RUST N' RAGE: One For The Road
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, LP, Digital
This is a young and new hard rock band from Finland, who has just released their debut album. But even though they're young, their musical influences originate from the 80s, with their idols being such legends as GUNS N' ROSES, JUDAS PRIEST, MÖTLEY CRÜE, DOKKEN, and similar acts. Their sound is a different story though, and they are not a copy of those bands. Instead they try to make something own out of it, with a updated sound and a modern production. The result is a melodic hard rock album, that sounds both familiar and fresh at the same time.
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
RADIOACTIVE is Swedish guitarist/songwriter/producer Tommy Denander's band, who first started in 1991. We have now come to their fifth album, which is the first new release since 2015.
As with past albums, "X.X.X." features some guest vocalists. This time it's Robin McAuley, Robbie LaBlanc, Jerome Mazza, Clif Magness, Christian Ingebrigtsen, and Daniel Byrne. Some other people has also been involved, but I'm not going to bore you with that. Let's talk about the music here instead..
This album is like 5 shades of hard rock. Sometimes it rocks, sometimes it's more melodic. I can hear some AC/DC guitars in some of the songs, AOR in 1 track, some DEF LEPPARD in 1 song, melodic hard rock in a couple of tracks and some VAN HALEN in the last song. However, I would not say that it is scattered in any way. It works great in this case, and this album is definitely worth checking out.
NEW HORIZON: Gate Of The Gods
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, LP, Digital
This is a collaboration between former H.E.A.T bandmates Erik Grönwall (who just joined SKID ROW) and Jona Tee (still a member of H.E.A.T). But while H.E.A.T is more like 80s hard rock, NEW HORIZON is a power/heavy metal band, still rooted in the 80s though. The music is powerful, and the vocals is melodic.
Among the guest musicians on this self-titled debut album are people like Robban Bäck (MUSTASCH), Sam Totman (DRAGONFORCE), Love Magnusson (DYNAZTY), Dave Dalone (H.E.A.T), Niko Vuorela (TEMPLE BALLS) and Laucha Figueroa.
Well, if you like good old heavy and power metal, then you should really give this a chance, because it's absolutely not bad at all. Let's just hope that they can get the time to do another album sometime in the future. Erik will be busy with SKID ROW, and Jona with H.E.A.T. Both bands will release new albums soon.
HOUSE OF SHAKIRA: Lint XXV (reissue)
Frontiers Music Srl - 2CD, 2LP, Digital
This is a 25th anniversary re-release of HOUSE OF SHAKIRA's debut album, twice. Except for the original version, we also get a never-before released version of the full album featuring lead vocals by the band's original singer, Mikael Eriksson (who recorded the album and then departed the band before it was released, so the band re-recorded the album with then new vocalist, Andreas Eklund). This means that we get a total of 22 tracks here.
This Swedish band are said to be "known for having a unique sound that stands out amongst other bands in the genre". For some reason they thought that it was a good idea to blend their melodic hard rock with world music, which I'm not entirely convinced about. But as long as it's good old melodic hard rock (which it mainly is), and no elements of world music, it's not bad at all.
FIND ME: Lightning In A Bottle
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
Nothing wrong with the music, but this is hardly something unique at all, as it sounds like thousands of other melodic rock bands. But if that doesn't bother you, then this is absolutely worth listening to. Because as I said, there's nothing wrong with the music.
"Lightning In A Bottle" is the 4th album from FIND ME, which is a collaboration between Swedish musician, songwriter, and producer Daniel Flores (The MURDER OF MY SWEET) and singer Robbie LaBlanc (BLANC FACES, ex-FURY), that was put together by Frontiers President Serafino Perugino.
EDGE OF FOREVER: The Days Of Future Past - The Remasters
Frontiers Music Srl - 3CD, Digital
The latest album, "Seminole", was released in the beginning of 2022. It was their first new album in 4 years, so why get cold when the fire is burning again? Let's re-release the first 3 albums - "Feeding The Fire" (2004), "Let The Demon Rock 'N' Roll" (2005), and "Another Paradise" (2009) - as well. And that's exactly what they have done here. Which means a total of 33 songs.
Except for founding member and mastermind Alessandro Del Vecchio (keyboards), the line-up on the 2 first albums was vocalist Bob Harris (ex-AXE), guitarist Matteo Carnio, bassist Christian Grillo and drummer Francesco Jovino (who would later join PRIMAL FEAR and JORN). On the third album Del Vecchio took over on lead vocals (and still played keyboards) and drummer Francesco Jovino remained, while bassist Nik Mazzucconi, who is still in the band, and guitarist Walter Caliaro joined. Bob Harris and Carsten Schulz (DEVODID, EVIDENCE ONE) provided backing vocals, Roberto Tiranti (LABYRINTH) shared lead vocals on the title track with Alessandro, and Jgor Gianola provided additional guitars.
Well, the music is not bad at all, melodic hard rock as it use to sound. So people who like that should absolutely check this out. But as it's as much as 33 tracks here, it's hard to find any favorite songs.
"The Days Of Future Past - The Remasters" is available as a 3CD set or individual albums digitally. The albums have 1 bonus track each.
SKID ROW: The Gang's All Here
earMUSIC - Digital Single
I guess that if you live in Sweden, you have not missed the news that SKID ROW are back with a new singer: Erik Grönwall (NEW HORIZON, ex-H.E.A.T) from Sweden. He replaces ZP Theart, who decided to leave the band. This single is the first taste of what to come. And it's also the title track of a new album, which will be released on October 14.
I want to describe this song as street metal/hard rock. And our Swedish singer show us all how it's supposed to be done. This is almost as good as SKID ROW was in the early days with Sebastian Bach on vocals, which makes the band interesting again after an eternity.
If they have more songs of this caliber, then I look forward to hear some more from them.
And if you want to hear more of Erik Grönwall, then I can really recomend his heavy/power metal band NEW HORIZON, who released their debut album a couple of weeks ago.
SIR REG: Kings Of Sweet Feck All
Despotz Records on April 1 - LP, CD, Digital
SIR REG have succeeded to make another great album.
Irishman Brendan Sheehy left his hometown Dublin for Sweden, where he formed SIR REG. And that was obviously a good idea, because this is a favorite band to me.
They have now come to their 6th album, where they continue to deliver high energy Celtic punk rock with lyrics about daily life, society and drinking. The material is as usual really strong, even a slow song like "Thank You For Your Lies" is excellent. It's just "The Coming Regime" that is a little bit different from the rest (not bad though).
This is a must for every fan of Celtic punk!
earMUSIC - Digital Single
When their singer Erik Grönwall (SKID ROW, FIND ME) left the band, H.E.A.T's former singer Kenny Leckremo returned. Now they are getting ready to release their 7th album, "Force Majeure", on August 5. And this song is a taste of that album.
This takes us back to the happy 80s, when bands like EUROPE ruled the world of hard rock. And this song is really, really good. Especially for being recorded in 2022. There may be many good copys, but not many of them have such good songs as this band seems to have. Now I really look forward to hear some more.
Armin Sabol: Back In Blue
Yellow Muffin Records on April 1 - CD, LP
Armin Sabol isn't exactly new in the music scene. He formed the hard rock band SHIVA in 1977, and PETER SCHILLING in 1981. He has also been working as a studio musician and producer.
Now he goes solo, and what we get here is blues rock for all the money. And that is cool. And before you say that all blues sounds the same, just shut up and listen to this. Because this is not like that. Suddenly he throw in something that sounds more like hard rock ("Hold On") instead, or a rocker ("The House Is Rocking").
Fans of something like ZZ TOP (which he is doing a cover of) should check this out.
The THREE TREMORS: Guardians Of The Void
Steel Cartel Records - LP, CD
3 heavy metal maniacs singing in the same way (like Rob Halford of JUDAS PRIEST) and compete with each other to show who is the best. That describes this album pretty good. But fact is that none of them is the best, as they are all just as good. And even though there's 3 singers in every song, they make it work just fine. It's never chaotic, but rather very well done.
The music is hard heavy metal on the border to speed or power metal. And the musicians are also doing a really good job here. So this is a really good product.
The THREE TREMORS are vocalists Sean Peck (CAGE, DEATH DEALER), Tim "Ripper" Owens (KK'S PRIEST, ex-JUDAS PRIEST, Yngwie Malmsteen, ICED EARTH) and Harry Conklin (JAG PANZER, TITAN FORCE). And the backing band is Sean Peck's band CAGE.
Those of you who like your heavy metal a bit more powerful will probably like this.
DEATH DEALER: Fuel Injected Suicide Machine
Steel Cartel Records - 12" EP, MCD
This is true heavy metal in the old American tradition. But then the band features Ross The Boss (ex-MANOWAR, The DICTATORS), Sean Peck (CAGE, The THREE TREMORS, DENNER/SHERMANN, WARRIOR), Mike LePond (SYMPHONY-X, STEEL ASSASSINS), Stu Marshall (DUNGEON, NIGHT LEGION, ARKENSTONE) and Steve Bolognese (Ross The Boss, INTO ETERNITY).
They have previously released 3 full-length albums, and this 5-track EP was released in December last year. We get 4 new songs and a intro, and it really kicks ass! This is so true that you just have to like it.
ARKENSTONE: Ascencion Of The Fallen
Steel Cartel Records - 12" EP, MCD
ARKENSTONE is a heavy metal group based in Sydney and New South Wales, Australia. The band features Stu Marshall (DEATH DEALER etc), Mike LePond (SYMPHONY-X, DEATH DEALER etc), Clay T. (BLASTED TO STATIC) and Louie Gorgievski (CRIMSONFIRE).
I guess that this is a pretty new band, because I could not find that much information about them on the internet. They released this 4-track EP last year anyway, which is so full of pure heavy metal that I don't know where to go. On the other hand, why should I go? It's better to stay and listen to the lovely sound of this band. This is true heavy metal passion!
VARATHRON: Walpurgisnacht (re-issue)
Vic Records on April 1 - CD
VARATHRON is an occult black metal band from Greece, formed in 1988. They are seen as the forfathers of the genre, together with ROTTING CHRIST and NECROMANTIA. They have released 6 full-length albums, and "Walpurgisnacht" is their second album, originally released in 1995. This re-release also includes 2 bonus tracks.
This is more black metal to me than the "The Lament of Gods" mini-CD (which was re-released on March 25), even though there's some of those slow/atmospheric parts here too. They definitely have their own kind of sound according to me, with both good and bad parts.
The album also features guest lead guitar by Sotiris Vayenas (SEPTICFLESH) and was produced by George Zacharopoulos (aka Morbid/Magus Wampyr Daoloth - NECROMANTIA, ex-ROTTING CHRIST).
RECIPIENTS OF DEATH: Final Flight & Recipients Of Death (re-issue)
Vic Records on April 1 - CD (LP late 2022)
RECIPIENTS OF DEATH was formed in Los Angeles in 1986, and released 2 mini-albums in 1988 and 1990. Both were produced by Eric Meyer from DARK ANGEL, who also did some guest lead guitars.
Both these mini-albums are now being re-released as 1 album. But that's not all. Especially for the release of this collection they wrote and recorded a brand new song, "Death Forever", which is also included here.
If you're looking for true 80s thrash, then this is of course of interest for you. All their songs might not be of interest to me, but most of these tracks are o.k. anyway.
Century Media on April 1 - LP, CD, Digital
Swedish band WOLF have been true to traditional heavy metal since 1995. And this new album is no exception. Even though there's just 1 original member left, Niklas Stålvind (vocals/guitar), they deliver like they always have done. But even though it's the same old song again, it's definitely not bad. This is just what heavy metal should sound like. I really like WOLF!
"Shadowland" is their 9th studio album. Except for Niklas Stålvind the current line-up is Pontus Egberg (KING DIAMOND) on bass, Johan Koleberg (ex-THERION, LION'S SHARE) on drums and Simon Johansson on guitar.
PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS: Only Passing Through
InsideOut Music on April 1 - 2LP/CD, CD, Digital
This is the third album from this Los Angeles-based quartet. And this should make all fans of progressive rock wet. They can suddenly throw in something that reminds of the soundtrack to a Spaghetti Western or some jazz, for example. Or why not use some odd instruments? Anything is possible here!
The music is of the more melodic kind, sometimes on the border to pop, and sometimes almost symphonic rock. But it sounds most of all like the old kind of prog rock records.
MAN.MACHINE.INDUSTRY: Eschaton I. Reckoning Day
GMR Music - CD
Jhonny "Berget" Bergman continue to steer the metal ship MAN.MACHINE.INDUSTRY forward. "Eschaton I. Reckoning Day" is the first of 3 EP/mini-albums in a trilogy.
It all started as a solo project over 20 years ago, but for a while it was a band, and I saw them live once. Now it seems to be a solo thing again....or? Well, I'm actually not really sure.
Anyway.. I have always seen MAN.MACHINE.INDUSTRY as a industrial metal band. But not anymore. The correct description to these songs is heavy thrashing groove metal. This is both hard and heavy as well as melodic, and it's a very good EP. I can't find anything to complain about.
LAZY QUEEN: A Human Reaction
Icons Creating Evil Art - 12" EP, Digital
From Oslo, Norway comes this melodic and playful band, who play some kind of indie rock/power pop. It's like a storm of feelings coming out through energetic pop songs, but with more guitars. Sometimes it's almost on the border to melodic punk rock. Just on the border though, and therfor I prefer to call it power pop.
The single "Alcohol" is without a doubt their best song here. But the other songs are not so bad either. Those "middle things", or whatever I should call that talking, was not so interesting though.
THANATEROS: On Fragile Wings
Echozone on March 25 - CD
They describe this German band as powerful folk rock/metal, but I think it sounds a bit gothic actually. And except for the usual guitars, drums and bass, THANATEROS also have violin and synthesizers. The vocals is soulful and passionate, and we also get some guest vocals from Johanna Krins (ARCTIC RELIEF, DELVA) in 2 of the tracks.
This album is like a journey in different emotions, and it has depth as well as a dark atmosphere. I would say that it's mainly more metal than folk rock, even though that violin squeaks in every song. In some songs it's almost a touch of industrial metal.
Juncker: Don't Leave It 'til Another Day
Target Records on March 25 - Digital Single
This is the English version of the song Juncker participated with in this year's Danish version of the outtakes for the Eurovision Song Contest. He was a favorite in the biggest Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet, but did not win. It's said to be inspired by both The CURE and Juncker's love for British music in general.
This is soft pop/rock of the kind that I don't really like that much. So I'm not going to say anything else..
DARE: Road To Eden
Legend Records on April 1 - CD, Digital
This British melodic rock band are veterans, and released their debut album, "Out Of The Silence", in 1989. After the succees with their 2 previous albums - "Sacred Ground" (2016) and "Out Of The Silence 2" (2018) - this album will probably be a succees too. It's said to have a harder rock edge than previous albums though, but with their old well-known ingredients as well.
What I hear is mainly a quite nice album, and not much of that harder rock edge. Sometimes it's so nice that it makes me think of some tragic singer/sonwriter instead of melodic rock. And that's not good in my world. Everything is not that hopeless though. There's at least a few good songs here anyway.
MOTHER MERSEY: See Right Through Ya
Raw Street Noise - Digital Single
"See Right Through Ya" is said to be "a battle song for young, hungry souls who give their all for what they are passionate about and who refuse to join the ranks". The song is taken from MOTHER MERSEY's upcoming debut album.
What made me interested in this band was that they were inpired by artists like David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, AEROSMITH, Jeff Buckley, RIVAL SONS and LED ZEPPELIN. And sure, I can hear some of those 2 last in this song, which means that this is not so bad at all.
Fans of retro rock should absolutely give this a try.
Michael Romeo: War Of The Worlds, Pt. 2
InsideOut Music on March 25 - 2LP, 2CD, Digital
The first part was released in 2018. And now SYMPHONY X guitarist Michael Romeo returns with part 2 of "War Of The Worlds".
The New Jersey man blend wild between guitar heros, classical music and cinematic influences. But I would say that it's mainly hard rock/metal that we get here. I think of early Yngwie Malmsteen and RAINBOW after Ronnie James Dio. Strong and powerful vocals, as well as skilled musicians. Top that with good songs and you have a great album like this.
Once in a while we also get a more cinematic and symphonic piece here and there, but it's the hard rock/metal songs that I like best (as you probably already have guessed).
Century Media on March 25 - CD, LP, Digital
I always thought that IGNITE was a hardcore band. But this album sounds more like some kind of melodic skate punk like MILLENCOLIN. Which is good too, and fans of that band and similar stuff should really check this out.
This Orange County, California band has been around for over 25 years now. On this self-titled album they have a new singer, Eli Santana, who is known as a guitarist in L.A. metal bands HOLY GRAIL and HUNTRESS. But don't worry, he fits perfect. This is a really good punk album with melodic vocals and not a single bad song.
Nordvis Produktion on April 1 - CD, LP, Digital
"Fäghring" is the 4th and closing part of the album tetralogy "Ár", and it's said to be their most ambitious recording to date. It's a wild mixture of black metal and folk metal, as well as atmospheric elements. To this they also add unorthodox instruments like lyre, hurdy-gurdy, mouth harp, bullroarer, birch trumpet, frame drums, birch sticks and stones.
Songs that are almost 9 minutes or over 12 minutes long is nothing unusual here, even though there's a few short songs too. There's also some guest vocals.
Now I would hardly call myself an expert when it comes to this genre, but I would guess that if you happens to like both black metal and Nordic folk music, then this is something that you might like. So give it a try.
WASTELAND VIPER: Too Blind To See
Wormholedeath - Digital Single
This song is taken from Dutch high voltage rockers WASTELAND VIPER's upcoming album, "Dead Men Tell No Tales", which will be released in April.
The band formed in 2016, and "combines a punk/hardcore vibe with clean vocal melodies", as the short info says. It's rather some kind of energetic hard rock n roll than hardcore/punk that we get here. And it sounds really good to me, so this makes me interested in that album.
I would guess that people who like action rock could like this.
The MIKE BELL CARTEL: The Cartel & I
Beluga Records - LP, Digital
This band has really succeeded to capture the sound of the 60s. Because it actually sounds just like it could have been recorded back then. This Finnish band take the best parts from the garage rock and pop from that era, and out comes what we today call power pop. But you could just as well call it melodic garage rock.
The members are veterans of the Helsinki music scene, and comes from bands like MIKE BELL & The BELLTONES, The HYPNOMEN, JOHN'S CHILDREN, The VALKYRIANS and HARD ACTION.
Many of the songs on this album are potential singles (on 45 rpm 7" of course, just like in the 60s). Every song might not be a A-side, but those will work very good as a good B-side instead. In other words a great album.
TEMPLE OF DEIMOS: Heading To Saint Reaper
Argonauta Records - CD, Digital
"Heading To Saint Reaper" is these Italian stoner rocker's first record in 8 years. They formed the band in 2006, and this is their third album. Inspiration comes from the Palm Desert and 90s grunge scene, and the music is heavy and psychedelic, but yet catchy and with melodic vocals. I guess that fans of early QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and KYUSS could like this a lot.
I don't really know how the guitarist is playing. It's more like little melodies than just riff-based. Interesting.
This is a good record. But end the whole thing with a 7-minute instrumental song wasn't such a good idea.
NOISE AHOLIC: Narcissistvärld
Elitbolaget/Stadin Records on March 25 - Cassette, Digital
Typical Swedish hardcore/punk in the good old tradition. Good? Fucking excellent, my friend! I hear inspiration from many classic bands here.
NOISE AHOLIC was founded in 2018 by Owe Inborr as a side project for himself besides his main bands ONDFÖDT and DISPYT. The idea for the band was to play dirty and raw crust punk, with fast tempos and with a old school vibe. With that he has really succeeded! And even though this is a solo project, Owe wanted to involve guest musicians from the Swedish part of Finland (where he comes from), so among the guests on this debut album are members from bands like The DOGSHIT BOYS, BOB MALMSTRÖM, TRIDENT, FINNTROLL and KVAEN among others.
Owe and his friends burn off 10 tracks in 23 minutes. Every fan of good old hardcore/punk, crust punk, d-beat punk (whatever you want to call it, dear child has many names you know) should check this out.
NOVA LUNA: Over Machines
Pride & Joy Music - Digital single
NOVA LUNA is an Italian band formed in 2019. Their album, "Nova Vita", will be released on May 20, and this single is a taste of what to come. It's soft and melodic, but not weak and lame (if that says anything at all?). They label this as melodic progressive metal, but this song is very normal for being progressive. Pretty o.k. actually.
VARATHRON: The Lament of Gods (re-issue)
Vic Records on March 25 - CD
VARATHRON is an occult black metal band from Greece, formed in 1988. They are seen as the forfathers of the genre, together with ROTTING CHRIST and NECROMANTIA. They have released 6 full-length albums, and "The Lament of Gods" is a mini-CD that was initially released in 1999, and is sold out since a long time. But now it will be re-released with the "Sarmutius Pegorus" demo from 1997 as a bonus.
For being called a black metal band, there's many slow/atmospheric parts here, which I don't really like. And this is hardly any good old 90s black metal from Norway either, but rather a Greek kind of the genre. It's actually a bit weird somehow, but to me it sounds like they have found their own style at least.
HELLWITCH: Omnipotent Convocation (re-issue)
Vic Records on March 25 - CD
HELLWITCH formed in 1984 and hailing from Florida. They have released 5 demos, several EPs, compilation CDs and 2 full-length albums through the years. The band features former members of bands like SOLSTICE, OBITUARY, MALEVOLENT CREATION and RESURRECTION.
"Omnipotent Convocation" is their second album, which was originally released in 2009. It will now be re-released with bonus tracks such as the 4-track "The Epitome of Disgrace" EP/promo and 4 studio outtakes from the recording of the album - a total of 19 tracks.
This band deliver fast thrash metal in the old school, sometimes with elements of death metal. And they do it really good, so every fan of that should check this out. And for some reason I don't have much else to add..
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM: Iron Tears & Metal Shock (re-issue)
Vic Records on March 25 - CD
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM released their latest album, "Blood In The Water", in June 2021. This is on the other hand something completely different. Here we go back to the beginning of the band, before they even had a record deal actually.
"Iron Tears" is their first demo (2 tracks), and "Metal Shock" is their second demo (4 tracks). Both was released in 1985, and the second demo contains the only recordings of the tracks "The Evil Sheik" and "The Beast Within". We get both these demos here, as well as 3 live bonus tracks from the same year.
This is simply a must-have for every true fan of the band. But I guess that any fan of early thrash/speed metal could enjoy this. It's simply a piece of metal history.
As most people probably know already, bassist/songwriter and founder of the band, Jason Newsted, left FLOTSAM AND JETSAM in 1987 to join METALLICA (after Cliff Burton's tragic death here in Sweden).
The Sign Records on March 25 - LP, CD, Digital
Instead of going for the early era of The HELLACOPTERS like many others do, this Swedish band seems to go for the later era instead. It's still energetic, but more catchy and melodic (you probably know what I mean). Really good stuff anyway, so there's nothing to complain about. Because this band have lots of good songs here. You should really check them out.
ÅSKVÄDER released an EP in 2018, and their self titled debut album in 2020. "Fenix" is their second album. And since last time they have recruited some new members to the band.
WASTED: The Haunted House
Denomination Records on March 25 - CD, Digital
"The Haunted House" is the 4th album from WASTED. They are one of the oldest heavy metal bands from Denmark, and the last track on this album is actually from 1984.
Their sound is powerful and energetic, but also filled with depth and details. This should make you bang your head and waving with the fist in the air. Simply true heavy metal with a good production.
Denmark suddenly seems to have lots of metal bands that I had never heard of a few years ago. But when they are this good, it's nice to get the chance to hear them.
AS THE WORLD DIES: Agonist
Transcending Obscurity Records on March 25 - LP, CD, Digital
This is said to be one of the most anticipated releases in the UK death metal scene. Not such a big surprise when there's members of MEMORIAM and local favourites PEMPHIGOID, plus guest contributions from legends such as Karl Willets (MEMORIAM, BOLT THROWER), David Ingram (BENEDICTION, HELLFROST AND FIRE), Kam Lee (MASSACRE), Gustaf Jorde (DEFLESHED) and many more.
But that's where the fun ends, because musically this is just a dozen product to me. I'm pretty sure that most others have a different opinion about this though, so don't be afaraid of giving it a try at least.
How do I describe their sound then? Well, it's merciless, hard and heavy. They talk about BOLT THROWER and GRAVE, but with their own approach to it all. Many changes in the tempo.
BillyBio: Leaders And Liars
AFM Records on March 25 - CD, LP, Digital
Billy Graziadei is best known as the vocalist/guitarist for BIOHAZARD. Although they haven't released an album since 2012, the band still exists. But instead of waiting for the other guys of the band, Billy decided to go solo in 2018. "Leaders And Liars" is his second album as BillyBio.
It's good as long as it's hardcore, but what's the thing with those atmospheric/psychedelic pieces here and there? They could easily have thrown all of them away. Very far away! Then we would be down to something like 10 tracks instead of 15 as it is now, which would have been a big improvement.
RECKLESS LOVE: Turborider
AFM Records on March 25 - CD, LP, Digital
It starts good with the title track. But they destroy it all already in the second song. This is more or less a pop album actually, and I'm not really a pop dude, so I'm not impressed. Everything is not useless pop though. Sometimes they succeed to combine the pop with melodic hard rock, and then it's good.
A cover of Ozzy Osbourne's classic "Bark At The Moon" without Ozzy on vocals sounds weird somehow, even though they do a good job with it. And then we have these electric drums (I think we called it synth drums in the 80s), that sounds wrong too. But I guess that they want a 80s sound.
It seems like this Finnish band use to play sleaze rock. But this album (which is their fifth) is more like pop and melodic 80s hard rock. Or "high-energy synth wave-infused rock with an undeniable 80s touch", as the press release says. And as you probably have figured out by now, there's both good and bad stuff here.
SIR REG: Kick Out The Scum
Despotz Records - Digital Single
"Kick Out The Scum" is the third single from SIR REG's upcoming album. And this song is about false politicians, which we simply should kick out. It's an energetic celtic punk rock song in good old SIR REG tradition. And if you like celtic punk rock, then you really have to check this out. That's it!
The album, "The Kings of Sweet Feck All", will be released on April 1. Remember that!
youtu.be/7Uvpj3NfDSI sirregband.com despotz.se
STRAIGHT OPPOSITION: Path Of Seperation
Time To Kill Records on March 21 - CD, Digital
This is pure hardcore/punk the way it was meant to be. When they are as best it's old school, fast and angry. But they're not completely unfamiliar to a few modern influences too. And sure, there's some heavier tracks as well.
STRAIGHT OPPOSITION originally formed in 2004 in Pescara, Italy, and played over 500 shows across Europe. They also released a few EPs and LPs before they split up in mid-2018.
But now they have reunited, and deliver this new album, which proves that Italian hardcore sure ain't dead (if anyone would think that).
TINSEL AVENUE: 21st & Highland
Tinsel Avenue - Digital EP
Swedish band TINSEL AVENUE was founded in late 1986, and went into hiatus in early 1989 when all but 1 member moved to Los Angeles. 30 years later they picked up the pieces again, and realized that these 2 songs - "Waiting For You" and "Downtown Fever" - was never recorded. But now they have been recorded and released as a 2-track EP.
The music is classic melodic hard rock like back in the 80s, so every fan of that have to check this out, because these songs are very good. And I don't have much else to say about that, so obey my advice and look into this.
DARK FUNERAL: We Are The Apokalypse
Century Media on March 18 - LP/CD Box Set, LP, CD, Digital
It's as much as 6 years since the last album with these Swedish black metal veterans. But now a new album is finally here.
"We Are The Apokalypse" is their 7th studio album, and this is fast and aggressive as usual, but yet there's always a melody, and the sound is bigger somehow. No matter how weird it may sound to some of you, but this might actually be DARK FUNERAL's most epic album so far. I like it! From the opening with "Nightfall" to the closing with the title track, this is a very powerful and strong album. No doubt about that!
NIGHT DEMON: Year Of The Demon
Century Media on March 25 - CD, LP, Digital
In the spring and summer of 2020 Southern California heavy metal trio NIGHT DEMON unleashed a series of 5 standalone 7" singles, in strictly limited colored vinyl format. These singles showcased brand-new original songs, cover versions, and previously unheard live recordings. All singles sold out instantly. But on this album the band collects all 5 singles. And except for their own original songs, we also get covers by artists like LeGRIFFE, CIRITH UNGOL, THIN LIZZY, IRON MAIDEN and SCORPIONS (with ex-SCORPIONS guitarist Uli Jon Roth).
This band play a very traditional kind of heavy metal with the roots in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, and both their own material and the covers are excellent. It's as a matter of fact a little melodic actually, but yet powerful enough to be metal. And then we also have the twin-guitars. I mean, how could that be bad?
Cool with a cover of the early SCORPIONS song "In Trance", which I really like. Odd to choose "The Sun Goes Down" with THIN LIZZY, even though they turn it into a heavy metal song instead of a ballad. "Wasted Years" by IRON MAIDEN is another fantastic song.
NIGHT DEMON are currently working on a new studio album, which is scheduled to be released on November 4.
Century Media on March 18 - CD, LP, Digital
This is a Danish band mixing black and heavy metal. And the music might not be the most easy. I would say that they are almost progressive, which gives them their own sound. That doesn't make the music weaker, if anyone would think that, because even though the guitars are melodic it's a raw sound and no clean vocals. So brutal, melodic and experimental is probably the best way to describe this album.
"Goddess" is their 4th studio album, which consist of 6 tracks that are from 1:50 to 11 minutes. I guess that if you enjoy a band like TRIBULATION, then you might like SLÆGT too.
ON THE LOOSE: On The Loose
On The Loose on March 20 - Digital
This is a 1-man band with Marco Marouco (EXTREME UNCTION, ELS FOCS NEGRES, PERPETRATOR), who due to the pandemic could not play live with his other bands. So he decided to do his own album, which was supposed to be instrumental with an orchestra. But after waiting for months without any orchestra parts, he decided to do a pure metal album instead. And thanks for that.
He asked Flávio Lino (AIRFORCE, IRON BEAST) to sing on the album, and João Pedro Ventura (The LIMIT, DAWNRIDER) to play drums. His friend Rick Thor wrote the lyrics.
The music is epic doom metal in the same style as CANDLEMASS and similar acts, while the vocals reminds me of Bruce Dickinson (IRON MAIDEN, SAMSON). And the 7 songs that we get on this album are all strong, so it's a shame that this is just released digitally (that should change as soon as people have heard this though, because some label must be interested in a physical release).
MUDDY MOONSHINE: Are We There Yet?
Secret Entertainment on March 18 - CD, Digital
Finnish redneck rockers MUDDY MOONSHINE formed in the summer of 2014 as a small blues trio. But they soon needed some more members for their material, and became as much as 6. They recorded their first EP in 2015, and their first album came out in 2016. After some changes in the line-up, they are now 5 men in the group.
Now they will release their second album, and as usual a favorite subject to sing about is alcohol, while the music is some kind of bluesy Southern rock, or however I should describe it? Many good songs here anyway, so you should give them a try.
GAUNTLET RULE: The Plague Court
From The Vaults on March 18 - LP, CD, Digital
GAUNTLET RULE was formed in 2019 by guitarist Rogga Johansson (PAGANIZER, MASSCARE etc etc) and bassist Peter Svensson (ASSASSIN'S BLADE, VOID MOON) with the intent of creating timeless heavy metal. The line-up was completed by vocalist Teddy Möller (LOCH VOSTOK). Guest drummer is Lars Demoké. But we also have some guest vocalists: Blaze Bayley (ex-IRON MAIDEN, WOLFSBANE) and Lorraine Gill (TAIST OF IRON).
This is not exactly what Mr. Johansson and Möller use to do, so they menage to create an original sound. But yet it's classic heavy metal without a doubt, even though the songs range from speed metal to almost doom metal. I really like it!
Let's hope that this is not just a one-time thing. I would like to hear another album with this band.
CATACOMB: Back To Unknown Kadath
XENOKORP Records on March 18 - 12" EP, Digital
This is the comeback EP with French death metallers CATACOMB, who celebrate their 30th anniversary. It consist of a totally re-written and re-recorded version of their cult demo "In the Maze of Kadath".
This band really varies the tempo in each song. Sometimes it's heavy, sometimes fast, sometimes mid-tempo. I like what I hear anyway. You should check them out.
CAPRICORN: For The Restless
Wild Kingdom Records on March 25 - CD, LP, Digital
Swedish rock band CAPRICORN was founded in 2015 by Kristoffer Ekberg, who was nominated for "Stämskruven", an award given in memory of Robert "Strängen" Dahlqvist (The HELLACOPTERS, THUNDER EXPRESS/DUNDERTÅGET). Kristoffer and bassist Pontus Blom played on Strängen's album "Rock På Svenska", and also played on the Strängen tribute gigs at Debaser and Sweden Rock Festival.
CAPRICORN's debut album, "Soul Engine", came out in 2019, and "For The Restless" is their second album, where they introduce their new drummer Tomas Eriksson (CAPTAIN MURPHY, IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC).
It sounds like this band is influenced by late The HELLACOPTERS and IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC, as well as American classic rock. A catchy and melodic kind of rock that you just have to like. So yes, this is a really good album that you just have to check out.
ALTZI: All Eyes On Me
RA Music on March 25 - CD, Digital
I don't know how these guys think, but maybe they don't plan to release another album for something like 5 years? Because there's as much as 14 tracks on this album, which is too much (how many time do I have to complain about this?). As I have said so many times before during the 20 years this site has existed: 8-10 tracks is enough, no more!
Rick Altzi is an artist from Helsingborg, Sweden. He started with bass, and played in various bands until 2004. In 2005 he grabbed the mic instead, and became a member of AT VANCE. He has also worked with musicians from well-known bands such as HELLOWEEN, ACCEPT, KING DIAMOND, PAIN OF SALVATION etc. And just if that wasn't enough, he is also writing and recording with MASTERPLAN, GATHERING OF KINGS and Herman Frank (VICTORY, ex-ACCEPT).
In 2020 Rick started to work on his first solo album under the moniker ALTZI. A few singles was released during 2021, and now it's time for the whole album.
The album features lots of guest solo guitarists, like Joel Hoekstra (WHITESNAKE, Cher), Matthias IA Eklund (FREAK KITCHEN), Per Nilsson (MESHUGGAH), Oliver Hartmann (AVANTASIA), Andy LaRocque (KING DIAMOND) etc.
If it's classic melodic hard rock that you're looking for, then this is without a doubt the band that you're looking for. And even though they have included too many songs, nothing is bad here. So I guess that little problem is what they call a luxury problem.
SIGN X: Back To Eden
Pride & Joy Music on March 18 - CD
SIGN X emerged from the Hamburg-based band CHÂLICE, who released 7 CDs. The first EP with SIGN X was released in the beginning of 2018, and was followed by their first full-length. "Back To Eden" is their second album.
On this album they go all in on creating a big record. The songs are melodic and powerful hard rock of the finest variety. You could almost think that they would be from Sweden. Because I think it sounds much like the Swedish bands in this genre. This is the kind of album that you can be proud of.
There's one exception here though, their version of "Into The Unknown" from the Disney movie "Frozen 2", which is more symphonic and cinematic. That song has by the way also been covered by the British band INTO THE UNKNOWN.
Everybody who like melodic hard rock should listen to this record.
Steve Dalton: Primitive
Pride & Joy Music on March 18 - CD
Who might this man be then? Well, he's a guitarist, composer and multi-instrumentalist born in Sheffield, England, but is nowadays living in Sölvesborg, southern Sweden (a village most well-known for Sweden Rock Festival). His first solo project was STEEL CITY in 2016, who recorded some demos featuring Alessandro Del Vecchio (HARDLINE, EDGE OF FOREVER etc etc) on vocals. After that he wrote another set of songs, which became this album, "Primitive", which is his real debut as a solo artist.
Steve himself take care of all instruments, while production was handled by Brazilian producer and vocalist Raphael Gazal, who also sing on 7 of the tracks. The other 2 tracks features English vocalist Ross Griggs and the late singer David Saylor.
This album offers a wide variety of styles, from classic melodic rock to power metal. But most of all I would say that it's melodic hard rock that we get here. And this is absolutely not bad at all. You should check it out.
HOPPSTYLTA/Rick Titrö: Luffarpunk Vol 1
GrönPeppar Records on March 12 - Cassette, Digital
Why call it folk punk or acoustic punk? This is not that punk at all, and it doesn't have much to do with folk music either. But don't let that scare you away. After all, it's actually more important that it's good than what kind of music it is.
HOPPSTYLTA is a Swedish duo with Jojo and Kajsa from RÖD REVOLVER. They play some kind of stripped pop/rock. It's very melodic, but not bad at all. This recording was mixed by Mart Hällgren (DE LYCKLIGA KOMPISARNA, TOTAL EGON etc etc).
Rick Titrö is a singer/songwriter trobadour. I reviewed his album "Laglös" last year, where he played with KÄRLEKSMINISTERIET. On this recording he is solo with just his voice and an electric guitar (and some harmonica in 1 song). The first song is his best song here, but the second song is not bad either. His third and last track is a bit too long for its own good with its almost 6 minutes.
Now I have just been listening 2 times, but this is a good split, so I will listen some more. The cassette edition is very limited (just 50 copies), so it might be sold out already. But you can always listen to it on Bandcamp. And as it has the title "Luffarpunk Vol 1", there will be more volumes in the future (with other artists then).
Darkstorm Records - Digital single
German band PENTARIUM combines melodic and modern death metal, and somehow creates some kind of groove/death metal out of it. "Thronebreaker" is taken from their upcoming double album "Abgott" - The first disc contains brand new tracks, while disc 2 is re-recordings. This is a pretty o.k. song, but honestly not much else. And that might not sound so promising for the album, but I'm ready to give it a chance at least.
ROTTEN MIND: Unflavored
Lövely Records on March 18 - LP, CD, Digital
This band reminds me a lot of a punk rock band from Umeå, Sweden. But I can't remember the name of the band right now. It would not surpris me if this band would have the same singer though, but that's probably not the case as this band comes from Uppsala, Sweden (which is many miles from Umeå in the north).
ROTTEN MIND have their own little mixture. Sometimes it's old school punk rock from the 70s, and sometimes post punk from the early 80s. The songs are catchy and melodic without being too happy, as the melodies are darker. Yet they succeed to have a good drive in the songs. This is a damn good album!
"Unflavored" is the fifth studio album from ROTTEN MIND, and it's said to pick up where their last album, "Rat City Dog Boy" (2020), left.
CHILDREN OF THE SÜN: Roots
The Sign Records on March 18 - CD, LP, Digital
Swedish flower power retro rockers CHILDREN OF THE SÜN released their debut album, "Flowers", in 2019. Now their second album, "Roots", will finally be released. Yes finally, as the debut was really good.
This is a natural progression of the first album, but still very good. Their soulful, multi layered vocal harmonies are backed up by a vintage sound that hardly says 2022, but rather 1972 or earlier. Among their influences are Janis Joplin, RIVAL SONS and the Woodstock Festival in 1969.
People who like retro rock should absolutely give this band a listen, because it would be stupid to not do that.
SUNRUNNER: Sacred Arts Of Navigation
Fastball Music on March 11 - CD
SUNRUNNER released their first album in 2011. Their music is progressive rock/metal, but I think there's lots of heavy metal in these 11 songs, which makes them more interesting to me than many other progressive bands. It's powerful and melodic, but it can also be hard and heavy. It's a varied material, and it reminds me of the albums from the 70s and 80s somehow. Towards the end it seems to be more experimental and long instrumental parts though. Then it's not so funny anymore, but not totally useless.
PURPLE DAWN: Peace & Doom Session Vol. II
Electric Valley Records on March 11 - LP, Digital
From Cologne, Germany comes PURPLE DAWN. They combine hard and heavy riffing with energy and melody. The music is somewhere in the landscape of psychedelic hard rock and doom metal, and is inspired by both old and new acts - BLACK SABBATH, PENTAGRAM, LED ZEPPELIN, MASTODON, ORANGE GOBLIN etc. They are not afraid of blending a variety of styles in one song.
This powerful trio is really good at what they are doing, so you should really check them out if you like it heavy.
The band formed in early 2020, and it didn't take long before their first album, "Peace & Doom Session Vol. I", was released.
HELLFROST AND FIRE: Fire, Frost And Hell
Transcending Obscurity Records on March 18 - LP, CD, Digital
This is a new trio formed by singer Dave Ingram (BENEDICTION). The other 2 guys are Rick "Dennis" DeMusis on guitar/bass and Travis Ruvo (ECHELON, CROPSY MANIAC) on drums. But we also get guest solos from Scott Fairfax (MEMORIAM UK, AS THE WORLD DIES).
I guess that it doesn't come as a surprise that they play old school death metal. This is powerful and massive, but also heavy and catchy - everything at the same time. They are hardly the fastest band, but hardly the heaviest either.
A good album, no doubt about that, but I think the drums sounds a bit weird sometimes (not always though). Have they used a drum machine for some of the songs?
BUSTER SHUFFLE: Go Steady
Do Nothing Records on March 18
Yeah! I really like ska punk. This makes me want to get up and (hrm) dance. ..and I don't even like to dance. I guess that says it all. The music simply makes me happy. Just listen to something like the title track or "This City Is Ours" (with rock n roll piano) for example. Or why not the fantastic "Sucker Punch Blues"? If that doesn't make you want to party, then I don't really know what's wrong with you.
This London based band have been around for over 10 years already, and this is their fifth album. They decided to release the album on their own label this time, and got the money from their fans through a Crowd Fund campaign.
BERTHOLD CITY: When Words Are Not Enough
WAR Records on March 18 - LP, CD, Digital
BERTHOLD CITY formed in 2017, and is a straight edge hardcore band from Los Angeles. They has previously released a demo and 2 7" EPs. And now it's time for their full-length debut, where they hit hard with 12 hardcore attacks. This is not any heavy 90s metal/hardcore, but more like fast hardcore as it was meant to be, possibly with a pinch of metal though. I like it!
This is an album that you can't live without if you're hardcore.
NEQUIENT: Darker Than Death Or Night
Nefarious Industries on March 11 - LP, Cassette, Digital
This is the second album from this Chicago metallic hardcore act. Influences comes from a broad spectrum of aggressive music, including grindcore, crust, sludge, death metal, black metal, and noise rock. It's quite heavy actually, and sometimes a bit experimental as well. But at the same time they are fast too. It's like they have found their own little sound somehow.
I would guess that those who like more advanced hardcore/metal could like this band.
Mighty Music on March 11 - CD, LP
This is melodic viking/death metallers VANIR's 6th full-length album, and the main theme is Nordic mythology, even though there's other subjects too in a couple of songs.
12 tracks is what they gives us here, and most of the songs are good, so I don't have anything to complain about.
The music includes both hard and melodic guitars, as well as mainly harsh vocals.
I don't really know what else there is to say..
UPRISING! Records on March 11 - CD, LP, Digital
Talk about progressive adventure! So if that's what you're looking for, then this is the ride for you. It's not such a bad ride, even though it includes many different elements. It can be soft, aggressive or just about anything in-between that. This is definitely a forward-thinking band with an open mind for just about anything.
The title track is divided in 5 parts, which they begin with. And after that we get 3 more songs. It's said to fit perfect for fans of stuff like TOOL, LEPROUS and PAIN OF SALVATION.
ODDLAND was founded in Turku, Finland in 2003. After a bunch of demos, they were signed to Century Media for their debut album, which was released in 2012. Their next album was released by Sensory Records in 2016, but it's not until now that we get their third album, "Vermilion", on yet another label (UPRISING!).
DEAD LORD: Dystopia
Century Media on March 11 - 12" EP, Digital
It wasn't exactly yesterday that I heard something with DEAD LORD last time, but here's a new 6-track EP anyway. And what we get here is a mixture of left-overs from the sessions for their latest full-length, "Surrender" (2020), and covers of D-A-D, WINTERHAWK, Rory Gallagher and Moon Martin.
Even though 4 out of 6 tracks are covers, it all sounds just like DEAD LORD. This is timeless hard rock done with passion. Fans of 70s hard rock like THIN LIZZY and other stuff from the same era should absolutely check this out.
DEAD LORD comes from Sweden, and has released 4 albums between 2013-2020.
D'OR: Veni Vidi Ignis
Metalapolis Records on March 11 - CD, LP
D'OR is the brainchild of Swizz vocalist/guitarist Andy Dormann (KISSIN' BLACK, CHARING CROSS). And on this album he try to live out his dreams about Sunset Strip in the 80s. It's hard rock and street metal with both dirt and glitter. But it might not sound exactly like it did on Sunset Strip. Because as I said earlier, the band is from Switzerland, and then we also have the fact that it's 2022 and not 1985.
It's a good try though, and the songs on this album are really good. Just listen to something like "Future, Baby!" or "Dancing" for example.
Fans of Swedish bands like CRAZY LIXX, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and maybe even BACKYARD BABIES should give this a chance.
FLAMES OF FIRE: Flames Of Fire
Melodic Passion Records on March 18 - CD
FLAMES OF FIRE is a heavy metal band from Sweden, Norway and Finland formed by Christian Liljegren (NARNIA, The WAYMAKER, AUDIOVISION) and Mats-Åke Andersson (ZARAGORN), together with Jani Stefanovic (The WAYMAKER, SOLUTION .45, MISERATION), Per Schelander (HOUSE OF SHAKIRA, ASTRAKHAN, ex-ROYAL HUNT, PAIN OF SALVATION) and Stephen Carlson (BROTTHOGG, Peter Carlsohn's The RISE, TALES, VIVA). The band is pretty new, so there's not that much to tell about them yet. But the music that they gives us here is of the highest quality. This is absolutely something for fans of traditional heavy metal. This must definitely not be missed!
But something that might end the enthusiasm for some die hard metal fans is that they don't exactly hide their love for Jesus in some of the songs here. That is hardly something new when it comes to some of these guys though.
It will be very interesting to see (or hear) if they can manage to make another album that is just as great as this album. Because I really hope that this is not just a one-off project.
RIZON: Prime Time
Pure Steel Records on March 11 - CD
It's 6 years since this Swizz band released their last album, "Power Plant". But now they are back with a new album, which is filled with positive energy and a good mood. We get both male and female vocals, often at the same time. And their record label put them in the melodic power rock genre. I think it's more like modern hard rock/metal though, but melodic it is.
We get 12 tracks on this album, but most of them are not so bad, so why complain? You should give them a try.
POWERGAME: Slaying Gods
Iron Shield Records/Self-released on March 18 - CD, Cassette, LP
POWERGAME released their first demo in 2013, and their first album 2 years later. A few more records has been released since then.
The new album, "Slaying Gods", gives us mainly good old heavy metal. But sometimes there's also elements of thrash, power and doom metal. And the last track, "The Chalice", is almost 12 minutes and more epic. So it's not such a wild guess that they are influenced by many different kinds of metal bands.
Are they any good then you might ask then? Yes, I would say that this is a really good album. You should absolutely give it a try.
BLACKSLASH: No Steel No Future
Iron Shield Records on March 11 - CD, Digital (LP later)
BLACKSLASH is an old school heavy metal band from Germany, founded in 2007. They serves galloping bass and twin-guitars, and top that with melodic vocals. Their songs are powerful and good. In other words something that you should check out as soon as possible.
BLACKSLASH has released a few records since 2011. It's 4 years since their last album was released.
TWIN PIGS: Godspeed, Little Shit-Eater
Luftslott Records/Spastic Fantastic Records - Digital (LP soon)
TWIN PIGS is a Swedish punk band with something to say. And they shout it out loud with short punk attacks that are full of attitude. They seems to be more political than ever before on their third album. Or political? They simply gives us their view of today's society. Data kids, America and people like the Kardashians and Elon Musk get the chance to taste their boots.
It's as a matter of fact as much as 4 years since their last album, "Scandinavian Nightmare", was released. They still have their own little sound, sometimes with keyboards as an extra spice. But on this record the singer is actually singing instead of just screaming, like he did before. And even though it's built on anger, most songs are actually catchy, and the choruses are sing-along friendly with cheerleader choirs.
The LINDA LINDAS: Talking To Myself
Epitaph Records - Digital single
Yet another single from American pop punks The LINDA LINDAS. Extremely catchy and melodic this time, but really good. This song sounds like it's made for all the kids out there, and when they hear it they will love it. Hopefully they get better taste in music as well (unless they already are rockers then).
Their debut album, "Growing Up", will be released on April 8. I look forward to hear that.
BLAZEMTH: The Return Of Lucifer
Xtreem Music on March 15 - CD, LP, Cassette, Digital
BLAZEMTH was born in Barcelona in 1993 from the ashes of ROTTEN FLESH. They went from death metal to black metal, and released a demo and 2 MCDs before they split up in 1997.
20 years later they were back again, and since then they have re-released their old recordings, but no new stuff until now - After 25 years they release their first full-length album, "The Return Of Lucifer".
Their sound is influenced by the Nordic black metal scene, and bands such as NECROPHOBIC, DISSECTION, WATAIN, EMPEROR and MAYHEM. So if you like that then it's not so hard to figure out that you need to hear this. They simply crush! Just like a true black metal band should do.
But there's also room for guitar melodies, and they also varies the tempo now and then. That makes them more interesting to me anyway.
CHRONOMANCY: Shadows In Atlantis
Fighter Records on March 8 - CD, LP, Cassette, Digital
CHRONOMANCY was founded in 2010 in Thessaloniki, Greece. They have so far released 1 demo, 1 self-financed full-length album and an EP. They have now signed with Fighter Records, and are ready to release this new album, "Shadows In Atlantis".
The band's music is a blend of heavy, epic and power metal, spiced with some symphonic, folk and extreme elements. So as you can understand this is not the usual heavy metal band, but something special with extra everything. Pretty o.k. though.
This is something for those of you who want more epic stuff.
ZADRA: Guiding Star
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, LP, Digital
ZADRA is a continuation of Frontiers Music's relationship with L.A.-based guitarist/vocalist August Zadra, who the label has worked with as a member of WAITING FOR MONDAY and Dennis DeYoung's band. The album was produced by the label's own right-hand man Alessandro Del Vecchio (who added multiple instrumental and songwriting contributions as well), and among the musicians are people like Jeff Scott Soto (background vocals), Dennis DeYoung (keyboard solo), Jelly Cardarelli (drums), Jimmy Leahey (acoustic guitars), Andrea Seveso (rhythm guitars) and Martin Jepsen Andersen (rhythm guitars). Guillermo De Medio, Pete Alpenborg, and Jan Åkesson all contributed to the songwriting and additional keyboards.
If it's melodic hard rock that you're looking for, then I can really recomend you to give this a try. Because this is just as good as anything else in this genre. They have the right songs and know how to perform them. And what more can I say about their sound then? It sounds like it's much 80s, but sometimes it's modern too (not too modern though).
TEN: Here Be Monsters
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, 2LP, Digital
British melodic hard rock veterans TEN used the pandemic to produce not just 1 but 2 albums. And the first of these 2 is "Here Be Monsters". These albums have no ties between each other, so this is not Part 1 and the next Part 2 or anything like that. They were just recorded at the same time, just like their 2 first albums (which were recorded one after the other in a very short period of time).
10 tracks in just under an hour is what we get here. And this is a strong and well-crafted album that all fans of melodic hard rock should like. But after 26 years and 14 studio albums you should know how it's supposed to be done. And this band really know how it's supposed to be done.
SPIRITS OF FIRE: Embrace The Unknown
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, 2LP, Digital
This is classic heavy metal in the same style as legends like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and DIO. And how could that be wrong? Of course it's not wrong!
This is the second album from SPIRITS OF FIRE, where original members Chris Caffery (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA), Steve DiGiorgio (TESTAMENT, DEATH etc), and Mark Zonder (ex-FATES WARNING, WARLORD) are joined by new singer Fabio Lione (ANGRA, RHAPSODY). In other words what they call a supergroup.
Well, I have already told you what they sounds like in the beginning of this little review, so I don't think that I have to go any deeper into that, as you should all know what classic heavy metal sounds like. And then you also know if you like it or not. And with that lineup this is all done very preofessional. I like this album a lot, so I recomend you to give them a try.
MECCA: 20 Years
Frontiers Music Srl - 3CD, Digital
35 songs on 3 CDs! That is way too much at once from a band that I have never heard before. Luckily much of it sounds good, however. And sure, you don't have to listen to all at once if you don't want to.
Anyway, this is a best of collection, celebrating the band's 20-year anniversary. And the music that they play is typical melodic rock/AOR, so it's pretty catchy and soft stuff that we get here. Fans of this genre should absolutely check this out.
The different members of the band have also worked with artists like TOTO, Mr MISTER, Peter Gabriel and PRIDE OF LIONS among others.
MANIC SINNERS: King Of The Badlands
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
MANIC SINNERS comes from Romania, and this is their debut album. The band brought in the over productive Alessandro Del Vecchio (HARDLINE, REVOLUTION SAINTS, JORN, etc etc) to mix the album in order to give it the cracking sound they envisioned.
This is not the first musical experience for this trio, as some of them have been or still are members of bands like CARGO and ANTON. And the singer gained major exposure in 2016 by winning the Eurovision Song Contest National Selection. So we have professionals here more or less.
And I can hear that they have been around for a while already, because this is a very powerful melodic hard rock album for being a debut. I can only wish them good luck, even though there's millions of similar acts around the world. So if they will succeed or not remains to be seen. You should absolutely give them a try though.
WINGS OF DESTINY: Rise Above Them All
WormholeDeath Records - Digital single
Recently WINGS OF DESTINY was joined by guitarist David Shankle, who is most famous for playing with MANOWAR from 1989-1995. "Rise Above Them All" is the first single with the new line-up of the band, which comes from Costa Rica. They formed in 2013, and the music that they play is power metal.
This is a good song, but honestly nothing special. I have heard the exact same thing many times before. You should give it a try though.
The LOYAL CHEATERS: Long Run... All Dead!
Dead Beat Records - LP, CD, Digital
I really liked their kick ass single "No Saturday Nites". So do they live up to my expectations in the full-length format too? Well, they still kicks ass with their energetic hard rock, and this is absolutely not bad at all. And I give them some extra credit for doing a cover of CHEAP TRICK's "Surrender", which is 1 of my only 2 favorites with that band. They are by the way also doing a cover of SLADE's "Lock Up Your Daughters".
The LOYAL CHEATERS fill up the tank with a high energy mixture of hard rock, early glam rock and pop punk from the late 70s. It's like a party with AC/DC, Lita Ford, JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS, GIRLSCHOOL, The DONNAS and The RUNAWAYS. And everybody just want to rock and have a good time together.
INIQUITY: Grime (re-issue)
Emanzipation Productions - LP
Danish technical death metallers INIQUITY's career was short and intense. They released their debut album, "Serenadium", in 1996. 3 years later "Five Across The Eyes" was released, and then this third and final album, "Grime", in 2001.
If you love it extreme without any lovely melodies, then INIQUITY might be something for you. It's brutal and intense, as well as fast and technical. On top of that the singer sounds like a monster. As I said, this is extreme.
The band disbanded 2 years later, but has returned a couple of times since then, only to play a few shows and then fall asleep again.
The FLOWER KINGS: By Royal Decree
InsideOut Music - 2CD, 3LP/2CD Box Set, Digital
Swedish prog rock veterans The FLOWER KINGS return with a new album, which consist of as much as 18 tracks and last for over 1 and a half hour. So yes, they have been very creative during the pandemic.
This is a true retro/vintage affair, as the album was recorded in a fully analog studio. But also because some of the material was written before the recording of their first album in 1994. It's melodic and sounds like an old prog rock album from the 70s, where they also blend in some folk, symphonic, electronic, jazz, blues and funk. This is not one of those complicated albums, even though you won't find any hit songs either. But fans of progressive rock should be happy when they hear this.
LIONVILLE: So Close To Heaven
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, LP, Digital
This is not an album for those who are angry, but rather for those who happens to have an extremely good day with sunshine and all. Well, you should feel good anyway, because this is melodic rock/AOR and not some energetic death or black metal.
This is the fifth studio album from LIONVILLE, and it sounds just like it's supposed to sound when it comes to this genre. No, there's no surprises here, but on a good day it sure ain't bad. Fans of the band should not be dissapointed when they hear this album.
GIRISH & The CHRONICLES: Hail To The Heroes
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, LP, Digital
This is an Indian hard rock band. They are not here to give you something new and modern though, but rather good old hard rock n roll, inspired by everything from L.A. to London in the 80s. Simply what they grew up with. They want to create great anthems and have fun.
"Hail To The Heroes" is their third album, and this is absolutely not bad at all. There's lots of great songs among these 12 tracks. It's catchy and melodic, and it's rocking like nothing has happened since the 80s. But just to make sure that you're not too safe, they can suddenly throw in something different from the rest. That doesn't happen too often though.
degreed: Are You Ready
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
This was fun! I thought that this band played some kind of modern metal/rock that I don't really like. But instead they surprise me with the best kind of melodic hard rock, with choruses that are made to sing along to. This is just as great as a band like ECLIPSE for example. I'm impressed!
"Are You Ready" is the 6th album from this Swedish band, and you should really check it out.
CITY OF LIGHTS: Before The Sun Sets
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
CITY OF LIGHTS is a new melodic hard rock collaboration between British newcomer songwriter/guitarist Neil Austin and Greek vocalist Manos Fatsis (ODYSSEY DESPERADO, HIDEAWAY). They are joined by degreed members/brothers Robin (bass) and Mats (drums) Eriksson, as well as some other people playing guitar solos, keyboard, piano etc.
Their songs are inspired by the classic hard rock sound of the 80s and the new wave of current AOR bands. And they deliver these songs with lots of passion. There's often a keyboard lurking in the background, and this will really take you back to the 80s. The songs are just as strong as anything that came out back then.
Alan Parsons: One Note Symphony - Live in Tel Aviv
Frontiers Music Srl - 2CD/DVD, Blu-ray, 3LP, Digital
I recognize many of these songs, so it was obviously not so long ago that I heard them last time. Those songs are very good though. This is hardly the most energetic band, but more soft and melodic. Sometimes it's very cinematic, and then it sounds more like an instrumental soundtrack to an adventure movie. Not really sure if I like that combination though.
Now I'm not really sure how many live recordings this man has released already, but on this recording Alan and his band perform with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. And that might explain these cinematic pieces.
This is something for fans of melodic and classic rock. Pretty adult rock.
GOD DETHRONED: The Christhunt (re-issue)
Vic Records - LP, (CD soon)
Dutch death metal band GOD DETHRONED formed in 1991, and released their first demo the same year. The debut album, "The Christhunt", was released in 1992. After that it seems like they split up, but returned a few years later with a new line-up. And they have released lots of albums through the years.
The debut album have now been re-released on LP, and will be available on CD soon. What we have here is death metal as it used to sound back in the early 90s, with too much reverb on the vocals. I wasn't so impressed the first times I heard this, but I guess it's not so bad after all. It sounds like they were good at what they were doing here. So fans of that early stuff should check this out.
MIDNIGHT BULLET: Hostile Resistance
Inverse Records on March 4 - Digital
MIDNIGHT BULLET is a Finnish heavy/thrash metal band, even though they also blend in other styles of rock and metal. "Hostile Resistance" is their 4th album, and the main themes are rebellion, revolution, and ruthlessness in the use of power.
This is another hard and heavy album, but they are not afraid to add a more catchy and melodic chorus, and it's hardly slow because it's heavy. I would also say that it's a modern kind of heavy/thrash metal that we get here. So people who are into modern metal will probably like this more than the ordinary thrash fan.
SMASH YOUR ENEMIES: Genocide
Upstate Records on March 4 - LP, CD, Digital
SMASH YOUR ENEMIES is another hardcore band who play in the heavier league and blend in metal. What's the thing with that? Seems to be many bands who like to play heavy nowadays, and I don't really get that. I want action.
However.. The first track is really heavy and boring, but after that it's more interesting and not so damn heavy. But the 4th track was pretty useless. They might not be the most exiting band on the planet, but they are hardly the most boring either. I guess they are what we could call a middle band.
SMASH YOUR ENEMIES comes from Detroit, and they deliver their heavy hardcore with anger. They formed in 2008, and have released several EPs through the years. "Genocide" gives us 7 tracks in approximately 20 minutes.
THUNDER RISING: Back To The Time Of Rock
Music For The Masses Records on March 4 (March 31 in Japan) - CD
Heavy metal band THUNDER RISING was formed in 2012 by Italian guitarist Frank Caruso (FIREHOUSE, ARACHNES, VIVALDI METAL PROJECT) and drummer Corrado "Nail" Ciceri. While the first albums was more American, they decided to do something else. 2 EPs was released in 2021, which represented different eras. The first one was in the 80s/90s style, while the second was more in 70s style.
Those EPs was just released digitally though, so now we get them in physical format as well. Some songs appear in different/extended versions, and there's even an exclusive new track, "Stairs To The Top", which is not released digitally.
Well, I would describe this as a melodic kind of heavy metal, but it's rocking. Yes, there's almost a touch of rock n roll, which gives the songs some extra energy. And the sound is old school, because as I already have said they're in the 70s/80s/90s style. So if that sounds interesting to you, then you should give this CD a try.
TWISTED TOWER DIRE: Crest Of The Martyrs Demos
Nameless Grave Records on March 4 - LP, CD
"Crest Of The Martyrs Demos" is an alternate/demo version of TWISTED TOWER DIRE's third album, making the recordings available for the first time. It was recorded in 2002, and the CD version features bonus tracks not included on the vinyl, including a second demo as well as a live track from Wacken 2003.
What we get here is "Crest Of The Martyrs" the way the band originally intended it: as a devastating, lean set of heavy metal bangers untouched by modern power metal production, and alternate studio decisions. This is a true heavy metal recording in the good old tradition, and it's excellent! You must have this!
Now I have not heard the original album, so I can't compare this with that album.
VARNAGEL: Som Tiden Ger Rätt
Beat Butchers - Digital single
VARNAGEL came from the Swedish punk wave in the 90s, and was as most active from the early 2000s to 2008. They released 3 albums, 2 EPs, 2 compilations and several singles. There have been short reunions during the years, but now they are back for real, and new songs have been written and recorded.
A first taste of the new material is this single, "Som Tiden Ger Rätt". And this actually sounds just like no time has passed at all. Simply good old trallpunk like in the 90s. Fans of that will love this.
More singles will be released during the year, and then they will release an album in the second half of 2022. If the rest of the songs are this good, then I really look forward to hear some more.
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