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'Beyond daylight' is the sixth album of the German Progressive Melodic Rock/Metal band VANDEN PLAS. They have always been one of my favourites within the Prog scene, ever since their fantastic debut CD 'Colour temple' from 1995. Now, they are about to release their latest CD 'Beyond daylight', maybe their best effort so far. This new VANDEN PLAS is filled with super high quality progressive melodic rock/metal, with even some AOR influences. The melodies on all 9 songs are superb and unforgettable, so are the lovely instrumental parts with the keys and guitars taking an important rule. This is much better than
anything DREAM THEATER has come up with the past 10 years! Without any doubts, I can say that this 'Beyond daylight' is an instant classic within the Progressive rock genre, but I think also fans of AOR or Melodic Metal will like this new VANDEN PLAS a lot!

Anyway, the official release will also include a bonustrack, a cover of the KANSAS classic "Point of know return". It's really hard to pick any favourite tunes, because all 9 included songs are very impressive and it's like, you put on the CD and just listen the whole 60 minutes, without once grabbing your remote control to switch onto the next track! The only thing you do is turn up the volume each time, because the songs are all so wonderful. I think this is one of the best Progressive rockalbums released the past few years, as good as the last BALANCE OF POWER (from last year). Songs like "Nightwalker", "Cold wind", "End of all days" (great keyboardsolo), "Phoenix" (a la THRESHOLD) and "Beyond daylight" (10 minutes pure Prog) are all fantastic progressive rocksongs, with very catchy melodic memorable choruses.

The absolute highlights for me are "Scarlett flowerfields" (SUPERB MELODIC CHORUS!), "The healing tree" (lovely semi prog/aor ballad with even a bit JOURNEY influences!) and the calmer AOR ballad "Can you hear me?" (again a bit JOURNEY). I might as well mention also the song "Free the fire", a nice faster Power Metal song, the only song that is a step away from the progressive melodic rock of the rest of the CD. The year has just started, and already I can say that this new VANDEN PLAS record will be one of the highlights of 2002! Get your copy as soon as possible!

Rating: 9,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This Swedish band has been around for a long time now, but officially 'Remedy lane' is their 4th CD. The new CD of rising Progressive Metal stars PAIN OF SALVATION is a good album, in the tradition of their earlier records and also most of the time in a similar style to bands like DREAM THEATER, but the difference is that PAIN OF SALVATION is experimenting at times on some of their songs. For example, the great progressive rocker "Beyond the pale" is disturbed for about 30 seconds by a 'Rapping' vocalist, which is a real pity, because the song itself is very good and calls memories of early DREAM THEATER. This rapping act throughout the song gives the song an own identity (which might be interesting of course), but unfortunately it doesn't work right here, because you can't mix Rap into Progressive Rock/Metal, that will not be appreciated by the fans of the genre. On the other hand, it's only 30 seconds, so not the whole song is killed, especially because the whole song is about 10 minutes.

Still, these 'Nu-metal' influences can also be heard on a few other songs, such as "Fandango", "Undertow", "Chain sling" and "Ending theme" (the talking parts don't make any sense in this song, but happily the melodic chorus makes it all up). So far about the negative points, because what remains is still a great progressive rock/metal album with a lot of highlights, such as "A trace of blood", "This heart of mine" (great melodic rockballad), "Rope ends" (progmetal with a fantastic melodic chorus, a la THRESHOLD), "Waking every God" and "Second love" (maybe the best song, a lovely AORish radio polished ballad, could be a hitsingle!). The album could have been much better, if they had left out those annoying Nu-Metal/Rap influences on some of the songs. Nevertheless, still this is a great album, that has a lot of great melodies and is highly recommended to any fan of Progressive Metal, especially if you're into DREAM THEATER (cliché, but it is the truth!).

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



ARTENSION is a great band that mixed Progressive Metal, Neoclassical and Melodic Rock vocal/chorus lines into one amazing sound. The band consists of keyboardplayer Vitalij Kuprij (RING OF FIRE, a Ukraine born and classically trained musician), bassist Kevin Chown (MAGNITUDE 9, TILES), drummer Mike Terrana (RAGE, AXEL RUDI PELL), vocalist John West (ROYAL HUNT) and guitarist Roger Staffelbach. ARTENSION already released 4 records before this one, but this is their first release on FRONTIERS RECORDS, and maybe even their best release so far! 'Sacred pathways' contains something for everyone, because it has not only great songs, but influences that range from Progressive, Power, Pomp, AOR, Melodic Rock and even classical music.

The excellent keyboardwork of Vitalij and John's lead vocals are most notable on this lovely CD. John's vocals sound like a cross between JOE LYNN TURNER and GLENN HUGHES, so a little bit 'soulful' and quite 'emotional'. John and Vitalij also produced the CD together and I must say, they did a fantastic job, making this CD sound like the best you can get these days. After the keyboard intro "Voyage to nasca", the CD really starts with the great uptempo progressive melodic metal song "Your victory" (great keys). Next track "Running out of time" is a lovely midtempo progressive pomp melodic rocker, with again really impressive keyboardwork and a memorable chorus. "sacred pathways" is yet another great uptempo progressive metal tune.

The keyboards of Vitalij take an important part on the short intro "Silent temple", but also on the following track "The emperor", a fast uptempo melodic power metal track like STRATOVARIUS. "Nightmare" starts as a ballad, but the chorus is superb uptempo AOR, whilte there also is a Progressive Rock break in the song. "Nightmare" is later on the CD featured in a radio edit version. "The killing" is the first weaker song, a groovy Hardrock song. Then comes a great AORish Power Ballad called "The calm before the storm". The instrumental Prog/Power song "March to ruin" follows and shows some MALMSTEEN similarities. The piano-ballad "Flower of the orient" closes the CD actually, because final track "Nightmare" was already featured earlier on. This CD has many highlights and all throughout the CD you can hear high quality music, performed by highly skilled musicians. FRONTIERS have released another excellent album, which is recommended to fans of many styles within the Hardrock genre.

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



At the same time as the new ARTENSION, there's also a new ROYAL HUNT release out on FRONTIERS RECORDS, so we can again enjoy the outstanding vocal performances of JOHN WEST. Although 'The watchers' is a new album of ROYAL HUNT, not everything is exactly new on this record. A part of opener "Intervention" was already released as an EP for the Japanese market. Now, the band has finished the whole track, making it a 14-minute counting song. The other 9 tracks include 4 live versions of old ROYAL HUNT songs, as recorded in the summer of 2000, and 4 new studio recordings of old songs from the first ROYAL HUNT albums.

Final track is a radio-edit version of "Intervention". Most of the ROYAL HUNT fans will find the opener "Intervention" the most interesting track, as this is a true epic of 14 minutes, and is a great uptempo progressive metal song. If you haven't had the chance to check out ROYAL HUNT yet, then this is the right time to start with this great Danish band. Basically what you get is a collection of fantastic uptempo progressive melodic rockers with very strong AORish choruses, live and re-recorded doesn't matter, because the fact remains that these are all wonderful tunes. The best ones are "Lies", "Message to God", "Epilogue" and "Day in day out" (lovely keyboardsolo).

Also very good are the two ballads "Clown in the mirror" and "Legion of the damned", both in a new version. Last year's 'The mission' was a great new studio-album, but this new 'rarities' album 'The watchers' is maybe even better, as it contains some of the best ROYAL HUNT work so far in complete new versions, with excellent vocals by JOHN WEST and the magnificent keyboard duties by ROYAL HUNT leader ANDRE ANDERSEN, who also produced the album. Especially recommended if you don't owe any ROYAL HUNT release!

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



PULSE is a hot new UK AOR band, featuring guitarist Vince O'Regan (BOB CATLEY, KOOGA, NO SWEAT), vocalist Simon Abbots, bassist Al Barrow (BOB CATLEY, HARD RAIN), keyboardplayer Alan Dawkins and Lynch Radinsky on drums. The album of PULSE was recorded at Mad Hat Studios in the Midlands (owned and used by HARD RAIN and MAGNUM) and the production was done by Mark Stuart (DANTE FOX, HARD RAIN) and Vince O'Regan himself. Musically, PULSE is playing typical UK AOR, like MAGNUM, BOB CATLEY, ATLANTIC, VIRGINIA WOLF, HEARTLAND, with a blend of American AOR (SURVIVOR!). The SURVIVOR reference is partly due to the lead vocals of Simon Abbots, who sounds a lot like JIMI JAMISON.

Although not all the songs are convincing, I can still give this album a big recommendation, as PULSE is a very high quality AOR band from the UK and considering the fact that there aren't many good new UK bands at the moment, PULSE is a nice welcome to the ever-growing scene. Highlights on the PULSE CD are "Inspiration" (great classy 80s uptempo AOR, a la ATLANTIC and BOB CATLEY), "Don't wanna lose you" (good midtempo AOR like 80s WHITESNAKE), "Lady" (good uptempo AOR like HEARTLAND, VIRGINIA WOLF), "Heartbeat" (best song, wonderful classic 80s AOR, pure MAGNUM), "Just for a moment" (great semi AOR ballad like SURVIVOR) and the midtempo AOR song "After midnight" (SURVIVOR meets ATLANTIC). This PULSE CD is easily recommended to anyone who enjoys good quality AOR music, especially if you're into MAGNUM, ATLANTIC, SURVIVOR, HEARTLAND…

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This is quite a surprise, because THE GROUND ZERO PROJECT is a very impressive Christian band from California. The surprise is that they mix up AOR, Progressive Rock and late 70s Pomprock, making them sound a bit like HOBBIT, LE ROUX, RATHSKELLER, but also there are clear similarities to KANSAS, STYX and YES. There are 13 tracks on their CD 'Battle cry', which has a fantastic production and sound quality by the way. Opener "Battle cry" proves right from the start to be a fantastic tune. This song is a perfect mix between AOR (HARLAN CAGE type of chorus), Pomprock (SWEET COMFORT BAND influences, with a lot of keys) and Progressive Rock (tempo changes a la 70s KANSAS). This is really a great start!

Next up is a short instrumental piano led tune "The rhythm of grace". Then comes a song for the fans of pure Progressive Rock. This is "Watchful eye/Step right up", a song that actually contains 2 songs. The part "Watchful eye" is a great calmer prog/pomp song like PENDRAGON, KANSAS, IQ…, while "Step right up" is a good uptempo progressive rocker with some URIAH HEEP influences (partly due to the Hammond solo). Some more interesting stuff for the fans of Progrock is the 8-minute counting "New age is old age". Then comes the "Nightmare Opus", an epic split in 3 songs. "The stage is set" opens up this threesome, and is a calmer prog song.

Much better is the fantastic uptempo AOR/Pomprocker "Don't get left behind", which even reminds me of RATHSKELLER! The slow progrocker "Mark of the beast" closes the "Nightmare opus" nicely and moves in YES territory. "Razor's edge" is up next and is a good pure 80s Prog/Pomprocker a la PATRIARCH. Then comes one of my favourite tracks, the AOR/Pomprocker "Roll away the stone", a song with a great chorus and big 80s
keys, sounding like LE ROUX! "Secret society" follows and is a nice slower Progrocker with some bluesy influences. Fans of PENDRAGON should check out the Pure Progressive Rocksong "Dead to the world", which has a playing time of 10 minutes and contains all the aspects a pure Prog rocksong needs to have, especially the keyboard/organ break is quite interesting. The calmer semi progressive ballad "Frozen winds" follows. Closing track is the great AOR ballad "Road to home", a song that sounds like a cross between JOURNEY and STYX.

What more can I say about this very impressive CD? The CD has a playing time of almost 70 minutes, and offers a high quality mixture of Progressive Rock and Pomprock. Recommended if you like bands such as STARCASTLE, HOBBIT, PENDRAGON and IQ. More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



Wow! This is an excellent CD from a White Metal band out of the Seattle area. They play pure 80s high quality melodic hardrock, like DOKKEN, STRYPER, WHITE LION, DANGER DANGER, SAVANNAH… There's some really good stuff on here. The production is very good, the songs are classy 80s melodic white metal, and the singer has a great voice. Opener "Global warning" is a great pure 80s uptempo melodic hardrock song, like a mix between STRYPER, BARREN CROSS and a heavier DOKKEN. You can clearly hear some great musicianship on this song and also the rest of the album.

Next track "Let go" follows the same path taken on the first track, although the chorus of this song is slightly weaker. The next two tracks are the best ones on the whole CD, these are "Come with me" (starts as a ballad, later it turns out to be a great uptempo melodic rocker, very 80s orientated) and "Buried in the water" (best song, lovely AOR/Melodic rockballad a la SAVANNAH). The following 3 songs are nothing that special, but closing track "Take us home" is a very impressive song, as this is a great uptempo melodic rocker with a clear FATES WARNING/QUEENSRYCHE influence in the vocal lines. Anyway, GLOBAL WARNING released this great album back in 2000, so go check it out for yourself at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



PAVIC is a very interesting AOR act from Italy, consisting of vocalist/keyboardplayer Sandro Manicone and guitarist/bassist/songwriter Marko Pavic. They sent me their latest demo CDR, which features 5 tracks. The sound and production quality is very impressive, and musically, PAVIC is playing HIGH QUALITY CLASSIC 80s AOR! I hear similarities to bands like SHOOTING STAR, SURVIVOR, INTRUDER… Just listen to opener "Desperate cry", a great midtempo AOR piece a la SHOOTING STAR.

Next track "Take me away" is a nice uptempo melodic rocker, with a good chorus. "Night life" is a great uptempo AOR song, and so is "Fear", another pure 80s AOR tune! Closing track "Where is she now" is the best song, a wonderful classic 80s AOR rocker like ROXUS, FM, SIGNAL, SHOOTING STAR, SURVIVOR… This is very good stuff, and I wouldn't be surprised if PAVIC is signed to one of the AOR labels here in Europe someday soon. In the meantime, check this out if you're into classy 80s AOR, their website is located at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



EMPIRE is some sort of a new 'Supergroup', with some very well-known musicians in it's line-up, such as bassist Neil Murray (ex-WHITESNAKE), vocalist Lance King (BALANCE OF POWER, GEMINI), vocalist Mark Boals (ex-MALMSTEEN, RING OF FIRE), guitarist ROLF MUNKES, keyboardplayer Don Airey (K2, MSG, RAINBOW), and drummer Anders Johansson (HAMMERFALL). With such musicians you can't possible go wrong, and EMPIRE's debut record 'Hypnotica' is indeed a very good high quality melodic hardrockalbum. Sometimes it sounds a bit like a mix between TAKARA and TEN.

The best songs are the uptempo melodic rockers "Fool in love", "Into the light", "Bad bad boy", "Spread my wings" (starts as a very melodic emotional AOR ballad, but with the chorus kicking in, the song turns out to be a classy semi melodic rocker a la TEN) and the strong midtempo melodic rockers "Here I am" and "Back to me". The only weaker songs are the melodic heavy rocker "Shelter" and the groovy "Another place, another time" (late 80s WARRANT style). In general though, this EMPIRE is highly recommended to anyone into melodic hardrock. One of the best releases on NIGHTMARE RECORDS so far! More info at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



Although this is a new CD release, BRASS KITTEN actually wrote all the songs on their only (?) CD 'Across America' back in 1992. Nevertheless, the typical late 80s/early 90s Mainstream US Poser Melodic Hardrock of BRASS KITTEN sounds pretty good, like a cross between FIREHOUSE, TUFF, DANGER DANGER and WARRANT. Especially opener "Crossfire" is a great catchy late 80s type of uptempo melodic rocker, a la DANGER DANGER, SHY TIGER, ANATOMIC… Next track "Sweet love affair" then again is just a nice simple slow tempo rocker like WARRANT used to make 'em. The uptempo partyrocker "Can't hold back the young" sounds so much like the 80s, and also cries out to TUFF if we're speaking of similarities. "Too far gone" is one of the highlights on the CD, because this is a great semi melodic rockballad a la FIREHOUSE.

Somehow, the rest of the CD is a bit tougher and more plain hardrock a la KISS, KEEL, KIX ("Bite the bullet", "Fit to be tied", "Can't get enough" and the SKID ROWish "Quit your bitchin'"). Still, the melodic rocksongs "Country song" and "Wait another day" keep the level high enough not to lose interest in listening to the CD. Concluded, I can easily recommend this CD to anyone who is into late 80s US Melodic Rock a la FIREHOUSE, SLAUGHTER, TUFF… The production is quite good, the performance is also very nice, and some of the songs are quite catchy, so give this band a chance, although I don't know if they still exist, but their CD is now out on NIGHTMARE RECORDS at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



'Perfect balance' is the 4th CD of BALANCE OF POWER and I can easily say it's their best record so far. The CD contains 9 tracks that musicall combine pure Progressive Rock, Power Metal with super melodic memorable choruses. The band sounds like an even better version of SHADOW GALLERY, DREAM THEATER and QUEENSRYCHE. 'Perfect balance' is maybe the best Progressive Rock/Metal release in years, because almost all the songs are near-classics! Especially the first 4 songs are very impressive. These are "Higher than the sun" (uptempo prog/power metal like SHADOW GALLERY meets SYMPHONY X), "Shelter me" (semi progressive melodic rocker with a lovely chorus), "Fire dance" (midtempo progressive melodic rocker with a great chorus again) and "One voice" (nice keyboardsolo and a HUGE MELODIC CHORUS, best progressive rocksong ever???).

Not as good as those first 4 songs, but still pretty nice are the following 4 songs, all good progressive melodic metal tunes ("The pleasure room", "Killer or the cure", "House of Cain" and "Hard life"). Closing track "Searching for the truth" is a great progressive melodic rocker like SYMPHONY X and SHADOW GALLERY, with a great chorus again. BALANCE OF POWER always surprised me with their releases (their first was a very AOR type of record), but they seem to improve on each record and now with Lance King as vocalist, the band seems to have reach a very high level. 'Perfect balance' sounds indeed like the perfect BALANCE OF POWER. Without any doubts, this is by far one of the best progressive rock/metal releases done last year! More info at:

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



Out of Italy comes the highly professional band PROMISED LIE. Their debut CD contains 5 well-performed tracks, and musically they play a mixture of Progressive Rock, Hardrock and AOR. The band has a very strong melodic lead singer called Marco Bodini, and he has a high-pitched voice (a la TNT, SHY, ELEGY's lead singers). Opener "Prodigal son" starts pretty calm, but after a few minutes, this 8-minute counting track turns out into a nice progressive Hardrock song a la FATES WARNING (with a good melodic high-pitched harmonyvocal chorus). Next track "Feed for dog" is nice poppy groovy progressive rock, but with a great melodic AORish chorus. The CD continues with the instrumental progressive hardrocksong "Labour pains". Then comes the best song on the CD, "Love in lies" is a great melodic rockballad. The CD closes nicely with the prog HR song "The empty screen". PROMISED LIE is yet another fine band from Italy, go check out their site at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



FORBIDDEN DREAM is a Canadian band and they sent me their 3-track EP. The band is playing high quality progressive melodic rock, comparable to 7 MONTHS and TOXIC SMILE. All 3 included tracks on their debut EP are very impressive. Opener "This side of hell" is a great progressive melodic rocker, while next track "Running with angels" is a great progressive AOR song (and also the best song). Closing track "Never see me cry" is a good powerful melodic rockballad. FORBIDDEN DREAM is yet another unsigned high-quality progressive melodic rockband. Give this band a chance, because they deserve it to get a lot of attention! Check out their site at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



Lead singer/Producer HUBI MEISEL comes out of the beautiful city of Munich and he has released his first solo-CD, entitled 'Cut'. Hubi sang on records by the Progressive Rock/Metal bands DREAMSCAPE and MAEVE OF CONNACHT in the past, so this is definitely not his first recording. His first solo-CD contains only 7 tracks, all covers of popular 80s tunes, so I think we can better see this release as a mini-CD. Anyway, the covers are done pretty well, most of them being popsongs, are now reworked into a Progressive melodic rock/aor version.

Hubi is helped by musicians out of the Munich region, except for the Dutch guitarist Marcel Coenen (LEMUR VOICE, SUNCAGED). The covers are stuff like CUTTING CREW's "Just died in your arms", MR. MISTER's "Broken wings", THE CARS' "Drive", A-HA's "The sun always shine on TV" and (a big surprise) a RUSH song ("Red Sector A"). Hubi's next project will be the Prog/Rock-Opera 'ORFEO', which will be a big project with many Italian musicians and Gary Wehrkamp from SHADOW GALLERY. You can find more info on HUBI MEISEL at:

Rating: 8/10 Gabor Kleinbloesem)(Review by



This band has been talked about a lot the past few months and now WOLVERINE has finally released it's first full-length CD. This Swedish band is playing high quality progressive melodic metal, but one thing sets them apart from most other bands in this genre, and that's the fact that drummer Marcus Losbjer growls on almost every track one verse, so almost every song is slightly disturbed. That's a real pity, because WOLVERINE has the perfect progressive melodic metal sound, with an excellent lead singer (bassist Stefan Zell) and some great melodic songs that contain excellent choruses. The growls may set WOLVERINE apart from other bands in this genre, but if they would have left them out, then we could have enjoyed another great melodic progmetal band from Sweden. I also don't understand why they have thrown such growls into their songs, because lead singer Stefan Zell has got a very good melodic voice.

Happily, the growls are not constantly, so there's still enough to enjoy on the record. The best songs are "My room" (progressive melodic metal), "His cold touch" (semi progressive ballad), "Leaving yesterday" (best song, great semi progressive melodic rocker, a duet with female singer Jamina Jansson), "The storm inside" (progressive metal) and closing track "Post life" (good progressive semi-melodic rockballad). It could have been so much better, if WOLVERINE had left out those 'death' growls, but still it doesn't mean you should avoid this record, because apart from those growls, it's a high-quality progressive melodic metal record that can be put next to the great releases of THRESHOLD and SHADOW GALLERY.

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



STILETTO is a band out of Wien, Austria and they released this debut CD last year. The band is playing good old typical German Melodic Hardrock/Heavy Rock, not unlike VICTORY, BONFIRE and DEMON DRIVE. The sound and production quality of their CD is very good. Opener "Ready 2 nite" also shows some Sleazy/Glamrock influences and this pure late 80s typed song reminds me a lot of acts like NASTY IDOLS, PRETTY BOY FLOYD and SHAMELESS. The rest of the CD is more leaning towards the German orientated Hard Rockstyle of acts like VICTORY, TRANCE... The best songs are "Nights on fire" (pure 80s uptempo melodic HR a la BONFIRE, DEMON DRIVE), "Friends 4 ever" (melodic rockballad a la BON JOVI) and Over and over" (best song, great uptempo melodic rocker with a very catchy chorus). Less interesting are the simpler Hard rock based tunes "D&D", "Cum in2 my mouth" (Lyrics!) and "WW", while also the poppy ballads "1 more time" and "Living on the seaside" were not that sensational. On the other hand, if you're keen on nicely played Hardrock with simple lyrics, then do check out STILETTO at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



Out of the Olympic city of 2002 (Salt Lake City) comes KATAGORY 5, a progressive metal band. They sent me a 4-track CD entitled 'Present day'. The musicians handle their instruments very well, because the progressive rocksound of the band has some very nice instrumental moments during each and every song. Opener "I live on" is a good progressive metal song a la QUEENSRYCHE and FATES WARNING. Next track is a bit weaker, and reminds me of SAVATAGE. "Present day" starts pretty calm and melodic (as a ballad), but turns out to be a great progressive melodic rocker. The best song is closing track "The forsaken", a great progressive metal song with a strong melodic chorus. This is a nice band for you to check out, especially if you're into Progressive Metal. More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



3 WISHES is a new German band and their debut CD 'Electric bullride' is a very nice high quality release. The band mix melodic hardrock and AOR, with some very good lead vocals of singer Andi Knaak. The CD contians 10 tracks. Opener "3 wishes" is a nice uptempo melodic hardrocksong a la FIREHOUSE. The next track "Love can wait" is great AOR, with a lovely melodic catchy chorus. Also "Spellbound" has a very good melodic chorus, while the song itself is a groovy melodic rocker a la JADED HEART. "Life is pure" follows and is a great semi AOR ballad.

The CD continues with "Down on my knees"a nice uptempo melodic rocker. The first weaker song was "One of those days", plain hardrock with a Southern Rock touch. Much better is the AOR song "High on love", but the best song of the whole CD is the impressive midtempo AOR song "Never the same", with beautiful harmonies and keys, a bit reminding me of STREET TALK and BAD ENGLISH. The last two songs are "Black and white" (groovy Hardrock) and "Better days" (nice piano ballad). There are clearly ups and downs on this CD, but I can still recommend 3 WISHES to anyone who likes quality AOR/Melodic Rock. More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



KNIGHTFALL is a German band and they have actually created an own style, which really is hard to define. OK, they play some sort of progressive rock, which is very melodic, but I found it hard to compare them with any other band. Anyway, they sent me a demo CD that contains 9 tracks, recorded between 1999 and 2001. Some songs are quite calm with a lot of
acoustic guitars (such as No more crying", "Excalibor" and "Arthur's tale"), but most of the time, KNIGHTFALL is a good rocking and very melodic progressive band. The sound is not that good, but for an independent band fair enough to listen to. My favourite tracks are "Elric" (uptempo progressive melodic heavy rocker), "With the eyes of a wolf" (calmer semi-ballad, a tiny bit like STYX and KANSAS), "Dragonslayer" (good semi melodic rocker) and the uptempo 80s type of melodic hardrock "Unholy angel" (recorded live). For more info on KNIGHTFALL, e-mail them at: and check out their site at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



Here's another interesting Swedish band. THE PAINTED MAN is playing a good mixture of Progressive Rock/Metal and typical Scandi Melodic Hardrock. The catchy melodic choruses are giving the songs of this band a very melodic and appealing touch. There are 7 tracks on the demo they sent me. My favourite ones are "It's in the air" (great progressive melodic rocker), "Love still remains" (good midtempo groovy Melodic Hardrock), "Don't blame the rain" (great uptempo melodic rocker) and "Bleed" (midtempo groovy melodic rock with a strong chorus). Check out yet another quality bsand from Sweden, they are called THE PAINTED MAN, and their website can be found at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



There are quite a few bands called SQUADRON out there, but this SQUADRON came out of Illinois, USA and started in 1980. Now more than 20 years later, the band has finally released it's debut CD, entitled 'Shoot notes, not bullets'. Most of the songs were also written (and recorded?) in the early 1980s, which you can clearly hear. Although some of the songs sound very dated noadays, it's still a nice memory for those who liked that typical early 80s fun and quirky type of AOR and Poprock. I hear so many similarities, but I think the best way is to put SQUADRON's music next to bands like FACE DANCER, 4 OUT OF 5 DOCTORS and those type of acts. Still there are also some more AOR/Pomp type of tunes on their CD.

There are 16 tracks on the album, including a few very short ones, such as opener "Jump", a quirky early 80s poprocker a la THE ROMANTICS. Next track "Find a way" is much better. This song is a great classy early 80s AOR/Melodic Poprocker a la PRISM, HOBBIT, THRILLS… "the city" heads back to more quirky stuff, a very synth orientated pop tune. "On our way" then again is a good late 1970s type of Pomprock a la ROADMASTER, HOBBIT… And actually the whole CD continues in this form, so ups and downs are popping up here and there. The interesting songs are "Flight line" (Pomprock), "Magic street" (early 80s poprocker), "Fly on squadron" (nice 70s Hardrock) and the 'Pompy' "See the music".

The band also has a few instrumentals ("39th parallel", "40,000 ft. Suite", "Song on a breeze" and "Victory"). Some of the rest is quite poppy, such as "Song of flight" (this song ain't bad though, because it has a sort of light AOR approach, like FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, ALLIANCE and mostly SNEAKER), "Just flying away" and "Milana" (like LION 'Running all night'). For it's time being, this SQUADRON is a must for anyone who likes the good old mixture of AOR, Pomprock and Pop, like so many US bands did in the early 80s. Don't expect a sensation like RATHSKELLER, but more a nice band (with a good lead singer) somewhere between the quirky sounds of FACE DANCER, BAD BOY, 4 OUT OF 5 DOCTORS and the more Pomprock orientated acts RATHSKELLER, THRILLS, PRISM. More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



MARCO FERRIGNO is an amazing guitarist from Mexico, and he is about to release a new album called 'The prisoner', which I truly hope to review as well, because his first album 'The quest' is an excellent instrumental progressive melodic rockalbum. This debut CD of Marco sounds really good, there are 9 tracks included and Marco proves he is an excellent guitarist. Songs like "City of Gods", "Paradise shadows" and "Hidden dimensions" are great instumental progressive melodic rockers with perfecly played guitar and keyboard parts (played by Javier Leal). Javier also produced the CD, together with Marco himself, and they did a really good job. Every fan of instrumental melodic rock should own this album, and expect a new CD of Marco pretty soon. Without any doubts, this 20-year old guitarist is the latest sensation! Go check out his site at: and e-mail him at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This is a UK band and they sent me a CDR containing their Cover CD, because basically this CD is filled with covers only, paying a tribute to all those Underground Glambands that have been active the past 5 years or so. You can find covers of songs by HOLLYWOOD TEASZE, FOXY ROXX, HEART THROB MOB and several others. The style is all about the same, it's Punky Glamrock, and if you're into this kind of style, then you will like this am lot, but I rather had heard some more own songs of SCRITT SCRAT, so I could really hear what this band is able to do. Nevertheless, if you like your Glamrock to sound a bit edgy and punky, then you will enjoy this a lot. Best song is "Prom queen star", a cover of the band with the same name as the song. More info on SCRITT SCRAT at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



CRIMSON GLORY Vocalist/guitarist/bassist BEN JACKSON has just released his first solo CD 'Here I come'. I really did expect something very 90s orientated, but after listening to the first couple of songs, I really start to enjoy BEN JACKSON's CD. The reason is that this is a nice (calmer) melodic rock record with some groovy influences, it reminds me of a cross between MENNEN and SKID ROW, but with good melodic lead vocals of Ben and also great guitarplay.

Besides, also the songs are quite catchy, with as best tracks "To my surprize" (nice semi melodic rocker), "Closer to soul" (good semi melodic rockballad), "Here I come" (another good semi melodic rockballad), "Touched" (great semi melodic rocker) and closing track "Whistle in the wind" (best song, great semi melodic rocker). There are also some instrumentals, and there's some groovy Hardrock, but mainly this is a nice melodic rock release with some ups and downs. People who like Ben Jackson's band CRIMSON GLORY might first want to listen to the album, because this is something else musically, happily, it's still in the melodic rock genre, only the progressive rock/metal influences are gone. More info at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



DELPHT is a Brazilian band and their debut CD 'Screams of ice' sounds quite impressive. The band is playing a mixture of Progressive Rock and Power Metal, with a slight 90s Metal approach, mainly due to the darker (and also weaker) vocals of singer Ronaldo Simolla, who reminds me of JORN a lot of times. On the other hand, almost all songs feature excellent melodic choruses. Therefore this is still an interesting band, and come across like a mix between HEAVENLY and SHADOW GALLERY, with darker lead vocals.

Opener "Screams of ice" is split in 3 parts, of which "part 1: Enemies" is a great faster melodic power metal song a la HEAVENLY, HELLOWEEN (especially the chorus). The best songs on the CD are definitely "Are you still smiling?" (great melodic chorus a la SHADOW GALLERY, DREAM THEATER…) and "Ride of the Valkyries" (very impressive melodic chorus). One song didn't appeal to me and that was the 90s Metal orientated "Professional puppets". Most of the rest is a good mixture of Progressive and Power Metal, yet with some darker lead vocals, but also melodic choruses. More info can be found on the website of their label at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



VERS' OVER is another Brazilian band playing Progressive Rock/Metal. They have released their debut on DIE HARD RECORDS, a Brazilian Progressive/Power Metal label. The sound and production quality is very good, but not all 9 songs are convincing. Opener "Hell above you" for example is just a nice progressive metal song, nothing too sensational about it. Next track "Cracking kissing" though is a great progressive rocker with a strong melodic chorus and also a great hook, the song itself sounds like a mix between DREAM THEATER and RUSH. Other highlights are the great progressive rockers "Spleen" (nice keyboardsolo) and "Reflection". "The pain inside", "Timewarp" and "Dope" are all more Prog Metal orientated, a bit like PAIN OF SALVATION. This band has ups and downs, but there's some good quality progressive rock/metal on their CD, so still interesting to check out, especially if you like any of the mentioned acts. More info can be found on the website of their label at:

Rating: 8/10 Gabor Kleinbloesem)(Review by



This is a very interesting release on the Brazilian Prog/Power Metal label DIE HARD RECORDS. 'William Shakespeare's Hamlet' tells us the whole story, told in 19 songs by various Brazilian bands. Most of these bands are playing Progressive/Power Metal, except two Death Metal bands (NERVOCHAOS and TORTURE SQUAD). Happily, the other 12 bands are all very interesting and this CD shows that there's a lot of talent in Brazil. Most notable bands are DELPHT (a la EDGUY), SANTAREM (great melodic rockband), KRUSADER (Fantasy Power Metal a la HEAVENLY, RHAPSODY), SAGGA (a la EDGUY), SYMBOLS (also a la EDGUY, very melodic), FATES PROPHECY (midtempo prog metal a la QUEENSRYCHE and FATES WARNING), ETERNA (another EDGUY type of band) and finally, TUATHA DE DENANN (great melodic epic prog power metal). Besides, alot of great music, the CD booklet is also very helpful, with info on the bands, and all the lyrics, because they are very important for a release like this, that handles about such a well-known story (Hamlet) by one of the greatest writers of all-time (Shakespeare). More info can be found at:

Rating: 8,5/10 Gabor Kleinbloesem)(Review by



RONDINELLI was a great melodic rock 'Supergroup' that only lived a short time and never released a real album, but CROOK'D RECORDS has released now a CD with 8 tracks, 4 Studiotracks and 4 Live recorded songs. The band had a very interesting line-up, including the late RAY GILLEN (BADLANDS singer), guitarist Teddy Rondinelli, bassist James Lomenzo (WHITE LION), keyboardplayer Cory Davidson and drummer Bobby Rondinelli (DORO, RAINBOW). Happily, the American 'Metal' label has released an album of this lost band, because they had some great songs that should be heard by all melodic rockfans and with this release that is now possible.

The 4 Studio-tracks are the best tunes, partly due to the great production quality. Ray Gillen's vocals were really good, very melodic and different than on the albums he did with BADLANDS. "Wardance" and "Black sheep" (nice keyboardsolo) are both great 80s type of melodic rockers, like ICON and KING KOBRA. The song "Rock&Roll" starts with a nice keyboard/vocal intro (very AORish), while the song itself is a great pure 80s midtempo melodic rocker (like 1987 KISS meets WHITESNAKE).

Then comes the best song RONDINELLI ever recorded, namely the superb pure 80s AOR/Pomprocker "The one that got away", a song that sounds similar to TOUCH, DRIVE SHE SAID, SURVIVOR, WHITE SISTER… so just pure AOR! It's a pity they never released a full-length record with more songs in the style of these 4 tracks, because then it would have been a Classic!

Anyway, the other 4 tracks are Live cuts, with a weaker sound quality, but happily the songs are quite interesting, such as the uptempo melodic rockers "Kiss and say goodbye" and "We can't lose" (both a la KING KOBRA) and the 14-minutes counting semi-rocker "Fly paper". Final track is a live version of opener "War dance". Of course, this CD is a total must for anyone who liked the vocals of RAY GILLEN, who is no longer with us anymore, but I can also recommend it to fans of 80s melodic rock (KING KOBRA, DOKKEN, ICON, WHITE LION). More info at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



SUN RED SUN was another band that featured the late RAY GILLEN on lead vocals. Also in the line-up of this band was drummer Bobby Rondinelli. Together with bassist Mike Starr and guitarist Al Romano they formed SUN RED SUN. They released their only record in 1995, but CROOK'D RECORDS sent me the album just the other day, so actually this is the first time I review it (I didn't get a copy back in 1995, otherwise I would have reviewed it back then). Anyway, some other well-known musicians that pop up here and there on the 8 included tracks on this CD are vocalist JOHN WEST (ARTENSION), guitarist Chris Caffery (played with SAVATAGE for a year), bassist John McCoy (GILLAN, and his own
band MCCOY), drummer Mike Sciotto (FROM THE FIRE) and finally, Joey Belladonna (ex-ANTHRAX) co-wrote a few songs. Musically, SUN RED SUN played groovy powerful Hardrock that sounded a bit like BADLANDS and MR. BIG, yet a little more updated. Except for one song and that's the fantastic uptempo melodic rocker "I know a place". This song has a lovely catchy chorus and a sound more akin to YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. The other 7 tracks though are groovy Hardrocksongs like MR. BIG and BADLANDS. Still, another interesting CD for fans of RAY GILLEN! More info at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



OVERDRIVE was a Swedish band, actually one of the first Hardrock/Metal bands from Scandinavia (together with SILVER MOUNTAIN and EUROPE). They released a few LPs in the 1980s, and in the mid 1990s ROCK TREASURES released 2 CDs filled with a bunch of OVERDRIVE original material. Now the American label CROOK'D RECORDS has released a Live CD, containing 14 tracks recorded at several live concerts (1982, 1985 and 1997) and 2 Studio tracks, recorded back in 1982. Musically OVERDRIVE played typical early 1980s N.W.O.B.H.M. type of Hardrock/Metal, sounding like a mix between early TYGERS OF PAN TANG and a heavy THIN LIZZY. The live tracks are definitely rougher than the 2 studiotracks. Best songs are "Tonight", "Midnight cruiser", "Lady luck", "Breaking out" and "Mission of destruction".

I have to say that the 2 bonus studio tracks are the best OVERDRIVE songs, because both "Tonight" and "Damnation angel" are great uptempo melodic rockers, very much like TYGERS OF PAN TANG (circa 'The cage'). The bandmembers went on to do other things, and the most famous member is JANNE STARK. He went on to play in a band called LOCOMOTIVE BREATH (who released a CD on the now defunct LONG ISLAND RECORDS) and is about to release a new album with them on RECORDS HEAVEN MUSIC. But Janne also wrote the Book 'Swedish Encyclopedia of Hardrock and Metal', containing information about almost every Swedish Rockband ever existed. This new Live CD of OVERDRIVE will definitely be included in a future edition of that book! Anyone who want to check out one of the first Swedish Hardrockbands should buy this CD, and otherwise, I can also recommend it to the fans of classic N.W.O.B.H.M. More info at: and

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



The American label CROOK'D RECORDS has released two DOCTOR BUTCHER albums. The first one is their same titled debut from 1994, so a re-release. The second CD is a CD with all sorts of unreleased tracks, entitled 'The demos'. The band around SAVATAGE vocalist/bassist/keyboardplayer Jon Olivia was always hard to categorise, because the Rockstyle was quite unique, just like SAVATAGE. DOCTOR BUTCHER was heavier, but still melodic. From their debut CD I only liked the first song "The altar", which was a good melodic heavy rocksong. The rest of the album didn't made any impression on me, and I would rather turn on a SAVATAGE record instead.

So I didn't expect much of the 'The demos' CD released by CROOK'D RECORDS, but happily, this album sounds a whole lot better. This CD is filled with melodic heavy rock that sounds somewhere like a mix between SAVATAGE, ALICE COOPER and WASP, yet with an own identity. The best songs on 'The demos' are "Freaks" (nice 80s Hardrock), "Born of the board" (starts as an AOR ballad, then becomes a nice SAVATAGE type of rocker), "Help! Police?" (nice uptempo melodic metal), "The chair" (nice midtempo rocker) and "Bridges" (best song, great melodic rockballad with an ALICE COOPER kinda vibe!). It's a good choice from CROOK'D RECORDS to also release this 'The demos' album of DOCTOR BUTCHER, because it is much better than their debut CD, which also has been re-released by the same label that has put out this 'new' CD. More info at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This San Francisco based Metal band was active in the mid 1990s and featured musicians from bands like LAAZ ROCKIT, ANGEL WITCH and WARNING. CROOK'D RECORDS has released a CD with the two demos this band recorded. The first demo, from 1994, has some nice moments, but the other demo is filled with 90s type of Nu-Metal. The songs "M.U.D.O." (nice progressive melodic metal) and "Letters in lunacy" (slow melodic heavy rocker, bit like EVERY MOTHER'S NIGHTMARE) are good songs. On the other hand, songs like "Rage within", "Vow of vengeance" and "WORM" are terrible 90s Metal songs with heavy guitars, industrial influences and groovy sounds, and unlike the first 2 mentioned songs, less melodic vocals. More info at:

Rating: 6,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This new CD of HADES is a Live recording, filled up with some unreleased demo tracks of various other projects the bandmembers were involved before and after HADES. This legendary Metal band was very active in the 1980s, with a style that fits somewhere between Melodic Metal and Speed/Thrash. Despite some songs sounded like the US Power Metal of the 80s of bands like RIOT, RAVEN, VIRGIN STEELE ("On to Liiad", "A", "Face the fat reality" and "Nightstalker"), most of the time, HADES was playing pure Thrash Metal, yet with melodic vocals. One of the best songs they ever recorded has got to be the progressive melodic rock/metal song "The cross". But like I said, this live recording shows that HADES was mainly a Thrash band, which can be heard on songs like "The leaders", "Oponopnatel" and "I too eye".

One of the bonustracks is from a side-project called DREAMS OF VENUS. I think this is a band that featured one of the HADES members, but goes back to the early 1980s. Their song "Book of lies" is a great typical 80s Hardrocksong, a la RUSH and TRIUMPH. It would be cool to see some more material released on CD of this band DREAMS OF VENUS. Anyway, if you're a HADES fan, you can't miss this release! More info at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



NASTY SAVAGE was one of those typical 80s US Speed Metal bands, like AGENT STEEL, HEIR APPARENT and HADES. They released about 4 albums, and CROOK'D RECORDS re-released their last CD from 1989. 9 songs long you can enjoy fast speed/thrash Metal. So if you liked the band back then and missed this release, then you need to get it now. The old school fans of this style will totally love songs such as "Welcome wagon", "Irrational" and "Puzzled". I found this sounding a bit dated after more than 10 years, but I guess Thrash/Speed fans will like it a lot. More info at:

Rating: 6,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



MAGDALENE RECORDS is a hot new Canadian label, and they focus on re-releasing and re-issuing old Christian AOR/Melodic Rock records onto CD. One of the bands to have their entire back catalogue re-issued is the Canadian band DANIEL BAND. This band has been active in the Melodic Rockscene since the early 1980s and also released quite some albums in that period, with 'Running out of time' being one of their best. I received 2 re-issues of the DANIEL BAND to review.

The first one is a re-issue of their 1982 released album 'On rock!'. This is a real 'Rockalbum'! On this album, DANIEL BAND sounds like a mix between TRIUMPH, SANTERS, HEAD EAST and Y AND T. There are some excellent tunes on the album and although some of you might find the sound a bit dated, the Rock of DANIEL BAND still sounds great after almost twenty years! My favourite tracks are "He's the greater" (great 80s Melodic Hardrock a la Y AND T), "I'm sorry" (good melodic rocker a la TRIUMPH), "Undercover Christian" (nice keys, great semi melodic rocker), "In the sky" (hard-hitting melodic rocker) and "Spiritual game" (great melodic rocker a la TRIUMPH). If you enjoy typical Canadian Melodic Hardrock a la CONEY HATCH, TRIUMPH, SANTERS…, yet with a Christian identity, then do check out this DANIEL BAND's re-issue from 1982. More info at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



Besides the re-issue of the band's debut (?) album, MAGDALENE RECORDS also released a Live album of Canuck rockers DANIEL BAND. The live recording took place earlier this year at the 80s Metal Retro Night at Cornerstone. The band played a lot of songs from their 'On rock' album, filled up with a few songs of their other releases. Highlights of the show included "I'm sorry", "Walk on the water" and of course the great melodic rocker "Run from the darkness" (one of the best DANIEL BAND songs). The production and sound quality is in good shape, so all I can say is that all DANIEL BAND fans need to get this album. Also regular melodic rockfans can easily check out this release, as I still think this band was very underrated in the 1980s and they deserve much more. Go get a copy of their 'On rock' album first and then switch on to this live release. More info at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



'Bringing back the rock' is the first of two compilations released by the label MILLENIUM EIGHT RECORDS. This label is mainly focused on re-releasing/re-issueing Christian Melodic Hardrock/Metal albums from the past. They have released albums by DANIEL BAND, SAINT, LEVITICUS, NEON CROSS and many more (probably soon most of them will be reviewed by me). This compilation is a nice collection of 18 songs, taken from the albums these bands released on M8 RECORDS.

Included are bands like LEVITICUS, X-SINNER, ALL ACCESS (a new band, good 90s type of melodic poprock, a la SURE CONVICTION), SAINT, NEON CROSS, BARNABAS (their song "No freedom" is a great powerful female fronted melodic rocker a la HEADPINS), BRIDE (their included song "Look at me now" is a great 80s uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker, taken from their rare double CD 'The matrix years') and THE DANIEL BAND (with one of their best songs, "He's the creator", a la TRIUMPH). Besides all these great Melodic Hardrock/Metal bands, also included are a bunch of Popsongs (MIKE ROE, THE 77s, PASHAWKEE, CYBERHALO). This CD however gives you a good impression of the M8 LABEL, hopefully I can review their regular releases soon. In the meantime, check out their site at:

Rating: - (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



The 2nd compilation CD released by the Christian label M8 RECORDS is a CD, with recordings of a live event that took place in Cornerstone last year, with Metal bands only. We can find some great stuff on this compilation CD, with 2 songs of each band. Included bands are BRIDE, DELIVERANCE, RECON, SACRED WARRIOR, TRYTAN, DANIEL BAND and GUARDIAN. They all bring in some great Christian Melodic Hardrock/Metal like it was only made in the late 1980s. The best songs are the 2 DELIVERANCE songs (great melodic progmetal), "Dreams" by RECON (DOKKENish melodic rocker), DANIEL BAND's "Run from the darkness" (uptempo AOR) and GUARDIAN's "The rain" (great classy uptempo melodic rocker a la BON JOVI). This CD is a total must for anyone into classy 80s Christian melodic metal. More info at:

Rating: - (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This is a highly professional band from the UK. POWER QUEST is a great new Melodic Power Metal band that has a sound close to bands such as HEAVENLY, ANGRA, SILENT FORCE… It's a pity there are only 2 songs on their Demo CDR, but happily it still has a total playing length of 12 minutes, so there's enough to enjoy here. Both songs have a HUGE POWERFUL sound, with some excellent keyboardwork. I believe they recorded the songs at the Thin Ice Studios of CLIVE NOLAN (PENDRAGON). DRAGONFORCE lead singer ZP handles the lead vocals, because the band hasn't got an own singer right now. Anyway, both tracks are great faster catchy uptempo melodic Power Metal tunes, with memorable singable choruses. It also sounds a bit like a faster TEN at times. Anyway, this band sounds very impressive and they can easily be placed between most bands on labels like MASSACRE RECORDS and INSIDE OUT. I can't wait to hear a full-length CD of POWER QUEST, but for now, go to their site at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



BLACK RIDERS come out of Italy and their CD is very good. The songs are very diverse in style, but always very melodic. Besides, the CD has a playing time of 80 minutes, so there's a lot to enjoy on this record. The band has two lead singers, keyboardplayer Fransi and drummer J.P.Jr. There are 12 tracks on the CD, and it all starts with the great high quality Classic Italian Prog song "Great Dolphin street" (a la PFM, LE ORME, DFA, FINISTERRE). Up next is a totally different song, namely "Animal", a great uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker with some nice 70s guitar riffs. Next track "Elephant's cry" is a great progressive melodic rockballad, this song has some nice keys and a very relaxing sound. "Man in the dark" follows, and is a nice melodic semi progressive rocker.

The calmer prog ballad "Land of faith" is up next. "Always on the road" starts groovy, and the Industrial type of chorus didn't work allright, so this is the first song that isn't interesting. Happily, the following 3 songs are again great classy Italian Prog songs ("Look over the rain", "So fucked up" and "Colours waterfall"). The last 3 pieces were nothing too special, namely the jazzy "Obsession", the poppy "Siddharta" (like last ASIA) and the outro "Shadows of my sorrow". Nevertheless, this Italian band is very much recommended if you're into Classic Italian Progressive Rock, but also fans of regular progressive rock (70s GENESIS, RUSH) might like this BLACK RIDERS alot. There are also some very melodic rock orientated pieces on the record, so actually there's something for everyone on the album. Go check out their site at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



The past 10 years I reviewed quite often demos and CD's of the Swedish Melodic Hardrockband BLACK ROSE. Well, it's now the year 2002 and I am glad to be able to review their latest CD, a Promo CDR called 'Promo 2001'. Musically they still play high quality Melodic Hardrock. This new CDR contains 16 tracks and is probably their best recording so far. The production is very good and most of the songs are very impressive. The best tracks are "Belong together" (great powerful melodic rocker with some prog influences, kinda like AT VANCE, PINK CREAM 69 and NARNIA), "Decisions" (great uptempo melodic rocker with a strong slower chorus, kinda like MILLENIUM and HAREM SCAREM, with MALMSTEEN type of guitarstyle), "Forever lost" (good melodic rockballad with some very nice AOR type of keys at the start), "Wild child" (great keys at start, the song itself is a fantastic uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker like TEN meets ALIEN, very strong and maybe the best BLACK ROSE song ever recorded), "Lying eyes" (another great uptempo melodic rocker) and "Always tomorrow" (fun 80s orientated uptempo melodic rocker). This is definitely a nice comeback from a Swedish band that has been around for so many years now. More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This New York settled band were first named BROKEN TOYS, but now they are called PARSEC. Anyway, their CD 'Visions' contains 12 songs, and is musically hard to describe. There aren't any rockers on the album, but what you get to hear is a very melodic style, that can be described as calm 70s orientated Progressive Rock, with some elements of today's Neo-prog sound. Most of the songs are pretty soft, but always very melodic. There are a lot of great keys on the songs, and most of the songs are really interesting to listen a few times over and over again, so then you better understand what this band is trying to do. I heard some comparisons to bands like CAMEL, KAYAK, ALAN PARSONS PROJECT and CARAVAN, but actually, PARSEC has a sound of their own. The band has a good singer (guitarist Erik DeValk) and like I already said also a very good keyboardplayer (Kathleen Tilstra). Funny thing is that both members have typical Dutch surnames!

Anyway, I really enjoyed the 60 minutes of PARSEC's debut CD. The best songs are "Breaking the chains" (great memorable chorus, and a nice 70s type of keyboardsolo), "The ties that bind" (with female vocals, very good melodic chorus), "Clean" (nice keyboardsolo) and the Neo-prog songs "Fly away", "Believe", "Someday" and "A matter of time (visions)". This band is recommended to fans of calmer, modest (Neo-) Progressive Rock like CAMEL, TIMOTHY PURE, ELEGANT SIMPLICITY… More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This is a Powerful melodic metal band from France, and they don't sound like HEAVENLY, FAR'N'HIGH or DYSLESIA, but they are more 80s orientated, with some epic influences and even a MANOWAR similarity can be noticed on some songs. Their debut CD has now also been distributed through Musea Records, so easier to obtain. There are 9 tracks on the CD, and musically and instrumental FINAL ASSAULT is in good shape. The best songs are "Prophets" (a ballad with doom vocals at the start, but a very melodic chorus and then uptempo later on), "The scar" (good uptempo melodic metal) and "Ode to the earth" (80s guitar riff at the start, nice Prog/Power). The epic metal influences can be heard on opener "My kingdom for a dream" (a song that has clear MANOWAR influences), while there's some Power/Speed Metal on songs like "Red law" and "Never surrender". Check out this French band at: (and choose Final Assault) and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



EXTREME FAITH is a Christian Rockband from Kentucky, USA. Their debut demo CD 'Exploration in faith' contains nice early 80s type of melodic poprock in the style of band slike TOMMY TUTONE, THE KNACK… The sound quality though is poor at times, but happily, songs like "Black and white", "Forgiven" and "Witness" make that up. All included 6 tracks are uptempo poprockers, with a clear 80s approach, not unlike THE KNACK and THE OUTFIELD. Check out this band at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 6,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



Out of Brussels, Belgium comes AWAKEN, a very strange sounding band. They sent me their CD, which happens to be a double CD. Musically it is an adventure through all kinds of musicstyles. AWAKEN is making a mix of 80s Pop, New Age, Psycho Rock, Hardrock and Neo-prog, but most of the time they sound like some sort of 1980s Electronic Popband. Well, the start wasn't that bad, with the 80s Hardrocksong "I'll disagree", which reminded me of RATT. The rest of the 2 CDs has nothing to do with that Hardrockstyle created on the opening tune. Songs like "Cold as my heart" (80s Italo-pop disco a la SABRINA!!!), "Lycee Nase" Send my body home" and "L.A. is my lady" are just pure Pop in an 80s approach and they have absolutely nothing to offer for fans of any of the musicgenres we promote. Happily, there are still some songs that may appeal to soem of you, such as the keyboard driven Neo-prog songs "Eesom" and "One thing/Best kept lies". Still this is something very different than the usual stuff we discuss, so better first check out their site at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: - (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



MADDER is a band from Long Island, New York and their same titled debut CD may not appeal to all of you. The band is playing 90s influenced Metal, with a lot of groove and although there are clear similarities to bands like PANTERA, this band is more melodic and stands out between all those Nu-Metal bands coming out of the USA at the moment. The best song is opener "Castle", which shows a good deal of melodic metal. You can check out this band for yourself at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 6,5/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



This is the second CD release of guitarist/bassist J.D. BRADSHAW. Together with drummer James Taylor he has released a very nice album, consisting of 4 tracks. The production of the instrumental album is pretty good and the songs are also very pleasant to listen to. The best songs are the uptempo 80s type of fun melodic rockers "Firecracker" (VAN HALEN kinda tight drumsound) and "Yamaya" (with a calmer part). I look forward to a full-length CD release in the future, maybe he can add some vocals next time. Anyway, check out his site at: and e-mail at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



A few months ago I reviewed the debut CD of THIRD VOICE, which was 'Reflections', originally released in 1998. Now, this duo (vocalist Jeff Kearney and multi-instrumentalist Jason Pirone) has released a new CD, entitled 'Moments like these'. And I can tell you this is a very good album that contains pure Progressive Rock with a lot of melodies. There are 14 tracks on the album, and my favourites include "Setting sun" (pure Progrock, great melodic chorus), "Take me back", "Blinded", "Moments like these" and the last 3 tracks. Those last 3 songs on the CD show a slightly different side of THIRD VOICE. The calmer ballads "New day" and "Carry my soul (part 1)" are both very good and remind me of GARY HUGHES and TEN. Part 2 of "Carry my soul" closes the CD and is another great more AOR/Melodic Rock orientated semi ballad, again a la TEN. This new CD of THIRD VOICE is a recommended piece for anyone who likes melodic progressive rock, somewhere a cross between DREAM THEATER and TEN, only without the big production arrangements. More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



MISBEHAVIOUR is a Brazilian band and they sent me their latest CD. Musically they play typical Melodic Metal, with a clear 80s approach, a bit like IRON MAIDEN. The sound quality isn't that good, but if you like this sort of melodic metal, then you will enjoy songs like "Misbehaviour" and "In my dreams". The best song however is the great melodic rockballad "My own mistakes". For more info, visit their site at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



'State line' is the third CD of the American singer/songwriter TIMOTHY CRAIG. BILL CUOMO (who also played keys) produced his new album, and we all know Bill very well, because he played and wrote with artists like STAN BUSH, LENITA ERICKSON, EDDIE MONEY… Now you also now in which direction you must think when we are talking about TIMOTHY CRAIG's CD, because Timothy is making catchy 80s type of AOR/Poprock, not unlike early BRYAN ADAMS, MITCH MALLOY and the last STAN BUSH. There are some great tunes on Timothy's CD, such as opener "After I'm gone" (classy uptempo 80s melodic poprocker like early BRYAN ADAMS meets RICK SPRINGFIELD), "Honey are you listening" (great semi melodic rockballad), "Doin' time" (great melodic rockballad) and "State line" (fantastic AOR ballad, best song, kinda like JOHN TAGLIERI). So if you're keen on catchy 80s melodic poprock (a la DANNY WILDE, BRYAN ADAMS, SCOTT SUDBURY and the last MITCH MALLOY), then you will definitely like TIMOTHY CRAIG's latest CD. Check out his site at: where you can buy his CD and e-mail him at:

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem)



I was very excited when this CD dropped onto my doormat because solo artist Jason Perry was noted to be influenced by all the great 70's and 80's AOR bands from Journey to Boston.So from the first song in I was greeted with an atmospheric synthesiser intro called 'Phantom Of The Arena', an anthemic yet haunting piece that sets the pace for the rest of the other five songs which are all mostly instrumental pieces based around high tech synthesisers and soaring AOR style melodies. Imagine if you will Sheriff but without the vocals and you'll get the musical picture. 'Restless Breed' moves at a catchy pace, this is the kind of song that you would have found artists like John Parr developing lyrics around for motion picture soundtracks.

'Bound For Glory' has a very similar melody to Sheriff's number one hit ballad 'When I'm With You', it's that close, this is a beautiful song that fits the bill perfectly and whilst I respect what Jason is trying to do you can't help but feel that the song would be classic AOR if vocals were added. There's a rather nifty little guitar solo half way through the song so really with lyrics and vocals this would be a classic AOR ballad. This is my only complaint, obviously Jason is richly talented and with a vocalist he could take his music so much further, you know do a full album with a vocalist in the vein of Steve Perry and Freddy Curci leaving enough room for one or two instrumentals and bingo, we have a full house of classic AOR!!

And proof of the pudding can be heard on this CD, because whilst 'La Pasion Melodica' and 'Dreams Will Follow' carry on with the instrumental delights it's the last song 'Is This Love' which proves my point as on this song we for the first time hear lead vocals from a hugely talented lady called Terri Kee. This is really classy stuff, in the vein of Fiona, Margaret Becker, Heart, Venus And Mars, Wilson Phillips, Belinda Carlisle, Roxette etc....This is a stunning ballad, Terri is the new female goddess of AOR and together she and Jason work together in perfect harmony. All in all, Jason has allot of potential, but to express his talents further he simply has to record more vocal led songs with Terri using bands as Alias, Journey and Fiona as influences. This is a good sounding release worth checking out. or email :

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