HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS
Out of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA comes UNBOUND. This is their first release which was put out in 1998 on J-Bird Records. UNBOUND play 80s typed Melodic (Hard) Rock and I hear clear similarities to other present melodicrock bands such as LITTERER, TEER, VOXEN/TALON, SAVANNAH, MILLENNIUM, ATTRACTION But the band probably doesn't know these bands, so they got their influences from the 80s bands such as DOKKEN, RATT and TYKETTO.
Anyway, there are 12
songs on their debut CD and actually the beginning of the
CD was very sensational. Opener "Time on the
run" is a fantastic classic 80s melodic rocker with
lovely harmonyvocals all over the place as well as
hooklines and a very catchy chorus.
Not the whole CD is in this same direction, because track number two "Chasin' the wind" is just a nice midtempo melodic rocker which brings back memories of the old TYKETTO. Next up is another cheesy (and classy) 80s typed melodic rocker titled "Make it through", this song is in the same style as the opening tune.
Though the rest of the CD is a tad heavier and is more akin to the style created by bands like RATT, ROUGH CUTT, KEEL back in the mid 80s. Examples of this style are "Take no prisoners", "Shit comin' down" (FASTWAY meets GREAT WHITE), "In your face", "Loser" and "Overdrive". Songs like these are nice to hear, but I rather hear more melodic harmonyvocal (and hookladen) oriented songs like "Time on the run" and "Make it through" which definitely show this band at their best.
Remaining tracks I really liked are the semi melodic rockballad "Unbound" and the uptempo melodic rocker "Anymore". This UNBOUND is definitely a band to keep your eyes open for, because they may be signed to some European label soon. Especially if the would continue to write more catchy melodic rock songs in the style of their tracks "Time on the run" and "Make it through" in the future. I think a second CD will really make clear if this band is ready to attack the European scene. The band is currently working on a new release, so we'll know it later this year. The CD is scheduled for a summer release. For now, you should check out this great band at: http://www.geocities.com/unboundrocks
|MARIAH'S TRENCH 'It's deep'
(FRENZY FEED RECORDS)
A little while ago we already featured this great new melodic rockband. I reviewed their second CD 'Beyond orgasm', but the band was kind enough to sent me their debut too, so I am now able to review that album as well. I am glad they sent me that debut CD from 1998 too, because also this album features some great AOR songs.
The album starts with
"Survivors", a terrific pompous pure AOR song
which sounds very much like HARLAN CAGE and also some
SURVIVOR influences can be heard. This song is a very
good starting point for a CD which sadly only contains 7
songs, because at the end you are wanting more and more
from this talented band. Speaking of the word 'band', I
don't think we can call MARIAH'S TRENCH a band, because
multi-instrumentalist David Watson does almost everything
on his own. This includes singing, all instruments,
Nevertheless all the music on the CD was done by David Watson. He only doesn't sing all the songs, because Bruce Michael Paine does also sing on the CD of MARIAH'S TRENCH. Back to the CD, after this fantastic opening tune, we get to hear a nice 80s melodic rocker titled "Bad boys", which is very different than the first track of the CD. Following track "Not like before" is again a Classic AOR song which reminds me a lot of HARLAN CAGE. "Frenzy feed" follows and is a bit weaker melodic rock. "Hollywood dreams" is up next and this is a nice melodic rocker a la LYNN ALLEN (especially the vocal style).
Next track "Rapture of time" is again moving into the Classic AOR territory of HARLAN CAGE. I can't help it, but this song as well as two already mentioned songs of this CD does sound really like HARLAN CAGE, which means it is pretty huge AOR that can't simply be ignored by the fans of this genre. Just listen to the wonderful chorus of "Rapture of time" which has a very pompous AOR feeling. It kinda reminds me of the band WINTERS REIGN too, but I don't think many people know them.
Anyway, the CD closes with "Diamond in the sky", a song with a very melodic AOR oriented chorus which sounds very impressive. Concluded there is only thing to do, go get a copy of this great CD. It wouldn't surprise me if one of the AOR labels here in Europe sign this great AOR band. They deserve to be heard far outside of America. For now, get more info on MARIAH'S TRENCH at: http://www.FrenzyFeed.com
|LOVER UNDER COVER 'Demo' (INDEPENDENT)
LOVER UNDER COVER hails from Gothenburg, Sweden and are lead by multi- instrumentalist Mikael Carlsson. He started this band with a few other musicians, but in a period when AOR/Melodic Rock had a hard time in Sweden, so after some struggles, Mikael decided to continue the band on his own. He sent me a Demo CDR which contains 8 songs.
Musically LOVER UNDER COVER is playing typical Swedish AOR/Melodic Rock. I hear comparisons to bands like DALTON, DAVINCI, TREAT, BRITTON but in general I hear that Mikael has been very much influenced by the 80s sounds of BON JOVI. This can be heard right from the start on the song "I'll die for you" which is a pure 80s semi melodic rocker that is very similar in style to BON JOVI's "Wanted dead or alive".
While listening to this song, I hear the problem with LOVER UNDER COVER. The music sounds good, but the lead vocals are a bit weak. This is due to the fact that the original lead vocalist Daniel Boscovic left the band years ago and Mikael also had to take over the vocals. Maybe in the future, he will recruit a new vocalist. It's not that the vocals are bad, but they can be better, especially when you play such good melodic rock as LOVER UNDER COVER does.
Next track "Steelheart" is a good midtempo melodic rocker that has the 80s Scandinavian sound all over it. This song is very much similar to DALTON and DAVINCI. Another song in the Swedish melodic rock tradition is the song "No place like home", here is a TREAT comparison possible. Then we get to hear a pure AOR song which is titled "Tell me, show me". This song is very good midtempo AOR with great keys and melodic harmonies, kinda sounds like PHIL VINCENT, JOE ROBINSON and PETE SANDBERG. "My best friend" follows and is a semi melodic rock, but nothing that special. Also the song "Through the storm" (80s GARY MOORE cover?) is just nice, although the vocals sound better in this melodic rocker.
The final two songs of this CD are the best song of LOVER UNDER COVER. These are the catchy mid 80s cheerful uptempo cheesy melodic rockers "Tears of all kind" and "In the heat of the night". The first one has a very catchy chorus and sounds like BON JOVI, BRITTON, AUTOGRAPH The latter is also very catchy, but has an AOR chorus that makes me think of DANNY DANZI and PHIL VINCENT.
This closing track "In the heat of the night" is definitely my favourite on the CD and shows that Mikael can write some impressive melodic rock/AOR. If a future release will feature more songs in the style of the last two tracks, then this LOVER UNDER COVER will attack the AOR scene in no time. And it would even sound better with a new lead vocalist (kinda in the PETE SANDBERG style), but in general this band is already recommended. More info at: http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/88/lover_under_cover.html
|DEATH & TAXES 'Substance overload'
This band out of Colorado, USA released their CD 'Substance overload' back in 1996, but so far I haven't seen much press on the album. A shame, because these guys sure know how to play good melodic hardrock. What seperates them from most other melodic rockbands is the fact that DEATH & TAXES put a lot of influences from the NWOBHM period in their melodic hardrock. This gives the band a different sound than most other bands. I would like to compare this band to acts like Y&T, STRANGER, UFO and the old PRAYING MANTIS.
There are 11 songs on the CD and the production by Geoff Workman (DOKKEN, WARRIOR SOUL) is very good. The best songs are the uptempo melodic HR songs "Ready to run", "Roses", "Back in October" and Another mans son" that all sound like bands such as Y&T, old SCORPIONS, MASS, UFO, VICTORY
Straight ahead guitar oriented melodic hardrock is what this band is doing at their best. They also have a nice semi melodic rockballad titled "Ain't no angel" (a la Y&T) and further more we can hear some simpler melodic heavy rock a la SAMSON. If you like any of the mentioned bands, be sure to check out this band. I don't have a website address for this band, but you can buy a copy of their CD via this e-mail address: email@example.com
|ARREST 'Incarcerated' (TRANCE
German/American band who just released their first full-length CD. Musically they play Melodic Heavy Rock that reminds me of bands like MOON'DOC and SINNER. There are 9 songs on their CD and the best tracks are "Wonderland" and "Angels coming". The first one is a very good melodic rocker with even some AOR influences, kinda sounds like EMERALD RAIN.
Keep in mind that this is the only Melodic Rock oriented song on the CD and the rest is much heavier except "Angels coming". This song is also very melodic, a nice melodic rockballad. Apart from these two songs, I can easily recommend this ARREST to anyone that likes the melodic heavy rock (with guitars upfront) of bands such as MOON' DOC and SINNER. More info at: http://www.dc-net.de/trance-music
|LATE NITE ROMEO 'Horrible lust' (TRANCE
'Horrible lust' is the second CD of the German band LATE NITE ROMEO. I did a review of their debut CD years ago, but am not really sure how it sounded. I believe it was a fine mixture between party and melodic rock. BONFIRE meets CRUE if I am right. Anyway, the new record is melodic heavy rock and is similar in style to bands like MOON' DOC, SINNER, ARREST Occasionally the band sounds somewhat like FIGHT/PRIEST, so this is pretty heavy stuff actually.
Happily, the band also slow things down every now and then and then we are listening to some fine melodic rock. Examples are songs like "Dry the tears" (typical German melodic rockballad like SCORPIONS meets DOKKEN), "On loose" (midtempo melodic rock) and "Through" (melodic rocker). These are the best songs. The rest of the CD is much heavier and it is actually the same story as ARREST, the above reviewed band. More info on any of the TRANCE MUSIC recording bands can be found on their website at: http://www.dc-net.de/trance-music
|PC 'Create your lover' (INDEPENDENT)
PV originates from Scandinavia and he has released a mini-CD titled 'Create your lover'. The CD contains 5 songs and musically it is a very diverse happening, because there are many different styles throughout the CD. The CD starts with the 60s influenced 90s pop/rocker "Summer days", not really my cup of tea. Next up is the titlesong which is a short acoustic poptune. Then we finally get to hear something of interest for the melodic rockfan.
The song "The things you do" is a nice uptempo melodic happy poprocker in the early 80s style of act like RICK SPRINGFIELD, THE OUTFIELD and MICHAEL LEARNS TO ROCK. This song is sung by PV and a girl called Jannicke Larsen. Towards the end the song gets a 90s pop/rock approach which slightly spoils the song.
Next up is "While you sleep", a 90s oriented poprockballad that kinda reminds me of Tommy Shaw's last record. The CD closes with a freaky version of the titlesong. If you're into 90s pop/rock, then you will like this a lot. Not much recommended to the melodic rockfans. E-mail for more info at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|OBEDIENT SON 'Take it to the
cross' (DEMO TAPE)
This band is formed around Tony Inosencio who started this band back in 1994 at a time he gave his life to Jesus Christ. So, we have to deal here with a Christian band and like Tony wrote me in a letter, this band is a Bible based band and ministry who want to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Musically this American band is playing melodic heavy rock and it's unfortunate that there are only two songs on the demo tape, because actually I wanted to hear some more songs to get a good view of the capabilities of the band.
Anyway, both songs ("Take it to the cross" and "Like a thief in the night") are fine melodic heavy rockers and I prefer the latter because it has very good melodic vocals and a nice chorus. Hopefully more music of this band in the future, for more info, e-mail them at: TCIO@NETZERO.NET
|BATTLE ANGEL 'Welcome to the war'
I don't have very much info on these melodic rockers, but despite the demo quality, BATTLE ANGEL have a superb three track demo on their paws. So who do they sound like I hear you cry in anticiaption, well how about a mix of DOKKEN, FREEDOM CAGE, TNT, TESLA, MSG, PRETTY MAIDS would that be enough to convine you to check them out? The songs are very in your face, check out if you get the chance "Don't Turn Away" and "Touched By Love" , both are heavy rockers that I know you will enjoy.
Also good and heading into YNGWIE MALMSTEEN territory is the riffy "Ruler Of The Wastelands". It's not all roses though as I was very dissapointed with "Cry Red", which is the only weak song on this four track taster. This is a great start though and a band to watch out for in the future. WEBSITE: http://www.battleangel.net and EMAIL: email@example.com or Ray@battleangel.net
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|JUST JAY 'Through my eyes'
If your tastes are
parcial to a sprinkle of JOURNEY,HUGO, KING OF HEARTS,
The incredibly catchy
and best song "Can You Read My Mind", this song
wants to be JOURNEY and KANSAS so much it hurts, a great
song with a very addictive chorus. The rest of the album
is made up of ballads and uptempo aor, the only thing
slightly letting this great album down is the production,
but you know this is still worth every penny, so make
sure you get in touch with the band and make JUST JAY
Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|SCOTLAND YARD '24/7' (INTERPOL
It may have a slight alternative direction but so does the new DANGER DANGER album, and that rocks!! This unit are from Newport Beach in California and deliver a mouthful of vibrant hard rock songs with a slight alternative punch. The opening song "No Regrets", opens up with some really vibrant guitar work from Chris Hill, who's style has a mixture of VAN HALEN , JOE SATRIANI, FRANK ZAPPA, STEVIE SALAS and various non-alternative and alternative heroes, "No Regrets" is instantly catchy and sits along side the new DANGER DANGER album with ease.
Vocally Kim Cahill has
a range like JOAN JETT and KELLY BREZNIK from defunct
A star in the making.
The whole record apes of bands like MARIAH CAREY, VOXEN,
This is the thing with
SCOTLAND YARD they are an original band with lots of
The band have done their fair bit of touring too, and have opened up for such luminaries like MISSING PERSONS, BERLIN, JOHN WAITE, amongst others. Listen out for other great moments like "Give It Up", "Babylon" and "Something Good", the album does have it's bummer tracks like the tasteless and boring "American Hero", "Tele" and "Song To A Friend", but overall an exciting new band with a huge amount of fresh energy that is sure to get them where they want to go. Website: http://www.scotlandyard.net
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|CRYPTIC VISIONS 'Cryptic visions'
YES!! Chicago's Cryptic
Visons are heavy as shit, fans of IRON MAIDEN, METAL
CHURCH, DIO. JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA, MORBID ANGEL,
STONED DOG, DOKKEN, KING DIAMOND take note, you will piss
yourselves over these power speed
There are just so many
rocking songs on this mother fucker, take the awesome
"Street Anger" defintley a favourite, live this
must kill, the band even take a dab at a decent power
ballad called "Eternal Dreams", this is great
and full of METALLICA, SAVATAGE, QUEENSRYCHE, TESTAMENT
like melodies, dark and haunting but completley earth
shattering, lend an ear if you will to
"RUSHED", another great song, but top song
award goes to the mighty powerful and speed hungry
majesty of "Die For Me", listen to those heavy
riffs and prepare to be totally spellbound!! The last
track "Battles End" reminds me
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|YONTZ SUCRE 'Electric jam'
Fuck the cynics, this is shit
hot!! Guitar music can often be a bunch of widdly diddly
nonsense, but now and again an album comes out with a
tremedous amount of feel and attitude, and just latley
there seems to be a new breed of guitar heores coming
along with the likes of TONY GAMBLE, SLAV SIMANIC, TODD
DUANE and RON THAL paving the way and proving that the
guitar hero genre hasn't died a death, and with superb
new albums from MaCalpine, Malmsteen, Vai, Alex Masi and
Joe Satriani just released the future for
playing is faultless, his style reminds me of ALAN
HOLDWORTH and ULI JON ROTH, GARY HOEY, STEVIE SALAS, NUNO
a moody slowie, being both exotic and stacked up in
layers of contrast to which Yontz plays with subtle
passion. Yontz also does a decent cover of JIMI HENDRIX's
"Little Wing". The last song "Outro"
features JENNIFER CARPENTER on vocals, and she is a star
in her own right, she has a blues tinted voice, and
combined with Yontz's power, the pair provide us with a
glorious track that you may find STUART SMITH playing.
Yontz Sucre plays with feel and has incorporated his own
style, here is a
Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|UNA THOMPSON 'Tender mercies'
(SLEEPING CHEETAH MUSIC)
This is an interesting
release that bares similarites to BJORK, ALANNAH MYLES,
DEAD CAN DANCE, GLORIA ESTEFAN, JAIME KYLE, ALANIS
Una's music is soft
accoustic pop rock, that often satisfies the listener
thanks to Una's sexy dreamy voice., with various work
writing songs for TV, Una finally issued this her debut
album and it is a neat collection of gentle songs. Her
band are currently preparing for multi label showcases,
so let's hope that the labels show some sense and sign
this talented young artist. Songs like "Sifting
Ashes", "With The Ring", "Hey Joe
(Ann)", "Like Clowns"(a song
But the two songs that steal the show are the excellent semi ballad "Spaceship Monqui", and the catchy and uptempo pop rock of "A Sanitary Tale Of Bliss". There's enough beauty on this album that leaves a mouthewatering taste for more, let's hope that we don't have to wait too long for Una's second release. A good start, nice one!!
Rating: 6/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|THORNHILL 'Thornhill' (HIPS
AND LIPS RECORDS)
duo Carol and Julie Thornhill have delivered a decent mid
paced aor album. The girls look a little bit like CAGNEY
AND LACEY, thankfully though their music is pure eighties
pop rock that bares simalarities to PAT BENATAR, BERLIN,
KATE BUSH, T'PAU, FLEETWOOD MAC, amongst others, listen
out for tracks like "Blow Her Mind" a song that
has some nice bass work, "Dead As A Stone", the
excellent and rocking "Open The Box", the
superbly delivered ballads Guilty" and "There's
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)