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KANSAS
SOMEWHERE TO ELSEWHERE

SPV 085-71012 CD
Produced by: Livgren, Ehart & Williams

Released: OUT / Website
GENRE: Progressive Rock
OVERALL: 85%
Kansas die hard fans might like to shoot me, but my favorite two albums are the 2 most commercial records they ever did - Power and In The Spirit Of Things. Aside from those two records, I am only a casual fan. Which is probably why I love some tracks on this album (When The World Was Young) and don't a few others, (Grand Fun Alley).
Regardless of that, this is a fine record with top notch production and some great songwriting. Varied styles, moods and sounds typify the record as the band stretch their musical abilities.
This album returns the guys to their more progressive roots, deeply entrenched into 70's rock and classic early Kansas sounds. This is not a record you put on once and love, it's one that you have to get to know. It's also one that is unlikely to appeal to anyone not already captured by the band. But for long time fans - it's likely to be rated very highly.

TREASON
CODE OF SILENCE

INDIE
Produced by: Ted Stockwell

Released: OUT / Website
Relatives: Alice In Chains, The Cult
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 88%
Treason are some new guys out of the USA and have just signed a deal to have this album more widely distributed. Which is a good thing, as this album rocks big time!
This is modern aggressive hard rock at it's best, with touches of Alice In Chains, The Cult, Stone Temple Pilots and even Metallica all mixed to perfection.
The production is excellent and the delivery is with a menacing power that should see these guys well known in no time.
Track 2 is The Cult meets a moody Metallica, Track 7 is pure Metallica and the rest of the tunes blend it all together, with their own touches. Just check out the heavy ass organ sounds giving texture to the songs.
This album is a must get for any fans of the bands mentioned and fans of modern melodic metal with attitude! Very good indeed. You will be hearing more from these guys soon...

DORO
CALLING THE WILD

KOCH
Produced by:

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Warlock, Union
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 68%
Doro is another classic chick rocker that has gone all modern and heavy on us. Just as Union, Alice Cooper and Dio have all adopted a more aggressive tuned-down heaviness to their sound, so has Doro.
This is as heavy as I have ever heard her sing. It's an obvious attempt to get into the new breed of melodic heavy metal going on in the USA.
It worked really well for Union and for Cooper as far as having great sounding albums, but none of them recorded an over the top hit with their albums.
So maybe it is time the labels and artists changed their thought process to just do what the artists traditionally do best?
More melodies, less attempts at being heavier than everyone else please.
Needless to say, this album is produced well, sounds great and has a stack of attitude. Doro's cover of Billy's Idol's White Wedding is a bit average and as for the duets with Motorhead's Lemmy - when will people realize this guy can't sing a note?!!
A not bad album for those that don't mind it modern, but for classic European hard rock fans and traditional Doro fans, not the best release.

AOR
LA CONCESSION

INDIE
Produced by: Frederic Slama

Released: OUT / E-Mail
Closest Relative: Chicago, Toto
GENRE: Westcoast
OVERALL: 80%
AOR is Frederik Slama, Peter Hume, John Fluker (vocals), Doug St. John, David D Chamberlin. The bane says it all - this is pure Westcoast AOR in the softest vein. This record targets those that love it soft and smooth, like the softest moments of Chicago, King Of Hearts, Toto, Tim Feehan and Street Talk.
The closest comparison of all would be to Michael Thompson Band album How Long.
Flanked with guests like Richard Page, Michael Thompson, Lenny Castro, Tony Franklin and Carlos Vega, the pedigree of the album is unquestioned. It all lies with the question of personal taste.
If soft, smooth and mature Westcoast pop sounds are your thing, there are fewer better examples of it that what AOR have produced here. A very good debut album.

STEVIE RACHELLE
SINCE SIXY-SIX

RLS Records
Produced by: Michael Raphel, Gilby Clark & Nick Nolan

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Tuff
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 79%
Here we go with the new Stevie Rachelle album, his second solo record outside his old band Tuff.
This time he is rocking harder and with a more modern edge. There is hints of his old band and also fellow glamstersd Poison, but there is also a lot of individual personality in this album.
No offense to Stevie, but you need to skip over the first two tracks - unnecessarily aggressive and modern - and get to some great more melodic and finely crafted pop rock songs.
There is a real Goo Goo Dolls kind of feel to the songs on this album and this style actually suits Stevie a lot. More so than the heavier style of the album.
Track 3 through 6 are some fine examples of modern rock with a catchy edge and plenty of acoustic guitars propelling the melodies.
His cover of the Air Supply song All Out Of Love is actually quite good and the album finishes with the hilarious Hotline From Hell.
A good effort and an enjoyable album for all his fans.

CONTAGIOUS
RED, WHITE & SLIGHTLY BLUE

Z Records
Produced by: Contagious

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative:
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 80%
Contagious are Z Records' new British signing and the UK's new melodic rock hope - if you believe what the press release says!
This is a 4 track EP to introduce the band and from what I can hear, they are off to a good start. The new hope I am not sure yet, but certainly the 4 tracks contained on this EP show that the guys are capable of writing a good catchy hard rock song and the vocalist can certainly cover some notes.
I can't think of anything they compare to, it's just a good straight ahead rock n roll sound - that indecently isn't necessarily British sounding.
Given some improvement in production for the debut album, I think these guys will certainly gain a lot of credit for their work. As for now, I am not a big fan of EPs, but there are 4 good reasons for buying this...

TRIBE OF GYPSIES
III

Sanctuary AIRCD11
Produced by: Roy Z

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Santana
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 80%
These guys can't do a thing wrong. The only reason they haven't sold 2 million records is that they are yet to gain backing from a major label.
That should happen eventually...surely?!!
Of course, they are not mainstream rock either...they are more a rocking version of Santana.
These guys are for those that like a little something different, or like a little Latin funk in their rock n roll. Producer / guitarist Roy Z is once again involved, proving further his diversity.
If you are a Santana fan, check these guys out pronto. If you are a closet Ricky Martin fan, it's also maybe worth a listen. Great songs and a great production, they should be huge - somewhere!!

PAUL RODGERS
ELECTRIC

CMC 06076 86294-2
Produced by: Paul Rodgers

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Bad Company
GENRE: Blues Rock
OVERALL: 90%
This - bar none - is Paul's finest solo album to date. This is a classic from start to finish and I need kicking for not reviewing it sooner. But that still means that if you haven't head this there is still time!!
A great selection of blues based rock tunes that have a real kick to them, thanks to a pristine production and smooth ass delivery by the great man himself.
The album is a mixture of guitar driven rockers, with some softer blues ballads and pop songs. But above all else, every tune is sung with amazing force and clarity. His voice on record has never sounded so good!
All blues rock fans and classic bad Company fans NEED this album now!!

J. ENGLISHMAN
POOR LITTLE ROCKSTAR

Warner Canada 2 81650
Produced by: Dave Hodge & J Englishman

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative:
GENRE: Modern Rock
OVERALL: 65%
Once again, another album not for the feint hearted. This Canadian is one of those singer / songwriters in the mold of.....shit, I really don't know! Maybe some U2, Prince or even a little of the moodier parts of Chris Issaak.
The songs are complex pop songs, built around sampling, synthesizers, guitars and smooth rhythms, all delivered in a laid back sultry style, moving to the more aggressive almost Industrial styles.
Melodic fans should note Kim Mitchell drummer Randy Cooke plays on a lot of the album.
Whatever it is - it's a very personal and intelligent slice of modern rock, but it's not going to appeal to most reader so this site - the few it does appeal to will love it!

THE SPINATRAS
@ MIDNIGHT.COM

CMC 06076 86282-2
Produced by: Jim Siegel & Spinatras

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative:
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 86%
Another great record I should have reviewed a while ago - but like I said before - you can still correct the oversight and go an buy this album now!
What it is, is a bloody great collection of in your face punk-ish hard rockers - played with energy, gusto and pure rock n roll attitude.
Featuring Ross Friedman of ex-Manowar fame, these guys released a very cool demo a year or so back and have only tweaked that marginally to form this album.
The lyrics are hilarious, the music fun and the uptempo vibe totally in your face.
It rocks hard and it rocks like The Cult or Green Day never could. And the best thing, vocalist Brian Corley is a genuine find. A great singer who ads melody to every line he sings.
A great party rock album from a band that will probably go under appreciated.

SEAN ABBOTT BAND
ATOMIC INVASION

ABBOTT MUSIC 617319999-2
Produced by: Sean Abbott

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Neil Zaza
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 78%
Sean Abbott is one of those guys with the talent to write, record, sing, play guitar and even produce his own record. Damn...gotta love that.
This record is primarily a guitar lovers record with plenty of hard riffs and solos to enjoy, all set within a clear structure of the songs. No out of place free wheeling fret shredding here.
The album has shades of southern rock, blues and straight forward hard rock, so those that appreciate diversity will get into this.
As for the production, it is an indie release, but it comes together very well.
A good record for guitar lovers and fellow musicians that can appreciate others talents.

KURGAN'S BANE
THE FUTUR LIES BROKEN

RECORD HEAVEN RHCD32
Produced by: Kurgan's Bane

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: Rush
GENRE: Progressive
OVERALL: 75%
Kurgan's Bane are a female fronted progressive pop rock band that have interesting music to match their interesting cover. The songs are progressive in nature, but without he heavy overtures of hard rockers like Dream Theater. These guys are more pop.
The songs are of regular length and as a four piece they seem to have it together pretty well. However the production is a little thin in places.
But musically - for an album recorded recently - this sounds comparable to very early Rush, but with a female vocalist. It's not necessarily dated, but the record's feel is that of 70's pop/prog.
An interesting one to seek out if you are looking for a progressive record with a twist.

MILLENNYA
TIME HAS COME

Indie -2
Produced by: Millennya

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Marillion
GENRE: Progressive
OVERALL: 74%
These guys are another great example of AOR with a modern and progressive twist. A mixture of melodic rock, progressive music and pure modern pop, al in a European twist.
I sense a little of Marillion in there, but don't quote me on that!
Hard to know who to recommend these guys to, same as above I guess - prog fans looking for something really interesting. This is an indie release, but sounds fantastic and really well put together, complete with great artwork/packaging.
An interesting album that deserves to get heard, but fans of straight up AOR should probably look elsewhere.

ARSYN
DEGENERATION

Indie
Produced by: Lanny Cordola, Chuck Wright & Pat Regan

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Relatives: Korn, Rage Against The Machine
GENRE: Modern Rock
OVERALL: 85%
There's quite a pedigree behind this band, just in it's production team alone! At the desk was Lanny Cordola, Chuck Wright & Pat Regan.
Fans of those guys at the helm should note this is no melodic rock release. This is modern aggressive hard rock / melodic metal. These guys are in your face angry alternative metal and go off basically!
Anyone that digs bands like Rage Against The Machine, Rob Zombie or Korn even (not to mention Black Sabbath) should check these guys out. Too heavy for me, but real ass kicking tunes and a killer production job. The record sounds a million bucks and in this trend based music scene, these guys have a great chance at breaking through.

ROBIN BROCK
BLAME IT ON ROCK N ROLL

A2 Records A2CD01
Produced by: Steven Stuart

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: Jamie Kyle, Fiona
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 85%
On the verge of commencing work on her second album, I guess I should finally review her debut! For those that haven't already discovered what a fine vocalist Robin is, do it now. Any fans of female lead AOR/ melodic rock should check this out. Anyone that owns a Jamie Kyle, Alannah Miles, Heart record or either of the two classic Fiona albums should enjoy this.
If that isn't enough, the guitarist is Signal's Danny Jacob, Bass is Steve Webster and backing vocals is Marc LaFrance.
Just check out track two - the killer ballad She's Outta Control and you will be sold.
Sorry for not getting to this review sooner, it deserved it and I will highly anticipate the second record to be produced by Kevin Elson.

JOHN FARNHAM
33 1/3

BMG AUSTRALIA 7432177391-2
Produced by: Ross Fraser & JF

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: Otis Reading
GENRE: Pop
OVERALL: 33.3%
John Farnham remains one of Australia's hidden gems, even with a career spanning 30 years. The guy just never broke out of Australia as a solo artist. He did achieve some success as vocalist with Little River Band for a while. His solo career has been aimed at pure pop AOR mixed with a little R&B, but sometimes a little pure stadium rock. Pity there isn't more of that side of him on offer as he remains on of the world's great vocalists.
On this solo album it's goodbye to just about every and anything an AOR fan could hope for. Gone are the sweet Richard Marx pop rockers and in comes a bunch of crappy old covers from the 50s and 60s. This is basically a big band album and one that even past Farnham fans should avoid at all costs.

IRON MAIDEN
BRAVE NEW WORLD

Portrait Records USA / EMI UK
Produced by: Kevin Shirley

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Themselves of course!
GENRE: Heavy Metal
OVERALL: 82%
Not much really that I can add to what has already been said about this album and as just about anyone who would want it has already got it, I will just add my opinion for the record.
Bloody good!
I am not a traditional Maiden fans, but this record shows there is much life in the old beast yet, and while it might not quite be their best effort, it at least says everything a re-union record says. It takes in the classic sound and adds a few new twists. Especially in the more epic numbers. We're back - we're rocking, we're great and we're here to stay. Good luck to you fellows, this is hopefully the starting block of even better to come.
Did I mention what a snappy production job Kevin Shirley has provided?

PHIL VINCENT
THUNDER IN THE EAST

Song Haus Music 55008-2
Produced by: Phil Vincent

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Kip Winger
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 86%
Another album I should have reviewed long ago, but due to a back log has only made it here now. Once again, many of you will have this, but if you haven't - GET IT!
Anyone that admires song writing ability and great AOR records should look into this release and anyone that owns either or both of Kip Winger's last two solo records will enjoy this.
The album is filled with intelligent pop rock like Kip's solo records, plus a mix of more straight up 80's influenced pop AOR.
The record is a little more dated in it's sound than Kip's but the quality of the songwriting and delivery make up for this. A real surprise package and a highly recommended album.

SZUTERS
NOT QUITE AT BUDOKAN

VICTOR VICP-60964
Produced by: The Szuters

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Relatives: Marvelous 3, Paul Gilbert
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 83%
Another record I have over looked for a while - sorry guys.
The Szuters are one of the new breed of US melodic rockers. These guys are a little on the fringe still, huge in Japan, but looking for a break worldwide. With the inroads being made by Marvelous 3, Mars Electric and Neve, their break is bound to come. Right place at the right time guys...
This album has a great attitude and is filled with great hard edged pop songs. If you like any of the above and/or Paul Gilbert's solo work then get this as soon as you can - great modern rock n roll.

58
DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA

AMERICOMA RECORDS 63985-78071-2
Produced by: David Darling

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Last Lynch Mob record
GENRE: Crap
OVERALL: 5%
A few good reviews, now for a few bad ones...
This is Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx's side project and their debut album. Featuring a blend of samples, synthesizers, hip hop rhythms, semi-industrial beats and guitar overtones - this album is possibly even more removed from reality than Tommy Lee's new band.
I can only recommend that any reader of this site avoid this release at all costs. Unless maybe you enjoyed Tommy's record and the last Lynch Mob record.
There is nothing here for Motley fans...

KING PRAWN
SURRENDER TO THE BLENDER

Spitfire Records
Produced by: Not Listed

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Mighty Mighty Bosstones
GENRE: Ska Pop Rock
OVERALL: 3%
Another Spitfire release this one, the only reason I am reviewing it is to warn people to avoid it at all costs. Not unless you like a more progressive ska pop version of Green Day or Mighty Mighty Bosstones....
One of Spitfire's more modern commercial releases and definitely one of their most pointless.

SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN
EXOTIC DANCER BLUES

Leviathan Records LEV 200012
Produced by: David T Chastain

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Lynyrd Skynyrd
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 70%
Lynyrd Skynyrd were not quite a pure hard rock band, but if they were, these guys would have come close to being their clone.
This band is the brain child of guitar shred hero David T Chastain, but here he behaves himself impeccably to play a great range of heavy blues influenced guitar riffs.
The songs are strong, the production good. So if you like your blues heavy or you like your hard rock Southern, then check these guys out.

SEVEN LIMITED
RESET DEVICES

VINNY RECORDS VR-001
Produced by: Xavi Martinez & Dani Munoz

Released: OUT NOW / Website
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 75%
From the Spanish AOR label Vinny Records comes this interesting AOR release that should find some fans out there. The guys have a pretty smooth sound and a particularly interesting keyboard sound.
The music is classic style European AOR, heavy with keyboards and an overall 80's sound.
The main point is their songs are pretty strong and should establish them enough for a second album to follow.

ELYTE
UNNO

VINNY RECORDS VR-004
Produced by: Gustavo Ros & Elyte

Released: OUT NOW / Website
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 77%
I have no idea what these guys are saying or singing about, but the music is OK!
Another release from the Vinny Records stable, these guys sing in their native Spanish tongue. I can't see that will help their sales through continental Europe, but in their homeland where melodic rock is still pretty strong, they will hopefully do better music.
An indie label, but the production is good and the music is also good, so good luck to you guys and I do expect to hear more in the future. Track two is a highlight, great Harem Scarem style rock, Spanish style!

POISON
POWER TO THE PEOPLE

Indie Release
Produced by: Poison

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: Themselves!
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 90%
Let's put the second half of this album aside. It is basically a live best of from the guys last tour. It's OK, but a fans only kind of release...
Let's talk about the 5 new tracks that open this album.
I have one question - why did the guys stop at 5 tracks????? This tunes ROCK!! This would have been the band's best album ever had it been a full length release.
From the modern attitude filled hard rocking Power To The People, to the mid tempo anthem of The Last Song, to the big ballad of the set Strange to the best party rock tune in years - I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine....fantastic!
It's a pity the live album gets in the way of these new tracks.
Great stuff guys - this will keep me hanging out for an all-new studio album, but God only knows when that will arrive!

ROCKUPUNCTURE
SEX GAME

PIERCING RECORDS RPK002
Produced by: Rockupuncture

Released: OUT NOW
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 58%
This is a new album from Canada's cult AOR band Rockupuncture. Except I can't see much AOR here. It's mainly tongue in cheek, innuendo filled cock rock lyrics to heavy guitar driven sleaze rock n roll.
There's touches of rap rock, straight up hard rock, some more melodic touches, but it's basically too diverse to establish the attention of any particular group of fans.
Not the greatest release I have heard or the best these guys could have recorded. Sorry guys!

THE OUTPATIENCE
ANXIOUS DISEASE

BERO RECORDS 4741.3001-2
Produced by: Noel Golden & West Arkeen

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: Guns N Roses, Von Groove
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 60%
This album is the brain child of West Arkeen who was a part of one of the many line ups of Guns N Roses and I believe died before this album could be finished. But it sounds pretty finished, the production of Noel Golden (Night Ranger) has this album sounding pretty smooth.
Vocalist for the album is somewhat of a surprise - Mike Shotton of Von Groove. Some of the songs he sings hard and tough, many of them though in his normal VG melodic style.
The album was passed off as a hard rocking answer to what GNR are missing these days, but for me after a few songs it becomes pretty standard itself.
It's actually pretty laid back and not that sleazy at all. Fans of Von Groove will get into the second half of the album as it is more acoustic & melodic, but as a whole, there are a few classy songs, but the majority fail to hit the target.

DI'ANNO
NOMAD

PERRIS RECORDSPER0009-2
Produced by: Di'Anno/Turin

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Iron Maiden / Pantera
GENRE: Heavy Metal
OVERALL: 70%
Ex-Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno is back with his new project with guitarist Paulo Turin. Paulo wrote the music, Paul the lyrics.
Pretty simple this review - if pure Heavy Metal is your thing, this could easily find a way into your collection. The CD is well enough produced, no major label release mind you, but strong enough. The vocals are in your face hard and heavy the drumming fast and furious throughout and of course, guitar riffs a plenty.
I have heard better heavy albums, but also plenty worse. Have a listen if you bough the recent Halford album.

SYMPHONY X
V

Inside Out Music / SPV 085-41242
Produced by: Symphony X

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Helloween, Dream Theater
GENRE: Heavy Metal
OVERALL: 78%
Symphony X are not for the faint hearted and are generally just a little over the top for most melodic rock fans. A mix of Dream Theater and the fastest Yngwie licks you could find will get you close, plus of course then they add their own touches. The guys have quite a fan base, especially in Japan and I can see why. It's fast, it's heavy and there are so many flashy solo guitar and keyboard parts, it is hard to keep track of them.
For those that love bands like Blind Guardian and the heaviest of Yngwie, these guys are one of the best bands out there doing this. 70 minutes of power rock at it's best.

SPOCK'S BEARD
V

Inside Out Music / SPV085-41232
Produced by: Spock's Beard

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: Marillion
GENRE: Progressive
OVERALL: 83%
Is there a conspiracy in naming album's V (or 5?). This is number 3 I have reviewed this week!
That small joke aside, these guys are one of the new highly acclaimed players in modern progressive rock circles.
Marillion fans should get a lot out of this, they sound to my progressively semi-trained ears as similar. There's only 6 tracks to the album, which should give you some indication to the length of the tracks - long!
But musically there is a lot on offer here, and to those that aren't partial to much progressive stuff, this is good enough to be accessible to most.
I can't compare it to the rest of their albums, as this is my first, but top me it sounds pretty damn good.

BLAZE
SILICON MESSIAH

VICTOR JAPAN VICP-61038
Produced by: Andy Sneap

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Dare I say Iron Maiden?
GENRE: Heavy Metal
OVERALL: 79%
Blaze throws off the controversy of being thrown out of Iron Maiden after a relatively non successful period - only to see both him and Maiden go out and record two great albums. OK, what's up with that?!!
This is pure melodic metal in the Maiden style, plus a little Judas Priest and funnily enough, a little of the more modern rock style that Bruce Dickenson was engaging in.
It's a good solid album that should see Blaze re-establish himself as a credible vocalist, even if this does only sell to the fans base that he had before. At least the positive reviews seen over the media should help him out! Purely for fans of heavy metal and European melodic metal.

THANA HARRIS
THANATOPSIS

Indie Release
Produced by: Bob Harris

Released: OUT NOW / Website
GENRE: Pop
OVERALL: 75%
Thana Harris is the very talented wife of Axe vocalist Bob Harris. Guests on the album include Bob, fellow Axe-mister Bobby Barth, Stuart Hamm and Steve Vai.
The album contains a set of personal songs that have an ambient pop feel to them. Sparse instrumentation let the lyrics breathe and the listener relax. There's a touch of KD Lang in some tracks.
Soft pop tracks, new age tones and some spoken word parts all lead by soft electric guitar and plenty of acoustic guitars.
The quality is undeniable, but this is one album for the mature music listener.

MOXY
V

MAKE-1
Produced by: Bill Wade

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: Helix
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 75%
Canada's cult classic rockers from Toronto Moxy are back for album number five, thanks to popular demand from their fanatical fan base.
V is an album of all new material and is the band's first CD in over 20 years. In the interim the original singer Buzz Shearman passed away and the band took a long sabbatical from playing together.
They decided to reform last year with new vocalist Brian Maxim and recorded the new CD with him.
I am not overly familiar with the guys, beside their reputation, but this sounds like a pretty together record. The production could have been a little better, but the songs are mostly good fun party rockers that I think would go down real well live. The record has that kind of atmosphere to it.
They had and still have an extensive fan base, so with any luck the news of this release will reach them all. Additionally, collectors of Canadian rock culture will be interested in this release.

MASS
BEST ONES

FORE REEL REC 2926
Produced by: Various

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Closest Relative: Axe
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 79%
Another band I am not familiar with...shame on me...but what better place to start than a new Best Of compilation. Some of the tracks date back a little while now, to the mid 80's, but they sure sound pretty good. There's some definite class songwriting here with hooks and melodies embedded in guitar driven rockers and mid tempo anthems alike.
The guys know how to slow it down also, with tracks like Holy One and Chance To Love.
Not sure who to compare these guys to, but if you are a fan of bands like Axe and other mid 80's non commercial hard rockers, these guys are well worthy of checking out. A good compilation of their songs with 3 extra bonus tracks.

FIVE FIFTEEN
SIX DIMENSIONS...

Record Heaven RHCD015
Produced by: Five Fifteen

Released: OUT / Website
Relatives: Marvellous 3, Motley Crue, Dream Theater
GENRE: Modern Rock
OVERALL: 65%
This album is quite a diverse mix. There are heavy sleaze moments like the more modern moments of Motley Crue, plus the mid song tempo and style changes employed more by progressive acts like Dream Theater, then there is a distinct modern edge, like new wave rockers Marvelous 3.
In brief - a diverse mix of modern rockers and more acoustic driven tunes, with strong higher pitch vocals.
The amazing thing is the band is Swedish, but could really be from anywhere. A very cosmopolitan and commercial record.

SPURGO
POP LEIGEL'S GUITAR WALL

Record Heaven RHCD 7
Produced by: Spurgo

Released: / Website
Closest Relative:
GENRE: Modern Rock
OVERALL: 50%
Another Swedish modern rock outfit playing heavy guitar pop rock with strong melodic overtones. The vocals are darker and the feel more in the fuzz pop / alternative range. Would be right at home at college radio in the States, it's certainly commercial enough. Some vocal comparisons to something like the Barenaked Ladies.
More an album for alternative and pop rock fans than melodic hard rock fans.

BIGELF
MONKEY MACHINE

Record Heaven RHCD 28
Produced by: Bigelf

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Lenny Kravitz
GENRE: Modern Rock
OVERALL: 25%
Bigelf are another bunch of talented Swedish musicians. But this album is not going to reach the appeal of the average melodic rock fan.
Once again, Bigelf are modern pop rock with a distinctly commercial and psychedelic edge. There are some similarities between these guys and some of Lenny Kravitz' more out there moments. Or even a more drug induced psychedelic Beatles sound? Just not as good as either.
It's experimental, it's alternative and strictly only for the adventurous of you out there! For most average melodic fans - including me - it's just a little too scary!!

A TRIBUTE TO CAPTAIN BEYOND
THOUSAND DAYS OF YESTERDAYS

Record Heaven RHCD 19
Produced by: Various

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Captain Beyond
GENRE: Progressive
OVERALL: 45%
Tribute records are more often than not always going to be mainly for the fans. Progressive records are even more so. Progressive tribute albums are therefore certainly only fan-based releases and this one in particular.
Featuring a slew of Swedish progressive acts covering Captain Beyond tunes.
The album features Lotus, Locomotive Breath, The Quill and Pentagram amongst others.
For Captain Beyond fans this album will represent an interesting take on some classics. The album is actually well packaged and features some cool liner notes and information.

LOTUS
QUARTET CONSPIRACY

Record Heaven RHCD 27
Produced by: Brian Robinson

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Black Label Society
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 65%
Lotus have a couple of cool things going for them. The band features guest guitarist and general all round contributor, ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson. Fellow Swede John Norum also guests on guitar on one track.
The style of Lotus is, however, not classic rock as the line up suggests.
This is more alternative and aggressive hard rock, similar in style to the approach taken by Zakk Wylde on his last two Black Label Society releases.
Dark, moody, tuned down and very heavy. Add vocals that are rough and abrasive. An album for those that like it dark, heavy and brooding.

REVIEWS
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