HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS
|MIDNIGHT ANGEL 'Addiction' (INDEPENDENT)
Out of Philadelphia comes MIDNIGHT ANGEL. They were formed in 1997 and this 'Addiction' CD release is their debut album. Musically this MIDNIGHT ANGEL is playing pure 80s guitar oriented straight-ahead melodic hardrock which combines influences of bands like DOKKEN, DAMN YANKEES, FIREHOUSE, VELOCITY, DANGER DANGER and WHITE LION.
There are 10 songs on the CD which was produced very well by lead vocalist Damian MonteCarlo and guitarist Mike Gallagher. My favourite tracks are the cheerful uptempo melodic rockers "Hollywood tragedy", "In my arms", "You're no good" (a la JULLIET) and "All I ever wanted" (POISON influences). This is 80s Rock all the way! Another notable song is the midtempo melodic rocker "Surrender my heart" which sounds very strong. If you like any of the mentioned bands, you can easily go for MIDNIGHT ANGEL, because these guys are one of the best in this genre at the moment, believe me! More info at: http://midnightangel.duf.net and e-mail them at: email@example.com
|D. ANTHONY 'Demos'
Another tasty little independent aor/melodic rock release in the form of American singer/songwriter D.Anthony, whose style leans into the same paths recently visited by 180, PASSION STREET, INNUENDO, PHIL VINCENT, HARLAN CAGE, JOE E. DADDARIO, but without the polished production sound quality, but that doesn't distract the liseners attention as this is cool stuff.
That's the image that this guy has conjured up with this nine track demo, that spits out finally tuned songs like the 180ish "Big Brother" with it's west coast sprinkled keyboards, the semi-accoustic ballad "Follow Me Down", the excellent "My Girl" a really smooth track with some nifty keyboard action, the brilliant WANG CHUNG, LYNN ALLEN and PSEUDO ECHOish "Money Slave", this song is dead bouncy and belongs firmly in the mid eighties.
The last track on this demo is called "Ground Zero" and is the most recent of the recorded tracks,this songs sits nicely along side the likes of HARLAN CAGE and Belgium based rockers NIGHTINGALE with a touch of LILLIAN AXE/RON TAYLOR style vocal harmonies, thanks to Anthony's cool singing, this is an area that I would like to see him develop his art into, this is a great song, that finishes off a great demo.
Vocally Anthony remind me of a detuned DAVID LEE ROTH, TYLA from DOG'S D'AMOUR and the singer from the excellent and sadly defunt ROCK CITY ANGELS unit, each song is catchy and given the chance to upgrade his songs with a decent production then I think we could be hearing alot more action from D.Anthony in the future. A great start... http://www.Mp3.com/Danthony or email: Sndengineer@aol.com
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|FIRST IMPRESSION 'Dead of night' (INDEPENDENT)
I don't have any info on this American band, so I can start rightaway with describing their sound. FIRST IMPRESSION is playing melodic hardrock at times, but every now and then they are also very close to Metal. The CD starts with the titletrack "Dead of night" which has some great AOR keys at the start, but the song itself is just a nice uptempo melodic rocker.
Listening to this first song, I can hear very well what the problem is with this band. The vocals of lead vocalist/keyboardist Brad Kisslinger are not that impressive. Especially for a melodic rockband, you want to hear melodic vocals too, and on this FIRST IMPRESSION I hear a vocalist who would sound better with a Metal band. Something which becomes clear at the end of the CD of FIRST IMPRESSION when the band is indeed playing Metal.
Songs like "Crowdpleaser" and "Seek'n'destroy" are moving towards the old METALLICA sound. Besides a couple melodic hardrock tracks, and a few metal songs, the band even walks into Partyrock territory on the song "Eyes of fire" which reminds me a lot of CRUE. If you're interested in this band, you should look at their mp3.com site.
|BARAKADE 'Volume one' (MAGELLAN
Awesome!! I'm in hard rock heaven dudes!! Welcome to the hard rocking world of New York's finest - Barkade. Barakade originally issued this album under license to Megarock records back in 95/96, it actually did quite well to. Since it's release vocalist Drew Barret has released a superb solo album called "The Strolling Minstrel", Barakade are currently "On Ice" and one can hope that Drew and co will have the good sense get the band back together and record a follow up!!
Drew obviously thought this album was too good to just fall by the way side, and he is dead right as it is a melodic rock lovers dream, imagine a mixture of CROWN OF THORNS, DECOY PARIS, DIVING FOR PEARLS, TALISMAN, HEAVEN'S EDGE, DOKKEN, PASSION STREET, KEN TAMPLIN, FAIR WARNING, JADED HEART, BABYLON A.D, ATTRACTION, JESSE'S POWERTRIP, VON GROOVE, VELOCITY, AEROSMITH, ICON, CRYSTAL BLUE, SKAGARACK, DANNY DANZI, EXTREME, ENUFF Z'NUFF, PHIL VINCENT, KIX, WINGER, VALENTINE, MICHAEL MORALES, and ACES HIGH, complete with a superb hard 'n' heavy production, and you just know that you are on to a winner!
Every song hits the
spot with guitar solos and chorus being played at eactly
the right time.
"So In Love" is very much like PASSION STREET and SAVANNAH, a great ballad to check out. The next three tracks "Never Cry", "Keep On Running" and "Never Wanted To Say Goodbye" are all very catch rock songs with the best of the bunch being "Keep Running Away", a perfect hard rock song that is just so damn catchy!! The fun furied tempo slows down for the opening intro of "Calling Out", but not for long as the hammers swings into gear again and turns this song into a one of the albums highlights, it's very dark and melodic, it's not a ballad but just a lovely pure rock song. "Out On The Edge", "Rain Keeps Falling", keep up with Barakades hard rock moments and the last song "Everything To Me" is another lovely ballad in the style of PHIL VINCENT.
The last two tracks take the listener into Barakade's live show, "Oh Jaime (LIVE)" is very much like DOKKEN and KEEL, and "Lazy Or Last Call (Live In Mexico)" is a total departure, this is a fun song with a jazzy swing, remind me of SHARK ISLAND's cover of FRANK SINATRA'S "New York, New York" from their "S'cool Bus" album, you would probably find FREAK KITCHEN or the late and great FRANK ZAPPA doing this style of material, it's fun though! Overall, a worthwhile purchase to add to you record collection,. Now then Drew how about getting things moving once again? Email Drew at: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his website: http://wwwdrewbarrett.com
Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|RADIO STORM 'Normally aspirated'
Radio Storm are from Pasadena and play a bunch of ok modern surf rock songs such as "Grandma's Tattoo", a catchy song with some nice upbeat guitar playing from Chris Masterjohn, this is a little bit like EXTREME and FAITH NO MORE. "Summertime" pops up next on a tuneful note, and "Randy" modernises things up a bit and sounds a bit like NELSON and INNUENDO crossed with MANIC STREET PREACHERS and THE MONKEES playing AC/DC riffs, not too bad, it sure does grow on you thanks to those AC/DC diddlydiddlydiddly riffs!!
"His Place" is ok to but nothing outstanding, and "Brother Hood" has a some really cool guitar work, and the last track on this six track cd "Approachable" has a laid back guitar intro, the songs then leaps up at you and sound a cross between TESLA and STONMED DOG. This is ok, it's miles better than most of these modern alternative bands, the boys can play and have a sense of musical ability. It'll be interesting to see what they do next as this is ok, nothing earthshattering but a pleasent enough listen. Email: email@example.com and check out their website at: http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~cgraver
Rating: 6/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|CIARA 'Worry about
yourself' (ORANGE RECORDS)
Florida's female fronted uprising superstars Ciara play tight modern melodic rock similar in style to T'PAU, U2, modern BRYAN ADAMS, NO DOUBT and DANTE FOX , but with lots more energy and originality. Lead vocalist Moira has a nice voice which is slightly let down by the cd's production which sounds of demo quality , the songs are very uptempo and electric, "Walking Out" is very much like T'PAU and SARAYA with a huge singable chorus from Moira that blew me away.
Actually listen a bit harder and you will see influences from late 70's pop/rock band BLONDIE, so the music has a slight psychedelic charm added to it as well, which adds to the diversity of Ciara's music, and makes it very entertaining if your looking for some modern melodic rock to listen to. Other cool tracks are "Edge Of Reason" and "To Bono", both of which leave a satisfying impression on the ears, especially "To Bono" which is possabily the best track on the six track cd. Look out for more action from Ciara soon, and remember where you read about them first, Great stuff!!! Website: http://www.CIARA-MUSIC.COM
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|RAINLORD 'Ignitor' (INDEPENDENT)
I swear to god that the minute I put this on the old boom box, the heaven's above opened up!!! For a second I thought that this cd was jinxed with a genuine Rainmaking curse. Florida based hard rockers Rainlord know a thing or two about playing catchy melodic hard rock, their only problem is that at sixteen tracks the cd is a bit ambitiously overlong, and what could have been a hailstorm is now much more of a drizzle!!
Seriously though this is a fine effort boasting quality hard rock like "While He's Away", "One Night Stand", "Let It Go", and "Take What You Want" all of which rock in a similar style to early BON JOVI, WHITE LION, KEEL, BONFIRE, DOKKEN, BABYLON A.D., KIX, SLAUGHTER, old VAN HALEN, KISS, VELOCITY, JOHNNY LIMA and SHAKRA.
Add in to the mix your token lighter in the air obligatory ballad "Tears Of Frustration" and a metalized cover of BONNIE RICE's "Mustang Sally" and you have an album that hits hard in the grand old style of the late eighties, but as I said the only problem is the album is a little too long, but one can forgiven RAINLORD as the rest of the material more than makes up for this minor quibble, this is cracking stuff that may see RAINLORD get some label interest, and if this album does one day get officially released, then I prey and hope that the band cut the record down in size, until then sit back crack open a tin and enjoy an album of well played melodic hard rock !! Website: http://www.afternight.com/music/rainlord
Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|24K 'Pure 24K' (Z
Welcome to the very first release from the mighty Z records of 2000. 24K are a hard rock outfit featuring the very underrated and powerful singer/songwriter PHIL NARO and a guitarist called MLADEN whom I have never heard of before, as well as contributions from the mighty SLAV SIMANIC with whom Phil sang on his amazing solo album "Water Of Life", Slav has also worked with DAVID LEE ROTH amongst others and is one of the new pioneers in guitar history.
Now then, I have a
point to make here, musically 24k are very similar to
alot of bands like WHITESNAKE, FASTWAY, Y AND T and one
GARY SCHUTT, now if Z can release an album like this then
i'm sure that there is room for Gary Schutt's music at Z
or any other label for that matter. Like Gary Schutt 24K
belt out pure hard rock songs, one things for sure Gary
is a deadringer for Phil Naro and these two should get
together, then we really
The opening guitar
attack of "Black Sheep" reminds me of prime
time DAVID LEE ROTH a'la VAI/SHEEHAN and is a superb
introduction to this rocking act, "Standing In The
Middle" reminds me of Y AND T and VON GROOVE and is
a great catchy hard rock song, whilst "Meeting This
Way" borrows it's riffs from WHITESNAKE's "Here
I Go Again" and the odd VON GROOVE song, but is
still good, thanks to Phil's high octane vocals, if this
was 1987 this would be climbing the charts and crusing
the highways of the world thanks to it's radio friendly
fodder of high class, YES it's all been done before,
The live number
"After The Show", also has tons of energy, and
"Gypsy In Me" conjures up a gust of atmospheric
air before building into a typical eighties hard rocker
that is oh so radio friendly, this is good stuff, very
catchy and just listen to Phil's voice here where he
sounds like a deadringer for GARY SCHUTT!! Awesome stuff.
It's ballad time with "Broken Promises" which
funnily enough reminds me of UK rockers THUNDER and also
"Call Out My Name" is another beautiful dispaly of piano-led balladry of pure silk and emotion, "Masquerade" is a corker of a track, heavy and bombastic as hell, again very much like GARY SCHUTT's music and "Now's The Time" brings back the memories of Y AND T and VON GROOVE. If you live in Europe then you will be lucky enough to recieve a bonus tracked titled "Green Motivator", I love this song to death and so will you.
The thing about 24K is that even though it has all been played and recorded a million times before, it works, and who can argue with guest appearences by the afforementioned BILLY SHEEHAN and SLAV SIMANIC. As a player, guitarist MLADEN from VON GROOVE cuts it just fine, but next time Naro would be better off hiring GARY SCHUTT, then the sparks will fly and bouce off the wall. Still "Green Motivatior" does go for it during the guitar parts and makes this album a very fine collection of hard rock songs.
Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)