Site hosted by Build your free website today!


STEVE NEWMAN is back with his second CD release. This time the man has been signed to Escape Music and after listening to this new album, I can see why. The sound on this CD has the typical Escape Music sound, which means cheerful AOR/Melodic Rock with a lot of keys, harmonyvocals, hooklines and catchy memorable choruses. In fact, this album sounds very close to the debut of other British AORsters CHANGE OF HEART. This is partly due to the fact that both albums have been mixed by Delwyn Brooks. So, I think the people know what to expect from NEWMAN.

Although Steve said that this new CD would be much better and different from the debut, I haven't heard much difference. The debut CD was an excellent AOR release and so is this CD. The only difference with the debut is that Steve Newman has been helped by some additional musicians such as Mikey J (bassist of KICK), Nick Workman (vocalist of KICK), MARK THOMPSON SMITH (the solo-performer) and Rob Kurzreiter (drummer of DISTANCE and BOULEVARD). Musically it is a continuation of the debut like I said, maybe the keyboards are a bit pushed to the background during the songs and there are some sharp guitar riffs here and there, but basically it is still pure AOR/Melodic Rock.

The CD starts with "One step closer", a great uptempo AOR/FM-rocker with the keys, harmonyvocals and chorus in the perfect place. Right after starting this CD, you can hear the fantastic huge sound and production this CD has. Compliments to the production of Steve Newman and Chris Jones. Next track "Desperate hours" has a classic AOR keyboard/guitar intro (a la INTRUDER) and the song itself is a great midtempo heavy AOR song. "Don't walk away" has a classy AOR chorus that is very close to the debut CD of HAREM SCAREM. Then we get to hear the first average track, "Judgement day", a midtempo melodic rocker with no special feelings. "Should've been me" on the other hand is a great semi AOR ballad that is in the ROXUS style.

"Taboo" is a more 90s based MHR song that is a bit of a filler. Happily, the next track follows a pure AOR sound. "Fire of love" is a fantastic classic AOR song that sounds like a mix between the first HAREM SCAREM and the first MITCH MALLOY. This is the kind of  AOR song I was waiting and hoping for, definitely one of the best tracks on this CD! Next two tracks ("Strongest heart" and "Strange animal") are not really something special. The last two tracks however are winners for the fans of pure AOR. First there is "The call", a great uptempo AOR rocker. And the closing track of the CD is "Joanne". This is a fantastic midtempo AOR song a la STAN BUSH (and it's not a cover!).

So, what can I say more about this release? If you're a fan of the Escape Music products, you are gonna love this. Cheerful AOR/Melodic Rock with keys, hooklines, catchy choruses, keyboards, harmonyvocals and some sharp guitar riffs combined in a huge Arena sound. If bands like ROXUS, INTRUDER, CHANGE OF HEART, early STRANGEWAYS, early FM… are your cup of tea, you can't go wrong with this new NEWMAN release. And I must admit this NEWMAN release is sounding great, but it's not as classic as mentioned bands. Still it is very much worth buying and recommended to any AOR fan.

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Do not confuse this POWERPLAY with the same named Dutch Pop/Rockband. This POWERPLAY is coming out of Switzerland and 'Hasta la vista…' is their debut CD which was released in 1997. The self-produced CD contains 12 tracks. Musically the band plays pure Rock and on a couple of songs the sound is melodic rock orientated. The best tracks are "Break the rules" (melodic rocker with a nice melodic chorus), "Emergency" (great AOR keys, very much 80s VAN HALEN orientated melodic rocker), "Take it or leave it" (also VAN HALEN based melodic rocker) and "Shades and moonlight".

"Shades and moonlight" is the best song on this CD, a melodic rocker with a very catchy chorus that reminds me of AOR/Radiorockers THE PROMISE. But only the chorus of this song reminds me of that Scottish band, because POWERPLAY have nothing to do with AOR. But if you like late 70s based rock with some VAN HALEN influences you should try this band. E-mail at: and visit their website at: or write to their postal address: Powerplay, Andi Kocher, Zollweidenstrasse 19, CH-4142 Muenchenstein, Switzerland.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


This German band is very new, because some of the bandmembers (like the female lead vocalist Beate Blisnjuk) joined the band recently. Their debut-CD is more like a CD-single, because 'Too late' contains only 3 tracks. First track is the titletrack "Too late", a good uptempo melodic rocker. Second track is the melodic rockballad "Broken heart, a nice song. Closing track "When the children cry" is a bit more progressive melodic rock a la ETERNAL LIGHT and in this song the vocals of Beate are a bit on the weak side. She is not the strongest point of the band, the music though is o.k. Because the band also has a keyboardist in their line-up, the music has some occasional AOR references. Get more info by visiting their website at: or e-mail them at: or write to their postal address at: Rock Of Ages, Steinkamp 17c, 23795 Bad Segeberg, Germany

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Some people are saying that this new release of the German band HOTWIRE is giving them the chance to become one of the better sounding melodic rockbands from Germany. Well, after listening to the whole CD I wasn't really impressed and they are certainly not as good as FAIR WARNING, BONFIRE or FRONTLINE. HOTWIRE has released just a nice Melodic Rockalbum, but nothing sensational. In fact, the first 5 tracks are a bit average melodic rocksongs with only "Once in my life" worth mentioning, because this is good midtempo melodic rock like ZENO. In the same style, only better, is the track "Waitin' for a sign". This song is followed by the best track on this CD, namely "Save me", this is uptempo melodic rock in the FAIR WARNING style. Some nice midtempo melodic rock in the BONFIRE style are the songs "Daddy's angel" and "Face another day". Uptempo AOR/Melodic rock in a typical German rockstyle can be heard in the song "Stay in motion". Closing track "Harder every day" is a nice piano-ballad. The upcoming new releases of similar acts BONFIRE and JADED HEART will be much better, still if you like this kind of melodic rock you can enjoy this new CD of HOTWIRE. But as I remember, their debut was even a bit better. So, don't expect a huge release, although I must admit that the production and sound are very good.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


When I started listening to the second CD of this American band I thought they must have changed their musicstyle after so many years (they released their debut almost 10 tears ago). But they have not changed a bit. JAILHOUSE still play the good old 80s Melodic Hardrock in the style of bands like 80s DOKKEN, HEAVENS EDGE, MASS… The first 3 tracks are not really special and are even a bit in the AEROSMITH style. But the tracks 4, 5 and 6 are all in the classic 80s Melodic Rockstyle. "Long way up" and "I believe" are both straight-ahead uptempo melodic rockers like a mixture between 80s DOKKEN and HEAVENS EDGE. And "Tell me" is a great FIREHOUSE, LOUD'N'CLEAR, DAMN YANKEES styled Melodic Rockballad, very early 90s US Mainstream orientated and ten years back it would have been huge in The States.

The following 3 tracks are unfortunately again a bit more average Melodic groovy rockers in the LYNCH MOB style, but the tracks 10, 11 and 12 are all cheerful uptempo melodic rockers in the style of DOKKEN, HEAVENS EDGE… These songs are titled "Sweet angel", "Love me" and "Please come back". The latter also appeared on the debut mini CD of the band. In fact, the closing 5 tracks are all from the debut CD of JAILHOUSE. If you don't have that mini CD, this is a good opportunity to buy this good CD. Further I would recommend this CD to everyone that digs 80s typed guitar orientated melodic hardrock like ROUGH CUTT, LOUD'N'CLEAR, 80s DOKKEN, HEAVENS EDGE and also VELOCITY fans will enjoy this CD. The beginning is a bit average, but the rest of the CD is pretty worth listening to and quite melodic.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Alan Askari is a vocalist/guitarist from Belgium and on his debut CD which has only been released through Japanese Import he present us a melodic FM-rockstyle that has influences of the 80s BRYAN ADAMS and does also sound quite like his countryman LYNX. Tommy Newton (VICTORY/GAMMA RAY) produced the 12 tracks on the CD and it actually never gets sensational. It's a bit the same story as above reviewed TONY KISHMAN. Opener "Dance of the guilty" is probably the best track and can be described as good midtempo AOR/Melodic rock. After this song, the CD just sounds nice, but definitely not sensational. Tracks like "She's in red" or "When the thrill is gone" are nice uptempo melodic FM-Rockers. A song like "It never stops" is a bit heavier and more moving into the late 80s US Sound of bands like KEEL, SLAUGHTER. On the other hand songs like "Tired of the rain", "Angel out of nowhere" and "Tired eyes" move more into a AOR Direction. Don't expect a sensational CD when you decide to buy this, just another nice supply to the large collection of the AOR Fan.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


An English band that will release this CD next month on Neat Records. There are 15 tracks on their debut CD. The music is typical English Melodic Hard Rock like it was played in the 80s by bands like HEAVY PETTIN and FASTWAY. The best tracks are "A reason to live" and "Only this time", because they sound very melodic and are similar in style to the 80s DOKKEN. You can hear some good choruses in these songs. But my complaints are that most of the songs on this CD have a similar sound and the vocals are a bit average. Some songs also remind me of the (much hated) 'Welcome to the madhouse' CD of the band SHY. Still I think this CD is recommended if you like bands such as FASTWAY, LEA HART, HEAVY PETTIN, CHROME MOLLY…

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


I don't think anyone has ever heard of this band. They come out of Germany and play a mixture of AOR, Westcoast and Pop with a lot of acoustic guitars. I quite enjoyed the first 5 tracks on their CD 'First impression' which was produced by Aino and Rudi Kronenberger and contains 13 tracks. BARFLY has 7 members and a few different vocalists I believe, but most of the songs are sung by a female vocalist who has a very good voice actually. The music is comparable to HEART and CHALLENGE and has some great harmonyvocals and choruses that sound pretty much in the AOR style. Unfortunately the music is a bit poppy at times and after the first 5 tracks, the CD gets a bit of a twist into a Pop direction sadly. Let's first talk about those first 5 songs.

Opener "Perfect world" is a great AOR song with impressive hooklines, harmonyvocals with the use of acoustic guitars and quite reminding me of HEART. Next song "The night is young" is a bit poppy and similar in style to 70s HEART/DIXON HOUSE BAND. Then we can hear a great calmer AOR song titled "How long" with a lovely chorus and reminding me of those 80s US Movietracks. Sadly the song has an irritating saxsolo. Next track "Last kiss" hasn't a sax and is a great calmer AOR Ballad with a nice guitarsolo and up there with BLUE RAIN and HEART.

The following track "Beg, borror & die" is pretty much in the 80s uptempo AOR-rockstyle. This is the best song of the CD and after this song the CD is heading into a pop direction that even reminds me of The Carpenters on the closing 3 tracks. Only "Heaven" is a nice semi AOR Ballad. The music still is very suitable for radio-airplay, but only recommended if you like your AOR very calm and Pop based. Also suitable for VENUS AND MARS fans. Get a copy of this CD by contacting Robert Pancur at the following e-mail address:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


This Japanese guy does everything on his own (music, vocals, guitars, keys, drums, bass, production, lyrics, arranging, mixing and engineering). He is pretty popular in Japan, but outside his homecountry I never saw anything about him. His CD 'Sign of the times' is a very melodic album. It is the album YNGWIE MALMSTEEN could have made after the album he did with JOE LYNN TURNER on vocals. The vocals of Kelly are pretty good actually. There are 10 tracks on the CD, of which 4 are instrumental classical orientated melodic heavy rocker in the MALMSTEEN style. The instrumental "Cry for you" is actually a pretty relaxing ballad. Now let's talk about the vocal tracks. Opener "Eternal flame" is a very fast melodic rocker that sounds like a mixture between ROYAL HUNT and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. The following track "Cry for love" is a good midtempo melodic rocker that sounds like the 80s DOKKEN. Then follows a lovely melodic rockballad titled "I'll never say goodbye". This song has that US Commercial sound of the ballads that were recorded 10 years ago by bands like WARRANT, WINGER, FIREHOUSE, and DAMN YANKEES… Very impressive song. This can also be said of "Stay in my heart" that is also a lovely AOR/Melodic Rock ballad. Some more 80s DOKKEN melodic rock can be heard in "Blind faith.

This is a good CD with my compliments to Kelly Simonz for a very good sound and production. Without any doubts, this is the kind of CD that should be on a major label. Visit the WebSite of Kelly at:  and e-mail him at: or write him at: Kelly Simonz, 3-14-21 Onodai Osakasayama-City, Osaka 589-0023, Japan.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


I believe this American band is coming out of New York. Peter Martin produced their 12-track CD. Musically we have to deal here with a very laid-back AOR/Melodic Pop (rock) orientated all-female band. It's not really sensational, but if you like the last HEART, LENITA ERICKSON or VENUS AND MARS you will probably enjoy this. "The crush" is not the famous radio song we've been hearing a thousand times a day, but a good uptempo AOR Ballad like the classic HEART style and has a very nice guitarsolo at the end. Some more 90s melodic poprock like VENUS AND MARS are the songs ""One step" and "The door".

Very relaxing is the track "Holding me", calmer AOR which is sounding like a mixture between SHARON O'NEILL and LENITA ERICKSON. It's almost Westcoast! A bit too much Pop based are the songs "I'll be fine", "Steal a kiss" and "One more time", but the CD closes nice with the track "Again", a nice laid-back AOR Ballad like LENITA ERICKSON and ROBIN BECK. Not really heavy, but if you're into mentioned female fronted acts you have to look for this. I believe they have another CD out. You can get a copy if you contact Robert Pancur at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)

Another American AOR artist. PAUL SABU produced the CD of TONY KISHMAN. Paul also played guitar and wrote all the songs together with Tony. The music on the CD is not sensational, but nice background AOR that reminds me a bit of DAN LUCAS and PETTER BECKETT. The influence of PAUL SABU can not be heard, because TONY KISHMAN is much more laid-back AOR than the rougher melodic rock of PAUL SABU. Opener "Headin' for a rough ride" is nice uptempo aor/melodic poprock clearly in the DAN LUCAS style. The best tracks are "Let me down easy", "How am I gonna get by" and "Serenity". All 3 in the AOR style of the BECKETT album and the first RICK PRICE CD. The rest of the CD is never sensational, but also never weak (except for the bluesy poprocker "Catch 22"). A nice supply to your collection, but lately we have had so many better new AOR releases that this one will probably be ignored by most of you.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


When you see a former BOSTON member appearing on a new release, you can most of the time expect something good. BARRY GOUDREAU produced the CD of this female vocalist and also played some guitars. In the past, Barry did the same for some great releases of bands like ORION, RTZ and his solo-release. This album is a big disappointment, because it has nothing to do with BOSTON, AOR or any kind of Melodic Rock. This CD is filled with poor material that reminds me of BONNIE RAITT. Pretty bad stuff, there is even some pure blues on the CD. Forget about this release and why Barry appears on this 'terrible' album is a big question to me!

(Points: 3.5 out of 10)


'The miracle' is the follow-up to last year's 'The unknown' album of this Danish (with Dutch vocalist Eduard Hovinga - ex-ELEGY) melodic rockband. This new album sees them moving into a more aor/melodic rockstyle. This new album is much better than their debut. PRIME TIME now sound a bit like that other Danish melodic rockband PANGEA. But I would rather describe this CD as a mixture between EUROPE and the old TNT. There are some nice keys in the opener "Shadows". This song is nice uptempo melodic rock like the old TNT. It's the next song that shocked me a bit. "The miracle" is a fantastic aor/melodic rocker with a great sound, this is the best song of the whole CD. Later on the CD we can hear a couple of more tracks in the same aor/melodic rockstyle. These are the songs "Refugee" and "Lake silver". These 3 songs are the best ones on the CD and very much recommended to the average AOR/Melodic rockfan. The rest of the CD sounds pretty nice and tracks like "Touched" and "Save me" are good melodic rockballads. The EUROPE cover "Seven doors hotel" is done pretty well. The only weak song is "Judging eyes". I would recommend this CD if you wanna hear a mixture between the 80s TNT and EUROPE (especially the harmonyvocals).

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This is a Brazilian band that is making a bit progressive rock that reminds me very much of the old RUSH, old SAGA and a few STYX influences in a couple of songs. The beginning is a bit weak, while the best songs can be found at the end of the CD. These are the songs "It will pass by me" and "Come and go". The first one is a nice STYX orientated uptempo AOR/POMPROCKER, while the latter is a good aor/melodic rocker. "Come and go" also features a female vocalist singing on the background that has a pretty good voice. Although the end of the CD of NOCET is sounding pretty nice, the beginning is a bit average progressive rock like the already mentioned RUSH/SAGA style. If you're interested in this CD you should contact Reginaldo Rodriquez at:  Reginaldo Rodriquez de Arruda, Caixa Postal 251, Campo Grande/M.S., CEP 79.002-970, Brazil or e-mail him at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Japanese band from Osaka City. So far they have only released a demo tape that contains two tracks. And unlike many other Japanese bands this band really sounds like an American band. Also the lead vocals sound American. The music is pure melodic rock/aor and both the production and the sound of the band is very good. This could be a promise for the future! Now let's talk about the two songs. "I can't even cry" is a great AOR/Melodic Rockballad that sounds like FAIR WARNING and FRONTLINE. "Take me with you" is a very good midtempo aor/melodic rocker like the 80s DOKKEN. This song sounds very melodic. The band is working on a mini-CD that includes 5 tracks, I look forward to hear this new stuff.

Visit the WebSite of the band at:  and e-mail them at: or write to their postal address at: Shadow Flare, Hishiyanishi Residence 103, 3-10-23 Hishiyanishi, Higashiosaka-shi, Osaka, 577-0807 Japan

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


I believe this is the second CD of this Finish Melodic Rockband. A lot of keyboards are added to their melodic rocksound. The CD contains 10 tracks that were produced by Jouni Paju. Musically they sound like other Scandinavian bands such as TINDRUM, early TREAT, 220 VOLT… Opener "Cry for love" has some great keys and is a nice melodic rocker. Same goes for the next track "The grand price", only this song has a weak chorus. One of the bet tracks on the CD is the following track "Tell the tale" which has a great AOR Chorus like HARLOT. Other highlights are "Livin' it up", "Dance" and "Eye of the storm". These 3 songs are all nice standard cheerful uptempo melodic rockers like DALTON, TINDRUM, TREAT… "Livin' it up" is a bit more AOR based and contains some great piano-keys. The whole CD is pretty nice to hear, only a shame of the two closing tracks that both contain saxsolo's. Despite this, this CD can be rcommended to every fan of the typical Scandinavian melodic rock. CD is available through Lion Music, which you can visit at the Web at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This band has shared the stage with mainly classic AOR Bands, a very impressive list. They opened for bands like REO SPEEDWAGON, HEART, THE STORM, FOREIGNER, STARSHIP, RICK SPRINGFIELD, NIGHT RANGER and many more. I wish I had been at all these shows. SEDONA is a Californian Melodic Hardrockband that has released a few months back their third CD. This CD is called 'Dragonfly' and is not only  a new CD containing 11 new SEDONA tracks, but the CD can also be used as CD-Rom Multimedia. Just put the CD in your Computer Discplayer and you belong in the Sedona world. A very impressive show on your computer including games, videos and a trip into a virtual world. I surely enjoyed this and I think everyone will love this unique way of presenting your band. But there's also the normal CD with the music of SEDONA. It was produced by guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Mike Fox.

The band has a bit of an own musicstyle. They have both alternative 90s influences and more AOR sounding songs. Happily only 3 songs are pure alternative ("My sacred garden", "Wrong" and "Mama's in the kitchen"), because these are really terrible songs. SEDONA sounds much better and actually pretty good on their songs "Highest star in heaven", "Waiting on the call" and "Crazy". These 3 songs are the best songs of the band and they sound very melodic rock/aor orientated. The AOR Chorus of "Highest star in heaven" reminds me of GARY HUGHES. In fact, lead vocalist Mike Fox sounds very much like Gary. "Crazy" is pure midtempo AOR. And "Waiting on the call" is a very nice semi melodic rockballad. The other songs are also melodic hardrock, but more based on the 90s tradition, opener "Filling up the holes" reminds me of the last few HAREM SCAREM albums. The band has created a bit of an own sound that should attract a lot of people.

Get all the info on this band at: and e-mail them at: or write to their postal address at: SEDONA, 11230 Gold Express Dr. 310-151, Gold River, CA 95670, USA.

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Former STARZ guitarist Richie Ranno is back with a new group called RRG (Richie Ranno Group). Musically Richie has changed and this CD has nothing to do with the stuff he did with STARZ or HELLCATS. Think of a more Bluesy Hard Rock sound. It sounds like BAD COMPANY sounded in the 70s. Best songs here are "Prisoner", "Miracle" and "Send me an angel". The first two are bluesy melodic rockers with some LED ZEPPELIN guitarriffs in "Prisoner", while the latter is a nice semi bluesy rockballad that sounds like THUNDER. The other 5 tracks on this CD are a bit too bluesy and even groovy ("Talk about it"). Recommended if you like this kind of music. Besides this comeback of ex-STARZ guitarist Richie Ranno, the STARZ fan will also be happy to hear that there are recently six new CDs available of this classic rock group. You can read the reviews somewhere else in this issue. Visit the WebSite of Richie Ranno and STARZ at:

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


American band from the state of Connecticut. The 11 tracks of their debut CD sound a bit heavier than the average melodic hardrockband. After listening to the whole CD, my favourite track came at the end of the CD. I'm talking about the song "Nightmare 7" which combines 90s heavy rock with the class of 80s Melodic Rock. If the band had put more songs in this style, the CD would have been much better. Some songs on the CD sound a bit heavy and can even be described as metal ("Lie", "B.A.M.F." and "Devil's lobotomy") that remind me of the last BAD MOON RISING. Then I rather hear the more melodic hard rock orientated songs like "The scream", "Playing with fire" or the semi ballad "Shadow". If you're into heavier melodic hardrock/metal this is your kind of band. Visit their WebSite at: and e-mail them at: or write to their postal address at: XFACTORX, PO Box 5021, Milford, Ct. 06460, USA

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


This is an American band from Oklahoma. They play not the standard cheerful melodic rock, but their sound is much darker with a real 90s feel. Compare the band with TESLA or BEGGARS AND THIEVES in a more 90s version. The first couple of tracks are a bit average 90s hardrock. Then I heard a nice melodic rockballad titled "Whiskey glasses" (I could be wrong, it can also be the next song). The following songs are really groovy melodic hardrocksongs in the TESLA style. At the end of the Tape are a couple of more uptempo melodic rockers such as "She knows" and "Drinkin' and smokin'". But I would not recommend this band to fans of the standard cheerful melodic rock. If you like TESLA or perhaps BADLANDS, you will enjoy this band. Visit their WebSite at:  and e-mail them at: or write to their postal address at: Gypsy Haven, Rt. 1 Box 361, Madill, Oklahoma 73446, USA.

(Points: 6.5 out of 10)


Here's another melodic hardrockband out of Japan. They have a CD out on which we can find 12 songs of the band. The band has a female lead vocalist and play melodic hardrock that is very American 80s orientated. The first couple of songs are a bit heavier and remind me of early SKID ROW. But when hearing track number 3 titled "Fallen angel", I heard a great midtempo melodic rocker that sounded like a mixture between FAIR WARNING, BONFIRE and the old DOKKEN. The following song is even more melodic. "Still" is a great AOR Ballad like FAIR WARNING. This song was also used on Japanese TV for a TV-show. Next track "Drankard children" is a bit weak, but then we can hear another great midtempo (heavy but very melodic) AOR song. The song is called "Nadia" (which means Gift from God in Hebrew) and reminds me again of FAIR WARNING and also a bit of ZENO. In the same style is the song "Miserable". The rest of the CD is just good melodic hard rock. NADIA is a nice melodic hardrockband from Japan. Their CD is not sensational, but if you're into independent melodic hardrock really worth checking out. A couple of tracks are very much recommended to FAIR WARNING/BONFIRE fans, although most of the CD is a bit heavier. Still it is pure melodic hardrock.

Visit the WebSite of NADIA at:  and you can e-mail them at: or write to their postal address at: Nadia, 1250-2-1-22-402, Kisomachi Machida, Tokyo, 194-0033 Japan.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Do not confuse this UNDER FIRE with the other fantastic American AOR band that has the same name and released in 1991 a lovely album. The members of this UNDER FIRE are not really unknown. The history of guitarist Cary Sharaf goes a long way back and take us to Sweden where he was born and became very popular as a member of a group called WASA EXPRESS (I think the Swedish readers will remember this band, I don't). After many hit albums, Cary decides to go to the USA and makes a change in music style. His first appearance is on the BILLY SQUIER album 'Don't say no'. But when he met NEW ENGLAND keyboardist Jimmy Waldo, the two decided to form a band together which they called UNDERFIRE. This all happened in the 80s and many years has passed by without anyone knowing of the material of this band.

All the songs on this CD were written between 1984 and 1988 and it was supposed to be released in the late 80s, but due to some problems it never got released until now. Cary Sharaf produced the CD himself and thanks must go out to Hirsch Gardner (from NEW ENGLAND) for releasing the material of UNDER FIRE finally on CD on his own label GB Music. In Europe AOR Heaven/Point Music distributes it. There are 10 tracks on the CD and it is pretty clear that there are a couple of pure AOR classics on the CD, but unfortunately also some average Melo-Party Rockers.

Opener "No more heartaches" is obvious the classic AOR track I'm talking about. Just listen to the beautiful harmonyvocals. This uptempo 80s AOR rocker reminds me of a mixture between SIGNAL, SURVIVOR and the debut album of Swedish TALK OF THE TOWN. The following song "Crazy for love" is nice melodic rock, but really nothing special compared to the next track "Heart in pain". This is classic SURVIVOR (circa 'When seconds count') styled midtempo pure AOR. Another classic! I can't say that of the next track "Rolling down that road" which is a weak party rock'n'roller. It goes up and down, because after this weak song, we are surprised with a song called "Love you one more time" which is the best track of the whole CD. Hookladen uptempo AOR like SURVIVOR (circa 'Vital signs') again with some TOUR DE FORCE class. This is the last classic AOR track on the CD, because the remaining 5 tracks are just nice melodic rockers/aor with the exception of "When you feel lonely" which is good uptempo AOR and on the other hand the average party rocker "Always on the run".

Although the CD has it's ups and downs, I still find it recommendable to most AOR fans. 3 classic AOR songs on 1 CD are worth buying a whole CD. Available through AOR HEAVEN and GB MUSIC

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


RABBIT HILL is coming out of Munich, Germany. They play melodic rock in the German tradition. The first couple of tracks are good examples of how this sounds. "Lonesome dancer" and "Coming home" are two nice melodic rockers in the BONFIRE/AFFAIR style. Track number three "Cage of gold" has some fantastic AOR keys at the beginning. The song has a very nice melodic rocksound with a great 80s guitarsolo. The following two tracks are a bit poppy and have nothing to do with the good melodic rock of the first three tracks. Happily, track number six "The witch" is a good semi-melodic rockballad with really a great chorus. The last couple of songs on the CD are nice melodic rockers, although I found the tracks "The camel" and "Shuttle of love" very weird and also quite weak. Conclusion is that this band has released a nice melodic rockalbum that besides some good songs, also contains a few weak songs. Visit their WebSite at:  and e-mail them at: or write them at: Peter Woratz, Ebereschenstr. 18a, 80935 Munchen, Germany.

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


This is a New York band that has been on the scene ever since 1983, but this is their first album release. At one point DANNY VAUGHN from TYKETTO was their lead vocalist. Danny also appears on a few songs on this album which quite sound like the first TYKETTO album. ALLIED FORCES with Bruce Robbins (RAINBOW, DEEP PURPLE) did the production. The 11 tracks on this CD are all 80s sounding heavier melodic rockers in the style of bands like TRIUMPH (note the bandname reference), Q5, TYKETTO and some BOSTON. Opener "Allied forces" is a great slowtempo melodic rocker (with a bit AOR influences) that is a mixture between TRIUMPH and ALIAS. The TYKETTO influence on the tracks "Medicine man" and "Thunder nation" come from the lead vocals of Danny Vaughn. But the real winners of this CD follow on the fantastic tracks "Picking up the pieces" (uptempo aor/melodic rock like a mix between TRIUMPH and TYKETTO) and "All out of love" (uptempo melodic rock like classic BOSTON mixed with 80s TRIUMPH). "On the run" is similar in style to the great 2nd FIFTH ANGEL album, including some great harmonyvocals in the chorus. I heard a comparison to LOUD'N'CLEAR on the tracks "Lifetime to share" and "Stand by me". Danny Vaughn sings his third and final effort on this CD on the track "Eyes of wonder" that is a fantastic semi AOR ballad in the style of the first TYKETTO album. "Party" is a Party-melo-rocker like 80s KISS/KEEL. Closing track of the CD is "Take me away" which is a nice heavier semi melodic rock ballad in the Q5 style.

A good CD of these guys and let's now hope a follow-up will not take as long as it took the band to release this debut album. Maybe the CD is a bit too heavy for the AOR Fans, if you like the first TYKETTO album or any TRIUMPH material, this is a must for you to buy.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


BEATS WORKING is an English band that has already released 5 albums. So, 'Calm' is their sixth CD release. They play a mixture of symphonic rock and AOR. You can compare the sound to bands like MAGNUM or IQ, only a bit calmer at times. The first couple of tracks are nice calmer sympho AOR orientated songs. The best tracks can be found later on the CD. Those songs are "Pathway to your heart" and "Need to cry". Both are very much AOR based and sound pretty good. Some more songs in this style would do well for the album. 'Calm' is a nice album that is recommended to the fans of calmer Symphonic AOR. Visit the WebSite of the band at: and e-mail them at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)

Stuart Smith is a guitarist who was born in York, England, but moved to the USA in 1983 where he joined SWEET. Last year he released his first solo-album titled 'Heaven and earth'. On this CD, which was produced by Pat Regan and Howard Leese, Stuart has created a sound that captures many musical experiences. There are AOR songs, Bluesrockers, Hardrocksongs, Instrumental parts and some groovy melodic rock tracks. The list of guest appearances is also very long. On Lead Vocals we can hear Richie Sambora, Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes and Kelly Hansen. There are 11 songs on the CD.

Opener "Don't keep me waiting" is a nice midtempo melodic rocker that sounds like a mixture between the old GLENN HUGHES and FOREIGNER. The following track is my favourite one. It is the title track "Heaven and earth". This song has it all to become a winner for the AOR fans. A classic AOR track with a wonderful chorus, beautiful lead vocals of Joe Lynn Turner and a great guitarsolo of Stuart. The song is similar in style to FAKE I D, MARK FREE… A fantastic song and pure AOR! The following tracks have not much in common with AOR. It gets a bit bluesy on tracks like "See that my grave…" and "When a blind man cries". But when Joe Lynn Turner is singing again on a track like "Shadow of the Tyburn Tree", you realize that the combination of Joe's superb vocals and Stuarts guitar is really working well. This song is a pretty nice acoustic epic-ballad. The version of "Do you ever think of me?" (the third one in one year) is classic AOR, but after all those other versions of the song, you may wonder what it is doing on this album. Anyway, this version is also pretty good. Closing track of the CD "Lose my number" is a nice melodic rocker that captures the influence of HUGHES/THRALL.

The CD of STUART SMITH captures many different rockstyles, which makes it hard to recommend to a fan of a certain genre. On the other hand, the album can reach many different rockfans. Visit the WebSite of Stuart Smith for more info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


PAUL SHORTINO is the former lead vocalist of bands like ROUGH CUTT, BADD BOYZ and he also released a solo-album. This CD is a compilation of the best songs Paul recorded in his career. A lot of songs are recorded live, only the closing two tracks are studio tracks. These two tracks are the best songs on this CD.

"Leave it to the law" is an uptempo melodic hardrocker, while the closing track "I don't want to hear your heart break" is the best song Paul ever sang. This song is a beautiful Melodic Rock ballad in the DON DOKKEN style. These two songs are taken from the BADD BOYZ CD, which only got a Japanese release. Now these two songs of that band are released in Europe for the first time after 7 years it was officially released in Japan.

The rest of the CD, the first 11 tracks, are all live and include songs of Paul's first solo-album and the ROUGH CUTT albums. This is quality Bluesy Melodic Hardrock and if you're into the 80s WHITESNAKE material, then this CD is yours. What you get, is a good mixture of uptempo, midtempo and some ballad orientated bluesy melodic hardrock. The best songs are "Love me till it hurts", "Where there's a will" and "This must be love" (the only other BADD BOYZ song recorded live).

A good CD and a must for WHITESNAKE fans. For more info on Paul, you should visit his official homepage at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Keyboardist of DAKOTA, Rick Manwiller, released this solo-album last year. On this CD, Rick returns to the more calmer aor/westcoast sound of DAKOTA/JERRY KELLY in the late 70s/beginning of the 80s. The CD contains 9 tracks.

Opener "Let go" is the best song on the album, this is good DAKOTA/TOTO AOR. The following tracks are less AOR based and move more into a westcoast direction, but still also these tracks sound good. "Survive tonight" is a nice calmer DAKOTA (circa their first album) typed westcoast rocker and "This night" is a nice calmer westcoast/AOR ballad that could have been on the first DAKOTA album and the JERRY KELLY release.

"Company" is typical midwest aor/westcoast like JIMMY HARNEN/DON LEWIS/MICHAEL STANLEY. Some nice AOR is the track "Bump" which again reminds me of the old DAKOTA. The following 3 tracks are taking things to a slower and poppier direction. "Nasty li'l bidness" is very pop based. The ballad "The best I can do" was co-penned by Jimmy Harnen and it also sounds like his last CD. Closing track "Nothin' to say (but goodbye)" moves more into the AOR territory like the opening track of the CD.

All in all, a nice CD with a couple of ups and downs. If you like the old DAKOTA, then this is a recommendation to you. Check Rick's website at: and e-mail him at: or write to his postal address: Confidential Records, 404 Greenwood Ave., Clarks Summit, PA 18411, USA

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


This CD has been available for a long time through Japanese import. Fortunately, AOR Heaven, in co-operation with Point Music, has released the CD in Europe. ZEELION is a Swedish Melodic Rockband that combine typical Swedish cheerful melodic rock with some heavier guitarriffs and Progressive parts, however always staying as melodic as possible.

The CD was produced by lead vocalist Lenny De Rose and captures 12 tracks. Opener "Lightning strikes" is one of the heavier parts of this CD, a faster heavier rocker with still a lot of melody. However, the next 3 tracks are the ones that are interesting for the fan of AOR/Melodic rock. "Crying" is huge sounding midtempo AOR/Melodic rock. "Can this be love" is cheerful uptempo melodic rock in the typical Swedish tradition of bands like CLOCKWISE/DAVINCI. The we can hear a really fantastic AOR/Melodic Rockballad in the TAKARA style. A lovely song.

Most of the rest of the CD is entering a heavier sound like the opener, but always very melodic, such as in "Into the madness". Lastly I would like to add two other memorable tracks that I haven't mentioned yet, namely "In love" (melodic AOR rocker like a heavier SURVIVOR or RED DAWN) and "Warrior" (an epic acoustic ballad like KANSAS "Dust in the wind").

ZEELION is a very professional sounding band and if you want to hear a mixture between AXEL RUDI PELL, old MALMSTEEN, EUROPE, RAINBOW and RED DAWN, this CD is the answer! Get a copy of this CD through AOR HEAVEN Check out the website of ZEELION at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


This German rockband has already released 7 albums, (the first three CDs in a speed-metal style like HELLOWEEN) . This new CD is more Melodic Rock orientated (on the first few songs that is). "Love" and "Wherever" are nice semi melodic rock/ballads, but what follows is a more 90s rock direction that I am not really impressed of.

The only song that was enjoyable to listen to came at the end of the CD and was called "Tell me", a nice melodic rockballad. It's hard for me to give this CD a big recommendation, I would say if you're in for a combination of 90 rock with some melodic rock influences, you should try this, but don't expect something sensational. For more info, visit the website of their label at:  

(Points: 6.0 out of 10)


This Canadian band is a big surprise to me. They sing in the French language and play great 80s styled AOR/Melodic Pomprock on their CD 'Mourir ou disparaitre'. Musically they remind me of bands like SWALLOWS great independent AOR band from France), WINTER'S REIGN, PHIL VINCENT with a bit of BEAU GESTE/BRYAN HUGHES GROUP. A lot of songs are lovely uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocksongs in this style, although maybe a tiny bit heavier at times.

Songs like "Mourir ou disparaitre", "Avenir fragile", "Frere perdu", "Guet-apens" and "Souvenirs" are all examples of uptempo AOR songs with catchy hooklines, lovely harmonyvocals and some great melodic lead vocals of vocalist Nicolas Bedard. These songs sound like a mixture between BEAU GESTE and PHIL VINCENT, only with French lyrics all the way. Pretty good actually, despite the French language. Also the other songs are pretty good, such as the AOR ballad "Apres tout ce temps" or the midtempo AOR song "Si tu savais". I couldn't find a weak song and can only say that this band is recommended to the AOR fans. For more info visit the website of their recored label Hardel Muzik at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The past ten years I have seen many bands named CONTAGIOUS and they all came from the USA and also all played 80s typed melodic rock. I remember a Christian one from the late 80s with two releases and a local independent one with a CD titled 'Long time coming' in the early 90s and that was quite good AOR/Melodic Rock, but I don't think anyone knows that band. This CONTAGIOUS is new and is coming out of the Kansas City area in the USA. 'Home remedy' is their debut and the 4 members of CONTAGIOUS present us a bunch of Melodic Rock in the late 80s style.

Opener "Long way" is a nice uptempo melodic rocker. The following 4 tracks are a bit average rocksongs, nothing sensational, but also not that bad. It's just that songs like "SRV" or "Willard" are nothing special. The better songs of the band can be heard during the second part of the CD. "Speak your heart" is a nice melodic rockballad and "Attitude" is a nice melodic rocker. But the best song on the whole CD is "D.A. Hood", a great pure 80s uptempo melodic rocker with a catchy chorus. This song is in the tradition of the Californian bands at the end of the 80s such as AUTOGRAPH, BRITTON, and FIREHOUSE… If the band would produce more of songs like these, then they would be much more of interest. I think a second CD will give a better view on this CONTAGIOUS. Contact them at: CONTAGIOUS BAND, 522 E 23rd, Independence, MO 64055, USA or e-mail them at: and visit their website at: 

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


THE PROMISE have finally released their long-awaited follow-up to their fantastic debut a few years ago. And to be honest is worth to wait such a long time, because the second album of these Scottish AORsters is a great album which should take the band to higher places. Like the band told me in an interview we had a few issues back in our magazine, the album would consist of some heavier melodic rockers, some pure AOR songs with lots of keys and a few pure AOR ballads. And indeed we can hear all sorts of songs like these. There are 10 tracks on the CD, which was produced by guitarist Gareth Davies and Niall Mathewson. Mark Ashton from NOW&THEN/FRONTIERS Records was the executive producer.

The CD starts with the uptempo melodic rocker "Let's talk about love", which has a very catchy excellent AOR chorus. Next song "Kiss me and kill me" is a fantastic uptempo classic AOR rocker with a killer AOR chorus that won't get out of your head after you heard it once. The chorus reminds me a little of the MARK FREE song "Dyin' for your love".

Next up is "Hold on to love", a superb classic 80s AOR/Radiorocker that sounds like a mix between early FM, early SHY and some SURVIVOR thrown in for good measure. Really a song to die for, just listen to those piano-keys, they are just perfect and this is what pure AOR is all about. Following song is the pure AOR ballad "There goes my heart", a lovely song to dream away.

The beginning of the song "When love takes a hand" has a rhythm like SURVIVOR (circa 'Eye of the tiger'), during the chorus though it is more tough AOR/Melodic Rock which still is really great. Then we get to hear the first average sounding song on the CD, namely "Hole in my heart", this is heavier Melodic Rock with no special feelings.

Things slow down with the following two songs. First there is "Let the night go on forever", a calmer late-night AOR ballad like FRANKE & THE KNOCKOUTS, TOTO, DAKOTA and THE AUTOMATIX. Some lovely 80s AOR keys can be heard in this song, while the chorus and song itself is very relaxing.

More of the great 80s AOR keys can be heard in the following fantastic track "Only a woman". This song is also quite relaxing, but a bit more uptempo AOR ballad in a way bands like JOURNEY and STRANGEWAYS played them in the 80s. To put it in other words, this is another pure AOR track of the Scottish AORsters.

Then we get to hear the second average track on this CD, which is "Looking glass", but the closing track "Arms of a stranger" makes this CD complete. This song takes you really into 80s AOR at the start with the classic AOR keyboard/guitar interlude a la AVIATOR and AIRRACE, while the rest of the song is just great uptempo AOR. This final track has a playing time of almost 9 minutes, which is quite out of the ordinary for an AOR song.

With this new album, THE PROMISE is up there with FM, SHY, AIRRACE, STRANGEWAYS. The band has a pure AOR sound at times, including everything that made this genre so popular. There are catchy AOR melodies, hooklines, choruses and harmonyvocals, basically everything that a pure AOR band needs to have and THE PROMISE has it all on this new album. Concluded there is only one thing to say about this fantastic album. It's a must to have for the AOR fans! Visit the website of THE PROMISE for soundbytes and more info.

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Dutch AOR stars TERRA NOVA have now finally released a second CD in Europe. In Japan they already have done 3 CD releases, and they have reached many success in the land of the rising sun. Now they are focusing to Europe with this new release. The new CD was well produced by vocalist/guitarist Fred Hendrix, while the mixer was Tony Platt (LILLIAN AXE, JEFF PARIS, MASS).

'Eye to eye' is actually build up with the best songs of the band's last two Japanese releases 'Breakaway' and 'Make my day'. If you don't have any of these two Japanese releases, because they were too expensive, then this new European release is the chance for you to buy the best of both albums for a reasonable price. Almost the whole album is full of cheerful uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock, best ones are "Wild thing", "Love sick", "Promise you wait", 'Right now", "Break away", "Holdin' on" (best one, fantastic keys) and "Those were the days". These songs are so cheerful 80s based and you can't help singing along with the harmonyvocals of the catchy choruses.

Besides all these straight foward songs, the band is also sounding great in the AOR ballads, such as "How", "Not here with me" and closing keyboard based "Here's to you". The only weak song on this fantastic album is "The real thing", a bit groovy MHR song which is quite different than the rest. However, this CD is an easy target for the standard AOR/Melodic Rockfans.

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


'Road of desire' is the second release of this Swedish melodic rockband. Their self-produced CD sounds very good and I quite enjoyed this album. Although the album starts with a bit weak groovy MHR song titled "Come hell or high water", the rest of the CD is very good and I couldn't find any weak song further. The CD gives you a great collection of that typical cheerful Swedish melodic (hard) rock. The band is reminding me a lot of the Norwegian band HUSH ('If you smile'). There are also some AOR influences in fantastic songs such as "When the truth becomes a lie" (uptempo melodic rocker like SNAKES IN PARADISE/SNAKE CHARMER), "Hold on" (semi AOR ballad), "I got what it takes" (midtempo AOR like HUSH) and "The reason I live" (cheerful uptempo melodic rocker). These 4 songs are also the best ones and very enjoyable to listen to, a big recommendation to fans of cheerful AOR/Melodic Rock. Further we got a couple of more great melodic rocksongs such as "Road of desire" and "Calling your loveline". Like I said there isn't a weak filler on this record and if you like your melodic rock cheerful with a big sound, and if you have enjoyed recent releases by PANGEA and HUSH, you will love this CD.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


I still think their debut is the best CD, also after hearing this 5th (?) CD of the reformed LILLIAN AXE. This new CD is not really something special and a lot of times it is groovy Melodic Hardrock like LYNCH MOB in a lot ways. The best songs are "For crying out loud" (midtempo MHR), "Calm before the storm" (uptempo MHR) and "When it rains" (a melodic rockballad). In fact, the rest is pretty groovy at times and also there are some heavy guitar riffs. Closing track "Become a monster" has not much to do with Melodic Hardrock, it's almost a thrashy metal styled song. However if you like LILLIAN AXE, you should try this new CD of them, although the album is not always really melodic.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


JACQUIE is the surname of Jacquie Brecheen, a new female AOR vocalist from the USA. She has just released her debut 'Curiosity' on the recordlabel Blue World Records, the same recordlabel as ROKBOX. Rokbox members Marc Engeran and Randy Settoon also produced this 9-track CD. Besides producing, they also played most of the instruments on the CD, as well as writing all the tracks. So, the musicstyle of JACQUIE is close to ROKBOX, only with the female vocals. But as I am listening to the CD, I hear that this CD sounds more updated and 90s based than the excellent ROKBOX record. To put it in other words, the CD of JACQUIE is not pure AOR, but also carries some influences of today's pop/rock.

Still, I couldn't find a weak song on the CD and I think most of songs are very radio-friendly. She could easily score some massive hits. A good CD filled with both (semi) AOR Ballads ("Shy", "Annie says" and "Sadly mistaken") and AOR/Melodic Poprockers ("You say, I say", "Curiosity" and "Hello my friend"). Contact JACQUIE at: BLUE WORLD RECORDS, 109 1/2 W. Thomas, Suite A, Post Office Box 277, Hammond, LA 70404, USA and for more info visit the website of the label at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Back in the late 80s, JIMMY HARNEN scored a massive hit with his song "Where are you now", the song reached the US TOP 10 Billboard Charts. It already charted back in 1984, but suddenly it became a big hit 4 years later. At the end of the 80s, Jimmy also released his latest solo-album 'Can't fight the midnight', a great album full of AOR/Poprock, which saw the help of some DAKOTA members. In the years to follow Jimmy released a couple singles titled "Forever" and "The best I can do", both calmer AOR ballads like RICHARD MARX, DAKOTA ballads and both similar in style to Jimmy's biggest hit "Where are you now". But he never got as much success as he had with "Where are you now".

Now about 10 years later, Jimmy has released a new full-length CD. There are 9 tracks on the CD, which was produced by co-writer Cliff Downs. The new CD sees him moving into a more westcoast-rock direction, while retaining his AOR/Poprock roots. Though it is a little bit different than his 'Can't fight the midnight' album. The CD starts nice with the poprockers "All about time" (like DANNY WILDE, TIM KARR, STEVE STONE) and "Somebody like you" (like latest NELSON album, BON JOVI nowadays). The rest of the CD is heading into a poppier direction, such as the folky popballad titled "Secrets". Happily, Jimmy also has a couple of calmer AOR orientated ballads on his new CD, such as "Wherever you are", "Apology song" and "Everything we get".

If you are a big fan of Jimmy's old AOR material with SYNCH and his 'Can't fight the midnight', you must know that Jimmy's has changed his musicstyle into a more acoustic guitar orientated westcoast/pop/rock style, but there are still some hints of his 80s AOR style happily. Highly recommended if you're into DON LEWIS BAND or BRYAN WHITE! Email Jimmy at:

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


Going back to the mid-70s! STAGEFRIGHT recorded all this material live in 1976 and it is now available on CD, while you can also listen to it through The production and sound quality is very bad and sounds indeed exactly like a 70s record, but if you like this, then this is a must for you. Musically it is typical 70s rock. Less rocking than BAD BOY or ANGEL, and more progressive rock influences. A little bit like AMERICAN TEARS sounded on their debut album.

"Never Gonna' Let You Go" is definitely their best song. This song has some Pop rock influences, nice harmony vocals during the chorus, a classic guitar solo and is sounding like the old ROADMASTER. If you want to hear the 70s all over again, you must look for this CD, but I would not recommend it to the fans of today's AOR/Melodic Rock. Contact the band at: CD's may be purchased there as well.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


SANITY is a Swedish Melodic Hardrockband that have released their debut on a Progressive Rock label, which is settled in New Jersey, USA. They are one of the best on this new recordlabel and are clearly more in the AOR/Melodic Rock direction than most of the other bands on the label. I think they are also one of the better bands onnthe label, because their CD 'Forgotten world' sounds very professional. Fredrik Larnemo and the band produced the CD very well. There are only 6 tracks on the album, although the CD has a playing time of more than 48 minutes. Musically this is Melodic (Hard) Rock with only a few Progressive influences.

If you like(d) ZEELION, then you will also love this band, because they have pretty much a similar sound. The CD starts pretty heavy with the song "The right" which is faster uptempo MHR, but the following track "Lovin' tonight" is very good midtempo melodic rock/AOR and sounds somewhat like HUSH (the Norwegian band). Also great are "Find the way" (uptempo melodic rocker with some nice keys) and "Roll the dice" (Progressive and very melodic rocker with some breaks). SANITY is a good Melodic Hardrockband from Sweden and recommended if you like(d) the ZEELION release, the old YNGWIE MALMSTEEN or NATION. Visit the website of their recordlabel DREG Records at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


At the moment I write this review it is pretty hot outside and with the new CD of JOHNNY LIMA playing on the background, it makes you happy. The second CD of Johnny is the first one to be released in Europe. His debut was received very well at the Strutter'zine camp and we also had an interview with this Californian Melodic Rocker. Just like his debut, also this new album is full of cheerful 80s (Summertime) Melodic Rock with big sing-a-long choruses and very pleasant melodies. This CD is only a bit more AOR orientated, which makes it even better. The mixture between 80s BON JOVI and DEF LEPPARD is pretty clear. There are 10 tracks on his self-produced CD. The CD was mixed by GARY HUGHES (TEN). Johnny and Gary did a terrific job, because the CD sounds very good.

If you liked the debut album of Johnny, then this is more than a must for you. We can hear songs that BON JOVI should have made after their 'New Jersey' album, with the harmonyvocals that made DEF LEPPARD popular. There isn't a weak song on the album. "My country 'tis of thee" is uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock like the first two BON JOVI albums. "Touch of love" is midtempo melodic rock with the DEF LEPPARD harmonyvocals during the chorus. The beginning of the semi melodic rockballad "Memory lane" is classic BON JOVI, while the chorus over here is like the 'Hysteria' album of DEF LEPPARD.

"Too late" is a fantastic semi melodic rockballad that contains the best of BON JOVI and DEF LEPPARD, if it was pushed a little by the radio stations, this could turn out to a major hit. "Sweet sixteen" is pure classic 80s cheerful melodic rock with some great catchy choruses. Closing track "Only the strong will survive" has a big anthem and huge melodic rockchorus, one of the better songs. Just listen to the song and you can't ignore to sing-a-long. What do I need to say more? JOHNNY LIMA has released a great follow-up to his fantastic debut.

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


At the same time JOHNNY LIMA released his second CD, also English female fronted AOR rockers DANTE FOX released their follow-up to their superb debut that was released back in 1996. This new CD contains 9 brand-new tracks. Mark Stuart has produced the CD very well. Opener "Over you" follows the style the band created on their debut, a great uptempo AOR rocker like WITNESS. Next song "Under the city lights" is pure midtempo AOR, up there with the first two classic TONE NORUM releases. The slowtempo "A matter of time" is not so sensational, and hasn't got a real strong chorus. Moving on to "Firing my heart", a great uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker in the best 80s tradition. This song has a lovely rhythm and a chorus with harmonyvocals like Desmond Child used to bring on his productions. The sound comes pretty close to the first two MICHAEL BOLTON albums, only with a female vocalist.

"All I need" is maybe the best track on this CD, a lovely semi AOR ballad right up there with WITNESS and the best of HEART. Next track "Remember" was written a few years ago by Robert John 'Mutt' Lange (BRYAN ADAMS, DEF LEPPARD, SHANIA TWAIN), the band also performed it at their concerts two years back in Europe. The song itself is one of the weaker tracks on the CD, an average midtempo heavy rocker like HEADPINS did on their first couple of albums. DANTE FOX doesn't need outside writers, because their own songs sound much better than this "Remember". This can be heard on the next track "In my dreams", a good semi AOR ballad/rocker.  "Moonlight" is a nice acoustic ballad. Closing track "Message from my heart" has a wonderful guitarsound and is a great midtempo AOR/Melodic Rocker that ends this CD very well. Not as good as their debut is my conclusion, but still a good follow-up and a must for every fan of female fronted AOR Rock.

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


SANTERS is back with a new album. 'Top secrecy' is their third release. The album has been released through AOR Heaven There are the ten new tracks of SANTERS (not really new, because all the songs were recorded in the mid eightees, only for the first time released) and 5 bonus live tracks. The album was actually recorded in 1986, but never released. And indeed the sound reminds me very much of the good old classic 80s Canadian AOR/Melodic Rock of bands likes CONEY HATCH, TRIUMPH, SHERIFF and of course the old classic SANTERS stuff. In fact, 'Top secrecy'' is one of the best Canadian AOR/Melodic Rock releases ever. The ten tracks I heard are from a very high class and without any doubts this is the best thing SANTERS has ever done.

Opener "Come and get it" is the only song that is just nice melodic hardrock. What follows are nine classic AOR/Melodic Rocktracks in the best 80s tradition. After "Come and get it", the CD continues with the titletrack "Top secrecy" which is uptempo melodic rock in the classic SANTERS style. Then we hear the fantastic classic 80s AOR song "Leigh Ann" which is similar in style to the third CONEY HATCH, QWEST and the new VON GROOVE album. Keys and lovely harmonyvocals are taking over in this superb radiofriendly 80s typed AOR song, just listen to the lovely melody line and you will be stunned how good this sounds!

Fantastic keyboards can be heard at the start of the next track "Dry your tears". This song develops into a classy piece of an AOR Ballad that is up there with the AOR Ballads LOVERBOY and REO SPEEDWAGON used to make 'em. After this gorgeous ballad, the band continues with "Lightning's gonna strike" which take us right into the classic TRIUMPH style. The following track "Heaven and earth" has a really fantastic AOR Chorus.

More classic pure 80s AOR can be heard in "Love back guarantee". If you really want to hear how 80s AOR must sound, listen to this song and you will understand why the 80s were so good. The following track "Never wanna let you go" is again in the classic CONEY HATCH style. Things take a slower tempo in the song "Red sky", this song has a fantastic AOR Chorus and is incredibly melodic!

The closing track is THE song of the CD. "Tearing us apart" is the best song SANTERS has ever done. This is super AOR/Melodic Rock in the style of 80s DOKKEN/NORWAY. Like any of these bands, then you will love this song and in fact the whole CD. SANTERS has proven that they can still release some good old Canadian Melodic Rock. I did not know that they were able to release such a fantastic AOR orientated album.

The 5 bonustracks are live recordings of older SANTERS songs such as "Shot down in flames" and "Mistreatin' heart". Nice versions, but these are not the best SANTERS songs around. But those ten new unreleased songs are a must for every fan of SANTERS as well as the Canadian AOR/Melodic Rock.

Get a copy of this new album of SANTERS through AOR HEAVEN and buy this fantastic release right away.

(Points: 9.5 out of 10)


Their first two CDs contained each about 7 tracks, but this third CD of the American Melodic Rockband INNUENDO features 17 (!) tracks. Only the closing track was recorded on an earlier album, the other 16 are all brand-new. The band has made a progress, because this new album sounds better in quality and sound. The sound is much more Melodic Rock/AOR than on their first two albums and also the quality of each song is much higher. Especially the harmonyvocals sound very good and at times INNUENDO is reminding me of NELSON.

A lot of styles of the melodic rock can be heard on this self-produced CD of INNUENDO. There are good semi AOR/Melodic rockballads ("Hard to believe", "Does anybody care", "Fly away" and "Love has found you"), calmer acoustic songs ("You have my heart", "'Til the end of time" and "Song on the radio"), instrumental songs ("Serenade" and "Perpetual notion") and a lot of great uptempo AOR/Melodic rockers ("Million miles apart", "Twist my arm", "Angel" and "Understand me"). The best songs are those uptempo AOR rockers. They sound like the classic Melodic Rock of NELSON mixed with the best of SLAUGHTER and a bit of the debut album of TYKETTO. These rockers also have some great AOR hooklines and lovely harmonyvocals.

Besides all these AOR influences, there are also some progressive rock influences in the song "Say what you mean". Further I would like to mention that the track "'Til the end of time" is a beautiful piano/acoustic pure AOR Ballad with some very good vocals of the Lead Vocalist Andy Watts. Those piano-keyboards of Brett Richey (Guitarist/Keyboardist/Songwriter) remind me of SURVIVOR.

A good melodic rock/aor release is what you get when you buy this third CD of INNUENDO. Fortunately the musicstyle of the band is still the same as their previous albums, only the quality and sound has improved which make them one of the better sounding independent AOR/Melodic Rockbands. Contact the band at the following postaddress: Innuendo, PO Box 66962, Phoenix, AZ 85082-6962, USA or e-mail them at: and visit their website at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


They come from Pennsylvania, USA and look very much like those late 80s L.A. rockbands. For an independent release, this band is one of the best with a sound that is high quality commercial US Melodic Rock with a few AOR influences. There are 11 tracks on the CD. Opener "Stop the hands of time" is a fantastic way to begin this rather interesting CD. This song is great AOR/Melodic Rock like BOSTON, RTZ and a bit of ORION. Next up is "Home" which is a great uptempo aor/melodic rocker with some lovely harmonyvocals. This sounds like the great 80s. The song reminds me of the WINTER ROSE CD with James LaBrie (Dream Theater) on lead vocals. "In my dreams (you're never crying)" is a great semi AOR Ballad.

These 3 opening tracks are really great, but unfortunately the following 3 tracks are a bit weaker average melodic hardrocksongs, with the exception of the acoustic AOR ballad "I'll be there with you". Happily, "I need a miracle" is again a nice melodic rocker. And "Where are the dreamers" is a very good AOR song.

"Cry baby" is maybe the best song on the CD, great uptempo aor/melodic rock with some beautiful AOR hooklines here and there. "No one wants to be lonely" is a great semi AOR ballad and the CD closes with an average song titled "Dirty rhythm". Most of this CD is quality AOR/Melodic Rock and recommendable for fans of old TNT, FIREHOUSE, WINTER ROSE and also BOSTON fans will like a couple of tracks on this great CD. The band has no WebSite at the moment. For more info e-mail them at: or write to their postal address at: UFORIA, 329 Hurst St., Bridgeport, Pennsylvania 19405, USA.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


This independent release is from an Australian band. They play pure AOR with some influences of melodic rock and radiorock. Their CD is called 'Silence of the night' and was produced by bandmembers Thanis Akritidis (Lead vocals) and John Powers (guitars, keys and bass) with the help of Andy Parsons, Melita Jagic and Mark Bolano. There are 15 tracks on the CD, so that should be worth buying in the first place. Somehow the music reminds me also a quite lot of PHIL VINCENT, but there are more references to be heard on the CD.

Opener "Let down" is a nice 80s style melodic rocker like RECKLESS (the 80s act), but the least interesting track after hearing the CD a couple of times. Track two "Silence of the night" is taking is into AOR world, this is a nice semi AOR ballad. Things really get sensational from track 3 on. "Will I ever?" is the sound I want to hear, this is FROZEN TEARS at their best. "Will I ever?" is a great uptempo AOR/Radiorocker that sounds like a cross between THE PROMISE and WORRALL (remember them?). Next track "It's over" is a nice AOR song, although the vocals here are a bit weaker. "One more time" follows as a nice softer radiorocker. Then we hear a fantastic pure AOR song called "Do you love me?". This is really a superb classic AOR sounding song. The keys, the vocals, the chorus and the guitarsolo are all perfect, this should be a winner for the fans of pure AOR! The song is right up there with bands like GIANT, ROXUS, SIGNAL, early FM…

Unfortunately the following two tracks are not so sensational. "Wounded man" is a nice AOR ballad but again I must say that the vocals in this song are not really strong enough to make this a winner. The KISS cover "Strutter" (I love that word!) is done nicely. But this band really is at their best on the more uptempo AOR based songs. And that is what they do again on the song "Warriors" that sounds quite like the 80s AOR with some lovely keys, a great chorus and a very good sound. The following track "Fire still burns for U" has a playing time of 8 minutes, but is worth listening all the way! A very good AOR ballad and as I mentioned earlier that the vocals were better off on the uptempo rockers, on this song lead vocalist Thanis Akritidis does a nice job. Also the tracks "Never" and "Who's going to love U" are good AOR/Melodic rockers.

The last three tracks can more be seen as fillers, but still enjoyable to listen to. "Love can be real" is a nice acoustic AOR Ballad. "One more time" was already featured, but this second version is sang in Greek (due to the origin of lead vocalist Thanis). And the last song of the album is not really a song, but a short track titled "Drift away (it's over)".

Concluded I can say that this Australian AOR band sounds very good and is very mcuh recommended if you like bands such as WORRALL, THE PROMISE, PHIL VINCENT, TANDYM… Visit the WebSite of FROZEN TEARS at:  and e-mail them at: or write to their postal address at: Frozen Tears, 14 ROSAMOND ST , EAST STKILDA, Vic. 3183, Australia.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Some of above mentioned bands/artists have not released an album yet and are recording it at the moment. In the coming months reviews of their albums will be placed on this WebSite. Note that some bands are only in the demo production and will maybe only release a demo tape. That doesn't matter for us, because we review demotapes and CDs. And when you think the material or sound will not be as good as the signed AOR acts, you're wrong, because there are some very high quality AOR bands that are just not signed to a label because there isn't much promotion done for the act. Our Site is there to help these acts to reach the AOR Fans and Recordlabels in the whole world!


                                             BACK TO PAGE 1 OF HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS

                                             BACK TO PAGE 2 OF HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS

                                             BACK TO PAGE 3 OF HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS


                                         BACK TO HOMEPAGE