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 UPDATED ON  JULY 9 - 2012


Out of Chicago comes this old fashioned Metalband. Their same titled debut CD features high quality Melodic Metal in the Classic 80s US Metal direction and actually OLD IRONSIDES should be put right next to all the other new Classic 80s US Metal style bands from the USA in this genre, such as WHITE WIZZARD, LORDS OF THE TRIDENT, HIGH SPIRITS, etc. etc. The production and sound quality of the CD is very impressive and the performance of the 12 included tracks is excellent, both instrumentally and vocally. In fact, OLD IRONSIDES features a great lead singer (SETH PETERSON) with an own identity and most of the songs are very diverse, ranging from slow to midtempo and a couple of fast uptempo rockers. Although the band is compared to the earlier mentioned bands, I feel that the band also has a progressive edge to their sound and then comes a comparison to PSYCHOTIC WALTZ along. One way or the other, this is a very impressive band that should be checked asap if you’re a fan of traditional Melodic Metal. More info at:  

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



Guitarist DON MANCUSO from Rochester, New York is quite a legend, because during the 1970s he played in the Rockband BLACK SHEEP, together with lead singer LOU GRAMM, who of course would find fame and fortune with FOREIGNER. They recorded 2 great Bluesy Hardrockalbums during the 1970s and in later years, Don continued to play and record with LOU after FOREIGNER, namely during his 1980s solo period and the past 8 years in the official LOU GRAMM BAND. Don also worked a lot with PHIL NARO and was part of the fantastic early 1980s AOR/Pomprockband CHEATER, with whom he recorded the superb ‘Ten cent love affair’ mini-album. Anyway, every now and then he also releases a solo-album, of which ‘No strings attached’ is the latest effort. This album contains instrumental music that is of course based around Don’s rather excellent guitarplaying. It’s a diverse recording, with 6 tracks in total. For the guitarfreaks definitely worth checking out at:   

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



PUZZLE KING stands for Francois Puzenat, a French multi-instrumentalist, who did most on his own on the first CD of his project PUZZLE KING. The included music is sung in French and due to the fact it is a Progressive Rockstyle we get to hear, the comparison to ANGE is quite onvious. The production is quite good and instrumental it all sounds very good. The vocals of Francois are not so strong and also the French lyrics could be a language barrier for some of the international Progfans out there. Nevertheless, Francois has done a good job and all together the album ‘Anna’ is a nice one to check out for the die-hard progfans! More at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)



LOWER THE VEIL is a New Jersey based band and ‘The 1000th monkey’ is their 2nd CD so far. The included music is sorta Classic Rock orientated, with some Melodic Hardrock type of material as well, but also here and there (“All that’s real”) we can hear the SOUNDGARDEN/ALICE IN CHAINS type of lowtuned 1990s Altmetal. However, a song like the semi-ballad “The sawyer” is a very strong and quite melodic tune, with some well-thought lyrics. The band definitely shows they are a quality 3-piece band, but I do feel that the production could be better. It is clear that this LOWER THE VEIL is a very professional band and if they are able to secure a label deal or get some help from an established producer, who knows how good a future CD might turn out. In the meantime, check them out at:  

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



For someone who has performed on the DAVID LETTERMAN and JOOLS HOLLAND TV-shows as back-up singer for PETER GABRIEL, the future must surely look very bright. In the case of American Singer-Songwriter JESCA HOOP I am quite sure she indeed is about to have that lucky breakthrough someday very soon. ‘The house that Jack built’ is already her 3rd solo-album, but the difference with the past is that Jesca now lives in Manchester, UK, which might definitely help in getting press coverage a lot quicker in the UK and mainland Europe. There are a lot of female singer/songwriters active and the chance one might actually become the next big success is impossible to guess, but Jesca definitely has something that might help her lift above the masses. The music is very close to for example FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE, THE JEZABELS and such 80s almost KATE BUSHish inspired Hi-Tech Pop/rock meets New Wave sounds. Jesca has got an interesting voice and in total we can find 10 songs on the new album of her. Sometimes it gets a little experimental and even recalls memories of LUBA and DALBELLO, but when she goes more in-line with the current way of writing a hitsingle, the song “Hospital (Win your love)” could well become a massive Summerhit! Personally I think that a very intimate sound could also work, because the stripped-down, laid-back acoustic titletrack “The house that jack built” shows she is quite an excellent Singer/Songwriter who actually sounds at best in a very small setting. However, most of the album is more going into the FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE direction, which is a good thing as well of course, but it is hard to tell if Jesca will become the next big thing, but all the ingredients are present on her 3rd album ‘The house that Jack built’, so who knows she will be a star after the summer of 2012! Check her out at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Of course the female fronted semi-Gothic Melodic Heavy Rock/Metalsound has been done a thousand times by now, but if it is done at a high level and it features a fantastic lead singer, then why shouldn’t we just enjoy it! This time it is a band called END OF SEPTEMBER, a band from Sweden whom are making their debut with a same titled album on the Swedish label ULTERIUM RECORDS. The material is sounding like a cross between WITHIN TEMPTATION, EVANESCENCE and DELAIN and believe me that some of the songs even reach the same kinda high level. This is possible due to the fact that END OF SEPTEMBER has a really excellent female lead singer called ELIN REDIN and the melodies of the songs are very strong and quite catchy. The band sounds dangerously close to WE ARE THE FALLEN actually, but as already mentioned, songs like “Isolated”, “Fallen” and “Exile” are also reminding of WITHIN TEMPTATION. Leader of the band is guitarist ERIK TORDSSON, who wrote all the songs, also sings and growls here and there. Nothing new under the sun, but definitely something sensational to be heard here, so a must-have for the fans of mentioned bands. More info at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



The Brazilian female fronted band SHADOWSIDE has come a long way, but 10 years after we reviewed their small independently released demo CDR, the band has built up a huge name and especially in their homeland Brazil they have become one of the best selling Metalbands! In the meantime they released their albums on sublabels of SONY MUSIC and UNIVERSAL MUSIC in Brazil and now their latest album ‘Inner monster out’ will be released on INNER WOUND RECORDINGS in Europe. I am safe to say that this is their finest album so far and perhaps one of the absolute best Metal albums of the past years! DANI NOLDEN is a superb female singer and combined with a bunch of rather catchy hard-hittin’ pure Melodic Metaltunes that also features absolutely massive guitarwork and the fact that the production (in the hands of FREDRIK NORDSTROM of DREAM EVIL) is of an incredible high level, this all together makes SHADOWSIDE’s new record ‘Inner monster out’ a MUST-HAVE release for any Metalhead out there! Almost each of the 12 included tracks sounds dangerously sensational, with “Angel with horns”, “Habitchual”, “Waste of life”, “In the name of love”, “My disrupted reality” and the amazing title track “Inner monster out” being the absolute highlights. The album sounds like a mixture between the last ICED EARTH album ‘Dystopia’, MYSTIC PROPHECY and NOCTURNAL RITES, with a dash of ARCH ENEMY. This album should guarantee the breakthrough of SHADOWSIDE in Europe! If not, then we might have a serious problem here in Europe for not discovering the real Metal anymore! More info at:

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)



3 years after we reviewed their debut, the Finnish band STATUS MINOR returns with another fantastic high quality Melodic Progmetalalbum. Long live all the bands that ignore the big ego’s of genre inventors DREAM THEATER, because STATUS MINOR is another band that gives the fans songs with catchy melodies and hooks that DREAM THEATER doesn’t like to do. Instead of focusing on endless instrumental sections like DREAM THEATER, we get to hear on this album ‘Ouroboros’ a bunch of catchy tunes that can still be regarded Progmetal, yet more memorable and accessible due to the somewhat catchy material and also the fact that STATUS MINOR features a fantastic lead vocalist (MARKKU KUIKKA), it is all contributing to the fact that this album is a must-have if you like PAGAN’S MIND, SEVENTH WONDER and such. 9 songs are included, of which the highlights are “The wind”, “Hollow” and “Smile”, but any song will be loved by fans of the mentioned bands. Must-have for the Progmetalfans out there who like a strong AOR melody in the vocal/chorus department as well! More at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



HERMAN FRANK is the legendary German guitarist who played with acts like MOON DOC, VICTORY and ACCEPT, so mostly playing in typical German Melodic Heavy Rock/Metalacts and on his solo-debut CD ‘Loyal to none’ from 2009 he more or less continued playing that style. Also the 2nd solo-CD ‘Right in the guts’ he firmly holds on to the classic 80s guitar riff driven German Melodic Heavy Rock in the style of VICTORY and ACCEPT, with the occasional Power Metal touch. The result is surprisingly a very good album, thanks to a handful of great tunes, but also the fact that Herman hired a truly great Rock Shouter as vocalist, namely the Swedish born RICK ALTZI. Although not very original, it is done quite well and therefore this album is highly recommended to fans of mentioned bands. Thanks to Rick’s superb vocals, there are also some comparisons to JEFF SCOTT SOTO and ROB ROCK, with even comparisons to KUNI, AXEL RUDI PELL and DRIVER during the catchy fast “Ivory gate” and how about “Starlight” that just screams out JEFF SCOTT SOTO when is doing his Metal God act! Make sure not to miss this album if you’re a fan of either VICTORY/ACCEPT or AXEL RUDI PELL and the Metal projects of JEFF SCOTT SOTO and ROB ROCK, because you might definitely appreciate this new solo-album of HERMAN FRANK!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Now this female singer-songwriter has a long history behind her, which started in Chicago back in the 1970s/1980s, which saw her book some success when one of her songs was chosen on the legendary CHICAGO ROCKS sampler as well as on the soundtrack for the movie GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN. During the 1990s she released her solo debut album on her own label PAINTED ROCK RECORDS and also the new CD ‘Congratulations’ is released on this label. However, the time between these 2 records weren’t exactly easy to say the least, because Amy has been living a homeless life for a while and only had a car to live in. After she secured a college place for her daughter, she went to Nashville with 40 dollars and eventually there she was able to start up a new life, performing live and recording music, which can now be heard on this new album ‘Congratulations’. The included music is a mix of pure Blues (“Even Country gets the blues”), bluesy rock with a popedge a la SHERYL CROW (“Congratulations” and “Get the girls dancing”) and also some smooth Nashville ish Country Pop (“Be that way” and “When love comes to call”). Amy’s vocals are truly wonderful and it is almost hard to understand that Amy never was able to become a major label signed musician, because she is a very well-established singer-songwriter, who can now show the world her latest album ‘Congratulations’. Check it out at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



‘Dreaming out loud’ is the 2nd solo-CD of Nashville, USA settled musician KEITH MOODY, who delivers a pretty good Classic Rock Singer/Songwriter album that is clearly influenced by all the legendary American musicians of the past 50 years! TOM PETTY influences can be heard all over the place, but Keith also adds an own touch and a song like the very catchy uptempo Melodic Poprocker “Already home” even has some similarities to BRYAN ADAMS. Don’t get me wrong here, because Keith is definitely more aiming for a non-commercial Poprock approach, with the focus on the acoustic guitar setting and well-thought lyrics, which reminds musically also of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, without being too political. Yet, he gives a few songs a sort of catchy melodic touch and comes up then with some very memorable songs like the midtempo “Plastic hearts”, the uptempo “Lay it down easy” and “Do it over” (superb!) and the already mentioned “Already home” that all have got serious hit potential. Keith is a highly recommended singer-songwriter with a great voice and a lot of strong songs. Check him out at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Here we have the latest sensation from the USA, a band called THE KINECTED from sunny Florida (West Palm Beach!) and their debut CD is titled ‘Evolution #9’. The music they play is very 1980s orientated, sounding like a mix between 1980s Canadian Hi-Tech Poprock of the SHY TALK and PLATINUM BLONDE kind, early 1980s British Synth driven funky New Wave (GO WEST and dare I say DURAN DURAN?) and pure 1980s US AOR/Radiorock (the hooks and choruses are sometimes dangerously close to our beloved genre), yet also here and there sounding not too far away from popular American modern feel-good poprockbands like BOYS LIKE GIRLS, THE CLICK FIVE and NEON TREES. They have already played as a support act to bands like JOURNEY, FOREIGNER, BRYAN ADAMS, DURAN DURAN, CANDLEBOX, DAUGHTRY, SWITCHFOOT and I feel it is only a matter of time before THE KINECTED gets recognized for their incredible catchy hookladen mostly uptempo synth driven 80s influenced Powerpoprock. The band’s prime ingredients are a light 80s ALEX LIFESON/U2 guitarsound, massive keys/synths and hooks and choruses all over the place, while the vocalwork is really quite excellent and super melodic. “Feels too good”, “Fly”, “Hypnotize” and “Headgame” are just a few examples of the band’s catchy sunny hit potential uptempo Powerpop. Make sure not to miss this band at: and e-mail them at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



I usually check out the local venues here for personal music pleasure and in early 2012 I saw this name THE WEBB SISTERS popping up, as they were about to play in my hometown of Rotterdam. Eager to check out what this was all about, I discovered this was a very interesting musical duo consisting of two sisters called CHARLEY and HATTIE WEBB from the city of Kent, England. They have been making music ever since they were born, which is basically due to the fact that they were born into a family of musicians. Their closest thing to fame and fortune was performing twice for Princess Anne and once for Queen Elizabeth, but also recording with STING and touring with several big names provided much exposure. However, they are actually best known for being backup singers for the legendary LEONARD COHEN. However, personally I was more overwhelmed by their incredible musicianship when the two played at this tiny stage in Rotterdam in early 2012. They sing like angels from heaven and instrumentally speaking they can play any instrument, with as most important ones the harp, the guitar, the mandolin, the piano and the drums. They have already released 3 albums, but I discovered them in 2012 when they had already released their 3rd record ‘Savages’. The music of the two beautiful girls is a mix of Folk and Pop, combining the British and American tradition and actually sounding like a mix between THE CORRS, FLEETWOOD MAC and KATE BUSH. Nevertheless, they definitely have their own approach to the overall sound, with their voices being unique instruments that contribute a lot to the material. Both are able to sing quite excellent and together the harmonies are making it sound really impressive. From start to finish this album is picture-perfect and any fan of clean melodic laid-back music will dig this a lot. Hard to pick favorites, because each song is sensational, but I think I will go for “Baroque Thoughts”, “Words That Mobilise”, the LEONARD COHEN cover “If It Be Your Will”, “Savages” and “In your father’s eyes”. Live in an intimate setting, I can guarantee you that these girls bring you in emotion, because their songs and the way they perform it live should lift you up and take you right into WEBB SISTERS HEAVEN, wherever that might be! This album is a one big surprise and will also be enjoyed by all the AOR fans out there, as it all sounds so super melodic and memorable. Must-have release! More info at: and

(Points: 9.1 out of 10)



The band VERONICA FALLS is a relatively new band, formed in London, England back in 2009 and making heir debut with this self titled album. The band is formed around Roxanne Clifford (vocals, guitar), James Hoare (guitar, vocals), Marion Herbain (bass) and Patrick Doyle (drums, vocals), so it’s 2 guys and 2 girls. The music of this foursome is quite melodic, but also very melancholic, combining a sort of light Psychedelica rock trip of the late 1960s with the somewhat happier 60s upbeat Garage/Beatsound. The combination of female lead vocals with female/male back-up harmonies makes it sound just a little different than for example similar acts like DUM DUM GIRLS. The way of singing is very clean and it almost feels like Roxanne is holding back a bit, so she is mostly singing in her own comfortable zone, which is no problem at all, as it sounds quite enjoyable. Combined with 12 catchy little tunes that sometimes barely reach 3 minutes of playing time, the album is ending way too soon. Nevertheless, what we do get to hear in this amount of time is definitely of a high level and featuring some great nostalgic like trip back to the 1960s, yet with one foot still in the present day. Songs like “Found Love in a Graveyard", "Misery", “Stephen" and “Veronica Falls” are fine examples of the band’s signature sound. Check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Although the all-female band WILD FLAG from Portland, Oregon and Washington DC was formed just 2 years ago and they have just released their self titled debut album, the bandmembers have been in different bands and worked together here and there in several projects ever since the early/mid 1990s. Musically WILD FLAG is all about bringing a sorta punky mix of quirky Powerpop and Alternative Rock. They could well have been a band under the wings of KIM FOWLEY, because he not only loves all-girl bands, but if they rock and do not sound too polished, he will instantly fall in love with them! WILD FLAG falls somewhere between THE SLITS and THE RUNAWAYS musically speaking, yet also have something in common with 1990s Altrock of bands like L7, LUNACHICKS and even CYCLE SLUTS FROM HELL if they would drop the Metal influences. The band sounds quite unpolished, sometimes experimental and very raw to the bone and I do feel that fans of mentioned acts will absolutely enjoy this debut album of WILD FLAG. Recommended songs would be “Romance", "Something Came Over Me", “Glass Tambourine” and “"Black Tiles". Hear for yourself at: and

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



One listen to the first song on the CD of the Nashville based singer/songwriter DAX PENICK (aka DAX) and one can definitely conclude that we are dealing with something very professional, because that first song “Run and hide” is a damn catchy semi Melodic Poprocker with a terrific chorus. Although the song might sound simple, the chorus is quite effective and besides, Dax’ vocalwork is also very impressive. The music fits somewhere between DAUGHTRY, KINGS OF LEON, 30 SECONDS TO MARS and THREE DOORS DOWN, sounding super melodic, so even the open-minded AOR/Melodic Rockfans might like this a lot. ‘Beating hearts and false alarms’ could well have been a major label release, because everything sounds to sound crystal clear here. This is Melodic Rock for today’s world and every single tune on the album is a winner, so besides the already mentioned “Run and hide”, we need to add “Alchemy”, “Happy holidays” and “The deep end” as highlights. You don’t want to miss this, so make sure to check out: and notice the t-shirt Dax is wearing, which is W.A.S.P.’s ‘The headless children’!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



In 2010 we reviewed the sensational debut CD of the Canadian band MORRE (pls see ) and now they return with a mini-CD titled ‘Contrast’. Musically speaking no big changes, except for the fact that it seems the band is evolving into an even more exciting band than they already were and I do feel that they are about to have a major breakthrough someday soon. Their music is very melodic, yet with a sort of light prog/psych touch, ending up sounding like a mix between TALL STORIES, DIVING FOR PEARLS, KING’S X, NEAL MORSE and ZEBRA. 6 tracks are included and all of them sound impressive, but absolute highlights are “Winding roads”, “Lady of lust” and the beautiful semi-ballad “I can’t remember” that is dangerously close to NEAL MORSE and that is a big compliment! This band should not be overlooked, because therefore they are way too original and interesting, bringing together the worlds of melodic rock, psychedelic rock and progrock. Check them out at: and e-mail them at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



The Canadian band DOUG VARTY BAND is likewise based around DOUG VARTY, who is the guitarist and vocalist of he band. Musically speaking it is raw Bluesy Rock of the BAD COMPANY/COLD CHISEL kind meets AC/DC Hardrock, with also some Bar Room Boogie Rock a la ZZ TOP slipped right through. Done very well and fans of this stuff, which usually goes down very well live on stage, well they will absolutely love this album. Check out more at: 

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)



‘Hard times’ is the 3rd album of the Canadian/Italian MAX NAVARRO. Musically it has not much in common with AOR/Melodic Rock, despite the fact that Max is a major fan of the genre. The music is more or less Poprock in the style of TOMMY TUTONE, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, MICHAEL STANLEY, TIM KARR and such Singer/Songwriter Poprockartists from Northern America. The first 3 songs didn’t really impress, but with the catchy uptempo suffle of “Nothing’s guaranteed” there is light at the end of the tunnel. This song by the way sounds a bit like GOLDEN EARRING in their better years and that’s when it hit me, because Max as a singer reminds a lot of the vocalist/guitarist GEORGE KOOYMANS of GOLDEN EARRING! Anyway, all together this is a nice new album of Max, which is interesting to check out if you’re into any of the mentioned acts. Musically it is balancing somewhere between BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and GOLDEN EARRING. More at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)



Out of Chicago comes the true Rock and Roll Kick-Ass band DOWN AND DIRTY. Their 2nd CD ‘Taste of rock and roll’ sounds exactly like it’s title, because the 1980s influenced good time Rock and Roll does remind one a lot of the time when we were spoiled by new major label releases of acts like BLACK AND BLUE, RATT, MOTLEY CRUE, KIX, LA GUNS and such. Although the album is dangerously cliché tingled, it is done quite well actually and fans of mentioned bands will definitely like this band a lot. The band even has the Classic Power Ballad included in the shape of the WARRANTish “Fallin”. With songtitles like “R U Ready”, “Taste of Rock and Roll”, “Free and young”, “Wild child” and “Party with me” the fans of CRUE and RATT will be singing and dancing all night long! If that is your favorite genre, the Party Rock and Roll sound, then do check out DOWN AND DIRTY at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



JODIE MARIE is a Welsh singer/songwriter who not only looks very good, but she can also sing very well. She’s young and talented and comparisons to DUFFY, LAURA MARLING and BIRDY are of course easy to make here, but her debut album ‘Mountain echo’ is definitely one to check out a.s.a.p., because she might become the next big star in the music business. She owes a lot to her producers (ED HARCOURT and BERNHARD BUTLER of DUFFY/SONS AND DAUGHTERS fame), who were able to create a sort of picture-perfect soulful Popalbum around Jodie’s voice, but thankfully Jodie is talented enough to write her own songs. There’s clearly a sorta Classic 1960s almost Motown ish pop influence to the music that is sounding quite bombastic sometimes due to the use of some orchestral arrangements here and there, although quite a few songs are also laid-back calm Pop tunes that showcase Jodie’s beautiful clean vocals, such as can be heard at best during “What would it take?”. The more uptempo based Pop/Rocksongs “Numb”, “Dandelion wishes” and “Like a runaway” are definitely the highlights here, reminding just a bit of FIRST AID KIT. I have to say that almost every tune has a sort of catchy approach that goes into your memory and just doesn’t want to let go, which of course is a good thing, because the already mentioned “Like a runaway” could become a massive Summerhit for that matter. JODIE MARIE is yet another rising star in the world of female singer/songwriter pop/rock and therefore go check her out at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



If KIM FOWLEY had been 30 years of age now, he would either be fronting this band from Portland, Oregon, USA or he would be managing them, because this is exactly the kind of rebellious Garage Punk’n’Roll he is known for in the music business. Anyway, Kim is 72 years old right now and I’m quite sure he would still love to help out this band in becoming more known in this world. The band is playing a mix of Garage Rock, Punk, Glam and any other type of raw Rock and Roll. The result is very raw and reminding of a mix between NEW YORK DOLLS, THE HIVES, THE STOOGES, THE DEAD BOYS and QUEENS OF THE STONE. 9 songs are included and I’m convinced that anyone who likes their rock to sound mean, dirty and raw to the bone, they will definitely be interested in checking out this band, whom live on stage will probably make a bigger impact than on record. Go check them out at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)



Modern Rock and Roll is what POLLUTION is all about and in Swiss tradition they do it with class and a lot of cool energy. The band was formed in 1997, but ‘Beyond control’ is just their 2nd album so far. The band is signed to ESCAPE MUSIC, but they do not have anything in common with AOR/Melodic Rock, although their music does sound quite melodic and catchy. However, actually they are far more leaning towards the American modern way of Rock and Roll, backed up by a AC/DC type of beat sometimes. I am not sure if this will become the band’s major breakthrough, because therefore the material is sounding a bit too ordinary. Not bad at all and for fans of SHINEDOWN definitely worth checking out, but they do not reach the level of that American band, although they wouldn’t be out of place as a support act!

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)



Out of Liverpool comes the band THE VOW, a 4-piece band formed around vocalist/bassist/guitarist GRAHAM TRUST, guitarist MARTYN GILBERT, drummer TONY POTTER and keyboardplayer GUY DAVIES. Liverpool and THE BEATLES are almost exchangeable and yes, there are connections to THE BEATLES to be heard in THE VOW’s music and one of their producers was mentored by the legendary GEORGE MARTIN! Anyway, the music is most of the time catchy and very melodic, semi-uptempo with a lot of acoustic guitars and harmonyvocals, but with a sorta light late 1960s THE BYRDS kinda Psychedelic touch as well, while one can also hear comparisons to TEENAGE FANCLUB and ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN here and there. I also must think of THE MADD sometimes, however a little less happy, but a song like “To the end of the world” has got all it takes to become a classic summer poprockhit, because you don’t hear them as catchy and melodic in this genre nowadays. The whole CD is very listenable and offers nothing but quality music that could easily be played on any Radiostation out there! It’s a tough world to become big in this music business, but THE VOW definitely has got something that could bring them to higher places. Just listen to the ballad “Holy roller” and you will agree this is a beautiful original semi-ballad that has got some excellent melodies and also a nice proggish guitarsolo. Who knows THE VOW will become massive someday, as this first album was produced by ANDY STRANGE (ROBBIE WILLIAMS, ELTON JOHN, GEORGE MICHAEL) and mastered by PETE MAHER (U2, COLDPLAY, THE KILLERS, SNOW PATROL), so the connections with the upper level in the music industry is already present. By the way, this THE VOW should not to be confused with the Progrockband THE VOW from the past. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



LAURA WILDE is the latest sensation in the Rock and Roll world. Originally hailing from Melbourne, Australia, this 21-year old beautiful singer/songwriter is now settled in Los Angeles, where she is able to live the Rock and Roll dream and get her music to be heard throughout the US of A. ‘Sold my soul’ is her debut CD and besides singing and writing, she can also play guitar, bass and drums, with a little piano as well. The press package I received is quite stunning and already makes a big impression  before you start writing a review. The music on the album is Classic Rock and Roll that here and there sound like a mix between T-REX, THE DONNAS, DAMONE, JOAN JETT/THE RUNAWAYS and SUZI QUATRO during tunes like “All alone”, “Sold my soul” and “Anything goes”, but the very catchy and melodic “Back seat” also shows a slightly different side of Laura. JOAN JETT is definitely a major influence, because Laura has almost got the same voice and like already mentioned, it’s tbe music that is also very close to Joan. Despite lyrically all the cliché’s of Rock and Roll pass by during the album, a song like “Classical Guitar Star” has got all it takes to become a major hit, due to it’s incredible catchy vibe. Fans of mentioned acts will absolutely adore LAURA WILDE and with her looks, she really should be able to become a major superstar in her own right. Check her out at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



The traces of the British band RELAY date back to the summer of 1975 when their bassist and guitarist played their first gig at their local school. The bandname RELAY was adopted in 1982 and from then on they played a lot of live gigs, but started recording their material during the 1990s. They released 3 albums during that decade, but the real interesting change in their career happened during the 2000s when they hired a fantastic female lead singer called ALISON TAFFS, with whom they recorded the album ‘Switch’ in 2003 (review at: and ‘Circuit breaker’ in 2007 ( The band was soon seen as one of the strongest Classic 1980s sounding female fronted Melodic Hardrockbands (along with DANTE FOX of course!) ever to emerge from the UK! And now there is the new album ‘The big pocture’, which is once again filled with superb catchy Melodic Hardrock that feature also the wonderful vocals of singer ALISON TAFFS. The music is very close to VXN, ENVY, POISON DOLLYS, VIXEN and a bit of 1970s HEART and the final TANTRUM album. Highlights on the album are uptempo catchy pieces like “Keep your head down”, “I don’t care” (right up there with MEGHAN), “Svengali’ and the Pompy “It’s over”. Definitely a must-have for any fan of traditional female fronted Melodic Hardrock in the style of mentioned bands! More at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



Guitarist FRANK GAMBALE from Australia is an established musician/songwriter with over 200 songs published on 20+ albums. He even won a Grammy Award and his new album ‘Soulmine’ is a collaboration with the beautiful Canadian female singer/songwriter BOCA. Musically speaking it is Jazzy Fusion music with some Salsa influences, but also here and there some pure Westcoast-light AOR can be heard, such as during the awesome “Sun will shine”. Boca’s vocalwork is quite fantastic, while Frank’s guitarwork is very impressive amd reminding of guitarists like NEAL SCHON, SANTANA, JOE SATRIANI and also STEVE LUKATHER. Although the music is actually not that far from SANTANA, it is actually even more laid-back and sometimes going into a SADE and SAM BROWN direction. Funky Jazz, old school R&B, Brazilian/Latin music and a slight touch of Westcoast are the key ingredients of this CD, which features the lyrics/vocals of Boca and the guitar/music of Frank and it seems this music duo is destined for much more in the future. The first single “Forbidden Kiss” is about to hit the charts, so be sure not to miss this release. More info at: and and 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



Not much info on this band, but they are coming out of Italy and are a 3-piece band with a great female singer. The band’s promo CDR contains only 6 short songs, so there’s little too tell about this band, although it is clear that they are able to deliver clever Alternative Pop/Rock with a dark almost Gothic approach. Hopefully more music next time, but check them out at:

(Points: 7.6 out of 10)



BRAINSTORM is of course known as the German Power Metalband, but in Australia there is also a band called BRAINSTORM active. This Aussie band is doing things differently, as they are playing Progressive Rock with some Psychedelic influences, not far removed from PINK FLOYD. The band’s latest album is titled ‘Planetfall’, which took them 6 years to create. The album was released independently, has a somewhat dark sound overall and 11 tracks are included in total. Some of the tunes are quite lengthy and will be a nice listen for the progfans out there. Especially “Fortress First World”, “Cyren Call” and “Intelligent Design” are therefore the absolute highlights to check out, but from start to finish this is a very reasonable progalbum. Check out more info at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)



Another Italian band with a traditional sound as if it was still 1989. VIOLET GIBSON is a Melodic Hardrockband playing in the style of VICTORY, PINK CREAM 69 and such bands. The vocalwork could have been better, but are not that bad either, so I guess we can live with that, especially with this kind of music that is inviting people quite easily to sing-a-long. A song like “Go ahead” for example is quite a nice catchy uptempo melodic hardrock tune, but on the other hand the cover of the STEVIE WONDER classic “Superstition” is quite forgettable. Highlights are melodic rocker “I wish I could” and ballads like “Forget about the rain” and “From the moon to your feet”. Although not groundbreaking, MHR fans might want to check out VIOLET GIBSON at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)



And yet another Italian band, but big difference with the other hundreds of bands from the land of Pizza, Pasta and Spaghetti is the fact that GOLDEN SEXTION has a lead vocalist (Fabio Dessi) who is able to sing very well on the CD of this band. The combination of strong Melodic Metal and a good singer lifts the band up above the average quantity from Italy. The album has quite a dirty and raw, yet tight sound, but the songs are always on the melodic side of life. A song like “White wall” is very impressive, super melodic and really catchy, including a lovely hook that is almost VISION DIVINE ish, but a tad heavier. Other highlights are ” Portrait”, the ballad “So far from this day” (excellent melodic rock, superb vocalwork, very much like the VISION DIVINE singer in the higher pitched level) and “My pain” (uptempo melodic hardrock/metal, very strong). The only shame is the groovy “Sex n Roll”, which is a simple tune, but overall this GOLDEN SEXTION is a very impressive band. Out of all bands on their label LOGIC RECORDS, GOLDEN SEXTION is definitely the best and also most professional sounding band. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



FUEL FROM HELL from Italy was already formed way back in 1998, but their debut CD was not released until 2007 when ‘Fill You Up With Five Star Gasoline’ saw the light of day. Now 5 years later there is a follow-up titled ‘Easier said than done’. They switched their line-up through the years and now have a new lead singer on board, namely PHIL LASHER. He’s a good lead vocalist, although he needs to know where his limitations are. In the higher range for example and especially during the more sleazy hardrock type of material he is almost singing out-of-tune. He does remind me a lot of TONY MILLS, but sometimes sounds a bit outta control. Nevertheless, when the band goes for the melodic rock approach, everything seems to be in-place. So the band actually has two faces, because as already mentioned there’s Sleazy Hardrock to be heard during “Poison Whiskey”, “Some Girls”, “Midnight” and “December '89” and pure Melodic Rock on tracks like “Electrified”, “Nowhere in the Night” and “Send me your love” (AORish, a la SHY). Without a doubt, the band is at their best during those melodic rock ish tunes. In fact, these 3 aforementioned songs show the band playing a very high level of catchy late 80s US Melodic Hardrock in the style of BRITTON, TALOR MADE, KNOW ILLUSION, FIREHOUSE, JET RED… The production is quite good and if the band can continue playing the melodic rockstyle, they are definitely a band to watch out for. More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



Out of Italy comes MOTORFINGERS, a band releasing their debut with the CD ‘Black mirror’ and actually they do not sound bad at all for a new act. Of course they are not there yet, because in the USA there are hundreds of similar sounding acts, but after a false start with a couple of standard CRUEish songs, the CD really gets going with a couple of very strong tunes and especially towards the end the band offers some high quality material. The vocals are not without an accent, but this could improve in the future, as the band’s singer is able to sing pretty well. Despite some 80s Party Hardrock here and there, there’s a lot of Americanized Modern Rock to be heard and that is where this band is sounding at their best. Indeed VELVET REVOLVER and ALTER BRIDGE are 2 clear influences of the band, but MOTORFINGERS is not of such a high level, but the last 3 songs on the album show signs of hope that they might well turn out to be Italian’s best answer to the American way of Rock in 2012. I am talking about the songs “Fallen brother” (semi ballad), “Out of control” (midtempo) and closing track “Here I am” (uptempo, almost melodic metal, sounds a lot like SHINEDOWN). Combined with massive guitar playing and a big fat production, this is an album you might want to check out if you’re a fan of especially ALTER BRIDGE, CREED and SHINEDOWN. More info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



RATZMATAZ is an Italian band making their debut with the album ‘Global revolution’. They were formed in 2006 and now 6 years later their first full-length is released. The music is standard 1980s Party Hardrock and sounds like a second rate version of MOTLEY CRUE. The band’s singer sounds like an average version of the already weak singer VINCE NEIL, so I am afraid this band has a really long way to go. Glamfans might love this band… but check them out first at:

(Points: 6.8 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted)