HOT NEW REVIEWS
 UPDATED ON OCTOBER 27 - 2008

DREAMER ‘WE’VE GOT THE POWER’ (AOR FM RECORDS)

Looking for a label which releases the real rare unheard AOR gems from the 1980s? Well, then look no further, because from the start of the UK based label AOR FM RECORDS, this was the intention and they have been working hard to gather some great material released on CD for the first time. PRIDE from Sweden, ROULETTE from Sweden, the American better known band THRILLS and now they have put out a CD of the 80s Californian band DREAMER. This is perhaps their finest release so far, because ‘We’ve got the power’ contains 14 smashing Pompy AOR/Melodic Rock tunes that can easily be put next to bands like SHELTER, PREVIEW, SUGARCREEK, LOVERBOY, AIRRACE, LE ROUX, CHAMPION, AVION, DAKOTA, FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS… so basically breathing out the classic early 80s North American AOR/Radiorocksound. Just listen to the amazing “Playing with the devil” that can be ranked among LE ROUX and SUGARCREEK, a real crank-it-up Pompy AOR dut-dut keyboards driven rocking tune. Opener “One in a million” sounds like an uptempo 1983 AOR Classic and the semi-ballad “Don’t wanna make you cry” almost makes you cry, because it is a beautiful tune. The sound of the whole CD is brilliant, pure LP mastering magic, although the band only released a small independent EP back in the 1980s and a 10-tracks counting demo. Best known cuts of that EP to me are the incredible catchy LOVERBOYish uptempo AOR rockers “Nothing to lose”, “Cheap shot lovers” and “Angel of the night”, which could’ve both been big US hitsingles if they just had that lucky break 25 years ago. Sadly that didn’t happen and AOR FM RECORDS is now the proud record label to release a complete huge sounding CD filled with 14 pure AOR gems. The midtempo “Heart to heart” is as close to pure 1983 AOR as you can get, with it’s keys and harmonies sounding like SWEET COMFORT BAND (their last)/ALLIES (their first) meets ROADMASTER (their last 2 records) meets DAKOTA (‘Runaway’) meets LE ROUX (‘So fired up’), just PURE MAGIC AOR ALL THE WAY HERE! This CD is a must have for fans of THRILLS, DAKOTA, LE ROUX, SUGARCREEK, SHELER, PREVIEW, SPYS, URGENT, etc. etc. To my knowledge this is the complete collection of all DREAMER songs ever recorded. Do not confuse this new magical 80s AOR CD with the average Glamrockband of the same name from the mid 1990s. Big thanks to AOR FM RECORDS for releasing one of the absolute highlights of rare 80s AOR on CD and not just the EP the band made, but also 10 demo tracks and most surprising is the fact it all sounds as good as any other AOR Classic, both musically and also soundwise. Concluded, this CD release is a big contender for re-issue of the year 2008!!! More info at: http://www.aor-fm.com/Bands/584_dreamer.aspx 

(Points: 9.2 out of 10)

SILENCE ‘OPEN ROAD’ (KIVEL RECORDS)

‘Open road’ is already the 4th CD of the French band SILENCE. SILENCE is made up of lead singer BEN VENET and multi-instrumentalist BRUNO LEVESQUE, together responsible for almost everything on the CD and I must say they have delivered a great piece of work, maybe their best effort so far. The song “Time keeps running” has been in my head all summer long, a real superb catchy uptempo summerish AOR/Melodic Rocker that screams out the same breath as the 1980s/early 90s DOMINOE and DAYTONA ‘The best of…so far’ records from 15+ years ago, with a chorus that BON JOVI forgot to write. This is by far the best song, a real winner for the fans of fun uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock and one of the highlights of 2008! The rest of the CD is a little less sensational, but still very interesting to check out, as SILENCE brings catchy AOR/Melodic Rock sounding like a mix between DARE (instrumental, soundwise) and BONFIRE (vocally). Other highlights are “Forgive me” (semi-ballad), “On my way back home” (midtempo AOR), “Jealousy” (AOR ballad) and “Voices” (midtempo, slightly modern). More info at: www.silenceprod.free.fr  and www.myspace.com/silenceaor 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

JIMI JAMISON ‘CROSSROADS MOMENT’ (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

Finally JIMI JAMISON returns to what he does do best, namely singing classic 80s AOR. JIM PETERIK helped him out and together they worked on quite a lot songs, of which ‘Crossroads moment’ is the result. A strong pure 80s AOR album, which balances somewhere between mid 80s SURVIVOR and PRIDE OF LIONS. Although not as good as ‘Vital signs’ or the first PRIDE OF LIONS album, it is definitely a highly recommended AOR album. The beginning of the CD is a bit so and so, but as the CD develops it gets better and better, with as highlights the songs about the music, the audience and the singing… songs in which JIM PETERIK basically rules as he proved in the past with SURVIVOR and PRIDE OF LIONS writing similar songs. Then I am referring to songs like “Behind the music” (an absolute gem, the song where the famous ‘Pick of destiny’ is reached, nailing it as the perfect AOR song and a true contender for song of the year 2008!!!), “That’s why I sing” and “Friends we never met”, 3 uplifting fresh sounding uptempo AOR rockers a la 1984 SURVIVOR. The whole CD does not feel at first sight as good as the classic SURVIVOR stuff, because 2 things are of course missing here, the FRANKIE SULLIVAN co-writing/guitarplaying and RON NEVISON’s big 80s keyboard/catchy hooks orientated production. Therefore one can not call this a classic, but nevertheless, it still is an album to check out of course, because it contains some of the best vocals Jimi has sang since ‘Too hot to sleep’ and also his finest songs, thanks to JIM PETERIK. Most striking song, though not a classic, is closing track “When Rock was King”, which features a whole string of guest vocalists, such as MIKE RENO (LOVERBOY), MICKEY THOMAS (STARSHIP), DAVE BICKLER (SURVIVOR’s first lead singer), JOE LYNN TURNER and DON BARNES (38 SPECIAL), so the top of the 80s AOR/Melodic Rockscene, although STEVE PERRY is missing. Anyway, of course ‘Crossroads moment’ has the pure SURVIVOR elements here and there, such as the midtempo “’Til the morning comes”, which could have been on ‘When seconds count’ or the beautiful ballad “As is”, but also “She’s nothing to me” has a dut-dut keyboard/catchy hook at the end of the song reminding of ‘Vital signs’ era SURVIVOR. A great album for sure, although a bit standard sometimes and sadly not beating the JOURNEY album ‘Revelations’, but thanks to Jimi’s fantastic vocalwork and here and there a sensational tune, still a recommended AOR album that is better than the ‘Reach album he released with SURVIVOR a few years ago. Enjoy it while you can when released mid November, as Jimi singing such classic 80s AOR again could become a rarity in the future, as he is also doing a lot of other stuff in the States as well (Country stuff including).

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

TESLA ‘FOREVER MORE’ (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

TESLA has a new CD out titled ‘Forever more’, which musically continues their somewhat modern approach to their Classic Hardrock of the past few comeback albums. It’s groovy, it’s heavy guitar riff orientated and of course features the strong raw lead vocalwork of JEFF KEITH. 12 songs are included and most of the songs go in a similar style, which is pure groovy Hardrock like TESLA has been doing for more than 20 years now and is a style which in recent years has become quite popular again. I would not call this their finest effort, as their early albums are still their best, but TESLA once again shows they are a strong Hardrockband and they definitely can easily be selling as much albums as bands like NICKELBACK and SHINEDOWN are currently selling in the USA.

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)

THUNDER ‘BANG! (FRONTIERS RECORDS/ROUGH TRADE)

UK band THUNDER has always kept on releasing new material and also had a lot of success in their homeland the UK back in the 1990s. Here people will remember them from that classic “Love walked in” from their first album ‘Backstreet symphony’ from way back in the early 90s. That album even sold 250,000 copies in the USA! Anyway, as the years progressed it became a bit harder and now since a few years they switched to FRONTIERS RECORDS, on which they now already have released several albums, with ‘Bang!’ being their latest effort. Musically they never changed, always sticking to that groovy midtempo Hardrock format and that is also the case on new album ‘Bang!’, which also reminds a lot of what FM has been doing throughout the 1990s and also SAMMY HAGAR’s solo stuff, with here and there a bluesy AOR tune, such as the catchy uptempo “Stormwater” and the ballad “Watching over you”, but mostly it is slow midtempo groovy hardrock material what we get to hear. 12 songs are included and THUNDER fans will definitely like this new album a lot, although it is not a sensational record.

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

TOUCHSTONE ‘DISCORDANT DREAMS’ (HEAVY RIGHT FOOT RECORDS)

The band TOUCHSTONE is coming out of the UK and they have released a very strong debut CD titled ‘Discordant dreams’. The album was mixed by JOHN MITCHELL (ARENA, FROST) and it sounds very impressive, as good as anything on the established progressive rocklabels. TOUCHSTONE has a female and a male singer, with keyboardist ROB CUNNINGHAM taking most of the lead vocals, while female singer KIM SEVIOUR does mostly backing vocals and some leads. Anyway, this is really sensational stuff and it is not that far away from ARENA, PALLAS and IT BITES, with a lot of uptempo Neo-Progressive/Melodic Rock type of material that contain strong melodies in the vocal department, thanks to the combination of the male lead vocals and the female backing vocals, but also instrumental it sounds excellent (80s Synth Keys and melodic 80s MARILLIONesque guitarwork). “Curious angel”, “Shadow” and “See the light” are 3 examples of how wonderful this sounds and almost the whole CD is in this style, all showing TOUCHSTONE at their best, from start to finish. Absolute highlight is the beautiful “Diginity”, amazing song a la IT BITES! Although the CD was released in 2007, the album now finally reached us and I must say I am glad it did, because this is the kind of proggish Melodic Rock that seems to be the new way for the progrockscene, as we have seen with FROST, IT BITES, MOSTLY AUTUMN and KINO the past few years. It is a sort of return of how 80s Neo-Prog sounded like, so not the long endless calmer pieces like in the 1990s, but more fun uptempo rocking pieces with melodic choruses, almost Melodic Rock… really great stuff… More info at: www.touchstonemusic.co.uk  and e-mail at: info@touchstonemusic.co.uk 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)

VARIOUS ALBUMS ‘PERRIS RECORDS’ (PERRIS RECORDS)

6 new albums on the US Label PERRIS RECORDS. Guitarist IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY returns with his new CD ‘Nomad’ on which he is joined by Dougie White (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), Jochen Mayer (CASANOVA, DEMON DRIVE, DOMAIN), Frank Kraus (DEMON DRIVE), Paul Logue (EDEN’S CURSE) & Holger Seeger (MIDNITE CLUB). Musically it is Melodic Hardrock, a bit groovy, but not far removed from EDEN’S CURSE, JADED HEART and such, but also RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE are clear influences. The vocals are very impressive, thanks to the efforts of some of the earlier mentioned singers, with as highlights “Vintage Love”, “More to Life” and “When Will My Love Fade”. Not the whole album is sensational, but it is of a decent quality to check out for fans of Melodic Hardrock a la EDEN’S CURSE/JADED HEART/MICHAEL BORMANN, CASANOVA/MAD MAX… More information at: http://www.myspace.com/iainashleyhersey  and www.iainashleyhersey.com  (Points: 8.2 out of 10) Next up is LIZHARD with their same titled debut CD. Featuring a very good lead singer, this Italian band’s first CD ‘Lizhard’ was co-produced, mixed and mastered by Alessandro Del Vecchio, a musician known worldwide for his collaborations with acts like EDGE OF FOREVER, GLENN HUGHES, JEFF SCOTT SOTO, AXE, etc. etc. LIZHARD is playing Melodic Hardrock, a bit raw and groovy, very guitar orientated, but in a good way, as the guitarsound and style is rather excellent. Think of modern day EUROPE doing something more pure Melodic Hardrock orientated, just listen to the catchy uptempo MHR songs “My wild side” and “Let the good times roll”, which are both not far removed from what we have heard on this year’s albums By H.E.A.T. and ECLIPSE or WIG WAM/GOTTHARD for that matter and the semi-ballad “I cry for you” which sounds like a cross between FAIR WARNING and MR. BIG. However, most of the time it is a little less melodic and perhaps mostly recommended to fans of groovy big punching sounding Melodic Hardrock like WHITESNAKE meets EUROPE meets MR. BIG… More info at: WWW.LIZHARD.COM  and www.myspace.com/lizhardband  (Points: 8.1 out of 10) ‘Twisted desire’ is the 2nd album of the American Melodic Rockband PLEASURE MAKER. The new album sounds very good, although here and there it has some of the typical so-and-so tracks (like the first and last 2 tracks). Standout tracks are the pure Melodic Rocksongs (with AOR keyboards and catchy hooks) “Twisted Desire”, “What We Left Behind”, “Chance Of A Lifetime”, “Hurts Me, Hurts You” that all remind me of a cross between 80s TNT, ROX DIAMOND, WHITE SISTER and DANGER DANGER. Easily an album to check out if you like pure 80s AOR/Melodic Rock! More at: www.myspace.com/pleasuremakerrocks  (Points: 8.4 out of 10) DIRTY LOOKS returns with a new album titled ‘California Free Ride’, which basically continues the style of all their previous albums. AC/DC has a new one out soon and well DIRTY LOOKS too, difference is that AC/DC releases an album every 8 years or so, while DIRTY LOOKS puts out every year an album, which they have been doing since 1985 I believe. Nice album, but it never reaches the quality of their classic ‘Cool from the wire’ from the late 80s… More at www.dirtylooksmusic.com  (Points: 8.0 out of 10) And yet another XYZ release, this time a best of release containing some of XYZ’s finest, such as MHR songs “Face down in the gutter", “Maggie” (hello DOKKEN) and the beautiful ballads “Souvenirs” and "When I find love". One unreleased new 2008 track has been included, namely “Falling in you”. For more information: www.myspace.com/terryilousxyz  (Points: -) And finally, the Norwegian AOR/Melodic Rockband WINTER PARADE returns with their 2nd album ‘Two’, which is their first for Perris Records, because their debut album ‘Midnight In Paradise’ was released by MTM Music several years ago (now a bargain bin at record fairs in Europe). The new CD was mastered by BEAU HILL (WARRANT, RATT, WINGER) and contains a bit standard safe by-the-numbers AOR/Melodic Rock not far away from the 80s Scandi sound of bands like TREAT, DAVINCI, 80s EUROPE, FATE, DALTON and such. Uptempo melodic rockers like “Real Life City “, “I'm Still Alive”, “Gone (From My Life)”, “Sophomoronic” and “Leave It Behind” as well as midtempo tracks like “Rollercoasting” and “PFAM” are very close to mentioned bands, but perhaps the best comparison is LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM, because if you love that band you will love WINTER PARADE a lot as they are both in the exact same style. A quality CD that is a must-have if you’re a fan of the 80s Scandi AOR/Melodic Rockband of mentioned bands. Nothing new, but definitely nice to check out… More at: www.winterparade.com  or www.myspace.com/winterparade  (Points: 8.3 out of 10)

(Various points)

UNDERRIDE ‘ONE OF US’ (INDEPENDENT)

This is pure Rock and Roll, sleazy, raw and reminding of bands like BRITNY FOX, GUNS’N’ROSES, KIX, LA GUNS, WIDOWMAKER, some TWISTED SISTER and also HINDER, AIRBOURNE and more recent Classic Rock sounding bands. A bit MOTLEY CRUEish 80s Glamrock added here and there, a DEE SNIDERish vocalist and you have a typical American Rock and Roll. The new CD of the Seattle based band UNDERRIDE offers it all, the typical American tradition Rock and Roll, sometimes catchy and very melodic, but at other times also very raw to the bone, with always a big groovy guitarsound. Most of the 14 songs are uptempo and they rock hard, actually perfect to make an impact on the American market as this kind of music is currently coming back big time. ‘One of us’ is the 3rd CD of UNDERRIDE and probably their finest effort so far. Production is huge, with some modern touches here and there and so this actually sounds very impressive all together and it would not surprise me if this band gets their lucky break sometime in the near future.More info at: www.underride.net  and www.myspace.com/underrideseattle 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

OVERHEAD ‘AND WE’RE NOT HERE AFTER ALL’ (MUSEA RECORDS)

OVERHEAD is a band from Finland and the fact it considers a pure Progressive Rockband is something that does not happen too often with bands from this country, as usually it is Gothic, Power Metal or even Melodic Rock. OVERHEAD does something completely different, namely making pure Neo-Prog a la IQ, JADIS, PENDRAGON and such, so very British orientated, maybe just a little darker and melancholic. The band has already released a few albums before on the Italian label MELLOW RECORDS and this new one, their 3rd is their 2nd on the French label MUSEA RECORDS. It all sounds very impressive and fans of the typical British Neo-Prog will absolutely love this record. Check it out for yourself at: www.overhead-band.com and e-mail at: info@overhead-band.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

BLACK SUN ‘REBIRTH’ (INDEPENDENT)

BLACK SUN is a small Greek band with a mini-CD titled ‘Rebirth’. Musically Melodic Metal, sounding a bit 1980s on the 4 included tracks. The band is formed around guitarist MINAS PAPADOPOULOS and drummer ANTHONY ARGRYROPOULOS, with as guests the AIRGED LAMH singer STEVE VENARDO, keyboardplayer NICK KOKOZIDES and SORROWFUL WINDS guitarists STAVROS GATSOPOULOS. Together they made a nice mini-CD, although sounding really like a small independent, so no big budgets sounds, but nice to check out if you dig melodic metal with some excellent guitarwork and nice vocal melodies. More info at: www.blacksun.gr  and e-mail at: min_papadopoulos@blacksun.gr 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)

ELDORADO ‘EN BUSCA DE ELDORADO’ (AVISPA MUSIC)

The Spanish band ELDORADO releases a very strong album that can easily be ranked amongst all the other Spanish sung Melodic Metalbands, such as AVALANCH, SARATOGA, TIERRA SANTA, RATA BLANCA… It is a little less straight-forward, as we can also note some Doom Metal a la BLACK SABBATH in the heavy guitar riffs, but the melodies of the 8 included songs are very impressive and as good as mentioned bands, with as highlights the songs “Un mal presentimiento”, “Dejame decirte” (a surprisingly very calm AOR/Melodic Rockish semi-ballad, could be a hit in Spain) and “En busca de Eldorado”. Sound and production is very impressive, also thanks to the production of RICHARD CHYCKI (MICK JAGGER, RUSH, SEAL, AEROSMITH). Check it out for yourself, as this ELDORADO is definitely a quality band. More info at: www.enbuscadeeldorado.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

NERONIA ‘BLUE CIRCLES’ (INDEPENDENT)

NERONIA was formed out of the ashes of the German band ULYSSES, releasing their debut ‘Nerotica’ back in 2003. ‘Blue circles’ is the 2008 follow-up to this album and I must say it sounds very impressive. NERONIA is playing pure Neo-Progressive Rock like a cross between SAGA and EVERON, with as one of the highlights the fantastic “Shockwaves” that has some very impressive keyboardsounds. Progfans will love this for sure, although the vocals reflect a slight typical German accent. Check it out for yourself at: www.neronia.eu  and e-mail at: falk.ullmann@neronia.eu 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

DIRECTION ‘EST’ (UNICORN DIGITAL)

DIRECTION is a Canadian band formed in 2002, with already 3 releases done independently. Now they are signed to Canadian label UNICORN DIGITAL on which they have released ‘Est’. Sung in French, the band musically is playing pure Progressive Rock with clear influences of RUSH, KING CRIMSON, YES, GENESIS and some STYX/KANSAS. 8 songs are included, some quite lengthy, such as “Soldat” and “Derniere issue”, but it always sounds very good, from start to finish with some great keyboardwork here and there. Maybe nothing new is brought here, this CD is definitely a must to check out if you like high quality Progressive Rock. More info at: www.legroupedirection.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

RA ‘BLACK SUN’ (SAHAJA MUSIC RECORDS)

RA is an American band that started back in the 1990s, but started releasing albums during the 2000s, of which their earlier releases, such as the fantastic ‘Duality’ from 2005 were released on UNIVERSAL RECORDS. After departing from that major label the band found a home at CEMENT SHOES RECORDS first, but their new CD ‘Black sun’ has been released on SAHAJA MUSIC RECORDS, the band’s own label named after vocalist/guitarist SAHAJ TICOTIN. RA are one of the newer generation American bands (like we have seen with TRAPT, DISTURBED, SHINEDOWN, COHEED AND CAMBRIA, HOOBASTANK…) that play the good side of Modern Nu-Metal, namely the fact it is super melodic and sometimes comes dangerously close in style to the HAREM SCAREM of the 2000s, just listen to closing track “Easier than this” and you’ll get the picture. ‘Black Sun’ is the band’s third studio album and reached #199 on the Billboard 200 in late September 2008, selling 4400+ albums, which is quite a low figure if you consider that this CD sounds very impressive and typical American similar sounding bands like SHINEDOWN and DISTURBED sell millions of records and are on top of the charts. Anyway, this new RA album is nevertheless a very strong super Melodic Modern Heavy Rock/00s US Metal style album with mostly midtempo tunes like the fantastic “The First Step”, “Don't Turn Away”, “Lost Along The Way” and the melodic rocker “I Believe Again”. Definitely a highly recommended album that even will be something to check out if you’re a regular melodic rockfan, because some choruses are sounding very catchy and if you are into any of the mentioned bands this will be right up your alley! More info at: http://www.ra-band.net 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

MAGICA ‘WOLVES AND WITCHES’ (AFM RECORDS/ROCK INC)

The Romanian female fronted band MAGICA already returns with a new CD entitled ‘Wolves and witches’, which is the follow-up to their 2007 album ‘Hereafter’, for which we also did an interview with the band back then. ‘Wolves and witches’ starts very catchy with 2 uptempo Melodic Metal pieces “Don’t wanna kill” and “They stole the sun” that sound not unlike NIGHTWISH and EPICA, so not really original. Nevertheless, the sound is huge and it is quite catchy. The band even goes a little AOR/Melodic Rock ish with the uptempo Melodic Rocker “Hold on tight”, yet with the Soprano/Female Gothic like vocals of singer ANA MLADINOVICI the band also makes this sound like NIGHTWISH and actually most of the rest of the CD are all uptempo ish in this style, with here and there a calmer balladish song. DELIGHT, EPICA, XANDRIA, NIGHTWISH…MAGICA fits in perfectly… Check out more info and samples of their new CD at: http://www.myspace.com/magicaband  and http://www.magicaband.com/ 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

THE GIRLS ‘YES NO YES NO YES NO’ (DIRTNAP RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Sounding as if it was the latest new UK band and we were living in the year 1981, this band is actually coming out of the USA and have just released their new album ‘Yes no yes no yes no’. Musically it also ain’t too far away from bands like PANIC AT THE DISCO, KAISER CHIEFS and such. 10 short uptempo rockers with typical English style vocals and synthesizers a la ULTRAVOX, THE CURE, THE CARS and basically balancing between late 70s US Powerpop and early 80s English UK New Wave Poprock, with as only modern approach the slightly Techno ish Synths that even Gothic bands use nowadays, although this was also done in the 1980s by HUMAN LEAGUE and DEPECHE MODE. However, THE GIRLS are really a Rockband and they could easily become the next big thing as everything sounds very professional and here and there we can find some very catchy tunes that sound like the perfect cross between THE JAM, KAISER CHIEFS and THE CARS. With only 25 minutes of playing time, nevertheless a must-have for fans of mentioned bands! More info at: www.dirtnaprecs.com 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

INTERSTATE ‘IN EKLARTON’ (ROOKIE RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

No problem they sing in German, because the music of the Leipzig based band INTERSTATE nevertheless sounds very decent and is pure English style Rockmusic a la KAISER CHIEFS, THE CLASH, GENERATION X, PANIC AT THE DISCO, THE EDITORS, a bit punky, but pure raw Rock and Roll the way it should sound like. 9 songs are included on their debut CD ‘In eklarton’ and fans of mentioned bands will like them all, although the lyrics are in German. Most of the songs are uptempo and rock really hard. Listen for yourself at: www.interstate5.de  and www.myspace.com/interstatefive 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

PRIMA DONNA ‘AFTER HOURS’ (ACETATE RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Another short CD here is from the band PRIMA DONNA, whom deliver with ‘After hours’ an album very close to early 70s style US style Glam/Glitter Rock like T-REX, HANOI ROCKS, ENUFF’Z’NUFF and of course the NEW YORK DOLLS. 10 short tunes are included and although it sometimes sounds a bit boring, fans of mentioned bands will absolutely love PRIMA DONNA. More info at: www.acetate.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

MAD JUANA ‘BRUJA ON THE CORNER’ (ACETATE RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

Although MAD JUANA is featuring ex-HANOI ROCKS/NEW YORK DOLLS bassist SAMI YAFFA, the female fronted band has absolutely nothing to do with rockmusic, because their CD ‘Bruja on the corner’ sounds like a cross between Mexican Flamenco and New Orleans Jazz music, so very out of the ordinary, but definitely of a high level and it should easily appeal to fans of a KATIE MELUA or AMY WHINEHOUSE. More info at: www.acetate.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

ANDY BOPP ‘THIS GUITAR KILLS SINGER SONGWRITERS’ (ACETATE RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

ANDY BOPP is a singer/songwriter from Maryland, USA and on his new CD it is actually only him and his (acoustic) guitar, which in the end might only appeal to fans of calm singer-songwriter style music. Check it out for yourself at: www.andybopp.com 

(Points: 7.0 out of 10)

WHERE ANGELS FALL ‘MARIONETTES’ (EDGERUNNER MUSIC)

The band WHERE ANGELS FALL is coming out of Norway and they released their debut CD ‘Illuminate’ back in 2006, which they now follow up with the album ‘Marionettes’. Musically it is pure female fronted Melodic Gothic Metal that does not sound that much different as bands like MALICE IN WONDERLAND, THEATRE OF TRAGEDY and the rest. Although a little less strong, fans of the typical ff Gothic Metal will like WHERE ANGELS FALL a lot. Need to add they here a bit experimental as well, but one does really need to check out their sites to hear how they exactly sound like at: www.whereangelsfall.com  and www.myspace.com/whereangelsfall  and e-mail at: mail@whereangelsfall.com 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

THE RHINOS ‘IN RHI-FI’ (RAINBOW QUARTZ INTERNATIONAL/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

THE RHINOS from Sweden are playing exactly mid 1960s UK Garage/Beat-Rock orientated music that sounds dangerously close to a THE BYRDS, THE KINKS, PRETTY THINGS, Q65, SANDY COAST, etc. etc. 14 songs are on their CD ‘In rhi-fi’ and fans of 1960s inspired Rockmusic will absolutely love this Swedish band. More info at: www.rainbowquartz.com 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)

KNUCKLEBONE OSCAR ‘BACK FROM THE JUNGLE’ (ROOKIE RECORDS/SONIC RENDEZVOUS)

KNUCKLEBONE OSCAR from Finland releases a CD that combines groovy Hardrock, Blues, 50s Rockabilly and some Punkrock into an exciting live orientated style which can be heard on his album ‘Back from the jungle’. Think of JIMI HENDRIX meets CHUCK BERRY meets THE CLASH and then you’re close to the KNUCKLEBONE OSCAR sound. 11 tracks are included and most of the time it is quite groovy, but during the uptempo “Heart of the city” we get to hear a nice Punkrock’n’roll tune. Check it out for yourself at: www.knuckleboneoscar.com 

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)

ELVENKING ‘TWO TRAGEDY POETS’ (AFM RECORDS/ROCK INC)

The Italian band ELVENKING has already released quite a lot albums in the past, with a recent 2007 release titled ‘The scythe’. Now they have released an acoustic album that contains unplugged versions of some of their finest and most popular tunes as well as a few new tracks. It does sound now a lot like a typical Medieaval Folk band, sorta the same as SKYCLAD going unplugged or FAUST. With this album they might even appeal to the fans of pure Medieaval Folk music. Done quite nicely and sounding very cheerful, this is a recommended album and shows ELVENKING at a much calmer side, so nothing Metal about this album… More at: www.elvenking.net 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

CREAM PIE ‘DIRTY JOB’ (INDEPENDENT)

Female fronted bands are quite popular nowadays and they really rock quite hard. HYDROGYN is one of the most popular ones, but also NIKKI PUPPET recently caused quite a stir. CREAM PIE from Italy can easily be added to this list, as they have released a very strong catchy CD that contains 11 hardrocking tracks. Although released independently, it looks and sounds very professional. It all reminds me a bit of PHANTOM BLUE mixed with CYCLE SLUTS FROM HELL and GIRLSCHOOL, yet the strange thing is that CREAM PIE is actually an all-male band, but extra female singer RACHEL O’NEILL also does some vocals here and there making it sound like mentioned bands. Recently, she also permanently replaced the male singer JOEY FLORENZ, who left the band and so now CREAM PIE are a female fronted band, but on their debut CD ‘Dirty job’ CREAM PIE was a male fronted band and he gave the band also clear comparisons to late 80s LA Sleaze Rock of bands like LA GUNS, VAIN, JUNKYARD, BRITNY FOX, KIX…. With catchy uptempo tunes like “Leave in coma”, “Long leader” and “Whore” they are showing they have a dirty mean rock and roll sleazy sound that will mostly be loved by fans of BACKYARD BABIES, to name a more modern popular band to compare CREAM PIE with. Also adding to this, the band has a great guitarplayer who completes the band’s sound. So after mentioning a lot of names, this Italian Sleaze/Glamrockoutfit should be checked out at: www.creampierocks.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

NIKKI PUPPET ‘POWER SEEKER’ (ARTIST STATION RECORDS/ROCK INC)

‘Power seeker’ is the 3rd CD of the German female fronted band NIKKI PUPPET, whom sound like a mix between GIRLSCHOOL, PHANTOM BLUE, CHEETAH, THE DONNAS, CYCLE SLUTS FROM HELL and HYDROGYN. Meaning this is mostly straight-ahead uptempo raw Rock and Roll with strong melodies here and there. 13 tracks are included on the new CD and highlights among them are “I can dream”, “Power seeker” (damn catchy a la THE DONNAS!) and “Scream”. The CD was produced by HERMAN FRANK (VICTORY), who gave it a huge sound and all together this is definitely an impressive CD. A must-have for fans of female fronted Rock and Roll! Maybe nothing new is brought here, but NIKI PUPPET shows they have got a real big sounding Rock and Roll album out in the shape of ‘Power seeker’. More info at: www.nikkipuppet.de  and www.myspace.com/nikkipuppet 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

DAWN OF WINTER ‘THE PEACEFUL DEAD’ (MASSACRE RECORDS)

The history of DAWN OF WINTER goes back to September 1990, when they were formed in Germany, so they were among the first new wave of Doom Metalbands alongside CANDLEMASS and SAINT VITUS building up huge following in the underground scene. BLACK SABBATH slow Doom Metal guitar riffs can be heard on their new CD and this was probably also the case on their 1990 demotape. Meaning the band never changed their sound and now almost 20 years later releases their first album on MASSACRE RECORDS, which is the label they signed with after leaving their former label IRON GLORY RECORDS, whom released their first 3 full-length CDs. ‘The peaceful dead’ is at first sight a typical slow Doom Metal affair a la CANDLEMASS/BLACK SABBATH, yet vocally sound a little different, more high-pitched and a bit proggy, sorta like PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and even SAVIOUR MACHINE. 10 songs are included and most of them go in a similar style, which is slow with those sorta dramatic Opera like higher pitched vocals. One really needs to listen for themselves at: www.dawnofwinter.de 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)

CORONATUS ‘PORTA OBSCURA’ (MASSACRE RECORDS)

CORONATUS is a German band that released their debut CD ‘Lux noctis’ back in 2007, which is not that long ago actually and now they already have a new CD out. Musically in the same style, the Opera Gothic Power Metal a la early NIGHTWISH continues here. Anyone disappointed with the new NIGHTWISH, well then look no further, because CORONATUS completely continues the style of early NIGHTWISH with instead of TARJA on vocals 2 female singers (Soprano CARMEN R. SCHAFER and vocalist ADA FLECHTNER). Mastered by MIKA JUSSILA at Finnvox studios in Finland, this CD is probably the album NIGHTWISH could have made if TARJA had continued with the band. Anyway, that’s a different story and CORONATUS will probably benefit from Tarja’s departure, because their new CD sounds huge and is a pure NIGHTWISHish Melodic Opera-Gothic Power Metal affair with 2 strong female singers. Hear more at: www.coronatus.de 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)

THE COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND 'TWISTED' (CAF FINE RECORDS)

THE COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND is based in Colorado, USA, but is actually also featuring some famous Dutchmen, namely vocalist ROBERT SOETERBOEK (WICKED SENSATION, HIGHWAY CHILE...) and keyboardplayer JOOST VAN DEN BROEK (AFTER FOREVER). Together with a few more musicians and guitarist ALAN COTTON they are the band THE COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND. Thier first recording is now finished and it is called 'Twisted', which musically is something different than the bands some of the musicians were involved with in the past. What we get to hear is American midwestern almost Southern kinda Hardrock a la LYNYRD SKYNYRD, BLACKFOOT... mixed with British 70s Bluesy Hardrock a la WHITESNAKE, BAD COMPANY... with some RAINBOW/DEEP PURPLEish guitarwork. Result is very impressive, also thanks to the great vocalwork of Robert and with songs like "Set me free", "Leave me blue" and "Cold and gray" a recommended album to check out. It also reminds me a bit of MANIC EDEN and BLACK CROWES, so if any of the mentioned bands is up your liking, then check out this band. More info at: www.cottonsoeterboekband.com 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted) 

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