GRAVE DIGGER returns with a new album, which of course follows the exact same Teutonic Metal style they have done for the past 30 years (except for a short inactive period in the late 80s after they did change on 1 DIGGER album back in 1987!). GRAVE DIGGER’s new album ‘Ballads of a hangman’ offers 11 tracks and without a doubt fans of the band will eat this one alive. What more to say, you either love or hate this band, they always do the same and they do it well enough to keep their fans interested. This won’t definitely be the final album of GRAVE DIGGER and despite the albumtitle, there are no ballads to be found here…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


BEYOND THE LABYRINTH has a long history behind them, even me reviewing their first CD-single ‘Shine’ way back in 1997! Anyway, it took them 11 years to finish their first official full-length CD ‘Castles in the sand’, but it now is finished. The album contains Melodic Progressive Metal and the result is quite nice, although vocally it is a bit raw sounding and not completely without an accent, giving it a sort of SAVATAGE touch. Best songs are “The enemy within” (more uptempo melodic metal), “Draining my energy” (melodic progmetal with nice hook) and “Beyond the labyrinth” (strong AORish chorus and great keyboardwork, best song without a doubt, a bit melodic rock meets progmetal). The band’s singer sounds at his best when he sings calmer and more laid-back, such as in the song “For eternity”, a relaxing epic ballad kinda song, but most of the time this an all-rocking-out pure Progmetal affair like a mix between SAVATAGE and EVERON, so actually progrock meets epic metal, in the end labelling it as Progmetal. Therefore Progmetalfans might wanna check out this release at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


A 4-track mini-CD of the Brazilian band, with 1 track mixed by the mighty BEAU HILL (WINGER, WARRANT, etc. big late 80s American Hair Metal producer). The song itself (“Hard blood”) is indeed a pure late 80s LA Groovy Hair Metal piece that sounds like SKID ROW meets SLEEZE BEEZ meets VAN HALEN, quite heavy actually. The other songs are a bit lighter and more uptempo Melodic Rock, such as “Fields on sands” and “When love is alive”, which are both nice radio-ready tunes. This band could record an impressive full-length CD if they would go into a big studio with someone like BEAU HILL. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Swedish guitarist/vocalist and producer CHRIS LANEY has been in the musicscene since the 1980s and has besides playing in some small bands such as ZAN CLAN and SEVENTEEN, mainly been active as producer helping out bands like CANDLEMASS, EUROPE, CRASHDIET, etc and also has been the guitarist in ex-WASP guitarist RANDY PIPER’s ANIMAL band. ‘Pure’ is his first solo-album, on which he plays guitar, but also sings (reminding of CHARLIE HUHN here and there). The album itself is a pure late 80s/early 80s Hair Metal Sleazy Melodic American Mainstream Hardrock affair, not far away from a WARRANT, FIREHOUSE, SLAUGHTER, WHITE LION, KANE ROBERTS, VAN HALEN and you name it further, also adding big DEF LEPPARD harmonyvocals most of the time. It’s not really original, but with songs like the midtempo “The stranger in you” or “Get U down” (both hello 80s DEF LEPPARD!) and the uptempo rockers “Pissed at what ya missed” (nice VENGEANCE ish singable tune) and “Last man standing” (80s ALICE COOPER is back), Chris has a few catchy little tunes on his record. However, most of the time the songs go in one ear and out the other (especially in the beginning), but still not saying it is bad, because if you like mentioned bands you will be liking this. However sometimes the simplicity of the third rate late 80s ALICE COOPER choruses is put in a song and combined with the fact that vocally Chris is not really singing at an interesting level (being saved by harmonyvocals and excellent guitarwork), this is not a sensational record. Despite a reasonable rating thanks to the big 80s production and high quality instrumental approach, this one is only for the die-hards among us, because I am afraid this album won’t do any good to the Glam/Melodic Hardrockscene…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Formed in 1987, the Swedish band NASTY IDOLS were keen on becoming the European answer to the LA Glam Metal scene. Although they sounded ok, their music was not really sensational and only interesting for die-hard fans of CRUE, POISON, SKID ROW… The band released 3 albums and recorded a 4th one, which was never released. They existed between 1987 and 1995, but when Grunge entered they split up, although labels would keep on releasing best of, rare and re-issue material of the band in the following years. In 2006 they reformed and now 3 years later the band releases a new CD titled ‘Boystown’. Original it ain’t and also the included 12 songs are not really something we have been waiting for all these years, as it is all very standard cliché tingled late 80s/early 90s Glam/Sleazy Hardrock with Metal touch, influenced by CRUE, POISON, TIGERTAILZ and also HANOI ROCKS, etc with average vocalwork. It is safed by the big production, but this is one of those records that will probably only find it’s way to the die-hard fans of this genre. It doesn’t stand a chance I am afraid with the newcomers in this genre, such as a CRASHDIET. More info at: 

(Points: 7.2 out of 10)


The Dannish band IRON FIRE started in the late 1990s and released already a bunch of albums, making this new one ‘To the grave’ their 6th album I believe. Musically they never changed much, basically going for a True Metal sound, yet a little more akin to Melodic (Power) Metal. The band is formed around a great lead singer called MARTIN STEENE, who sounds like a cross between the singers of MAD MAX and PRETTY MAIDS, while the songs of IRON FIRE are sounding like a cross between HAMMERFALL, MANOWAR and NOISEHUNTER, so an almost Teutonic metal approach. Most of the songs are very catchy and easy to sing-a-long, such as “Kill for Metal”, “To the grave”, “Battlefield”, “Hail to Odin” and “The kingdom”, all very strong Melodic Metal pieces that also are reminding a bit of MYSTIC PROPHECY and NOCTURNAL RITES, thanks to the fantastic vocals, awesome guitarwork, catchy choruses and huge melodic sound. Fans of True Melodic Metal are gonna love this new IRON FIRE!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


The history of the German band MIND ODYSSEY dates back to the early 1990s when they started as a Technical Progmetalband, which never changed that much, although their new album ‘Time to change it’ is offering a slightly heavier and more modern approach. Anyway, the band released 4 albums in the 1990s, became rather successful in Japan and I remember well reviewing all those albums 10+ years ago. However, it became very quiet in the following years and actually it took 10 years before the threesome (now consisting of guitarist/keyboardplayer VICTOR SMOLSKI (RAGE), vocalist/bassist MARIO LE MOLE and drummer/programmer DAN UHDEN) would release their 5th album. Now it has been released and like mentioned before, musically not that much has changed. Still ‘Time to change it’ feels like a new beginning and sounds very modern. The band is still playing Techno influenced Progressive Metal that sounds like a cross between AXXIS, DOMAIN, EDGUY and QUEENSRYCHE, with very German like choruses and all together songs like “Enemy daggers”, “I want it all”, “Face in the rain” and “Time to change it” sound pretty good, but sadly the somewhat Industrial Drumsound (MINISTRY meets 90s PRIEST/HALFORD) spoils the pleasure a bit. This is a real grower and somewhat different than the usual Progmetal releases, so perhaps not at first sight the winner one might expect. Give it a listen first I can only add here…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The Norwegian band GAIA EPICUS was formed back in 1992, but 17 years later the only member left is guitarist/vocalist THOMAS CHR. HANSEN. The band released 3 albums before ‘Damnation’, all since 2003 and now their 4th album ‘Damnation’ is released on their own label EPICUS RECORDS. 9 songs are included, which musically go into the typical European way of Melodic (Power) Metal with references to IRON FIRE, STRATOVARIUS, NARNIA, NOSTRADAMEUS and especially FREEDOM CALL. Although they changed their music style and members a lot in the first 10 years of existence, since their first album from 2003, this kind of Melodic Metal has been their way to play the game. In that field we can mention as highlights on their new CD are “Firestrom” (fast Melodic Power Metal, RHAPDOSY/STRATO/SONATA style), “The savior will come” (another fast one) and “A hero in all” (the typical Hero song, fast, catchy and melodic). Maybe some might call it cliché, it is all played very well and with guest appearances of members of bands like MASTERPLAN (ROLAND GRAPOW), RHAPSODY, MALMSTEEN, INSANIA, TREAURE LAND, NARNIA, etc. etc., ‘Damnation’ proves to be a strong highly recommended album to all fans of European Melodic (Power) Metal. More info at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


A whopping 350 pages to read through, telling us a complete story of the band CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL and it’s members. Main focus for author HANK BORDOWITZ was of course the band’s active years 1968-1972, when they non-stop recorded classics such as “Who’ll stop the rain”, “Bad moon rising”, “I put a spell on you”, “Proud Mary”, “Down on the corner”, etc. etc. For pretty much the whole period they had hits worldwide, with the US Top 10 being their most successful. Of course after so much happiness, fame and fortune comes the downfall and for this band it led to their split-up in 1972, which led to each of the members struggling for new success in the following 30+ years. Bandleader JOHN FOGERTY had a rather good solo career on the move during the years, but still he suffered the lack of the incredible success earned with CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL (CCR). This book gives a good inside look into the lives of these musicians, which was not that happy after all, with many legal issues and battles going on against especially JOHN FOGERTY. I will not reveal any of it’s content, but it is surely a nice (not nice in the sense of enjoyable, but more like in the sense of you can’t stop reading it) but sad Rock and Roll story to read of the author that also brought us books on BILLY JOEL and the somewhere else reviewed DIRTY LITTLE SECREST OF THE RECORD BUSINESS. Available through: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Back in the mid 1980s most British bands left from the NWOBHM scene started changing their sound into a more somewhat radiofriendly sound, which was dangerously close to AOR with keys all over the place, but still with the ‘melodic’ use of the guitar of course. Somehow during this period a lot of wonderful recordings were made, although a lot of them never even made onto a proper LP an got stuck in demo territory. Also many LPs from that area were never re-issued onto CD. KOOGA managed to release 1 album titled ‘Across the water’, which now finally found a way onto CD, sounding crystal clear thanks to the folks at KRESCENDO RECORDS. The band came out of Wales and this one-off album they did was a typical mid 80s AOR/Melodic Rock kinda affair, sorta sounding like a mix between AVION, ALASKA, BRONZ, MAGNUM, DARE, MR. MISTER, ASIA and FM. Hooks, choruses, melodic vocals, keys, melodic guitar, it’s all typical 80s and still sounding great, actually 80s Classic AOR Rock is the best label to be put on this record and now on CD it does sound very impressive, especially on uptempo pieces like “Across the water”, “Lifeline” and “Lay down your love”. Without a doubt, one of many 80s jewels that are now happily re-discovered 25 years later. More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The early to mid 1990s were not really the best of times for mainstream music, as Rock seemed to be falling into a big gap with most major label bands playing ‘new’ uninspiring styles like Grunge, Industrial, Rapmetal, etc. This caused a damage that until today has not healed completely, but now in 2009 it does seem the last pieces of influences from that area have vanished. Anyway, T-RIDE was a band playing a mix of Groovy Hardrock of the EXTREME kind with some Rapmetal a la CLAWFINGER and also similarities to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS are possible. Now their album has been re-issued on KRESCENDO RECORDS. Fans of this style will of course like this ‘still modern’ sounding album, but for ‘melodic’ fans not much can be gained here I’m afraid… More info at: 

(Points: 6.7 out of 10)


The Swiss band SAHARA RAIN was helped by MICHAEL BORMANN (ex-JADED HEART, THE SYGNET, BONFIRE, etc.) on their debut CD ‘Sand in your hands’. He produced the album, sang backing vocals and made the album sound like a good strong Melodic Hardrock affair, not far away from the sound of JADED HEART, BONFIRE, etc. 10 songs are included and although the sound is not really original, songs like the midtempo “Shadow”, “Center of pain”, “Blinded eyes” and the uptempo closing track “With these hands” are pretty good and of course a must-hear for fans of JADED HEART. Better check out this great Melodic Hardrockband from Switzerland at:  and 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


COLD TRUTH from Tennessee, USA has the kind of lead singer everyone likes and it’s him who is pushing COLD TRUTH to a very high level. He could probably give the band a big break, as lead singer and guitarist THANE SHEARON sounds like a ‘superb’ cross between PAUL RODGERS (FREE, BAD COMPANY, QUEEN) and 1970s DAVID COVERDALE (WHITESNAKE, DEEP PURPLE). Musically COLD TRUTH also fits somewhere between FREE, BAD COMPANY and 1970s WHITESNAKE, so heavy Bluesrock is the name of the game here. They do it quite well on this 2nd CD and with 13 hardrocking CLASSIC ROCK tracks they have enough to offer. Songs like “Cold as hell”, “If that ain’t enough” and “Gimme some”, but actually any of the included songs, they are all a must-hear for fans of mentioned bands. If you want to hear original Hardrock with a fabulous ‘real’ singer that sings with ‘character’, then look no further than this new COLD TRUTH CD. More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


We reviewed this fantastic underground AOR album from the early 1980s on our CLASSIC AOR REVIEWS pages almost 10 years ago now. I would personally never have thought to ever see a re-issue of this 1983 one-off album from the RON BOLTON BAND. Happily, it did happen, thanks to the German label AVENUE OF ALLIES MUSIC, whom in 2009 re-issues this undiscovered and very obscure AOR Classic on CD. Musically this album is prime-time early 80s North American AOR/Radiorock in the style of DAKOTA, PREVIEW, BE TAYLOR GROUP, FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, SUGARCREEK, BERNIE LABARGE, ALLIANCE, THE AUTOMATIX, SYNCH, etc. etc., so basically the pure early 80s Major Label (especially MCA RECORDS!) American ‘light’ Rocksound. Opener on the album is the amazing “Maybe I’m dreaming”, a stunning uptempo AOR/Radiorocker in the style of STEEL BREEZE, PREVIEW, 707, 38 SPECIAL circa early 80s… This song has got it all, a catchy hook, a brilliant chorus, superb vocalwork (of Ron), spacey keys and some excellent guitarwork (especially towards the end when the twin-guitars kick in), all combined sounding super melodic. The rest of the album is not as sensational as that first track, also a little less rockier, but the fans of AOR/Radiorock and also Westcoast will definitely love this record, with such great tunes like “Do it all for love” (STYX Pomp meets THE AUTOMATIX), “Search of the kind” (AOR/Westcoast style, TOTO meets DAKOTA meets LITTLE RIVER BAND), “Livin’ on the line” (cool guitar riff a la early 80s TOTO and excellent vocalwork a la LOVERBOY/FOREIGNER) and “Midnight lover” (super relaxing late summernight Westcoast-AOR like FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS meets DAVID ROBERTS meets DAKOTA, lead vocals are AOR HEAVEN a la ALLIANCE 1982). Maybe some might find this sound a bit dated, but an album like this is showing how interesting early 80s AOR was and still is, due to the fact everything sounds so perfect, just listen to the amazing vocalwork (a la FREDDY CURCI) and ripping guitarwork (a la THIN LIZZY)! Must-have! Available through: and and available through: and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Just one album sadly, although lead singer MARK FREE went on to release an even more sensational album a few years later … Still 20 years later the only SIGNAL album is still regarded as one of the all-time AOR albums… Now it has been re-issued again, this time on the UK re-issue label KRESCENDO RECORDS. A few years ago the now defunct French label AXE KILLER RECORDS re-issued it (review see our archives), but that release is long out of print, so good to see it pop up again. Sound is huge and all 10 classics are of course included here. No bonustracks unfortunately, but anyone who still doesn’t own this AOR Classic should obtain a copy asap, because nobody will be able to ignore such sensational Classic AOR tunes like “Arms of a stranger” (perhaps one of the best uptempo AOR Rockers of all times), “Does it feel like love” (midtempo piece with superstrong chorus), “Wake up you little fool” (the finest bridge of all times!), “Could this be love” (one of the best AOR ballads of all times), “You won’t see me cry” (superb semi-ballad), etc. etc. One of the best albums of all times in general, so always interesting to give it a new re-issue, although I am not 100% sure if this is a real official digital remastering, but anyway more info at: 

(Points: 9.7 out of 10)


This is a very interesting and rather unique duo from a small town in the US state of Illinois. JOYFOCUS is the name and the members are lead singer HOLLY JOY and multi-instrumentalist RIKK CURRENCE, who also wrote all the songs and music as well as producing each of the 9 included songs. Together they are playing quite experimental yet still very catchy music that contains influences from a lot of different music styles. It is almost impossible to exactly describe the music, as it goes in different paths all the time, but the words melodic and rock are clearly hearable in each songs. It is a sort of experimental female fronted melodic rockalbum, sounding very bombastic and filled with catchy melodies, sorta like mixing QUEEN, KING’S X, WILSON PHILIPS, ROXETTE, RACHEL RACHEL and THE BURNS SISTERS, so definitely with 80s catchy choruses, especially in the excellent songs “Audrey is Gone”, “Salvation” and “Gray day my way (War of me)”, yet instrumental featuring QUEENesque guitars here and there, most of the time going for quite a heavy and also updated pure Rock approach. Concluded, a real surprise here and a good one for sure, so go check out this band at: and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


SEQUEL was one of those typical American Midwestern style Rockbands that released a couple of albums in the early 80s and followed that up recently with a new album. The style fits somewhere between BLUE OYSTER CULT, STARZ, BOSTON and 38 SPECIAL, so typical American and that is exactly what we also can hear on the first solo-CD of one of SEQUEL’s bandmembers. GREG GEORGESON is his name and he is playing guitars, bass and several other instruments on his own CD ‘100% by volume’ besides singing. The music is pure late 1970s feel-good slightly Southern Melodic Rock a la 38 SPECIAL, STARZ, BLUE OYSTER CULT… Songs like the rockers “Take it or leave it”, “The girl gets around” and the ballad “Second chance” are all very catchy little tunes. Maybe the sound is a bit dated, as it really sounds like 1979, so pure Classic Rock with a bluesy and southern touch, but who cares if it sounds this catchy. Fans of HEAD EAST, STARZ, REX, 38 SPECIAL, DOC HOLIDAY and such are gonna love it! More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


1982 and ASIA go hand in hand, because that was the year the classic debut album of ASIA was released. It sold millions of records, even becoming the best selling album in the world in 1982! It was also the album where JOHN WETTON and GEOFFREY DOWNES reached their pick of destiny, an instant classic they never will able to match. ASIA released many more albums, without JOHN WETTON mostly, reformed recently, created a new record and also side-project WETTON DOWNES is now releasing it’s 3rd CD. Sadly it all does not matter, because also the new album is just a good record, but nowhere near that classic ASIA debut from 27 years ago. Nevertheless, some nice songs here and there, although after the uptempo rocking start of “Twice the man I was”, it is another more (semi) ballad affair. It’s interesting for die-hard WETTON fans, but if I really want to spent a nice evening I’ll put on the old 1980s ASIA records instead of a second-rate WETTON/DOWNES album…

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


GREAT WHITE is a band with a long history, with also a sad part for which they will of course always be remembered (the tragic fire accident in the club where they performed). However, musically speaking they have been doing a lot since their formation in the early 1980s. In the beginning they were more a DOKKENish Melodic Hardrockband with some lovely releases, but when they released their ‘Twice shy’ album that included covers of the bands that inspired them (ZEPPELIN, MOTT THE HOOPLE and such) they changed their sound to a somewhat pure 1970s Classic Rock/Bluesrock kinda sound that even earned them a Grammy nomination! Also the new album ‘Rising’ is a real 70s inspired record, bluesy and rootsy, but also quite melodic and perhaps thanks to FRONTIERS RECORDS almost a pure melodic rockalbum, with some great songs like “All Or Nothin'”, “I Don't Mind”, “Shine”, “Loveless” and “Is It Enough”. Nice new album of GREAT WHITE, perhaps even better than their 2007 comeback album ‘Back to the rhythm’.

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The singer and bass player of STREET LEGAL, Bjørn Boge, was once a member of the Norwegian AOR band DAVINCI in the late 80s, with whom he released 2 albums. With STREET LEGAL he now releases their 2nd album, which follows the same path as their debut ‘Thunderdome’ that was released 9 years ago (also on FRONTIERS RECORDS). The sound of the new album is quite huge and it is filled with high class intelligent Classic British Melodic Hardrock that shows very clear RAINBOW, MSG, UFO, WHITESNAKE and THIN LIZZY influences. Especially the final song on the album (“Silent tear”) is a very strong song that should be described as an epic midtempo Melodic Hardrock piece that WHITESNAKE is not able to produce anymore. Although not each of the 11 included songs is as strong as that closing track, still fans of mentioned bands will love tunes such as “Unconditional love”, “Shadow in my heart” an “Trapped”. The only pity is that once again the classic “Maniac” tune of MICHAEL SEMBELLO has been covered, which has been done in the past by quite a lot Melodic Hardrockbands, so that is not really original anymore, although this version sounds like PHIL LYNOTT/GARY MOORE’s “Out in the fields” somehow…

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


A band that could’ve been… that’s what we can read in the liner notes of the CD booklet of this release. However, in the 1980s many bands released 1 album before vanishing from the face of the earth until some obscure label did a re-issue on CD 20 years later. ROXANNE is one of many, although I would not call their one-off late 80s release a classic. Nevertheless, their only album from 20 years ago has it’s moments and could have been bigger, as their sound fitted somewhere between KINGDOM COME, DOKKEN, GREAT WHITE and TESLA, so very American orientated Melodic Hardrock. The 10 original songs are on this re-issue, sounding pretty good and still quite updated in today’s world, in other words, timeless Classic Rock with as absolute highlight the Melodic Rockballad “Over you” (like a better version of AEROSMITH and CINDERELLA meets KINGDOM COME, with a lovely guitarsolo like ADJE VANDENBERG meets QUEEN). Maybe not a classic, still an album to check out, thanks to this re-issue available again. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The band ALIAS would probably never have been able to release anything or even existed if one of the greatest AOR stories would not have occurred one year prior to the ALIAS one-off release in 1990. It was the end of 1988/early 1989 when a few local US radio stations started playing an old Canadian hitsong from 1982. Within a few months, radiostations all across the USA picked up the song and eventually it was released as a single. It started climbing up the Billboard Charts and slowly moved up a few places with each week passing. In the early stages of 2009 it reached the number 1 position, which was very remarkable for a song recorded in 1982 and for a band that had split up at least 6 years earlier. It showed the incredible impact of Radio could have on sales back then. Something like this will nowadays be impossible, but 20 years ago it gave the SHERIFF song "When I'm with you" the appreciation it truly deserved. The classic 1982 AOR album of SHERIFF also received a re-issue on CD and was from then on easier to get, even making it to the 1 US DOLLAR Bargain Bins during the 1990s due to overstockings. Sadly the album has not been remastered since that first re-issue, but is still regarded as one of the finest AOR albums of the early 1980s. Not long after the number 1 hit, several members of SHERIFF formed a new band together with ex-HEART members. The band was called ALIAS and their debut was another superb AOR/Melodic Rock piece, heavier than SHERIFF, but also securing several huge hitsingles, including the ballad "More than words can say", one of the best AOR ballads of all times! When 'Grunge' became the new trend in the USA around 1991, it marked the end for ALIAS and a 2nd album was never released, although it was recorded around 1991/1992. One of the songs (the superb AOR Classic "Perfect world") was featured in the movie 'Don't tell mom the babysitter's dead', but sadly the follow-up album of ALIAS was never released and the band split up. For the next 17 years, the recordings of that album popped up here, there and everywhere, obscure bootleg releases were done, but now in 2009 it is finally getting an official release on CD thanks to ANGELMILK RECORDS, completely remastered and sounding perfectly! FREDDY CURCI with his golden voices shines on each and every minute he sings a verse, also making this 'new' release a classic to own if you're a fan of high quality AOR/Melodic Rock. Songs like "How Much Longer Is Forever" (CLASSIC CLASSIC CLASSIC), "Pleasure And Pain" (also recorded by JAMES CHRISTIAN), "Bare Necessity", "All I Want Is You", "Diamonds" (a beautiful song, just an acoustic guitar and Freddy's incredible voice), "Perfect World", "Call Me" and "Who Do You Think You Are" are all instant AOR/Melodic Rock classics. It does not sound dated anywhere, a real must-have! All info at:  AND 

(Points: 9.4 out of 10)


‘Strange fast now’ is the debut EP-CD of the Welsh band REMEDY. The band is playing pure Rock and Roll as it if it were the 1970s, although AIRBOURNE and THE ANSWER are also good comparisons. Main difference however is the fact that REMEDY is a female fronted band. Lead singer JENN CHERENE has the kind of big loud raw voice so many other well-known female singers do not seem to have nowadays. She reminds me of legendary female shouters of BITCH/BETSY, LORRAINE LEWIS, CHEETAH, SHAKIN’ STREET, HEADPINS and even WENDY O’WILLIAMS, although more in line with the melodies. The result is a very strong mini-CD that contains 6 rocking tracks, with as highlights the very melodic “Desire” that has huge riffs a la THE ANSWER, uptempo rocker “Last demand” and semi-rocker (with interesting tempo changes) “Sacred deep inside”. Rocking hard the way it should rock hard, so everything in the right place, making this REMEDY definitely a band to keep your eyes open for in the near future as they could be the next big hype! More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Although RICK MANWILLER is actually a member of the legendary AOR band DAKOTA, he also has a solo career going on and with ‘Chocolate detox’ he releases a new very diverse album that contains all sorts of music influences, so it is not a pure DAKOTA kinda record. Nevertheless, the album’s highlights are the more AOR/Westcoast ish DAKOTA/TOTO type of songs, such as “The who” and “Easy way out”. However, there are also similarities to BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and BOB SEGER a lot of times, although also some experimental modern rock can be heard here and there, with also some spacey keys here and there. In the end a very diverse album, not bad at all, but actually here’s hoping for a new DAKOTA album someday someway somewhere…

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Although this Italian band is playing pure Melodic Progressive Metal like all the others in the genre and are also doing this very well, even reaching the high level of bands such as PAGAN’S MIND, MIND’S EYE, VANDENPLAS, ANDROMEDA, SEVENTH WONDER, etc. etc., they also throw in influences of Melodic Death Metal and some Thrashy Metal influences here and there. Happily not that much, because their new album ‘Deconstructive’ is mostly filled with some really high class Progressive Metal that sounds melodic in all parts, so vocally and instrumental sounding the way it should sound. Songs like “Cassandra”, “Imperfect”, “Eclipsing binary” and “Ephemera” (quite superb) are showing how high quality pure Melodic Progressive Metal should sound like and the band’s original sound shines through in a song like “How Could It Feel Like This?” that has some experimental unusual drum rhythms that are still combined with superstrong vocal melodies. ‘Deconstructive’ is built around 12 tracks split into 9 ‘4-5 minutes counting tunes’ and 3 instrumental episodes that all together are clearly showing that ASHENT has reached it’s peak here! Make sure not to miss this release if you’re into bands like ANDROMEDA, SEVENTH WONDER, PAGAN’S MIND, RING OF FIRE, etc. etc.

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


OOH LA LA is a band from Sydney, Australia formed just 2 years ago, but already causing quite a stir with their infectious all original Rock and Roll that sounds like a mix between BLACK CROWES, JET, LED ZEPPELIN, JIMMY BARNES and BAD COMPANY. It is groovy, it is funky, but it rocks damn fine and the band has got a very strong raw lead singer and excellent guitarist, who rips his way through each and every song, especially during the huge catchy riffing “Get on yer knees and pray”. “Yeah people” sounds like a cross between JET’s “Be my girl” and LED ZEPPELIN “Black dog”, definitely a winner for fans of Classic Heavy Bluesrock. They released their debut on the French label BAD REPUTATION RECORDS, a label that is very keen on signing these kind of Rock and Roll bands. The band sounds like if it was 1972 and they were the latest new sensation from either the US or UK, but OOH LA LA is a new Aussie band that shows they could be the next big thing as their sound is not far away from JET, AIRBOURNE, THE ANSWER or even KAISER CHIEFS. More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


DOLLHOUSE is a Swedish band that sounded so Rock and Roll back in 2003 that one of the inventors of Rock and Roll/Hardrock invited them to let him (MICHAEL DAVIS of MC5) produce their debut record. Now it’s 2009 and DOLLHOUSE releases their 3rd album ‘Rock N Roll revival’ on French label BAD REPUTATION RECORDS. Musically they play pure raw unpolished Rock and Roll with a huge 1960s Garage Rock influence, very much in the style of 1960s THE WHO, THE STONES, PRETTY THINGS, some JIMI HENDRIX (“Sittin’ in this room”) and of course MC5. They do it this well that in fact one would think this is a re-issue of something from 1967, but DOLLHOUSE is a successful new band which is about to conquer the world with their original 1960s Classic Heavy Rocksound. The only pity is that there are only 9 short songs on the album, so it all passes by very quickly. Also the sound quality is very raw and unpolished, so you really have to be into this Classic Rockstyle to appreciate this, but it is a must if you enjoy the mentioned bands. Check them out at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


This is the kind of Rock and Roll everyone loves… AC/DC is of course the best comparison here, but hey, THE ANSWER and AIRBOURNE can get away with it, so I assume also this Australian band KORITNI, whom are releasing their 2nd album with ‘Game of fools’. The CD was mixed by MIKE FRASER (AC/DC, AEROSMITH, METALLICA) at the legendary Sterling Sound in New York, produced by ANTON HAGOP (SILVERCHAIR, POWDERFINGER) and artwork provided by MARK WILKINSON (MARILLION, PRIEST, MAIDEN). All together the band delivers a true Rock and Roll album in the style of AC/DC, KROKUS, AIRBOURNE… The band is formed around singer/songwriter LEX KORITNI, who sounds a lot like JIMMY BARNES, but his countryman did not rock this hard for a long time, so anyone wanting to hear pure raw Hardrock and Roll a la AC/DC/TESLA with JIMMY BARNES ish vocalwork and some great ripping guitarwork, then do check out this great new album of KORITNI. Highlight is the catchy uptempo melodic rocker “By my side” with it’s (sniff, sniff) POISON guitar riff meets KROKUS chorus! More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


‘The chronicles of love, hate and sorrow’ is already the 9th studio-album of the German band DOMAIN. Remember well they started during the 1980s with typical German Melodic Hardrock a la SCORPIONS, but throughout the 1990s and especially since their switch to the German label LIMB MUSIC in the 2000s, they changed their sound to a more faster uptempo Melodic Power Metalsound and this can best be heard on this new CD ‘The chronicles of love, hate and sorrow’ that could possible be their finest release so far. Especially songs like “Sweeping Scars” (with epic URIAH HEEP chorus), “Circle Of Give And Take” (SUPERB SONG, fast Melodic Power Metal with a very catchy HELLOWEEN meets EDGUY chorus that sticks in your head for days!), “Haunting sorrows” (HELLOWEEN meets AXXIS) and “He's Back” (more HELLOWEEN stuff) are really fantastic and show DOMAIN at their very best. They reach the pick of destiny here and there, so with this new album DOMAIN is definitely showing they are still able to release a sensational album after being in the business for 25 years now!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


STRINGS 24 is named after the 3 guitarists that make up this project, because all 3 use 8 string-guitars, so 3 x 8 = 24 strings. Musically their first CD is filled with high class instrumental guitar virtuoso a la early MALMSTEEN, JASON BECKER, VAI, SATRIANI, etc. etc. It’s actually a mix of various guitar styles, although mainly situated in the Classic Hardrock and Neo-Classical era that sounds a lot like classic MALMSTEEN. For guitarfreaks this is a must-have!

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Here we have a very interesting book, with also a beautiful lay-out inside the book, which does not happen often when opening a book. Filled up with rare pics and loads of interesting stories, this book is definitely a must-read for anyone who likes a singing female rocker. Happily, the big melodic rock female singers are included here, with even taking a big portion of pages in the book. Of course we are talking about ANN and NANCY WILSON, PAT BENATAR and JOAN JETT. These female singers basically introduced the combination of a female singing a melody with a rocking beat. Of course prior to that were the real first female rocksingers, such as SUZI QUATRO, TINA TURNER an JANIS JOPLIN, but the first mentioned here are the ones that sang a style that would later in the 1980s and also further become the female fronted melodic rocksound, which we always compare to HEART, PAT BENATAR and THE RUNAWAYS, the acts that featured these female singers. In this book we can read all about the female singers, including some very funny stories. Alison is a Australian author and this book is a very good read, with also like mentioned before some great pictures (shot by Tony Mott) of the ultimate female rocksingers. Of course some important female singers are not included in the book, such as LEE AARON, DORO and the whole Gothic Metal movement of the past few years (EVANESCENCE, WITHIN TEMPTATION, NIGHTWISH…) whom all contributed to the female fronted rock and rollscene as we know it today and the inclusion of MADONNA and GWEN STEFANI is very odd as they have nothing to do with Rockmusic. Nevertheless, it is nice to see some lesser-known Aussie female rockchicks (singers of DIVINILYS, BABY ANIMALS…) make it into this book besides other familiar names of the past and present Pop/Rockscene (KELLY CLARKSON, PATTI SMITH, STEVIE NICKS, DEBBIE HARRY, SHERYL CROW, AVRIL LAVIGNE…). All together that makes this 300+ pages counting book a very interesting read and also enjoyable to look at. Available through: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


This is a really interesting and funny book to check out as it covers something not seen anywhere else before, perhaps not even on the internet! The book ‘Tour smart’ of author MARTIN ATKINS tells everything you need to know if you’re in a band, because when you do find yourself in a situation you’re going to tour with your band then this book might be a really good pre-read. The book is rather huge, a stunning 550+ pages it counts and with stories of over 100 industry professionals, ranging from bandmembers, managers to club owners and label executives, all together this book gives you a really good inside look in the world of touring. It is a little aimed at the USA touring business, because that is the place where touring is equal to making money and when that happens a lot of other issues are becoming prominent. This book is such an enjoyable read, as it shows how hard touring can be, although one always thinks this is just for fun, but the real professional bands are aware this is a very dangerous business where you can lose a lot of money. The tour bus, the hotels, the food, the accommodation, the merchandise, the support act, the venues, the road, the cities, basically touring is a very complex business and without a doubt, this book is a must-read for anyone who ever considers doing a tour! Available through: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


1986 is the year and that is now 23 years ago in 2009! Yes, ‘Metalized’ is the name of this re-issued album of the Canadian band SWORD. Musically this is as close to pure 80s US Power Metal style as you can get, sorta like a mix between GRIM REAPER (yes British!), SAVATAGE, EXCITER and ANVIL. It sounds dated now of course, but fans of classic 80s Metal with the fists in the air and screaming until you drop. Songs like “Children of heaven”, “Stoned again”, “Stuck in Rock” and “Runaway” are just a few examples of that perfect 80s Metalsound. Not sure if this is the first re-issue of the album, but for more info go to: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


One of many legendary UK bands playing NWOBHM was GASKIN. They gained quite a lot exposure in the early 1980s, but sadly never made it big, although they kept on releasing albums throughout the 1980s and beyond. In 2009 a re-issue of their most well-known album ‘No way out’ has been put out by KRESCENDO RECORDS. No extra tracks, just the 10 original album tracks. The album was re-issued before on CD, but this is a new re-issue. Sound is good and musically to some it all might sound a little dated, but one can not deny this is timeless Classic early 80s British Hardrock with a dash of NWOBHM. GASKIN was a little more melodic, kinda moving up to PRAYING MANTIS and THIN LIZZY melodicness. Good to see this rather rare album available on CD again, as it is after all one of the lost treasures of the NWOBHM movement. More info at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


This German band is playing a mix of pure Folk Medieval Music (including members playing bagpipes, flutes, shalms, etc.) and typical German Melodic Metal, ending up sounding like a cross between HAGGARD and AXXIS. The band just released it’s 2nd album titled ‘Am rande der Welt’. 11 songs are included and it all sounds very impressive and fans of SUBWAY TO SALLY, TURISAS, CORVUS CORAX, HAGGARD, IN EXTREMO, KORPIKLAANI, ENSIFERUM, SABATON, DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, etc. etc. will absolutely love this record. They are singing in the German language and each song is easy to sing-a-long. In the past few years this mix of Folk and Metal has gained a lot of popularity, especially in Germany and Scandinavia, but also here in The Netherlands. NACHTGESCHREI is another addition to the growing catalogue of quality bands in this genre, although they sometimes go for the almost pure Melodic Heavy Rock/Metal direction, such as in the great midtempo “Fernweh” that even reminds a bit of AXXIS and the SABATONish “Niob”, which of course is great, but then the Folk influences are put to the back. On the other hand, still for the Folk Metal purists there is still enough to enjoy here. Check out this band at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


20 years ago a compilation Tape of bands from Peterborough, UK was released and now in 2009 there is sort of a follow-up in the shape of ‘This is Peterborough’. Musically a lot has changed and the difference is of course that in the 1980s Rock started to sound the same and could eventually be labeled as ‘Rock’, while nowadays within the Rock and Metal direction there are hundreds of subgenres. This CD is showing that variety, with in total 19 independent bands from the Peterborough area that play styles that are in many different subrockgenres, such as Gothic, Industrial, Classic Rock, Emo, Punk, Melodic Rock, Progrock, Poprock, Hardrock, Rap-core, New Wave, Hardcore, some METALLICA rip-off (THE MORE I SEE) etc. etc. Best bands included here are THE BRAYS (melodic rock despite a slight COLDPLAY influence), THE BRACKETS (hello 1980s UK New Wave Rock a la THE JAM, THE ALARM, etc.) and THE 925s (next big Rock hype as they sound better than KAISER CHIEFS). Nice compilation disc, always nice to check out some of the underground acts from a certain region somewhere, in this case Peterborough in the UK. 

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Formed out of the ashes of BRUNETTE back in the late 80s, the Hair Metal band really set a mark in the scene when NEAL SCHON joined the band and they changed their name to HARDLINE. Their major label debut in 1992 sadly did not get really much attention in the mainstream music scene due to the arriving of the Grunge movement, but was hailed as a Melodic Hardrock masterpiece in Europe and Japan. Although the band split up for a long time, the brothers Johnny (vocals) and Joey (guitar) Gioeli reformed the band (this time without NEAL SCHON) and recorded the average new album '2' in 2002, followed up by the LIVE AT THE GODS CD/DVD in 2006 and now finally releasing their finest album since 'Double eclipse', because 'Leaving the end open' is a very strong Melodic Hardrock record that contains HARDLINE's finest material, even tough NEAL SCHON is not involved and the new line-up does only feature original singer JOHNNY GIOELI. The rest of the line-up is Josh Ramos on all guitars, Michael T. Ross on keyboards, Jamie Brown on bass and Atma Anur on drums. Many highlights here, especially during the beginning on great MHR songs like "Voices“ (some great progmetal riffs here, with a fantastic chorus, sorta THRESHOLDish), “Falling Free” (uptempo melodic rocker), “Start Again” (midtempo), the lovely piano-ballad “In This Moment” (in which Johnny still shines as bright as ever with his brilliant voice) and “Before this” (semi melodic rocker). Although here and there we can hear some ‘so-so’ tunes, most of the material is making this CD a definite Melodic Hardrock highlight of 2009 and way better than their previous comeback CD from 7 years ago!

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


German guitarist Todd Wolf is best known as a member of the Power Metal band HUMAN FORTRESS, but he has now formed a new project called THE TROPHY together with MICHAEL BORMANN. Maybe not original and after repeated listens it is a typical MICHAEL BORMANN album, still THE TROPHY is something you might wanna check out, because basically this is a very strong Melodic Hardrock release. Early JADED HEART and MICHAEL BORMANN solo-albums are of course close comparisons here and most of the 11 included tracks are midtempo pieces, with as highlights "The Gift Of Life (SUPERB)", "Get the cup" (the perfect Sports theme), " Can't Get Out Of My Head”, Gloomy Days” and "Liar", although all of the featured songs are very impressive. Maybe not something different for MICHAEL BORMANN, he remains to be one of the finest German singer who continues his catalogue with the release of another superstrong Melodic Hardrockalbum that will be a pleasure to listen to if you miss his classic JADED HEART days!

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


'House of dreams' marks the return of the SUNSTORM project of JOE LYNN TURNER. It's the 2nd album where Joe is singing classic 80s written AOR/Melodic Rock tunes that were either recorded by a lesser known act in the genre or never recorded at all. Joe released a sensational AOR Classic 25 years ago in the shape of 'Rescue you', but never followed it up with a similar album until a few years ago the SUNSTORM project was launched by Frontiers Records President Serafino Perugino. He came up with the idea of re-recording all kinds of classic 80s AOR/Melodic Rock Joe had planned for another 80s solo-album release and fill it up with songs written by and for others back in the 1980s as well as even a new tune here and there. One way or the other, the first SUNSTORM album was a blast and also this follow-up is featuring superb high class pure 80s AOR/Melodic Rock, with a lot of super catchy uptempo material of which some were written by the great JIM PETERIK (SURVIVOR). Highlights this time are "Divided", "The Spirit Inside", "I Found Love", "Gutters Of Gold" (a real PRIDE OF LIONSish uptempo Melodic Rocker, very catchy!) , "Forever Now" (earlier recorded by DAVID GLENN EISLEY I believe, but correct ME if I´m wrong) and "House Of Dreams", but actually each of the 11 songs are easily AOR Classics and make this album an absolute winner. The comparison to KHYMERA is very obvious, also thanks to the wonderful help once again by DENNIS WARD (PINK CREAM 69) for bass, backing vocals and production. Of course we have heard some songs before, such as "Save a Place in Your Heart" (PAUL SABU, not a spectacular song) and the classic AOR ballad "Walk On" (does not reach the legendary JIMMY BARNES version), both the least interesting songs here, but anyway, AOR/Melodic Rock fans will eat this release alive!

(Points: 9.1 out of 10)


Limited to 950 "numbered" copies worldwide, completely remastered and in total 16 tracks and a bonus video included, here's another sensational release of AOR FM RECORDS. It seems like this is becoming the best label for releases of classic 80s AOR/Melodic Rock onto CD. Yet the label is not focused on doing the standard re-issues, but they choose to collect rare demos/singles/EP's that were never officially released as full-LP/CD, put them all out on 1 CD, with some superb liner notes and pictures in the CD booklet. PRIDE, ROULETTE and especially the "AMAZING" DREAMER are a few examples of the releases done so far by AOR FM RECORDS. Now we can add ALLIED NATION. This band is known for it's inclusion on the legendary HOT NIGHT IN THE CITY Compilation LP released in the 1980s (by FM RECORDS, not related to AOR FM RECORDS) with the song "Find yourself another fool", also to be found on this CD, which features 15 more rare songs of the band that never released any official LP or CD. Hailing from San Francisco, California, the band was formed by core members Anthony Martinez (keyboards, guitar, and vocals) and Jeffrey Nation (lead singer. They were active during the late 80s/early 90s, but around 1993 they split up with no official releases sadly. However in late 2008 the band reunited, performed a concert that all lead to this release. The CD contains brilliantly remastered material of the band. They recorded a bunch of demos during the late 80s/early 90s that have now been collected onto 1 CD. Musically it is a dream for AOR/Melodic Rockfans. The start is a little less AOR/Melodic Rock, as both "Touch and go" and "Watch what you say" are rougher hardrock kinda tunes a la early 90s SKID ROW, but from "Johnny run" on it is heading into classic 80s AOR, as this tune is already a very catchy uptempo melodic rocker a la AVIATOR. This is followed by a laid back semi AOR ballad a la AVION ("Life under fire") and a bunch of wonderful uptempo AOR rockers ("Love doesn't come in a minute", "Move it up slow", "1000 Tears" and "If we try") that contain CLASSIC AOR SOUND SURVIVOR hooklines and have a perfect AGENT, JOURNEY and WHITE SISTER feeling to it. Pomprock is being put into songs like "Find yourself another fool" and "Lucky ones", both a la LE ROUX, while the band does also have a few AOR ballads on offer ("Prisoner" and "Set me free"). The last couple of tracks are from a really rare demo, of which the song "Take hold" has that pure CLASSIC AOR keyboard orientated sound with superb vocals and hooks a la WHITE SISTER, FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS... In general this CD is a must-have for any fan of 80s AOR/Melodic Rock. Check out all info at:  and 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted)