HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS
|BRUNO ROCK 'Bruno Rock' (CC
Out of Varna, Bolzano, Italy comes
vocalist/guitarist/keyboardplayer Bruno Rock. He released
this CD a little while ago and actually it is a very
interesting album, because BRUNO ROCK is playing pure 80s
AOR/Melodic Rock . Remarkable are the bands he mentioned
in his thankslist, because bands like CHINA, BONFIRE,
TREAT, AXXIS, DOKKEN are mentioned, so I was already very
interested in hearing his music. And indeed he is playing
in the same style as mentioned bands, although BRUNO ROCK
is moving a couple of times into pure AOR (a la STAN
BUSH), partly due because he uses some great
The only difference
with all mentioned bands is that BRUNO ROCK is not
singing in English, but performs his music in his own
language. Anyway, I think Bruno is also very
Following track "Ritmo bestiale" is a nice midtempo melodic rocker with a very catchy chorus, this song reminds me of JADED HEART. Next up is "Musica mia", a very strong pure 80s AOR song with great keys and a chorus reminding me of AVIATOR and DOMINOE. "Dimmelo tu" follows and is a great AOR rockballad. "Sei cosi" is a wild cheerful melodic arena rocker in the ZINATRA/old BON JOVI style. "Incubo" is one of the few songs that didn't grab my attention, this is a nice MHR song, but nothing special really.
"Unso sparo nella
note" is another good midtempo AOR/Melodic Rocker.
Then we get to hear "Donna", a catchy uptempo
AOR/Melodic Rock like a cross between 8084 and BONFIRE.
The CD closes with "Sutto la pioggia", one of
the best songs. This final track is a wonderful AOR
rocker which falls in STAN BUSH territory. Yes, this
Bruno also sent me a CDR with some rough mixes of some of his new songs which he will use for a new CD. I have to say that I was not as impressed as the songs on his debut CD. This CDR contains 3 songs and musically this is something different and much more 90s pop/rock oriented. It starts with "21st century", a song that sounded like a joke to me, because it has an awful discobeat and only the chorus sounds ok, kinda like the last SCORPIONS record.
Next up is "Il profilo di te", which sounds much better than the opening track, and is a nice calmer semi westcoast AOR ballad with some occasional pop influences. And last up is "Luna", which sounds nice in the beginning when it is a fine midtempo melodic rocker (with a 90s groove/rhythm) and a catchy chorus (a la MILLENNYA/PROMOTION), but is sadly disturbed by a saxsolo. I have to admit that I prefer his AOR/Melodic Rock material of his debut CD instead of these 90s pop/rock oriented tracks for the upcoming CD.
I sure hope Bruno changes back to the style he created on his debut CD, otherwise it will be hard to recommend to melodic rock fans. Now, crab yourself a copy of his great debut CD of BRUNO. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his website at: http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/61/brunorock.html
|8084 'So far' (GB
In the past I did a full story and had an interview with these guys. 8084 released two good AOR LPs in the mid 80s and also put out a CD in the early 90s. Now finally the band has released a new album. Actually it is not a real new album, because it is a compilation CD of the best songs from their first 3 albums. The first album was released in Europe, but the following two albums not, so for many European AOR fans, most of the material on this CD is new. Besides, the band has re-recorded most songs, so this CD is definitely more than just a best of release.
I can easily agree with the band for picking the right songs from their previous releases. All their Classic AOR songs are present on 'So far'. Opener "Too late for love" is without any doubts my favourite song of 8084, this is brilliant Classic uptempo AOR in the best 80s tradition. The song originally appeared on their second LP, and was co-written by ALDO NOVA. Other Classic AOR tracks on this CD are "Badman" (from their debut), "Hold on", (also from their debut) "Surrender" (from their third album), "She comes to me" (from their 2nd album), "Lover's feel" (from the second album and can also be found on the AOR Basement compilation album) and "Call me" (from their third album).
The whole thing was
produced by NEW ENGLAND leader Hirsh Gardner who did a
very good job. This is a very much-recommended AOR CD,
especially to the people who like the 80s sounds of NIGHT
RANGER, BON JOVI and HONEYMOON SUITE. But like I said,
also the 8084 fans will enjoy this new CD of the band,
because actually everything on
|MAYBE THURSDAY 'Chemical smile' (INDEPENDENT)
This band is coming out of Galax, VA, USA and features a female lead vocalist called Paula Price. Obviously they are influenced by the early 80s Poprocksounds of acts like PAT BENATAR, LUBA, QUARTERFLASH because their melodic poprock does sound sometimes a lot like them. The difference is that MAYBE Thursday does also have a lot of the 90s pop/rock vibe in their music which is very suitable for top-40 radio.
My favourite songs are the 80s inspired uptempo melodic rockers "Where's an exit" and "No harm done" which are very catchy songs that sound like the first couple of PAT BENATAR records. The rest of the CD is clearly more 90s oriented and is a variation of almost folkish typed popsongs ("A girl like me", "Going to the river" and "Parallel lines"), 'strange' new wave influenced experimental pop ("Dark sky hot night") and even 60s influenced poprock ("Wanted justice").
This band is very diverse in their approach and that's probably the thing that will put the pure melodic rockfans off. I would want to hear more uptempo melodic rockers (like their songs "Where's an exit" and "No harm done") on a future CD, then this band would fit right into our typical type of female fronted melodic rockband.
Now I can recommend this band who don't mind a band playing both 80s and 90s oriented pop/rock. Actually they combine the early 80s and 90s sound of PAT BENATAR. So, if you like the last record of PAT BENATAR, then you will probably like this band a lot. More info at: http://www.ls.net/~randallfop
|FRAGILE 'Just give in' (INDEPENDENT)
I haven't got any info on this band from North-Carolina, USA. There are 14 songs on their CD and strangely enough the band is playing two different musicstyles on the CD. Opener "Fragile" is a nice uptempo MHR song a la RATT/FASTWAY. The following 4 songs are very weird and experimental and actually they did nothing to me. I had almost given up this band until I heard track 6, "Pirate island". This song sounded a lot better than the previous tracks. Not sensational, but "Pirate island" is a nice melodic poprocker.
"Ready to rock" follows and this is a good melodic rocker (a la RATT./DOKKEN) that also has a better sound/production than the earlier tracks of the CD. It even gets much better on the following two tracks. "Sacrifice" is a great uptempo melodic AOR rocker with some very catchy harmonies. And "Slip away" starts very calm, but features a very good AOR oriented chorus. Then comes the instrumental "Onyx", which has some very nice AOR keys and sounds pretty relaxing. "The answer" follows and is a nice melodic rocker.
Next two tracks are a
bit weaker. "Armed and dangerous " and
"Shadow River" are both groovy MHR songs a la
DOUBLE DEALER/MR. BIG. Closing track "Waited too
long" makes up everything, because this is the best
song of this CD. This song is a very impressive semi AOR
ballad that starts slow, but contains a beautiful pure
AOR chorus that sounds like a cross between BOSTON and
REO SPEEDWAGON (including those
Although I was a bit disappointed after the first weak 5 tracks, the rest of the CD sounds rather good. More info at: http://www.foggymountainmusic.com
|MVP 'Animation' (Z
'Animation' is the second CD of MICHAEL VESCARA PROJECT on Z RECORDS. This new CD follows the same melodic heavy rock style created on their debut. There are 12 songs on the disc, but add two hidden bonustracks that are not mentioned on the CD lay-out. Musically MVP sounds like a cross between the first two EUROPE records, DOKKEN, RIOT and AXEL RUDI PELL.
My favourite tracks are "One in a million" (classy 80s uptempo melodic rocker with some very nice harmonies during the chorus), "Another way" (Melodic Rockballad a la DOKKEN) and the first hidden track which is a good semi-ballad). If you dig RIOT/AXEL RUDI PELL, then you will totally love songs like "Chances", "Word to the wise", "Law of the land" and "Wicked desire" which are all faster uptempo melodic heavy rockers. Some old DOKKEN styled melodic rockers can also be found in the shape of "Prophecy" and "Justified". In general, a nice CD, but not sensational. Recommended if you're into any of the mentioned acts.
|BADLANDS 'Dusk' (Z
Of course this was very much a surprise when the news reached us that Z RECORDS would release the final BADLANDS record 'Dusk' that never saw daylight. This band released two records in the 80s. Those LPs contained Bluesy Rock which was not really popular at the time and were basically the contrary of the melodic rock genre. So it was also a surprise to me when I saw Z RECORDS released this unreleased album of BADLANDS. A few years ago lead singer Ray Gillen passed away which was a shock of course. Now their final record with Ray on vocals has been put out by Z RECORDS.
'Dusk' is the third album of BADLANDS and again they are playing the Bluesy Rock they created on their previous efforts. Actually this is not my kind of rock and it also has very little to do with melodic rock, so I am not saying too much about this release. If you like(d) BADLANDS earlier records, then I am sure you will love this new record, but melodic rockfans shouldn't bother this release too much. The spirit of Ray Gillen shines through on this CD and that's more important I think.
|NORWAY 'Arrival' (FRONTIERS/NOW AND
WoW!! What a rush, wonderful,
amazing, stupendous, glorious, shit-hot, fresh and
exciting, adveturous, earth shattering, beautiful,
luxurious, and powerful are ten ways to describe this
album, this has got to be the next big one for Now And
Then records. "Arrival" is the bands first
official European release, which must mean that the real
debut "Nightdreams" issued
The albums production
is huge huge huge, like those BIG albums of the late
eighties, and the songs lock themselves into your head
thanks to their entertaining melodies immense golden
vocals, and cool keyboard action. The album has it all,
lush huge sounding ballads that are guranteed to be chart
topping hits and awesome hard hitting pure melodic rock
This is a magic album that is gonna be absolutely MASSIVE and needs no further write up from me, my only worry is how on earth can the mighty FAIR WARNING compete against these guys, their album will have to be very very good to beat this slice of hard rock heaven, I'll be listening to this one for the rest of the year!! BUY OR DIE!!
Rating: 10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|BADLANDS 'Dusk' (Z RECORDS)
It was a very sad day with the passing of Badlands and Sun Red Sun frontman Ray Gillen several years ago. Ray had one of the fullest voices in hard rock and his note perfect delivery and skills must be represented in the proper way for future refrences. Gillen and partner in crime Jake E. Lee were a force to reckon with back in 1988 and 1991 when "Voodoo Highway" and "Badlands" were released to rave reviews. Each album had classic hard rock moments thanks to Gillen's, unique performances which were totally rivatting.
Well here we are bang upto date with the final Badlands album "Dusk", the songs are as always, dark, raw and stripped down bluesy hard rockers, there is defintley a seventies WHITESNAKE feel, and also there is a vague similarity to GARY CHERONE'S singing on EXTREME's "Waiting For The Punchline" and "VH3", but it's the solid chunkiness of the songs that will win the fans over, it's just a shame that Gillen isn't around to play these live, and I for one would like to see Jake get Badlands out on the road and pay tribute to Ray Gillen by using various vocalists like THUNDER's DANNY BOWES, GLENN HUGHES, DAVID COVERDALE, ERIC MARTIN, GARY CHERONE,THOMAS THORSEN from label mates DAMNED NATION and DEVIN TOWNSEND, but of course in reality something like this is almost impossable to put together. It would be cool to see though!!
All the songs on "DUSK" need to be played at maximum volume, "The River" is performed in the "Voodoo Highway" tradition, Jake pulls out some wicked bluesy licks, and Ray is on fine form screaming out chunks of DAVID COVERDALE like yelling, "Dog" is fast and furious and get's you moshing like a derranged teenager, also shit hot is an excellent song called "Ride The Jack" which is just classic BADLANDS at their rocking best. There isn't a bad track at all on "DUSK", a fine album that should be purchased in respect to the amazing talent that was Ray Gillen. R.I.P.
Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|MVP 'Animation' (Z
Neo-classical guitar themes, huge powerful lead vocals, catchy chorus', dyanmic melodies, and killer power ballads is what you get with the brand spanking new work from Michael Vescera. "Animation" is the follow up to last years "Windows", and is a cleverly put together album of exciting hard neo-classical rock in the way it used to be done back in the late eighties.
Songs like the melodic "Justified", the lovely "Law Of The Land", the striking "One In A Million", the shredding and classically complexed "Prophecy", and the heavy top rock affair of "Animation" are all showcasing Michael's capabilities as a unique songwriter and vocalist.
Clearly this album has
been worked on very hard with every little attention to
detail being taken care of by drafting in guest musos
such as JOE STUMP, FRANK
Rating: 9,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)