Site hosted by Build your free website today!



Classic 1980s traditional Melodic Metal is very popular nowadays and young new bands from all over the world pop up every week with a strong debut CD release that is loaded with a style that reflect something that would not be out of place on a 1985 vinyl record. The Australian band DARKER HALF can easily be put next to bands like WHITE WIZZARD, STEELWING, ENFORCER, VANDERBUYST, CAULDRON, SKULLFIST, etc. etc. Based in Sydney, these guys surely know how to revamp the classic NWOBHM genre, although I have to add here that in contrary to aforementioned bands, DARKER HALF is actually going for a more classic 80s US Melodic (Power) Metal approach. This can best be heard during the album’s highlights “End of the line” (uptempo, with a very catchy melodic chorus and quite stunning guitarwork), “Tomb of the unknown soldier” (midtempo 80s US Melodic Prog/Power Metal, excellent SYRIS, CRIMSON GLORY, LEATHERWOLF type of tune) and “Wake me up” (great classic 80s, almost FATES WARNINGish, Progmetal tune). The overall sound of the band does also reveal in the instrumental breaks some Thrash Metal influences, but overall this is a 80s US Melodic Power Metal orientated record, with here and there some NWOBHM type of tracks. The band has a superb guitarist by the way and Steve "Vo" Simpson is a good vocalist too, although he is struggling on a couple of tracks, but on the album’s finest tracks he sounds really good. I do feel that in the future this band might release a major sounding traditional Metal record, because they definitely have the skills to write some great material, but some improvements are possible and also on the production side things might help if they are able to secure a major producer next time. However, for a debut CD, this sounds pretty good and is highly recommended to fans of mentioned bands. More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Now this is Metal for the masses! The Australian band SOULFORGE delivers a punchy high quality album that simply breathes pure Metal. It is heavy, aggressive and still ‘catchy’, basically pure Power Metal, sounding like a cross between JUDAS PRIEST, LORD/DUNGEON, MYSTIC PROPHECY and SEVENTH AVENUE (also vocally). Although nothing new is brought here, SOULFORGE is doing it at a very high level and fans of mentioned bands will absolutely love this disc. The band is based around lead singer DALE CORNEY (former guitarist and backing vocalist for Australian metal band DUNGEON) and if you like big massive guitar riffs and shredding, this is a must-have. The guitarwork is really excellent and the band is at their best when they go for a slightly more melodic turn, such as on the superb “Crimson fire” (amazing guitarwork here!). The production/sound of the album is huge, thanks to the mastering by JENS BORGREN at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden (known for OPETH, HAMMERFALL, AMON AMARTH albums) and basically this is the perfect cross between MANOWAR and MYSTIC PROPHECY. Along with cover artwork by Felipe Machado Franco (BLIND GUARDIAN, RHAPSODY), this album is a picture-perfect Metal release, so make sure not to miss out this album! More at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The band MORROW’S MEMORY is coming out of the Detroit/USA area and they are clearly doing something right on their debut CD ‘Moving forward’, because this album sounds like a perfect cross between typical American Modern Rock (RA, HOOBASTANK…) and Melodic Progressive Rock (ENCHANT). Although more bands have tried to mix up modern rock with progressive rock and add melodic rock hooks and choruses, it is very hard to do it as good as on this record by MORROW’S MEMORY. The band has a great lead singer (Tony Fitchett) and instrumental everything sounds quite perfect. If you take away the long instrumental passages of prog and focus on more catchy song based material, but still update the sound to today’s modern rock standards, you will get close to the sound of MORROW’S MEMORY. It has that typical American touch and as mentioned before, it reminds me quite a bit of ENCHANT, although slightly heavier and very song based. Highlights are “Taken” (superb!), “The road”, “Behind your beauty” (super melodic), “Hero in the dark” (actually pure melodic rock) and the titeltrack, which is really close to the classic ENCHANT sound. Instrumental very good and there’s some excellent melodic clean singing going on, while also the vocal harmonies are terrific in each and every song, so this is really a band you need to hear. A song like “Behind your beauty” shows the incredible musicianship of this band and anyone who is interested in a band that combines the best of prog, modern and melodic rock and sounding original at the same time (although ENCHANT fans might absolutely adore this band), this is a band to check out asap at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Formed back in 1998, the Vienna, Austria based band CORNERSTONE went through a lot of changes during their existence so far, but managed to survive, release their official debut CD in 2008 and now follow it up with their finest effort so far, the new album ‘Somewhere in America’. Although not a 100% perfect album and also not pure AOR during each and every song, it is definitely one of the better sounding female fronted AOR releases in a long time. The band switched female lead singers many times the past 13 years, but now they found an excellent new very powerful female singer called Patricia Hillinger. She has a great voice and together with a strong production and a bunch of catchy tunes, this is a very pleasant CD to listen to. The band has already achieved some success in the USA, where they even toured and musically speaking the AOR/Poprock of CORNERSTONE captures the typical smooth American touch. Somehow they remind me a lot of the Dutch female fronted AOR/Melodic Poprockbands from the late 1980s/1990s (THIN LINE, ONE/TWO, VERALIN, THE BOXX, ANGELA AND THE RUDE, KAYAK in the 2000s etc. etc.) and that is not a bad comparison at all! If we have a quick run through some of the songs, comments can be added to the tracks “Rise And Shine” (excellent uptempo aor), “Right Or Wrong” (superb AOR ballad a la 80s CINDY CRUSE/CONNIE SCOTT), “Like A Stranger” (excellent uptempo aor), “Being Unaware” (poppier, almost LOIS LANE style), “High And Low” (nice poprocker) and “Strut” (nice calmer semi AOR ballad). Although this might not be the album of the year, the musicianship and especially the vocalwork is very impressive and CORNERSTONE are making a big step forward with this album. If they can rock it up a little more next time and work on even stronger melodies, this might lead to something sensational. Still, a recommended piece to any fan of female fronted aor/poprock. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The St. Louis/USA based band CHASING MAGIC is formed around the 3 brothers Pawlak, Jason Pawlak (Lead & backing vocals, drums, keyboards, acoustic guitar), Dennis Pawlak (Lead & rhythm guitar, bass, backing vocals) and Trevor Pawlak (Lead & rhythm guitar, backing vocals. Leader Jason already worked with bands like GOODBYE THRILL, FARCRY, TANGO DOWN…, but now has his own band called CHASING MAGIC. The music is not too far removed from mentioned bands, but you can also compare them to the classic late 80s sound of bands like WINGER, HARDLINE, TALON, BRITTON, KNOW ILLUSION, TALAS, etc. etc. The sound is huge and most of the songs are quite catchy and any fan of the late 80s US Mainstream Melodic Hardrocksound will fall in love instantly with this band. Catchy harmonyvocals/melodies are all over the place here and the only thing one might have to get used to is the vocalwork of Jason. Highlights on the debut CD of CHASING MAGIC are “Room to run”, “Angelina” (both uptempo classic uptempo melodic rockers a la TALON, KNOW ILLUSION, FIREHOUSE, TALAS…), “The corners of my mind” (midtempo, very strong!), “The edge of goodbye” (ballad with excellent guitarwork) and the FARCRY cover (although Jason wrote it himself!) “Fine line”, which by the way is an incredible ballad. So basically we have here a very nice album that should be heard by everyone into any of the mentioned bands. After the review I was crosschecking the internet and found out we reviewed a CD by a band called JACE several years ago and as it seems this was the forerunner of this CHASING MAGIC, because some of the songs also appear on that JACE record, of which the review we did back then is online at:  Do check out all info on CHASING MAGIC  at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The Swedish band CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD started only a few years ago and is now making their debut with their same titled full-length CD. The band has worked together with DAVID CASTILLO (OPETH, KATATONIA) on this first album, so they are taking things up to a higher level. The band has a really great lead singer (Sakaria Björklund) and musically they play typical Rock and Roll, mostly uptempo, but as the CD develops it sounds also quite melodic and on more than a few occasions the band could be called a Melodic Hardrockband. There is a 1970s laid-back vibe here and there, even some Westcoast during the great “Rock is my life”. Other highlights are “Don't Turn Your Back On Love”, “Concrete Jungle” (wow, great melodic hardrocksong, even a bit TYKETTO), “Summer nights” (very good semi ballad a la TANGIER/TYKETTO), “True love” (catchy 80s guitar riff driven uptempo melodic rocker). Not all of the included songs are interesting, because for example “American dream” and “No worries” are a bit on the weak side. So it is a bit up and down, but the band can go for quite a sensational approach (such as can be heard during the earlier mentioned songs). Great start of this new band and definitely worth keeping your eyes open for in the near future. More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


PARADISE INC. is a Brazilian band, yet they are fronted by the German lead vocalist CARSTEN SCHULZ, who of course is known for singing and recording with a lot of bands the past 10 years, including amongst others the excellent EVIDENCE ONCE.The debut album of PARADISE INC is titled 'Time' and was produced by Paul Logue (EDEN'S CURSE) and mastered by Dennis Ward (PINK CREAM 69). Guest singer on 1 song is DOUGIE WHITE (RAINBOW, MALMSTEEN), although with Carsten on the mic the vocals are in shape. Musically it is Melodic Hardrock the European way, not far removed from JADED HEART or any of Carsten's previous bands. Not really groundbreaking, but done well and interesting for all the MHR fans out there. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


And once again we turn to Italy for another great new Melodic Rockband. They are called SOUL SELLER and hail from the northern part of the country. Actually, they are not a new band at all, because theye were formed way back in the 1990s and even managed to release an album in 2000, but due to the fact they didn't recive much coverage back then and also took time to undergo line-up changes throughout the 2000s, they are now making a huge step forward with the release of a new CD titled 'Back to life', which has been released on AVENUE OF ALLIES MUSIC. Thanks to the strong production of Alessandro Del Vecchio (LIONVILLE, EDEN'S CURSE and countless other -mainly FRONTIERS RECORDS- Melodic Rockalbums) and even a guest vocal appearance by Oliver Hartmann (HARTMANN, AT VANCE, AVANTASIA), the band got the tools to record something special and happily, the album sounds indeed very impressive. The music is typical AOR/Melodic Rock like we have heard it many times before, but in a good way, because the performance is really excellent, with as most important part the lead vocals of singer Michael Carrata. He is a really fine crystal clear/clean singer, perfectly suitable for this kind of music and once again showing that the real sensational lead singers in Europe can be found in Italy. From start to finish this is a very enjoyable quality AOR/Melodic Rockalbum and thanks to similar releases of WORK OF ART and LIONVILLE, the AOR fans have been spoilt a lot, so let’s hope they will not miss this one either. More info at: 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


This must be the biggest surprise of the year! Who would have thought that the legendary band SHY was able to record one of 2011’s finest releases, but with their new album they are definitely giving it a try and after repeated listens it is clear that this is probably the best SHY album ever recorded! Of course they created a lot of Classic AOR material in the past, but the band’s new album sounds fresh, updated and much more consistent than all their earlier releases. One of the main changes is the fact that they changed their lead singer, because original singer TONY MILLS went to TNT and in came LEE SMALL (SURVEILLANCE, PHENOMENA), who happens to be an amazing vocalist. Instead of high-pitched squeaks all the time, we are pleased with an incredible soulful voice that fits somewhere between GLENN HUGHES and GORAN EDMAN. Also the production of the new album, which by the way is simply titled ‘Shy’, it sounds massive and almost all of the 12 included tracks are sensational songs that sound modern and classic at the same time. The band now sounds like a Melodic Heavy Rockband, with typical 2000s keyboardwork (Gothic/Metal style) and catchy AORish choruses. Combine the instrumental side of NIGHTWISH with MALMSTEEN circa ‘Odyssey’ and add GLENN HUGHESish vocalwork, then you are close to the sound of SHY’s new album. SHY changed their style several times the past 30 years, but this time it’s for real and we can easily say that it is a winner. This is high quality stuff you can play over and over again without getting bored. The guitarwork is spot-on, basically picture perfect, the vocals are superb, the melodies are coming out of another galaxy and the overall sound of the whole album is huge. This is one of those albums that will be adored by any serious rock, hardrock or metalfan, no doubt about that! Anyone familiar with the old SHY should forget about that, because here we are looking at a completely revamped SHY that is proudly presenting a killer record. Opener “Land of a Thousand Lies” grabs you immediately, as this is a stunning uptempo melodic rocker with catchy hooks and a haunting chorus. Right from the start you're gonna love this record, as the overall sound is massive and the vocalwork is terrific and besides the brilliant opener, other highlights are "Ran out of Time", "Pray", "Only for the Night" and the 1980s MALMSTEEN sounding "Save Me". However, almost any of the 12 included songs is sensational and the only conclusion is that this is a definite winner for anyone into quality music. Make sure you will not miss this album!

(P.S. the day I wanted to publish this review SHY guitarist STEVE HARRIS sadly died of a tumour, may he R.I.P. and may this CD become the band's most successfull album ever, because they truly deserve it)

(Points: 9.2 out of 10)


The legendary band SARACEN started way back in the 1970s and released during the early 1980s a couple of great Melodic Rockalbums. However, these albums actually became more cult-releases than big selling records and so eventually they split up for a long time. ESCAPE MUSIC however became interested in doing a re-issue on their earlier material and so we were pleased in the 2000s with the CD release of all of the band’s early material and even a full new album titled ‘Vox in Excelso’ in 2006. Now another 5 years later in 2011 another new album has been released titled ‘Marilyn’. As the title might reveal, this is a concept album about the legendary MARILYN ‘Norma Jean’ MONROE. Thanks to the help of some excellent additional lead singers on a couple of songs, this new SARACEN album might well become their best effort. None other than ROBIN BECK and STEVE OVERLAND lend their excellent voice to a few songs on this new SARACEN album and that makes this album already a must-have, because in my book both they belong to the best singers. The sound is massive and instrumental is sounds pretty good, but not all of the songs are sensational, because you really have to concentrate on the songs that feature ROBIN BECK and STEVE OVERLAND as guest singers. These are by far the finest tunes and then we are talking about “Who Am I” (Beck & Overland), “Make This Body Work” (Robin Beck), “Not For Sure (Robin Beck), “Feel Like Going Home” (Robin Beck) and “Marilyn”(Robin Beck). The other songs are also good, but SARACEN vocalist Steve Bettney is nowhere near the level of Robin or Steve. Besides, somehow the material on which Robin sings is very sensational and reminds me a bit of LANA LANE mixed with some AOR influences, while some of the other tunes is just a little less stronger, despite sounding like a cross between RAINBOW, URIAH HEEP and such classic British melodic heavy rock. The overall sound is massive and the musicians show their skills all throughout the album and despite a few weaker songs, this is a recommended album.

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


More than 5 years ago we reviewed the same titled debut CD of the Californian duo SONS OF EDISON, which consists of multi-instrumentalists/vocalists Michael Casinelli and Richard Livoni. And now we can welcome them back with a new CD titled ‘Strikes again’. Musically no big changes and so we can once again enjoy their pure American traditional Pop/Rock style that reminds of a mixture between REFUGEE, JACKSON BROWNE, TOM PETTY and bit of the later sound of DAKOTA, although MARK SPIRO and JIM PETERIK also come to mind a lot of times. Most of the songs are laid-back, but still uptempo and a bit rocking, however due to the use of mainly acoustic guitars the main focus are really the melodies and the songs itself and not electric rocking guitars. It feels like a long poetry divided into 14 tracks and I remember comparing them also to AMBROSIA, which really is a good comparison, as the music combines 70s Westcoast with a bit of 90s AOR and finish it off in a slightly typical American Poprock approach of the JACKSON BROWNE/BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN/MOON MARTIN kind. At times the band reminds me a lot of GOLDEN EARRING, whom are basically doing the same thing and are very successful (at least in Holland) for 50 years now! By now you will more or less get the picture how SONS OF EDISON sounds and if we have a closer look at the songs, the highlights are “In heaven already” (early 80s singer-songwriter AOR, remember JACK STREET, JAY FERGUSON or JOHN HALL???), “My darling forever” (midtempo AORish, again the GOLDEN EARRING similarities, yet with MARK SPIRO comparisons as well), “This can’t go on” and the excellent bluesy “He’s no good for you” (with superb lead vocals by guest singer EVE SELIS). Definitely a recommended album to fans of mentioned acts, although my best description of SONS OF EDISON’s sound would be a mix between GOLDEN EARRING, MARK SPIRO, BLUE OYSTER CULT (yes those guys too!) and JACKSON BROWNE, so singer-songwriter AORish Westcoast-Poprock, with a light raw working class man’s edge! More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The past 10 years we have seen many of the American bands that were originally either playing Emo/Punkish Rock or Nu-Metal somewhat mixing up their styles, with as result the melodies of the Emo sound were crossed with big massive guitar riffs out of the Nu-Metal genre. The overall sound sounds modern and at times even close to Progressive Metal, which makes this an interesting new development in the USA, because the past few years hundreds of great news bands have emerged from all over the country and the latest addition is SIXTY LONG SECONDS. This band is hailing from Leominster, which is a city in the state of Massachusetts. Their CD starts off a bit aggressive, but from next track on “What I believe”, the band goes for a strong melodic approach, which they don’t let go after that. The music is sounding modern, but quite melodic and here and there sounding like a Progmetalband without the keys and guitarsolos, yet with a slight ALICE IN CHAINS touch, especially during the great calm semi-ballad “You and me”. The band has a good singer (guitarist MARCOS MIRANDA), who sounds at best during the calmer parts and fans of let’s say SHINEDOWN, DISTURBED, THREE DAYS GRACE, SALIVA, 3 DOORS DOWN, ALTER BRIDGE, STONE SOUR, BLACK STONE CHERRY and such will like this album a lot I think. A song like “This is the moment” is right up their alley for sure and it is cool to see the band add some cool 80s guitar riffs in there and also the piano-based ballad “Days go by” sounds interesting. They are not there yet, because the production could be a little bit better and also not all material is making a big impression, but I guess this is just a matter of time. In the meantime, check out this band at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The past 10 years we have seen so many new bands in the Melodic (Power) Metal genre, all trying to become the next SONATA ARCTICA, STRATOVARIUS, RHAPSODY, DRAGONFORCE, LABYRINTH or any other European based band in this over-popular genre. Sadly a lot of times either the vocalist, the songs or the overblown production kill the record and almost all the time what remains is just a standard album that doesn’t make any impact. However, there are exceptions and the new English band NEONFLY is clearly one of them, because their official full-length debut CD ‘Outshine the sun’ sounds very impressive, thanks to a really excellent vocalist called WILLY NORTON, a bunch of very catchy hookladen tunes and also a professional sounding production. Opener “Broken wings” has definitely got the potential to become a so-called Melodic Power Metal classic, because here we are spoiled with some really catchy melodies in the style of the old SONATA ARCTICA style, yet with better lead vocals. In total 11 songs are included and without a doubt, this is a very strong album that easily reaches the high level of all their Swedish counterparts, whom have a patent for catchy melody driven Power Metal with strong lead vocals. Other highlights are “Ship with no sails” and “Splitting blood”, but I have to add that I do feel that the band is at their best during the beginning of the CD and towards the end the songs are less stronger. Nevertheless, a very nice debut from this British band and for more info go to: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Nowadays it is very hard to keep track of all new bands that emerge from all over the world and I can guarantee you that there is still a lot of undiscovered gems out there. For example this band called VINK, which sounds like the next big thing on their debut album ‘Taking the long way home’. This is Modern sounding Melodic Rock at it’s best and if I had not checked the liner notes of their CD, I would have thought they were coming out of the US of A. They sound damn professional, the album has a massive production and almost every track is a winner here, especially during the excellent catchy melodic rockers “Morning silence”, “B&B” and “Get away”. Sometimes other Finnish bands like THE RASMUS, LOVEX, SUNRISE AVENUE and DEEP INSIGHT come to mind (but also THE CLICK FIVE, DAUGHTRY and BOWLING FOR SOUP similarities are notable), but most of the time VINK captures an own sound that is super melodic and catchy, but also sounding modern and radio/tv-ready if you ask me! Go check them out at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


About 5 years ago we reviewed a demo of this Swedish band, but now CELLOUT releases their official debut CD titled ‘Superstar prototype’. Musically speaking they are going into the modern day American Nu-Metal genre, not far removed from SHINEDOWN, ALTER BRIDGE, STONE SOUR, DISTURBED and such, so groovy and heavy with a lot of downtunes guitars, but combined with super melodic choruses. The CD was mixed by ULRICH WILD (PANTERA, WHITE ZOMBIE) and sounds really massive! Despite the fact that the material does not sound original at all, the band is doing it at an exceptionally high level that could easily convince the Americans CELLOUT is the latest new American sensation, but they are truly from Sweden. They have a great lead singer and most of the 11 included tracks are featuring deadly catchy choruses, with as highlights “The gift”, “Set things straight” and “In my arms”. This is easily an album you can play loud and proud, as it is high quality and here and there some of the songs might even make the local radio stations, as there is definitely potential hits on ‘Superstar prototype’. Must-have for fans of mentioned bands! More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The Swedish people surely know how to write catchy tunes, which all goes back to the glorious ABBA days, because ever since that legendary Popband we have seen thousands of Swedish bands in any genre coming up with some of the most catchy choruses. AMARANTHE is another band that fulfills the Swedish tradition, which is creating a song around a deadly catchy chorus. 12 songs are on their SPINEFARM RECORDS released debut and without a doubt what we get to hear is of a very high level, which would make most European bands very jealous. The band is actually making a sort of mix of Gothic Metal, Power Metal and even a little Thrash Metal, but thanks to the superb female singer Elize Ryd and the aforementioned lovely catchy choruses in almost each and every song on their first CD, they sound very melodic and might even appeal to the average melodic rockfans. The best songs can be found during the first part of the album, because tunes like “Leave everything behind”, “Hunger” and “Automatic” for example will enver leave your memory after you have heard them. It needs to be mentioned here that towards the end of the album it all turns out to be more of the same, but generally speaking AMARANTHE delivers really a sensational record here! More at: 

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


Instrumental the Swedish band MEANSTREAK sounds massive and thanks to mixer FREDRIK NORDSTROM, the band’s album ‘Declaration of war’ is clearly a professional record. The only issue is that the band’s vocalist doesn’t sound really impressive, because most of the time he is trying to sing and scream like ROB HALFORD. When at best, he sounds like TOBIAS SAMETT, but especially during the fast Power Metalish material he is not convincing enough to keep people interested to listen to the whole album. A pity, because here and there we can hear some great material, such as “The end of the rainbow” and also the guitarwork is high-class, but the vocals really need to improve next time. Check them out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Sadly only 2 songs can be found on this CD, but MARY FAY from Sweden delivers high class modern sounding Melodic Nu-Metal, as good as their American counterparts of ALTER BRIDGE, SHINEDOWN and DISTURBED. The vocals are strong, the sound is massive and both songs included here are making you beg for more material. Only pity are a few screamo’s here and there, but overall they are a very good and quite melodic sounding band, which you can check out at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Now this is pretty cool, because AJENDA is a band from Northern Ireland, Belfast to be exact and they recorded a mini-CD in Finland. Musically they do not sound like your typical Hardrockband, because what we get to hear is guitar orientated early 80s based Melodic Rock with a slight bluesy touch. The band’s sound is clearly situated around the strong vocals of female singer JEN, who sounds raw and bluesy, just the way a female vocalist should sound like. You don’t hear that many female singers sing like her nowadays and if I have to compare her voice and the sound of the band I should actually add bands like HEADPINS, REVOLVER, EARFORCE, LEE AARON, ROCK GODDESS and CHRISSY STEELE. Especially during uptempo rockers like “Hotel rooms”, “Change” and “Hollow”, they are sounding dangerously close to those legendary bands. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Although the front cover of the CD of the Swedish band SELF DECEPTION didn’t promise something interesting, because I expected a Scream/Metalcore ish album after looking at 4 screaming guys with headcaps on. However, ‘Over the threshold’ has happily nothing to do with that, because what we get to hear is very catchy and super melodic stuff that sounds pure American orientated. In fact, they could have well been the latest sensation from America. Modern Melodic Poprock is a fair description of the sound of SELF DECEPTION, which can be heard right from the start during the excellent uptempo “Stay young” that is not too far away from SHINEDOWN or ALL TIME LOW. Actually the whole CD features such catchy and melodic material that does sound modern, but still should also attract the fans of modern sounding Melodic Rock. The band has a great lead singer and almost any track included here is radio-ready and very memorable. A little Poppunk touch, some massive Nu-Metal ish riffs and overall very clean melodic vocals and choruses (and there is no rapping, aggressive vocals, screaming or anything like that to be heard happily!), that is what we get to hear here and I’m sure fans of ALL TIME LOW, 3 DOORS DOWN, SHINEDOWN, DESTINE, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, ANBERLIN, BREAKING BENJAMIN, HOOBASTANK, CREED and even ALTER BRIDGE will love the American orientated melodic modern (punky) hookladen poprock of the Swedish band SELF DECEPTION! Maybe nothing new or really original is brought here, but who cares if it is done so well and especially in America they could be superstars by now! More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


This Swedish band already released their album ‘Disgraceful’ in 2007, but somehow it pops up now again, for which I am glad, because the incredible high level of this undiscovered gem is quite stunning and should not go unnoticed. THREE MINUTE MADNESS sounds like an American Post-Grunge band (but also with a bit 90s groovy Swedish Melodic Hardrock influences), like a cross between ALTER BRIDGE, STONE SOUR, SOUNDGARDEN, CREED an ALICE IN CHAINS. The music is based around big fat groovy guitar riffs and usually is concentrated around a midtempo beat, but vocally and also the choruses are super melodic, so call this whatever you like, but modern-day American Melodic Nu-Metal is probably the best description. Trust me when I say that THREE MINUTE MADNESS is sounding as good as the mentioned bands and could have easily been on a major American label with this album. Anyway, 11 songs are included and together with a powerful production, it is a pleasure to listen to this album. Put on opener “Take me away” or “Salvation” loud and proud and be sure that you will love this killer record instantly! Also check out the semi-ballad “Graceful”, a very haunting song that even reminds one of the last couple of EUROPE records crossed with a bit of CANDLEMASS and even WIDOWMAKER (yes, DEE SNIDER’s band from the 1990s!!!). However, fans of especially CREED, ALTER BRIDGE and SOUNDGARDEN must get hold of this album asap! More at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


SAREA is a Swedish band whom are playing very catchy Melodic Power Metal in the traditional Swedish way of doing it, yet they add cookie monster vocals to most of the songs, which makes it a bit hard to listen to from start to finish. Nevertheless, what they are doing is of a very high level and it is best to describe them as a mix between MERCENARY and SCAR SYMETRY, 2 other Swedish bands whom would like to combine death growls with clean melodic vocals and catchy choruses, packed in a Power meets Progressive Melodic Metal direction. Instrumental they are actually going for a more uptempo straight-ahead approach, which is pure Melodic Power Metal bliss in classic Scandi tradition, with it’s catchy sing-a-long choruses, but the verses are almost all featuring cookie monster vocals. Drop them and you have an absolute winner! Nevertheless, ‘Alive’ is still a very good album that features a lot of great melodies, both during the choruses and also in the instrumental parts, because the musicianship is also very impressive. Only the death growls spoil the listening pleasure a bit, so only recommended to people who also like the earlier mentioned acts. Check out all about SAREA at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


MINORA is a new Swedish band playing dark atmospheric almost Progmetal kinda music that actually sounds quite melodic, but also very epic. Hard to compare them, but constantly I have to think about WHILE HEAVEN WEPT and perhaps ANATHEMA and OPETH are also bands that come to mind. Anyway, the band’s debut record ‘Imago’ sounds massive and could easily become the next big thing, because everything sounds impressive here. In contrary to aforementioned bands, MINORA sounds a little more song based and also catchier as they are not so much based around long instrumental passages. They are proggy for sure, but on the other hand do combine it with some really excellent melodies, such as during the amazing “November” and “A new dawn” that almost sounds like classics! Dark lyrics, doom orientated riffs, but very melodic progmetal like choruses and also superb clean vocalwork, that is what MINORA is all about from start to finish on their debut CD ‘Imago’. Not an album you want to miss, because it offers some very good material. More info to: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


So we have THE POODLES, RECKLESS LOVE, BILLION DOLLAR BABIES, VANITY INK and a load more 80s influenced Party Hardy Melodic Hardrock meets Glamrock type of bands from mainly Scandinavia, so one more wouldn’t hurt and here they are in the shape of DYNAZTY. They have been active since 2007, are coming out of Stockholm, Sweden and already release their 2nd CD with this ‘Knock you down’, which is released on STORMVOX RECORDS, the label of actor PETER STORMARE (24) and known for bringing us H.E.A.T. Anyway, the album sounds good, really quality stuff, mixing the late 80s American style of Mainstream Melodic Hardrock and Party/Glamrock, riffs out of the CRUE/POISON book and melodies a la DOKKEN/FIREHOUSE/DANGER DANGER. 13 songs are included and despite it isn’t a sensational record or anything new can be heard, this is a nice record to put on if you have a party at home, because songs like “Sleeping With The Enemy”, “Hunger For Love”, “Wild Nights” and “Brand New Day” will make fans of mentioned dance and party all night long. Go check out this band at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


ARMY RISING is a new Young Irish band and I was little surprised to read about the claim for fame in the bio that this new band would be the best thing that ever came out of Ireland! The band is making their debut with ‘Impending chaos’ and I would definitely not call this a really strong album, because the production is very average, the featured music goes in one ear and out the other and the band’s lead vocalist is not able to make any impact. In fact, it seems he is the weakest link in this band. However it is not all that bad what we get to hear, but the band’s darker Melodic Metal is just not good enough to compete with any of the established acts in this genre, because it lacks at so many aspects. Of course the band might improve on future records, because EDGUY also sounded very average when they started in the earlier 1990s. I think it’s best to listen to some samples of this band before you would blindly purchase a copy of their debut, because it is really a very standard Melodic Metal album.

(Points: 6.7 out of 10)


GADI CAPLAN is a guitarist from Israel, who is currently settled in Boston, USA. ‘Opposite views’ is his debut record, which contains instrumental (except for 1 song) music that is best described as a mix between Progressive and Jazz-Rock, so Fusion would be the right word. As the bio already mentions, it is closer to Progressive Rock several times. The album sounds very laid-back and is without a doubt a perfect album to put on during these long cold dark winter nights as background music. 7 songs are included and especially the lengthy first 2 tracks (“Harmony Police” and “Opposite Views”) are very strong. Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


American singer/songwriter/actor/producer PAUL WATERS has travelled all over the world, but is currently settled in Hollywood, where he launched his solo-debut CD through the internet. The included music is typical singer/songwriter pop/rock, influenced by artists like CHRIS ISAAK, DAVID GRAY and NEIL YOUNG, yet with a sort of typical American touch overall and here and there finishing it off with a bluesy or even a singer/songwriter AOR touch of the JIMMY DAVIS/DANNY WILDE kind. Tracks like “Born to Fly,”, “Million miles”, “Inside” and “Rain on the Window” show Paul’s strength and actually the whole CD sounds rather impressive. Paul has recorded and performed in Switzerland, London, Hawaii, Hollywood, and across the entire US, written over 200 Songs and started his career way back in the 1970s, so we have an experienced musician here. That is something one can also note on this high quality album he just released online. This is well-thought pop/rock music and despite the lack of any real rockers on the CD, it is the strong voice of Paul that keeps you interested from start to finish. Who knows he could become the next big thing, because here in Holland they really appreciate his kinda semi-acoustic tingled music (CARICE VAN HOUTEN and DE WERELD DRAAIT DOOR would love this!), so for more information, please visit: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Some people are completely devoted to their work and the things they do and you can clearly hear that in the case of the CD ‘Thought chapter – Attack with style’ by the British musician IAN CAHILL. Included on his CD is instrumental ‘relaxing’ progressive melodic rock. He has played with several bands in the past, but this solo-CD he now releases gave him the opportunity to do it all on his own. He is quite creative and it took him 3 years of his life to record it. The result is a very impressive and highly recommended instrumental album that shares his passion for prog and melodic rock, as both styles are merged on most of the songs on the CD. See and hear Ian at one of his websites located at:  and  or  and e-mail him at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


So what do we have here then!? STALA AND SO is a band from Finland formed around the charismatic lead singer STALA. Formed way back in 1997, the band actually now releases their debut CD ‘It is so’ after all these years. This was done after the participated in the 2011Finnish Eurovision Song Contest selection for the Finnish entry with their song "Pamela", which is also included on the CD. Although they didn’t win, it probably gave them the exposure needed to make an official CD release possible and so now we are looking at the official first full-length CD of the band. Musically speaking it is a mix of 70s T-REXish Glamrock, 80s inspired Glam/LA Hair Metal crossed with US style Melodic Rock. WIG WAM, THE POODLES and ALICE COOPER are mixed together here, a little less rockier though and vocally not superb, but for this kinda party music good enough. Most of all, STALA AND SO reminds me a lot of SHA-BOOM (remember them?) or the later THE SWEET records from the 1990s. Highlights are the great catchy uptempo Melodic Rockers ("Won't Let You Down Again", "Pamela" and "Shout"), but any fan of Party-Hardy Glamrock in the style of WIG WAM, SHA-BOOK and THE SWEET is gonna love this record! Check it for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The Swedish band FRONTBACK was formed all the way back in 2002 and it took them quite some time to find the right line-up. However, now they have a steady line-up and released a mini-CD containing 4 tracks. Included music is traditional uptempo Melodic Hard/Heavy Rock with a female singer that reminds one a lot of DORO. Although opener “Stay away” is a bit struggling, next track “Running for better days” sounds much better. In this song the female singer sounds better than on the first song and the song itself is a really catchy uptempo melodic heavy rocker. The other songs are “All I wanna do” and “Heartattack”, also both uptempo melodic heavy rockers, with the 2nd being the better one of the two. This mini-CD shows an energetic band that is working towards something bigger in the future. Improvements should be possible regarding the production and songwise some more diversity wouldn’t hurt, but overall this doesn’t sound bad at all. More at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


It’s not every day that we review bands out of China, but THE ROADKILLS from Chengu, China sent us their CD ‘Ni Xing’. Although it is a good sign to see Chinese bands emerging in the rock/hardrock scene, it is not of the same level as most Western bands. The sound and production of this CD is not really good, but of course we’ll look further than that. Vocally quite raw and musically sounding a bit like 1990s SOUNDGARDENish Alternative Rock, this band around bandleader Anders Chriss (vocals, guitars) still has a long way to go to make it outside the Chinese borders. Nevertheless, it is nice to see Rockbands being active in China, so go check them out at: and 

(Points: 6.1 out of 10)


AOIFE O’LEARY is an Irish female singer/songwriter who fronts the band MOTH COMPLEX, whom started in Dublin back in 2005. So far they only have released an EP and a few songs officially, so an actual full-length album is still in the works. Nevertheless, the sampler we received shows that MOTH COMPLEX is a rather interesting band to keep out for in the near future, because when the time comes for them to release an official full-length CD, it might be a very impressive release, judging on the 3 included songs on this sampler alone. Opener “You don’t know” is a great uptempo melodic poprocker with today’s approach, although still a little classic PAT BENATAR can be heard here, but basically this is typical modern day FF Melodic Poprock that invites everyone to sing-a-long. Next track “Stay” is a groovier midtempo rocker and the 3rd track “Harder” is another nice uptempo rocker. Aoife is a great singer by the way and she really lifts up the level of the band to higher places. Boy, this sounds very good, thanks to the excellent female singer, who makes it a pleasure to listen to the material on this little sampler and it really makes one look forward to a full-length release sometime in the future. For now, check them out at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


How much better can Progressive Metal possibly sound? That is a question I ask myself time and again upon hearing yet another sensational release in the massive Progmetalscene. The latest discovery is EUMERIA, a Texas/USA based band formed around ex-OUTWORLD keyboardplayer Bobby Williamson. The band’s debut album is titled ‘Rebel mind’ and it is quite remarkable that this is just an independent release, because what we get to hear is really superb picture-perfect Melodic Progressive Metal that would even make SYMPHONY X and PAGAN’S MIND jealous! We reviewed material of OUTWORLD in the past, but this EUMERIA simply blows that away already during the first few seconds. The album was mixed and mastered at Hansen Studios in Ribe, Denmark with producer JACOB HANSEN (VOLBEAT, RAUNCHY, NIGHTRAGE, MERCENARY, HEAVEN SHALL BURN) and the recording took place at Origin Sound in Spring, Texas with producer Craig Douglas (HELSTAR, NECROFAITH, LYCOPHILE). Besides Bobby on keys, also ex-OUTWORLD bassist Shawn Kascak is in the band’s line-up, while the 3 other members are British musicians Jonny Tatum (Vocals), Reece Fullwood (Guitars) and Kevin Bartlett (Drums). Congratulations to Bobby for finding this tremendous lead vocalist, because Jonny has a really terrific clean voice that gives the band that additional touch needed to survive in the Progmetalworld. 9 tracks are included and without a doubt, this is Melodic Progmetal at it’s very best, easily beating the new DREAM THEATER record and comparable very much to a PAGAN’S MIND and the proggier side of SYMPHONY X. Highlights are “Delusions”, “Father”, “The Key” and closing track “Secret Places”. What more is there to say about this independent release? This is a really sensational release and a must-have for any Progmetalfan out there. Probably one of the better releases from 2011 and right up there with the new records from PAGAN’S MIND and SYMPHONY X! For more information, go to:  and 

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


2 of the members of the Louisville, Kentucky , USA based band CRAWLEY played in the band DAYS OF THE NEW, who were quite popular during the later 1990s in the USA, even scoring a massive hitsingle. That Alternative Rockband had a typical SOUNDGARDEN 1990s ish Dark Aggressive Rocksound, which can also be heard on the first CD of CRAWLEY, a band fronted by lead singer ERIC CRAWLEY. Similarities to CREED, ALTER BRIDGE and such American Altrockbands are very clear when listening to the album, which has surprisingly been released independently, despite the fact that it’s material sounds as if this was a major label release. Eric has got that real typical American Rockvoice and combined with the dark musicstyle of the band, it is a nice addition to the aforementioned bands. Somehow this way of singing and rocking goes back all the way to THE DOORS and even after all these years and especially thanks to the 1990s Seattle movement, new US bands still have got that influence. Although the start is very dark, slow and moody in the familiar SOUNDGARDEN/ALICE IN CHAINS style, it gets more friendly and melodic during the rest of the album, such as can be heard on tracks like “Maybe”, “Back again” and “Serrated”. Quality stuff is what we get to hear here and it is highly recommended to fans of typical American Modern/Traditional Rock in the style of mentioned bands. More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The Swedish band MOTHERLODE had a rather good start back in the early 1980s, managed to release a major label album in the mid 1980s, but as the 1990s approached things went downhill sadly and so it became quiet around them. However, in the early 2000s the band started to work on new material and now in 2011 a new CD is released. The band hasn’t changed musically that much since their first album from 25+ years ago, so the focus is still traditional melodic heavy/hardrock in the style of 1st EUROPE, RAINBOW, BLUE MURDER, THIN LIZZY, TALISMAN… yet less melodic. The production makes it sound a bit more modern and the guitars are quite heavy, while the overall sound is quite groovy. Vocally it is not that strong anymore and also some of the tunes are quite average, but if you like groovy guitar based traditional Hardrock that is actually sounding like a mixture between KINGDOM COME, the current TESLA sound and TALISMAN, then this might be up your alley. It is nice to see this comeback of MOTHERLODE and their new CD is clearly quality, but it doesn’t reach the same level of mentioned bands, despite a few really good songs, such as “Predators”, “I Don't Know” and “Won't Find Me Begging”. More at:  and 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


Now this is a real new band and a good one as well! The band was formed by Freddy Mazzucco (guitars, songwriting & production) in France a few years ago. Freddy had spent 12 years in the Melodic Rock hotspots New York and New Jersey, but started the band ISIS CHILD together with lead vocalist Nathalie Pellissier, bass player Christophe Canto and drummer Rob Hirons down at the French Rivera. The band recorded a French-sung album back in 2008 and is now presenting us their first English sung album titled ‘Strange days’. The album was mastered by Pelle Saether, who is the lead singer from the AOR band GRAND DESIGN and also owner of the studio ‘Underground’ in Sweden. The result is quite stunning actually, because what we get to hear is a really great mixture of bluesy hardrock, 80s melodic rock and aor choruses, with some superb vocalwork of Nathalie, who is singing in the ROBIN BECK/CHRISSY STEELE/DARBY MILLS/DONNA CRISTY tradition. I have to admit that this album really took me by surprise, because there are a lot of sensational songs to be found here, such as “Dancing”, “Loneliness” (quite superb, very impressive ‘catchy’ chorus, powerful semi-ballad in the ROBIN BECK style, terrific vocalwork!), “If You Wanna Be Mine” (Very good midtempo AORish), “It’s Always The Same“ (lovely uptempo AOR, 80s ff style) and “Looking For The One” (starts funky, but features a really kick-ass AOR chorus!). Any fan of female fronted AOR/Melodic Hardrock will absolutely love this record that musically is somewhere between CHRISSY STEELE, HEADPINS, ALANNAH MYLES and ROBIN BECK, so a little AOR, some Bluesy Hardrock and big Melodic Rock sounding material, it’s all there on this wonderful disc of ISIS CHILD. The vocalwork is very powerful and definitely contributes in making this album a true winner for any musicfan! Combined with big guitar riffs and catchy melodic choruses, it sounds up-to-date and ready to be heard for everyone living outside the French Rivera! More info at: 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


8 years ago we reviewed the wonderful debut CD of the American one-man band THEOCRACY. Back then Matt Smith did everything on his won and without a doubt he delivered something as good as a standard band would be able to do on a record and besides, also his vocals sounded quite impressive. The next few years a few other musicians joined Matt and together they recorded a 2nd album titled ‘Mirror of souls’, which was well received and eventually this meant touring and of course a full band was needed to do that. Now in 2011 4 other musicians joined Matt and THEOCRACY is starting to become a real band, with Matt only handling the lead vocals, which he does very well. The new album is titled ‘As the world bleeds’ and once again we are pleased with the mix of European Power Metal, American Melodic Rock and Progressive Metal. The songs are catchy, epic, massive, bombastic and actually quite fantastic! THEOCRACY delivers their best effort so far with this release and especially Matt’s vocals are picture-perfect on every song. Opener “I AM” is a lengthy epic piece that combines all the ‘good’ melodic rock and metal styles we all love so much, but the real highlights on this CD are “The Master Storyteller” and “The Gift of Music” and the ‘let’s sing-a-long tunes “Altar to the Unknown God”, “Light of the World”. The songs are always featuring super massive melodic choruses, shredding guitarwork, excellent vocalwork and especially thanks to a perfect sound/production it is a pleasure to listen to. Although THEOCRACY is settled in Athens, Georgia, USA, the music is very much European influenced, taking elements of bands like RHAPSODY, VISION DIVINE, also KAMELOT/SONATA ARCTICA, STRATOVARIUS, although some classic 80s Melodic Metal of the FIFTH ANGEL and STRYPER also passes by here and there. Overall this trip feels like the AVANTASIA journeys we have made over the past 10 years, mixing all the elements that made Melodic Rock, Euro Power Metal, 80s US Power Metal, Symphonic Rock and Progmetal so popular! Be sure to check out this new THEOCRACY album. More at:  and  and 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Now here we have something quite rare and quite interesting for all the lovers of female fronted 80s Poprock/aor. Not much info has been supplied, but the only (?) LP of female singer JUSTINE JOHNS was released in 1983 and now re-issued onto CD. She got a lot of help from TONY CAREY (RAINBOW), who wrote most of the tunes as well as playing/producing on the record and we also get a few covers (“When a man loves a woman” and “Body talk”), while the bonustracks are remixed versions of one of the single that was lifted off the album back in 1983. Anyway, the sound is a little poppier overall, with a Hi-Tech European Pop touch as well, but still thanks to Justine’s superb vocalwork, the material still reminds a bit of the lighter songs of female singers like DONNA CRISTY, CINDY CRUSE, CONNIE SCOTT, PAT BENATAR, LISA HARTMAN and especially SHARON O’NEILL. The best tunes are definitely “Young Riders“, “Reach Out” and “I Won't Be Home Tonight”, all pure classic early 80s ff poprock/aor orientated with lovely vocals, catchy hooks, melodic choruses and that 80s upbeat ‘Fame’ ish sound. The rest of the included material is a little poppier and even recall 80s Hi-Tech/European Poprock a la KIM WILDE, THEREZA BAZAR… Although not a classic, this is definitely an interesting album for fans of the 80s female fronted poprocksound, although it is a bit on the poppy side, but that is made up with superb vocalwork by Justine. More at:  and 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


MOTORTRAIN is a band out of Hometown Westville, Oklahoma and their same titled debut CD is a raw dirty mean Rock and Roll record in the style of CIRCUS OF POWER, NASHVILLE PUSSY, ROSE TATTOO, RHINO BUCKET, TURBONEGRO, HELLACOPTERS… The vocals are edgy, raw to the bone and live this band will go down very well with their fast groovy guitar riff based Hardrock and Roll sound. Southern Hardrock influences are also all over the place and especially during the uptempo “Bombs away”, “She’s hot” (AC/DC) and “Goin goin gone”, the band kicks some serious ass! Fans of mentioned bands are gonna love this band, although nothing new or really sensational is brought. More at:  and 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Not to be confused with the (CLASSIC) PETRA/solo lead vocalist GREG X VOLZ, because this GREG X is coming out of the UK and he released a really great debut album titled ‘Dream’. Greg is a London based musician who plays guitars, bass and keys. It took him 16 years to realize his dream of releasing a full-length CD and therefore the album is probably titled ‘Dream’. Although the included material is very good and Greg is a very good guitarplayer, the CD is lifted way above all other releases in the AOR/Melodic Rockgenre thanks to the help of KEN TAMPLIN on lead vocals and JAY SCHELLEN on drums, 2 well-known and legendary professional musicians in the AOR/Melodic Rock circuit. Their contribution clearly make this album a true winner for fans of this kind of music. Ken is an amazing lead singer, with an own signature that sometimes reminds me a bit of GARY HUGHES of the band TEN. The music of Greg is coincidentally also sounding a bit like the early solo-records of GARY HUGHES, although KEN TAMPLIN himself did some of this AOR tingled material on his solo-records and with SHOUT in the 1980s as well. A song like “How to love” is prime-time Classic midtempo AOR that is making you long back to the 1980s when this kind of music was the main focus of major labels and making it sound perfect on record was their goal. However, the more uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock pieces like “As the world spins ‘round” and “Wake me (Before you go)” (SUPERB!) are the true winners here, because these songs are sounding quite sensational. For an independent release, ‘Dream’ sounds very impressive, because the production is of a high level, instrumental it is top-notch and as already mentioned, the vocals and melodies of most of the songs are right up there with any (fore example) FRONTIERS RECORDS release. Of course it will be hard to beat the albums of SHY, THE MAGNIFICENT and WORK OF ART as BEST AOR album of 2011, but still this is a serious contender in becoming one of the must-have releases of 2011! More info at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Just a quick run through the releases on FRONTIERS RECORDS the past few months, because there have been some really sensational albums being thrown on the market by our Italian friends. Not every single release is a winner, but it seems like 2011 has been a very good year for especially the AOR releases on FRONTIERS RECORDS, because the first solo-record of TOBY HITCHCOCK, the comeback albums of AIRRACE and FERGIE FREDERIKSEN, the long-awaited album of MECCA, the records from newcomers ISSA, THE MAGNIFICENT (the name says it all!) and XORIGIN and the KIMBALL – JAMISON record are all very interesting releases, all featuring the typical 80s inspired fresh AOR sound. Nevertheless, the real highlight is the new WORK OF ART album ‘In progress’. This album easily beats the new JOURNEY album as the finest AOR record of 2011 and perhaps this might well even become the best album released in 2011, because this is PICTURE-PERFECT music all the way, from start to finish. AOR hasn’t sound this good since the last few AOR classics from the early 1990s (MARK FREE, ATLANTIC, SIGNAL, THE STORM…). Any song on this new WORK OF ART CD is an AOR Classic and if you’re an AOR fan, then of course getting a copy is a must, but if there is one album I would like to recommend to any musicfan out there, then it should be this album!

FRONTIERS also is very keen on signing major acts, such as DEF LEPPARD, WHITESNAKE and release comeback albums of well-known acts in the Hardrock genre, such as HOUSE OF LORDS, NIGHT RANGER and URIAH HEEP. These last 2 acts both deliver their finest work in years, with a special mention for NIGHT RANGER’s new album ‘Somewhere in California’, because this is one-helluva stunning album with some excellent Melodic Hardrock that sounds like the best stuff these guys have released in 25 years!

Disappointing releases are coming from BLACK’N’BLUE, KING KOBRA, THE POODLES, TEN and JOHN WETTON. Metal releases from BENEDICTUM, SEBASTIAN BACH and SCHEEPERS are making up for that, although as mentioned the highlights on FRONTIERS RECORDS of the past 5 months clearly concern the new CDs of WORK OF ART (Points: 9.7 out of 10), NIGHT RANGER (Points: 8.8 out of 10) and URIAH HEEP (Points: 8.7 out of 10) and perhaps the CD of the new band THE MAGNIFICENT ((Points: 8.8 out of 10).

(Points: -)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted)