HOT NEW REVIEWS
 UPDATED ON OCTOBER 27 - 2008

SEVENTH WONDER ‘MERCY FALLS’ (LION MUSIC)

The Swedish band SEVENTH WONDER returns with their 3rd album ‘Mercy Falls’, which might not only be called the best album they made so far, but somehow this new record of them is sounding super sensational, with me even calling it the best Progmetal album of 2008! ‘Mercy falls’ is an incredible album that has melodies from start to finish, both instrumental and vocally. Vocally it sounds terrific, an incredible singer SEVENTH WONDER has and instrumental melodies keep on coming in every second, but especially the choruses, the vocal melodies and hooks are basically picture perfect. This is Melodic Progressive Metal at it’s very best! Songs like “A day away”, “Break the silence”, “Fall in line” (amazing song!!!) and “Hide and seek” are truly superb with haunting melodies all the way and like mentioned before, fantastic clean vocalwork! This is an album you MUST-HAVE as these are the kind of releases that keeps you interested in checking out new releases over and over again! More info at: www.seventhwonder.nu  and www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/seventh-wonder-488  and www.lionmusic.com  and www.myspace.com/lionmusiclabel 

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)

JOHN B. ‘ROW’ (SECRET PORT RECORDS)

Greek guitarist JOHN B. has released his debut-solo-CD ‘Row’. He has done everything on his own and musically this instrumental piece is clearly focused on Neo-Classic guitar shredding that is of course close to VINNIE MOORE, JOE SATRIANI, GEORGE BELLAS, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, etc. etc. John is an excellent guitarist and fans of mentioned guitarists will absolutely love this little gem… More info at: www.myspace.com/johnbhybrid 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

GIUSEPPE SILVESTRI ‘LA ROSE DEL DESERTO’ (SECRET PORT RECORDS)

Another guitarist with his debut-CD on the Greek label SECRET PORT RECORDS. GIUSEPPE SILVESTRI is also musically close to the other release (JOHN B.), yet a bit more uptempo and Power Metalish, but still based on guitar shredding. Like his name predicts, Giuseppe is coming out of Italy and on 13 songs he shows his skills. He does not only play guitar, but just like the other SECRET PORTS RECORDS signed guitarist JOHN B., also Giuseppe has done everything on his own, which makes this one another one to check out, especially for fans of VINNIE MOORE, JOE SATRIANI, GEORGE BELLAS, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, etc. etc. More info at: www.myspace.com/silvestrigius 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

DARKANE ‘DEMONIC ART’ (MASSACRE RECORDS)

In case you’re missing the good old fast evil mean brutal late 80s Bay Area Thrash Metal a la DEATH ANGEL, TESTAMENT, OVERKILL, DARK ANGEL and such, well then look no further than the 5th CD of the Swedish band DARKANE. Although at first sight it is incredibly heavy and aggressive, this is a quality Thrash Metal with strong guitarwork, including melodic solo’s and also paying attention to harmonyvocal driven choruses (such as in the song “Leaving existence”). However, mainly this is a fast-forward brutal Thrash Metal affair. More info at: www.darkane.se 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

SPIDERS & SNAKES ‘MELODRAMA’ (SANSEI RECORDS)

2-Disc set of the Hollywood Rockband SPIDERS AND SNAKES. Disc 1 is a studio-CD with 12 new rocking tracks that basically grab back to the Sunset Strip Glamrocksound of the 1980s, although maybe more akin to 1970s THE SWEET, T-REX and KISS. One way or the other, the songs are all quite catchy. Disc 2 is a bonus DVD that contains a full concert performed at the Key Club in Los Angeles, although the footage is not of a very high quality. Longtime Glamrockfans will nevertheless love this release definitely… More info at: www.spidersandsnakes.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

OLIVER WAKEMAN 'COMING TO TOWN - LIVE IN KATOWICE DVD' (METAL MIND PRODUCTIONS)

With RICK WAKEMAN (YES) being your father it is almost impossible not to step into his footsteps and so that is what OLIVER WAKEMAN did. He is the oldest son of Rick, who of course is one of the best known keyboard players of all times. Oliver released a few great records he recorded together with CLIVE NOLAN ("Jabberwocky" and "The Hound of the Baskervilles") and with this DVD he goes into the ERIK NORLANDER territory, so not just focusing on long keyboard solo's, but featuring a full band compromised of Oliver Wakeman (keyboards, piano), Paul Manzi (vocals), David Mark Pearce (guitar), Paul Brown (bass) and Dave Wagstaffe (drums). The DVD includes an interview with Oliver Wakeman, photo gallery, biography and of course the main program, which is a 74 minutes counting performance of the OLIVER WAKEMAN BAND in Katowice, Poland. Musically it is a sort of 1970s Classic Rock/Progrock sound that reminds one a bit of URIAH HEEP, yet with some more Symphonic and Progresssive Rock influences, also Oliver belting out some keyboard and synthesizer solo’s a la ELP. All together a nice little package here with a bonus audio-CD. More info at: www.metalmind.com.pl 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

SILVER DIRT ‘SONIC LIVE 2006 DVD’ (SILVER MUZEEK PROD.)

Here’s a DVD of the little known Swiss band SILVER DIRT, which is playing Sleazy Rock and Roll that reminds me a lot of the QUIREBOYS. With a running time of 100 minutes quite lengthy for a small band, including the 72 minutes counting performance. Cool thing is that you get the real deal here, because this is a pure live DVD without all the studio fixing and that is of course more interesting than all those studio fixed DVDs, which also take a long time to release (referring to the RUSH DVD, which one year later is still not released!). Fans of QUIREBOYS, HANOI ROCKS and such Sleazy Rock and Roll should check out this SILVER DIRT. More info at: www.myspace.com/silverdirt  and e-mail at: silvermuzeek@tele2.ch 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

ODIN DRAGONFLY ‘OFFERINGS’ (INDEPENDENT)

ODIN DRAGONFLY is a side-project of the MOSTLY AUTUMN female members ANGELA GORDON (vocals, flute, piano) and HEATHER FINDLAY (vocals, guitar, percussion, penny whistle). Together they recorded a beautiful little piece under the moniker of ODIN DRAGONFLY. ‘Offerings’ is the title of this full-length and very professional independently released first record of this project and one can only dream away when listening to the beautiful harmonyvocals of the girls, which is accompanied by only a flute, piano, guitar, percussion and penny whistle, so not a full-blown rockalbum here. Instead a peaceful calm record that listens perfectly late at night. It may sound like a stripped down version of MOSTLY AUTUMN, but anyone should enjoy this great album. Besides 10 originals, also 2 covers are included, namely a JETHRO TULL song (“Witches promise”) and a FLEETWOOD MAC one titled “Forsaken love”. Check out this project at: www.odindragonfly.com  and e-mail at: info@odindragonfly.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

PANIC ROOM ‘VISIONARY POSITION’ (INDEPENDENT)

If one looks further than just the major labels, one will notice an incredible huge underground scene filled with thousands of interesting high quality bands, settled in each part of the world. Female fronted PANIC ROOM are hailing from Swansea, Wales and are playing the same kinda Progressive Classic Rock as bands like KARNATAKA and MOSTLY AUTUMN, yet with some more diversity due to the fact PANIC ROOM is adding some Jazz elements. What you basically get is a very enjoyable record with lots of beautiful melodies, very fine precise guitarwork and of course the fantastic vocals of singer ANNE-MARIE HELDER. The debut-CD ‘Visionary position’ was mastered by JON ASTLEY (LED ZEPPELIN, ABBA, THE WHO, TORI AMOS…) and without a doubt it is a highly recommended album. Be sure to check out this band at: www.panicroom.org.uk  and e-mail at: jm.edwards@nltworld.com 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

SABINAS REX ‘A ROCK OPERA’ (INDEPENDENT)

Interesting sneak preview of bigger things to come, because SABINAS REX from New York is currently working on a full-blown Rock Opera DVD. This promo CD sent to me is just featuring 8 calmer songs to be used at a later stage for the DVD, which will also feature 9 Rock/Metal based tunes. Female and male vocals are mixed with classical, gothic and rock music, all based around fantasy themes. Of course here in Europe and then especially in The Netherlands, Rock Opera’s are very common, with the wonderful KAYAK Rock Opera’s of the past few years and Rock Opera master AYREON releasing album after album, all being very successful. Now we have the American SABINAS REX giving it a shot. This preview sounds good and I would personally be very interested in seeing the final result. In the meantime, check them out at: www.sabinasrex.com  and e-mail at: sabinasrex@gmail.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

W. FRASER SANDERCOMBE ‘THE BEATLES ENCYCLOPEDIA BOOK’ (CG PUBLISHING/COLLECTOR’S GUIDE PUBLISHING GUIDE/CANADA IMPORT)

500 pages everything about THE BEATLES! Yes, this is the ultimate THE BEATLES Book if you ask me. Every person, every published book, every album, every song and all the facts of these and many more items in the short lived period THE BEATLES were active is included here, ranged from A-Z in this almost 500 pages counting book, written by author W. FRASER SANDERCOMBE. Mostly it concerns a THE BEATLES song or a certain individual who worked with THE BEATLES. So every person who worked with THE BEATLES can be found in this book and believe me, that includes many persons, ranging from a photographer to a producer to a cattle manager! However, not only the THE BEATLES area is covered here, because also the solo careers are counted, so for example one can also find MICHAEL JACKSON here as he recorded some songs with PAUL MCARTNEY in the 1980s. It is an awesome read and very nice to check again and again as it reads like an encyclopedia, which means it is always enjoyable to read a little detail or fact every now and then. How original and one can only hope something like this can also be written about other bands. Anyway, this book is a must-have for THE BEATLES fans of course! More info at: http://www.cgpublishing.com  and e-mail at: marketing@cgpublishing.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

HONEYMOON SUITE ‘CLIFTON HILL’ (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

Promises, promises, promises… For the past 15-20 years the Canadian band HONEYMOON SUITE have been struggling over and over again, desperately releasing an album that would touch the quality of their first 3 albums, but sadly after ‘Racing after midnight’ and with the ending of the 1980s, the band never did manage to come up with a decent release, despite stating each time they had release their finest record so far! Also their dozen comeback albums from the 2000s were quite boring to say the least, but the new CD ‘Clifton hill’ is finally bringing us light at the end of the tunnel. The band has now released an album that contains songs that easily can be called the best HONEYMOON SUITE tunes in 20 years! The band has found their AOR/Melodic Rock roots again, probably also due to the fact the band was formed 25 years ago in ‘Clifton hill’ near the Canadian Niagara Falls, which will also be the place of a big outdoor festival soon where they will headline. The classics were made in the 1980s by HONEYMOON SUITE, but happily this new album also offers some pretty good material. Opener “She ain’t alright” is a superb classic uptempo melodic rocker that finally brings the band back into the mid 1980s, so maybe they learned that LOVERBOY’s new record sounded great despite a pure 80s sound! Other highlights are the semi-AOR ballads “Ordinary” and “Restless” as well as the uptempo melodic rockers “Tired O Waitin’ on you”, “The house”, “Down 2 bizness” and “That’s all U got” (a la NIGHT RANGER) and the AOR song “Sunday morning”. Good to see the band back doing what they do best, which is Melodic Rock!

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

RAMOS HUGO ‘THE DREAM’ (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

Don’t get me wrong here, because being a huge AOR fan myself and even adding here that JOSH RAMOS did release the best AOR albums during the 1990s, with THE STORM releasing 2 of the greatest AOR albums of all times! And the fact that HUGO fronted the amazing VALENTINE as well as releasing some great solo work and some less sensational OPEN SKYZ, well putting that all in mind, guitarist JOSH RAMOS and lead singer HUGO doing a project together could have been very interesting. Sadly the result is a very standard safe AOR by the numbers record that basically rips off JOURNEY and the former bands of HUGO and JOSH RAMOS. Not saying this is a bad sounding record, because by all means, it all sounds very well and of a very high level, but absolutely zero originality is brought here. A song like “The dream” is basically sounding like a slower version of the JOURNEY classic “Don’t stop believin” and here and there we can find some more examples. The first 4 songs can easily be skipped I am afraid as they sound very cliché and uninspired or just copying JOURNEY way to obviously. Happily, after the first 4 songs it gets a whole lot better, although the lyrics are as close to cliché AOR as you probably can get! The only really good songs are the uptempo AOR rockers “Bring back this love”, “I don’t want to say goodbye”, “When you get lonely” and “Tomorrow” (best song), all sounding pretty catchy and sorta like an AOR version of the VALENTINE classic debut CD. Those 4 songs are quite sensational really and recommended to the AOR fans, but still overall this RAMOS HUGO CD does not do justice to both member’s past and I would rather hear a new THE STORM album in 2009 as this RAMOS HUGO CD will not end up in anyone’s top 10 of 2008 lists I am afraid, so nice try, but with a superb new JOURNEY album that has just been released this album might only harm the AOR genre as it is way too standard…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

ECLIPSE ‘ARE YOU READY TO ROCK’ (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

A surprise actually as ECLIPSE was a Swedish Melodic Rockband formed 10 years ago and released 2 albums in the early 2000s. However after 2003’s ‘Second to none’ it became quiet until now as at the end of 2008 the band returns with a fantastic new CD titled ‘Are you ready to rock’. Opener “Breaking my heart again’ hits like a hammer and sets the record straight as this is a perfect pure 80s uptempo Melodic Hardrocksong. This is how Melodic Hardrock should sound like, catchy as hell! The guitar riffs are like 80s DOKKEN, SCORPIONS meets DIO, the vocals sound like a mix between WHITESNAKE and EUROPE, the guitarsolo’s are straight out of the classic 80s Melodic Rockbook and with a deadly catchy chorus they show that we are dealing here with something sensational! Happily, the whole CD is continuing this style, with mostly uptempo Melodic Rockers with catchy choruses. This CD sounds exactly like the superb CD of their countrymen of H.E.A.T. and actually this new ECLIPSE album will be battling with that H.E.A.T. record for album of the year 2008! Yes, it is that good and with the song “To mend a broken heart” ECLIPSE will even be competing with H.E.A.T. and their song “Feel it again” for song of the year 2008! This is how Melodic Hardrock should be played and a song like this is exactly in the style of the classic 1991 debut of HAREM SCAREM, which means big time sing-a-long catchy hooks and melodic chorus driven uptempo Melodic Rock with flashing guitarwork and just putting a smile on your face when hearing it. Besides these 2 songs other highlights are uptempo melodic rockers like “Wylde one”, “Under the gun” (faster), “Young guns” and “Million miles away”, but actually the whole album is a highlight, a MUST-HAVE for any 80s Melodic Hardrockfan!

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)

EDEN’S CURSE ‘THE SECOND COMING’ (AFM RECORDS)

After EDEN’S CURSE sensational debut in 2007, one year later they follow it up with their 2nd album ‘The second coming’, on which they show proudly how Melodic Hardrock should be played. BON JOVI, DOKKEN, WHITE LION and EUROPE ignore or simply are not able to make this kind of music anymore, but EDEN’S CURSE is releasing a perfect gem for anyone missing the real sensational Melodic Hardrocksound of mentioned bands. The new EDEN’S CURSE album is a real masterpiece, with superb vocalwork of MICHAEL EDEN, whom is backed up by some great musicians, including keyboardplayer FERDY DOERNBERG (AXEL RUDI PELL), bassist PAUL LOGUE, guitarist THOMAS KOEHNE (an excellent guitar riff based musician) and drummer PETE NEWDECK. Most of the songs are uptempo with big 80s guitar riffs and superb catchy choruses that feature harmonyvocals not heard since the heydays of STRYPER. Highlights are the uptempo melodic rockers “Angels and demons”, “Sail on” (superb), “West wind blows” (BEST SONG, fantastic, amazing!) and “Signs of your life” as well as the midtempo melodic rockers “Just like Judas” and “Ride the storm”. From start to finish this record is standing tall and together with ECLIPSE and H.E.A.T., this EDEN’S CURSE album is Melodic Hardrock the way it should sound like, all 3 being contenders for album of the year 2008!

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)

TNT ‘ATLANTIS’ (METAL HEAVEN/ROUGH TRADE)

A sad sad sad story… A few years ago enjoying TNT live in concert in Germany, seeing a band alive and well performing classic 80s material and also putting out some great new material. Then original (or actually 2nd) lead singer TONY HARNELL left the band and in came TONY MILLS, formerly with SHY. This move killed 2 bands, because SHY was over and TNT radically changed their sound and after last year’s ‘The new territory’ they have another contender for the worst album of the year, so that would be 2 years in a row! I really honestly do not know what they are thinking with this new TNT release as from start to finish this sounds really awful. It has nothing to do with TNT and one could only wonder why the name TNT is being killed with releases like this. Sounding like a poor man’s EXTREME or better said, this CD is filled with tunes that sound like incomplete songs thrown in the garbage by EXTREME, CITY BOY and QUEEN many years ago, recently picked up by RONNI LE TEKRO (once being a superb guitarist), who completely killed those songs himself by giving them his own rather unusual signature as when listening to a song like “Peter Seller Blues” one can’t help feeling pity that Ronni has made a completely wrong turn somewhere somehow in the past few years, because it sounds like the worst and most pathetic music heard in ages! Hopefully this will be the final TNT album and for good old time’s sake I will personally put on my classic 45” single of “Seven seas” from 25 years ago when TNT was still TNT!

(Points: 4.0 out of 10)

VOODOO SIX ‘FIRST HIT FOR FREE’ (LOCOMOTIVE RECORDS)

Formed in 2003, the British band VOODOO SIX is clearly influenced by the Classic Rock movement, yet with a slight modern approach. The music is very groovy guitar riff based slow Hardrock, a bit bluesy here and there, but mainly very groovy like THUNDER meets TALISMAN, but without real melodic choruses. It more reminds me of a cross between EXTREME, BLACK CROWES, AEROSMITH. MR. BIG, BEGGARS AND THIEVES and UFO, with a very heavy guitarsound. The band’s debut CD ‘First hit for free’ was remixed by MIKE FRASER of VAN HALEN/ACD/DC, METALLICA fame. He gave the band that modern groovy fat guitarsound and I am quite sure many people will love this band. It is high quality music, yet it is a bit too groovy and also missing classic melodies, especially during the first couple of songs. Happily, the band did not completely forget the melodies, because a song like “Crawl” is one of the few uptempo rockers included and is quite melodic, reminding me a bit of MR. BIG. However the best song has got to be “Saints and sinners”, which is showing that this band is able to do write some very strong melodies too, because this is a pretty good semi melodic rockballad a la 21 GUNS. For the main part however this is a CD you must check out if you like big fat groovy heavy guitar riff based original Classic Hardrock’n’Roll. More info at: www.voodoosix.com 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

ALMAH ‘FRAGILE EQUALITY’ (AFM RECORDS)

ALMAH is a Brazilian band formed around ex-ANGRA vocalist EDU FALASCHI. He was the lead singer for ANGRA between 1991 and 2001 and actually was the man who made ANGRA such a popular band. After leaving the band, he concentrated on his own solo career and also created a new band called ALMAH. With this band he released a CD in 2007, which has now been followed up by ‘Fragile equality’. Musically it is a typical 1990s ANGRA style album, which means a mix of Prog, Power, Melodic and Epic Metal, like mixing HELLOWEEN, MAIDEN and KAMELOT. There’s fast uptempo songs, midtempo bombasticness and a ballad here and there, besides some epic priggish material. One of the highlights is the super catchy fast Melodic Speed Power Metal tune “Magic flame” with it’s deadly catchy HELLOWEEN chorus. Also very impressive are the Progmetalchoruses during such Power Metal tunes like “You’ll understand”, “Fragile equality” (with Thrash influences) and “Invisible cage”, which all have some similarities to PAGAN’S MIND. 10 tracks are in total included here and without a doubt, this is a high quality CD that easily can be matched with any ANGRA CD ever released. More info at: www.almah.com.br 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

PAVIC ‘UNCONDITIONED’ (ANTEO RECORDS)

Guitarist MARKO PAVIC is coming out of Belgrade originally, but is living in Italy. He released his debut CD with his own band PAVIC in 2005. Back then he got the help of guitarist KEE MARCELLO (EUROPE), bassist TONY FRANKLIN (BLUE MURDER, WHITESNAKE), keyboardplayer VITALIJ KUPRIJ (RING OF FIRE) and drummer DANIEL FLORES (MIND’S EYE). This time no big names, but the lead singer CHRIS CATENA is once again on board, which is a good thing, because he can surely sing, although with a slight Italian accent. Musically the new CD is a little harder edged, basically pure Melodic Hardrock. The CD was mastered by DRAGAN TANASKOVIC (EVERGEY, IN FLAMES…). WHITESNAKE and RAINBOW are clearly 2 bands which formed the inspiration for this new CD. Marko is an excellent guitarist, which one can already notice in the first video of the CD, namely the uptempo melodic rocker “Just go on”, which has some very sensational guitarwork. 12 songs are included and most of them go in a nice melodic hardrock direction, such as “Creep”, “Fallin’ for love” and “Hidden sorrow”. Not as good as for example ECLIPSE, HEAT and EDEN’S CURSE, but overall a nice Melodic Hardrockalbum with some excellent guitarwork. More info at: www.markopavic.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

DICE ‘A LONG COSMIC TRIP DVD’ (SCENE RECORDS)

The German Progressive Rockband DICE returns, with this time a DVD release that contain 14 videoclips of DICE songs. The videos were recorded in the past 4 years and are all more like a computer animated cosmic trip than real videoclips. However it is definitely a nice way to get to learn the Progressive Rockmusic of this legendary German band, which has been releasing CDs since the 1970s! They are equal in style to ELOY and SAGA, but are less sensational, also less Sympho, because DICE is more like a Progressive Rockband with some Psychedelic influences. Nice DVD release, more info at: www.dice-band.de 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

JOE LYNN TURNER ‘LIVE IN GERMANY’ (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

JOE LYNN TURNER is of course one of the finest vocalists in the Rock history. Starting in the softrockband FANDANGO back in the 1970s, he found his real fame and fortune during the 1980s with first RAINBOW, then YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and finally with DEEP PURPLE. In between he started a solo career, with a superb AOR release in 1984 and a lot of unreleased demos. The 1990s saw him doing a lot of other projects and also he continued his solo career, with 10 more releases and in 2007 his latest solo effort ‘Second hand life’ was released on FRONTIERS RECORDS. He did a great gig the same year in Germany and this live-CD is the result and I must say it sounds very impressive. The sound quality is of a very high level and of course the performance itself is also very impressive, thanks to some great musicians, although the real deal here are definitely Joe’s superb lead vocals, which after 30 years still sound as strong as it was on his first recordings. The setlist was made up of a collection of his best and most successful songs from his career, with a lot of RAINBOW material of course. Be sure to check out this great live album!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

HARMONY ‘CHAPTER 2: AFTERMATH’ (METAL HEAVEN/ROUGH TRADE)

The Swedish band HARMONY was formed in 2000 and released their debut CD ‘Dreaming awake’ 2 years later. A very nice Melodic Metal album, but somehow it became quiet and we had to wait for 6 long years for a follow-up album, which now has been released through METAL HEAVEN. The CD is titled ‘Chapter 2: Aftermath’ and it contains quite superb Melodic (Power) Metal, with amazing vocalwork of HENRIK BATH. Songs like “Rain”, “Don’t turn away” and especially “Inner peace”, which features ex-LOST HORIZON/HEED vocalist DANIEL HEIMAN as guest singer, these are all sensational Melodic Metal songs that are not too far away from bands like LABYRINTH, DREAM EVIL, NOCTURNAL RITES, VISION DIVINE, KAMELOT... The band has clearly released an album we will not pass by too quickly, because this is really great stuff to listen to over and over again. Check out HARMONY for yourself at: www.harmonymetal.net 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

SONIC ORCHID ‘LOVE AND WAR’ (TWO SIDE MOON PRODUCTIONS)

SONIC ORCHID is a Canadian female fronted Rockband formed in 2002 and ‘Love and war’ is their first full-length CD release, just recently released independently. The female singer is called CHRISTINE GASPARIC, who also plays keys and wrote almost all 9 songs by herself. Musically we are listening to something really good and of a high level. SONIC ORCHID is playing 80s orientated Melodic Hardrock and comparisons to LITA FORD, VIXEN, DEVAY, IF ONLY and PHANTOM BLUE are easy to make, although the band is sounding up-to-date on ‘Love and war’. Songs like “Hold on”, “Without you”, “Liar” and “Take care of you” are very good strong Melodic Rocksongs with excellent vocals of Christine. Must-have for fans of female fronted Melodic Rock! More info at: www.sonicorchid.com  and www.myspace.com/sonicorchid 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

FIRESIGN ‘PERSECUTION GUARANTEED’ (KICKOFF RECORDS)

The German band FIRESIGN returns with their 3rd CD. Musically they play a typical German Hardrockstyle, which is straight-ahead and with no compromise, reminiscent of bands like KROKUS, VICTORY, a little ACCEPT, VAN HALEN and AC/DC, Mix all those bands together and you have FIRESIGN, 11 songs are on their new CD ‘Persecution guaranteed’, which sounds a bit raw in the vocal department, with typical German accent, while instrumental it is very fine Hardrock the way it should sound like. Sound and production are quite good and definitely recommended to fans of mentioned bands. Check them out at: www.firesignrockshard.de 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

TANKER ‘SINS’ (INDEPENDENT)

TANKER is a band from Czech Republic formed in 1996. They started as a typical Heavy Metalband, but since the addition of a bunch of new members, including a female backing vocalist, TANKER has changed their sound somewhat with Melodic Gothic and Progressive Rock influences, although most of the time it is still sounding like URIAH HEEP a lot. Just listen to a song like “Shadow of the past” and you hear this is very classic melodic heavy rock/metal orientated and actually most of the 14 included songs should be put in a URIAH HEEP kinda direction. Check it out for yourself at: www.tanker.cz  and www.myspace.com/tankermetal 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

LUCIO CALEGARI ‘ELECTRIC SWAN’ (BAD CHILI RECORDS/BLACK WIDOW RECORDS)

Here we have some great 70s inspired groovy heavy Rock and Roll with awesome guitarwork, all done by a guitarist called LUCIO CALEGARI, who is best known as being the guitarist of the band WICKED MINDS, an Italian Melodic Hardrockband. Together with some guest vocalists he recorded a damn fine album, which is groovy, bluesy and sounds very impressive to say the least. It reminds me of PAT TRAVERS, TOMMY BOLIN, JEFF BECK and such guitar orientated Bluesy Soulful Hardrock, because that is what we basically get to hear during the 11 included tracks, which feature male and female vocals, but has a main focus on the fantastic guitarwork of Lucio.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

ALICIA MARIE ‘SMOKE AND MIRRORS’ (INDEPENDENT)

Out of Northern Hollywood comes ALICIA MARIE, who not only happens to be a beautiful looking girl, but is also a very good singer-songwriter. She wrote all the songs of her debut CD by herself and did a pretty good job, because it is also musically a very strong typical modern-day Melodic Poprockalbum. Produced by Ronnie 'Fuckin' Borchert of the Glam/Melodic Hardrockbands TRIXIE and AMSTERDAM. The beginning of the CD is quite calm, but features really beautiful melodic rockballad orientated material, with songs like “I don’t believe in love”, “Crying on the inside” and “The honest approach” (AORish), but things get rockier later on with some great rockers like “I know” (a little LITA FORD in here!) and “Painting your faces”, although most of the time it is a semi-ballad orientated album a la EVANESCENCE. Anyway, it all sounds very impressive and just easily beats KELLY CLARCKSON. Great album with high quality musicianship and the beautiful vocalwork of the amazing singer ALICIA MARIE, so be sure to check this out as soon as you can! Listen for yourself at: http://www.myspace.com/aliciamarie 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

CANNON ‘METAL STYLE’ (METAL MAYHEM MUSIC)

Anyone missing ACCEPT, well here is the answer as the legendary German Metalband is making another comeback with their new CD ‘Metal style’. This band was formed way back in 1986 and released an album that until this day is a typical metal cult classic titled ‘Thunder and lightning’. They started recording a follow-up in 1989, but everything went wrong, as they lost a deal, lost their recordings and eventually split up in 1996. However in 2003 they reformed, with a huge 2-CD set release of all their old material, followed up in 2005 with a new release titled ‘Back in business’. And now 3 years later the band releases their 3rd CD within 5 years time. Musically sounding the same as they did back in 1986, 1996 and in 2003, which is typical German Melodic Heavy Rock/Metal, very close to ACCEPT, SINNER, VETO, NOISEHUNTER, HIGH TENSION and also PRETTY MAIDS. Happily, it does sound pretty good, although very cliché tingled and very 80s Teutonic style. Nevertheless, it beats the new SINNER record and is a true must-have for fans of mentioned bands as it features some high class pure German metal made out of steel, but you gotta love the UDO style raw vocals! More info at: www.CANNON-The-Band.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted) 

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