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FAIR WARNING: "Brother's Keeper" 8

Frontiers 2006
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
29 August 2006

There weren't too many bands during the nineties that were holding the flag high for melodic hard rock. Fair Warning were one of the few bands that started during the decade, and kept on releasing quality albums. They were rewarded with a cult status in Europe, but it was in Japan where they struck gold, selling remarkably well and getting a loyal following. However, five years ago it seemed like the story of Fair Warning was over, as the members of the band seemed to vanish into different directions. Vocalist Tommy Heart founded Soul Doctor, guitarist Helge Engelke put together Dreamtide and guitarist Andy Malecek later re-emerged in Last Autumn's Dream. The demand for Fair Warning music wasn't quite satisfied by these bands, and finally this year we got the news of the reformation. Apart from Malecek who decided to keep on Dreaming of Last Autumn, all orignal members (Heart, Engelke, drummer CC Behrens and bassist, main writer Ule W. Ritgen) got together and started to compile material for this album.

One might say that Fair Warning have chosen the easy way with "Brother's Keeper" by writing an album that's very unmistakebly Fair Warning. I don't have a problem with it, but even I do have to admit that some of the songs sound like remakes of their older stuff. You can easily pick out familiar melody lines and lyrics from these songs.

The band places their 2 of their arguably strongest tracks as the opening tracks. "Don't Keep Me Waiting" bears all the trademarks of a FW hit - passionate vocals, ultra-melodic leads and lyrics about "setting souls on fire" and "burning hearts". Yes, it's "Burning Heart" re-visited with a touch of "Angels Of Heaven". Although the similarities are obivous, I can't help but like it. "Generation Jedi" is something a bit different, a heavier midtempo track with Tommy Heart taking a stab at almost rap-like vocals during the song. A odd that may sound, it doesn't sound that bad... and maybe "rap" is a bit misleading, maybe The Disturbed-like vocals could be a better description. The chorus is a bit more familiar sounding, and indeed quite excellent.

When it comes to the other songs, you'll be bound to get a bit of a deja-vu feeling every now and then, as the band does the "re-visiting" thing. Not that it really bothers me, since the overall quality of the songs is very high. "Push Me On", "Tell Me Lies", "Still I Believe", "Rainbow Eyes" and "The Cry" are all really good songs. If there's something missing, those are the magical ballads of Fair Warning. The ones featured here a bit average, especially "All I Wanna Do" is almost annoying with its' Oasis-styled melodies. As for the remaining uptempo tracks, the country-flavoured "Once Bitten Twice Shy" is only saved by its' decent chorus, unlike "The Way" which sounds somehow phony - I'm not buying a word Tommy's trying to sell.

While this album doesn't reach the heights of the band's mega-classic debut or their "Go" album, it's still another proof that FW are one of the most reliable bands around. They've released 5 studio albums so far, and all of them have been good. Quite of a hit-rate.

Pete YORN: "Nightcrawler" 8

Sony/Columbia 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
30 August 2006

Pete Yorn is the Nightcrawler, well, it's also his first new studio album in three years. Most or many of us will probably recall his song "Undercover" from the Spider-Man soundtrack in 2002. I'm not entirelly sure why, however, Yorn obviously decided to reprise and re-record the song, since it's included on the CD. You will also find Yorn's sardonic interpretation of Warren Zevon's "Spledid Isolation", which also appeared on the 2004 Warren Zevon tribute album. You've never heard about the geezer? well, think Neil Young meets Bruce Springsteen with a hint of 60's psychodelic schizophrenia (at least this particular tune).

The rest of the disc (12 tracks) is all brand new Pete Yorn material though. Now these friggin' songs are so real and honest that you could easily get an allergic reaction off them. Ehem, and that's a positive/negative thing... I guess, since nobody really wants to run down to the emergency due to some music. It's down-to-earth, sophisticated, challenging material, that will grab hold of the listener and never quite let go. Sure, you definitely need to be open-minded about music in general and especially about the way Yorn swiftly changes pace and style from singer/songwriter to modern rock/pop. He listened to and absorbed a lot of music over the past three years, including the likes of Roy Orbinson, My Bloody Valentine, Talking Heads. Track one, "Vampyre", is indeed a smooth opener with a laidback style and approach that builds up into a very dark, moody, tune.

"For Us" is Pete Yorn gone wall-of-sound and Robbie Williams with a moody Kurt Cobain somewhere far in the distant. The album's first single of course and featuring ex-Nirvana and present Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl on drums. "The Man" features both Martie Maguire (fiddle) and Natalie Maines (backing vocals) from the Dixie Chicks. It sounds very different from the other tunes so far, but it fits nicely into the big picture of "Nightcrawler". It's back to the modern singer/songwriter style with "Maybe I'm Right" and "Same Thing". The latter turns out to be a daring and morbid Chris Isak kind of tune 'ala 2006. "Alive" was produced and devolped by Butch Walker and his trademark is all over the place. Another favourite will have to be the laidback "Ice Age", which basically is just a guitar, vocals, and some fluffy synth, mandolin, and soft percussion in the background. Downers?, well, there's some truly wacky tunes in between the highlights. I can't for the world figure out the meaning with utter dull moments such as "Policies", "Broken Bottle", and "Bandstand In The Sky". You need to have patience and spin this sucker several times to comprehend and get the true aspect of "Nightcrawler". It's not a "party" album, it's not really "rock'n'roll", it's just... plain, old, moody, Pete Yorn.

MON ROE: "Mon Roe" 6

RoastingHouse/Playground 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
26 August 2006

Nope, this is not a brand new album with the U.K. or the Norwegian act from the 80's. Mon Roe's self titled debut is a rock/pop album in the vein of The Jam meets The Ark with tons of Franz Ferdinand melodies in a flashy modern style and approach. The Swedish band consisting of Staffan Anderson (vocals), Per Berlin (guitar), Anders Svensson (guitar), Peter Sundmark (bass) and Jimmy Vai (drums), has been working hard on their sound for the last three years and recorded their debut with producer Pontus Lindmark at The RoastingHouse Studios in Malmö/Sweden.

Nontheless, it's almost like they don't know which leg to stand upon with their debut release. It's a shame that they haven't really bothered to put their own spin on the quirky messages that lurk within. Mon Roe are practitioners rather than innovators, but you can't deny the catchiness behind some of their melodies. You just wish they could have been slightly more adventurous in their desperate search for fortune and fame. "Boys & Girls" is top class pop/rock music, it's unfortunately also stuff that Franz Ferdinand already recorded last year with their famed album. Not this particular tune of course, but something very similar and familiar to the average listener. "Rise Or Fall" could as easily have been recorded by Sweden's The ARK (the glam/pop act, not the prog/pomp dito).

The overall soundpicture is crisp and powerful as all RoastingHouse productions. Old The Jam fans will find something along the lines of "Get Away" and "Mexico" is darn catchy nu-breed rock. Perhaps not enough rock and too much pop for the average RockUnited visitor. But hey, it's Swedish, it's quality, and it's very up-to-date (still not sure if the latter is a positive or negative thing?).

KROKUS: "Hellraiser" 6

AFM Records 2006
Review by Martien Koolen,
1 September 2006

More than 30 years have passed since the founding of the band and Krokus have celebrated their ups and their downs. Now these Swiss rockers try to make another come back with their brand new album “Hellraiser". A title that could have been used by AC/DC and if you start this CD and listen to the first track – the title track – then you think that you are listening to a new AC/DC album. The pounding drums and the familiar guitar riffs all sound like that famous cult band. But most of all the voice of singer Marc Storace brings back memories of good old Bon Scott. Therefore a good start of this album.?

However, if you continue listening you will get bored with the same rhythms all over again and again. I have heard it all before, guys. It is solid as a rock, but there is absolutely nothing new under the sun, no musical surprises whatsoever! Of course you can enjoy the obligatory power ballads like “So Long" and “Take My Luv", but they are also filled with musical clichés all over.

The sound is okay and these guys can really play, but I think that perhaps only Swiss rockers are truly awaiting this release, for me it is just the same old, same old.

MASTERPIECE: "Colors Of Conflict" 6

MajesticRock 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
26 August 2006

Helloooooo Tokyoooooo!!!!! Indeed, Masterpiece hail from Nippon/Japan, the land of the rising sun and "Colors Of Conflict" is their debut release at MajesticRock Records. It's hi-tech, symphonic, neo-classical, melodic, power, metal (oh crap, I hate all these sub-labels) of fine quality with a six-octave ranged singer and a guitarist that simply adore everything about Yngwie J Malmsteen. Their biggest problem? well... I'm probably into deep here myself... but do you recalls the last time you actually heard a Japanese band with vocals in "perfect" or decent English? Simply put, there's no such thing, and no, you won't get away with Loudness and Mike Vescera behind the mike.

Then again, if you can stand listening to the "lively" accent of Doro (Warlock) or Fabio Lione (Rhapsody... Of Fire), why not get into the music of Masterpiece. It's not like this singer is any worse, they're Japanese boys, alright, and damn proud of their heritage. Not that you can tell from the music as it's Rhapsody Of Fire inspired music from the word go. It would actually have been more fun if they had included something truly "original" and more Japan-wise. I guess it's all "German" power metal from the start as Helloween pretty much started this type of music and performa. It's metal gone opera gone overboard and deep into the deepest depts of musical gaga (pretty much like this review).

It would obviously have been much easier to simply write 'em down as Japan's version of Rhapsody (Of Fire). Lyrics are included in the excellent booklet and you try and comprehend what they're all about and do email me later, thanks. Kingdom Come took one helluva public beating for sounding a lot like Led Zeppelin? when they first appeard. You could definitely put the blame on Masterpiece about the very same thing (except this time we're talking about RHAPSODY Of Fire). Bombastic, very bombastic indeed. I believe they could need some work on their image though, hardly any metal vibes to be found there. The Bottomline: could be worth checking out if you're into the style of Rhapsody (Of Fire), otherwise, don't bother.
Japan company & info

RA'S DAWN: "Scales Of Judgement" 3

MetalHeaven 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
28 August 2006

I did a simple mistake of believing this to be a new CD with Red Dawn at first. Ouch, talk about major setback and as far from the truth as it gets. Ra's Dawn are from Germany and do play some kind of wacky power metal in the vein of Skyclad and Squealer (AFM Records). Vocalist Olaf Reimann has the same kind of approach to singing (or grunting) as the Squealer dude (well, duh, he's a squealer!!!), and it's all rather annoying in the long run. I'm beginning to think people send me this kind of wacky stuff on purpose.... just to try and wind-me-up and weird me out completely. Bugger me, it's not an easy task to write about... well, actually it is... my bad.

The Germans do include a very Irish folk approach to their music at times. "Flame Of War" could as easily have been a Skyclad number during their "A Burnt Offering For A Bone Idol" period and era (early 90's). Skyclad are/were darn popular among forrest freaks and overall water shy people in the midlands and northern parts of U.K. I have no idea if Ra's Dawn are aiming for the same fanbase (holding my breath though, no pun intended?). "Terrified" is a terrific display of blunt and aggressive power metal and "Exodus" is some epic anthem that really doesn't have any point or ending.

It's overall a mish-mash of dodgy Skyclad and Squealer melodies that lacks memorable melodies and stamina. Yes, Ra's Dawn are heavy, but when you've got to deal with likes of "Exodus" and "The Masque Of The Red Death", it gets to a point when you'd much rather watch wet paint dry (or any Ingmar Bergman movie/film, the horror, the horror!!!).

EAGLES OF DEATH METAL: "Death By Sexy..." 2

Sony/BMG 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
28 August 2006

I can honestly say that I don't get it... why does every darn track sound like a poor man's version of a 60's tune??? Eagles Of Death Metal are supposed to be original, minty fresh, and something "new" for all the kids to enjoy. Sure enough, Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme may be familiar names with tons of rep and cred in music biz, however, their boogie/punk/garage rock is silly to the extreme. Opening track "I Want You So Bad" is a poor "Summertime Blues" rip-off and tracks like "I Like To Move At Night", "Solid Ground", "Don't Speak", "Keep Your Head Up", are just pointless and quite frankly a waste of both time and effort. It's almost like they've been listening to every MC5 song out there and only later decided to record a Homer Simpson club-edit-scratch-your-head-mix-version.

You probably need to smoke some serious s**t to enjoy tracks such as "The Ballad Of Queen Bee And Baby Duck" and "Poor Doggie" as it's late 60's acid trip music at its worst. The Bottomline: Death By Sexy is pothead music created by potheads and clearly only intended for potheads as well. And yes, I still expect to receive a X-mas card from the band.

JON OLIVA'S PAIN: "Maniacal Renderings" 9

AFM Records 2006
Review by Martien Koolen,
27 August 2006

Five years ago Savatage released their last album called "Poets and Madmen" and since then it has been very quiet around the band. But who needs Savatage now we have Jon Oliva’s Pain?? Their second album is just sheer magic as it features 11 brand new power metal songs that bring back memories of Savatage during their "Streets" and "Gutter Ballet" period. The album kicks off with the fantastic opener "Through The Eyes Of The King" which is in fact "Hall of the mountain King" part 2. This song is filled withagressive guitar riffs, dark vocal parts and an extreme heavy intro. The title track follows and this is THE highlight of the album as it is dark, heavy, diverse, bombastic and full of amazing melodies. The awesome vocal parts of Jon and the extended instrumental passages make this song one of the best power metal tracks I have heard in a long time.

"The Evil Beside You" is a power ballad that hasobvious influences from the Savatage classic "When the crowds are gone". "Time To Die" is Sava all over again, heavy, bombastic and some lovely screaming vocals, followed by a rather melodic guitar solo. "The Answer" is the second highlight and it is another power ballad, this one however reminds me of THE Savatage ballad ever "Believe". It starts with piano, strings and some delicate vocals before the song evolves into a bombastic, emotional master piece that will become a live killer without any doubt.

"Push It To The Limit" and "Holes" are the two very fast and heavy tracks bringing back memories of real old Savatage stuff ("Sirens") and Doctor Butcher. Some passages could even be described as speed matal with trashy guitar solos and screaming vocals all over the place. "Timeless Flight" features a real goosebump melody and a few breathtaking guitar solos. The longest track is called "End Times" which features a ballad-like intro, a spooky howling guitar melody and again some fantastic emotional singing by Jon. The last song is in my opinion the only disappointment of this magical album. "Pray for you now" is a simple acoustic ballad and even though it only clocks just over 3 minutes it is still rather boring. But just as I said in the beginning of this review, who needs Savatage when we have JOP. Buy this album as it is classic power metal stuff that you will not hear very often like on this sheer amazing album. Listening tip: "The Answer".

STEVE HACKETT: "Wild Orchids" 7

Inside Out 2006
Review by Martien Koolen,
27 August 2006

As a guitar player in Genesis I was never really quite impressed by Steve’s guitar playing. However on his 20 solo albums he proved that he is more than just a simple guitar picker. I especially like his rock album "To watch the storms", which was released 3 years ago. Last year Hackett surprised me with his classical album "Metamorpheus" and now he surprises me again with "Wild Orchids" which is in fact a synthesis of those albums I mentioned before. The album integrates the classical element on a much grander scale than ever before, trying to confuse people who like his rock side, like yours truly.

The album starts with a few rather strange, folky, avant-garde and rather quiet songs which are not entirely to my liking. But then Hackett starts to shine with songs like "Ego and Id", "Wolfwork", "She moves in memories" and "Howl". Those tracks are all loaded with exquisite electric guitar work, making me realize that Hackett can play the guitar extremely well, if he wants to... Especially "Howl" features a lot of wah-wah solos which makes you wonder why he does not do this more often.

The instrumental "She moves in memories" is another highlight on this album, filled with strings, guitar and lots of amazing melodies which could turn this song into a classic soundtrack for an English movie like "Wuthering Heights"... This new CD truly alludes to some of his memorable solos albums and his work on Genesis albums like "A trick of the tail" or "Wind & Wuthering". The album will also be available as a special edition with lavish slipcase, enhanced booklet and four bonus tracks.

LEVERAGE: "Tides" 9

Elements Music/Playground 2006
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
15 August 2006

The RockUnited Headquarters seem to have been taken over by the voice of one man! First it started with Brother Firetribe, whose "False Metal" album has gotten serious amounts of spins in the "office" and car CD players, not to mention the MP3 player. As if that wasn't enough, Pekka Heino, the vocalist of BF just happens to be the vocalist of the band we're dealing with now. Thanks to the quality of these songs, it doesn't seem like that the "RockUnited HQ playlist" will be free of his voice for some time!

The band's label has done excellent groundwork before the release of the album, by issuing a free single which was given away free to the subscribers of Inferno, a Finnish metal magazine. Somehow they managed to get one of the bands' songs to be played during the Ice Hockey World Championship TV games, which also earned a lot of positive feedback for the band. The song in question ("Superstition") was then released to the radios, and it has gotten quite a lot of airplay on several stations. Hopefully this groundwork will pay off, and the album will sell by the truckload.

As a genre, melodic metal is as big as it has ever been. Unfortunately this means that every week there's a new up'n coming Helloween/Maiden/Stratovarius/Nightwish clone fighting for everyone's attention, with the record labels praising them as the saviours of metal or whatever. It comes as a bit of a surprise then, that Leverage has managed to come up with a sound that is none but their own. OK, they are not doing something totally new, but their mixture of trusted metal elements sounds very fresh.

Vocalist Pekka Heino might the frontman and the one in spotlight, partly thanks to the Firetribe thing, but the band is actually masterminded by guitarist Tuomas Heikkinen. He has written all the songs, and has shared the production duties with his fellow guitarist Torsti Spoof. Together with the clever arrangements, flawless musicianship and of course Heino's fine vocals, his songs take this band straight away to the A-level of Finnish Metal/Hard Rock bands.

While there isn't a weak song on the album, I might name a few favourites of mine... The first two songs ("Fifteen Years" and "Superstition") should be enough to make believers out of you, as they're both very classy melodic metal songs with excellent melodies and choruses. The catchy keyboard riff of "Dreamworld" is hard to resist, and the powerful, yet melodic "Sails" could be compared to the finest moments of such hard rock giants as House Of Lords or Magnum. One of the strenghts of this album are the ballads: "Horizon", "Stranger" and "Gone" are among the best metal/hard rock ballads I've heard lately. If there's one thing to question, it's "Twilight Symphony"... a good song for sure, but with a title like that, there's no escaping the Strato-comparison!
Leverage Website

ELIXIR: "The Son Of Odin" 8

MajesticRock 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
15 August 2006

Elixir came out of London's East End (home of Iron Maiden, Chariot, etc) during the mid-80's and is considered to be a cult, underground, NWOBHM act. This is a re-issue of their debut album from 1986 and it's been voted one of the top-20 NWOBHM albums of all time!!! Nope, I have no idea about where, when, or how, this top-20 business took place and I really doesn't matter in the end. Why is that you say? well, basically because this kicks some serious behinds.

I must admit that I knew very little about this band prior to receiveing the Majestic Rock promos. I once had this album recorded on tape, and lost it years ago, but that's it really!!! Well, it's impossible to know everything about every band out there. "The Son Of Odin" is rough-hewn, NWOBHM, gutsy stuff fuelled on both red gasoline and melodies in the vein of Power Metal as well. In fact, this reissue will most likely attract both Power Metal and NWOBHM fans, even if I'd put them more along with the latter category.

You can find obvious similarities and influences from fellow east-enders: Iron Maiden & Chariot. However, a lot of crunchy guitar work by Phil Denton /Norman Gordon and soaring vocals by Paul Taylor, provides a solid foundation to stand upon with their own two feets. All this being said, "Children Of Tomorrow" is definitely Elixir's version of "Children Of The Damned" (Iron Maiden), "Trial By Fire" simply rawks, "Starflight" is like a fine mix of Raven and Chariot, "Dead Man's Gold" works nicely in the vein of (early) Running Wild, and "Treachery" is filled to the last drop with smashing guitar work in the style of Maiden. Bottomline: no real NWOBHM fan can do without this CD in his/her collection.

ELIXIR: "Sovereign Remedy" 8

MajesticRock 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
15 August 2006

There's a weird and slightly twisted story behind the second Elixir album. Originally recorded in 1988 and without a record label to support them, "Sovereign Remedy" became a task too hard to handle. It was a troubled time for Elixir as the Dobbs Bros. (Kevin - bass, Nigel - drums) decided to abandon ship even before they went into the studio. Out of luck, they managed to find Clive Burr (ex- Iron Maiden) locally and gave him a call about recording the album with Elixir. Sure enough, Burr agreed to record the album in the time available before joining up with his new band at the time, Desperado (fronted by none other than Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame).

After recording, the band spent the next year playing the songs live, with no labels interested enough to release the album. Elixir pretty much fell apart and split up with guitarist Phil Denton leaving first. However, a label did release the album as "Lethal Potion" shortly afterwards, but it only contained ten tracks, and was remixed with half of the instrumentation missing off. This is the full album, 14 tracks, the correct running order, and with a new artcover.

The biggest difference since "The Son Of Odin" would have to be the guitar sound, not as crunchy anymore, and some of the tracks are rather melodic, borderline, soft (oh no, really?). For instance, "She's Got It", sounds an awful lot like early Heavy Pettin, "Llagaerian" borrows quite a lot from Rainbow (especially the guitars). "Last Rays Of The Sun" has a melody in the refrain which will remind you of Deep Purple and a certain Led Zeppelin tune (and she's buying a stairway to...). Check out the excellent twin guitar dual on "Shadows Of The Night", the catchy "Louise" is once again Elixir gone Heavy Pettin. "Legion Of The Eagle" is top notch stuff from first to last note. "Lost In A Dream" is the ultimate Elixir power ballad and "(When We're) All Together Again" is definitely melodic hardrock. Yep, it's the most "melodic" side of Elixir and they will probably not record anything like this ever again. It's all good though, just as good, if not better than "The Son Of Odin" in my humble opinion. It's NWOBHM gone melodic Hardrock and it comes highly recommended from this reviewer.

ELIXIR: "Mindcreeper" 7

MajesticRock 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
17 August 2006

This is the brand new 2006 comeback album of Elixir. It's been twenty years since "The Son Of Odin" and they've even managed to unite the line-up. Yup, all the geezers back together again and it sure sounds like they're having fun. It's 80's British Metal right down to the shoelaces and not even a hint of NU or modern stuff.

What strikes me the most however is the almost complete lack of "Maiden" influenced guitar work. Now, this could either be a good or bad thing, since they obviously don't rely upon any other act to get their music heard. The blistering lead guitar solos are still present and Denton/Gordon are still at the top of their game. However, it's not as many duals or pace changes as "The Son Of Odin" album. It's almost like they've gone back to the style of the very early days (prior to recording TSOD).

The thunderous rhythm section of The Dobbs Brothers (Kevin - bass, Nigel - drums), and the powerful vocals by the ever so present, Paul Taylor, will certainly please any fan of the band. This is British hardrock with plenty of that old attitude, and Elixir still run the lyrical gamut from wicked tales of the Devil to the song about Odin's land and where angels fear to tread. The metal anthem "Anthenian Glory" had me almost waiting for Manowar to suddenly appear with plastic swords and leather clothing. The balladic story of "Guiding Star" goes smoothly along the lines of Deep Purple and Whitesnake. You already know what to expect with titles such as "Don't Trust The Preacher", "Mindcreeper" and "Hot Metal". It's all solid stuff, but perhaps not with that extra bite or special spice that makes your tummy scream out for more (tummy? really?). Bottomline: it's old school metal with old school melodies, take it or leave it, what you see is what you get.

ELIXIR: "The Idol" 4

MajesticRock 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
16 August 2006

Leftover... songs not quite good enough to end up on a proper Elixir album? Well, not according to guitarist Phil Denton as they simply didn't have the money to put out a double album back in the days. Nevertheless, the songs on this release go back to the earliest days of Elixir, and were written as they envolved through various line-ups, prior to recording "The Son Of Odin" album in 1986.

It's 'basic' meat and potato rock with roots deeply buried into the NWOBHM scene. It's actually more along the lines of Tygers Of Pan Tang, Tokyo Blade, Medusa (pre-Grim Reaper), Sabre, and several other semi-obscure U.K. acts. I believe they were still learning the trade and envolved as songwriters as they carried on their business. Sure enough, there's a couple of real gems to be found among the so-so material. "Born To Run" was written and ready to go on "The Son Of Odin", but was dumped off in the last minute by "Dead Man's Gold". "The Storm" is a classy number with a forward driving rhythm section. "Born Loser", "Deal With Devil", and "Playing With Fire", are all decent rockers, even if the latter has a really annoying chorus part. OK, everyone has different tastes I guess, you need to be into the early 80's stuff and above acts, to really enjoy this to its fullest. Not every man's poison for sure.

Taz TAYLOR Band: "Welcome To America" 7

Escape 2005
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
17 August 2006

Tazamanaz? Taz Taylor was born and raised just outside of Birmingham, England. His two earliest musical memories are "Parisienne Walkways" by Gary Moore and "Since You've Been Gone" by Rainbow. Watching them at the Top Of The Pops, he took up the guitar shortly afterwards and soon discovered Michael Schenker via the UFO classic "Strangers In The Night". he moved to California, USA in 1997 and recorded an instrumental album over there. This time he called another Englishman living in the states to add vocals, namely ex-Rainbow and MSG singer, Graham Bonnet.

Thus why this is probably both a tribute as well as a special nod to all those hardrock acts from the late 70's and very early 80's. Opening track, "Fighter's Fist", had me instantly thinking about UFO and their 70's stuff. In fact, the entire CD would fit nicely in with the UFO sound and general approach to rock. It's a bit strange at first though, listening to a UFO sounding album with ex-Rainbow and MSG singer, Graham Bonnet. Well, ok, I did discover quite a lot of MSG and Rainbow influences as well to be honest.

It's all late 70's rock with a guitarist (yup, that would be Mr. Taz Taylor) the likes to play along the notes of his old guitar heroes. In fact, he goes as far as re-recording the all-time classic "Parisienne Walkways" on "Welcome To America". I must hand it to Taylor, he's got the knowledge of how to squeeze out the best notes from the guitar. It's not just a simple fact of how to bend and shuffle the strings, you need magic fingers and a special feeling for your craftmanship as well. Extra kudos to Mr.Taylor in other words. I don't really get the point with recording a cover of a Gary Moore classic though? Why not simply write something new along the ways of a Gary Moore instrumental instead? Well, he actually did that with the other instrumental: "The Reprise". The Ozzy cover is unnecessarily as well, especially since there's only ten tracks included.

"Welcome To America" is a more than decent 70's album though, even if the title track itself is kind of pale. "Radio Luxembourg" comes with blistering guitar work and a Bonnet at the top of his lungs. "Happy Hour" and "Wall Of Sound" sums up all the late 70's rock into two songs really. It's all a nice mix of UFO, MSG, and Rainbow music, that no real fan of the era should completely miss-out. OK, nothing groundbreaking or new, but you can still do just fine with a top notch guitarist (Taz) and vocalist (Graham). Ten tracks, two covers, one instrumental, you do the math, very much in the vein of the 70's albums.

SAIDIAN: "Phoenix" 6

Metal Heaven 2006
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
16 August 2006

Saidian released their first album last year, and while it wasn't an earthshaking experience, it showed promise. The keyboard work from band leader Markus Bohr was quite impressive, while the vocals of Markus Engelfried weren't to my liking. As it appears, nothing much has changed.

The first track "Ride On A Phoenix" (and the intro "Resurrection") had me thinking that Saidian had struck gold with this album. Athmospheric keys and excellent melodies galore - this is probably the best song the band has recorded so far. However, it's back to basics with the next two songs ("Praise The Lord" and "State Of Euphoria"), which are average at best. The very Edguy-like "Fallen Hero" is better, and I quite like the slow-paced "Crown Of Creation" too, with its' excellent keyboard work (a bit Nightwish-like actually). By the way, Former Savatage singer Jon Oliva makes an appearance on this track.

The ballad "See The Light" might be an okay track if it was sung by someone else, but right here the vocals of Engelfried cross the line for me. I did figure out who he sounds like: he's like a masculine version of Robby Valentine! The same phrasing, the same emphasis on first syllables... he doesn't sound girly though. "Never Surrender" (now that's a METAL song title!) and The Jester only confirm my Valentine-comparison. It has to be said that the latter features the most extreme shrieks of the album, and that the chorus of the song is straight from the songbook of one Tobias Sammet (Edguy). Cool keys as usual though.

The remaining tracks are basic melodic metal songs. "Ride Like The Wind" is not a Christopher Cross cover, but a Saidian original. "Nine Lives" starts off like a Queensr˙che song and might have ended up being something a bit more special, but the chorus is quite bland. "Power And Glory" isn't a cover either, although you may have heard a dozen or two songs with the same title. It's an uptempo headbanger į la Helloween. The album is closed with the band's heaviest track, a Dio-like "Reign Of Agony" with some Egypt-like melodies.

I congratulated the band for some originality with their first album. Now it seems that they've lost some of it, as a few of the songs sound really close to the "big names" of the genre. On the brighter side, I may never become a big fan of Markus Engelfried, but at least the excellent opener proves that a good song makes me tolerate him quite well.
Saidian Website

PERSUADER: "When Eden Burns" 8

Dockyard1 2006
Review by Satu Reunanen
9 August 2006

"You asked me if I have a God-complex. Let me tell you something, I am God". Wow. With these lines kicking off the new Persuader album, one can only assume this trip will be with massively built sounds and strong-headed attitude. That's exactly what the Swedish Persuader offers, tightly packed power metal songs, that get right to the point.

Already formed in 1997, the band has released two albums, "Evolution Purgatory" in 2004 and "The Hunter" in 2000 with good reviews. The band continues where they left with the 2004 release, but added another guitarist to the ranks in Daniel Sundbom. The sound of the band has expanded from the early days, and the music is very pompous, something in the vein of Blind Guardian. Vocalist Jens Carlsson brings in the most influences from BG with his dark and high vocals, screaming his lungs out and occasionally just spitting the words out with rage. Definately some Children Of Bodom moments here too, but we're still talking power metal, where aggression and theatrical influences are also showing.

While "When Eden Burns" is a fine, well-balanced and powerful release from a talented band, again the conflict of today's army of metal bands and the worn-out music industry is fading the glory Persuader would get, if they recorded say ten years ago. The guys show they've got skills for composing neat power metal and the melodies flow easily from the streamlined band, but it's the personality of the music that counts the most. No hits are found from the album, although at the same time all of them are hits. The lean material might make some power metal fans either dismiss the cd or make it divine. I'm in between.
Persuader website

GUITARISTS 4 THE KIDS: "World Vision Charity Compilation" 6

Slang Productions 2006
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner
7 August 2006

When writing about this compilation album I have to bear in mind that it is a release with charity purpose and probably that is the only thing it makes the album worth buying. [Read more about the charity aspect of it on the label's site: here.] It is a compilation of both vocal and instrumental tracks, most of them released quite a few years ago, all spiced up with a six and a half minutes long guitar jam by 8 guitarists (probably Michael Vick, Matthias Eklund, and Bumblefoot are the ones best known of them in rock circles). The track is otherwise a cool one, except for the annoying noises and chanting by children throughout the entire tune. Yeah, I know it's a charity album and I shouldn't be complaining about that...

Funk-rock underground legend Stevie Salas is featured with "Blind", an okay track with decent guitar work but far from his bests. The DramaGods failed to impress me with their "So'K", Nuno's guitar work is really decent (as always) but the vocals are far from the musical potential of the band. Then The Toy Doll's rather weird version of "Toccata in Dm" comes, funny at best, though the musicianship is not to question. Then two acoustic tracks follow by two – to me not known – flamenco guitarists Ottmar Liebert and Johannes Linstead. Both of them are beautiful, relaxing tacks (especially after Toy Dolls). Alice Stuart's funky-blues track is really good, except for her singing. Then Luke (Steve Lukather) threw in a 17 minutes long live improvisative track titled "I'm Buzzed", by the end of it I was also. Bumblefoot's "Breaking" is an acoustic number reminding me of Enuff z' Nuff, while Matthias Eklund's "Zoo Me" is pure guitar wizard stuff, pretty much what we are used to from him.

The best track of the entire album is Neil Zaza's "Fargo", not only because I'm a big Zaza fan but because even with one of his average tracks he clearly beats the competition squeezed into this album. [By the way, does Neil have any average tracks?!] Pierre Bensusan's name was unfamiliar to me but his seven and a half minute long track is really interesting, he plays the acoustic guitar in a strange, almost native style while he is whistling and singing weird melodies with no words. Interesting. A bit too long. Robert Fripp's "At The End Of Time" closes, another almost 8 minutes long track with almost nothing happening in it. It is about as boring as his performance at the last G3 was.

As a way of charity I find it absolutely okay to buy this album. Bear in mind that for its musical content, normally you wouldn't. While I'm absolutely supportive to the cause, as a music reviewer I can only recommend it if you find some of your favorite artists in the line-up and you want to make your collection complete.


Perris 2006
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner
7 August 2006

When the big guys from over the pond are not present, Sweden rules the world. No, I'm not talking about the Ice Hockey World Championship but about the world(?) of sleaze-glam rock. Well, the Hollywood Hairspray compilations were about to showcase the talents of those subgenres however by the 5th issue, they moved a bit away from the traditional sleaze bands as the two opening tracks by two Swedes are rather classic European melodic rock/AOR and very good at that. Chris Laney's "Instinct Animal" showcases the best vocal performance of the entire album and Hollywood's "Hearts On Fire" the best songwriting.

The rest of the album turns towards rather simple (dare I say primitive?!) sleaze-rock approach. The Dirty Rig's "Suck It" and The Deadthings' "Forever Damned" are almost unbearably primitive with awful production and with vocalists who were trained at football matches. Italy's RadioVipers are a pleasant surprise with their quality stuff in the vein of early Faster Pussycat. Sweet Cheater and Gunshy restore some of the faith in US bands, the latter delivering one of the best tracks of the album. Sweden's On Parole goes well along and the UK's Jack Viper sounds also okay; for whatever reason both bands mixed the vocals too much in the front even though it would have been helpful to hide the vocalists somewhere really deep in the mix if you know what I mean…

Alter Ego X comes with a welcome change of much better production, their "Devil Woman" sounds better but the vocalist is equally bad. The Swiss Silver Dirt should also be looking for a vocalist; musically they are doing rather well. Backseat Superstars are blessed with a good band-name and deliver an okay performance with a rather simple, almost punk song. Snow is the better of the two Brazilian bands with very good guitar-work, too bad the rest of the band does not live up to it. (The other Brazilians, the Bastardz are quick to forget). Nice n' Sleazy (what a band-name?!) is featured with a weakly produced track of clichés while an equally underproduced American band Straight Fork closes the album with another forgettable track. All in all 3 or 4 good tracks, a few average, and lots of below average tracks with awful production make this compilation a quick-skipper.

MOTÖRHEAD: "Kiss Of Death" 9

SPV 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
6 August 2006

Holy cow and a couple of goats!!! This is without a question the best Motörhead album since 1916!!! Well, they've been around for ages, however, that's merely the title of their 1991 CD and not the actual year of the release. They might be geezers, Lemmy has turned 60 (and deaf), but they still rock harder and better than most real hardrock/metal acts. The reason behind all of their success is quite obvious explanatory. Pick up your guitar, plug it in your amp, turn it up to 10 and never turn down again (wait a minute, that's a Manowar catchphrase, right?).

"Kiss Of Death" opens up with "Sucker" and you instantly know this is going to be a good one. It's heads down in tinseltown and something that had me thinking about "Bomber". "One Night Stand" is a wicked boogie-woogie in the typical style of Motörhead with a catchy refrain and everything. "Devil I Know" is old school metal from the early 80's with a special nod to the entire NWOBHM scene. "Trigger" is the real winner of the bunch in my opinion and already a future classic. This goes straight to the top-7 best Motörhead songs list and I simply can't stop shouting along to the refrain. This is catchy, yes, catchy and darn good hardrock.

"Under The Gun" has the trademark of Lemmy's basslines all over the place and it's a mid-paced rocker that screams out all its anger and fear. "God Was Never On Your Side" is another future classic in the very laidback approach of things. It's like "Love Me Forever" from 1916, a real surprise and soft ballad. The lyrics will definitely make you stop and think about it all for a minute. "Living In The Past" simply kicks azz, "Christine" is a fun blues rocker with a hint of KISS, "Sword Of Glory" is fast and heavy rocking, and the verses of "Be My Baby" is rather nu-metal-ish but the classy refrain saves the day in the end. Mikkey Dee kicks the crap outta' his drums as usual and Phil Campbell is the longest staying member besides Lemmy. Sadly some might still see him as the "new" bloke, but it's about time to give the Wizzo full credit and respect. Heck, he's only been a Motörhead for the past 22 years or sumthin' ;-)

I'd like to have a serious chat with the 3-piece-suite that suggested "Kingdom Of The Worm" as the song to promote the new CD. This is the only track I can't stand on "Kiss Of Death" and I always tend to skip it when I play the CD. It's extremely boring, blunt, modern sounding, metal. I simply don't get the message, verses only and some weird chanting nu-metal melody in the background. Closing track "Going Down" is a straight ahead rocker with a special nod to the likes of "Iron Fist" and with lyrics that goes in the vein of "You can't mess with Dr.Rock - that's right, don't you even try". Nope, I won't even try and mess with Dr.Rock aka Lemmy. What a surprise, first a excellent new Cheap Trick CD and now Motörhead. What's next? Iron Maiden? nah, that would probably be too good to be true I guess. "Kiss Of Death" is a bag of fun though.


Metal Heaven 2006
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
6 August 2006

Planet Alliance is an all-star metal project put together by producer Anders Theander. To make sure that the songs for the project would be quality stuff, he enlisted Magnus Karlsson to the project. Karlsson has been one of the most profilic songwriters of the last couple of years, having written or co-written songs for the Starbreaker, Allen/Lande and Tony O'Hara releases. On this album he has shared the writing duties with Mike Andersson (of Cloudscape), who is also the vocalist on all tracks. Bob Daisley and Janne Stark supplied some songs as well.

Without knowing who wrote what, it's easy to say that despite of several songwriters, the album sounds quite homogenous. The style of Planet Alliance is naturally somewhat similar to that of the aforementioned Karlsson-projects, but you could also describe it as "the whole Scandinavian melodic metal scene compressed into one album". For instance, the opener "The Real You" bears a strong Nightwish influence, and you can spot similarities to those Opera Metallers in a few other songs as well. And no, I'm not talking about the vocals... You can hear echoes of Hammerfall and Dream Evil in a couple of songs, and the ballad "The Quickening" reminds me of Treat's self-titled album. And just to add a bit of an Euro-metal flavour to the soup, a touch of Masterplan has been thrown into the pot.

This all sounds very good and interesting, and it is good, make no mistake about it... Great production, phenomenal performances... but I'm afraid that's not enough this time. There are several good songs here, but towards the end the album seems to lose its' momentum. While the good songs on the first half of the album are bordering on being great, on the second half they are just good, okay, decent enough. Not to mention that a couple of the songs are clearly below average, namely the dull bluesy rocker "Ain't No Pleasin' You" and the uptempo headbanger "Digging Your Own Grave" which has a chorus that sounds somehow uncomfortable and forced.

All in all, Planet Alliance meets the expectations quite well - the production is suberb as you'd expect from the Roastinghouse staff, and the all-star cast doesn't disappoint. Most of the songs are good, so basically all that's missing are the GREAT songs.

NEW DAWN FOUNDATION: "Moment Of Clarity" 7

Edel 2006
Review by Satu Reunanen
6 August 2006

Having released their first album "Moment Of Clarity" this June, Finnish New Dawn Foundation was already formed in 2000 by guitarist Miikka Kuisma, who has made his mark in To/Die/For. The band released a single of the slower melancholic piece "Wrapped In Plastic" from the album, which found its way to Top 20 single charts in Finland. The placement is no wonder, the bands melancholic outpour seems to attract the hearts of Finns, just like those other dark bands hailing from here such as HIM, 69 Eyes, Entwine and the likes.

Singer Toni Valha’s dark and tearing vocals fit the bands melancholic style, where guitars create more desperate feeling to the songs. "Moment Of Clarity" comes out as straight and dark gothic rock with no clear hit song, and moodwise each song follows another. Picking out one out of ten songs, "Last Night" delivers the most catchiest hooks and it has that Amorphis / 69 Eyes type of flow to it. When NDF sounds like so many other bands in this genre, their soundworld is still huge and songwise surely they can do better. NDF is more likely to catch its fans from the gothic side.
New Dawn Foundation

SLAYER: "Christ Illusion" 6

Warner/American 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
3 August 2006

I blame myself, I really do, I blame myself for dreaming... dreaming that this would be a return to the pure excellence of "Reign In Blood", "South Of Heaven" or even "Seasons In The Abyss" (even though I'm not too crazy about that album). That's the problem with all these reunions, you expect them to be just as good as in their heydays. This is indeed all the original members with their first studio album together since "Seasons In The Abyss" and with Rick Rubin as the executive producer. They have even brought in the same cover artwork artist (Larry Carroll), who did the covers for all the above mentioned albums.

I know, it all sounds sooo good on paper (or right here at your PC screen), but it's unfortunately all too good to be true. Sure enough, "Christ Illusion" is far from a complete disaster and/or waste of time. It's fast, heavy, and maybe "faster than anything we've done before", according to singer/bassist Tom Araya. Again, I can't really disagree with the man, but whatever happened to all those great guitar riffs and memorable melodies of the past? It's brutal, neckbreaking, and pure evil at times, but what good is brutal if there's no finesse or meaning behind it all. "Jihad" does have all the right ingredients and "Consfearacy" will definitely bring a smile to yer face [do Slayer and smiles ever go together? -Ed]. "Flesh Storm" and "Cult" will also remind you of the 'good old days'.

This is more a continuing of the Slayer that became rather disorganized and messy during the the 90's. They basically forgot about including melodies and guitar riffs and went for the chaos theory instead. Bottomline: it's way too easy to write that everything was better in the past. However, when it comes to Slayer it's unfortunately also true. You might get a kick outta this if you're into their modern day music. The rest of us will just have to do with those old records again. I blame myself for dreaming...


Escape Music 2006
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
5 August 2006

Prog Metal act Evil Masquerade have released two albums of their "theatrical metal" prior to this album. Some changes have taken place between the previous album and "Third Act", as vocalist Henrik Brockmann has left the group, and the band has moved from Frontiers to Escape. Brockmann's replacement is Apollo Papathanasio, former singer of Time Requiem and the current singer of Firewind. Knowing that Firewind is enjoying a lot of success with their latest album, Apollo might have a lot of things on his plate, if this band really takes off too. However, I doubt that EM has that same sort of a "crossover appeal" that Firewind has.

The music of EM is uncompromising progressive metal with lots of space for the musicians to show off their skills. The arrangements are very complex and adventurous, and the compositions themselves aren't your basic "verse-chorus-verse" workouts. The band main man, guitarist Henrik Flykman has written all of the music and the lyrics, and he seems to have a strong vision of where he wants to lead this band.

The two first songs of the album are probably the most accessible ones. The title song is a rather uptempo number with a good chorus. It reminds me of Yngwie Malmsteen, Kamelot and even Queen, and the vibe of the song is somehow very uplifting. "Black Raven Cry" is a heavy, Black Sabbath/Dio-type of a track but blessed with probably the best chorus of the album, which elevates it to a different level. Apart from these two songs, I'd recommend "Bring On The World" to those of you looking for something easily digestible... the remaining songs are probably really good for the diehard prog-metal fans, but for me they were just a bit too progressive. I must give a special mention to the closing number "The Final Goodbye" though... this operatic ballad is something completely different, and I'm not sure whether it should be taken seriously at all. It's so over-the-top and pompous that I hope I'm not wrong thinking that Flykman wrote it with a bit of a smile on his face!
Evil Masquerade Website

Axel Rudi PELL: "Mystica" 5

SPV 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
6 August 2006

... and the songs remains the same. No need to write any new material... when you can just as same reuse your old ideas. It's darn difficult to come up with stuff, you know, and much easier to pen down brand new titles to some of your older tunes. To be honest, this will only work if you happen to be one of the following acts: AC/DC, Status Quo, Motörhead. But what if you're merely a third rate version of Yngwie Malmsteen??? Well... then I guess you're basically f****d.

OK, all lame jokes aside and let's get down to business instead. Johnny Gioeli (Hardline) is indeed a excellent vocalist and the riff of "Fly To The Moon" is a monster, but the song itself is a turkey (with stuffing and everything?), laden with horrible flashbacks and major deja vś feeling. The biggest problem with Axel Rudi Pell is that he's been one of Germany's most successful metal guitarists of the past fifteen years and I can't really tell the last 5 or 6 albums apart. Then again, I can't tell the last 5 or 6 days apart for that matter [but that's a completely different story ;-)].

I kind of enjoy the Tony Iommi styled guitar playing (without guitar pick) on the classy rocker, "Valley Of Sin". It sure sounds like fingers straight on strings as you get that typical sound (that some would describe as sloppy playing). The same goes with the following tune, "Living A Lie", only with the exception that this is far from classy stuff. "No Chance To Live" is a typical Pell ballad that won't exactly upset or harm any living creature. If you thought Yngwie Malmsteen lost his plot years ago, you surely wont be over the moon with the work of Pell. However, if predictible and utter safe is your middle name, "Mystica" sure is the game.

MORTIFICATION: "Erasing The Goblin" 5

MCM Music 2006
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
2 August 2006

I do enjoy the music of Mortification, I really do, it's fun, violent, and very listenable Thrash/Speed Metal straight out of the 80's. The biggest problem with this Australian band (in my personal opinion of course) has always been the voice of Steve Rowe (vocals/bass). I know, I know, there's no Mortification without Rowe and no Rowe without Mortification. He's the natural born leader and only remaining member since day one of this Christian metal act. They've been recording 13 studio album since 1990 so I'm probably not the one to suddenly turn them into clean vocals and "proper" singing.

It's just that if you've heard one song with Rowe's vocals, you've heard them all. It's all very monotonous and blunt, straight to the point of everything sounding like "blah, blah, blah, grrrr, grrrr, grrr" (repeat x10.000). It's the early 90's Death Metal scene that still lives within the lungs of Mr.Rowe and hardly anywhere else nowadays. It's all very dated and not really fun to listen at to be frank (I thought his name was Steve?).

How I wish they could just have vocals in the vein of Nevermore or Annihilator instead. "Erasing The Goblin" is a fun title though and I'm sure all good christians will appreciate the frontcover artwork (not!). They could actually learn a thing or two from fellow christians of Extol. Their superb mix of melody and brutality, clean vocals and growls, ends up at the very frontline of CCM of today. This is old school speed with old school death metal vocals and I really can't stand this kind of "singing" anymore. This will obviously be more pleasing to the ears if you can stand early 90's death metal vocals.


* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 26-30/06 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 26-30/06 * * * * *
Saracen, Strapping Young Lad, Shooting Star, Lunatica, KICK's Mikey Jones, Cactus, Dirty Rig, Foreigner, Ten, Brother Firetribe, The Poodles, Shark Island, Zebrahead, Cloven Hoof, Surveillance, John Waite, Saxon, Sister Manik, Jones Bros, Hotwire, Pride Of Lions.

* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 21-25/06 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 21-25/06 * * * * *
Hotwire, Pride Of Lions, Gary Moore DVD, Firewind, Mannhai, The Order, Cheap Trick, Glenn Hughes, Def Leppard, Dio's "Angry Machines" and "Last In Live" and Rainbow's "Live In Munich 1977" 2-CD, Sweet Cheater, Street Talk, Deacon Street 2, Vertigo 2, Vengeance, John West, Saga, Cloudscape, The Prowlers, Relapsed Winter's Bane, PAX, George Thorogood, Shining Star (feat. Lance King) and Lana Lane's DVD.

* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 16-20/06 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 16-20/06 * * * * *
Say Anything, Mother's Finest, Assailant, Heed, Tim Neu and Jeff Scott Soto's Ballads, re-issued first Da Vinci CD, Appendix, Luca Turilli's Dreamquest, Dezperadoz, Gary Barden, Tool, Taking Back Sunday, House Of Mirrors, Newman, Swingin' Thing, Michael Kiske, Bonfire, House Of Lords, Backyard Babies, comeback compilation from Treat, German rockers Oomph, Pink, Finnish rockers Kara, Veni Domine, Beyond Fear, Slave To The System, Celtic Frost and a couple of live albums from Deep Purple and Mötley Crüe. Wig Wam album, a DVD from Joe Bonamassa, re-issued Rocky IV soundtrack, new classic rock from Glyder, instrumental rock from Jill, Yan, acoustic live material from Wetton/Downes, Empire and Giuntini Project III - both albums feat. Tony Martin on vocals, Fatal Force, Akira Kajiyama with Joe Lynn Turner and Luca Turilli's latest opus, Schenker Group's 25th anniversary album. AOR supergroup Last Autumn's Dream and the much-debated comeback album of Survivor.

* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 11-15/06 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 11-15/06 * * * * *
Sodom, Blue Tears, The Quill, Fate, Fatal Smile, Moonspell, Perishing Mankind., Ignite, Silver Dirt, Brüssel Kaupallinen, Scott Stapp, Joe Bonamassa, Beautiful Creatures, Loud Crowd, One Eye Shut, Anti-flag, Cronian, Petrus, Train, Liberty'n Justice, Andersen/Laine/Readman, Alexa, Ian Parry's Visions, Lovex, Living Things, Medusa, X-Prophets, Shaka Ponk, Jim Peterik, Lordi, Astral Doors, Pure Inc., Annihilator DVD, Frontline, (Robby) Valentine, Warrant, Kinrick, Death Before Disco, Blackmore's Night, Witchery, Samel, Von Groove debut, Black Rose, Saracen and Paul Raymond (UFO).

* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 6-10/06 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 6-10/06 * * * * *
Shadowman, Vandenplas, Blue Tears, Troels Skovgaard, Evergrey, The Flower Kings, Curt Shaw, Main Attraction, Umphrey's McGee, Marcel Coenen, Lacuna Coil single, Jorn, Kilpi, Sabu, Phenomena, Dragonforce, Legs Diamond (x2), Bloodbound, Toto, Speedy Gonzales, Sodom, Danny Peyronel, Sabre, Eric Burdon, Platitude and Eric Mantel.

* * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 1-5/06 * * * * REVIEWS OF WEEKS 1-5/06 * * * * *
Devin Townsend, Age Of Nemesis, Ten, Rush, Jadis, Altaria, Diablo, Pump, Fireball Ministry, Zero Nine, Proto-Kaw, Tony O'Hara, Inxs, Mad Max, Sepultura, Ankara, Kilpi, Whitesnake, Rhapsody, Anastacia, Bob Catley, Square One, Ambition.

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