David Brown is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer who started his musical career in 1984 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. In the years that followed he played in several bands with whom he performed and opened for big acts such as STARSHIP, JOHNNY VAN ZANT, EDDIE MONEY, YES and ARS. Performing with such great acts must mean this guy is very talented and indeed DAVID BROWN is a very good vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. This can be heard on his first solo CD that is titled ‘Believe’.

The album was released in 1995 and it’s a shame it didn’t get any attention from the AOR magazines back then, because I can easily say that this ‘Believe’ album of DAVID BROWN is pretty much a CLASSIC AOR sounding record. There are only 8 songs on the album, but a lot of them are fantastic AOR songs in the best 80s tradition. The music on ‘Believe’ is very much comparable to STAN BUSH.

David has a fantastic voice, which can already be heard on the first few seconds of the opening tune “Believe”. This song has a fantastic intro with beautiful lead vocals and harmonyvocals that will grab your attention right away. The song itself is a wonderful semi AOR ballad that sounds like a mixture between MARK FREE, STAN BUSH, BRETT WALKER and the last NELSON album ‘Life’. if you like this sort of pure AOR, then this record is up your alley, because also the following tracks are such wonderful pure AOR songs.

“Come back to me” is a lovely semi AOR ballad and is very much similar to STAN BUSH. “Hold on to your heart” is even better, this is Classic 80s uptempo AOR a la STAN BUSH (circa ‘Barrage’), PHIL CHRISTIAN, BIG MOUTH and even THE STORM and SURVIVOR references can be made here. These first 3 tracks are really Classic AOR songs that deserve to be noticed by ever AOR fan.

“On a wing and a prayer” slow things down. Still also this is an enjoyable song, because this acoustic AOR ballad features some very good lead vocals of David and again I hear a notable resemblance to STAN BUSH and some BON JOVI too. “Just not enough” is the first track that I thought is a bit simple. The song is a rocker a la JIMMY BARNES and JIMI JAMISON (circa his debut solo-album) and sounds o.k., but really is nothing special.

Next track “For you girl” is much better, this song is a good slowtempo semi AOR ballad. Then comes “Say anything”, the second uptempo pure AOR song on the album. Again this song sounds close to STAN BUSH, which means we are in pure AOR HEAVEN again. The closing track “Unconditional love” slow things down again and is a nice acoustic AOR ballad with some lovely lead/harmonyvocals by David. I didn’t expect that this ‘Believe’ record by vocalist/guitarist was so good.

I can easily recommend it to anyone that likes pure AOR in the style of STAN BUSH, PHIL CHRISTIAN and BIG MOUTH. The only shame is that the album only contains 8 tracks, but I am not complaining because the songs are almost all in the Classic AOR style of the 80s. You can buy this album probably via David’s website at:

Rating: 8,5/10


DAVID BROWN’s second album ‘Life goes on’ is unfortunately not as Classic AOR oriented as his debut ‘Believe’. ‘Believe’ was an excellent pure AOR record a la STAN BUSH, but this new record ‘Life goes on’ is more sounding like a Westcoast-pop album. The AOR influences can only be heard in the vocals and sometimes in the songs, but nowhere it is Classic AOR anymore. A big shame, because his debut ‘Believe’ was filled with almost only pure AOR material.

I am not saying this ‘Life goes on’ should be ignored, because there are still plenty of good songs on the album. But for the AOR fans I would rather recommend David’s debut CD ‘Believe’. ‘Life goes on’ on the other hand is a must to have if you are into Westcoast-Pop with some AOR influences. This new CD of David is best comparable to the new KYLE VINCENT, TOM KIMMEL and TIMOTHY DRURY.

The CD contains 11 songs. Although it is all very calm, I still think songs like “Life goes on”, “In my mind” and “Distant smile” sound nice. Songs like these are pure Westcoast with some Pop and AOR influences. My favourite songs are at the end of the record when it gets a little rocker. The songs I’m talking about are “Only she knows” (nice Westcoast AOR), “Amazing” (light AOR ballad like FREDDY CURCI) and “I’m free” (best song on the CD, the only AOR track, great vocals, chorus and guitarsolo makes this midtempo AOR song a winner for STAN BUSH fans).

I can not recommend this CD to the fans of AOR rock, they are much better off with the wonderful AOR debut of David which is titled ‘Believe’ (see review above). The fans of Westcoast will like this new CD of DAVID BROWN a lot. Get all the info on
David’s website at:

Rating: 7,5/10

BATTLE ANGEL 'Welcome to the war' (DEMO)

These Christian melodic rockers from California are playing great melodic (Hard) Rock in the best 80s tradition of bands like STRYPER, DANGER DANGER, GUARDIAN (circa their debut), MASS, VOXEN, WINGER... The 4 songs on the demo CDR they sent me are all in the pure Californian melodic rockstyle of the 80s. This BATTLE ANGEL is one of those bands that could be signed to Z RECORDS, because that label has signed many similar US acts recently.

In many ways this band is comparable to the Melodic Rockstyle of some other independent bands I reviewed lately such as DAS, FREEDOM CAGE, MACHINE MESSIAH... This is pretty catchy stuff and easy to listen to. Opener “Don’t turn away” is a nice uptempo melodic hardrocker in the best 80s style. The other 3 songs (“Cry red”, “Touched by love” and “Ruler of the heavens”) are all fantastic midtempo 80s styled melodic rockers that sound quite close to DANGER DANGER and early WINGER. Notable are the catchy harmonyvocals that are in the typical 80s Californian style.

This band sounds pretty good and I look forward to a future CD release of these guys. More info on their website at:

Rating: 8/10

DEPARTURE 'Open your mind'


The long-awaited second album of DEPARTURE is out. On the new record, which has a fantastic production by bandleader guitarist/Keyboardist MIKE WALSH, are songs that have been (co) written by Mark Thompson-Smith and Dean Fasano. The band also has recruited a new lead vocalist and it is non-other than DAVE BALDWIN, the man who released the fantastic AOR record ‘Time’ a few years ago and also sang on a wonderful TRADIA record.

The lead vocals of Dave really shine through on this new DEPARTURE album. And again I have to compare Dave’s vocals with Dennis DeYoung (STYX) and now also musically it all sounds quite like 70s STYX. But the beginning of the album is a bit more uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock oriented (like JOURNEY).

Opener “Fair warning” is a fine example, because this song is a nice uptempo melodic rocker. Following track “Believer” is fantastic hookladen uptempo AOR and sounds like JOURNEY with harmonyvocals a la STYX. This wonderful song has a really superb bridge. The ballad “You were mine” follows this huge AOR song. “You were mine” is a lovely AOR ballad that has STYX/DENNIS DE YOUNG all over it.

Next track “1000 midnights” is pure Pompous AOR that comes pretty close to HARLAN CAGE, FORTUNE (1985) and SURVIVOR. The song has a bombastic sound, which totally blows you away when you play it loud! The following 3 songs are pure STYX (circa their mid/late 70s period).”Hard to say no”, “Just walk away” and “Cry for freedom” are 3 great Pomprockers that will lift the eyebrows from fans of this style.

One of my favourite tracks on the CD is the huge sounding semi AOR/Pompballad “Destiny”. The bridge of this song is really superb. Then comes the only track that didn’t hit me that much, because “Say your prayers” sounded a bit weak and groovy. Happily the next track is again very impressive. The song is called “Hurt sometimes”, a wonderful AOR ballad that has similarities to JOURNEY and DAVE BALDWIN’s solo album.

The CD closes with “I don’t need love”, a nice uptempo melodic rocker, just like the opening tune. This new DEPARTURE is better than their debut. Fans of both 70s STYX typed Pomprock and the AOR fans will like this new record of DEPARTURE a lot.

Rating: 8,5/10

BEEF MAGNET 'Beef Magnet'


Out of Seattle comes BEEF MAGNET, an 80s typed Party Melodic Metal band that has a sound very close to ROGUE MALE, TEEZE and TUFF LUCK. There are 9 songs on the CD and if you like this type of music I can easily recommend this band. In a lot of ways, this band is comparable to ROGUE MALE, an English band that released a couple of albums back in the mid 80s. Not only their sound is identical, but also their looks is pretty much the same.

Anyway, most of the songs are nice 80s typed Glam Metal songs like a cross between CRUE and ROGUE MALE. Thought the best songs are the two melodic hardrockballads (like SCORPIONS meets VANDENBERG) “Back in the saddle” and “Lady of evil”. If you like Party Metal 80s styled like CRUE, TEEZE, TUFF LUCK, ROGUE MALE... then this BEEF MAGNET is yours.

And check out the cool frontcover of their album, because this remind me of the good old 80s LP-frontcovers, hot looking girl with a car at the background. More info on their site at:

Rating: 6,5/10


Quite an interesting band this REBELLION. They come out of Ohio, USA and are playing 80s influenced Melodic Rock with some 90s Rock influences. Of course I prefer the more 80s typed tracks. ‘Stained’ is the second CD and I found some great songs on the album such as “Breanna”, a fantastic melodic rocker with a superb AOR oriented chorus. This song reminds me a lot of the debut of TYKETTO.

Also very good are “Didn’t always” (good melodic AOR ballad) and “Touch of the woman” (80s typed AOR/Melodic Rocker). These songs are very impressive and should easily draw some attention from the European Melodic Rocklabels.

The rest of the CD is not as good as the already mentioned songs, but still enjoyable Melodic (Hard) Rock. Notable is the fantastic sound and production by Pete Bishop and the band on this independent release. This record is a very fine melodic (hard) rockalbum and I can easily recommend it to anyone that likes the releases of Z RECORDS. You should be able to get more info on REBELLION on their site at:

Rating: 8/10

DAVE BUSH AND FOOD 'The big one'


Some albums have a flair of hitting you in the face upon first listen, other albums take their time to grow and then there are some that don't work at all. This is one of those albums that is totally annoying in every shape and form.

Dave Bush (no relation to Stan thank god!!) is obviously a talented young artist who's musical shapes don't alltogether fit this magazines style. The music is basically brit pop and is uninsipring and boring, it's only after the fifth song, that album shows any weight at all, it's this part of the album that show's Dave Bush's true style emerging into fruitition, if I could compare the latter half of this album to anyone then it would be Henry Lee Summer but then again maybe not. Most of this album is based around simple light weight accoustic songs that go absoutley nowhere for me. Avoid at all cost.

Rating: ? (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


JOHN CLAYTON WISE comes out of Texas and sent me a CDR containing 6 songs and I believe that eventually they got to be released on a future CD. Anyway, John circles around in a calmer AOR style with some westcoast influences. His voice is comparable to KEVIN CHALFANT, while his laid-back AOR songs remind me a little of VAN STEPHENSON, although I also heard some references to JADED HEART and FIREHOUSE. In other words, this sounds very good.

Opener “No way out” is one of the few rockers on the CDR. This song is a good cheerful 80s typed melodic AOR rocker that has similarities to WINGER (circa “Seventeen”), MICHAEL MORALES and a lighter FIREHOUSE. Next track “Wildest dreams” moves in a different direction. This song has a classy 80s keyboard AOR ballad sound comparable to VAN STEPHENSON and JOURNEY. A very good and relaxing song that really sounds very close to VAN STEPHENSON. “Situation overload” features KEVIN CHALFANT soundalike vocals and also the song reminds me of Kevin’s solo-album. A nice semi AOR rocker that also is comparable to TIM FEEHAN.

But the best song of this CDR that was sent to me is a cover! It is the old 60s hit “You keep me hangin’ on” which has totally been refreshed by John Clayton Wise and if it was up to me I would call this THE cover song of the year 1999! What an incredible remake John has done of this much covered song. The song now sounds like a pure AOR song in a style somewhere between JADED HEART and THE STORM. I think the vocals and harmonies are adding much to the song. Great job by JOHN CLAYTON WISE and hopefully he will be able to release this song on the actual CD release, which will be done next year I believe.

Anyway, I very much like the first 4 songs and I think the AOR fans will love them too. The CDR also contained the songs “The doorway” and “Lost and lonely child”, but these songs are a bit average acoustic songs, still they also feature some great harmonyvocals. I am very much looking forward to a future release of JOHN CLAYTON WISE. In the meantime do check out his site at:

Rating: 8/10


You can't keep a good band down.1999 see's the long awated return of Mr.Big, minus guitar shredder Paul Gilbert and enter new boy Richie Kotzen (POISON/solo)

"Get Over It" is a fine example of solid rock mixed with a tint, of as Paul Gilbert would say "Green Tinted Sixties Mind". From the moment the first song kicks in, you know what your gonna get, eleven slabs of solid rock n' roll, played with tons of energy and excitement from all musicians.

Tracks to listen out for this time around are "A Rose Alone", "Hole In The Sun", "How Does It Feel", "Try To Do Without It", "Dancing With My Devils", which all shine with Eric Martin's rhapsy vocals, which have never sounded so good. The nice thing about "Get Over It" is that the band sound as if they MEAN it again. You can tell that they had alot of fun doing this album, it's fresh, raw and a whole lotta fun.

Songs like "How Does It Feel" and especially "Dancing With The Devils" hark back to the sound of the self titled debut album,which is now unbelievably TEN years old. Scary man,and where the hell has the time gone? Anyway Big Bad Billy Sheehan thunders his bass playing all over the place, and his effective pounding gives Mr.Big an even more seventie's sounding album in the style of Bad Company than ever before. My favorite track is "Mr.Never In A Million Years", this song is just so brassy and bumps along at a steady pace, the song is filled with some great blusey riffs courtsey of Mr.Kotzen. Mr.Kotzen for once seems to be relaxed, I think that he has found his niche with Mr.Big,Paul Gilbert will not be missed.

Overall this is a great album,and a return to form for Mr.Martin, Mr.Sheeham, Mr.Torpey and Mr.Kotzen. Let the world tour commence!!

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

MIKE TRAMP 'Remembering White Lion'


Now White Lion were always one of my all time favorite bands. On stage they had this sheer vast amount of energy that simply lulled you into the bands majestic hard rock tunes. I saw the band live quite a few times, I remember mostly the gig they played in 1991 at St.David's Hall, Cardiff with Tyketto.Which was awesome!! I can still feel those vibrations running through arena.

I can still visually recall the light show and the cheers from the audience when Mike Tramp roared out numbers like "Wait", "Broken Heart", "When The Children Cry" and "Love Don't Come Easy". The Mane Attraction proved to be White Lion's swansong album, and it was a very sad day, when the band split up, due to clashes over what type of clothing certain band members were wearing.

Yes it's all coming back to me now, the band supported Bon Jovi, Skid Row and Motley Crue at Wembley in 1989, as well as other musical achievements. Mike went on to form the brilliant Freak Of Nature and toured every dive and club in the country, so you got to hand it to him, for brining the music to the public in a day and age that was ruled by many grunge bands. He then issued his solo album "Capricorn" in 1997 which was a great blend of alternative/accoustic rock, which was only saved my Mike's unique voice.White Lion are a band though that I have really really missed, I have often wondered what Vito Bratta has been doing all these years. Rumours of a solo album were rife a few years back, but still nothing has been heard from the axe man. He's almost as private as Axel Rose.

Still Mike and Vito were an amazing double force, and with hit singles all over the world (including a number 1 in America with "When The Children Cry") the band gained respect throughout the music world.

1999 see's Mike trying to return to his former glories with the release of this "Remembering White Lion"platter. It's a nice idea that unfortunatley reeks of a money making scam, it doesn't alltogether work as the songs sound lifeless and are ruined which is mainly due to Mike's voice, which he sings without any real passion.Firehouse did this stuff much better on their "Good Accoustics" records.

Anyway in the sleeve notes Mike goes onto say that this record is his way of paying respect to his years with White Lion, the songs have been rearranged and as I said before,they come over dull and uninspiring. Most of the songs are detuned versions and the only ones that really work are "Fight To Survive", "Little Fighter" and "Broken Home". Mike has totally
ruined songs like "Warsong", "Wait" and "When The Children Cry" and I find this most heartbreaking as when I go back to the orginal songs I will never again be able to enjoy them in the same light.

If curosity killed the cat then Mike has truly killed the Lion with one mighty swoop of his paws, what Vito Bratta will think of this I can't tell you, but as of now I strongly urge you to avoid this record, as it most dissatisfying. YUK!

Rating: 3/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)

MONICA MARIE 'Monica Marie'


The best way to describe this album in one word is CLASS. Coming from nowhere ,Los Angeles based songstress Monica Marie's debut album is hot hot hot, filled with bone trembling passion and lush melody

patterns of huge finesse that artists like Kyle Vincent, Richard Marx, Mark Free, Dianne DeWitt, Robbin Randall, Robin Beck, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan,Whitney Houston, Celine Dion etc...would die to have sung.

Monica spent a year in the studio on this album with top producer David Foster and top songwriter Diane Warren (Bad English etc...) and the effect is a beautifull and timeless collection of soft pop/aor songs that is sure to send her topping the charts through out the world.

"To Get Me To You" opens the album and is the lead off single,"To Get Me To You" is an uplifting and beautiful ballad that sets the standard for the rest of the album,listen to the way Monica's baby like voice soars arounds the song music, "A Good Thing" has a dancey edge to it a'la Whitney Houston and Richard Marx's ""You Never Take Me Dancing".

Then we get a cover of Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" which works really well with Monica's emotive and sexy voice. "Love For The Child" continues the sweet balladry and is a super ballad, A christmas number one anybody? "Don't Look At Me That Way" is pure soft aor,and has a wonderfull and inspirational chorus that reminds me of Jaime Kyle and Heart's Ann Wilson, this is another hit.

"Can You Tell Me" has a groove a'la Wilson Phillips with some neat vocal phrasing from our Monica, "Out Of My Head" is another really great song that reminds of Device and also at times she sounds like the coloured girls from The Spice Girls, very english sounding vocals on this song but in no way is the music like The Spice Girls (thank god), this is one of the albums strongest tracks and even bares similarities to Pat Benatar, but what I like about the songs is that they all work.

I know that Diane Warren's input has helped to make the songs more polished, but Monica does have her own pedigree, and that's why it works so well, she is very convincing and drives loads of juciey excitement into the songstructures.

"Live Life" is another gorgeous ballad in the Sheena Eston/Venus And Mars vein and is a tottally huge nail biting song,another hit!!! "You" goes for a Mariah Carey approach with a nice aor edge, "My Solace" is another great ballad with some nice guitar work, in fact this is a stunning ballad, the way this lady sings this song is amazing, this is another highlight on the
album. "Passion",doesn't all together do it for me and is perhaps the weakest of the fifteen tracks.

"Eyes" however is another neat aor tune that if given to Steve Perry or Richard Marx to sing would be immediatley massive. "Change" is another hot tune sprinkled with aor keyboard sensations and dancey tones, "Back To You" is a challenging song and features some beautiful background music a'la violins,classical guitar etc,this is another lush and very uplifting song that leads us into the albums final track "To Get Me To You" (remixed version) which goes for a more poppy approach than the single version, and is a bit

Overall this is a sound album that is sure to elavate Monica to the status of Celine Dion and the like, and the great thing is that there are some great aor/pop songs to fall in love with. An album full of tranquility. Now then Monica will you marry me? For more info email Monica Marie at: or visit her website:

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


Damsel are two sisters Ioanna and Fani Dourakis from New York, who can play rock n' roll with the best of them. The songs are very similar to the style of the rock bands like Gypsy Queen, 180, Ellyn Fleming, Rock Of Ages, Witness, as well as more modern arstists like No Doubt, Fiona Apple and Luce Drayton. This is a very nice debut and Ionna's voice is very powerful and sharp,songs like "Never Again" (dark and melodic), "Image" (a dark and serene ballad), "Broken" (a gustsy rocker with plenty of fire), and "T.M.E" (a song that delves into funky melodic rock territory, and feature a nice crispy melody).

Overall these ladies offer a sense of diveristy with their music that is quite fresh and exciting, and could take the term "Women In Rock" a step further up the ladder,but I would like to see them concentrate more on staright forward rock songs like "Broken", as that's where their talent really shines through. Roll on the debut album. Nice one. Email:

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


WOW!! Slav Simanic's "Water Of Life" is the guitar hero discovery of the year, Slav's cd is basically instrumental guitar workouts with a few vocal tracks here and there, but I was so gobsmacked with this guys amazing technique, that for once I am left totally bewildered and speechless at the sheer power and force of Slav's playing.

Slav has it all,the power of the axe is his to take to the next level and do what Steve Vai and Joe Satriani did in the eighties, and that's to redifne the structure of guitar music as we know it. Each song has terrific passages that simply take your breath away, songs like "Living In Love", "The Holy City", "Resurrection Suite" and "Water Of Life" all have beautiful melodies and superb soloing. The thing about this guy is that he has a wonderful sense of technique, he feels his music and explores his machine in a way that simply numbs your brain.

The songs have lasting effect and will stand testimony to other players for years to come. This guy is a major deal,the real thing man. I mean the last time I heard a guitar record that was this good was when Joe Satriani released "Flying In A Blue Dream", and it is so refreshing to hear an artist who is at peace with himself and who is not out to impress the punters with the Yngwie Malmsteen school of how many notes can I play in a second syndrome.

One of the songs "Days Of Ease" is a tasty vocal led aor song,s ung by Phil Naro who's voice here is lush and velvety the song has some lovely keyboards, and reminds me of Foreigner, Harlan Cage and White Lion. So there you have it an awesome an very effective album that is set to make Slav Simanic the gutiar hero of the MILLENIUM. Shreddingly recommended. For more info email:

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)

ROBERT CARLTON 'A time such as this'


Guitar maestro Robert Carlton from New York,is one lucky bugger that's all I can say for him,he has a great style which quite often bares similarities to Jimi Hendrix, Richie Kotzen, Stevie Salas and Joe Satriani. My only gripe about this album is that it's too long, we have a total of sixteen songs on "A Time Such As This", with only ten of them worth shouting about! But that's ten songs more enjoyable than what some of the more well know players have been coming up with of late.

This is a nice guitar album with lot's of differnent grroves and jazzy elements, I rather enjoyed the tracks "Justified", with it's slow Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck approach, "Greenwood", which is my favorite song and just has this nice twangy feel to it, and
song that keeps you interested and playing over and over again thanks to Robert's great little ditties. Also a favorite of mine is "Sea Of Glass" which is dead catchy and reminds me Gary Hoey and Joe Satrinai and has plaenty of melody and rhythm from all the musicans involved.

Overall this is an impressive collection of instrumentals that has been mastered by King's X's Ty Tabor, I know I said that this cd is a bit overlong but,don't let that put you off buying this cd, as it's jam packed with great playing. My advice to Robert is to try and get this noticed by Mike Varney and Shrapnel Records, i'm certain that he will sign you. For more info write to Robert:

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


Otherwise know as Huw Lloyd-Langton, whom you may remember made his name with his contributions for bands like Hawkwind and Widowmaker amongst others. "Chain Reaction" is an odd album that I cannot really get to grips with, it's traditional rock for sure, but for me, this just doesn't work one bit only a few songs stand out like "Tell Me", "Chain Reaction", "5 To 4", and the instrumental "Who Went Before".

The best track is "Three Spirits" which has a Hendrix/Pearl Jam feel to it, very raspy tasting, but also quite forgettable, this song is very blues orientated, but you know people like Glenn Hughes and Stuart Smith do this stuff a whole lot better, not bad, but not essential. Better buy Stuart Smith's album instead!!

Rating: 4/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)

JOE CERISANO 'Carbon copy'


JOE CERISANO is the singer that performed on the Classic AOR/Radiorock debut album of SILVER CONDOR back in the early 80s. Boy I love this record. The vocals of Joe were memorable and anyone that hasn't got a copy of this cult album should get it ASAP. Now many years later Joe has come up with a solo-album titled ‘Carbon copy’. Musically a lot of things have changed the past twenty years and also for Joe.

Unfortunately the music on this disc has nothing to do with the Classic AOR/Radiorock on the debut album of SILVER CONDOR. That doesn’t mean you should not read any further, because this album is still interesting for some of us. In the beginning the album leans towards the poprock style of guys like TIM KARR and TOM KIMMEL with nice songs like “Where does love fit in” and “Healing hand”. But these are the only rockers on the CD.

The rest of the CD is very laid-back acoustic westcoast oriented and at times it reminds me of Country music and also BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, the new MICHAEL BOLTON and BOB CARLISLE come in mind. Not really an AOR release, but if you like this style you can try it. More info at:

Rating: 6,5/10



French guitarist who has released an instrumental CD titled ‘Crazy stuff’. The album contains 9 instrumental and one vocal song. The vocal song is horrible, while the instrumental songs are pretty nice. Favourite songs are “Under the waves” (relaxing
ballad) and “Plane trip” (uptempo rocker). Recommended if you’re into instrumental guitar rock.

Rating: 6,5/10



Like the title announce, we have to deal here with a best of, but the question is if anyone has ever heard of RUBY FAITH AND THE WAITING WORLD, because I didn’t knew them until I discovered their site. And I am glad that I discovered this band, because this New York based AOR band is the new AOR sensation. The band has a female lead vocalist called Ruby Faith who has a great voice a la ROBIN BECK or ANN/NANCY WILSON and the songs on their album ‘Best of’ are extremely catchy and so 80s.

Not strange it sounds so 80s, because I believe the band made all the 8 songs featured on this record back in the 80s when this kind of female fronted AOR was hot with acts like HEART, ROBIN BECK and even CHER scoring massive AOR hits.

The AOR of RUBY FAITH AND THE WAITING WORLD can best be compared to WITNESS and ENVY, because there are plenty killer hooklines, super melodic choruses, fantastic keyboardwork all packed in truly amazing Classic uptempo AOR songs. I was stunned when I heard opener “Rat trap town”, the sound of it is just so wonderful. This song is really fantastic uptempo AOR and features a superb hookline, easily compared to the ENVY/WITNESS/LAOS albums of the late 80s.

And if you think it is just one song, no way! Following track “Beautiful boy” is even better and is again Classic 80s uptempo Female AOR like HEART/ENVY/WITNESS. “Chains” then again is not as sensational as the first two songs, but still a nice melodic rocker like DARBY MILLS/HEADPINS. Next track “Cry alone” is the best song of the whole tape. This song is superb Classic 80s midtempo AOR and basically features everything you need to hear in the perfect AOR song. A must to hear if you like female AOR (HEART, WITNESS, first ROBIN BECK).

And it’s quite unbelievable what I am listening to here, because also the next two tracks are fantastic AOR. “Wild child” is a quite superb typical 80s uptempo AOR rocker like TANE CAIN, DONNA CRISTY, CINDY CRUSE... And what about the fantastic midtempo AOR song “Fire in my soul”! The last two songs (“Hard time” and “White heat”) are nice AOR/Melodic rockers, not as good as the rest, but still enjoyable if CHRISSY STEELE is up your alley.

Unbelievable this band never got signed to a major recordlabel back in the late 80s, because so many other female fronted AOR acts were big time during this period. Just think of WITNESS, ENVY, SARAYA, ROBIN BECK, HEART, PRIVATE LIFE... Why didn’t this band never got any attention.

Well, I am glad they now finally get some attention and hopefully this review will set the AOR scene on fire, because it may help them to eventually get signed to a label. Maybe something for any of the AOR recordlabels to release this masterpiece here in Europe. Hopefully this will get a follow-up. I guess you will read it on our site when this band signs with a European label. In the meantime, do check out their website at:

Rating: 9/10


This band can be seen as the follow-up to ONYX. Although the style hasn’t changed that much, this TWIN CITY is a little bit more akin to an AOR ballad sound (like SAVANNAH, BLUE RAIN). And actually it is really good! There are only 4 songs on this CD which was released in 1998. The album opens with “You’re not alone”, a great melodic AOR ballad which sounds very close to SAVANNAH.

The following track “Cross roads” moves into a different direction, because this song is a nice melodic poprocker like REO SPEEDWAGON. The instrumental “Livonia” follows and “You better run” closes the mini-CD. “You better run” is another fantastic semi AOR ballad with a killer chorus. The opening track and the closing track are showing that this TWIN CITY is a band to look out for in the future. I can’t see why Z RECORDS would not sign this band. More info on their site at:

Rating: 8,5/10

ONYX 'Greatest hits volume 1' (DEMO TAPE)

This band from Chicago released two album tapes as far as I know. ‘Greatest hits volume 1’ is their first album Tape which was released way back in 1990. The tape also categorises musically this period, because ONYX is playing super commercial late 80s sounding US Melodic Rock in the style of early BON JOVI, SLYBOYZ, DANGER DANGER and the more recent SAVANNAH. I personally very much like this Arena typed rock with it’s cheesy 80s sound and harmonyvocal oriented choruses.

The tape contains only 3 songs, but they are pretty good. Opener “Lady beware” is 80s uptempo Melodic Rock like BRITTON, TORINO, AUTOGRAPH, SLYBOYZ, first DANGER DANGER... The kind of Rock that was non-stop played in LA during the late 80s. Also the two other songs (“By your side” and “Social eyes”) are in this style, so if you like this cheerful late 80s Melodic Rockstyle, you should check out ONYX, because their music is now available again via

Rating: 8/10


In 1991 ONYX released another Tape Album which contained 7 songs. The cheerful 80s melodic rock of their previous tape was continued on ‘Onyx’. Opener “She doesn’t know me” is probably the best track they ever did, because this song is over-the-top classic 80s cheerful AOR/Melodic rock like 80s BON JOVI, DANGER DANGER and especially
SLYBOYZ/SAVANNAH. Next track “Reflections” is a nice semi melodic rocker.

The classic 80s melodic rocksound of AUTOGRAPH/BRITTON can be heard again in “Walked away”, a song with many harmonyvocals. Also the following two songs (Forever inside your mind” and “Someday soon”) are nice 80s typed melodic rockers. “Sweet little angel” is the first (semi) ballad of the band. This song is a late 80s Power AOR ballad at the beginning, but later gets uptempo melodic rock in the style of already mentioned bands. The tape closes with “Turn away”, another fine uptempo melodic rocker.

If you like any of the mentioned bands, you should check out ONYX a.s.a.p. Their website is: Both reviewed ONYX albums will be available as a single CD early next year.

Rating: 8/10


Clear Blue is the new super cool soft rock band put together by singer/songwriter Janine Stange,who has released a solo album called "One Way" back in 1997. "One Way" was very much a hard rock album, and with this new band Janine has taken on a new chapter in her career and verges off into the same musical climate as Amanda Marshall, Alanis Morrisette and Shania Twain.

A direction which actually suits her beautiful and sexy smokey voice. The songs are very catchy, I reckon in a while radio will pick up on this album as tracks like "Oh Well" have the type of enthusiam and energy that's simply built for radio exposure.This song sits around inside your head for days and get's your feet dancing and thumbs clicking,a very up-tempo song in the style of Nelson (Life era).

"I Forgot" is another nice tune, Janine's voice has matured a lot and it's evident on this song which simply lullls you under Janine's spell. "Truth" is another cool song that has some nice keyboard work from Mike Tamer. My favorite song however is "Un-chained", here Janine reminds me Jann Arden and Paula Cole, "Grounded" is also very good and features a nice drum intro,this songs leans into Alanis Morissette territory and would make a good choice single. "Angel" has a gospel edge to it and is a nice semi-ballad, Janine's voice is very very high on this song, and the last track "Anything" is a really inspirational and deeply moving love song, just listen to the gal wail on this track, totally lush and very beautiful.

Overall this album is very good,and the music suits Janine's voice very well, as i said radio should be dancing all over this cd, and I think we could be witnessing the start of something very special here,hopefully Janine will gain the success she so richly deserves. For more info, pull into Janine's website:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)



Former LOUDNESS vocalist MICHAEL VESCARA is the man behind this project that has released it’s debut CD on Z RECORDS. I had expected a very heavy CD that had not that much in common with melodic rock, but to my surprise this ‘Windows’ album is a very good melodic hardrockalbum that even has some some AOR influences. The CD contains 14 songs and Michael produced it himself.

The album starts with one of the heavier songs, namely “Innocent man”, a nice faster uptempo melodic rocker like AXEL RUDI PELL and RIOT. But the following titletrack is a good upempo melodic rocker. After “Crack the sky”, a 90s groove inspired rocker like SLAUGHTER meets new DOKKEN, we get to hear five very good melodic rocksongs. “Somewhere” is the first one, a good semi melodic rocker with some very nice harmonyvocals.

This song is followed by “No more”, a great uptempo AOR based rocker that has some TOTO references. “Take me away” is even better, a wonderful AOR oriented midtempo melodic rocker, kinda like TAKARA and TALISMAN. In this same style is the next track “Anyone”. “Yesterday” is a great AOR ballad, but sadly disturbed by an unexpected saxsolo.

The remaining 4 tracks are also melodic rock, yet a little bit weaker and also epic sounding in songs like “Don’t let me down” and “Why”. Good album of Mr. Michael Vescara, it will be followed by another CD of the man next year. Till then, anyone that likes melodic hardrock with the occasional high-pitched vocals, something like TNT meets GUILD OF AGES, can enjoy this release.

Rating: 8,5/10

RIPTIDE 'Sessions/Mayhem in paradise' (INDEPENDENT)

RIPTIDE is a band from Florida and they are playing typical late 80s arena US Melodic Rock like BRITTON, TORINO, CRYSTAL TEAR, VELOCITY, FIREHOUSE... Most of the songs sound very cheerful and are pretty good too. RIPTIDE is a definite winner in this genre. The band sent me a CDR that contains 18 original songs of the band and I must say that they only have a couple of weak songs in their repertoire.

My favourite songs are “Where do we go from here” (fantastic cheerful 80s typed melodic rocker with a splendid guitarsolo and classy harmonyvocals a la DOKKEN, “Even the score” (uptempo melodic AOR rocker like HARDLINE/VELOCITY), “Make it on my own” (early 80s oriented AOR rocker, kinda like the Powerpoprock of bands like LOVERBOY, RIGGS, RIFF RAFF), “Gator in the night” (catchy chorus, very melodic, like TRIXTER, "So bad” (good early 80s melodic poprocker), “Lately” (classy 80s AOR rocker like LOVERBOY) and “Bit o' love” (BRITTON/CRYSTAL TEAR typed melodic rocker).

This band is recommended if you like any of the mentioned bands. If not, you still need to check out this great melodic rockband. E-mail bandleader John Strini at:

Rating: 8/10


MAX MENIUS comes out of North Carolina, USA and he has released an album that contains both instrumental and vocal tracks. The sound on the album is very much 80s based AOR/FM-rock with some hi-tech influences, not unlike PSEUDO ECHO or GLASS TIGER. Instrumental it sounds great and is pure AOR (like STAN BUSH), but the lead vocals are not so strong and make it sound more like the quirky poprock approach of bands such as NOISEWORKS, IDLE EYES and PSEUDO ECHO.

Opening song "Her love made me high" for example has a very good instrumental 80s uptempo AOR sound, but the vocals are making it more sound like PSEUDO ECHO. Much better is the song "Now's the time" which is a good uptempo 80s typed melodic rocker that doesn't suffer from weaker vocals. Like I said there are also quite a lot of instrumental songs on the album such as "Touch of inspiration". This is my favourite track on the album, a fantastic classic 80s AOR sound that is similar in approach to JOURNEY and ROBERT TEPPER's "No easy way out". Check out this killer instrumental AOR tune. What would it sound like if it features lead vocals?

Anyway, back to the vocal tracks. My favourite tracks are "Reach down inside", "You're so good" and track 15 (doesn't say what the title is) which are all great uptempo AOR rockers that have some early BON JOVI influences (circa their debut). Good release of this MAX MENIUS, who also does a lot of TV and Radio commercial work for a living and the album also features some of these themes he recorded such as a sports car commercial which is pretty cool, because it is pure AOR (only without the vocals). Worth to check out this release and for more info you should visit his site at:

Rating: 7,5/10


Toledo, Ohio, USA is fine place to look for new AOR and Melodic Rockbands. THE AFFAIR was a fantastic pure AOR band and now this SWIFTKIK is bringing some heavier melodic rock which can best be compared to DOUBLE ECLIPSE, an English independent recording band. There are 6 songs on the tape I got from the band and I must admit that their music also has some 80s Metal influences.

While listening to songs like “Slaves to society” and “Rampage”, bands like RIOT, RAVEN and even METALLICA and TESTAMENT come in mind. Songs like these are not really my cup of tea, but they are played well and if you like that style, you will like this alot. My musicstyle can be heard on songs like “Cross the line”, “Leave me alone” and “All my love”, three nice midtempo melodic Hardrockers that sound like DOUBLE ECLIPSE meets KEEL. If you’re a fan of the harder edged melodic hardrock/metal sounds of the mentioned bands, you need to check out this SWIFTKIK at their site:

Rating: 7/10