HUGO 'Time on earth'


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.

Oh boy am I spoiled for choice or what? It's hard to pick out any highlights, but if I were to choose any particular songs then I would have to go with "Fine", is typical uptempo catchy Hugo rocker which ignites into a wall of polished melodies, and reminds me of the OPEN SKYZ album and "We'll Find A Way" from the debut, just listen to Hugo's amazing range of power on the vocal parts, on "I Will Be Waiting", the intro reminds me of NIGEL HOBBS's "Don't Bring Me Down", especially with the jazzy organ parts, before the pure aor tenderness rushes in, this is one of my favourite tracks from"Time On Earth", which
also has a slight RESTLESS HEART feel, "I Will Be Waiting" features more equisite vocal delivery work, which embelishs the music with harmonious eloquence. The delicate ballad "Our Love Will Be There" croones itself with juicy passion filled vocals as Hugo becomes the last romantic warrior of aor. "Magic Power" cranks out some tasty hook laden riffs and is a radio friendly aor rocker, a smouldering song that really sees Hugo pushing his voice, giveing the listener something to tear his hair out over.

The other songs all work too, "Can't Stop Lovin' You", you all know from the "Union" sampler, "Tell It To My Heart", leaves a distinctive flavour in your mouth as the songs twists it's way into a majestic classy chrous, "Last One More Time" is another haunting piao led ballad in the style of "A Tear From L.A." "Last One More Time" drips in golden emotion and comes across as one of Hugo's most expressive songs to date. On "Anyone In Love", Hugo's voice builds around a lush keyboard section, this song is in the JOURNEY "Raised On Radio" vein and has a very memorable chorus, "Blues For You", is pure aor that's sits nicely alongside THE STORM, listen to Hugo's huge wailing vocals during the chorus and prepare to dazzled!!

"The Love Song" is a sheet of pure musical poetry and is a classic and original Hugo ballad with a big chorus and magnificent dreamy vocals parts, the title track itself is also quite special and different, on first listen it reminds me of MIKE AND THE MECHANIC's "Living Years", it's a moody piece, that I can also imagine GLEN BURTNICK, ROBERT TEPPER and HARLAN CAGE playing , the song closes the album down in dose of atmospheric tenderness, the drum parts are quite interesting which helps to give the song an epic touch, aided by Hugo's equisite honey coated vocals. It's a mellow song with plenty of sting, that ends "Time On Earth" in magnificent style, i'm biased with this album. it's fresh and exciting and sees Hugo-a-go-go retaining his aor pips of honour. I can't wait for the tour!!

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 it, she's
deliver's a powerful performance, this is very close to VIXEN and HEART. The last track deals with the country hicks once again and finishes the album off on a gratifying note with your fingers clicking and your feet tapping thanks to the songs instant and memorable chorus line. Yes I really enjoyed this album, and I think you will as well. Contact her at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)



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: or visit their website at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


THE REIGN 'Enter the realm' (INDEPENDENT)

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)




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.

It takes a yawnsome play of six tracks before the album finally does lift off, and then it's only a hop rather than a mighty leap, "Long Way Down" and "Far Cry" are a couple of highlights to mention that show a similar approach as seen on CARL DIXON's "One" album and GLEN BURTNIK's "Talking In Code" album, both are catchy songs in typical Walker fashion, but both hardly set the world on fire, the one's that do though are the accoustic JAIME KYLE style semi-ballad "Walking In My Sleep", this song open up with a nice accoustic guitar intro then builds into a gorgeous dream chorus, "It Look A Lot Like Rain"
also wins top song award with it's infectious melodies and chorus line.

The rest of the album is made up of lacklustre ninties indy pop fodder that goes absoultley nowhere for me. Apart from those four songs there really isn't anything of substantial quality here, which is a pitty because of Brett had used his head he would have had one hell of a great album if he could have featured the songs from the Person To Person demos on here instead of this bullshit, you know those earlier working could have easily have been redone in accoustic format and they would still sound impressive, with albums like this being churned out from MTM, it's easy to see why they have now chosen to choose the power
metal route. A major dissapointment!! Come back BRYAN ADAMS all is forgiven.

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.

The cd opens up with " Forever And A Day", this track sits very nicely to DANTE FOX and TWO PEACE PUZZLE, with some very tender melodies and cool mid chorus axe work from Chuck Fredericks, "Cage" is a distant cousin of summery HAGAR influenced "5150" era VAN HALEN, with some stylish riffing, this is a soothing pop song with some gorgeous melodies, listen to the end of the song as it grows into progressive rock/aor. "Crying For You" is a subtle keyboard/guitar driven melancholic ballad in the style of DANTE FOX.

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.

Overall these songs given the fact that they are only demos have a great production sound. and are fun to listen to, I think we have are seeing the start of a very promising band. Excellent stuff!!!! Email:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)



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.

Musically the band play eighties hard rock in the style of BABYLON A.D.,W.A.S.P., RATT, TYKETTO, KEEL, TESLA, EXTREME, ANNIHILATOR and latter day WARRANT. Best tracks of this six track mini album are "Learn To Kill" and the ballad "Lost", the latter track blasts into a field of pumping bass riffs and great vocals parts from singer Brian Doucette, on this song his voice lies somewhere inbetween Gary Cherone of EXTREME and Danny Vaughan of TYKETTO.

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 -

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


MHR MAGAZINE 'Issue one'


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
circulation over here in the U.S. and MHR will be here for a long time to come. For ordering information contact: or visit

(Review by Phil Vincent)



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:

Rating: 7/10


BARRY ANDERSON 'The hole, murphy's planet'


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,
DONNIE IRIS and some TOTO. This can best be heard in the opening tune of his album ‘Murphy’s planet’. That song is called “Get it” which also has some references to MARTIN BRILEY.

Further more I also hear many hi-tech popsounds a la HALL&OATES, yet without the catchy choruses, in songs like “Lotta love” and “Don’t be that way”. Happily there is one AOR track on his tapes namely the song “I can’t 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:

Rating: 6/10


TOR TALLE 'Songs from the heart' (INDEPENDENT)

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:

Rating: 7,5/10