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AMUN RE is coming out of Austria and they have released a 3-track CD. The first track is called "Valley of destiny" and this is fantastic midtempo 80s sounding pure Euro-AOR with also lovely AOR keys. It reminds me of bands like CHALICE and ZENO. The second track "Poisoned rain" is a nice radio AOR ballad. The final song is the least interesting track, but still worth listening. The song is called "A winter's tale", a nice symphonic AOR song with some progressive elements.

AMUN RE has released a good AOR album, I only hope for more songs in the style of their song "Valley of destiny" on a future release. And hopefully a future release will be a full-length CD, because I am quite sure AMUN RE will be able to release a great full-length CD. Visit the website of the band at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


BEYOND THE MIRROR is the kind of band that would not be out of place on the Z RECORDS release schedule, because the melodic (hard) rocksound of this American band is quite similar in style to most Z RECORDS signed bands. The debut CD of BEYOND THE MIRROR has a very good sound and production, which was done by guitarist Michael Sitarski who also wrote most of the music. The Melodic Rock of BEYOND THE MIRROR contains influences from TYKETTO, while the lead vocals of John Swenson sound like Geoff Tate (QUEENSRYCHE vocalist).

The album kicks off with the midtempo melodic rocker "Take me higher" and rightaway you can clearly hear that this band is very professional and has a good sound that is much better than most other independent bands. It would not surprise me if any of the European labels would pick up this band soon, because these guys are producing some great sounding melodic rock. Especially the following two tracks are very impressive. "One step" is a great uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock with lovely keys and harmonyvocals. The song reminds me of the old TYKETTO and some SHOTGUN SYMPHONY can also be heard. "Familiar stranger" is a lovely semi AOR ballad and maybe the best track on this CD.

What follows are just nice melodic rockers such as "Lie" or the ballad "I'll never forget". The CD gets a little more Progressive Melodic Hardrock towards the end, especially the songs "Break the silence" and "Blessing in disguise" are songs that could easily be compared to the old QUEENSRYCHE sound. Happily, the band also throws in a couple more Melodic Rockers such as "Divine" and "Let it go" which make me think of Q5 somehow. These two songs are very melodic and close to uptempo AOR rock.

To me this band sounds pretty good. For the Melodic Rock/AOR fan a recommendation, although there are also some progressive and harder-edged rockers on the album without ever losing the melodic rock feeling. BEYOND THE MIRROR is a very good band and I am quite sure we will hear much more of them in the near future. I don't think the next release will be an independent release, because if it was up to me this band will be signed to any of the AOR/Melodic Rocklabels soon. Get all the info on the band through their site at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This is the follow-up to 'Danger of infection', the debut release of DIRTY DEEDS. Now the band has just released their second CD. The album contains 10 tracks. It is clear that the CD has an updated 90s guitarsound, while still keeping a Melodic Hardrocksound that is comparable to the old GOTTHARD, VICTORY and especially PINK CREAM 69. The beginning sounds nice with as best tracks "Kill the pain" and "Long way down" (uptempo melodic rocker like PINK CREAM 69).

But after these songs, the CD gets more and more into the 90s Hardrock/Metal sound, and sometimes I am even asking myself if this CD has something to do with Melodic Rock. Only closing track "Never give in" is heading towards the melodic rock of bands like PINK CREAM 69 and SARGANT FURY. This CD is filled with monsterous 90s guitarlicks and is recommended if you like a band such as MOON' DOC, but I think it's way too heavy for the average melodic rockfan. Visit the band on the net at:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


LIMB MUSIC has built up a reputation among the fans of fast progressive/symphonic melodic Metal through the years and they keep on releasing new albums in this style. But the label also release a few pure Melodic Rockalbums such as LANA LANE and SHARON. The debut of KENZINER was musically somewhere between the fast progressive metal of bands like RHAPSODY and ANGRA and the more Melodic Hardrock of DOKKEN and FATES WARNING.

'The prophecies' is the second CD of KENZINER and after a few spins it seems that the new album of KENZINER is a must for fans of bands like ANGRA, RHAPSODY and LUCA TURILLI. Although the beginning of the CD is very much in this style, the band gets a little more into melodic hardrock towards the end. My favourite tracks can also be found at the end of the CD. "Like a paradise" is a nice melodic ballad and "Lost in a fantasy" is a good uptempo melodic rocker with references to the early 80s sound of RAINBOW. I had rather heard some more songs in this style on the CD, but if you liked their debut you will also like the new CD of this Finnish band.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


They are coming out of Sweden and when listening to the first parts of their CD it is not hard to say which band influenced LOUD'N'NASTY. The band sounds so close to the early 80s sound of MOTLEY CRUE, and they even did a cover ("Piece of your action") of the debut CD of their American heroes. This band is a no-nonsense partyrockband that not only has cliché-lyrics ("I'm on fire", "Stronger than love", "Bad girl"), but also has a very stereotyped sound which is like I already said very out of date. That doesn't mean these guys can't play good music, because I like their sound and attitude.

It's straight-ahead and pure 80s partyrock like TEAZE, CRUE and TUFF LUCK. They are tougher than most of these Glam type bands such as POISON or PBF and if they had been in Hollywood back in the early 80s, the radio and likewise the U.S. kids would have bring them success, just like MOTLEY CRUE. But the band is from Sweden and has just released a CD, so it's hard-working for a band with this kind of sound. Strangely enough I was listening to the CD and after 11 typical partyrockers, I got to hear the final track of the album. You may now think what I am up to, but this final track is totally different than the rest of the CD.

I don't know if it was some sort of joke of the band, but that closing track, called "Lake of tears", features AOR keys and is a good midtempo AOR/Melodic Rocker like ALIEN, only vocally it is Partyrock oriented. If the band would put more songs in this Melodic Rockstyle of "Lake of tears" on a future album AND would hire a more melodic vocalist, then it could turn out to something really good. For now I can only recommend this CD to anyone that is missing the early 80s Partyrock.

If you want to hear a band that is playing in the exact same Heavy Partyrockstyle as MOTLEY CRUE did on their best album 'Too fast for love' (this 1981 release contains the best partyrock ever recorded and "Starry eyes" is the ultimate partyrocker), check LOUD'N'NASTY at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Swedish partyrockers LOUD'N'NASTY also were kind enough to sent me their two-track new CD. The music is in the same style as their debut, although the two performed songs on this album are faster partyrockers. The line-up of the band is now a threesome, but I must say that this new CD leaves me a cold and I would prefer the band's debut. But maybe the future will bring more of these guys.

(Points: 6.0 out of 10)


MONOTYPE is a band out of Michigan, USA and are playing 90s typed Melodic Hardrock. The band is comparable to DOUBLE ECLIPSE and HAREM SCAREM (but not like their first two albums). There are 6 songs on this album. The band has a very good lead vocalist called Dave Ouellette and I think the band must benefit more of him though their music, because the guitars are now too much upfront now and then. The album starts with "Heavy highway", some very heavy guitars but still good melodic hardrock.

Next track "Searching" is the best track, a good slowtempo semi melodic rockballad with HAREM SCAREM typed harmonyvocals. Like I said, the guitars are upfront and quite heavy and the rest of the album is even heavier and more and more into the 90s metalstyle. Closing track "Money is all your love" is then again more Melodic Hardrock. If you like DOUBLE ECLIPSE, you will like this band for sure.

The band also sent me a new 3-track CD, but this album is even more into the 90s metalsound. I would like to hear some more Melodic Hardrock oriented material in the style of their song "Searching" on a future release. More info on MONOTYPE at their site:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


Lead vocalist/guitarist comes out of Georgia, USA and did release this album as the DAVE WILLIAMS PROJECT  a few years ago. 'Garden variety' contains 5 songs and musically it is very much in the AOR/Melodic Rockstyle, but the difference with many others is that most of the songs are backed by an acoustic guitar and not an electric guitar. Kinda like the Californian band CHALLENGE. Happily, the songs are all great to hear. Dave has a very good voice and the songs are quite melodic with some lovely harmonyvocals like NELSON. The album starts with "When morning comes", a nice semi ballad with those harmonyvocals.

Next track "Breathe" is a beautiful AOR Ballad with some very good vocals of Dave and a killer chorus (like old BON JOVI meets JADED HEART). Following track "Three weeks" is a fantastic uptempo AOR song that sounds very much like the last NELSON. The chorus is really wonderful and the harmonyvocals are very fine to hear. This song is pure AOR, the only difference is that there are only acoustic guitars to be heard on "Three weeks". Still, this is a great tune that must be heard by AOR fans, especially if you liked the last NELSON album.

The album continues with "Need", a great AOR ballad that sounds like an unplugged JADED HEART. Closing track "Destiny" is a semi rocker with again lovely harmonyvocals. This album is much recommended if you like to hear a mix between JADED HEART and NELSON with the use of acoustic guitars and lots of harmonyvocals.

Dave also sent me a new CD that contained live material. That CD was titled 'Live - Demo '98' and contained mostly coversongs of EAGLES, BON JOVI, TESLA and a couple of originals of Dave. This CD is very laid-back and unplugged and is closer to Westcoast. I would recommend Dave's album 'Garden variety', because that album contains some great melodic music. For more info on Dave, check his site at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


ELECTRIC SHEEP comes out of Japan and has released this CD titled 'First stage'. Musically they are pretty close to most other new Japanese Melodic Rockbands such as BLINDMAN, SHADOW FLARE, AZRAEL… The sound and production is very good and the 10 songs on their CD all sound good. The only problem with many Japanese bands is the fact that the vocals are high-pitched. Something which is also the case for this band. It gives the sound a heavier touch (a la 80s TNT), although this ELECTRIC SHEEP is much more Melodic Rock/AOR.

Anyway, the CD of the band starts with "Lady of the night", an uptempo melodic heavy rocker that sounds o.k. and reminds me of RAINBOW. Next track "Still waiting for you" features some pure AOR keys and develops into a good melodic rocker a la EUROPE (circa 'The final countdown'). "Do what you wanna do" follows in a slower style, this is a nice melodic rockballad. Following track "Stranger" is a bit weaker and simpler semi ballad. Next up is the instrumental "Turbulence" which is followed by "Pain in my heart". This song is good EUROPE influenced Melodic Rock.

"Headed for eternity" follows and is an o.k. ballad, but not really something special. Moving on with "Make or break", I can add that this is a very good semi AOR rocker with a lovely melodic guitarsound, definitely one of the better tracks on this album. "Astronauts" on the other hand is much weaker SAXON typed Hard Rock. The CD closes with the melodic rockballad "Glory days" that sounds pretty nice.

I think I can add this ELECTRIC SHEEP to the list of good sounding melodic rockbands out of Japan. They have a great melodic guitar/keyboardsound, but I think the vocals are not strong enough to beat the American Melodic Rockbands. Still, I can recommend this ELECTRIC SHEEP to fans of EUROPE/RAINBOW styled Melodic (Hard) Rock. More info on their site at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


KRANK! is a band out of Ohio, USA and features a female vocalist called Ginger O'Day. Although the 6 tracks on their CD do have a lot of 90s kinda pop/rock influences, there are also some 80s influenced Melodic Poprock influences. Opener "Fatal addictions" is a pure 90s pop/rocker yet with a melodic 80s influences chorus. Next two tracks are a bit much in the 90s pop/rock style, but then we get to hear some pure 80s kinda Poprockers.

"What I want" is a good uptempo melodic poprocker like PAT BENATAR and LITA FORD. This is the best song on the album and I would really like to hear more songs in this style and not the updated 90s Pop/Rocksound of their songs "Satisfied", "Alive" or "Get up and go". Also "Advantage" has that 80s influenced melodic poprocksound and sounds o.k. Visit the website of KRANK! at:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


DIANE FALCONE comes out of Boston and has released a mini CD with 4 tracks. Musically she is playing calmer Poprock with some 90s influences, but still plenty of melodies for the fan of female fronted rock. Her music is comparable to LENITA ERICKSSON, EVE SELIS, PATTY SMYTH and the late CONNIE SCOTT material. There's a lot of quiet acoustic material on the CD and I would not recommend it to people who prefer the uptempo rockers, because they are not on this CD. Diane Falcone brings in some nice calmer moments on her CD and musically it is actually close to Westcoast.

Personally I think the more Rock based tunes such as Cryin'" and "All at once", two midtempo Poprockers like PATTY SMYTH, show Diane at her best. She also sent me a new CD that also contains 4 tracks, but I think this one is not out yet because the artwork and further info was missing. The 4 new songs I heard are in the same style as her debut and also this time I prefer the more rock sounding songs such as "Two pieces of my heart", a lighter AOR track a la CONNIE SCOTT.

Fans of female fronted rock should have a listen to this CD, but I must inform you that the material is acoustic tingled and is not really rocking. It's more recommended to the fans of westcoast typed artists such as late PATTY SMYTH, EVE SELIS and some LENITA ERICKSSON. More info on Diane at her website:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


Lead vocalist/Keyboardist/Bassist/Drummer Howard Gripp released his first solo-album 'Walk away' in 1995. On the album he got help from guitarist Bob Peters and bassist Houston. The album contained 10 tracks and musically it is pure 80s AOR/Melodic Rock. The production was in hands of Howard Gripp himself with the help of co-musicians Bob Peters and Houston.

The album starts with "Forever lost", a nice slower tempo melodic hardrocksong with some references to early SKID ROW. Not a really bad start, but when I heard the rest of the CD this was just a nothing-special song, because the rest of the CD is totally different and much better than this arena-rock opener.

Next track "Walk away" for example is great 80s typed uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock with a lovely hookline and great harmonyvocals, kinda like DANGER DANGER. Then we get to hear a superb song titled "Only half as good". This song is a power AOR Rockballad in the late 80s style with some lovely keys. The song is comparable to ballads of bands like REO SPEEDWAGON, DAMN YANKEES, NIGHT RANGER and even SHERIFF comes in mind when hearing this song. A wonderful ballad that would have topped the charts in the USA if it was released 10-15 years ago. But it doesn't sound dated at all and I love this song and I think many other AOR fans will like this song and in fact the whole CD, because the following tracks are all in the Classic 80s AOR style.

"On the run" is one of the best songs on this wonderful CD. This song is truly wonderful early 80s AOR/Radiorock that contains everything you need to hear in a good song. "On the run" has pompy keys, catchy hooklines, lovely lead vocals/harmonyvocals and an amazing early 80s AOR chorus reminding me of FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, PRISM, PREVIEW, BALANCE and JOURNEY! What more do you need to hear in a Classic AOR song!

The following track "Look into my eyes" has a classic AOR start with some superb AOR keys like SURVIVOR, only the song itself doesn't have such a catchy chorus, still a great heavy 80s Pomprocker like PROPHET. The CD continues with "This one's for you", another powerful AOR ballad with great keys and vocals, comparable to old NIGHT RANGER/DAMN YANKEES ballads.

Next track "Stinger" also has a Classic 80s AOR start with the wonderful keyboards. The song itself is great uptempo 80s AOR like NIGHTWORK, THE HEAT,  RATHSKELLER… Following track "Now that you're here" is another wonderful Power AOR Ballad that reminds me a lot of JOURNEY, especially the pure AOR keys are very notable in this wonderful song. "Promise me" follows in a more uptempo melodic rockstyle like DANGER DANGER.

Closing track of this fantastic AOR CD is "Nothin' new" and strangely enough this is sounding like the opening track, so this is also nothing special melodic hardrock, although this closing track is better than the opening tune. Despite the first track, this CD is a total must for fans of 80s typed AOR/Melodic Rock.

There are a lot of great keyboards on this album and if you're into old NIGHT RANGER, JOURNEY, PRISM and also like some DANGER DANGER typed songs you should check out this album a.s.a.p. More info by contacting Howard Gripp at:

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


This American band is playing pure Progressive Rock. The lead vocals of Keyboardist/Bassist Chad McMurray are very much in the QUEENSRYCHE/DREAM THEATER style, but musically ASHLAND is much more pure Progressive Rock with here and there some AOR influences. My favourite tracks are "No easy way" and "Old time religion". The only thing I miss in the songs are the catchy choruses that are always recognisable in the AOR music, but are hard to find in the Progressive Rockmusic. But if you're a fan of Progressive Rock, you will like this ASHLAND. Visit their website at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Vocalist/Guitarist/Keyboardist KENNY MCGEE used to be in the band JULLIET, a Melodic Rockband that released a great Frankie Sullivan produced CD in 1990. Now Kenny has released a solo-record with the help of LEFTY, a bunch of session musicians. Musically Kenny hasn't changed that much and is still playing 80s typed Melodic (Hard) Rock with the occasional Partyrock influence. I would describe the style on this album as a mixture of 80s DOKKEN and 80s RATT with some AOR influence on a couple of songs.

There are 11 tracks on Kenny's self-produced CD. There are good uptempo melodic rockers ("Don't ya worry" and "Rosie Red"), RATT styled Party-melorockers ("Not about love" and "Witches brew"), very good (semi) melodic rockballads ("Can't say goodbye", "Best of me" and "It ain't over") and just a couple average groovy MHR songs ("Christine" and "Miss Virginia"). The remaining two tracks are the best songs on the CD. "Something in your smile" is a very nice slowtempo melodic rocker and "Baby Jane" is a wonderful melodic rocker with a very catchy AOR influenced chorus.

This "Baby Jane" is the best song on the whole CD and is quite comparable to JULLIET, Kenny's former band. Kenny McGee has released a good solo-album that will please the fans of JULLIET and to anyone that likes 80s Melodic (Hard) Rock like DOKKEN meets RATT. Check Kenny's website at: for all the info around this release.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


COLLINS/SHAW stands for guitarist Dale Collins and lead vocalist Bernie Shaw (URIAH HEEP). Together they are working on a project called COLLINS/SHAW and they should have a CD out in a couple of weeks from now. In the meantime they sent me a promo CD that contains 3 finished songs. The first track "Here we go" is a heavily JOURNEY influenced AOR song. A very good relaxing song that also captures some TRIUMPH references.

Next track "Hey Jimi" is a semi rocker that sounds o.k., but is nothing that special. The final track of this 3-track Promo CD is the DAVID ESSEX-cover "Rock on". Nice move of Bernie Shaw to work together with a new guitarist. I look forward to hear the final result when the CD is released in a couple of weeks. In the meantime check out the great site of COLLINS/SHAW at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Yes!!! I am in AOR HEAVEN when hearing the demo tape of this band. BAND CENTRAL STATION is coming out of New York and has the perfect AOR sound on their demo tape. There are only 4 songs on the tape, but they are all classy 80s based AOR songs. This band should be signed immediately by MTM Music, because this is really huge AOR what we hear. The AOR/Melodic Rock of BAND CENTRAL STATION is comparable to NORWAY, BOSTON (especially the three-part vocal harmonies), 38 SPECIAL and 80s NIGHT RANGER.

The band consists of 6 members and the line-up is as follows: Rick Haller - Lead vocals and Guitars, Larry Borgese - Guitars and vocals, Joe Borgese - Keyboards and vocals, Frank Saliba - Guitars, Rob Egan - Bass and Chris Lopez - Drums. Vocalist Rick Haller has a wonderful voice which is a winner in the AOR scene. The harmonyvocals on the songs are very notable, these make the sound of the band even more pure 80s AOR which is totally fantastic! These harmonyvocals are pretty close to BOSTON, but musically BAND CENTRAL STATION is more AOR oriented. I almost forget to mention that various bandmembers worked with individuals from LA GUNS and SARAYA, so these guys have got some experience in the business.

What strikes me is the fact that I never have read something about this band. This is unbelievable while listening to the tape of this band, because the music performed here is huge Classic 80s AOR! But maybe their time will come eventually. The Demo Tape 'Now arriving…' was released back in 1992, so the music is not really from a recent date, but it's high-quality AOR what we hear and then it doesn't matter if it was recorded yesterday or 7 years ago. Anyway, the tape starts with "Here comes love again", a huge AOR HEAVEN sound (comparable to NORWAY) with lovely harmonyvocals (a la BOSTON/ORION) during the superb chorus. This song is a must to hear for the fans of pure AOR.

Next track "What ever it takes" has some great harmonyvocals again, although the song is not as good as the opener, this is still nice 80s typed good-time melodic rock like the first WINGER, 80s NIGHT RANGER, TRIXTER… The following track is almost a classic! "You never said goodbye" is a beautiful late 80s mainstream Power AOR Ballad like DAMN YANKEES, NORWAY, BOSTON… The superb AOR chorus with it's BOSTON typed harmonyvocals are making this song a winner for the fans of high-quality AOR Ballads.

Hearing a song like this, I can't understand why this band wasn't discovered earlier, because this is a hit for a label like MTM Music. The music performed here is as good as similar acts such as NORWAY, MICHAEL MORALES or STEELHOUSE LANE and they all got recorddeals. Let's hope this band gets signed soon, because they deserve it. Something which is also proved on the last track of this wonderful demo tape. That closing track is "Drivin' me mad" and this is classy 80s typed uptempo hookladen AOR rock with again superb harmonyvocals. This song is similar in style to NIGHT RANGER (like their song "Don't tell me you love me").

If you're a fan of pure AOR, you will fall in love with this new AOR sensation from New York. I heard the band is working on a full CD and I can only hope they continue to make the AOR style created on this fantastic demo tape. An interview will follow in the next issue of our paper magazine. For now, check the website of BAND CENTRAL STATION at: or

(Points: 9.5 out of 10)


TEN-guitarist VINNY BURNS has just released his first solo-album on Frontiers Records. Of course he got help from his bandmates of TEN, such as Gary Hughes who sings two songs on Vinny's CD. The remaining 8 vocal tracks are sung by SAM BLUE from YA YA/GTS. I had expected an instrumental guitar album, but there are only two instrumentals on this great album. The intro "Irish eyes" and the closing track "The journey" are the only instrumental parts of this CD.

The rest of this self-produced album is filled with great AOR/Melodic Rock with lovely vocals on it. For example, opener "Superstar" is a fantastic classy 80s uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker. Besides this opener, my favourite tracks are "This world" (semi AOR Ballad in GARY HUGHES style), "I believe" (midtempo AOR), "Live the dream" (semi AOR Ballad), "Already gone" (pure 80s AOR) and "Falling" (cheerful 80s Euro-AOR like TERRA NOVA).

Not many weak songs are on this album or it should be the groovier Hard Rocksongs "Fire burning" and "Where you gonna run", but still also these songs are fine to listen to. Concluded, this CD is recommended to anyone that likes some great produced AOR/Melodic Rock, especially if you like TEN, DARE and GARY HUGHES.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


This PHOENIX DOWN is actually the third release of Guitarist/Vocalist KANE ROBERTS. Kane released two albums at the end of the 80s. Those albums are highly recommended Melodic Rockalbums that include some major AOR songs. Notable back then were the huge harmonyvocals and sing-a-long choruses. Now Kane is back with a new record. The album features a bunch of session musicians such as SAM BLUE, JIM PETERIK and VINNY BURNS.

Mixing of the album was done by the legendary 80s 'Hair Rock' Producer MICHAEL WAGENER (WHITE LION, DOKKEN, STRYPER, RATT, CRUE, POISON). He has given the album a good sound, although definitely not as polished as we heard Michael producing records 10-15 years ago. Musically things have changed a bit, because especially the first pair of songs are showing a 90s side of Kane. Opener "Reckless" was co-written by Mike Slammer (STEELHOUSE LANE), but has absolutely nothing to do with AOR or Melodic Rock. This song is pure 90s and even comes close to Alternative! The rap sounding vocals are making this song even more uninteresting for fans of AOR/Melodic Rock.

I was a bit scared that the whole album would sound like this song and Kane also could be added to the list of artists that changed their style to fit in today's market. But Frontiers Records did this release and so it couldn't take long to hear some good interesting AOR/Melodic Rock. And indeed, after the next track "I want it again" (average 90s influenced MHR), there are two fantastic songs. Not a big surprise if you check the songwriter of these songs, because non-other than JIM PETERIK from SURVIVOR fame co-wrote these superb AOR songs!

"Walk" is a pure semi AOR Ballad with some great vocals and AOR keys, clearly a Jim Peterik song. And so is "Love gone wrong". This song is a lovely 80s typed uptempo AOR rocker with some SURVIVOR (circa the period 'Caught in the game') overtones. "In another life" is the first song that is in the style of Kane's earlier records. This song could have been on the last Kane Roberts release and features a typical Desmond Child chorus. Next track "Blind" is average Hard Rock.

And so the album goes up and down until the end. Because what follows are a nice semi melodic rocker ("Rain"), an average 90s style Hard Rocksong like ALICE COOPER ("Neverland"), a nice semi ballad ("Alive and well") and "Rebel heart". "Rebel heart" is a classic Kane Roberts AOR rocker, but can also be found on Kane's second release. This version is a good re-recording of this wonderful AOR track.

The fans of KANE ROBERTS earlier albums will enjoy at least a couple of songs on this CD, but don't expect an album that is totally similar to Kane's earlier records. There is a wide variation of Rockstyles on his new CD. The new KANE ROBERTS release contains something for everyone, from 90s Alternative Rock, Hard Rock to pure AOR. It's up to you to decide if you don't mind such a variety.

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Out of California comes the new hero in the AOR/Melodic Rockscene: RICHARD JAMES. His debut solo-album 'Reflections' contains some great 80s typed Melodic Rock like 80s DOKKEN, HEAVENS EDGE and VALENTINE. And Richard is a multi-instrumentalist, he is playing guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and is singing all vocals on his CD. Quite impressive and while listening to this CD, I can easily say that this is a wonderful CD. I can't believe Z RECORDS hasn't picked up RICHARD JAMES in their release schedule, because this CD is as good as DANNY DANZI. The production is also very good and was also done by Richard himself. The guy does everything by himself!

After the instrumental intro "Horizon", the CD starts with the fantastic uptempo melodic rocker "Find what you're after" (like 80s DOKKEN/HEAVENS EDGE). Following track "Man of desire" has some sharp guitar riffs, but the chorus is super melodic and a comparison to VELOCITY should not be out of place here. Next track "Hometown hero" is a wonderful Melodic AOR rocker that sounds very much like 80s DOKKEN, HEAVENS EDGE… The CD continues with "Racing time", a nice uptempo melodic rocker like 80s DOKKEN again. In fact, a lot on this CD sounds like 80s DOKKEN and Richard's vocals are quite close to Don's voice without being a rip-off. Richard is doing everything on his own and he is doing it very good, he deserves my compliments!

Back to the CD, further there are two instrumental songs ("Groove this" and "Marshmallow squeeze"). The remaining 4 songs are "Reflections" (uptempo melodic rocker with Californian harmonyvocals, like old DOKKEN), "Time" (also old DOKKEN style), "Rocket man" (nothing special semi rocker, like EXTREME) and "Stranger to myself" (a great uptempo melodic rocker that is very much in the style of DANNY DANZI). This CD of RICHARD JAMES is a much-recommended Melodic Rock masterpiece.

If you enjoy the sounds of 80s DOKKEN, DANNY DANZI, HEAVENS EDGE, VALENTINE, PHIL VINCENT… you cannot miss this release. For more info on RICHARD JAMES check his site at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


MARIAH'S TRENCH is a band out of Las Vegas and they can be labelled as a pure Melodic Rockband, yet with their own distinct style. 'Beyond Orgasm' is the second album from the band. There are 11 tracks on the CD and the songs are all in the melodic rockstyle. There are two different lead vocalists and thus it sounds a bit varied.

MARIAH'S TRENCH consists of multi-instrumentalist David Watson (who also sings), guitarist David Johan and lead vocalist Bruce Michael Paine who has a very good voice that sounds like L.A. Greene from HARLAN CAGE. His voice can be heard on the songs "Attack the Deceiver" and "Endless Voices", two great midtempo AOR songs that even sound like HARLAN CAGE! On many of the other songs, the second lead vocalist, David Watson can be heard with his distinct rawer voice.

Still, there are some more good melodic rockers to be heard on 'Beyond orgasm'. Examples are "You're the One" (uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock), "Throw your stone" (semi AOR Ballad), "Sword of justice" (uptempo melodic rocker with 80s keys) and "I Believe It's True" (semi AOR Ballad). Of the remaining tracks, two are instrumental. The only weak song I could find was "The Pharoah's Message". In summary, MARIAH'S TRENCH is a good new Melodic Rockband. For more info, check their web site at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This Christian band out of Texas is heavily influenced by 70s Classic Rock. As I listen to the CD I hear influences of bands like KANSAS, STYX, PLAYER, but also Pop influences. It's hard to categorise this band, because ONE SPIRIT has Rock, Pop, Progressive and Pomprocksongs on their debut CD 'Battle'. Opener "Straight shot" is a raw rocker in the 80s style, ZZ TOP influenced. Next song "Tight rope" has some good DENNIS DEYOUNG type vocals, while the song has a slow bluesy touch.

The following 3 songs are a bit too much in the Pop style and also are a bit complicated. "Run to the sun" on the other hand is a good 70s based calmer AOR song that reminds me somehow of PLAYER (circa 'Danger zone'). Next track "Battle" is a bit Progressive kinda Pomprock, very much like 70s KANSAS. "Rock the flock" follows in a more 70s raw rockstyle like BAD COMPANY and the first couple of PETRA albums. Following track "The light" captures some STYX influences, the song itself is nice heavy Pomprock. "I know a man" is clearly 70s influenced Rock.

The closing track of this CD is the best song on the whole CD. The song is called "Caught away" and this is a good 70s based semi Pomprockballad that has many references to ROADMASTER and STYX. ONE SPIRIT is very diverse band that brings sometimes a pure Popsong, while at other times they Rock! People that have become interested should visit the site of ONE SPIRIT at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


This Swedish band was formed in 1987 and featured JAGGED EDGE/SKINTRADE vocalist Matt Alfonzetti. They recorded this album 10 years ago, but never released it until now. The band also split up and every member went their own way, but like I said the album has now finally seen the light of the day through the Swedish Recordlabel Riverside Records. I am glad they released this album after all, because it features some great AOR/Melodic Rock. There are 12 songs on the album and it is very much in the AOR style.

The band is best comparable to HEARTLAND, 80s STRANGEWAYS, VIRGINIA WOLF and there are some TALK OF THE TOWN/THOMAS VIKSTROM references. The album starts with "I believe in rock'n'roll", a nice melodic rocker (with keys) like 1987 WHITESNAKE. Next track "Prisoner" is a typical cheerful 80s Euro-AOR rocker with a very tight uptempo rhythm, comparable to TALK OF THE TOWN. "Let me touch you skin" follows and this was the single of the band that was the only release of the band back when they were together in the late 80s. Next track "Susanne" is good hi-tech AOR like JOHN PARR.

Then we get to hear a very good song, namely "Dancin on top of the world", a great uptempo AOR rocker that sounds quite close to THE DISTANCE, HEARTLAND, VIRGINIA WOLF… More cheerful uptempo AOR rock can be heard in the song "Angel". Then we have had 6 tracks and so far everything sounds pretty good. "In motion" is the first weak track, a bluesy affair with some references to the 70s. Happily, following track "Stay alive" picks up the great 80s AOR sound. This song is really fantastic 80s uptempo pure AOR a la early FM/early STRANGEWAYS.

And more pure AOR can be heard in "Heart to heart", this song sounds like HEARTLAND. "White lies" is a nice midtempo AOR/Melodic Rocker. Following track "Someday" is a calmer AOR song, while closing track "Take my soul" is a nice semi AOR Ballad like HEARTLAND again. Concluded I can say that this is a very good release of a 'lost' album. If this album was released back in 1989, then the future would have looked very bright for this hit potential AOR/Melodic Rockband out of Sweden. But there is hope for BAM BAM BOYS, because the 90s are over and people are longing back for some good old-time Melodic Rock in 80s style.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


This band out of New York has a female lead vocalist. Musically they are playing 90s based Heavy Rock with some Alternative influences. But happily there are also some Melodic Hard Rock influences towards the end of the CD. There are 9 tracks on their debut CD and the beginning is very much 90s sounding with songs like "Savior" and "One more time", two average 90s heavy rockers. "I know" is much better, this song is slightly more Melodic Hard Rock and features a nice melodic chorus.

"Just like you" is a nice uptempo melodic rocker. "Thinking 2 much" and "Anymore" are again more in the 90s style and are even pure Alternative sounding. "I'll be there" is a nice slowtempo melodic rockballad and the BETSY sounding uptempo melodic hardrocker "My shame" is sounding o.k. too. Closing track "Applause" is again 90s based Heavy Rock. Well, for anyone that is interested in this band, check out their website at:

(Points: 6.0 out of 10)


WEAPON X is a band out of Connecticut, USA. The band has released a 13-track CDR which contains Melodic Hardrock/Heavy Rock in the style of 80s acts like MAD MAX, KEEL, old MARSHALL LAW, DRIVER and FIFTH ANGEL. So, basically what you get is guitar-orientated Melodic Hardrock with heavy parts, but melodic vocals. Opener "Dissatisfied" is melodic heavy rock like KEEL.

The following two tracks ("Back in the night" and "Life on the edge") are much more melodic rock based. "Back in the night" is a good midtempo melodic rocker that has some DOKKEN similarities, while "Life on the edge" is a nice melodic rocker like HEAVENS EDGE. But the band gets heavier on the rest of the CD, including some average heavy metal songs in the style of DRIVER/FIFTH ANGEL (their first album) in songs like "Weapon X", "Far side of crazy", "Endless rain" and "No bats in hell".

There is also some 90s kinda rock in songs like "Mother" and "The fire still burns". Happily, there are also some more good melodic rock styled songs such as "All that I say" (semi melodic rockballad) and "Seasons change" (melodic rocker in 80s styled DOKKEN). For more info on WEAPON X you must visit their site at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


FAKE REALITY is coming out of Salt Lake, Utah, USA and they have released two CDs. 'Build up to the big one' is the first one I review. This CD contains 6 tracks. Musically FAKE REALITY is playing 70s based Progressive Rock. Because the band has a female vocalist and there are also some male vocals, I think I can best compare their music to the early 70s sounds of JEFFERSON STARSHIP. Because also musically the band is sounding like that band.

Lead vocalist Neena Plant has a similar voice as Grace Slick (STARSHIP). This can best be heard in the song "Some kind" which is a nice Progressive Melodic Rocker a la 70s JEFFERSON STARSHIP. Also "Lazy afternoon" and "Spider" are in the same direction. The music of FAKE REALITY is very progressive. For more info check out their site at:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


'Now playing' is the second CD of this band out of Utah. This CD only features the female vocals of Neena Plant. There are again only 6 tracks on the CD and the music is a little less progressive than the other release, which makes it easier to listen to. My favourite track is "Dreaming", this is good uptempo Progressive AOR. If the band would make some more songs in this style, they could release a much better CD, because the rest of the CD is again very much 70s styled Progressive Rock oriented. It kinda sounds like a mix between RUSH, 80s SAGA, PINK FLOYD and 70s JEFFERSON STARSHIP. The lead vocals are quite close to Grace Slick. Anyway, I think pure Porgressive Rockfans need to check out this band at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Another early 80s band that never was able to release a full album, but now finally has released a CD containing 13 songs out of the period 1979-1983. Although musically the songs also sound like that period, it doesn't sound dated. HOBBIT came out of Texas, USA and played Powerful Midwestern Pomp/AOR rock in the style of STYX, STONEBOLT, THRILLS, HEAD EAST, ZON, RATHSKELLER… This year this kind of rock is making a huge comeback, because we already have seen true Pompbands like STYX, ANGEL, MPG, STONEBOLT, STARCASTLE, THRILLS, RATHSKELLER and a couple others reforming and recording new material. So, there's hope for this HOBBIT.

Personally I really like this kind of AOR/Pomprock. Just listen to the opener "Midyear's eve", some classy pomp keys and this is just a great 70s styled Pomprocker like STYX, TOUCH, STONEBOLT… Next track "Two feet tall" is slightly heavier Pomp rock'n'roll like ANGEL in the 70s did. The CD continues with "Love is forever" and this is a very nice 70s AOR ballad. Following track "Up and down" is uptempo AOR/Pomprock like HEAD EAST and RATHSKELLER.

Then we get to hear a wonderful classic Pomprocker titled "Intensity" which sounds like ROSE, ROADMASTER and RATHSKELLER. This fantastic song is followed by "The Christmas song", a 'sweet' popballad in the 70s style (like ANGEL's "The winter song"), nothing special compared to the rest of this album. Next track "The way we are" is a nice Pomprocker like STYX, STONEBOLT…

Then we get to hear two superb tracks. "Takin' your heart away" is a classic early 80s AOR/Pomprocker that sounds very much like LE ROUX. And "Need your love" is a lovely classic early 80s relaxing AOR song with some fantastic piano-keys and truly wonderful harmonyvocals during the superb AOR chorus. These are the kind of songs that are loved by every fan of 80s AOR. "Need your love" has that typical American sound of the early 80s and is comparable to FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, RPM, VAN STEPHENSON and FOREIGNER. The band recorded the song in 1983 and it indeed sounds like that year. "Need your love" has that perfect sound for those hotsummernights.

These two wonderful AOR songs are followed by the only weak track on the album, namely "Puppets". This song is an average epic popballad and is a bit out of place on this CD. Happily next track "Till I get you back" is again classic AOR based. This song is a great uptempo AOR rocker like QWEST and PRISM. Following track "Take me tonight" is a nice Pomprocker in the style of 70s STYX. The final track of this great album is the Pomprocker "Faggots in the fire" which reminds me of ANGEL. HOBBIT was a great band that now finally has released an album with their recordings.

This should have been released back in the 80s when this kind of Rock was extremely popular. Now it is a must for the AOR fans and I can only hope the AOR/Pomprockscene will get as huge as it was back in the early 80s. If you like any of the mentioned bands, then you can easily buy this CD. Now I hope HOBBIT is considering a reunion, so we can enjoy more music of these guys.

Like I already said, we saw many Pomprockbands recording new material this year and it would be great to add a new band to this list. A band that now finally has appeared on the AOR/Pomprockscene after being undiscovered for so many years. For more info on HOBBIT, check their site at: and you can get a copy of this CD through CD BABY

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Out of Los Angeles comes SONIC JUNGLE, a Melodic Hardrockband with a raw sound comparable to HERICANE ALICE and some HURRICANE. There are 10 tracks on their debut CD that was produced very well by main members Jay Basinger (Lead Vocalist) and Pete Risi (Guitarist). The band has a lot of AEROSMITH influences that can be explained due to the fact that the band started out as an AEROSMITH tribute band.

The best tracks are the uptempo straight-ahead rockers such as "Tell it to your mama" (like BRITNY FOX/HERICANE ALICE), "Dangerous ground" (like old LYNCH MOB), "Dirty, down and low" (best song, more melodic rock with a very good melodic chorus and guitarsound, stylish like SLAUGHTER) and the 70s influenced melodic rocker "You got me" (like HYDRA/STARZ). Most of the other tracks sound pretty close to AEROSMITH. Recommended to fans of rougher guitar-based melodic hardrock like AEROSMITH meets HERICANE ALICE. More info at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


FROST is a band out of California. They have just released their third album titled 'Full circle'. This album is a mixture of various musicstyles. The band has been influenced by JOURNEY, THE SCORPIONS… but also Fleetwood Mac and Elton John. There aren't any rockers on the album, mainly this is a calm ballad orientated album.

Opener "(You) already know" is one of the better sounding tracks. The song is a slowtempo melodic rockballad with some 70s influences. The chorus of "(You) already know" is very good and AOR based, sounds a bit like AXE. Unfortunately the musicstyle changes a lot during the next 5 tracks. There's Blues ("Somewhere in the darkness"), a 60s influenced Elvis Presley kinda song ("Baby blues"), a DOORS sounding track  ("The silence") and Billy Idol typed rock ("Only one under the sun").

Happily there are a couple of nice melodic rockballads towards the end of the CD such as "The box", "Babe I love you" and "Hearts on fire". But for a band that has been influenced by JOURNEY, I had expected some more uptempo material. Besides, I think the material is much too diverse to recommend it to fans of one particular musicstyle. Check it out for yourself at their website at:

(Points: 6.0 out of 10)


JASON ROGERS is coming out of Alaska and I believe he is the first AOR artist out of that state. Anyway, the music of Jason has many 80s AOR influences. Jason Rogers is a multi-instrumentalist and does everything on his own on his debut CD. Jason Rogers is comparable to guys like PHIL VINCENT and JOE ROBINSON, who also do everything on their own. Also musically Jason is playing that type of AOR/Melodic Rock.

Opener "American girl" is a very nice opener. The vocals are a bit quirky, but the song is great pure early 80s AOR/Melodic Poprock in the style of STAN BUSH and PHIL VINCENT. Next track "King who would be fool" is much lighter AOR/Pop, something like the first TIM FEEHAN record. Moving on with "Victim of truth", a very nice 80s typed Melodic AOR Rocker like BRYAN HUGHES GROUP.

The following track "How long" is a very nice semi AOR Ballad in the BAD ENGLISH style. "5411" follows and this is a nice instrumental AOR rocker. Then we get to hear the first average track, namely the Pop orientated "Think about love". "Major label" is better, a nice melodic poprocker, LOVERBOY influenced. The last two tracks ("The essence" and ""Feelin' a chill") are again very good and AOR based.

Concluded, this release of JASON ROGERS has some pretty nice AOR moments and I recommend this to anyone that likes that 80s type of AOR, yet with some quirky influences. For more info on Jason, visit his site at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This is the new CD of JOE ROBINSON. This American artist released a great AOR/Melodic Rockalbum earlier this year and now we can enjoy a new album that contains 14 new songs. The style hasn't changed much, it's only better this time and more pure AOR. O.K., the CD has not got such a strong sound and production, but that's because it is an independent recording.

If MTM Music would sign Joe and give him some money for a better production, then Joe Robinson would become pretty popular among the AOR fans. Still, the music of Joe is now also very good, only compared to MTM records the production is not so good. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't buy this release, because the songs on this CD are all very good and in the classic 80s AOR style.

JOE ROBINSON is very much comparable to PHIL VINCENT, because also Joe does everything on his own. Joe himself does all the instruments, vocals and production. So, actually Joe is another new AOR hero. The CD starts with "Heartache", this is uptempo AOR with a killer AOR Chorus that is stylish sounding like DAY ONE/8084/THE HEAT and some STRANGEWAYS (first 3 albums) and SHY influences. This is a very good start. Following tracks are "Gamble with your heart" (nice midtempo AOR), "No boundary" (nice semi AOR ballad) and "Undercover" (good uptempo melodic rocker, close to 80s NIGHT RANGER/8084).

Then we get to hear a very good track titled "House of cards". This song is a pure midtempo AOR song that sounds a bit like MARK FREE ('Long way…'), only not vocally. There's also an early JEFF PARIS influence in the song, but Joe probably doesn't know Jeff Paris, so who influenced who! Anyway, the CD continues with "I'm not givin' up", a good semi AOR ballad. The following two tracks ("Tomorrows dreams" and "Make no mistakes") are both great classy 80s typed uptempo AOR rockers in the style of AVIATOR. "Sideshow queen" is a nice semi AOR ballad.

The following two tracks are again very good and impressive AOR. "Tell me why" is a fantastic uptempo AOR song like STRANGEWAYS/SHY/FM… And "Lonely street" has a pompous mid-80s AOR sound like SURVIVOR and FORTUNE. This is one of the best tracks on this wonderful CD. The last 3 tracks are nice, but not as good as the already mentioned tracks. Notable is "Addicted to the thrill", a melodic rocker with some references to STRANGER and 38 SPECIAL.

Well, this CD is yours if you like the classic 80s AOR sounds of 8084, NIGHT RANGER, STRANGEWAYS, early FM and SHY. The only thing is that you must not expect a good production, but if you don't care about that, you will enjoy some wonderful AOR. Now it's up to the AOR Labels here in Europe to sign Joe Robinson a.s.a.p. Visit his website at: and e-mail Joe at:

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Out of Bremen, Germany comes ZERO ZERO, a female fronted AOR/Melodic Rockband. The band sent me a CDR with some songs they recorded through the years. 3 songs are on this CDR and I don't know if it is for sale, because the band never officially released a CD. But 2 of the 3 songs on this CDR can also be found on a compilation disc that was released a couple of years ago. That compilation CD was called 'Best of Bremen Sampler, volume2'. ZERO ZERO was featured on that disc with the songs "Here we are" and "Waiting for the moon".

These both songs are good AOR/Melodic Rockers like WITNESS. The third track on this CDR is the AOR song "Lover in my arms" which features some nice AOR keys and sounds like 80s HEART. 3 good songs, but actually we must wait until the band releases a real full-length CD in the future, then we can get a better view of this band. Still, the sound of this band is pretty nice AOR/Melodic Rock and anyone that loves female fronted melodic rockbands such as BAD SISTER, WITNESS, BLONDE ON BLONDE, ANNICA…need to check out this band at

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This Christian band is coming out of San Diego and their full-length debut CD 'Welcome to paradise' counts 9 tracks and was released earlier this summer. The band has just got a new drummer, Fred Helm, who formerly played with CRYSTAVOX, another Christian Melodic Rockband that put out two CDs earlier this decade. KRUSH is playing Melodic Hardrock/Metal with a heavy 90s guitarsound. Opener "Wrath" is very 90s, very heavy, very groovy and has nothing to do with our musicstyle.

Happily, next track "Find you" is a whole lot better and Melodic Rock. "Find you" still has an updated 90s sound, but it's the lovely catchy melodic chorus that is making this song pretty good. This melodic rocker reminds me of TEER and DOUBLE ECLIPSE, two other independent bands that also combine 90s guitarsounds with very melodic vocals and choruses. Anyway, to me this is KRUSH at their best, because the following 4 tracks are pretty much in the same 90s style as the opening track, so again not much for melodic rockfans.

Towards the end the band is getting a bit more melodic again and the last three tracks are pretty nice and even 80s typed. "Beside me" is a heavily 80s influenced uptempo MHR song that is pretty straight-ahead. "Afterglow" is a good MHR song that is close to DOUBLE ECLIPSE, yet with a nice 80s like guitarsolo. The CD closes with the good semi melodic rockballad "Lost". Well, it's hard to say that this CD is a pure melodic rockalbum, because despite 4 nice melodic rocksongs, the album is way too heavy for the melodic rockfans.

But I think if you like bands such as FEEL or DOUBLE ECLIPSE, then you might also try out this band. But if you're looking for your daily typical melodic rockband with a cheerful sound, then this KRUSH will be nothing for you. For the open-minded melodic hardrock/metal fan, this KRUSH may be very interesting to check out at: http://www.geocities/~krushweb

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


Only one song is included on this CD-single and it was recorded 10 years ago. Well, it was sent to me and the best thing I can do is reviewing it. BAM BAM BOYS was a Swedish band that recorded an album, but never released it. They did this single back in 1989 that has now been released on CD. The song is called "Let me touch your skin" and is features in two versions. It's a nice lighter semi AOR ballad with some references to ALIEN and STAGE DOLLS, but not as good.

Notable is the help they got back in 1989 from Herbie Herbert, the manager of the JOURNEY/THE STORM. He gave their sound a little bit of JOURNEY's 'Raised on radio' album. Maybe the other unreleased material will eventually see the light of day, because BAM BAM BOYS featured a lot of well-known Swedish musicians such as members of JAGGED EDGE, SKINTRADE and TALK OF THE TOWN. Therefore many people are now interested in hearing what these guys were making 10 years ago. Till then, they can enjoy at least one song of the BAM BAM BOYS. E-mail for into at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Out of Kansas City comes BLACK PEARL. This band is playing straight-ahead raw hard rock like AC/DC, KROKUS, KINGS OF THE SUN and DIRTY LOOKS…. There are 5 songs on their dam CDR and if you like that kind of rock, you can easily buy this BLACK PEARL. For all the info on this new band check their site at:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


JIMI JAMISON is back! 'Empires' is the title of the new CD of JIMI JAMISON. Jimi has released this new album as JIMI JAMISON'S SURVIVOR, but as we all know the name SURVIVOR actually belongs to the original founding member Franke Sullivan. But musically Jimi Jamison has now proved that he can also make some pure SURVIVOR typed Melodic Rock/AOR, something we can hear on the first track of this CD. There are 13 tracks on the CD and although it isn't 'Vital signs' or 'When seconds count' part two, it still is a very enjoyable AOR/Melodic Rockalbum.

I would describe the CD as a mixture of old SURVIVOR (early 80s), the last SURVIVOR album 'Too hot to sleep' and some of Jimi's solo album. Klay Shroedel, who also plays the drums on the album as well as arranging the album together with MICHAEL SEMBELLO, produced the CD. If we have a look at the songs, we can see that Jimi isn't a songwriter after all. Back in the SURVIVOR days he almost never wrote a song, and now on his new album, Jimi did only co-wrote a couple of songs.

Outside songwriter Kenny Mims (co-) wrote 7 songs out of the 13 included, so he was very important for this album, although he didn't do any other stuff on 'Empires'. Notable is the titletrack 'Empires' that was written by Jimi, Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik back in the days there was only one SURVIVOR, now they all have gone their separate ways. Now back to the CD, because it's all about the included music.

Opener "Cry tough" is a fantastic start, this is pure midtempo AOR and sounds a bit different than what we usually heard from SURVIVOR or Jimi Jamison. This killer opener also belongs to the better tracks of this album, but I didn't know that when I started listening to the album. Next track "Run from the thunder" is less AOR and is a midtempo melodic rocker with a nice hookline, but the chorus is a bit average. The song could have easily been on the first solo record of Jimi.

The CD continues with "I'm always here", the Baywatch song that has already been available on the 'Baywatch-compilation' as well as on the single that was put out by Frontiers one month ago. Then we get to hear the first SURVIVOR sounding AOR ballad "Empires". The fact that it was written in the SURVIVOR days, is only proving that it is a pure SURVIVOR sounding track. This classy AOR ballad is a duet between Jimi and a girl called Lisa Frazier, and could become a big hitsingle if it got some radio airplay. This starts me thinking, because if the song had been recorded for let's say 'Too hot to sleep', would the girl also be featured? But that's not so important, because I think it is a beautiful AOR ballad that can easily compete with the old SURVIVOR ballads.

Moving on with "First day of love", this track features some very heavy 90s based guitar riffs that we never heard on any of the SURVIVOR albums, but it's only a few seconds, because the song itself is a great midtempo AOR/Melodic rock with a classy SURVIVOR chorus. This song wouldn't have been out of place on the 'Too hot to sleep' record. Following track "Have mercy" was already on the CD-single 'I'm always here' and remains a good midtempo melodic rocker, but not the best track on this CD.

Then comes the second ballad, "Just beyond the clouds". This is a fantastic classic SURVIVOR typed AOR Ballad that really could turn out to become a big hit. The start of this song is just so SURVIVOR and so incredibly good. Another ballad that can easily be compared to the old SURVIVOR ballads. Then we move on into Classic SURVIVOR AOR Rock with the song "A dream too far". This is a superb 80s AOR rocker with a very Pompous sound, just like SURVIVOR circa "Burning heart", notable are the great AOR keys.

Next track "Love is alive" (written by Gary Wright) is the second average track (after "Run from the thunder"). The song has a groovy sound and a very average chorus. This average song is followed by "November rain", a nice AOR ballad but not as good as the previous two ballads on 'Empires'. Next track "Calling America" (written by Tom Cochran) has a chorus that sounds like a SURVIVOR anthem. Not as good as "Eye of the tiger" or "Burning heart", but still a classy midtempo AOR pure SURVIVOR kinda song.

The last two tracks on the CD are live versions of the old SURVIVOR classics "Burning heart" and "Rebel son". "Burning heart" is featured in a superb version with a second vocalist that has an amazing voice. I think it's guitarist Chris Adamson, because on the concerts of Jimi two years ago he also sang second vocals on "Burning heart". This guy can really sing well and it would not surprise me if he would do some more vocal songs for SURVIVOR or otherwise on a solo or other project, because the second vocalist on "Burning heart" really has a terrific AOR voice.

The other featured live version is from the SURVIVOR classic "Rebel son", less keyboard based, but still a great rocking version of this fantastic uptempo AOR rocker. Concluded, this new CD of Jimi Jamison is not as good as the old SURVIVOR records, but still a very good release and to me it is better than 'Too hot to sleep' (the last SURVIVOR record). If only Jimi could write some more songs by himself on a future record, then we would really know if he can make some material that is up there with the old SURVIVOR tunes.

The answer is now up to Frankie Sullivan and company and Jim Peterik with his WORLD STAGE 2000 to beat this release of Jimi. Now you may go ahead and purchase this wonderful record!

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


This was pretty much a surprise! I thought I was onto a CD full of poppy 90s based songs, but after listening to the first couple of tracks I got to hear some really great female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock. In fact, this is one of the better female fronted AOR/Melodic Rockalbums from the last couple of years. Right up there with JAIME KYLE, who has a similar sound as TANIA MILIC. Tania is an Australian lead vocalist who used to play in the melodic rockband SONS OF THUNDER, but has now released her first solo-album titled 'Eagles never cry'. 10 tracks can be found on the CD and what strikes me most are the impressive and very strong lead vocals of Tania. Besides singing, she also writes/co-writes all the songs on her CD.

The material is not much uptempo, but still a very enjoyable CD with many beautiful (semi) AOR/Melodic Rock Ballads. The lyrics are about the Christian belief of Tania. The CD starts with "Salvation", a great semi AOR/Melodic Rocker that sounds a little like DANTE FOX. A very good way to start and also the following track is very good. "Messiah" is a very impressive semi AOR/Melodic Rockballad that reminds me of VELOCITY (yet with female vocals). The song also has a great long guitarsolo. The next two tracks didn't grab my attention that much. "Deliverance" is o.k. melodic rock, but is a tad heavier with a more 90s approach, but still not bad. "I surrender" (not the ELLEN FOLEY or RAINBOW track) is a calmer AOR ballad.

Following track "Eagles never cry" is a nice duet between Tania and guest vocalist Paul Trinder, the song is a nice epic semi AOR ballad that remind me somehow of the second album of NIGHT! The CD continues with "Trust", on eof the few rockers on the album. This song is a great uptempo AOR rocker like 80s HEART, JAIME KYLE and the first CONNIE SCOTT. Next track "Dance with me" is a very good semi AOR/Melodic Rockballad that even reminds me of the new VENUS AND MARS record. "Peter's denial" follows and this is a nice calmer AOR ballad. Next track "Not too late" is another great semi AOR/Melodic Rocker a la DANTE FOX. Closing track "Eyes of fire" is a piano-ballad and closes nice and slow.

This CD of TANIA MILIC is a surprise to me and I can easily recommend to the fans of female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock, especially if you're into JAIME KYLE and DANTE FOX. The CD has a strong sound and the songs are all very good. Besides, Tania has a incredible voice that really suits the AOR/Melodic Rocksongs on her CD. For more info on Tania you should visit her website at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


No, this isn't THE STORM (with Kevin Chalfant). It also isn't STORM (the female fronted rockband that released two albums) or the other THE STORM that only put out a few demo tapes. This STORM is coming out of Danville, Illinois, USA - which is the same area where RATHSKELLER came from -. STORM was formed back in the early 80s and recorded a bunch of demo tapes during the 80s of which their first one was dated back from 1985. The 8 songs on this CD I've got over here were recorded in 1986 and although the music also sounds a bit like that time period it really doesn't sound dated.

STORM is a good melodic rockband and I am glad to hear that the band will probably record new songs in the near future, because this CD contains some good material. The CD starts with "She's got the night", a good 80s typed guitarorientated midtempo melodic rocker that is reminding me of ICON on their first couple of records. Next track "Edge of 17" is a very good early 80s typed uptempo AOR/Radiorocker that is quite close to 707, only the saxsolo is a bit disturbing, but the killer AOR chorus makes it up good.

Following track "Don't knock it" is a nice Melodic Hardrock song with some nice melodic vocals and a sound closely to UFO and URIAH HEEP. The melodic ballad "Cold & lonely" follows. Then we get to hear another UFO typed song titled "Too little - too late" that also has some SAMMY HAGAR references. "Getting closer" follows and is a nice uptempo melodic rocker that reminds me a little of the first two records of SANTERS. Next track "Try too hard" is a great 70s kinda melodic rocker that has some very good melodic harmonyvocals and a sound like STARZ, BAD BOY and MOXY. The CD closes with "Love me" which is a nice uptempo melodic hardrocktrack like early SANTERS again.

So, basically what we got hear is a nice guitar orientated melodic (hard) rockalbum (with less keyboards) that has definitely an 80s sound but doesn't sound dated at all. If you dig UFO, URIAH HEEP you might like this, but also if you like more melodic rock like BAD BOY or STARZ, you can try out this band. Let's hope the band records some new material and when they release it then you'll probably read it first over here. More info on STORM at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This is a band out of Illinois, USA with a female lead vocalist called Linda Larson. There are 7 tracks on their CD and musically JUSS NOYES is returning to the basic sound of Melodic Rock'n'Roll as it was back in the early 80s. Comparisons can be made to early PAT BENATAR, ELLEN FOLEY and also JOSETTE from today's musicscene. This means the songs on the CD are mostly uptempo. Instrumental the CD sounds very cheerful in a classy 80s kinda melodic rocksound, very similar to early PAT BENATAR.

Vocally it is a bit poppier, but in general speaking I like this CD. My favourite tracks are "I was made for you", "It's my life" and "Be mine tonight". But also the other songs are nice to hear. If you wondered what happened to the early 80s female fronted Melodic Poprocksound of acts like PAT BENATAR, SUE AND THE SAAD, LAURIE AND THE SIGHS, RENE ARNELL… then here's the answer of a 1999 acts that has captured this sound. The name of the band is JUSS NOYES and for more info on them you should visit their website at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


These guys come out of California and their CD 'The fine art of dining alone' (strange title, but a nice CD cover with a lovely looking girl having dinner all by herself) contains 10 tracks. Opener "Send me an angel" starts this CD pretty nice, a nice slowtempo melodic rocker. Moving on with "Feel this", a nice uptempo melodic poprocker. The style gets a twist on the following songs and is quite average actually. I rather had heard some more of those melodic rockers like the first two starters.

Later on the CD we get to hear a nice melodic rockballad titled "Breathe" and also the closing track "Rock and roll nights" doesn't sound bad at all, this is a good 70s typed rocker like APRIL WINE. But my complaints are that this band is making too many songs that are nothing special, songs like "Can't get the blues" and "No excuse" are examples of songs that really are not that good. On the other side, their songs "Send me an angel" and "Feel this" make sense and more songs in this style on a future disc should bring this band to higher places. For more info on FALLOUT, check their site at:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


This is a band out of the U.K. and their EP counts 5 tracks. I had hoped for a melodic rockalbum, but to be honest this band is way too much in today's pop/rock genre with a lot of alternative influences. The only song that I could pick out was "Small town" which has a nice melodic chorus. But mainly this band is only interesting for the people that really like today's alternative pop/rocksound. For more info, visit their website at:

(Points: - out of 10)


PERIL is coming out of Charlevoix, MI, USA and on their debut CD 'Kiss of fire' they perform some great 80s typed cheerful Melodic Rock that sounds like a mixture between 80s RATT, early SLAUGHTER and BRITTON. There are indeed some Party-Rock influences, but in general this band is a good melodic rockband. There are 12 tracks on their debut CD.

The album kicks off with "Back off", a nice pure 80s Melodic Hardrocksong like RATT meets SLAUGHTER. There are many songs in this style to be found on their CD, such as "All nite", "Only the lonely", "Rock & Roll ride" (more melodic rock a la BRITTON, AUTOGRAPH, TORINO…) and "Take it back". My favourite tracks though are "When we say goodbye", "My love" and "Catchin' the action".

"When we say goodbye" is a lovely semi melodic rockballad like FIREHOUSE, old SLAUGHTER, and old WARRANT. "My love" is a great melodic rockballad. And "Catchin' the action" is a pure 1986 re-visited partyrocker. The guitarsound is sounding so much like POISON's "Talk dirty to me", but still it is different, because the song has a very melodic chorus. A catchy uptempo and very cheerful tune that is easy to sing-a-long and is completely against everything that is popular at the moment.

In fact, this CD was originally released in 1993 and we all know that at that time this kind of music was totally dead. I don't know if "Catchin' the action" was on that disc back then, because it is now featured as a bonustrack on this 1996 re-release of the band's debut album I am reviewing. Anyway, fans of the late 80s/early 90s Mainstream Melodic Hard Rock of mentioned bands will dig this PERIL. The follow-up to this album is reviewed below.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


'Faces still unknown' is the follow-up to the above reviewed 'Kiss of fire'. PERIL is a 80s typed Melodic Rockband and this follow-up is in the same style as their debut. Not all the way though, because the first couple of tracks does have some heavier 90s based guitarsounds. Songs like "Freak of nature", "Faces still unknown" and "Fantasy world" are a bit average 90s based melodic hardrocksongs.

Happily, the rest of the CD is again in the pure 80s melodic rockstyle and reminds me of bands such as DANGER DANGER, FREEDOM CAGE, TRIXTER and especially RATT and WHITE LION with some DOKKEN influences thrown in for good measure. This second CD of PERIL is less partyrock based than their debut, and is much more Melodic Rock based. This can best be heard in the song "I know" which contains about everything you want to hear in a melodic rocker.

To me "I know" is the best track of PERIL and I wish they could make some more songs like these on a new CD. "I know" is a fantastic cheerful uptempo no-nonsense melodic rocker that sounds like a cross between DANGER DANGER and LOUD'N'CLEAR. The song captures the classy 80s sound we all love (d) so much, there are even keyboards in this killer track and that driving 80s rhythm sound is making this song so wonderful.

Although the rest of the CD is not as good as this song, we can surely enjoy a couple of more great melodic rockers such as "Worlds collide". This is a great semi melodic rockballad with even AOR influences in the melodic chorus. This song and also the midtempo melodic rocker "Fly away" (nice hookline and harmonyvocals) remind me of WHITE LION. Other nice melodic rockers are "Running free", "Until we meet again" (ballad) and "Not enough" (hello 80s RATT).

Check this band out if you like any of the mentioned acts and listen to their track "I know" for some superb classic 80s melodic rock. Info through their website at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This band has one of those lead vocalists that sound very close to the vocalists of QUEENSRYCHE, TNT, FATES WARNING and DREAM THEATER. This means a melodic singer with very high-pitched screaming vocals. Musically though ZIRCON is surprising me with their very melodic hardrock. A comparison with the 80s TNT sound should not be out of place over here. There are only 4 tracks on their demo tape, but enough to give you the idea of a good band.

The two songs of side-A were recorded in 1996, "Hostility brewing" and "Freedom" are the songtitles. The first one is the best, a good uptempo straight ahead melodic rocker. Moving over to side-B we can hear the best track of the band, namely "City lights", a fantastic uptempo 80s styled melodic rocker with a very catchy singable chorus. There are some superb melodic harmonyvocals in the chorus. This song was actually written in 1990, but I think it is the strongest song of the band, very melodic sound.

The other track of side-B is "Earth women" (written in 1989), a nice mixture of Partyrock and Melodic Heavy Metal, but definitely not the band's strongest song. ZIRCON is at their best during the uptempo melodic rockers and I look forward to hear some new material of this band in the future, hopefully in the style of their tune "City lights". For more info, write the band at: ZIRCON, 11255 Sunnydale Ct., San Diego, CA 92128, USA or write the band an e-mail at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


It came pretty much as a surprise that JOHN ELEFANTE was announced as the new signing on the Frontiers Recordlabel. This wonderful lead vocalist has done so many great things for the AOR scene in the past. He played in KANSAS and produced some fantastic pure AOR tracks back then. He also played with MASTEDON and almost the whole Christian AOR/Melodic Rockscene exists because of John and his brother Dino.

The guy is a legend and Christian AOR/Rocklabels released his previous two solo releases, so it was a surprise to see him now on a pure AOR label releasing his third solo-album. Musically John hasn't changed and again we can enjoy his wonderful voice on romantic and calmer Westcoast typed AOR songs such as "If you just believe", "The stream", "The truth, the life", "Defying gravity", "Exit 39", "Give it all away" and "Home with a view". The only tracks I found a little bit on the weak side were "Pass the flame" and "Don't leave the band". But in general this is a great album from a guy that I have always admired in a big way.

The style is somewhere between MARK SPIRO/TIM FEEHAN (without their rockers) and HIGHER GROUND versus RICHARD MARX. It's nothing for those who like to hear uptempo AOR with many guitars and keys. I would recommend this great CD to the AOR fans that also enjoy the calmer sounds of the genre without getting into the pure Pop.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


MILLENIUM is back with their second release titled 'Angelfire'. Musically they haven't changed that much, only the guitarsound has been put a little more to the front. Still, the Melodic Hardrock of MILLENIUM is very enjoyable to listen to, especially because of the beautiful vocals and harmonies that really suit the melodic music of this band. The sound is comparable to the debut albums of HAREM SCAREM and TALISMAN. There are 15 tracks on the new album and I have to say that the first 7 tracks are really good, while the second part of the CD is a little bit simpler and less melodic.

My favourite tracks are "Shaman", "Beyond the pain", "Until the end of time" (classy 80s uptempo melodic AOR rock like first HAREM SCAREM meets first TALISMAN), "Angelfire", "Heaven sent" (80s DOKKEN similarities) and "Julia". "Julia" is the best song of MILLENIUM, because this is really a superb semi AOR ballad with even some SURVIVOR influences. Like I already said, the last 6 or 7 tracks are just nice melodic rockers, but are not as melodic and energetic as the first part of the CD. However, this should not stand in your way to buy a copy of this good melodic rockalbum. A cross between the debut albums of TALISMAN and HAREM SCAREM, although not as sensational as those albums.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Z RECORDS signed Ken Tamplin and SHOUT not so long ago and this is the first CD that has been released by Z RECORDS concerning this new signing. It's a new solo record of SHOUT vocalist KEN TAMPLIN. Not a real new CD, because it is a best of CD with material that can also be found on earlier releases of Ken. It even includes a track of his side-project MAGELLAN ("Radio bikini"). 13 tracks are included and if you like the 80s melodic hardrock of DOKKEN, WHITESNAKE and ROUGH CUTT you will love this album.

The best songs are "Never stop" (SHOUT song, cheerful 80s uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock), "Radio bikini" (superb 80s melodic rock anthem with a killer singable melodic chorus, could've been as big as BON JOVI) and "You never give up" (from one of his solo records, great AOR song). The rest is more straight-ahead Melodic Hardrock like DOKKEN meets WHITESNAKE (this mixture can best be heard on the SHOUT rocker "Borderline"). Nice compilation and recommended if you're a fan of mentioned bands. Now we will have to wait for a real new CD of Ken and co.

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


ROD WILSON is a Christian artist from Morenci, MI, USA. Rod Wilson released his first album in 'The Realm of Sanctuary' in 1984. This album was a little bit much in the pop genre and only two or three songs could be considered poprock. In 1988 he released his second album titled 'Balance', a much rockier effort. Both albums are now finally easier to get hold of, so here's our review of Rod's second album' Balance'. There are 9 tracks on the album.

Opener "Can't stop rockin" starts with some great keys and although the vocals are not the best on offer, still this is a nice uptempo 80s based AOR/Poprocker like RICK CUA, RICK MATHEWS, MICHAEL MORALES and EDDIE MONEY… The following 3 songs are all very much in the Pop genre, but from track 5 on Rod is following a rockstyle. "Changes", "Lost in a maze" and "Jesus is coming" are nice uptempo poprockers like BILLY BRANIGAN, JOHN EDDIE and even BRYAN ADAMS. Basically, ROD WILSON is playing the quirky Melodic Poprock that was quite popular during the early and mid eightees. If you like guys such as JOHN EDDIE, DONNIE IRIS, MARTIN BRILEY… then it should be no problem for you to check this one out. More info at: Watch for the new release Full Circle in the fall of 1999.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


ANIMAL GRACE comes out of Springfield, Ohio, USA. They have just released a CD titled 'Finally' and on this disc we can find 14 songs. Musically ANIMAL GRACE is playing pure Rock. It's a bit 70s inspired and sounds a little raw in places not unlike BAD COMPANY or MOXY. My favourite tracks are "Words" (melodic rocker in 70s style), "The best of me" (calmer bluesy rockballad with a very melodic chorus), "Do it to you" (uptempo melodic rocker), "Downtown" (70s sounding melodic rocker) and "Bayberry dunes" (KISS styled 70s rocker). If you wanna hear the raw 70s rock like MOXY, APRIL WINE all over again, yet with an updated 90s sound, you should check out this ANIMAL GRACE. More info on their website at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


SURPRISE SURPRISE! I am proud to present the first AOR/Melodic Rockband out of Guatemala! VOX DEI is another great AOR/Melodic Rockband out of Latin America. And I can inform you that there are many more out there we are about to present to you. In the last couple of years we had great bands such as CODA, TERCER ACTO, CARTOON, ANJOS DA NOITE, MATTADOR… And now we can add VOX DEI. This is the first rockband I ever get to hear out of Guatemala and it is a great band too!

Thanks must go out to Robert Pancur for bringing this band to my attention. Anyway, there are 10 tracks on their debut (?) CD that was released sometime ago in 1995, but now has finally found it's way in Europe. The lyrics are Spanish, like many other Latin AOR bands, but that doesn't matter, because the music of VOX DEI is very impressive and pure AOR at times.

Opener "Fiely verdadero" is a semi progressive melodic rocker that is nothing special. But after this opener, things really get started with the good uptempo melodic rockers "Pacmnan" and "Mesias". Comparable to the first two Classics of Mexican AOR Rockers CODA, only not as commercial as them. "Gafas obscuras" features some fantastic classy piano AOR keys and the song develops into a great semi AOR ballad like TERCER ACTO and LAFASE. What strikes me though are the very good vocals of lead vocalist Estuardo Meza, he really is a pure AOR vocalist and deserves to be heard.

Following track "Cabezas de metal" contains some cheerful 80s AOR keys and the song itself is a great uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker like TERCER ACTO and LAFASE. In the same style is "El amor no se compra", although this song has some progressive, while the chorus, guitarsolo and keys are pure AOR! Probably the best track on this CD is "Hermanos contra hermanos". This is a great semi AOR ballad with a lovely guitarsolo and beautiful lead vocals of Estuardo. This is up there with Mexican AOR legends TERCER ACTO.

Following track "Golgota" is an acoustic instrumental track. The CD continues with "Ciudad distante", the titletrack of the CD which is a nice calmer AOR ballad. Closing track of the CD is "Vivo esta", a good AOR ballad. VOX DEI is another great AOR/Melodic Rockband out of Latin America and I can guarantee you that it will not be the last one featured on our page, because that part of the scene is just discovered.

You can get a copy of this CD through TARGET RECORDS at: E-mail Robert Pancur for a copy at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


French band that has released their debut CD on the French label Brennus Records. There are 13 tracks on the CD and musically the band is playing Progressive Melodic Hard Rock. The album contains a couple of very melodic songs that will even attract the fans of pure Melodic Rock. I am talking about the uptempo progressive melodic rockers "How do you feel", "There comes the day", "Lying" and "Amarte" (great keys, Latin melodic rocker a la TERCER ACTO). But the best song is the lovely semi AOR/Melodic Rockballad "Spanish kiss" with it's super melodic chorus. Still I don't recommend this CD to the pure melodic rockfans, because besides these 5 melodic rocksongs, the rest is much more progressive Metal orientated. But for the open-minded melodic rockfan, this CD is recommended.

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


PEACE CHILD is the follow-up band to ARSENAL, a melodic hardrockband that put out two releases. This PEACE CHILD is playing the same Christian Melodic Hard Rock as ARSENAL. There are 5 tracks on the CDR I've got here and it does sound pretty nice to me. Opener "Don't let the sun go down" is a great opening tune. This song is a very impressive melodic rockballad like HEART and VIXEN used to bring us. Next track "House of mercy" is a nice melodic rockballad. Following track "Missionary" is more 90s based rock, and is the weakest song on the CD. "Man-made religion" follows in a more 80s style, this song is straight-ahead uptempo melodic hard rock like LITA FORD and HEADPINS in their heydays. Closing track "Dreams" is a bit progressive melodic rockballad and closes this CD well. Fans of female-fronted melodic hardrock will like this one. More info on

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Escape Music has done a good job with the re-release of the second album of HEARTLAND. Now Escape Music has released a total of 5 HEARTLAND CDs and only the debut of this AOR band is missing in the Escape Collection. 'Wide open' is one of the best albums HEARTLAND released and now this re-release is a welcome for every AOR fan that missed the album when it was first released. Escape has added a couple of bonustracks to the original release of the Long Island Recordlabel.

Basically what you get is a fantastic AOR album with some classic tracks such as "Whenever you want me" (80s AOR at it's best, vocally close to ERIC MARTIN), "When I'm with you" (AOR ballad), "A town called pride" (fantastic AOR chorus), "Try me" (classy AOR chorus), "Burning the bridges" (strong midtempo AOR) and "Turning my heart right over" (midtempo AOR like "Waiting for love" - ALIAS/"Missing you" - JOHN WAITE). There isn't a weak song on this album, and I already look forward to the upcoming new CD of HEARTLAND. If you still haven't discovered HEARTLAND, you should start with buying this fantastic AOR album.

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Announced for a long time and now finally it has been released by Escape Music. This is the debut album of the new band STRANDED. STRANDED features Troy Reid on guitars, vocals, drums and Kenny Kaos on guitars. Both already released a couple of albums on Escape Music in other bands/projects. Troy released two albums with AGENT and Kenny released albums with THE DISTANCE and POKERFACE. This first CD of STRANDED is basically very much in the AOR direction.

There are 11 tracks on the album. The first two tracks, "Somebody laughs" and "Make your move", are the typical openers. Two nice uptempo melodic AOR/Poprockers, but nothing special. But then we get to hear some brilliant AOR in the shape of "Only human" and "Fight on". "Only human" is a great cheerful uptempo 80s styled AOR rocker that sounds like GIUFFRIA and VIRGINIA WOLF. And "Fight on" is a very strong midtempo pure AOR song a la SURVIVOR and ARTICA. A bit more 90s based is the slowtempo melodic rocker "Spaceman" that somehow reminds me of JIMI JAMISON. A song like "Still want you" is a great semi AOR ballad that sounds very much like JOHN PARR circa 'Man with a vision'.

The best songs though can be found at the end of the CD, namely the songs "Heart so cold" and "Tonight can last forever". "Heart so cold" is a great uptempo pure AOR rocker like old SURVIVOR/38 SPECIAL… Closing track "Tonight can last forever" is a fantastic pure 80s AOR ballad that is similar in style to JOURNEY and SURVIVOR. Concluded I can say that this is a very good AOR record that captures the 80s sound, while updating it with some 90s pop/rock influences. Recommended to fans of HEARTLAND, THE DISTANCE and the old SURVIVOR (with Dave Bickler).

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


PRIME ENTERTAINMENT is a German Recordlabel and their latest release is part two of their compilation series 'Let's get rocked'. These compilations contain songs of mostly German independent melodic rockbands. This volume two contains songs by WILD FRONTIER, MALLET, ESSEX, DIARY, AFFAIR, ANGEL HEART, LOVERING and many more. 17 songs are included and are performed by 16 bands (CROSSROADS EDGE is featured with two songs). Although a lot of songs have already been released by the individual albums of the bands, there are still some bands I never heard of.

The band that caught me by surprise was LOVERING, the only non-German band. LOVERING is a Canadian AOR band that has released a CD titled 'Calm before the storm' on the German Melodic Rocklabel Maple Leaf Records. The song of LOVERING is titled "One more lie" and this song is really wonderful midtempo (pure) AOR like ROKBOX, ALIAS, MARK FREE ('Long way from love')… I am almost dying to hear the debut CD of this new AOR sensation from Canada. Hopefully a review will follow shortly.

The rest of the compilation disc was not as interesting as LOVERING, but still we can hear some interesting melodic rocktracks. The band ESSEX released a great melodic rockalbum titled 'D7' a couple years ago and they are featured with a new song titled "Painted smile". This song will also be the titletrack of their soon-to-be-released album. I am pretty much looking forward to hear that new album, because this song is great uptempo hookladen AOR a la FAIR WARNING.

The band SUN'N'STEEL is bringing us melodic hardrock a la BONFIRE, CASANOVA on their song "Writings on the wall". In the same style we can hear a song called "Saga of the rings" of the band DEVEREAUX, who are coming out of Augsburg. Most of the rest is either well-known melodic hardrock (WILD FRONTIER, AFFAIR, MALLET, CROSSROADS EDGE, DIARY, ANGEL HEART, RABBIT HILL) or unknown average heavy rock (ARREST, GHANDI, CHINCHILLA, FALLACY).

Still, this is a good opportunity to get to know some of the underground melodic rock out of Germany. More info on this release via the website of Prime Entertainment at:

(Points - out of 10)


MALLET is a German rock'n'roll band that has been on the scene for almost twenty years now. During that period, they have managed to release a couple of albums and most of them were released in the 90s. Musically MALLET always brought us straight-ahead party hard rock a la KISS, KIX, and KEEL… yet with a melodic rocksound. On their previous CD we saw the band moving more into a pure melodic rockstyle and this new CD is almost a pure melodic rockalbum that sounds pretty close to bands like HEAVENS EDGE, XYZ, WINGER, DOKKEN, TALISMAN, WHITE LION and early TYKETTO.

The songs have not much in common with AOR, no, this is pure Melodic Rock like it was played in the 80s by so many acts. Their self-produced CD contains 14 tracks. The album opens with "What's the difference between black & white", a cheerful melodic rock in the purest 80s style. It reminds me a lot of the first WINGER record. Following track "Roll mallet roll" is pretty weak simple rock'n'roll, but don't let this hold you back, because the following 3 songs are very good melodic rocksongs.

"Heaven" is a great semi melodic rockballad a la DOKKEN (not vocally of course), "I wanna be with you" is a great semi melodic rockballad along the lines of TALISMAN and "Goodbye, farewell, goodbye" is a lovely melodic rocker a la early TYKETTO. So, you got three more great melodic rockers, but there is more to follow! First there is the simple MHR song "The right answer", but this is followed by the brilliant relaxing semi melodic rocker/ballad "So long" that sounds like early TYKETTO. So, we have heard about 5 great melodic rocktracks out of the first 7 songs included on this CD.

Moving over to the second part of the CD, I am afraid the band is heading for a simpler rock'n'roll sound and is bringing us average tracks such as "Dideldidoo" (AEROSMITH kinda freakin' groovy MHR), "Passion to dance" (not that band, but simple and nothing special), "Tanz der Schweine" (short filler), "Heaven" (same song, now in an acoustic version), "Cruisin' cowboy" (KISS rocker) and "Lullaby for Sally" (uptempo melodic rocker). These songs are not really bad, but less interesting and much simpler rock'n'roll based compared to the 5 great melodic rocktracks of the first part of the CD.

Happily, there is one more melodic rocker, namely the semi melodic rockballad "Take me far away". But still I think the band can do much better, because listening to the first 7 tracks, there is some great melodic rock to be heard, while the rest of the CD is a bit average rock'n'roll based. Still an interesting release to look for if you like that good old 80s typed melodic rock of DOKKEN, TALISMAN, WINGER and HEAVENS EDGE. More info on the website of MALLET at: http:///

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This is something totally different than most releases on Escape Music. CONQUEST is a Progressive Melodic Hardrockband and has nothing in common with the mostly AOR sounding bands of Escape Music. Still, this band can also attract AOR fans, because there is enough melody in their songs we can all enjoy. I found this CONQUEST (not to be confused with same named American Partyrockband) sounding a lot like their Scandinavian neighbours of ZEELION. In fact, if you enjoyed that ZEELION release, you don't need to read further, because then this is just a must for you!

Still, I wouldn't call this CD as good as ZEELION, because towards the end of the CD, the band sounds a little average in places. But the start of this 11-track CD is very good. Opener "Changes" is a good midtempo melodic rocker. "Different worlds" follows and this is a great uptempo melodic rocker. "No more crying" starts with a typical Swedish melodic sing-a-long chorus and this song is a great uptempo melodic rocker like TALISMAN. "Heal my soul" follows in a moody and slower tempo, still an enjoyable bluesy melodic rocker like WHITESNAKE.

After this song, the CD gets a twist into a melodic heavy rocksound with songs like "Heat of the flame", "Down for the count", "Sister moon" and "Flesh and blood" that all sound like PRETTY MAIDS. Not bad or anything, but too heavy for the fans of AOR and Melodic Rock. "As far as the eye can see" is a 80s typed melodic heavy rocker that sounds like a mixture between PRETTY MAIDS and FIFTH ANGEL with some HELLOWEEN thrown in for good measure. The piano/acoustic ballads "Guardian angel" and "Through the time" are also not really sensational. The start of this CD was pretty good and very melodic rock based, but after a while the CD gets more a melodic heavy rock/metal style. It's not bad, but I think it is too heavy for the AOR/Melodic rockfans.

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


PHIL NARO is a Canadian lead vocalist who has been with a couple of bands such as 24K, EMPIRE and NARO. NARO released the CD 'Press play' a couple of years ago, but most of his other recordings never got released until now. This CD of PHIL NARO is titled 'Ten year tour' and is basically a trip into Phil's career, including loads of unreleased recordings recorded between 1988 and 1998. Notable is that musically Phil never changed much and almost every recording on this CD is in the melodic rock vein.

There are 15 tracks on the CD and I couldn't find any weak song on the CD. Songs like "Jessie", "From the bottom of my heart" and "Every now & then" are good melodic rockers that remind me of JESSIE'S POWERTRIP and THE INNOCENT. The lead vocals of Phil somehow remind me of the lead vocalist of THE OUTFIELD, especially in the song "Equilibrium". Anyway, my favourite tracks rise above towards the end of the CD.

"I can't win", for example, is a fantastic Power AOR Ballad like DAMN YANKEES. In the same direction is the fantastic semi-ballad "Is this what love's all about" which was co-written by the guys of WALL OF SILENCE/THE WORKS. "I got a line" is a good melodic rocker that reminds me of CARL DIXON. In fact, a lot of the songs on this CD remind me of CARL DIXON and early CONEY HATCH, which means good strong melodic rock with an important part for the guitar.

A good solid record of PHIL NARO and with an updated sound it should do fine among the melodic rockfans. More info on PHIL NARO through his website at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


'17 castle heights' is the title of the debut CD of the American artist JOHN BABCOCK. This advanced promo CDR of the upcoming release of John was sent to me by his producer David Mikeal from MPG and DAVID. Musically John is a bit different than DAVID, but still in the melodic rockstyle. There are 12 tracks on the CD and especially the beginning of the CD is sounding pretty good.

"The girl's alright" is a good uptempo melodic poprocker that reminds me of the old MICHAEL MORALES. Following track "This thing called love" is in the same style and comes close to RICK MATHEWS. These two openers are great songs, but the following tracks were less rocky unfortunately. "In your eyes", "Ain't she just the prettiest thing?", "Baby, you're a rich man", "The dream that got away" and "If a touch could talk" are all very pop based and remind me of the 70s popsound.

Happily, there are also some more melodic rock orientated songs on the CD besides the two opening tracks. "Circle" is a nice JOHN WETTON kinda poppy AOR song. "Got to find a place" and "Seven angels" are nice JOHN PARR styled poprockers. But the best track on the whole CD has to be "One more (for the heart)". This song is good midtempo AOR like MARK SPIRO, 80s JOHN WAITE and JOHN PARR circa 'Man with a vision'. Great song and together with the first two tracks these are the 3 songs that show JOHN BABCOCK at his very best. More songs in this style on a future CD is a guarantee for more AOR fans for John.

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


In front of me is an advanced promotional CDR for the new PETE SANDBERG album 'Jade'. The album will be released in November in Europe, although it has been out for a while in Japan under a different CD title. The new CD of former ALIEN/MIDNIGHT SUN/SNAKE CHARMER lead vocalist Pete Sandberg is rockier than his first effort. The new CD contains pure AOR, Bluesy rockers and Melodic Hardrock. The beginning of the CD ("Badlands", "Restless" and "Cry for you") are all nice melodic (hard) rocksongs in the style of bands like JADED HEART and BONFIRE, a bit German typed melodic rock.

"Stranger" on the other hand captures a classic AOR rocksound, close to THE STORM. A superb track and definitely Pete at his best, this song shows how good Pete can sing and why he became the vocalist for ALIEN. Following track "Going down" is a weak bluesy track that is close to the later FM albums. But next track "Venedigen blind" is again a fantastic AOR track. This song is really a wonderful semi AOR ballad.

After again an average track ("Little bit of lovin") we can hear the third (and final) pure AOR track. The song is titled "Distant love" and boy what a terrific midtempo AOR track this is. This song is very close to THE STORM. The last 4 tracks are just nice Melodic Hardrocktracks. Concluded I can add that this new CD has something for everyone that is into Melodic Rock and related styles. Release in November.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


I don't have much info on MICHAEL SCIUTO, because this is only an advanced demo CDR I've got for review. Musically MICHAEL SCIUTO falls in the category of hi-tech AOR/Poprock in the style of guys like ROBERT TEPPER, RICK SPRINGFIELD (circa 'Tao', 'Rock of life', 'Karma'), THOWSEN, JIMMY MARTIN and also some STAN MEISSNER. This typical style can best be heard on the opening track "Living on the edge". Nice song, but not pure AOR.

Next track "Broken heart in paradise" is more into pure AOR; this song is a great AOR rocker a la MARK SPIRO. Following tracks "Every night I wonder" and "I had a dream last night" are good midtempo AOR songs, close to ROBERT TEPPER. "Perfect weather" is a bit too hi-tech for my ears, this is poprock close to what Rick Springfield did on his 'Tao' and 'Rock of life' recordings. I prefer the pure AOR style of a song like "Our love". This is a very nice AOR ballad in the best 80s style, some great AOR keys can be heard at the start of this song. Somewhere along the lines of JIMMY HARNEN.

The last couple of tracks are a bit of a let down. Songs like "Art of love", "Stand by me" and "One love to give" are o.k. sounding, but not so strong to make this a winner for the AOR fans. Though if you appreciate the music of RICK CUA, you will love this. The closing track (as far as this advanced CDR concens) is the silly pop/rock tune "Livin' in the 60s" which makes me think of the quirky sounds of MARTIN BRILEY and his 'brother' DONNIE IRIS. It is clear that the songs on this CD are more 80s based than the 80s itself. Keyboard Hi-Tech dominated AOR/Poprock is what I should call this. Recommended if you like guys such as RICK CUA, RICK SPRINGFIELD and ROBERT TEPPER (his debut 'No easy way out', only without the titletrack classic).

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Only one song on this new single of the American band MACHINE MESSIAH. The song is called "Open my heart", a great uptempo melodic AOR rocker in the best 80s tradition. Sounds like the classic debut of DANGER DANGER. Anyway, listen to the song for yourself through their website at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


REAL TENSION is a Japanese band that sent me 3 of their demo tapes. A total of 10 songs can be found on these 3 tapes. Musically this band is playing melodic power metal and just normal hard rock/metal. One of their song is called "Real tension" and this is a recommended piece of for fans of fast power metal a la HELLOWEEN. But this band has nothing to offer for melodic rock/aor fans. Only for die-hard metal fans and if you like old LOUDNESS. Here's their website address:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


I am glad TALISMAN has released a new CD that is again in the melodic rockstyle of their first couple of albums. There are 13 tracks on the album and JEFF SCOTT SOTO is the shining star again with his superb vocals. Although the start is a bit average, there are some brilliant tracks on the CD. For example, "Here 2day, gone 2day" is a great uptempo melodic rocker in the typical TALISMAN style. "I'll be there 4 U" is in the same style and is pure 80s based. Also "Angel/devil" has that feeling.

The best track to me is "Heaven's got another hero" which is a fantastic midtempo pure AOR song, quite different than the rest of the material. The CD also captures a nice cover of a MADONNA track "Frozen". There aren't many weak songs on the CD. The only songs that should have been left off the CD are "Darling Nikki" (pure alternative 90s modern pop/rock) and the weird track "Your man" (this is 70s based and sounds damn much like HALL AND OATES). Despite these two songs, this is a good quality melodic rockalbum and shows TALISMAN returning to the style that made them popular.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The reformed MAD MAX has been working hard on the new CD, which is the follow-up to 'Night of passion'. That album was released in 1987 and was a pure DOKKEN sounding melodic rockalbum. The new CD 'Never say never' is following a heavier direction, while still being on the ground of melodic (hard) rock. MAD MAX is now similar in style to CASANOVA, BONFIRE, BOYSVOICE, DEMON DRIVE and some JADED HEART.

The best tracks are "Womanizer" (uptempo melodic rock in typical German style), "Nowhere town" (great AOR/Melodic rockballad) and "Heart's on fire" (great polished uptempo melodic rocker like DOKKEN, FATE and CASANOVA). The remaining tracks are also good, but some are just nice melodic heavy rock. If you're a fan of typical German melodic (hard) rock of bands such as MAD MAX, CASANOVA, BOYSVOICE, BONFIRE… you can easily buy this CD.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


INNER RESONANCE features Peter Orullian on vocals and keys and Jeffrey Ryan Smooths on guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. Jeffrey's solo-CD has also been reviewed by us, and got a good review because it was filled with some good melodic rock. Now this project of Jeffrey is a bit more progressive orientated than his solo-CD. This is partly due to the lead vocals of Peter who has a similar voice to Geoff Tate (QUEENSRYCHE). Musically it is a bit reminding of the old QUEENSRYCHE, while being more melodic in approach.

There are 10 tracks on the CD with a playing time of almost one-hour. Best tracks to me are "Solar wind" (nice uptempo melodic rocker) and "Desire to believe" (with it's very melodic guitarsound). Most of all this CD is a very much recommended CD if you're into Progressive Melodic Hard Rock (a bit like ZEELION, only without the AOR influences). The vocalist is sounding so much like Geoff Tate, that you can't ignore this band if you're a QUEENSRYCHE fan. This band would not be out of place as a future Limb Music Recordlabel release. Get all the info on their website at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Out of Ohio comes this U.S. 19. A new band that features a couple of musicians that have already gained some success. Rick Moon, guitarist, producer and music writer of the band, has worked with Robbie Steinhardt of KANSAS on several album projects. And bassist Eddie Pecchio played on the album 'Aces' by the AOR/Radiorockband JONAH KOSLEN AND THE HEROES back in the early 80s. US 19 also features former CRIMSON GLORY keyboardist John Zahner. The line-up is completed with drummer Dana Newcomer and vocalist John Vasalakis.

There are 11 tracks on their debut CD 'The eye of the storm' and musically it features a diverse range of musicstyles while preferring a melodic rockstyle. Opener "Mr. Bad habit" is a bit weird and hard to categorise. Next track "Don't touch me there" is poprock like BRYAN ADAMS did on his last couple of solo-albums. Then follows "Castles", this is a nice KANSAS influenced progressive AOR ballad. "Heartache beat" follows and this is a very good uptempo AOR rocker that reminds me a little of SUNSHINE JIVE and JOURNEY. This AOR based song is probably the best tracks on offer and doesn't have any other musical influences.

"I call your name" is the other way around, because this is suddenly a pop/reggea kinda song that has absolutely nothing to do with rock. Happily, next track "Love me forever" is again much better, because this is a nice melodic pomprocker with some references to the old STYX. And again a good track is followed by a weird popsong. This time it is a song called "It's all right, it's o.k." which is a funky groove song. Followed by "Heroes", a very good AOR ballad like DAVE BALDWIN and DENNIS DEYOUNG's STYX ballads. Somehow it's a bit reminding me of the late 70s. Anyway, the CD continues with "What are you doing" which is again a weird funky pop influenced track. After "Letter to my friend" (an acoustic tingled YES kinda progressive song) the CD closes with the titletrack. This song is the rockiest song on this CD and maybe also one of the best songs, because "Eye of the storm" is a pure uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker which is totally different than the rest of this CD.

On a future CD I would like to hear more of such tracks as the titletrack. This really is a great tune with a typical 'band' sound. For more info on US 19 visit their websites at: or or

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)

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