SAVATAGE main guitarist CHRIS CAFFERY’s first solo-CD is titled ‘Faces’, and he does not only play guitars, but he even sings (and does that quite well actually). The music is Melodic Metal, not too far away from SAVATAGE, METAL CHURCH, MEGADETH and early ARMORED SAINT. 16 songs are included in total, and basically ‘Faces’ is a very nice 76 minutes counting melodic metal record, which also sounds quite diverse in approach. Sometimes it’s raw, aggressive and modern (“Pisses me off”), while at other times Chris shows a more melodic ‘face’ (“Remember”), with a constant change in use of the electric and acoustic guitar. Chris did a lot in the past (SAVATAGE, DIRTY LOOKS, DORO, METALIUM, JOHN WEST, CIRCLE 2 CIRCLE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA etc), and now at the age of 37 he has released his first solo-CD. And he does prove he once again he is a very skilled guitarist, but this time he also shows he is able to sing very well. Highlights on the CD are “Remember”, “Faces”, “Music man”, “Bag O’Bones”, “So far today” and “Never”. Concluded, a must-have CD for the SAVATAGE fans, but also interesting to check out for the all-round Metalfan, because the material is very diverse, sometimes sounding like ALICE COOPER, then SAVATAGE or even MR. BIG!

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


SHADOWS FADE is the new project of vocalist Kevin Chalfant and multi-instrumentalist/producer Alex De Rosso. Together they have created an awesome AOR album, which sounds like THE STORM and TWO FIRES of course, but the pure AOR sound does also remind me sometimes of ALIAS. Big difference is that there aren't many guitarsolos on the album, and it's really a song-based album with great hooks and catchy choruses here and there. The 11 songs on the CD do sound perfect and are a dream come true for the die hard AOR fans, and maybe it's Kevin's best work since the final THE STORM album 'The eye of the storm'. However, I must admit that it's not as good as THE STORM, 707, THE VU and STEEL BREEZE, because their albums Kevin sang on are absolute AOR Classics, while this SHADOWS FADE is just another great AOR addition to the growing catalogue of Kevin. Nevertheless, the AOR fans are gonna love this CD a lot, because songs like "Twisted again" (fantastic semi AOR ballad), "Sooner or later" (superb classic 80s uptempo AOR rocker like ALIAS meets 707 'Megaforce'), "My ocean" (great midtempo AOR), "Without you" (another high lcass midtempo AOR tune a la THE STORM) and "Now that you're gone" are all absolute winners for fans of KEVIN CHALFANT's AOR releases. Maybe the production could have been a bit bigger, and secondly, it all might sound a bit familiar, so nothing new is brought on this disc, 'AOR by the numbers' rules on this SHADOWS FADE CD, but nevertheless it's a great AOR record, which will be loved by the fans of the genre and especially all KEVIN CHALFANT fans out there!.

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Out of Brazil comes EYES OF SHIVA, another new melodic progressive/power metal band in the style of ANGRA, LABYRINTH, RHAPSODY, KAMELOT... Their first CD ‘Eyes of soul’ was mixed and mastered by DENNIS WARD (PINK CREAM 69) and of course it sounds very impressive, although is it me, but I think the production is not really good (vocals too much to the back?). However, still the band shows they sounds pretty good, not only instrumental, but the band is also featuring a very good singer (Andre Ferrari). This makes them one of the better bands in this genre, although nothing new is brought on this CD, still this is one of those easy targets for fans of mentioned bands. 10 tracks are included, and songs like “Eagle of the sun”, “Psychos of the new millennium”, “World tomorrow”, “Future” and “Just a miracle” are great Melodic Prog/Power Metalsongs like a perfect mix between the aforementioned bands. The CD also has a very nice cover of the AOR CLASSIC “Alone” (made popular by HEART, but actually an original I-TEN classic from 1983 – if anyone reads this, I would like to make everyone aware in buying that I-TEN classic from 1983 if you haven’t got it, because it is by far one of the most underrated albums ever!!!). Anyway, back to the Brazilian band EYES OF SHIVA, check out their debut if you’re a fan of Neo-Classical Melodic Prog/Power Metal a la KAMELOT, ANGRA, LABYRINTH, SONATA ARCTICA, which I by the way totally love, but it just never seems to reach the high level of the established acts. Nevertheless, this Brazilian band sounds very good, especially considering the fact they have only been together for 3 years now...

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


PURE INC is a new Swiss band, and their 2nd CD was mastered by Mika Jussila (EDGUY, AVANTASIA, NIGHTWISH, STRATOVARIUS), so this is definitely a quality CD, but the album is definitely not as good as GOTTHARD or SHAKRA for example. The band still has a strong melodic Hardrock/Metal sound with some very groovy modern guitarsounds, and very raw vocals. Songs like “Genius” (a radio hit in Switzerland a few years ago), “On the verge”, “Believin’” and “Falling season” are nice groovy Melodic Hardrocksongs like a slightly weaker version of TALISMAN meets SHAKRA. Although it’s a good album, I have some mixed feelings, and rate it in the same league as a band like ARK, so they have a sort of own approach to the original melodic hardrocksound. I am sure a lot of people will like this band a lot, but still they don’t reach the high level of countrymen GOTTHARD, SHAKRA, CRYSTAL BALL or KROKUS.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


I don’t think we should review this, but because it’s on the Locomotive Music we might as well give it a spin. GOD LIVES UNDERWATER is coming out of the USA, and they play pure modern Industrial influence Nu-Rock/Metal, and they do it at a very low level, so not of any interest for our readers.

(Points: 3.0 out of 10)


Although the bio says that this Spanish band CIRCUS is playing 80s neo-Punk in the style of BAUHAUS and KILLING JOKE, their music is definitely more akin to a straight Melodic Rocksound, just listen to the uptempo “Claudia”, which is pure Melodic Rock. Anyway, the band sings in their own language, but this is not disturbing at all, and the fact the supported METALLICA in Madrid last year shows that this is a quality band. Their debut CD sounds indeed quite nice, and contains good 80s melodic (hard)rock, with as highlights uptempo melodic rockers like “Claudia”, “Dos mentiras”, “Heroes” and “Mientras me armo de valor”. Nice one to check out, especially for the fans of Rock with Spanish lyrics. The album will be released late September.

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Out of the USA comes the Progressive Metalband DIVINE RUINS. Their CD ‘Sign of the times’ has just been released on the new US Progmetal label LONE WOLF MUSIC. 5 songs were actually recorded in 2000/2001, while the songs were written back in 1997, and the 3 additional tracks were recorded in 1997. Nevertheless what we get to hear here is good decent melodic Progressive Metal a la BALANCE OF POWER meets ENCHANT. The vocals by singer/songwriter RONNIE STIXX are quite good, so are the guitarparts by guitarist Drew Creel. The album itself is a sort of mini-concept, dealing about a sci-fi topic, with thousands of people dissappearing from the earth in one night. Songs like “Sign of the times”, “Carpe diem” and “Shine on” are very good Melodic Progressive Metal songs (with some neo-prog influences). Also quite nice is the straight-forward pure 80s Melodic Hardrocksong “Take my soul”, which sounds quite different than the rest of the more progressive material of the CD. This is definitely a recommended Progrock/metal piece, and let’s hope a follow-up with new material will be released in the near future... More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


LYRANTHE is a new band from the Seattle area and they have recently released their debut CD ‘Oculus inferno’. I don’t have much info on LYRANTHE, but they are capable of bringing some good quality Progressive Metal. It might not be as huge as DREAM THEATER, still they sound quite good and I think the Progmetalfans might want to check out this band. 8 long songs are on their CD, and especially “Darkened days”, “The hours” and “Requiem for a dreamer” are winners for fans of classic Progressive Metal. If the production would be a bit better next time, then this might well be an interesting progmetal to keep our eyes open for. More info at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The former MSG, SILVER, STATETROOPER (with whom he just recorded a brand-new album) and PRAYING MANTIS lead singer releases his first solo-CD on ESCAPE MUSIC. Like the title predicts, this CD is a sort of compilation of mostly old and a few new songs, although they were all recently re-recorded, so all the old MSG classics included here (such as “Armed and ready”, “Ready to rock” and “I’m gonna make you mine”) are featured in newer versions. It’s interesting to hear Gary sing these old MSG classics all over again, because it was probably a very important part of his life, and for people who never heard the old MSG albums, this CD is a good introduction to Gary’s work with MSG, although MICHAEL SCHENKER himself isn’t playing, but instead CASANOVA leader Michael Voss and Angel Schleifer play the guitar parts. So this is more or less a tribute to the old MSG stuff, with only original MSG singer GARY BARDEN singing the vocals. Although MSG was pure Hardrock, the songs now have a sort of updated British bluesy 70s classic rock approach, with even some Jazzy influences and a lot of acoustic guitars instead of Michael’s screaming electric guitars. In general less interesting for the average melodic rockfan, but if you enjoy the early work of FREE, BAD COMPANY, WHITESNAKE... then this might be up your alley. Besides of course the MSG fans who want to hear new ‘updated’ versions of the old MSG songs, as it gives the songs a new dimension. I had rather heard Gary singing some new tunes with Michael Schenker on guitar, so basically a new MSG
album in original line-up, but I guess this is also an interesting CD for the MSG fan...

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


CLASSIC ROCK PRODUCTIONS has started a new documentary series, which is settled around some of the greatest ever Classic Rock and Hardrockbands, mostly acts from the 1970s who were very important for the Rock/Hardrockscene. The series are totally focused on bringing exclusive inside stories of the featured band. The first DVD I got to review is SUPERTRAMP, not a real Rockband, but they were quite important for the Popmusic in general, as some of their songs are still played every day and influenced many of the later 80s Popbands. Musically they played a mainstream light progressive pop/rock sort of style, with QUEENish harmonyvocals, a slight BEATLES approach, and although they never rocked and were basically focused on bringing simple poptunes, they always managed to make a concept of their songs (like “School”, “Dreamer”, “Give a little bit” and “Bloody well right”) and give it a sort of progressive touch. However, they always remained to be a pure Popband, focusing on writing Top 40 orientated material. Nevertheless, they inspired many bands (such as MOSTLY AUTUMN), and this DVD contains a very nice documentary with respected musicians about SUPERTRAMP and above all, it contains some very rare footage of the band (such as 1970s BBC performances and very rare 1983 German TV appearances). This DVD has a playing time of about an hour, and I think for the Pop/SUPERTRAMP fan a must-have. Even if you’re a dedicated Rockfan, you might like watching this DVD, although SUPERTRAMP has and will always be the Popband, but the stories around them are definitely interesting to watch. You can buy the DVD through:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


RING OF FIRE return with their 4th CD ‘Lapse of reality’, which is the follow-up to last year’s fantastic DVD/CD ‘Burning live in Tokyo’ live release. The new album is definitely less Neo-Classical than what we could see on the DVD (partly due to the loss of keyboardplayer VITALI KUPRIJ), but nevertheless the 13 songs on offer here are quite impressive. The music is a bit more straight-forward melodic hardrock/metal this time, and between the 13 songs we can find some excellent MALMSTEENish Melodic Heavy Rockers like “Change”, “Perfect world”, “Machine”, “The key” (SUPERB!!!), “Faithfully” and the ballad “You were there”. Another high quality release from RING OF FIRE, although nothing new is brought on the CD, just a basic Melodic Hard/Heavy Rockalbum...

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


And this is the new DORO full-length CD, although it’s a sort of best of, because DORO re-recorded old DORO classics and gave then a whole new dimension, as they were recorded with an Orchestra. Also 4 new songs are included, so I guess you can say that this is a real new DORO CD. Musically it has not much to do with the earlier DORO/WARLOCK Hardrock/Metal, but it’s more laid-back bombastic poprock, which will definitely bring DORO in higher places in the German musicscene, because I think with this CD she will be able to break through in the national charts (because of the more Pop orientated approach). Songs like “Burn it up”, “I rule the ruins”, “Always live to win”, “All we are” and “Breaking the law” (PRIEST cover with UDO as guest singer) are performed quite well and I think DORO fans will appreciate this release, although I hope she will make a real rock/metal record in the near future.

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The Australian band CHOIRBOYS is known for releasing quite a few records in the 1980s, basically filled with cool Melodic (Pop) Rock and now they are back with a full new CD titled ‘Evolver’. The band’s style hasn’t changed much happily, although this time it has a slight modern nu-breed Poprock approach, but after a couple of spins it became clear to me that they still play fun 80s inspired Melodic Rock (a song like “The dog song” is pure 1980s!). The band sounds like a cross between RICK SPRINGFIELD and THE OUTFIELD, and especially opener “Fuel (a day in the life)” is a very catchy uptempo melodic poprocker. Other highlights are “Please believe me”, “Break it free” and “Roll it over”. Despite a slight modern approach, still a recommended CD to fans of DANNY WILDE, RICK SPRINGFIELD, THE OUTFIELD and even the early 80s quirky sounds of MOON MARTIN. More info at: and e-mail at:

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


Out of the USA comes AFTERSHOCK, and their latest disc is titled ‘Conquest faith’. Musically we are dealing here with instrumental Progressive Rock. It’s definitely demo quality what we get to hear, but songs like “Ambush”, “First flight” and “Night beat” are good tunes. I believe my disc has an error, because I couldn’t play all the songs, but check out AFTERSHOCK for yourself at:

(Points: 6.9 out of 10)


This is a new demo of the Italian band LOST REFLECTION. They play original Hardrock (CRUE/KISS/RATT style) and 5 new songs can be found on their 2004 demo cdr. The sound is good and songs like “Bad love” and “Media violence” are nice to hear if you’re a fan of mentioned bands. Most of the songs are straight-forward and have a strong 80s approach. Check out the band for yourself at: and e-mail at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


Here we have another band from Finland, whom recorded a mini-CD at the Finnvox studios and the sound of the 3 songs are of course very impressive, but also musically SPIRAL is quite interesting. The band has a female lead singer, and they play a sort of mix between THE RASMUS, HIM and NIGHTWISH, yet different, with acoustic guitars and a more melodic poprock approach. Songs like “Star” and “Kiss or kill” are good strong Melodic Poprocksongs with a slight modern touch sounding very much like LULLACRY). I think this band is radio-ready and hopefully a full-length CD will follow soon. Check out the band at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The Spanish band SALEM (from Barcelona) has a new CD out titled ‘Historias inmortales’. The CD counts 8 tracks and musically they play classic 80s Metal (a la MURO, BARON ROJO, SARATOGA, AVALANCH, TIERRA SANTA, SOBREDOSIS etc.). They sing in the Spanish language and although some of you may say it sounds dated, I think fans of that typical 80s inspired Spanish Melodic Metalsound will love SALEM a lot. Songs like “Abismo”, “Suerte” and “La dama de gris” are very good, although the sound/production is not really good, because after all this is more a demo CD. Check out SALEM at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


The 3 members of the all-girl Metalband ROCK GODDESS were in their 10s when they recorded this debut album back in 1983, although their drummer was only 9 years old back in 1977 when they started ROCK GODDESS, so if you make a leap in time, she is just 36 years old now, but recorded an album more than 20 years ago! Anyway, enough for the figures, another nice thing to add is that ROCK GODDESS was one of the very few female fronted Metalbands to emerge from the ‘male’ NWOBHM scene in the early 80s. Listening once again to their record, which has now been re-issued onto CD very nicely, gives you an impression that ROCK GODDESS sounded much heavier than most of the NWOBHM bands. They had a real tough straight-forward Heavy Metal Rock’n’Roll style, which sounded like the perfect cross between GIRLSCHOOL, THE RUNAWAYS and male acts like MOTORHEAD and AC/DC. Now finally 21 years after it’s release, it is available on CD, together with 1 bonustrack and a large booklet, which includes liner notes and rare pics of the 3 girls. Basically LEMON RECORDINGS did another great re-issue, because this is a very rare release from 1983, which contains some of the best Female Fronted Metal. Most of the 12 tracks are straight-forward, with the raw vocals of guitarist Jody Turner and the tight rhythm section (drummer Julie Turner and bassist Tracey Lamb). Songs like “Heartache”, “My angel”, “Take your love away” and “Heavy Metal Rock’n’roll” are as raw and heavy you can get when it comes to Female Hardrock/Metal. This is the kind of stuff LITA FORD never recorded after her first 2 solo releases, and is best comparable to GIRLSCHOOL, although I have always find ROCK GODDESS better, and now this CD is the living proof. After their debut release, the band managed to release 2 further albums, such as the AOR/Melodic Rock release ‘Young and free’ on an obscure French label in 1987, but this re-issue contains their debut album from 1983, which until this day is a classic in the female fronted Metalscene. More info (and you can buy the CD itself) through:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


The Spanish band MAGO DE OZ returns with a new CD titled ‘Belfast’, the follow-up to the band’s latest and best record from last year (‘Gaia’). The new album is not as good as ‘Gaia’, but I have my doubts if this really is a new recording, because between the 12 included songs I heard a few covers (“Lady in black” and “I can’t help falling in love”), some instrumentals, acoustic and new versions of old MAGO DE OZ songs, so if this really is a new studio-CD of MAGO DE OZ is the big question (I also don’t have any info on this, so...). Anyway, back to the included music, which is definitely typical MAGO DE OZ, so cheerful melodic metal, with influences from traditional and folk music, catchy singable choruses and everything’s of course sung in the Spanish language. My personal favourites would be “La rosa de los vientos” (classic fast uptempo Melodic Power Metal), “Dame tu amor” (nice uptempo fun melodic metal), “Muaer amante” (remake of classic semi-ballad), “Mas que una intencion” (great uptempo melodic metal) and the uptempo melodic heavy rocker “Hasta que tu muerte nos separe”. The production is a bit average, and not all songs are impressive, so this MAGO DE OZ recod is definitely not as good as the fantastic ‘Gaia’ record from last year. Nevertheless, MAGO DE OZ still need to check out this new release, as it still contains some great songs...

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Somehow this female fronted band from Sweden sounds very original and are impossible to compare to any other band, just because the band mixed something of every Rockgenre from the past 30 years. MISDEMEANOR is playing a mix of early 1970s BLACK SABBATH guitar riffs, quirky early 80s kind of female fronted poprock singing (BLONDIE meets PAT BENATAR), the Rock’n’roll approach of KISS and AC/DC and today’s modern Hardrocksound (actually Stoner-Rock). The band does a cover of the rare SCORPIONS song “Robot man”, and although the remaining 11 original songs of the band sound like no other band, this is a band hard to get into, because of their own sound. However, after a few spins, songs like “News for you”, “Sweet love”, “In between” and “Shades of grey” sound like a great modern version of GIRLSCHOOL and THE RUNAWAYS, radio-ready uptempo Hardrocksongs with a 70s vibe, but with a strong updated sound. I think I am safe to say that this band has a bright future and for more info on them go to:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


RON KEEL and co. return with a new CD as IRON HORSE, and I can easily inform you that this is Ron’s best work since his KEEL days. Musically it has nothing to do with the 80s Hardrock of KEEL, but it still has a 80s vibe, however now more akin to 38 SPECIAL, JIMI JAMISON’s solo-CDs and even early SURVIVOR at times. IRON HORSE is playing a mix of AOR, Melodic Rock and Southern Hardrock and they do it very well. Songs like “Three sheets to the wind”, “American thunder”, “Dixie highway” (very strong AOR rocker a la SURVIVOR) and “Desert rain” (very catchy fun 80s melodic rocker) are all very strong Classic (AOR) Rockers in the good old American tradition. Of course a few ballads aren’t missing either (“The other kind”, “I can’t stop you”, “Rescued”, “One hell of a ride” and “The best move”), all reminding me of 80s NIGHT RANGER/DAMN YANKEES ballads. As a bonus you’ll even get 2 videoclips of 2 IRON HORSE songs (“American thunder” and “The best move”) and a meeting with the band videopart. That’s another 15 minutes of extra video footage, so concluded this CD has a lot to offer. Ron’s voice sounds better than ever, as he isn’t screaming anymore like in his KEEL days, but is now more focused on singing with some passion. 12 songs are included on the new IRON HORSE CD, and I must admit that it sounds very good from start to finish. Imagine a mix between 38 SPECIAL, SURVIVOR and BON JOVI, with some excellent guitarplaying (by guitarist Jay Rusnak and Ron himself), then you’ll have the new IRON HORSE CD. Check it out through:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


I remember it very well and I will definitely never forget it... It was the year 1994/1995 when Strutter’zine started and I remember that LONG ISLAND RECORDS was one of the few labels releasing melodic rock records. One of these releases was of the German band STEEL DAWN. Their album was one of the first reviews I ever did (!) and in one of our earlier issues we even did an interview with that fantastic melodic rockband from Germany, who were a new band some 10 years ago. Years went by and we never heard anything of the band, but now we are in the year 2004 and STEEL DAWN has made a comeback. I have in my hands a new demo of this band and I was really looking forward to hear it and happily it didn’t disappoint at all! This new demo CDR shows a very impressive band. Musically not much has changed, maybe a bit harder, but still bringing high class melodic hardrock like a mix between JADED HEART, MAD MAX, BONFIRE and DOKKEN, so a strong 80s approach. The songs are catchy and uplifting, the sound is big (excellent production for a demo), there’s a twin-guitarsound, the harmonyvocals during the choruses are great and the band still has a fantastic singer (Conny Beck). Funny to hear and review this band 10 years after their only CD release, but let’s hope they will release a full-length CD soon, because they are definitely one of the better sounding German melodic hardrockbands. 4 tracks are on this demo and opener “Shadow games” is a fantastic uptempo Melodic Rocker in the best BONFIRE style. The following 2 tracks (“Flight 397” and “The headbangers ball”) are faster and more akin to classic melodic metal (a la 70s SCORPIONS and CHARADE0, while closing track “Burning bridges” is a great melodic rockballad. This is a very strong return of the german melodic hardrockband STEEL DAWN, whom surprised me 10 years ago and actually were one of the first bands to be featured by us and now they are back and I highly recommend you to check out their site at: and e-mail them at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


‘Rock in the universe’ is the new CD of the Canadian Hardrockband UNCLE SID, a band that really has that typical 70s North American Classic Hardrocksound. I hear comparisons to MOXY, TEAZE, KILLER DWARFS, SANTERS, VAN HALEN, TALAS and HEAD EAST all the time while listening to UNCLE SID. Without a doubt, they are a quality band and their new independent CD is a recommended piece to fans of mentioned bands. The band has a strong lead singer (Wolf) and especially the songs “Dream machine”, “The story” (VAN HALEN riff), “Time” and “Rock’n roll” (classy 80s melodic rocker) are strong classic hardrocksongs. Check out this band for yourself at: and e-mail them at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The Canadian Metalband releases a complete new full-length CD, which musically is a mix of 80s and modern Power Metal, like a mix between MEGADETH, TOOL and PANTERA. The songs are guitar riff based, very groovy and vocally it sounds very raw, although guitarist Banger Rob proves he can sing quite well sometimes. However, FATHOM is mainly interesting for the fans of groovy modern Metal. There are 10 songs on their CD, which is stilla very professional release, although it is an independent release. Best songs are “Last goodbye”, “No more” and “Entranced”. More info at: and e-mail them at:

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


The Aussies deliver a new band in the shape of HEAVENSCENT. Besides 3 CD-singles, the band also sent me a professional full-length CD, which contains musically a mix of catchy 80s melodic (pop) rock and today’s nu-breed poprockstyle. The songs sound quite happy and radio-ready, with a safe overall sound, so no freaking or experimenting is done on this CD, just a basic melodic poprock CD. 12 songs are included on the CD, of which I think the best are the uptempo poprockers “Anything for you” and “This is why”, and the great semi (AOR) ballad “Nothings gonna change”. Musically not too far away from the last couple of HAREM SCAREM albums, mixed with some MIKE TRAMPish vocals of lead singer (and guitarist) Justin Murphy. Check it out if you’re interested in melodic poprock a la THE OUTFIELD, recent HAREM SCAREM, MIKE TRAMP... More info at: and e-mail them at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


CLASSIC ROCK PRODUCTIONS started a new series as I mentioned before, and besides SUPERTRAMP, these are mostly Classic 70s Rock/Hardrockbands from the UK, and gladfully THIN LIZZY is one of them. The ‘Inside the music’ series is a sort of British version of the American VH-1 ‘Behind the music’ series. The big difference is the in-depth critical reviews given by some of the UK’s biggest names in Rock (journalism) on each album of a featured band. These DVDs by CLASSIC ROCK are clearly looking inside each album, talking about the way the particular album is built up, the best songs, the songstructures, the lyrics and developments within the band compared to the previous album. Each comment is done seperately, so you’ll get some different views on a certain album or song, although most of the time the reviewers agree with each other, there’s some disagreement here and there (without knowing or hearing each other’s thoughts). Anyway, THIN LIZZY is of course a very important band to get inside to, because lots of things happened during the 12 years they were together. They made quite a few albums, so in the 70 minutes on this DVD each THIN LIZZY album is discussed seperately by various well-known musicians, producers and music reviewers, from the band’s debut in 1971 until the very last ‘Thunder and lightning’ record in 1983. The change in line-ups are heavily talked about, but also the qualities of each bandmember, why they were replaced or left the band, and of course PHIL LYNOTT gets praised by each of the reviewers. Between the comments there is a lot of rare footage to be seen from THIN LIZZY, and in total we can see about 40 short videoclips of live performances the band did. It’s amazing to see how many people have played in THIN LIZZY, and also the fact that most of them are legendary musicians, such as the guitarists (JOHN SYKES, BRIAN ROBERTSON, SNOWY WHITE, SCOTT GORHAM and of course GARY MOORE) and in the later days DARREN WHARTON as their keyboardplayer. This DVD is giving us a perfect inside look into one of Britain’s best Rockbands ever. The band is known for some of their songs, but never got the household name which other 70s UK Rockbands like DEEP PURPLE or LED ZEPPELIN did achieve. This is a pity, because THIN LIZZY were unique, as they brought something new, because they had created their own sound, especially the twin-guitarsound of the band was quite famous, and this full story covers each album, all reviewed by a team of leading music critics, such as bassist John McKenzie, producer Rob Corich, Music writer Malcolm Dome, guitarist Les Davidson and a few others, who all are giving their personal comments on each album/song of the band. This is a very professionally made DVD of a very high level, like only the British can make ‘em. It’s nice to see that they thought about the language barrier, so it is possible to subtitle the completely DVD into 6 different languages. For a THIN LIZZY fan, this DVD is a must-have, but documentaries like these are interesting to watch for ANY Rockfan! You can buy the DVD through:

(Points: 9.2 out of 10)


The ‘Inside the Music’ DVD series which CLASSIC ROCK PRODUCTIONS recently started is very interesting and also done in a way only the British are able to make them. Documentaries that grab you right from the start until the very end, and that’s also the case with the INSIDE LED ZEPPELIN DVD. In contrary to the THIN LIZZY DVD, the LED ZEPPELIN DVD concerns the period 1968-1972, so it only covers the first 4 albums. However, in the 60 minutes of playing time this DVD documentary comes alive and gives us deep in-depth reviews on each of the 4 ZEPPELIN classics. Just like the other INSIDE DVDs, also this one features members of the Association of Music Critics and Reviewers, whom review the 4 LED ZEPPELIN classic albums with some very critical comments (positive and negative), so don’t expect any objective reviews. Comments are made by musicians and writers like Rob Corich, Enrico Morane, Hugh Fielder, Dave Lewis, Jerry Ewing, Les Davidson and Jonathan Wingate. Of course LED ZEPPELIN is praised for their legendary musicianship, and most of the reviewers agree with each other that Hardrock and Heavy metal would not have existed if LED ZEPPELIN had not been there back in the late 60s/early 70s. Between the comments of course rare legendary video footage of LED ZEPPELIN material. All their famous songs are discussed, with of course an important part for “Stairway to heaven”, the best known ZEPPELIN song of all times, and not all reviewers are happy about that. Anyway, this is another must-have DVD in the INSIDE THE MUSIC series, especially for the LED ZEPPELIN fans, but actually every Hardrock/Metalfan needs to own this DVD. You can buy the DVD through:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Out of South Africa comes SHADOWLORD, a great new pure Classic 80s Metalband, whom released this CD independent, but nevertheless the album has a big sound, due to the fact that it was mastered at the famous Finnvox studio’s in Finland. The band sounds very impressive, with of course strong influences of MAIDEN, PRIEST and also EDGUY. It is clear that with this CD release they are instantly the best metalband ever to come out of South Africa (True Metal, and not counting AOR/Rock), because the album sounds indeed very good. The band has a good lead singer (high pitched) and some great musicianship (twin-guitars). In total 12 songs are included, mostly uptempo in typical 80s style, with as best tracks “Dark messiah”, “Steel wings”, “Destiny”, “Fallen angel” and “Unholy”. Check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


RAIDSHELTER is a German band, and they mix 80s Melodic Hardrock/Metal with today’s more Modern Metal way of singing (bit depressing). 6 songs are on their demo cdr, of which the best ones are “Follow the lights”, “Goodbye” and “Real love”, all uptempo melodic heavy rockers. Vocally I find this band a bit too much on the depressing side (a little grungy), although musically it is good melodic solid hardrock. Check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 7.1 out of 10)


Out of Germany comes the band EDGE OF THORNS, and they play high class Melodic Power Metal in the typical European style, so with a very strong HAMMERFALL approach. Basically it’s True Metal with a lot of strong choruses to sing-a-long, heavy raw vocals and big guitar riffs, yet the big difference with a True Metalband is that there is a keyboardplayer in the line-up of EDGE OF THORNS, which makes their music a bit more melodic and symphonic than HAMMERFALL for example, although the band also features 2 guitarists. There are 9 songs, and it all sounds very impressive, especially the songs “Dark magician”, “Lost”, “Riders of the storm” (very strong melodic Power Metal like NOCTURNAL RITES meets HAMMERFALL) and “Revelation”. Concluded, this is one of those great German Melodic Power Metalbands you can easily check out, because it’s definitely quality stuff what we hear. If NOCTURNAL RITES, PRETTY MAIDS and HAMMERFALL are your favourite acts, then I would advise you to check out the CD of EDGE OF THORNS. You can buy a copy of the CD through:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


A big sound is coming out of the speakers when I put on the CD of the German band EAT THE GUN. Musically they sound updated, but with a sort of retro 70s/80s Hardrock/Glam/Sleaze approach (a la LA GUNS and LOVE/HATE). The CD of EAT THE GUN has a very big production, and the music really doesn’t sound bad at all. These guys have a sound, which can easily be played on radio, because it sounds strong enough to attract a wide Rock/Metal audience. It’s obvious that the band is heavily influenced by early GUNS’N’ROSES, although some MOTLEY CRUE and SKID ROW can also be heard, while the band has given it their own modern approach to this late 80s LA Sleaze Metalsound. The best songs are uptempo heavy rockers like “High heeled love”, “Face the music” and “Break out the jams” (hello GUNS’N’ROSES!!!). Recommended to fans of mentioned bands... More info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS keeps on re-releasing classic stuff, because they now have released 3 MISHA CALVIN CDs. This very talented guitarist from Yugoslavia (but moved to London in the 80s) released a few highly underrated albums in the 1990s, which have now all been re-released on MAJESTIC ROCK. Especially his debut CD ‘Evolution’ is a CLASSIC MELODIC ROCK MASTERPIECE! This album was released for the first time to the public back in 1993, but it never got the success it should have gotten, but MAJESTIC ROCK gives it a second chance, with the addition of 6 bonustracks (of which the song “Keep in touch” has never been released). The CD saw the likes of 2 fantastic singers, namely TONY MARTIN (BLACK SABBATH) and IAN PARRY (VENGEANCE, CONSORTIUM PROJECT), while Misha himself played some awesome guitars and produced the album (which sounds like a high class record of the big boys). The 10 original songs on the CD are all superb high class Melodic Hardrock classics in the style of the WHITESNAKE ‘1987’ album. Songs like “Strangers”, “Put a little faith in me”, “Reaper”, “Don’t let it go”, “Can’t hold me”, “Here I am” and “Heaven only knows” are all instant melodic rock classics and I can not believe this album was overlooked back in 1993, when Grunge was ruling the airwaves. At least it gets a second chance now, and I truthfully hope that everyone who didn’t bought it the first time gets their copy now, because this first MISHA CALVIN album is almost a classic in the Melodic Hardrockgenre!

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


The story goes on, because MISHA CALVIN released 2 more albums. Both have also been re-released, and although they are quite nice, none of them can compete with the fantastic debut CD. Nevertheless, ‘Evolution 2’ is a nice collection of Melodic Hardrocksongs with great vocalwork by IAN PARRY. TONY MARTIN doesn’t appear on this CD, because he is replaced by Dave Twose. He has got a good raw voice, so the contrast with ian’s high pitched vocals is complete, although I truly must admit that the CD is nowhere near as good as that classic debut from Misha, not only musically, but also the production is much weaker this time. His guitarplaying is however very good once again, but the songs are lacking a bit, and no real highlights can be found, except maybe “She”, “Fall guy” or “Die for love”. Musically he grabs back to a more 70s approach, some RAINBOW/DIO influences can be heard... Not a bad album at all, and this re-release is quite interesting after all because of 2 unreleased bonustracks, but if you have to choose between the first and second album, then better go for that classic debut CD!

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


In 1993 Guitarist MISHA CALVIN released his best album ever titled ‘Evolution’. 5 years later he released his third and final CD, which is also the third CD re-released through MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS (again with a few unreleased bonustracks). Musically Misha holds on to that classic melodic hardrocksound of the 1970s and 1980s (RAINBOW meets WHITESNAKE), but vocally this time no IAN PARRY or TONY MARTIN, but a certain Marthy Smith. He isn’t a bad singer at all (bit raw, DIOish, not as good of course), but can not compete with the likes of Ian and Tony. The songs are nice, but are also not as good as that 1993 debut, but here and there we can find some nice melodic rocksongs like “Do it again”, “Say my name”, “Falling into you” (bit FOREIGNERish) and “Let your heartbeat show the way”. Another fine MISHA CALVIN re-release, although I do hope we can soon welcome a real new CD of Misha, with songs that can compete with his 1993 debut, because that record remains his best release so far.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Canadian LAWRENCE GOWAN (who was actually born in Scotland!) released a few albums during the 1980s and the 1990s, but outside Canada not many heard his music, but MAJESTIC ROCK RECORDS has been kind enough for us to release a sort of best of CD of this talented singer/pianist. The CD contains the man’s best work, taken from various albums, but also some live recordings, which all sounds quite impressive. I believe Lawrence is a God in Canada, and apart from the fact that he is a STYX member nowadays as well, I don’t know if many people outside Canada know his solo material. I can highly recommend this CD to anyone, because it is musically of a very high level, containing elements of progressive, pomp, pop, rock and aor, all mixed into one strong style, with of course as most important part the fantastic lead vocals of Lawrence, who is an amazing singer actually. Although not all songs are interesting for us (some Popsongs remind me of ROD STEWART, although a link to BILLY JOEL is also possible), but here and there we can hear some amazing songs, such as “Innocent” (melodic progressive rocker), “A criminal mind” (piano-ballad), “Wild summer night” (another rocker), “The good cathes up” (one of those typical mid 80s midtempo aor songs like JOHN FARNHAM, JOHN WAITE and JIMMY BARNES made back then as well), “Moonlight desires” (classic 80s aor-prog like RUSH and ASIA started to sound like around 1986) and “Make it alone” (sadly the only song from 1982, when GOWAN made classic AOR/Pomprock a la ARC ANGEL, by far the best song on the CD, a beautiful semi AOR/Pomprockballad with amazing vocal work). Concluded, this is a very interesting CD for the all-round Rock/AOR fan, although I still hope for a re-issue of GOWAN’s same titled debut from 1982, because that’s his best and most AOR/Pomprock release ever...

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


American True Power Metalband SEVEN WITCHES return with a new CD titled ‘Year of the witch’. The CD contains 14 brand-new songs, although actually 6 songs and a very long epic theme called “Jacob”, which is divided in 8 acts. Musically nothing has changed, so again we can hear classic 80s influenced Power Metal in the best PRIEST meets MANOWAR meets LIZZY BORDEN meets early SAVATAGE meets MAIDEN style. Opener “Metal asylum” is a sort of ode to the Metalbands who made this genre such a popular genre for the past 25 years (the band sings a lot of well-known bandnames in this song). The first 6 songs follow in the same kinda SEVEN WITCHES style as we have heard it on the previous albums, so pure US Power Metal, with as best tracks “Year of the witch”, “Can’t find my way” and “Cries of the living”. A more serious note is the epic “Jacob”, which is split in 8 parts, and takes up to 15 minutes of playing length. This song is probably the best song SEVEN WITCHES has done the past few years, as this 15-minutes counting epic contains some excellent classic 80s melodic metal, such as the acts “Voice of Jacob” (with awesome guitarwork), “Haunting dreams” and “The prophet is you”. This final track is definitely one of the absolute highlights on the new SEVEN WITCHES CD. In general, a must-have CD for the True Metalfans!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


It was 50 years ago this year that THE BEATLES stepped on US ground, and from then on the music climate changed forever, because without these 4 lads from Liverpool, UK, a lot of bands and musicstyles had not existed, even Rock and Metal music (!). Anyway, the Canadian label BULLSEYE RECORDS has now made available a 2-CD set of some 50 BEATLES covers, primarily done by North American Pop and Rockbands. Most notable covers are from melodic rockers PHIL VINCENT, who covered “Oh! Darling” and BENTWOOD ROCKER (“It won’t be long”). I am not familiar with most of the other acts on these 2 CDs, but they managed to cover some very rare BEATLES songs (at least I don’t know songs like “Fixing a hole”, “Blue Jay Way”, “Hey! Bulldog” and “Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite”). Check out to hear some updated cover versions of BEATLES classics and rare BEATLES tunes. More info at:

(Points: - )


The Swedish band STEEL ATTACK returns with a new CD, and although they still play Melodic Power Metal, it all sounds heavier and rawer than before. The previous album sounded very polished and standard, but this new CD is a step forward for the band, as it sounds bigger and heavier than ever. The big change is the new lead singer Ronny Hemlin, who has a very raw Metal voice, unlike the previous singers. I think this new STEEL ATTACK will gain a lot of respect from the True Metal community, because they now sound more like a SEVEN WITCHES, ICED EARTH or METAL CHURCH than a European band. 9 songs are included on the CD, of which the highlights are “Out of the flames”, “Outsaken”, “Bless my sins” and “Enslaved”. Some songs are a bit too much based around gang vocal choruses like “Immortal hate” and “Son of a thousand souls”, which would have work better for a Thrash or Black Metalband, but apart from these 2 weaker songs, i think STEEL ATTACK has come up with a good pure Power Metal album, which will attract fans of mentioned bands. Concluded, a recommended piece to fans of True Metal in a sort of 80s American style.

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Canadian singer PAUL JANZ is well-known in the AOR community for releasing some great records in the 1980s, and within the Christian community he is known for his DELIVERANCE career in the late 70s. The past decade it has been a bit quiet, but now we are in the year 2004, and finally his debut solo album ‘High strung’ from 1985 has been re-issued onto CD for the first time. ESCAPE MUSIC did a very good job re-issueing this album, because it features some great pure 80s AOR/Poprock material. Canada brought some legendary artists in the AOR/Poprockscene during the 80s, such as BRYAN ADAMS, ALFIE ZAPPACOSTA, STAN MEISSNER, MICHAEL ZEE, BERNIE LABARGE, and also PAUL JANZ. The AOR material on ‘High strung’ sounds like a cross between ZAPPACOSTA and VAN STEPHENSON, and songs like “Don’t cry tonight”, “Solid ground” (TOTOish), “Suggestions of love” and “Cover to cover” are all strong AOR rockers. There’s also some more Pop based material on the CD, but the absolute highlight for me and most AOR fans is definitely the CLASSIC AOR song “All I have”, which is bringing back fond memories when AOR was the style everyone wanted to play. “All I have” is for me THE example how wonderful AOR sounded in the 1980s, as this song is basically pure Classic AOR with a superb chorus you’ll never forget. The song has got a strong ROBERT TEPPER “No easy way out” meets FORTUNE “Thrill of it all” kinda vibe and the AOR insiders then know exactly what to do with this CD. Only for this song alone you’ll have to buy this PAUL JANZ record, especially if you call yourself a dedicated 80s AOR freak. Hopefully the following 2 PAUL JANZ albums will also be re-issued soon...

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


From out of nowhere comes a new sensational melodic metalband called ISENGARD. I believe they come out of Sweden, and their CD ‘Crownless majesty’ was released in 2001, but because it never got anywhere, it has recently been re-released (through POINT MUSIC). The CD starts very sensational with the superb fast uptempo melodic metalsong “Dreamland”. This song sounds like the very early TOKYO BLADE NWOBHM sound mixed with today’s Melodic Metal of WOLF. 12 songs are included, and besides the fantastic opener, other highlights are “Stormcrow’, “Shadows Of Light”, “Eye Of The Storm” and “Armour Of Gods”. The production is very good, instrumental it all sounds well, the band has a strong lead singer and most of the songs are quite impressive, so this is clearly a recommended release, which comes out of the big Swedish underground scene. The CD is available through:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Piano/keyboardplayer GERALD KRAMPL is best known as a member of the band INDIGO, an Austrian prog/pomprockband whom I reviewed sometime ago. Through the years Gerald also recorded a series of CDs as AGNUS DEI, which is a duo he formed together with his wife Hilde in 2001. Sadly Hilde died of cancer 2 years ago, and gerald dedicates this whole AGNUS DEI series to his late wife, who wrote the poems, on which the 4 CDs are based. Each CD contains the CD (of course) and a poetry booklet. The music included on the CDs is a sort of instrumental New Age music, very relaxing and making you think youre somewhere in the beautiful nature on Earth, but that’s not the case here, because everything is based around the planet Gaia, as created in the poems. You can check out AGNUS DEI for yourself at: and e-mail them at:

(Points: - )


It’s a pity that I don’t have any info on this band, but the CD of the American (?) band ZEN ROCK AND ROLL contains some high class music, which can be classified as a mix of Progressive Rock and Pomprock, somewhere like a mix between RUSH and STYX, with some pop attempts, but always keeping a strong 70s Rock approach, which will please all Pomprock and some Progrockfans. The band has a good strong rhythm section, great keyboardwork and a superb lead singer, who reminds me of DENNIS DEYOUNG. Only 4 songs are on their CD, but these are all very long songs, with the closing 23 minutes counting epic “Circle” as a highlight for the progrockfans. “Thanatos”, “Anthem” and “Richard” are then again absolute winners for fans of classic late 70s Pomprock (STYX, TOUCH), because the sound of these songs is so 70s, sometimes straight-ahead (almost AORish in “Richard”) and lots of harmonyvocals. While listening to the song “Richard” it’s like we have stepped into a time machine to the year 1979, when bands like TOUCH, STYX, KANSAS, SPYS, SPY, STARCASTLE, ROADMASTER were releasing awesome Pomprockrecords in the USA. If there’s ever a new record reflecting that typical late 70s US Pomprockstyle, then it should be this ZEN ROCK AND ROLL on their song “Richard”. Because I have no idea when or where this was recorded, I would almost think that this is an old late 70s recording re-issued onto CD, but I believe this is really a new band. Anyway, fans of 70s Prog/Pomprock really need to check out this release, because it’s like the album STYX never recorded in their heydays. More info at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


FROGG CAFE is another band from the USA playing a completely non-commercial style, and while listening to their debut it becomes clear that there are still many bands out there with an own style, trying to explore something new. Musically FROGG CAFE is playing a 70s influenced mix of Progressive Pop/Rock, FRANK ZAPPA and Folk, with a lot of jazzy influences (trumpetist in the line-up) as well. This CD was released in 2001, and now re-released on PROGROCK RECORDS. The CD contains 9 songs, and for people who want to check out a new band playing a completely different style than any other band, this FROGG CAFE is highly recommended. The band has a violin player in their line-up (a la KANSAS0, while 3 of the members take care of the vocals, but the band is mainly focused on instrumental themes, of which the best songs are “Old souls”, “While you were sleeping” and “Space dust”. Recommended to progfans who want something different than the usual stuff (but that’s what progfans always want or not?). Anyway, more info at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


The 2nd CD of the New York based band FROGG CAFE is clearly different than their debut. The first CD was a mainly instrumental experimental Jazz/Fusion/Prog album, while their new CD ‘Creatures’ is a much better and also musically pure Progressive Pomprockalbum like a mix between THE FLOWER KINGS and KANSAS. Although the line-up remained the same, the members know show different skills, such as the wonerful guitarwork of Frank Camiola and the Hammond Organ of Nick Lieto, who also has a great voice by the way. With the same line-up, FROGG CAFE recorded a very strong melodic progressive/pomprock record, which will definitely please all THE FLOWER KINGS fans, because the comparisons are quite easy to make, especially when listening to songs like “All this time”, “Creatures” and “Waterfall carnival”. A real bizarre song is the instrumental “The celestial Metal can”, a wicked and weird experimental song with all kinds of strange experimental noises out of the rare instruments of various session musicians. Anyway, FLOWER KINGS and SPOCK’S BEARD fans will absolutely love this FROGG CAFE record. More info at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem, except where noted)