Archived Reviews: # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Reviews Index

NARNIA: "The Great Fall" 9

Nuclear Blast 2003
Review by Martien Koolen 15 February 2003

When they released their debut-album called "Awakening" back in 1998, I was a fan immediately. Their melodic metalmusic with fabulous guitarsolos from supertalent Carljohann Grimmark was a delight for my ears. Especially in the instrumental track "The Return Of Aslan" Carljohann proved that technically speaking he could compete with the best guitarplayers in the world.

On their second album "Long Live The King" Narnia could not hold on to that high standard of melodious metal displayed on their debut, although "The Mission" and "The Lost Son" still proved that these guys were exceptional musicians. Then in 2001 they made their best album so far,entitled "Desert Land", a spectacular cd with songs that sounded much more aggressive and heavier; e.g. "Inner Sanctum", "The Witch And The Lion" or "Revolution Of Mother Earth".

Now,almost two years later,Narnia release their fourth album. And after listening to it for a zillion times I can assure you that "The Great Fall" is the best album from Narnia so far... The band has grown and they prove this by making this album the heaviest and most powerful album ever recorded.

"Back From Hell" is an extremely heavy song with great guitarriffs, very powerful vocals and impressive guitarsolos. "The Countdown Has Begun" is a very melodic song with excellent singing from Christian and an outstanding hooky chorus; be ready to sing along, guys.. Their musical development is evident in the very progressive "No Time To Lose" and particularly during the epic-feel song "The Great Fall Of Man". That song, which clocks almost 15 minutes by the way, is positively THE highlight of this album; very complex with lots of variety, a huge choir from Stockholm and one brilliant guest performance; Saviour Machine shouter Eric Clayton adds another dimension to this song. Another guest performance can be heard on "Judgement Day",where drummer Anders Johansson (Hammerfall) makes a lot of noise. Of course, there is also an instrumental track ("Ground Zero") where you can marvel about the guitar technique of one of the best guitarplayers in the world; just listen and hold your breath...

With a new bassplayer, Andreas Olsson (Wisdom Call and Stormwind) Narnia now have a very strong line-up and hopefully they will be doing some live-shows in The Netherlands, so that I can enjoy this extraordinary band alive and kickin'...

By the by,if they had left out the two "weak" songs "War Preludium" and "Desert Land" I would have awarded this album with a perfect ten; maybe the next time.

This year seems to become a superb rockyear,just think of all the magnificent albums we had so far;Ignition,Masterplan, Stratovarius, The Gathering, OSI, Porcupine Tree and now Narnia. What else can we expect this year, I can hardly wait....

Phil NARO: "Glass Mountain" 8

Z Records 2002
Review by 19 December 2002

Wow! This turned out to be a nice suprise indeed!!! Especially since I didn't expect much from Phil Naro in the first place. He,he... this may sound a bit harsh I know. But I'm not too crazy about his previous releases at Z Records (Naro, 24K).

Naro's first experience with the music biz was Talas in the 80's. The hardrock band with out-of-ordinary bassist Billy Sheehan, (Mr Big, DLRoth) at the helm. Die-hard fans of the KISS family may also remember him for his work, with both Peter Criss and Mark St John. Other projects with Naro as vocalist includes Slav Simanic and Blood Red Flower etc.

"Glass Mountain" is one of his best releases (if not the best), so far though. The material is stronger than ever and Naro himself, actually sounds better than I remember him. Naro is also surrounded by good musicians and co-writers on this CD. I'm not sure if this Ernie Gold is the same person that used to hang with the Preview band in the 80's? Nevertheless, the songs by Gold are darn fine, 80's rock anthems, with catchy hooks. The overall sound of "Glass Mountain" reminds me a bit of MSG during their MacAuley/Schenker days in the late 80's. Mixed with good, old, solid rock, the tradition way with big choruses. I'm especially fond of tracks like "Find My Way Back To You" or "You And Me". Both songs will also please fans of say: Eddie Money as they are very catchy with both Rock & Pop influences. Other highlights are "Hot For You", "Love Is A Game", "Heartbreak In The Night". Not to mention the heavier rock of "Bad Boys" (co-written by Jeff Northrup) and the groovy "Spititual Revolution". Great vocal performances by Naro throughout the whole record. Credit must also go to Steve Major for good production and nice guitar/keyboard work here. Bottomline, this is a good CD that wont disappoint fans of catchy rock. Even if there are still a couple of steps left on the ladder to heaven?


NASTY IDOLS: "Cruel Intention" & "Vicious"

Perris Records 2002
Review by 20 December 2002

It's kinda weird when you think about it!!! Sweden has always been a good place for Hard Rock & Pop/Rock music. Not many bands decided to play Sleaze/Glam though and even less were any good at it. Nasty Idols from the southern parts of Sweden (Malmö) were one of few bands, that actually broke through to a wider audience. (Others: Shotgun Messiah, Easy Action, Candy Roxx?, Glorious Bankrobbers, Swedish Erotica?, Backyard Babies?).

"Cruel Intention" was originally released back in 1991. It's without a doubt, The Idols best album ever and just as good, if not better, than all the US Glam/Sleaze bands. It's all about sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, and a shitload of attitude. A milestone in Scandinavian sleaze rock and only Shotgun Messiah, managed to record better albums in Sweden really. MTV Europe favorite "Cool Way Of Living" (Vanessa Warwick at Headbanger's Ball loved this track), is only one of the highlights here. "The Way Ya' Walk", "American Nights", "Alive N' Kickin", "House Of Rock'N'Roll" (very much like PBF), and "Devil In Disquise" are all great party songs. The Poison meets Tuff ballad "Can't Get Ya' Off My Mind" is darn fine too. This is a must have CD for Glam/Sleaze fans out there. This kicks the crap outta' any old Poison album in my opinion. Poison may have done some better songs, but not a better, full album. This US version also contains 2 bonus tracks I may add.

"Vicious" was the follow up album to "Cruel" and were originally released in 1993. Sadly this album came out a couple of years too late really. The big sleaze period was already gone and grunge began to take over the world instead. The overall sound is a bit heavier than previous release, but it's still very much Glam/Sleaze. Just a bit sleazier and with maybe not as many good songs as before. "Head's Down (In Tinsel Town)" is maybe their best rock song ever though. Not to mention that "No Time", is Nasty Idols best power ballad. This CD is also blessed with 2 bonus tracks, never before released. Still, a fine piece of Swedish hardrock history this is. Perris Records have done some really good re-releases here.

NASTY IDOLS: "Heroes For Sale" 6

Perris Records 2002
Review by 20 December 2002

"Heroes For Sale" by the Nasty Idols from Sweden was recorded back in 1994/95. It's been un-released until now though, when Perris Records in US approached the band about their recordings. Guitarist Peter Espinoza had left the band, just prior to the recording session of the album. They quickly drafted in Mikkie Nielsen to replace Peter and into the studio they went.

The original crew of Andy Pierce (vocals) and Dick Qwarfort (bass), kinda' knew this was the end of the line for the band. In fact, the title track "Hero For Sale", with its chorus that goes: "I Can't Get Through No Matter What I Do, I'm All In Vein, This Is The End Of Tale. I'm All Left Out The Circle Is Closed, I Can't Get Through, No Way, I'm A Hero For Sale". Is all about their sticky situation with no label behind them anymore. Cold winds were blowin' through out of Europe at the time and no-one wanted to support rock'n'roll anymore.

They went down with flying colours though, even if it's not quite as good as their previous albums. Me thinks tracks like "Hero For Sale", "Cool Runnings", "Dead By Down" or "Give Me No Lip" are business as usual. While others like "Down" or "Sheila" is a bit too much alike Guns'N'Roses for my taste. Not necesarelly bad, just not original enough would be the final verdict here. I must admit that I actually miss Espinoza's guitarwork a lot too. He could always bring out that extra fun outta' the songs. The moody "When The Blood Runs Cold" is something out of the ordinary indeed. Very dark somehow and with vocals by Pierce, that have more in commin with Leonard Cohen [:-)] than anything else. You can also find a cover of Dead Kennedy's old Punk-rocker "Too Drunk To F**K" here. Bottomline, Heroes For Sale is a nice album, but nowhere near the classic masterpiece of Cruel Intention.

NEGATIVE: "War of Love" 8

GBFam Records 2003
Review by Petri Kautto 31 March 2003

Over the last few years Finland has been able to produce a few bands (HIM, Urban Tale, Flaming Sideburns, Stratovarius to name a few) that have been able to get recognition also outside Finnish borders. Negative, a band that consists of five guys that are around 20 years of age, is a band looking to do just that and maybe more. The release of their debut album “War of Love” has been aided by a single (The Moment of Our Love) that has had massive radio play in Finland. The air play has been well deserved because the song really does have everything it takes to make it in Finland or anywhere else for that matter. But one single doesn’t fill a whole CD so the real challenge for them is still to come.

“War of Love” is an album that has a bit of everything. It kicks off with “Lost Soul” which is a melodic mid-tempo rocker with a chorus that is backed with heavy guitars. “After All” and “Good Bye” could be described with the same words and these songs show that band has this section under control. The melodies are not that complicated but they are pretty catchy. The part that I liked best with Negative was that they really do have a rocking side. “Naive”, “Misery”, and “Inspiration” go to crank it up and play it loud category. Those are straight shooting rockers aided with some teenage angst and cocky R&R attitude. The album ends with “Still Alive”, a ballad that is trying to match the monster ballads of the 80’s. The guitar solo is straight outta big arenas but musically the song remains pretty average.

For a debut album “War of Love” is quite mature. Songs are well arranged and producers have done their job well. The album does leave you pretty happy but it’s not that infectious that it would make you wanna spin it on your CD-player 24/7. Nevertheless you can easily pick a few songs that have hit potential and once these guys get more experienced who knows what future holds for them. Let’s give these guys some time and see what happens.
Negative’s homepage

NELSON: "Imaginator" ****-

Victor 1996
Review by

This is the album that Nelson were supposed to release after their hugely successful debut "After The Rain". For some reason that didn't happen, I guess this might have been too much of a departure.

"Imaginator" is definately a heavier and a darker album than the previous Nelson releases. There is also a concept of some kind behind this album, which means that there are weird spoken interludes and instrumental parts between the actual songs.

The best songs for my money are the three songs co-written by Jack Ponti, the man behind Alice Cooper's "Hey Stoopid" and Baton Rouge. "Kiss Me When I Cry" is a typical Ponti-number which sounded a bit too typical at first listen, but I have grown to like it more and more. "Sooner Or Later" is a cool stomper, while "We Always Want We Can't Get" is a brilliant semi-ballad. Obviously it is a Jack Ponti-song but a bit more original than "Kiss Me...".

Chip Z'Nuff and Donnie Vie of Enuff Z´Nuff have co-written two songs, of which "We're All Right" is one of the highlights of this album, a very good catchy rocker with those trademark EZN riffs. The rest of the songs have been written with Mark Raphael of Jailhouse, with the exception of the cover of Sweet's "Action". They aren't too bad, but knowing what Nelson are capable of, a bit disappointing. However, all in all this is a decent album all the way through, even though the fingerprints of the outside writers are a bit too visible here and there.

NELSON: "Life" **** and a half

Perris Records 2000

Review by 03-01-01

I didn't really know what to expect from the ol' "Timotei Twins". They've messed around with country and heavy rock lately, so a return to thee glory days of "After The Rain" didn't seem to be on the cards. What did I know? "Life" is a glorious return to ultra-melodic rocking, and definitely my fave Nelson product after "After The Rain".

The opener "A Girl Like That" is a breathtakingly catchy pop rocker, up there with Nelson classics such as "Love & Affection" and "Won't Walk Away". And it's not the only one of its' kind, "I Would If You Want Me To", "Everybody Cries Sometimes", "Let's Talk About Me" and especially the frighteningly brilliant "The Hunger" are all carved from the same wood, melodic, energetic and catchy as a gene-manipulated flu! And that's just to name a few! Only the slightly dull and Beatles-like title song and Cheap Trickish rocker "She Sheila" tend to pass me by without making much of an impact. Had they been replaced by a couple of killers, maybe a great ballad, we'd be talking about a sure-fire "Album Of The Year"! But I won't complain, this is awesome stuff, my friends!

NELSON: "Brother Harmony" 6

Perris Records 2000

Review by 01-03-16

The NELSON twins go Nashville? Yep, forget about the brutal heavy metal albums they did in the early 90´s as this is an mellow, country album. Wait a minute you say? Nelson never did brutal metal!!! Right you are, my friend they´ve always been "mellow" with lovely harmonies and acoustic guitars, so I´m sure that some of you really can enjoy this album too.

It´s not an real country album though as some of the songs are in the same style as always. Except there are no flashy electric guitar solos this time and instead you´ll get that horrible pedal steel guitar which every yankee redneck seems to love and adore.

The highlights would be the absolutely marvelous ballad "Just One More" which could bring the toughest man to burst out in tears. "She Loves Me" a typical NELSON song with a great chorus and the most uptempo track on the album "From The World Go" that sounds like a mix of old Nelson and Tom Petty and not too forget "With This Kiss" another nice ballad. I gotta admit that some songs are just too much country for my taste (like the horrible "Forever isn´t long enough"). Nice but not essential. You can buy it at (their US label)

NELSON: "The Silence Is Broken (reissue)" 7

Perris 2001

Review by 20 June 2001

What's this smell? Cheap beer, farm hay, unwashed people… And what's this bunch of hillbillies doing around me when playing a Nelson album? They seem to be dancing stupid round dances to "Ghostdance", singing along, and having a good time. One of the is shouting "Rednex rulez", the other one is just whispering into my ears "Do you like Kelly Family too?". Thankfully they disappear with the second track ("Say It Isn't So") and familiar melodic rock lover faces appear with a little bit of shorter hair than back in the late 80s, weathered looks with some scars but hey! they are our friends, good to see them again! What's this? Where are you goin', pals?! "Why Oh Why" – I feel like shouting it to the world! And what's this bunch of 50-some Beatles fans doin' here?! Get the hell out of my room!

Thank God! The good boys are back and the party starts again. We rock a bit to "You Talk Too Much", the mood is just getting high again and we are dancing on the table for "Sunset Strip", there's even a live brass section to entertain us. We get a little break from the party to take the girls out for a romantic talk on the terrace with "What About Me?" and "The Silence Is Broken" but by the time they are cooked soft enough and it's time to make your move rock n' roll is back with "L.O.V.E. Me Not" and "Running Out Of Time" (co-written by Jack Ponti). Sigh of relief: no more signs of hillbillies or Beatles-heads. "Tears of Pain" has the right atmosphere to close the party, a typical cloudy or even rainy dawn feeling balladesque track.

"Love Me Today Part 2" closes the album, a great re-arrangement of the original track, wonderful piano parts and strings arrangement, not to mention the big female chorus. A pure gem, not recommended to Manowar fans though… There's a hidden track too "Feelings Of Love", some weird child-pop with seventies sound. Not too wild guess saying it must be an early recording of the Timotei Twins, most probably a tune written by their daddy (the artwork does not have any info on the track). Perris reissuing the album made it available for everybody. If you liked their "Because They Can" album, you'll love this one too. Just don't expect the bombastic debut…

NEMESIS: "Eden" 6

Sensory/LaserCD 2002
Review by 31 January 2003

Believe it or not, it's not everyday you get to hear some Prog/Metal from Hungary. I must admit that I never payed much attention to Nemesis in the past. Mainly due to the fact, that all their lyrics used to be in their native language. A bit narrowed minded maybe, but I prefer to hear music in a language I 'understand'.

"Eden" is actually the bands's first ever release with lyrics in English. It's also the first release with the new and improved (?) line-up, consisting of: Zoltan Kiss (vocals), Zoltan Fabian (guitars), Csaba Berczelly (bass), Gyorgy Nagy (keyboards) and Laszlo Nagy (drums).

This is pretty dark and sometimes even moody Prog-Metal, with heavy riffing and spacey keys. The keyboard player is all over the place and the duels with guitarist Fabian, is sometimes very intense and powerful. Inspired by bands such as Dream Theater, Fates Warning & Pink Floyd, they blend in some of their own "Eastern" Europe vibe here. Excellent musicians with lots of complex tempo and chord changes, are what you'll find thoughout the whole CD. Besides the already named artists above, I'd also like to add Artension to the list. Thery are signed to the US label Sensory/LaserCD and I'm not sure it's been officially released in Europe (except in Hungary of course). The material gets a bit boring in the long run, I do miss a couple of really strong choruses. The more than 9 minutes long title track is a real treasure though. The instrumental "Faith" is very melodic with great guitarwork by Fabian. And the 10 minutes long "Eternal Escape", is earcandy for every Prog-Metal-ist. You can also find their version of the Hungarian folksong "Viragenek" here. Check 'em out if you're really into the complex stuff, otherwise, think twice before buying.

NERDEE: "Diamond Station" 7

Poko Records 2003
Review by 13 October 2003

Although they might have one of the worst names I've ever heard, this all-girl pop/rock band from Finland are surely on their way to the top. They have already scored a massive radio hit with the first single "Broken Glass", a finely crafted piece of pop rock, and I'd imagine that the record label has high hopes for this album too.

Nerdee have already released one album a couple of years ago, although back then they used to be called "Nerdie" and had a male guitarist. I haven't heard that album, although I remember liking the single "Burning For You", which was a bit more rockier than what's on offer here.

With "Diamond Station" Nerdee have created the perfect soundtrack for any episode of Dawson's Creek, with plenty of melancholic, nice pop tracks in the vein of The Corrs, Lene Marlin and Natalia Imbruglia. You might add some modern melodic rock sound into the mix as well, something like The Goo Goo Dolls or The Calling, but just a touch...indeed, Nerdee could've rocked a bit more. Something like "Poison & Cure" proves that they are capable, but unfortunately there aren't many songs like that one here.

Lyrically the album isn't a collection of happy pop numbers, as the melancholic athmosphere of the songs is reflected in the lyrics as well. The girls seem to have poured all their heartaches into the songs, and there really isn't a single "happy" song here. I don't mind, most of my favourite songs are tales of love lost and broken hearts anyways...

In addition to the songs mentioned before, I would like to highlight "No Matter", a very beautiful ballad and "Little Words", a good pop rock track that apparently appeared on their first album as well. The rest of the songs aren't too bad either, maybe a bit too "nice" for their own good though.

NEURAL MASS: "Descent Into A Lower World"

Indie 2001
Review by Endre "Bandi" Hübner 11 December 2001

Neural Mass is a Canadian band that plays keyboard orientated progressive rock. To call them a "band" might be a little bit of an exaggeration as the guitarist and bassist featured on this CD have already left the band that - to me at least - seems to be Gary X Floyd's (keyboards, flute, vocals, songwriting) project rather than a band approach.

Anyway, the music speaks for itself and progressive rock fans will not be disappointed with it. It has strong touches of ELP and Rush all over it but when the guitars finally get some room it even reminds me of Dream Theater. However the overall quality of this record is quite far from the "big brothers" mentioned but it has nothing to do with the musicians' ability to play. I especially enjoyed Marcel Babin's guitar work, it'll be hard to replace him. The weakest point of the record is Gary X Floyd's vocals as they are not trained enough to live up to the expectations set by the quality of the music. I also find some of the songs are lacking memorable melodies (it might be because of his limited vocal abilities though). The weak production and the lack of backing vocals and choruses don't help either.

The best song of the album might be "Silence" with its partially acoustic arrangement, a really moody title while Rush fans might be pleased with "Broken Down". On the other hand "More Suffering To Follow" is something I can't really get into, sometimes sounds like some nu- breed band, at others it's like reggae then goes into a really catchy instrumental ending. Why not make one good instrumental song out of it and leave the rest?! BTW instrumental fans should give "Anthropophagus" a try, well at least if they do not get scared away with its title… "Scratched and Yellowed" has great instrumental parts again (acoustic guitar - flute arrangement) but the weak vocal melodies and performance kill some parts of the song. The title track gives a real instrumental treatment with its seven and a half minutes length. Being an instru fan I really liked it, however I'm afraid it could be quite overwhelming for people used to catchy hooks and melodies. Nevertheless Neural Mass is worth a check at

NEVER NEVER: "Monologue"

Indie 1999

Review by Endre "Bandi" Hübner 1 May 2001

Never Never recorded an album in the vein of early Styx and Foreigner. Fans of those bands won't be disappointed by this release however I would dare to recommend it to more progressive orientated listeners too, as at numerous times I can hear influences of Rush and Saga on some of the songs. So are the opener "Through The Lens" and the follow-up "Heart Of Glass" that even features some Pink Floyd-ish guitar work. AOR fans will be pleased by "I Believe" or "Whisper In The Wind" both in the Styx meets Survivor or REO Speedwagon vein. The latter is a beautiful ballad that would easily fit on any of those big names' release. The vocals are high pitched, crystal clear, and sometimes even take that special sugarcoating characteristic for Dennis DeYoung or Kevin Cronin.

Taking into account that this is an independent release the sound is good enough, the mix is balanced, and the vocals are clear and thick. Unlike most of the self-recorded material the arrangement of the songs is vivid, we can even find percussion, piano, and strings keys here. "Power In Your Hand" would please old Survivor fans, "Time Is The Healer" is for more open minded listeners who can respect some jazzy influences, and "Over The Edge" is for anyone who likes the AOR hit bands of the 80's.

Survivor fans would love "Last Limit", the arrangement and the melodies remind me of the band's classic, best selling era. Unfortunately, I can feel some mixing problems on this track, the guitar sound (that sounds okay in itself) kills most of the instruments in the final mix. Still this is one of the most positive, catchiest songs of the album, highly recommended! I can only hope that the band will be able to re-record it with proper production. Another highlight for me was "You", a piano based ballad with beautiful vocal melodies, obviously in the early (Babe, Lady, Come Sail Away, etc) Styx vein. Though the album was recorded in 1999, the weak studio equipment makes the overall sound of this song a bit "old-ish", so the early Styx feeling is emphasized. Definitely an experience! "The Closing" is a nice progressive piece where the piano, the guitar, and the vocals all have their share of taking the solo role. The album is written, arranged, and performed in a very professional way and the sound is good enough too. The only problem with it could be to find the right audience as the band is bordering several genres from being clearly adult orientated rock at times, being a complex progressive group at others, sometimes even experimenting with jazzy and bluesy elements. I enjoyed the album as it was very diverse and there was always something new surfacing but a less tolerant listener might find it a bit too chaotic for their taste. Recommended to open minds! Check them out at

NEW MACHINE: "New Machine" 8

Mascot Records 2003
Review by 31 October 2003

If you like bands such as Rush, Kansas, Marillion, Boston and a little bit of Dream Theater, then you should check out this album. New Machine consists of two musicians, David Garcia(drums, keyboards, lead and background vocals) and Bob Gilmartin(guitars, bass and lead and background vocals)and these two guys really know how to rock.

Garcia and Gilmartin have been creating music together for almost 20 years and their first musical loves were Rush and Kiss. In 2000 they started to work on this project and if you listen to this record you can hear all the already mentioned influences, but you will also hear their own progressive, melodic style; which by the way is not very original, but very worthwhile listening to. Take for example the first two tracks “Going Home” and “New Horizon”, and you will probably experience that sort of deja-vu feeling – I have heard this before, but I do not know when or where…… Bob’s mind numbing guitar riffs and emotional solos, like in “Blood In The Ocean” or “A Thousand Lies” are a treat to everyone who likes melodic hard rock.

“Meant To Be” is a beautiful Boston –like ballad, while “Cold” is probably the hardest track, with a heavy guitar hook. New Machine saves the best for last; “Waterfront” is the highlight of this album. An epic(11:22 minutes), symphonic song with lots of piano passages, balladesque rhythms, mind boggling guitar solos and great vocal parts. Again, not an original track but you have got to love this. Melodic rock lovers should at least give this band a chance; I think you will like it.

NEWMAN: "Sign Of The Modern Times" 9

Escape Music 2003
Review by 25 August 2003

Newman is of course the always neurotic and slightly chubby (yeah right!) person, living next door to Seinfeld. This is however not the same person at all, since Steve Newman (vocals, guitars, keys) is way better at music than any old postman.

"Sign Of The Modern Times" is actually his 3:rd release at Escape Records and also his best effort so far. With the help of drummer Pete Jupp (FM, Samson, Wildlife) and Mike Brooks (bass), Newman have created one of the better Melodic Hardrock/AOR releases from UK lately. Bare in mind that I've never really been a fan of the man in the past. I must admit that I actually gave or traded? away my copy of his previous CD.

The songmaterial is still penned and done by Newman alone though. However, it seems like he's been drinking gasoline and eating barbwire, every-single-day since last time around. The songs are dangerously explosive stuff with catchy and razorsharp hooks included. Not every track is a winner though and you can still find a couple of dull moments on this CD. Still, how can you not enjoy catchy, melodic, songs, like opener "Save Me Tonight" or the sousy "Last Known Survivors". The latter is something which Magnum, FM, Dare, Heartland, or why not Gary Hughes, wish they had written and recorded. You can often compere Newman with these UK artists even though it's far from the whole truth. "Masquerade" is however very much like the early material by FM (Indiscreet, Though It Out), and "You Should Be Gone" continues on the same path. Very classy AOR/Melodic Hardrock with the roots firmly grounded in the 80's. You remember those happy days with mostly fun music, right? "Watching You" is one fine slice of paradise as this power ballad goes straight to the heart. "Heart vs Desire" is my kind of music with a catchy hook and some killer guitar/keyboard work. Simplicity is a very underrated thing for sure! Don't kill me for saying this... but "Don't Keep Me Waiting" reminded me a lot of Easy Action and their great album, "That Makes One". Not that I believe Newman to have heard or copied their style in anyway. But darn it if "What You Do To Me" isn't similar to Tommy Nilsson and Easy Action again??? The title track is actually the weakest of the bunch and boring as crap. Last track "Worlds Apart" is so-so even though it's far from being crap. If you treasure releases such as the new 'Crystal Blue' or 'On The Rise' highly this year. Do add this one to your buying list as it's another fine, pure "80's" album.

NEXX: Demo

Demo 2001

Review by 30 October 2001

Second Demo CD from this Madrid based melodic rock band. Formed on the fall of 1999, by Bernardo Llobregat (guitars and vocals), José A. de la Banda (bass and vocals), Oscar Pérez(drums), Francisco J. Rodríguez (keyboards) and joined a year later by Patricia Tapia (lead vocals), Nexx started as a cover band and did (and still do) very well on the local club circuit. They play Whitesnake, Europe, Bon Jovi, Harem Scarem, Journey, Kansas, Toto, Mr. Big, Tyketto, Shania Twain, Treat, Stryper... just name it and sure they can play it! On their shows they also have some space to play their own songs, which are quite interesting, and this demo has the clear purpose to show that.

Productionwise, it's a self recorded demo, (both Fran and Bernardo have their home PC based studios, drums however have been recorded in an outside studio which is something to thank as we don't hear the typical drum-machine sound), so expect nothing spectacular in that field, even though the sound they got is quite decent taking their resources into account. The songwriting and the performance are quite a different story as there's some really interesting stuff here. "After The Storm" is the highlight for you AORheads out there, a really good soft rock track ala Heart meets Whitesnake (when they mellowed down, I mean), with very good keys all over the place. "Time To Fly" is a keyboard driven track with an intro very much in a Survivor mood followed by a very good riff by Bernardo and some good backing vocals to support Patricia's excellent lead vox. The opener "Get Fire" shows a clear Whitesnake influence on the guitar riffs, and could be the weakest song of the bunch, which means not by any means it's a bad one, while "Consciously" could be described as melodic rock ala Mr. Big meets Heart (specially on the vocal dept. as Patricia here reminds me a lot of Ann Wilson). But for me the best track is without a doubt "One More Day". a nice soul/pop ballad in which Patricia's voice simply shines at her best. One can only imagine that with a better production this could be a smash single on mainstream commercial radio stations. And that's a pity as someone who has not listened to their songs live could get a wrong impression. I can assure (and the hundreds of fans who go to their shows too) this band really rocks!

So, if you want to hear one of the best new Spanish (and I'd dare to say European) bands around there check them out. They sell the CD at their site. If you are going to the Gods this year, don't miss them! I know one should be tempted, (they're the second act to play and being a cover band and such...), well, that would be a big mistake IMO.

NEXX: "Colours" 9

Now & Then 2003
Review by 18 May 2003

Now & Then have big hopes for these Spanish newcomers, and they've been promoting the release of "Colours" with full force. Free samples have been available on various sites (including ours), so many of you might have some kind of an idea of what to expect. Indeed you can still check out many of the tracks on our MP3 Vault.

Nexx are fronted by Patricia Tapia, a talented singer with a voice that might remind you of eighties' AOR goddess Fiona. The similarities do not end there, as the styles of Nexx and Fiona are quite close to each other - we're talking about smooth, keyboard-oriented AOR. Other comparisons could be drawn to many legendary AOR groups, Journey, Heart and early Harem Scarem for example.

The production by Pete Coleman is excellent, and the performance of the band is top-notch too. As for the songs, I feel that the band's strength at the moment lies in the more uptempo tracks. "Arches Of Faith", "Remember" and "Wake Up" are of exceptional quality, with the remaining uptempo tracks following close behind. There's still room for improvement when it comes to ballads, although the trio of them on "Colours" aren't by no means bad. Another thing that drops their score a little is the lyrics, which give away the fact that Nexx aren't native english speakers. Some of the lyrics sound like they are merely translated from Spanish, with questionable choices of words and weird phrases.

Those minor gripes aside, this is one of the strongest debut albums of recent years, and most probably one of the TOP TEN albums of 2003...
Now & Then Productions