoes from Asia" is a really beautiful instrumental masterpiece!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

MANTRA 'HARD TIMES' (HORUS MUSIC/ROCK INC)

MANTRA comes out of Italy, and for instance they do not play typical fast Italo Power Metal. MANTRA is playing a style, which I have never heard from an Italian band before, because MANTRA is playing a sort of 70s influenced Groovy Hardrockstyle, which has a lot of LED ZEPPELIN and JIMI HENDRIX influences. The band features the excellent guitarist Gianluca Galli, who also released a solo CD recently. The Bluesy/Groovy Melodic Heavy Rock sounds very good, and without a doubt, this is a relief to all those Happy Power Metalbands from Italy. Finally, a band that sounds like BLUE MURDER, early KINGDOM COME and BADLANDS, which mostly comes from UK or US bands, but MANTRA really is an Italian band. They have a very strong lead singer (Jacopo Meille), who is definitely influenced by early PLANT/GILLAN. Songs like "Red Oak Wood", "Sandcake" and "The big wave" are really impressive Bluesy Melodic Heavy Rocksongs with a strong 70s Retro sound. Fans of mentioned bands are gonna love this record!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

VARIOUS ARTISTS 'THE SWEET ACCORDING TO SWEDEN'
(RIVEL RECORDS)

THE SWEET was big in the 1970s, but in the beginning they were never able to play their own music, because the record companies pushed them to record songs written by other people, which resulted in some very bad THE SWEET songs from the early days ("Funny funny", "Coco" and "Hey Papa Joe"), but eventually the band's B-Sides became much more popular within the Rock community, which made their LPs very interesting from 1974 onwards. The band truly rocked hard between 1974 and 1982, releasing 9 albums. Most notable tracks from this period are (to me) "Teenage rampage", "Lies in your eyes", "Set me free", "Action" and "Fox on the run". The band had a major influence on thousands of Hardrockbands worldwide, including MOTLEY CRUE of course (and VINCE NEIL in particular, because he imitates the late SWEET singer Brian Connolly). Now the Swedish label RIVEL RECORDS, run by NARNIA singer Christian Rivel, has released a Swedish tribute to THE SWEET. Christian is a huge THE SWEET fan, and convinced some of the best Swedish musicians to record a SWEET song for this tribute. Christian himself has chosen the 15 songs, which are his favourite SWEET tracks of all times. The CD starts with the best cover, namely "Love is like Oxygen", which features the amazing JEFF SCOTT SOTO on vocals. Without a doubt, this is a HIGH QUALITY tribute CD, because from start to finish we can hear nothing but high class covers of mostly rare SWEET classics. Highlights are TOMMY DENANDER/THOMAS VIKSTROM'S "Action", "MODEST ATTRACTION's "Burn on the flame", ECLIPSE's "Need a lot of loving", STONECAKE's "The sixteens", the wonderful new AOR band DARKWATER's "Shot down in flames", HOUSE OF SHAKIRA's "Tell the truth" and closing band NOZTALGICA with "Windy city". Finally a tribute to a band, with not the usual covers, but a well-thought tribute to a very influential rockband, which includes songs that mostly appeared as B-sides of the band's famous singles. A highly recommended CD to any Rockfan!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

ACHING BEAUTY 'L'ULTIMA ORA' (BRENNUS MUSIC)

L'Ultima ora' is the first official full-length CD release of the French band ACHING BEAUTY. They play a sort of Melodic Progressive Rock/Metal, with some Symphonic influences here and there. Without a doubt, this is a quality band, because they did not only create a great album, but after a few spins, it became clear they had a sound of their own. Surely, you can hear influences of SYMPHONY X, DREAM THEATER, YES, QUEEN, etc. but I think ACHING BEAUTY has created something different than the usual Prog Metal releases. Most important difference is the lead singer Julien Guillemet, who sounds more like a Gothic singer (and then I mean a la THE CURE's Robert Smith), but also reminds me of Bon Vox (U2) or Jim Kerr (SIMPLE MINDS), which is a positive thing if you ask me, because it makes ACHING BEAUTY different than the other bands in the genre. Songs like "Pairsonality", "Glittering images", "The hundreth name" and "Soul's wrinkles" are very good Melodic Progressive Metalsongs. Concluded, a recommended CD to the open-minded progmetalfans!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

DON MANCUSO 'D DRIVE' (KIVEL RECORDS)

Guitarist Don Mancuso recently released a CD, on which we can hear good old PHIL NARO on vocals. Phil is well known for being in loads of bands, of which NARO is one of the better ones. Now he has sung vocals on the first CD of Don. Don is an excellent guitarist, and although not all the songs are strong, the guitarwork is very impressive. The music is 80s influenced Hardrock, a bit VAN HALEN, some KEEL and KILLER DWARFS similarities can be heard and there's a lot of typical straight-ahead Rock'n' Roll, so mix it all together and then you have the sound of this CD. Songs like "A little outside", "Down, rotten, dirty", "Can't dig your way out", "Down U go" and "I'm finding out" are very nice Melodic Hardrocksongs, which aren't too far away from NARO. There are also some weaker songs on the album, but basically this is a recommended album for the fans of no-nonsense Hardrock the old fashioned way. However, this CD is also very interesting for the FOREIGNER/LOU GRAMM fans among us, because none-other than LOU GRAMM himself sings 3 songs on the disc! These songs are "A little outside", "Wait till the sun goes down" and "You're never alone", 3 good rockers, which remind me a bit of the late 80s FOREIGNER sound. I don't know when these songs were recorded, but Lou starts to sound like Lou again, after his voice was damaged by a terrible disease he had a few years ago. Lou was once one of the best singers on this planet, and it was horrible that he had a disease a few years ago, which affected his voice badly, but it seems that Lou has recovered. I also saw Lou singing live the FOREIGNER classic "I want to know…" a few weeks ago on German TV, and I have deep respect for this man. I truly hope someday he is singing like in the old days, because his voice may not be missed in today's rockscene! Anyway, these 3 songs are worth the purchase for any FOREIGNER/LOU GRAMM fan, but the NARO and Hardrockfans may want to check this CD out as well. More info at: http://www.kivelrecords.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

COWBOY PROSTITUTES 'COWBOY PROSTITUTES' (RETROSPECT RECORDS)

We're back in Sweden once again with this COWBOY PROSITUTES, a band that released their debut CD on the American Glam/Hardrock/Metal label RETROSPECT RECORDS. Musically they play good old straight-ahead raw dirty mean Sleazy Hardrock'n'roll, which sounds like the perfect mix between HANOI ROCKS, ROLLING STONES, LA GUNS, GUNS'N'ROSES, RATT and AEROSMITH. I think you'll get the picture when mentioning these acts. Songs like "Blood on your blade", "Wasted", "Television" and "Ghost of Venice" are perfect examples of how this mixture of mentioned acts sounds like. It all sounds very impressive, and I can highly recommend it to any fan of these acts. More info at: http://www.cowboyprositutes.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

MILES ABOVE 'MOVED OR BE MOVED' (ESCAPE MUSIC)

This is the 2nd CD of MILES ABOVE, a Canadian band that has a more modern Nu-Breed kinda Rockstyle, of which their debut CD from a few years ago was definitely something different than the usual releases that had been done on ESCAPE MUSIC. However, the new album is slightly more melodic rock, and it is clear that the band has been influenced by the success of THE RASMUS, because some of the material on 'Moved or be moved' is dangerously close to the catchy radiofriendly melodic poprock of THE RASMUS. Especially "Close my eyes", "August ends" and "Lights out" are very good melodic pop/rocksongs with strong melodies and catchy choruses, just like THE RASMUS. The rest of the album is a little less catchy and more akin to typical American Nu-Breed Poprock, but in the end, this MILES ABOVE has delivered another strong album in their genre, which is rapidly growing into a more melodic rock type of sound, which of course is a good thing.

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

GLENN HUGHES 'SOUL MOVER'
(FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

Glenn has been very busy the past 10-15 years, releasing many solo CDs. Since he signed with FRONTIERS RECORDS, he has been releasing albums non-stop, because last year we saw the releases of 'Songs in the key of Rock' and the live DVD/CD 'Soulfully live in the city of angels', and now there's another new solo-CD titled 'Soul mover'. Musically Glenn is one of a kind, because his original mix of 60s/70s Funk and 70s Classic Hardrock is very special nowadays, because not many musicians are making it. Glenn is mixing his Funk/Soulful vocal influences (SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE/60s STEVIE WONDER) with Classic Hardrock riffs of bands he played with in the 1970s (DEEP PURPLE/TRAPEZE). The result is another stunning album that captures the true GLENN HUGHES sound, which also sounds like a cross between JEFF SCOTT SOTO and LENNY KRAVITZ to me if we're talking about more up-to-date comparisons, but these artists are just like GLENN HUGHES very much influenced by both the 60s/70s Funk and Classic Hardrock. 12 songs are included on the CD, and from start to finish we can hear high quality music, which has all the elements to make it a winner for every musicfan. Songs like "Soul mover", "She moves ghostly", "Change yourself", "Isolation" and "Dark star" are truly fantastic soulful melodic groovy hardrocksongs with memorable choruses and of course the amazing lead vocals of GLENN HUGHES. To make on thing clear about this CD: It is soulful, it rocks, it is melodic, it is groovy and it is very diverse! Concluded, this CD is a must-have for almost every musicfan!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

DOMAIN 'LAST DAYS OF UTOPIA' (LIMB MUSIC)

Since the late 80s the German band DOMAIN has been releasing records, and all this time they hold on to a true 80s influenced Melodic Epic Metalstyle, which can still be heard on their latest record 'Last days of Utopia'. This new album of DOMAIN is filled with good Melodic Metal, with some strong DIO and BLACK SABBATH influences, as well as some MAGNUM similarities here and there, although I must sadly inform you that this is not the best record they have released in their career. I'm still a sucker for their earlier albums, which were slightly more typical European melodic rock, because nowadays they seem to sound a bit forced (such as on "On stormy seas", which completely fails to impress during the chorus). I'm not saying this is a bad record, but on the other hand it is definitely not a sensational record. Songs like "Ocean paradise", "The great rebellion" and "Endless rain" are good melodic heavy rockers that sounds pretty strong (with some very good lead vocals), but maybe DOMAIN has had their fifteen minutes of fame and glory 10-15 years ago. However, the final track on the CD is the best song DOMAIN ever recorded! This song is called "Left alone", and is an amazing melodic hardrocksong in the best JADED HEART style. If only the band could have made a full record in this style, instead of saving best for last. Interesting for the die-hard fans, but the regular Melodic Metal fans can easily grab better albums in this genre (ASTRAL DOORS and MASTERPLAN for example), although do not get me wrong here, because the new DOMAIN CD is not a bad CD at all, but nowadays you have to deliver a high quality record from start to finish to make a real good impression.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

HEARTCRY 'LIGHTMAKER' (RIVEL RECORDS)

I do remember a Swedish band called HEARTCRY from the past, and I am quite sure this is the same band. They have released a new CD titled 'Lightmaker', which contains some very diverse music, although it is safe to say that they are playing most of the time melodic heavy rock with a strong RAINBOW and classic 70s Hardrock approach. One of the members of HEARTCRY is keyboard/hammondplayer DAN TIBELL, best known with the AOR insiders among us for releasing an awesome AOR album as T'BELL a few years ago. I wonder if we will ever see a follow-up to that record, but it's good to see him back on a record these days. Like I said, it's a very diverse album, with some standout tracks like the fantastic melodic heavy rocker "End of times", but also here and there some very weak tunes like "Get ready", which sounds like an unused tune of URIAH HEEP circa their 80s album 'Rockarama' (their worst album!). Without a doubt, this is quality CD, which sounds very good most of the time, although it is clear that the beginning is much stronger than the last couple of tracks, because they seem to sound hushed. Still, recommended to check out if you're a fan of BRAZEN ABOTT, RAINBOW and that sort of classic hardrock type of style.

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

MIRADOR 'THE AZRAEL TALES' (RIVEL RECORDS)

This is a new Swedish band I believe, and their CD 'The azrael tales' has just been released on RIVEL RECORDS. Without any doubts, I can call this a very impressive CD, which combines Melodic Metal, Progressive and Doom Metal into an exciting style, which is best described as a mix between CANDLEMASS, DREAM EVIL and EVERGREY. They have a sound of their own, which is very melodic and heavy at the same time. The songstructures are very diverse, and the band has a fantastic lead singer (don't have any info on the band, so no names!), but most important are the 10 included songs. The songs are all very good, and I couldn't find anything weak on this album. Songs like "Metropolis metamorphosis", "Phoenix syndrome" and "No loss cut" are truly awesome songs that combine melodies, epic structures and heavy guitar riffs into an exciting style, which will please fans of any Hardrock/Metal genre! Go grab yourself a copy of this album if you can!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM '2'
(FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

The Swedish band LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM returns with a new CD, which features a different line-up than their debut, because the 3 EUROPE members have been replaced by lesser known musicians (still members of TALISMAN and CRYSTAL BLUE), who still are able to play quite well, while Marcel Jacob of TALISMAN is playing bass. On vocals we can still hear the great MIKAEL ERLANDSSON (with his fantastic ERIC MARTIN kinda vocals). Musically this is typical Swedish AOR/Melodic Poprock in the best 80s spirit, although I am afraid I have to inform you that this album is not a sensational record. It does remind me of ALIEN, DAVINCI, DALTON, TREAT and FATE, but the 13 included songs are not that strong to keep up with the high level those Scandi bands performed their AOR/Melodic Rock in the past. The CD starts with a ballad, "Brand new life", which is radio-ready if you ask me, although it is a pretty soft start. Following tracks are then uptempo classy 80s inspired melodic rockers ("Lost in you" and "Heat of emotion"), but throughout the album it becomes clear that this record is sounding way too polished, and maybe too much 1980s, while the actual songs are also not that strong. Sometime ago we had a few similar releases in the shape of SPIN GALLERY and JIM JIDHED, but those records were high class super sensational, while this new LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM album is just o.k., with some good tracks like "Helpless", "Heat of emotion", "Falling" and "Up in paradise". It's nice to listen to the album, but never I get the impression that I am listening to something really sensational and therefore I am afraid this album will only reach the die-hard Scandi AOR/Melodic Rockfans. However, I would not call this a bad album at all, but it's just that it could have sounded better (referring to the musicians' past) and so much stronger if you compare it to the real Scandi classics (ALIEN, DAVINCI, TREAT, HOUSE OF SHAKIRA, TALK OF THE TOWN, etc).

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

THE ORDER 'DEMO' (PROMO CDR)

Unbelievable that out of the underground, bands like THE ORDER seem to be unnoticed, because what I heard on their demo CDR is of a very high level, and this demo alone should easily get them signed to a label somewhere soon. THE ORDER is a 4-piece band Californian band that deliver an awesome demo, consisting of 4 awesome tracks which combine the best of AOR/Melodic Rock and Progressive Metal, kinda like a mix between ENCHANT, BALANCE OF POWER, SURVIVOR and FOREIGNER. The demo has a strong big sound and the songs feature superb melodies, while the lead singer (Paul Villareal) is a wonderful singer (sounding like a cross between STEVE WALSH, LOU GRAMM and the ENCHANT singer) and finally, THE ORDER has an excellent guitarplayer (Scott Proseus). Basically this band sounds perfect, and if we have a look at the 4 included songs, it all starts with "After the wives", an amazing sensational midtempo progressive AOR/Melodic Rocker with a deadly catchy chorus. The band reminds me a lot of VOX TEMPUS, 7 MONTHS, SHADOW GALLERY, ENCHANT, so typical Californian sunshine super melodic progressive rock, which combines KANSAS, STYX, YES and DREAM THEATER into an exciting style. Up next is the midtempo "Far", which has less progressive influences. The other 2 tracks show the band's diversity, because "Say what" is early 80s type of AOR/Pomp/Radiorock in the STEEL BREEZE/SURVIVOR style, with once again amazing lead vocalwork. Closing track "To the moon" is slightly weaker, but nevertheless a nice midtempo groovy bluesy rocker a la BAD COMPANY. Concluded, this is a truly amazing band, with high-class musicians and some superb melodic songs on their demo CDR. More info at: http://www.theorderband.com/band.html 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

TOMMY FUNDERBURK 'ANYTHING FOR YOU'
(FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

Legendary singer TOMMY FUNDERBURK (BOSTON/KING OF HEART and background vocals on thousands of records) has put out a new CD titled 'Anything for you'. Musically this is up-to-date AOR with an 80s attitude, kinda like RICHARD MARX, MICHAEL MORALES, STAN BUSH… Of course Tommy's vocals are very good, and although some of tracks here are a bit standard and nothing special (such as opener "Learning how to love" and "Anything for you"), there's definitely interesting material on this CD for the AOR fan. Songs like "Remember our love" (uptempo AOR rocker a la STAN BUSH) and the midtempo AOR of "Only you can give me", “Skin" and "To say you love me" are pretty much high class pure AOR. This is definitely a grower for an AOR album, so I can easily recommend it to those whom long back to the 80s when STARSHIP, BRYAN ADAMS and TOTO ruled the airwaves with this kind of radio-ready AOR!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

PEO 'LOOK WHAT I'VE STARTED' (MTM MUSIC/SUBURBAN)

MTM CLASSIX has re-released another AOR gem after the recent RPM classic. The album multi-instrumentalist PEO PETTERSSON from Sweden released some 10 years ago has been re-released, with the addition of a bunch of bonustracks. The album was hard to get for some time, and so it is a good thing to see it being re-released by MTM. The actual recordings of the album too place in 1989/1990, so this is more like a late 80s record, and you can hear that very clearly, because this album is filled with superb high class AOR in the style of STAN BUSH, ALIAS, HAYWIRE, WORALL, although a few songs also have some slight VAN ZANT/38 SPECIAL kinda Southern Rock influences ("Day and night" and "Two sheels on fire"), but there's even some TOTO kinda Westcoast included ("Doesn't matter", "Endless waiting", "Only one love") and last but least, the bonustracks are even 70s inspired classic hardrock a la RAINBOW. This last comparison is possible, because Peo used to be in the band AXIA, a RAINBOW kinda band that had a re-issue of their 80s record on MTM recently. Anyway, back to the classic PEO delivered, I can mention as highlights the superb AOR songs "Could this be love?", "Two strong arms" (truly amazing AOR rocker), "Long time no see" (speaking of catchy choruses), "Good soul companion", "Don't you ever leave me now" and "Looking for love". Concluded, a great album with some true AOR classics here and there, which I can recommend to any fan of ALIAS, SIGNAL, FM, VAN STEPHENSON…

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)

VOODOOLAND 'GIVE ME AIR' (INDEPENDENT)

This is definitely something special, because VOODOOLAND is not just another independent recording band. Leader Karl Cochran of VOODOOLAND is a talented guitarist, who is joined on this CD by some well-known musicians, such as the legendary singer JOE LYNN TURNER, ACE FREHLEY, ERIC SINGER, BOB DAISLEY and JOHN CORABI. This all makes it clear that we are dealing here with a quality release, which musically has a strong 70s retro groovy rocksound, with some Bluesrock influences, kinda like BAD COMPANY, FREE and LED ZEPPELIN. Best songs between the 14 included are "Inside looking out", "Caroline", "I'll lay down" and "You and I". The CD has the same kinda feeling I had with the STUART SMITH/HEAVEN AND EARTH CDs, so high quality classic hardrock with strong RITCHIE BLACKMORE meets JIMI HENDRIX kinda guitar riffs and very strong melodic vocal lines. Check it out if you're starting to become interested at: http://www.KarlCochran.com

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

NEKTAR 'SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON ROUNDHOUSE' (ECLECTIC DISCS)

Here's another new NEKTAR CD, although it's not really a new recording, but it's for the first time available on CD, so we can call it a new NEKTAR CD. It's a 2-set disc, which contains a full concert recorded on Sunday 25th November 1973 at the London Roundhouse. This classic performance of the band that later became quite big in the USA with their album 'Remember the future' is now for the first time available on CD. The entire concert took about 110 minutes, and is featured on these 2 discs, so for a NEKTAR fan an absolute must-have! In total 11 songs were played ("King of twilight", "Desolation valley", "A day in the life of a preacher", "Summer breeze", "Cast your fate", "Remember the future Part One", "Odyssey", "1-2-3-4", "Remember the future part Two" and "Woman trouble") and without a doubt this live concert proves that NEKTAR was at their best live on stage. Although they scored big time in the USA on the album charts, they have always been a sort of cult band, which now recently found it's way to the CD format in the shape of many re-issues on the UK label ECLECTIC DISCS. Highly recommended to the Neo-Progressive Rock and of course NEKTAR fans!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

DAVID GALLANT
'THE HEAT GOES ON - THE AUTHORIZED ASIA BIOGRAPHY BOOK'
(DAVID GALLANT PUBLISHING)

DAVID GALLANT is the publisher and writer of the official ASIA website. He now has published his book 'The heat goes on', which is probably the only ASIA (the band) biography on this planet. The book was released recently, and so the included information is up-to-date. Of course ASIA has been a band with many different line-ups, starting as WETTON - DOWNES - HOWE - PALMER, which was the first all-star superband in the music history. To me this was the best line-up the band ever had, but nevertheless also the 2005 version of ASIA is quite good with PAYNE - DOWNES - GOVAN - SLADE. Musically they started as this radio-ready symphonic aor/pomp band with catchy hooks and memorable choruses all over the place, which resulted in one of the best selling debut LPs in 1982. In the USA they were big-time, scoring many hits and the album eventually selling millions of records, so this super band became bigger than the bands of which the members came from (YES, KING CRIMSON, EMERSON LAKE PALMER). After JOHN WETTON left the band, the music became more calmer pop/rock with a progressive rock and pop approach, quite good, but some 10+ albums later the best record ASIA ever recorded was that 1982 debut LP. This book is featuring the complete story on the legendary UK band, written by David. The book holds 139 pages together, and it's clear that this is a very professional and official book, because a lot of stories and quotes are being used which are only known by people who are close friends with the bandmembers. Every period of the band is described, up until late 2004 after the release of the latest ASIA album 'Long way from home'. Of course the book is also featuring loads of (black&white) pictures of the different line-ups and it's bandmembers. Concluded, this book is a must-have for not only the ASIA fans, but because the ASIA family clan (which is presented very nicely in the book as the ASIA family tree) has connections throughout the whole Neo-Progressive Rockscene it is recommended to anyone who likes progrock! You can purchase the book through http://www.asiaworld.org 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

WOLFGANG 'BUBI' HEILEMANN
'AC/DC HARDROCK LIVE: ON TOUR BACKSTAGE PRIVATE BOOK' (SCHWARZKOPF&SCHWARZKOPF)

WOLFGANG 'BUBI' HEILEMANN is a very well-known photographer from Germany, who took thousands of pictures of all the famous Rockbands in the 70s and 80s. AC/DC was a band he followed 5 years long (1976-1980) and in that period he took loads of pictures, which he recently dug up out of his unused archives. The big format of the book, in hard-cover, holds together some 208 pages, featuring 139 never-before-seen pictures of AC/DC close-up between 1976 and 1980. Especially the pictures of BON SCOTT as their original lead singer are very interesting, because after all not many pictures or footage is available with AC/DC's most popular Scottish lead singer. The book is a real teaser for the AC/DC fans, because the deluxe format is making this book an absolute beautiful masterpiece, which is a real welcome to any musicfan's collection! The big format is perfect for the included pictures, because you can view every detail of every picture Wolfgang took. Without a doubt, Wolfgang was (and still is) a very professional photographer, with only high level pictures included in this book. Wolfgang followed the band between 1976 and 1980, in which he photographed the band many times, and almost all included pictures have never seen the light of day, so this Book is definitely a must-have for the AC/DC fans. The nice thing is the fact that the band of course switched lead singer after the tragic death of Bon Scott, but this book shows the 2 different lead singers upfront. Bon Scott during the first highlights of the long career of the band, and his last movements as AC/DC lead singer in the late 70s, while the book also shows the band's present lead singer Brian Johnson when he entered the band around 1980. The pictures of Bernhard show the remarkable change the band went through in this 'hard' period in 79/80, but on the other hand the band were at their peak when they released 'Back in black' with Brian Johnson as lead singer, so eventually the fans accepted the new lead singer. Till this day however, Bon Scott is praised by many as the only original lead singer for AC/DC. This book does not only have close-up pictures of the band on stage, but also off-stage, when they were just another young rockband in the mid 70s, just before their fame and fortune. It is striking to know that AC/DC never had a period when they weren't popular, because from every decade we can mention highlights of one of the most popular Rockbands ever. The 1970s saw them have their first breakthrough with 'Highway to hell' and 'For those about to rock', while in the 1980s they released their best selling record ever ('Back in black'), and in the early 90s songs like "Thunderstruck" and "Money talks" became AC/DC favourites. I would not be surprised if we will soon see a new CD of the band being released with new strong songs that become favourites of the fans, because after all the band is unstoppable. Guitarist Angus Young isn't that old, because he was just a young teenager when they started in Australia back in 1974, so he's probably only 45+ years old, so probably another 20 years of AC/DC are in the making. Anyway, the most popular and remarkable period of AC/DC has got to be the 1976-1980 period, when the band had it's highlights with albums like 'Highway to hell', "For those about to rock' and 'Back in black', but also that change in lead singer. The pictures in this book clearly show the ups and downs of the band, and I have said it before, without any doubts, this is a highly recommended book to any musicfan, but of course the AC/DC fans will have to purchase it a.s.a.p.! The book is available for 50 Euros through: http://www.soundtrack-distribution.com

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

AUDIOVISION 'THE CALLING' (RIVEL RECORDS)

It's the year 2005 and the Swedish label RIVEL RECORDS has made a new start with the release of many new CDs of Swedish origin. The MWOSHM has started and without a doubt AUDIOVISION is one of their best releases so far. Musically most of the release are Melodic Metal, with as lead singer CHRISTIAN RIVEL, who is best known as the NARNIA singer, but in his own time runs a label (RIVEL RECORDS) on which most releases feature as singer Christian himself. AUDIOVISION is one of their new releases, and I am safe to say that this album is a high class Melodic Metal record like a mix between MASTERPLAN, DREAM EVIL, PRIMAL FEAR and NOCTURNAL RITES, including the big guitar-wall-of-sound production. 10 songs are included, of which "Evil or divine", "The rock of my soul" and "Hold me" are the best tracks. Definitely a true winner for the fan of strong Melodic Metal, especially if you like DREAM EVIL and NOCTURNAL RITES!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

DIVINE FIRE 'GLORY THY NAME' (RIVEL RECORDS)

Another new release on the Swedish label RIVEL RECORDS, and once again with label owner CHRISTIAN RIVEL on lead vocals. It's almost unbelievable, but all these new Swedish releases on the label RIVEL RECORDS are very impressive albums. Also this DIVINE FIRE is high quality stuff! First of all, the CD has a HUGE sound/production, while the included music is superb Melodic Metal in a typical NOCTURNAL RITES/HAMMERFALL/MASTERPLAN style, yet a bit rawer, and just like one would expect from such a strong Melodic Metalsound, also this album is filled with fantastic catchy choruses. Most of the songs are uptempo, with a big fat guitarsound. This is Melodic Metal at it's very best! Songs like "The world's on fire", "Never surrender", "The sign" and "Live my life for you" (if STRYPER had turned a Power Metal band they would have sounded like this!) are all fantastic pieces of uptempo Melodic Metal, with choruses that stick in your head after hearing it the first time! Concluded, this CD is a must-have, and should be bought by the same people that bought the new MASTERPLAN CD, because DIVINE FIRE is sometimes as good as MASTERPLAN!

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

WINE SPIRIT ‘FIRE IN THE HOLE’ (SACRED METAL)

WINE SPIRIT is an Italian band, and they play good old 80s Melodic Metal. Their CD was released on SACRED METAL RECORDS, which is an unfamiliar label to me, but apparently they release True Metal, because WINE SPIRIT is strongly influenced by PRIEST, MANOWAR and ACCEPT. It’s not just Metal all the time, because there are also Hard Rock’n’Roll songs on the album. Clear to me that the best songs are “A new mankind”, “I’ve got no time”, “Spiagames” and “Sailing ships” (a very strong semi ballad). Most of the songs are straight-ahead, and although it sounds good, I think the choruses may be worked out a little better next time, because they sometimes sound a bit average here and there. Nevertheless, a nice recommended Melodic Metalalbum from Italy, with a big production in a quality package. More info at: http://www.winespirit.it 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

THE PROVENANCE ‘HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE SPAT AT’
(SCARLET RECORDS)

This is a band from Sweden that has created a sound of their own, which combines elements of Doom Metal, Gothic Metal, Electronic Music and Progressive Rock. In the end their 3rd CD ‘How would you…’ is a very strong album, which has an own identity, not to be compared to any other band. However, still the best track of the album, “Some gossip on stealing a spouse”, should be promoted as a sort of EVANESCENCE kinda track. It has a very good melody, which is sung by the female singer (Emma Hellstrom – who also plays keys and flute in the band) and it has a strong similarity to the well-known US band, but the rest of the album is different and more underground sounding. The band also has a male singer, guitarist Tobias Martinsson, but I prefer the wonderful melodic lead vocals of the female singer, who has a beautiful voice (very much akin to a Celtic kinda voice). The song are slow most of the time, and besides the mentioned track other highlights are “Going down”, “About a whore, about a kill…” and “Kick you so hard”. The band has a very non-commercial sound, so definitely different than the standard Goth metalbands out there. Important difference is that this band is also influenced by 80s Goth acts like SISTERS OF MERCY, DEAD CAN DANCE, as well as probably other musical styles (Celtic/Folk/Alternative Rock/New Wave), which all combined makes the band sound different than the rest, although I still think it has enough to offer for any fan of the typical Goth Metalstyle. Anyway, I recommend this album if you want to hear something different of a high level!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

SUHRUM ‘THE C*** COLLECTOR’ (PULSAR LIGHT RECORDS)

Out of Belgium comes SUHRUM and they play Death Metal. It’s definitely a quality release in this genre, but Death metal is one of the few genres we do not cover, so I am afraid this is only interesting for people who also like the Death Metal genre, because then this SUHRUM is interesting to check out at: http://www.pulsarlight.net 

(Points: - )

EVERLOUD ‘AU DELA DE L’IRREEL’ (INDEPENDENT)

Although the band mentions in their bio they play Thrash Metal, I would rather describe their music as very melodic progressive metal, which is a good thing of course. 4 songs are on their demo, which sounds pretty good, especially singer Yamine has a good strong voice. They sing in French, but that isn’t a problem at all. EVERLOUD is not as good as for example MANIGANCE, but still songs like “En dessous” and “Les pilleurs” are very good melodic progressive rock/metalsongs in a sort of FATES WARNING style. More info on this band can be found at: http://www.everloud.com and e-mail them at: info@everloud.com 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

SILO 10 ‘SILO 10’ (DOG FINGERS/UNCLE BUZZ RECORDS)

This release has nothing to do with Rock or Metal, because it is a very weird instrumental release, which is made by 2 musicians in a silo in Texas. It is basically non-stop instrumental with all kinds of strange noises (made by guitar and synthesizer), kinda like TANGERINE DREAM, but then again completely different. Check it out for yourself at: http://www.unclebuzz.com 

(Points: -)

DARLING ‘D2R’ (HALDARLING)

Multi-instrumentalist Hal Darling comes out of the USA, and he has created a CD under the name DARLING. Musically we’re heading into high quality instrumental progressive rock, which sounds like heavier rocked up version of 70s classic prog/kraut-rock (KING CRIMSON, GENTLE GIANT, EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER). 12 tracks are included, and with the help of a big production, this CD ends up being a highly recommended album. The instrumental progressive rock also has Jazz/Fusion influences, which makes it sound quite diverse, which is exactly something such a record needs to have, so I can definitely say it’s a must-have for the progrockfans among us! More info at; http://www.haldarling.com and e-mail him at: hal@haldarling.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

HEARTSCORE ‘STRAIGHT TO THE BRAIN’ (HEARTSCORE MUSIC)

Out of Germany comes the band HEARTSCORE, a band playing a mix of Progressive Rock and Kraut-Rock, ending up sounding like a mix between EPITAPH, JANE and AMON DUUL. The production is quite good, and instead of using a big keyboardsound, HEARTSCORE has a guitar-orientated sound, while vocally it is quite good and really typical Art/Prog-rock like (high pitched vocals, with some quirky moments here and there). The band also reminds me a bit of AVIARY, yet without keys/synths. Songs like “Love is like whiskey”, “A dream within a dream” and “The tide rises” are actually very good songs, which showcase that HEARTSCORE has a sound of their own, which is melodic, hard rock guitar riff orientated and still appealing to prog/artrockfans due to the way lead singer Dirk Radloff is singing. Dirk by the way is also playing guitar, violin and bass, so is basically the main man behind HEARTSCORE. If you’re starting to become interested, then go to: http://www.heartscore-music.de and e-mail at: dirk@heartscore-music.de 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

KRUSHER ‘KEEP ON KRUSHIN’ (DEMO CDR)

Out of Poland comes KRUSHER, who deliver a very strong pure 80s inspired Melodic Metal demo, consisting of 7 tracks. Songs like “Stay heavy” and “Hell’s angel” sound the way True Metal needs to sound, uptempo, big guitar riff orientated and with strong choruses. The band sounds like GRAVE DIGGER here and there, so the fans know then what to do about this KRUSHER, which is basically a band that could easily become bigger if they go into the studio with a well-known producer. This band has got what it takes to make it bigger, because their demo cdr sounds impressive in all aspects, and most importantly, they sound like a band with an attitude and that’s something you need to have to make it in this business! More info at: http://www.krusher.metal.pl and e-mail them at: judas.krush@interia.pl 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

VIVIAN ‘DEMONS EYES’ (INDEPENDENT)

This is a band from the beautiful city of Vienna/Austria, and they play a strong 80s influenced AOR/Melodic Rockstyle, which reminds me of all those German bands that started playing AOR at the end of the 80s, which to me is a compliment, because comparing them to bands like CRAAFT, BOYZVOICE, KARO, WILD FRONTIER and even BONFIRE means that we are dealing here with a high quality band. Lead singer Tom Tieber is able to sing quite well, although it does not always goes the good way (for example “Gates of Babylon” and “Mother earth”). However, between the 6 included tracks we can find enough great AOR/Melodic Rocksongs, such as “Picking up the pieces”, “Start again” (very impressive keyboardwork) and “Save your tears”. This is definitely a much-recommended CD to fans of bands like JADED HEART, BONFIRE, PURPLE CROSS, CRAAFT, ZENO and you name it. More info at: http://www.vivianrock.com and e-mail at: vivianrock@gmx.at 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

DAEDALUS ‘LEADING FAR FROM A MISTAKE’ (NEW LM RECORDS)

The Italian band DAEDALUS is playing a strong Progressive Metalstyle, which can be heard very clearly on their full-length CD ‘Leading far from a mistake’. The CD contains 8 songs, which sounds quite good, a bit in the style of a SILENT EDGE, SUNCAGED, VANDENPLAS, but less sensational. However, the band shows they are able to come up with some great stuff, especially in the guitar versus keyboard duals. Vocally it is not that strong, but I heard from the band they have a new singer now, so it all looks promising for the future. In the meantime, this demo offers some great material in the shape of “Masquerade”, “Time’ and the fantastic instrumental “Rem 8”, which will all be loved by the fans of the Prog Metalgenre. More info at: http://www.progdaedalus.it  and e-mail at: fabiogremo@libero.it 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

LUNATIC DREAMS ‘FLESH’ (DEMO CDR)

LUNATIC DREAMS is a Polish band whom are playing Thrash-Metal, bordering on Black metal during the song “Holy priest”, so I’m not sure whether this is interesting for the Metalfans who are only interested in True Metal. Nevertheless, I can assure you that LUNATIC DREAMS is playing quality Thrash-Metal, even though this is only a demo consisting of 4 tracks. More info through e-mail at: fadamas@poczta.fm 

(Points: 7.2 out of 10)

HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRE ‘LOVE IS ROCK AND ROLL’ (INDEPENDENT)

This Italian band has listened very well to the 1980s Hollywood Glam/Sleaze Metalbands, because their mini-CD is filled with music that could have easily been made in 1989 on the Sunset Strip in LA, when bands like CRUE, SKID ROW, GUNS’N’ROSES, LA GUNS and others were the big thing. However, this band hails from Italy, but the fact it sounds as good as mentioned acts is a compliment. The band has a great guitarplayer, and their singer is able to sing both high and low without any problems. The production is good, and all 5 included songs rock really hard, with as highlights “Love is rock and roll” and “I can’t wait”. More info on this great Italian Hard Glam Metalband at: http://www.hollywoodvampire.it  and e-mail at: Hollywoodvampirez@hotmail.com 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

ALAN WILLIAMSON ‘ACROSS ANGRY SKIES’ (INDEPENDENT)

Wow, here’s something really sensational, because multi-instrumentalist ALAN WILLIAMSON from the UK has delivered a very impressive 3rd CD, on which he does not only play everything himself (bass, keys, guitars, programming), but also wrote, composed, arranged and produced all 6 included tracks. What we get to hear is by the way also music of a very high level. The first track alone, “Sundance” is good enough to purchase the whole album, because this is the way instrumental melodic progressive rock should be played. It sounds sensational, with a beautiful melodic guitar and some catchy AOR like keys. This goes in the same breath as STEVE VAI or JOE SATRIANI, though Alan has an own style. I very much enjoyed this album, and it is definitely not just another typical instrumental record. No, Alan is a very talented musician, who will probably make it big someday, because if you are able to make on your own a song like “Sundance” you have more talent than any so-called-talented musician who scores hits in the top 40s. Check it out ASAP if you’re a fan of instrumental music with emotion and passion. More info at: http://www.alanwilliamson.com  and e-mail at: jkindred@hardrockhaven.net 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

ROCKSTAR PUSSY ‘BLACK DEMON GIRL’ (INDEPENDENT)

Dirty mean raw to the bone Biker Punk’N’Roll is what we get to hear on the CD of the German band ROCKSTAR PUSSY. It has lots of 70s influences, both Rock, Hardrock, Metal and Punk. Most of the time the band is drifting into classy late 70s UK Punk style like a mix between THE BUSINESS, GBH and EXPLOITED. The band does this very well (both musically and production wise), especially in the great ‘catchy’ songs “Shut up” and “Fighting for peace”. There’s also some Sleazy Hardrock’n’roll a la GUNS’N’ROSES and ROSE TATOO, such as in “Grim reaper”, while MOTORHEAD must have influenced the band as well. However, like I said, the band is at their best when they play it fast and the chorus lets you sing-a-long. Check it out if you’re a fan of mentioned bands, but I think it’s best recommended for the fans of Dirty Mean Rock’n’Roll with a Punk attitude! More info at: http://www.rockstar-pussy.de  and e-mail at: contact@rockstar-pussy.de 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

ODESSA ‘LIVE DEMO CDR’ (DEMO CDR)

The 8 songs that can be found on the demo CDR of the Italian band ODESSA were recorded live in Urbino 2002 and at Progsud in 2003. So, this demo consists of live recordings, and despite the fact that the sound quality is not superb, the music itself is good progressive rock with some jazzy elements as well. The music is adventurous, while still being a bit the standard Italo prog (a la PFM, LE ORME…). Like most other progbands, the songs are mostly based on the instrumental parts, and this is also the case with ODESSA, who deliver some great progressive rock on songs like “Esilio” and “Cometa rosa”. 3 songs are actually covers the band played as encores at Progsud, but they played them quite nicely, so then it’s no problem hearing 2 LED ZEPPELIN songs. In fact they do it better than LED ZEPPELIN would be able to do nowadays, with some great vocal and guitarwork. Anyway, for their own originals, I think progfans should check out this Italian band at: http://www.odessazone.com  and e-mail them at: Giovlor1@tiscali.it 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem) 

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