HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS
|HUGO 'Time on earth'
(FRONTIERS/NOW AND THEN RECORDS)
I am biased folks!!!
"Time On Earth" is a very naughty and special
album indeed, every single song is layerd in golden syrup
and already this could be one of the hottest albums this
year, and it is safe to say that "Time On
Earth" will be sitting in the upper reaches of the
rock charts for months to come. I have to admit though
that with the new FRONTLINE album scoring high rating
from yours truly, I was wandering if Hugo would be able
to retain the crowning glories of 1997's passion filled
creamy aor debut, I shouldn't have been so naive as this
is a monster sized corker of pure aor goldeness.
Rating: 9,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|LISA VASEY 'Say it - advance
copy' (GBM PRODUCTIONS)
WOW!! Australian singer/songwriter Lisa Vasey is hot news, "Say It" is her fourth studio album (not to mention the countless side projects) and her music is based loosely upon catchy uptempo accoustic driving rock songs with plenty of vierty. The opening strung out chords of "Tell Me Why" are a joy to hear, Lisa's voice and songs lies somewhere in between JAIME KYLE, ALANNAH MYLES, CLEAR BLUE, BRYAN ADAMS, ROBIN BECK, CARL DIXON and HEART. This song is a guaranteed hit and is dead catchy, makes the new BRETT WALKER cd look very tame!!!
"What About Love" is quite a departue in style but adds to the variety and depth of this record, this is a honky tonk country number where Lisa tires her best to out do DOLLY PARTON, she's almost does, thanks to her gorgeous and sexy voice. But it's more than that, her songs are pure and very convincing. On track three "Too Bad" Lisa delivrs an amazingly beautiful vocal performance, this is hugely cool ballad, the title track itseld reminds me of T'PAU and is a nice poppy ditty.
Then we hear a pure
rock aor song, this is defintley the buisness and the
albums highlight, the song is called "In Your
Mind" and has huge chart potential written all over
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|ETERNAL TWILIGHT 'Eternal twilight
Kansas based power metal gods Eternal Twilght dish up pleanty of fire and brimstow with this little beauty. Formed in 1998 the band's music lies in the metal climate of the mid to late eighties, dominated with huge power chords, rapid drum fire attacks and sometimes sleazy lyrics.
The band rip out chunks of great hard rocking moments in the shape of "Taste The Power", a stomping song in the vein of ANNIHILATOR, CRIMSON GLORY, HELLOWEEN, SPREAD EAGLE and early MOTLEY CRUE, the band are very tight and deliver great hotspots, "Taste The Power" features a duet between lead vocalist Phynnyx and guitarist, vocalist Lucifer, and there combined energy works a treat. This song is very catchy and sits in your head for days.
"All For You" is another sharp shooting moment, this is quite melodic and almost enters PANGEA, TERRA NOVA and BLACKSTONE territory, very good and defintely the cd's highlight, "Betrayed" is another wall of stomping melodies in the style of DOKKEN, GARY SCHUTT and BONFIRE. This is great stuff played in the traditional way, and is defintley highly recommended. Contact: email@example.com or visit their website at: http://www.eternaltwilight.com
Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|THE REIGN 'Enter the realm'
Formed in 1986, Minnesota melodic rockers The Reign play classic hard rock in the style of KEEL, QUIET RIOT, early VAN HALEN, OZZY OSBOURNE, DOKKEN, BADLANDS, Y AND T, WHITESNAKE and THIN LIZZY. The production sound is not too clever, but this does not distract you from the quality of the material. "Out In The Reign" is a glorious hard rocker with some tasty axe and catchy singable vocal lines from Michael J. Paepke.
"Rock Your Face Off" get's the blood pumping in a dose of JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, THIN LIZZY inspired gutsy hard rock, this has some very cool axe work, with "Feel The Feeling" the pace drops for a delicate slow burner in the style of STYX and NIGHTRANGER this is almost aor sounding thanks to Michael's huge swirling vocals.
"Rolling With The Thunder" rock things up again and is a glorious piece of classic hard rock a'la OZZY OSBOURNE, and "Silent Tear" closes the demos on a high note, very melodic in the style of OZZY and DOKKEN.This is a great demo with some gutsy hard rockers which is sure to see THE REIGN being picked up as the songs have originality and plenty of power. Contact info info@Houston-InterWeb.COM
Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|BRETT WALKER 'Lift off'
Having ditched the
"RAILBIRDS" moniker, Y2K sees the return of
classy singer/songwriter Brett Walker. "Lift
Off" is his new thirteen track album which should
have been titled "Rip Off" rather than
"Lift Off", as the album has little in common
with Brett Springsteen's past. (I hope you take the
hint!!), so if you are expecting a huge glorified aor
album, then forget it, as this time around Brett dabbles
unconvincinly in 90's indy accoustic fodder that makes
for a very unfulling album indeed for aor fanatics.
Rating: 5,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|RAIN CHEQUE 'Beauty for change'
Vermont based quartet
Rain Cheque are a unique new female fronted aor/pop
sensation, whose luke warm radio friendly songs often
dabble into the progressive leanings of RUSH and DREAM
THEATER whilst sill retaining their aor/pop tenderness,
this would be a perfect band for MTM Music to sign as
each song is played with passion and quality. Lead
vocalist Megan Early is a real find, and comes across
like Lisa Larpenteur from ABACUS and Sue Willet's of
DANTE FOX, but with a higher range.
But my favourite songs
are "Should Have Been Roses" with it's JOE
SATRIANI "Day At The Beach" inspired intro and
cool axe work and brilliant vocals parts from Megan, this
song features a blinding guitar solo, but top song award
goes to the brilliant "Serenade" a super sexy
song that forces you to sing along to every note that is
poured out from Megan's voice, it's like a female version
of TAKARA. mixed with BRYAN ADAMS "Reckless"
era and TWO PEACE PUZZLE, a very satisfying colourful
driving summer song.
Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|AFTER SHOKK 'Deep'
Oh boy this band almost had a
slating from me, but you know this is one of those albums
that grows on you with each listen and after a while it
become clear that US hard rockers After Shokk know a
thing or two about penning a good solid hard commercial
chunk of molten rock that is often quite entertaining.
The guitar parts are very much like NUNO BETTENCOURT and full of crunchy melodic power riffing, the former is a subtle and down to earth melodic power ballad, Brian Doucette again come across in the vein of DANNY VAUGHAN as the song builds into an amzing power filled commercial semi-ballad. This needs a few spins to appreciate, but I do think this is a reasonable quality effort that should start creating a buzz for After Shokk. Good effort. Contact: Brian Doucette - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: 7/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|MHR MAGAZINE 'Issue one'
(PRINTED MAGAZINE REVIEW)
After being a Hard RoxX subscriber for 30+ issues I was devastated when the magazine ceased to exist in print form. 98% of my CD collection was compiled based on the reviews& articles the magazine offered every month. So it is with GREAT relief that I can know turn my attention over to MHR magazine for my future melodic rock/AOR needs. The mag picks up right where HR left off.It's in its infantile stages so typo's are expected but the BIG difference about MHR is the amount of reviews on offer!!!! Great job!!!
The interviews are indepth and
informative. You really get the feeling you know the
artist after you finish reading it. Easy to read,to the
point,very entertaining. Now let's increase
(Review by Phil Vincent)
|STORM WITHIN 'Unleashed'
STORM WITHIN is a female fronted melodic rockband out of Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The lead singer is called Debra Darlene and she reminds me a lot of LITA FORD, and also musically they are in this style, although I must inform you that this STORM WITHIN is a bit more 90s oriented. Let's just say that they play in the style of LITA FORD's last CD which also saw that 90s approach.
Anyway, there are 11 songs on the CD and it all starts a bit slow with the heavy rocker "Bad winds". Following track "Brides" are cheering things up and this is a calmer laid-back melodic rocker. Pretty nice are the uptempo melodic Hardrocksongs "How many days wasted" and "One time ain't enough" which have some RUNAWAYS similarities. Though the best songs are kept till the end with melodic rockers such as "Truth or the lies" (LITA FORD style) and the HEADPINS sounding straight ahead melodic hardrocksong "What the doctor ordered".
Unfortunately it's not melodic rock all the way, because songs like "Take chance", "Love somebody", "Tonight" and "Listen" are a bit weak 90s sounding pop/rock songs. The band also sent me a cool video and a new demo CD which features 3 songs. Unfortunately I have to inform you that the band has changed their style and the music is now gothic metal with Black Sabbath influences, not really interesting for the melodic rockfans.
I hope a future release will see a return to the style of their debut which will gain them more success than the gothic metal style they now have. And also lyrically I hope the band returns to their debut, because they now have a song called "Fuck you too" which is not really attractive for people to check out. Anyway, check this band out at: http://www.mp3.com/stormwithin
|BARRY ANDERSON 'The hole, murphy's
BARRY ANDERSON was
influenced by FOREIGNER, but I can not hear much of that
on the two album tapes he sent me. The music I hear on
these tapes are sounding very 80s indeed, but not as Rock
oriented as I had hoped for. BARRY ANDERSON is playing
New Wave influenced quirky Poprock that sounds like a mix
between MICHAEL MCDONALD,
Further more I also hear many hi-tech popsounds a la HALL&OATES, yet without the catchy choruses, in songs like Lotta love and Dont be that way. Happily there is one AOR track on his tapes namely the song I cant fight which is a nice poppy AOR song that sounds like TOTO, ALLIANCE (82), SNEAKER and BILL CHAMPLIN. If you want to hear experimental New Wave influenced quirky Poprock, then go over to the website of BARRY ANDERSON at: http://www.mp3.com/barry_anderson
|TOR TALLE 'Songs from the
TOR TALLE is a hot new multi-instrumentalist out of Norway who just released his debut CD titled 'Songs from the heart', a collection of 17 vocal and instrumental songs that will please any fan of calmer westcoast/AOR. Tor also produced the CD himself and my compliments for a very good sound quality. The music is often very soft and does have a lot of Pop/Westcoast influences. A lot of times the CD is reminding me of TOTO, KING OF HEARTS and JAY GRAYDON/PLANET 3.
Still I enjoyed it a lot, because those instrumental songs such as "Midnight zone" and "Dreamzone" sound very relaxing and are excellent to listen to on hot summer nights. On the other hand, I also liked a couple of the vocal tracks that feature 5 different lead vocalists. The best vocal songs are clearly "Don't turn away" and "After love" which feature the brilliant lead vocals of Jorn Lande (VAGABOND, SNAKES). They are both great calmer TOTOish Westcoast/AORgems (like their song "Melanie" from the last record) with the very melodic lead vocals of Jorn as well as some great melodic choruses. I wish Tor could make a full CD with Jorn in the future, because then we could enjoy many more music
of the together. But also the other vocal songs are nice to hear and are actually very suitable for the radiostations to play. Very good is the midtempo AOR song "Tonight" which features the lead vocals of Inge Ronny Kvale. Good CD release of Tor and anyone who likes the guitar playing of guys like Michael Landau, Tim Pierce, Bruce Gaitsch and Westcoast stuff of bands like KING OF HEARTS, TOTO, MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND, WEST OF SUNSET will certainly enjoy this CD. More info at: http://home.c2i.net/ttalle