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Can’t believe it’s been more than 10 years ago since I first spook about this band, but it really was back in 1995/1996 when I reviewed their debut ‘One way to heaven’, a very good Melodic Rock affair in the style of 80s BON JOVI/WHITE LION… Remember it was the mid 1990s and Melodic Rock was dead, while the Power of the Internet was not there yet, even just started, but WILD FRONTIER kept on making records, because every now and then a new CD pops up, so after going through all the music climate and internet changes in this world, WILD FRONTIER releases it’s 4th full-length CD in 2007. Included music is still classic 80s Melodic Rock, very much in the German tradition of bands like CRAAFT, ZENO, V2, BONFIRE, VICE… This time a stunning 15 tracks are included that musically all go in the Melodic Rockstyle, with a slight updated sound, not that far away from BON JOVI/WHITE LION… Ballads, uptempo and midtempo rockers, all present, with some strong choruses here and there. I do not think times have influenced WILD FRONTIER much, because they still sound like the melodic rockband they were 10 years ago and this also can be heard on the new CD, because they re-recorded one of their older tunes (“I can’t believe”). Check out the band at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


3 years ago we reviewed the strong debut CD of the UK based female fronted Melodic Rockband RELAY, well now they have a follow-up finished and the 2nd CD of RELAY is a real strong album, comparable to a heavier NEXX. Anyone looking for strong 80s influenced female fronted Melodic Hardrock a la VIXEN and some LANA LANE should look no further as this new RELAY CD has got it all… 11 songs are included and it really sounds fresh and impressive, because songs like “Lost city”, “Love and desire” and “Danger zone” (one of the ultimate 80s song titles!) are damn catchy. Compared to their debut, the new CD sounds rawer and also has some Classic Rock influences, especially some SABBATH riffs can be heard here and there (“Liar”), but all together this is a real Melodic Hardrockalbum. Be sure to check out the new RELAY CD! More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Incredible guest musicians list is the first thing to say about the CD of female rocker LAURA KAYE, because none-other than TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA members DAVID Z, MARK WOOD, AL PITRELLI, JANE MANGINI and ALEX SKOLNICK (all also known for involvement with many well-known rock and metal bands/artists) as well as drummer JOE FRANCO (TWISTED SISTER, GOOD RATS) and many more make their appearance here. Laura herself has a great voice, very powerful and so is her music, which is sounding classic and modern at the same time. This is not her debut, because she also sang on the SANCTUARY CD, a great Poprock/Melodic Rock recording from 2001, which was a collaboration with legendary Electric Violin player MARK WOOD, of whom we reviewed a CD recently. Anyway, the Melodic Hardrock of LAURA KAYE reminds me of CHRISSY STEELE, with the bluesy/soulful touch of ALANNAH MYLES and SASS JORDAN, yet much heavier at times and even reminding of MOTHER’S FINEST here and there. Her voice is incredible and easily beats the likes of any so-called Idols contender out there! Best songs are the more melodic rock based tunes “Under a cloudless sky”, “Shake off the gravity” and ‘Waiting for the light to change”. If you liked last year’s BONITA, you will surely love this awesome CD of the incredible female singer LAURA KAYE. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


HUGE talent from Finland! ELIAS KAHILA is playing Cello and although a comparison to APOCALYPTICA is easy to make, Elias has surely an own style, because he mixes Classical themes with pure Melodic Rock sounds. Especially the uptempo rockers “Break point” and “Andromedean rhapsody” sound pretty good. Elias has a band backing him up, but he surely is the star on his cello. He kinda reminds me of MARK WOOD, who was and still is known for bringing the Violin (self-made) into the Metalworld. Elias was not the first, because APOCALYPTICA were the first, but nevertheless he goes more into a Melodic Rockstyle. Check him out at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Dirty Mean groovy Rock and Roll is what to expect from CRANK COUNTY DAREDEVILS, a band from North Carolina, whom are combining the best of Punk, Sleaze and Street Rock and Roll, like mixing NEW YORK DOLLS, GUNS’N’ROSES and SEX PISTOLS with a modern approach in the vocal or should I say screaming department. Fans of VELVET REVOLVER, BACKYARD BABIES, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, etc. will probably like this band a lot…

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


Glamrock from Italy! The past 5 or 6 years we have had many Glamrockbands from Italy, so I am safe to say Italy is the Glam country in the world at the moment, because from nowhere else so many Glam comes our way. JOLLY ROX is a band from the beautiful city of Florence and their latest demo is filled with very good catchy melodic Glamrock (with some Melodic Rock influences as well). Opener “Twisted room” is rightaway the catchiest song on the demo, a very strong uptempo rocker with strong chorus and surprisingly good vocalwork (high pitched). Fans of CRUE/POISON with a slight Melodic Rock approach will like this band a lot. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


23 CURRENT is a Pittsburgh/USA based band, which is playing open-minded Progressive Rock that is close to PINK FLOYD for sure, but still with an own approach. It also reminds me a bit of NEAL MORSE and SPOCK’S BEARD, yet less experimental and really focused on mostly the acoustic guitar with a voice, although I can still inform you that this is a progrockalbum as drums, bass and electric guitar can be heard in nearly every song, but it just is a very relaxing and laid-back album like NEAL MORE also has done and of course PINK FLOYD is best known for. No catchy choruses or uptempo rockers can be heard here, because this one is for those who long for calm progrock in the PINK FLOYD style. More info through email at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


The British band INTENSE is one of the very few new UK bands playing classic Melodic Metal and they do it very well. Their new CD ‘As our army grows’ was recorded with KARL GROOM and RICHARD WEST (THRESHOLD) and with 10 new tracks this is a very strong effort. Some songs are very catchy actually, such as the wonderful “Temptress”. The band’s lead singer has got that typical British 80s Hardrock/Metal voice, very much in the NWOBHM style of the early 80s, but musically besides the 80s Metal riffs, the music is up-to-date cool Melodic Metal with a touch of Power Metal! Definitely a very strong release and showing that the UK still has true metal bands to offer!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


‘In the papers’ is the first full-length CD of the Swiss band DJIZOES, after releasing a couple of EP’s and demos earlier since their formation in 2002. The band is playing a sort of 90s type of Progressive Metal, so guitar based with low pitched dark vocalwork. It sort of mixes EVERGREY with ALICE IN CHAINS and throw in a few modern progressive rock elements here and there. Without a doubt a quality CD, also production is in very good shape. The 90s Grunge influence is very notable in the vocalwork, which is a slight let-down, but on the other hand the whole package is really Progmetal, so a sort of unique combination, although it has been done before. Fans of dark progmetal should check out DJIZOES at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


Instrumental Progressive Rock with roots deeply in the 70s, very much guitar based and quite complicated at times, that’s how I would describe the new CD of the San Antonio/Texas based band MONKEYSOOP. The 3-piece band is surely influenced by RUSH, but yet have an own identity. 14 songs are included, but like most instrumental CDs, it’s a sort of trip or adventure from start to finish with all the tracks forming one big track together. Fans of instrumental progrock should check this out, although the production is a bit thin here and there. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


El Salvador based OVNI releases a new CD and once again it is filled with very impressive Neo-Prog that only differs from bands like IQ, PENDRAGON, PALLAS, MARILLION in the vocal department, as half of the material is sung in Spanish here. However, that is no problem at all here, as it all sounds very impressive and is reminding me a lot of the Latin and Italian Neo-Prog from the past. A comparison to a band like LE ORME is very easy to make, as the music is quite similar. From the 10 included songs, 3 are very long and also belonging to the highlights here. Progfans will surely enjoy the 75 minutes of Neo-Prog on the new OVNI CD. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


It seems like every year we have both a new LANA LANE and ERIK NORLANDER album, while they even do side-projects like THE ROCKET SCIENTISTS. Anyway, this new LANA LANE album is another in the collection of her paying tribute to her influences. This time the album 'Gemini' is an album of classic rock covers from the 60s and 70s featuring the backing musicians Vinny Appice (drums), Tony Franklin (bass), George Lynch (guitar), Mark McCrite (guitar) and Erik Norlander (keyboards) along with Kelly Keeling providing additional duet and harmony vocals. Gemini is the astrological symbol for twins, and since this is Lana's second album of all covers, the album carries the theme of "two" throughout. Lana recorded two songs by each classic rock artist for this release, from the bands CREAM, PINK FLOYD, MOODY BLUES, HEART, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE and FOREIGNER, which resulted in a string of classic rocksongs covered on this album, such as "White Room", "White Rabbit", "Starrider", "Sunshine Of Your Love" and "Nights in White Satin". All performed very well and surely a must-hear for any LANA LANE fan, whom are spoiled with so many releases of one of the greatest female singers of the past 2 decades!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Part 3 of the GENIUS project is featuring once again an interesting cast of singers, because none-other than DC COOPER, JORN LANDE, ERIC MARTIN and TOBY HITCHCOCK make their appearance. Singing duets and doing solo vocal performances, this CD surely has a lot to offer for the fans of these singers. Musically the final part of GENIUS continues the style of the 3 earlier albums, mixing Classic Rock with Bombastic themes and Progressive Rock influences with melodic rock choruses, although this time it sounds a bit more experimental. Projectleader DANIELE LIVERANI (Empty Tremor, Khymera) is repsonsible for the songwriting, Guitars, Bass and Keyboards, making this his little 'baby'. Although the start was a bit struggling, towards the end with TOBY HITCHCOCK of PRIDE OF LIONS shining on vocals we get to hear some great songs like “Inside these memories”, “I die” and “Dream in liberty”. Nevertheless, I do feel that this project could have been better songwise, because instrumental and vocally it all sounds excellent, but somehow not all of the songs are as strong as you want them to be.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


TYKETTO's debut 'Don't come easy' from more than 15 years ago is and will always will be the classic album to her first when turning into DANNY VAUGHN's music career. Although he tried several times trying to release something equally as good it never worked, be that under the TYKETTO name, VAUGHN, FROM THE INSIDE or FLESH AND BLOOD, because beating his classic debut with TYKETTO is impossible. Also the new solo-album of Danny is just a nice record, with superb singing of course, because after all Danny is an amazing singer. However, the melodic rock included here is just nice to hear, but nowhere near the sensational early TYKETTO stuff. Not saying this is a release should ignore, because it surely is a grower and will become pretty good after listening a few times, as it really is a good high quality singer-songwriter melodic rockalbum, but do not expect it to be the album to beat that TYKETTO classic from 1991.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


We have heard this style many times before, because bands like SCHANDMAUL, IN EXTREMO, SUBWAY TO SALLY, DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, TANZWUT, etc. all did this kind of HIM meets RAMMSTEIN kinda Goth Dark modern but melodic midtempo sounding Metal with German lyrics and some Folk influences. Nevertheless, LEICHENWETTER sound pretty good and solid, with a very impressive production of their CD ‘Klage’ and without a doubt songs like “Schwanenlied” and “Sehnsucht” are very strong songs that even could turn out to become huge hits! If you like any of the mentioned bands you will surely love this CD! More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


A few years ago I reviewed a CD of the American band TROLL, which was filled with high quality 80s influenced US Melodic Power Metal. Now they are back with a new CD, which has a better production, better packaging and artwork, while musically the band has changed a little into a more modern type of Melodic Progressive Metal with various arrangements here and there, such as acoustic guitars and harmonyvocals during the choruses in the style of DREAM THEATER/FATES WARNING (“Army of lost souls”). For an independent CD, this is good stuff and to those who like for example the US way of prog metal, like SUSPYRE, STRIDE, PYRAMAZE, KATAGORY 5, etc will really the new TROLL CD. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


VERTICAL ALIGNMENT from South Carolina/USA is playing the American type of 70s Progressive Rock, which is very melodic with acoustic guitars, many keyboards, melodic guitarwork and a lot of harmonyvocals, sort of like STARCASTLE, STYX and KANSAS. They do it very well and at one point you would actually think they recorded this back in 1978 and just re-issued it onto CD! The artwork of the CD is very nice and so is the production and sound quality of the CD. All together this makes it the perfect release for anyone missing this kind of American prog/pomprock. It is also not far away from ENCHANT and more recently, the CRYPTIC VISION stuff, so we have something special here and basically it is a pleasure to listen to this album from start to finish, because the musicianship is of a very high level. With many singers (most of them very impressive, especially the brothers FITZPATRICK in the almost PRIDE OF LIONS meets KANSAS sounding AOR/Pomprocker “Freedom’s call”) and lots of arrangements as well as melodies, this CD is a must-have for fans of KANSAS, CRYPTIC VISION and STARCASTLE. More info at:  and  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Guitarist PAT THRALL and vocalist GLENN HUGHES joined hands in 1982 and released a stunning melodic rockalbum, which 25 years later is regarded a classic, but sadly was the only record these 2 legendary musicians did together as the HUGHES/THRALL project, despite so much praise in the press all these years. Both had gained a lot of success with their former bands DEEP PURPLE and PAT TRAVERS BAND, while the production was in the hands of Andy Johns, a Brit whose credits also include FREE, LED ZEPPELIN and VAN HALEB. This one-off record of HUGHES/THRALL was a pure hard Rock Classic with biting guitarwork and excellent vocalwork, maybe some of the best Glenn ever did. Songs like "I Got Your Number’,'The Look In Your Eye’, ‘Beg, Borrow Or Steal’, ‘Where Did The Time Go’, ‘Muscle And Blood’, ‘Hold Out Your Life’, ‘Who Will You Run To’, ‘Coast To Coast’, ‘First Step Of Love’ are timeless classic melodic rocksongs, while this new remastered edition from ROCK CANDY RECORDS is extended with 2 Bonus tracks ("Still The Night", also recorded by PHENOMENA and "Love Don’t Come Easy".). Besides, like all ROCK CANDY releases, this one also comes with excellent artwork, extensive liner notes and exclusive pictures from the glorious but rather short days when HUGHES/THRALL were active.

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Finally! After 24 years the ultimate one-off AOR CLASSIC from PREVIEW has been re-issued onto CD. ROCK CANDY RECORDS has done a great job, despite the fact it was announced almost a year ago. It was all worth the wait as the remastering has been done perfectly and the artwork, liner notes and exclusive pictures in the CD booklet are a pleasure to look at. The music itself for it's time was AOR in it's perfection, so why didn't this release in 1983 turn out into a megamillionseller in the USA you might ask yourself. Lack of promotion is one thing, but also the fact the band was falling apart not long after the release. Rumors and actually this was told once by KEITH OLSEN (their producer) to me in an interview I had with him a few years ago, it was said that the PREVIEW members did not actually play on the album themselves, because they could not play a single note and therefore KEITH OLSEN brought in some of the well-known studio musicians (you know from the RICK SPRINGFIELD early 80s albums). The only one who really was outstanding was singer JOHN FIORE, a superb singer, who became one of the most popular radio-commercial singers in the USA after PREVIEW and released a few records under the FIORE moniker during the 90s, with a little help of HARRY HESS of HAREM SCAREM. The other members also went their own way and some recorded over the years. However, the PREVIEW album from 1983 with it's 30 minutes of music is featuring AOR to perfection, with hooklines and catchy choruses like no other band ever wrote again. Sadly it was a short affair and was not a success at all, but the AOR fanatics in Europe discovered the album and after being untouched for more than 20 years, ROCK CANDY RECORDS remastered the original album and now in 2007 the re-issue on CD is available. I can name them all, but actually you should hear all 10 songs to understand this is a classic. It doesn't happen too often I give an album 10 points, but this album receives it for the music, but all the stories around the recording process should be left out when making a rate like that, because it's the music that counts. Uptempo AOR/Radiorock in best early 80s spirit can be heard during songs like "All night", "Never hold back", "Open Up Your Heart", "Can' you see" and "So Blind", while smooth AOR Ballads like "It's over" and "Running back" give the record an emotional touch. JOURNEY, SURVIVOR, TOTO, FOREIGNER, first SILVER CONDOR, influences can all be heard, but still PREVIEW had an own sound due to the incredible vocalwork and superb catchy hooks and melodic choruses one will never get out of the head after hearing it the first time. Although the band continued with different members, Danny Gold (guitar) and Ernie Gold (keyboards) and even recorded demos as LONE WOLF, the band was destined to fail without the mighty JON FIORE on vocals. Without a doubt, this is a monster AOR classic, short but a masterpiece and one of the few albums to keep you busy in every track. An album right up there with JOURNEY, SURVIVOR and FOREIGNER at their best. Very polished, very 1983ish US Radioreadyrock, but basically an album everyone should own that has a heart for 80s AOR, as this is one of the few ultimate 80s AOR records...

(Points: 10 out of 10)


Not the first time this album has been re-issued, because about 10 years ago the US label RENAISSANCE RECORDS re-issued both BALANCE albums onto 1 CD. However, now with a new remastering, full liner notes, pictures, etc. this new re-issue of the 2nd BALANCE album 'In for the count' is very interesting. The sound is huge (which was already quite good due to the original production by TONY BONGIOVI) and songs like "In For The Count", "Is It Over", "Bedroom Eyes' and "We Can Have It All" (lovely late-night early 80s westcoast-AOR a la FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS) are definitely timeless classic AOR songs in the style of all those early 80s US acts, such as ALLIANCE, TOTO, SHERIFF, LE ROUX, TYCOON, SPY, FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS) with fantastic melodic vocalwork of Peppy Castro and biting guitarwork of BOB KULICK (KISS, SKULL, MEATLOAF, etc). This is the way AOR sounded and should sound like. The new release comes with 2 Bonus Tracks: "Ride The Wave", "She’s Alone Tonight". Better be sure to get this release asap if you want to find out about early 80s AOR! Damn shame this was the end of this band some 25 years ago, because BALANCE could have been much bigger!

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


THUNDERSTONE is back with a new CD entitled 'Evolution 4.0', which continues the strong Melodic Metal style of their previous records. The new album is not really bringing anything new, but that is no problem at all, because the included music is of a very high level. It is somewhere between NOCTURNAL RITES and MASTERPLAN and one song stands out above any of the other 10 tracks. It is the superb fast melodic power metal song "10.000 Ways", with it's catchy sing-a-long chorus. Basically THUNDERSTONE proves on this new album they are heading into the league of NOCTURNAL RITES and MASTERPLAN, but still need to focus a bit more on the choruses, but except that mentioned song, which might be the best THUNDERSTONE song ever!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


'Dead Reckoning' is the new CD of THRESHOLD and it might not beat the album 'Hypothetical', which is still their best recording ever, but nevertheless it is better than their previous effort 'Critical mass'. The band sounds a little heavier, even introducing some death growls at the start. Happily, the familiar style of THRESHOLD is very much alive on this new disc and it does sound very good again, thanks to the wonderful sound/production of guitarist KARL GROOM and the superb vocalwork of MAC. The choruses are very melodic and this new THRESHOLD album is definitely another Progressive Metal Masterpiece. Opener "Slipstream" for example is a fine example of the sound of THRESHOLD, which combines a heavier sound, but also a lovely melodic chorus. The band flirts with AOR/Melodic Rock here and there, especially in a ballad like "Pilot in the Sky of Dreams", but mainly this is a Melodic Prog Metal album that will be loved by anyone who is familiar with the band.

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


Already the third CD of the Swedish Melodic Rockband LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM. The supergroup formed around Mikael Erlandsson on Lead Vocals, Andy Malecek (Fair Warning) on Guitars, Marcel Jacob (Talisman) on bass, and Jamie Borger (Talisman) on drums managed to release a much rockier effort than their poppier previous album 'Winter In Paradise'. This new record is a full blown Melodic Hardrockalbum that goes in the tradition of all the Scandi 80s acts, such as TREAT, SWEDISH EROTICA, TALISMAN, 220 VOLT... Especially the uptempo melodic rockers "For The Young & The Wild", "After Tomorrows Gone", "Critical", "American Girl" and "Domino" are very strong tunes that will be loved by all the melodic rockfans out there. The departure of 3 EUROPE members after their debut CD (Ian Haugland, Mic Michaeli and John Levén) seems to be forgotten by now, as this new CD is a really strong Melodic Hardrockalbum.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Kristoffer Lagerstrom is the Lead vocalist/Keyboardplayer of the new Swedish band UNION MAC. Kristoffer has been singing in AOR projects like RADIOACTIVE, SPIN GALLERY, SAYIT, PRISONER and now has his own project together with guitarist Mikael Klevengard. It is called UNION MAC and their debut CD 'Lost in attraction' is released on ESCAPE MUSIC. Musically we are heading into an AOR style, with some slight Progrock influences. It reminds me of ACT and SAGA, although comparisons to SPIN GALLERY and RADIOACTIVE are not out of the question too. Opener "Bring Me In" hits like a hammer and sets the record straight here, as this is a very strong AOR/Melodic Rocksong with catchy chorus and actually the rest of the album (12 more tracks) is heading in the same direction, combining pure AOR with some light Sympho/Prog. ACT meets SPIN GALLERY is my verdict and therefore I think this release will attract both AOR and Progfans!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


LABYRINTH makes another comeback with a strong album that continues their style created on the last few albums, which is much more mixing melodic rock and prog metal instead of the Italo Power Metal they made during the 1990s. The 2 spin-off bands (WONDERLAND and VISION DIVINE) continue making the LABYRINTH ITALO MELODIC POWER METAL style of the past and they do that very well, so it is no problem LABYRINTH itself is changing it's style a bit. Especially when you consider this new album is a really strong album that surely must attract some new fans, because this is basically a melodic heavy rockalbum with progmetal influences. There is almost no Power Metal to be found here, so maybe another disappointment for the true fans of the band, who are still waiting for another 'Return to heaven denied' type of record. Those fans need to switch to the afforementioned spin-off bands WONDERLAND and VISION DIVINE, but in case you want to hear some great high quality Melodic Rock with Prog influences check out LABYRINTH's new CD '6 days to nowhere', which is filled with strong anthems, such as "Crossroads", "Lost", "What???" and "Coldness". Another strong album of LABYRINTH, whom no longer should be labeled under Power Metal.

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Already the 3rd CD of this band from the surroundings of Salt Lake City/Utah/USA, but the first one I review. The band is playing very strong original Melodic Progressive Rock, which draws comparisons to bands like RUSH, ENCHANT, BLUE OYSTER CULT, BUDGIE… The sound is very melodic and without drifting into very experimental moods, the progrockfans might like this a lot, because this band easily combines instrumental melodies with vocal melodies, making this a perfect mix between melodic rock of the classic rock kind and progressive rock. Although male vocal fronted, we can hear a fantastic female singer as well in the song “Nowhere to go”, one of the highlights on the CD, a sort of 80s AOR/Poprock type of tune (SAGA/EYE TO EYE/EVEREST style). Most of the songs follow the same path, which is pure Melodic Progressive Rock and the band truly has a sound on their own, with closing track “Visiting Mussolini” being a very impressive tune that remind me a bit of MOSTLY AUTUMN, starting calm, but building up to something huge. Surely a band to look out for and you can do that through: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


New promising Dutch Rockband, which is playing a strong Melodic sort of progressive rockstyle. PHYRUS is formed around guitarist/vocalist MIKE PHYRUS, a very good guitarplayer who can also sing very well. Opener “No silver” of the 5 tracks counting mini-promo CD of PHYRUS is a very strong Melodic Progressive Heavy Rocksong. It sometimes remind me of PHIL VINCENT, both vocally and musically, although the AOR/Melodic Rock influences are not really present, but believe me when I say this is still a very melodic album that just is best labeled as Progressive Rock. A song like “Mr. Hyde” is actually Melodic Heavy Rock in the style of AXXIS/ANGEL HEART/DOMAIN, a very good song. PHYRUS is definitely playing a rockstyle not heard much by fellow Dutch bands and that should be appreciated, especially since it is done very well. Check it out for yourself at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


German band GUTBUCKET has been active for 9 years and this is their 3rd CD, although the first I hear of the band. They play dirty mean raw in your face rock and roll, Aussie style a la ROSE TATTOO, THE ANGELS, AC/DC, KINGS OF THE SUN… They do that pretty well and fans of the genre will absolutely love this record, although there is nothing new under the horizon. Nevertheless, GUTBUCKET do it quite well and I think live they will sound even better. People looking for original no-nonsense rock and roll should look for this GUTBUCKET.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


I can easily call this a new sensation. They come out of Switzerland and are everything a NIGHTWISH fan will never hear again, because LEGENDA AUREA are a superb piece of Melodic Neo-Classical Gothic Power Metal in a pure NIGHTWISH style, including the soprano female vocals. The sound is huge and besides excellent vocalwork from singer CLAUDIA HOFER, also instrumental and the 10 songs included on the CD are of a very high level. Maybe not original, but definitely something dangerously close to classic NIGHTWISH and especially people longing back to those times will like this CD of LEGENDA AUREA very much with such fantastic uptempo tracks like “Vengeance”, “War victim” and “Sedna”. Check it out for yourself at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The Previous album of the Finnish band WALTARI featured some good melodic rocksongs, but I am afraid this time they have gone too far. The new CD of the band is a mix of each thinkable musicstyle and maybe they have done that very well, the melodies are lost and it just is a bit too much to make any sense unfortunately. A real pity, because they have done some good stuff in the past, but now they are getting too experimental as they combine each musicstyle here, so you must be really open-minded to get into this. Nevertheless, people looking for something super original, well they could check out the new WALTARI to hear some very diverse bizarre music.

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)


DEAD POETIC are coming out of Ohio/USA, starting as a Screamo-band, but are now playing the typical melodic American emo meets punk meets classic melodic rock and rollstyle, which we heard thousand times before, but nevertheless the 3rd CD of DEAD POETIC sounds pretty good. The band used to be a sreamo band, but this new album has dropped all those influences. The band is now signed to TOOTH AND NAIL RECORDS and AARON SPRINKLE (ACCEPTANCE, KUTLESS, JEREMY CAMP, HAWK NELSON, FALLING UP, ANBERLIN, etc) produced the record. He gave it his typical sound and concluded we can add here that this new DEAD POETIC is a very impressive album that might impress the melodic rockfans among us, because some of the songs are damn catchy, falling in between HOOBASTANK, LOST PROPHETS and mentioned bands. “In coma” as well as “Sinless city” are the absolute highlights here, songs with superb melodic choruses that almost recalls AOR memories. This is a very strong album, not original, because very American Rock of today orientated, but another one open-minded melodic rockfans should check out for sure. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The Finnish band TAROT was formed way back in the early 1980s and for many years they were just another Hardrockband. The band was formed by the brothers Marco Hietala (bass/vocals) and Zachary Hietala (guitars) and until 2002 this was just TAROT, but then Marco joined NIGHTWISH and things started to look bright for TAROT, because they signed with SPINEFARM RECORDS and released their best album ever, 'Suffer our pleasures'. 3 years of silence and 2006 was definitely an important year for TAROT, because the label Bluelight Records re-released the band's first six albums – remastered and/or remixed - with a lot of bonus material. Also the switch from label to NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS has now resulted in a new CD titled 'Crows fly back'. Included music is a very strong mix of traditional Melodic Metal and Progressive Metal, with some very smooth melodies, but the switch to NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS also made them sound heavier, a real Metalband they now are. Songs like "Crows Fly Black", "Ashes To Ashes" and "Before The Skies Come Down" are great songs and thanks to the fact Marco the singer here joined NIGHTWISH made TAROT a huge band after 25 years. They have had their singles high up in the Finnish charts and their albums sell like pancakes. Now for the rest of Europe, TAROT is ready with this new pure Metalalbum!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Formed in the early 90s, but their first official album was released in 2000 and from then on, the Italian band went on releasing albums almost every 2 years, with this new album 'As we die alone' being their 4th CD. Musically they are pure Doom Metal in classic BLACK SABBATH/TROUBLE/CANDLEMASS style. They are very good actually, thanks to a strong lead singer by the name of FABIO "THUNDER" BELLAN, who is also the guitarist and leader of THUNDERSTORM. It seems like the band is getting stronger with every new release and this new CD 'As we die alone' is probably their best effort so far. The sound is huge and without any doubts, this is a must-have for any Doom Metalfan out there! Although the songs are sometimes quite slow, the band also puts the tempo up here and there and similarities to CANDLEMASS are very clear, so the fans of the genre know exactly what to do with this new release of THUNDERSTORM, the Italian leaders of Doom!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


NEVERLAND should not be confused with the same named progressive/psychedelic hardrockband from the early 90s who came out of the UK if I recall correctly. This NEVERLAND is a neo-classical Progressive/Powermetalband from Switzerland formed in 1999 by Daniel Huber and Boris Stoll. Almost 8 years later the band finally has their first official CD finished. Produced by Tommy Vetterli (CORONER, KREATOR), NEVERLAND has come up with a decent typical Neo-Classical Melodic Metal record that does not bring anything new to the genre and does never reach the high level of acts like ROYAL HUNT, SYMPHONY X... 9 tracks are included and actually most of them are just nice to hear, but they do not stick into your head, so they sadly go in one ear and out the other. It's not that this is a bad release, because the musicians and musically it all sounds good, but it just is not sensational at all. Only for the die-hards I am afraid!

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


FROMUZ are a band from Uzbekistan playing high quality instrumental Progressive Rock/Metal with Jazz/Fusion influences and they do that very well. The band is signed to the US label 10T RECORDS and their first release is in DUAL format, CD and DVD. The actual recording took place in April 2005 at the Youth Theater of Uzbekistan, in Tashkent. Now there is the CD and DVD available of this performance and that is a pleasure to watch and listen to, because these are talented musicians playing a very high level of instrumental progrock/metal, which is very diverse and as good as anything from the big boys out there. There are not too many bands from Uzbekistan and the few that are out there are playing prog, but none are doing it as good as FROMUZ. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


A new CD-single and full-length CD of the French band NEMO. It is the follow up to the debut CD from 2006, which was of course part 1 of the story about genetic manipulations. 56 minutes long, divided into 10 separate tracks, this is a very nice epic journey through the progrockworld. The band has built up a big reputation in a small amount of time and that is no wonder if you hear their new CD, which is a very impressive progrockalbum. Without a doubt, the progfans are gonna love this release for sure as it gives them enough pleasure, due to the fact it is a high quality progalbum. Besides the new CD, there is also a CD-single available entitled 'Les enfants rois', which contains 2 songs not included on the CDs of NEMO, namely the OZZY OSBOURNE cover "Diary of a madman" and a new instrumental track. Enough for the progfan I assume. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


At the same time LANA LANE releases her COVERS album 'Gemini', ERIK NORLANDER "Hommage Symphonique" celebrates the artist's progressive rock and jazz - fusion influences, so 2 tributes released at the same time. 'Hommage Symphonique' is an album of progressive rock covers recorded by keyboardist Erik Norlander along with the virtuoso band of Gregg Bissonette (drums), Don Schiff (bass) and Mark McCrite (guitars) with KELLY KEELING handling all of the vocal duties. Kelly is the excellent singer we all know from BATON ROUGE and the ERIK NORLANDER projects. There are also several other guest instruments included here, such as Jon Pappenbrook on trumpets flugelhorn, Eric Jorgensen on trombones, Mike Alvarez on cello and David Schiff on woodwinds. David is the brother of Don Schiff, and in addition to Don's NS/Stick work on the album, he also fills out the acoustic string ensemble with the new Bowed Guitar instrument. Covers featured are from ELP, ELO, Yes, Rick Wakeman, King Crimson, Procol Harum and Jethro Tull. It's great to hear such classics as "Conquistador", "Turn of the Century" and "Starless" done by ERIK NORLANDER and friends. Another nice addition to the growing catalogue of releases featuring ERIK NORLANDER!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


JANI WICKHOLM from Finland is quite known in his homecountry Finland, even reaching the number 1 spot with his debut album a few years ago. This new album is his 3rd record and it musically is safe but quite good melodic poprock that reminds me of THOMAS VIKSTROM's solo record from 10+ years ago and SUNRISE AVENUE, although a bit poppier and the main difference is of course that all is sung in Finnish, so hard to understand for most of us. Happily, some of the melodies are very nice, with the semi AOR ballad "Kuu" being a lovely tune actually. Jani has got a very good voice and despite the fact all 12 included tracks are sung in Finnish, the melodies are very impressive and should please the AOR/Melodic Rockfans definitely. It will then still be hard for Jani to breakout of the Finnish musicscene, but for the average aor/melodic rockfan that should be no problem and he or she may have a look at Jani's website at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


SHAH MAT is a Belgium female fronted rockband, which is playing a mix of classic melodic rock with modern influences and sadly also some Nu-Metal/Nu-Rock can be heard, although mainly SHAH MAT is a modern day sounding melodic rockband. Most notable fact of their debut CD 'Upstream' is the producer, because none-other than ERWIN MUSPER (DEF LEPPARD, SLEEZE BEEZ, ZINATRA...) worked with the band's first record. The first 2 songs are very good melodic rockers, but then the style changes into a more nu-rock/metal approach. However, it goes this way for the rest of the CD, with then again melodic rock orientated material and on the other hand also some very modern sounding (read: American) nu-rock/metal. The female singer has a good voice and all together this is a nice record, not earthshaking, but SHAH MAT shows they are a good Belgian Rockband. More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Worldwide the Idols competition has seen many new performers making it big and some of the participants in USA, Canada and Finland even brought us some great albums by these new TV stars, such as BO BICE, AGNES, BILLY KLIPPERT, DAUGHTRY, SUZI RAWN... In 2004 Finland got it's first Idol, which was HANNA PAKARINEN. The 2 albums she released after winning the contest became huge sellers and eventually she became the best selling Finnish female artist singing in English. More recently she entered the national Eurovision Song Contest and beat LOVEX and THUNDERSTONE in the super finale, so she will represent Finland in this year's Eurovision Song Contest held in Finland, due to LORDI's victory last year. In the meantime her new CD is released, which musically is typical female fronted rock/metal as played by many others today, so imagine a mix of WITHIN TEMPTATION/LACUNA COIL/EVANESCENCE and KELLY CLARCKSON/AVRIL LAVIGNE. Not really original, but quite good and most of the 11 included songs are rather catchy, especially the Eurovision Song Contest tune "Leave me alone" and the final 3 songs "It Ain't Gonna Happen" (a la early 80s PAT BENATAR), "Lovers" and "Hard Luck Woman" (not the KISS cover, but an AOR ballad). Maybe not an original release, but definitely a good strong female fronted rockalbum, radio-ready and who knows this is the new Eurovision Song Contest winner, again for Finland, but I am afraid that will not happen, but we will wait and see. Funny fact is that Finnish entries for the past 3 years have all been rock/metal related, because in 2005 it was GEIR RONNING (who sang on many AOR records, especially TOMMY DENANDER projects), 2006 LORDI and now HANNA PAKARINEN. Check out her websites at:  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)