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CIRCUS MAXIMUS: "The 1st Chapter" 8

Frontiers 2005
Review by Satu Reunanen
3 July 2005

Norway isn’t exactly a country that produces loads of progressive metal bands, and eventhough Pagan’s Mind and Ark have for the past few years been the flag carriers for that genre, Conception left a great print on this genre and a huge hole to be filled. Circus Maximus is a new progressive metal band coming from Norway, which doesn’t exactly fill the place Conception left years ago, but offers their own point of view to the prog family and are a band that might give some new spark to their homelands music business.

The guys are involved with other bands as well, for instance Carnivora and Ozzy tribute band Ozzmosis, and it was only in 2000 that Circus Maximus became complete. Their debut will surprise many, it’s very influenced by Dream Theater, but the band still has a sound of their own, while mixing different elements. The vocals and harmonies reach heavens and the atmosphere is very high spirited all the way. The grooves work from first listen and the band stays heavy and compact for most part. It’s only in ”Glory Of The Empire” and ”The 1st Chapter” where the band goes a little off road. The songs run between ten to twenty minutes, but the length isn’t a problem, the several parts would’ve had more kick in them as own songs. Now the atmosphere gets a little lazy and scattered when a variety of emotions were squeezed to breathtaking lengths.

Eventhough Circus Maximus’ music has complex structures, it’s still music that will also appeal to the average hard rock fan. Take it from me, it’s been proven and tested. With powerful songs like ”Sin”, ”Alive”, ”Why Am I Here” and ”The Prophecy”, the band brings new life to prog music and even with slight off road moments, this album is very uplifting with its melodies and has reached a level of interest and a place as finest new comers this year. For those who got interested and are on their way to the ProgPower Festival in USA this September, you have a chance to witness this band live with Stratovarius, Angra and other great bands. Otherwise the band’s staying in Scandinavia this summer.
Circus Maximus Website

Kelly CLARKSON: "Breakway" 7

SonyBMG/RCA 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
3 July 2005

The first American Idol Kelly Clarkson is back with her second album. The first album was mainstream pop with some rock influences, but on this album, Kelly the Rock Chick stands up! The new producers don't try to make a new Celine Dion out of her, and Kelly herself has taken more part in the creative process, having co-written several of the tracks.

you might want to skip the rather lame opener "Breakaway", a rather lifeless number as the first track. The album really starts with the two tracks written by Max Martin, "Since U Been Gone" and "Behind These Hazel Eyes". Both are rather energetic rockers with strong hooks, as we've learned to expect from ol' Max The Swede. The next few tracks are really good as well: "Because Of You" and "Addicted" are both excellent rock ballads written by Kelly, David Hodges and Ben Moody (ex-Evanescence) and "Gone", a quirky but likeable pop/rock track.

Arguably the two weakest tracks have been buried to the middle of the running order: "Where Is Your Heart" is simply a rather dull ballad and "Walk Away" a Pink-like dance-pop-rock hybrid and not a very good one. It gets better with "You Found Me", a strong pop rocker, but "I Hate Myself For Loving You" doesn't really appeal to me, despite its' retro-rock style. Finally, there's "Hear Me", a good modern rock ballad co-written by Clif Magness. Oh yeah, there's a bonustrack too - a live version of "Beautiful Disaster".

With a little (or more) help from hit producers and songwriters, Ms. Clarkson has come up with a strong second album. A few tracks may be a bit on the safe side, but at least there's a certain direction on this album, unlike her debut. Kelly Clarkson Website

SLAGMARK: "Eradication" 6

Edgerunner 2005
Review by Satu Reunanen
3 July 2005

Get your black and white paints, smudge your face as devilish as possible, make a few evil grins next to the mirror and you’ve found the shallow essence of black metal. That’s what Slagmark from Norway are about and their debut ”Eradication” reeks evil spirits. The band has done fine with it, reaching the right intense, devilish sound, which needs to lack some bass. Eventhough Slagmarks sound is quite thin, they still come out as a dynamic pack, which sounds exactly like black metal should sound.

The band has twists in the songs, though being able to seperate the songs from each other you need a few listens. For most part the material comes out very straight though. With titles such as ”Erase Christianity” and ”Art Of War”, the band is set for at least a few questionable moments of glory in the newspaper headlines. Or it might be, that our society wouldn’t give a rats ass anymore of such gimmicks or ones opinions. It’s old school black metal we’re talking here and eventhough not being a fan of this genre anymore, some credit has to be given, since the overall atmosphere with this album will find its fans for sure. Would’ve gotten more points if I was into black metal, but they’re still a tight group with the right touch to their genre. Be it, that they’ve got their influences, but who doesn’t then ?
Slagmark Website

OLE EVENRUDE: "One Size Fits All" 9

MTM Classix 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
25 June 2005

The golden rules of AOR - keep it simple and keep it catchy!!! Norway's Ole Evenrude managed to do both with "One Size Fits All" and that's something to be proud of in my opinion. You want to know the whole darn secret of success in the melodic hardrock genre??? simply include a sing-a-long refrain and never-ever to underrate the meaning of simplicity. Throw a couple of wicked guitar riffs and licks on top of that and you're open for business.

It's as "simple" as that and still it's rather difficult to find any CD of today with such innocent/childish yet at the same time catchy approach. Nope, I don't believe it's a question of "everything was better in the past", it's frankly not the entire truth. Ole Evenrude is/was however Norway's answer to Desmond Child, he's been working as songwriter/producer with acts such as Sha-Boom, Bai Bang, Swedish Erotica, Tone Norum, Stage Dolls, and lately, Wig Wam. And much like Des Child, Evenrude has also moved on to work with pop acts such as Kurt Nilsen (World "Idol" winner), A-HA, Ace Of Base, A-Teens and The Tuesdays.

"One Size Fits All" was originally released in 1989 and MTM Classix's digitally remastered version comes with four (4) unreleased bonus tracks. Some of the bonus tracks (Welcome To The Real World, Werewolf) has been recorded in the past with other artists though. "Werewolf" was included on the "Let's Party" album with Sha-Boom, and the same goes with "Desperado" and "X-Ray Specs", both included here as well as on the "original" version of "One Size Fits All" of course. OK, some of the lyrics are darn right silly at times and killer lines like "I'm a Peepin' Tom - Gonna catch you with your trousers down", are hardly something to brag about. But I'll have to say that it's overall a real gem and must have for any fan of melodic and Scandi-Rock. Add to this a fine production by Neil Kernon (Dokken, Autograph, XYZ, Kansas, Michael Bolton) and backing vocals by Robin Beck, Jon Fiore, Hugo, and you're set for a bumpy rock'n'roll ride. Play it loud, mutha!!! Essential stuff!!!

BROKE[N]BLUE: "The Waiting" 7

MTM 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
28 June 2005

One thing's for sure... Broke[N]Blue certainly have it all out in the open with "The Waiting". It's an unshameful display of pure AOR/Melodic Hardrock of the 80's and their bandwagon status is definitely still a very clean sheet. They haven't 'sold out' in other words!!! OK... they ain't blessed with wondrous visions of orginallity either, but as long as you keep it somewhat catchy, I'm not going to bite their heads off. I'm a major fan of 'dut-dut' keyboards anyhow and they do have a advantage towards other acts with their mixed female/male vocals.

They have done wonders with the sound however, keeping in mind that we're talking about a rather low-budget, self-production. Tracks like "Perfect Match" and "How Does It Feel" really stands as AOR tunes in its own right, retaining much of the Wilson-sisters 'Heart' sound during mid-80's. However, I'm not fully pleased with "The Waiting" as it feels a tad *too* safe at times. There's nothing wrong with staying true to their colours, but where's the hunger and passion for adventure, a walk on the wild-side???

I know many hardcore AOR fans will get a kick outta this and please don't get me wrong, I do enjoy certain parts of "The Waiting" very much indeed. In fact, "Rivers Are Calling" had me thinking about a rougher version of Roxette, where Peter handles the verse and Eva takes lead during the excellent refrain. I miss however a couple of really strong choruses that will stay in your head for days. "Endlessly" and "Midnite Show" are however two great examples of Swedish AOR at its best. Bottomline: It's a solid AOR CD and you will probably still enjoy this, if you thought highly of the debut.

BOYSVOICE: "Serenity" 7

Escape 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
25 June 2005

Whatever made them name the band "Boysvoice" is rather difficult to understand and it certainly goes way over my head. I guess they were aiming for opening tour slot with either Backstreet Boys or Michael Jackson, huh??? They are however a hardrock band in the lighter school of things and you can put them next to Demon Drive or the latest Casanova (you can also add a small dose of Scorpions), without feeling completely lost or out of place. It's a real grower actually and the CD gets better for each spin (up to a certain point of course).

"Serenity", the German's third overall release and the first since 1993, is a slick affair with a solid production and smooth rock approach. Returning bassist Jochen Mayer (Casanova) and vocalist/guitarist Mani Gruber, has penned down a dozen tunes without any real outstanding highlights or downers for that matter. It's a cozy little rock album that will work out fine as background music... while car driving during your lazy summer holidays. No need to worry about either road rage or falling asleep behind the wheel as the Boysvoice CD will keep you right on track.

Opener "Open Your Eyes" will instantly have you thinking about Casanova and/or Demon Drive. Add that Gruber has a rather similar voice to Voss and you're even closer to home. "Best Friend's Lover" is a funkier little number that actually reminded me of Sweden's "It's Alive" (with Max Martin on vocals). "What You Get" borrows the guitar driving attitude of Scorpions, while "Always On My Mind" is a darn fine semi-ballad. The overall attitude is slightly heavier than Casanova as they rely more upon the old school sound of Scorpions as well. Don't be afraid to check this out if you're normally into the above mentioned acts as I find this to be a nice mix of Casanova & Scorpions.


Perris 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
27 June 2005

Perris Records (USA) is darn right notorious for coming up with both goodies as well as crappy and obscure acts in that 80's Sleaze/Glam tradition. They've even managed to lure Sweden's most famous Glam/Sleaze rocker ever... to join up for the mad roller coaster ride. I'm obviously talking about Zinny Zan (ex-Easy Action, King Pin, Shotgun Messiah) and his Zan Clan with the marvelous track "Go,Go,Go". It's a fun return to his King Pin days and easily his best song for a decade.

Tigertailz with "Dirty Needles" is the Bezerk/Banzai line-up once again and it's nice attempt of heavier sleaze rock. United Enemies was/is the "new" band with ex-Nasty Idols vocalist Andy Pierce and it's a violent mix of Guns'N' Roses and Sex Pistols. You probably need to love both above mentioned acts to enjoy this song. Sweden's 'On Parole' is fun KISS/Four Horsemen rock with a edgy attitude, Cosmic Ballroom (dito) is Backyard Babies/Hellcopters rock, and Vains Of Jenna is yet another Swedish act to look out for in the future. In fact, Sweden is blooming with new Sleaze acts at the moment and make sure to check out Crashdiet's album later this year for even more of that L.A. rock.

Cathouse with the song "Rock Is All You Need" is sleaze rock from Italy in the vein of Faster Pussycat. Not that strange perhaps since Faster Pussycat singer ( ), was in fact the co-owner of the club with the same name in L.A. Then you have a couple of not-so-great numbers with a rather crappy production to be honest. It's still the best Hairspray Collection yet and a nice start if you wanna check out "new" Sleaze/Glam acts.

STEVE MORSE: "Prime Cuts"

Mascot Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
29 June 2005

This is in fact not a new album, but is a collection of songs from Steve’s Magna Carta releases. Of course we all know Steve Morse as one of the best guitar players of the last decade, as he has won several awards. We also know that he played with Kansas, Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple and of course his own Steve Morse Band.

On this album you will find Steve playing with Billy Sheehan, Jordan Rudess, John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue and Terry Bozzio. The CD features 9 tracks, 2 from the Steve Morse Band album “Split”, 2 from “Major Impacts 2”, 1 from “Major Impacts”, 1 from “Working Man (Tribute To Rush)”, 1 from “Tales From Yesterday”(Yes Tribute), 1 from “Feeding The Wheel”(Jordan Rudess) and a song called “Led On” which is a vapourspace remix from the album “Sonic Residue From Vapourspace”.

All great tracks, except for the boring acoustic Yes cover “The Clap”, with as highlights the fantastic “Quantum Soup” and “Led On”. This album, proves again, that Steve is the consummate musician, when necessary, a supportive sideman, but in particular, a singularly talented guitar player and composer. As a bonus you can enjoy an 11-minute interview with Steve.

DOPE STARS INC: "10.000 Watts"

Trisol 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
23 June 2005

4 suitably gloomy looking guys wearing nothing but black and a big splash of modern-day warpaint...gotta be goth? Maybe so, but with a twist. You can read a description of their sound on the band's website, I don't feel like competing with that display of creative writing there...this is techno for the metal heads and metal for the ravers. Sequencers, computers and other gadgets are all over the place, yet there's room for guitars and hell, the song has a hook! Interesting. Vocalist Victor Love (any relation to Courtney... or Buddy?) seems to spent a semester in the Andrew WK school of singing, but who cares, since that kind of vocalizin' is perfect for this kind of material. Yeah, I kinda like this. And I hate techno!

The band is about to release a full blown album in September, and I have feeling that it might something to look out for. Meanwhile, you can try to locate their "10.000 Watts Of Artificial Pleasures" 6-track EP for more of their stuff...don't know why that wasn't sent to us, instead of this "Special DJ Edition"...RockUnited.Com doesn't have a dance floor! Dope Stars Inc Website

MIKE PORTNOY: "Prime Cuts"

Mascot Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
29 June 2005

“Prime Cuts” is a collection of Mike’s finest work from his Magna Carta sessions, performing with John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, Billy Sheehan, Andy West, Tony Levin, Sebastian Bach and Jake E.Lee.

In “Mad March” Portnoy plays with Andy West(Dixie Dregs) and this song is a real jazzy, fusion kind of thing. This CD also features some Liquid Tension songs, namely “Freedom Of Speech”, “Acid Rain”, “Chris & Kevin’s Excellent Adventure”, “Another Dimension” and “Three Minute Warning Edit”. All great progressive instrumental rock songs with clear Dream Theater influences.

Furthermore you can enjoy 2 songs from the album „Working Man”(The Rush Tribute), „By-Tor And The Snow Dog” and „Working Man” and 1 song from the Emerson, Lake & Palmer tribute „Encores, Legends and Paradox” called „Endless Enigma”. So, in fact all great songs but most of you will already have heard all the tracks and will already have all the albums from which these songs are taken.So this is only an album for Portnoy die-hards?


Jive (Sony BMG) 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
23 June 2005

What? Backstreet Boys? At RockUnited.Com? Yes! The boys are all grown up, and have delivered an album that even you might like, if you put your prejudices aside. Yes, YOU!

I'm the first to admit that my first impression of this band wasn't too good. Back in the mid-nineties they were just one of the countless wimpy boybands with flashy choreographies and bouncy pop songs, not to mention those limp-wristed ballads. I actually listened to their first album a while ago, and it was still quite horrible! The second one wasn't much to write home either, but for the third one ("Millennium") they got a few really outstanding songs, like "Larger Than Life" which was basically a hard rock track with dancepop coating, and the moody ballad "Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely", which showcased a more mature side of the band. The fourth one I haven't heard, only the singles, of which I liked some. Before the band's hiatus they released a greatest hits compilation, which featured new song "Drowning", an AOR ballad by any standards and arguably one of their best songs.

"Never Gone" seems to be continuation of "Drowning" and their attempt to update their sound. The instrumentation of these songs is more organic than before, there is a lot of live instruments with rock guitars upfront. If I were to compare this to a rock album, the most obvious reference would be the last Def Leppard album "X" - a number of these songs would have been right at home on that one.

Highlights? Everyone must have heard "Incomplete" by now, as it's all over radio and MTV, and it is indeed a suitable introduction to this album. Dark, moody and bombastic power ballad with a lot of similarities to Def Leppard. Longtime BSB songwriter Max Martin has come up with some of the best tracks here, including the dangerously infectious pop rock tracks "Just Want You To Know", "I Still..." and "Climbing The Walls". The latter is probably my favourite track here - it takes a couple of spins for the chorus to stick to your head...

Out of the 14 tracks here (with two marked as bonustracks), only two have to be rated as "instantly skippable": "Weird World" co-written by Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik is just too jazzy, jangly and whiny for me and "Poster Girl" reminds me of the band's dreadful dance tracks. Then there are a few tracks that I'm not too sure about, the quirky "My Beautiful Woman" (the hard rocking guitars on the chorus do appeal to me though) and Oasis-like ballad "Lose It All" for instance. The overall rating could have been even higher, if any of those tracks would had been replaced a couple of guitar-driven, uptempo numbers. Now the album gets a bit too balladic towards the end.

I'm sure that this review will generate a lot of debate, but that's just fine. I just wish that people would get over the fact that it's Backstreet Boys, and give it a shot. It's not the best thing since sliced bread and it's not even a contender to be the best album of 2005, but still, it's a decent pop/rock album with some very good songs. Backstreet Boys

FRAMESHIFT: "An Absence Of Empathy" 9

Atenzia 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
19 June 2005

This is the follow-up album to Frameshift’s debut, which featured vocals by James LaBrie and which was one of the highlights of prog rock music in 2003. “An Absence Of Empathy” is filled with the vocals of Sebastian Bach, former Skid Row lead singer. Henning Pauly, wrote and performed all the music except for the drums which are played by Eddie Marvin.

The music on this second Frameshift album is definitely more heavy and metal orientated than on “Unweaving The Rainbow”, which was a prog rock album in every way. “Human Grain” is the opening song and this one immediately sets the tone for this rather interesting album, the song is filled with heavy riffs, a smashing guitar solo and lots of powerful singing by Sebastian. “Just One More” is even heavier and because of the metal parts and the screaming vocals this one reminds me of Skid Row at their best.

“I Killed You”, which clocks over 9 minutes!, is the first true highlight, as it is a really diverse and surprising song. It has heavy and funky musical parts, it has screaming dramatic vocals occasionally, two short a-capella parts in the middle, a “Under The Bridge”-like melody and some great melodic solos. “Push This Button” reminds me of James La Brie’s last solo album as it features staccato guitar riffs, loops and lots of aggressive guitar parts and solos. “In An Empty Room” is an amazing ballad with heart breaking vocals and a dramatic ending. The second highlight is called “Blade”, again a song over 9 minutes, which is rather mysterious, orchestral and bombastic. Bach’s singing is again extremely top of the bill and the great guitar passages by Pauly are again outstanding; what a super song!! The theme of the album is violence, human violence and the CD takes you into the psyche of several different people whom are either experiencing or acting out violence. I can really recommend this album as I always loved Bach’s typical voice and the music on this album can surely compete with Pauly’s first Frameshift album. It is more aggressive and heavy but always melodic and surprising, so check this one out, it is worth the “trouble”.

Stefan MOREN: "The Last Call" 8

Swedmetal Records 2005
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner
13 June 2005

There's a little devil living in my head. He's wearing a pair of red leather pants with a colorful silk shirt, he's got a can of hairspray in his hand and every time I play an album with as a modern sound and approach as Stefan Moren's second solo, the little bastard starts screaming "no, no, hell no, we don't like it, Alice in Chains sucks in general and these guys and their entire movement killed rock music after all". And most of the times I do agree with the voices in my head and write my review accordingly.

However this time there's an exception to the rule because even though Stefan's newie sounds very modern it is full of melodies and memorable hooks. Usually it's hard to find the balance between experimenting with modern, aggressive sound, yet sticking to classic rock melodies but this album is a prime example that it is possible the melt both into an entertaining full-length album. The reason of Stefan's successful attempt must be due to his own studio background knowledge and his ongoing live experience. He handled everything, all the instruments, the recording, and the production on the album, yet he managed to stay in control and there's a consistent sound and approach all over the album. This guy was prepared for his release!

The quality of the entire album is quite solid, there are no real highlights or downsides. The opening trio "Can You See", the title track, and the stumping "Try Your Broken Wings" set the pace giving you an idea what to expect throughout the entire album. Towards the end there are a few tracks that show some Brit Rock influence (as far as their simplicity and their weird lyrics go) and the same guitar sound on almost all the songs gets overwhelming after a while but the beautiful ballad "The old man will show me the way" brings a welcome change. All in all it's a good songwriter-performer album and I'd say "to hell with the devil" but before I went too far: no, "I will NOT sing praise". :)

DEMON: "Better The Devil You Know" 7

SpacedOut Music 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
14 June 2005

Better the "Demon" you know... as this is a rather fine return to the classic "Demon" sound of the 80's. I had basically lost all hope of them ever returning with a half decent album again to be honest. This comes therefore as a nice surprise and merely the ultra lame "Warriors" (worse than "Warriors Of Ghengis Khan" with Bad News), and the rather corny "Obsession", feels now like a major let down.

However, with only nine tracks included and two of them instantly lost, you're now suddenely down to seven. Hardly anything to brag about in these CD days I'm afraid. "Better The Devil You Know" could only have benefited from excluding all that blank, empty space, with a couple of more songs instead. The songwriting team of Dave Hill (vocals) and Neil Ogden (drums) has otherwise managed to come up with some clever lines and hooks. "Dead Of The Night" is a sparkling return to the good, old, days, and "Standing On The Edge" will take you right back to the year of 1985. I'm really fond of the fat hammond sound here and a couple of tracks had me even thinking about Thin Lizzy.

Bottomline: Not too shabby actually and I will definitely play this every once in a while. It can't really compete with their best material of the 80's, and it's neither a contender for the album of the year for that matter. But still... not bad, not bad at all.


InsideOut 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
14 June 2005

It seems like the Spiritual Beggars has constantly been fighting their inner "Demons" with this release. The first five tracks are tiresome stoner rock without any finess or meaning whatsoever. It's like a nightmare return to the hippie and experimental jamming days of the late 60's/very early 70's. It suddenely becomes very clear to me why people were constantly dropping acid (LSD), during the flower-power years... it's probably the only way to stand this kind of nonsense.

"Demons" is a real shape-shifter though as the music finally kicks in at track #6. The guitar riffs are bigger, the melodies are better, and it's all very enjoyable heavy/melodic rock of the 70's (Audioslave rock to the rookie). "Dying Every Day" is still a gloomy and a dark title, but it rocks in a interesting way. There's a really mean hammond roaring in the background and vocalist JB steps up the plate to hit a homerun. "Born To Die" is actually more of a 80's rock kind of thing with blasting guitars by Mike Amott (ex-Carcass), and a vibe closer to Guns'N'Roses than Mountain. The last seven tracks are actually the best and I would personally switch the running order and tracklisting of "Demons".

Certainly not their best record so far and I would rather go back to the first Spiritual Beggars album anyday. The hardcore fan base will probably still go nuts over this though. Let me end this with an old Love/Hate saying: "why do you think they call it dope?"

NORTHERN LIGHT: "Northen Light" 4

MTM 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
12 June 2005

Northen Light (not to be confused with the mid-80's act from Sweden) is yet another AOR project with several lead vocalists at large. The main person however is Norwegian guitarist/songwriter Tor Talle, a session player in his homeland for years and he's also behind the music to television shows and documentary's in Norway. Hands down, this could as easily have been one of many Tommy Denander' projects. The music is very-much steeped in the same kind of AOR/Westcoast formula and you'll get a watered down version of Radioactive, Toto, Sayit, Journey, rock.

The lead vocalists are the excellent Fergie Frederiksen (TOTO), the hi-pitched Tony Mills (SHY), Sweden's dito Peter Sundell (Grand Illusion), Rob Moratti (Final Frontier), Mikael Erlandsson and Finland's Kimmo Blom (Urban Tale). The songs however are remarkebly bleach, uninspiring, and even quite dull at times. I actually find it darn difficult to name any highlights or selling points whatsoever. It's technical clean and sterile AOR without any disturbing elements such as memorable hooks or melodies.

There's a couple of highlights like the suggestive ballad "When I Close My Eyes" with Mills at the front of the stage, "High Above The Sky" is a keeper, and "Living On A Lie" is a nice Urban Tale number. It's the same mid-tempo rock pretty much throughout the entire disc though and it leaves you quite unconcerned at the end.

MAD SIN: "Young Dumb & Snotty" 5

Prison 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
15 June 2005

This is supposed to be a 24 track journey through the early years of what has become one of the pyschobilly punk scene's most popular bands. OK... I have never been a punk rocker or even remotely into "Punk"... with the only exception of The Clash, The Ramones, and Sex Pistols of course. Bloody'ell... I guess I've been a punk rocker after all, then??? Yeah, well... I believe we've all enjoyed the stories of how Lemmy (Motörhead) desperately tried to teach Sid Vicious how to play the bass (a mission which he failed miserably with). And you gotta love a band that hits No#1 in the U.K. during the Queen's jubilee week with a song like "God Save The Queen". To be honest... I don't know all *that* much about the minor acts in and around the punk scene though.

Mad Sin's "Young Dumb & Snotty" is however a collection of early recordings dating from 1988 to 1993. It's a wild and crazy mix of old punk and rockabilly with slap bass and everything. Needless to say I haven't heard a single note from the band in the past and it's a completly new experience. They do cover The Ramones "She's The One" and a couple of tracks are very similar to Motörhead, especially "Overpower", which is more or less a carbon copy of "Overkill". You'll get a nice overview of Mad Sin with this release as it cover the debut "Chills And Thrills" straight through "Distorted Dimensions", "Break The Rules" and "Ticket Into The Underworld". A seriously wicked mixture of The Ramones, Stray Cats, and Motörhead rock, makes this a rather dumb/fun release with no intention of saving the world (or whales for that matter). In conclusion: I had seriously fun for the first 12-14 tracks, while they unfortunately started repeating themselves beyond that.

DREAM THEATER: "Octavarium" 9

Atlantic 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
2 June 2005

I know, I know, you really shouldn't start a review with a statement such as "there will never be another Images And Words release". But... and that's a rather big "but" actually [no pun intended], it seems like they've finally understood that simplicity really is bliss at times. Dream Theater and the word 'simplicity' doesn't exactly go hand in hand you say??? True... but there's a thin line between 'insane or genius' as well and they've managed to move away from the worst kind of intrumental w**king of lately [or the rather "dark" approach of Train Of Thought]. The songs are once again top-class material and I guess you could put a sticker on this CD that reads: "almost as good as Images And Words", but neither the band or the record label would appreciate it, I'm sure :-)

The eight tracks featured on "Octavarium" is a close to perfect mix of complex prog metal (Never Enough) to the rather simple music of "I Walk Beside You". Heck, the latter could almost have been a U2 song and I'am not kidding around here. No, there's no need to worry about them going "pop" or anything... there's enough of complex segments and progressive patterns to slay a dragon or two as usual. Like... the epic title track is blessed with a +five minute long "intro" and yet, you feel like standing up and applauding them when LaBrie finally starts to sing as it's all very natural and easy-going. The keyboard solos featured here are out-of this-world as Jordan Rudess goes through the ivory & ebony with superb finess. Ehem... the song clocks in at +24 minutes and I truly enjoyed every minute of it!!!

There's a great variety of everything from heavier songs, lighter ones, progressive epic songs, and the CD is remarkably good from beginning to end. Opener "The Root Of All Evil" is dark, evil, and will grab you by the throat and never let go. "The Answer Lies Within" works perfectly when the opposite situation occures and you let go of the "dark" and simply enjoy a excellent ballad instead. "These Walls" is melodic, progressive, catchy, and interesting at the same time and "Panic Attack" truly is evil and technical perfect. Right now, at this very moment as I'm writing these words, "Octavarium" is easily the best metal/hardrock release of 2005 so far...

PRESTO BALLET: "Peace Among The Ruins" 8

Inside Out 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
8 June 2005

Who or what the hell is Presto Ballet? Well if you listen to the first track of this album you probably will not have a clue… The title track features some real organ sounds, quiet musical passages, splendid guitar solos and could be described as a mix of Kansas and Dixie Dregs. Well, Presto Ballet is the new band of Metal Church guitar picker Kurdt Vanderhoof, but this album has absolutely no musical connection with that classic metal band.

The eight songs on this CD evoke a classic seventies feeling with clear influences from rock pioneers such as Yes, Kansas, Genesis, Dixie Dregs, Styx and even Deep Purple. What this album makes very special is the fact that all the tracks were recorded using an analogue tape machine, which makes it really sound like a seventies prog rock album. “The Fringes” opens with a Kansas-like intro before the guitar licks and melodies build up the song, featuring also Tommy Shaw like vocals and a rather catchy chorus. “Seasons” is a rather sweet mainstream rock song, which reminds me of Protokaw. “Find The Time” is also rather mellow and ballad-like with acoustic guitars all over the song, but luckily the electric guitar solo saves this song in the end.

“Slave” is probably one of the best songs on the album, as it is rather musically diverse with powerful vocals, a heavy guitar riff and some splendid organ parts. In some of the other songs there are even progressive approaches of the Beatles noticeable. The band really has a certain unique sound and musical approach, making this album very interesting for listeners who are really into seventies stuff. Check it out and judge for yourself, I kind of liked the album, as I never thought that “mister” Metal Church could/would make such an album.

STEVE HOWE: "Spectrum" 8

Inside Out 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
8 June 2005

Although I am a super Yes fan I have only got one solo album of Steve Howe in my record collection, namely “Beginnings”, released in 1975! On his new solo album he goes beyond the boundaries of progressive rock and explores a much broader spectrum of musical colors, combining rock with jazz, blues, Latin, Indian and other world music.

„Spectrum” is almost a family album as Steve plays together with his sons Dylan (drums) and Virgil (keyboards); the band is completed by Tony Levin (bass guitar) and Oliver Wakeman (keys). „Tigers Den” opens this CD in a very prog rock style, where Steve combines classical guitar with rock in hiw own iminitable way. „Labyrinth” sounds rather jazzy with a laid back solo, whereas „Band Of Light” has obvious Latin influences, including a guitar sound reminiscent of Carlos Santana.

“Ragga Of Our Times” has, because of the sitar sound, clear Indian influences, as it also reminds me of Yes and Asia a bit. That blues and country music also inspire Steve is displayed in songs like “Fools Gold” and “Hour Of Need”. The highlights on this album are: “Ebb And Flow” (great solos which gives you a holiday feeling), “Without Doubt” (smashing, melodic guitar solos) and “Highly Strung” (possibly the only real reference to the music of Yes). All in all an excellent guitar album where once again Steve Howe proves that he is still one of the best prog rock guitar players, even in 2005.


Inside Out 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
7 June 2005

Tomas Bodin is of course best known as the keyboard player of the famous prog rock “gods” The Flower Kings. He has also released 3 solo albums in the past, which were solely instrumental. Now he surprises me with a concept album, a very good prog rock opera, which you have to listen to lots of times to grasp its full implications. It is a story about man’s time on earth, dealing with philosophical and religious themes.

The other musicians participating in this project are Marcus Liliequist (drums), Jocke JJ Marsh (guitars), Jonas Reingold (bass guitar) and on vocals Pernila Bodin, Anders Jansson and Helene Schonning. The CD consists of three long suites divided into several chapters. Of which the first suite appeals to me the most. The music is complex with lots of sound scapes, real prog rock passages, great melodies, dramatic vocals, aggressive guitar shreds, howling key solos, so pure progressive rock full of musical twists and turns. However the last 3 minutes of the first suite are maybe a bit too sweet on the vocal part.

The second suite kicks off with a heavy guitar riff that brings back memories of Zakk Wylde… However the rather quiet middle part with lots of piano is much too long. The lyrics in this song (The Prayer) remind me of preacher Neal Morse and his last two albums….In the last part of this suite the vocals are really horrible at certain times and the screaming reminds me of a notorious Pink Floyd song called “The Great Gig In The Sky”. Suite 3 is again filled with too much singing and the music is proggy but most of the time too mellow and dramatic. So, suite 1 is super and the other two are nice, but the sometimes hysterical vocals tend to get on my nerves. Still a great musical journey of a very competent composer and highly skilled keyboard player!

XSAVIOR: "Caleidoscope" 7

Atenzia 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
1 June 2005

You can label this under "the thinking man's music" in comparsion to the rest of the back catalogue of Göran Edman's career (Madison, John Norum, Glory, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kharma, Street Talk, etc). The Swedish vocalist hasn't been this progressive in the past and the music is more suitable to the fan of Saga, Flower Kings, Yes (in the 80's), A.C.T. than AOR. Bare this in mind while I point out that far from everything is "Prog" and you can find traces of both Westcoast & Metal here.

In fact, hands up if you remember the "World Trade" project from the very end of the 1980's? Billy Sherwood & Bruce Gowdy's project is quite similar to "Caleidoscope" at times... even if Xsavior add a "Swedish" approach to everything. Well, I find the World Trade album to be more consistent to their "YES" influences as well and they had a better song structure in my opinion (remind me again, why the heck did I mention World Trade? seriously though, there are similarities).

The material of "Caleidoscope" is indeed solid without any real fillers or highlights for that matter. That's perhaps also the biggest problem with this CD as it's otherwise perfectly performed and a technical masterpiece. With "Cosmic Virus" they mix the 80's YES with a touch of Queensryche and it's definitely "metal" at this point. "Material World" and " Xsavior" is very much the sound of Saga, especially the pre-chorus part and the following chorus/refrain. Anyhow, you know it to be "prog" when the artwork is being done by internet famed Mathias Norén. I'll probably spin this in my CD player when I need to wear my thinking hat and matching umbrella. You need to shut out the rest of the world and simply let your Xsavior take full control of your mind. In conclusion: Solid, indeed solid without any real up's or down's.

SILVERTIDE: "Show and Tell" 7

BMG 2004
Review by Petri Kautto 6 June 2005

Silvertide’s "Show and Tell" is a real pain, at least if you try to listen to it using a computer. When I popped the CD in all I got was a " [1200] Authentication failure". Not the best way to get started. I don’t know if I’m computer illetarate or if it was the CD but it was a hassle. Eventually I got around listening to it, though. [Reviews Ed: it's the copy-protection...]

Silvertide’s first release is a classic rock album, The Black Crowes with balls you might say. "I Ain’t Coming Home" is the opener and it’s a good example of what this band is about; melodic, energetic upbeat bluesy rock with driving guitars and an attitude. I also gotta mention the fifth song "Blue Jeans" which is one of those rockers that engage you from the first note. Great melody, good chorus and a thrilling guitar solo, probably the best piece on this album. Some others I could mention too, but these two rose above the others.

This album has a lot of material that will pull you back if you happen to drift away in your own thoughts. Then again some songs tend to mingle together which is why you drifted into your own thoughts in the first place. Still I would say that in this particular genre "Show and Tell" is one of the best released that I’ve hear this year. Check their website for sound bytes and decide for yourself whether you agree with me.

Alice COOPER: "Dirty Diamonds" 6

Spitfire 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
6 June 2005

It's the return of the old shock rocker once again and Alice Cooper literally travels back in time with "Dirty Diamonds". Too bad I'm a child of the 80's and that I'm brought up with his "Constrictor" and "Trash" material, huh? Well... I'll have to admit that "DD" is a decent, close-to solid affair and probably his best release for quite a while. It's 70's rock meets the nu-breeds of Jets, White Stripes, The Hives, and guitarist Ryan Roxie must have spent a lot of time going through old records with six-string benders such as Keith Richards as well as Ace Frehley.

I'm not sure all of his "old" fans will appriciate the nu-rock approach of some of the songs though. Is it only me who thinks that Cooper has been the worst kind of band-wagon jumper of lately??? Everytime there's a new "trend" or "style" in music, old Alice is sure to tag-a-long for the ride. Most of his 90's albums were merely lame attempts at keeping up with new metal kids on the block anyhow. I'm only waiting for a "rap" album now as the bonus track "Stand", features lots of it with some weirdo doing the bling-bling styled music at its worst... (c)rap.

The production and overall attitude of "Dirty Diamonds" is very 70-ish in the style of KISS, Stones, and obviously Alice Cooper himself back in the days. You can't take away the top-class quality of songs like "Women Of Mass Destruction" or "Steal That Car", where the latter is a darn fine nu/punk rocker with a catchy refrain. "Run Down The Devil" is yet another scary monster in the hands of Cooper and it's definitely the man at his best. This is a real crawler where Coop' catches Satan (“the ultimate road kill”) in his headlights, and promises to “take him to the Mercury grill” and “kick his future up his past. "Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies) is very early 70's stuff ála The Stones, "Zombie Dance" is boring, hippie, 70's rock, "The Saga Of Jesse Jane" is crap western/country music, and "Six Hours" is boring blues in the style of Gary Moore (luv his hardrock albums - hate his blues, luv "real" roadhouse blues). I'll leave you with this unanswered question: are our old rockers supposed to follow each and every new trend? Or should they basically continue with what they're good at? Well, I guess they're damned if they do and damned it they don't. I know one thing's for sure though, there's simply not enough with great songs included here. It's not really a question of being too modern, too heavy or too "with-it", I simply can't find that many outstanding tracks like in his golden days.

RETURN: "Return" 6

MTM 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
3 June 2005

The return of Norway's Return is something that could most certainly please many fans of classic Scandinavian AOR and Melodic Hardrock. There's absolutely no need to worry about them going too "modern" or "nu-breed" either (if that should have been a problem for you?) as they pretty much stick to their colours with the new and self titled CD. OK, they do flirt with nu-rock and Green Day with "TV-Song", but it's all kind of innocent performed rock and not really something that could/should offend any old dogs out there.

The only problem is that I don't find the material to be rock solid stuff throughout the entire CD. Sure, opener "Every Little Step" is a massive attack of glorious Scandi-rock with a catchy hook and everything. "Save The Heart" opens up like Stefan Andersson's "Catch The Moon" until it hits you where it hurts with a massive sing-a-long refrain. It's got a "sentimental" schwing to it and you can't help to feel good and touched at the very same time... if that makes any sense. Definitely one of the better AOR songs of the year. "All The Way" is a rough, guitar oriented track, that works just fine as a uptempo rocker and change of pace. Then you have three, four, tracks in a row that more or less feels like fillers and I'm not too sure about the quality. In the end, Return delivers a "safe", borderline boring record, when I expected a great one.

I always found their early albums to be kind of "childish" though and more or less filled with both hits and misses. Thus why I ended up extra disappointed when they decided to "take-a-break" shortly after the release of the excellent "V" album. I did get a flashback to the early and not always top notch days with songs like "Mr.President"... especially since it features both children's choir (don't you just hate them!), and a sound that is w-a-y too "Scandinavian". Last but no least? What the heck is up with that horrible cover and logo? (see above picture), it's not 1985 anymore and we're way past the 'Commodore 64' era. It's still nice to have them back though... seriously.

PAGAN'S MIND: "Enigmatic Calling" 6

LimbMusic 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
1 June 2005

This is a more than decent Progressive Metal record, considering that they're using many clichés both musically and lyrically. The Norwegians deliver a traditional album in the style of Queensryche, Sacred Warrior, and Artension, without being a complete and utter rip-off act. It's a concept album of course (aren't all proggers into this after all?) and there's tons of keyboard vs guitar duels in the style of Artension to be found.

They lack however something they can call their own identity and it's too much of a deja vú experience at times. They're said to be inspired by the great norse Edward Grieg as well... but you can't really tell from their material. There's lots of complex segments included and it almost seems like they're completely lost, during their foreboding search of the perfect song material. Not to make things worse, but in comparison to Dream Theater's "Octavarium", this merely feels like a poor man's version of prog metal.

If you're looking for some new and fresh prog-metal, Pagan's Mind may not be your first and obvious choice. However, you certainly can't go all wrong here if you're into the above mentioned bands. "Enigmatic Calling" is a complex, concept story with lots of familiar tricks of the genre. They do have a great vocalist and impressive musicians... it could simply be that I've heard this many times before and it's getting all a bit too much for me right now.

DEMONS & WIZARDS: "Touched By The Crimson King" 6

SPV/Steamhammer 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
7 June 2005

The first Demons & Wizards album was brought on the market 5 years ago and it really got some great reviews. The music was a mix of Iced Earth and Blind Guardian and this second album continues the artistic tradition of Hansi Kursch and Jon Schaffer, although I must day that the songs on “Touched By The Crimson King” are simpler than on the debut.

Most of the 9 new songs are typical metal tracks, rather bombastic with staccato riffs and double bass drums, making it very hard to separate those song from one another. “Crimson King”, “Terror Train” and “Dorian” all have the same speed neck-breaking tempo, as for the other tracks they are all power ballad like.

“Seize The Day”, “The Gunslinger”, “Love’s Tragedy Asunder” and “Wicked Witch” are almost build up in the same way. Power ballads with acoustic guitar parts, lots of vocals and almost no instrumental passages. The best song on this rather uninspired metal album is called “Beneath These Waves”, which could fit in on any regular Iced Earth album, although I tend to dislike the nasal vocals of Hansi after a certain time.

To make things worse the band even recorded a cover and you all know how I feel about covers, right? It is a classic hard rock song brilliantly performed originally by Led Zeppelin and it is called “Immigrant Song”, hands off dudes! A rather disappointing album with no highlights, too many vocals and not enough musical interesting passages. Jon and Hansi, you can do better than this!

The limited edition will be in a Digi-Pak with other artwork and 4 bonus tracks.

SPIDERS & SNAKES: "Hollywood Ghosts" 6

Sansei 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
1 June 2005

Wham Glam Thank You Mam' - Spiders & Snakes is the 80's U.S. glam act fronted by ex-London guitarist Lizzie Grey. You may also recall him from smash hits such as "Ultrapop" and that he in fact co-wrote "Public Enemy #1" included on the Mötley Crue debut "Too Fast For Love". Whatever... it's not like he can walk on water or turn it into wine or something... now that would have been a great stage performance and value for the money. OK, let me just add that 'London' was the famous 'underground' glam act in LA during the early 80's in which Nikki Sixx (Mötley Crue), Blackie Lawless (WASP) and Slash (Guns'N'Roses), all used to hang out with and be a member of (not all at the same time though - phew, now that's enough name dropping for a while).

"Hollywood Ghosts" is a CD/DVD release (2 disc set) that features twelve new tracks and fifteen videos, spanning the band's career, complete with slide shows and special sections. The bonus DVD got my attention immeditely as it works as a fifteen-year "long" documentary of the band with bonus material such as live concert footage, rare photos, backstage and on-air interviews, etc. It's a blast to watch these under dogs and former sunset strip heroes at hard work for success and whatdoyaknow - "Public Enemy #1" is included as well.

The CD opens up with a short intro (Ascension) before "American Baby" will kick start your heart with effect and result. Well... at least if you're into all that 70's sleaze as it's a fun little number with some impressive drums & vocals. Hardly earthshaking material, but it works just fine with a couple of beers and a new tattoo. "Waiting For Me In L.A." is even more a display of the 70's Glam, "The Girl Can't Help It" isn't the Journey song, but a cover of some 60's stuff, and "Bill's Cigar" is dumb rock at its best/worst. Bottomline: Spiders & Snakes will always walk in the shadows of Sweet, Mötley Crue and Poison and the latter act never impressed me in the first place. I'll stick with my early Mötley Crue albums, thank you very much, but if you can't get enough of all that 70's meets the 80's glam, I guess you can't go "all" wrong here.

HOLLYWOOD ROCKS: "Various Artists"

Deadline 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
5 June 2005

There's supposed to be 4 disc, 78 track boxset entitled "Hollywood Rocks" coming up for release shortly. However, I received a 17-track promo sampler... so I can't really say if it's going to be a fun release or not. OK, OK, it will "probably" be a freakin' great release and I'm merely pissed off over the fact that I haven't received the real deal [:-)]. Seriously though, it "seems" like Deadline Records have done good with the audio compilation to last years "Hollywood Rocks" book. You'll get all the memories, all the fashion, and all the music of the sunset strip acts during the years of 1980-1992.

Sure, you'll get all the famous and established acts like Posion, Dokken, Keel, Warrant, WASP, Quiet Riot, Black'N'Blue, Great White, etc. On the other hand you also have the underground heroes from the era such as Rebel Rebel, Yesterday's Tear, Motorcycle Boy, London, and The Hangmen, etc. The A&R team of Deadline has scoured through hundreds of demos, vinyls, and CD's, to give you the best of both worlds (rich & poor man's music). My promo mostly holds the familiar numbers such as Dokken's "It's Not Love", WASP "I F'**k Like A Beast", Poison "Look What The Cat Dragged In", Keel "The Right To Rock", etc. Nontheless, I believe this to be a fun mission with lots of gems and probably essential stuff for the collector of 80's strip metal (check out the label link above for more info).

"Hollywood Rocks" makes you both sad and angry that you weren't part of it all, that you weren't born at the right time at the right place. How I envy the ones that hung out in clubs like The Whiskey, The Troubadour, and Gazzarri's during the golden era of hardrock.... crap, excuse me while I kick the cat... bad kittie, it's all your fault!!!

HOLLYWOOD: "Black Tide Silver Path" 8

True Talent Records 2005
Review by Satu Reunanen
26 May 2005

If you’re in the need of solid, lean, deep sounding, radiofriendly and little bit of bluesy music, Hollywood from Ireland is a good bargain. The band which has been working less than a year now, has been gaining recognition in their homeland and now has a six-track debut EP out for anyone interested in their sound. They’ve also released a single ”Lucky Strike” to rave reviews, recorded their first video, performed on national TV, toured Ireland with Thin Lizzy themselves and are starting to record their first full-length cd this summer, having recently changed their name to Emerald Kings though.

Their music mostly goes on the mellower 70ies side, to the bluesy Thin Lizzy-style with easy rhythms and you might even catch influences from The Beatles and The Doors and the singer / bassist Tony Cullen sometimes sings a bit like Justin Hawkins from The Darkness, but doesn’t have any humorous intentions in his sound. Cullen also brings out deep and harsh sounds at times, but you understand what he’s singing and it’s all about storytelling. His style of singing is called Bel Canto, which isn’t very popular, but at least Phil Lynott, Bono and Sinead O’Connor belong to that category.

Hollywood’s clear sounding music is a welcomed addition to what the music industry mostly has to offer these days. Their sound isn’t often heard and they’ve got soul to their classic rock, eventhough it could’ve had more edge to it. But these guys are only in their twenties, so they can still grow mightily large from this. Definitely worth checking out if you’re into Thin Lizzy and the likes.


* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 16-20/05 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 16-20/05 * * * * *
Shadow Gallery, Brazen Abbot, Wetton/Downes, Eternal Reign, Heartland, Molly Hatchet, The Sentenced, Harem Scarem, Gotthard, Secret Sphere, Thunderstone, Soul SirkUS, Royal Hunt, Styx, Kaipa, Evil Masquerade, Genesis/Stiltskin frontman Ray Wilson, Zeno, Dare's new live album, Bruce Dickinson, Canadian cult AOR band Refugee, Dungeon, Betoken, Raging Speedhorn, El Caco, Insense, Lana Lane, ex-At Vance shouter Hartmann, Shaaman, Sonic X, Force Of Evil, Metalium, Falconer and Brunorock.


* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 11-15/05 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 11-15/05 * * * * *
Symphony X's Russell Allen, Jay Miles, Biss, Magellan, Pete Lacey, Sha-Boom, Fate (re-issue), Hanoi Rocks, Cowboy Prostitutes, Steve Thorne, Robert Valdes, Rhapsody, Rob Rock, At Vance, Running Wild, Talisman live DVD & CD, Novak, Headrush, reissued Legs Diamond, Hellfire, Switchblade, Overlord, Steve Hackett, Manigance, Starbreaker, Angra's guitarist Kiko Loureiro, Final Frontier, 220 Volt, Liesegang & White project, Unchain.


* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 6-10/05 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 6-10/05 * * * * *
James LaBrie, Evergrey, Shirleys Temple, Dynamic Lights, Darren Smith Band, Steve Vai, Artension, Freedom Call, Dio, Honeymoon Suite, Mike Terrana, Strikelight, Inner Visions, The Sweet, Judas Priest, Circle2Circle, Kelly Keeling, Miles Above, Dark Sky, John Norum, Domain, Nerved, Silence, Hearbreak Radio, Sanity, Kurt Nielsen, Kamelot, Joe Lynn Turner, Umphrey's McGee, Nightrage, Thunder, Mirador, Calvin Russell Band, Masquerade, Resurrection Band, My Sixth Shadow, Cloudscape, King's X, Apocalyptica, Ivanhoe, Spock's Beard, Kaminari, The 69 Eyes, Walter Trout, Impaled.


* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 1-5/05 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 1-5/05 * * * * *
Kino, Extol, Divine Fire, Sandalinas, Seven Wishes, Impellitteri, Audiovision, Crossbow, Fozzy, Glenn Hughes, RPWL, Arena, Erika, Joop Wolters, Veni Domine, Gun Shy, Peo, Soilwork, Infinity's Call, Heartcry, Ritchie Kotzen, Tishamingo, Crash Diet, Feiled, Communic, Unhained, Martin Barre, Astral Doors, Rhapsody Sweden, Tristania, Wisdom, Terry Bozzio, Shy, Blind Date, Kreator, Firewind, Enuff Z'Nuff, Stuart Smith, Broken Teeth, Adrian Legg, Chariot, Waysted, Last Autumn's Dream, Cherry St., Greenhouze, Ironhorse, Tommy Funderburk, Martie Peters Group, Shiva, Novecento, Smeer, M.ill.ion.


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