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RETROSPECT RECORDS has rapidly become one of the premier US labels when it comes down to re-issues of old rare records. Especially the 80s AOR and Melodic Rockfans will be pleased to see so many of their rare wants being re-issued onto CD. Time to have a fist look at this label and below you can read the first couple of reviews, many more will follow, with eventually reviews of all their releases, interviews with the bands and also more info on the label owner and his plans for the future. All albums are available as well as more info on each release through:


Classic 80s US Heavy Metal is what to expect from BLITZKRIEG, a band from the USA that released their one and only mini-LP in 1985, which now has been re-issued onto CD. The band should not be confused with the legendary UK band of the same name by the way. The original 6 album tracks from their one-off 1985 record ‘Ready for action’ are included on this CD release and although 20 years passed by it still sounds pretty fresh and as classic as it once sounded. Imagine a mix between ICON, WASP and KEEL and you’re close to the sound of BLITZKRIEG. Their album was produced by RON KEEL of KEEL, who gave it a real KEEL touch, so any fans of KEEL will love this record. The 6 uptempo Heavy Metal songs are all in the same style (best song is ”Let me know”, a more DOKKEN/SHIREish Melodic Hardrocktune) make up a playing time of only 20 minutes, but nevertheless it is a good thing to see such a rare gem from the past being re-issued onto CD. Especially fans of mentioned bands will love this record. The official CD re-issue is available through: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Another very obscure US band, of whom their 1993 release ‘On the rail’ has been re-released by RETROSPECT RECORDS, along with a couple of bonustracks from the band’s 1991 release ‘One step over’. Musically BAD ANGELS played typical groovy American bluesy Hardrock like a mix between TESLA, GREAT WHITE, GUARDIAN, TATTOO RODEO and EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE, so fans of such early 80s Arena/American Hair Metal will absolutely love this record. Not original, but for the time being this could have been a major label release 15 years ago. Good to see it getting another chance now, because it definitely is a high quality release, no doubt about that! CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Classic 80s American Melodic Hardrock/Hair Metal originally released in 1991, but one of many rare independent releases that didn’t get noticed back then. It was the time of music climate change in the USA and bands that sounded like FIREHOUSE or DANGER DANGER were getting ignored. Now 15 years later the CD is officially released through a label. Anyone who did not hear PLEEZER before will now have a good chance in hearing it after all, which is a very good thing, because this record is a strong typical late 80s sounding Hair Metal/Melodic Hardrock release. Vocally there are comparisons to AXL ROSE, not always that strong, but for fans of acts like DANGER DANGER, FIREHOUSE, KIX, BRITNY FOX, etc. a nice one to own. Highlights can be found towards the end on the more melodic rock based songs “Slippin away”, “Reality” (AORish) and the VINI PONCIA (KISS) produced “Twist of fate”. Highly recommended to fans of classic 80s Hair Metal. CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Although the album of the Canadian band started with a ballad, this CD definitely is one of those classic unknown gems from the past, which RETROSPECT RECORDS picked up and re-released. This particular CD contains the album of the band DEMURE, which was recorded in 1991. Like I said, the CD starts with the ballad “Still the same”, but next track “Miles away” is a superb classic 80s uptempo melodic rocker filled with catchy hooks and a very strong chorus in the best DANGER DANGER, SLYBOYZ, TINDRUM meets WHITE SISTER style. More lovely fun 80s catchy melodic rockers are the songs “Lonely” (very strong), “Not worth dying for” (fantastic!) and “Land on your feet” (great 80s Malmsteen guitar riff). Awesome sound, very catchy tunes and a great melodic singer, unknown band DEMURE gets a second chance and all I can say is that it is a must-have if you’re into classic 80s US Melodic Rock, better check it out asap if SLYBOYZ and early FIREHOUSE are you favorite acts! CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Recorded 16 years ago and now available on CD. That’s what BUSTER CHERRY is all about. This American band sounded like a mix between PINK CREAM 69 and FIREHOUSE, with very strong harmonyvocals during the songs, although the lead vocals are a bit weaker. 6 songs are on the EP CD of BUSTER CHERRY. Especially the beautiful semi-Power AOR ballad “Forever” is worth mentioning here, because this is the best song by far with it’s deadly catchy chorus and strong melodic guitarsolo. The rest of the CD is your typical groovy American Melodic Hardrock of the early 90s, also reminding me of EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE very much here and there (except closing track “Faces”, which is a ballad) and the occasional AEROSMITH influence can also be heard. CD is available through: 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


A classic album recorded and released in 1990 by the band MARIAH, a New Jersey outfit which was destined to become the next big band in the USA until the Grunge killed all that was fun about rock and roll. A deep shame, because MARIAH was a band with an incredible strong melodic rocksound that should have been as big as FIREHOUSE, WARRANT and NELSON were at the start of the 1990s. However, it all failed to chart and therefore it took 16 years before the album got a chance on CD, which has been released through RETROSPECT RECORDS. While listening to the album again, which contains 12 tunes, it is unbelievable why it didn’t chart back in 1990, because songs like “Knocked down” (uptempo melodic rocker), “You should know by now” (midtempo AOR), “Calling out to me” (Classic AOR rocker) and especially the strong late 80s Power AOR ballads “April’s calling”, “Make a wish”, “Jaime” (co-written by JON BON JOVI and RICHIE SAMBORA) and “Heaven cries down on me” (4 songs in the style of “Heaven’, “I saw red”, “High enough” and “Love of a lifetime”) as well as the GARY HUGHES orientated “This time” are all instant winners for the American market of the late 80s-early 90s, but somehow it didn’t happen and therefore this re-issue on CD is a definite good move. The band MARIAH recorded another album, which has also been re-issued onto CD (review below), but in the midst of the Grunge period the band never stood a chance, although some of the members later got some fame and fortune, such as keyboardplayer/guitarist Jimmy DiLella, who also played in the bands of WAYSTED, BRITNY FOX, DORO PESCH and even co-wrote the classic “Forever young” for TYKETTO. And MARIAH also featured ex-LYNN ALLEN guitarist Tim Compton. This MARIAH album will go down in history as a typical high class late 80s New Jersey Melodic Rockalbum in the style of TRIXTER, DANGER DANGER, BON JOVI, FIREHOUSE, TOUR DE FORCE, BLUE BLUD… with as only remark that the band had more ballads/midtempo tunes on their record that uptempo rockers, but all together it was a great release that is now easier to obtain for most people. The official CD re-issue is available through: 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


RETROSPECT RECORDS did not only re-issue the debut CD of MARIAH, but also another CD with MARIAH material from the early 1990s, which was previously unavailable. The material is not far away from their first record, so once again very focused on semi-ballad/midtempo melodic rock instead of uptempo rockers. In fact, some songs are actually pure 80s AOR, such as the fantastic “Radio days” (a la HEARTLAND, VIRGINIA WOLF), “Heaven and earth” or “Cry of the innocent”. The material on this CD sounds like a mix between GARY HUGHES (circa his self-titled album on NOW&THEN), the 3rd PROPHET and KEN TAMPLIN (singer Dennis Lind sounds so much like Ken), resulting in calmer melodic rock with also a lot of space left for instrumental passages. Not as good as the first MARIAH album, but still a very good late 80s sounding melodic rockalbum. CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


RETROSPECT RECORDS stands for releasing very rare late 80s/early 90s US Melodic Rock onto CD and with MANILLA THRILLS they have another very rare release, of which had not heard before, so it’s good to see this thing being re-issued onto CD. Originally it was released in 1990, but this CD re-issue comes along with 4 unreleased bonustracks from 1988-1990. What we get to hear here is high class late 80s Classic US Arena Melodic Rock in a standard typical style (a la BLUE TEARS, BON JOVI, DANGER DANGER, MELIDIAN, AUTOGRAPH, DOKKEN, XYZ, VALENTINE, HEAVEN’S EDGE…), but done very well. Especially the uptempo melodic rockers “ Gypsy blood’, “Just gotta go”, “I’ll be the light” and the classic semi-Power ballads “The long wait” and “You’re on your own” are very strong songs that perfectly reflect the classic melodic rocksound of the 1980s, also combining high pitched vocals with close harmonyvocals, so definitely a must-have for fans of the classic melodic rocksound of mentioned bands. CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


It’s a pity only 4 tracks are included, because this UZI SUITE is yet another unheard gem from the classic US Hardrock/Metal days (late 80s/early 90s). So many bands went unnoticed in that period, despite the incredible high quality. UZI SUITE gets a second chance with the release of this awesome 4-tracks counting CD release on RETROSPECT RECORDS. The band’s only (?) mini-album was recorded in 1990, and who would have thought that 15 years later it was re-issued onto CD! Anyway, the band is playing tough guitar orientated American Melodic Hardrock in the best 80s style, sounding a bit heavier and closer to LONDON circa debut, KEEL, early ICON and BLACK’N’BLUE, but with very strong vocalwork and classy harmonyvocals during the memorable choruses. 3 of the 4 songs are in this style (“Bad boys in blue”, “Take my hands” and “Running scared”), while the song “Take my hands” takes on a different approach, as this is a truly superb semi AOR/Power Melodic Rockballad that could’ve been as big as the WARRANT, FIREHOUSE and DAMN YANKEES ballads from the same period. So a short record, but definitely one to own if you’re into this kind of classic late 80s/early 80s Arena American Melodic Hardrock. CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


How many more gems are still out there I ask myself over and over again when I hear another new CD release which contains recordings from the Golden USA Rock period (1977-1991), because once again we have a winner here. The CD is from a female singer called SALLY STEELE, who recorded a 5-tracks counting demo (?) in 1989, with PAUL SABU as producer on a few tracks. Included is music that can only be described as sensational late 80s catchy female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock that is not far away from WITNESS, LAOS, VXN, TANTRUM, VIXEN, DONNA CRISTY (hope this girl’s record with that classic “Smile for the camera” will ever be re-issued on CD!), DEVAY, BROKEN SILENCE… Strong vocals, uptempo rockers with catchy hooks, memorable choruses and typical 80s guitarsolos, it all sounds so recognizable and once again showing a lot of talent got wasted in 1989, because the 5 songs on this SALLY STEELE CD are definitely as good as mentioned acts and so therefore why she wasn’t signed on a major label in 1989 is the big question. Recently we saw re-issues of ALEXA, ERIKA, AINA and ANNICA, but this SALLY STEELE CD is maybe even better, but I think you’ll get the picture now what to expect from this CD. Absolute highlights are the closing 2 songs, “Too bad (it had to be you” and “Leave my heart alone”, both superb classic 80s female fronted AOR/Melodic Rockers, although produced by PAUL SABU, sounding a bit more like a mix between PAT BENATAR early 80s and WITNESS, with a dash of the classic debut from PRIVATE LIFE. Better check it out asap if you’re starting to become interested. It is available through:  

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


The classic 80s in the USA were a golden period for so many classic aor and melodic hardrock, some might recall it as the Hair Metal days, but between all these bands you had decent quality, low quality and high quality, with some sensational bands that went by unnoticed, which is a pity, because a band like DEFCON could have been up there with the big boys definitely. They released a bunch of demos between 1988 and 1991, which now have been released as an official CD release. The past few years we have seen similar releases from NETWORK (‘Crashing Hollywood’), CRYSTAL and HOTSHOT for example and now another one in the exact same style, so a mix of Arena US late 80s big time Melodic Hardrock and tough AOR, very much leaning towards DANGER DANGER, MELIDIAN, BLUE TEARS, AUTOGRAPH and that sort of poseur hardrock where big harmonyvocals and a big sound are a must. DEFCON’s CD sound very impressive, despite the fact these are old demos, because everything sounds like a major label release from 1989. Anyway, the CD contains 12 tracks, starting with the awesome uptempo melodic AOR rocker “How close” in the best 80s New Jersey style, but with an AOR touch, very much akin to the classic WHITE SISTER debut and a bit STONE SOUP. Next track “Rock me” is a let-down, which is a pity after such a sensational start, but this song is just a very average rocker. Following track “My time to fly” is better, but a bit with a progressive touch to it, kinda like the 2nd part of the JOURNEY’s ‘Frontiers’ record. Then back to classic late 80s Arena Melodic Hardrock the US way on the song “Cold hearted” which sounds like a cross between 80s DOKKEN, HEAVENS EDGE, MELIDIAN, AUTOGRAPH and DANGER DANGER. Then we get into 80s AOR/Melodic Rock heaven with the midtempo “Time waits”, with it’s deadly catchy chorus in the STONE SOUP style. More STONE SOUP meets WHITE SISTER type of style can be heard in the CLASSIC uptempo AOR Rocker “Into the night” (with dut-dut keys), which is a truly sensational song, a must-hear for anyone into classic 80s AOR, because the deadly catchy chorus here is as good as the AVIATOR classic and the melodic guitarsound makes you longing back to the late 80s as this was really the time this kind of music had it’s peak. CD continues with “Don’t stop the lovin”, a tougher Hardrocksong like RATT, BLACK&BLUE, ICON.. The inevitable ballad can be found in “Never too far away”, a very nice AOR ballad with prominent keyboardwork (FOREIGNER). “All night long” shows the heavier groovier sound of the band, as this is a very groovy hardrocksong a la TESLA. With the keys back upfront the following song “All your love” dives into the DANGER DANGER fun melodic rocksound. The song “Hard, loud and heavy” is as the title predicts indeed a big time uptempo loud rocker that even recalls BRITNY FOX and DIRTY LOOKS similarities. Closing track “One last time” is step back into AOR, as this is a very strong semi AOR ballad with catchy harmonies. Although there are some AOR touches here and there, the DEFCON CD is definitely a pure 1980s melodic rock/hardrock album in the best US/New Jersey tradition, so any fan of DANGER DANGER, BLUE TEARS, MELIDIAN, NETWORK, TOUR DE FORCE, HEAVENS EDGE… will instantly fall in love with this CD. The CD is available through: 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem)