ROBIN BROCK 'Blame it on rock & roll'  


I haven't got any info on this Canadian girl called ROBIN BROCK, who is playing your typical kind of female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock. There are 11 songs on her debut CD and it sounds pretty good. Not a sensational release or a must, but well worth listening. The Melodic Rock/AOR of ROBIN BROCK is similar to JOSETTE, JAIME KYLE, WITNESS, SCANDAL...  

The beginning of the album is very promising, because the songs "She's outta control" (Uptempo melodic rocker like JOSETTE), "You lost your heart" (semi AOR ballad like JAIME KYLE, WITNESS, HEART), "Rockin' the airwaves" (Uptempo melodic poprock like LITA FORD) and "I lied" (melodic poprock like old TONE NORUM) are sounding pretty good.  

Unfortunately towards the end of the CD the melodic rock of ROBIN BROCK is getting to sound just nice and moves pretty close to the good old early 80s Melodic Poprock of SCANDAL, PATTY SMYTH and PAT BENATAR. Not really sensational, but good enough to listen to. I had rather heard some more songs in the style of "If I can forget". "If I can forget" is a great midtempo AOR ballad in the best 80s tradition, very close indeed to WITNESS. ROBIN BROCK has released a good record with ups and downs.  

Not an essential release unless you're into female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock. More info on Robin can be found at her website:  

Rating: 8/10 



ON THE ROCKS is coming out of Bloomsburg, PA, USA and their debut CD contains 10 tracks. Musically the band is a mixture between BOSTON and HEART. BOSTON because of the melodic guitarsound of Buggsy Derr and HEART because of the female lead vocals of Colleen Matyas. The CD opens with "As soon as it began", a classy early 80s sounding AOR rocker with a great hookline too!  

Also the following track "Cry 4 love" is pretty good uptempo AOR rock in a typical female fronted rockstyle of the early 80s. "The happy song" is an o.k. rocker, but nothing that special. "Crazy" is the only song that features the male lead vocals of Buggsy Derr and to be honest I prefer the female vocals, because these male vocals are a bit average. However, the chorus is very melodic and AOR oriented.  

"Vagrant" follows and starts pretty slow as a nice melodic ballad. The chorus of this song is not so strong, but towards the end the song becomes an uplifting rocker (kinda like BOSTON). The next two tracks are both 90s inspired. Still a song like "You don't feel the pain" has a nice melodic chorus.  

But the best songs on this CD can be found at the end of the CD. "Been so long" is a lovely early 80s AOR rocker. Closing track "Out in the night" is the best song of the whole CD. This is classy 80s AOR/Melodic Pomprock with a superb chorus and great keys. It sounds like a cross between HEART, JET and BOSTON.  

This ON THE ROCKS is sounding pretty good and if you like that good old 80s typed female fronted AOR, I'll bet you're gonna love this CD. More info can be found at the website of ON THE ROCKS at:  

Rating: 8/10 




THE BUGGSY ROCK PROJECT is the project of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Buggsy Derr, who also appeared on the above reviewed ON THE ROCKS. Musically it is very different from ON THE ROCKS, because THE BUGGSY ROCK PROJECT has many various musicstyles and has not much to do with AOR.  

One of the guest musicians on the album is Rusty (Toyte) Foulke who while with AOR/Pomprockers HYBRID ICE wrote the AOR song "Magdeline" for the latest BOSTON album. Rusty appears on only song and surprisingly this is the best song of the album and also the only AOR oriented track. That song is called "Worlds on fire", a good semi AOR ballad with great lead vocals by Scott Adams.  

The rest of the CD is totally different from each other. Opener "Teetsie ants" for example is a RATT/FASTWAY/GREAT WHITE typed partyrocker. This track features the lead vocals of John (LLOYD) Kistner (who once was the lead vocalist of the legendary  

On the other hand songs like "Negative waves", "Under the influence", "Broken dreams" and "Change" are very weird sounding and have absolutely nothing to do with rockmusic. Only two more songs are notable, namely "It's not fair" (nice ballad with good harmonies) and "All alone" (nice melodic poprocker).  

But I have to say that this project is hard to place in one genre. If you want to hear all kinds of musicstyles, you might want to check this out. Their website is:  

Rating: 6/10 


BOBBY KIMBALL 'All I ever needed' 


And suddenly we were surprised with a new solo record by Mr. TOTO himself. Bobby Kimball just released this new solo-album, his third album I believe. The album contains the usual 10 songs and the CD is of course in the TOTO style, yet with a more westcoast approach than most TOTO albums. Actually this is quite different than the last TOTO record. This new solo album of Bobby is a must for fans of Westcoast tingled AOR.  

The opening tune "Till tomorrow" is a great midtempo relaxing AOR song that comes close to TOTO. But like I said the TOTO reference disappears off the record after this song,  
because Bobby prefers a softer westcoast style on the following songs. "All I ever needed" is a good example of how westcoast AOR ballads sound at their best.  

On the other hand there is also some weaker poppier stuff on the album such as "My kinda lover" and "Two souls" which may be interesting for a fan of pure Westcoast (like last PLAYER, THINK OUT LOUD, CHICAGO), but is actually too poppy for my AOR ears. Happily there is some more AOR material later on the CD.  

"Kristina" for example is a great AOR ballad like ALLIANCE (1982), FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS. And "Do you ever" and "Hand in hand" are two good westcoast AOR ballads. Not a bad record, but too many ballads and too many calm westcoast material. Interesting if you like this sort of music and also a nice welcome to the TOTO fans, but the latest TOTO record is much better than this solo release.  

Rating: 7,5/10 


SHAMELESS 'Backstreet anthems' 


SHAMELESS is based around Bassplayer Alexx Michael who is coming out of Germany. His project SHAMELESS features the whole Hollywood Glamscene from the late 80s. Members of bands like PRETTY BOY FLOYD, LA GUNS, KISS, GUNS N ROSES, TUFF and STRYPER are making their appearance on the debut CD of SHAMELESS. 'Backstreet anthems' has a very good sound and production which was done by guitarist GUNS'N'ROSES Gilby Clarke.  

There are 10 tracks on the album and the opening tune "Backseat action" is as close as you can get to 80s Glam/Partyrock. Actually I kind of like this straight-ahead upbeat Partyrock which is very catchy and easy to sing-a-long. The song reminds me so much of the 1989 PRETTY BOY FLOYD Partyrock-classic 'Leather boyz…', not only due to the fact that the former lead singer of PBF Steve Summers did the lead vocals on this catchy little uptempo partyrocker.  

The CD continues in the same style, so what you basically get is a decent 80s typed Glamrockalbum. Besides the opening tune, I really liked the other uptempo no-nonsense partyrockers such as "Just 1 nite" and closing track "All the girls, but U" that both have some nice melodies and catchy singable choruses.  

Notable are the appearances of Eric Singer (Drums) and Bruce Kulick (Guitar) who completely disappeared after they were departed from KISS. Besides the already mentioned appearance of the former PRETTY BOY FLOYD vocalist, also notable are the vocals of Stevie Rachelle from TUFF. He sings 3 songs, including the TUFFalike ballad "Realize" and the BEATLES cover "Hard dayz nite". If you like the 80s Glam and Partyrocksounds of POISON, TUFF, PRETTY BOY FLOYD, CRUE… you can't miss this release. More info on their site:  

Rating: 7/10 


NINE 24 'Five bucks a cup' (INDEPENDENT)  

Not much info on this band. NINE 24 is totally 80s sounding with their partyrock influenced Melodic Hardrock. This band is in the style of early WARRANT, WINGER, WILD BOYZ and EXTREME, so basically what you get is a bit groovy material with rockin' guitars while still bringing melodic melodies. All the songs are in the same style, so this CD is getting pretty boring if you play it over and over again.  

The only song that is a little different than the rest is the uptempo melodic rocker "Magic" which sounds a bit like SHY TIGER. If you like bands such as SOUTHGANG, CRYSTAL ROXX, CRYSTAVOX, WARRANT, LIXX ARRAY, then you will surely like this band, but I don't recommend this band, because their songs are too average to my ears. There is absolutely no variety in the songs and besides there isn't a single song that has a catchy memorable hook or chorus. Don't bother yourself with this band. More info on the band can be found at their website:  

Rating: 6/10 


STYX 'Brave new world' (CMC)  

What is this? Is this the same band that brought us beautiful Pomprock classics like "The best of times", "Never say never", "Crystal ball" etc. Is this really the band STYX? That's what I have been asking myself all the time I was listening to the new album of these legendary Pomprockers that have recently reformed. I haven't heard such a bad comeback album of a band for a long time.  

This album really is horrid and has absolutely nothing to do with STYX. It's the same story as LOVERBOY. Also their new CD was as disappointing as this new STYX album. I totally unexpected such a terrible CD after their fantastic live double CD from a couple of years ago which really brought the best of STYX together on two CDs.  

I had hoped for a CD that was a bit like their last studio CD 'Edge of the century' which was also not such a good record but at least contained some beautiful AOR ballads from DENNIS DEYOUNG. But even Dennis is letting me down with incredible weak poppy songs such as "While there's still time", "Fallen angel", "Great expectations", "High crimes" and "Goodbye Roseland".  

The JAMES YOUNG songs are the usual weaker rockers on the album. And only TOMMY SHAW is doing his job a little bit good, because his vocals and songs are clearly the better tracks of this album. Something which can be heard in the track "Brave new world", the only real STYX sounding track. This song has a killer Pomp chorus in the old STYX style.  

But basically this CD is very average and even STYX fans can leave this new album alone, although I don't think they will because this is the real STYX, only the classic Pomprock sound is hard to find on this new record. I'll put on their album 'Paradise theatre' for old times sake! 

Rating: 5/10 


DON'T CALL ME BOB 'Complicated simplicity' 


A very strange name indeed, but the music of this band is very interesting. DON'T CALL ME BOB consists of Chris Page (lead vocals, keys, guitars) and Sean Rold (guitars, bass, vocals). They are playing a style which is not played by many others at the moment, because DON'T CALL ME BOB are taking us back to the wonderful early 80s AOR/Radiorockstyle.  

The band is reminding me a lot of 38 SPECIAL (circa their 80s sounds), VAN ZANT and most of all VAN STEPHENSON! Combine these three and you get DON'T CALL ME BOB! It's as simple as that and the 10 songs on this CDR I got are the living proof!  

Opener "Livin' heaven thru hell" is as catchy and early 80s you can get. What an incredible start this is! This song is a superb classic early 80s uptempo AOR/Radiorocker like early SURVIVOR/38 SPECIAL… Just listen to the wonderful melodic early 80s guitarsound (like 38 SPECIAL) and the harmonyvocals (like NELSON meets DAKOTA).  

Only pity is that this song is the only uptempo rocker the band has to offer, because what follows is a more laid-back AOR style with lots of westcoast influenced semi ballads. That doesn't mean you can forget about the rest, because this band only offers high quality AOR. For example, "In my youth" is a nice calmer semi AOR ballad with great harmonyvocals.  

And "I let you go" is a great early 80s typed semi AOR ballad/rocker that sounds like VAN ZANT meets VAN STEPHENSON. In this same classic 80s (semi) AOR ballad style are the songs "I can't wait anymore", "Every bit of my heart", "Gone forever" (more westcoast based like first VAN STEPHENSON/BRYAN ADAMS), "Divided by two" and closing track "All the angels in heaven" (rockier midtempo AOR like NELSON).  

The songs "Before you leave" and "Lady that I know" are both very calm westcoast ballads. This CD is not recommended to people who only want to hear uptempo rockers, because there is only one uptempo rocker which is also the best song of the CD.  

But if you're into the calmer AOR style of the early 80s, and especially like the semi AOR ballads of VAN STEPHENSON, RPM, VAN ZANT, ALLIANCE (1982) and 38 SPECIAL, you will certainly enjoy this DON'T CALL ME BOB. For more info on this hot new AOR sensation, visit their site at:  

Rating: 8,5/10 


STONE ANGEL 'Turning point'  


STONE ANGEL is a hot new AOR/Melodic Rockband out of the USA that has released a wonderful debut CD. I would rather not describe this band as a pure AOR Band, because there are no keyboards on the album. Still, also the AOR fans will enjoy the Melodic Rock of STONE ANGEL, because the album contains many great melodic rocksongs with lots of amazing harmonyvocals.  

Their very good produced debut CD contains 12 songs. Lead vocalist Koz has a high-pitched voice and gives the sound of STONE ANGEL a light progressive touch, a bit like TRIUMPH. The Melodic (Hard) Rock of STONE ANGEL is from very high level and I can easily recommend it to anyone that likes pure Melodic (Hard) Rock with huge harmonyvocals.  

Opener "Imagine us" is a nice melodic hard rocksong. The song is also featured as a video for the PC on this CD. The videoclip looked pretty good and very professional. Next track "Hey you" is featured in two versions (acoustic and electric). This song is a very catchy uptempo melodic rocker that has a lot of resemblance with TRIUMPH. "Argument (As I am)" follows and is more STYX influenced midtempo melodic rock.  

The titletrack "Turning point" follows and is actually the first weaker song. "Turning point" is a bit average 90s based slowtempo rock. But the following track "O' my love" is much better, this is a great semi melodic rockballad. "Carry on" follows and is an unplugged STYX/TOMMY SHAW kinda song.  

Then we get to hear the best track on this CD. The song is called "In your eyes" and this is classic 80s typed AOR/Melodic Rock which sounds perfect and is just so 80s! This uptempo AOR rocker has it all with its killer melodic hooklines and harmonies. Without any doubts, "In your eyes" is the best song on the whole CD. The CD continues with "I know you", which is featured in a live version. This song is another great 80s typed AOR rocker.  

Next up is "Feeling the way I do", an acoustic AOR ballad with some good harmonies a la NELSON. Next track "On hold" is a nice uptempo melodic rocker. After an acoustic version of the earlier mentioned "Hey you", the CD closes with "The pill". This final track is one of the weakest moments on the CD, because "The pill" is a weak groovy Partyrocker like the old WARRANT stuff. But this final track and maybe one or two more are the only weak songs on this rather interesting CD.  

STONE ANGEL has released a very good Melodic Rockalbum that is hugely recommended to those of you that like bands such as TRIUMPH. European labels such as FRONTIERS RECORDS or Z RECORDS should sign this band as soon as possible, because STONE ANGEL has talent and their melodic rock is from a very high quality. More info on STONE ANGEL through their website at: 

Rating: 8,5/10 


SHOUT 'Shout back' (Z RECORDS)  

A few months ago we got the news that SHOUT reformed and were working on a new record. The result is now available, because the third CD of SHOUT is out now. The album is called 'Shout back' and it contains 15 songs. Musically the band has changed a little. The beginning of the CD is nice Melodic Hardrock with a lot of heavy guitars and 90s influenced grooves.  

Songs like "Dreams for sale", "More than kisses" and "No way, no home" are nice Melodic Hardrocksongs with fine melodies, but are a bit different than the old SHOUT stuff. From track four on, the CD gets a bit average with songs like "I just want to celebrate", In the brave days of old" and "Tell me why". These songs are groovy 90s inspired rocksongs and are sounding unlike SHOUT.  

Happily, towards the end of the CD there are a couple of good songs. Remarkable is that the last five or six songs are much calmer and even AOR oriented than the beginning of the CD. The best songs of the CD can also be found over here. "If we only have the faith", "Sometimes it just hurts" and "Loving you, loving me" are nice semi AOR ballads (but not clear from 90s pop/rock influences).  

Also notable is the EXTREME influenced closing track "I believe in freedom" with it's acoustic guitars. I think that people that like the first two albums of SHOUT should first have a listen to this new record of Ken Tamplin and co. It's not bad, but compared to their earlier albums I had expected something better. I would recommend it to people who are not into polished 80s typed polished melodic rock/aor. 

Rating: 7/10 


2ND NATURE 'Rain' (BMI)  

Here's another obscure release for you all to check out. Connecticut hard rockers 2nd Nature have come up with a very good and instantly likable second album. 

"Rain" is the follow up to 1996's "Will To Survive", and this album is a soothing mixture of aor and hard rock melodies and harmonies a'la Innuendo, Nelson, Journey, Bad Habit, Def Leppard and Nightranger. Vocally Dan Varrone reminds me of Matthew and Gunner Nelson, Kyle Vincent, Jack Blades and Steve Augeri, adding tons of atmosphere to tracks like the gloriously smooth aor approach of "Miracle", the fantastic harmony layered Bad Habitish "Body Language" the catchy up-tempo rocking "Friend" and the gospel tinted ballad "Find My Way Home", all have some very tasty musical structures. 

One of the albums standout cuts is track number five "Euthanasia", a song based around a strumming guitar and delicate piano parping, this reminds me of The Eagles and Nigel Hobbs, a very raw delicate tune with a 70's vibe, but as for top song awards well those easily go to the afforementioned "Friend". This song is very catchy and reminds of Just-If-I and Innuendo.  

Also cool is the brilliant ballad "Angel" and "Wonder Why" is also another great catchy rocking song that get's your body grooving!! I must also mention the accoustic version of "Lucy One" which was originaly on their debut album, this reminds me of an accoustic Bon Jovi,a great song. 

This is a highly enjoyable album that at the moment i can't stop playing. This album is full of great songs and would suite as an ideal addition to labels such as AOR HEAVEN or MTM. Visit their website at: and email them at:  

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


BEN ARNOLD 'In case I'm gone tomorrow'  


Another amazing obscure release,Ben Arnold is from the Eastcoast of America and has toured through Europe supporting his previous Columbia records release "Almost Speechless".This new album is very much in the Bryan Adams school of pop rock, and oh boy is this one strong catchy and irresistable album. 

"In Case I'm Gone Tomorrow" is full of great choruses and gorgeous up-tempo melodies that get the feet tapping and the thumbs clicking, his voice is very soulfull and lies somewhere between Bryan Adams, Don Henley, Rob Lamothe, the late Michael Hutchence and John Waite (Bad English). 

Tracks like the brilliantly infectious "All Around Me", "Lead Me On", "Bad Time", the smoothly textured "Square One","No Compromise" and the slow accoustic semi-balladish "Puerto Rico",all show wonderfull harmony structures that keep you addicted and listening to this sixteen track album all the way through.  

It's very smooth music,if your after a break from your usual heavy metal madness, then i really urge you to check Ben Arnold out, his songs are vey laid back ,as i said before the music is in the Bryan Adams style, but what's unique about Ben Arnold is that fans of bands like Bon Jovi, Cheap Trick, Innuendo, Nelson etc..will most certainily identify with this beautifully crafted album. 

Radio should be walking all over this album!! A mention must also go to my favorite songs "Light Of Love" and the beautifully sung swirling ballad "So Lo". Just listen to the way the accoustic guitar helps to sing this song,wow,utterly fanatastic!! A recommended release if you can track it down, but please bare in mind that this is a very poppy album. 

Rating: 5,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


GET TO YOU 'Different that way'  


Get To You are a great new American/Swedish duo led by musicans Susanne and Matt,a double force that that combines the best in aor and power pop ballads.The album opens up rather dissapointingly with the tracks "Ever Since You've Been Gone" and "Different That Way", but then the album starts to shed it's colours with track three "If You Let Me",this song has a very up-tempo catchy chorus that sounds very much like Bon Jovi,Johnny Lima and Bret Michaels. 

Another good song is "Heartache", Sue's vocals are very encouraging on this song and reminds me of Lana Lane, Sue Willets from Dante Fox and the singer from Scarlet Rose,the album does indeed feature a lot of ballads, but they are really nice ballads. Check out the Richard Marx/Journey- ish "I Can't (Live Without You)", this song has a very european feel and a great little guitar ditty, actually the more i listen to this song the more i find myself reminded of Abba, but don't worry this does have it's aor edge.  

The next track "Would It Be Me" is a very uplifting and tender moment on the album and features a duet between Matt And Sue, this song actually reminds me of Bad Habit's wonderful "Forever" track from "Adult Orientation".  

Of the rockier songs the afforementioned "If You Let me" and the brilliantly uptempo Nightranger, Carl Dixon, Phil Vincent esq "Don't Lie To Me" come out tops, and deserve to be hits. Overall this album is very infectious and sees the start of a very promising band.  

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)




The guestlist of musicians on this CD of the Japanese Guitarist Atsushi Yokozeki is very impressive. Almost all L.A. Rock session musicians are present on this album. How about people like CARMINE APPICE, BRAD GILLIS, CHERIE CURRIE, KELLY HANSEN, RAY GILLLEN, JOSEPH WILLIAMS, DAVI D GLEN EISLEY, JEFF PILSON, KIM  
CARNES, CHUCL WRIGHT, CRAIG GOLDY and loads more musicians that all have gained much success with other Melodic Rock recordings.  

When mentioning such names, this must be something good and I can tell you that this album is actually pretty good. The guitarsound is great (and Japanese), but looking at the rest of the instruments, vocals and the wonderful production by Joey Carbone this CD is a pure American Rock CD. Musically the CD contains a mixture of pure AOR and Melodic (Hard) Rock.  

There are 10 songs on the album, of which 5 songs are instrumental. Let's have a look at the vocal songs. "More than enough" features Kelly Hansen on lead vocals and basically this is just superb AOR! The song has some classic AOR Keys, fantastic vocals and is pure AOR! "More than enough" is just a fantastic semi AOR ballad reminding me of FAIR WARNING and FRONTLINE.  

Next vocal track is "Straight to your heart", this is a fantastic classic 80s uptempo AOR rocker with David Glen Eisley on lead vocals. The song remembers me of FROM THE FIRE and ROXUS. "All the way to heaven" has lead vocals by Jeff Pilson and the song is a nice semi melodic rockballad like late EUROPE. "A little bit more" is the fourth vocal track. This song is a nice uptempo melodic rocker a la VIXEN (because of the vocals of Cherie Currie).  

The final vocal track is "Heartbreak". This song features legend Ray Gillen on lead vox. Although I am not a fan of the man, this song is a nice uptempo melodic rocker that makes me think of HURRICANE. The instrumental songs sound also good and nothing stand me in the way to give this CD a good rating.  

The CD has been out for a couple of years now and is only available via Japanese Import, but I think Robert Pancur at Target Records ( maybe has a copy left of the album.  

Rating: 8,5/10


FLAME 'Freedom love and mother earth'  


There are quite a few bands with the name FLAME in the musicbusiness. This FLAME is coming out of London, England and they have released a 5-track demo tape titled 'Freedom love and mother earth'. FLAME has a female vocalist called Amanda Farley and musically they can easily be compared to PRIVATE LIFE, ROMEO'S DAUGHTER and SARAYA, because the melodic rock on their debut is sounding pretty close to those late 80s female fronted bands.  

Opener "Devil's child" is a definite winner for the fans of bands like PRIVATE LIFE and especially SARAYA. This song a great uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker and has a lot of 80s influences. But the band is not totally 80s sounding, because a song like "Razor's edge" has plenty of 90s pop/rock influences, but still also this song sounds pretty good. Actually all 5 songs are sounding pretty good. "Deceit in the eyes of an angel" is a nice unplugged AOR Ballad with some very good harmonyvocals.  

"Open your mind" is a catchy uptempo melodic rocker. And last but not least, "Inner sense" is a nice semi ballad. The band reminds me a lot of SARAYA, but also many times I hear a resemblance with SCARLET ROSE, a German female fronted melodic rockband.  

So, anyone that likes this type of female fronted melodic rock can easily buy the demo tape of FLAME. More info on the band can be found at their website: 

Rating: 8/10


LYADRIVE 'Another time, another place'  


The history of this English band goes a long way back. LYADRIVE was formed back in 1979 and was one of the bands of the so-called N.W.O.B.H.M. (short for New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). They existed from 1979 until 1984 and in that period they built up some reputation in the London Hard Rock scene. The band only released a 45 single, which is now ultra-rare and very hard to get.  

In 1995 the band reformed due to the fact their only 45 single was becoming a collectable item. Therefore the band decided to record a whole new album they had actually planned more than 10 years ago, but never got released back then. However now LYADRIVE has released a CD that is titled 'Another time, another place'. Musically LYADRIVE hasn't changed that much and are playing 80s typed Melodic Hardrock, kinda like PRAYING MANTIS, early SANTERS and UFO.  

Notable are the 3 bonustracks on the CD that were recorded way back in 1984 but are making their first appearance on this CD. Most of the 14 included songs are in the same direction. Good guitar-oriented Melodic Hardrock with very nice harmonies and lead vocals of Nick John. The best songs are "Sign of the hunted" (80s typed uptempo melodic hardrock), "One of these days" (starts as a ballad, later a catchy 80s styled melodic rocker), "Fools paradise" (uptempo MHR), "White dress" (uptempo MHR), "Lazerwind" (good semi melodic rockballad with a break in the middle of the song) and "Here comes the night".  

"Here comes the night" is the closing track and also the best song of the whole album. This song is a great melodic AOR rocker that also has some keys. There aren't any weak songs on the album and I could easily recommend it to anyone that loves the early 80s styled Melodic Hardrock of bands such as SANTERS, PRAYING MANTIS, UFO, TERRAPLANE, ROX…  

The CD is available through NEAT RECORDS or for 10 English Pounds at: MUSIC MASTERS, Orchard End, Upper Oddington, Moreton-in-marsh, Glos, GL56 0XH, U.K. 

Rating: 8/10


BITCH-N-MOAN 'Electric city'  


Formed in San Francisco, California this band is playing 80s typed Pop Metal like the old RATT. Leader of the band is bassist/songwriter Tim St. John. What strikes me is the 80s independent rocksound and I have to inform you that the lead vocals are a bit on the weak side. I think the best thing to do for this band is to replace the lead vocalist, because it doesn't work on their music.  

There are 10 songs on the CD. They got many airplay in the USA with their songs, so they are not really unknown. However their music sounds o.k., but it's just that the vocals are average. Most of the songs are in the same style, 80s typed Pop Metal with a lot of RATT and LYNN ALLEN sounding songs. Judge for yourself at the band's website: 

Rating: 6/10


OFF THE EDGE 'On the run'  


Finally I am able to review an AOR band out of South Africa. I know so little bands out of this country that I was already excited to hear from a new band. In the past we had CLOUT, TREVOR RABIN and of course STINGRAY, but that's about it as far as we know. Now the band OFF THE EDGE can be added to the small list of South African melodic rock/aor bands. The band consists of guitarist/keyboardist Peter Hanmer, vocalist/bassist Tony Groenewald and the beautiful female lead vocalist Judy Marshall.  

The CD contains 11 tracks of which 5 feature the female lead vocals and male vocalist Tony sings the other 4. The remaining two tracks are instrumental. The sound and production of the CD is pretty good and the AOR/Melodic Rock of OFF THE EDGE is sounding pretty nice. Personally I prefer the lead vocals of Judy, but the male lead vocals of Tony aren't bad either. The CD takes off with "If there is love", a lovely semi AOR ballad with Tony on vocals.  

Next track "The critics" is a nice melodic rocker with Judy on lead vocals. Tony can be heard again on "Just another band", a nice semi melodic rockballad. "Free and easy" is the softest song on the CD and is a bit acoustic westcoast typed song that has some JAIME KYLE/PATTY SMYTH kinda sound. "It ain't fiction" follows with Tony on vocals again. The song is an o.k. melodic rocker that reminds me of CONEY HATCH.  

Following track "Take it on the run" (not the REO SPEEDWAGON song) features Judy on vocals and this song is a fine melodic rockballad. Tony sings "Running" and this is one of the rockiest songs on the album. "Running" is a nice early 80s typed melodic rocker that sounds like a cross between UFO and AXE.  

The final two tracks are the best tracks of the whole album and they take the rating higher than I was attended to give them. These last two song are both sung by Judy, the female vocalist. She has a very good voice and it really shines through on these two wonderful AOR tracks. "Breaking away" is a very good semi AOR rocker that can be compared to old TONE NORUM, DANTE FOX, WITNESS… And "Evil in her eyes" is the best song of the whole album. This song is a classy 80s uptempo AOR rocker with a superb memorable chorus similar to mid 80s HEART.  

OFF THE EDGE has released a good album that gets better towards the end. I would love to hear more female lead vocals on a future album and likewise more songs in the style of their last two songs which totally blew me away and are a must for the female fronted rockfan. Fans of JAIME KYLE will like these last two songs very much, but a listen to the rest of the album won't hurt because this is quality melodic rock from a country that hasn't brought us so many melodic rockbands. For more info, check out their site at:  

Rating: 8/10


SHOTGUN SYMPHONY 'Sea of desire'  


SHOTGUN SYMPHONY is back with their 4th studio-album, but it's their second CD release on Now&Then/Frontiers Records. The band released their debut on Now&Then in 1993 and after a couple of switches from label and even a total change of musicstyle they are now returning with a complete new release that musically is grabbing back to the style they created on their debut. The only difference is that this new record is better and more AOR/Pomp oriented.  

In fact, this is the best album SHOTGUN SYMPHONY has put out so far and dare I say that this is one of the strongest release of FRONTIERS RECORDS so far this year. 'Sea of desire' contains 10 tracks put together in a fantastic production by INTRUDER guitarist Stephen DeAcutis and SHOTGUN SYMPHONY. This is really huge pompous AOR in the style of FAITH NATION, HARLAN CAGE, WHITE SISTER…  

Opener "Sea of desire" is a great midtempo AOR/Pomp with a classy memorable chorus. Next track "Believe in me" is even better. This song has a big AOR sound with pompous keyboards, catchy hooklines and some great vocals of Tracy White. A fantastic pure AOR song which was actually also on the previous album of the band that was released by Bluestone Music, the German label that doesn't exist anymore. Anyway, this new version is making this song a 'real' Classic AOR track.  

Next is "Dancing on fire", good midtempo AOR like the second and third album of Scottish AORsters STRANGEWAYS. "S.O.S.' has again that big AOR sound and is a true winner for fans of the pure AOR style of let's say HARLAN CAGE. And also the following track "Heart of glass" is in this style, fantastic AOR/Pomp.  

Then we get to hear "What I wouldn't give", a song written by INTRUDER leader George Karak. This song is a classy 80s sounding AOR ballad that is quite similar to INTRUDER ballads. But I must admit that the difference with INTRUDER is clear. Although they both feature Tracy White on lead vocals, this SHOTGUN SYMPHONY album has a real Pompous AOR sound, while the INTRUDER album was more towards pure AOR/Melodic Rock. Still, if you like INTRUDER, you will not be disappointed with this new record by SHOTGUN SYMPHONY.  

Back to the CD, "The way that you feel" is a nice track, but one of the weaker songs compared to the previous songs. "Phases" follows in a classy 80s AOR rockstyle, quite similar to SURVIVOR and some WHITE SISTER. Then we get to hear the average track "Inside out", a progressive melodic rocker with a weak chorus. But it's the only 'real' weak song, because closing track "Between the eyes" is a nice pompous AOR track again.  

Fans of HARLAN CAGE, FAITH NATION and the debut of SHOTGUN SYMPHONY will gonna love this new CD of New Jersey AOR/Pompsters SHOTGUN SYMPHONY. A great Pompous AOR album that will probably make my yearly charts.  

Rating: 9/10


VARIOUS ARTISTS 'Union volume 2'  


Most of the songs on this volume two of the compilation series of Frontiers Records have already been available on the released albums of the bands on the same label. But that doesn't matter this compilation CD isn't interesting, because the CD is offering some of the best AOR/Melodic Rock from today's genre. If you haven't enough money to buy all the released albums on Frontiers Records, this is a great opportunity to hear songs of some of the bands on one disc.  

The songs by PHOENIX DOWN, JAIME KYLE, VINNY BURNS, THE PROMISE, JOHNNY LIMA, MILLENIUM and SHOTGUN SYMPHONY are all fantastic AOR/Melodic Rocktracks. There are a couple of unreleased songs on the disc, namely BOB CATLEY with the song "The pain". This is a great piece of uptempo AOR, written by Gary Hughes, and is completely in the style of early TEN. HUGO is featured with a new song called "I will be waiting", a nice AOR song similar to his debut, yet with many TRIUMPH references. And the EMERALD RAIN song "No saviors" is also new, a great uptempo melodic rocker like the debut album of HAREM SCAREM and labelmates MILLENIUM.  

This is a great compilation CD that can be recommended to those of you who doesn't have enough money to buy all the AOR albums of today. But it is also recommended if you're just getting into AOR or want to know how today's AOR sound like.  

Rating: -



THORNHILL features Carol and Julie Thornhill on vocals (kinda like Ann and Nancy Wilson). Their debut CD has been distributed in Europe by a Scottish recordlabel called Hips and Lips Records. The duo comes out of New York and musically THORNHILL moves into the female fronted Melodic Poprock like HEART did back in the 70s. There are some epic and folk influences in the music of THORNHILL and it sounds totally unlike today's genres, but also is quite different from the typical Melodic Rock/AOR we usually discuss.  

The album contains 11 well-produced songs. The best songs are "Dead as a stone"  
(HEART meets BURNS SISTERS), "Open the box" (calm start, later uptempo melodic poprock like 70s HEART), "Lightning strikes twice" (bit epic melodic rock, like 70s HEART again) and "I don't want to" (uptempo melodic rock/lighter AOR, close  
to LISA DALBELLO). Much of the rest is pretty laid-back, yet epic and almost folk kinda ballad oriented music. This is not the typical female fronted melodic rock, but it's more sounding like the 70s HEART.  

For more info, visit their website at: and e-mail them at: or call them at 01382-776595.  

Rating: 6,5/10


STIFF BOURBON 'From out of nowhere'  


This band is coming out of Tacoma, WA, USA and they are playing pure AOR in the best 80s style. You can easily write down the name STIFF BOURBON on your wantslist, because the AOR of this band is really huge! There are only 8 songs on their debut CD 'From out of nowhere', but they are all killer AOR tracks. The production is also very good and so I can easily say that this STIFF BOURBON is the new AOR sensation.  

A band like this should easily be able to get a recorddeal with MTM or Frontiers Records. The CD kicks off with the superb semi AOR ballad/rocker "From out of nowhere". A song that is comparable to the huge AOR of bands like SURVIVOR, JOURNEY, NETWORK, SIGNAL and ROXUS. The CD continues in the same style with the uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker "Don't you want me" which has references to 8084 and NIGHTWORK.  

Some more pure AOR can be heard in the amazing song "One more time". "Standing in the darkness" slow things down. This song is a lovely semi AOR Ballad with vocals that remind me of the old DON DOKKEN. Next track "Reunion" is such a typical great pure 80s AOR song that really sticks in your head after you heard it once. Comparisons to 80s NIGHT RANGER, SIGNAL, 8084 and SAFIRE are quite obvious.  

"Stay through the night" follows and features some classy AOR oriented piano-keys (SURVIVOR/JOURNEY style). The song itself is a wonderful pure AOR song that is pretty much the best on offer in today's AOR genre. Also next track "Don't runaway" is classy 80s AOR with lovely keys and harmonies. The closing track "Hard love" is also a great track and is earlier 80s AOR/Radiorock. 

If you're an AOR fan and like bands such as SIGNAL, JOURNEY, SURVIVOR, NETWORK or STUN LEER you can't ignore this STIFF BOURBON. Probably one of the best independent AOR bands at the moment. Everything is great on their CD and maybe the only complaint is that there are only 8 tracks on the album. But it's all quality and huge sounding AOR.  

In the next issue of our printed magazine an interview with the new AOR sensation. Now it's all about time and money to get these guys signed to any of the European AOR labels. Listen to all 8 hot AOR songs on-line for free at their website and try before you buy. Once you've heard this hot new album from Stiff Bourbon, I am sure you will want to own the CD version that can only be ordered at this site for $6.99 (US).  

Rating: 9/10


ERIC CARR 'Tale of the fox'  


This is probably the first video I review in my life, but as they say there is always a first time for everything and so I am reviewing this video of the late ERIC CARR. Eric was the drummer of KISS in the 1980s who sadly passed away in 1991. But when you watch the video, you can clearly see that Eric was more than just the drummer of KISS. Eric also played guitar, bass, piano and had a very good voice. Besides, he was a really funny and friendly guy who always had time for everyone and everything.  

The video is actually a biography of Eric's life and career. I guess you can say that music was all he lived for. It's a shame he never could do more for KISS, because his capabilities could have bring KISS to even higher places than the band had achieved in the 80s. Happily, Eric was always busy writing material and recording stuff, so there will probably be a release of some of that unreleased material of Eric. The video shows us basically everyone and everything that had something in common with Eric.  

The video shows some of Eric's first steps into the music business back in 1967. Hugely influenced by THE BEATLES he started playing in lookalike (and soundalike) bands. This resulted in bands like CREATION with whom he played many concerts. One of those concerts was the tragic gig at a disco in 1974, where a big fire destroyed the disco and 24 people were killed. Eric and his band escaped from this tragic incident, but in the years to follow Eric was clearly influenced by this tragedy. Maybe this is the reason why Eric has always been a positive man.  

He always had time for his fans and for the people around him. The video features the most important people in Eric's life. His friend, family and his girlfriend all tell their stories concerning Eric. Basically the video is a biography of Eric and after watching the 80 minutes on the videotape you practically what kind of person Eric was. Musicians like BRUCE KULICK, BOB KULICK, the SLAUGHTER guys, his parents and his girlfriend all say the same things about Eric. A friendly positive man that never let anyone down and always helped everyone.  

And after seeing the movie it is also clear that Eric was not only a drummer of a famous rockband, but was able to do everything on his own. We never saw any of those things in his KISS period that is a big shame, because Eric had a wonderful voice. In fact, he could better sing than Paul or Gene. But they never gave Eric the chance to sing more for KISS than "Beth" or "Boomerang".  

Happily, Eric recorded a lot and at the end of this wonderful video there is a short announcement of a CD of ERIC CARR which will be available very soon. This CD is titled 'Rockology' and features unreleased material of Eric. And like I said he wasn't just the drummer of KISS, so you don't have to expect a drum CD. No way! I heard one song of the CD and I can guarantee you that this is a side of Eric I never heard!  

The song I heard was called "Without your love" and boy was I stunned when I first heard it on my VCR. A killer semi AOR ballad with huge harmonyvocals (like BOSTON). If the rest of the material is also like this, then it could become one of the best releases of 1999! This song is much better than the last couple of releases on the big European AOR labels. I guess we'll just have to wait and see when the CD is indeed released.  

Back to the video, I noticed something strange. Despite Bruce Kulick, the main members of KISS (Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons) are not present at all on this video. Pretty weird, because after all without them there would have been no KISS and Eric Carr maybe would never have become so famous. Anyway, I really like the video and maybe the only complaint is that there is not so much music on the video.  

This video is a must for every KISS fan, but also is interesting to watch if you're not a KISS fan. Besides, there is a surprise for the AOR fans with this song "Without your love" at the end of the video which is a track that will be on that 'Rockology' CD release of ERIC CARR. Hopefully I am able to do a review of that disc when it's out. For now, you can get a copy of the video through THOUGHTSCAPE SOUNDS at their website  

Rating: 8,5/10



CRUSADE is the long announced compilation CD of Z RECORDS, the U.K. Melodic Rocklabel that celebrates their two-year anniversary with the release of this CD. I would not call this CD a best of the past two years, because there are too many unreleased songs on the two discs. This makes it very interesting for every fan of the Z RECORDS releases. The two discs contain 26 songs in total, so it's pretty much worth investing your money. Disc one kicks off with a bunch of great tracks that are unreleased so far.  

DREAMHUNTER is a band that is going to release their debut pretty soon. Clearly influenced by the old TREAT sound (note the bandname that is named after an album of that Swedish band), this band is bringing some fantastic uptempo melodic AOR rock in the best Swedish tradition. This can be heard in the opening track "Kingdom come" of this compilation CD. This song promises much for their upcoming debut release.  

Another interesting release will be the 24K release. Their included song (on disc A) is "Meeting this way", a fantastic midtempo AOR track. Furthermore I would like to mention a song by a Swedish band called ECLIPSE (not the project of AGENT member Rick Livingstone). Their track "Far away" is a great uptempo 80s influenced Swedish melodic rocker like good old EUROPE.  

Also unreleased on side-A is the SAVANNAH track "Two young hearts". This fantastic AOR track can also be found on their debut can also be found on their debut, but this soul version is new. Most of the rest of side-A can also be found on earlier releases of Z RECORDS. If you're not familiar with their earlier releases, I am pretty sure you will enjoy the great melodic rocksongs of bands like KEN TAMPLIN, PUSH and AMAZE ME.  

Side-B of this compilation does contain some more unreleased material of acts like 24K, PRISONER, DAMNED NATION, SHOUT, DANNY DANZI, AMAZE ME and PUSH. PRISONER is a hot new band that has the good melodic rocker "Blind" featured on this disc. The 24K song "Black sheep" is a bit on the weak side. This is also the case with the songs by HUMAN RACE, PUSH, SOUTHPAW and SHOUT. Nice melodic rock is the new DAMNED NATION track "Damage is done". But the two songs that really caught my attention are the unreleased songs by DANNY DANZI and AMAZE ME. AMAZE ME's track is called "Every heartbeat", a great midtempo AOR song like the first ALIEN album. This is very promising for their upcoming 4th CD release.  

The guy who really is stealing the show on this disc is DANNY DANZI. His track "I want to spend my life with you" is definitely one of my favourites on this disc. This song was not on Danny's European debut and could only be found on Danny's Japanese debut CD as a bonustrack. Happily, it can now also be found on a European release, so you don't have to spend so much money to have this incredible song. Because "I want to spend my life with you" is a wonderful superb Classic late 80s Power AOR Ballad like early FIREHOUSE, DAMN YANKEES ballads that topped the charts ten years ago in the US. I swear if it was 1989/1990, this song would have been a definite number one in the USA. DANNY DANZI is a huge talent and I hope we can enjoy much more music in the future of him.  

This compilation features many unreleased songs of the Z RECORDS signed bands and anyone that is missing the typical late 80s/early 90s Mainstream (MTV) American oriented Melodic Hardrock like TYKETTO, FIREHOUSE, WHITE LION, WINGER… should buy this compilation to discover new (mostly Swedish) bands playing this forgotten style.  

Rating: -


SEVEN WISHES 'Seven wishes'  


SEVEN WISHES is a Swedish band that is not playing the typical cheerful Scandinavian Melodic Rock. These guys are much rougher and are putting the guitars upfront. There are some references to the 80s DOKKEN sound. The Melodic Hardrock of SEVEN WISHES has a lot of 90s groove, but happily the melodies and vocal lines are in the melodic rockstyle of the 80s.  

I can easily compare this album to late TREAT (like their last CD). There are 10 songs on the debut album of SEVEN WISHES and my favourite tracks are "Life goes on" (midtempo 80s influenced melodic rock like DOKKEN), "Bring me to heaven" (great semi melodic rockballad like FIREHOUSE, JADED HEART) and the groovy "The wasted" (with a very catchy melodic chorus). The songs are mostly heavy Melodic Rockers like DOKKEN, GREAT KING RAT and old LYNCH MOB, except for that ballad "Bring me to heaven" which even has some AOR influences. The melodic vocals of Pelle Andersson are making the Hardrocksound of SEVEN WISHES much more melodic that it is. If you like any of the mentioned acts, you should have a listen to the CD.  

Rating: 7,5/10


ALLIANCE 'Missing piece'  


This is the long awaited follow-up to their debut that was released several years ago. Robert Berry and company have released another fine piece of AOR. The band hasn't changed much, although I must admit that there are a couple of updated sounds to be heard on the new album. The self-produced CD counts 12 tracks.  

Especially on the later tracks of the album, the sound moves into FOREIGNER territory while the lead vocals are a bit reminding me of MARK FREE. Though, ALLIANCE is not as AOR oriented, something that can be heard on the beginning of the CD. Opener "I'd give anything" is a good midtempo AOR track, yet with an updated 90s pop/rock rhythm. The following 4 couple of songs are a bit average 90s influenced Rockers.  

Happily the AOR totally returns from track 6 on. "Young blood" is probably the killer AOR track of this CD. "Young blood" is a pure 80s based semi AOR ballad with some great keys and a lovely chorus. This song sounds like a mix between FOREIGNER and SURVIVOR circa their 80s records. I am not sure, but I believe I have seen this song appearing on one of Robert's previous solo-albums. Excellent tune and more songs in this style would have guaranteed this CD a much better rating.  

"It's a long way to go" is another great midtempo AOR tune. Then follow a couple of nice rockers of which "It's my life" is pretty close to 80s NIGHT RANGER. "Don't turn away" is a great AOR ballad that has a pure FOREIGNER feeling. Also in the FOREIGNER style are the closing two Rockers "Gotta find that woman" and "Do it for free". ALLIANCE has released a nice CD that has it's ups and downs. This CD is not pure AOR, but is more sounding like FOREIGNER meets NIGHT RANGER with some 90s Pop/Rock elements. If you like (d) their debut, then you will also like this new CD, although I must inform you the sound is a little bit different. 

Rating: 7,5/10





'Justicia divina'  


Rating: 8,5/10 





No, this isn't the famous Swedish Melodic Rockband TALISMAN. This TALISMAN is coming out of Panama! I am therefore glad to present you the very first AOR/Melodic Rockband out of Panama. The band has released a very professional sounding CD titled 'Justicia divina'. Being the first AOR band out of Panama, this TALISMAN is a very good professional band. The CD-booklet looks fantastic and also the press-kit the band sent me looks good. And the music sounds pretty good too, so I can easily say this band is up there with the bands signed to the European labels. The only difference is the fact that TALISMAN is singing in the Spanish language. This doesn't bother me, because I really like Spanish AOR. The fact that the lyrics are in Spanish does only make it more interesting to me, because this is something new for the AOR scene.  

In the past few years I have enjoyed very much the sounds of AOR bands like VOX DEI, JUPITER, LAFASE, CODA, TERCER ACTO, CARTOON… and they all sang in the Spanish language. And now we can add TALISMAN from Panama. It's hard to compare TALISMAN to similar sounding bands, because they sing in the Spanish language, but I can really recommend this TALISMAN to anyone that enjoyed the first two albums of CODA.  

The CD counts 8 tracks and maybe it is a little on the short side, but the music is pretty good AOR/Melodic Rock. The CD starts with "Ser un angel", a nice calmer AOR track. The following two tracks ("Santuario" and "Traicion") are more uptempo Melodic (Hard) Rock and come close to CODA. Then we get to hear a classy 80s uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocksound in the song "Naufrago", a really lovely melodic guitarsound can be heard in this song. This great tune is comparable to 80s DOKKEN. "Cuando amanezca" follows in the same style, again uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock, this time like CODA.  

The least interesting track on the CD is up next. This track is titled "Recuerdos", a nice midtempo AOR/Melodic Rocker but disturbed by a saxsolo. The closing two tracks of this CD are definitely the winners of TALISMAN. "Sigo amando" is a great uptempo AOR rocker with a lovely 80s melodic chorus. And "Justicia divina" (the titletrack and the final song of the album) is the best track of the whole album. This closing track is a fantastic uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker with a lovely melodic guitarsound. These last two tracks are really the best on offer in Spanish (lyrics) AOR/Melodic Rock.  

This TALISMAN out of Panama is definitely one of the better sounding bands from South/Latin-America. The production is very good, but also the songs are pretty nice to listen to if you're into AOR/Melodic Rock. Go ahead and check out this band a.s.a.p. 


VOXEN 'October 1999 demo' (PROMO CDR) 

VOXEN is a Californian Melodic Rockband. I reviewed their debut CD a long time ago. The band just started recording a new CD and they sent me a little Promo CDR that contains a few previewed songs of the upcoming album. Their debut contained good Melodic Hardrock, close to Arena-Rock, that reminded me of a cross between FIREHOUSE and DANGER DANGER. The 5 songs on this Promo CDR are much more mature and the band  
really has made a progression since the release of their debut CD.  

In fact, it now reminds me of 90s acts like TEER, MILLENIUM and the old PHIL VINCENT, which means that the band now has an updated melodic rocksound. The guitars are a bit upfront, but the lead vocals and harmonyvocals are now super melodic and the music is now much catchier melodic rock than ever before. I really like this melodic rockstyle and I know this style is getting to become popular. Especially Frontiers Records are signing these kind of bands. And guess what? VOXEN are in negotiations with Frontiers Records and will sign with them soon. The new album will be out next summer, so then everyone will be able to hear this great new Melodic Rockband.  

Back to this Promo CDR which contains 5 rough mixed sounding tracks of the band. "All is not forgiven", "Fire in your soul" and "Mother Mary May 1" are 3 fantastic uptempo melodic rockers with a heavy guitarsound, but super melodic lead and harmonyvocals. The guitar-oriented melodic rock with the catchy choruses of VOXEN does remind me a little of the old DOKKEN, yet the guitarsound is much more updated but really never leaves the  
melodic rocksound. The other two tracks are "We belong in yesterday" and "Blood red rose". "We belong in yesterday" is a nice acoustic melodic ballad.  

The final track "Blood red rose" is really a killer track. This song is a fantastic midtempo AOR/Melodic Rocker with a super chorus. This chorus also features some brilliant melodic harmonyvocals and this song is really huge. It reminds me of NORWAY (another Frontiers/Now&Then signed act). Although the band informed about the rough mixed sound of this song, I can only call it a fantastic track and if it really gets a better sound on their CD, then it can only become a classic! Well, this CDR has proved that VOXEN is a band to look out for in the future. I can't wait to hear the result next year. For more info on VOXEN, e-mail the band at: 

Rating: 8,5/10



Japanese Progressive Metalsters CEMETERY has released their first CD. Some time ago I reviewed their demo tape, but now the band has released a two-track CD. The sound and production is pretty good and the two features songs are fast melodic metal tracks that have a little HELLOWEEN influence. For more info on the band, check out their site at:  

Rating: 6,5/10



'Heave millennium rock city records'  


JThis CD is basically representing the local Californian Rockscene. But after listening to the 15 bands on this compilation, I am asking myself what happened to the 80s Rockscene, because almost all the bands on this CD are absolute junk! Bands like GROOVE FOUNDATION, MONA FOR NOW, TRACTURA, MYGRAIN, STRAIN 999, ROVER'S PINKY (What the fuck is this?) or MINDFLOWER are really hopeless 90s bands that sound as awful as the bandnames. Bands like these are copying the music of PEARL JAM, NIRVANA and SOUNDGARDEN, the 3 bands that totally destroyed the Melodic Rockscene about 8 years ago.  

It's really sick that there are bands like ROVER'S PINKY or MONA FOR NOW still playing this crap! I am still surprised a junk like Kurt Cobain got so famous. Unbelievable the crap he made and why on earth did anyone listened to that depressing music (?) of this guy (was he actually a human?). So many teenagers listened to this kind of music, because the radiostations kept playing it. But it makes me sick that there are still so many bands out  
there playing that 90s Grunge/Alternative. Grow up and play real rock'n'roll! So far my comments on the Grunge, a style which I always hated.  

Now get back to this compilation, because happily there are still a couple of typical 80s sounding LA Rockbands on the disc. The band LAZY JANE caught my ear with their no-nonsense 80s hair-rock in their song "Time heals". The band reminds me of acts like LE COMPT and TANGIER. Some RATT influences can also be heard in the LAZY JANE song. This is a band that is totally ignoring the damn 90s grunge, unlike so many other trend  

There's also a girl on the disc called TORSE TYSON, who does a song titled "Let's go (Saturday night)", a typical late 70s punky poprocker like first PAT BENATAR, but also some GRACE SLICK and PATTI SMITH (not the Patty Smith from SCANDAL) influences. The band BLACK ON BLOND has some POISON influences. And last  
band I could mention is PHANTOM BLUE, yes indeed, this is the all-female rockband from the 80s whose debut contained some great Melodic Rocktunes (like VIXEN). But the band changed during the 90s and lost their own melodic rockstyle they had created on their debut. And so does this new (?) track!  

If we just could turn back time, because when I pick up one of my many compilation LP (you read it correct!) of local American Rockbands from the mid 80s, I usually only hear AOR, Melodic Rock and Glamrock. Times have changed and this compilation only features one 80s band. This is LAZY JANE and for more info on them you should check out their website at: 

Rating: -




'Poisoned rain'  


Rating: 8/10 


AMUN RE is coming out of Austria and they have released a 3-track CD. The first track is called "Valley of destiny" and this is fantastic midtempo 80s sounding pure Euro-AOR with also lovely AOR keys. It reminds me of bands like CHALICE and ZENO. The second track "Poisoned rain" is a nice radio AOR ballad.  

The final song is the least interesting track, but still worth listening. The song is called "A winter's tale", a nice symphonic AOR song with some progressive elements.  

AMUN RE has released a good AOR album, I only hope for more songs in the style of their song "Valley of destiny" on a future release. And hopefully a future release will be a full-length CD, because I am quite sure AMUN RE will be able to release a great full-length CD. 






'Beyond the mirror'  


Rating: 8/10 




BEYOND THE MIRROR is the kind of band that would not be out of place on the Z RECORDS release schedule, because the melodic (hard) rocksound of this American band is quite similar in style to most Z RECORDS signed  
bands. The debut CD of BEYOND THE MIRROR has a very good sound and production, which was done by  
guitarist Michael Sitarski who also wrote most of the music. The Melodic Rock of BEYOND THE MIRROR contains influences from TYKETTO, while the lead vocals of John Swenson sound like Geoff Tate (QUEENSRYCHE vocalist).  

The album kicks off with the midtempo melodic rocker "Take me higher" and rightaway you can clearly hear that this band is very professional and has a good sound that is much better than most other independent bands. It would not surprise me if any of the European labels would pick up this band soon, because these guys are producing some great sounding melodic rock. Especially the following two tracks are very impressive. "One step" is a great uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock with lovely keys and harmonyvocals. The song reminds me of the old TYKETTO and some SHOTGUN SYMPHONY can also be heard. "Familiar stranger" is a lovely semi AOR ballad and maybe the best track on this CD. What follows are just nice melodic rockers such as "Lie" or the ballad "I'll never forget".  

The CD gets a little more Progressive Melodic Hardrock towards the end, especially the songs "Break the silence" and "Blessing in disguise" are songs that could easily be compared to the old QUEENSRYCHE sound. Happily, the band also throws in a couple more Melodic Rockers such as "Divine" and "Let it go" which make me think of Q5 somehow. These two songs are very melodic and close to uptempo AOR rock.  

To me this band sounds pretty good. For the Melodic Rock/AOR fan a recommendation, although there are also  
some progressive and harder-edged rockers on the album without ever losing the melodic rock feeling. BEYOND  
THE MIRROR is a very good band and I am quite sure we will hear much more of them in the near future. I don't  
think the next release will be an independent release, because if it was up to me this band will be signed to any of the AOR/Melodic Rocklabels soon.