Reviews

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Artist Title Score Label
Foreigner FOREIGNER - The Best Of 'Foreigner 4' And More (Review) 68 Frontiers
Angels Or Kings ANGELS OR KINGS - Kings Of Nowhere (Review) 85 AOR Heaven
Bailey BAILEY - Long Way Down (Review) 82 Frontiers
Billy Idol BILLY IDOL - Kings & Queens Of The Underground (Review) 93 BFI Records
Harem Scarem HAREM SCAREM - Thirteen (Review) 99 Frontiers
Allen/Lande ALLEN/LANDE - The Great Divide (Review) 84 Frontiers
Vega VEGA - Stereo Messiah (Review) 94 Frontiers
Dalton DALTON - Pit Stop (Review) 88 Frontiers
Dennis DeYoung DENNIS DEYOUNG & The Music Of Styx - Live In Los Angeles (Review) 90 Frontiers
Stryper STRYPER - Live At The Whisky (Review) 86 Frontiers
Heart HEART & FRIENDS - Home For The Holidays (Review) 50 Frontiers
Sammy Hagar SAMMY HAGAR - Lite Roast (Review) 33 Independent
Ten TEN - Albion (Review) 93 Rocktopia Records
Whitesnake WHITESNAKE - Live In '84 - Back To The Bone (Review) 68 Frontiers
In Faith IN FAITH - There's A Storm Coming (Review) 90 Rocktopia Records
Rated X RATED X - "Rated X" (Review) 89 Frontiers
Adriangale ADRIANGALE - 'Defiance' (Review) 93 Kivel Records
Tango Down TANGO DOWN - 'Charming Devil' (Review) 87 Kivel Records
Mr. Big MR. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell (Review) 94 Frontiers Records
220 Volt 220 VOLT - Walking In Starlight (Review) 75 AOR Heaven
Miss Behaviour MISS BEHAVIOUR - Double Agent (Review) 88 AOR Heaven
Dead End Heroes DEAD END HEROES - Road Kill (Review) 84 AOR Heaven
Grand Design GRAND DESIGN - Thrill Of The Night (Review) 92 AOR Heaven
Work Of Art WORK OF ART - Framework (Review) 99 Frontiers
Adrenaline Rush ADRENALINE RUSH - Adrenaline Rush (Review) 89 Frontiers
State Of Salazar STATE OF SALAZAR - All The Way (Review) 92 Frontiers Records
X-Drive X-DRIVE - Get Your Rock On (Review) 85 Frontiers Records
Mike Tramp MIKE TRAMP - Museum (Review) 87 Target
Dark Horse DARK HORSE - Let It Ride (Review) 87 Indie
Asia ASIA - High Voltage Live (Review) 40 Frontiers Records

Pages

Fri
12
Dec
Andrew's picture

FOREIGNER - The Best Of 'Foreigner 4' And More (Review)

 
They are legendary. No doubt…and I’m a huge fan of their music. HUGE! Especially the releases Agent Provocateur, Inside Information (very underrated), Unusual Heat (with Johnny Edwards), the monster AOR classic Mr. Moonlight (from 1994), plus of course the band’s most recent album with Kelly Hansen fronting the band, 2009’s Can't Slow Down.
So with my fan credentials established, I feel I am qualified to say “Foreigner…WTF guys?’
 
Fri
12
Dec
Andrew's picture

ANGELS OR KINGS - Kings Of Nowhere (Review)

 
It appears that British AOR is alive and well. With the recent acclaim for new comers In Faith and 3 Lions as well as high praise for new albums from the more established Vega, Night By Night and Ten; it seems the Swedes don’t have a monopoly on good quality AOR and Melodic Rock. Angels Or Kings are another newcomer to the scene and on the face of things, they are set to gain the attention of fans of the aforementioned artists.
 
Fri
12
Dec
Andrew's picture

BAILEY - Long Way Down (Review)

 
Coming off the back of the 3 Lions debut album earlier this year is the debut solo release from the band’s frontman and bassist Nigel Bailey.
Nigel sings (obviously) as well as playing Bass and Guitars, with Alessandro Del Vecchio producing/mixing and contributing keyboards, with fellow Italians Alessandro Mori on Drums and Mario Percudani on Guitars.
 
So this is a little different than the bluesier/melodic rock of 3 Lions. Long Way Down is a touch heavier and more direct in nature – earthy in nature, heavier and featuring some straight forward songs and a decent heavy guitar driven sound and a strong production.
 
Fri
12
Dec
Andrew's picture

BILLY IDOL - Kings & Queens Of The Underground (Review)

There’s something very satisfying about a veteran artist that releases a new album and just nails it. The planets and stars have aligned for Billy Idol on the occasion of his 7th all-new studio album. Yes, just seven since his debut back in 1982, but on Kings And Queens Of The Underground, Billy takes fans back to the sound of Rebel Yell and Whiplash Smile with long time creative partner, guitarist Steve Stevens.
This is just such a refreshing album.
 
Fri
28
Nov
Andrew's picture

HAREM SCAREM - Thirteen (Review)

 
It’s no secret I’m a card carrying Harem Scarem fanboy and the band can do (almost) no wrong. Every album has featured at least a few legendary songs; most albums for me have been front to back brilliant. I even go against the traditionalists and rate Voice Of Reason very highly and the two Rubber albums remain underrated.
So this is the guy’s first studio album in 6 years, following on from the awesome Mood Swings 2 release. You might expect the guys to continue in the Mood Swings style, such as the 3 new tracks from MS2 did, but this is more simply Harem Scarem just being themselves.
Naturally gifted to deliver chorus upon chorus of memorable harmonies, riffs and hooks, Thirteen features elements of Weight Of The World, Higher, Overload and Hope.
It’s a continuation of the second half of the band’s career.
 
Fri
28
Nov
Andrew's picture

ALLEN/LANDE - The Great Divide (Review)

 
A new Allen/Lande release without mastermind Magnus Karlsson involved? Not sure about that. Timo Tolkki to take over as chief architect? Definitely know how I feel about that.
I came into this release – the 4th overall – with very low expectations. After Timo’s recent twin Avalon releases, I expected a bad production and some bland songwriting.
But I was wrong and I’m happy to announce that.
While I don’t think the album has the same wall of sound that Karlsson delivered or the same intensity in the vocals, it is still pretty good.
 
Fri
28
Nov
Andrew's picture

VEGA - Stereo Messiah (Review)

 
I really dig these guys. They are already 2 for 2 and now they drop a third collection of uptempo, anthemic melodic rock, delivered with an unmistakable energy, mixing the very best of classic 80s stadium rock with a distinctly modern twist.
Its band like Vega and the likes of Heat, Degreed and Work Of Art that are the future of moving this scene forward.
If it was still 1987, Stereo Messiah would be wall to wall hit singles from start to finish. Each track has its own mood, but each track has a bombastic chorus and layers of guitar, keyboards and vocals. It’s almost as if each song is in competition with the tracks either side of it, taking on a competitive persona, trying to outdo each other as the album progresses.
This is basically 52 minutes of anthems. And that could be about the only possible issue anyone could raise. There isn’t a lot of space on the album for the listener to take a breather. Its relentless harmonies and hooks from start to finish. That’s a tough situation to be in!
 
Fri
28
Nov
Andrew's picture

DALTON - Pit Stop (Review)

 
What’s 25 years between friends? Swedish AOR legends return with an album that sounds like it was recorded as the natural follow up to 1989’s Injection album.
This is one for loyal Dalton fans who have waited all these years. Straight out of the Scandi 80s AOR playbook, Pit Stop is like a time capsule of glorious keyboards, fluffy AOR songs and big vocals.
Production is really impressive – what else would Erik Martensson deliver? The mix is beautiful and clear and gives keyboard, vocals and guitars the same 80s balance without sounding dated.
 
Tue
25
Nov
Andrew's picture

DENNIS DEYOUNG & The Music Of Styx - Live In Los Angeles (Review)

 
Dennis De Young heads to the Westcoast for a rare live appearance and while he was there, he filmed this event for a 2CD/DVD release. It’s raining live releases right now, and Dennis is the cream of the crop.
Singing the hits of Styx with a dynamic 6 piece band accompanying him, Dennis happily plays away on his famous piano, those iconic lead vocals pure ear candy.
 
Tue
25
Nov
Andrew's picture

STRYPER - Live At The Whisky (Review)

 
Yet another live CD/DVD release on the market here, with Stryper the next cab off the rank.
The 16-track collection documents the band’s first show in support of No More Hell To Pay, the band’s most recent (and well received) release.
The show is set in the intimate setting of LA’s famous Whiskey club, meaning the crowd, the stage, the cameras and the amps are all packed in. There’s not much room to move up there on stage, but the band lets the music do the talking.
 
Tue
25
Nov
Andrew's picture

HEART & FRIENDS - Home For The Holidays (Review)

 
Ah, tis the season for live cash-ins, tralalalala….
Ok, so let’s just state the unchallengeable facts right up front – Nancy Wilson is an amazing guitarist, Ann Wilson has the voice of an angel, untouched by the years and Heart have recorded some truly iconic music over the years. Most of which I love!
They really are a force to be reckoned with and credit to them for still kicking in 2014.
 
But, to be frank, there isn’t a number low enough to rate my interest in a Heart Christmas release. Even one with “friends”…
 
Tue
25
Nov
Andrew's picture

SAMMY HAGAR - Lite Roast (Review)

 
Sammy Hagar remains one of my favourite songwriters and vocalists, but he is really beginning to test my patience with his solo releases.
The Jimmy Buffet of rock has followed up a dreadful duets album, which itself was preceded by an atrocious bits-and-pieces release Cosmic Universal Fashion, with a fully acoustic ‘best of’ featuring some solo tunes and some reworked Van Hagar cuts.
As was the case with the last two albums, I’m again not sure who this is aimed at. Die-hards only I would suggest, as the production and performance within seems pretty rushed.
 
Fri
21
Nov
Andrew's picture

TEN - Albion (Review)

 
Ten get a lot of shit thrown at them for just being Ten. It’s not justified, as their track record for delivering is just as impressive as any other bands out there. I’ve been a fan of these guys since their 1996 debut.
Even the less acclaimed The Twilight Chronicles (2006) and Stormwarning (2011) held up ok in my mind. It’s only with Gary Hughes’ re-recording of the band’s earlier material The Essential Collection that I had to call them out for unacceptable quality.
There are enough studio albums now that everyone has their favourite era and style that Gary Hughes has taken on, but it seems without question the most popular is the early years.
 
Fri
21
Nov
Andrew's picture

WHITESNAKE - Live In '84 - Back To The Bone (Review)

 
The world does not need another Whitesnake live album. I love the band and I don’t need one either. But if we HAVE to have one, then I guess, this is a pretty cool addition to the collections of diehard Snake fans.
 
Fri
21
Nov
Andrew's picture

IN FAITH - There's A Storm Coming (Review)

 
Now where did these guys come from? Dropping without a lot of warning comes the debut album from new UK outfit In Faith – featuring the talents of vocalist Pete Godfrey and guitarist Tony Marshall along with drummer Pete Newdeck.
The debut was recorded over the space of a year and was just released via Rocktopia Records.
This is an impressive slice of classic British AOR, following in the traditions of Dare, Ten and Newman.
 
Fri
21
Nov
Andrew's picture

RATED X - "Rated X" (Review)

 
Any project featuring Joe Lynn Turner on vocals is going to get my attention. Add in Joe’s Mother’s Army partner Carmine Appice on drums; Carmine’s Blue Murder partner Tony Franklin on bass and star guitarist Karl Cochran and you have me standing to attention, ready to salute whoever’s idea this was.
But, what looks good on paper must deliver in reality. Rated X thankfully does just that. Under the direction of producer Alessandro Del Vecchio (who also adds writing credits, all keyboards, organ and backing vocals to his list of credits), the band delivers a knock out blues driven classic hard rock album.
 
Wed
19
Nov
Andrew's picture

ADRIANGALE - 'Defiance' (Review)

 
Adriangale are another band back in quick time with another new studio opus after firing back to life in 2013.
Defiance is a fitting title for a band that has overcome the odds and continues to deliver.
There’s nothing better than a band that learns and keeps getting better and better with each album. And as enjoyable as each album from these guys has been, they have continued to get better and I’m pleased to say that Defiance is in my eyes, their best and most accomplished album to date. I’m being tougher with scores since the new site launch, so the 93% here is truly well deserved.
 
Wed
19
Nov
Andrew's picture

TANGO DOWN - 'Charming Devil' (Review)

 
US rockers Tango Down follow up their acclaimed ass-kicking Identity Crisis record in quick fashion with the new album Charming Devil, featuring the same lineup, fronted by vocalist David Reece and riff man Scott Miller.
It’s a case of more of the same from the band here – ass kicking, high energy, American melodic hard rock, with harmonies throughout and plenty of riffing for the guitar-heads out there.
 
Fri
31
Oct
Andrew's picture

MR. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell (Review)

 
It is an emotional time for Mr. Big as drummer Pat Torpey recently announced he was dealing with the onset of Parkinson’s disease as the band regrouped for their second post-reformation studio album.
But they managed to do it, adding another chapter to the Mr. Big story, and delivering a different beast to the last album What If…
 
There’s a different vibe to this album, most likely down to the change of producer, from Kevin Shirley (who likes recording live in the studio) to Pat Regan, who takes the more traditional route.
Fri
31
Oct
Andrew's picture

220 VOLT - Walking In Starlight (Review)

 
Sweden delivers yet another rock band in the form of 220 Volt. But these guys aren’t new – they’re back from the 80s, with their first proper studio album since 1997.
It doesn’t happen often, but this is one band that skipped past me in the heyday, so more or less, despite reported changes to their sound, I’m taking them on as a new listener.
Anders Engberg (ex-Therion ex-Lions Share), who joined this group on late 2012, is the new voice of the band, so with a fresh voice it really is a new start for the band.
Founding members Thomas Drevin and Mats Karlsson handle the guitars and drummer Peter Hermansson complete the line-up.
 
Fri
31
Oct
Andrew's picture

MISS BEHAVIOUR - Double Agent (Review)

 
It’s great to hear an established band just getting it right and delivering what they are best at. Even better when the songs and the production continue to increase in quality as is the case with the new Miss Behaviour album.
Double Agent is the band’s 3rd album and sees them going from strength to strength. Of the three releases, this is probably their first that demands to be bought on the strength of the songs.
That’s a good thing…there’s still a couple of tunes here I’m not sold on, but on the flip side, there are a few songs that having heard, I now just can’t live without.
 
Fri
31
Oct
Andrew's picture

DEAD END HEROES - Road Kill (Review)

 
Dead End Heroes features a couple of very busy guys – vocalist Carsten Lizard Schulz and bassist Paul Logue. Producer and guitarist Rolf Munkes is a busy lad too, so it's cool to see these guys on a project together.
The very impressive and loud rhythm section also features drummer Daniel Voegeli.
Holger Seeger adds some classic Hammond Organ for that old school hard rock sound.
Without trying to over simplify the songwriting involved here – this is a very straight ahead hard rocking album.
Fri
31
Oct
Andrew's picture

GRAND DESIGN - Thrill Of The Night (Review)

 
Simply put, the Grand Design guys have taken everything good about their first two albums and made it better. The new lineup, which includes the energized licks of Janne Stark and the pounding drums of Magnus Ulfstedt has made the band ever more powerful and the production here is the band’s best yet.
Long time bassist Mats Vassfjord joins Ulfstedt in creating a monster rhythm section and Stark’s guitar really does propel these songs into a new league.
Frontman Pelle Saether sounds as strong as ever – as long as you have a penchant for his unique vocal style.
 
Fri
19
Sep
Andrew's picture

WORK OF ART - Framework (Review)

 
Track after track after track of simply glorious classic AOR that is written and recorded so perfectly that the album sounds timeless. It could have been released as easily in 1987 as it is today.
 
Like many others following this scene, Work Of Art are part of the new era of classic melodic rock artists. They deliver the best of yesterday, wrapped up in the production and songwriting values of today.
Their first two albums were both wonderful, but I can’t help but feel that they have truly found their own unique groove here.
Yes, the band’s sound is familiar and comparisons to Toto and others can safely be made. But the guys continue to walk their own path.
Mon
15
Sep
Andrew's picture

ADRENALINE RUSH - Adrenaline Rush (Review)

 
Despite the appearance on the CD of as 5 piece band, the recorded side of Swedish rockers Adrenaline Rush is down to the partnership of vocalist Tave Wanning and master songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Erik Martensson, who provided all instruments, all but 2 of the songs and all mix and production duties here.
So essentially this is a new Martensson project with a female vocalist this time, giving it a new fresh dynamic over past albums with Toby Hitchcock, WET and of course Eclipse.
As with everything that Erik Martensson touches, this sounds a million bucks, with a big powerful production and clear mix.
 

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