ALREADY REVIEWED OR ADVANCE COPIES RECEIVED:
Masterplan have stuck to the script for their new release, picking up where they left off, with the obvious change in vocalist. Mike DiMeo does an admirable job, but I can't help the overall song quality doesn't match that of the two Jorn fronted albums. Hard call mind you, and there is still a few definite gems on here. Very good, but the last album scored a 99 with me, so beating that was always going to be hard.
Kelly Keagy has changed things up a little, but delivered an album within expectations and has lived up to them too. Thoroughly enjoyable release with a few seriously killer songs and a bunch of other great ones. Definitely a highlight for the year.
Norway delivered some good songs, but not a great sound, so it will be hard for this album to rate overall at the end of the year. The songs might though.
Oliver Hartmann hasn't quite reached the heights that his debut did and not as many stand out songs either, but that was always going to be a hard ask. Still, the album is still very cool and some songs will rank highly at the end of the year.
Danny Vaughn's new album isn't instant, but gets better each listen and it's great to hear him signing with that hard edge, rocking musical base. Time will tell how this ranks at the end of the year.
Pride Of Lions have included several songs on their new album that will definitely rank highly at the end of 2007. More AOR classics, but a couple of fillers too. Fans will love it, others will remain unconvinced.
Last Autumn's Dream continue on their quest to be Scandinavia's most consistent AOR act in delivering another high class release, albeit a little more guitar driven than the last record.
Dante Fox will be vying with several others for the best female fronted album of 2007, but will be hard to beat with this mature slice of melodic hard rock that sees them grow in leaps and bounds from their last release.
Night Ranger will definitely be up there at the end of the year for me, but I can't help but think the in your face style of this album and the modernization of the band's sound will see some disagreeing with me. I love the album - aide from maybe 1 or 2 fillers - and think it is a great addition to the band's legacy. Updated and surprisingly contemporary, the guys still know how to deliver.
Shaw / Blades show their true class with one of the best covers albums I have heard. Simple, harmonies everywhere and well produced - but most importantly, the guys picked out a great selection of songs to cover. Perfect for their sound and style.
Martie Peters has updated his sound to a more modern and guitar heavy feel. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is to this, but the music is still unmistakably Martie and melodic, so I'm sure most fans will be happy.
Brett Walker's debut album is an all time AOR classic for me and subsequent albums have been enjoyable, but not quite as rocking. The newest is very pure in it's sound and it's great to hear Brett sing anything, but the record is very laid back and very soft, in the same vein as his last album.
Sinner have delivered a very straight ahead European hard rock record. Not bad, but not killer....just ok. Looks like Primal Fear might have to do the goods for Mat this year.
Anberlin might just have one of the best modern rock records I have ever heard on their hands. A fantastic slice of high power but very melodic modern rock with a monster sound and very commercial appeal.
Threshold look to have come up with another winner too. Their progressive rock record is more melodic than the last one and seemingly more accessible also, but just as challenging musically and seriously heavy in places. To be honest – I am blown away. This is a huge record and expect a major review.
Magnum are a band that based on past releases, should land themselves in the Top 10 anytime they release an album. I love them, I love Bob. I want to like this new album so much, but for me they have failed to live up to their potential. Again we get the same style of album as the past 2 albums and again we see Tony Clarkin concentrating on writing slow to mid-tempo songs. Biggest disappointment - no huge choruses. Magnum are famous for their anthemic glorious choruses, but that is a thing of the past.
STILL TO COME:
AOR / MELODIC ROCK: (Grouped together.)
Highest profile albums due for 2007: Journey, Two Of A Kind, The Ladder, Magnum, Redrum, Dogpound, Stan Bush, Los Angeles, Indigo Dying, 7th Heaven, Air Time, Biloxi, Blanc Faces, Joe Lynn Turner, Danger Danger, David Readman, Eclipse, Foreigner, Frederiksen/Denander, Heartland, Eddie Money, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Liberty & Justice, The Hooters, Talon, Terry Brock, House Of Shakira, Loverboy, Places Of Power, Robin Beck, REO Speedwagon, Steve Lukather, Tall Stories, Tramp's White Lion, Urban Tale, Styx, Pleasure Dome, Scrap Metal, Crystal Blue, Line Of Fire, Jimmy Barnes, Khymera, Poley/Rivera, Von Groove, Wig Wam, Asia, Mecca, Newman, Lec Zorn, Robert Fleischman, Brett Walker, Michael Kiske, Dare, Boston.
Journey...yeah, let's get straight to the biggie! You all know that the anticipation and expectation behind a new studio album is going to be huge. In fact, bigger than huge. But we'll have to wait for early 2008 for this I think. First up the band have another idea. This is not yet set in stone, but there is an idea to get together before mid-year and re-record some of the band's classic songs. Yes, you read correctly. 2 new Journey albums in the pipeline if this idea comes to fruition, although at this stage it is not yet guaranteed. As with everything to do with the band's back catalogue of tunes, Steve Perry must first sign off on this idea.
As stated earlier in this feature, the re-recording one's hit songs (especially with a new singer) will trigger debate among fans, but I have heard Jeff record 4 classic Journey tracks in the studio himself and he really sounds fantastic and very much at home, so I have no reason to doubt this record will be amazing and a fresh and interesting alternative to the originals (which obviously will never be replaced or overtaken).
The on to that all-new studio album - the one everyone is waiting for. Will it be released this year? Not if the re-recorded hits album comes together. The new album should be recorded later this year, but will likely be held over for an early 2008 release. We'll know more about this by mid-year.
The fans long for a true classic and the band (with new frontman Jeff Scott Soto) knows they must deliver a classic. I have no doubt this could be the band's best release since the 80s.
I don't want to hear any talk of Soul Sirkus, the guys know what fans want to hear. It will be a true Journey album without doubt.
Two Of A Kind is a project featuring two female lead singers, formed by Terra Nova's Fred Hendrix. Interesting concept and as long as the production quality is there, it should prove to be an interesting release in a year where several female fronted albums show promise.
The Ladder is an album I had no major expectations for, but I really like the sound of the preview track featured on the site earlier. If Steve Overland can return to deliver some more energetic classic AOR, the The Ladder will be very worthwhile indeed.
Redrum should be nothing more and nothing less, than a good old fashioned melodic hard rock release featuring the vocals of Michael Bormann.
Sweden's Dogpound showed some melodic brilliance with their last album, but need to ensure production is top notch and there are no fillers for their new album to make serious inroads with melodic rock fans. I'm siding with the band on this, I think they can do it.
I have already heard one track from the new Stan Bush album and was blown away by it. Now there is 4 samples available....if the rest of the album can match that and the sonic production quality of the last studio album, then Stan will have a major album on his hands and perhaps the best old-school AOR release of the year!
Los Angeles is another new project, this time featuring the vocals of Italian singer Michele Luppi. This is a melodic/AOR project that features Tommy Denander and Fabrizio Grossi too. A great voice, but TD and FG rarely change their guitar/production styles, so this could work well, or sound completely stereotypical and unoriginal. I don't mean to sound harsh there, but it will need to be something special (besides the vocals) to be considered fresh and inviting.
Same goes for Indigo Dying. This is a female fronted project by Fabrizio Grossi. I know many of you out there are completely over Grossi's production style and sound and I'm with you on that. It will all comedown to the girl's voices and the likeability of the songs featured.
7th Heaven are a US band that have released a covers album preceded by a 2CD set that ran the gambit of styles, but they are best known and liked for a pop/rock take on Def Leppard's general sound. A new vocalist and a couple of years between releases has given these guys a new lease on life, so this could be a surprise package depending on the songs written and the style taken. One to watch if they get it done - especially for those that dig high-tech American pop/rock.
Air Time is the partnership between Rik Emmett and Mike Shotton (Von Groove). But it was finished mid-last year and is yet to see a deal cut, so I'm not sure when this will be released. But as it said to be a return to rocking ways for Rik, it is certainly anticipated by me, although the style might not quite be a sample of Rik's 80s glory days as some might hope for.
Biloxi have delivered two solid albums and this will be their swan song release following the death of bassist/lead vocalist/founder Clyde Holly last year. I have no doubt the guys will do Clyde proud.
Blanc Faces delivered one of the best AOR releases of 2005, so expectations are high for the guys to follow that up this year. I believe they will work long and hard on it and a release won't happen until mid-year at the earliest. Production will be a big issue - their debut featured some classic songs, but needed more kick. I'm sure they guys learnt a lot from that experience, so this should be one to watch for 2007 if they get it done in time - especially for lovers of 80s American melodic rock/AOR.
Could it be true? Could Danger Danger actually release a new studio album with Ted Poley up front? There are plans, but as we all know, things run slow in the D2 camp, so I'm betting on a 2008 release for this. But, if they do get it done, expect nothing short of a classic! These guys know their way around the studio and always make a killer sounding record. And I don't think anyone will doubt the quality of the songs...
David Readman has been working on his solo album for sometime and with PC69 commitments already set for the year, I'm not sure if he will get this finished in time for a release later this year. But if so, this should be another winner for fans of melodic European hard rock.
Eclipse are still working on new material for an album to be recorded this year. This Swedish melodic rock outfit are all class, so I hope that they can continue the good work delivered on their first two records. Again, there is a small question mark over whether this will be finished in time for release this year. I hope so.
Foreigner is another biggie - in fact, one of the biggest and most anticipated releases of 2007. The new line-up is in place, has been thoroughly road tested and I am expecting a great hard rocking release from the band. I do expect a Top 10 finish for the band and anything less would be disappointing. They kicked my ass live earlier last year and I expect a killer record from the band.
Frederiksen/Denander is an album that just needs to get finished and released. More than a year alter than when it was expected to be released, this year will see two familiar and popular identities showcase their best work. The guys have worked together before on the Radioactive releases, so you know what to expect. All they need is killer songs. We all expect a great record.
Heartland are due up again and based on their last album and the one track I have from this new album - more classic melodic rock is coming your way! The voice of Chris Ousey is melodic bliss...
Joe Lynn Turner is busy working as usual - another solo album due in 2007 and I have no doubt that it will live up to the quality of the excellent Usual Suspects And Sunstorm releases.
Eddie Money has already released his new covers album independently, but a wider label release is due in March. I love Eddie...folks know that - but this is not one of the better covers ideas I have heard.
I wasn't sure where to categorize Queen. I guess under the melodic rock section is good enough. This is another of the year's major marquee releases, but I can't find myself getting excited at all - that is despite being a 20+ year fan of Queen and the guys also out on their own. I just can't warm to their idea of Paul Rodgers as singer. I just don't see him as best choice for the role. I'm interested in what the guys come up with, but anything too far removed from the classic sound will see them having a hard time selling it to fans. Bottom line - hugely interested in this - but not letting myself be too excited by it. Will wait and see - and hope to be proved wrong.
A long awaited new studio album from The Hooters is high on the agenda for many - me first and foremost! I love these guys and their live shows are amazing (at least the bootlegs are!). Can the boys recapture the magic from the past and can they still create studio magic? I think so, but I have been disappointed by big names in the past. For whatever reason, I am very confident this will be a class release - but just how good can it get??
Liberty & Justice are planning their new album - this time taking an acoustic twist. I'm sure the various singers hired will again make for an interesting release, but I hope they tone down the alternative/modern influences.
Talon appear back on track after a couple of years in the wilderness. They have all the potential to be an influential band in the MHR scene, I hope they can get this album completed and released.
Terry Brock had an integral part in making one of 2006's best records - now let's see what he can do with a follow up to his awesome solo debut. Will it be Slamer II or something a little different again? One of the more popular singers in this scene could deliver a classic, that's for sure.
House Of Shakira are working on their new studio album, which should their last album be any indication, will be yet another massive highlight for the year. Their sense of power and melody is rivaled by few and the harmonies are always amazing. I have very high expectations for this album and want an album nothing short of classic.
Same could be said for Loverboy. These guys have been in the game long enough, they know what they are doing and what fans want. Early indications suggest a return to their best form, but it has been many years since that time has passed! A lot of touring and extra time taken to write and record this album should be rewarded with a great album for fans. Expectations are high for this also.
Places Of Power is a new name, but old faces are behind it. Philip Bardowell and Bruce Turgon have teamed up to capture the best melodic rock possible in a classic Lou Gramm/Foreigner vein and I am pleased to say I have heard two songs already - which were outstanding! Foreigner fans should love this and should the song quality be consistent throughout, then this should be right up there at the end of the year.
Robin Beck is a smart lady. She's hired those responsible for one of the best records of 2006 to back her new solo album - so expect something powerful and melodic - just like the last House Of Lords record. This could be one of the best female fronted albums that I have reviewed on the site to date, I'm looking forward to hearing the results.
Like Loverboy, REO Speedwagon has taken their time with this new album and I hope that those efforts are reflected in the results. This really could be a banner year for melodic rock - if all albums live up to expectations. I think REO know their strengths and I hope they have played up to those. Another album I anticipate with enthusiasm.
Steve Lukather is currently recording his new solo album in LA and says he will finish it after the next leg of the Toto tour. He has told me a little of the details behind the record and it has me very excited. I love his debut - a definite classic - but Luke's other solo records have been a little hit and miss - and very diverse also. I think this album can capture that loose, live, diverse feel Luke loves, yet contain it all within a cohesive release. This could be an excellent sequel to last year's Album Of The Year!
Tall Stories return with an album of remastered material original recorded in the early 90s. Never released as the band's sequel to their cult debut, it will be good to hear this finally now. Whether is sets up the band to return on a more permanent basis remains to be seen.
Tramp's White Lion were all set to release their first studio album in the first half of this year, but I am no longer sure of the ETA. What I do know is that Mike was very enthusiastic about this material, set to return to the glorious style of the band's classic 80s material. But - can that be done without Vito? I hope so.
Urban Tale are another band that have suffered a line-up change, but since then have been working on new material. I have heard 4 demos from last year and think the guys are on track to deliver another first class AOR album and this (if finished in time for release this year) will be another pure AOR highlight.
Styx are about to take a break after their recent live album. I'm not sure of their touring plans, but I would expect they will do some songwriting this year in view of releasing a new studio album sometime next year. I don't expect an album out this year.
Pleasure Dome is a project featuring the guys from Shotgun Symphony/The Way and vocalist Ted Poley. Only recently has it come close to completion, so you will see this finally released this year. As per usual with these guys, don't expect commercial melodic rock, but rather something with melody, but left of center. Could be one of this year's more eclectic releases.
Scrap Metal is the new Kelly Keagy, Gunnar Nelson, Mark Slaughter project. The guys have a few demos under their belt and more songs on the way, but I'm not sure anything will be completed in time for release this year. An album is planned and I'm sure it will be very highly anticipated, but we might have to wait a bit longer for this.
Crystal Blue were supposed to be busy recording a new album, but seem to have disappeared off the radar. The guys delivered a pretty cool record last time around, but perhaps 2007 won't be the year for the follow up.
Line Of Fire made an instant impact with their debut in 2005 - making the Top 10 for one of the year's best debut albums. They are back at work again now recording the follow-up, which I expect will continue the band's momentum in making an impact in this scene. Their Journey style melodies and hard hitting approach make for a very refreshing sound.
I'm not really one to anticipate any Jimmy Barnes album anymore...the recent output has been dreadful. But in 2006, Jimmy hooked up with Glenn Hughes to write songs for this new album and I believe up to half the album could feature Glenn as co-writer. So this definitely gets my attention and perhaps it could see Jimmy return to a solid rock footing that he has failed to achieve in recent years?
Khymera's debut was good - but the follow up was great! Adding Dennis Ward as vocalist was a master stroke and turned the band into a more direct melodic rock/AOR outfit. So the third album is definitely anticipated and is due sometime mid-year. Where the guys will draw the tracks from is important, as great performances are nothing without great songs. One to watch for AOR fans.
Ted Poley and Vic Rivera already worked together as a team on Ted's solo album, so the Poley/Rivera moniker will more or less be a sequel to Ted's cool solo record. Expect better and bigger production values and some more great melodic songs. Can they top their 2006 performances? Sure!
Von Groove is another band you wouldn't put your money on as far as betting whether they will release a new album this year. My money says no, as this one has been in the making for 2 or 3 years now, so why should 2007 be any different? I've been in touch with the guys and haven't heard any album updates, so don't hold your breath.
Wig Wam are responsible for 2 killer albums in the last couple of years and are writing for their third album already. If they get it ready in time it will surely be a contender for Top 10 - maybe even Top 5 finish for the year. These guys are a great example of classic melodic rock with all the trimmings we used to get and the fun factor included. I know this along with Gotthard will be two of the most anticipated albums out of Europe this year.
Asia are back and are touring, but will they get a record done in time for release this year? I'm not sure to be honest...I know will come, but will touring take precedence over studio time? And can the guys recapture their past glory? Wetton and Downes seem to come close on their last record, so this is definitely possible. I think perhaps there will only be a Live DVD this year and a new studio album next year.
Mecca is one band that we have all been waiting for after a perfect debut. In comes Bobby Kimball for Fergie and Tommy Denander on guitars. I love these guys to death and hope they can nail it again this time around. I have reservations about it living up to the expectations from myself and other fans, and truly hope they can come through with the goods. It should be an AOR highlight for 2007.
Then there is the possibilities of a live album and re-recording the debut that the new line-up has been talking of. Interesting, although I am not sure why anyone would contemplate re-recording that killer debut. I call that a no-win situation. The band would be better off playing all the songs live and recording/releasing that.
Steve Newman has all but completed work on his new Newman album, so the excitement can begin to build for this album, which will hopefully continue on where Heaven Knows left off. The last record was I think Steve's best, so there is a lot to live up to, but he is now an independent artist, so the results will be interesting!
Where do I start with Lec Zorn? A great AOR album has been sitting gathering dust for I don't know how long now. Just release the bloody thing! Well, good news is that it is due mid-year (ish) and features some great pure 80s AOR. But, to be honest, I can't help but think that the boat has been missed on this one - it should have been released 2-3 years ago. With the scene as it is now and growing ever smaller, the chance here for success has diminished.
Dennis DeYoung says he is working on a new rock album - his first for many years. This is bound to get folks excited and it will be interesting to see if he can deliver as promised. That great voice of his is certainly a versatile instrument, but rocking is where his fans would like to see him at. I remain unsure if it will be completed in time for a 2007 release, as Dennis is not one to rush these things.
Robert Fleischman has promised a couple of new records - one an AOR release and the other more experimental. One is already earmarked for release shortly, and looks to be a diverse melodic rock album. One for fans yes, but a highlight I can't say for sure.
Michael Kiske has announced another unplugged style release for this year, so I don't expect anything from that as the last one really didn't appeal at all. Judging by reviews and comments across the press, the verdict was almost unanimous. What I am definitely excited about though, is the prospect of a new Place Vendome release! Now that was a huge debut in 2005, so I'm looking forward to that already. I am not sure however, if it will come up on 2007 or early 2008.
One normally would not try and predict a release date for a new Dare album, but there is definitely hope that 2007 will see that happen. Will Darren Wharton finally fulfill his continual promise to plug those guitars in, or will the band continue to stick to the same pace of the last couple of albums? Personally if they can deliver anything like the debut or Calm Before The Storm, it will be a major player in the end of year lists.
Boston? Nah, I know there is talk of work on new material by Tom, but there' no way I expect a new album this year.
Ramos has enlisted the help of a new vocalist and the AOR talents of Eric Ragno, so this could definitely be a very interesting album and I look forward to hearing this.
What possibly won't be released in 2007: Journey (all new), Terry Brock, 7th Heaven, Air Time, Danger Danger, David Readman, Eclipse, Talon, Styx, Scrap Metal, Crystal Blue, Von Groove, Asia, Lec Zorn, Boston, Tramp's White Lion.
Predicted Best AOR/Melodic Roc Releases for 2007: Stan Bush, Blanc Faces, Foreigner, Frederiksen/Denander, Heartland, The Hooters, House Of Shakira, Loverboy, Places Of Power, The Ladder, Robin Beck, REO Speedwagon, Steve Lukather, Urban Tale, Line Of Fire, Khymera, Poley/Rivera, Wig Wam, Mecca, Newman, Dare...and if released - add Journey, Danger Danger, Eclipse, Talon, Von Groove, Tramp's White Lion, Terry Brock, Ramos and David Readman to the list.
Highest profile albums due for 2007: Dokken, Gotthard, Guns N Roses, JK Northrup, Cornerstone, Pick Cream 69, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Hardline, Jaded Heart, Hughes Thrall II, Street Legal, Vince Neil, Uriah Heep, Montrose, Black N Blue, Burning Rain, Hodson, Heavy Pettin', Howard Leese, LA Guns, Martie Peters, Motley Crue, Million, Rob Rock, Road To Ruin, Royal Hunt, Scorpions, Soul Doctor, TNT, Treat, Sebastian Bach, Poison, Man-Raze, Razorback, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Place Vendome.
Dokken promise to return to their most loved "classic" sound on their new album Lightning Strikes Twice. That sounds great and I hope they do, but I'll believe it when I hear it. Don has made this statement a couple of times before and while the last album was cool, it wasn't the band's classic sound. Can they even do that without George Lynch involved?
Gotthard are the current masters of their domain after a triumphant return with a new line-up and the great album Lipservice. Can the build on this momentum and even top the last studio album? If they do - a Top 10 finish for Album of 2007 is guaranteed....ok, ok....Top 2? Is that ok with you Gotthard fanatics??!! Yes, I know there are still some that feel Lipservce should have scored a 100 here, but let's see what Domino Effect has on offer shall we?!
Who in their right mind would put money on the Guns N Roses album Chinese Democracy actually being released. March we are all told - don't hold your breath folks! I'm already working with albums due in April and I haven't seen any evidence this album will arrive in March. With GNR you'd be wise to make a 50/50 bet that the album will appear at all in 2007. I said about 2 or 3 years back that it would be 2008...stated somewhat in jest, but perhaps accurate??
JK Northrup has been working long and hard on his new album and I have the expectation that it will be his best effort to date. And I'm hearing whispers of another possible JKN collaborative effort that might appear later in the year. Now that sounds like a definite winner also. 2 for 2 in 2007 for Jeff?
Cornerstone are due to hit CD stores with their anticipated new opus in late February. As always, big things are expected and I really hope the guys can deliver their best to date. The last album, in fact - all their albums have been strong to date - now let's hear a real classic!
Pink Cream 69 is one of the most anticipated new European hard rock releases of 2007. Everyone knows what these guys are capable of and if it all comes together, this should be another Top 10 contender. You know it will feature a monster production, let's just hope the songs kick as much ass.
Aerosmith is an interesting one. I'm not sure how much the general public care anymore to be honest. Nothing short of a classic melodic hard rock album will get these guys any more attention than the diminishing amount they now attract. They've done blues, they have done contemporary, they have done the live album and compilation trip to death. No more! Let's hope for something like Pump or Get A Grip. I'm not at all confident though and suspect this will get bumped to 2008.
Same goes for Alice Cooper. His last album suffered from very average production after trying a few different styles over the last few records. Where to from here to keep it fresh and interesting, yet familiar at the same time? Cooper is a class act, no doubt, so let's see what he can deliver with that kick-ass band of his.
It has already been way too long a wait for the new Hardline album and I'm not confident of this being released this year. From what I hear - everyone is waiting on the Gioeli's to get their parts done. Johnny can deliver a cracking performance for the Axel Rudi Pell album and sing on another for Accomplice, but not on his own record? I don't get that...whether this gets done this year or not, who knows. I say not. There must be other issues involved.
Jaded Heart could just as easily be in the melodic rock listings as here in the hard rock section. They are both and again, I'm expecting big things from these guys. They chose a great new vocalist and their first album with him sounded a million bucks, it only lacked a couple more killer songs. I expect that will be the focus for the new album and if all elements are combined, this should be an absolute winner!
Hughes Thrall II is another album that doesn't really fit into any particular genre, due to the diversity of music the guys involved will no doubt deliver. This is another album that has been promised for sometime, so I'm not convinced it will finally arrive this year, but I am very hopeful. How does one follow up a cult classic some 24 years since the original? There's only 1 way - with killer songs...will this deliver? The expectation from fans is very very high, so I sure hope so.
Street Legal have been away a long time after delivering a great European hard rock release. A new line-up sees them return this year, but can they make up for lost time in an environment now crowded with bands just like them? I think they might just have the class to do so.
Interesting to see Uriah Heep back in business. I guess many will have no expectations from this album - just hoping for a quality piece of work, so after so many years, the guys have a good chance to deliver something memorable I think.
Vince Neil and Motley Crue are both working on new releases, but which of the two is serious about getting new material finished? I think Motley will take more time and release something in 2008. So that leaves Vince - can he work long enough sober to get a decent record in the can? His debut kicked serious butt all those years ago, but since then expectations have fallen. Can he put his solo name back on the map? I'm not sure...
The new Montrose album has been in the works for 2 years now, so this is another title I do not expect to see released this year. That said - it could pop up next month for all I know! If it does, I expect a solid album - especially given the vocalists involved (Hagar, Eric Martin, Keith St. John...). Albums using multiple vocalists are hard to make brilliant, this one has a better chance than most.
Much like Guns N Roses, anyone putting money on the Black N Blue album getting released is kidding themselves. And the Z Records site is even taking pre-orders! Forget about it...I don't see this album getting done anytime soon.
Same goes for Burning Rain unfortunately. Long stated as being planned, but Doug will simply be too busy with Whitesnake this year to commit time to getting a new BR album done. You have been chance of the Keith St. John solo album getting recorded.
Speaking of Whitesnake - this could be very interesting. Will the band get it recorded this year? Yes I hear, but completed and ready for release by the end of the year? Not sure about that...
Hodson's second album will be anticipated as the first showed great promise without delivering a knockout blow. Another album that has been in the planning stages for sometime, so whether it gets done this year is reason for debate.
Heavy Pettin' return with a new studio album this year, but my mind is not convinced that the new album will see the light this year. 50/50.
Howard Leese has been working on his solo debut for a couple of years now and I'm confident this will be released this year, even with work still continuing on it as I type this. Some groovy guest vocalists have been lined up and it is hoped that one very special guest will make an appearance! Looking forward to this when it does arrive.
LA Guns frontman Phil Lewis said the band would not do a new album until they got a decent budget (as the last album featured some great songs, but sounded horrible). I hope this is the case, as I always look forward to anything featuring Phil. I hope that legal arguments over the name with former guitarist Tracii Guns (rumored to be auditioning for WASP) can be settled.
Million aren't a new band by any stretch, but they are still winning over new fans with each release and their last one was so far ahead of their previous releases. It was great - can they do it again this year? I believe so - so watch for this one to be a hard rock / melodic metal highlight.
Rob Rock is as reliable as Axel Rudi Pell. Always delivers. This year will be no different.
Road To Ruin is one project that looks very interesting on the surface. Featuring one of my favourite European vocalists in Matti Alfonzetti and members of Lion's Share and Glenn Hughes/Great King Rat, this project has huge potential. But the guys involved all have tendencies to experiment....I hope they don't do this too much. Expectations are high - I don't want to be disappointed.
Royal Hunt are in the planning stages for a new album later this tear - said to be more epic in nature. Very cool indeed! But, please let it be without needless instrumentals. I dig the band's output with John West, but the guy is such a monster singer, there is simply no need for stand alone instrumentals. Save the widdily-diddiling for extended passages within existing songs.
Scorpions are hold up in LA with producer Desmond Child and have been since late October. After the last album returned to form, one would expect nothing but a classic Scorps monster, but comments from the band about contemporary sounds has me very worried. They tried this once and it failed miserably. The guys need to stick to the script and deliver something fans are all expecting, or risk being burnt at the stake.
Soul Doctor have a set script now and I don't expect that they will deviate too much. Expect something very similar to last year's release.
TNT is one of the big one's for 2007 as far as eager fans awaiting a result of their vocalist change (to Tony Mills). What will Tony bring to the band and will the album match the brilliance of My Religion, be something new and special all together, or a little bit patchy such as the last album All The Way To The Sun.
Treat are said to be at work on a new studio album, following up the two new tracks included on last year's career spanning compilation. A classic Scandi-melodic hard rock album would be very nice - especially given that the region of Scandinavia is delivering such a fine array of releases in recent times.
Sebastian Bach has all but completed his long awaited solo album, but in his words, it is currently being delayed by politics of this business and getting a decent record deal. I have no doubt whatsoever that his solo album will deliver everything the Skid Row albums with him haven't. Expect a monster - at least that's what I feel should and will be delivered.
Any hope of Poison making a classic album in 2007 have been dashed with the news that their next release will be a covers album. Covers from Poison is definitely not what I want to hear and I have zero expectations for this release. Perhaps then I will be surprised at the end result?
Man-Raze is Phil Collen's side project from Def Leppard. The 4 track EP shows definite promise, but with Phil tied with a new DL studio album this year and then more touring, I do not expect this to be released.
Speaking of Def Leppard, I don't know how to feel about this one. A menacing album says Joe Elliott. Ok, that sounds great - but really, how menacing can DL be in 2007? The overall fan sentiment is for something like Pyromania to be delivered. The band tried the super slick (with X) and it didn't sell (sadly, as it was a great album) and then the covers affair sold even worse (except in the USA where it did ok business).
So I'm hoping the band really deliver a rocking, rowdy, fan pleasing affair. Will I get an advance copy? Arrgh...don't even go there!
Razorback features another of my favourite European singers - Stefan Berggren (Snakes In Paradise) - and their debut was great. The follow-up was awful...horrible... Why they changed the blueprint I'll never know, but as expected (well, hoped at last...), the guys are returning to the sound of that debut for their new album. Dare I get my hopes and expectations up??
Steve Grimmett is also promising a new release this year. I have no expectations here, but hope that Steve has a great set of songs planned. Fans will certainly be pleased to see a new album.
AC/DC? I have given up trying to guess when this will come out - but there is now rumors they are inside a recording studio. Watch for the new album (whenever it comes) to be their finale/farewell release.
What possibly won't be released in 2007: Guns N Roses, Aerosmith, Hardline, Vince Neil, Montrose, Black N Blue, Hodson, Motley Crue, Man-Raze, Whitesnake, Burning Rain, AC/DC, Hughes Thrall II, Street Legal.
Predicted Best Hard Rock Releases for 2007: Gotthard, JK Northrup, Cornerstone, Pink Cream 69, Jaded Heart, Hughes Thrall II, Street Legal, Howard Leese, Million, Road To Ruin, Royal Hunt, TNT, Treat, Sebastian Bach, Whitesnake, Def Leppard...and if released, add Hardline, Hughes Thrall II, Street Legal, Whitesnake and Montrose to the list.
MELODIC & HEAVY METAL:
Highest profile albums due for 2007: Megadeth, Metallica, Bloodbound, Allen / Lande, Judas Priest, Primal Fear, Ozzy Osbourne, Sinner.
Megadeth pushed the release of their new album into 2007 and I believe the guys have set this up nicely to be quite a success at retail (for a metal album). Everyone is behind this it seems, so it is only down to Dave Mustaine making sure he has the best set of songs possible. I think they'll do well with this album.
Metallica have a lot to prove - the last album sounded terrible and was received badly by the majority. But, the guys know their craft like few others, so expect a big comeback. Will it be too late for the guys, or will all be forgiven?
Bloodbound will continue to make waves in Europe and I see this new album as being something that will only drive their stakes in the game higher. They look frightful, but you can't deny the quality of the debut and the talent of the band, so watch for the new album to be even better.
Allen / Lande is perhaps my most anticipated light metal release of the year. And perhaps that of many other readers. The debut was fantastic - everything one could hope for in a melodic metal / hard rock release and the response from readers was almost unanimous in agreeing with me. I went as far to name the release Album Of The Year for 2005, so can Jorn Lande, Russell Allen and Magnus Karlsson do it all again - or even better even? You better believe it!
Judas Priest are back again this year with an album that should continue on where Angel Of Retribution left off. That was a solid return, but not all were convinced, so this time around the guys will be expected to nail it.
Primal Fear have never disappointed, but their new label will be expecting them to deliver a melodic metal classic, so here is hoping this will be one for fans of European metal.
Ozzy Osbourne is due for a new solo album this year if he gets it done in time. It seems Zakk Wylde is wisely more involved in the writing on this one, so perhaps we will get an album worthy of sitting alongside Ozzmosis and No More Tears. It definitely needs to be a vast improvement on the last album though.
PROGRESSIVE / PROGRESSIVE METAL / PROGRESSIVE HARD ROCK:
Highest profile albums due for 2007: Threshold, Dream Theater, Circus Maximus, Rush, Power Quest, Platitude.
Obviously there is a lot of progressive stuff due in 2007, but to look at the highlights from a melodic perspective - these are the releases I believe people will be talking about on this site -
Threshold is probably the one I am most excited about and it is not far away from release! I am new to these guys - I still only have their last album, but man, that was the best melodic progressive thing I have heard since Images And Words. Can't wait for the new album, after which I am going to start going backwards into the English band's catalogue.
Circus Maximus was another fantastic debut in 2005. Surprising that these guys came out of Europe, especially when their sound mirrored Dream Theater pretty closely. The European community await this one and if it is as good as the debut, you can expect American fans to start taking notice too.
If Threshold is number one, then Rush are equal billing in the anticipation stakes. The only reason they aren't the most anticipated for me is that the last album was mastered so badly it ruined the experience of the album for me. Hopefully this one won't be too loud and the songs will have the energy of classic Rush. The band's fan base will eat this up regardless.
Power Quest have a few albums under their belt, but continue to build on their stature as one of the UK's best progressive melodic metal bands. A new album this year will place them into a pool of heavy competition, but based on the last record, they should be able to swim with ease.
Platitude is one of the surprise packages of last year and I truly am exited to hear another record from these young kids. I hope the reviews from the last album help them get their direction and sound perfected. If they can, a Top 20 finish at the end of the year is almost guaranteed.
Dream Theater have signed a new deal and promise a classic. I sure hope so, I have kinda lost interest in them over recent years. I'm not blown away by the thought of this new album – only 7 tracks and 1x 25 minutes long. I would rather 10 x 5 minute songs – 10 different hooks and riffs to enjoy. We shall see.
MODERN ROCK / MAINSTREAM:
Highest profile albums due for 2007: Anberlin, Saliva, Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, Velvet Revolver, Mitch Allen, Ra, Simple Plan, Emerson Hart, Butch Walker, Toby Rand.
Once again, there are plenty of modern rock releases coming our way and some we still don't know about. But from the perspective of a general melodicrock.com reader - I recommend the following to watch -
Anberlin delivered one of the best and most melodic modern rock releases of 2005, so expectations are very high for this new album due shortly. The guys are as contemporary as the next modern rock outfit, but they have this knack of adding extra hooks and the lead vocals are extremely melodic - something a lot of modern rock bands miss.
Avril Lavigne is readying her third studio album with a promise of delivering a more fun album - such as her debut. I like both records - the last one showed some great maturity, so a mix of both would be nice. Obviously she's a super commercial gal and not for everyone, but you can't deny that she chooses good people to work with - ie. Butch Walker, who is again on board for this record.
I used to love Guns N Roses and the thought of the core band resurfacing was exciting, until they picked vocalist Scott Weiland. I just can't get into the guy and thought the debut Velvet Revolver album was dull. Some did not appreciate that sentiment and told me so, but a surprising number agreed with me. So with that said, I don't really have any expectations for their new album. I'm sure it will sell very well, but I don't see it doing anything for me personally -not when there is so much other great albums out there to heck out.
Mitch Allen is the occasional frontman for SR-71 and has been promising his solo album for more than a year now....I'm not even sure it will happen this year. But the guy is up there with Butch Walker for genius songwriting skills, so if it appears, it should be great.
Ra is another very melodic outfit that delivered a knockout modern rock album in 2005. Back now with a new label and new album on the way, this along with Anberlin will be my most anticipated modern rock release of 2007. A great singer and hooks everywhere should see this a definite highlight.
Simple Plan really broke through with their last album, despite the debut being the better album. So the pressure is really on them to deliver this time - commercially and critically. Can they do it? Not sure to be honest.
Butch Walker pretty much does whatever the hell he pleases and if fans come along for the ride, then great - if not, great too! Nice to be in such a position, but his production duties bankroll his solo career. What's in store for 2007? He has his new band 1969, who will release their debut later this year, but from early MySpace previews, I can't say that this excites me too much. And with no solo album in sight, it might not be a killer year for Butch fans.
Lead vocalist of Tonic - Emerson Hart has signed a solo deal with EMI and will release his debut late May. That might be an interesting listen, depending on the direction taken.
Toby Rand & Juke Kartel could be the big sleeper for the year and could be a big hit based on that wonderful song of his and a growing reputation for kicking ass live
POP / POP ROCK / WESTCOAST:
Highest profile albums due for 2006: Duran Duran, Eagles, Huey Lewis & The News, Justin Hawkins, Matchbox Twenty.
Duran Duran's return to recording and touring was great - I saw them live and they were impressive as ever - and the record wasn't too bad for a slice of slick pop rock. But they have now (as per usual) lost the plot. Strike 1 - Andy Taylor bails again. Strike 2 - they collaborate with Justin Timberlake for the new album. Strike 3 - pop/dance outfit Timberland are on board now to help. Sorry guys, my interest in this new album just dried up. Bring on a new Andy Taylor solo record!
The Eagles have struck a controversial deal with WalMart to sell their album exclusively. Interesting move, given the state of the industry, the target audience of Walmart customers and the possibility of other mass merchants deleting their music divisions. I guess sales results will prove whether this will work or not, but the big question is what can the band deliver after so many years in the wilderness. I don't doubt it will be something of quality - these guys are just too classy to deliver a turkey. Aren't they?
Huey Lewis & The News promises a new studio album this year. Well, Bob Seger did it in 2006, so why not Huey! I'm not sure of the timing for this, or if it will make the deadline this year. Again - no expectations, s it has been so long, but being a big fan of the band's 80s output, there is definitely some hope for a cool pop/rock record.
I'm not sure where to categorize former Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins. His solo album could pretty much deliver anything! British Whale is his new band, so who knows what bizarre take on rock n roll these guys will come up with. Not something I expect will make any dent in the Top picks for the year, but you never know...
Pop rock's purveyors of middle of the road feel good FM radio fodder Matchbox Twenty return in 2007 - if they keep it together. I loved the last album, very fine stuff from a maturing band that in my mind are getting better and less commercial with age. Rob Thomas knows a hit song and a cleaver hook, so I'm hoping this album can be completed in time for release this year.