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FM: "Long Lost Friends" 8

Escape 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
1 November 2005

I'm sure I've told you more than once and I'll gladly say it again: FM's Steve Overland is one helluva fine vocalist and always sadly underrated. Not the best or most technically trained singer in the biz, however, lots of soul, guts, and power, sort of makes him U.K.'s answer to Michael Bolton. "Long Lost Friends" is a fine, 2-CD digipack release from Escape Music, consisting of the two albums "Takin' It To The Streets" and "Dead Man's Shoes", plus five bonus tracks.

Disc 1: The 1991 album "Takin' It To The Street" was excellent and more bluesier, harder styled rock as opposed to the pure U.S. AOR of "Indiscreet" or "Though It Out". It's music more in the vein of Bad Company than Journey, (if that makes sense to you?), and you'll notice how Paul Rodgers must have been a big source of inspiration to Overland. It's overall gutsy rock that pretty much reflected the U.K. scene of the time. Heck, bands like Thunder and Little Angels, were all at the top-of-the-charts, with the second wave of Free/Bad Company rock during the early 90's in the U.K.. There's still tons of catchy melodies to be found and ballads like "Crack Alley" will please any wimp rocker any day. "If It Feels Good" is a typical FM rocker with a Def Leppard twist, while "Bad Blood" is a back-to-basic toon. They even included a cover of the old classic "I Heard It Through The Grapewine", to prove their point somehow, as well as releasing it as a single later on. Two bonus tracks: "Now She's Gone", dates back to the early FM days, it's "blessed" with fluffy keys and a guitar riff similar to AC/DC and "You Shook Me All Night Long". They have unfortunately managed to mess-up the tracklisting of the bonus tracks, but they're both catchy and definitely worthy of your attention (it's "pure" AOR stuff).

Disc2: I'm not too keen about the overall sound of "Dead Man's Shoes". It's very laidback, blusey, and not always top-notch stuff when it comes down to the actual songmaterial. Tracks like "Nobody's Fool", "Don't Say" and "Mona", bore me to tears with its too laidback approach. It's difficult to understand how the same band on the other hand can write such wonderful toons as "Ain't No Cure For Love", "Get Ready", "Magical", or the magical "Tattoo Needle". Three bonus tracks: "Stranger Kind Of Love" is a great semi-ballad from the "Tough It Out" era. "Show No Mercy" isn't the Slayer song (heh!), but a fine, throw-a-way rocker from the past. Last but no least, the excellent "Crying In The Dark", will have any AOR fan into tears at the sheer emotion of it all.

MALICE IN WONDERLAND: "Malice In Wonderland" 8

Karisma Records 2005
Review by Satu Reunanen
7 November 2005

Next on the line of success might just be Norwegian Malice In Wonderland. They’ve got rockin’ songs mixed with glam and goth rock with a hard rock attitude, not forgetting ballads either. And with names such as Chris Wicked, Andy Valentine, Tracy Loveless, Eric Black and Tommy Gun, it’s all well thought and ready to go for fans of this genre. The band was formed in 1997 and this is their debut after three demos.

With their album cover, featuring only singer Chris in his glam rock clothes and the band symbol, you easily think of HIM. And as ”Lucifer’s Town” starts, you haven’t gone that wrong with the thought. The band has certain HIM influence and the song titles could be from HIM also. Other comparisons would be Sisters Of Mercy, the eighties hard rock and even Depeche Mode. Eventhough Chris sounds like Ville Valo a bit on ”Lucifer’s Town”, it’s his vocals in the end that make the difference. They sound unique and besides, the band isn’t as gloomy as HIM. Even with dark song titles such as ”Devil’s Dance”, the mood mostly stays within the limits of hard rock, creating a lively vibe. One can only imagine how the band rocks live.

Each song has a catch inside, so there’s hardly disappointments. What makes the album more vivid is the guest musicians, who play cello, violin and saxophone and they’ve also got a choir. ”My Heart (Belongs To You)” is one of the melancholic songs, which has beautiful melodies and ”In The End” carries on with the same feeling with the piano sound, though being much more spacious, Chris singing with an empty feeling. ”I Love To Sin” ends the album with alike feeling, but takes a step faster tempo. The rest of the album rocks, but doesn’t forget the melancholy and the flowing melodies. So the band sounds emotional enough for the girls and still rocks with different influences to get the attention from guys. Surely a great deal for all.
Malice In Wonderland


Sony/BMG 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
1 November 2005

KA-BLAAM!!! Bullet For My Valentine is like a shotgun blast of metal riffage and violent tendencies. Voted as best new band for 2005 at the once-so-great Kerrang, they've been constantly hailed and praised in U.K. media ever since. Ehem, I do not always agree (anylonger) with the good people at Kerrang, however, they're not exactly dead wrong this time. They are without a question the most intense act to come out of Wales since the Tigertailz [I'm only messing with ya' :-)].

"The Poison" is uncompromised metal, produced and mixed by Colin Richardson (Funeral For A Friend). The first track, the instrumental "Intro", features Finland's string quartet Apocalyptica and it's basically like the clam before the storm. "Her Voice Resides" takes off like a 707 into the sky, it's furious metal with the excellent vocal mix of Matt Tuck (vocals/guitar) and bassist/vocalist Jay James. The harsh aggro growls together with the almost "emo" like vocals by Tuck is a perfect light/shadow, good/evil, approach, that will most certainly attract the listener at once. "Tears Don't Fall" feature guitar work and massive riffing in the old-school of Metallica with a Kirk Hammet-like solo. They are definitetely paying some tribute to the old bands on this CD, however, don't go thinking it's "Kill 'Em All", all over again. It's very much "modern" metal, but not necerssarily "nu-metal", these guys have both great vocal harmonies and hooks as well as pounding guitars and fast paced drums.

They really do blend all of the sounds together and give it a good result. Each song delivers a strong refrain and a track like "All These Things I Hate", is a lovely ballad mix of old Metallica, Killswitch, and/or Funeral For A Friend. They combine superb guitar riffing with screaming and clean melodic singing at its best. It's perhaps a tad too much "hardcore" music to my liking at times, especially numbers like "Room 409" and "Spit It Out", really awful, annoying, stuff with horrible gang vocals. Thank God for songs like "10 Years Today" or "Cries In Vein" as they make up a lot for the above nonsense metal. Blood For My Valentine is a interesting new act, with a strong, but hardly perfect, debut album.

BAD HABIT: "Hear-Say" 7

Frontiers 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
7 November 2005

After listening to the first song "To Love You" from semi-legendary Swedish AOR band Bad Habit's latest "comeback-album", I was very impressed and anxious to hear more. Excellent sound and style, just a perfect mix of their old sound but with enough modern elements to keep it all contemporary. "Could this be the definite Bad Habit album", I wondered...well, it could've been, but it wasn't.

The sound of "Hear-Say" is decidedly heavier than that of their previous album, their first (or second?) comeback-album "Adult Orientation" (1998). I prefer the production of "Hear-Say", but I don't think that the songwriting is on the same level. Roughly half of the material is as good or at times even better than majority of "Adult Orientation", but for every good song there's a counterpart...and admittedly, even some of the better songs are rather predictable and safe, relying on the tried and trusted AOR formulas. Not that it would keep me from enjoying them...

The aforementioned opener "To Love You" is the absolute highlight of the album, a pounding, heavy AOR track with a strong chorus. "I Swear" is another pounding, heavy track, but it doesn't have too many melodic hooks to keep one interested. The intro of "All That I Want" might fool one to thinking that it's the return of "Rowena" from the band's first album, but that's not the case. Instead you'll get a decent AOR track that owes a lot to the legacy of Journey I believe...

I can't really get a grip of the next few tracks. "Walk Of Life", "Reason" and "Alive" might be okay songs, but I find it hard to remember much anything about them. Well, the almost death metal-like grunts in "Reason" are hard to forget, as they appear so out of place on this album. An interesting attempt to break boundaries nevertheless.

The second half of the album mostly represents the traditional Bad Habit sound, with songs like "I Want To Know" and "I'll Be The One" sounding like they could've been taken from "Adult Orientation". Nice melodies and strong choruses all over the place! However, there are two tracks among the last six which do have some nice melodies, but are totally destroyed with suprisingly dull choruses, namely "Take Control" and "I Can't Help Myself". The first one is a bit plodding heavy rocker and the second one is an uptempo track along the lines of "Living On The Edge" from "After Hours", and they are in desperate need of better refrains!

DEMONLORD: "Helltrust" 7

Source Of Deluge 2005
Review by Satu Reunanen
7 November 2005

Hungarian Demonlord isn’t well known around Europe, although they’ve been around since 1997 and have released demos and one self-financed album before ”Helltrust”. The songs on this album were already written years ago and the band signed their record deal in 2001. Being popular in their homeland, this release doesn’t show as much promise as one might expect from a band having years of work behind them. But Demonlord has a sound of their own, with influences of course, so these will raise interest in certain fans of metal.

German style metal fans will definately take interest in this, as the music sounds typical german metal, elements which point to bands such as Running Wild, Gamma Ray, old Helloween and Blind Guardian. The music is straight forward power metal with a menace to the atmosphere with its thrash influences. The vocals remind the sound of Kai Hansen, with loads of epic harmonies. Even with the dark feeling haunting in the background throughout the album, the brisky melodies and joyful sounding vocals make the album more enjoyable than what one would make out from their album cover and song titles. The bands name doesn’t really fit the music what the guys are playing, neither does the album title do justice for this music.

If you’re not into german metal, you will find this release a bit corny with the choruses and vocal work, but for most part the band sounds tight enough and has a sense about melodies. With the sound Demonlord has it’s a trip back to the days, when power metal was raising its head for the first time. It’s kinda raw, but still kicks as power metal should. ”Still Alive” slows down the pace with Blind Guardian-like vocal work, but the rest is just powerful galloping. For a first release the band shows promise, eventhough the sound isn’t for all. But keep your eye on the band, they already have material for a third album.

FAR BEYOND: "An Angel’s Requiem" 7

Source Of Deluge 2005
Review by Satu Reunanen
7 November 2005

Far Beyond was founded in 2001 and this is the first official release from the man behind the solo project, Eugen Dodenhöft, who’s released one demo before this. Being a solo project there’s certain doubt about being able to make the whole thing work properly, but Dodenhöft has succeeded much better with his ideas than many others.

He has worked the album around black metal, but the outcome is more diversified than average black metal and takes influences from many music genres. Of course the growling vocals play the most important part, but clean vocals play a part in some songs too. One thing that makes the whole thing work is the melodies, which keep the songs together and make fine bridges between the songs. Although occasionally they’re sounding a bit too fragile for this type of music and maybe not too well thought. Eventhough most of the album is based around the typical gloomy and heavy black metal riffing, power metal influences make this album more dynamic.

There are a few slower moments, which carry more mystic atmosphere and have a gothic/doom touch to them, even medieval melodies and these are the intro ”The Gate”, ”Bleeding Rose” and ”Tribute To Resurrection”. They’re all quite fine with their calm and longing melodies, but as with the whole album, they still have an unfinished touch to them. One of the reasons for this is the hollow sound on the album, it doesn’t give enough kicks for the listener. But still it’s an interesting album to listen to, when even after plenty of listens you can still point out new influences, one of the most interesting ones must’ve been the seventies vocal harmonies. But like ”Mournful Abyss”, the songs move smoothly enough that it’s still a good debut.
Far Beyond

Mitch PERRY: "Projects" 6

Z Records 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
2 November 2005

Mitch Perry Projects is a collection of ten tunes that never got around to see the light of day. Well, not until Z Records decided to dig 'em all up from the treasure chest of former MSG, Talas, Steeler, Waysted, Badd Boys, Heaven, Black Bart, guitarist. Indeed, Mitch Perry has been around the blocks more than once in the past and always done a solid performance... where-ever he laid down his guitar.

Four out of the ten songs were originally recorded during the "Badd Boys" sessions with vocalist Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot), bassist Sean McNabb (Quiet Riot, House Of Lords, Great White), and drummer Rich Carlson. The remaining six songs were all recorded under the banner of "7% Solution", a band risen up from the ashes of Badd Boys, with a line-up consisting of vocalist Ralph Saenz (L.A.Guns), drummer Paul Monroe (XYZ), McNabb & Perry.

It's quite difficult to understand why record comanies would turn down songs like "Straight To The Heart", "No Time For Cryin", or "Hear Your Heartbreak". The first two comes out like a fun mix of (early) Lynch Mob & Great White, the latter is a killer ballad with Shortino at his prime. My only complaint would be: it's hardly "original" sounding material and to be honest, you could find a lot of acts with a similar sound back in the days. "Leave It To The Law" had me thinking about XYZ or Lynch Mob again and the line "Billy, Don't Take Your Gun To School", will stick inside your head for days. Something like "Let It Ride" and "Money", ain't nuthin' but Van Halen in thin disquise, complete with some truly inspiring licks by Perry (in the old school of Eddie). Not to mention that Saez tries his best to sound like David Lee Roth. There's a couple of really dull moments as well and especially "Witchdoctor" and "Believing On A Lie", had me quickly reaching for the skip botton. Don't expect miracles when it comes to sound quality, however, it's neither *that* bad in the end. Give it a try if you fancy a mix of all the above mentioned acts. It's definitely something to consider for the die-hard collector of this kind of music and artists.

TESTAMENT: "Live In London"

Spitfire 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
2 November 2005

Testament, one of the first Thrash Metal bands to really emerge from the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80's (originally under their "Legacy" banner and post-1986 as Testament). They've actually been out there ever since, fighting trends, younger acts, the illness of vocalist Chuck Billy (diagnosed cancer), and their ever-changing line-up. However, in february 2005, Testament reformed their "original" line-up consisting of Chuck Billy (vocals), Eric Peterson (guitar), Alex Skolnick (guitar), original bassist Greg Christian, and previous drummer alumnus Johnny Tempesta. "Live In London" was recorded live during their Europe tour of May 2005. The lightning fast riffing and guitarwork of Peterson/Skolnick is still the main attraction and highlight(s) of the band. I'm hardly ever excited by live CD nowadays and I guess I mostly blame the excellent live DVD's for my lack of interest. And the simply fact that live albums and the greatness of these releases died with the eighties.

The sound is fine, the musicians are great, they play all the classics such as: "The Preacher", "The New Order", "Electric Crown", "Practice What You Preach", "The Legacy", etc. But to be honest... I rather just go back playing all the old studio albums instead. They still feel more honest, they still kick major butt, and Bay Area still meant something good to the metal people.

BREED 77: "Cultura" 3

Albert 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
3 November 2005

Breed 77 is hybrid rock and according to the press-release a rather unique (whatever!) mix of musical influences and styles, spanning melodic hardrock to Spanish flamenco oriented guitar and Moroccan rhythms. They actually come from this tiny British colonial outpost (Gibraltar), on the southern tip of Spain, less than ten miles from Morocco. They're signed to the highly acclaimed label Albert Productions, the Australian incubator of oz rock and world-wide publisher to Acca Dacca (that's AC/DC in down-under lingo). However, if you remove the few traces of North African rhythms, there's absolutely nothing unique about the music of Breed 77. It's almost like Gibraltar's very own version of Creed, Pearl Jam, and Metallica of today (ick!). Breed 77 merely serves as something to present to your friends as yet another Pearl Jam wannabee act.

ROINE STOLT: "Wall Street Voodoo" 9

Inside Out 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
1 November 2005

That Roine Stolt(guitar player/vocalist of The Flower Kings) is a workaholic is clear. Despite his involvement with other projects like Kaipa, Transatlantic and The Tangent, he even finds time to make solo albums. “Wall Street Voodoo” is a double album and Roine sets a completely different path for his fifth solo album, exploring new musical territories. The two CDs are a kind of reminiscence to the blues rock of the late sixties and seventies. So, this is NOT a Flower Kings album, but a true guitar album. The 16 songs on this album are pure food for guitar freaks, so just the right stuff for me!

The opener called “The Observer” sets the tone for this album as it is filled with Jimi Hendrix-like guitar solos, proving what a great guitar picker Stolt in fact is. In other songs, where Roine proves to be a true master of the strings, his guitar playing brings back memories of guitar icons like Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Robin Trower and even Frank Zappa at times. But his main influence is definitely guitar god Hendrix; just check out Roine’s heavenly solos in songs like “Spirit Of The Rebel”, Dog With A Million Bones”, “Outcast” and “The Unwanted”.

If you want to hear something else than fabulous endless guitar playing then listen to “Everyone Wants To Rule The World” (with clear Beatles influences) or “Dirt” (a Flower Kings song). On CD 1 you will also find a cover, called “Sex Kills” (originally by Joni Mitchell), which is a real seventies-like song filled with amazing extensive guitar solos. The second CD is unfortunately not as good as the first one, although it starts with one of the best songs on the entire album, namely “The Unwanted”. That one features a really psychedelic intro, followed by Hendrix-like solos and guitar effects, before it ends with a long bluesy slide solo. Other highlights on this second CD are “Hotrod” and “People That Have The Power To Shape The Future”. The “weak” songs on this album can also be found on CD2, namely “Everybody Is Trying To Sell You Something” (with a tiresome too long funky rhythm) and “Mercy” (an awful acoustic track with weird vocals). However, if you skip those two songs then “Wall Street Voodoo” is just a sheer brilliant guitar album which shows that Stolt would have been a truly celebrated guitar hero in the seventies! Listening tip: “Spirit Of The Rebel”. Release date: 11 November

Johnny LIMA: "Version 1.2" 9

Escape Music 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
28 October 2005

For starters, let's revisit my orginal review of Johnny Lima's first album. Back in 1998 I wrote:

"This guy is totally unknown to me, but I think he might gain himself at least a cult following soon. This is his first album I believe, and it's a good effort. I haven't read a single review of it yet, but I think that I won't be the only one to say that this sounds a lot like a certain band from New Jersey. If someone had given me this tape and claimed that it's Bon Jovi's lost album circa 1986 I would have probably believed! What we have here is a dozen of good songs, from the rockers with huge hooks like "Reckless Heart" (one of those songs with a healthy dose of "WHOA!'s"!) to ballads like "Fly Angel". There's even a song that wouldn't sound out of place on a glam album, "Rock'n Roll River", it reminds me of Pretty Boy Floyd. So, if you're into, say, Danger Danger, Blue Tears and early Bon Jovi, you might do yourself a favour and try to locate this album."

The chances of locating copies of the original release are slim I think, but thanks to Escape Music, it shouldn't be too hard to get a copy of this version of the album. Apparently Mr. Lima wasn't too happy about the performances or the production of the first album, so he went and re-did the whole thing! That's good news, since there's no doubt about it, "Version 1.2" sounds bigger and better. In addition to the improved sound, you'll get two tracks that weren't on the first album: "Fire Of Love" was the original Japanese bonus track, while "Drift Away" is an unreleased track from the archives I believe. Both are very good songs, and add value to this version of the album. Unfortunately, "Speak Of The Devil", one of the tracks from the original version has been dropped...I don't think it was one of the key tracks though, so it's not a big loss.


Mercury 2005
Review by the Bailey Brothers
1 November 2005

Have A Nice Day is a case of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Why spend time under the bonnet tinkering with a finally tuned engine?

Bon Jovi's last album, 2002's Bounce, was regarded as an uncharacteristically dour affair but Bon Jovi are back on form with their 9th studio album of original material, so let’s burn some rubber, get the pedal to the metal and crank this sucker up.

The title track is everything you either love or hate about Bon Jovi, it sounds almost a carbon copy of “It’s My Life” in places. The subject matter however is of a political stance. Jovi backed Kerry in the presidential election so takes a swipe at G W Bush.

With such a rock-pop-tactic sing a long ditty Jovi have opened up with a gem. “Complicated” is another anthem of the same mould and will emerge as a single no doubt. “I AM” feels far less contrived and has a good band vibe about it. Nothing fancy, a simple plod, a cool Sambora solo then it’s virtually ram the chorus home until it sticks like shit to a shovel..

On the subject of potential single releases “Welcome To Wherever You Are” looks a future bet. Not exactly “Bed Of Roses” or “Always” but very radio friendly.

“Bells of Freedom” is another contender but has far more class then the sloppy predecessors that hogged the air waves and had the teeny bopper market immersed in everything Bon Jovi.

“Dirty Little Secret” is an attempt to rock it up and kicks off with a great guitar riff that is the lynch pin of the song, once again the chorus is so catchy it slightly steels Sambora’s thunder as he chips in with a tasty guitar solo and keeps a good rhythmic groove through out.

“Last Man Standing” has a sort of Billy Idol groove going down under the verses (think Rebel Yell) Once again a catchy chorus will be the main course on the menu but for me the simple little melodic guitar lick followed by a Sambora solo and the way they come back in before the drums gives you much more to chew on.

Look let’s cut to the chase, Have A Nice Day is one of the best albums Bon Jovi have done in over a decade. It’s got great songs, good stories, quality musicianship and it’s great to see Desmond Child as Executive Producer. They are the band some people just love to hate; it’s strange how the minute you cross over the thin line between rock and pop and become global you have sold out. Jon Bon Jovi felt frustrated enough to put these words to the song “NOVOCAINE”: “There’s a different kind of meaning to Living On A Prayer. Some don’t seem to notice and the rest don’t seem to care”. That about sums Bon Jovi up. Songs like “Wildflower” and “Last Cigarette” show Jovi is not afraid to move on but as always there are those who won’t let an artist move on. Knock him down if you can but it’s almost 20 years since Slippery When Wet and they are still a stadium band. As far major rock stars from the 80’s Jon Bon Jovi could in the near future definitely be “The Last Man Standing”.

EDDIE OJEDA: "Axes2Axes" 7

Black Lotus Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
1 November 2005

This is the first solo album of former Twisted Sister guitar player Eddie Ojeda. He got help from Ronnie James Dio, Dee Snider and Joe Lynn Turner on the vocals, but I actually like the instrumental songs best. “Axes2Axes”, “Crosstown” and “Funky Monkey” are speedy, melodic guitar instrumentals, reminding me of guitar players like Moore, Macalpine, Chastain and Fredianelli.

The best vocal song is without any doubt the opener called “Tonight”. A classic rock/metal track with great riffs and the still amazing voice of Ronnie James Dio. The weirdest song is however sung by Dee Snider, namely the Beatles cover “Eleanor Rigby”, it is up-tempo and strange and you know I hate covers...

The rest of the song material is mainly straightforward rock with familiar riffs and melodies and sometimes even catchy choruses. The weakest song is probably called “The Reason”, a semi-acoustic rock ballad which rather sounds like kitsch to me. However, if you fancied Twisted Sister then I think that you will even like this CD more than I actually did. It is not bad of course, but it does not stand out of the massive CD releases of every month, so it is better that you first listen to this album, before you decide to buy it.

CHANGE OF HEART: "Truth Or Dare" 5

Escape Music 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
31 October 2005

I don't like the progression of Change Of Heart. Their first album was rather good, containing a couple of real killer tracks (I rate "The Fire Is Gone" among the finest AOR tracks of the late nineties). The second album - well, I'm afraid I can't name one song from it. I still have it in my collection though, so it must have survived a few "housecleaning" rounds. And this one...while there are a few good songs, I'm not sure at all that it'll find a place in my record collection.

The style of the band is exactly the same as before - 80'ies sounding AOR. If you've liked their previous releases, it's very unlikely that you'd hate this one, but I don't think that you'll rate it as their finest moment. The songwriting seems to lack that extra spark that would elevate these songs to the next level. Now these tracks are merely okay AOR-by-numbers songs, something these guys can probably write in their sleep. A track like "Keep On Believing" is a good example of the overall vibe of the album - a half-hearted attempt at re-writing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing". I doubt whether the guys in the band believe in their message themselves...

The best tracks are the rather energetic opener "Burned" and the title track, even though it reminds me strongly of aforementioned "The Fire Is Gone". And while I just can't understand why ANY AOR band would want to write a track called "Hold On" in 2005, I must admit that it's one of the stronger numbers here. Well, there's a "Desperate Heart" on this album too...

DEADSOUL TRIBE: "The Dead World" 3

Inside Out 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
1 November 2005

“The January Tree” was already a dark and somehow disappointing album, but Deadsoul Tribe’s fourth studio album is a real disaster. Musically all the 11 songs on the new album sound the same, there is almost no variation and diversity and all the tracks are dark, dull and very melancholic; making me feel very depressive every time I listened to this album.

The album opens with the ticking of a clock followed by a narrative piece, before the drums and the bass set the tone for a dark, mysterious song called “A Flight On An Angels Wing”. The rest of the song material is in fact filled with the same musical ingredients, lots of percussion, weird, screaming or whispering vocals, doomy and spooky riffs and no musical solos whatsoever.

The worst songs are “Waiting In Line” (tiresome and boring), “Someday” (piano and vocals), “My Dying Wish” (melancholic and dull) and “Some Sane Advice” (a semi-acoustic song with too much singing). As a matter of fact I cannot really name one song that I actually like, because it all sounds so somber and gloomy, and most of all, all the songs sound the same as if Devon Graves has lost the inspiration to write decent songs. A true disappointment and maybe even the biggest disappointment of this year so far!

KHYMERA: "A New Promise" 9

Frontiers 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
27 October 2005

The first Khymera album looked good on paper but didn't turn out quite as exciting. Top songwriters and Steve Walsh could have been a great combination, but somehow it didn't blow me away. I gave it an "8" which might have been a bit too much, considering that I haven't really played the CD after reviewing it, and none of the songs made it to my various compilation CDs. This time I'm glad to say that this CD WILL be played after the reviewing session too, and I'm sure that some of these songs will make it to the "Best Of 2005" CDs and lists.

This time, Khymera is more of a band than a studio project. Producer/keyboard player Daniele Liverani (Genius Rock Opera) is still the top dog, but now he has a stable line-up to work with. Dario Ciccioni plays drums and young discovery Tommy Ermolli shines on guitar, while Daniele himself doubles as the bass player. The lead singer's role has been given to a rather surprising choice - Dennis Ward, the bass player of Pink Cream 69! I guess most hard rock fans knew that he's a great producer as well as a bass player, but now it appears that he's a very good singer too. Is there no end to this guys' skills? What next? A guitar instrumental album from Mr. Ward? Or hits with a Hammond organ?

When it comes to the songs, "A New Promise" is more interesting than the first Khymera CD. As far as I know, none of the songs (except for "The Damage Is Done" from Marcie Free's "Tormented" CD) have been previously covered, unlike the many familiar songs on the first album. The promo that I got doesn't have any songwriting info, but what I could gather from other sources is that most of the songs are written by Tom and James Martin, who used to be in a band called Sugartown. A few of the songs do come from established AOR writers, such as Judithe & Robin Randall, Don Barnes and Jeff Scott Soto.

Among the dozen songs (the short intro not withstanding) you won't find any real fillers, instead you'll find several killers! The first four songs ("Alone", "Let It Burn", "Looking For You" and "All That I Have") are simply fabulous, and there are some true gems among the remaining ones too, "Fields Of Fire" being probably the best of them.

What prevents me from handing out the full points for this album? A couple of more average tunes and the production. There's nothing dramatically wrong with the album's sound, but compared to something like Jaded Heart's last album, it just doesn't sound as impressive...and while Ward's vocals are really good throughout the album, the way he hits the high notes in the ballad "If You Dare To Dream" and a couple of other places sounds quite painful. Anyway, these minor gripes aside, this is one of the better albums of 2005, and one that will most certainly impress the hard rock and AOR fans alike.

James BYRD's ATLANTIS RISING: "Crimes of Virtuosity" 8

Lion Music 2005
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner
26 October 2005

Yngwie Byrd's Rising Force… ehh!… Jamie Byrd's Atlantis Rising released this album originally in 1997 in Japan with a rather weak European distribution, so Lion Music decided to reissue it remastered and completed with 2 bonus tracks. The remastering helped a great deal (the album sounds even more bombastic); I'm not that certain about the inclusion of the bonus tracks though.

In case you do not happen to know much about James Byrd, he is the man who's more Yngwie than Malmsteen himself… at least that's what the negative critiques say about him. I'd rather go for a stunning virtuoso description while admitting a serious resembling to Yngwie, especially as far as the general songwriting approach and bombastic melodic metal go. Carrying on with the Malmsteen comparison, Crimes of Virtuosity sounds like the linear continuation of the Seventh Sign and the Magnum Opus albums by Yngwie. After a spooky sounding intro, the opening duo of "Metatron" and "Heaven on their Minds" showcases right away what the album is all about: bombastic sounding melodic metal topped with decent vocals and a virtuoso guitar playing. Add some Helloween influences in the vocal melodies and the choruses and you get very close. But all these pulled in grand fashion, Kendall Torrey'sd vocals are as close to perfect as possible, so is Jamie's playing. Make sure to check the lyrics of "Heaven on…"; it has a great twist in it, especially after all the Muslim-terrorist threat thing.

The first bonus track is placed right after the opening duo, it's an okay track, fits the album quite well and makes room for the first ballad "In My Darkest Hour", a beautiful piece with a very tasty nylon-string guitar part. The "Hunted Heretic" is kinda misplaced after that being another slow track, it would have benefited from a different running order. The beautiful "Jane" brings back more of the acoustic approach in the intro and turns into the better instrumental track of the album. [Amberdawn eat your heart out! :)] Personally I could have done without the stoner "Get Free" but the crybaby-like intro and the great opening solo are worth a listen. "Storm King" is too much of an early Deep Purple imitation to these ears, a good one at that, it just didn't impress me personally. Probably the weakest point of the entire album is the excerpt from Bolero which sounds most of the times like some cheapo midi file topped with a number of guitar tracks. Leave the Concerto thing to Yngwie! [He has the financial and logistical support to pull it like it should be pulled.] However the closing "Goodbye My Love" and "Going Home" restore the faith as the have the general approach of the opening duo of songs. All in all the album is more than recommended if you have missed it back then and if you are a fan of ambitious guitar wizardry.

YARGOS: "To be or not to be" 7

AFM records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
28 October 2005

Yargos is a new band formed around singer Mac McDermott of Threshold. The group further consists of Peter Pichl (Running Wild), Andy Kienitz (Human Fortress), Anca Graterol (Jane) and Ossy Pfeiffer (Moon Dog). If you think and expect that this CD sounds like the prog metal of Threshold then you are in for a big surprise, as this album is at least 75% less heavy than the Threshold albums. The music on this album can be best described as melodic prog rock with musical elements from bands like Kansas or Saga.

The female vocals on this CD are a bit of a nuisance to me, like for instance in a song called “Point Of No Return”, or “A Time To Decide”. Most of the tracks on this album are rather bombastic and orchestral “filled up” with too much singing. Mac’s voice sounds more melodic and more dramatic than on the Threshold albums and I “think” that I prefer his Threshold vocals.

Best track is “Peace Of Mind” with starts with a nice guitar solo before it evolves into a powerballad like rock song. “The Guilded Cage” reminds me of an Ayreon song and “Full Circle” has a great Threshold like guitar riff. However most of the songs are just plain melodic rock songs with nothing special whatsoever. True disappointments are songs like “Time Drops” (piano ballad), “The Summer Tree#1” (dull) and “Pink Confusion” (just sounds). It is all too much of the same melodies and vocals, too dramatic, reminding me sometimes of a musical, rather then a rock album.

Francesco FARERI: "Forbidden Dimensions" 5

Lion Music 2005
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner
28 October 2005

Painkillers! Painkillers! Someone help me, please! Francesco Fareri got my ears bleeding even though his first full-length album starts really beautifully. The opening "Days" is one of the most beautiful piano-driven instrumental track I've heard in years. Unfortunately - as Francesco is a guitarist characterizing himself as "shredder" - he tries really hard to live up to the category he sets for himself and although he carries on with some of the piano melodies in "Illusions", the rest of the album is pure, mindless shredding all over the place with unmemorable, sometimes rather chaotic song complexion and selfish technicalities. Out of the 8 tracks of the album 4 are longer than 9 minutes and none of them has any really memorable parts.

Unlike his early demos, Francesco used real musicians this time (Jon Doman on drums and Kyle Honea on bass, and as it is usual with progressive shredding albums nowadays Vitalij Kuprij lends some of his talent on keys on this one as well). By the end of the second track (especially having heard the very same arpeggio about 24 times in the middle of the song and playing attention to the drum tracks) all I could say about these guys was: wow, they have some stamina! Seriously this is more of a fitness exercise than an album to entertain.

The production of the album doesn't help the listener all that much either. The drums are so very much in the front of the mix that they simply hurt, the bass is mushy, and the guitar sounds are heavily overdriven with the highs pushed up to the sky while lows got lost somewhere along the way. The result is an album rather difficult to enjoy, digest or even figure out what the point of the entire release was. Francesco Fareri obviously has the talent and the technical practice to pull whatever he really wants to pull when it comes to recording. As soon as he learns to ENTERTAIN, we'll have an ARTIST to pay some attention to. With "Forbidden Dimensions" we get just another GUITARIST who SHREDS without thinking. If that's what you are looking for, give him a chance, but I'd say: with millions of the likes spread all over the place it is not really something the world needs nowadays...

MAGNUM: "Livin' The Dream"[DVD] 9

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

They are still out there, playing music, "Livin' The Dream", and their energy certainly rubs off on the rest of us. This is a simply marvelous 2-disc DVD with the U.K. masters of catchy AOR/Pomp rock. Recorded live in U.K. April 2005 during the 20th anniversary tour of "On A Storyteller's Night", disc:1 is jam-packed with most of their hits. Indeed, they play *all* the songs live from that ultimate, all-time classic, Magnum album, and it's goosebumps warning and sheer magic to any fan of the band. "All England's Eyes", "Two Hearts", "Steal Your Heart", they are all included here, and you even get other goodies such as a smashing "Vigilante" and almost all the oldies and crowd pleasers.

Disc:2 - the usual bonus stuff with interviews with all band members, tour diary, a special acoustic version of "The Spirit", promo videos of: "Rockin' Chair", "Lonely Night", It Must Have Been Love", "Days Of No Trust", "Start Talking Love", "Just Like An Arrow", "Heartbroke & Busted" and "Midnight". The tour diary (with a drunken Al Barrow at large) lacks the real in-depth as well as information of a decent documentary in my humble opinion. It's mostly a couple of laughs and some various angle shots around and/or inside of the tour bus. You can't help think that Barrow (he's the new bassplayer if you haven't been around for a while) would probably fit better in with some nancy-pancy act such as Spandau Ballet or Duran Duran. Then again, put anyone next to Catley & Clarkin and they'll look posh and sort of out-of-place. Ehem, we all know of them as very nice blokes though and Catley is (still) a top-class singer that (still) likes to waves his arms around a lot on stage (surely, he must have been a traffic warden in some previous life).

Bottomline: with some more meat on the bones during the documentary, this would have been a perfect 10 rating. Now it's "merely" a strong 9 rating and quite essential stuff for any AOR/Pomp/Magnum fan. It's approx: 220 minutes of great music and five fine musicians.

DEEP PURPLE: "Rapture Of The Deep" 8

Edel 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
22 October 2005

Legends at work, "Rapture Of The Deep" is without a question the second best album with Morse (number one: Purpendicular), and the band does play with great energy and gusto. One thing's for sure though, you definitely need to spin the disc over and over again, before you're even start to read its table of contents. It's not exactly hardrock 'one-to-one' with easy access to index and everything. Opener "Money Talks" is a grower in the same way as the title track of "Perfect Strangers". "Wrong Man" is a quirky DP' tune, the epic sounding titletrack feature some excellent guitarwork 'ala eastern influences, and "Clearly Quite Absurd" is a marvelous ballad with thoughtworthy lyrics. The latter song is actually one of my favourite ballads of the year and Ian Gillan may be 60 years old this autum... but he can sing yer' socks off.

I'm not quite sure why I enjoy the new Deep Purple album this much in the end. I really shouldn't... since I'm a product of 80's hardrock and catchy hooks. You will however enjoy this if you found "Purpendicular" interesting and perky.

"Rapture Of The Deep" is a largely even affair between the Gillan solo albums of the late 70's/early 80's and the era of Steve Morse's 'DP'. In fact, I can hear some "Mr Universe" and "Future Shock" into several of the tracks featured on the brand new Deep Purple CD. Not always a good sign in my opinion as Gillan never quite recorded anything "superb" or "outstanding" during his solo years. Frankly, I do miss the input of Ritchie Blackmore and it's perhaps time to at least stop and think about the necessity of a reunion (???!!!). Nontheless, this will still end up somewhere further down my top-30 albums of the year list.... so why the heck do I complain???

The MOB: "The Mob" 8

Frontiers 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
24 October 2005

The MOB is a new studio project/supergroup consisting of vocalist Doug Pinnick (King's X), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Dokken, Whitesnake), key-man Timothy Drury (Whitesnake, The Eagles), and drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), with special guest and almighty producer: Kip Winger (Winger, Alice Cooper).

The album kicks off with the fantastic rock of "One Track Mind", where the hero of the day (Pinnick), steps up to the plate to hit a homerun at once. His awesome singing ability and overall powerful voice, surely add a really soul-like feeling to the material. You can't help to compare this project with King's X at times as you have a "similar" groove, only with the "simplicity" and "catchiness" of Winger-like material firmly molded into the whole she-bang. I believe this started at first out as a Reb Beach solo album, that turned into something bigger and better.

It would be difficult to single out particular tracks, because it's the overall impact that's most striking. However, some of the highlights would be the above mentioned opener, "Wait" a 50/50 affair between King's X and Winger, the hi-pitched scream at the end is truly scary though. "The Magic" is a fine ballad with Night Ranger's Kelly Keagy behind the mic, I'd be lying if I'd say it sounds nothing like Night Ranger. Hey Reb, Satch' called, he'd like to have back his "Spaghetti Western" that you borrowed earlier. It's a killer uptempo, instrumental toon, very much "Not Of This Earth" or "Surfing With The Alien". Downers? well... I miss a couple of really catchy hooks and Timothy Drury is waaaay back in the album mixing. I'm not even sure he play keys on all the tracks??? he's however lost somewhere in the background. The Mob's debut album is a interesting outcome and the guitarwork of Beach together with the voice of Pinnick is a winning concept.

Tony MARTIN: "Scream" 8

MTM 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
25 October 2005

Tony "The Cat" Martin should need no further introduction as he's one classy singer and former Black Sabbath frontman. Technically a far superior singer than Osbourne, but while Ozzy received even more fame due to that awful TV-soap (damn that Sharon), Martin had to put up with singing along to the music of the Bailey Brothers (just kidding mates - you rock...

"Scream" follows shortly in the footsteps of the Black Sabbath and DIO sound of the eighties and it's actually a real screamer. Guitarist Joe Harford, that also happens to be the youngest son of Martin, really must have been paying much attention to Sab' and Tony Iommi during the years. This becomes quite obvious already during the first two tracks "Raising Hell" and "Bitter Sweet". The songs could as easily have been included on any Sabbath album during the 80's and the late Cozy Powell drums along to the first track. Keyboardist Geoff Nicholls (also ex-Black Sabbath) has actually quite a large part of the overall sound, this is something which you will also take notice of during the very first track. It's Sabbath/Dio with a little Jon Lord (Deep Purple) sound in the background.

I'm kind of annoyed by the constant use of the phrase "Wake Up", during the refrain of "Field Of Lies", especially since it only made me think of "The Shining" and Black Sabbath (rise up). Bottomline: you simply can't go wrong here, if you appreciate real musicanship with a very special nod to the 80's Sabbath and Dio.

AEROSMITH: "Rockin' The Joint" 5

Sony/Columbia 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
24 October 2005

Straight to the point, "Rockin' The Joint" is yet another (rather) pointless live album by Boston's finest. Indeed, their earlier live albums all run through with more energy and excitement which makes this something of a let down in the end. This is supposed to be released on DVD as well later on and let's merely hope it's more value for your money. Recorded live in Las Vegas (where rock'n'roll is since long: dead and gone), the toxic twins at least try their best to stay young, hip, and dangerous. It's unfortunately a very average live album and performance and only suitable to the die-hard, must-have-everything, Aerosmith-fan. The rest of us can gladly wait until the next studio album.

The twelve songs featured are: "Good Evening Las Vegas" (intro), some would say it's "Beyond Beautiful", I'd say it's the "Same Old Song And Dance" as always. You almost feel like screaming "No More No More" as they have obviously entered the "Seasons Of Whiter". I'm sure there's still a "Light Inside" of these blokes, however, this is where I personally "Draw The Line". Ehem, "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" the girl next door said and you gladly pull out your "Big Ten Inch Record" for the "Rattlesnake Dance". I don't believe I'll "Walk This Way" again though... even if the "Train Kept A Rollin"... all night long.

HYBRID CHILDREN: "Ghost Town Carnival" 7

BadHabits/PlayGround 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
19 October 2005

"Downtown Downer" is indeed a real downer and hardly worth the bother really. Strange choice for an album opener as it only made me wanna fast forward or skip the track entirely. The only lyrics featured are constantly repeated: "Downtown downer now, I'm wasted, I wanna get high, I'm wasted, I wanna get higher". I believe you're not supposed to smoke that s**t while penning down your lyrics.

Finland's Hybrid Children are however extremely competent at what they do with lots of crunchy guitars, livening it all up by their punk-ish attitude and formula. "Ghost Town Carnival" do have some really interesting song structures and their use and abuse of catchy melodies and pace changes, will surely maintain your attention throughout the album.

It's easy-going, dumb-rock, with catchy little rock numbers such as "Glitter Rain", "Barricade Boy", "Universal Gatecrasher", and "Boredom Unites Us". The Goth-inspired "Worn" is yet another winner and the cover of "We Are 138" (The Misfits) is surprisingly solid performed and executed rock. Simply skip the annoying opening track and you're in for a small treat. It's overall a nice mix of old and nu-punk with sleazy 80's hardrock.

HATESPHERE: "The Sickness Within" 3

SPV 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
18 October 2005

To be honest, Hatesphere has no soul... there's no real metal excitement flowing in their veins, it's mostly raw aggression without the technical or professional skill of the masters of the genre. In fact, it's basically a musical bulldozer without any finess or really memorable melodies to hang on to. The Danish outfit with their current line-up of Jacob Bredahl (vocals), Peter Lyse (guitar), Henrik Bastrup Jacobsen (guitar), Mikael Ehlert (bass) and Anders Gyldenohr (drums), may have a couple of decent songs such as "The Coming Of Chaos" and "Heaven Is Ready To Fall", but honestly, do yourself a favour and pick up the new (and excellent) Kreator CD instead.

RIVERSIDE: "Second Life Syndrome" 10

Inside Out 2005
Review by Martien "Prog Doctor" Koolen,
23 október 2005

The greatest prog rock surprise of 2004 was without any doubt the Polish band Riverside. Their debut album "Out Of Myself" was a great success and prog rock label Inside Out saw their chance and offered them a record deal. The new album "Second Life Syndrome" is even better than their first CD and it will be my number one record of the year 2005!! As a frequent reader of this site you may know that I am a guitar freak and this CD is a real wet dream for all guitar lovers. Piotr Grudzinski really dominates this album with his staggering guitar solos, riffs and melodies. These guitar walls and the perfect mix of art rock, dark metal and obvious musical influences from bands like Porcupine Tree and Anathema make Riverside a true unique band; a prog rock band second to none actually.

The CD opens with the dark and mysterious "After", followed by "Volte-Face", a song with powerful rhythms, Oriental guitar melodies, breath-taking guitar solos and emotional vocals. But it gets even better; "Second Life Syndrome", the first epic (15:40), features a Floyd-like guitar intro, leading into a stunning guitar solo, before the heavy riffs come in. In fact this song is loaded with amazing twists and turns, but the best part is surely the 3 minute guitar orgasm at the end; can it get any better than this??

"Reality Dream 3" is the instrumental highlight of this album. A song packed with gripping guitar melodies, unequalled solos and lots of interesting rhythm changes. However, one highlight follows another, just check out "Dance With The Shadow", over 11 minutes of sheer prog rock brilliance. Metal riffs, aggressive vocals, guitar solos second to none, catchy bass lines, prog metal melodies, anything you like and want are ingredients of this glorious track. With this album Riverside really have not only maintained the standard they set with their debut album, but they have gone a few steps further in establishing themselves as a leading force in the progressive scene. "Out Of Myself" was the first part of a trilogy that deals with a lonely human being on a quest in search of his true self. This new album is part 2 and here the main character wants to change his life. The story will conclude in the last part of the trilogy, the next Riverside album. I can hardly wait, but I think that it will be extremely difficult for these guys to top this mind-boggling prog rock masterpiece. For all you non-prog rock lovers, just check out this CD, it really is a hammer!!

SEVENTH KEY: "Live in Atlanta" 8

Frontiers 2005
Review by Petri Kautto 23 October 2005

The artists in Seventh Key have a long history in the world of melodic rock. With very impressive track record it was no surprise that when Seventh Key was formed their first, self-titled, album made a strong mark in that genre. Their second album “The Raging Fire” didn’t hinder their position and now they’re back with a live album, a treat for the band’s fans surely.

It’s hard to raise any song above the others because this is a solid live album. “You Cross the Line” is one of those songs where everything just works. They’ve captured the live feeling on this one and the same can be said about “The Kid Could Play” where the guitar really talks the talk. Their monster tunes, like “Always from the Heart” and “It Should’ve Been You” are like you’d expect them to be. The ballad section is also well covered so I would say that this is a good overview on what this band is about.

When listening to a band like Seventh Key you know you’re bound to hear impeccable playing and well executed delivery. Vocal harmonies, guitars, the violin in “Forsaken”, you name it and it’s flawless. After such a list of “what’s perfect on this album” you shouldn’t be complaining, right? Wrong. On some parts this album lacks the kick ass feeling that you get from many live albums. I’m not sure weather one should even expect that from Seventh Key, but when you hear the songs live you look forward to hearing something extra, something that differentiates the songs from the album versions. Granted, they tear the place apart with “The Kid Could Play” but I guess I was expecting something more on the likes of that. Might be just due to my personal preferences, but that was something that I felt wasn’t there. Other than that Seventh Key paints a musical picture that makes many other bands’ live performances pale in comparison, so I guess it’s better for them to do what they know best. I’m sure this album will find many friends and with almost eighty minutes of music and 3 bonus studio tracks... if you’re into them hurry up and go get this. Release date is November 7th.

PALLAS: "The Dreams Of Men" 9

Inside Out 2005
Review by Martien Prog Koolen,
23 október 2005

It took the Scottish band Pallas 4 years to make this album, but I can tell you that it was definitely worth the wait. "The Dreams Of Men" is without any doubt their musical masterpiece so far as it is varied, complex and most of all an entertaining album that will stay in my CD player for a very long time to come. "The Cross & The Crucible" was already one of the highlights of these Scottish prog rockers, but this new one has lots more melody, more thrilling guitar passages, more excellent vocals, delicate details, surprising twists and turns and lots of well structured arrangements. Further you could say that guitar player Niall Mathewson really comes to live on this new album as he plays a few of his best guitar solos ever on this CD.

The theme of this album is dreams, the quest of true love or a better life, the striving for power, fortune or bravery. The epic ten-minute opening song "Bringer Of Dreams" is the introduction to the theme. This song opens with a strings and keys intro followed by a dreamy guitar solo. After about 3 minutes the rest of the band joins in and the song becomes bombastic with rather emotional vocals and a howling guitar solo in the middle. The song ends with full power as the last minute is a true prog metal piece, becoming louder and faster every second… The second highlight is also the second epic song on this album, namely "Too Close To The Sun"(11:34). This track really has some symphonic rock elements from the seventies, like for example the synthesizer solos which almost sound like Rick Wakeman. The best part in this song however is the truly dazzling Gilmour-like guitar solo! "Northern Star" is the shortest song on this CD (4:01), and it is an instrumental one, reminding me of good old Mike Oldfield. It features keys and a semi-acoustic guitar solo and it could be used as film music.

"Invincible" shows that singer Alan Reed really has it all, emotion, power and aggression in his singing make this track probably the most outstanding Pallas song on this album. Lots of twist and turns are featured in this one, as well as stunning guitar parts, pounding drums and lots of other musical finesses. This remarkable album ends with "The Last Angel", also an epic one, with again great guitar melodies and astonishing vocals. But the last 4 minutes are a bit over the top as the band is accompanied by some celestial singing, making this track too dramatic and too much opera-like in the end. But, there are no weak songs on this album, maybe "Northern Star", so this is the best Pallas album ever!! "The Dreams Of Men" is also released as a special edition in slipcase, with extended booklet and bonus disc. This disc includes: song and sound samples which enables the listener to re-enact in his mind the making of the album in detail.


Frontiers 2005
Review by Satu Reunanen
23 October 2005

Mike Tramp is bringing back his classic hard rock group White Lion, which reigned between late 80’s and early 90’s and the first release is a live one, recorded on their two month tour around the States between February and March 2005. As an old fan you are surely happy to hear these news and a double live cd is a good start, eventhough the only original member in the band left is Mike himself. The rest of the members come from around the world, guitarist Jamie Law from Australia, bassist Claus Longwood from Denmark like Mike himself, drummer Troy P.Farrell from USA and keysman Henning Wanner from Germany.

The first cd kicks off with ”Lights And Thunder” and the first thing to notice is Tramp’s vocals. They’ve seen better days and now it seems like the whole live thing had gone through a stretcher, there’s a certain dragging feel, which doesn’t do justice to what he is capable of. His vocals continue being the same throughout. If there was trouble with his vocals while touring, they should’ve recorded the album on another tour, since this just spoils much from the otherwise amazing old songs that fans are eager to hear once again.

Even if Mike’s vocals were perfect, the backing vocals are lazy, the overall mood still drags, the band’s timing is poor and the sound also doesn’t offer what we’ve grown accustomed before from Michael Wagener with his earlier work with albums ”Pride” and ”Big Game”, who did the mixing with this one. There’s thin roughness to it, although all the instruments can be heard. The song selection is good though, after ”Lights” comes ”Hungry”, ”Lonely Nights”, ”Love Don’t Come Easy”, ”Broken Heart”, ”Fight To Survive”, ”Cry For Freedom”, ”You’re All I Need” and ”Little Fighter”. The second cd includes ”It’s Over”, ”Living On The Edge”, ”Tell Me”, ”Wait”, ”Lady Of The Valley”, ”When The Children Cry” and ”Radar Love”. Even with this song selection and being an old White Lion fan, sadly with this production the cd’s won’t find much playtime. But here’s hoping for better future releases.
Tramp's White Lion

ANNIHILATOR: "Schizo DeLuxe" 9

AFM Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
14 October 2005

“Schizo DeLuxe” (what a super title by the way) is brutal, it is loud, it is heavy, it rocks and it really kicks serious metal ass!! After 10 studio albums, two live CDs and 20 tours Jeff Waters proves that he is still one of the number one riff masters in the metal business. On this album you will find no ballads and no instrumental stuff, just sheer, brilliant metal music second to none.

The album opens with the station tracking of a radio, followed by those typical brutal staccato guitar riffs of Waters. In a song called “Drive” the guitar riffs of Waters even sound like a machine gun. Also check out the incredible guitar solo, the Pantera-like screams and the fast, faster fastest guitar licks. The anti-war song “ Warbird” features again some neckbreaking riffs and melodies, while “Plasma Zombies” kicks off with a spooky intro, before it evolves into a classic Annihilator track.

“Invite It” starts with a chainsaw guitar intro, followed by speedy solos and very fast vocals. “Like Father,Like Gun” is dominated by rather short but dazzling guitar solos. The best song on this CD is called “Clare”; maybe it is even the best Annihilator song ever… This track has it all, melodic vocals, an almost catchy chorus, “Alice In Hell-like melodies and riffs, screaming almost hysterical singing, staccato riffs, amazing guitar solos and in the end an howling wah-wah guitar of pure brilliance. “Something Witchy” ends this fantastic CD with almost grunting vocals, classical metal riffs and one of the best Waters guitar solo ever!! What an album, sheer metal magic for all lovers of true and pure classic speed/trash metal. Ideal stuff to be played on the radio...

The limited edition features a digibook with 3 bonus tracks!!

PERZONAL WAR: "When Times Turn Red" 9

AFM Records 2005
Review by Martien Koolen,
14 October 2005

Their previous album called “Faces” was one of the best metal albums I have heard in a long time. The German head bangers brought back memories of great bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Flotsam and Jetsam. On this new album, which will hit the stores on 21 November, the guys did it again. What a power and a great f… metal sound these four young Germans produce.

The opener is a classic trash metal up tempo song with those amazing sound-a-like vocals of mister Hetfield. The sound is bombastic, loud and aggressive, the drums are pounding, the bass guitar is drilling and the guitar riffs make you want to bang your head against a wall! Also check out the fantastic video clip of this superb opening track. “5 More Days” is the second track, filled with more neck breaking stuff, like for instance: “distorted vocals” and Nevermore like riffs and melodies. The title song is one of the highlights as it opens with Oriental guitar sounds, followed by fast up tempo beats and neck breaking speed riffs. This song actually reminds me of Metallica’s “Fight Fire with Fire”, a killer track!!

Another milestone here is “The Unbeliever”, starting off with a piano and further featuring catchy guitar melodies, classic hard rock elements and a divine guitar solo. The longest track is called “Hope Dies Last”, and this is a power ballad of the best sort filled with guitar walls and great singing! Perzonal War ends this fantastic album with “Inferno”, a very fast, mean and dirty song reminding me of Anthrax’s “Gung-Ho”. All in all, again a fantastic album for all true lovers of great metal. And I can only say this again: buy or f… die!! This band deserves a breakthrough!!

HELLOWEEN: "Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy" 8

SPV 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
12 October 2005

I'm not going to comment their choice of album title... well... ok... words like sheer desperation and really lame nostalgia comes to mind. This is not the 80's (even though most of us would like it to be) and you really can't promote a new Helloween album in 2005 as "Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy" (at least not without a full reunion and "original" members: Kiske & Hansen). In fact, simply forget about the rather annoying title and let's focus on the most important ingredience... the music.

This is not as bad as expected, especially after listening to the first single "Mrs. God", the song is actually one of the duller moments on this double (2-CD) release. Nontheless, "Mrs. God", works just fine in-between numerous tempo changes and the complex, epic landscapes of "Pleasure Drone" and "Silent Rain". Ehem, and every metal CD needs a throw-away-rocker with a goat bleating in the background, I guess (!!!???). The first CD contains the better Helloween material since the 80's and the almost 14 minutes long "The King For A 1000 Years", the mega catchy "The Invisible Man", and "Born On Judgement Day", are all winners in my books. This is probably as close as you get to the classic "Keeper" sound of long gone days. Michael Weikath deliver the goods with some truly impressive guitarwork and Andi Deris (ex-Pink Cream 69) sings at the top of his lungs. My favourite moment will have to be "Pleasure Drone", where Deris hits those really high notes and it all comes down ! to great musicianship. There's no new "Future World" or such... but like mentioned before, you can't really compare those days with the present line-up.

Disc # 2 - "Occasion Avenue" is a dark and rather progressive opener and a real wake up call. Try and imagine the pumpkin heads doing their own short-version of the entire odyssey of "Operation Mindcrime" (Queensryche), and you're pretty close to its core. "Light The Universe" is a nice semi-ballad and duet with Candice "Candy" Night (Blackmore's Night), but you also have a couple of rather average tunes, namely "Do You Know What You're Fighting For" and "Come Alive". Bottomline: the best Helloween release since the eighties, but then again, most of their albums (post the 80's) are kind of crap anyhow. I would personally have removed some of the 2nd disc's tracks and released this as a single CD.

Bruce TURGON: "Outside Looking In" 8

Frontiers 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
12 October 2005

Bruce Turgon is known to many as Lou Gramm's collaborator, a co-writer of his two solo albums and the bass player of the short-lived Shadow King project. Of course he's been playing alongside Gramm in Foreigner too, from 1992 to 2002. Now he makes his first appearance as a solo artists, taking care of lead vocals, bass, rhythm guitar and keys on this album.

I've always liked Turgon's songwriting: his style is dark, moody and quite dramatic, and his songs have great melodies and hooks. I consider the Shadow King album as one of the all-time great albums, and this CD clearly follows in its' footsteps. If Shadow King had recorded another album, it might have very possibly sounded like this one. We're dealing with intense, almost aggressive AOR, to be sung with fists clenched and eyes closed!

Turgon's debut as a singer is really impressive. He has a slightly raspy voice that reminds me of another songwriter, namely Mark Spiro. Turgon does a good job as a producer too, but I guess songwriting is where he shines the most - some of these tracks rank among the finest melodic rock songs I've heard in ages. What's more, even the "lesser" songs of the album are of high quality. Okay, "Weapons Of Love" sticks out like a sore thumb, reminding me of all those dull Gene Simmons-sung songs on the 80'ies Kiss albums...but otherwise it's all solid stuff. Some of these "lesser" tracks could have used stronger choruses, but in many cases the highly melodic verses and athmospheric arrangements make up for them. As for the highlights, "Any Other Time", "These Tears Must Fall" and "Walk Thru Fire" are killer AOR tracks and possibly future classics of the melodic rock genre.

PINK CREAM 69: "Electrified"[re-issue] 9

SPV 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
9 October 2005

"Electrified" was originally one of the best hardrock albums of 1999 and undoubtedly the best PC 69' release since the debut. Readman now finally proves to be a really powerful vocalist and the songmaterial simply reeks of catchy choruses and strong melodies to keep you hooked all the way through. Top quality rock from the opening chord of "Shame" to the closing dito of "Gone Again", and you will hardly even miss the alternative band version of "Food For Thought" or Change".

The "Super-Vault", SPV, re-issue, comes as usual with new booklet, liner notes, unseen photos, and a couple of bonus tracks. "Queen Of Sorrow" is a keeper, while the special version of "Gone Again" is hardly worth the trouble. The videoclip of "Shame" is extra goodies of course and the whole package comes highly recommended to the melodic metal fan.

PINK CREAM 69: "Food For Thought"[re-issue] 5

SPV 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
10 October 2005

The alternative version of Pink Cream 69 and originally released back in 1997, the new SPV re-issue comes with 3 bonustracks, liner notes, new booklet, and unseen photos. "Food For Thought" had a slightly grungy vibe and were not quite as interesting as their earlier or later days work. Sure enough, songs like "Snap" or "Fate" still maintained the catchy PC69 formula with a more aggro, backing, but it's overall a major let down. They even managed to totally screw-up the old Queen anthem "We Will Rock You". Not traditional PC69 and I'm glad they returned to their roots and what they're really good at. The unreleased demos of "Black Rain" and "Seasons Change" are interesting, however, I'm not sure it's reason enough to actually buy this sucker.

VIOLENCE: "Eternal Nightmare"[re-issue] 7

Megaforce 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
9 October 2005

"San Francisco Bay Area" - if you can recall the days when that actually meant something... well, then you're in for a good thrashing. "Eternal Nightmare" was the debut album from Frisco rockers Vio-lence, and it's still to this date, a fine example of typical Bay Area Thrash 'ala 1988. It's hardly groundbreaking though and you won't exactly find anything original with these metal numbers. It's basically a mixture of early Anthrax, Exodus, Metallica, and Testament... don't get me wrong, it's a f-i-n-e Thrash album, but without an real identity and style of their own.

What they lacked in originallity, they certainly gained in youthful energy and aggression. The seven tracks on "Eternal Nightmare" is a collection of very angry songs about a "Serial Killer", the usual paranoia and fear of "Phobophobia", and the utter madness of "Kill On Command". Guitarists Phil Demmel & Robert Flynn slam their six-strings against eachother and managed to come up with some truly wicked guitarwork. Violence disbanded in 1993 and reformed for the "Thrash Of The Titans" festival in 2001, the live recordings on the bonus 2nd disc (yep, it's a 2-CD re-issue), were taken from their comeback live gig at Slims, San Francisco. This is a very solid Thrash album in my opinion and kudos to Megaforce Records for the re-release.

DRAGONLORD: "Black Wings Of Destiny" 7

Escapi 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
7 October 2005

What I enjoy about The Dragonlord's are their ability to write solid, well worked, uncomplicated (melodic) death metal, that veer occasionally towards both black and thrash metal. The main force behind this project is of course guitarist/songwriter Eric Peterson of Testament fame, and along with his old buddy's from Sadus & Nevermore, they have created a more than decent album in the style of Dimmu Borgir and Samael.

You can actually add a dose of the Gothenburg sound as well as "Black Wings Of Destiny" has been recorded and mixed in Sweden at Studio Fredman. It's intense and powerful metal from the word go, with some really atmospheric keyboards in the background. The one minute intro of "The Becoming Of" ends quite abruptly as one helluva rollercoaster ride begins to the sound of "The Curse Of Woe". Brilliantly paced, full of monolithic, heaving riffs and well thought out leads, "Revelations", really allow the band to swim through a river of morbid thoughts and emotions. The keyboard arrangement is really something out of the ordinary here and will keep you wanting for more. The track of the album follows next as "Sins Of Allegiance" is 6.48 minutes of pure horror and bloodsheed. "Fallen" is on the other hand a filler with some truly uninspiring growls and I'm not sure about "Blood Voyeur" either.

"Black Wings Of Destiny" merely holds seven (7) homemade tracks and a short, instrumental intro, and that's also the biggest downer in my opinion. Sure, you get a couple of cover songs as well ("Black Funeral" - Mercyful Fate & "Emerald" - Thin Lizzy), but perhaps they need to work some more on the originals next time.

PROJECT HATE MCMXCIX: "Armageddon March Eternal" 6

Threeman 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
10 October 2005

"Armageddon March Eternal" (Symphonies Of Slit Wrists), is the fourth studio album by acclaimed death-metal and beyond project: Project Hate MCMXCIX (where 'MCMXCIC' stands for '1999' with roman numbers, the year the band was formed). The album has been created together with famed producer/musician Dan Swanö in his Square One Studios, and it sure sounds like the armageddon at large.....

Sadly they have sort of fallen for short on this release of what is required for real mass appeal in my opinion. Sure enough, this is hard as nails and kicks like a mule to the head, but I'd expected much more from these Swedes by now. They do get away with this behaviour on superb tracks like "The Bleeding Eyes Of A Bleeding Whore" (now that's what I call a nice title...not!), but spread over the album, the hardcore, death-metal, formula is quite tiresome from time to time. I do however enjoy the fact that they've been working a lot on the aspects of 'light and shadow' on "Armageddon March Eternal". The vocal mix of Jörgen Sandström's (Entombed, Grave, Vicious Art), brutal growling and the clean voice of unknown wonder Ms. Jo Enckell, do come out as their strongest selling point.

Then again, I guess they never aimed for "mass appeal" in the first place, this is nuthin'but a massive stew of Christ-hating music (according to the info-sheet, don't blame me). Final verdict: nice but no cigar.

MYON: "Slideshow" 6

Escape Music 2005
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner 9 October 2005

I can't really put Myon into a category: they are too progressive to be AOR and too melodic to be progressive. This would normally be a positive thing as it gives the band the chance to reach both audiences. However I'm afraid this album won't reach any of them. Too bad cuz these Scandinavian guys tried very hard. They just got lost along the way a bit.

The entire sound of the album is a little similar to 70s Styx, add the complexion of some of the tracks and a clear voiced vocalist and you are close. But some of the tracks are simply leading to nowhere; you can't really remember the melodies even after a dozen listens. There are few backing vocal tracks and they get lost in the mix. The drums are so very much in the front that the highs of the cymbals rattle through the entire album, the deeps are totally gone that makes the bass lines almost inaudible and the lead vocals stick out of the mix. Let's face it: Jukka Nummi's vocals are not unique or extraordinarily good enough to put him so much in the front of the mix.

As for the length of the album you get value for your money, the 12 tracks run over three quarters of an hour but they get really overwhelming by the end. Fewer but better mixed (and more straightforward) tracks would have helped a lot. The closing "Fire/Water" is one like that but it comes far too late to save the album. Maybe next time.

TOKYO DRAGONS: "Give Me The Fear" 6

Escapi 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
8 October 2005

Tokyo Dragons - it's action-rock with an annoying rhythm section and a lead guitarist from hell. Where do they come up with all the new U.K. bands??? I tell you where... at the local pub... along with 1000's of other wannabee's and sound-a-likes. They've been hailed and praised in the U.K. press lately as the new "The Darkness", and there you have it really. It's even been produced by Pedro Ferreira (The Darkness - Permission To Land) at the legendary Rockfeild Studios in Wales.

Nope, there's nothing "remotely" wrong the testosterone rock of "Give Me The Fear", pure 70's rock toons like "Let It Go", reminded me a lot of KISS during "Dressed To Kill" (great!). However, to hype Tokyo Dragons as the new saviors of rock'n roll is a bit too much really. The rock journalist of today must either be stoned or clueless.

Then again... perhaps you don't know your hardrock, if you've been brought up during the era of Blur, The Oasis, & Spice Girls. I'm sure they haven't even been aware of the Scandinavian 'action-rock' scene during the last 10-12 years? Nor the simply fact that Tokyo Dragons (more or less) sound like a poor man's version of The Hellacopters and/or Backyard Babies without balls. Harsh? I know, especially since this is a "ok" little rock album... but you can find a local "Tokyo Dragons" in every pub and street corner in Northern Europe. Bottomline: this will do at really high volume and a six-pack, expect no mircales though. It makes you wonder though... when will good, old, England, give us some really great bands again???

LEGS DIAMOND: "Diamonds Are Forever" 5

AOR Heaven 2005
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
11 October 2005

U.S. hard rockers Legs Diamond have a long and illustrious career behind them. They started in the seventies and made a name for themselves as a solid hard rock band. They were sometimes called the "American version of Deep Purple", no less! In Europe they re-emerged during the mid-eighties, when their "Out On Bail" and "Land Of The Gun" albums were released by Music For Nations. Prior to this album, their latest studio release was 1993's "The Wish".

"Diamonds Are Forever" is the first album to feature the band's new vocalist John Levesque (ex-Wild Horses), who replaces the orginal singer Rick Sandford. Sandford had a distinctive sound and he was a major part of the band's sound, but Levesque fills his vacant spot rather well. However, I'm afraid that when it comes to the song material, he doesn't have much to work with. This is by far the weakest of all LD albums I've heard, with way too many really average hard rock tracks. Where are the hooks? From a band who have created such classics as "Nobody's Fool" and "Fugitive", we get stuff like "Good Time", which is basically a typical AC/DC track in disguise! The only tracks that made a somewhat positive impression were the hard rocking opener "Don't Turn Away" and the two more melodic tracks, "Time Will Never Change" and "Loneliness".

I guess this album is mainly aimed for the band's core audience, the 70'ies fans who grew up listening to their early stuff. For them, this album might be a real return to form, as it is a very 70'ies sounding, "classic rock" album. For us who were introduced to the band during their "melodic phase", this is a bit of a disappointment. The band's website


MTM Music 2005
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner 9 October 2005

With CD burners becoming widespread compilation albums like this one have a different purpose: mainly to provide some 'soundbytes' for your potential album purchases. Let's take a look at the 6th ballad compilation of MTM from this aspect. The opening "What A Wonderful World" is a rather brave attempt from TNT to cover the classic Louis Armstrong song but with Harnell's voice they can't go wrong. The track alone makes the new TNT album worth buying. The following Radioactive track does not live up to the opener, it's an okay rock ballad, nothing special, and to be honest that's exactly my opinion about their albums even though I haven't heard their newie "Taken". Based on "This I Promise You", the track included here I won't rush and buy it. The following Jay Miles tune "Grandpa's Chair" is an okay imitation of Michael Bolton with similar lyrics and general songwriting approach, being a fan of 80s Michael Bolton I don't mind and Jay's entire album is equally entertaining. Beware I warned you with the Michael Bolton comparison!

To be honest I haven't heard anything from Chris Antblad before this compilation. His "I'll Find My Way" is a good ballad with a very good sound, again nothing that shakes your world, just a good tune to raise your attention towards the artist. Another confession: I have never been a Shy fan, mostly because of Tony Mills' voice (I can't stand his screaming) but in "I'll Be Home Tonight" he's staying at a comfortable height and it makes the song rather enjoyable. Pay attention to the main and the outro guitar solos cuz they are both really good. Silver's affair with latin guitarwork first raised my eyebrows but the refrain of "Wouldn't You Agree" saved the day and made the track one of my favorites of the entire compilation. Dare never fail to impress and though I personally wish Darren found his way back to the bombastic sound of "Blood From Stone", "Storm Wind" and the entire new album is absolutely the laidback, quality stuff we are used to from them lately. I expected more from Stryper's "Reborn" though it is to admit "Wait For You", the track included here, is one of the better ones of the album. It's nowhere near their classics though. The Martie Peters Group's "Takes Some Time" is even less impressive, Heartplay's airy, almost meditative-music-like "Bridges Burning" won't change your world either and Return's acoustic "Holy Water" is another average tune. None of them are bad; they simply do not make me want to run to the store to buy their entire albums.

As I own the Northern Light album I'm positive to say the ballad included here is probably the weakest track of the album so don't be fooled by "Wherever You Go" and give the album a chance. "A Deep Emotion" from the Edge Of Forever album will impress any 80s AOR fan raised on REO Speedwagon, Journey and the likes. I have already praised the Novak album in my review, "Carry On" the track included here, sums the album pretty much up: quality AOR. Broken Blue's female fronted melodic rock is a welcome addition here, though I wouldn't necessary call their "This Time" a ballad but a little midtempo rock is more than welcome after 14 tracks of leg-dragging. PEO's "Can't Bring Me Down" is the other extreme: it would easily find its way to any 2nd rate love-story movie of the 80s. The refrain is really good though with a bombastic sound and a very healthy mix. By the way sound and production: it's more than amateur that the volume level of the compilation is not equal, some tracks are simply 1.4 times as loud as others which ruins some of the fun. Other than that it's more than recommended to inform yourselves with compilations like this before you buy the albums. Plus your girlfriend will also tolerate it in your car stereo...


* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 37-40/05 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 37-40/05 * * * * *
TNT, RPWL, Swedish Erotica, Milan Polak, Neal Morse, Shakra, Silver, Gypsy Rose (Sweden), "Blackmore's Castle"-tribute to Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Howe, Nashville Pussy, Leilo Padovani, Airless, Nocturnal Rites, Coheed And Cambria, After Forever, Morning fare, Stratovarius, Schoolboy Crush, The Tea Party, Boystown, Hanna Pakarinen, Enemies, Persuader, Dyecrest, She's China, King's X, Imaginery, The Rasmus, Sieges Even, Savage Circus, Xcarnation (feat. Winger members), Place Vendome (feat. Michael Kiske), Philip Bardowell and Jaded Heart.

* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 31-36/05 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 31-36/05 * * * * *
Allen - Lande, Flagship, Alien, Majestic Vanguard, Seether, Paul Gilbert's DVD, Aina , Nevermore , Machine Men, Coram Lethe, The Black Dahlia Murder, Spock's Beard, Saga, Stryper, Black Majesty, John Taglieri, Pendragon, Midnight Circus, Biohazard, Crash Diet, Totalisti, Motorhead DVD, Dictators, Travers Appice, L.A. Guns, Metal Mania Stripped, Richard Andersson, Waltham, Carptree, S.I.N., Nuclear Assault, Jet Circus, Emerald Rain, Eden Lost, Jizzy Pearl, Marc Rizzo, Bogart's Touch and a "String Cheese Incident".

* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 27-30/05 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 27-30/05 * * * * *
Matrex, BaiBang, Artica, Blackmore's Night DVD, Steve Walsh, Live DVD from Carl Verheyen Band, Yngwie Malmsteen, Prayer, Dug Pinnick of King's X, re-issued Kick Axe, Gypsy Carns, Nightvision, Richie Kotzen's new band 40 Deuce, Kim Mitchell, Amplifier, Doctor Dunbar's Medicine Band, Terra Nova, Blanc Faces, Journey, Robin Beck, Diving For Pearls, Chris Caffery, F5, Paul Gilbert, Cryonic Temple, Iommi (with Glenn Hughes), Vicious Rumours DVD, Loud'n Nasty and Gismatchi.

* * * * * 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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