STREETLORE - StreetLore (Album Review, 2023)

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Art Of Melody Music

StreetLore comes to you courtesy of Art Of Melody Music & Burning Minds Music Group, who have put together this new Italian melodic rock project featuring a stack of great special guests.

Songs are from keyboardist Lorenzo "Lorerock" Nava, who approached his long-time friend, Burning Minds Music Group's A&R and producer Pierpaolo "Zorro" Monti (Raintimes, Shining Line, Room Experience, I.F.O.R., Charming Grace), with the proposal of some unreleased material he’d written through the years. From there the idea morphed into an all new recording, with guests from all over the melodic rock world.

The vocals are all performed by different people, so there is some variation in style and approach here. Some are more an acquired taste, while others are just stone-cold legends.

Names include Davide "Dave Rox" Barbieri, Satin, Terry Brock, Jesús Espín, Stefano Lionetti, Sue Willetts and Dion Bayman.

So the names behind this are quality, the vocalists are quality – what about the production and songs? I’m happy to report both are quality also. It is a big sounding production for a smaller label, plus I must single out the awesome guitar playing and keyboard sound throughout the record.

Classic and ‘typical’ European AOR/melodic rock, with an uptempo feel, with some memorable songs making the album a worthy addition to collections.


KHYMERA – Hold Your Fire (Album Review, 2023)

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Despite comprising of a collection of songs co-written by Mr. Everywhere Alessandro Del Vecchio, Dennis Ward remains in control of production and is the other writer, so this Khymera album, while featuring a different lineup, does adhere to the sound made popular with fans since Dennis took over with the second album from this franchise. His vocals remain raspily-warm as always and the songs feature some memorable melodies and that same mid-tempo sweet AOR sound.

Still not a rival the first two glorious Ward fronted albums, but a nice addition to the Khymera story.


WIG WAM - Out Of The Dark (Album Review, 2023)

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The guys are back and rocking at full tilt once again. After the success of HBO’s Peacemaker TV show using ‘Do Ya Wanna Taste It’ as its stunning intro, I thought the guys might turn back the clock a little and head back into the glam-anthem territory of their earlier albums.

But no, here they are as heavy as ever, picking up where the last album Never Say Die left off – that is, heavier straight-ahead hard rock, albeit with that quirky Wig Wam delivery. That’s not a complaint, its just painting the accurate musical picture that is this album.

There are glammy moments of course, the hands in the air anthemic ‘Forevermore’ is classic Wig Wam and the Do Ya soundalike ‘High & Dry’. The belter ‘Bad Luck Chuck’ is as heavy as the band has been, as is the thunderous riffing on ‘Uppercut Shazam’.

Its Wig Wam. Its needed.


TEN – Something Wicked This Way Comes (Album Review, 2023)

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Produced By: 
Gary Hughes

This is Gary Hughes’ sixteenth album under the Ten moniker. 16! I’ve been a fan since the debut, having first heard it when Now & Then’s Mark Ashton sent me an advance to review in the early days of this site. Over the years members have come and gone, with Gary the one constant, and the sound has varied also – moving from melodic rock/AOR through to hard rock and even melodic metal on occasion.

This time it’s a bit of everything – there’s some heavier numbers, but also a ton of memorable AOR friendly songs – the most of any Ten album in the last several years. And I’m happy to report that the quality of these songs is as good as ever. I love what I’m hearing and this album stands out as one of the band’s better ones in a long rich history of great music. Nice to hear Gary singing in that warm AOR tone so familiar with the debut back in 1996.

Essential for Ten fans and well worthy for recent era fence sitters.


PERSON TO PERSON - Person To Person (Showcase)

Release Date: 
Out Now
Titled 'Last Parade' (after one of the unreleased tracks), the special limited-edition package paid tribute to one of the great songwriters of this genre. Brett tragically and suddenly passed away in July 2013, with a special tribute paid to him by his band and wife at MRF3 later that year.
I kept in touch, recalling various conversations I had with Brett about releasing his Person To Person songs and some of his unreleased demos, which collectors had been trading for some years.
Brett's wife Sheron and I agreed to look at what was available and see what could be done. Brett's entire DAT collection was sent to me to digitize, which lead to an extraordinary discovery.
Over no less than 47 DATs, it became evident that Brett was sitting on a treasure trove of unreleased material. I was blown away at the quality and the brilliance of these songs, with a cross-reference of styles present from throughout Brett's career.
Some of the older unreleased material rivals the classic 'Nevertheless' album for melodic rock brilliance. Fans of all eras will in fact, be blown away I'm sure.
'Last Parade' is the most complex project I've ever put together, mainly because of the vast number of songs. At last count there was 174 song files in the “Work In Progress” folder. There were at least 2 versions of almost every track on the DATs and sometimes 5 or even 6! Some are from all different mixes, others various audio quality and some completely different versions of known songs.
JK Northrup has been mastering and remastering for the past several months!
Either way...lots of listening time and so many amazing songs.
Long may Brett's music live on.
Now Out Of Print, the box set is brought back to life here in two individual sets, both featuring exclusive previously unreleased songs that only came as a digital bonus to purchases of the original box set.
There has been some demand for a truncated version of the box set, as well as a stand-alone release of the Person To Person tracks.
So it is with great pleasure that MelodicRock Classics has gone to work on two exclusive new releases due out February 24.
Person To Person – 'The Complete Recordings' (2CD Set) and
Brett Walker – 'Highlights From The Last Parade' (2CD Set)
That's 4 discs of Brett Walker and Person To Person magic. The original purchase of the box set came with some 50+ bonus tracks in MP3 download – songs which we didn't have room for on the original set, so several of those songs have been curated to appear as bonus tracks on each release – exclusively on CD for the first time.
For the Person To Person cover art, the band's original and only promo shot was black and white. Par Winberg took the picture and used new AI colouring technology to make an accurate portrait of the band just as they were ready to launch.
MRC033 - PERSON TO PERSON - The Complete Recordings
Disc 1 - The Original Album
01. Undercover Love
02. Never Be The Same
03. No Shortcut To Paradise
04. Careless Nights
05. Lecia
06. More Than A Memory
07. Waiting For Love
08. Hard To Find An Easy Way
09. No Sense In Falling (Previously Unreleased Version)
10. No Fire Without You
11. Far Cry From Love
12. One Night Away
13. Ayla (Previously Unreleased)
14. Outta Site
15. Eye For Love
Disc 2 - Person To Person – Live, Alt Mixes and Brett Walker Demos
01. Hard To Find An Easy Way (91-93 Demo)
02. More Than a Memory (91-93 Demo)
03. Never Be The Same (91-93 Demo)
04. No Sense In Falling (91-93 Demo)
05. Undercover Love (Slower Version) (Previously Unreleased)
06. Never Be The Same (Alt Mix/Brett Vocal) (Previously Unreleased)
07. No Sense In Falling (Extended)
08. Waiting For Love (Original Demo)
09. Lecia (Mixed For TV Inst) (Previously Unreleased)
10. Undercover Love (Live)
11. Waiting For Love (Live)
12. Burning In The 3rd Degree (Live)
MRC032 - BRETT WALKER – Highlights From The Last Parade
Disc 1 - Highlights:
01. Still A Dream Away (Demo Version)
02. Branded
03. Bad Time For Goodbye (Alt Mix)
04. Crossroads Motel (91-93 Demo)
05. Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
06. After The Tears Have Gone
07. American Dreamer (Rock Version)
08. A Little Too Late
09. Fools Paradise
10. Catchin' On
11. Heaven Stops The Rain
12. Always A Place
13. Everything I Want To Do (Piano Ballad Version)
14. Don't Turn Out The Lights (Guitar Mix)
15. On The Train Again
16. Higher Ground (Revision)
17. Last Parade
Disc 2 - Spotlights (All Previously Unreleased on CD):
01. Midnight Angel (Early Demo)
02. Quicksand (Early Alt Mix)
03. No Reasons Of The Heart (Alt Mix)
04. Living On The Moon (Remix)
05. It's A Good Thing (First Mix)
06. Didn't Mean To Say Goodbye (91-93 Demo)
07. Give A Little Love (91-93 Demo)
08. Don't Mean Much (Demo)
09. A Far Cry From Love (Slower)
10. I Could Be Wrong (Alt Version)
11. Rain Dance (Alt Mix)
12. Hard Dark Music (Inst)
13. It Looks A Lot Like Rain (Inst)
14. Don't Come Back Crying
15. Solo Piano (Freeform 2)
16. Last Parade (Early Demo)

TURKISH DELIGHT - Volume One (Album Review, 2022)

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Turkish Delight is an all-star project, the culmination of multiple years’ worth of work and a tribute to the life long dedication and passion of Escape Music’s boss Khalil Turk.

To celebrate his time in this crazy business, the respected label owner and A&R man has put a great deal of his own money into assembling a cast of musicians he admires and has worked with over the years.

The hardest thing to do in these circumstances is to remotely record 30+ musicians, multiple players and vocalists for each song in some cases and still make a record sound cohesive and of the one body of work.

Mick Devine, Steve Morris, Steve Overland, Lee Small and Steve Newman are responsible for the bulk of songwriting duties, while the cast of musicians has to be read to be believed.

On vocals alone you have Jeff Scott Soto, Robin McAuley, Billy Greer, Chris Ousey, Mick Devine, James Christian, Jerome Mazza, Lee Small, Robin Beck, Tony Harnell and more.

Joining them are Mike Slamer, Jeff Pilson, Billy Sheehan, Gary Pihl, Vince DiCola, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Ricky Phillips, Josh Devine, Marco Mendoza, Jim Kirkpatrick, Chris Childs, Steve Mann, Mark Stanway and so many more.

What you’re getting here is a superbly crafted ‘various artists’ melodic rock compilation, featuring the artists involved doing just what you want them to be doing – each one delivering a fan favourite performance. A retro tribute if you will but sounding ever fresh thanks to the efforts put into making this record sound as good as it does.


THRESHOLD - Dividing Lines (Album Review, 2022)


How do you follow up a career defining masterpiece, that itself was an album that followed any number of critically acclaimed records before that?

Take your time…

So Threshold did just that. Some five years since the perfect ‘Legend Of The Shires’, the band resists the temptation to record a sequel to that epic record by just doing what they do best – delivering another brilliant progressive hard rock record filled with hard hitting, memorable songs.

Threshold have always had their sound and this album continues to deliver exactly what fans would expect, but with the usual subtle changes that help each album the band delivers, carry its own identity.

This time around the mood is a little darker, the songs a little heavier and the harmonies buried a little deeper into the songs. As is always required, multiple listens over several days is needed to fully appreciate any new work from Threshold and this album reveals itself beautifully.

The formula of four heavy rockers and a mid-album epic is repeated in the second half of the album, ending with the second epic Defence Condition.

I think the intensity drops off over the last couple of tracks before the closer, but there’s no filler here at all.

The first half of the album is near perfect in anyone’s language, the overall result will satisfy all Threshold fans. Its another brilliant record. Awesome, but not quite another masterpiece.


GABRIELLE DE VAL - Kiss In A Dragon Night (Album Review, 2023)


Gabrielle De Val is a Spanish Singer, Songwriter and Voice-Over Actress, known for her role in The Val and most recently guesting on Bruce Mee’s concept album Circle Of Friends.

'Kiss in a Dragon Night', is Gabrielle's first solo album, organised and arranged by Bruce Mee. Together with producer Khalil Turk (Escape Music), he shaped the idea and created an album involving vocalists such as Steve Overland (FM), Mick Devine (Seven), Robin McAuley (MSG), Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen) and Terry Brock (Strangeways) as well as musicians such as Gary Pihl (Boston), Eric Ragno (Joe Lynn Turner), Johan Kullberg (HammerFall) and Fredrik Folkare (Nordic Union).

And what a fine album it is too. Fresh, punchy production and a selection of memorable songs showcase Gabrielle’s powerfyul, yet smooth vocals, a perfect fit for melodic rock.

Her duet ballad with Robin McAuley is pure melodic bliss, the vocals entwining effortlessly.

Otherhighlights include the rocked up Mike Oldfield classic Moonlight Shadow; the upbeat opener Take On The World, with a classic AOR chorus; Pay For the Lonely Nights is classic 80s AOR while Candle In The Window is the Randall’s classic amped up to briliant effect.

Fight For Love (with Mick Devine) is another great duet, this time a faster paced anthem. And any song featuring Terry Brock is already a winner for me. Stayin‘ Alive doesn’t disappoint. No, it isn’t that song – it’s the classic Magnum song done perfectly.

There are no fillers to point out – just an album chock full of new songs and fresh takes, produced and mixed beautifully. For anyone that enjoyed the Circle Of Friends release, this is an absolute no brainers.

Fans of female fronted melodic rock and 80s style anthems with a modern touch will also appreciate.


JOHN WEST ‘Days Of Destiny’ Compiles 1988-1991 Material on MRC

MelodicRock Classics Label

MelodicRock Classics is excited to team up with one of hard rock’s premiere voices – the great JOHN WEST. John has an extensive resume that dates back to the late 80s, yet his emergence as one of hard rock’s go to vocalists didn’t come until the mid-90s.

Fronting such legendary bands as Royal Hunt, Artension and Sun Red Sun, as well as delivering several solo records, his unmistakable and powerful vocals founded a solid following of fans.

This album also features 3x Grammy winning producer/songwriter, keyboardist Lonnie Park.

This collection of early works, some of which were released on cassette only under his own name and the group name Destiny were all recorded between 1988 and 1991.

The lineup for these tracks was:

John West – Lead Vocals, Guitars

Lonnie Park – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Ian Budha – Drums, Backing Vocals

Billy Ray Gunn – Bass, Backing Vocals

John West: “My plan was never to end up as a journeyman lead singer. I was a band guy, and even more so – a band of friend’s guy. I assembled a group of friends and players to form Destiny with Ian and Billy, after our days in Adam/West together. Here you will find the Destiny four song cassette that we released and sold at shows. You will also find the six songs from my first solo release. In addition, we have some demos to throw in for you music lovers. Not perfect, but perfectly ready to be heard by the world! Enjoy -and thanks to all involved in my formative years and beyond. What a career, and all based on plan B.”

Lonnie Park: “When I first saw John and Ian play I was 17 years old and instantly became a fan of them both. When they started the band Destiny and invited me to join, I jumped at the chance. It was also the beginning of a lifelong brotherhood. These recordings take me back to being a hungry but clueless kid learning how to record, write, perform, a lot about the business, and discipline.”

Billy Ray Gun: “I’m truly honored to grow up as one of John West’s best friends and I’ll always have a profound appreciation for everyone in this band – seriously some of the greatest years of my life. PLAY IT LOUD!”

Ian Budha: “At the age of 17 I was fortunate enough to cross paths with John who saw something in my playing and took me under his wings. Just a couple of kids with big dreams, drive and determination to be successful in the music business. The culmination being these 13 songs we recorded in our band called Destiny. Unfortunately, we came up just a little short in our quest but this was the bedrock we all stood upon to launch our music careers.”

MRC will release JOHN WEST – Days Of Destiny on March 24.


Track Listing and Track Info:

01. Look Into My Eyes #

02. Side By Side *

03. Set Me Free +

04. Fountain Of Youth

05. Burning Summer Nights +

06. Sail On #

07. Don’t Run Away *

08. The End #

09. Lady Ice #

10. All My Life *

11. Do You Want Me *

12. You Say I Say #

13. Save Your Love #

* Officially released as Destiny on the 4-song cassette

# Recorded after Destiny broke up (But same lineup). Released as John’s first solo record on cassette

+ Recorded after and never released

Remastered by JK Northrup


THE KOO Cult Classic AOR Album Comes to MelodicRock Classics

MelodicRock Classics Label

MelodicRock Classics is honoured to partner with cult classic 80s high-tech AOR band THE KOO for a long-awaited remaster of their classic 1985 LP, which was briefly released on CD in 1988.

It was the band’s one and only release and copies soon disappeared and the album has been sought after and sold for big money over the last couple of decades.

Restoring the original LP artwork as well as the original running order was top of priorities for the label and the band. As is always the case with MRC releases, audio guru JK Northrup has lovingly remastered the audio, as taken from the original CD release.

Bob Hayman comments: “The album was originally released on LP and cassette in 1985 and the analog masters are no longer in existence. The original release was only 10 tracks. In 1988 we released the CD with 2 additional tracks, “Got To Get Together” and “Runaway”.

Thank you for your interest in reissuing The Koo. This album meant a lot to John and I and we appreciate you wanting to preserve it.”

MRC will release THE KOO ‘The Koo’ On March 24.


Produced by: THE KOO

Remastered by: JK Northrup


Bob Hayman – Guitar, Vocals

John Powell – Lead Vocals, Drums

Tom Mgrdichian – Keyboards, Vocals

01. Strike

02. The Edge

03. Diamond In The Rough

04. 1,000 Radios

05. Maybe Right

06. Standin’ In The Rain

07. On My Way

08. Shame Shame

09. Work It Out

10. Killin’ Time

Bonus Tracks:

11. Got To Get Together

12. Runaway





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