Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

HOT NEW REVIEWS

UPDATED ON APRIL 9 - 2005

TESTAMENT ‘SEEN BETWEEN THE LINES DVD’ (ESCAPI MUSIC/ROCK INC)

For the die-hard TESTAMENT fans a must have, but actually this is not a real professional DVD. This DVD features mostly homemade videos, with backstage footage and some rare live footage, but the sound and footage is terrible sometimes. That’s a pity, because after all, TESTAMENT was one of the best Thrash Metalbands of all times, even better than METALLICA in my opinion, with as favorite records ‘The legacy’, ‘The new order’ and ‘Practice what you preach’. However, this DVD covers material from after 1990, namely video footage of 1991, with as only real highlights the 4 videoclips (which are very cool to watch). The rest of the DVD is only interesting for die-hard fans, who don’t mind amateuristic footage and bad sound quality.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)

SHY ‘SHY ENGLAND DVDs’ (INDEPENDENT)

OK, so this isn’t official and made up of rare video footage from one of Britain’s best melodic rockbands ever, but where else can you get to see anything of this great band. 2 DVDs filled with rare homemade video footage, backstage and live performances of the band’s heydays (late 80s/early 90s) as well as 4 videoclips. The 4 videoclips are definitely the most interesting items on these 2 DVDs, because they are perfect and clearly reflect the combination of great music and short professional videoclipmaking movies, which was so dominant in the 1980s. The videos of especially “Hold on to your love” and “Break down the wall” are very fun to watch. These are the classic videos you need to own, and now 4 SHY videos are available on these 2 DVDs. Sadly, the video footage of the backstage and live performances of SHY is non-professional, and only interesting for the die-hard fans, but it shows that these guys had a lot of fun back then. The DVD contains footage that have poor lights, poor sounds and camera shaking, but still it is nice to finally see what SHY was doing back in the day, because after all, they wrote some of the best British AOR ever (songs like “Can’t fight the nights”, “When the love is over”, “Talk to me”, “It’s over”, etc. are all timeless AOR classics! So, cheaply made, but for a die hard SHY fan nice to own, especially the 4 videoclips. Check it out at: http://www.shy-england.4t.com 

(Points: - )

DEADLY WEAPON ‘DEADLY WEAPON’ (ROCKY RECORDS)

This band from California looks and sounds like the 1980s Californian Rock/Metal, although their same titled debut CD isn’t as good as the 1980s bands. Nevertheless, this band is doing some good old pure mid 1980s American orientated Hardrock like a mix between KISS, WASP, DOKKEN and KEEL. The guitar riffs sound like they should sound, so big riffs a la GEORGE LYNCH and ANGUS YOUNG. These guys make Hardrock sound fresh and new, although not all songs are convincing, but for a debut, they definitely know how to rock. Although “Kiss of death” sounds a bit like the DOKKEN song, it actually reminds me of TWISTED SISTER, and basically every song of the 9 included has influences of mentioned bands, except the semi ballad “Always in love”, which falls a bit out of place here, because it is the weakest and poppiest song. However, these guys surely know how to rock on songs like “Blood for blood”, “Your love” and “Once a bitch, always a bitch”. It’s not a sensational record, but still good to hear some of the good old 80s LA Hardrock. It sounds like those typical Hair Metalbands from the Sunset Strip around 1985-1989, if only these times could return to LA again, I would consider myself immigrating to that place, but I guess the 1980s will never really comeback, although CRUE is doing big business at the moment. If you’re interested in one of the new Californian bands playing good old 80s US Hardrock (without sounding dated), then do check out DEADLY WEAPON at: http://www.deadlyweapon.org  and e-mail them at: Rkelley283@aol.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

GLASS MOON ‘PROMO 2005’ (PROMO)

5 songs are on the promo cdr of the Austrian band GLASS MOON (not to be confused with the legendary classy 70s/80s aor/pompband from America). What we get to hear is high quality progressive rock/metal, with an own identity. Some similarities are possible to RPWL and SPOCK’S BEARD, so they play slightly modern sounding progressive rock, although the guitar playing sounds like JADIS and ENCHANT and vocally even U2’s Bono Vox comes to mind. The songs are not that lengthy, and sometimes very song orientated, so not really based around long instrumental passages. I think GLASS MOON has got all it takes to become one of the better bands, if not, the best rockband ever to come out of Austria. The songs on this demo already show that this band is able to make good original progressive rock. Check it out for yourself at: http://glassmoon.webwizart.com  and e-mail at: keywizard@gmx.at 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

MIND CRIME ‘TOURNIQUET SLEEP’ (BLACK BARDS ENETERTAINMENT)

MIND CRIME is a German band, and they play a mix of classic Melodic Power Metal, Nu-Metal and Thrash-Metal. The band’s weakest link is clearly their singer Christoph Weller, who clean sounds ok, but completely fails when he goes screaming (a la KORN/SLIPKNOT), while the band’s Thrash (and even Black-Metal) influences are basically killing a lot of the songs on their CD. On the other hand, the CD has some good melodic power metal songs to offer (a la BRAINSTORM), but I am afraid the way it looks now is that this band is way to confused, because sometimes they play pure power metal, but then suddenly we’re getting bombed with pure Nu-Metal! The band has to decide in the near future which way to go, and hopefully the power metal will win in the end, because that sounds quite nice, although it is impossible for the band to reach the high level of BRAINSTORM for example. More info at: http://www.black-bards-entertainment.com 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)

DIE! ‘MANCHE BLUTEN EWIG’ (BLACK BARDS ENETERTAINMENT)

The German band is definitely trying to be the next RAMMSTEIN on their debut (?) CD. The music is very much influenced by RAMMSTEIN, although less industrial, because there are no samples and drumcomputers present here. However, still the music sounds very modern, mixing Industrial, Nu and Traditional Metal. 12 songs are included, sung in the German language, and songs like “Geh mit mir”, “Manche bluten ewig” and “Fur immer” are nice to hear, but actually, this DIE! is only interesting for people who appreciate bands like SOULFLY, RAMMSTEIN… More info at: http://www.black-bards-entertainment.com 

(Points: 6.8 out of 10)

LYRIEL ‘PRISONWORLD‘ (BLACK BARDS ENETERTAINMENT)

LYRIEL is definitely one of the better new ‘underground’ bands out of Germany, because first of all, they have a great female lead singer (called Jessica Thierjung) and secondly, the songs on their first CD are quite good. The music is a mix of classic aor/melodic rock, traditional folk and today’s melodic prog metal, ending up sounding like a mix between LANA LANE, BLACKMORE’S NIGHT and WITHIN TEMPTATION/XANDRIA, with a strong AOR approach sometimes. Songs like “The crown of the twilight”, “Lind e-huil”, “There’s a rainbow in the rain” and “The spring and the night” are all quite good melodic progressive heavy rock/goth-metalsongs that will be appreciated by any fan of female fronted melodic rock/metal (especially fans of XANDRIA, WITHIN TEMPTATION). Without a doubt, this LYRIEL is one of the better new German bands from the past few months. More info at: http://www.black-bards-entertainment.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

WITCH HUNTER ‘WIND ROSE’ (INDEPENDENT)

OK, so we have a very cliché band name, and also the production of the first (?) CD of WITCH HUNTER is not that good, but on the other hand musically we have some classy 80s melodic metal in a sot of underground kinda approach, kinda like old MAIDEN, WOLF, DOMINE and some of the catchy choruses of HELLOWEEN and EDGUY. The band WITCH HUNTER comes out of Kiev, Ukraine, and I believe they are one of the first bands ever I review that comes out of that region. The band has a very good guitarist (dare I say, a very talented guy), a good strong lead singer and a very good drummer, so congratulations to the bandmembers for combining their talents into a great album, because that’s what this ‘Wind rose’ album basically is. However, I am quite sure if the band would go into a big studio with a famous producer, this band is able to deliver a very sensational record. Songs like “Crazy machine”, “Witch hunter” and the LOUDNESS orientated “Windrose” are definitely winners for the fans of True Melodic Metal with high class guitarwork and catchy choruses. If you’re starting to become interested, please do check out WITCH HUNTER at: http://www.witchhunter.kiev.ua  and e-mail them at: w-hunter@ukr.net  (please ignore the bonustrack on the CD, because that’s an industrial remix of the song “Silver dreams”) (a joke I assume, because it’s the most terrible song I have ever heard!).

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

SHAM 69 ‘TELL US THE TRUTH’ (CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS)

Released 27 years ago, and now finally available on CD, the debut album of SHAM 69, one of the first real Oi! Punkbands ever. They played real Oi! and this debut album was partly recorded live back in 1977/1978 in front of a ‘hooligan’ soundalike audience, so a lot of singing along going on the whole gig. Besides a bunch of live tracks, the album also featured studio tracks, such as SHAM 69 classics like “Hey little rich girl” and “Tell us the truth”. Besides the original 13 album tracks, this CD re-issue also contains 8 bonustracks, among which the single and demo version of the ultimate classic “Borstal breakout”, as well as the band’s first couple of recordings (“I don’t wanna” – which was produced by the VELVET UNDERGROUND’s John Cale) and rare BBC Radio 1 sessions (in the JOHN PEEL show) from the 6th of December 1977. This one’s definitely a must-have for the fans of classic 1977 UK Oi!/Punk, and the album is the first of 4 re-issued SHAM 69 albums.

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

SHAM 69 ‘THAT’S LIFE’ (CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS)

‘That’s life’ was the 2nd album of SHAM 69, and also one of their most successful releases, because the album peaked at no. 27 in the UK charts, spending 3 months in the chart after it’s release in December 1978. This re-issue of that 1978 SHAM 69 album contains 3 bonustracks, including the classic “If the Kids are united”. The album itself featured 2 SHAM 69 (and Oi!) Classics in the shape of “Hurry up Harry” and “Angels with dirty faces”. This last mentioned song is probably one of the best Oi! songs ever, a very catchy singable chorus that inspired THE BUSINESS so much that they have recorded a whole string of albums in this style (and in the style of the bonustracks of this CD – “If the kids are united” and “The cockney kids are innocent”). The album ‘That’s life’ was clearly different than the other SHAM 69 albums, because there was sort of concept, with talking between each track, and some of the songs are very different than the standard Oi!/Punk tune, such as “Everybody’s right, everybody’s wrong”. This CD contains about 5 SHAM 69 classics, but on the other hand, the album itself wasn’t that much of a classic, because it featured some weaker material. However, this CD re-issue is still a must-have for any Oi!/Punkfan, because of the classic songs ““Hurry up Harry”, “Angels with dirty faces”, “If the kids are united” and “The cockney kids are innocent”. These songs inspired a whole new generation of bands that would all follow the footsteps of SHAM 69, and one of these bands definitely was THE BUSINESS, who succeeded in releasing better records than SHAM 69 in the end.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

RED ALERT ‘EXCESS ALL AREAS’ (CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS)

This UK band is playing high class Oi! with even a melodic rock approach sometimes! Last year they recorded this CD, which is now released through CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS. The music is like said a sort of melodic rock meets Oi/Punk. The CD is filled with 12 songs, and all together it sounds like one of the better releases in the Oi!/Punkscene. Most of the songs are straight-ahead and very catchy indeed. Although they look like and are presented as a pure Oi!/Punkband, I think the songs are really on the border of Punk and Melodic Rock. One thing is for sure, these guys are playing in a classy 80s guitar riff style! Highlights are “Seize the day” (a pure melodic rocker), “In total control”, “A tale of war”, “A face in the crowd” and “I ain’t asking for the world”. Recommended CD to both Oi! and Melodic Rockfans!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

SHAM 69 ‘THE GAME’ (CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS)

In 1980 SHAM 69 released their final album for Polydor Records. The album was titled ‘The game’, which is now re-issued onto CD, with the addition of 8 bonustracks, which makes this CD a must-have of course for the fans of the band. Without a doubt, this album is the strongest record the band recorded in their career. Although their classics were recorded prior to the ‘The Game’, the whole album in general sounded quite strong. This album also saw the band playing straight-ahead Rock’n’Roll from start to finish, so no more ballads or other experiments. ‘The game’ was straight-ahead and even sounding like a punky version of ALICE COOPER, NEW YORK DOLLS meets ROLLING STONES (just listen to the track “Human zoo”!). Actually the whole album is a highlight, because finally SHAM 69 were able to record from the beginning until the end of the record nothing but strong catchy rocksongs that combined the best of Rock’n’Roll, Punk and Oi! Maybe some of the die-hard fans found this particular a bit too less Punk orientated, but they should have a listen to the re-issue, because then you can hear that ‘The game’ was a very good record with such enjoyable tracks like “Run wild run free” (very catchy tune), “Human zoo”, “Tell the children” etc., and this CD re-issue comes along with so many unreleased bonustracks, so it is in the end a highly recommended CD to each and everyone!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

ELVIS PRESLEY 'GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT'
(RED LINE RECORDS/CHERRY RED RECORDS)

No, this is not a comeback CD of the King of Rock and Roll, but a CD filled with 6 of the earliest hits of Elvis, recently performed by the STRAY CATS as backing band, but with original lead vocals of Elvis, as recorded live in the mid 50s on a radio show. Basically this is the mixture of 50 years rock'n'roll with today's modern technology. I am afraid however the result is not that impressive, because the vocals of Elvis sound way too much to the background, which is a pity, because Elvis' music was all about his vocals and looks, and not about the instrumental backup. On the other hand, it's nice to hear how Elvis could have sounded in 2005, and I think die-hard fans of ELVIS should absolute buy this CD, although be aware that the CD contains only 5 short songs.

(Points: - )

THE LAST RESORT 'RESURRECTION' (CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS)

The CD of the UK band THE LAST RESORT is made up of their EP release 'Resurrection' and cover tunes (4 SKINS and AGNOSTIC FRONT songs). In total we can find 13 tracks on the CD, and the included music is pure Oi! In the style of early SHAM 69 and THE BUSINESS. Songs like "No lazy Sunday afternoon", "Rebels with a cause" and "We're gonna get you" are a must to hear if you're a fan of mentioned bands. Everything is performed quite well, with a good production, so fans of real Oi! Are gonna love this record!

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

SHAM 69 'THE ADVENTURES OF HERSHAM BOYS'
(CAPTAIN OI! RECORDS)

The third record of SHAM 69 was quite experimental actually, because the original 1979 album saw the band mixing 60s rock and ballads into their Oi!/Punksound, while also adding a lot of conversations between the songs, basically it should be seen as a concept record (a la THE CLASH). It was obvious that underground 60s rock had a big influence on SHAM 69, which can be heard on quite a few songs on especially this CD. The CD contains the 10 original album tracks, as well as 10 bonustracks, which makes this Captain Oi! Release another winner for the collectors among us. Just like all the other Captain Oi! releases, also this CD has some beautiful artwork, liner notes and all packed in a nice digipack. Fans are treated with 10 rare SHAM 69 tracks, including a 16 minutes counting version of the classic "If the kids are united"! On the other hand, I do not consider 'The adventures of hersham boys' the best Sham 69 record, although of course the title song "Hersham boys" is an absolute classic in the Oi!/Punkgenre, which has been covered many times. SO, another must-have for the SHAM 69 fans, especially because there are so many bonustracks included.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

COLLAGE 'LIVING IN THE MOONLIGHT DVD'
(METAL MIND PRODUCTIONS)

I wasn't that familiar with the Polish band COLLAGE, but this wonderful DVD gives a perfect idea of the beautiful music this band has created so far. The DVD contains 2 full concerts, videoclips, interviews and loads more. Without a doubt, this is one of those DVDs the way they should all be made, namely 240 minutes of high quality footage. Need to be added here that the footage of the Uden/Holland filmed concert from 10 years ago is not as good as the professional recording of their 1996 recorded performance in Poland. Anyway, this DVD shows that COLLAGE is one of the better bands in the Neo-Progressive Rockgenre from the past 10 years. Their music is very similar to ENCHANT, JADIS and IQ, so very melodic progressive rock with long instrumental passages and strong memorable melodies. I am quite sure any Progfan would love to see this DVD, because the performances of COLLAGE are basically perfect. 4 hours on 1 single DVD is another fact that should teach all other labels who want to make a really good DVD how to do this, because this COLLAGE DVD shows that it definitely is possible. Available through: http://www.musicvideodistributors.com 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

THE RESIDENTS 'ICKY FLIX DVD' (METAL MIND PRODUCTIONS)

I had never heard of THE RESIDENTS before, so this DVD was my first lesson and sadly I was not too impressed, because THE RESIDENTS is a very weird band. The DVD contains 100 minutes of video footage, but the music itself is very weird and has absolutely nothing to do with Pop, Rock or Metal. It is a very bizarre kinda musicstyle, which is impossible to describe. I am not sure if I even am able to describe this band as a musical outfit, because their work is actually very artistic. I am afraid this DVD will only be interesting for people who both know and like the band or people who want to hear and see something completely different. Furthermore I am speechless, because this DVD is for me impossible to describe in music terms. Available through: http://www.musicvideodistributors.com 

(Points - )

ROBBIN DAVID ‘THE NOISES IN MY HEAD’ (INDEPENDENT)

I reviewed a CD of guitarist/bassist/vocalist ROBBIN DAVID from California/USA a few years ago, and now he returns with a new full-length CD. The album contains 17 songs, which musically clearly reveals influences from 60s, 70s and 80s rock. A song like “True love” is a pure 1960s influenced rocker, while some of the other songs are aor/melodic rockers (“Through my eyes”, “Any wonder” and the late 70s STARZ/ANGEL typed “Don’t throw my love away”), LED ZEPPELIN meets BLACK SABBATH orientated midtempo classic hard/heavy rock (“Forever somewhere” and “Valley of the kings”), a melodic rockballad (“See you again”, “Wildfire” and “Maybe”) and there’s even some Southern Rock to be heard (“Crazy music man”). The guitarwork is awesome, some of the songs are great, but the vocalwork is not that strong unfortunately and also the production is not huge, but on the other hand that gives the music a real 70s classic rock/aor/pomprock approach. I think this album will work best for people into ANGEL, STARZ, MONTROSE, GAMMA, LEGS DIAMOND and some TED NUGENT… More info at: http://www.robbindavid.com  and e-mail them at: robbin@robbindavid.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

THREE DOG NIGHT ‘THREE DOG NIGHT/SUITABLE FOR FRAMING’
(GOTT DISCS)

We’re going back 37 years in time, to the year 1968 to be exact when a new US band called THREE DOG NIGHT set foot on earth with the release of their same titled debut album. Now this album and also their 2nd record ‘Suitable for framing’ have been re-issued onto 1 CD, released by GOTT DISCS. Without a doubt, these guys were quite ahead of their time back in 1968, because the music they played was a very strong mixture of Soul, Heavy Rock and groovy rhythms, kinda like ATOMIC ROOSTER and CREAM with a sort of JIMI HENDRIX type of guitarsound. Songs like “One”, “Heaven is in your mind”, “Let me go”, “Chest fever” and “The loner” from the first album and “Dreaming isn’t good for you”, “Eli’s coming” and “” from the second album are all great songs that carry the spirit of the late 1960s Psychedelic Rock era and the beginning of 70s Heavy Rock/Metal. In the following years THREE DOG NIGHT would become a major act in the USA, where they eventually scored 3 US number 1 hitsingles. Be sure to check out their first 2 albums, which were both filled with high class heavy rock. Especially for the year 1968 a very heavy release indeed, and it sounds like what GLENN HUGHES is doing nowadays! The CD is available through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION 'THIRD ANNUAL PIPE DREAM/A ROCK AND ROLL ALTERNATIVE' (GOTT DISCS)

ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION is a legendary US Southern Rock/Westcoastband that released a lot of albums in the 1970s, of which some were quite successful. The band didn't become as big as LYNYRD SKYNYRD, MOLLY HATCHET, ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, BLACKFOOT, all Southern Hardrockbands that made it big time in the USA, but they had a huge hit with the song "So in to you" in 1973. Musically they were slightly less Southern Hardrock, adding a bit more bluesy rock, classic rock and westcoast to their sound, while the lead vocals of Ronnie Hammond gave the band a slight melodic AOR touch. They sounded the way 38 SPECIAL had sounded if they had started in the early 70s instead of the late 70s. Now 2 of their mid 1970s records have been re-issued onto 1 single CD by the UK label GOTT DISCS. In total 18 tracks are included on this CD, which musically is quite diverse, but always sticking to a pure 70s rock approach, no matter if it is Westcoast a la THE EAGLES, Classic Rock a la LED ZEPPELIN, Bluesy Rock a la BAD COMPANY or even soft AOR a la FLEETWOOD MAC circa 'Rumours'. The albums 'Third annual pipe dream' from 1974 and 'A rock and roll alternative' are both good typical 70s rock orientated albums that combine harder rocking anthems with calmer acoustic pieces. Highlights are "Angel", "Sky high", "Close the door" and "Neon nites", which all combine the best of Blues, Classic Rock, Southern Rock and Westcoast into an exciting melodic rockstyle. Definitely a must for any Classic Rock/Southern Rockfan! The CD is available through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

ANDY FRASER ‘ANDY FRASER BAND/IN YOUR EYES’ (GOTT DISCS)

Ex-FREE member ANDY FRASER recorded a couple of solo-albums in the 1970s and in the 80s, and recently there is a CD available, which contains 2 albums he released in 1975 on CBS Records. The first one is simply titled ‘Andy Fraser Band’ and features some great strong 70s type of Rock, not unlike FREE and BAD COMPANY. It’s one of those underrated albums from the 1970s, which now happily gets a second chance. The album contains some great rockers like “Don’t hide your love away”, “Bring it on home”, “Double heart trouble” and “Baby forever”. Besides the 9 original album tracks from ‘Andy Fraser Band’, you can also find like I said, the 10 original tracks of the follow-up ‘In your eyes’, which rocked less unfortunately. This 2nd album was a more Poppy Funk affair, so not really interesting for the rockers among us. Nevertheless, the CD is worth enough to purchase, because the first 9 tracks are really great FREE orientated rockers. Go check it out at: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

GARY US BONDS ‘DEDICATION/ON THE LINE’ (GOTT DISCS)

Throughout the 1960s lead singer GARY ANDERSON had a string of big US Hitsingles, but it took him until the early 80s before he managed to release new material with his band GARY US BONDS. The CD recently released by GOTT DISCS contains 2 early 80s records of GARY US BONDS, which were musically a mix of 50s/60s SAM COOKE and 70s/80s BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. Bruce actually wrote a lot of songs on the albums, which you can clearly hear, because a song like “This little girl” is sounding a lot like BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’s “Human touch”. This release should actually be placed in a sort of retro 60s Soul R&B style, which sounds like the perfect cross between SAM COOKE, BILLY JOEL and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. In total 21 songs are included, spread on 2 CDs, and for fans of mentioned artists a nice retrospective of the early 80s material of the legendary GARY US BONDS. The CD is available through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

VAIN ‘NO RESPECT’ (GOTT DISCS)

Released 16 years ago, but actually an underrated record, which never got as big as any reviewer at the time had hoped for. VAIN got some good press, but didn’t had a big breakthrough, simply due to the fact that their music was a cross between the LA Glam metal and Bay Area Thrash-Metal, so on both sides people were uncertain how to handle VAIN. Nevertheless, their sound was not that far away from LA GUNS for that matter, so they could easily be seen as one of the first real Sleaze Metalbands. Anyway, the band around DAVY VAIN recorded a great album, which is in the Sleaze metal genre a classic, because ‘No respect’ is as good as any LA GUNS or even GUNS’N’ROSES record. Songs like “Secrets”, “Beat the bullet”, “Without you”, “Who’s watching you” etc. are all great uptempo heavy rockers with the attitude of a Glam band, but the guitarsound of a Thrash Metalact. Now we are in the year 2005 and the original VAIN album from 1989 has been re-released by GOTT DISCS, so another try in getting this gem out to the public. Davy went on releasing another VAIN record, but the lack of success put him back in the chair as producer of bands like DEATH ANGEL. Eventually his niece LANA LANE became more popular than nephew Davy, but that’s a different story. The CD of DAVY VAIN is available through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

BABYLON BOMBS ‘CRACKED WIDE OPEN AND BRUISED’ (PROMO)

Here we have some really cool catchy Rock’N’Roll the old fashioned way. AC/DC, MOTLEY CRUE and HANOI ROCKS fans are gonna love this band from Sweden, because their debut CD is filled with strong uptempo guitar orientated Rock’n’Roll in the style of these bands. 11 songs are included, and tracks like “Superstar”, “Lady deny”, “Delirious”, “Get in the ring” and “So cruel” are very impressive. These guys surely know how to rock and I should say, give them a chance, so go to their site at: http://www.babylonbombs.net  and e-mail at: eva@smilodon.se 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

HEARTLAND ‘MOVE ON’ (ESCAPE MUSIC)

The legendary UK AOR band HEARTLAND keeps on releasing records, but they also keep hanging in the AOR scene without having a real breakthrough, but this new album is definitely their hardest rocking ever, because none-other than TOMMY HANSEN (HELLOWEEN) took care of the production and he gave the band a big full blown melodic heavy rocksound, although the AOR elements are still present. Although not all songs are convincing, because a track like “Take me alive” is an average groovy rocker and some of the other early tracks are nothing that special, there are still later on the album plenty of great melodic rocksongs on this new HEARTLAND CD, which happens to be the band’s 9th studio album so far! Songs like “How was I to know” (great midtempo semi AOR ballad), “I’m getting ready”, “Too sad to cry” (catchy 80s uptempo AOR), “Where do we go from here?” (another catchy uptempo AOR piece) and “Remember me?” (and yet another catchy uptempo AOR rocker) are all songs that will be loved by the HEARTLAND fans, and perhaps by people who never heard anything of the band. The album will be out mid April…

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

TUATHA DE DANANN ‘THE DELIRIUM HAS JUST BEGUN…’ (HEAVY METAL ROCK RECORDS/ROCK INC)

I believe in the past I reviewed something of this band from Brazil. Well, apparently one of their CDs has now also been made available throughout the rest of Europe. The album is filled with average Power Metal that combines Folk and Death Metal, kinda like a weaker version of MAGO DE OZ meets CHILDREN OF BODOM. Only interesting for die-hard fans!

(Points: 6.0 out of 10)

BIG IRON ‘FALLING DOWN’ (UNDERCLASS/ROCK INC)

Clearly a band from the USA, because they play uninspired Nu-Metal a la KORN, but then even worse. Should not be of any interest for the fans of real metal!

(Points: 3.0 out of 10)

7TH HEAVEN ‘SAMPLER VOLUME 1’ (INDEPENDENT)

They are back and again with a great CD. This time the American band 7TH HEAVEN has released a CD with covers only. Especially the 22 minutes counting Rock Medley is a fantastic nostalgic look back at the classic 70s and 80s, because the band performs fantastic versions of classic rockers of RUSH, LOVERBOY, CRUE, SCORPIONS, DEF LEPPARD, TWISTED SISTER, NIGHT RANGER, QUEEN, BLACK SABBATH and LED ZEPPELIN. Sometimes the band sounds as good as the original, although most covers only last 1 minute. Nevertheless, this is an awesome medley, which for me would even be more interesting if it had lasted 80 minutes long! Instead we get 7 more covers of more or less Popsongs from primarily the 1980s (STING, POLICE, PHIL COLLINS, DON HENLEY, etc), nicely done, but the 80s Hair Metal sounded better! Anyway, they’ve done it again, releasing a great CD, which is especially recommended if you want to hear how a Rock medley with classic tunes only is made at best. More info at: http://www.7thheavenband.com 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

STEVE THORNE ‘EMOTIONAL CREATURES: PART ONE’ (GIANT ELECTRIC PEA)

STEVE THORNE is a singer/songwriter from the UK and he is about to release a CD, which features, besides Steve on vocals and guitar, bassist Tony Levin (KING CRIMSON), drummer Nick D’Virgillio (SPOCK’S BEARD), guitarist/vocalist Gary Chandler (JADIS), keyboardplayer Geoff Downes (ASIA) and several others (including IQ members). Musically Steve is deeply rooted in 70s calmer acoustic based material, not unlike early GENESIS/PETER GABRIEL. The CD is very diverse actually, because sometimes it’s pure progressive rock (such as the fantastic JADIS orientated “Last line”, “Therapy” and “Julia”), while at other times it’s acoustic folk with even some modern alternative influences (very much in the PETER GABRIEL style actually, so still references to Prog). I am quite sure the fans of PETER GABRIEL, JETHRO TULL and the last couple of JADIS albums are going to love this STEVE THORNE record a lot, because it is simply bringing some great original music that even enters some new twists in the big world that’s called progressive rock. More info at: http://www.gepuk.co.uk 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

FATE ‘SCRATCH’N’SNIFF’ (MTM MUSIC/SUBURBAN)

Actually FATE should be seen as 2 different bands, because you got the early formation of the band in 1985 with KING DIAMOND members and singer Jeff Lox Limbo whom released a couple great Scandi-AOR albums, and the recent reformed FATE, which saw a totally different line-up and also musically the 2nd version of FATE is more Melodic Hardrock orientated. Now the album ‘Scratch’n’sniff’ from 1990 has been re-issued onto CD in the MTM CLASSIX series. I wouldn’t call this a classic at all, because it’s just a good standard melodic hardrockalbum like a weaker WHITESNAKE. The 2 added bonustracks are very average, so this is not one of those must-have releases, which is a pity, because MTM could have better re-issued the legendary debut of FATE, which is still one of the best FATE records. Anyway, songs like “Freedom”, “One by one” and “You’re the best” are nice melodic hardrocksongs, but be aware that FATE sounded better on their earlier records. We’re looking forward to their upcoming new CD, but in the meantime anyone searching for the 1990 FATE album ‘Scratch’n’sniff’, better get this CD re-release, although do not expect anything really sensational.

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

DARREN SMITH BAND ‘KEEP THE SPIRIT ALIVE’
(MTM MUSIC)

Surprise surprise! Former HAREM SCAREM drummer DARREN SMITH has his own band now under his own name, with the addition of band, which by the way features guitarist Mike Hall (KILLER DWARFS, HELIX), bassist Stan Miczek (HONEYMOON SUITE) and drummer Pat Carrano. On backing vocals we can hear his former HAREM SCAREM buddies Harry Hess (vocals, guitar) and Pete Lesperance (vocals, guitars). The funny thing is that Darren only played the drums in HAREM SCAREM, while in his own band he plays guitar (very well!) and also sings quite impressive. Musically DARREN SMITH BAND is definitely more returning to the early classy HAREM SCAREM uptempo catchy melodic rocksound. Highlights are “There you go” (midtempo), “When I was you” (uptempo, hello HAREM SCAREM), “King for a day” (midtempo) and “Tragedy” (very catchy uptempo melodic rocker, which somehow reminds me of AIRRACE’s “All I’m asking”), with the additionally mentioning of a very nice cover of NAZARETH’s “Love hurts”, which for once is now featured in an uptempo melodic rockversion . This is really a great album, which is of course a must-have for anyone loving that classy melodic rocksound of HAREM SCAREM and HONEYMOON SUITE.

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

THE BOYS ‘THE BBC SESSIONS’
(VINYL JAPAN RECORDS)

The legendary UK band THE BOYS was perhaps one of the best Punkbands ever, although at one point the band sounded more like a melodic poprockband instead of a Punkband. Their tunes were short, simple, but very catchy and actually their debut album ‘The boys’ is probably the best Punk album ever, with so many catchy tunes (like “First time”, “Brickfield nights”, “Cop cars”, “Classified Suzie”) and the recent CAPTAIN OI! re-issue is worth picking up, but here we are looking at a rare CD release, because it features much-sought recordings of THE BOYS. This CD contains BBC sessions only, with 2 JOHN PEEL sessions (1977 and 1978) and a full BBC Concert from 1980, material which was not officially released before, but now this CD has it all. The sound quality is good, and the live performances of such THE BOYS classics “First time”, “Terminal love”, “Livin’ in the city”, “Rue morgue”, “Sick on you” etc. is quite impressive. Without a doubt, THE BOYS were more than just another Punkband, because they were the best one ever! They did not just play Punk, because their sound was so melodic, it could even attract melodic rockfans, and the guitarsolo’s had a sort of classic MC5/THE WHO approach, so every Rockfan should have loved this band. Fans of the band know what to do now, because this CD is filled with legendary rare material of this wonderful short-lived band. More info at: http://www.vinyljapan.demon.co.uk 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

RADIO SILENCE ‘NO POINT OF ORIGIN’ (INDEPENDENT)

Not to be confused with the UK band with the same name, because this RADIO SILENCE hails from the USA and they play a sort of 80s Goth Rockstyle, which reminds me of SISTERS OF MERCY, THE CURE… It’s quite different than the usual stuff we review, but it sounds pretty good and it rocks! Especially the uptempo “Penny” and the ALICE COOPER cover “Generation landslide” are worth checking out. The band also has a saxplayer, which sadly gives it a huge Pop touch, but in general speaking here we have a good 80s inspired band that in the end reminds me a lot of ANIMOTION (if anyone remember them???) or for that matter also a bit QUARTERFLASH. Check it out for yourself if you’re becoming interested at: http://www.radiosilencerocks.com  and e-mail at: radiosilence@comcast.net 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

THE FLAMING STARS ‘NAMED AND SHAMED’
(VINYL JAPAN RECORDS)

This is one of those underground bands from the UK, which is quite popular, thanks to the late JOHN PEEL sessions. They were formed 10 years ago and ‘Named and shamed’ is their 8th CD. The music is clearly 60s inspired with strong VAN MORRISON references sometimes, but when it rocks they sound like bands such as THEM, VELVET UNDERGROUND, THE VERVE or THE DOORS, but even INXS comes to mind every now and then, although it is clear that THE FLAMING STARS are only interested in sounding like a retro 1960s act, which they do quite well actually. “She’s gone”, “Stranger on the fifth floor” and “Nine out of ten” are good examples of underground 1960s Garage Rockers. Recommended to fans of this genre! More info at: http://www.vinyljapan.demon.co.uk 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

SEVENTEEN ‘A FLASHING BLUR OF STRIPPED DOWN EXCITEMENT’ (VINYL JAPAN RECORDS)

The late 70s and early 80s were basically a period in which new bands started playing retro 60s Rock. Bands like THE KNACK and THE ROMANTICS were very popular at the time with their 1960s influenced Rock. The label VINYL JAPAN is specialized in releasing new material in the style of 1960s Rock, but also here and there they have a re-issue, such as this SEVENTEEN. This band from Wales were quite active in the late 1970s, and this CD contains 14 songs recorded in 1979. The band was clearly playing a harder rock version of 1960s Rock, ending up sounding like THE KINKS, THE WHO and that sort of classic 60s Rock. The songs were short, simple, uptempo and very catchy, with memorable choruses, good melodic lead vocal work and strong harmonyvocals. Highlights were “Talking about the weekend”, “Hear me out”, “Night’s over now”, “Don’t let go” and “Nothing lasts forever” (actually catchy early 80s melodic poprock/aor), all catchy uptempo 60s inspired rockers. SEVENTEEN could have been the next BEATLES, but unfortunately they never had their breakthrough, so we are now looking at their very first album after all those years, which is the CD ‘A flashing blur of stripped down excitement’, which even could do well nowadays among all those JET and WHITE STRIPES fans out there, although the music included here was made 25+ years ago! More info at: http://www.vinyljapan.demon.co.uk 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

SICK U R ‘MMIV’ (INDEPENDENT)

The Austrian band SICK U R has released a CD, which is filled with good quality Progressive Metal. 5 songs are included, and together with a strong production, this is definitely a recommended CD to fans of Progmetal. The band is not fully clear from modern influences, but I can assure you that this SICK U R is a good Progressive Metalband, which sometimes reminds me of AXXIS actually. Best songs are “Metal God” (awesome song) and “Time”. Check it out for yourself at: http://www.sick-u-r.com  and e-mail at: info@sick-u-r.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

PHAZE ‘WHO DO WE THINK YOU ARE’
(VINYL JAPAN RECORDS)

This is a very good band from the UK, with a truly own original sound that combines good strong melodies with a sort of retro 60 kinda Beat/Rocksound. The band reminds me most of all of good old JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and sometimes THE PRETENDERS, but with a really rocking vibe a la JOAN JETT or ALANNAH MYLES as well. The band has a very good female singer called Fay Hallam, who also happens to play Organ. Without a doubt, this is a highly recommended for any musicfan, because PHAZE is basically bringing a very good relaxing rockstyle, which is melodic and underground sounding at the same time. The CD features besides a few of relaxing laid-back material, also a lot of punchy rockers, such as the catchy “Chapter two” – which even reminds me of THE RUNAWAYS/JOAN JETT for that matter. The band has captured the spirit of the late 1960s, and combined with very good female vocals it makes PHAZE a unique band in this world, where new rockbands most of the time want to be either the next THREE DOORS DOWN, JET or GREENDAY. Then better go for a non-commercial rocksound, where we can hear real emotions and a good late 60s groovy kinda rocking vibe. More info at: http://www.vinyljapan.demon.co.uk

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

RAZZLE DAZZLE ‘RAZZLE DAZZLE INC.’ (INDEPENDENT)

Italy has the honour of being one of the few European countries that is still bringing a lot of new bands forward that play Glam-Metal in the style of the late 80s LA spirit. RAZZLE DAZZLE reminds me a lot of bands like CRUE, FASTER PUSSYCAT, GUNS’N’ROSES… The CD features 7 cool rocking tunes, which has a big production, and I am quite sure any fan of this genre is gonna love this band a lot. I had reviewed some of their releases before, and on this new record not much has changed, so we can once again hear a pure late 80s GlamRocksound. Without a doubt, a recommendation to any fan of this typical late 80s America genre, only made this time in Italy 2005. More info at: http://www.razzledazzle.it and be sure to check out the ‘hot’ girls in the CD booklet (very CRUEish!)

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

ANDWELLAS DREAM ‘LOVE AND POETRY’
(VINYL JAPAN RECORDS)

To me this sounds like a very interesting and impressive early Progressive Rock record, which was undiscovered until now VINYL JAPAN has re-issued it onto CD. The only album of the band ANDWELLAS DREAM was released back in 1969 on CBS Records, so it took 36 years before this album was released on CD. Anyway, it is now available on CD, and so available to people who never got to hear the original vinyl release. Musically this is close to pure Progressive Rock sometimes, best comparable to MOODY BLUES, PROCOL HARUM and PINK FLOYD at that time, although opener “The days grew longer for love” even has some similarities to URIAH HEEP, with twin-guitars. The band featured the very talented DAVE LEWIS, who wrote all 13 tracks of the album as well playing the guitar (very well), piano/organ and singing (he had a great voice, very typical 60s English vocal style). The band also had hints of that late 60s Psychedelic Rock style, but I think the best way to describe them is progressive rock in it’s early stages. The band had created an original own sound, which now 35 years later could be identified as Progressive Rock. Without a doubt, a recommended piece to anyone looking for the early stuff that would become known as progressive rock. More info at: http://www.vinyljapan.demon.co.uk 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

METALIUM ‘DEMONS OF INSANITY – CHAPTER FIVE’
(AFM RECORDS/ROCK INC/BERTUS)

Of course the previous albums of METALIUM are quite good, but somehow the new album ‘Demons of insanity’, which is part five in the METALIUM story is probably the strongest effort. The production is huge, the included songs are mostly sensational melodic metal tracks in the EDGUY style, while the instrumental back up as well as the vocalwork is high class. Without a doubt, this is a must-have Metalalbum, highly recommended to anyone who also bought the new MASTERPLAN recently. The album is quite diverse, with slow songs, faster uptempo pieces, midtempo epic tunes, some prog elements, True Metal songs and a ballad or two. This is one of those Metalrecords, which is finished! 14 songs are on this CD, and I am quite sure it will be in the German charts once again, just like the previous METALIUM albums. Although nothing has changed compared to the 4 earlier releases, I still consider this as the best METALIUM release so far, with such strong songs like “Cyber horizon” (uptempo), “Endless believer” (midtempo), “Sky is falling” (midtempo epic) and “Visions of paradise” (uptempo). Concluded, a must-have for any fan of high quality Melodic Metal (read: MASTERPLAN meets EDGUY).

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

IMAGINARY ‘LONG LOST PRIDE’
(LION MUSIC/BERTUS)

The Metal releases are overwhelming the past few months, because the recent new albums of MASTERPLAN and METALIUM are real hard-hitters in the scene, and we already have been seeing a lot of similar releases. Unfortunately these records are nowhere near as good as MASTERPLAN and METALIUM’s new releases, but nevertheless some are interesting to discuss, such as this IMAGINERY. Their album ‘Long lost pride’ is the 2nd release so far. The band is coming out of Greece, and released their debut a few years back (which I own, but haven’t listened so far!). Anyway, the new album features besides leader Bob Katsionis (on guitar) the Swedish lead singer Bjorn Jansson (of TEARS OF ANGER) who is the new singer in IMAGINERY. He is a very good singer, and sounds not unlike JORN LANDE and JEFF SCOTT SOTO, while Bob’s guitarplaying is quite excellent. Musically the Melodic Metal of IMAGINERY is not too far away from bands like MASTERPLAN, SPACE ODYSSEY, METALIUM.. The CD contains a few really great songs, although some of the tracks are then again not that strong. However, after a couple of spins I heard a good decent Melodic Metal record which will do well in the hearts of all young Metalfans, although I must point out it is not as good as MASTERPLAN for example. Nevertheless, worth checking out, especially the song “The nightmare of Kain”, which happens to be a fantastic uptempo powerful Melodic Metal song with a very catchy chorus (a la NOCTURNAL RITES).

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

LALU ‘ONIRIC METAL’ (LION MUSIC/BERTUS)

I have absolutely no info at all on this release, which is of course a pity, especially when it sounds like a very impressive CD release. The music on this album is very impressive melodic progressive rock with some prog metal influences and even some slight AOR influences here and there. The band has a very good singer, and it all sounds like a fantastic mixture between SAGA, VANDENPLAS and ARTENSION. Sometimes the band sounds like a Progband (with as highlight for the proggies the 18 minutes counting closing epic “Potboy: The final fantasy” which reminds me of AYREON), while at other times they go all the way into superb Neo-Classical Metal (such as the fantastic SYMPHONY X meets ARTENTION typed “Moonstruck”). Take it from me, we have here something very sensational, and if I had some more info on LALU, I could tell you more about the bandmembers, but apparently LALU needs to be kept a secret, but then I can inform you to discover this secret, which is released on LION MUSIC.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

GARY SCHUTT ‘B-SIDES MYSELF/DRAMATICALLY ACOUSTIC’ (INDEPENDENT)

The American multi-instrumentalist GARY SCHUTT makes a return with 2 new CDs, which is compromised of older unreleased material (‘B-sides myself’) and recent acoustic recordings of some of the best material Gary recorded the past 10 years (‘Dramatically acoustic’). The unreleased material is musically quite diverse, some sounding very modern, but also some really great high quality progressive metal (such as the 10 minutes counting opener “Controlling the rage” and “Left in the dark” and a lot groovy Melodic Hardrock. There’s also some weaker material on the B-sides CD, but overall this is a good strong Hardrock/Metal release, with even a nice remake of the legendary song “Without you” (NILLSON, MARIAH CAREY). Overall, a great album, and I believe Gary plays everything himself, with him even singing the song (quite well!), so recommended to fans of guitar orientated melodic hardrock/metal. The acoustic CD is a stripped down best of Gary Schutt, where the vocals are once again handled by Gary (who did a great job, although you miss the original vocals of JEFF SCOTT SOTO sometimes). The CD is a great aor based piece with great vocalwork of Gary and accompanied by his acoustic guitar, which eventually works out quite well. I would say, go check out these 2 CDs for yourself, more info at: http://www.GarySchutt.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

TO DIE FOR ‘4’ (SPINEFARM RECORDS/BERTUS)

Without a doubt, the Finnish band TO DIE FOR is strongly focusing on a more HIM type of sound, but on the other hand their 4th CD sounds very impressive, so hard to call them copycats, also because TO DIE FOR has been around for a long time now. Anyway, the new TO DIE FOR should do very well within the Gothic community, although I am quite sure melodic rockfans will also love fantastic uptempo catchy rockers such as “Little deaths” and “Endlessly”, which are not that far away from a standard melodic rockband. The U2 cover “New year’s day” is done very well, and in the end all I can say is that this new TO DIE FOR is a very good melodic gothic rock/metal record in the HIM style.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

BRUTAL HAND ‘BRUTAL HAND’ (INDEPENDENT)

Out of Denver/USA comes a fantastic new band called BRUTAL HAND, whom are playing Metal the way it should sound, namely melodic lead vocals combined with classy guitar riffs. The sound is huge and the music is a mixture of 80s US Metal and Melodic Hardrock, pure 1980s classic stuff, so finally a new US band now playing that f** Nu-Metal! As the CD continues playing it really grabbed me, and towards the end I started to feel that this BRUTAL HAND is a new sensation. The band is Metal enough for fans of METAL CHURCH, ARMORED SAINT, FATES WARNING, while still keeping enough smooth melodies for the Melodic Hardrockfan (DOKKEN, STRYPER and even CRUE!). What really helps this band is the fact they have a superb lead singer (Brad Bowles), who basically shows that there are still real lead singers like in the old US Metaldays, and their guitarist (Ed Herrera) is able to show his talents. Although the band has a keyboardplayer, it is clear that BRUTAL HAND is a guitar orientated band. The music is like I already said very 80s orientated, somewhere between the classic US Metalsound of FATES WARNING/QUEENSRYCHE and the Melodic Hardrock from DOKKEN, resulting in a very strong sound, which attracts all Rock and Metalfans out there! 12 songs are included, and my favourites would be “The tenant”, the fantastic “Never be your fool” (Q5 meets QUEENSRYCHE!!!), the semi-ballad “The hour” (wonderful guitarsolo, I miss these kind of solos in today’s music), “In the heart of the young” and “Red lightning” (speaking of classy 80s!). It is crystal clear that this is one of those must-have releases for any fan of 80s Rock and Metal! I wonder what will happen if these guys would go into a studio with a big producer, then who knows how far they can go! For now, they already have released a lovely record! More info at: www.brutalhand.com  or http://www.cdbaby.com and e-mail them at: BrutalHandRocks@comcast.net 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

JAN AKKERMAN AND CLAUS OGERMAN ‘ARANJUEZ’ (GOTT DISCS)

Guitarist JAN AKKERMAN is best known as a member of FOCUS, with whom he scored major success throughout the world. After his departure, he released a whole string of solo albums, and recently his 1978 album has been re-issued onto CD. This album features besides Jan on guitar also a Symphony Orchestra. Musically it is not big and bombastic, nor really progressive. It’s more a very calm light classical orientated piece, which is divided on 8 tracks. Jan however will always be remembered for his fantastic work with FOCUS and BRAINBOX, both featuring music that was the start of Dutch Progressive Rock, which still until this day lasts with many new Progressive Rockbands. Nevertheless, this 1978 solo record of Jan is of course a must for the fans of this legendary Dutch guitarist. You can buy the CD through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

KALO ‘SPIRAL DREAM’ (MUSEA RECORDS)

Guitarist/Keyboardplayer MASAHIRO UEMURA is a very talented musician from Japan, who recently released a CD on MUSEA RECORDS. The CD is titled ‘Spiral dream’, and basically contains high quality instrumental Progressive Rock. Especially the guitarplaying is magnificent, kinda like a mix between DAVE MENIKETTI and NEAL SCHON, so really soaring melodies are coming out of the guitar of Masahiro. 12 songs are included in total, with even some vocal tracks (sung by Japanese female singer Miori Naritomi), but the main focus here is instrumental progressive melodic rock. Go check it out asap!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

TALISMAN 'WORLD'S BEST KEPT SECRET DVD' (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

By far the ultimate DVD release on FRONTIERS RECORDS, and without a doubt the best DVD release from the past few months, this TALISMAN DVD. The DVD contains 2 full concerts, all the TALISMAN videoclips and a movie that contains another bunch of live videoclips from rare TALISMAN performances, such as their Lokerse Feesten gig in 2003. The 2 full concerts of TALISMAN are of course a pleasure to watch, because both the Stockholm Club gig and the Sweden Rock Festival performance show how good TALISMAN is live on stage. The Stockholm footage is better than the Sweden Rock Festival footage, but that's the only negative comment I can make about this DVD, because basically this is a PERFECT DVD! The DVD also proves once again that JEFF SCOTT SOTO is the ultimate frontman, because his stage performance is the best you can imagine. Every time Jeff is on stage it feels (for him) like he’s home, it’s where he belongs. He does not only sing at all times perfect (each and every style of music, and each and every song), but he also is giving away a great performance visual, entertaining the audience during each song. The best performance on this DVD is definitely the Stockholm Club gig, in which Jeff even sings a fantastic version of the EUROPE classic “Scream of anger”. “I’ll be waiting’ is featured no less than 3 times, 2 times live and the videoclip. The live performances are absolutely brilliant, up to 6 minutes long and with a break where the audience is invited to sing a long with Jeff. And there’s the cool videoclip of “I’ll be waiting”, but also from “Just between us”, which happens to be one of the most beautiful songs on which Jeff ever sang. Disc 1 features the 2 concerts, while disc 2 contains a sort of biography on TALISMAN, which includes all the videoclips, rare performances and some funny backstage footage. All together a fantastic double DVD set, which contains about 3 hours of high quality material. A MUST-HAVE for fans of JEFF SCOTT SOTO!

(Points: 9.4 out of 10)

SHAMAN ‘REASON’ (AFM RECORDS/ROCK INC)

From their debut CD ‘Ritual’, the Brazilian band around ex-ANGRA members Andre Matos (vocals), Luis Mariutti (bass) and Ricardo Confessori (drums) they sold 100,000 copies ion their native country Brazil. Last year we saw the release of a fantastic DVD called ‘Ritualive’ and now we welcome the 2nd studio album of SHAMAN, a band that has created it’s own sound, quite different from the typical ANGRA sound. SHAMAN’s music is straight-ahead Melodic Hardrock/Metal in the style of EDGUY and PINK CREAM 69. The songs are catchy and really give you a pleasant feeling while listening, it’s fun melodic music with still of course enough guitarwork (from Hugo Mariutti). The new CD contains 10 well-produced tracks, sounding a bit heavier than their debut, but that makes this album perhaps even more interesting. Songs like “Trail of tears”, “Scarred forever” and “Iron soul are good strong Melodic Hardrock/Metalsongs, while the band also has some very nice semi-ballads on offer (“Innocence” and “Rough stone” – a more progressive song a la VANDENPLAS). Concluded, a good album, maybe not as good as ANGRA, but then again it’s different in style, and for fans of EDGUY and PINK CREAM 69 a recommended piece!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

ROB ROCK ‘HOLY HELL’ (AFM RECORDS/ROCK INC)

Vocalist ROB ROCK returns with a new sensational Melodic Metal record in the best spirit of his earlier work (MARS/IMPELLITTERI/AXEL RUDI PELL). ‘Holy hell’ is filled with high class Melodic Metal, mostly uptempo, with good strong choruses, reminding me a bit of NOCTURNAL RITES here and there. Songs like “First winds of the end of time” (epic midtempo), “Calling angels” (superb uptempo piece), “Holy hell” (another uptempo piece) and the new version of “I’m a warrior” are really awesome Melodic Heavy Rock/Metal pieces a la RIOT, MARS, AXEL RUDI PELL,with superb vocalwork of Rob. Definitely a highly recommended piece!

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

AT VANCE ‘CHAINED’ (AFM RECORDS/ROCK INC)

AT VANCE returns with a superstrong new album titled ‘Chained’, which once again proves that the band has established themselves as one of the leading bands in the Melodic Metalgenre. Even the switch in lead singer didn’t had any affect, because MATS LEVEN is an excellent singer (a la DAVID COVERDALE). The 11 included songs are once again of a very high level, with many ‘hits’, such as the midtempo “Heaven” and “Two hearts” and the uptempo “Tell me”, “Now or never” and “Run/Leave”. Without a doubt, the month May is going to be a strong month for AFM RECORDS with great new releases of SHAMAN, ROB ROCK and AT VANCE. Additional mention is that the new AT VANCE is the strongest of the 3 releases, so better be sure to get a copy of it.

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)

LUTHER GROSVENOR ‘UNDER OPEN SKIES’ (GOTT DISCS)

Guitarist/vocalist LUTHER GRESVENOR is best known as a member of the bands SPOOKY TOOTH in the 1960s, MOTT THE HOOPLE and WIDOWMAKER in the 1970s, but he also has release d acouple solo-albums, such as ‘Under open skies’ from 1971. This album has now been re-issued onto CD, with the addition of a couple bonustracks. Musically it’s pure 1970s melodic pop/rock, sometimes a bit US Westcoast orientated, but always enough melodies and guitarwork to make it interesting for the rockers among us. Luther had (and still has) a great voice, and without a doubt, this is a really good solo-release, because songs like “Ride on”, “When I met you” and “Under open skies” are nice melodic pop/rocksongs. It’s not that heavy, but on the other hand the music really sounds like they come from a rockband, kinda like late 70s HEEP in a poppier approach. Check it out if you never heard it! You can buy the CD through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

ADRIAN BELEW ‘LONE RHINO/TWANG BAR KING’ (GOTT DISCS)

In the early 80s KING CRIMSON guitarist ADRIAN BELEW had released 2 very non-commercial sounding experimental albums in 1982/1983, which both now have been re-issued onto CD. Adrian had played with ZAPPA and BOWIE just before these solo releases, and perhaps they had influenced on him so much he wanted to explore some of his new musical influences. The music is sometimes very experimental, but you can also find a few quirky early 80s type of poprockers on the albums a la ELVIS COSTELLO (“The momur” and “I’m down”), and even some BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN kinda songs (“The lone rhinoceros”). Both albums have been pressed onto 1 CD, which will please the fans of Adrian’s music, but also the KING CRIMSON fans might want to check out this release, because although it does sound very different than anything else, it definitely has some KING CRIMSON references here and there, because that band was also doing stuff nobody ever did in the late 1960s. You can buy the CD through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

RICK ROBERTS ‘WINDMILLS/SHE IS A SONG’ (GOTT DISCS)

2 albums from the early 1970s from a singer/songwriter called RICK ROBERTS, who had been in FIREFALL before releasing these albums. Both albums have been pressed onto 1 CD, which is now available through GOTT DISCS. 19 songs are in total included, and the music is actually a bit more Westcoast/Country, so kinda soft and not really rocking. Nevertheless, the singer/songwriter style of RICK ROBERTS should be appreciated after 30+ years, and everyone who thought they were never going to be released on CD should buy the CD through: http://www.gottdiscs.com

(Points: 7.1 out of 10)

THIRD EAR BAND ‘ALCHEMY/ELEMENTS’ (GOTT DISCS)

Once again a re-issue with 2 albums, this time separated on 2 CDs by GOTT DISCS. It concerns here a very obscure band from the late 1960s. Musically they were doing things nobody ever had done before, nor would ever do, because their line-up consisted of 4 members playing instruments like Tabla, Violin, Oboe and Cello, so nothing more (no guitar, vocals, bass or drums!!!). The result was an instrumental sort of World Music sound, which was very peaceful and actually now brings memories of Indian Tribal Rituals or something, hell, I don’t know, but it is far removed from normal Pop, Rock or Metal! Anyway, these 2 discs will be interesting for the absolute open-minded progressive fan, who likes to explore some new stuff that has nothing to do with Rock or Pop. You can buy the CD through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: -)

CROWBAR ‘LIFESBLOOD FOR THE DOWNTRODDEN’ (CANDLELIGHT/BERTUS)

CROWBAR has a new album out, but it all sounds exactly like their previous albums, so once again they sound like uninspired American PANTERA clones, with only nice BLACK SABBATH riffs to ease the pain. I think CROWBAR’s music will never click with me… They get a ‘nice’ rating for the good production and heavy groovy guitarsound, but the songs are very boring…

(Points: 6.1 out of 10)

GARY PUCKETT AND THE UNION GAP ‘YOUNG GIRL/INCREDIBLE’
(GOTT DISCS)

Here’s some classic 1960s music for you, because who doesn’t remember the song “Young girl”, one of the pure classics from this decade. Well, it was performed by the fantastic soulful singer GARY PUCKETT and THE UNION GAP. They released 2 albums in the late 1960s, which now both have been re-issued onto CD by GOTT DISCS. Although especially the first album is lacking of material similar to “Young girl”, the 2nd album ‘Incredible’ makes that up in bringing more great uptempo melodic 60s rockers a la “Young girl”, such as “Over you”, “Lady Willpower”, “Give in” and the bonustrack “Woman, woman”. Good to hear the 23 songs GARY PUCKETT AND THE UNION GAP recorded 37 years ago, because they have stood the test of time. Especially Gary was a marvelous singer, but as far as I know these were the only records he sang on (??? Correct me if I’m wrong here???). Anyway, you can buy the CD through: http://www.gottdiscs.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

FALCONER ‘GRIME VS. GRANDEUR’
(METAL BLADE RECORDS)

The Swedish band FALCONER returns with a much stronger album than the previous album. The sound is very German orientated, so big guitar riff orientated Melodic Power Metal with very catchy singable choruses. No ballads can be found here, because this is Metal the way it should sound, uptempo and midtempo straight-forward, with no compromise. Songs like the uptempo “Emotional skies”, “Purgatory time”, “The assailant” an ”Jack the knife” and the midtempo “Humanity overdose” are a must to hear for the fans of typical German Melodic Power Metal (HELLOWEEN, EDGUY, PRIMAL FEAR). Sometimes it sounds a bit happy, but I think FALCONER has succeeded in releasing a great strong Melodic Power Metal record, which is their best effort in years…

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

TIMELINE ‘TIMELINE’ (INDEPENDENT)

They still are out there somewhere, bands out of nowhere releasing a very sensational record. For example, this Californian band called TIMELINE, which basically is playing an awesome mix of 80s AOR, 70s Pomprock and Progressive Rock/Metal, ending up sounding like a perfect cross between RUSH and TRIUMPH, with a bit of JOURNEY here and a dash of DREAM THEATER there, but I think RUSH is the absolute best comparison. 10 songs are included on their CD, and it’s incredible to hear such a high quality independent record, because it sounds good at all places (the songs, the high pitched vocals, the guitars/keys, the production etc). This TIMELINE is definitely a must-have for any Melodic Rock and Progressive Rockfan out there, but who can ignore the fantastic sound of songs like “When I look into your eyes”, “Mirror in the sky”, “Heart of the storm” and “Journey’s end”. Definitely one of those must-have CD releases! More info at: http://www.timelinemusic.net 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

DEFIANCE ‘RISE OR FALL’ (PUNK CORE RECORDS)

DEFIANCE is a legendary US band, whom already released 3 albums. ‘Rise or fall’ is their 4th CD, which happens to be a very impressive Oi!/Street Punk Rock release in the style of working class heros THE BUSINESS and SHAM 69. I believe the band’s previous album was a Hardcore affair, but ‘Rise or fall’ has nothing to do with Hardcore, because this great new CD is from start to finish bringing us straight-forward melodic oi!/street punkrock with very catchy singable choruses. Highlights are “This town”, “Final hour” and “We are the ones”. Highly recommended to fans of THE BUSINESS, SHAM 69 and BLITZ! More info at: http://www.punkcore.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

CHEAP SEX ‘HEADED FOR A BREAKDOWN’ FALL’ (PUNK CORE RECORDS)

This US band released their debut last year, and now already a follow-up is released. Musically CHEAP SEX is playing pure rough old-school Hardcore a la GBH and EXPLOITED, with some more Punkroots though. 13 songs are included, and I’ll bet the die-hard Punkfans are gonna love this straight-forward band, who are definitely playing Punk/Hardcore the way it should be played, which means fast and with short singable choruses. Check out songs like “False pride”, “Worst nightmare” and “Raped by the FCC” will be loved by fans of mentioned bands. More info at: http://www.punkcore.com

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

BLOOD OR WHISKEY ’CASHED OUT ON CUL’ (PUNK CORE RECORDS)

Although they are not the only band mixing Folk with Punk (DROPKICK MURPHY’S), BLOOD OR WHISKEY truly come out of the land of Folk: Ireland! BLOOD OR WHISKEY are from Dublin to be exact, and they have released a CD, which is mixing Punk and Folk the way SKYCLAD does mix Metal with Folk. The result is quite surprising, because the band has created a very melodic sound, which actually has not that much in common with Punk. Although the band mixes Punk and Folk, the style is leaning more towards Folk Rock, but because the songs are mostly uptempo and rock, and the fact their songs are easy to sing-a-long, the band will do well with the Punkfans. I can imagine fans of a band like POGUES will also like BLOOD OR WHISKEY. Better check out this release if you’re starting to become interested. More info at: http://www.punkcore.com  

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

DEADLY SIN ‘SUNBORN’ (NIGHTMARE RECORDS)

From out of nowhere comes the German band DEADLY SIN, whom deliver a superb melodic metal piece on the American label NIGHTMARE RECORDS. This album sounds pretty much perfect, not far removed from ICED EARTH quality. This is not just another average metal release, because this DEADLY SIN CD is without a doubt a fantastic big sounding sensational Melodic Metal Masterpiece that can easily compete with ICED EARTH. The band has a superb strong (American???) lead singer (Ross Thompson), the production is very good, the classic 80s MAIDEN guitarsound sounds very impressive and each song has a memorable chorus. 11 songs are included, and tracks like “The awakening”, “My prison in time” (lovely tune) and “The raven and the mirror” are an absolute must to hear if you’re a fan of ICED EARTH. I am safe to say that this is a winner for the fans of real metal! More info at: http://www.deadly-sin.com  and you can buy the CD through http://www.nightmare-records.com 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

THE FORCE ‘JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM’ (INDEPENDENT)

They were one of the best Independent bands out of the American scene last year, releasing a fantastic 3 track demo cdr. Now the band has released it’s first full-length debut CD, which sadly only lasts 33 minutes, so maybe it’s better to call this a mini-CD. The band’s eye-catching tunes “Jenny” and “Fight for your life” are happily included here, because those are the 2 songs that are making THE FORCE a sensational band. Of course we also need to talk about the other 7 songs on this CD. Well, opener “Breakout” is a short intro, so we’re down to 6 new songs (although the song “All or nothing” was also on the band’s demo from last year) and I am afraid the new songs are not as sensational as those 2 superb catchy melodic rocksongs from their demo. Maybe they went into the studio back too soon, because a song like “Never get enough” is just a standard rocker. The other new songs are better, namely the great semi melodic rockballad “Closer”, “Me” and the covers “Time of the season” and “Tommy & David”. Concluded, the band didn’t record anything as sensational as their demo, which is a pity because the wonderful songs on their demo show they are able to make very sensational classic 80s melodic rock. However for people who didn’t hear the demo yet of THE FORCE I can tell them they should definitely purchase this new CD, because without a doubt the songs “Jenny” and “Fight for your life” are worth purchasing this CD alone. More info at: http://www.theforcerock.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

STRANGE LAND ‘BLAMING SEASON’ (NIGHTMARE RECORDS)

The US band STRANGE LAND returns with a new CD titled ‘Blaming season’, which sounds very much like an independent release, so do not expect a full production sound like on the bigger labels, because for instance the drumsound is sounding very thin. On the other hand, the music sounds quite nice, powerful Progressive Metal with good strong vocals, kinda like FATES WARNING. Most of the 8 songs are quite lengthy, with as highlights “Obliquity”, “In a mind” and “Alone we go” (best song, very good, a la ENCHANT). I think if the band would go into a big studio with a big producer it all would sound much better, because now this is just a standard independent sounding Progressive Metal release. More info at: http://www.-strange-land.net  and you can buy the CD through http://www.nightmare-records.com 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

UNDER THE SUN ‘SCHEMATISM – ON STAGE WITH UNDER THE SUN’ (PROGROCK RECORDS)

Out of the USA comes UNDER THE SUN, a band we reviewed a few years ago when they released their debut CD. Now they have released a live-CD, which is definitely a superb high quality melodic Progressive Rock performance the band gave 4 years ago at the NEARfest Rock festival. Live they sound very impressive, which basically almost has the same high level as KANSAS. The songs are very good, such as the prog classics “Dream catcher” and “The time being”, which has fantastic vocal work, nice keyboard versus guitarwork and beautiful melodies along the way. This band has all it takes in being one of the absolute top bands in the progressive rockgenre, so it is a shame they so far have released only 1 studio album. But now this live-CD should please the progressive rockfans, because it is a fantastic live CD filled with 75 minutes of high quality music. More info at: http://www.progrockrecords.com 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

BOOMERANG ‘BALANCE OF HATE’ (TRANCE MUSIC)

Out of Germany comes BOOMERANG, whom are playing typical German Melodic Metal not far away from BRAINSTORM. After a few spins however I heard that the band is doing things quite well, but ‘Balance of hate’ is not as good as BRAINSTORM, because the problem is that the songs are not strong enough to make a really good impression. I am not saying this CD isn’t a good record, but I think there needs to be done something in the near future to come up with some better songs, because BOOMERANG now offers 10 nice Power metal tunes that has influences of MANOWAR and BRAINSTORM, but definitely need something extra to convince. Nevertheless, the die-hard metalfans will definitely like this CD, although do not expect a really sensational record. More info at: http://www.boomerang-metal.de 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

ORDER OF NINE ‘SEASON OF REIGN’ (NIGHTMARE RECORDS)

I reviewed a CD of this American band 4 years ago, but now they finally have a new CD out on NIGHTMARE RECORDS. Musically the band is deeply rooted into classy 80s US Melodic Power Metal, which reminds me of METAL CHURCH, ARMORED SAINT, SANCTUARY and above all, NEVERMORE. Sometimes the sound is a bit messy, especially the average opener “Learn the way”, but along the way the CD also has some great songs to offer like the sensational “Vow in silence” and “Somnia requiem” which actually combines the best of 80s QUEENSRYCHE and FATES WARNING. The CD does not have a full-blown sound, but I am quite sure the fans of mentioned bands will really like this new ORDER OF NINE CD, because it has here and there some great stuff to offer. However, I am also sure the band could deliver a much better product in the future, because individual they have the qualities in becoming bigger, but they need to look for a good companionship in order to bring out the best of each member. Best thing to do next time is to search for a really good producer, because it now sounds like a clear independent record. Nevertheless, a nice typical 80s US Melodic Power Metal release…

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem) 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE NEW REVIEWS
GO TO THE REVIEWSINDEXPAGE
BACK TO HOMEPAGE