HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS
|PASSION RISK 'Passion risk'
(METAL MAYHEM MUSIC)
Here we go then! Another pure 80s oriented cheesy melodic rockband out of The States. This time the band is called PASSION RISK and with songtitles like Need you tonite, Call my name, In my arms, Without you and You are the one they will certainly not win a prize for originality. But as a Melodic Rockfan you dont care about such cliche songtitles and only listen if the songs are catchy enough. And this PASSION RISK is very good in performing cheesy 80s melodic rock similar in style to early BON JOVI, 1st DANGER DANGER, early JADED HEART...
I dont have much info on this great new melodic rockband, but I can tell you that this CD is hot off the press, because there is the year 2000 mentioned at the bottom of the CD booklet. So, I think we from Strutterzine are proud to present the first new release of 2000 here and it is an interesting release too! Anyway, the band is coming out of New York City and their debut CD Passion risk contains the usual 10 tracks. Opener Need you tonite is excellent midtempo melodic rock, very much like early BON JOVI and the first DANGER DANGER album.
Next track Call my name is a fantastic cheerful uptempo 80s based melodic AOR rocker that falls in the BRITTON, DANGER DANGER, TORINO, AUTOGRAPH, early JADED HEART style, so another winner! In my arms is a nice semi melodic rocker, but not so sensational. Next track You are the one captures again the cheesy 80s melodic rocksound of bands like BON JOVI and DANGER DANGER. After a short instrumental intro called Chatterbox, the CD continues with Without you, a nice semi melodic rockballad in the style of late 80s BON JOVI.
Then we get to hear for the first time keyboards upfront. Its a song called Summertime lover and actually it reminds me of that Y & T song from so many years ago which was called Summertime girls. Anyway, this Summertime lover of PASSION RISK is killer classic 80s cheerful uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock and is similar in style to AVIATOR, early FM, first DANGER DANGER and the first two BON JOVI records. I love the keyboards and 80s vibe of this song and to me this is the best track of the whole CD. I cant believe my eyes this is a song written and recorded in 1999.
Talk is cheap is the next track. This is a somewhat simpler 80s typed party-melodic rocker which has a lot of influences from AUTOGRAPH (circa Turn up the radio). Following track Where have you run is a nice semi melodic AOR rockballad. Closing track Ill make your dreams come true ends this CD very well, because this is classy 80s uptempo melodic rock again.
If bands like DANGER DANGER, early BON JOVI, AUTOGRAPH are your favourite bands, you cant miss this PASSION RISK. Pretty soon an interview with these guys. Contact PASSION RISK at: PASSIONRISK@HOTMAIL.COM and more info at: http://www.metalmayhem.com
|THROUGH THE STORM 'Demo Tape' (DEMO TAPE)
This is an English Melodic Hardrockband. They have released a demo tape that includes 3 songs. Musically the melodic hardrock does have influences of British bands like UFO and SANTERS, although I also hear some American references to WHITE LION. Wait for an answer, Circle and Through the storm are all nice uptempo melodic hardrocksongs that remind me of the late (commercial) SAMSON sound.
The last track does have some similarities to WHITE LION. Hopefully the band will release a full-length album in the near future, so I can tell you a little more about this band. For now, more info at: http://www.mp3.com/throughthestorm
|ALAN CASE 'Dark matter'
Dutch multi-instrumentalist Alan Case has finally been able to release his debut CD in Europe after the album originally was released years ago in Japan. The album that was released in Japan was called Wide awake while the European release has been titled Dark matter and contains a couple more songs. There are 16 songs on the CD which has a playing time of more than 73 minutes. I can see why this CD has been released first in Japan, because over there they love Symphonic AOR rock in the style of ROBBY VALENTINE and VALENSIA. And ALAN CASE is another Dutch man playing this style.
Besides these comparisons I can also hear clear similarities to ASIA. Alan uses several lead vocalists for his project. One of them is the vocalist Raymond Hallatu who has a similar voice as Gary Hughes from TEN. the first song on the CD is titled I wonder why and also proves this comparison, because this song is good midtempo AOR with lead vocals of Raymond that sound like GARY HUGHES meets MARK FREE while the song has some pompous KANSAS influences. This is definitely one of the best songs on the CD.
Next song Mindless is a 70s based Progressive Popsong. I dont need a lover features some wonderful cheerful 80s typed AOR keyboards and the song itself is a great uptempo AOR rocker like ZINATRA, ROBBY VALENTINE and ASIA. The borderline follows in a much calmer progressive Popsound. One of the best songs on the CD is Dark nights:. This song starts slow, but when the chorus kicks in, we get to hear great uptempo Sympho-AOR with a pure ASIA chorus.
After this song, the CD gets a little more Progressive and Pop oriented and there are no uptempo rockers to be heard on the rest of the CD. That doesnt mean the rest of the CD isnt interesting, because Alan can really play well. Songs like Crawl out of these mountains (midtempo AOR), Make it happen (progressive melodic rocker), Innocent eyes (sympho AOR ballad) and Celebrate your life (ROBBY VALENTINE styled Pompous Sympho AOR) are really worth listening. Nice record of Alan, for more info check his site at: http://www.geocities.com/alan-case
|DECOY PARIS 'Decoy Paris'
(HEAD START RECORDS)
DECOY PARIS comes out of the Chicago area and I think this is one of the bands to watch out for in 2000, because they play pure 80s typed guitar oriented melodic hardrock comparable to SHY, DOKKEN, UFORIA, HEAVENS EDGE, GREAT WHITE, RATT... The lead vocals of singer Lorenzo Martinez are high-pitched and comparable to the lead singers of TNT and SHY.
Remarkable is the long history of this band that goes way back to the mid 80s. They were featured on famous radio compilations back then such as 'Pure Rock' and one of the songs ("Paradise") of this CD was also played a lot of times back in 1987. This is the reason why so many songs have the 80s hair rock sound which is pretty cool I think. There are 11 songs on their debut CD.
The CD starts with Tall in the saddle, a nice 80s melodic hardrocksong. Next track Sweet cherry wine is not really something special. This is a partyrock influenced 80s typed melodic rocker that sounds like a cross between RATT and WARRANT. The following 6 songs are much better and are all in the classic melodic rockstyle of the earlier mentioned bands.
Lay it on the line is a good uptempo 80s melodic rocker like DOKKEN. The semi melodic rockballad Angel follows and this reminds me of DANGER DANGER. Then we get to hear the best part of the CD. The songs Paradise, Secrets of the heart, Love on the run and Take me in the night are all fantastic hookladen uptempo melodic rockers in the style of SHY, UFORIA, DOKKEN... These songs show DECOY PARIS at their best, namely straight-ahead with catchy melodic hooklines and choruses.
The last 3 songs though are a bit weak. Rock me to the top is a faster party-rocker. Shes hot is also partyrock and comes close to RATT. And final track Same way is nothing special hard rock. This band deserve some attention and anyone looking for a hot new band playing melodic hardrock like a mix between DOKKEN, RATT, SHY and HEAVENS EDGE should try DECOY PARIS. CD available at: http://www.cdbaby.com
|DESTORTION 'Live at Ark' (ADVANCED
DESTORTION comes out of Denmark and they sent me a promo CDR that contains 4 songs. I believe the band will record more late January, but this CDR already gave me a good impression what DESTORTION is all about. I can hear a clear 80s influence in their music that I always like when a band does have that. The first song is called Running, a nice uptempo melodic rocker. Also next track Love promises is in this style, yet a little faster.
Sooner or later is the bands best song,
a good semi AOR rocker in the best 80s style. Also very
80s sounding is the closing track Better
days. This song
|CHRIS PHILLIPS 'Chris Phillips' (INDEPENDENT)
This girl comes out of Melbourne, Australia and her CD is available via mp3.com. There are 7 songs on the CD and musically it is very suitable to be played on the radio. Opener Time is my favourite song of the whole CD, a wonderful pure semi AOR ballad in the best HEART tradition. The next two songs (Always wanted and Sometimes) are nice semi AOR ballads too, but are not as good as Time, the killer opening tune. These following two songs are more sounding like JAIME KYLE.
The CD continues with Words, a 90s influenced rocksong that is very much based on todays radio format. The same story goes for the next track Im here too. Part of me is the only weaker song of Chris Phillips, according to me that is, because it is a bluesy 90s inspired rocker which is more akin to BONNIE RAITT and has really nothing to do with the AOR style of the first three songs.
Closing track Eternity is the second-best track of the CD. This song is a very nice AOR ballad in the 80s HEART style. CHRIS PHILLIPS has released a very nice CD and I wouldnt be surprised if radiostation would pick some of the songs up and give them heavy rotation. This girl has talent. I only hope for some more AOR oriented material like Time and Eternity on a future CD. More info on CHRIS PHILLIPS can be found on her website at: http://www.mp3.com/chris_phillips
|VIOLETS OF DAWN 'For shits and
giggles only' (INDEPENDENT)
This American band released a CD through mp3.com called For shits and giggles only' that contains 7 songs. Musically VIOLETS OF DAWN is playing Melodic Hardrock with a groove and also a lot of 70s ACE FREHLEY/KISS influences. The band also has some bluesy influences in a song like Collard greens. Opener What they say takes us right into the LYNCH MOB/MR. BIG groovy melodic hardrockstyle of the 90s.
Though the band is at their best in the more melodic rocksongs such as I cant take it no more and Its not too late. I cant take it no more is a pure 70s oriented rocker with a lot of ACE FREHLEY/KISS and BAD BOY similarities. Also in the ACE FREHLEY style is Jump into my car which sounds very groovy actually, a pure mid 70s sound can be heard in this song. if you like any of the mentioned acts, you must have a listen to this band at: http://www.mp3.com/VioletsOfDawn
|BONDED 'Blue worlds and
BONDED is band out of Florida, but they are not really our kind of rockband. The first 4 songs on their CD Blue words and black guitars are alternative sounding 90s typed rocksongs that sound very much like REM. So, I thought this CD would take forever for me to play till the end. Happily, the band jumped on to a quirkier poprocksound on songs like Blackhorse, UFO, A littles enough and Sunshine in the rain.
Blackhorse is probably the best song, because this is a melodic 80s typed uptempo poprocker a la RICK SPRINGFIELD and HENRY LEE SUMMER. Though I cant hardly recommend it to fans of those artists, because the rest of the CD of BONDED really is too much alternative oriented. If you like REM, you will really like this BONDED a lot. More info at: http://www.mp3.com/bonded
|BARRY ANDERSON 'The hole/Murphy's
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,
Further more I also hear many hi-tech popsounds a la HALL&OATES, yet without the catchy choruses, in songs like Lotta love and Dont be that way. Happily there is one AOR track on his tapes namely the song I cant 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: http://www.mp3.com/barry_anderson
|LOCHINVAR 'It came from the
LOCHINVAR comes out of Dallas, Texas and consists of Lead vocalist Paula Blade, guitarist/bassist Bret Blade and bassist/guitarist/keyboardist John Walker. Their CD It came from the 80s consists of previously unreleased material from the bands three studio demos. Musically this female fronted melodic rockband is sounding very good and reminds me of WITNESS, 80s HEART, VIXEN. LAOS and those type of classy 80s acts. There are 12 songs on this CD and I liked it very much.
Opener Chatelaine is a good midtempo 80s melodic rocker that sounds like DOKKEN, yet with female lead vocals. Next track One more tear captures the classic 80s sound of bands like LAOS, VIXEN and WITNESS. This song is a fantastic slower tempo super melodic semi rockballad with a classy 80s AOR oriented chorus. This song belongs to the top of female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock. LOCHINVAR rocks further on the following 3 songs. Walkin on the edge is a great uptempo AOR rocker that has a little bit weaker sound, but is an outstanding rocker, kinda like early TONE NORUM.
Loves a game has a much better sound and is a fantastic pure 80s uptempo melodic rocker that sounds very much like the second VIXEN CD Rev it up. Wont see me cry follows in the same style, although this song is more AOR based and is superb! This song is one of the best of LOCHINVAR and it is classy female AOR all the way! Track number 6 Driving force was the first weaker song, a faster uptempo melodic rocker.
Lay down the news follows and is a nice melodic rocker that reminds me of the old HEART. Also in the HEART style is Lonely child, a lovely semi melodic rockballad. Next track Captive love is again uptempo classy 80s AOR rock and this song also is one of the best tracks on the CD along with Wont see me cry. The last 3 songs are not as good as the rest, but still enjoyable melodic hard rock. Notable is the closing track Free fall which is instrumental.
This LOCHINVAR is a fantastic band and their release It came from the 80s is a gift to the fans of 80s typed classy female fronted melodic rock in the style of bands such as VIXEN, LAOS, HEART, WITNESS. Buy yourself a copy of this wonderful record via their site at: http://www.mp3.com/lochinvar and probably an interview with LOCHINVAR soon. And also hopefully soon I can do a review of LOCHINVARs singer Paul Bates solo-CD, which is entitled Burning bridges.
|SUDARTIK 'Rocker d'occasion'
SUDARTIK is formed around
vocalist/guitarist Jean Doyon who also has some
side-projects besides this band. Jean comes out of Canada
and like some other Canadian musicians he sings in the
French language which is not disturbing at all. Musically
Following track is the titlesong which is cheerful uptempo melodic rock like the old LOVERBOY albums. Liberte follows and is a great uptempo melodic AOR rocker. La Montagne is another AOR rocker which reminds me a little of HONEYMOON SUITE. The first part of the CD closes nice with the semi AOR ballad Super guy. The second part of the CD, the last 4 tracks, are a little less interesting than the beginning of the album. Terreur dans la nuit is slowtempo melodic rock with some bluesy influences, little like GARY MOORE and WHITESNAKE. The song features a good long keyboardsolo.
The semi ballad Reve damour has some very long instrumental passages. Next track Hiver a robidoux is instrumental all the way, while closing track Looser is radio version of the wonderful opening tune. If the band would make some more songs like Looser, then this could easily be a must for the AOR fans. But you can still check them out, because there are some good melodic rockers on this CD, recommended if you like ALDO NOVA, BEAU GESTE, LOVERBOY... Website: http://www.sudartik.cjb.net
|PHILIPPE ANSARI 'Worlds beyond
cause' (CYDONIA RECORDS)
This record is a mixture of guitar instrumentals and alien sound samples, it's wierd but very good, Philippe calls upon his supernatural forces and conjures up spells and incarnations of the guitar hero as we know it!! This is music created by paranormal activity, it's zany, wild, experimental, freaky,chunky, bombastic unexplainable cd from hell.
This debut from welsh guitar wizard Philippe (I had an E.T.I.) Ansari is up there with FREAK KITCHEN , KITARO, JOE SATRIANI, MARTY FRIEDMAN , STEVE VAI, FRANK ZAPPA and more, how can you ignore the zany tounge n' cheek humour created within this albums musical boundries? His playing is quite diverse and nicely layered, and the song structures are often quite had to stomach but always astonishing to listen to.
If you blink you will miss what the record is all about, it has a vast range of dynamics and takes guitar playing into never before explored musical territories. It's often quite a mad record, because just when you think you have him sussed, he changes the style and flow of the record into a completley new direction.
And that's the great thing about "Worlds Beyond Cause", you can't really pin it down to one musical boundry and I like the fact that Philippe has uses lots of funky rhythms and sound effects, this is a very cartoonish record that has lots of gratifying sounds and song stuctures.This album deserves recogonition, but approach this with an appreciative sense of mysticnism!! Visit Philippe's website: http://www.cydonia.co.uk or email: email@example.com
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|FKC 'Life goes on'
(BLUE SKIES RECORDS)
FKC are a Brazilian
alternative/hard rock band who play their songs with
skill and precision, but too often the songs fall flat on
their face and come over as alternative rubbish a'la
WARRANT's "Belly To Belly" and
Rating: 5,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|THE PG5 '1999'
THE PG5 comes out of Switzerland. They have released a CD that is simply titled 1999. The CD contains 9 tracks and musically it is melodic hard rock. To be honest, I think the lead vocals are not strong enough for their type of rock. Their vocalist has a voice that suits more with a metal band instead of the melodic rock of THE PG5. Because instrumental this band is in good shape with melodic rockers such as Nightmare, Titanic and Heroes. The best songs are Always late, Tell me why and Private asylum, all melodic rock though with metalish lead vocals.
Notable is the cover of the Hungarian Melodic Rockband OMEGA, namely the ballad Ezust eso which features some nice keys. For more info, you should visit their website at: http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/4794
|STONED DOG 'RM.17'
Who the hell are "Stoned
Dog" i hear you cry? I bet your thinking oh
no,another grunge band huh? Well you can rest assured
that Stone Dog play classic 80's heavy metal in the style
of KINGS X and METALLICA..
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|MAXUM 'Zeit und freunde'
MAXUM is a German band and they have released two albums so far. Both are on now available via mp3.com on one CD. The CD is titled Zeit und freunde and as you may notice the band is singing in their own language, the German language. Musically they play in the BONFIRE style, so basically you get quality Melodic (Hard) Rock. The CD starts with Masken fallen, a nice Melodic Hardrocksong in typical German style, heavy guitars but a melodic chorus. Next track Zeit is a nice melodic rockballad.
Then we get the catchy uptempo melodic rocker Es zahlt nur wer Du bist which has similarities to BONFIRE/CACUMEN. Setz deine segel follows and is a nice melodic rockballad. After the acoustic Dein Leben, the CD continues with Freunde, a more AOR oriented ballad. Deine Freiheit is another nice semi melodic rockballad. Mann im Mond is one of the best songs, a good uptempo melodic rocker.
Though the best song of the whole CD is Mobbing, a great uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker with some very cheerful 80s keyboards. Closing track Herbert is another nice semi melodic rockballad. This band is a good band, although it is kinda hard to listen to the lyrics if youre a foreigner, the music will give you a good impression of typical German melodic hardrock (a la BONFIRE). More info on their site at: http://www.maxum-rock.de and e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
THRUST is a band out of New York and they have released this untitled debut CD which consists of 11 tracks. Musically the band is very much 90s oriented, although there are many musical influences to be heard throughout the CD. There are some metalish songs (like Not a day goes by), punkish tracks (Change), 90s oriented rock (More and Behind her) and happily also some melodic rocksongs. Forever in my heart is a good melodic rockballad and When will it end is nice melodic hardrock.
Though the rest of the CD is very 90s rock oriented and doesnt really have something to do with melodic rock. A surprise is the cover Dont you forget about me (a SIMPLE MINDS original from 1985) which has been reworked to a fine melodic rocksong. I heard some of these songs live and I have to say that they sound much better live and much more melodic rock oriented than the studio versions. I should visit one of their concerts, but I don't think they will perform somewhere close to my place. Maybe in the future, who knows! In the meantime, visit the website of THRUST at: http://www.soulwatch.com/thrustrock
|HEAT SHOCK 'Heat Shock'
(BONNE SYRAH RECORDS)
HEAT SHOCK comes out of North Carolina, USA. The band has a female vocalist. Instrumental HEAT SHOCK sounds like a pure melodic poprockband, comparable to early PAT BENATAR. The vocals of Robin Roseberry though are a bit different from most AOR vocalists. Her voice doesnt really suit this type of music, she makes the music of HEAT SHOCK sounding rawer than it really is.
Anyway, there are 14 well-produced songs on their same titled debut CD. The best songs are Good girl, Feeling good and Never seen the sun, 3 well-written uptempo melodic poprockers in the early 80s tradition of PAT BENATAR and SWANEE. For more info on HEAT SHOCK, you should check their site at http://www.mp3.com
|COSMIC GYPSIES 'Cosmic gypsies'
Out of Georgia, USA comes COSMIC
GYPSIES, another female fronted Rockact making their
appearance over here. This band is playing Melodic Rock,
but the vocals of lead singer Dawn Northrup are very raw
(kinda like WENDY O. WILLIAMS/BETSY/BITCH), so the music
of COSMIC GYPSIES may sound a bit rawer than it really
is. Opener Never
On the other hand the raw vocals work in a song like Mix it up which is uptempo melodic poprock in the best early 80s tradition of PAT BENATAR and LITA FORD. This Mix it up is definitely the best song on the whole CD and I would like to hear more of these uptempo rockers on a future CD. The other songs on the CD are weaker and show different musicstyles. Songs like Over you (90s based rocker) and You want it (late 70s punkish metal like RUNAWAYS) have very little to do with melodic rock. If you like female fronted rock with raw vocals, then check out this COSMIC GYPSIES at: http://www.cosmicgypsies.com