Site hosted by Build your free website today!



RENAISSANCE OF FOOLS is the new band of guitarist DANIEL MAGDIC from the Swedish band PAIN OF SALVATION. Although I am not really a big fan of PAIN OF SALVATION, this new band of Daniel is very interesting. The debut CD has been mastered by TY TABOR of KING’S X and also features a guest appearance by PER WIBERG from OPETH. Musically we are drifting into modern Progressive Rock with some Doom influences. The Doom influences can mainly be heard in the vocalwork of singer KJELL BERGENDAHL, which are very low pitched, but the superb melodies in each and every song are making it actually quite a melodic adventure. The material is song based, but is clearly pure modern day Progrock that sounds like a somewhat more accessible version of PORCUPINE TREE. Especially songs like “Ordinary mans diary”, “Leave it all behind” and “Sleep” are almost Classic Progmasterpieces and showing that this RENAISSANCE OF FOOLS might be the biggest surprise in Progrock this year! Do check out all info on this excellent release from the new band RENAISSANCE OF FOOLS at: 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Multi-instrumentalist MARCO FERREIRA returns with a new CD titled ‘Are you in?’. With his brother Alex joining on drums, he releases yet another great Melodic Rockalbum. 12 tracks are included and anyone familiar with Marco’s previous material will be enjoying this new one as well. Marco has a great voice and he also has a real good ear for a catchy AOR melody, because almost each song is filled with superstrong melodies that have 80s AOR written all over the place. It all reminds me a lot of the FIORE CDs from some time ago, but also MAD MAX/CASANOVA comes to mind a lot of times. Especially the beginning of the CD features some really great AOR/Melodic Rock, as later on the material gets a little more groovy Hardrock orientated. Here and there MR. BIG also comes to mind and why not throw in some DANGER DANGER similarities as well, but the closest thing is definitely MICHAEL VOSS related projects, because Marco has a very similar voice and also musically thinking in the same 80s orientated Melodic Rock direction. It’s all done quite well and despite the fact this might not become a classic album in the future, Marco once again shows he is a very talented AOR/Melodic Rock musician. More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


THE GLORIA STORY from Sweden is a young new band whom are making their debut with the CD ‘Shades of white’. Musically speaking they are clearly huge THIN LIZZY and CHEAP TRICK fans, because only the first couple of songs makes you think of those bands instantly. Of course the Classic Rock level of those acts is almost impossible to reach, but THE GLORIA STORY are doing it quite nicely on songs like “Valentino”, “That 70s night”, “15,000 feet” and “I don’t wanna be your bet”. For a first album, THE GLORIA STORY shows they are a good 70s orientated Hardrockband with potential, but I really feel they can do much better, because now some of their songs are a bit too much solunding like their heroes. Just listen to “Valentino” and you would swear this is a cover of the THIN LIZZY classic “Waiting for an alibi”, because the riff is so identical. Nevertheless, THE GLORIA STORY are new to the scene and what they are doing on their first record is very nice to listen to and especially live this will go down well and since they are quite young of age, they have a bright future ahead of them. More at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Founded way back in 1990, the Polish band TESTOR is a legendary Thrash Metal band in their home native Poland, but the rest of the world is not that familiar with them, which is a pity, because when listening to their new album ‘Animal killstinct’ one can clearly hear a quality band. TESTOR is playing Thrash Metal the good way, reminding a lot of the 1980s METALLICA sound. I can mention bands like DARK ANGEL, FORBIDDEN, HALLOW’S EVE, but TESTOR’s sound is really very close to that of the old METALLICA sound, even including JAMES HETFIELD’s vocalstyle, perhaps even rawer. Although nothing new is brought here, any fan of Thrash Metal the old Bay Area style will love this record, so for more info go to:  and 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Guitarist/vocalist STEVE CONE is coming out of New York and he already released quite a few solo-CDs, of which we reviewed 3 in the past. Now he has his own band formed around him and 2 other musicians and they are debuting with the CD ‘Unfinished business’. They are settled in the US State of Arizona and musically speaking this is prime-time Classic 1980s US Melodic Metal in the style of RIOT, ANVIL, VIRGIN STEELE, EXCITER, ATTACKER, HELSTAR, CULPRIT, DOMINE… I think you’ll get the picture if we mention such bands, because then you will understand that we are dealing here with the classic 1980s Underground/Cult-Metal sound that so many bands played in the bands, but also lately we have seen new bands playing this genre again. CYANIDE SCREAM are doing it very well and it’s really like you have stepped into a time machine and went back to the mid 1980s of the US of A, where especially in the Midwest up to the Chicago area hundreds of bands were playing this genre. Obviously they were influenced by the NWOBHM style of bands like MAIDEN and ANGEL WITCH, but they gave it their own twist by adding higher pitched vocals and a slightly catchier approach than most NWOBHM bands. This CYANIDE SCREAM offers 14 tracks on their first CD that clearly represent that classic 80s sound and most of them are uptempo Melodic Metal pieces with memorable choruses, of which the highlights are “Death from above”, “What I am”, “Right through the heart” and also the epic semi/midtempo orientated “Let you go” as well as the lovely semi-ballad “The story of my life”. The production is a little thin here and there, but for the 80s US Metalfan that will only contribute to their excitement! Also highly recommended to fans of the New Wave Of Classic 80s US Melodic Metal style, meaning bands like LORDS OF THE TRIDENT, TWISTER TOWER DIRE, LORD OF THE WEIRD SLOUGH FEG, VANDERBUYST, IN SOLITUDE, ENFORCER, CAULDRON, WHITE WIZZARD, METAL INQUISITOR, RAM, etc. etc. You all know what to do when a new band is mentioned alongside these acts! Go to:  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


ANIHILATED were one of the very first British Thrash Metalbands, formed way back in the early 1980s during the NWOBHM revolution. Yet they started as a Punkband, evolving into Hardcore and later Thrash Metal, which they are still playing. During the 1980s they released 3 LPS, but the 1990s and the early part of the 2000s put them out of order due to the changing musical climate as well as major labels eating up all the independent labels and so they disbanded. However from 2006 onwards the band has been releasing CDs, of which ‘Scorched earth policy’ is their latest one. This is pure Thrash Metal, sounding very raw and lyrically speaking aiming for a True Punk/Hardcore approach. Different than the classic 80s Thrash Metal, ANIHILATED has their own approach to the genre and although it ain’t bad, I don’t consider this new album a classic in the genre, but if I have to compare them a band like XENTRIX comes to mind and they were British too! Check out more info at:  and 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


VERITATE are a new Swedish band and it really is a pity only 2 tracks can be found on their mini-CD ‘The chosen one’, because they are sounding quite good. Their music is rooted in Classic 80s Euro Melodic Metal, coming across like a mix between MADISON, SYRON VANES and HEAVY LOAD. The band recently switched from lead singer and I do think they could release a very strong full-length CD in the future, but in the meantime check out their mini-CD out at:  and 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


More Classic 1980s US Melodic Metal comes in the shape of COLOSSUS, an American band whom are paying tribute to their British heroes of IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and SAXON in their music. On this CD, with a bizarre long title (‘…and the Rift of the Pandimensional Under-Gods’), we can hear typical 80s US Melodic Metal that fits somewhere between the old bands of ANVIL, VIRGIN STEELE, EXCITER, ATTACKER, HELSTAR and the newer generation of acts like TWISTER TOWER DIRE, LORD OF THE WEIRD SLOUGH FEG, VANDERBUYST, ENFORCER, CAULDRON, WHITE WIZZARD… It is not that far away from their labelmates of CYANIDE SCREAM, also sounding like a classic 80s Cult act of the genre. However, I do think that a future full-length CD might see the band improving on a few things, because vocally it gets out of hand here and there, which is a pity, as a midtempo tune like “Willow” is a very strong MANOWAR song, but somewhat limited due the vocal range of Sean Buchanan, although during the chorus it sounds quite good. Anyway, not a classic album here, but COLOSSUS is definitely a band to watch out for and interesting enough to look up if any of the mentioned bands are belonging to your favorite ones! More at:  and 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


THE ORDER OF CHAOS are the most professional band on the German label KILLER METAL RECORDS. They hail from Canada and without any doubts, the most important member of the band is the female lead singer AMANDA KIERNAN, who can scream as loud as ARCH ENEMY’s female singer, but somehow she also sounds like an outta control version of SEBASTIAN BACH here and there. However, she does not only scream, but also sing clean very well and even a bit Gothic like during the great chorus of opener “Burn these dreams”, while she sounds like a Female Metal God (a la BENEDICTUM) during “Hell is forever”. The only pity is that she prefers to scream a lot and therefore her clean singing can be heard less, but overall what she is doing here is showing the world that she has a very diverse range, without ever sounding false. The first CD of the band sounds quite huge and also instrumental speaking it is putting the Pedal to the Metal, with big guitar riffs and any fan of pure Metal will like this a lot. Personally I would have loved to have heard more clean Melodic Metal pieces like the awesome “For another moment” and the final 3 tracks of the CD, “A torturer’s apprentice” (lovely chorus, somehow reminding me of classic DC LACROIX, JADE, HELLION, BITCH, KAREN KENNEDY and ), “Guns’n’order” or “End of an era”, because those are by far the finest tracks on the CD, sounding like the best Female Fronted Metal tunes of 2011! If the whole album was in this style, then we could have written down here perhaps the female fronted album of the year!!! On the other hand, the mixture of Classic Metal, Screamo vocals, clean melodic choruses, excellent guitarwork and big massive Metal riffs will appeal to a lot of Rock and Metalfans worldwide, so we can safely say here that this THE ORDER OF CHAOS has the ability to become bigger in especially the European Metal market. Must-have if you want to hear a combination of ARCH ENEMY, BENEDICTUM and IN THIS MOMENT. For more info go to:  and 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


And here we have another new sensational Melodic Rock/AOR band out of Sweden. They are called SENCELLED and without a doubt, this is a great new band to check out asap if you like catchy hooks and melodic choruses being packed into fun summer uptempo rockers. They sound like the perfect cross between 80s THE OUTFIELD, AIRRACE, THE GIANT LEAP, NELSON circa ‘Life’ and WORK OF ART, with choruses and hooks straight outta the big AOR Book, but adding a more guitar orientated approach of their mostly fun uptempo Melodic Rock material. SENCELLED hail from a suburb close to Stockholm and thanks to a great lead singer (guitarist ERIK HOLMBERG), 10 really great catchy tunes, a tight production by RICKY B DELIN and a debut release on the same label as HOUSTON (ROCKET SONGS), this band is highly recommended to all the people who enjoyed the albums of acts like H.E.A.T., HOUSTON, THE POODLES, WORK OF ART, SERPENTINE, LIONVILLE, W.E.T. and such picture-perfect hookladen fun summer uptempo AOR/Radiorock of the 2010s, although SENCELLED are less keyboard-orientated and also add a slight modern poprock touch, but the AOR feeling is really present as well from start to finish! The first 4 songs are instant hits, all of them being uptempo catchy Melodic Rock/AOR songs in the style of mentioned bands, with as best ones definitely “I love the way you are” and “Breathe out”. Things slow down during the semi-ballad “Oh, Sarah” that has 90s AOR written all over (think of UP ALL NIGHT, SAHARA, MASON, STATEMENT and ROKBOX). Then the band just continues bringing us more catchy uptempo Melodic Rock tunes in the shape of “One night stand”, “I wanted you” (can’t get any catchier!), “Tommy and Gina” (lyrically referring to BON JOVI’s “Living on a prayer”), “Things I feel” and ending the CD with “Carry on”. Some of the songs even recall memories of the legendary classic HAREM SCAREM debut CD, yet mixed with some BRYAN ADAMS of the early 80s. It really captures the same sort of energy and catchy vibe as the first HAREM SCAREM album from 20 years ago (songs like “All over again”, “How long” and “Don't Give Your Heart Away”), but then taking a sort of more BRYAN ADAMS/RICK SPRINGFIELD/THE OUTFIELDish Poprock approach. I think that is the best way to describe the sound of SENCELLED! For a debut, this is a really great start and anyone into fun catchy hooks/melodic choruses driven uptempo Melodic Radiorock friendly music, this SENCELLED CD is a must-have! Not pure AOR, but more akin to classic 80s BRYAN ADAMS, MIKAEL ERLANDSSON, NELSON’s 'Life', early 80s RICK SPRINGFIELD and THE OUTFIELD, so very interesting I guess if you want to sing-a-long and just want to have a good time, but any AOR fan will definitely like this too!!! More at:  and 

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


Besides being a keyboardplayer (in the Progressive Metalband THRESHOLD) and a producer, RICHARD WEST is now also playing in the band of his wife FARRAH WEST. The band is called LEAGUE OF LIGHTS and features Farrah on vocals, while Richard handles the keyboards. Both wrote all the songs together, with Richard producing the record. The remaining ‘guest’ members appearing on the debut CD of LEAGUE OF LIGHTS are actually making this a sort of all-star line-up, because on guitars we have RUUD JOLIE from WITHIN TEMPTATION, on drums MARK ZONDER from FATES WARNING and bassist is JERRY MEEHAN, who played with ROBBIE WILLIAMS and BRYAN FERRY. The result is a stunning typical modern day European female fronted Melodic Rockalbum that is not too far removed from the Dutch sound of WITHIN TEMPTATION and DELAIN, yet a little softer in the overall approach due to the importance of Richard’s keyboards and Farrah’s vocals, which by the way both sound very impressive. Farrah has a very ‘laid back’ kinda voice that actually reminds me more of the current wave of female singer/songwriters (BETH HART, LENNON, AMY MCDONALD…) than most Gothic female singers and also the melodies of some of the songs are almost pure AOR, so perhaps LEAGUE OF LIGHTS’ sound should be defined as a mix of 00s female singer/songwriter meets 80s AOR/Poprock (am I allowed to mention KIM WILDE or should I mention FF acts like FACE TO FACE, TIL TUESDAY and such?). Whatever you may want to call this, you will not be disappointed at all, because this first LEAGUE OF LIGHTS CD is a lovely album to listen to over and over again. Perhaps this CD will belong to the finest female fronted albums released in 2011 at the end of this year! Highlights are the uptempo AOR rockers “Half light”, “Ambertown” and “Don’t leave me behind”, the semi-AOR rocker “Anime” and the lovely ballad “You light my way”, but if you like one song you will love them all, trust me! If you want to hear experimental stuff and/or are only interested in guitar based rock, then LEAGUE OF LIGHTS is no option for you, but I am safe to conclude here that this CD is definitely a winner for anyone who wants to hear quality music that is focused around beautiful melodies, because that is exactly what you get to hear on this excellent CD! More at: 

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


Formed way back in the early 1990s, the Greek band SORROWS PATH plays a sort of Underground Metal style that combines influences from several Metalgenres. The band is somewhat comparable to PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, yet less proggy and also adding some Doom and even Gothic influences besides their clear US Power Metal approach. I would not call this album a classic, but fans of the already mentioned PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, OMEN, SYRUS, MANILLA ROAD, and such Underground semi-progmetal of yesteryear will like this a lot. Although not all the songs are memorable, here and there we can find some great stuff, such as the awesome “Mr. Holy”. Must-have for fans of mentioned bands. More at: 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


The Norwegian band THUNDERBOLT was formed 10 years ago and already released 2 albums on MASSACRE RECORDS before switching to another German label called ROCK IT UP RECORDS. Musically they are dangerously close to IRON MAIDEN, with their lead singer TONY JOHANNESSEN even trying to sing a la BRUCE DICKINSON. Although their new album ‘Dung Idols’ is a nice little MAIDENish Melodic Metal record, it is not reaching the high level of their heroes I am afraid. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


The Brazilian band BEFORE EDEN was formed in 1998 and released a CD in 2001 and also in 2005. That 2nd full-length CD ‘The legacy of Gaia’ has now been re-released by ROCK IT UP RECORDS. Musically we are pleased with a good deal of Melodic Progressive Metal that sounds a bit like a mixture of MIND’S EYE, very early DREAM THEATER and KAMELOT minus the Power/Neo-Classical Metal influences. It’s a good album for sure, but perhaps it would be more interesting if the band would record all-new material, because after all, the material on ‘The legacy of Gaia’ dates back to already the year 2005, which in the music business is a very long time ago. Nevertheless, Progmetalfans might be very interested in this quality record from the Brazilian band BEFORE EDEN. More at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Already formed in 1999, ‘Invisible’ is the 2nd CD of the band PERPETUAL FIRE, whom are coming out of Italy. Although they are trying to adopt a sound that fits somewhere between SYMPHONY X, ANGRA and THY MAJESTIE, they have not released a classic album in the Neo-Classical Progressive Metal genre. The album definitely has some great moments, such as during “Invisible”, “In the cage” and “Walking on your fire”. They’re not reaching the level of aforementioned bands or for example VISION DIVINE, but gladly they have their moments of impressiveness here and there. Go check them out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The new album of the Italian band STAMINA is quite a surprise, because it really is a very strong effort that combines elements of ROYAL HUNT/MALMSTEENish Neo-Classical Melodic Hardrock/Metal (“Supremacy”) with a lot of AOR/Classic Rock a la RED DAWN/RAINBOW during especially the catchy “Power of love”, but also adapt a semi-Progressive Metal direction here and there a la PAGAN’S MIND. The sound and production of the CD is very impressive and the performance of the 13 included songs is a pleasure to listen to and despite some slight accent in the vocal department (a bit like EDGUY’s TOBIAS SAMMETT, but then a bit rawer), it all sounds quite good and is really recommended to fans of mentioned bands. Nothing new or groundbreaking here, but still very interesting if you want to hear a really great mixture of MALMSTEEN, ROYAL HUNT and RAINBOW. More info can be found at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Argentinean multi-instrumentalist/songwriter BETO VAZQUEZ returns with his INFINITY project series and the new CD ‘Existence part 1’. Once again it feature a whole string of guest musicians and vocalists, which makes the record a very diverse one. Musically we drift into Neo-Classical Melodic Metal with some Progmetal influences as well. KAMELOT, STRATOVARIUS, LABYRINTH and such come to mind when listening to this disc, although not all the included songs are impressive, but that is mainly due to the difference in quality of the featured singers, because some of them are really great, while others sound quite average. Highlights include “The temple” (feat. the DARK MOOR vocalist), “Beyond myself” (excellent melodic progmetal a la PAGAN’S MIND, with as lead singer JACOB HANSEN, the singer from ANUBIS GATE), “Celestial meeting” (feat. a female singer from the Canadian band VIVEYNNE), “Future city” (very strong, early NIGHTWISHish uptempo gothic Power Metal, featuring SLAVA POPOVA from the American band OPERATIKA) and closing track “Dark night”, which is a sweet DELAIN/XANDRIAish sounding tune sung by FOREVER SLAVE vocalist LADY ANGELLYCA. Instrumental it all sounds picture-perfect, thanks to Beto’s incredible skills on keys, guitars and bass and also songwise we can hear some very impressive material, but there are also some weaker tunes to be found here and there, which can especially be heard during the first 2 songs on the CD (and also later on during “Tonight”). However, overall a nice one to check out and for more info go to: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


It has been quiet around the Swedish band MORIFADE, because it has already been 7 years since their last effort ‘Domi<>nation’ was released. Now they return with their new CD ‘Empire of souls’, which however brings some line-up changes, because there is a new lead singer called KRISTIAN WALLIN, who replaces long-time vocalist STEFAN PETERSSON. Sadly Kristian’s voice is not as strong as Stefan sang on the excellent previous albums of the band. It is partly made up by the band’s overall performance on this new album. Actually the only original members of the band that was formed way back in the early 1990s is the band’s rhythm section, consisting of drummer KIM ARNELL and bassist HENRIK WEIMEDAL. Although it is a nice typical Swedish Melodic Metal adventure what we get to hear, the vocals are not giving that extra needed touch to make it sound sensational. Sometimes he reminds me of MIKE VESCARA meets EDGUY/AVANTASIA singer TOBIAS SAMMETT. Fans of BLOODBOUND, NOSTRADAMEUS, DIONYSUS, DESTYNATION and such bands may however want to check out this new MORIFADE album, because songs like “Road of deception”, “Impact of vanity” and “Strength in solitude” will be right up their alley! More at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Formed back in 2001, the band SOLSTICE COIL is by far one of the most interesting bands ever to emerge from Israel. They play modern Progressive Rock that sounds like a mix between the complexity of DREAM THEATER and the more laid-back moody approach of PORCUPINE TREE, while vocally it taps out an almost Neo-Progressive Rock department and actually the song-based material also has clear similarities to TRANSATLANTIC, SPOCK’S BEARD, NEAL MORSE and THE FLOWER KINGS. The result can be heard on the band’s 2nd CD ‘Natural causes’, which has been released on the American label MELODIC REVOLUTION RECORDS. The band does not make the mistake to drift away from the song like so many other progbands tend to do, because live on stage you can experiment and improve as much as you want, however on the record please give us clean melodies and that is exactly what SOLSTICE COIL is doing at a very high level on their new album ‘Natural causes’. There are even some similarities to ENCHANT here and there. The band’s material is really excellent and very melodic modern orientated progressive rock that combines clean melodies in both the vocal and guitar/keyboard department, with as finest example the song “I know”. The band actually got famous for a DREAM THEATER parody (about their search for a new drummer) they put on YOUTUBE sometime in July 2011, that eventually gave them a 15 minutes of fame, especially when DREAM THEATER themselves played it before playing a show in Israel! Anyway, they can make great music on their own, which can be heard on this CD that is really highly recommended to especially fans of TRANSATLANTIC, SPOCK’S BEARD and ENCHANT, so this is melodic song-based modern progrock at it’s best! In addition, would also like to make a really positive remark about the amazing artwork of the frontcover of the album, which can best be viewed when folding out the inner sleeves of the CD booklet that makes it almost look like a classic surrealistic painting from 90 years ago (in the style of MAGRITTE/DALI/MIRO). More at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


The Swedish band SONIQ CIRCUS made their debut in 2007 and now follow it up with ‘Reflections in the hourglass’. Musically of course they continue in the same progressive rock direction as their debut, but it is clear there have been some changes, because both their lead vocalist and keyboardplayer left the band and in the end, the composer and guitarist (MARCUS ENOCHSSON) took over the vocals and a new keyboardplayer joined the band. So actually the band’s sound has changed a bit and now they sound like a pure Progrockband, without making any commercial concessions. The result is a nice album, which is blessed with a huge production and comparisons to YES, THE FLOWER KINGS and KING CRIMSON can easily be made, although SONIQ CIRCUS clearly sounds heavier than those established acts in the proggenre. However I think you’ll get the picture what this record more or less sounds like. Need to add here that I do feel that some improvements need to be done in the vocal department on a future record, but nevertheless progfans can easily check this quality release out. More at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The Canadian band EXIT 451 sent us a nice promotional package with their first CD entitled ‘The sea above the sky’. Although they are making their debut here, 2 of the members of the band already achieved more in the past, because the brothers Alain (guitars, piano, keys) and Martin Avon (bass, arrangement) released albums under the bandname IMAGINERY STEPS way back in the early 1990s. Through the years they met singer/songwriter JP ALEPINS, with whom they eventually formed EXIT 451. In the meantime they also re-opened a studio in their hometown of Montreal and thanks to all their hard work these past 20 years, they now are able to present a first EXIT 451 album, which they have been working on the past few years. Produced, recorded and mixed in their own THE BAND STUDIO 451 studio by MARK HOWARD (DANIEL LANOIS), this album offers modern day laid-back moody and quite melancholic semi-progressive rock that sounds like if it was created in the UK. Think of a mix between COLDPLAY and a song based version of PORCUPINE TREE, then you’re quite close to the EXIT 451 sound. Without a doubt, this record might get the ball rolling for this band and the high level of their music will definitely to a lot of people worldwide. Better make sure to check them out at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


One of many Neo-Progressive Rockbands that were active during the 1990s in The Netherlands releases now a very interesting DVD that features no less than 8 live recordings from the band that were originally recorded between 1993 and 2001. The actual plan was to release through MUSEA RECORDS a full boxset that would contain 8 CDs, but in the end CLIFFHANGER released it on their own as a DVD. The DVD contains not only the concerts in audio, but there is also a full video of one of their old concerts, namely a really great gig they did back in 1994, live at Willem 2 in the city of Den Bosch. Despite it is already 17 years old and the video footage might not be as professional as the usual DVD music release, it is a pleasure to watch this rare old concert of the band in a still rather good shape, both the video and audio. The other 8 audio concerts were taped during various years, although actually 2 of them are not really live concerts, but 2 rare demos the band recorded back in 1993 and 1997, which is definitely very interesting for the collectors among us. Musically speaking, CLIFFHANGER was pretty much a quality progressive rockband and they managed to release quite a lot albums, 5 in total. They split up twice and eventually since 2001 have been active, with members ending up playing in that other sensational Dutch progband KNIGHT AREA. Now 10 years after their 2nd split-up, this DVD is released and of course it is a highly recommended piece to all fans of CLIFFHANGER, but any Progfan will find a lot of interesting stuff on this extensive DVD, which is available through:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


‘Back to the rock’ marked the return of a Classic AOR era period of the legendary Christian Rockband PETRA. The band is hailed as the Godfathers of Christian Rock, but musically speaking they changed a few times their style and me personally I am a huge fan of the band’s early 1980s recordings, which featured the amazing lead singer GREG X. VOLZ. He only sang with the band for a short period (late 70s to mid 80s), but left a big mark on many people worldwide and now almost 30 years later PETRA resurrects as CLASSIC PETRA, featuring Greg on vocals once again. In fact they are touring all over the world and recently released a CD that featured new versions of some of their Classic AOR material from the early 80s. There is now even a DVD out titled ‘Back to the rock’. Most of the material of the CLASSIC PETRA CD was played during the nights this DVD was recorded. Without a doubt, this is a high quality DVD that does not only shine in the shape of the concert with such amazing tunes like “More Power to ya”, “Grave Robber”, “Adonai”, “Angel of light”, “Godpleaser” and “Bema seat”, but there’s also a 2nd DVD included here that contains a high quality lengthy profile of the band through the years. AOR and Christian Lyrics were basically invented by PETRA and it is thanks to them (and Him) that we were pleased throughout the 1980s with so many Christian AOR Classics and even until this very day Christian musicians started playing after hearing the PETRA classics. This DVD shows that this band is really superb live on stage that might even turn non-believers into believers, well at least make them believe in CLASSIC PETRA! Let’s hope in the near future a full new CD with all-new material will be released by this Classic line-up of PETRA. More at: 

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Aussie Power Metal Warriors ILIUM strike back with a very strong and impressive new album titled ‘Genetic memory’. It’s already the 5th album of the band and the 2nd to feature RIOT/MASTERPLAN shouter MIKE DIMEO on lead vocals. Musically speaking no changes and so once again we have big-time Melodic Power Metal included from head to toe. RIOT, AXEL RUDI PELL, FIFTH ANGEL, LEATHERWOLF, AT VANCE and you name it further… these are all similarities one can make when listening to the new ILIUM album. It sounds a little rawer and more up-to-date than those acts, adding a PRIMAL FEAR factor here and there, but I think you’ll get the picture. This time a sort of concept-album, which has been done quite cleverly and is clearly tapping out of that big massive guitar riff Power Metal book, with of course the important strong vocalwork to make each song a pleasure to listen to. Fans of the band’s earlier releases will definitely love this a lot and anyone into one of the aforementioned bands should check out this album asap! Highlights include “Kinaethsesia”, “ Littoria”, “Ephemeral” and “Fevered Tongue”. More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The German label AVENUE OF ALLIES MUSIC is rapidly becoming one of the new key players for AOR music. Although FRONTIERS RECORDS is still head and shoulders above the rest, that label is also starting to focus on signing major bands only and is even exploring different genres besides AOR and is eventually becoming more and more a Classic Rock label. AVENUE OF ALLIES is actually doing what FRONTIERS RECORDS was doing in their early days and perhaps a little more AOR/Westcoast based with the releases of DAVID ROBERTS, KING OF HEARTS, GEORGE and G and the female fronted albums of ALYSON AVENUE and IF ONLY. However, they are also keen on getting new stuff out there and so we introduce to you LIONVILLE. This is a brand new Italian band/project formed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Stefano Lionetti, with the help of drummer Pierpaolo “Zorro” Monti (SHINING LINE) and keyboardplayer Alessandro Del Vecchio (EDGE OF FOREVER, EDEN’S CURSE, GLENN HUGHES). On lead vocals we can hear one of Swedish finest at the moment, namely WORK OF ART/ENBOUND vocalist Lars Säfsund. The result is a very impressive first record that is not too far removed from WORK OF ART, 80s TOTO and JOURNEY. Despite the fact nothing new to the genre is brought on this LIONVILLE album, what we do get to hear is of an incredible high level. Especially the first 2 songs are taking you straight into AOR HEAVEN, easily beating the new JOURNEY or any other AOR record released in 2011 for that matter. “Here by my side” and “With you” are really terrific uptempo AOR pieces that feature some of the most perfect ‘summertime’ melodies one is able to hear on a new record nowadays! Although the following 9 tracks on the album do not reach the high level of those first 2 AOR monsters, it remains a great album and a must-have for any fan of real pure AOR in the style of PRIDE OF LIONS, BOULEVARD, WORK OF ART, 80s TOTO and JOURNEY. The material varies between up- to midtempo and a bunch of softer Westcoast tingled ballads (even a RICHARD MARX written tune). Thanks to the superb lead vocals, every song is a pleasure to listen to and the most surprising track is without a doubt the uptempo 80s AOR tune “Thunder in your heart”, which is in fact a cover of an old JOHN FARNHAM song that may be found in its original version on the Classic AOR soundtrack of ‘RAD’ (look for a vinyl version to hear the incredible other songs featured in that movie). Although I have to admit that the new similar sounding WORK OF ART album is overall a better record than LIONVILLE’s debut, an exception should be made regarding the first 2 songs on this LIONVILLE album, because these are really the finest newly written/recorded AOR in ages. More at: 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Boy of boy… time really travels fast… I can still remember the day I received a package from the now defunct label LONG ISLAND RECORDS and included was a record by a band called IF ONLY. It must have been one of the very first promos I ever received and writing a review for me personally in 1994 was something completely different than writing a review of that same record in 2011. Back then everything was handled with care and every new record was something special, especially if you consider the fact that 17 years ago there was almost no internet and AOR/Melodic Rock was vanished completely and forever doomed to stay in the underground. Starting a fanzine based on this genre in 1994 seemed like a complete failure, but we pulled it off and are still alive and well in 2011. Anyway, the original bio mentioned that this project was already started in the late 1980s, but it took some time to get an official release until 1994 when a German label decided to give it a chance. Sadly the timing and music climate had changed a lot within a couple of years and so despite our major review and even an interview we had with some of the members, it was all over in a minute and the actual record of this UK based band became a collector’s item. The material was re-released several times by different labels (also releasing bootleg versions of demos with original singer JACKIE BODIMEAD (ex-GIRLSCHOOL) on vocals), but now almost 17 (!!!) years later AVENUE OF ALLIES MUSIC releases an official re-release with a couple of bonustracks. Musically speaking we are talking about late 1980s Classic FF AOR/Melodic Rock in the style of LAOS, VIXEN, WITNESS, ROBIN BECK, HEAT… The band featured the amazing singer TINA EGAN, who sadly died in the late 1990s, but left behind this excellent musical trip with superb AOR/Melodic Rock songs like “Ghost of You”, “Stand Like A Stone”, “Don't Let Go” and “Shotdown”. Any fan of mentioned bands will absolutely fall in love with this incredible record. This record shows once again that music is timeless and although it is a record released in 1994 and perhaps recorded even earlier, it is still a fantastic record that really needs to get more attention than it ever received and now it gets that second chance! More at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


ALYSON AVENUE has a long and exciting history behind them, starting as far back as the late 1980s and experienced long pauses in between then and now. It must have been around the late 1990s when we received a Demo CDR of the band. In fact, I remember it well that I had heard just one song of them and really begged the band to make some sort of demo of a few of their original tunes, because I was over-excited about this great Swedish band. The band was actually more like a project that for fun played and recorded some material every once in a while, but as soon as I gave a major review of that tape, the interest in them was created outside their little Swedish hometown. It was the most exciting female fronted AOR/Melodic Rockband I had heard since the discovery of DANTE FOX a few years later. The stories were very similar and eventually ALYSON AVENUE also got signed and released 2 sensational albums that could easily be put next to 80s FF AOR Classics by WITNESS, LAOS, HEART and such. Anyway, after 2 albums it became however quiet and sadly we had to conclude that this was it for the moment back in the earlier 2000s. Then from out of nowhere came a message that the band’s fantastic female lead singer ANETTE OLZON was the new NIGHTWISH singer! I didn’t see that one coming and I think nobody would have guessed that, because she now became the frontlady of one of the most popular bands in the Metalgenre in the 2000s, so that definitely had a major impact. Of course the interest for their 2 ALYSON AVENUE albums was huge after this announcement and for the remaining band members also a reason to start up the band again, despite the fact they had to look for a new singer, which eventually became female vocalist Arabella Vitanc. Now in 2011 the new CD of ALYSON AVENUE is released and despite it doesn’t reach the high level of their first 2 records, it is nevertheless still a very strong FF AOR/Melodic Rockalbum with some great songs like “Liar”, “Changes”, “Amazing Days”, “I Will Be Waiting” and “Somewhere”. Nice to see even Anette providing backing vocals for some of the tracks and despite this album might not be a classic, for fans of the classic FF AOR sound still a must-have to check out! More at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Not 1, not 2, but 3 releases are now available from legendary singer/songwriter DAVID ROBERTS. It concerns here 2 re-issues of old albums from David and a CD with a bunch of unreleased material recorded throughout several decades. ‘All dressed up’ was his 1982 major label debut and sadly also marked the end of his solo career, because after the album release he started to focus on writing for other people, which resulted in many Classic AOR songs that have been recorded by acts like BAD ENGLISH, TRIUMPH, STARSHIP, SIGNAL, etc. etc. He did however create many demos and eventually also released a solo-CD on his own a few years ago and thanks to AVENUE OF ALLIES MUSIC all his own material is now available on CD, sounding crystal clear and showing that this man recorded some classic material all by himself, but sadly never made it big as a solo-artist. No bonustracks can be found on the ‘All dressed up’ re-issue, but on the other hand the material on this record is of an exceptional high level, featuring some of the finest early 80s North American picture-perfect Westcoast-AOR ever. If DAKOTA’s ‘Runaway’, FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, TOTO and ALLIANCE (1982) are among your favorite acts, then please put this DAVID ROBERTS record in there as well. Especially songs like “All in the name of love” (uptempo Poprock/Radiorock in the best early 80s tradition), “Too good to last” (absolutely stunning Westcoast-perfection, an absolute CLASSIC!), “Someone like you” (pure FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS-AOR, amazing arrangements) and the laid-back almost CHRISTOPHER CROSSish “Anywhere you run to” are almost from another planet. Basically this DAVID ROBERTS from 1982 is a must-have in my book! Of course the help of a whole list of musicians and other people involved in creating this gem is remarkable, because part of the TOTO line-up and the whole LA session musicians establishment made sure that everything sounded perfect. Names like DAVID FOSTER, STEVE LUKATHER, JAY GRAYDON, DAVID LEONARD, HUMBERTO GATICA, BILL CHAMPLIN, JEFF and MIKE PORCARCO, GREG MATHIESON, MICHAEL BODDICKER, TOM KELLY, etc. are definitely a guarantee for a high quality album. An absolute Classic that now gets a second chance through this fantastic re-issue on CD! (Points: 9.3)

‘Better late than never’ is the 2nd re-issue or actually a re-release, because this particular DAVID ROBERTS album was independently released back in 2008. Although the guest list is less impressive, the material is less AOR based and it surely ain’t the same kinda classic as the 1982 release, ‘Better late than never’ is still a very nice record, with such great PLANET 3/BRETT WALKERish semi AOR/Poprocksongs like “Before I go” (originally recorded by STARSHIP, but written by David of course), “Stay with me tonight” (co-written with JOHN WAITE), “Be gentle with my heart” and “Best thing I never had”. (Points: 8.3)

The 3rd CD of DAVID ROBERTS is on the other hand very interesting, because this one contains unreleased material recorded in-between the 2 other releases, so basically 1980s and 1990s recorded material that never saw the light of day until now. The album is simply titled ‘The missing years’ and features a lot of excellent AOR gems, such as “Run Back”, “Forbidden Fruit”, “Nothing Matters Tonight” and especially the closing tracks “I Still Believe”, “Love Waits For No-one” (best song on the CD, terrific 80s gem!) and “The Sun Will Rise Again”. If you’re not familiar with DAVID ROBERTS’ solo material, this is a great way to get to learn this amazing singer/songwriter. His solo-recordings can easily be ranked alongside BRETT WALKER, STAN MEISSNER, STAN BUSH, MITCH MALLOY and such AOR musicians. (Points: 8.7) More at: 

(Points: -)


IAN PARRY started a mission many years ago with CONSORTIUM PROJECT and with ‘Species’ he now finishes his project. It’s already the 5th CONSORTIUM PROJECT album and despite musically speaking they are all moving in the same direction and not many changes can be heard compared to the earlier records, ‘Species’ is somehow a bit heavier. The list of guest musicians is quite impressive, because people like Stephan Lil (VANDENPLAS), Niels Vejlyt (INFINITY OVERTURE), Veith Offenbächer (DAWN OF DESTINY), bass players Kris Gildenlöw (PAIN OF SALVATION), Jens Faber (DAWN OF DESTINY), drummer Casey Grillo (KAMELOT) and female vocalists Lene Petersen and Ani Lozanova are all making their appearance. While listening to some of Ian’s old recordings from back in the mid 80s, it is remarkable to see that his voice has always been the same and very recognizable, no matter if it was AOR or Power Metal based material. The mix of Power, Gothic, Progressive and Melodic Metal on ‘Species’ is of a very high level. Although perhaps it isn’t a classic, people who enjoyed the earlier records in the CONSORTIUM PROJECT discography can easily grab this new one!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Retro 1970s Classic Rock is at the moment one of the most popular genres to play as a young and upcoming new band. This is also the case with the Brooklyn/New York based WEIRD OWL, whom released their 2nd album ‘Build your beast a fire’ on the German label TEE PEE RECORDS. They are however a little less Classic Rock/Hardrock based than for example a WOLFMOTHER, RIVAL SONS, THE ANSWER and such, because they tend to move into a more Psychedelic, almost late 1960s kinda Flower Power/San Francisco ish Rocksound here and there. The songs are usually following a slow tempo path a la PINK FLOYD, yet without the prog touches and also reveal influences from let’s say JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and THE BYRDS, with a little NEIL YOUNG added and after a few spins the band actually sounds like an underground Rockband from the 1990s, because for a while during that decade there were thousands of bands playing this kinda Rock. 15 songs can be found on the 2nd CD of this band and for fans of Classic Rock with a Psychedelic fundament, this is a really interesting band to check out at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


In the late 80s there were quite a few so-called supergroups active, not only in the Hardrockworld, but also in the AOR scene there were some, such as THE STORM, BAD ENGLISH and also the lesser known KING OF HEARTS, which was actually a Westcoast-AOR project. Involved in KING OF HEARTS were well-known musicians like TOMMY FUNDERBURK (AIRPLAY, THE FRONT) on vocals, KELLY KEAGY (NIGHT RANGER) on vocals and drums, GEORGE HAWKINS JR. (KENNY LOGGINS, JOHN FOGERTY) on vocals and bass and session guitarist BRUCE GAITSCH. This band managed to record only one album in 1989, which even featured guest appearances by Jeffrey “CJ” Vanston (RICHARD MARX, STEVE LUKATHER, PETER CETERA), Bill Champlin (CHICAGO) and two former THE EAGLES members Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit. Thanks also to a crystal clear production by David Cole (BOB SEGER, RICHARD MARX, JAIME KYLE…), really everything seemed to be perfect for a big hit, but not much happened due to certain circumstances and the album was never released, so the band/project slowly died, with each of its members going for different directions. Now 22 years later the original recordings are remastered and released onto CD through AVENUE OF ALLIES, although we need to mention that it was already released on CD in 1999 in Japan only. However, the Japanese edition is long out of print and has become a sought after item and now 11 years later we are reviewing once again this KING OF HEARTS album, now via this official worldwide release. I cannot recall the points I personally gave this album back in the late 90s, when we also reviewed it, but without a doubt this is a highly recommended album to any Westcoast fan. Songs like “Working Man”, “Don't Call My Name”, “Hold On To Love” and “Lovin' Arms” will please any fan of the genre. The musicstyle is like a mix between TOTO, CHICAGO, AIRPLAY and CHRISTOPHER CROSS, but still I have my doubts whether to call this a classic, because basically the included material is just so-and-so and misses some real killer tunes. Nevertheless, fans of mentioned bands will probably love this a lot, although the high level of those acts is never reached. More at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The band OPO from San Francisco Bay Area used to be called ODA and even released an album titled ‘Power of love’ during the 1980s. Despite some success with their AOR tingled material, EDDIE MONEY covering one of their songs and even an MTV broadcasted video, it became quiet until now, because after a silence of 25 years the 3 members (the brothers RANDY and KEVIN ODA, along with MICHAEL POLITEAU) got together again and now release a new CD under the slightly changed name of OPO. Musically some changes, although most of the time the music is still very much going into the 80s AOR direction. Opener “Get away” is a really great pure early 80s feel-good uptempo AOR/Pomprocker that is not too far away removed from THRILLS. Next track “Rewind” somehow does impress less, as this midtempo tune has some vocal production issues, but “Always” is a nice piano/acoustic guitar led AORish ballad a la REO SPEEDWAGON. Midtempo AOR can be heard during “Losin’ it”, while the following 2 tracks take on a slightly different route, because “Mango” is a sorta BEATLES influenced Psychedelic tune and “Island” is a rather awkward tune. “Mango” is also featured unplugged as closing track of this CD. The other 2 songs are the midtempo AOR of “Oh, I…” and the finest track of the whole album, namely “Too Much In Love - I Will Never Leave You”, a song that starts slow, but develops into an excellent uptempo rocker in the best early 80s AOR tradition (reminding of THRILLS, BENTWOOD ROCKER, ODA). ‘Getaway’ marks a nice return of this trio and good to see them still holding on to their 80s AOR roots. More info at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


GLASS MIND is a really excellent Progressive Metalband from Mexico founded in 2005 and after winning a few contests they were able to release their debut album ‘Haunting regrets’ on the record label CIRCO VOLADOR back in 2008. Now 3 years later the band has re-recorded the album for worldwide distribution. This new version features vocals by guest singer DANTE DIAZ (WAR KABINETT, THE ARKITECHT) and was mixed at Tower Studio in Montpellier, France by Brett Caldas Lima (ARCH ENEMY, LACUNA COIL, TO-MERA). Progmetalfans cannot go wrong with this release, because the sound/production is huge; the included material is of a very high level and some of the songs are very sensational, so to speak we are here falling into the category of KAMELOT, SYMPHONY X and PAGAN’S MIND. Not only the music is reminding of those bands, but some of the songs are even reaching the high level of those bands. For example songs like “Utopian Feeling”, “I'm Still There” and the superb “Beyond Our Souls” (this song almost sounds like a classic in the SYMPHONY X style) are clearly Progressive Metal of the highest level. There are not many bands active in the Progmetalworld, at least not that we are aware, but this GLASS MIND is a big surprise, because they perform at an incredible high level and should therefore be heard by any fan of the genre. Website is located at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


The Norwegian band FATAL FUSION was formed in 2008 and already in 2010 they released this debut album titled ‘Land of the sun’. Although at first sight they sound like your typical progressive rockband, they mix it up with influences from several other music genres, such as rock, blues, jazz, latin and such. In fact, some of the songs feature twists that sound like we are listening to a Soul/Funk band from the 1970s, while the band goes for the Southern Rock approach during “Shot to the ground”. Personally I feel most comfort when listening to the 70s progressive rock orientated material, which also occasionally features the Hammond Organ and this works at best during the URIAH HEEPish “Love in the sky”. The vocals are not the strongest point within FATAL FUSION, so there’s definitely some improvements needed in that field, but for the open-minded progfan who wants to take the challenge and hear different twists than the standard prog, then this is a highly recommended band. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The band IONA has been active for about 20 years now and basically continues releasing quality releases every few years. Although through the years some changes in their musicstyle were notable, most of their material is quite original and could be labeled as sorta epic and very atmospheric light Progressive Rock. A mix between ENYA, MOSTLY AUTUMN/KARNATAKA and 80s bands like FACE TO FACE and TIL TUESDAY, with also Folk/Medieaval and even Ambient/Celtic elements slipped right through is a way to describe the music of IONA. Through the years the band has definitely built up a large following, which is thanks to the band’s quite original sound that is actually impossible to compare. The band plays concerts every now and then here in The Netherlands, where they quite clearly feel at home, also due to the fact that IONA is a Christian band, so besides the prog community, they also have a large Christian fanbase, which of course over here is not that surprising considering the large amount of Christians living here. Anyway, it took some time for a new studio-album, but now IONA releases ‘Another realms’, a 2-CD set filled with 90 minutes of new material of the band and from start to finish it sounds really perfect. Songs like “The Ancient Wells”, “Clouds”, “Let The Waters Flow” and “White Horse” are very impressive and although these songs sound like the highlights now, it might just as well be a different song next time, because in general, this new IONA album is their strongest effort in ages. There are not many bands out there with a real own sound, but IONA shows once again on their new album they have their own signature, which should be appreciated by any musicfan out there. All info at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


LESLIE WEST is 65 years old, but still rocking, such as can be heard on his new CD ‘The unusual suspects’. The list of guest guitarists is quite incredible, because featured are ZZ TOP’s Billy Gibbons, SLASH, ZAKK WYLDE, JOE BONAMASSA and STEVE LUKATHER, a list you will not find on a single album nowadays. The music is basically the heavy Bluesrock LESLIE WEST has been doing all his life now. Sometimes very bluesy (“Mudflap” and “Legend”), but then again more melodic classic rock sounding like CREAM meets B.O.C. during the awesome “To the moon”. Leslie even covers THE BEATLES classic “I feel fine” very nicely, while a song like “You and me” almost sounds like an early WHITESNAKE song, so there’s quite some diversity to be heard here! Leslie has one of those typical voices that you can always recognize, combined with his bluesy material, this new CD is once again a must-have for fans of him. More at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


TRACER is an Australian band and they might just as well become the next big thing in the world of rock, because their somewhat groovy and bluesy guitar riff based Hardrock is not that away from current popular bands like WOLFMOTHER, RIVAL SONS, THE ANSWER and AIRBOURNE. They released their debut (actually they did release 2 independent albums before they were signed) CD ‘Spaces in between’ on COOL GREEN RECORDINGS, which is a sublabel of the Dutch label MASCOT RECORDS. Of course it is clear that TRACER is hugely influenced by 1970s Classic Rock and LED ZEPPELIN is passing by a lot when listening to songs like “Too Much”, “Walk Alone”, “Devil Ride” and “Dead Inside”. Especially “Devil ride” is a really great catchy tune and somehow during a couple of the other songs (“Voice in the rain’’), the band reminds me so much of BADLANDS mixed with TANGIER and that is definitely a really good thing! The band is formed around the brothers Brown, namely Michael on vocals and guitar and Leigh on vocals and bass, while on drums the band is completed by Andre Wise. The vocals are very strong and are making it a pleasure to listen to from start to finish, because they give the sound of TRACER an own identity, while the guitarwork is very groovy back-to-basic ZEPPELINesque Hardrock orientated. Be sure not to miss this band and do check them out at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


I remember it well… the first time I heard this record was 15 years ago during the summer of 1996. It was during a summer holiday somewhere in the south of The Netherlands and I was listening to a walkman that had a tape playing this record. Of course the record was already 13 years old back then, but somehow that first song “It’s hot” was nailing it just perfectly, a summerish uptempo AOR rocker that was completely in line with the weather and atmosphere at that moment. How wonderful like could be, hearing such a lovely tune and ever since that day I was hooked for life to that first record of Stan, because the whole album felt and still feels so good. This is summertime AOR of the early 80s at its very best and hearing it for the first time back then must have been really great, something I now understand much better 15 years later! The album was already re-issued during the late 1990s and we also reviewed it back then, but now in 2011 a whole new remastering of the album took place and ROCK CANDY RECORDS proudly presents the finest re-issue of that classic first STAN BUSH album. In 1983 Stan was signed to SONY MUSIC and it must have felt like a gift from heaven to be signed to such a major label based on your own written material. Sadly the album didn’t become a big success and it took another 4 years before Stan would return to business with a new album. Nevertheless, he left a footprint in the early 80s history with this superb album that featured some really great guitarwork (still love the guitarsolo of “Time isn’t changing you” and some of the riffs that are featured throughout the rockers), catchy hooks and memorable super-melodic AOR choruses. It sounds so different than any of Stan’s records that would follow in later years and now 28 years later it continues to inspire with such anthems like “It’s hot”, “Fire in my heart”, “Can’t live without love”, “Love has taken me away”, “Say the word”, “Don’t accuse her” and the amazing ballad “Time isn’t changing you”. The AOR on this record had a slight 1983ish Radiorock (PREVIEW) approach and also some Pomprock influences in the keyboardwork, while the guitarwork was sometimes even shredding here and there. Overall however some might even name it a typical early 80s Poprock record that should have been as huge as any of the early BRYAN ADAMS or RICK SPRINGFIELD records. Although the 1987 BARRAGE record Stan released might have been his finest AOR moment, this 1983 solo debut record should definitely also be in your collection, because the level of the included songs is really incredible. Stan’s voice and the melodies of some of the songs really give you the chills, meaning this is just picture-perfect. Only due to the somewhat raspy production and a few weaker songs towards the end of the record, the following BARRAGE album beats this STAN BUSH album, but it still is an excellent example of a classic AOR record from the good old early 80s crystal clear/picture-perfect AOR movement that ruled in the USA between 1978 and 1986. More info at: 

(Points: 9.1 out of 10)


It took 4 long years before STAN BUSH would return, but it was all worth the wait, because together with his back-up band BARRAGE he recorded his finest album ever, the STAN BUSH AND BARRAGE album, which even gave him some success due to the inclusion of his song “The touch” in the TRANSFORMERS movie and the ballad “Love don’t lie” that was later covered by HOUSE OF LORDS. He will forever be remembered for these 2 songs, but the average AOR fan knows that Stan recorded much more classics. Now fully remastered and reloaded onto CD, this AOR gem sounds better and bigger than ever. From start to finish this album still sounds very fresh, even almost 25 years later in 2011! Especially the energy and drive of the uptempo AOR Classic Rockers “Dare”, “Primitive lover”, “Crank that radio” and “Gates of paradise” is stunning and these are instant winners when working out at the gym. It was clear that the involvement of SCOTTI BROS as record company for this 2nd STAN BUSH record was production wise hearable, because if you’re familiar with ROBERT TEPPER, ROCKY 4, SURVIVOR and such, you can easily rank the keyboardladen AOR of this STAN BUSH right next to those SCOTTI BROS acts. This album is an instant AOR Classic, which thanks to this awesome re-issue now gets another chance for all the new AOR fans out there who never heard it before! Go out and grab this gem asap, because it is impossible for today’s AOR to reach the high level of this STAN BUSH AND BARRAGE album! More info at: 

(Points: 9.5 out of 10)


The early 80s saw many AOR and Westcoast releases on major labels and most of them these were sadly one-off records. Some of these albums were true classics, but let’s not make things sound too romantic here, because also quite a lot were just average albums. THE STRAND’s one-off record from 1980 falls right in-between, because it has both high and lows. It surely doesn’t feel like a Classic, because you cannot possibly rank this album next to TOTO, ALLIANCE, FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS and such. The best comparisons would be STEEL BREEZE, 707 and TYCOON, 3 other acts from the same period that had some great AORish material, but also the occasional so-and-so stuff on their albums. THE STRAND however did feature some great musicians, such as lead vocalist RICK ‘MOON’ CALHOUN, producer JEFF PORCARCO (TOTO drummer) and some of the members also played with BOZ SCAGGS. Together they recorded this THE STRAND album, which is without a doubt a high quality record that featured a bunch of great AOR tunes, such as “Rock it tonight”, “Long hot summer”, “Stay away from my girl” (a la THE AUTOMATIX) and the excellent closing track “Can’t look back”. However a part of the album is also going into a more smoother Westcoast direction, which isn’t bad at all, but I think that THE STRAND could have recorded a better record if only they had been given some time and budget to do a follow-up, because the quality was there, but despite comparisons to TOTO, the overall material on this album was just not strong enough to make it a true Classic album. Nevertheless, this obscure and quite rare album definitely has it’s fine moments and for fans of mentioned bands worth checking out. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


ORIZ is a Swedish band and they released their debut CD on BLUE TOPAZ RECORDS. Musically speaking they have a big 80s Hair Metal/Hardrock kinda sound that contains clear influences from VAN HALEN. 9 songs are included and with a nice quality sound/production, the fans of sing-a-long late 80s American Mainstream Arena Hardrock a la CRYSTAL ROXX, SLAUGHTER, FIREHOUSE, TINDRUM and such will be enjoying this quite a bit. Nevertheless, need to add here that it isn’t reaching the high level of those bands, but if you like for example EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE, then you will surely be loving this Swedish band as well. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted)