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MATREX: "Ill Always Remember" 8

RenegadeSounds 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
1 August 2005

God bless Canada and their strange obsession of soft and at the same time catchy AOR/Rock. Matrex is yet another 80's project with some of the guys behind the Renegade albums "Back From The Dead" and "On The Edge". The songs were originally recorded in 1985-86 and represents the typical "Canadian" sound back then. The production is crisp, 8 out of the 10 tracks included are truly fun stuff in the vein of Honeymoon Suite, Loverboy, Boulevard, Aldo Nova, and any true lover of the mid-80's Canuck-sound should definitely at least check this out.

Opener "I Don't Want Anybody" are one of those instant hit-songs with a big hook and melody and "Long Distance Kiss" is everything that early Honeymoon Suite were all about. The Dominelli brothers (Tony - vocals, Geraldo - gtr/vox) are all over the place with stong lead and harmony vocals and excellent guitar work. Paul Minshall (keys) goes through the ivory/ebony with great finess and the rythym section consisting of Jim Buchshon (bass) & Lee Hantelmann (drums) is rock solid. Yup! The lyrics are what mid-80's hardrock lyrics are mostly about and that's fine by me. "Move Too Fast" borrows the guitar approach of Eddie Van Halen and adds the catchiness of Loverboy. "She's A Stranger" could also have been included on the Honeymoon Suite debut, while "Love Me Through The Night" simply rocks.

What this CD have over so many of their contempories is a strange awareness of when and where to apply the simplicity of a decent hook. Some of these tunes would easily knock down any "new" AOR releases of today. I would however like to point out that Matrex is indeed a borderline case of being too "simple" every now and then. It's hardly music you'll gather around the fireplace to discuss the true meaning of and songs like "Looking For No.1" or "Broken Hearted Man" are in fact corny. Especially the latter is a cheesy ballad that doesn't really match up with the rest of the overall fun material. Eveything is great up until when the refrain kicks in and it all feels a bit too safe and yes, corny. Bottomline: If you enjoy the simple and straight-forward approach of the "Blanc Faces" release at Frontiers, you're definitely going to enjoy this as well. You pretty much owe yourself to at least check out sound-bits and find more info at the site below.

BAI BANG: "Best Of" 7

SwedMetal 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
30 July 2005

SwedMetal Records is a rather interesting record label... especially since they have cult rockers: 220 Volt, among their ranks. Here's yet another new and quite interesting release, Sweden's Bai Bang - a retrospective look, also known as the mandatory "Best Of" compilation. In fact, the melodic/sleaze rockers of Bai Bang has already been in and around the scene for the last +20 years (vocalist Diddi Kastenholt is the only remaining member though). Don't go thinking 'it's probably the end of Bai Bang' either, since new songs has already been written for their upcoming 5th studio album (release later this year).

It's powerful, well-crafted hardrock, that touches the heartbeat of their never-to-be-forgotten influences of early sleaze rock (you will also find a cover of "Hot Love" by T-Rex). However, you should keep in mind that eight out of the twenty (20) tracks included are the handy work of Ole Evenrude (Norway's answer to Desmond Child). You can find tracks like "X-Ray Specs", "Make My Day", "Peepin Tom" on Evenrude's "One Size Fits All" (see review elsewhere), add that "F.O.F.D" & "Welcome To The Real World" are both included on the Evenrude re-issue as well, and you're already familiar with a lot of the music. "Rock'N'Roll City" is yet another Evenrude tune that Swedish Erotica at first covered on their debut album. Ehem, not to mention that above mentioned "X-Ray Specs", "Rock'N'Roll City" and "Only The Strong", all have a similar guitar riff and beat.

Don't get me wrong, it's all still good music, however, they do have a reputation of not writing any material of their own. Perhaps they will prove me wrong with the new album??? Only time will tell... for now, do check out the "Best Of" Bai Bang for a rather decent time.

ARTICA: "As It Should Be" 7

Escape 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
29 July 2005

The CD release of Artica's "As It Should Be" has previously only been avilable via Japan import. Originally released in the 'land of the rising sun' back in 1995, Artica has become a rather sought after collectors item. The Escape Music re-issue comes therefore as a nice surprise with one bonus track (the great "System Of Justice") and as always fully remastered and repacked.

The music arrangements and vocals of Artica are old-fashioned and firmly rooted in the mid 80's sound. "Take Me All The Way" which kicks off proceedings is a real eye (ear) opener, a real time-traveller as well, it'll take the listener back 20 years to the classic melodic hardrock era. The drumming on "You're Still On Your Own" is very atmospheric and well timed, the guitar work is reasonably attractive and "Hold On" has quite a darn catchy beat (great - yet another 'Hold On' song), but after a dramatic opening it just doesn't go anywhere. They do however have a nice mix of lushy keyboard anthems and classy ballads in the vein of Survivor, Boulevard, Aldo Nova. Robby Moore (keys) is quite often the centre of attention as the U.S. California act, do rely much upon his ability to come up with the goods. Add to this that J.D. Martin is a fine, hi-pitched vocalist, and you surely can't go all wrong here.

Bottomline: All that glitter ain't gold, but it's overall a fine album!!! A lot of time and effort has obviously gone into the making of "As It Should Be" and it should attract fans of sweet and simple "AOR" with a hint of pomp. The impressive bonus track leaves us wondering - are there any more hidden treasures in the Artica vault???

BLACKMORE'S NIGHT: "Castles & Dreams" [DVD] 7

SPV 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
31 July 2005

"Castles & Dreams" is a darn pink'n'fluffy 2-disc-set DVD with Blackmore's Night. There's approx: 230 minutes filled to the last drop with lite medieval music and mid-evil goblins. There is (in general) precious little into this kind of music which touches a nerve in this (hard)rock addicted brain of mine (loud guitars, I need loud guitars!!!), but I must admit that I've always enjoyed the music of Blackmore's Night. Nontheless, I don't believe I'll be watching this too frequently in the future to come.

Bloody'ell, you need to listen to some real heavy metal guitars to wash away the bitter aftertaste of a close-to lame troubadour performance by the once so mighty Ritchie Blackmore. You almost feel like screaming to the legend: stop acting like a wimp already and give us the hardrock riffs of the past instead. Like I stated earlier, I DO enjoy the music, but you try watching 230 minutes (almost 4 hours) in a row (times four) without jumping up and down like a monkey in the end. Sure, you'll get bits and pieces of songs like "Soldier Of Fortune", "Child In Time", "Black Night", but it's all been watered down to I-don't-know-what, anymore. Ehem, the lovely Candice Knight is however as always a sight for sore eyes. DVD Disc#1 is filled with a concert at Burg Veldenstein - Burg Neuhaus in Germany 2004 and you get all the hits and more. It's been nicely shot with several camera angles and songs like "Ghost Of A Rose" and "Village On The Sand" are simply magical. Add to this bonus material such as 'Behind The Scenes' and a 'Ritchie Blackmore's Guitar Special' and all concert lyrics for you to sing-a-long at home.

DVD Disc#2 - Kicks off with more of the acoustic stuff (5 songs), the videos of "The Times They Are A Changin", "Way To Mandalay", "Once In A Million Years", "Hanging Tree" & "Christmas Eve". Documentaries such as Blackmore's Night Story, Candice & Ritchie Story, dicography, biography, slide shows, and last but certainly not least, Candice Night private movies (!!!). A must have for any die-hard fan, the rest of us will find this entertaining as well, simply turn up the stereo and play some classic hardrock riffs once in a while to keep you from falling asleep (yes, I DO enjoy the music... but 4 hours in a row is overkill if ever!!!).

STEVE WALSH: "Shadowman" 9

Frontiers Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
26 July 2005

Finally a new Steve Walsh solo album again. The voice of Kansas, that made spectacular records like "Leftoverture" (1976), "Point Of No Return"(1977) and their famous live album "Two For The Show" (1978), surprises almost everyone with a glorious rock album. Steve Walsh is assisted by Joe Franco (drums), Joel Kosche (guitar and bass), David Ragsdale (violin), Michael Romeo (giga symphony?) and Matt Still (percussion).

The CD kicks off with heavy drums and a ferocious guitar riff, followed by Steve's magical vocals, lots of percussion and also some funky rhythms. This song is very diverse and it also features an aggressive and heavy chorus and a majestic guitar solo. It is almost impossible to start an album any better than this. The title track has a rather melodic opening with lots of keys, but also a heavy rhythm basis. "Shadowman" has a bombastic sound and surprises me with its screamy but addictive chorus. The strings definitely bring back memories of Kansas. As for the third song "Davey, And The Stone That Rolled Away", has a hard rock vibe that sounds like Glenn Hughes. In the middle of this song the keys set the tome and a cool guitar solo rounds off this steamy track. "Keep On Knockin'" has an up tempo bluesy start and it even features a slide guitar solo. The chorus is simple and the rhythm of the song makes you want to bang your head for a couple of minutes.

"Pages Of Old" sounds like "Dust In The Wind", as it is also an acoustic ballad, filled with keys and strings, but rather boring as it almost lasts 5 minutes. "Hell Is Full Of Heroes" really gets Steve and his band cooking again. It is almost heavy rock and roll with lots of orchestral parts and very fast guitar riffs all over the song. The longest track is called "After" which starts with pounding drums and a rather melodious guitar intro/melody, followed by mind-boggling keyboard passages, making this intro the best of the entire record. The rest of the song is "stuffed" with prog rock elements, orchestral and classical components, violin parts, sound scapes and last but not least the elaborate throat of mr.Walsh. This is the highlight of the CD; the only strange thing about this song is its abrupt end. The last song of this marvelous album is called "The River", which is a real symphonic rock song with lots of Kansas influences. It has a ballad like melody and beautiful harmony vocals as well as a short but subtle guitar solo. A great ending of a brilliant album. One of the progressive rock highlights of this year so far; if you like (d) Kansas, then you ought to have this album. Buy it now!


Mascot Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
26 July 2005

Guitar player Carl Verheyen grew up in Pasadena(USA) and his first great band was Supertramp, which he joined in 1985. Since then Carl became one of the L.A.'s first call studio guitar player. He has played on over 150 different TV shows, including the last 8 years of "Cheers". In 1988 he released his first album under the name The Carl Verheyen Group, followed 6 years later by "Garage Sale". Two years ago Carl made his last album called "Six" on which he was assisted by Cliff Hugo (bass guitar) and Steve DiStanislao (drums).

This year Carl captured one of his spectacular live shows on DVD and the band features Cliff Hugo on bass guitar, Bernie Dresel on drums and special guest Jim Cox on organ. On this DVD you will hear and see a blend of fusion, jazz-rock, rock and blues-rock captured in 10 songs.

The concert starts with a real blues rock track "Down Like Hail" with amazing guitar solos by Carl. "Slingshot" starts with a slide guitar intro before it turns into a real rock track with again dazzling guitar solos. The first weak song on this DVD is the acoustic "No Walkin' Blues", which is really boring from beginning till the end. Then Carl and Band treat us to two instrumental tracks ("Highland Shuffle" and "Maggie's Ladder"). Both are first-rate songs, of which the first one is rather ballad-like with Scottish influences and the second one a more up-tempo blues-rock track. "Diamonds" is a slow blues song with howling guitar solos, while the last two songs are again up-tempo blues rockers. "Wasted Blues" definitely reminds me of Stevie Ray Vaughan and swings like hell. "Place For Me" is the second acoustic song and is again a misser, just like the first one…. Great blues music with amazing guitar work by Carl, however his vocals are a bit mediocre, not bluesy enough actually, and the band is quite static, so there is not much happening on stage really.

Yngwie MALMSTEEN: "Unleash The Fury" 7

SPV 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
24 July 2005

All hail the ultimate shred-master, the "inventor" of neo-classical metal, not to mention, one of the most important and influencial guitar players in the history of hardrock. Yes, it needed to be said, cause not matter if your hate or love Yngwie J Malmsteen, his guitar technique is quite outstanding and his tone is bliss. Do keep in mind that he's using a Fender Stratocaster as well and not one of those 'easy-to-play' hardrock axe's (les paul, etc). Let's not get into the whole guitar discussion here, but ask any real musican about the difficulties with Fender and you'll know what I'm talking about.

It's never easy to be a prophet in your own homeland, however, I believe that Sweden has been really lousy with giving some credit to the man. Without a question the most famous hardrock musician ever from my homeland and extra kudos for always staying true to his colours. No matter what, you can always rely upon Malmsteen to come up with a "real" hardrock album, he doesn't give a crap about trends or bandwagon jumpers. The albums doesn't always hold up to his legacy though (to say the least), the latest 2-3 CD's hasn't been much to write home about (read: worse than crap). "Unleash The Fury" is a improvement since last time, but still a long way to go to the classy releases of "Eclipse", "Trilogy", or why not "Odyssey". And who else would come up with the brilliant (?) idea to turn that "you've unleashed the f**king fury" remark (recorded by one of his band members at the time - no name/no blame), into success and album title.

From the first opening notes of "Locked & Loaded" to the closing track of "Paraphrase", you'll instantly notice the Malmsteen trademark, over-the-top riffing, not of this world, with a similar approach as in the past. "Revolution" continues in same tradition with a nice refrain and strong vocal input upfront by Doogie White (Rainbow, Cornerstone). The song could easily have been included on of the three above mentioned albums. "Cracking The Whip" is a piece of neo-classical high drama cast in deft tones of light and shadow with a rather brutal hook from the heavier side of metal. "Winds Of War" is a fine semi-rock number, "The Bogeyman" is so-so, while "Beauty And The Beast" is back to the tempo furioso material. "Fugetta" is the first of four instrumental tracks where especially "Guardian Angel" scores high point with its racing, energetic and at the same time catchy approach. "Cherokee Warrior" with Yngwie himself as lead vocalist is a semi-ballad in the style of Deep Purple meets Jimi Hendrix. Bottomline: You won't find anything new or groundbreaking with "Unleash The Fury", however, it's a solid album in the same old style as always.

DUG PINNICK: "Emotional Animal" 7

Mascot Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
26 July 2005

King's X has always been one of my favorite bands, although I must admit that their last albums are not their best ones. Especially Dug (formely known as "Doug") Pinnick's voice was and is always a pleasure to listen to. His first Poundhound solo album was a real treat for rock fans and therefore I was really looking forward to his new solo album. On "Emotional Animal" there are 15 new songs, featuring Dug (vocals and all other instruments) and Jerry Gaskill's son Joy on drums.

The complete album grooves, swings, rocks and it really is a massive, wide-angled, psychedelic collection of soul-replenishing sound sculptures. A heavy guitar riff and weird vocals dominate "Crashing", while "Beautiful" is a typical King's X song with a rather catchy chorus. "Change" is a hallucinating song with dazzling guitar parts and amazing vocals, as for "Noon" is a spacy ballad, with boring repetitive lyrics and musically rather poor. "Equal Rights" even has some country & western influences, while "Are You Gonna Come" features mysterious atmospheres and a great howling slide guitar solo.

"Wrong" is a 1 minute long a-cappella song, which is followed by probably the weirdest song on the album "Freak The Funk Out". That one is filled with loops and sound scapes, weird beats and lots of jazz influences, making it a very peculiar song. The album ends with "mr.Hateyourself", which is fast, heavy and rather swinging like King's X and the first Poundhound album. All in all, this album features some great songs, but unfortunately also some rather weak songs and some really weird stuff. Not suitable for everyone and I must admit that I am also a bit disappointed, so I think I will listen to "Gretchen Goes To Nebraska" or "Dogman" again and really enjoy mysel...On the CD you can also find an interview with Dug and a bonus track called "Saturdays".

PRAYER: "Wrong Address" 7

Escape 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
22 July 2005

Flashback attack!!! U.K. based Escape Music has signed a bunch of Finnish AOR/Melodic hardrock acts of lately. Prayer is without a doubt the best of the bunch and their "Wrong Address" release is a very solid affair in the tradition of classic AOR/Melodic. Perhaps not a original sounding album, but honestly, looking for orginality in AOR today is rather like looking for sanity in the RockUnited Team... or a half decent reviewer for that matter.

Lead vocalist Tapani Tikkanen is the main songwriter and a veteran of the 80's scene in Finland, he started out with "IC Rock" and could also be found upfront with the rock act "Tanna" back in the days. The following piece of information is mostly interesting to the Swedish readers, however: Tikkanen's singing voice reminded me of the obscure 80's Swedish Rock/Pop act: Hansson Wolf United. (lite husky'n gruff voice with a twist). He's the slightly better vocalist though and musicwise they do not have anything in common whatsoever. It takes a while to get used to Tikkanen's vocal attributes... but it's a nice to witness a "somewhat" original singer for once (instead of all the Steve Perry wannabee's out there).

Production (also by Tikkanen) is solid even though it lacks a bit of power in the bass'n drum department... or it's rather a question of the music they play, many AOR albums do have a clean, close-to-sterile sound, with the bass-player waaay back in the mix. The music is on the other pretty catchy overall and definitely on the poppy side of 80's AOR. The mega catchy "Running Wild In The Night" is a perfect mix of Wild Force's debut album and the Norwegian rock of Return (in the 80's). The guitarwork included here by the two gun-slingers Markku Keski-Mäenpää & Mikko Kuusiniemi, do borrow a lot of influences from Tom Scholz and Boston. "Anyone With A Broken Heart" comes out as one of the better AOR songs of 2005 (so far) and "Secrets Of The Night" had me thinking about that Wild Force debut once again. Add that "I'll Be Loving You" and "Road To Freedom" are both winners in the poppy AOR category. I'm fond of the innocent and rather poppy attitude of the band and I guess I'll be livin' on a prayer for a while (take my hand and we'll make it - I swear, wooh-oh, livin' on a...). Final verdict: Nice! check it out if you're into poppy AOR, you can always try out some song samples at Escape Music (link above).

KICK AXE: "Rock The World" 6

MTM 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
22 July 2005

The re-issue of Kick Axe's "Rock The World" is certainly good news for the mad 80's collector at eBay. No need to pay the silly amount of +$150 for a rather average hardrock album. The MTM version has been completely re-mastered and features a new frontcover (see pic) as well as one unreleased bonus track. That very track (Piece Of The Rock) is actually a nice little tune in the vein of "Vices" or Quiet Riot (the band). They both (Kick Axe & Quiet Riot) used the service of producer Spencer Proffer, however, I always found 'QR' to be the better act of the two.

"Rock The World" was the third and last Kick Axe album during the golden era of the 80's. The opening titletrack is a dodgy throw-away rocker, only to be saved be the following and excellent Fleetwod Mac cover "The Chain". Indeed, there are some extremely good songs featured here as far from everything is average or uninspiring. "Red Line" is a nice rocker and "We Still Remember" for example, is a wonderful storming semi rocker, indeed, it's the kind of thing that forms the backbone of traditional hairmetal of the 80's. However, the Pomp inspired rock of "Warrior" is closer to Spinal Tap and I'm not quite sure what they were thinking about (???).

The Canucks sure had their moments and I do believe that "Vices" is their best effort yet. It kind of makes you wonder though... why in the world would anyone want to pay $150 for this at eBay???

GYPSY CARNS: "Raw-Word" 4

Musark 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
23 July 2005

The Blues Preacher AKA Gypsy Carns has been preaching the blues ever since 1963 and started making records already back in 1966. He's a product of the delta-blues musical format and combines nowadays christian lyrics with his blues rock. We're talking old blues as well with merely a stompbox, harmonica, and his 12-string guitar as compliment to the soaring vocals. He's a one-man wrecking crew in other words and most certainly inspired by the old-old blues folks of Blind Willie Johnson, etc.

The lyrics are very preachy and direct to the point without any fuzz or pardon. "Satan Never Sleeps" simply tells us that the devil is after you and me 24/7, workin' 365, "Pray For Love" is all about the second coming, while "Rainbow" is a tribute to Ritchie Blackmore... no, wait... my bad... it's a tribute to the big bloke up in the sky... Jimi Hendrix!!! (only kidding- God surely enjoys a joke or two, every now and then, ehem, there wouldn't be any rap "music" or hip-hop artists otherwise). Nevertheless, I'm afraid the material doesn't quite match up with the attitude. I find it difficult to name any highlights and everything started to sound quite similar to the previous track in the end.

NIGHTVISION: "Nightvision" 7

MTM 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
17 July 2005

Nightvision are a bunch of newcomers out of Sweden with a hardrock sound that I find a bit too familiar at times. They do, however, have in their favour a feeling for the kind of Swedish, melodic hardrock, that many find so irresistible. Peter Högberg is a darn fine vocalist in the tradition of classy Swedes such as Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, Glory, etc.), during his very early days in Madison though (before he really knew how to handle all that power within). Höglund is also said to be influenced by the late and great Ray Gillen (Badlands, Black Sabbath, Phenomena), something that obviously shines through every now and then, a fine singer nontheless.

The music of Nighvision bare resamblance to above mentioned Madison, Glory (during their mid 90's era with Edman as frontperson), and last but surely not least, Nation, with their slightly more "neo-classical" sound. It's hardrock firmly rooted in the 80's scene with a fast shredding guitarist (Stefan Fjellner) and a solid keyboardist (Mårten Sandén) as their main attributes. It's very much a "hardrock" album, you can't really expect to find any AOR as such, included among the eleven tracks of sheer power. It's actually quite refreshing to find a "normal" hardrock release at MTM.

The song material is solid without any read downers or ups for that matter. It's neither worse nor better than any Madison/Glory release and tracks like "Fight" is very much in the style of Glory vs. Nation. There's a really impressive guitar vs. keyboard duel going on here, and the hi-pitched screams by Höglund in true rock'n'roll tradition simply kill. Try it out if you're normally into Göran Edman fronted acts such as Madison & Glory (and even Yngwie Malmsteen at times), with a healthy dose of Nation.

FORTY DEUCE: "Nothing to Lose" 7

Frontiers 2005
Review by Petri Kautto 19 July 2005

Yeah Richie! I always knew there was an asskicker hidden in you somewhere! I guess it just took some Japanese assistance to dig it out. Indeed, Richie Kotzen has taken a step towards more heavier and less experimental rock music. The outcome is called Forty Deuce, a band that consists of Richie Kotzen (V,G), Taka (G), Ari (B) and Thr3e (D).

After a pretty lame intro, the first song "Oh My God (I Fucked Up Again)" is extremely tasty piece of rock. For once you can agree with the record company as they state that this album is "powerfully contagious in the most primitive sense". With a song like this your expectations rise, especially because I was a bit disappointed with Richie's previous ("Get Up") album. "Say" is another great song that really catches your attention. It's heavy, it suits Kotzen's voice and the band sounds really tight. There are also other songs (e.g. "I Still", "Complicated" and "Next to Me") that show that this band could actually stick around for more than one album. Kotzen has not totally forgotten his roots and the bluesy rock pieces are still there, but Forty Deuce is certainly a step towards heavier sound. "

This album should be interesting to those who think that Kotzen has lacked a certain edge in the past. His old fans shouldn't be disappointed since he hasn't totally changed his style, it's just something fresher and tighter and I think that this is a better direction for Richie and the whole band. /

Kim MITCHELL: "Fill Your Head With Rock [CD+DVD]" 6

SwedenRock 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
15 July 2005

"Fill Your Head With Rock - Greatest Hits" - Everything you ever wanted and needed with Kim Mitchell??? This is indeed a fine 2-disc compilation with the Canadian rocker and ex-Max Webster member (1975-1981). Mitchell is one of those mysteriously unknown musicians, if you happened to live on the wrong side of the pond. I can't remember him ever being a trademark/household name or even remotely famous in Europe. Kind of remarkable actually since his solo albums has sold+3 million copies in North America (that would be U.S. & Canada). Not to mention that the man has been awarded with several Juno awards in his homeland.

Disc #1 - CD with 16 greatest hits, including the first new song (Fill Your Head With Rock) in a period of 6-7 years. "Fill Your Head With Rock" is/was also this years theme song at the SwedenRock festival. It's a kind of weird choice I'd have to say, especially since 99% of all the festival visitors probably went: "Kim Mitchell, who????" Kim Carnes on the other hand... ehem, nevermind. "Go For Soda" is his trademark and many of the songs include powerful stabbing guitarwork, subtle time-changes, and a bluesy melodic hardrock approach. I'm really on the fence in regard to this artist, but there's no doubt that there's something special here behind a somewhat shoddy veneer at times. I simply find other Canadian artists and acts to be better than Mitchell in the end.

Disc #2 - DVD , live at Kee To Bala in Canada on September 28th, 1989. Approx: 63 minutes of live rock recorded at a rather small concert hall some 16 years ago. I'm still surprised over the fine quality as I expected it to be worse than your average bootleg. The old Kim Mitchell fan will have a ball watching this, numbers like "Rocklandwonderland" and "Lost Lovers Find" are instant hits and favourites. No doubt a fine 2-Disc compilation (CD+DVD) and certainly a must have for any old Michell/Max Webster fan.

AMPLIFIER: "Amplifier" 4

SPV 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
15 July 2005

Ehem, no wonder I had a strange feeling of dejá vu while listening to Amplifier. You know... when you instantly believe you've done this before and you can almost sense a shiver coming down your spine. My magic moment vanished quickly though as it finally hit me over the head. Amplifier's debut album was originally released already back in 2003 and this is merely a re-issue with a bonus disc containing four new tracks. Ehem, while my face quickly turns red, let's check the backview mirror for some of all the praise they received. Amplifier was hailed as "the future of rock, free-flowing grooves transforming sun-burst waves of uplift, at present British rock doesn't get any better". Indeed, the once so great magazines Kerrang (5/5) & Metal Hammer (9/10), gave them raving reviews and bursted into tears of joy. Ehem, does it really matter that above mentioned mags lost all sense of credibility ages ago??? (money talks - bulls**t walks).

The power trio of Sel Balamir (vocals, guitar) Neil Mahony (bass) and Matt Brobin (drums) perform intelligent music in the vein of Led Zeppelin, Massive Attack, Foo Fighters and Pink Floyd!!!??? It's however dark, trippy, and not exactly easy-listening music!!! It's probably more in the vein (heh!) of a bad acid trip as the trance-like melodies will try and seduce you into taking another shot of poison. I frankly never understood Amplifier's music as it feels more like a updated version of all that flower-power nonsense during the late 60's. You probably need to smoke some serious s**t to truly appreciate all the aspects of their music???????

Definitely an emotional roller-coaster ride and you'll find the creator of their music to be either insane or genius. I personally can't stand music described as "trippy, free-flowing, mumbo-jumbo". Why do you think they call it dope???


AntNest 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
15 July 2005

Doctor Dunbar's Medicine Band is yet another Swedish band that follows in the footsteps and success of The Hives. These guys are however firmly rooted into the 60's groove... something which hardly will attract much attention to the average rock fan??? Indeed, when I first spun this shiny, plastic, round thing (CD... I believe?), I must confess that I was more than a little disappointed, straight down the trash can it goes, I thought. But after subsequent spins and a lot of imagination, the album suddenly came to life... only to drop dead on the head a couple of minutes later. There's a couple of shiny and truly inspiring moments in the tradition of 'The Who' (who?), but it's mostly music for the trendy bandwagon jumper 'ala 2004 (crap, a year too late as well).

The drummer (Lars... something) has been mentioned in the same sentence as Keith Moon!!!? Good for him, too bad the song structure doesn't really match up in size. The lack of memorable choruses becomes quite obvious after a spin or two. The crunching guitar work and hooks of fellow Swedes The Hives are nowhere to be found as well. I'm afraid DDMG will only go down in history as local heroes.

BLANC FACES: "Blanc Faces" 9

Frontiers 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
10 July 2005

The La Blanc brothers Robbie and Brian have come up with an album that takes us back to the good ol' times of the late eighties and early nineties. Their songs are ageless, classic AOR material, musicianship is faultless and vocalist Robbie La Blanc will rank highly, when we start talking about the best newcomer singers of 2005. Okay, the guys may have been in this business for years, but I guess they are newcomers to most of us. What's more, this album sounds awesome! A lot of credit for that must go to Dennis Ward, whose final touches (mixing and mastering) have given this album a real boost.

As for the songs, we're talking about AOR, simple as that. "I'll be carrying the torch of yesterday", they sing, and that is indeed the case. Signal, Alias, Foreigner, Journey, can hear traces of all of them in these songs, and traces of quite a few other bands as well. The better songs seem to be on the first half of the album: "Stranger To Love" is an instant hit for us melodic rock fans, a great power ballad with a killer chorus, while the midtempo AOR of "Edge Of The World" and "It's A Little Too Late" will bring back memories of Signal's classic "Loud & Clear" album. I have to mention the classy "Turn This World Around" and "Here's To You" as well: "TTWA" could have been taken from the Alias album, and "HTY" is fine summertime AOR with one of those "classic" choruses...I believe Human Temple used it last year, and who knows else before that. The second half does contain a few slightly filler-type of songs, but since the quality never drops below acceptable, I can't complain too much!

If you're looking for something innovative or modern, this album isn't for you, but if you're after some classy AOR, this is a safe buy! One of the AOR highlights of this year.

JOURNEY: "Generations" 7

Frontiers 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
10 July 2005

Journey at Frontiers Records???!!! Wow... talk about goosebumps warning for all the mad Italians at the record company. "Generations" is unfortunately a minor setback in both quality and style though. Honestly, Journey's last CD release (Arrival) was easily as good, if not better, than many and/or most of their 80's albums. This time they've decided to share lead vocals as well, yup, every band member gets a shot at being the frontperson. Inspired by Styx and all their singer-folks, perhaps? None of them are absolutely crap at singing the blues.. ehem, AOR, but it's neither a question of spreading the talent around in my opinion. "Every Generation" with Jonathan Cain is one of the weakest tracks included, both vocal and music-wise. Not to mention that Russ Valory's "Gone Crazy" is a poor man's blues rocker in the style of ZZ Top. Come to think of it... Russ is without a question Journey's answer to James Young... if you don't mind the Styx comparsion once again.

Drummer Deen Castronovo comes out as the better vocalist and his songs are also the best of the "newcomers". "A Better Life" is a darn fine semi-ballad as it continues in the grand Journey tradition of being a nice and polite little rock'n'roll band. You won't scare away or even upset Tipper Gore and her likes with lyrics like: "they were married as highschool sweethearts" (sigh). Deen should definitely get another shot or two at being the frontperson in the future as well. "In Self-Defense" (Neil Schon on lead vocals) is very much the Van Halen sound of late 70's/early 80's. Nothing much to write home about really... it's a rather pale rocker without that special hook or memorable ingredient.

Nontheless, Steve Augeri is the r-e-a-l singer of the bunch and his vocal performance(s) leaves a everlasting impression. He's managed to tear down the altar of 'Steve Perry' worshiping and finally gets his real moment in the spotlight. OK, most folks will probably still think of him as a Perry wannabe. Opener "Faith In The Heartland" is a slow-grower that needs a couple of spins before it suddenely hits you bang on the head. It's a real stormer and gig opener (?), sadly not quite as good as "Higher Place" or "Message Of Love", the two previous CD openers. The real winner in my books is "The Place In My Heart" as we're now talking classic Journey (Ask The Lonely, etc.). "Butterfly" and "Believe" are both pretty average songs, even though the latter has clearly been inspired by the Beatles. They (still) know their way around ballads though, "Knowing That You Love Me" and "Beyond The Clouds" are both top-class numbers and possibly winners in the 2005' ballads category. "Better Together" and Schon takes another shot at Eddie Van Halen with a couple of rocking riffs and licks. The song lacks (once again) a real hook or refrain and becomes merely a throw-away rocker with some excellent guitar work.

You always knew of Journey as the 'creme of the crop', the value of values, the kings among kings. They pretty much set the standard of *all* AOR with their impressive back catalogue. This time however, they are merely one of many AOR acts, indeed you can find better AOR albums than "Generations" in 2005. It's not a crappy release or anything, but I need more catchy hooks and choruses, to give them a higher rating in the end. The production by Kevin Elson (old Journey hero) is rock solid, even though I've always had a love/hate relationship with his previous work. He can either add or subtract energy to a production and I still believe he took away a lot of energy from bands like Europe. I'm sure already that Journey (sadly) won't make my best of albums of the year list.

TERRA NOVA: "Escape" 7

Frontiers 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
10 July 2005

"Oh, Terra Nova are back and they've made a cover album" were my first thoughts when I saw this CD. It MUST be a cover album with songs titled "Long Live Rock'n Roll", "Rock Bottom", "Hold The Line", "Escape", "Sole Survivor" and "Yesterday", right? Wrong. These are all Terra Nova originals...I guess it's better this way, since we've heard the results of the recent cover album boom.

Even though Terra Nova has been on a hiatus for some time now, nothing much has changed. They are still offering classic AOR with an European twist to it. Vocalist Fred Hendrix comes across as a combination of Urban Tale/Heartplay singer Kimmo Blom and Petra's John Schlitt, and his brother Ron provides tasty keyboards. Similary to the aforementioned Urban Tale, Terra Nova mixes some prog and pomp elements to the Journeyesque 80'ies AOR sound, adding a bit of orginality to the game... However, for some reason I can't really get into these songs. Most of them are good, but only a few ("Rock Bottom", "Lonely Is The Night" and the ballad "Heaven Knows") are even close to being great. The rest...they're just okay, nice to listen to as background music but nothing I could rave about. I'm not totally sold on the production either.

While I'm aware that the title of the album is supposed to be a tribute Journey's to "Esacape"..."You Are The One" sounds just a little bit too much like "Open Arms" from that album! I might have preferred a "real" cover - it couldn't have been any worse than Mariah Carey's one!

Robin BECK: "Do You Miss Me" 8

Frontiers 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
9 July 2005

I guess it's fair to say that for most people, Robin Beck will forever be a one-hit wonder thanks the enormous success of "First Time", a song used in a cola TV ad. However, us melodic rock fans hold her in higher esteem, especially her classic "Trouble Or Nothin'" album from 1989. That Desmond Child-produced platter is one of the best female-fronted AOR albums ever, but unfortunately it failed to sell by the truckload. The reason could not have been the songs, as almost every one of them was a potential hit...The next two albums from Robin were a bit less hard rocking, but decent ones nevertheless. Last year she made a surprise comeback with "Wonderland", an album that seemed to disappear before it was actually released! Apparently it's going to be re-issued, now that this current one is surely going to raise her profile.

"Do You Miss Me" has been promoted as Beck's return to the melodic rock style of "TON", and granted, it does feature her most rocking tracks since that album. The opening title track proves that lovely Robin is able to belt it out like in the good ol' days and "Your Love Is Tough", "What About Us", "Coming Back For More" and "Takin' A Ride" are rather rocking as well. The remaining tracks are mostly balladic ones, with a couple of somehow forgettable, polite midtempo tracks thrown in.

My biggest favourites are the aforementioned "Do You Miss Me", which is a true AOR gem (not too polished though!) and the excellent ballad "The Safest Place (I Wanna Be Strong)". I do like most of the other tracks as well, although a few of them are a bit on the safe side and by-the-numbers. "I Wanna Hear It From You" for instance - somehow it sounds like a second hand version of "Tears In The Rain" (from TON).

The production by Fabrizio Grossi is decent, and Beck's vocals are quite awesome. I'm not too fond of the weird vocal effects they've used on some of the tracks (like on "Walk On The Moon" - the ad-libs towards the end of the song are freaky!), but I guess they've come here to's the digital age after all. Robin Beck Website


Black Lotus Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolem,
9 July 2005

Last year Chris Caffery, “former” guitar player of Savatage, released his first solo album called “Faces”. This CD was also put on the market as a double album, of which the second CD was entitled “God Damn War”. That album dealt with the war in Iraq and contained 9 songs.

Now almost a year later Caffery releases a “new” album called “W.A.R.P.E,D,”, which is in fact the God Dann War album, but with 6 new tracks on it. Five of them are released for the first time and the remaining one was available at the US edition of “Faces”. Furthermore this CD contains a special battlefield version of “Amazing Grace”.

As I already discussed/reviewed the God Damn War CD(see our archives), I will only look at the six new songs on this album. “Home Is Where The Hell Is” is a heavy mid tempo track with a bombastic guitar solo as intro. Furthermore this song features dramatic vocal parts, doom metal riffs and some great guitar solos. The second new song “Election Day” is an up-tempo rather aggressive Dr.Butcher kind of track, with raspy singing by Chris. “Erase” is again heavy, but still very melodic, filled with heavy guitar walls and a short fierce guitar solo. “Iraq Attack” is the second new highlight with guest vocals of Jon Oliva (screaming at the top of his lungs like in “Sirens”) and lots of Savatage riffs and sparkling guitar work. The title track of this album is a rather mediocre straightforward metal song while “State Of The Head” is again extremely heavy with lots of staccato guitar riffs and doomy rhythms although this song is musically rather dull. Conclusion: two great new songs, making this album a rather special metal treat, with the old highlights “God Damn War”, “Saddamize” and “Curtains”. Also check out the extremely critical lyrics!

F5: "A Drug For All Seasons" 8

Mascot Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
9 July 2005

In the beginning of the year 2003 former Megadeth bass player David Ellefson, guitar player Steve Conley and drummer Dave Small formed a new band which they dubbed F5. A couple of months later singer Dave Steele and another guitar player called John Davis joined the band and completed the line-up. They started to work on songs and completed their debut album called “A Drug For All Seasons” in the start of 2005, due for release in the summer of this year worldwide.

This debut album features 12 short songs, only one song clocks over 4 minutes, and it kind of reminds me of the album of Damn The Machine as it is very powerful, rather heavy music, with lots of hooks, great melodies and excellent musicianship. Maybe the music could be best described as new metal with certain influences from bands like Linkin’ Park, Altar Bridge, Deftones, Staind and Creed. Especially songs like “Fall To Me”, “A Drug For All Seasons” and “What I Am” have those typical new metal characteristics, namely heavy guitar riffs, catchy choruses, aggressive vocals and a mixture of loud and quiet musical passages.

The only Megadeth-like song is “Defacing”, while the best song of the album called “Look You In The Eyes” reminds me of Soundgarden, as it is a rather mysterious track with heavy guitar walls, staccato riffs and grunge-like vocals. The only bad song on this album is the instrumental “Forte Sonata”, which only contains a bass solo of Dave Ellefson. The rest of this album is sheer power, check it out for yourself and you will probably like the rather unique sound of F5. The only disadvantage is that the CD ends after just 36 minutes and 23 seconds!!


Atenzia 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
4 July 2005

Holy Cow!!! Diving For Pearls!!! We've been waiting for ages and ages and some of us didn't quite believe in a comeback album to ever come true. It's been what??? 6-7 years since we first took notice of a second DFP album 'soon to be released' through the MTM label at first. Nevertheless, here we are in 2005, the label is Atenzia and it's been 16 long years since their first and only melodic hardrock release. To be honest, there's hardly *any* or few points with using the 'Diving For Pearls' moniker nowadays. The remaining fan (please stand up), as well as other folks that still can recall DFP, won't exactly find a CD in the style of the self titled debut.

The overall sound isn't *too* unfamiliar though and you can still find bits and pieces of long gone days. They've certainly tried to flirt with both camps (the 80's vs. the modern rock fans), the result therfore is a awful mish-mash of two different styles. It surely would have been more honest, if they did either one of them, to the fullest extreme instead. I can't say that "Texas" is a poor or in anyway a bad album though. Opener "Thinking About Things That Will Never Be" is a real catchy uptempo rocker with slightly downtuned guitars, it's a winner though, mark my words. "I Thought About You" and "Heaven Only Knows" are both great, catchy songs, with plenty of hooks and marvelous vocals by Danny Malone (the only remaining original "member" since the debut). I have no idea what songs like "The Sweetest Sin", "Baby Come Down" and "Lonely Is The Dark" are all about though (I'am not refering to the lyrics here), add that "Stop The World From Turning" is a boring tune ála Lenny Kravitz on a lazy afternoon.

The wait is finally over - The big question however was: do they still play fun, catchy, hardrock, like in the past? The answer: not really... but kinda... it's a nice mix of nu-breed and classic melodic hardrock. Will "nice" be enough to please the long awaited fan??? I doubt it... but I could be wrong. It probably would have been better off as a "real" Danny Malone solo release.

PAUL GILBERT: "Space Ship One" 7

Mascot Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
9 July 2005

Paul Gilbert of course needs no further introduction, as we all know that he played with Racer X and Mr.Big and that he is a superb guitar picker. He has released a couple of great solo albums which confirmed his position as one of the premier rock guitar players in the world. Albums like “Flying Dog” and “Burning Organ” belong to my favorite guitar albums of all time and therefore I was really looking forward to this new CD.

“Space Ship One” contains 14 songs, featuring only 2 instrumentals, which means that on 12 songs Paul tries to sing...Something that I still do not like and probably never will like as his vocals are extremely superfluous. In my opinion; he should stick to guitar playing and nothing else. Best songs on this album are the title track (excellent guitar playing), “Jackhammer” (great instrumental), “Interaction” (diverse, spacy and experimental) and “Mr.Spock”.

Almost complete obsolete songs are: “69” (acoustic instrumental), “It’s All Too Much” (horrible cover), “We All Dream Of Love” (a capella with piano??) and “Every Hot Girl Is a Rockstar” (super simplistic rock and roll track). Rather enjoyful are again the rather cynical and humorous lyrics, but all in all I find this album slightly disappointing, so I think I will listen to “Flying Dog” once again. Good news is that Paul Gilbert will finally come to Europe for concerts!


LimbMusic 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
3 July 2005

Cryonic Temple is a true metal unit from Sweden with harsh vocals and rather catchy melodies. "In Thy Power" may not come out looking as a winning concept at first, but it's definitely a grower in the long run. Behind all that 'true metal' nonsense and a few dodgey lyrics (what else to expect with titles like "Beast Slayer" and "Eternal Flames Of Metal"), lurks a surprisingly fine release. Hey, there's nothing wrong with some metal 'nonsense' every now and then, ehem, I'm a big fan of Manowar's "Kings Of Metal" album.

The songs do even tend to be a little like Edguy vs. Manowar in style and particularly the rhythm parts. It's also nice to hear a rhythm section who know their way around their instruments for a change. Extra kudos for throwing in some NWOBHM influences as well and especially the Maiden epic "Wolfcry" is way above the average riff-raff. Believe it or not, the vocals comes out sounding like Bob Catley (Magnum), gone 'Power Metal' at times, not a deadringer by far, but there's still something Magnum-ish present here. However, "A Soldiers Tale" is a real deadringer to Iron Saviour and their most bombastic material.

"In Thy Power" is definitely something to check, if you're into happy-power-metal with big choirs and sing-a-long melodies. The music of Cryonic temple isn't exactly holiday fare, but it's heavy, catchy, and most important: entertainment for the (metal) moment.

VICIOUS RUMORS: "Crushing The World " 6

Mascot Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
9 July 2005

This is the first DVD release of the famous, or should I say notorious Vicious Rumors, one of the Bay Area metal bands formed in 1980 by guitar player Geoff Thorpe, who is still in the band of course.

This DVD is a mix of clips and gigs from Bang Your Head, Wacken Open Air and some of the tours they did with Savatage. In between you can also “enjoy” interviews with mister Vicious Rumors and of course a lot of backstage footage. Unfortunate there are no subtitles, so for anyone who is not that good in English there is a slight problem. Furthermore I can say that the sound and the picture quality are rather poor, which is really a shame. However it is maybe best to consider this DVD to be an underground DVD and then you will not be disappointed, at least if you are/were a Vicious Rumors fan.

The DVD lasts 100 minutes and it contains 8 classic tracks live, among others one of their best songs ever “Digital Dictator”, 3 new songs and 4 classic MTV videos featuring singer Carl Albert. Only a must for die-hard Vicious Rumors fan, me thinks...

IOMMI: "Fused" 6

Sanctuary 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
8 July 2005

Tony Iommi (the master of ultra heavy riffs) with Glenn Hughes (the master of ultra high screams) by his side once again. They are naturally retaining much of the Sabbath/Purple feel of the album's predecessor. "Fused" is however not quite as impressive as last years "The 1996 DEP Sessions" release... in my humble opinion. The songs are darker, heavier, and frankly not even remotely as easy listening or blessed with as many memorable hooks. Iommi mostly rely upon a darker 'stoner' groove this time around, it's actually darn boring at times, and not even Hughes can save the day in the end.

It's clearly not music intended for the fan of "Seventh Star" or any 80's Sabbath for that matter (exception noted on 3-4 tracks). The stoner approach of tracks like "Grace", "Resolution Song", "Wasted Again" and Saviour Of The Real", are all a tiresome display of some rather depressive metal. Opener "Dopamine" is on the other hand a nice mix of melodic and stoner rock, "Deep Inside A Shell" is a great semi-ballad, while "What You're Living For" is the first "real" hardrock number in the old tradition of things. In fact, the last five tracks are easily the best ones and closing number "I Go Insane" is a real winner in this years ballad category. It's unfortunately too little, too late, though.

Bottomline: A disappointment I'm afraid, especially since "The 1996 DEP Sessions" ended up on my top-5 of 2004. Six good songs won't make a album... it'll make a "6" rating in my books though.

LOUD'N'NASTY: "Too Much Ain't Enough" 2

Perris 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
7 July 2005

They are LOUD'N'NASTY... and that's about it really!!! I thought they had a couple of good things going for themselves in the late 90's. The demos had the right attitude, but did of course lack musical and songwriting experience. However, I really believed the band would have progressed much further by now. Sadly they still come out sounding like a bunch of early teenagers running bezerk in the studio.

There's of course the familiar Glam/Sleaze riffing style of Tigertailz and Poison... only ten times worse and without any real meaning or charm. Songs like "Me And The Boys" or "Little Miss Pretty" will leave you both stunned and confused by the poor performance. I can't believe that anyone would really enjoy this kind of utter rubbish??? The vocals aren't too hot either... the poor lad sounds like he's got a serious case of tummy ache. Final note: there's excellent Swedish Sleaze (Shotgun Messiah, Nasty Idols, King Pin, Backyard Babies, Crashdiet, etc.), and then you have the other side of the coin as well. This is unfortunately a case of the 'other side'.... "Too Much Ain't Enough"... you wanna bet?

GIZMACHI: "The Imbuling" 2

Sanctuary 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
8 July 2005

Gizmachi - Chugga-Chugga styled metal at large with master chaos as their sole and only religion. No, I have no idea what the word "Gizmachi" is all about, you'll have to google it, or simply let your imagination run wild, your guess is as good as mine. I do know they were signed due to the input of Slipknot's Bozo The "Clown" however, the masked hero is also responsible for the excellent production of "The Imbuling".

The music bears resemblance to Slipknot as well as Sepultura, Meshuggah, and even Alice In Chains. I can't say it's original or groundbreaking material though, their mostly flogging a dead horse, where especially Sepultura and Meshuggah influences feel out of place. I thought we all had enough of this kind of music during the 90's??? Then again.. perhaps they're merley ahead of their time instead, since the 90's will probably be popular again in 2010. OK, Slipknot are mainstream metal I guess and some of these tracks are very similar in style and colour. It's very much the US (America) sound of today and Gizmachi will mostly find their audience at the other side of the pond. I have personally moved on and away from this kind of music, perhaps they need to check out the new and excellent breed of EXTOL (one of my fave albums this year), and their likes instead. One word review: bull.


* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 21-26/05 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 21-26/05 * * * * *
Circus Maximus, Kelly Clarkson, Slagmark, Evenrude, Broke-n-Blue, Boysvoice, Perris Records' "Hollywood Hairspray vol. IV, Mike Portnoy, Steve Morse, Dope Stars Inc, Backstreet Boys, Frameshift (feat. Sebastian Bach), Stefan Moren, Demon, Spiritual Beggars, Northern Light and Madsin, Dream Theater, Presto Ballet (feat. Kurdt Vanderhoof of Metal Church), Steve Howe, XSavior, "Flower King" Tomas Bodin, Pagan's Mind, Spiders & Snakes, Return, Silvertide, Demons & Wizards, Alice Cooper, "Hollywood Rocks" CD box and a band called Hollywood.


* * * * * 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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