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Welcome to the review's section which as some of you will know when it was a printed publication went under the name of 'Pounding Metal', a great name thanx to Exciter - cheers John!! In this section you'll find all the latest reviews of some of the best metal acts around from AOR to Black Metal, so there will be something for everyone. Please do not send the cover as a huge file please. I will not review any of this Nu-Metal crap, so if you're looking for something of that nature go elsewhere OK, this is a die hard metal fanzine!! Here are the rating's, All Review's by Jason Brown. Click on 'Friday 13th' logo to return to History page.

* (Avoid/ Don't waste your money),** (Below Average/ Needs Improvement),*** (Impressive),****  (Great/ Almost there), ***** (Awesome, must have!!)

Seventh Wonder       "Tiara"         Frontiers      ****      

Swedish Progressive Rock/ Metal act 'Seventh Wonder' have made a comeback with their new album, the bands 1st album for Frontiers Records from Italy. Formed back in 2000 by bassist Andreas Blomqvist along with Johan Liefvendahl (guitars) and drummer Johnny Sandin, and keyboardist Andreas Kyrt Soderin, who were formed out of the ashes of a previous band that fell apart. 

The band recorded 2 demos in 2001 and in 2005 the band recorded their debut album 'Become' through Lion Music out of Finland. The debut album had all the elements of Dream Theater, Enchant to name a few and showed a promising start to the band career that has continued to this day. In 2006 the band released their 2nd album also for Lion Music entitled 'Waiting in the Wings' and in 2008 they released their 3rd album 'Mercy Falls' followed by the band last album for Lion Music 'The Great Escape' in 2010.

It has taken the band 8 years to release this album and with line up changes in the past could only delay future albums. The band current singer is also the front man for Kemelot, his name is Tommy Karevik who replaced Roy Khan, so been in 2 bands does say something about such a talented singer. The band is joined by drummer Stefan Norgren who joined the band for this new album.

The band certainly have the hints of Kamelot, Evergrey, Symphony X, Epysode and Sun Caged. Some great playing here and vocals which makes this a really enjoyable album. Progressive Metal has really become something big in my musical upbringing been a musician I can appreciate what bands like this are doing.

The album comes with 13 songs which were produced by Andreas Blomqvist & Tommy Karevik, who have done a great job no doubt about that. These guys play really well and come up with some interesting ideas that need to be heard and if you are a fan of the bands mentioned then you really need to hear this album and previous albums.

This is an album that captures the magic of pure Progressive Metal, so grab a copy today. Check out: The Everones, Dream Machines, Victorious, Tiaras Song, By the light of the funeral Pyres, Damnation Below, Exhale. A great album by a band going places, check out this album.

Treat       "Tunguska"        Frontiers     ***     

Swedish melodic rocker's 'Treat' return with their new album for once again Frontiers Records. This is the band's 8th album since they formed back in 81 by front man Robert Umlund and guitarist Andres Wikstrom and Leif Liljegren and later on drummer Mats 'Dalton' Dahlberg and Ken Siewertson. The band were soon be recognized by Polygram records.

In later years the band would record demos and it wasn't long before the band were soon signed to Mercury and their debut album 'Scratch & Bite' was released in 85. With the debut album released and gigs played nationally around Sweden and with the success of a great debut album it wasn't long before the band would be playing to bigger audiences.

In 86 the band released their 2nd album 'The Pleasure Principle' which was followed by 'Dreamhunter' in 87. Vocalist Robert left the band to be replaced by Mat Leven who record 'Treat' and later on Robert would return t the band. Like all bands they have line up changes and Treat's current line up consists of Robert Umlund, Andres Wilstrom, Jamie Borger (drums), Pontus Egberg (bass) also known for his work with King Diamond, Patrick Appelgren (keyboards) to complete the current line up.

With the success of the bands last album 'Ghost of Graceland' in 2016, the band 1st album in 6 years since 'Coup De Grace' in 2010 it was time to reform and put another album out. The 'Ghost of Graceland' was a great success that saw the band playing lots of festivals world-wide. Now the band have recently released this album and are currently touring for this album. The future is looking great for the band and festivals appearances in 2019 sees the band increase sale.

This album features 12 melodic pure Swedish Rock/ Metal that was produced by Peter Mansson & Anders Wikstrom, who equally done a great job making the music shine through and the vocals. If you're a fan of the bands previous work then you are going toe enjoy this little gem too.

Check out: Progenitors, Always have Always Will, Best of Enemies, Rose of Jericho, Heartmath City, Man Overboard, Undefeated to be the strongest of songs. A pretty good album, and if you are a fan of the bands previous work then you will surely love this album.

Witherfall          "A Prelude To Sorrow"      Century Media      ****    

U.S. Dark Metal act 'Witherfall' are a pretty new band that have only been around since 2013 when Jake Dreyer (guitars) Joseph Michael (vocals/ Keyboards) were once in a band called 'White Wizzard' and performed on the album 'The Devils Cult' album.

The soon formed 'Witherfall' with Adam Paul Sagan (drums) along with bassist Anthony Crawford, the band set out to record demos tapes and get recognized on the underground metal scene. With demo tapes released and it wasn't soon before the band recorded their self financed debut album 'Nocturnes And Requiems' this was a fantastic album of some very impressive music and vocals. When I 1st heard this record 2 bands came to mind, these been Psychotic Waltz and Nevermore.

The guitar work on this album was second to done, very much sounding like Jeff Loomis and maybe Dan Rock & Brian Maclpine (Psychotic Waltz) and the vocals sounding a little like Warrel Dane. The debut was very impressive that Century Media Records saw the potential in the band and soon re-released this debut album and giving the band a record contract.

Sales for this album went up and more tours were booked, sadly drummer Adam passed away having had cancer, this was a crush to the band and fans, but the band continued in honour of Adam and carried on. They found new drummer Steve Bolognese and added a 2nd guitarist Fili Bibiano for the bands 2nd album which would be 'A Prelude to Sorrow'.

This new album is excellent just like their debut album that captures some amazing guitar work, ripping vocals and catchy tunes from start to finish. The only bad thing like their debut album is the fact that there are too many intros that takes out a couple of songs that could of been added, Despite that  it's still a great album and I hope the next album they will add more songs if they are to have more intros. This album like the debut was also produced by Zeuss who is known for his work with Queensrcyhe, and Sanctuary and has done a great job once again.

Catchy tunes here and some great vocals and playing by all members this is a must of you are a fan of Nevermore. Symphony X, Arch Enemy, Psychotic Waltz and maybe Evergrey or Death. Songs to check out are: We are Nothing, Moment of Silence, A Prelude to Sorrow, Maridian's Visitation, Shadows, Ode to Despair, Vintage, Epilogue. A great band that will go places, this was a great move for Century Media signing this band up. A must for fans of Progressive Dark metal.

Dream Child       "Death Until We Meet Again"      Frontiers      ****      

Dream Child is a new band put together by members of Dio, not to be confused with French Power Metal band who released 3 albums. This band features Simon Wright (drums), Craig Goldy (guitars), Rudy Sarzo (bass), along with Wayne Findlay (guitar/ Keyboards) MSG, and Argentinean singer Diego Valdez (Helker).

With this impressive line-up and a very powerful singer that comes very close to Ronnie James Dio, Tim Ripper Owens and Jorn Lande this band are set to make waves with a classic old school melodic metal album. Yes of course it has the elements of Dio and even Black Sabbath (Dio era) and maybe some Rainbow it is a pretty impressive debut album.

Some of you maybe wondering if this is  band or a side project, I am pretty sure whatever the outcome will be they will record another album in the very near future. Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio who you may know for his work as keyboardist for Voodoo Circle, Hardline, and many more bands. He has also become a very well established producer of melodic rock & metal.

The album comes with 12 tracks that take you back in time of the days when metal & rock was pretty much at it's peek capturing the spirit of Raindow, Deep Purple, Dio and many more fin acts that sounded similar.  Vocalist Diego is a fine singer that shines through and if you like Helker (as I do) then you are going to enjoy hearing him sing on this record. Some might be wondering why Tim Owen's wasn't ask to do this album, but everybody deserves a chance and new blood like Diego fits in well with the music that the band have created.

So this album packs a punch of old school rock and metal that has to be heard, all the musician's play extremely well as you can imagine. Songs to check out are: Under the Wire, You can't take me Down, Games of Shadows, Playing with Fire, Light of the Dark, Midnight Song, Death until we meet Again, In a world so Cold. A great album that any fan of the above bands mentioned should buy a copy. Ronnie James would be so proud of these guys and Diego vocals.

Warrel Dane          "Shadow Work"      Century Media      *****      

You either now or don't know Warrel Dane, but I am pretty much sure that my readers will know who he is and what bands he has been involved in. Warrel Dane is the voice of Sanctuary who were formed out of the ashes of 'Serpents Knight', whilst in his teens who released the 'Released from the Crypt' in 83 and 'Silent Knight' release.

With his 1st band been established around Seattle it wasn't long before he formed 'Sanctuary' in 85, with the band recording demos but it wasn't long before Epic Records saw the potential in the band and offered them a deal for their debut 'Refuge Denied', with Dave Mustaine as producer, not only that but Megadeth took the band on tour for their debut album in support to Megadeth's 'So far so Good' release.

Warrel and Sanctuary were making it big time with only 1 album and it wasn't long before they released their finest album 'Into the Mirror Black' in 1990. Sadly the band broke up after only 2 albums, leaving Jim Sheppard (bass) and Jeff Loomis (guitar) along with Warrel to form 'Nevermore' . Heading in a darker direction and heavier yet more of a technical style Nevermore made a massive impact that released 7 albums, prior to their break up which lead to Sanctuary reforming. 

This time around Sanctuary recorded their comeback album 'The year the sun Dead' in 2014. They also released a CD of unleashed material and demo songs for 'Inception' released in 2017 both for Century Media. Sadly Warrel's health got worse and sadly in the end he passed away 2017 of a heart attack. This was a shock to the world of metal, having lost a fantastic singer that wrote some dark and twisted music and lyrics that made him unique from a lot of singers, with his distinct voice and vocal harmonies. One of the few singers that stood and and was also a good friend of mine and a great singer.

This is one of Warrel's last recordings prior to his death, I do believe that he also recorded all or most of the forthcoming Sanctuary album 'Dead Again' but don't quote me on that. This album I believe features his touring band in South America, thus been Johnny Moraes (guitars), Thiago Oliveira (guitars), Fabio Carito (bass) and drummer Marcus Dotta.

This album really is a dark and heavy going album, nothing wrong with that because if you know what Warrel is capable of then you will also know he can create some dark and twisted music that really does work well for him and his music. Artwork once again was handled by Travis Smith, known for his work with Nevermore, Death, Psychotic Waltz and many more bands and as you can imagine the artwork speaks for itself. The album comes with roughly 40 minutes of dark impressive music that is all rapped up with 8 songs.

Recorded in Brazil by Warrel and the band the overall sound is excellent just like his previous bands work. Some really impressive guitar work here like what Jeff Loomis would of done, it still captures the heaviness of Nevermore and some Sanctuary so if you like both bands this is for you. Awesome vocal harmonies and music here, which I can't knock. All songs stick out, but ones to check out are: Madame Satan, Disconnection System, As fast as the Others, Shadow Work, The hanging Garden, it's all a great album. I will miss Warrel and I want to thank him & Nevermore for their friendship and for the mentions on the albums they gave me.

Like Warrel, their was only one other genius at writing music, Chuck Schuldiner (death) that really stood out in creating impressive music as individuals, both Rest in Peace.

Impellitteri         "Nature Of The Beast"       Frontiers          ****          

Guitar wizard Chris Impellitteri is no strange to the world of guitar shredders as you all know, having started playing guitar at an early age and soon became one of the top guitarist in the world of Heavy Metal, having been voted in the top 3 along side Michael Angelo Batio and who also was voted above Yngwie Malmsteen.

It wasn't long before Chris found singer Rob Rock in 86 and in 87 they recorded the 1st EP which was self titled.  The word in L.A. and the U.S. was out about Chris ability to play fast and furious and this was proven when he released his full length album 'Stand in Line' with Graham Bonnet (ex Rainbow/ Alcatrazz) who took to the vocals. This album was released in 88, what a crushing album this was, every song stood out and with some fine catchy tunes and the instrumental cover of 'Over the Rainbow' was impressive. This album would be Graham's 1st for some time only to return in 2002 for the album 'System X'.

Rob Rock came back to the band for the bands 2nd full length album 'Grin and Bare It' in 92 in which he did most of the albums, he also stood down and Curtis Skelton would replace Rob for some time. In total Impellitteri band have recorded 11 studio albums in which all shred with massive productions, catchy riffs and of course powerful vocals.

Chris kind of went quiet for some time only to make a comeback in 2009 with 'Wicked Maiden', this was a superb comeback with really strong and impressive songs, that the fans and press knew would not be a one off album. This album was released on JVC and in 2015 the band released 'Venom' through Frontiers in Italy.

This new album sees the band playing tight heavy but yet melodic as they always have done and with Rob Rock, Chris, and bassist James Pulli, drummer Jon Dette (Anthrax/ Testament) and keyboardist Ed Roth this album really packs a punch. Great production by the band here that comes with 12 monster riffing tunes that any fan of guitar wizardry would love to hear and with vocals like Rob you really can't go wrong.

Songs that you need to check out are: Hypocrisy, Run for your Life, Phantom of the Opera, Gates of Hell, Wondered World, Man of War, Do you think I'm Mad, Kill the Beast, Shine On. The band also cover Black Sabbath's 'Symptom of the Universe, a solid and heavy version of Sabbath's classic. A great album by one of the very few shredders left. A nice melodic album that packs a bunch.

Dynazty         "Firesign"      AFM      ****     

Swedish rocker's 'Dynazty' were formed back in 2007 in Stockholm by Rob Love Magnusson (guitars), and John Berg (guitars), and later on members George Egg (drums), Joel Fox Apelgren (bass) joined the band along with Nils Molen (vocals).

The band were soon becoming well recognized within the Stockholm metal scene and in 2009 the band released their debut album for Perris Records entitled 'Bring the Thunder'. 

With the band firmly established and getting recognized by the media it wasn't long before the band were ready to record their next album 'Knock you Down'  in 2011 for their next label StormVox Records this time with only one guitarist Rob Love.

Things were looking up for the band and successful tours were lying ahead the band soon entered the studio for their next album 'Sultans of Sin' with producer Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy) and for yet another new label SoFo Records. With the aid of Peter helping the band things were certainly on the way up for this young band.

Spinefarm Records took the band on for their next 2 albums between 2014-2016 and yet again the band signed to AFM for their new album 'Firesign'.  

This time the band produced their new album, with the aid of Peter  just as they did with their last 2 albums. This the bands 6th album sees the band ever moving forward and creating a new exciting album.

This album comes with 11 powerful melodic Power Metal which are kind of heading to more towards the melodic AOR/ Power Metal side of metal music. Their music to me comes across between Nightwish, Kamelot, Treat, Eclipse, which works really well for this band.

Songs to check out are: The Grey, Breathe with Me, In the arms of the Devil, My darkest Hour, Ascension, Firesign, Follow Me, Starfall. If you like the bands that I mentioned then this band is certainly for you.

Mob Rules    “Beast Reborn”    Steamhammer     ****      

German Metal act ‘Mob Rules’ return with their 9th album ‘Beast Reborn’, the bands 10th album. Formed back in 94 by guitarist Erstwhile Van Blanc along with Matthias Mineur and bassist Thorsten Plorin and vocalist Klaus Dirks and drummer Arved Mannott,

The band added a 2nd guitarist in 96 Oliver Fuhlhage. The band recorded their debut album for LMP Music entitled ‘Savage Land’ in 99 which saw the band releasing a promising debut album. A new band was born for LMP Music and exciting times lied ahead.

With the debut album been released and promising reviews the band entered the studio for their next album ‘Temple of two Suns’ in 2000 also for LMP Music, another step up the ladder for the band and with Dirks impressive vocals made all the difference.

The band continued to write more impressive albums throughout their career and having signed to SPV/ Steamhammer for a decade with their new album ‘Beast Reborn’ this is a decent album indeed. The band play what they do best, melodic Symphonic Power Metal which works well for the band,

The band have had some line up changes and with guitarist Sven Ludge, Nikolas Fritz (drums), and bassist Markus Brinkmann and keyboardist Jan Christian Halfbrodt the band have released one of their best albums ‘Beast Reborn’. Still having some elements of Helloween in their music they still manage to play some impressive music. This album comes with 11 majestic tunes that any fan of the band would love and if you’re a fan of bands like Oran Organ then this band you really should hear.

Songs on the album to check out are: Ghost of a Chance, Shores Ahead, Sinister Light, Traveller in Time, The Explorer, Revenant of the Sea, My sobriety Mind. A good album by a decent band still making decent music. Catch them live in 2019 in the UK and Europe with Edens Curse.

Monstrosity      “The passage of existence”       Metal Blade    ****     

Florida death metal band monstrosity return with their long awaited album, this is the bands 6th album since the band were formed back in 1991. Formed by Cannibal Corpse frontman George Fisher well known for his current name Corpsegrinder, who met drummer Lee Harrison who is the only original member since the formation to this day. Also in the bands early days was former Malevolent Creation guitarist Jon Rubin.

The band released their debut album through Nuclear Blast in ‘Imperial Doom’ in 92. This was a strong debut album which saw the band release their 2nd album in 96 entitled ‘Millennium’ also released through Nuclear Blast. In 99 the band released their 3rd album ‘In Dark Purity’ through new label at that time Conquest Music. In 2003 the band released ‘Rise to Power’, ‘Spiritual Apocalypse’ in 2007 and 11 yrs later their new album.

Joining Lee is Mike Poggione (bass), Mark English (guitars), Mike Hrubovcak (vocals) and Matt Barnes (guitars) to the current line up. This new album is the 2nd album for Metal Blade, as sees the band still playing as brutal as they did in their early days. 

Of course the band have got tighter in writing music and the production is a lot better which was recorded in Audiohanmmer Studios in Florida and other studios such as ‘Ascension Studios’ with the aid of Mark Lewis (who had worked with Megadeth). The overall results sees the album shine with heaviness, brutality and catchy songs.

This album comes with 12 brutal songs from start to finish. Songs that need to be heard are: Cosmic Pandemia, Kingdom of Fire, Radiated, The Proselygeist, Maelstrom, Dark matter Invocation, The Hive, Eternal Void. A decent Death Metal album, a band still playing their old school roots. |Any fan of brutal old school Death Metal needs to hear this.

Manimal          "Purgatorio"      AFM      ****      

Swedish Power Metal band 'Manimal' return with their new 3rd album, and what a cracking album this is. Formed back in 2001 by 4 members who wanted to work hard and play loud and that is what happened to this young fresh band from Gothenburg.

Formed by singer Samuel Nyman (vocals), Richard Menzter (drums) later on replaced by Andre Holmqvist, Hendrik Stenroos (guitar) , Pether Menzter (bass) who was replaced by Kenny Boufadene. The band released their debut album 'The darkest Room' in 2009 for MMM Records, which was a slightly different album to what came next, not so much as Power Metal as their 2nd and new album. In 2013 the band signed to AFM and I am pretty sure AFM licensed the debut album from MMM records.

Their next album 'Trapped in the Shadows' released in 2015 was a fantastic 2nd album, show just how creative and powerful the bands music would become. Samuel's vocals were directed to Rob Halford and Ralf Scheepers and with vocals as powerful as this the music really did shine through.

With the released of their 2nd album this album took the band on tour supporting Firewind around Europe and in the UK, in which I ad the pleasure of watching live, a great band and a great support band for such a band like Firewind. The band have come along way since the debut album going from strength to strength and this new album sees them doing just that.

This is yet another fine example of that is to come from Sweden's new hopefuls and if you like powerful music with strong ripping vocals then this is for you. Fans of Brainstorm, Primal Fear, UDO, Accept and Judas Priest are going to love this gem.

With the aid of help from Jakob Herrmann, Tony Lindgren at Jen's Bogren's studio the over all sound is solid and power as you would expect and the artwork done by Claudio Bergamin (Judas Priest) the over all packaging and production is well worth checking out. 

Songs to check out are: Black Plague, Manimalized, Spreading the Dread, Traitor, Behind enemy Lines, Edge of Darkness, The fear Within. If you like good quality Power Metal then check out this melodic album. 

Brainstorm         "Midnight Ghost"       AFM      ****       

Another German Power Metal band comes my way, having just reviewed Primal Fear, this time it's another 'No stranger' to the metal world. Been around since 89 by long time guitarist Torsten Ihlenfeld who met up with Milan Loncaric to form what is now known as 'Brainstorm'.

The band have like other bands had their fair share of line up changes since the release of their debut album 'Hungry' in 97 original released on B.O. records along with their next album 'Unholy' released in 98 (both re-released on Metal Blade in later years). Both are fantastic album and their style has always reminded me of Vicious Rumors, another fine band.

In 99 the band signed to Metal Blade and released their next album in 99 'Ambiguity' which was a fine debut for such a define label that brought so much Power Metal alive back in the 80's. They recorded 5 albums for the label before moving on to now AFM. 

Their debut for AFM was 'Memorial Roots' in 2009. Since then the band have gone from strength to strength and with only 1 line up change been bassist Andreas Mailander with his replacement been Antonio Leva who joined them for the album 'Memorial Roots' album.

Now the band are back and ready to pack a bunch with their new stunning album, which has some great riffs, pounding drums and impressive vocals. The artwork for the album was done by Gyula Havancsak and production done by Seeb Levermann (Orden Ogan), a new kid on the block who's becoming a well known producer.

This album comes with a live DVD in the digi pack form so it's well worth getting hold of that is for sure. The music is typical Brainstorm, good solid music and great vocals that you can't go wrong with. Andy B Franck is a great singer for the band, more suited to this band than his previous band Ivanhoe.

Both guitarist Torsten and Milan are a great nuclear twin assault that come up with some exciting riffs and melody hooks. Songs on the album that need to be heard are: Midnight Ghost, Relieving the Darkness, Ravenous Minds, Jeanne Boulet, Divine inner Ghost, Haunting Voices, The Path. A really well thought out album like Primal Fear another fine album that' just been released, buy today and ad to you're collection. Look out for the band's tour this year.

Primal Fear         "Apocalypse         Frontiers        ****         

German Power Metal God's 'Primal Fear' are no strangers to to the world of Power Metal having formed out of the ashes of Gamma Ray (Ralph Scheepers) and Sinner's bassist Mat Sinner, along with guitarist of Voodoo Circle/ Silent Force (Alex Beyrodt), who shares the stage with Tom  Naumann & Magnus Karlsson (Last Tribe) and drummer Francesco Jovino (former U.D.O.) to complete the current line up.

Originally formed by Mat and Ralf the 2 came together 97 when Ralf left Gamma Ray and Mat was looking for a new band in which they both agreed to complete. With the 2 in collaboration and writing songs together they soon found guitarist at the beginning been Tom Naumann and drummer Klaus Sperling. 

They recorded their debut album in 98 which was self titled. The band recorded more albums with various line up changes with guitarists and drummers until they found the steady line up of Tom, Alex, Magnus and Francesco.

In total the band have recorded 11 previous albums, and as Alex, Mat and Francesco are also in other projects it takes them time to write and record new albums. This new album however is the band's 12th album, their 5th album for Italian label Frontiers. A label that is really behind this band and pushing them forward.

With this new album which sees the band ever moving forward and pushing the boundaries of Power Metal to the max it sees like there is no stopping the band now. Produced again my Jacob Hansen (known for this work with Pretty Maids among others) is has come along way since his early days as a producer and musician.

A nice solid powerful production helps when you are playing this style of music, crushing guitars, soaring vocals  (close to Rob Halford & Ripper Owens) and pounding drums makes this a strong and powerful album indeed. 

Songs to check out are: New Rise, The Ritual, King of Madness, Blood sweat and Fear (its almost a rip off from Messiah's Kiss), Supernova, Hounds of Justice, The Beast, Eye of the Storm. A great album by one of German's finest Power Metal bands along side Grave Digger and others. Check them out in Europe with Riot that's going to be a great tour for sure.

 Artizan          "Demon Rider"          Pure Steel        ****       

U.S. Progressive Power Metal band 'Artizan' (not to be confused with any other act under the same name) return with their new stunning album, the band's 4th album, formed back in Jacksonville (Florida) in 2008 by drummer Ty Tammeus who later on was introduced by Tom Braden (vocals), Shamus McConney (guitars), Jon Jennings (bass) and Bill Staley (guitars).

This band are truly a fantastic band, a great band that I only discovered over the last year, having provide that the U.S. still has the best Progressive Power Metal around. I mean you take the likes of Mystic Force, Oracle, Lordbane, and UK band 'Shadowkeep', and the Power Metal of Jag Panzer just to name a few shows that there are still signs of live for quality music.

This band recorded demos, received some praise from the local press and fans and it wasn't long before the band recorded their debut album 'Curse of the Artizan' released in 2011 through Pure Steel a German label that show the potential in the band and knew bigger things were to come. 

How right they were, that album was an impressive debut some of which thought they might not be able to top for their next album. With some awesome vocals by Tom that that would remind me of Mystic Force, Midnight, Geoff Tate and RJD.

In 2013 the band released their 2nd album 'Ancestral Energy" which contained 7 pure magic tunes of pure melodic yet impressive songs that were catchy and had plenty of melody hooks. In 2015 the band released their next album 'The Furthest Reaches' with producer Jim Morris (known for this work with the likes of Crimson Glory/ Iced Earth) among others. A nice solid sound for the budget they had and the songs spoke for themselves.

Now in 2018 the band return with yet again Jim producing this awesome new album 'Demon Rider', a superb album from start to finish of mystical universal metal that any fan of Power Metal or Progressive metal will love. Songs you need to check out are: Demon Rider, The Hangman, Soldiers of Light, The Endless Odysseys, When darkness Falls, Demon Rider (featuring Harry Conklin - Jag Panzer), Hopeful Eyes (live), I am the Storm (live). What a great record this is, and if you haven't discovered them then go check out their albums you will not be disappointed trust me!!

Doro         "Forever Warriors"        Nuclear Blast     ****        

As I have just spoke about Germany's Metal God 'Udo', it's now to talk about the ultimate 'Metal Queen' Doro, like Rob Halford as we all know is the 'Metal God', so as it stands as Doro is the queen of metal. Doro started her career back in 84 when her previous band 'Warlock' released their debut album 'Burning the Witches' on original label Mausoleum Records (Not hard to find) which was later on re-released on Vertigo. Warlock were a band that were fresh and brought a new sound to the metal world especially around Germany.

With their debut album released the band would release their finest album next 'Hellbound', what a fantastic album that is, and still their strongest by far. Warlock broke up back 89 after their 4th album 'Triumph and Agony' released in 87. It was in 89 when she went solo and released 12 previous album prior to this release. Her debut solo album 'Force Majeure' was released 89 also through Vertigo Records. Her debut was a strong indication to what was to come in later years.

Doro is a fanatic singer, with a strong personality and a great front lady (the best), like Rob she knows how to get the crowd going with her energy and enthusiastic approach. She ahs the ability to sing softly and also hard when the music is hard, either way she is a fine and outstanding person and musician. Doro has been joined by long time drummer Johnny Dee (ex Waysted/ Britney Fox) and bassist Nick Douglas (ex Deadly Blessing) who have both been with her roughly since about 28 yrs. Joining them is guitarists Bas Maas and Luca Princiotta.

The band are solid and ready for anything that is thrown at them and having seen them live a few times I know what to expect. Live their are a force to be reckoned with. This album sees the band making more quality music, some nice melodic riffs, some heavy riffs and of course some amazing vocals by Doro.

This album comes with 25 songs over 2 discs, a really value for money release with again some great artwork which was once again done by Geoff Gillespie, who always does an amazing job. I'm not sure who producer the album, but either way it's a good solid album that captures the true essence of the band's music.

Songs to check out are: All for Metal, Bastardos, If I can't have you No one Will, Solider of Metal, Turn it Up, Don't break my heart Again (whitesnake), Loves gone to Hell, Backstage to Heaven, Resistance, Heartbroken, Living life to the Fullest, Fight through the Fire, Lost in the Ozone. A great album and if you're a fan of the band this is a must for you're collection. Buy today!!

U.D.O.       "Steelfactory"      AFM    *****      

Udo Dirkschneider is no stranger to the world of heavy metal music, having been the godfather of German metal music, his vice has been carrying on for generations and for decades either as a solo artist or with his previous band 'Accept'. The band who were formed back in 1968 by UDO, who later on met guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and their career was molded as 'Accept' in 1976. Both UDO and Wolf met Gerhard Wahl, Dieter Rubach, and Frank Friedrich.

Accept recorded their debut album 'Accept' in 79, this lead to the band recording to me their finest album 'Restless & Wild' in 82, a masterpiece of German metal music that featured 'Fast as a Shark', some may say was the 1st real thrash song. However UDO left the band after the album 'Russian Roulette' in 86 to form 'U.D.O.' band in 87 when he met up with 4 musicians to create his own freedom of what called metal music. His debut album 'Animal House' in 87 which was released through RCA Records.

This was no project and it soon became obvious that Udo was here to stay and to write more intense songs that Accept were creating. With his distinct voice people knew it was the former singer of Accept that was creating some fine new and fresh music. In total U.D.O. band have created 16 album, 6 live albums and live DVD's.

U.D.O. had a steady line up for some time now, and with his son on board been the drummer Sven is joined by long time bassist Fitty Wienhold who has pretty much been Udo's right hand man. Both are joined by guitarist Andrey Smirnov who has been in the band since 'Steelhammer' recorded in 2013.

This new album 'Steelfactory' sees the band moving forward and with the excellent production by Jacob Hansen at hand, has made this album really shine with solid music that really is second to none. With the artwork been handled by Diego Verhagen the overall album is a kick ass release. 

It comes with 13 songs and there are added bonus songs on the digi pack. It's heavy in your face U.D.O. music that you would expect that is for sure, but at the same time still maintaining the traditional German sound that we all have come to love. Songs to check out are: Tongue Reaper, Make the Move, Keeper of my Soul, Raise the Game, Blood on Fire (check out this awesome song), Rising High, One heart One Soul, Easer. A great album by the German Metal God. Buy today.

Last Pharaoh         "The Mantle Of Spiders"        Pure Steel        ****     

This new act from New York (Hudson Valley) are a new signing to Pure Steel Records, a label that seem to be doing rather well and starting to sign some really good acts. This time around it's 'Last Pharaoh' a band that started in 2016 when members Tommy Santangelo (vocals), Ron Toth (guitars), Michael James (bass) and drummer Ed Sheliinsky.

Like most bands they start out playing covers and then write their own material and record demos, this is the same with this act, having played around New York with local bands and bands passing through New York they soon established their sound and sent demos out to labels in order to get a deal.

Their music is influenced by the likes of Yngwie, early Queensyche, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, with the likes of Helstar, Savage Grace, Mystic Force, Jag Panzer, so you get a good mixture of UK and U.S. metal that works really well. Vocalist Tommy is a great good singer that can sing high and the music is really good old school metal I guess local band Gothic Knight comes to mind when I hear this album.

Some great guitar playing here, for fans of Yngwie, but more like Impellitteri so some impressive music and vocals here. Production is good for a small label, packs a punch that's for sure and with the vocals and music shining through makes all the difference. 

I love U.S. Power Metal, it's one of my favorites,  not really a fan of the Symphonic Metal that Europe provides. At times this album has the Neon Classic sound that makes it sound even better.

Not sure who produced the album but it has a solid and powerful sound. It comes with 9 blistering tunes from start to finish. Songs to check out are: Into the Darkness, The headless Horseman, Jekyll and Hyde, Mechanic non Conscience, Slave to the Kill, Mantle of Spiders, Psychohouse. 

A decent debut album, and if you like U.S. Power Metal like I do then you can't go wrong with this album. buy today!!

Mad Max       "35"    Steamhammer      ****    

German rocker's 'Mad Max' return with their new album '35' which is the bands 3rd album for Steamhammer, their 1st for the label was 'Another night of Passion' released in 2012. The band were formed back in the very early 80's and the bands debut album featuring long time singer Michael Voss who also plays guitar,  and drummer Alex Kruse and guitarist Jurgen Breforth who have kept a steady and strong relationship as musicians. 

The band have recorded some classic albums and one in particular that stands out for me is 'Stormchild' album from 85, this for me is and will always be their finest album, very song is strong and the vocals are amazing. The band released their debut album 'Heavy Metal' in 82 an album which I have yet to hear.This was followed up by 'Rollin Thunder' in 84, later on the album 'Night of Passion' in 87 saw the end of the band until they reformed in 99 with their next album 'Never say Never'.

The band have recorded to date 12 albums since the formation and reformation of the band. Michael Voss has been busy with other projects such as Phantom 5, Wolfpakk, just to name a few. Now the band return with their new album, which pretty much sees the band carrying on from where they last left off with their last album 'Interceptor' in 2013. Mike is still a great singer who's voice hasn't changed since the early days of albums like 'Stormchild'. 

The band is also joined by bassist Thomas Bauer who joined the band in 2015. This album has all the elements of what makes this band such a great melodic German metal band. Nice production by Michael Voss who has done a great job as he always does. A nice solid sound and drums sound fine too, as well as the melody hooks. 

Songs on the album to check out are: Running to Paradise, Beat of the Heart, D.A.M.N., Snowdance, Thirty 5, False Freedom, Goodbye to You, Rocky Road, Paris is Burning (Dokken cover). Without doubt a great album that sees the band on top form once again and I hope they continue to write good strong songs for the next album. Check out this melodic German outfit you can't go wrong. 

Redemption          "Long night's Journey Into Day"       Metal Blade     *****    

U.S. Progressive Metal act 'Redemption' return with their 7th album, damn does time fly? The band formed roughly in 1999/ 2000 and released their debut album for Sensory records back in 2003 as what seemed back then a side project put together by guitarist Nick Van Dyke who meet up with Jason Rullo (Symphony X), Ray Alder (Fates Warning who remained in the band up until 2016), Rick Mythiasin (Steel Prophet), and Bernie Versailles (Agent Steel) for the debut album.

A good strong debut that most people thought would be a 1 off album, but it turned out to be a band in which Nick has carried the bands name on for many years. With Ray handling the vocals up until the bands last album 'The Art of Loss' in 2016 along with Chris Quirarte (Prymary) and bassist Sean Andrews and now with new singer Tom Englund (Evergrey) who is now the new frontman.

The band recorded some fine previous albums such as 'The Origins of Ruin', 'This Mortal Coil', 'Snowfall on Judgment Day' just to name a few the band have some really great songs and ideas. With Ray now concentrating on Fates Warning, Tom has stepped into Ray's shoes, the questions is how well will the fans accept Tom into Ray's shoes, not an easy task granted.

Tom is a great singer and to be honest it will take a few listening too get into this album with Tom on vocals (no disrespect) and I'm surprised he didn't get asked to also play guitar, this is a question I'd like to ask Nick for the next interview. Produced by Jacob Hansen (Primal Fear, Pretty Maids) with the recordings done in the U.S. and also in Sweden the over all sound is excellent as you can imagine. 

Tom is a great singer and I am sure the fan will embrace him once the album has been heard a couple of times. Artwork was done by none other than Travis Smith (Death/ Psychotic Waltz/ Nevermore). All in all a great album by a bunch of excellent musicians.

Songs to check out are: Eyes you dare not meet in Dreams, Somebody's else's Problem, The echo Chamber, Impermanent, Indulge in Colour, And Yet, Long night's Journey into Day, New Years Day (U2 song), way better than the original, god I hate U2. All in all this is a great album and the more you hear it the more it grows on you. They made the right choice having Tom has Ray's replacement. Go buy it when it comes out, you won't be disappointed. 

Kissin Dynamite        "Esctasy"        Metal Blade       ***     

German rocker's 'Kissin Dynamite' return with their brand new album 'Ecstasy' for new label Metal Blade. The band left AFM their previous label after their last album for AFM was released 'Generation Goodbye' in 2016. Formed back in southern Germany 2007 when they started put whilst been in school they recorded demos and it wasn't long whilst still at school they got a record deal for major label Capital/EMI in 2008 when the band released their debut album 'Steel of Swabia'.

This was only the start of a successful career which has lasted almost a decade. Their debut album was pretty heavy going and certainly packed a punch, this was followed up by 'Addicted to Metal' in which AFM did a deal with EMI/ Capital. I managed to see them live at Bang your Head in 2009 and was impressed with that I saw and heard, a mixture of Skidrow, Hardcore Superstars, UDO which at that time worked well.

In recent years this young 5 piece have seemed to change direction and head for a more sleaze approach, sadly for me it really doesn't work it's not my cup of tea but at the same time I can see why they have gone that way. Nothing wrong with that if it's you're style of music. The band have kept the same line up since their debut album, which shows a strong bond within them.

The current line up consists of Hannes Bruan (vocals), Steffen (bass), Jim (guitars), Andre (guitars) and drummer Andi. These young guys play well and write some good stuff.

This new album the debut for Metal Blade sees the band moving to the next chapter from their last album, a nice production here which was handled by Hannes Bruan (vocalist) who has given the album a solid and nice polished sound. In the time the band were formed they have matured into a strong band and they know what they want and the way they want to sound. This album comes with 13 songs that would appeal to fans of.

Check out the following songs: I've got the Fire, You're not Alone, Superhuman, Breaking the Silence, Waging War, One more Time, No time to Wonder. Not a bad album, not really the sort of thing I listen too but for what it is its; worth 4/5 or ,maybe 5/5 if this is you're style of music. 

Tomorrow's Outlook          "A Voice Unheard"      Battlegod      ****      

Some of you out there will be unfamiliar with this band from Norway who 1st came on the scene back in 2007 when Andreas Stenseth (bass) met manager Trond Nicolaisen to talk about forming a band. This would later on include session musicians for their debut album '34613' which included Norman Kierszonwski (former Deadly Blessing) with guitarist Sami Saarinen & Oystein K Hanssen with Mike Groham and Scott Oliva also on vocals. 

This album was released also through Battlegod record back in 2012, an album that made an impact on Norwegian scene as well as the underground metal scene in general. This project saw a potential to make a follow up in 2018 which has recently been released 'A Voice Unheard' which also features guest musicians.

This album features guest singers and guitarist once again, this time around you have the likes of Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Tony Johannessen, Scott Oliva (Inner Strength), Andreas Angell, with drums handled by Maxim Udalov & Andreas Nergard, and additional guitar solo by Terry Gorle (Heir Apparent), bass by Vitaly Dubinin & Andreas Stenseth and narration by Danny Webb and voice over's by Jamieson Price. The songs were co written by manager Trond.

Some names here i know and some I have unheard of but all excellent players either way. Production was handled by Roy Z (Halford/ Bruce Dickenson) and mastering by Colin Davis. I guess you could say this band or project has similarities to that of Aryeon with them also having lots of guest appearances. This album features 12 songs of a mixture of Progressive Metal mixed with some Power Metal elements, which work really well. I guess there could be a hint of Pagan's Mind in their music too.

The 1st song kicks in with 'Within the world of Dreams' which features Ralf on vocals which is a great song showing just how powerful a singer Ralf is, I guess some Gamma Ray might be heard in this song more than Primal Fear. Ralf does show is Rob Halford screams on this song. A catchy song indeed. Tony sings on the next song 'Descent', he certainly has the Bruce Dickinson feel, not sure what band he is in but he's a strong and good singer. This is a great song which kind of reminds me of Danish band Jackal.

A good album that is for sure, other songs that you need to check out are: Through Shuttered Eyes, A Voice Unheard, Outlaw, Times of War, One final Prayer, Fly Away, Nothing shall Remain, Darkside of Aquarius (Bruce Dickinson cover). If you're a fan of Iron Maiden or Jackal then you must hear this album. 

Snowy Shaw           "White Is The New Black"    ****         Wunderwurld Music    

Showy Shaw is a name the some of most of you will be familiar with, known for his work with King Diamond, Memento Mori, IllWill, Dimmu Borgir, Therion, Sabaton, Mercyful Fate, Dream Evil and many more bands , as well his own band Notre Dame. He certainly is a name to be reckoned with not only been a drummer, he also is a decent guitarist and singer.

Born in 68 in Sweden this genius has come along way since his days with King Diamond having experimented with not only Power Metal and classic Metal but also the darker side of metal with Notre Dame which saw Snowy playing music that would be described as Gothic Dark or even Glam metal. 

This is something that Snowy has continued to do create Dark Goth metal which worked well consider Showy has the image to suit the music. This album sees Snowy playing un-released songs from his previous work finally see in the light of day for the 1st time.

Snowy doesn't follow trends like myself, he follows his heart and what you hear with this album is purely from the heart so you either take it or leave it either way Snowy doesn't care and why should he? If this is anything to go on then I am sure Snowy has played all the instruments on this record (talented man) .

A nice production here which I am sure Snowy produced himself has a solid and powerful sounding which makes the music shine through as you will hear. As for Snowy's vocals, they are dark and rather goth and dark sounding which works well for the music that is on this album

Songs on the album you need to check out are: Krampus, Alcoholocaust, Wunderkind, Nachtgiest, Evil in Disgraceland, Immortelle, My Religion, Family Fruad. Well the Munsters comes to Snowy Shaw house best way to describe this album, impressive dark album.

TNT         "XIII"         Frontiers          ***    

Norwegian metal masters 'TNT' return with their new album, which features new vocalist Baol Bardot Bulsara originally from Spain (I believe) but not 100% sure, who replaced New York singer Tony Harnell who has left the band once again. Formed back in 82 by guitarist Ronni Le Tekro along with former vocalist Dag Ingebrigsten with bassist back then Steiner Eikum and drummer Diesel Dahl. 

The band released their debut album which was sang in Norwegian in 82 just under the band name. This was followed by 'Knights of the New Thunder', in 84 which featured Tony Harnell and for me this is the band's finest album, a pure classic release. The album also featured new bassist Morty Black who also stayed with the band for the new few releases.

With Tony on vocals the band were soon heading for international stadium and with their next release 'Tell no Tales' in 87 this was also a fine album that showed how high Tony could scream and hit those high notes. Tony left the band in 2005/6 and was replaced by British singer Tony Mills ex Shy singer who recorded 'The new Territory' in 2007. 

He remained for several album before Tony Harnell would return and play some live shows which included 'Hair Metal Heaven' where I had the chance to drum tech for Diesel and see them live for the 1st time.

What a great band they are live, very loud too. Now the band return with new singer bassist Ove Husemoen the band are set for the next level of the bands history and chapter. Tony Harnell did some backing vocals on this album for 'Can't breath Anymore' with various backing singer throughout the album and keyboards by Roger Gilton.

The album was produced by Ronni Le Tekro along with Kjartan Hesthagen at 'Studiostudio' in Norway with mixing handled by Tommy Hansen at 'Jailhouse' studios aided by Ronni. The overall sound is solid making all the instruments shine through and the backing vocals really suit the songs indeed. As for new singer Baol is a fine singer and he does sound across between both Tony Harnell and Tony Mills so i can see why the band have gone for him. I wonder why they never asked Tony Mills back?

Songs on the album to check out are: We're gonna make It, Not feeling Anything, Fair Warning, Where you Belong, Can't breathe Anymore, People come Together, Tears in my Eyes, Sunshine. Not a bad album, I just wish they would rock out like they did on 'Knight of New Thunder' or 'Tell No Tales'.

Refuge           "Solitary Men"          Frontiers       ****    

For those who are not familiar with Refuge, well this is the band put together by Rage front man Peavy Wagner (bass/ vocals) and former Rage guitarist Manni Schmidt and drummer Christos Efthimiadis who released the early Rage album, some that may say is the best albums Rage have released.

The band released such albums as 'The Missing Link', 'Trapped', 'Reflections of a Shadow', 'Secrets in a weird World', 'Perfect Man' and 'The Refuge Years'. Most of the were released through Noise Records. Peavy carried on with Rage with various guitarists and drummers and they still continue today, Manni joined Grave Digger after Rage and recorded several albums with the band, whereas Christos joined Tri State Corner.

The band's early albums speak for themselves having sold extremely well on a world-wide bases and when I interviewed Peavy in early 2018 he did tell me about this band putting out a new album after all these years, this is something that old Rage fans wanted to see and hear. The band are currently playing festivals around Europe and we are not sure if the band will record another album in the near future, hopefully they will but Rage is Peavy's top priority right now.

Now signed to Italian label 'Frontiers' who seem to be signing more heavier bands that they did in their early years. This album was produced by the band with the mixing handled by Dan Swano (Edge of Sanity), a well known producer in the early 90's. He has done a great job and still manages to mix albums well.

 The band logo certainly has a Rage feel to it as you can see, songs are strong, powerful and yet melodic with some catchy riffs. A nice solid production here with some fine tunes too. Songs to check out are: Summer's Winter, The man in the ivory Tower, From the Ashes, Living on the Edge, We owe a life to Death, Mind over Matter, Let me Go. If you like early Rage then you will like this , it's pretty much Rage either way you look at it.

Tad Morose          "Chapter X"     GMR       *****      

Swedish Dark Power Metal act 'Tad Morose' are no strangers to the underground scene, having been established since 91 by long time member Christer 'Krunt' Andersson (guitars), who has kept this band together through thick and thin. Various line up have come and gone and with the band releasing their debut classic 'Leaving the past Behind' in 93 this was a great debut which led me to interview the band as I was very impressed with this release. 

In 95 the band released their 2nd album 'Sender of Thoughts' also released by Black Mark who had released A Mended Rhyme' and a best of album.

With the band having various line-up changes the only long time member of the band with Christer is drummer Peter Morten, both have kept the band alive and are doing extremely well. The band also featured back in the day Urban Breed (vocals) who later on joined Bloodbound and guitarist Daniel Olsson who also formed a band with Urban 'Trail of Murder'.

In total Tad Morose have released 9 studio albums, 1 EP and a Best of album. In the beginning the band sounded like across between Savatage and Black Sabbath (Tony Martin era) and captured hints of Candlemass, fellow Swedish act and in which all 3 influences worked well for the band. These days the band have gone for a more darker approach which still manages to capture the Sabbath feel, but less if not any Savatage these days. Christer and Peter are joined by Ronny Hemlin (vocals) who joined the band 2008 and his debut was 'Revenant' in 2013 along with guitarist Kenneth Jonsson. Bassist Tommy Karppanen joined for the 'Revenant' album but left to be replaced by Johan Lofgren for the new album 'Chapter X'.

It's a little different this album to early Tad Morose but if you like the bands last 2 then you're more than likely going to enjoy this, I personally like it but I am more of a fan of the bands early work, not to say this is bad, it's a strong and solid album that captures the bands spiritual side. It still has some early elements but just a darker and rawer album with powerful vocals by Ronny who is a great addition to the band and the music. I guess you could say their Dark Power Metal and pretty much stand out on their own, a good sign indeed.

This album comes with 14 trax what were recorded in a couple of studios with Ronny doing his vocals at his studio along with drums and bass and Christer's guitar parts, and Kenneth also doing his guitar parts at his studio. A nice solid production here that captures the power and energy of the band, some nice Tony Iommi style riffs here and there by Christer and Kenneth.

Songs to check out are: Apocalypse, Comes Morpheus, I am Night, Leviathan Rise, Liar, Masquerade, Nemesis, Salvage my Soul, Turn to Dust, Vaunt the Cynical, Yet still you Preach. This band still make quality music after 2 decades, nice solid music great music that must be heard. Buy today!!!

Exlibris         "Innertia"        Independant      ****      

Polish metal band 'Exlibris' were formed back in Warsaw in 2003 by members Krzysztof Sokolowski (vocals), Daniel Lechmanski (guitars), Piotr Sikora (keyboards), Piotr Torbicz (bass) and drummer Grzegorz Olejnik. After forming the band they recorded demo tapes and in 2013 the band released their debut album 'Humagination' which contained 12 impressive tracks of of pure Progressive Metal.

Not too sound like Dream Theater or Fates Warning, these guys kind of remind me of Pantommind another fine band, that has some elements of Evergrey in their music. Sometimes I can hear the likes of Frequency the band that Featured Rick Altzi at one time. 

These guys play well and with also hints of DGM  or even Lords of Black thrown in their music it all blends in really well.

With the band having their debut album release it wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Aftereal' in 2014, this is one album that I have heard and was impressed with that I heard. You really need to check out this impressive Polish band, like Vader these are a fantastic Progressive Metal band that not many of you of heard.

With 2 albums released the band soon released a live DVD 'Night of Burning' in 2016, even though it's not a big venue it shows how good the band are at playing their instruments and that Riku is a powerful singer, something that Rock Altzi and even Ralf Scheepers has.

Now the band return with their new album 'Innertia' with new singer Riku Turunen , which is about to be released this is yet another step up the ladder, a powerful and strong album both with song writing and composing as well.  With various producers at hand the album was mixed by Tomek Zalewski who has done a great job and also did the bands previous albums.

Songs on this album to check out are: Harmony of the Spheres, Gravity, Shoot for the Sun, Incarnate, No Shelter, Amrophous, Multiversal, Ascension. If you haven't discovered this band then it's time you do, good album, great band, Poland has some good bands, I'd love to hear more like this. 

Madball      "For The Cause"      Nuclear Blast     ***        

New York Hardcore act 'Madball' return after their long awaited last release 'Hardcore Lives' in 2014. This band for those who don't know were formed back in the late 80's as a side project of members of Agnostic Front, one of NY's finest Hardcore and probably godfathers. 

Agnostic Front are a band that have influenced so many bands along side Bad Brains. New York has always had a great Hardcore/ Punk scene with the likes of the 2 mentioned bands as well as The Cro-Mags, Leeway, Ludichrist and of course The Crumbsuckers.

Madball however were formed by Roger Miret (Agnostic Front) vocalist who played bass for this band along with fellow band mate Vinnie Stigma, Will Shepler and Rogers half brother aged 12 Freddy Cricien. The band recorded their debut EP 'Ball of Destruction' in 89. In 93 the band were picked up by Roadrunner with their debut album 'Set if Off' released in 94 and in 95 I had the pleasure of see in them live at Dynamo festival in Holland and what a good live act they were.

The band have done 9 albums to date, with various labels such as Epitaph, I Scream, Nuclear Blast, Ferret and may more. This band have kept true to their roots not changing like some bands do, these guys have actually kept their old street hardcore sound that they once started. 

With the current line up been Freddy, Hoya Roc (bass), Mike Justian (drums) with session work by Matt Henderson (guitars) who had worked with the band before.

This album features 13 songs which were recorded by Tue Madsen (sick of it All/ Meshuggah/ Dark Tranquility) at hand who has done a great job for this album, making the solid in sound and still maintaining the NY Hardcore aggression. I have always had a soft spot for the NY hardcore scene which just has the aggression of Punk and Thrash metal all rolled into one and it works well for this band and others.

I listen too this and I just think of how good the scene was back in the 80's, this is an album that if you like Hardcore or Punk or even Thrash has to be heard. Songs to check out are: Smile now pay Later, Rev Up, Tempest, Old Fashioned, Evil Ways (featuring Ice T), Damaged Goods, Es Tu Vida, For the Cause. A decent album by a band still going strong. A must for fans of Agnostic Front, Sick of it all and Biohazard.

Aggression       "Feels Like Punk...Sounds Like Thrash"      Dissonance     ***      

Canadian Thrasher's 'Aggression' were formed back in Quebec back in 85 and in the same year recorded their debut demo which was distributed around their local scene under their original name of 'Asylum' but soon changed to Aggression. This 5 piece certainly are a band to be reckoned with, having their brutal Thrash elements that comes close to some Punk, I guess Vio-Vod, DBC meets Slayer with attitude speaks louder than words.

In 86 the band released their next demo tape and in 87 (and I remember this album well) was released, I remember their album cover for 'The Full Treatment' and the insane song 'Green Goblin', wicked and kind of reminded me of Soothsayer, Slaughter (Canada). That was of course a brutal and sick album which was original released through Banzai (Metal Church) original label, and was later on re-released through Old School Metal label, label run by King Fowler (Deceased).

The band broke up only to return back in 2003 and in 2004 released their next album 'Forgotten Skeleton' another brutal comeback album. The band's current line up is Denis Barthe & Dave Watson (guitars), Ryan Murray Idris (drums), bassist Jon Power and vocalist Brian Langley for the current line-up. In 2016 the band released their 3rd album 'Fragmented Spirit Devils', released through Xtreem Music.

This new album sees the band playing their hard hitting style of Vio-Vod, Soothsayer, Slaughter style of Thrash/ Punk. There's something about metal in Quebec, it's pretty intense stuff and brutal pretty much all the way compared to other parts of Canada. I guess the title of the album 'Feels like Punk...Sounds like Thrash' say's it all really. Vocals at times do remind me of Snake from Vio-Vod.

Production on this album is pretty savage and raw but then again you need it for this style of music, gives it that edge and sounds pretty cool. If you like 'The Full Treatment' album then you're going to like this too. I need to hear the bands album after their debut. Check out: Attack of the ice Lizards, Jehovah's Evil Curse, Tales of Terror, Riding with the Living Dead, torturing the Deceased, A river of piss and Vinegar. Canadian sick metal act return and what a brutal way to return. 

Lizzy Borden       "My Midnight Things"      Metal Blade     ***      

Well established act 'Lizzy Borden' are no  strangers to the metal world, especially if you are in the 40's and older as this band 1st hit the scene back in 83, based in L.A. (U.S.) by brothers Lizzy Borden and Joey Scott (drums)  and it wasn't long before the band appeared on the 'Metal Massacre' compilation back in 83 in which the band appeared with their song 'Rod of Iron'. It wasn't long before fans were talking about this L.A. band and Metal Blade Records saw the potential in the band and snapped them up in 84 for their debut EP 'Give um the Axe'.

With the release of this album it wasn't long before the band released their debut full album 'Love you to Pieces' in 85, for me this is their finest album, which has some fine classic tunes such as 'Red Rum', 'American Metal'. Joining Lizzy and Joey back then were guitarist's Tony Matuzak and Gene Allen along with bassist Michael Davis. With the debut in the stores the band were getting rave reviews and in 86 the band released their live album and (later on DVD) 'The Murderess Metal Road Show', which was an impressive live set which also included new guitarist Alex Nelson, who replaced Tony.

They released their next album 'Menace to Society' in 86 and in 87 'Visual Lies' and in 89 'Master of Disguise', which would be their last album up until they reformed for their next album in 2000 'Deal with the Devil'. The band have had tragedy when guitarist Alex Nelson and Corey James Daum also passed away. The band's current line up consists of Lizzy (who plays bass, guitar and keys), Joey on drums. Also from what I have read Ira Black (ex Vicious Rumors) handles the guitars live with bassist Marten Andersson.

This new album sees Lizzy swinging the axe once again since 2007 release 'Appointment with Death', so it's been some time since this last release and the big question is, was it worth the wait?? Yes I guess so, maybe not a strong album as it could be, I think it could of been better if there were some guitarists on the album, maybe the song writing may of been stronger. You can't knock them for trying only 2 members trying to make a comeback. I am sure the next album will hit hard, but for now it's a middle of the road album sadly, not to say it's a bad album it just doesn't have the impact of their previous work. For some reason Lizzy's vocals kind of remind me of Midnight from 'Crimson Glory', that kind of distinct sound.

This album features 10 trax of pure metal, with keyboards, something that the band really never had before but in places seems to fit in well. Production is pretty solid, and was produced by Lizzy and brother Joey and all instruments shine through. Songs that I recommend are: My Midnight Thing, The scar across my Heart, A stranger to Love, The perfect Poison, Our love is God. I'm knocking Lizzy and Joey for trying but the next album really needs to step up to the band's previous work. Give it a listen you might just like what's on this album.

 

Kataklysm       "Meditations"      Nuclear Blast      ***      

Canadian Death Metal act 'Kataklysm' return with their new brutal album 'Mediations', the bands 13th album since they formed back in 92. The band was formed by now vocalist Maurizio Lacano (who back in the formation was the bassist) along with long time guitarist Jean Francois Dagenais who have kept the band ever moving forward since the band's debut.

Having been established around their local area of Quebec, the band recorded demos that pretty much sold out in a few months and having their demo sent to long time label Nuclear Blast since their debut album 'Sorcery' in 95 which was a intense and heavy album from start to finish. I remember reviewing this album and heard just how brutal their music was back then.

Since the band's debut their music has become slightly more melodic yet keeping their true brutal sound that the fans have come to love. I have to admit their debut wasn't bad but having reviewed and heard the album 'Heavens Venom' back in 2010 this album is their finest album by far.

This new album features by Stephane Barbe who joined the band since  'Victims of this fallen world' and drummer Oli Beaudion who joined for the album 'Waiting for the album to Come' since then the band have writing some intense and brutal music.

This new album sees the band progressing with their brutal music and trying to take it to the next level. The album comes with 10 intense and aggressive tunes from start to finish, it's a must for a fan of the band or any newcomer to brutal music. 

If I had to compare their music to other bands then I would say across between Amon Amarth meets Atrocity with works really well, I don't hear any Canadian influences but nevertheless this is a damn good album with some nice melodic parts here and there as well as the brutal Death Metal sound that so many fans come to love.

A nice production here, which was produced by Jay Ruston , known for his work with Anthrax and Stone Sour. Songs to check out are: Guillotine, Outsider, Narcissist, Born to kill and destined to Die, And then I saw Blood, Bend the Arc cut the Chord, Achilles Heel. Not a bad album, still doing what they do best. Give it a spin you will more than likely love this if you're a fan of Death Metal.

Millennium Reign       "The Great Divine"    Ulterium      ***    

Christian Power/ Symphonic Metal band 'Millennium Reign' return with their new album 'The Great Divine', the band's 3rd album. Hailing from Arlington (Texas) they were formed back in 2010 and wrote their own material and demos that were distributed across the globe. With the line back in the early days been Dave Harvey (guitars/ bass/ keys), Bryan Diffee (drums), Trae Doss (vocals) who would record the band's debut album which was self titled back in 2012.

Having not heard the debut I can't judge how they progressed with the 2nd album, but staying that Dave is the only original member that carried the band forward. And in the case of their 2nd album 'Carry the Fire' in 2015 this album would feature James Guest (vocals), with guest musicians been Wayne Stokely (drums), Daniel Almagro (bass) and Jason Donnelly (guitars).

This album was a pretty good 2nd album that kind of reminded me of Queensryche, Crimson Glory, Evergrey and Stryper, a great combination that works well for this band. Yet again Dave remains as the only original member, and I wonder why he keeps changing the line ups? With this new album 'The Great Divine' which has recently just been released, it takes the band to the next chapter. Still keeping their true identity this is a decent album that has artwork done by Jan Yrlund, known for his work with Pyramaze, Battle Beast and many more.

This album features (for now) musicians as Travis Wills (vocals), Steve Nichols (drums) and bassist Neil Bertrand. The music on this album has some elements of Kamelot, and at times rather progressive with a little Fates Warning, all good stuff here.

All in all a good album, some times I hear the likes of Eden's Curse shine through too, so you have elements of Progressive/ Symphonic and some AOR metal shining through. The album was produced by Ty Sims, who has done a great job. Songs to check out are: Break the Tide, More than Scars, Till the End, In your Silence, Behind the Time, Wounds in Hand, The great Divine. Not a bad album, some nice riffs but I think the next album will be much better.

Lords Of Black        "Icon Of The New Days"    Frontiers       ****    

Spanish Power Metal God's 'Lords of Black' return with their 3rd album, a step up from their debut self titled album in 2014 and their 2ndf album 'II' in 2016. Their debut was released as an independent release and their 2nd album for Frontiers, of which all 3 albums were produced by former Helloween guitarist and now with Masterplan Roland Grapow. With the band only replacing 2 former bassist, firstly Victor Duran and later on Javier Garcia. His replacement for this album is Daniel Criado.

The band were formed back in 2007 by guitarist Tony Hernando, one of Spain's top guitarist when he met vocals Ronnie Romero (who is well known for his work with Richie Blackmore's Rainbow). Ronnie has also recorded The Ferrrymen album with Magnus Karlsson and drummer Mike Terrana. Also in 'L.O.B.' the band is drummer Andy C. this band are now making a name for themselves having shared the stage with Helloween, Gotthard, Unisonic just to name a few, as well as some festivals.

When 1st heard the band I wasn't sure what to expect and it was their 2nd album was the 1st album I heard and I thought it was a damn great album, they certainly didn't sound like a band from Spain (no disrespect), but more like a band from Germany with their blend of Primal Fear, U.D.O. style of metal really made me like that I was hearing. A nice blend of European Power Metal that captures the feel of classic bands like Saxon, Judas Priest and Accept with hint of Helloween works really well for this band.

Ronnie is classed as Spain's top metal singer, who as been rather quiet for some time and so as the band up until they released their debut album and well the rest is pretty much history. I wonder what Richie Blackmore thinks of this band? Having seen the band live at the famous 'Yardbirds Club' here in Grimsby UK it as a pleasure watching them live and to witness how powerful they are, I really hope they return to the club soon.

This album album was produced once again by Roland with the help of Tony, in which the overall production is solid and powerful and comes with a great album cover and comes with 12 trax of pure melodic Power Metal. If you manage to grab a copy of the ltd edition you get a bonus CD which features covers by Anthrax, Queen, Journey and many more.

Songs to check out are: World gone Mad, Not in a place like This, Forevermore, The way I'll remember, Fallin, King's Reborn, Long way to Go, The edge of Darkness, Wait no prayers for the Dying. A pretty good album, midn you it took me a few spins before I could get into, but once you listen you're hooked.

Avenger      "Killer Elite"     Dissonance Productions      *****      

UK Power Metal act 'Avenger' are no strangers to the underground scene, having formed back in 82 by drummer Gary Young, Brian Ross (Blitzkrieg) Mick Moore in the bands early stages. The band back then released a demo 'Hot & Heavy Express' and also the band appeared on a Neat Records compilation. They released their debut single 'Too wild to Tame'. 

Neat Records saw potential in the band and knew there was something special about the band in which they had to sign the band up soon. Brian left the band and his replacement was Ian Swift (who is still in the band), and guitarist Les Cheetham joined the band in which the band released their debut album 'Blood Sports' in 84. After winning a battle for the rights to the band name with German act (now Rage) UK act won the battle to keep the band's name.

Their debut album was a decent seller having rave reviews in Kerrang and Metal Forces here in the UK it wasn't long before the band recorded their next album 'Killer Elite' in 85. This album featured replacement guitarist Greg Reiter, who replaced Les, this album was a massive step forward for the band and what a great album it is. 

It was the 1st album I heard when I was 15 (85) when UK radio 'Friday Rock Show' played tracks from the album, I quickly ordered this gem and what a fantastic album it is.

The band were on top form and this album proves it, a strong album with song fine catchy tunes, great vocals by (Swifty) and melody hooks made this a great album. It was later on re-released on Neat with the bands debut album but soon was out of print. Now the album has been reissued for Dissonance Productions who also has Salem under their belt.

What can I say about this album, certainly one of the best albums released on Neat officially back in the day and I am glad it has been re-released in 2018. If the band can produce an album in the future like this then there's no stopping the band. Check out this album and the following songs: Revenge Attack, Run for your Life, Brand of Torture, (Fight for the) Right to Rock, Under the Hammer, Face to the Ground, Yesterdays Heroes, Sawmill. As a kid I loved this album and still do, classic British metal you must hear!!

Dimmu Borgir        "Eonian"         Nuclear Blast      ****    

Norwegian Black Metal demi-god's return with their new log over due album, an album that has to be heard. Some of you me know what I'm not really a fan of Black Metal, but I do think that Venom and Dimmu Borgir are 2 bands that I really do like and somewhat find interesting. 

Not only are they playing extreme metal, but they play it well, lots of melodic and catchy riffs, and to top it off a nice solid production. Something that 95% of Black metal bands don't have, they lack in production and makes the music suffer.

These guys formed back in 93 by Shagrath, Silenzoz & Tjodalv who set out a goal to create some extreme Scandinavian music that would change the world of Black metal forever. The band have come along way since the early days with the band reordering demos and in 94 the band released their EP 'Into Eternal Darkness', which sold out in a few weeks. This was followed by their debut album also in 94 'For all Times' for 'No Colours' Records.

With the debut album on the market it wasn't long before they released the next album 'Stormblast' released through Cacophonous in 95, and in 97 the band signed to now is now their label Nuclear Blast. Their music over the years has got a lot better in my opinion, creating more of a melodic feel but still managing to keep their dark roots.

Having last watched their live DVD with the orchestra I was very surprised how good it was and how Black Metal music can sound with an orchestra and it worked well for this band. Now it was time for the band to enter the studio and create this new album 'Eonian'. 

This album features 10 trax which were recorded by the band with the ad of engineer Jens Borgen who is well known in the underground metal scene as a producer and engineer. The overall sound is excellent, something you would expect and all the instruments shine though, some catchy riffs here and some dark majestic vibes.

This album sees the band on top form and creating some fine extreme Black Metal, something that some bands lack but for Dimmu Borgir this is yet another step up the ladder or maybe another path to darkness. Songs to check out are: The Unveiling, Interdimensional Summit, Council of wolfs and Snakes, Lightbringer, I am Sovereign, Alpha Aeon Omega. A solid Black Metal album by a band that play and write music so well, give it a shot it's a great album.

Stryper         "God Damn Evil"         Frontiers    ***     

Christian metal godfathers 'Stryper' return with their new album, the bands 12 album to date. This band were put together by brothers Michael and Robert Sweet along with Oz Fox and Perry Richardson, who was replaced by Timothy Gains, in which the band set out to spread the good word of God in their music. At 1st people didn't take this band serious and thought they were a joke but it soon became clear this was not a joke but the real deal.

Formed back in 83 in Orange County (California) under the original name of 'Roxx Remine' but later on changed their name to 'Styper' after taking it from the Bible. With the band having their own image of the yellow and black it has become a thing that the band have remained to obtain throughout their career. The band were soon picked up by Engima Records and their debut album 'The yellow and Black Attack' was released in 84, and the band were plugged on MTV and national Christian stations as mainstream metal stations couldn't take them serious.

With the band's 2nd album 'Soldiers under Command' in 85 it was the turning point for the band which saw them been invited to Japan and the tables had turned. This band meant serious business and it was on the up and onwards for this band. Other albums would follow such as 'To Hell with the Devil', 'In God we Trust', been the bands most well know albums.

The band however had recorded more albums and in 2013 the band released their album 'Second Coming' for Italian label 'Frontiers' in which the band have remained with since that day. Stryper are one of those band that do some great songs on an album, like 5 good songs and 3-4 band ones which have always in my opinion let the band down, this is something I put to Michael Sweet in an interview I did. When they write good they write with so many great tunes and with the band's last 2 albums 'No more Hell to Pay' & 'Fallen', both were spot on great killer tunes that were heavy too.

Sadly this new album sees the band step back like in the old days somewhat with the song writing. After Tim was fired back in 2016 leaving the 3 remaining members to find a replacement, it came in the form of Tracy Ferrie formerly with Boston. This album has some great songs don't get me wrong, some are heavy and some not and the ones that are not heavy seem at time to lack sadly.

Opening track 'Take it to the Cross' pretty much blow me away, something that very rarely happens to me. It's a great opening song that is heavy and when the chorus kicks in 'Take it to the Cross', there is some Death metal vocals that you wouldn't expect... like Glen Benton (Deicide) has done backing vocals. They ere actually done by from what I know 'Act of Defiance' singer. A great song that shows the band opening up.

Produced by Michael Sweet, it sounds great as you would expect, nice overall sound for all the instruments, nice harmony vocals too as well as strong fronted vocals by Mike. Like Is aid some great playing as always and vocals, but songs I suggest you should check out are: Take it to the Cross, Sorry, Lost, The Valley, You don't even Know, Can't live without your Love, Own Up, The devils doesn't live Here. Not a bad album just a slight step back for this great band. Let's hope the next album is more like 'Fallen' album. 

Anthrax       "Kings Amongst Scotland"     Nuclear Blast     ****   

New York's Thrasher's 'Anthrax' return with their new live album and live DVD, with the success of the band's last album 'All For Kings' released in 2016, a fine album that features Joey Belladonna, who returned to the band for the album 'Worship Music' in 2011. Anthrax started out back in 81 by Scott Ian (guitars), along with former bassist Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault).

Drummer Charlie Benante, Dan Spitz (former Over Kill) and singer Neil Turbin complete phase 2 of the line-up, and recorded demos that would soon land them a deal with 'Megaforce' recorded, Jon Zazula who also managed Metallica, Testament and many more. It wasn't long before they got a deal and released their debut 'Fistful of Metal' in 84, and in my opinion it's a much better album than 'Kill um All', soaring vocals, awesome tunes and a good production by The Rod's drummer Carl Candy.

In 85 new front man Joey Belladonna joined as their new front man, and bassist Dan Lilker quit to form Nuclear Assault, his replacement was Frank Bello (Charlie's nephew) for their next album 'Spreading the Disease' in 85, this was the turning point for the band with success and a support for Metallica on their 'Master of Puppets' tour. This album included their hit song 'Madhouse', which received some great airplay on MTV.

The band went from strength to strength and Joey recorded 3 more albums before quitting and was replaced by John Bush (Armored Saint). Dan also quit the band and was replaced by Rob Caggiano who later on joined Voltbeat. Joey would return for the reunion tour and remain with new guitarist Jothanan Donais in 2013, former Shadow Fall. 

The band couldn't be any stronger right now and with the success of the last 2 albums was them touring with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth as the 'Big 4', a major successful tour on a world-wide basis. Now the band return with this new live album and DVD recorded in Scotland, some may say why Scotland? Well you will have to ask the band that, but this is a great live album indeed and it captures some of the band's finest work, hard to pick a set list with so many great songs.

The band perform well, tight heavy and in you're face music something that has stood the test of time. Joey is on top form so are Scott, Charlie, Frank and Jonathan have all pulled together to make this a night t remember if you where there. If not you can see and hear just how good they are still and just hw much energy the band still manage to have.

A fine set list playing songs from 'Among the Living' album plus extra tunes. I could be here for some time, but some songs to check out are: A.I.R., Madhouse, Medusa, Blood eagle Wings, Fight um till you Can't, Be All End All, Breathing Lighting, Among the Living, I am the Law, One World, A Skeleton in the Closet, Indians, Imitations of Life. There's no stopping the mosh, Anthrax mean business and there here to stay, grab a copy today. 

Lordi       "Sexorcism"     AFM       ***      

Finland's premier Horror/ Shock Metal band return with their new album 'Sexorcism', the bands 9th album, in which the band was formed by Mr. Lordi back in 92. A vision that would shock Scandinavia, especially their home land of Finland and like Gwar these guy put horror costumes on to shock the audiences.

Both bands are totally different with their attitudes, Gwar's music is more harder edge and have thrash and punk elements, whereas Lordi are more of a harder edge Alice Cooper style shock rock. It would of been good to see both bands touring together, but sadly Gwar are no more as we have lost 2 of the main guys. 

Lordi on the other hand released their debut in 2002 'Get Heavy' through BMG (Finland), this was the starting point for the band, and I guess some people wouldn't take them serious back then and maybe thought they were a Black Metal band. With the debut released local checked them out live and saw just how good they were as a band both live and as song writers. Mr. Lordi has kept the band going strong along with guitarist Amen, who are the only 2 original members left in the band. Various musician's have some and gone but Mr. Lordi has kept the band alive with Amen. 

Now joining Amen and Mr.Lordi is Ox (bass), Mana (drums), and Hella who all played on 'To beast or not to Beast' in 2013. The band just kept on growing and making quality music to the masses. I have to say that their costumes are wicked and look great live, even though they must get hot in them.

This album however was produced by Mikko Karmila who had been working with the band since 2014 and this album was recorded at 'Finnvox Studios' known for such bands as Tarot, Nightwish, HIM, and many more bands from Finland. The overall sound of this album is great I can't knock the production as each instrument shines through, nice vocals by Mr Lordi and catchy yet melodic tunes makes this a damn good album.

Songs to check out are: Sexorcism, Your tongue's got the Cat, Rome ate Juliet, Naked in my Cellar, Polterchrist, Slashion Model Girls, Rimskin Assassins, Hell has Room, Sodomesticated Animal, Haunting Season. If you're a fan of their work then you are going to love this album too, horror metal at it's best. 

Velvet Viper        "Respice Finem"    GMR       ***    

German metal act 'Velvet Viper' is the band put together by former Zed Yago singer Jutta Weinhold, a great and powerful singer that reminds me of a female version of Ronnie James Dio. Her former band Zed Yago recorded 4 albums, their 1st 2 albums were killer released 'From over Yonder' in 88 released through SPV, and their 2nd album 'Pilgrimage' released 89 through RCA. I managed to catch the band live here in the UK for that tour as support to W.A.S.P. and to be honest they blow W.A.S.P. off stage.

The band after their 2nd album went rather quiet for sometime, only to return for their next album 'The invisible Guard' in 2005, this album did not feature Jutta, her replacement was Yvonne Durand who also recorded 'Pirates from Hell' in 2010. Jutta however formed this band in 1990 when Jutta found Lars Ratz (bass) from Metalium, Peter Szigeti (guitars), David Moore (guitars), and drummer Franco G Zuccaroli to complete their debut album line up in 91 which was released on RCA.

Jutta and the band recorded 'The 4th quest for Fantasy' in 91, with only Lars and Jutta been the only members left for this album, sadly this album featured 2 members who had passed away in later years Budi the Schmied and Roy Last. Jutta decided to call it a day only to return in later years for this new album. This time around Jutta is joined by Fabian Ranft (bass), Micha Fromm (drums) and Holger Marx (guitars). 

This new album is pretty good stuff, not as good as I thought it maybe, but for a comeback album it has all the potentials of a promising future to come for the band. The band still have some spirits of Zed Yago in their music along with Dio's music and the album was produced by Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray) with co-producer Uwe Seemann (who also played bass on the album) along with drummers performed by Michael Ehre (ex Metalium/ Firewind).

A nice solid production here with some pretty cool riffs and strong vocals by Jutta, she is one of Germany's finest female metal singers along with Doro. I just wish some of their music had more power, I mean some Power Metal elements, what with Jutta having a great voice the music would sound so much more powerful. 

There's some good songs on this album, just wish there were more variety with the song writing. Songs to check out are: Don't leave before Wintertime, Shadow Ryche, Eternally Onwards, Dangerous, Law of Rock. Jutta is a great and powerful singer I just wish the music had the same impact that reflects Jutta's voice. If you're a fan of Dio's music or Candlemass then you will like this. Let's see what the next album has to offer.

Riot V       "Armory of Light"      Nuclear Blast   *****     

New York metal act 'Riot' return with their stunning new album with their new name of 'Riot V', since original guitarist Mark Reale died back in 2012 due to Crohn's Disease, the band wanted to carry on with the band's name and with Mark's fathers blessing they did do. This time around under the name of Riot V' and this new album 'Armory of Light' is a great album indeed.

Originally formed by Mark Reale in 75 this outstanding band didn't actually record their debut album until 77 entitled 'Rock City' through Fire Sign Records. This album was followed by the bands 2nd successful album 'Narita' in 97 which was released through Capital. Now the band were signed to a major label it was upwards & onwards, with original singer Guy Speranza, who also recorded 'Fire Down Below' in 81, he was replaced by Rrett Forester for the next album 'Restless Breed' in 82 and their music was flying high for many years.

Sadly Rhett died aged 37, sadly shot which led the band to find a suitable replacement, this was a difficult position to fill and they found Tony Moore for the stunning album 'Thundersteel' in 88, a great album which some of their finest work. This album also featured Bobby Jarzombek (Halford/ Fates Warning) along with Donnie Van Starern (bass) who's still in the band today.

The band have had a singer change with Mike DiMeo who stayed with the band for several years. Before Mark's death the band consisted of Todd Michael Hall (vocals) who also recorded 'Thundersteel', 'The Privilege of Power', before returning to the band for the album 'Immortal Soul' in 2001. Also in the band is Donnie on bass, guitarists Mike Flyntz Nick Lee, with drummer Frank Gilchriest to complete the lien that is Riot V.

This album is an awesome release, their best production to date, just a shame they never had a production like this when Mark was alive, some of those albums would of sounded killer if they had the sound this album has. Their last album 'Unleash the Power' was released through SPV in 2014. Now the band return signed to Nuclear Blast, this album features 12 tracks which were produced by Chris Collier and co produced by Joshua Block with the artwork been handled by Mariuzs Gandzel (who's done a fine job), and all in all this is a fine album indeed.

Packed full of energy, power and powerful vocals, the whole package is really worth getting hold of. If you like Riot in general then you will love this, especially if you are a fan of 'Thundersteel' and the later albums. The band are touring the UK and Europe later this year so I think a trip to Newcastle could be in order, pity there's no dates nearer to me, as I have never seen the band before believe it or not!! No doubt about it this album has very thing that Riot needs, just sad to know that mark is not part of it but we all know he would be so proud of the boys and will be looking down on them.

Songs to check out are: Victory, End of the World, Messiah, Angels Thunder Devils Reign, Heart of a Lion, Armory of Light, Set the world Alight, San Antonio, Caught in the witches Eye, Ready to Shine and Raining Fire. This is an awesome album, and still very Riot from start to finish. Grab a copy soon and go see them live when they hit near you're town!!!

Ross The Boss       "By Blood Sworn"     AFM      ***     

Ross the Boss is not stranger to the world of metal music, having been the original guitarist for Manowar, New York's god of 'Warrior Metal', and also Punk act 'Dictators' who were formed back in 73. Ross (Friedman) started playing guitar at a early age playing in various band he later on met Joey DeMaio (Manowar) through Ronnie James Dio and the rest is pretty much history.

Ross made 6 albums for Manowar, their debut 'Battle Hymns' was released in 82 which featured Eric Adams (vocals) and drummer Donnie Hamzik. This was later followed by albums such as 'Into glory Ride' & 'Hail to England' which featured drummer Scott Columbus (who later on passes away). The album 'Kings of Metal' would be his last album with Manowar, but not the end of Ross as he played with various bands , before forming his own band in later years.

His band 'Ross the Boss' was formed 2007 roughly and the debut album 'New Metal Leader' was released in 2008 through AFM records. A strong album that showed that Ross still has what it takes to carry on after Manowar. This album featured singer Patrick Fuchs, with bassist Carsten Kettering and drummer Matthias Matze. 

The band toured Europe and the album sold well. In 2010 the band released their next album 'Hailstorm', which had the typical 80's feel of metal the way it should be played. Yet another fine album packed full of majestic riffs and strong vocals.

Now Ross is back with a new album and new line up been Marc Lopez (vocals) who reminds me of across between Eric Adams and Ripper Owens or Wade Black, Mike Lepond (bass) Symphony X, Lance Barnewold (drums). This album was produced by Dean Rispler with artwork by Stan W Decker, known for his work with such bands like Masterplan and many more. 

The album comes with 10 trax, and a additional 3 bonus songs on the digi pack. If you are a fan of the early Manowar and early 80's metal and some hints of Anvil or Motorhead  then this is an album for you.

Songs to check out are: By Blood Sworn, Among the Bones, This is Vengeance, We are the Night, Playing among the Godz, Fistful of Hate. Not a bad album, certainly not as strong as I would of expected as the 1st few songs kick hard then for some reason it kind of drops half way through the album, but this is just my opinion. Fans of his work or early Manowar are going to love this.

Bonfire    "Temple of Lies"      AFM     *****       

German Hard Rockers 'Bonfire' return with their new album 'Temple of Lies', the band's 15th album to date. Formed back in 72 original by member Hans Ziller (guitars) who decided to form a band 'Cucumen',  and with line up changes in their early days the band released demos and in 86 the band released their debut album 'Don't touch the Light' with long time vocalist Claus Lessmann, Horst Maier (guitars), Joerg Deisinger (bass) & drummer Dominik Hueshorst who recorded the debut album.

The debut was a good strong release mixing the likes of The Scorpions with their own identity which really helped. With the debut album been released through RCA (major) label it wasn't long before the band released their stunning 2nd album 'Fireworks' released 87, for me this is still the bands finest release. Some fantastic songs here, great melodies catchy riffs and strong vocals made this one hell of a fine album.

They soon followed this by 'Point Blank' in 89, a good album but didn't capture the spark that 'Fireworks' had. I managed to see them live supporting Judas Priest here in the UK, great line up. In 91 they released 'Knocked Out', a decent album with song fine songs. These 2 albums featured new guitarist Angel Schleifer (ex Sinner) who replaced Horst, and Angel recorded only 2 albums and was later on replaced.

Claus left the band after the album 'Branded' in 2014, his replacement was ex Accept and Bangalore Choir David Reece, a great replacement indeed, a strong character with a powerful voice. His debut was 'Glorious' 2015. he also recorded the album 'Pearls' . Alexx  Stahl did the next album 'Byte the Bullet'  in 2017 and the new album 'Temple of Lies'.

Now the band are back with one of their strongest albums in some time, with the current line-up been  Alexx Stahl (vocals), Frank Pane (guitars), Ronnie Parkes (bass) former Seven Wtiches, Tim Breideband (drums). All the band members are showing a shining example that Bonfire are still a great band that still manages to create good quality music. This album was produced by Hans who has done a fine job, a nice solid production here and fine songs indeed.

Alexx is a great singer and it shows within this album, this is typical Bonfire and at times the music is pretty heavy going kind of like Jaded Heart. A well deserved album that is worth checking out. Songs to check out are: Temple of Lies, On a wings of an Angel, Feed the Fire, Stand or Fall, Coming Home, I'll never be loved by you, Crazy over You. Let the fire keep on burning , there's plenty of spark left in this band.

Grand Design       "Viva La Paradise"          GMR        ***       

Swedish AOR/ Hard Rock band 'Grand Illusion' return with their new album 'Viva La Paradise', the bands 7th album to date. It was rather strange that this band signed to AOR Heaven, the label that also signed Grand Illusion, pretty much at the same time and rather confused a lot of people having 2 bands with similar names on the same label. 

This band was formed back in 2006 when singer Pelle Saether who is a well know producer in the AOR scene. Their debut album was released in 2009 titled 'Time Elevation' and was a pretty decent debut album, kind of reminded me of Skagarack, and bands of that nature, and this album featured guest spots from Janne Stark and Tommy Denander. 

The band played some shows and festival, one included the UK's 'Firefest' a popular Hard Rock/ AOR festival. In 2011 the band released their next album 'Idiolizer' also for AOR Heaven label, this saw the band topping the charts in Sweden and successful tours were planned for this release. Another fine album of top quality Swedish Rock music that always comes second to none.

The band have also released 'Thrill of the Night', in 2015. The current members  include Pelle Saether (vocals), Janne Stark (guitar), Dennis Vastman (guitar), Stefan Westerlund (bass), Joakim Jonsson (drums). Now the band return with their new album 'Viva La Paradise' this is a damn good album, and it's not very often I get to hear such good AOR music these days. Back in the 80/ 90's AOR was solid, these days (just my opinion) it's either hit or miss. This band have a lot of Def Leppard in their music, especially the vocal harmonies with hints of Firehouse, 2 decent bands of this style of music.

The album comes with 10 trax, and a nice production, certainly has that Def Leppard sound which isn't a bad thing. Like a said nice vocal harmonies, sometimes reminds me of Michael Voss (Wolkpakk) and I am sure this is something he would like. I guess some of the music reminds me of Zeno. Songs on the album to check out are: Face It, Hawk & Roll Hysteria, Viva La Paradise, Don't ice me Out, Aim 4 the Heart, I would be the Wind, Too late too fall in Love. A pretty good album and if you're a massive fan of Def Leppard or Firehouse or even Zeno then this is an album for you.

 

Over Kill         "Live In Overhausen"        Nuclear Blast   DVD     *****    

New Jersey Thrash metal Gods 'Over Kill' hit back and they hit hard with this stunning new DVD/ Blu Ray which is about to be released very soon. This band were formed back in 1980 by original singer Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni, who have remained the nuclearous of the band.

With the band recording their demos soon got word around on the underground scene and Megaforce Records Johnny Z's label soon snapped up the band and their debut album 'Feel the Fire' was released in 85 in the U.S. and in Europe Noise snapped the record up and later on was re-released on Music For Nations. A great raw and savage album that captured a mix of hard hitting Thrash which had a certain feel of Motorhead and some Punk elements which worked well for this band. Joining D.D. & Blitz were Rat Skatz (drums) and Bobby Gustafson (guitars).

The band went on to record 'Taking Over' in 87 and a tour supporting Helloween across UK & Europe in which I had the pleasure of see in them live. What a great tour and album. This would be Ratz last album, who was replaced by Sid Falck, the band recorded 2 more albums with Bobby 'Under the Influence' and 'Years of Decay'. Bobby left in 90, his replacement was Rob Cannavino & Merritt Grant for the next album 'Horrorscope' in 91, another extremely amazing album. This album packed a punch and had a fine production which was done by Terry Date, one of his finest drum sounds ever recorded.

In total this band have recorded 18 albums, each one packing a punch and with D.D.'s bass having a sound of it's own like Lemmy and Blitz scream like thrash vocals makes this the worlds finest Thrash Metal band (in my opinion, don't get me wrong there some cool bands out there). There is something about this band, the shear power they create in their music and live on stage, their presence just gives the show just energy and power.

This long overdue live show sees the band playing back to back both 'Feel the Fire' and 'Horrorscope' as they are both celebrating both albums anniversaries, and what better way than to have them recorded live, and I guess no better place than Germany where they have the loyalist of fans. 

I did get to see this tour here in the UK with Vader supporting them, were they played most of both albums live. Both guitarist Dave and Derek are a great powerful unit that playing extremely tight, whereas drummer Eddy Garcia (Pissing Razors) who stood in for the European tour did a great job and it shows on this DVD, pity he didn't join the band. Both Blitz and D.D. are a force to be reckoned with, a great unit that makes their music shine through.

This DVD is a fine example of what the band can deliver and if you are a thrash fan that has not seen this band live then you really are missing out so much, so go see them this year. This DVD also has interviews in-between some of the songs, which is pretty good thing, I guess Sabbath did the same thing and some people will either love or hate this idea. The DVD also has a song 'Fuck You' on it, and it's a truly great live DVD, which I highly recommend. No doubt about it you really need to buy this when it comes out, you won't be disappointed. Just remember Evil never Dies!!!

Napalm Death        "Coded Smears & More Uncommon Slurs"        Century Media  *****     

British Grindcore God's 'Napalm Death' are pretty much the godfathers of Grindcore, some may say 'Repulsion' but despite the argument, you can't deny the fact that these guys from the Midland's started out back in 81, whilst none of the original members remain, some could say that Shane Embury (bass) could be considered as the original recording member since the day's of their debut album 'Scum' back in 87. I remember that tour well having saw them supporting D.R.I. with Holy Terror and Heresy, Concrete Sox in Nottingham UK.

Shane has pretty much kept the band alive along with long time vocalist Mark 'Barney' Greenway, who joined after this departure from his previous band 'Extreme Noise Terror' & 'Benediction'. Napalm Death original has Lee Dorrian who left to form Cathedral, whilst Bill Steer former Carcass and drummer Mitch Harris who formed 'Painkiller'.

Both Barney and Shane continued to moved away from the extreme grind side of their music and added the Death Metal flavour to their music, still keeping the Grindcore elements within the bands music, which works well for the band. Having said that some may say they have gone back to their roots, either way their music is extreme and brutal they way it should be.

This album is pretty much an album of bonus trax or live recordings spread over 2 albums, a great bonus to your collection that I highly recommend. I have to admit I love their music despite some may say their music doesn't make sense but then again this style of music isn't easy to play. The band have had lots of success with various TV shows and been on BBC2 in the early years.

The band's current line up is Shane, Barney, Danny Herrera (drums) who has been with the band since 91, and long time guitarist Mitch Harris returns to the band. Whereas Jesse Pintado sadly died back in 2006. This release comes with 31 trax as a double CD, like a said a great investment for any fans new and old or just new fans who want to discover the bands music.

The band's last studio album 'Apex Predator' released in 2015 was one the of the bands best selling albums, which took the band on an extensive world tour. The band are on tour as we speak and I am sure a new studio album will be released or at least recorded this year. Great album I can't name all the songs but trust me it's well worth grabbing a copy for you're collection.

Crystal Ball        "Crystallizer"        Massacre      ****     

Swiss melodic metal band 'Crystal Ball' hit back with their new stunning album 'Crystallizer', the band's 10th album, and with the band forming back in 95 these 5 musician's have come a long way. Like fellow musician's such as Krokus, Gotthard, been the 3 top melodic metal bands. Crystal Ball were formed originally under the name of 'Cherry Pie' but soon changed their name to a more suitable name that would land them a record deal.

They recorded demos and in 99 they released their debut album 'In the Beginning', which was released through Point music, with producer Tommy Newton. This album was well received in Japan with the music coming across between Def Leppard, Pretty Maids style which went down well. 

In 2000 the band released their next album 'Hard Impact' also released through Point Music with Tommy Newton once again, a fine 2nd album. In 2002 the band released 'Virtual Empire', which was released through Nuclear Blast. In total the band recorded 3 albums with Nuclear Blast before signing to AFM for their next album 'Secrets' in 2007. 

In 2013 the band released their next album for now label Massacre, with 'Dawnbreaker', 4 albums in total recorded for Massacre and for me 'Liferider' in 2015 is their best album, some great songs that have the edge of Pretty Maids, Jaded Heart and maybe some Pink Cream 69. To see all 4 bands on the same tour would be an epic experience.

This new album once again was produced by Stefan Kaufmann (former U.D.O/ Accept), who has done a great job but saying that I am sure he would of done he has had enough experience. The bands current line up consists of Steven Mageney (vocals), Scott Leach (guitars), Tony Castell (guitars), Marcel Sardella (drums) and bassist Cris Stone.

This new album has some fine melodic metal riffs and some fine vocals that shine through. Stefan also plays guest guitar solos on 3 songs on the album. Songs on the album that you need to hear on it's released in April are: Crystallizer, Curtain Call, S.O.S., Crazy in the Night, Let her go with Love, Beauty in the Beast, Death on Holy Ground, Edit Wound, Symphony of Life

A good solid album, a really good band that needs to be heard and more touring would certainly give them more success, some UK dates wouldn't do them any harm.

Gus G        "Fearless"       AFM     ****     

As you may know, Gus G hails from Greece and studied music at Berklee School of Music when he left Greece aged 18 to peruse his dream. This Greek guitar God started his career with Firewind (currently on going) and also formed with former King Diamond drummer Snowy Shaw (Dream Evil), Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage and of course Ozzy on his last album.

Gus is a fantastic guitar player that composes some fine music, melodic and yet heavy music with some fine singers in his past career and current line with Firewind. This is his 3rd solo album, his debut entitled 'I am the Fire' was released 2014 and in 2015 'Brand new revolution' both for Century Media. 

Gus has had various singers and musicians on his solo album and this new album 'Fearless', features bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) who also handles the vocals and bass on this record. Drums on the album were handled by Will Hunt (Evanescence/ Black Label Society) and all 3 musicians have done a fine job.

Production was handled by Dennis at House of Music, with the artwork done by Gustavo Sazes, and as you would expect Dennis has done once again a superb job as always. At times his voice is like a younger Ozzy, especially on the 1st song 'Letting Go', which is a killer opening tune and I guess a hint of Firewind and Pink Cream 69  shine through which is understandable and maybe some Kings X.

It's a real melodic album that has a drive and has some catchy tunes, nicely polished by a fine production makes an album like this well worth grabbing hold of. This album comes with 10 trax, some of which are heavy and some hard driven tunes. I can't fault it, this is a great album, just hope they tour. Songs to check out are: Letting Go, Mr. Manson, Don't tread on Me, Fearless (instrumental), Nothing to Say, Money for Nothing (Dire Straits), Big City, Last of my Kind.

Great musicians, great album a must buy!!! Gus is a great musician, and at times his playing comes across between Cacophony, and Randy Rhodes. Buy this album when it's released.

WildeStarr          "Beyond The Rain"         Scarlet      ****    

Some of you out there will either know of this band and some of you will not, basically this is the band put together by former Vicious Rumors bass player Dave Starr, who recorded 6 albums with Vicious Rumors, probably the bands finest work, the 1st 4 albums. Dave quit V.R back in 93 but went back to the band for a short period between 2005-2006.

WildeStarr is the band but together by Dave who plays the guitar and bass, with partner London Wilde (vocals), and Jim Hawthrone (drums). Dave was once the bass player for Chastain band and recorded 'In an Outrage' in 2004, and with London producing the bass tacks , and it was after that recording the talked abut forming a band together, thus been 'WildeStarr'.

The band had mutual influences and both knew that something special would come of it. They recorded their debut album 'Arrival' in 2009, a decent debut album that had some strong Power Metal and received positive reviews. This was followed by 'A tell tale Heart' in 2012, a great follow up that had some powerful vocals by London, kind of a Rob Halford or Tim Owens female version on screams.

This new album features 10 hard edge Power Metal songs that has the fell of U.S. Power Metal and I tell you Dave is a great guitar player who comes up with some great riffs. London is a good singer so the 2 work well in a band. Jim is a good drummer that delivers a solid and powerful drumming.

This album was produced by Josh Foster & London Wilde who have done a great job, both Josh and London certainly knows how to produce and having signed to Italian label the band are set for promising things in the future. If you are a fan of Trouble, Vicious Rumors, Winter's Bane then you will love this album, it does have some elements of Doom Metal in places that is why I mention Trouble.

Songs on the album to check out are: Beyond the Rain, Pressing the Wires, Double Red, Down Cold, Rage and Water, Undersold, When the night Falls. A good solid album that packs a punch, grab a copy today. 

Thrust        "Harvest of Souls"     Pure Steel     ***      

Here's a band from the past, this band were 1st on the metal scene back in 81 when the band were formed in Chicago and it wasn't long before the band were soon appeared on the Metal Blade series of 'Metal Massacre 4', which saw the band getting a lot of interests and so Metal Blade saw something that they had to grab and sign. So they were soon snapped up by Metal Blade and their debut album 'Fist held High' was released back in 84, I remember the cover well but never got to hear the album until later on in life. 

This was a decent album and saw the band opening up for the likes of Motorhead, Michael Schenker, and even Judas Priest. This solid Power Metal band had something good going for them but sadly they broke up only to return in later years. The original line up consisted of Ron Cooke (guitars), Price Sowers (bass), Ross Cristao (drums), John Bonata (vocals) and C.B Sebastian (guitars).

They reformed in later years to record their next album 'Invitation to Insanity' in 2002 with only original member been Ron Cooke and yet again they broke up only to record their 3rd album for Metal Blade in 2015 titled 'Reincarnation', with Ron Cooke, Joe Rezendes (drums) and bassist Ray Gervais.

In 2018 the band return with Joe, Ray, Ron with new members Eric Claro (vocals) who reminds me of Cities singer, and Angel Rodriduez (guitars) for this new album 'Harvest of Souls' for new label Pure Steel. I have to admit this is a pretty decent album and certainly better than their debut and it has the old school 80's feel, something I feel very strongly about. In place the music kind of reminds me of the 1st Omen, Cities, and Exciter, all are great bands from the 80's.

The production on this album is pretty good, not sure who produced the album but it has a good sound, a certain 80's feel but still a good sound. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Deceiver, Immortal, Kill or be Killed, Shadow of the Cross, Blood King, Feel the Pain, End of Time. Not a bad album, there certainly heading on the right track and I am sure the next album will be better, a little more up temp songs is what they need with double bass drumming. 

Shadowkeep       "Shadowkeep"       Pure Steel     ****    

UK premier Power Metal band 'Shadowkeep' return with their long awaited album, the band's 1st came on the metal scene in 99 when guitarist Chris Allen (ex Intense) met former Sire guitarist Nikky Robinson were the 2 musicians shared a common interest and same views to form a band with a difference, a band that would not sound like a typical UK band, but to mold themselves on the U.S. Power Metal scene.

It wasn't long before both guitarist would find Belgium singer Rogue Marechal, drummer Russell King, and bassist Jim Daley and the band soon started writing songs what would appear on their E.P which was released 99. This E.P. for me was amazing, it totally blow me away and I wanted to know more about the band so I soon became friends with the band. Their music is second to none U.S. Power Metal, and if you are a fan of Helstar, Omen, Savage Grace, Crimson Glory, Hades then you really need to check out this band.

It wasn't long before the band were signed to German label 'LMP Music' and their debut album 'Corruption Within'  in 2000, this was a turning point for the band, great reviews world-wide and a nice production handled by Threshold guitarist Karl Groom, who still does production for the band to day. 

Next came 'A Chaos Theory' in 2002, another fine album. Rogue left the band and was replaced by Richie Wicks (ex Tygers of Pan Tang) and their next album 'The hourglass Effect' was released in 2008, the band finest release with extremely strong vocals by Richie, and complex music made this album very interesting. 

It also featured bassist Stony Grantham from Texas a great musician and Omar Hayes on drums. Now the band return with yet another powerful album with the one and only James Rivera (Helstar) handling the vocals, and what a great singer he is too. He has brought so much power to this album and the music in complex and I just love it. Now we need to see the band playing the UK and some festivals.

This album comes with 11 tracks of pure old school Power Metal the way it should be played. Like I said if you love all the old school Metal Blade band's then you will love this album, Chris and Nikky work well as a team so does Omar and Stony for the rhythm section. 

Songs to check out are: Guardian of the Sea, Flight across the Sands, Horse of War, Angels and Omens, Isolation, The sword of Damocles, Immortal Drifter. A great album by a great UK band, wish we had more bands here like Shadowkeep. I hope they don't take too long with the next album this band deserve some luck finally!!

Jaded Heart   "Devils Gift"      Massacre    ****       

German melodic metal band 'Jaded Heart' were formed back in 1990 by bassist Michael Muller, vocalist Michael Bormann (ex Letter X), Alex Kruse, Dirk Bormamm who later left the band after the bands debut album 'Inside Out' released in 94. This debut album was a great album mixing Hard edge AOR that reminded me of across between Strangeways meets Skagarack. A fine debut album indeed with some catchy riffs.

Michael Bormann stayed with the band for the bands 1st 6 albums, leaving the band after the recording of 'Trust' in 2004. This is when the band found Swedish born Johan Fahlberg and in 2005 the band released their new album for new label Inside Out 'Helluva Times', this was a fantastic album that saw the band heading for a heavier approach moving away from the Hard Rock/ AOR sound and I really do feel that this was the right choice. Having Johan in the band the music got heavier and his vocals are more suited for the band with the heavier sound that the band developed.

Johan has recorded 6 previous albums with the band so to goes to show that having mixed cultures really does work. Having said that the band now having an impressive Japanese guitarist in the band Masahiro Eto that joins Michael Muller, Johan Fahlberg, Peter Ostros (guitars) and drummer Bodo Stricker to complete the current line up.

This band just goes from strength to strength and this is a great album indeed, which has some catchy riffs and fine vocals. Produced by the band in either Germany or Sweden, over all sound packs a punch and with lots of melodic twist and turns this is a great album and Johan's vocals are on top form as you can imagine. The album cover was designed by Thomas Ewerhardt, who has worked with Jorn, Edguy and many more.

Songs on the album to check out are: Wasteland, The Enemy, Scream of Anger, Tears of our World, Phoenix, One World, Coming Home, Conspiracy, Final Moment, Flying High. A great band and a great album. I just wish they would play the UK (Grimsby Yardbirds) and a live DVD must be due soon. I've never seen this band live and would love too, there on my want to see list. Grab this album soon as it's released.

Blitzkrieg        "Judge Not"      Mighty Music     ***    

Some of you will know about this N.W.O.B.H.M. band been one of the underdogs of 80's metal, along side Tygers of Pan Tang and the birth place been 'Newcastle' of most if the underdogs with Venom, Avenger, Tysondog, Satan, and many more, there was something about Newcastle that delivered some fine acts that never really made the success like bands like Maiden, Priest or Sabbath seemed to of got. Then came from Leicester 'Blitzkrieg', a band that you probably thought were from Newcastle but originally from Leicester and relocated to Newcastle to seek a label.

Founder member Brian Ross has managed to keep the flame of the bands music alive since the days of the bands formation in 80 when Brian founded the band and they recorded demos just like any band, got them circulated in the underground scene and in 85 the band released their debut album for Neat Records entitled 'A time of Changes', which shook the world with their in your face approach but yet kept the music melodic.

It was Metallica that heard them and and took an interest in the band and released their version of 'Blitzkrieg' for their 'Garage Days' EP released in 87, later to be re-released on 'Garage Days Revisited'. In total Blitzkrieg have released 7 previous albums, between 85-2015. 

Now Brian and the boys are back with the line up been Brain Ross (vocals), Ken Johnson & Alan Ross (guitars), Huw Holding (bass) and drummer Matt Graham. Have new young blood in the band has certainly given them a boost of old school meets a little new School and when you hear this album there is plenty of power and energy and a decent album.

The album was recorded in Newcastle by Phil Davis who has done a fine job, making all the instruments shine though at Downcast base and mixed by Jacob Hasen (Primal Fear/ Pretty Maids) so that more can you ask for? Songs to check out are: All Hell is breaking Loose, Angels and Demons, Judge Not, Falling into Darkness, Reign of Fire, Who is Blind. This is without doubt one of their best albums, grab a copy today.

Axel Rudi Pell       "Knight's Call"       Steamhammer    ***      

German guitarist 'Alex Rudi Pell, could be considered as the Richie Blackmore of Germany, which isn't an insult, more so a complement. Alex started out back in the 80's with his previous band 'Steeler' who were formed back in 81 and it wasn't until 84 when they released their self titled debut album, this was soon followed up by 'Rulin the Earth' in 85, in which these 2 albums were pretty much unheard of. This was up until the band signed to Steamhammer for their next album 'Strike Back' in 86, a decent album that got the attention of international press.

In 88 the band released their finest and sadly last album 'Undercover Animal' also for Steamhammer, which had the vibe of Accept, Judas Priest and was a really great album. Alex then decided to form his own band which have been together since the late 80's and released the debut album in 89 titled 'Wild Obsession' which featured bassist Volker Krawczak (who's still in the band) with singer at that time Charlie Huhn, drummer Jorg Michael, and sold pretty well for a debut album.

Alex Rudi Pell has released 18 previous studio albums and 1 live album along with 4 live DVD's. Alex has seen singers like Rob Rock, Jeff Scott Soto, and in 91 long time singer Johnny Gioeli joined the band, who had worked with Heartline and still continues to do so to this day. Johnny's vocals fit in well with this band, mixing the likes of Deep Purple/ Rainbow feel of the 70s/80's really does work well for this band. Long time drummer Mike Terrana quit the band and his replacement was former Black Sabbath drummer Bobby Rondinelli who recorded this new album 'Game of Sin's 2016 & 'Knights Call'.

Now that this albums sees the next chapter in the band history this is a pretty decent album to say the least, having captured the magic of bands inspirational music of the 70/80's which works really well. These guys are not going to change their music and why should they? This album features 10 hard rocking tunes that were produced by Alex Rudi Pell the overall sound is clean crisp and packs a punch. Some great tunes here, and if you listen too the album with you're eyes close you would think your listening too Deep Purple, Dio, Rainbow.

Songs to check out are: The wild and the Young, Wildest Dreams (sounds like Black Knight), Long live Rock, The crusaders of Doom, Beyond the Light, Tower of Babylon. A good solid album by a band that just keeps on going from strength to strength.

Michael Schenker Fest       "Resurrection"      Nuclear Blast     ****      

Another legend here, this time it's former UFO/ Scorpions guitar wizard 'Michael Schenker' has he returns with his new album 'Resurrection' which has just been released through Nuclear Blast. Michael has done some of the most influential albums that a lot of guitarist admire and have come to love his style.

Having recorded the 1st Scorpions album 'Lonesome Crow' in 72, 'Fly to the Rainbow' and 'Love Drive' he left the band to join UFO and recorded 9 albums with them before forming M.S.G. and released 13 albums in total. Solo albums also followed and his last project 'Temple of Rock' which saw him supporting Judas Priest in Europe and the UK. This band also featured Doogie White (Yngwie/ Cornerstone) as front man who is a great singer and has also contributed to this new album.

This album 'Resurrection' features some of the finest Hard Rock singers from the 80's, and if you saw the last tour you will know who I am talking about. Yes Graham Bonnet (Rainbow/ Alcatrazz/ Impellitteri), Robin McAuley, Gary Barden, all played on the last European and UK tour and what a great gig that was. This album sees on 3 with Doogie White 4 in total working harder than ever and all 4 singer work well really well, as they all know their parts they have to sing on and it does work well.

As for the music, this is Michaels finest work in my opinion, some fine songs here with catchy melodies that work well and the arrangements are spot on. You really can't fault this album it has some fine tunes and awesome vocals by all 4 vocalists. The album was co- produced by Michael Voss (Mad Max), who is well known for producing melodic Rock and doing a fine job as this album has a solid production along with Michael Schenker. 

The album comes with 12 catchy riffing songs and the opening song 'Resurrection' is a great opener that has lots of double bass drumming and could almost be a Power Metal song, I really like this. Having Doogie as the 4th singer has certainly made this album well worth listening too, he contribution is 2nd to none. All 4 singer shine on this release and the playing is tight and solid.

Songs to check out are: Resurrection, Warrior, Night Moods, The girl with the stars in her Eyes, Everest, Time know when it's Time, Anchors Away, are the songs you need to check out. The cover for the album isn't anything original it's been done a few times but it's still a decent  cover and would look good as a t shirt. A fine Hard Rock album by a bunch of fine musicians and vocalist. Buy today if this is your thing.

FM      "Atomic Generation"      Frontiers       ****       

Melodic British rocker's 'FM' continue to make good quality music ever since their debut album 'Indiscreet' in 86, an album that shook the UK with their melodic AOR style of Rock that certainly gave British Rock a good game as this album had some fine tunes and the hit single 'Frozen Heart' & 'That Girl'. The band was put together by former Diamond Head bassist Merv Goldsworthy who recorded 'Canterbury' before forming FM with singer & guitarist Steve Overland , who has a fantastic voice and certainly suited for the type of music that FM have created. He kind of reminds me of Terry Brock 'Strangeways'. 

The band also featured back in their early stages Steve's brother Chris Overland (guitars) with keyboard wizard Didge Digital and drummer Pete Jupp who kind of looks like Jeremy Clarkson (sorry to say that he just does). The debut album certainly got a lot of support by fans and their label back then 'Portrait'. 

Next came their next album 'Tough it Out' released in 89 released on Epic. This album saw classic cuts like 'Bad Luck' and 'Tough it Out', which seemed to the bands classic cuts with promo videos.

The band hanged line up changes with Chris leaving been replaced by Andy Barnett for the next 3 albums. He was replaced by Jim Kirkpatrick who is still in the band. Only other member to leave was Didge who was replaced by Tony Mitman and later on Jem Davis. With the band going from strength to strength playing classic Rock/ AOR this band just keep on churning out classic tunes and songs, and are one of the top British bands playing this type of music.

This album follows up the bands last album ' Heroes and Villain ' and features 11 very well arranged songs of pure melodic Hard Rock that will surely please any fan of this type of music and if you like the bands last album then you will like this I am sure of this. Not sure who produced the album, I am guessing it was the band who had done a fine job, making all the instruments shine through and the vocals are on top form. Steve is a great singer and this album shows just how strong his vocals are on this record.

Songs on the album you need to hear are: Black Magic (not a Slayer song), Too much of a good Thing, In it for the Money, Golden Days, Playing tricks on Me (kind of reminds me of a Glenn Hughes style song), Do you love me Enough, Stronger, are the strongest of songs on the album. A pretty good album by a band who know how to create good solid AOR music.

Loudness       "Rise To Glory"     Ear Music      ****       

Japan's finest metal act 'Loudness' return with their new album 'Rise to Glory' through Ear Music in Europe. This band were formed back in 81 by guitarist Akira Takasaki after recording demos met drummer Munetaka Higuchi (who last on sadly passed away) and bassist Hiroyuki Tanaka, but Hiroyuki left the band and was replaced by Masayoshi Yamashita and front man Minoru Niihara and the band recorded their debut album 'The Birthday Eve' back in 81 in Japanese. 

With the debut finally released and receiving positive reviews in Japan it wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Devil Solider' in 82, again also in Japanese and this would continue up until the album 'Disillusion' in 84 released through Music For Nations (Metallica/ Anthrax) label and this was the turning point were the band had to re-release this album with English lyrics. Next came 'Thunder in the East' in 85, the band's finest album in my opinion, great catchy tunes and some great vocals. Sadly vocalist Minour was fired from the band and reaplced by American singer Mike Vescera (Obsession) for the album 'Soldier of Fortune' in 86, when the band went for a more commercial approach.

Now the band return in later years with original singer and drummer Masayuki Suzuki who joined the band back in 88. Now the band are back and doing really well, it has been 2 yrs since the last album 'Samara Flight' in 2016 and this album sees the band ever moving forward having their typical Loudness sound, especially with Akira sound and tone and he has become one of the top guitarist world-wide. 

This album is a really good album that packs a bunch from start to finish and having seen the band twice last year (Germany & UK) I know just how good they are as a tight band. 

This album comes with 12 bad ass songs, typical Loudness style with some up tempo tunes, some at times have that thrash sound and blends in well with the music and vocals, pounding drums here and there. The album was produced by the band and have done a fine job making all the instruments shine through and vocalist Minoru has done a fine job. Akira guitar solos are what makes Loudness as a band, crazy and very riff orientated. Songs on the album to check out are: Soul on Fire, I'm still Alive (a nice thrash feeling song), Go for Broke, Until I see the Light, The Voice, Massive Tornado, Why and for Whom, No Limits Rain.

A decent album by a band that has been around for many years and still delivers good quality 80's style Metal they way it should be done.

Mystic Prophecy         "Uncovered"      Massacre     ***       

Mystic Prophecy are no strangers to the underground metal scene, having formed back in 2000 when front man R.D. Liapakis was once the front man for German metal act 'Valleys Eve' with guitarist Martin Albrecht decided to form this band  who also included Gus G (Firewind) who had been introduced by David Chastain. The 3 met and pretty much hit it off, and started to write material together, and it wasn't long before the musicians knew there was something of interesting that was been made in their writing.

In 2001 the band recorded their debut album 'Vengeance' through Nuclear Blast with drummer Dennis Ekdahl, these 4 musicians impressed both fans and press with their heavy riffing Power Metal. This was just the beginning of the band, and in 2003 the band released their 2nd album 'Regressus' also for Nuclear Blast, which this album saw the band growing stronger and writing more quality songs.  2004 saw the band release their next album 'Never Ending', this would be Gus G last album as he moved on with Firewind and Dream Evil.

His replacement came in the form of Martin Grimm and 2nd guitarist Markus Pohl and new drummer Mattias Straub for 'Savage Soul' album released in 2006 through new label Massacre. The band have gone from strength to strength and have released 9 studio albums and this new cover's album featuring some interesting covers, some I have heard the originals by some I have not, but it's all good fun.

The bands last album 'War Brigade' was a truly heavy Power Metal album but certainly kept the melodic elements and fine vocals by R.D.. The current line up consists of Markus Pohl, Joey Roxx (bass), Hanno Kerstan (drums) Even K (guitars). The band have had a few line-up changes in the last decade but I am sure they have the perfect line up now.

This album was produced by R.D. and mixed by Fredrik Nordstrom (Dream Evil) in which the production is strong and the songs well I'm not too sure it's a good idea but I'm not sure if I like some of the songs, I think it's one of those album that grew on you. There's nothing wrong with having an idea like this and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. I think the band may of picked same tricky songs to attempt which it depends may of worked out great or maybe not, depending on how you approach the song. One thing is for sure, it's a great album cover, funny to look at and impressive.

Songs that I do like are: You keep me hanging On (Kim Wilde), Hot Stuff (Donna Summers), Shadow on the Wall (Mike Oldfield), Because the Night (Patti Smith), Get it On (T Rex), Tokyo (Tokyo), The Stroke (Billy Squier). Not bad it may take you a few listens to get into this album. Good try guys.

Borealis          "The Offering"      AFM      ****        

Canadian Progressive metal act 'Borealis' return with their new album 'The Offering', the bands 4th album believe it or not. The band were formed back in 2005 and recorded their 1std demo in 2006 'Eyes of a Dream', which was soon reviewed by local press and national press. Originally formed with female fronted singer Siobham O'Brian who handled the operatic vocals recorded the demo but soon left leaving the vocals to be handled by Matt Marinelli who also handled the guitar along with bassist Jamie Smith, keyboards by Sean Werlick and drums by Sean Dowell would continue and record the bands debut album 'World of Silence' in 2008.

Next came the bands 2nd album after rave reviews in the name of 'Fall from Grace' in 2011 released through Lion Music out of Finland, this was a label that the band really needed backing from, and the reviews came back strong and positive. and the band added 2nd guitarist Ken Fobert. 

Next came 'Purgatory' in 2015 for new label at that time AFM who the band are still signed to. This label pushed the band and the music became more Progressive and technical. Great reviews for this album certainly made the label wanting to keep them. This album saw Ken leave and his replacement came from Michael Briguglio.

The label AFM decent to reissue the bands debut album as it was hard to find and is now available world-wide. Now the band return with this new stunning album 'The Offering', an album that reminds me a little bit of Evergrey, even though this band hail from Canada whereas Evergrey are Swedish their seems to be a resemblance both musically and vocally and there's nothing wrong with that. This album has a great production, catchy tunes and with some impressive playing. Produced by Sean Dowell who has done a fantastic job at 'Sanctuary Studios' with the artwork done by Stan W.Decker, great artwork as usual.

This album comes with 12 tracks that also have a hint of Kamelot with some vocal arrangements reminding me of Russell Alan (Symphony X), so if you like these bands then this album really is for you. I love Progressive Metal, so many great musicians that know how to play. I am sure the band will be touring Europe soon, hopefully the UK at some point too.

Songs to check out are: The fire between Us, Sign of no Return, The Offering, River, The devils Hand, Into the Light, The Path, Forever Lost. A decent album for all fans of good quality Progressive Metal, Evergrey, Symphony X are surely going to love this album.

Saxon        "Thunderbolt"       SLM     *****      

England's God's of thunder and metal return with their new stunning album 'Thunderbolt', the band's 22nd studio album. Having formed back in South Yorkshire (UK) back in 77 (Barnsley) founder member 'Peter' Biff Byford (vocals) and Paul Quinn (guitars) remain as the 2 original members since the early days of 'Son of a Bitch', the bands original name. This band were formed with ex Saxon guitarist Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson (bass) along with Pete Gill (drums).

The band are known for their classic albums such as 'Denim & Leather', 'Strong arm of the Law', and of course 'Wheels of Steel', which saw the band on such popular UK shows as 'Top of the Pops' with the band's classic song 'And the bands played On', '747 - Strangers in the Night' and 'Princess of the Night'.

The band have certainly kept up with the times and kept their true identity with their classic Saxon sound that were have all come to know and love, a distinct sound of the guitar's and Biff's screaming vocals is something that all Saxon fans have come to love. The band have just stronger and stronger with each album and since 'Dogs of War' become a heavier band. Yes the bad have kept true to their own sound but have added more Power Metal elements which in Saxon's case has certainly done them justice.

When you listen to such albums as 'Metal Head', 'Sacrifice', or the band's last album 'Battering Ram' you can certainly hear how heavier they are now. Even back in the day songs like 'Heavy Metal Thunder' has some kick ass riffs and pounding drums. Now the band are back and hitting harder than ever with this stunning new album 'Thunderbolt', which was once again produced by Andy Sneap (Hell/ Sabbat) handling the production and mix, and yet again has really done the album justice, he's a great producer and Saxon's album shine through with the power & glory.

This album comes with 12 songs, 1 of which is a raw version of 'Nosferatu'. Still a powerful album that is dedicated to Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) in which they wrote a song about him and Motorhead titled 'They played Rock & Roll', a fantastic tribute to Motorhead indeed, it has all the elements of Saxon meets Motorhead.

Saxon are one of the few bands that have not broke up and have intensions of doing so, creating powerful yet energetic music that keeps the wheel on turning and this album proves just that. There's not one bad song on the album, a superb album from start to finish. There is a however a great song that resembles Black Sabbath's 'Heaven & Hell' somewhat with the bass and drum patterns only in certain places, this been 'Sons of Odin', a great song love the riffs and choruses. Biff singing this really well and the song in general has some fine riffs and playing, one that I can't stop playing.

Other songs on the album to check out are: Thunderbolt, The secret of Flight', 'Nosferatu', 'They played Rock & Roll', 'Sons of Odin', 'Sniper', 'A wizards Tale', 'Speed Merchants' and the song dedicated to their crew 'Roadies Song'. A fine album, check the band out in the UK in February and on tour in the U.S. with Judas Priest in March. Come on Saxon's fans let me 'Feel you Power and the Glory'.

Iron Angel      "Hellbound"        Mighty Music    ***         

German Speed Metal merchant's 'Iron Angel' were a band in the mid 80's that made a classic album 'Hellish Crossfire' which was released through Steamhammer/ SPV in 85 and I remember this album well. It was a fantastic debut that packed a punch and I still own the LP to this date. I 1st discovered the band on a album which Music for Nations released 'Speed Metal -II' which is still own too, this album has some really good bands on it and if you hadn't heard them it was a great opening for all acts to be heard.

Having heard just one song I rushed out and bought the 'Hellish Crossfire' album, which totally blow me away, from start to finish this album has some fine songs and great German Speed Metal. This was followed up by the bands 2nd album also for SPV 'Winds of War' in 86, an album that wasn't so successful or had the punch that the debut had, but still a decent album.

Sadly the band were dropped and they tried to carry on making demos and some live LP's albums, but nothing really took off for the band. In later years the band reformed and were asked to play such festivals as 'Headbangers Open Air', 'Metal Magic Festival' between 2015-16, this saw the band playing classic tunes and some new songs and later on show interest in the label Mighty Music from Denmark.

With the band having original singer Dirk Schroder handling the vocals once again with new members Robert Altenbach & Mischi Meyer (both on guitars) with bassist Didy Mackel and drummer Max Behr to complete the new line up for 2018. it's always good to see an ld band reform and like any band that reforms there is always time for improvement.

This new album is pretty good, songs are not bad but could be better whereas the production lacks a little strength and power but all this can be improved with the bands next album if they can survive this release. Don't get me wrong it's a pretty cool album but it's not going to be sadly 'Hellish Crossfire' (If only). I'd certainly like to see them live just for the early stuff and I am sure the new songs will come across better live.

The album was recorded at Rosenquarz studios in Lubeck (Germany) were 10 would be recorded. They have still kept their Speed Metal influenced that remind me of Accept meet Running Wild, and seems to work well for the band. Like I said the production could of been better and the songs too, but it's early stages of the bands reformation and I am sure they will get the justice they deserve for the next album.

Vocal's are not as good as they use to be but like I said Dirk has the time to adapt to the old school vocals that he use to do, time will tell. Songs to check out are: Carnivore Flashback, Deliverance in Black, Hellbound, Judgment Day, Purist of Sins. Not the greatest of albums sadly but I do hope they hit back harder than ever on the next album, time will tell.

Machine Head      "Catharsis"      Nuclear Blast     ****        

Machine Head is the band that came out of the ashes of Vio-Lance, an 80's Thrash band that made a name for themselves with their debut album 'Eternal Nightmare' which was a brutal debut, in which the band did in total 3 albums. Robb Flynn was once with Thrash band 'Forbidden Evil'. who later on became 'Forbidden' before Vio-Lence formed and in later years formed what is now 'Machine Head', the name which came from a Deep Purple album.

Robb met bassist Adam Duce, guitarist Logan Mader, Tony Costanza (drums) who was later on replaced by Chris Kontos in which the band recorded demos (one of which I own) which was sent to Roadrunner Recorded and the band were soon picked up for their debut album 'Burn my Eyes' a great debut very powerful and angry in the song writing. The bands anthem was soon called 'Old', just like Judas Priest have 'Breaking the Law'. This debut album was them playing Europe's biggest metal festival at that time 'Dynamo' in Holland in which I attended back in 95. A great solid album what was going to be hard to beat.

Next came 'The more things Change' in 97, another good album but didn't capture the strength of the bands debut, but was still packed full of energy. They did however, go through a bad and dark patch with albums 'The Burning Red' with the music slightly changing and with members Ahrue Luster (guitars) been added and Logan gone, the atmosphere had changed within the band. Dave MaClain (drums) joined the band on their 2nd album, former Sacred Reich/ Murder Car member.

In later years old friend Phil Demmel (ex Vio-Lence) teamed up with Robb and joined Machine Head for 'Through the ashes of Empire' in 2003, a great and powerful album something the band needed. In later years Adam left the band and was replaced by Jared MacEachen for the album 'Bloodstone & Diamonds'.

Now the band return with their 9th album 'Catharsis', after a long time touring for their last album it was time to hit the studio and record this new album. Great production which was handled by Robb with Zack Ohren, and have certainly done a fine job making all the instruments shine through.

I feel that Robb has a certain feel of Corey from Slipknot in his vocals, something which is great for a modern style Thrash band. Machine Head are Machine Head and the youth of today love their music, I like early Machine Head, but the band are going strong and still a major influence to today's metal scene.

Songs that I don't mind are: Volatile, Beyond the Pale, California Bleeding, Kaleidoscope, Screaming at the Sun, Behind a Mask, Razorblade Smile. Killer album and well worth see in live. Can't deny that there an awesome band live, packed full of energy and well worth see in live.

Salem        "Attrition"     Dissonance       ***        

Local band Salem from Hull (UK) return with their new album and I have to say is a damn good album. Having been around since the 198#79 out of the ashes of another local band 'Ethel the Frog' with 2 original members from the bands stage 1 of the band still remain, these been Adrian Jenkingson (bass), Paul Macnamara (guitars) with Paul Tognola , Paul Conyers Ricky Squires, Oli Davis. 

In the early 80's vocalist Simon Saxby joined the band with drummer Paul Mendham, and in later years Mark Allison joined the band. The band recorded their debut single which I still own 'Cold as Steel' in 82, a damn good song that was certainly been talked about locally and it wasn't long before the word got out of Hull and the band seemed to be getting interests from labels and some decent support slots soon came.

The song 'Reach for Eternity' was also another well known track that also received some excellent reviews. Sadly the band broke up before getting a record deal. In 2009 guitarist Paul was approached by German label Pure Steel Records, to release the bands early material titled 'In the Beginning' in 2013, this was something that the band needed and in Europe the fans loved that they heard. An album full of unreleased songs and 7"s certainly made them noticed in later years. The label saw potential in the band and offered them a deal to reform and record a new album. This came under the title 'Forgotten Dreams' in 2013 released through Pure Rock, a great start to what is now.

In 2016 the band released their next album 'Dark Days' also through Pure Steel, a great album that saw the band hitting Europe and places like Greece on tour, the fans over their love their music and there growing with each album and I'm really happy for them. Next came 'Attrition' in 2018, another step forward for the band, and it's a pretty decent album, some classic 80's style metal here and a couple of songs that could of been better and could of been a little more up tempo, a little more variation wouldn't go a miss. Don't get me wrong there a great band that have certainly been one of the underdogs of the 'N.W.O.B.H.M.' and yes there's always time for improvement.

There's some really cool songs on the album too, a decent 80's style production which gives it that extra touch. Songs to check out are: Attrition, Black & White, Lest we Forget, My only Son, Sights of Wonder, Taking Control, We r Godz, Warning Signs. A decent album and I'd like to hear a couple more up tempo songs but still a good album, a band that remind me of Picture from Holland, now that would be a great tour for both bands together. 

Mike LePond's  Silent Assassins       "Pawn & Prophecy"      Frontiers     ****     

Some of you maybe familiar with Mike's previous work such bands or projects such as Distant Thunder, Seven Witches, Mind Maze, Them and of course Symphony X, the band he has been with for so many years. What a great bass player too, playing both solid and technical ad one of the best Progressive Metal bass players out there.

Mike has done some great albums in the past and this album also sees his work to a new level, playing more aggressive Power Metal with fellow friend Alan Tecchio (Hades/ Seven Witches/ Watchtower) ere who is a great singer and a great addition to this new album, with his powerful vocals and high screams Mike has picked the perfect singer for this album.

The band have recorded 2 albums to date, their debut was released in 2014 through Moonlight Productions and did really well and also featured Alan on vocals with Metal Mike (Halford) on guitar, Mike Romeo (guitars/ keyboards) and drum programming. The album was produced by Mike himself.

This new album is also Power Metal, and has more of an attitude and has some great songs, especially the song 'Avengers of Eden' which is a right treat for fans of early Exciter 'HM Maniac' or 'Violence & Force', it just has the vibe of old school Exciter, love it!! Alan nails it too and the music says it all.

This album does have some cool melodic stuff too and like I said hints of early Exciter or Motorhead. I think Mike has gone for that Lemmy and Alan bass sound and it works well for this album. The album also features Mike Romeo who handled the drum programming again, strange that there's no drummer on the album? Something that they could of had and there plenty of great metal drummers out there. Guitars are handled by Mike Romeo, Lance Barnewold, Rod Rivera, and Andry Lagiou to complete the line with keyboards by Mike Pinella.

Nice production here, as you would imagine, some good tunes with lots of melody hooks, some up temps Power Metal, some old school like Priest which works well for the band. Songs on the album to check out are: Masters of the Hall, Antichrist, Avengers of Eden, Hordes of Fire, and Pawn the Prophecy. A decent 2nd album, I just hope they have a drummer on the next album, still a good album.

Sebastien     "Act Of Creation"       Pride & Joy Music      ****      

Sebastien are a band formed in Czech Republic back in 2008 by George Rain (vocals/ guitars) but originally called 'Calypso' in the year of 1999 and later changed to 'Navar'. In 2009 George called the name of the band and the band released their debut album 'Tears of the White Roses' in 2010 which was released through Escape Music with producer Roland Grapow (Masterplan) handling the recording.

This album featured George with Andy Mons (guitars), Petri Skalainen (bass) with former drummer Redek Rain and former keyboardist Victor Mazanek and this debut album had some great guest appearances by Apollo (ex Firewind), Fabio (Rhapsody of Fire), Mike DiMeo (ex Riot), Tore Morten (ex Jorn), Doogie White (Temple of Rock), & Roland Grapow. I really need to hear this album as I bet it rocks!!

Next came 'Dark Chambers of Deja Vu' in 2015 also on Escape music and once again Roland Grapow handling the production. This album featured drummer Martin Skaroupka (Masterplan) & keyboard player Pavel Dvorak. This album featured guest vocals by Zac Stevens (ex Savatage) and Tony Martin (ex Black Sabbath) which makes this album even more enjoyable.

Now the band return with this new album 'Act of Creation' released through Pride & Joy records. This album features new drummer Lucas R who is a great addition to the band. The album features 14 songs of pure Symphonic Power Metal which is close to that of bands like Evergrey, Tony Martin (era of Sabbath), Eden Curse all seem to fit well with this bands music. A nice production George Rain & Petri & Andy, of who all 3 have done a great job. This album also features guest singer such as Apollo (ex Firewind), Mayo (Signum Regis), to name a few.

Songs on the album to check out are: Act of Creation, No Destination, Wake Up, Amy, Evermore, Heal my Soul, Promises, Die in Me. A decent album and if you like the band previous albums then I don't know why you won't enjoy this gem too.

Accuser        "The Mastery"      Metal Blade     ****          

German Thrash metal act Accuser return with their new album 'The Mastery' released through Metal Blade, the band's 9th studio album. The band were formed back in the mid 80's having recorded several demos the band released their 1st major release back in 86 when they released 'The Conviction' in 87 through Atom H records the bands debut EP. This was followed by the bands 2nd EP 'Experimental Error' in 87 and the bands full length debut 'Who Dominated Who' in 89, and this was the 1st time I heard and reviewed that record 29 yrs ago.

In 91 the band released their last album for Atom H titled 'Double Talk' before signed to Japanese label Teichiku for the next album 'Repent'. This was followed by 'Reflections' in 94 and the band broke up in 86 only to reform back in 2008 when they released 'Agitation'. The band however signed to Metal Blade and released 'The Forlorn Divide' in 2016. The band consist of original guitarist/ vocals Frank Thoms who has decided to reform and keep the band going strong.

And strong is what this album is, if you like the bands last album 'The Forlorn Divide' then you're going to like this gem, it's certainly better than the previous album even though there's nothing wrong with it. It certainly has all the elements of old school German Thrash, mainly Destruction & Sodom with bands like Exumer and Darkness. So if you like the bands mentioned then this album is for you. Some of you may think there's hints of Bay Area Thrash, and if there are hints of U.S Thrash then there could be the likes of Heathen or Exodus which also works well for the band.

This album has catchy tunes, melodic and heavy and a nice production which is also heard on this record. It comes with 10 trax of pure heavy ripping German Thrash Metal, and they kind of remind me more of Exumer the more I listen too it, a great support act for Exumer or maybe Destruction.

Songs on the album to check out are: Mission Missiles, The real World, Solace in Sorrow, Time for Silence, Catacombs, The Mastery, Into the Black. If you like good old German Thrash metal then look no further thsi album has it all.

Phil Cambell's Bastard Sons     "The Age of Absurdity"     Nuclear Blast      ****     

Phil Cambell is mostly know for his work with the mighty Motorhead, in which Phil joined the band back in 84 after his departure with Welsh rockers 'Persian Risk' a great band indeed. Phil has been Motorhead's longest guitarist and his 1st album with the band would come with 'Orgasmatron' in 85, which was released through GWR, the same label that had Cro-Mags and Sword in which both bands supported Motorhead.

We all know how influential Motorhead were to the rock and metal scene throughout the years and released such classic in the past with their original line up. Phil however has recorded 16 albums with Lemmy and Mikkey Dee (former King Diamond) drummer and now with The Scorpions since Lemmy's passing.

Now Phil is back with his new band 'Bastard Sons', who were formed back in 2016 after Phil had recorded his debut solo album. This new band consists of 3 songs within the band, ToDd (guitars), Dane (drums), Tyla (bass) with singer Neil Starr. It must be cool having 3 sons in you're fan that you have influenced and this album show just that.

Vocalist Neil reminds me of Corey Taylor (Slipknot/ Stone Sour) mainly with his voice of Stone Sour with the music sounding a little like Stone Sour and Black Star Riders meets Motohead of course. it all works really well for the band, young kids meet old that makes the perfect combination of solid hard rock . The band released an EP released through UDR, Motorhead's former label before been picked up by Nuclear Blast.

This debut album features 11 hard hitting and hard rocking tunes, something that Lemmy would certainly prove of and be proud of. Not sure who produced the album as I didn't get much info sadly but the over all sound is good, solid and make the music shine through. Songs on the album to check out are: Ringleader, Skin & Bones, Gypsy Kiss, Welcome to Hell, Dropping like Needles, Step into the Fire. A decent debut that any fan of Motorhead or Stone Sour would like that's for sure.

C.O.C.         "No Cross No Crown"     Nuclear Blast      ****       

North Carolina Doom/ Hardcore band 'C.O.C.' are back with their new album, and what a great album it is. Formed back in 82 by Woody Weatherman (guitars) Reed Mullen (drums), Mike Dean (bass) and Eric Eycke in the beginning when the band released demo tapes and in 84 the band released their debut album 'Eye for an Eye' through 'No Core/ Toxic Shock', which was a raw and savage album of pure Hardcore Punk music. It was an album that kind of reminded me of early D.R.I. and The Boneless Ones. 

The bad would return in 85 with their next album without Eric, and this time Mike would handle the vocals for 'Animosity', released through Metal Blade, for me was the turning point when I really started to get into their music, it was becoming more Hardcore with Doom elements. This was followed by 'Technocracy' in 87, a great EP.

Sadly the band went quiet for some years only to return in about 90, demos were recorded with new line up with Woody, Reed, and new members Carl Agell (vocals), Phil Swisher (bass) and Pepper Keenan (guitar/ vocals) for their next album 'Blind' in 91. This was truly heading for a more Trouble sounding material which was for me amazing as I love Trouble's music. It still captured the C.O.C. sound as well. 

Some fine tours for this album and was sadly the only album with this line-up. Next came 'Deliverance' in 94 when Mike Dean returned and Pepper handled the vocals. The band recorded 5 more albums prior to the new album 'No cross No Crown', with new label Nuclear Blast. This new album sees the band back on form with influences of the 'Blind' album which was a fine album. This album was recorded by John Custer who recorded 'Blind', and the bands albums ever since then. A nice production here of Stoner/ Doom Metal in the vain of Trouble (early  ' The Skull/ Psalm 9)  and Sabbath along with their own style and some Thin Lizzy elements too which all shine through.

The album however comes with 5 intros which is a shame really as the whole album has 14 tracks, like I said 5 intros so 9 are actually songs. The songs that are on the album are really cool and you can hear lots of Trouble in their music, maybe hints of Witchfinder General and Cathedral too. 

Good vocals by Pepper, heavy riffs the way Doom should be played. Songs to check out are: The Luddite, Cast the first Stone, Wolf named Crow, Forgive Me, Nothing left to Say, Old Disaster, E.L.M, A quest to Believe (A call to the Void). A great album back to what I remember of the band, always liked their stuff and this is a good album for 2018.

Voodoo Circle         "Raised On Rock"       AFM       *****       

It's great to see this band record an new album, the bands 5th album. Formed as a project by guitar wizard Alex Beyrodt who is known for his work with Silent Force, Sinner, Primal Fear, who had a vision to form a solid band that would sound similar to that of Deep Purple, rainbow, Whitesnake and in this case Alex has done just that.

When the project (at that time) was formed he also recruited Mat Sinner (Primal Fear/ Sinner) on bass, Simple Minds drummer Mel Gaynor, David Readman (Pink Cream 69) on vocals (A suitable choice & perfect)  and Jimmy Kresic (keyboards) in which their debut album was released in 2008. Fan's and journalists alike were not sure if this would be their only album, but as luck had it the overwhelming response from fans and press was extremely positive and so the project back then recorded their 2nd album 'Broken Heart Syndrome' in 2011, an even better album with strong songs and very well arranged tunes.

It was at that time the musicians knew this was going to be something more than just a project and they soon became a band. With the band's 2nd album been released Mel left the band and returned to Simple Minds, his replacement back then was Markus Kullmann and the band released their 3rd album 'More than one way Home' in 2013 which was followed by 'Whiskey Fingers' in 2015 with new drummer Francesco Jovino (ex UDO) and keyboard player Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline).

Now the band were in their next phase the band were becoming more of a Whitesnake and Deep Purple influenced band, nothing wrong with that, and at time their music was a little too close but still awesome music. Sadly front ma David Readman left the band and concentrated more on Pink Cream 69 who were well over due for a new album. His replacement is now Herbie Langhans (Avantasia) and I am sure that Alessandro recorded the keybaords for this album prior to his departure. 

Recorded by Mat and Alex at Hansen studio with the mixing handled by Jacob Hansen the overall sound is excellent, you can't fault it neither can you with the music despite it sounding close to Whitesnake & Deep Purple. I mean Alex is an outstanding guitar player and certainly has the John Sykes feel to his playing most if the time (nothing wrong with that) with the Richie Blackmore edge. Some of you maybe be a little bit dismayed with David's departure and would be wondering if Herbie would be able to full of those incredible vocals that David has. On 1st listen for me I wasn't too sure and this album took me a few spins with regards to the vocals, music is fine but havig a singer like David leave is a tough roll to take over. 

I do think that Herbie is a good singer and after a few listening I feel he is a good replacement, he has that raspy voice something that David doesn't have. Time will tell with this album, nevertheless this is a good album regardless. Songs to check out are: Running away from Love, Higher Love, Walk on the Line, Just take my Heart (Don't break my heart again), Where is the world we Love (great ballad), Ultimate Sin, Chase me Away, Dreamchaser

If you're a fan of Deep Purple and Whitesnake then you really must hear this album and band. great stuff, wish they would come to the UK.

Magnum         "Lost On The Road To Eternity"      Steamhammer     ****       

One of the UK's legendary rock bands 'Magnum' are a band that have influenced so many artist in the AOR/ Prog Rock area than you think. Formed back in 72 when Bob Catley (vocals) met Tony Clarkin (guitars) along with former drummer Kex Gorin and bassist Bob Doyle. Playing on the local circuit the band soon were noticed by Jet records who also signed Ozzy, and the band released their debut album 'Kingdom of Madness' in 78 with new members Wally Lowe & Dave Morgan (bass) and keyboardist Richard Bailey who also played the flute.

With the debut album released the band had the opportunity to open up for Whitesnake, something the and could not turn down which opened the doorways to bigger and better things. The band also supported Blue Oyster Cult and later on Krokus and Ozzy. Later the band had the opportunity to play Reading Rock festival in 83 (when reading was a good festival).

In total the band have released 20 albums since 78, with a steady line up with Mark Stanaway (keyboards), Bob Catley, Tony Clarkin, Wally Lowe and drummer Mickey Barker. This classic era recorded the likes of 'Vigilante', 'Wings of Heaven', 'Goodnight L.A.', 'On a Story tellers Night', 'Sleepwalker' and many more.

Only surviving members is of course Tony Clarkin and Bob Catley, who is joined by Lee Morris (drums), Al Barrow (bass) and keyboardist Rick Benton. With the band about to release their new album 'Lost on the road to Eternity' to be released through Steamhammer on January 19th. It's great to see a band as old as this band carrying on playing what comes from the heart and Magnum still do it well. Do you have a favourite album by Magnum? For me it's going to have to be 'On a storytellers Night', for me it was a great album that had some fine songs.

Now the band return with their 20th album, an album that still captures the band unique style and magic that the band have had for so many years. This album features 11 studio songs and a bonus live CD featuring 4 bonus songs. The album was produced by Catley and Clarkin and the overall sound is solid, powerful and the songs are catchy and magical the way that Magnum do their songs best. The album also features guest singer Tobias Sammet (Edguy/ Avantasia) in which Bob Catley is also involved with the artwork been done by Rodney Matthews once again. 

Songs on this new album to check out are: Peaches & Cream, Show me your Hands, Storm Baby, Lost on the road to Eternity, Without Love, Forbidden Masquerade Glory to Ashes. A good start to 2018 for album releases. Go see them live supporting Saxon next month. 

Anvil       "Pounding The Pavement"     Steamhammer     *****      

Legendary Canadian band 'Anvil' return with their stunning new album 'Pounding the Pavement', the bands 17th studio album. Formed back in 73 in Toronto when they meet through friends, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow (vocals & guitar) met Robb Reiner (drums) had a vision to form a band that started out as 'Lips', but later on changer their name to 'Anvil' a more suitable name for that is now know by many fans alike.

They soon met up with Dave Allison (guitars) and bassist Ian Dickson and it was in 81 when the band released their debut album 'Hard & Heavy' through Attic records. This was a fine debut that saw the band been recognized by the Canadian press and soon followed world-wide. 82 saw the band released the classic 'Metal on metal' which would be more internationally know for the songs such as 'March of the Crabs', '666' & 'Mortha' (which are still played today), this was followed by 'Forged in Fire' the year I saw and 1st met Anvil supporting Motorhead back in 83, what a fucking awesome gig that was.

The band have had several line up changes especially with bass players in recent years with G5 leaving in 2012  after the release of 'Juggernaut of Justice' and was replaced by Sal Italiano who recorded the album 'Hope in Hell' in 2013, and his replacement is now Chris Robertson who has done 'Anvil is Anvil' and this album 'Pounding the Pavement', a great and crazy bass player.

Anvil are a band like the classic that have stayed true to their own identity without jumping on the bandwagon and why should they? I mean they have influenced the likes of Metallica and still influenced bands of today. With the film 'The Story of Anvil' been released, it has certainly uplifted the bands profile and for me it is the best music documentary to date.

Now Lips, Robb and Chris return with the next album to be released on 19th January 2018 this is yet another classic Anvil release, speed fast and up tempo tunes with the classic mid tempo tunes as well makes this a great album. Lips is on top form with his vocals, whereas Robbs drumming is spot on, pounding away like a crazy animal and Chris's furious bass playing makes this a very exciting album for 2018. I love Lip's guitar sound it's very distinct and easy to recognize. 

Produced by Jorg Uken who has given the band a top production, which is solid and powerful and was recorded at 'Soundlodge Studios' the studio was a wise choice for the album and the overall sound hits hard with lots of fresh ideas. The album comes with 12 track one of which is a bonus track. Songs to check out are: Bitch in the Box, Ego (a typical Anvil up temp song), Doing what I Want, Pounding the Pavement, Rock that Shit, Black Smoke, World of Tomorrow, Warming Up, Don't tell Me (bonus song).

A great album and let's face it, Anvil don't need no egos or changes as this is Anvil from the heart. Look out for a long tour around UK & Europe in February 2018.

Eisley & Goldy        "Blood, Guts & Games"       Frontiers     ***     

Newly signed to Frontiers is a new band or could it be a project you can never tell when 2 musicians come together, this time around it's former Giuffria and ex Dirty White Boys singer David Eisley and former Giuffria / Dio guitarist Craig Coldy who have joined forces once again for this new album.

It's been a while since they worked together so I guess the timing was right, to record this album, some may say why didn't Giuffria reform? Good question, but this is a pretty good album. When I 1st heard the song I thought t was David Reece on vocals, as both David's sound very similar with their vocal range. 

Both great singers and for this type of music either singers would of been great for this album. It's a Hard Rock/ AOR album, I guess Survivor come to mind a little when I hear this album, it's just something about it, I guess some may say Giuffria too.

It's a pretty strong debut and I am sure the next one will be even better as there's always time for improvement. Craig plays all guitars including bass guitar along with David with the aid of drummer Ron Wikso, who had worked with The Storm, David Lee Roth to name a few, in which all 3 musicians have done a decent job on this album.

Musically it's a pretty decent debut with a strong production and decent solid hard rocking songs as you will hear that was produced by both Craig and David and have done a reasonable job. The album comes with 10 trax, which at times has a certain feel of Rainbow when Graham Bonnet was in the band.

Songs on the album to check out are: The heart is a lonely Hunter, I don't belong here Anymore, Lies I can live With, No more prayers in the Night, Love of the Game. Not a bad album, like I said there's time for improvement that can only happen in time. A good strong debut with some powerful vocals and nice melodic music.

Operation Mindcrime     "The New Reality"      Frontiers     **    

Former Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate returns with his new album which is self titled, the follow up to his debut 'The Key' in 2015 and 'Resurrection' in 2016, both of which sold really well. Geoff is one of the top Metal singers along with Halford, RJD, Dickenson and a voice to be reckoned with. Having started his career with a cover band under the name of 'Babylon'  as well as 'Myrth' who released a demo, which can be found on you tube, and later on 'The Mob' who soon became Queensryche.

Mryth would also feature Kelly Gray who also joined Queensryche in later years when Chris DeGarmo, having recorded a couple of album and later on Kelly would join 'Operation Mindcrime'. Geoff however has influenced so many singer over the last 2 decades and still continues to do so, even the like of Todd La Torre would admit to been a fan. 

When you look back at the classic albums Geoff recorded with Queensryche such as 'The Warning' )my favourite album of all time), as well as ' Rage for Order', 'Empire' and pf course 'Operation Mindcrime' he pretty much recorded the best albums.

Now Geoff returns with his new album which features members Tim Fernley & John Moyer (bass), Simon Wright & Brian Tichy (drums), Kelly Gray & Scott Moughton (guitars) and Randy Gane (keyboards) to complete the line up for this album. Not sure who will be on tour with Geoff on drums but I am pretty sure it will be Brian, as the band play the UK early in 2018 and across Europe too. 

This new album sees the band taking an alterative approach, to that of Queensrcyhe who have gone for a more heavier approach and about time too. Sadly Geoff and the band have gone for a more industrial and Seattle sounding, something that Geoff was taking Queensryche towards and sadly it almost broke the band. I respect what Geoff and Operation Mindcrime are trying to do, but for me it just doesn't cut it and I lost interest in his previous band towards the end of their departure.

This album was produced by Kelly and Geoff and the overall production seems to work for the music they are creating. The artwork also reflects the music, it has that industrial feel to it. Songs on the album however seem strange, I guess something new for the band somewhat and still manages to keep that Operation Mindcrime album vibe there from time to time.

I can't really say I like a lot of the songs, a little too blend for me sadly but I am sure most of you will love the album. Geoff is still a great singer and very inspirational to a lot of people including myself but this album just lacks sadly, just my personal opinion. Songs that I don't mind are: Wake me Up, The new Reality, The Wave. Sadly there's too many intro's and when there are vocal songs they come towards the end of the song. A sad but true state of what was great is sadly disappearing. 

Sweet & Lynch        "Unified"        Frontiers     ***    

When project's happen there great and if they manage to record more than 1 album that's an added bonus and in this case Sweet & Lynch have done just that. George Lynch (ex Dokken) met up with Stryper front man and guitarist Michael Sweet to talk about doing a project that not many would of thought would of got off the ground and happily it happened.

George is well known for his previous work with Dokken and his won band 'Lynch Mob' as well as guest appearances he has his own distinct sound that is 2nd to none, just like Michaels guitar sound that Stryper have created, two masterminds come together to create an awesome album. Michael is a fine singer who can sing and also his high notes that makes him one hell of a great singer.

So when the idea came together to create this project people were not sure if it would ever happen and I am glad to say the project released their debut album for Frontiers entitled 'Only to Rise' in 2015 was a fantastic album showing just creative both style can be combined into one and in this case it worked a wonder.

In total George has done 5 studio albums with Dokken, 9 albums with Lynch Mob, where as Michael has done 11 albums with Stryper and 7 solo albums. Stryper are a great band, one of the band's I'd like to see live but sadly never really made it to the UK only the odd time.

Now the 2 have come together once again for this new album 'Unified' which features ex White Lion/ Megadeth bassist James Lomenzo and drummer Brian Itchy (Dead Daises/ ex Whitesnake) to complete this new album. Having a Hard Rock sound this band kind of reminds me of Badlands somewhat, but still capturing some Stryper and Dokken inspirations which works well. 

This album was produced by Michael Sweet, who has done a fine job making all the instruments shine through from start to finish. People would wonder if this band will ever tour, be great if they did. Having played this a couple of times I am not sure if I prefer the debut more, I mean this is a good solid album but the debut seems to of grabbed me more.

Songs on the album that I like are: Promise Land, Afterlife, Make your Mark, Find your Way, Bridge of broken Lies, Live to Die. I have to say that this isn't as good as their debut it lacks a little bit of power, a laid back sadly.

Jeff Scott Soto        "Retribution"       Frontiers       ****    

Jeff Scott Soto is a well known name in Rock & Metal, having started out his career with Yngwie Malmsteen when he recorded the classic albums 'Rising Force' in 84 and 'Marching Out' in 85, both of which had some classic tunes such as 'I'll see the Light Tonight', 'I am a Viking'. Jeff is an descendant from Puerto Rico but moved to the States to peruse his life long dream as a singer and musician. 

Jeff is a very talented singer that has done various projects and tons of melodic Rock/ Metal albums spanning over 2 decades of music. After leaving Yngwie his next break came in the form of 'Talisman' when he met up with Marcel Jacob who later on in life sadly passed away, a fantastic bass player who played like a lead guitarist. Talisman recorded 8 albums of pure melodic and interesting music. Other bands Jeff was involved with were Axel Rudi Pell, Eyes, Takara, Human Clay, W.E.T. and his latest band Son's of Apollo. 

This is Jeff's new album, released through Frontiers, the label that is probably the biggest label for Hard Rock & AOR music. Jeff has his own distinct voice that stands out and if you know you're rock then you will know his voice. He does however do a fantastic job with Sons of Apollo, interesting Prog Metal. This new album sees Jeff doing what he does best, hard but melodic metal with AOR elements.

This album features guitarist's Howie Simon (playing on most of the songs) and handles most of the bass on the album, with exception from August Zandra & Stephan Strum who both play guitar on the song 'Reign Again' along with Paul Mendonca. Drums were handled by Edu Cominto, all of which have done a grand job.

The album features 11 songs for any fan of his previous work, he is without a great singer and I'll like to see him to something with Jorn Lande or David Reedman, now that would be interesting. The production for the album was handled by Jeff and Howie, in which the overall sound is excellent, and why would it not be? This is one of Jeff's best performances, and I'd like to see him live at some point.

Songs on the album you need to check out are: Retribution, Inside Outside, Rage of the Year, Feels like Forever, Last Time, Breakout, Bullet for my Baby. A decent album by a legend of Rock/ melodic Metal, check out this album if you can.

Pink Cream 69      "Headstrong"     Frontiers    *****      

Well it's been a long time since this band recorded an new album, their last release 'Ceremonial' was released back in 2013, and I guess a few of you wondered if the band would ever record a new album. Gladys they have with this epic masterpiece. Formed back in 87 by former singer Andi Deris (Helloween), Dennis Ward (bass) and drummer Kosta Zafiriou, with Alfred Kolller (guitars). The band recorded their debut self titled album back in 89, which was a fantastic debut album ad saw the band sign to Epic (Germany).

With the release of the debut it wasn't long before the band recorded their next album 'One size fits All', which was an even better album for the band, the breaking album that took them to Japan. Vocalist Andi recorded one for album with the band 'Games people Play' in 93, before leaving to front Helloween.

British singer David Reedman from near Manchester would replace Andi, and what a very talented singer he with a very dynamic and powerful voice, something which is very suited for PC69. David recorded this debut album 'Change' in 95 and has done all 9 albums to date. Since David had joined the band the band have added new drummer Chris Schmidt and added additional guitarist Uwe Reitenauer to complete the current line up.

The band have been busy with various projects with David and Dennis, so I guess things have been on hold until now and the wait was certainly worth it. As we all know, Dennis is a fantastic musician and well known producer for melodic metal bands having producer PC69 also helps keep the cost down. The band have certainly progressed since the early days and been away from the scene for a couple of years has certainly made them strong, like a comeback album.

This new album features 10 new studio song and a bonus live CD with some of the bands classic tunes. Production on this album is second to none, solid powerful as you would imagine from Dennis Ward, I just love his drum sound it always has a solid sound that packs a punch.

David's voice is also on top form, a very powerful melodic rock/ metal singer that sings from the heart. Music is awesome too, solid hard hitting melodic Metal and they remind me of Pretty Maids meets Jaded Heart, now these 3 bands on the same tour would be killer!!

Songs to check out on the album are: We bow to None, Walls come Down, Unite & Divine, No more Fear, Man of Sorrow, Path of Destiny, Vagrant of the Night, Whistleblower, been the strongest songs on the album. Welcome back guys I look forward to see in you in the near future hopefully in the UK.

Cannibal Corpse        “Red Before Black”      Metal Blade    *****     

This long over due album is that Death Metal fans have been waiting for, and what a head splattering album is it. It's been 3 years since the bands last release 'A Skeleton Domain'. In total the band have released 13 previous albums and the debut 'Eaten back to life' in 1990 was a pretty gruesome album, a band that writes to shock... Horror Metal!!

Originally formed in Buffalo (NY) back in 88 the band formed from the ashes of 3 local bands 'Tirant Sin' and 'Leviathan' and 'Beyond Death', when members left and hooked up to form this brutal band.

The demos were recorded and sent to various labels. Metal Blade saw the potential and snapped them up, and still to this day the label and band have a fantastic relationship. Various members have come and gone since the bands formation, leaving original drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz and bassist Alex Webster to carry on with George Corpse Grinder, Pat O'Brien, Rob Barrett who have all been in the band for over a decade.

The band have got more technical with very album and despite some of you hating Death Metal you really have to listen too this band to hear just how difficult and how well the songs are structured. Impressive song writing, brutal riffs and pounding drums and gut wrenched vocals makes this one hell of an awesome album, in fact one of their best.

Produced by Eric Rutan (ex Morbid Angel/ Ripping Corpse) guitarist, who has been working as producer with the band since 'Kill' in 2006. The music on this album is way impressive, it's Cannibal Corpse at one of the finest moments, and I love what I am hearing. Fuck this modern shit this is the real deal!!

The album comes with 12 brutal songs not for the faint hearted. What is it that I like about this bands music? Well despite the brutal vocals I love the chug riffing guitars which are so heavy. This album reminds me of a heavier Nasty Savage, another fine band from the 80's. There's just some technicalities that Nasty Savage have that shows in this record, nothing wrong with that both killer bands.

Songs on the album you need to check out are: Code of the Slashers, Corpus Delicti, Firestorm Vengeance, Heads shoved Off, Hideous Ichor, In the midst of Ruin, Only one will Die, Red before Black, Scavenger Consuming Death, Shedding of human Skin.

What can one say about this brutal and impressive album? Nice production, brutal songs and a must for any die hard Death Metal fan.

  Ram           “Rod”    Metal Blade     ****      

Swedish True/ Power/ Speed Metal band 'Ram' return with their new stunning album, and it's a great album for fans like me you appreciate old school metal that still lives in today's metal scene. When I hear bands like this it just takes me back to the mid 80's, bands like Omen, Savage Grace, Liege Lord with a hint of Mercyful Fate and bands of that nature, pleasant on the ears.

Formed back in 1999 by Harry Grangoth (guitars), who later on found ex member Daniel Johansson (guitars) who was later on replaced by Martin Jonsson and later on vocalist Oscar Carlquist and later on drummer Morgan Pettersson and bassist Tobias Pettersson.

Now the band had found themselves it wasn't long before the band recorded demos and a deal with Black Path Metal for the EP 'Sudden Impact' released in 2003. With the EP release fans alike noticed the difference between them and other Swedish bands, which certainly got them noticed a lot quicker.

The bands debut 'Forced Entry' was released in 2005. In 2008 the band released their next album for AFM 'Lightbringer', which got the band more noticed with a well established indie label that knew how to promote the band. Rave reviews saw the band been more noticed.

Now the band have signed to Metal Blade and have released 3 albums for the label and this new album 'Rod' sees the band keeping true to the 80's and playing what they do best. A great young band that play from the heart. Vocals kind of remind me of Savage Grace, Lizzy Borden a little, both good vocalists.

The album comes with 10 songs which were produced by (I can only guess) Per Stalberg and Olle Bjork who once again have done a great job.

Songs to check out are: Declaration of Independence, On wings of no Return, A throne at Midnight, Ignitor, Incarcerating Storm, Ashes. There are however some intros on this record so I guess it's not a full-length album, but still a good release.

Ice Age       “Breaking The Ice”      GMR     ***     

Does anybody remember these girls from the 80's? They appeared in lots of fanzines and magazines but never made much of a impact with record labels sadly. They did get a lot of exposure however, but sadly never grabbed the attention of very few labels. Like their predecessors 'Meanstreak' another female fronted Thrash band that released one album 'Roadkill', which was a good album.

I guess this band from Gothenburg (Sweden) never where at the right place at the right time, this was until now. This 4 piece that features male drummer from Manimal  Andre Holmqvist along with 2 original members Sabrina Kihlstrand (guitars & vocals)and Viki Larsson (bass) and new member Linnea Landstedt (guitars).

Formed back in 85 Sabrina is the only member left from the beginning but soon Vicki joined and the band recorded 4 demos from 86 with the bands debut demo 'Rock Solid', which was followed by 'General Alert' 87, '88' and in 89 'Instant Justice'.

So what did the girls do after the break up? Good question, I guess family life but not sure. For some reason the girls decided to reform and their must have been some demand for them to reform and try to make a record, which is a good thing as some of you would of never heard their demos. This is a good introduction to what is yet to come. I do feel that the guitars could have had a heavier sound which could of made the album a little more interesting.

Judging by the songs, they seem to be re-recorded songs from the 80's which have finally seen the light of day. Of course they would have been re-arranged and made more solid. It is good however to see them finally record old songs for the 1st time. Sabrina's voice is good and the music kind of reminds me of a thrash version of Rock Goddess (they would make a great touring team).

This album comes with 10 pretty cool power/ thrashing songs that should be check out. Songs you must hear are: Fleet Street, Hell or Nothing, General Alert, Instant Justice, Breaking the Ice, Total Collapse, No need to Bleed, A case of Cerebral Death.

A pretty good debut which has finally seen the light of day. Check it out some good music and vocals here.

Destruction       “Thrash Anthems II”     Nuclear Blast    ****      

German Thrash Demi-Gods return with their new album, a collaboration of some of the bands early work. This is the 2nd album that Destruction have done, the 1st was released through AFM and featured some of the band later material from 'Infernal Overkill' up until 'Release from Agony' album. This was a great album which was recorded with today's technology and worked really well for the band. Saxon did the same with 'Heavy Metal Thunder' and that was a great album too.

Now this powerful trio have decided to re-record some of the band's even earlier material to give the fans something special and reflect on the bands early material with a fresh new sound. This album sees the band looking back to the days of such records as 'Sentence of Death' EP right up to the albums such as 'Infernal Overkill', 'Eternal Devastation' era, which is all classic stuff.

Both Schmier and Mike remain the main members with current drummer Wawrzyniec Dramowicz have recorded since 'Day of Reckoning' released in 2011 through Nuclear Blast. In total the band have recorded 3 previous albums together with this line up and a total of 14 releases with or without Schmier.

There one of the finest German Thrash bands along side Kreator and Sodom, these 3 bands opened the doors for so many bands and to be honest German thrash is more brutal the U.S. Thrash.

I guess making such an album like this must have been hard to some description having to work out what are the best songs to choose from with the band having such a big back catalogue of music.

I guess this could be the last one for a while for the 'Thrash Anthems' as the band will be righting new material for the next album. So we have 11 songs here and any fan of the band would love to hear the reworked songs that appear on this record.

Tunes of this record are: Confused Mind, Black Mass, Frontbeast, Dissatisfied Existence, United by Hatred, The Ritual, Black Death, The Antichrist, Confound Games, Ripping you off Blind, and Satan's Vengeance.

A must for any fan of the band new and old, all good stuff!!

Vigilante    “Terminus of Thoughts”    self financed   ****    

Japanese metal band 'Vigilante' maybe new to some of you, but if you have been following Friday 13th you may remember me reviewing their early albums, which were at one point released through Massacre Records. This band were formed by former 'Hidden' singer Hideaki Niwa singer, the band that were pretty much Japan's answer to Testament and Laaz Rockit, a great band indeed and I had the pleasure of reviewing their demo.

Since the days of 'Hidden' front man Hideaki formed this new band, which are more of a Progressive Power Metal band, a wise move for him. This band were formed back in 88 by Hiroshi Omoto (guitars) in which the bands name came from UK act 'Magnum'. Joining Hideaki and Hiroshi are Kazuaki Horie (guitars), Makoto  Unno (bass) and drummer Shunji Fujino.

This band 1st made their debut album for Massacre records back in 98 with 'Chaos – Pilgrimage' which was a decent album, mixing the likes of Fates Warning, Queensryche that worked well for the band. Having a label from Germany such as Massacre certainly helped with sales but sadly the label never gave the band a chance to tour Europe, something the band really needed. With the debut been released and getting positive reviews it was time for the band to record their 2nd album 'Edge of Time' in 99 also released through Massacre records.

This was sadly the last album for the label but not the end of the band, they continued and released their next album 'thumbnail at you, Master' in 99 and 'Cosmic Intuition' in 2004 and 'IV' in 2008, 'Chaos Vol 1' in 2010 and 'Of insanity and Justice' 2012, and now this new album.

I haven't heard the band since the 2nd album so it's a bit difficult for me to judge how the band have progressed. They still have kept that Fates Warning feel which is great. The band have certainly gone for a darker approach with such bands as Nevermore/ Sanctuary and even Evegrey spring to mind. I am impressive with the vocals, and I feel that Hideaki needs some vocal coaching, he is trying sometimes too hard when he sings high, I can't knock him for trying but a little bit of vocal coaching would help a little. I do understand it must be hard considering he is from Japan trying to singer in English. He could be a really good singer given he works on the high vocals. He has worked with Australian band 'Lord' as guest vocalist for the album 'Ascendance' which needs to be also heard.

Musically this band are awesome musicians, hey deserve to be playing ProgPower in the U.S. And given a chance to be heard. This album features 10 trax of pure magical music, songs on the album are: Architecture of Deception, Your perfect Denial, Hallucination Regime, Waking your Spirit, Elapsed Time, New world Disorder, The ravenous Eyes, Disciples of the Damned, Withered dreams and Dust and 10 Seconds.

A great album, great band that deserve to be heard outside their home country. Give them a blast!!

  Saxon        "Decade Of The Eagle -  Anthology 79-88"   BMG     *****       

The might Saxon are legends, one of the godfathers of true N.W.O.B.H.M. up there with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath & Motorhead, having been one of the most influential bands that have set the likes of Metallica,  Megadeth, and many more Thrash bands in the mid 80's and if it wasn't for the likes of Saxon then most of the Thrash bands of today would not exist. When you listen too the likes of 'Heavy Metal Thunder' which pretty much could be a thrash anthem for bands of today it doesn't take long to understand why Saxon are a legend band in their own right.

Formed back in South Yorkshire UK in 77 under the name of 'Son of a Bitch', releasing demos and were soon picked up by French label Carrere A sub label to EMI the label wanted them to change their name to 'Saxon' which seem more appropriate. It wasn't long before the band recorded and released their self titled album in 79 with front man Biff Byford (vocals), Paul Quinn (guitars), Graham Oliver (guitars) Steve Dawson (bass) and drummer Pete Gill. This band were soon supporting some well known acts in and around Europe with Motorhead.

Saxon released 4 albums with this line-up, with Pete Gill leaving his replacement was Nigel Glockler who recorded the next 4 albums only to return in later years for the album album 'Solid ball of Rock' in 91. Nigel left the band again in 91 after 'Solid Ball of Rock'. In later years Steve left the band and Graham to be replaced by Tim 'Nibbs' Carter (bass) and Doug Scarratt (guitars) and this is when the band really started for me to create some incredible music, more power almost having Power Metal elements but still being very British and still being very Saxon. 

Saxon have always been one of my main influences as a kid from the tender age of 10, I have followed and listened too their music throughout the years. Biff has an incredible voice that is distinct and with Paul and Doug on guitars they have a sound of their own, as soon as you hear the 1st few chords you know it's Saxon.

Having success in the early days of 'Top of the Pop's a UK music program and  playing the very 1st Monsters of Rock in 1980 the band hit the stage and play hard leaving you wanting more. Saxon are the demi-gods of British metal having sold millions of albums and gained new and old fans alike. 

This album is pretty much a collaboration of some of the bands finest songs from the early to mid 90's , a must for any fan wishes to hear them for the 1st time, this album pretty much covers the bands classics from 'Saxon' 1979 right up until 88 with 'Destiny'. What you have hear is  34 Heavy Metal thundering songs with all the bands classic hits and more, 3 of which are live songs which -are '20.000ft' and 'Fire in the Sky', 'Motorcycle Man'.

Other classic include: 747 Strangers in the Night, Strong arm of the Law, Dallas 1pm, And the bands played On, Denim & Leather, Princess of the Night, Power and the Glory, The Eagle has Landed, just to name a few there some great tunes here that most Saxon compilations won't feature. If you're going to buy a Saxon compilation album make sure this is the one for your collection, for new fans this is a must. 

Long live Saxon and let the crusade begin. Let me hear your Heavy Metal Thunder!!!

Communic       "Where Echoes Gather"      AFM     *****      

Norwegian Progressive Power Metal act 'Communic' return with their new long over due album 'Where Echoes Gather', the bands 5th album with the debut 'Conspiracy in Mind' released back in 2005 through Nuclear Blast. This power trio consisting of vocalist & singer Oddlief Stensland, bassist Erik Morstensen and drummer Tor Atle Andersen have been making music together since 2003 as a side project that soon became a band.

With the debut album been released this Danish band soon received excellent reviews from myself and other well know Fanzines/ Webzine and Magazines around Europe. The band soon became more than just a band but a statue for Norwegian Progressive Metal bands along side Pagan's Mind. Having a sound that comes close to that of Psychotic Waltz meets Nevermore really works well for this band and any band that wish to combine the two together.

With the impressive vocals of Oddlief which sound at times like Warrel Dane (Nevermore/ Sanctuary) and the music at times sounding like Psychotic Waltz in their early days this is what I call classic and very impressive metal. Having seen the band live twice I know what they are capable of, to deliver quality music to the masses. It's not every often you get to hear a band that only consists of 3 members playing such impressive Progressive Metal so I really do respect this band.

The band released their 2nd album 'Waves of visual Decay' in 2006, which was followed up by Payment of Existence' in 2008, followed by 'The bottom Deep' in 2011, all released through Nuclear Blast. Now the band return with this new impressive album that still captures the spirit of the bands early sound, technical and diverse music which makes this a more enjoyable album. 

Produced by Endre Kirkesola and Oddlief and mixed by Eike Freese, the over all sound is excellent, with the drums pounding and the bass guitar packing punch and the guitars having a heavy sound makes the music more enjoyable. 

Songs to check out are: The pulse of the Earth..Pt1, Pt.2, Where echoes Gather Pt1 & 2, Moondance, Where history Lives, Black flag of Hate, The claws of the Sea. This is a great concept album, and if you like the bands mentioned in the review then you will love this epic album, welcome back guys!!

Power Quest       "Sixth Dimension"      Inner Wound     ****   

British Symphonic Metal act 'Power Quest' are no strangers to the underground scene, with a brainchild been Steve Williams who formed the band back in 2001 when Steve was once in the band back then known as 'Dragon Heart' but soon changed their name to 'Dragon Force' along with Steve Scott (ex Dragon Heart and Shadowkeep) decided to form 'Power Quest'. They later on found recruited also ex dragon heart guitarist Sam Totman and Andy Bickers and ZP Theart. 

Demos were recorded with former drummers and it was one of their demos that got into the hands of Italian label 'Underground Symphony' Records to which they released the bands debut album 'Wings of Forever' in 2002 with Alessio Garavello on vocal duties and a drum machine program handling the drum tracks. With the debut firmly released and receiving positive feedback from the press it wasn't long before the band released 'Neverworld' in 2003 through Now & Then records based in the UK.

The band released 5 albums up until 2011 when Steve put the band on hold to join Eden's Curse, in which he recorded 'Symphony of Sin' in 2013, a fine album indeed. Steve left the band to reform Power Quest in 2016 with drummer Rich Smith, Paul Finnie (bass), Andy Kopczyk & Glyn Williams (both on guitar) and singer Ashley Edison for the next chapter been 'Face the Raven' which was an EP.

Now the band have finally released this new album 'Sixth Dimension' through Inner Wound records from Sweden. This album sees the band follow their dreams and takes you to the next dimension through a journey that will inspire you. Produced by Alessio Garavello and mixed by Alessio and Steve Williams with the mastereing by Jens Borgen (Dragonforce, Symphony X, Arch Enemy) the overall sound packs a punch and the band are on top form and hungry as ever. 

Artwork was handled by Felipe Machado (Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Rhapsody of Fire). Ashley's vocals are on top form so are the guitarist delivering some fine riffs and with Steve keyboard wizardry makes the album non stop atmospheric , not too mention Rich's pounding drums.

Songs on the album you should check out are: Lords of Tomorrow, Starlight City, Face the Raven, No more Heroes, Revolution Fighters, Pray for the Day & The Sixth Dimension. Catch the band on tour in the next coming week around the UK and maybe Europe.

Sorcerer     "The Crowning of The Fire King"       Metal Blade     ****   

Swedish Epic Doom Metal band return with their new album 'The Crowning of the fire King' the bands 2nd album with the band's debut album 'In the shadows of the inverted Cross' which was released in 2015 also through Metal Blade. The band were formed back in 88 by Johnny Hagel (bass) known for his work with Tiamat/ Sundown, along with Tommy Karlsson (drums) who quit the band in later years. 

The bands current line up now is Andy Engberg (vocals) Section A/ Twilight/ Lions Share who is a great singer, loved his work with his previous bands. Also in the band is Kristian Niemann (guitars) Peter Hallgren (guitars), and Robert Iversen (drums). I guess you could say it's typical Swedish Doom somewhat, yes it's going to have a certain element of Candlemass (Sweden's Doom Gods) mixed in with the likes of Solitude Aeturnus with a certain feel of Twilight ( for me that's not a bad thing).

The music is enjoyable not the typical St Vitus stuff which makes you want to fall asleep. This is a good 2nd album full packed of heavy riffs that Doom Metal is all about. The album is produced by Jens Bogren known for his work with Opeth/ Amon Amarth so the overall sound is excellent, a nice drum sound and heavy riffing doom guitar riffs. The album comes with 8 way doom tunes that any fan of Doom Metal will love. I am not a massive fan of Doom, but I am a massive Trouble fan, and I also like Candlemass, Witchfinder General, and of course Sabbath (Dio/ Martin era).

There are some great guitar solos here as you will here, it's a great album for a Doom album, and if you like the debut then this is much better album. 

Songs to check out are: Sirens, Abandoned by the Gods, Ship of Doom, Crimson Cross, The crowing of the fire King, Unbearable Sorrow. A great Doom Metal album that has a certain spiritual feel that makes this a great album, having said that having Andy on vocals makes this a more enjoyable album for me. If Andy wasn't on the record then Tony Martin would kill it too. 

Heretic       "A Game You Cannot Win"      Dissonance      ****      

U.S. Power Thrash band 'Heretic' were formed back in California in 85 by founder and long time member Brian Korban (guitars) with original singer Julian Mendez (vocals) who recorded the bands mini EP 'Torture knows no Boundaries' through Metal Blade in 86, who later on went onto joining Abattoir. The rest of the band back in the early days were Scott Patton (bass), Rick Halpin (guitars) and drummer Rick Merrick. 

After the release of the debut EP the band recorded their debut full length album 'Breaking Point' in 88 which features Metal Church singer Mike Howe, this was a great album and I remember it well, a powerful Power/ Thrash album that had some great songs. That album featured new members Robert Marquez (guitars) and Dennis O'Hara (bass) who replaced Scott and Rick. Sadly after that album was released the band broke up in leaving Brain and Dennis to form 'Reverend' with former Metal Church singer Dave Wayne  who later on sadly passes away.

In 2011 the band reformed with Brain, Julian along with Glenn Rodgers (guitar), Ignazio Coppola (drums), Angelo Espino (bass) for the album in 2012 'A time of Crisis' which was released on Metal on Metal records. A fine comeback album what captured the spirit of the bands early material. 

Now the band return with this new album 'A game you cannot Win' which also features new guitarist Stuart Fujinami this is probably the best album they have recorded in some time, well thought out songs, which pack a powerful bunch and a great new album indeed. It captures what Mike Howie could of sang on, and Julian does a great job. 

The album comes with 11 songs, 1 intro and 1 outro, with a decent production which I presume the band may of had something to do with it. The songs are strong and powerful and if you remember the band back in the 80's then there pretty much the same, just good old metal the way that bands should play when they reform instead of jumping on the bandwagon. Heretic have stayed to their roots, so I respect them and any band who carries on were they felt off. 

Songs on the album to check out are: This world call hell, A game you cannot Win, Demonized, Broken Hero, Never added Up, Before the Fall, Annihilate, Everything's about to Change. If you're a fan of the band back in the day then you will like this album.

Phantom V       "Play II Win"     Frontiers       ****      

Phantom V return with their new album 'Play II Win', which is surprisely a great album. Having formed as a project that is soon becoming more of a band which features former Bonfire front man Claus Lessmann (vocals) and bass player and guitarist  & backing vocals by Michael Voss (Mad Max), along with Robert Boebel (bass & keyboards) and drummer Alex Kruse (ex Jaded Heart) who recorded their debut album which was a self titled album, released also on Frontiers in 2016, which a decent album.

Now there back with the new stunning album, and when you get musicians from such bands as the musicians mentioned you know it's going to be a good album, well arranged song with solid melodic vocals and riffs. This album reminds me of Bonfire, Mad Max and early Jaded Heart or maybe Frontline. A nice production here which was handled by Ralf Munskes (Empire) along with Michael Voss, the 2 have done a fantastic job, that comes with 11 pure Hard Rock/ AOR music.

If you're a fan of other bands like Journey, Strangeways, Skagarack then you will also like this album. I have to say I do think this is a better album than the debut, but the debut is also a good album, this has more thought out songs and catch riffs.

I am not sure if the band have or will tour, I am sure they will at some point. This band would be a great act at their 'Rockingham' or Frontiers Festival, and would really go down well. I do like Claus vocals, always did when he we in Bonfire, certainly delivered the good and I saw them with Judas Priest in 88. Michael on the other hand I have always liked Mad Max, he has a great voice and 'Stormchild' is a killer album too.

This is a great album for fans of AOR and Hard Rock that captures the spirit of real quality music. Check out: The change in You, Crossfire, Baptized, Read your Mind, Play to Win, Do you believe in Love, Phantom Child, Had Enuff. A good 2nd album and it takes a lot for me to say I really like an album in this style of rock, yes it's good solid rock, we need more albums like this in today's scene. 

Fozzy     "Judas"      Century Media       ***    

Fozzy were formed back in 99 by guitarist Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo) when we met up with U.S. wrestler Chris Jericho when Mojo recorded the video 'Rising' a video that made the band more familiar and more noticed in both the metal and wrestling scenes.

Fozzy is also joined by Stuck Mojo drummer Frank Fontsere (formerly known as Buddy). Fozzy started out back as a project of musicians and with Chris as a project but soon became a full time band. Having the band released their debut in 2000 which was self titled. This record featured cover tunes by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Maiden, Krokus, Crue, Scorpions and many more a decent cover album. It was in 2002 that the band released their 2nd cover album 'Happenstance' through SPV. 

In later years in 205 the band made their 3rd album 'All that Remains', this was the band's 1st album of songs that they wrote together of original material and a decent album that it was. For me it had certain elements of Stuck Mojo which you would expect from 2 members of that band in Fozzy. The band however found their own identity in later years with such albums as 'Chasing the Grail' and in total the band have released 7 albums to date. Stuck Mojo released albums in-between the release of this album.

Now focused with Fozzy the band released this new album that any fan of the band would appreciate that has that modern feel of rock metal music, it's certainly not old school and directed towards a younger generation and still with the same line up the band are going from strength to strength. I think it's a great cool album, I much prefer early Stuck Mojo and that's no disrespect to Fozzy, great musicians that's for sure. I'd say that Chris vocals kind of remind me of Ozzy so if you like that Ozzy vocals then I am sure you will like this. The album comes with 11 trax of modern hard rocking music. A nice production here, not sure who produced it but I reckon Rich Ward had something to do with it and maybe the mixed by Andy Sneap, but don't hold me to that.

Songs on the album I recommend are: Judas, Drinking with Jesus, Painless, Three days in Jail, Running with Bulls, Wolves at Bay (sounds like Stuck Mojo for heaviness, and for it's the best song on the album). Not a bad album and if you like the band's previous albums then you will love this. 

Enslaved     "E"    Nuclear Blast      ***    

To be fair I've never been a fan of Black Metal, only Venom and in later years Dimmu Borgir, I always found the productions completely shit and and the majority of the music the same. There was something about the the music that just didn't do it for me, terrible productions didn't help but over the years of recent bands like Venom, Dimmu Borgir have brought a fresh sound and nice productions to the table.

Opeth were once of the band that moved away from the darker side and floated into a more drifty approach which works well for the band. Now it's the turn of Norwegian Black Metal act 'Enslaved', having not heard their music in some time I was reluctant to listen too this and to my surprise this is pretty good. 

There's hint's of typical Norwegian Black Metal but the band have progressed and heading into a progressive band, which shows that there cabapble of playing more interesting music.

Formed back in 91 by Ivar Bjornson (guitars), Grutle Kjellson (vocals & bass), been the only 2 original members left. The band recorded demos and in 94 the band released their debut album 'Vikinglair Veldi' through Deathlike Silence label, a small indie label. 

As well all know Black metal in Norway has always been a big thing with the likes of Mayhem, Emperor, and many more bands.

Joining Ivar & Grutle are Arve Isdle (guitars), Hakon Vinje (keyboards) and drummer Cato Bekkevold. In total the band have recorded 14 albums between Osmose, candlelight and Nuclear Blast records. The band from what I have heard have certainly progressed and with a decent production like this makes all the difference. This 6 song mini LP is pretty good, well produced and having the psychedelic feel that Opeth have is a just for fans for both bands. Saying that, to see both bands touring together would be good too.

The vocals are a mixture of Black Metal with clean vocals and because it has clean vocals I can enjoy it more than the straight forward Black Metal that's about. Songs on the CD to check out are: Storm Son, The Rivers Mouth, Sacred Horse, Feathers of Eolh, Hiindsiight. Not a bad release, you will probably like it more than me if you are a fan of the band, but for somebody who's not really into Black Metal it's not bad. 

Kill Procedure      "Brink Of Destruction"    FC Metal    ****    

This is a new band put together by former 'Winters bane' guitarist Lou St Paul, in which the band also featured Tim 'Ripper' Owens. Winters Bane recorded 'Heart of a Killer' in 93, a fantastic album which I had the pleasure of reviewing back then. After the album Tim left the band and Lou carried on and recorded and did the vocals for the 2nd album 'Girth' in 97 and later on 'Redivivus' in 2006, a great album too.

Lou did an album with Rob Rock 'Fire of Babylon', which released if I am right in saying 1 album and was impressive, well it was bound to be with Rob on vocals. Now Lou hit's back with 'Kill Procedure' and this debut 'Brink of Destruction'. Some of you maybe wondering what the music is like? Well it has a hint of Winter's Banes 2nd album 'Girth' with Megadeth, especially with Lou's vocals sounding like Dave Mustaine. I guess you could say it's power metal with some thrash elements and the music is pretty good stuff.

Lou tries his best handling the vocals and like I said if you like Mustaine's voice then you will like this I am sure. Joining Lou is Todd Bertollette (drums), John Stevens (r guitar) and Kenny Stadelman as the current line up, and the album featured members Kelly Conlon (bass) and drummer Jeff Curenton for the recording of this album.

Production is pretty good for a small label and the songs are too, I have noticed there is one Winter's Bane song on this record 'Spells D.E.A.T.H.' from the album 'Girth', a good solid song. There's some catchy tunes here and some are pretty up temp songs, but I do feel that there could be some songs that have a good thrash out, maybe the next album will have the impact that the band needs. Otherwise this is a pretty decent album and it's not easy been the guitarist and singer live but this band are pretty good and it's early stages and time to progress and mature. It's almost like a step back with the 'Girth' album which was pretty good but 'Redvivus' had more power this is something this band needs. more up temp in your face songs.

Songs on the album to check out are: Hate spilled Over, Trioxynon, Spells D.E.A.T.H, Dead man Walking, Brink of Destruction, Mask of the Villain, Bone Head, All the Pain. Not a bad album like I said and there's time for improvement and if they did a few more songs in the future that were more up temp and faster it would break the album up, more variation. 

Panzer       "Fatal Command"     Nuclear Blast     ****   

Panzer is a band original put together by former Accept drummer Stefan Schwarzmann and guitarist Herman Frank, who decided to quit the band to peruse different bands and projects. The band also features bassist and vocalist Schmier from Destruction, along with new guitarists V.O. Pulver from Gurd Poltergeist and Hammerfall guitarist Pontus Norgren to complete the current line up.

The band came together back in 2014 as what we were thought were a project, and I am not sure if they are a project or an actual band. The band recorded their debut album 'Send them to hell' in 2014 which received some excellent reviews mixing classic German style metal I guess you could say with Schmier on vocals there could be a hint of Destruction meets Accept, some some Gamma Ray or even U.D.O.. To add the their style and in the case of the debut album it was a great debut. This debut album was packed full of impressive hard hitting songs as a power trio they delivered some fine songs.

Now there back with this new album 'The Fatal Command', another step up the ladder, having added 2 new musicians the band have created a decent album giving the album more of a solid sound with 2 guitarists that have contributed to the music. I love the cover, very funny directed a at the U.S. and North Korea conflicts.

This album features 11 trax of what could be described as power thrash, it's a difficult one but nevertheless a decent one. Produced by V.O. Pulver & Schmier who both have done a great job as you may of guessed, a clean and powerful sound. The album was recorded Little Creek Studios in Switzerland by V.O. Pulver who also mixed the album. I know when a band does a great debut it's very difficult to make the 2nd and beyond better, this is a good album and after listening too it it has started to grew on me and with the catchy tunes and speed metal riffs would be describe the album with hints of Power Metal. I am not sure who produced the album but never the less, the sound is solid with the guitars sounds great and drums pounding. If you like the bands debut then you're going to love this album too.

Songs to check out are: Satan's Hollow, Fatal Command, We can not be Silenced, I'll bring you the Night, Scorn and Hate, Afflicted, The Decline (and downfall), Mistaken. A decent 2nd album and I wonder if these guys will tour soon?

Appice      "Siniter"     Streamhammer       ****   

You maybe wondering who is 'Appice'? Well it is a new project put together by Dio/ Black Sabbath/ Heaven & Hell sticksman 'Vinny Appice' and his brother Carmine Appice (Rod Stewart/ King Cobra/ Vanilla Fudge/ Blue Murder), 2 names that most of you will be familiar with. Both have history between them and this little gem is something that any fan of their own work and rock would like to hear. 

Both drummers are power drummers, solid and extremely talented as this albums proves it. It's rather strange hearing 2 drums on the same album both been recorded at the same time, it works as it did for Adam & the Ants back in the 80's. Its rather strange hearing it through you speakers kind of a strange stereo sound and would be cool to see live.

Joining both Vinny and Carmine are a much of talented singers and guitarists from around the world. So who's the musicians joining the brother? Well we have on guitars Craig Goldly (Dio), Bulletboys guitarist Mick Sweda, Joel Hoekstra (whitesnake/ T.S.O), Bumblefoot (G&Rs), Erik Turner (Warrant) David Michael Philips (King Cobra.

With bass players by Tony Franklin (Blue Murder/ The Firm), Phil Sousson (Ozzy), Johnny Rod (King Cobra/  Wasp), Jorgen Carlson (Gov't Mule) and keyboards by Erik Norlander. Vocals by Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt), Jim Crean, Robin McAuley (MSG), Chas West (Lynch Mob), Scotty Bruce.

So as you can see there's some impressive musicians here, and it's a great solid Rock album. It comes with 13 songs, 1 of which is a mixture of Black Sabbath songs simply called 'Mash Sabbath', now there's a new tribute band name!! Carmine's parts were recorded at home and Vinny's at his studio at home too, with the rest of the recordings been done at various studios, but the overall sound and songs really do stand out.

It's a good album for listening too in the car, and one of the songs is a Blue Murder classic 'Riot', a great song  with a different twist to it, and I'm surprised John Skyes isn't on this album. A great solid album and here's some of the songs you need to check out: Sinister (vocals sound like Alice Cooper), Monster's & Heroes (Paul Shortino), Killing Floor, Danger, Riot, Suddenly (Paul Shortino), Future Past, You got me Running, War Cry. A great album well worth checking out, if you're a fan of both brother's work then you will love this.

Act of Defiance          "Old Scars...New Wounds"      Metal Blade     ****    

Act of Defiance return with their new album, the bands 2nd album for Metal Blade. Their debut was released back in 2015 titled 'Birth & The Burial', which was an impressive album mixing new and old thrash metal. Formed by 2 former members of Megadeth been Chris Broderick (guitars) who was also in Nevermore and Jag Panzer, and drummer Shawn Drover (formerly with Eidolon the same band that his Brother Glen were both in). Also in the band is featuring vocalist Henry Derek (Scars of Martyr) and bassist Matt Bachand (who is also the guitarist with Shadow Fall).

Musically the band mix the likes of Eidolon and Nevermore & Testament for heaviness and the vocals that comes across between Chuck Billy meets Dave Mustaine  and a little bit of Dimmu Borgir and really does work well for this band. There is certainly a Ediolon sound for this album, nothing wrong with that I love the early stuff they did. I am not sure what new bands they sound like but there will be some hints in their music. Some of the solos by Chris reminds me of Cacophony, Jason Becker and Marty Friedman.

This album takes the band to the next level after their debut album, plenty of offer here some nice melodic riffs and twisting vocals kind of across between Black/ Thrash Metal and it is a really well balance product. 

Produced by Dave Otero who has worked with such bands as Cattle Decapitation & Allegaeon, and the overall sound is well pout together, that has balls and heaviness that an album like this needs. If you like you're music heavy but melodic then this is a great album to start with.

It comes with 11 in you're face tracks that is a must for fans of the above bands mentioned. I wonder what Mr. Mustaine would think of this lot, a support act you reckon? Songs on the album to check out are: M.I.A., Molten Core, Overexposed, Circle of Ashes, Reborn, Conspiracy of the Gods, Another killing Spree, Broken Dialect. A decent album and I am sure the band will get to play some cool support slots and festival in 2018. If you haven't heard the bands debut then you need to check it out too. 

Shakra        "Snakes & Ladders"       AFM    ****       

Swiss melodic rocker's 'Shakra' return with their new album, the band's 11th album to date. The band were formed back in 97 by long time musician's Thom Blunier & Thomas Muster (guitars) along with drummer Roger Tanner who are still in the band. The band released their debut album with former singer Pete Wiedmer who recorded the bands debut album 'in 98 which was a self titled album for Point Music. Pete recorded the 1st 3 albums, and was later on replaced by Mark Fox who recorded 'Rising' in 2003 and recorded a further 3 albums. 

Mark was later on replaced by John Prakesh in 2011 for the next album 'Back on Track' which was released through AFM. John recorded 2 albums only to be replaced by Mark Fox back in the band. The band have also had bassist Oli Linder who was with the band up until 2007 and replaced in 2008 by Dominik Pfister who is currently the bassist now.

The band play some good strong melodic rock close to that of Gotthard, Crystal Ball, Pretty Maids, Jaded Heart vain of rock and really works well for these guys, and this band would be a great opening or co headliner for any of the bands mentioned. 

Vocals by Mark kind of remind me of Klaus former Bonfire singer, so I think you are getting a perfect picture here. I think the band needed Mark back in the band and with this new album about to be released I am sure the band are on top form now.

This album comes with a nice production, not sure who produced it but I'm guessing Dennis Ward, but nevertheless this has a nice production that suits the music. it comes with 12 songs of pure melodic rock here. Songs to check out are: Cassandra's Curse, Friday Nightmare, Snakes & Ladders, The Seeds, Rollin, I will rise Again, Open Water, Fire in my veins. 

A decent album for fans of melodic rock this is a must for you, they write some pretty good songs and would be good on a  festival. I am sure the band will be touring soon.

Heaven's  Fire        "Playing with Fire"      JT Music    ****    

It's always good when a band comes your way through a media site like Facebook or YouTube, and this is where I found this new band, an exciting new band that took me back to the late 80's and got me away from the boring middle road modern shit that's out now. This band from Canada 'Toronto' was formed back in 2012 by guitarist/ producer JT Harris. Alexis Von Kraven joined soon after he saw the awesome potential in this had. 

Once JT had written and record the music, he brought in singer Darren James Smith (Harem Scarem) to complete the lyrics and vocals. Unfortunately for Heavens Fire, Darren left the band a few weeks after Judgement Day was released to be the full time singer to Jake E Lee's band “Red Dragon Cartel.” Darren’s replacement on Playing With Fire was Brazilian born Rafael Bennett, a great singer that has a strong voice and certainly suits the band’s music that is for sure. 

The music is really excellent, reminds me of a cross between Dokken/ Lynch Mob with hints of Dream Theater (keyboard sound) along with the likes of a great band sadly no longer around 'Seventh Sign', who released 2 albums. Another band that comes to mind is German act 'Evidence One', which doesn't surprise me as the vocalist Carsten Lizard Schulz handles the backing vocals and that is why i feel that Evidence One's spirit is in this bands music, still kick ass. Having only heard a couple of songs on from the debut they sound really good, strong hard rocking tunes like this album that take me back to the 80's, you can't beat the 80's that's for sure. Having Rafael on vocals makes for a great a right foot tapping album, great riffs by JT who has the George Lynch feel to his playing a great musician indeed. There are some really cool tunes here and excellent vocals by Rafael and Carsten. 

I highly recommend this little gem! Production is excellent with the drums sound solid and the guitars having a clean sound something that George Lynch has, so anybody who can sound like George gets my vote, JT is one of them. Sadly the band don't have a label yet, but if a decent label heard this gem I am sure they would get a good deal that benefits both the band and label. Songs on this album to check out are: Allyson Wonderland, Children of the Storm, ESP, Playing with Fire, Running with the Wind, Satin and Sin (awesome song), The Real World, Unbroken. A great album, just got to hear “Judgement Day.” If any label wants to hear this gem or if you want to buy a copy please contact them at. www.heavensfire.com

Tony Mills    “Streets Of Change”       Battlegod        ****     

Birmingham singer Ton Mill's was once the front man for 'Shy' the band that had lots of success in the early to mid 80's. Once formed back in the late early 80's and with the band recording their debut album in my home city of Hull (UK) for Ebony recorded entitled 'Once Bitten.. Twice Shy', which was a decent debut album.  

It wasn't long before the band signed to RCA for their 1st major release 'Brave the Storm' in 85, a great album which I still own and if you were lucky enough it came with a free t shirt. Shy had some great success supporting the likes of Bon Jovi among others and recorded 9 albums in total up until 2005.

Tony went onto form a band called 'Siam' who recorded their debut for Now & Then 'The Language of Menace' in 95 and a support with Crown of Thorns if I believe followed. The band recorded 2 albums in the vain of Queensryche. Tony has since then been involved with Norwegian giants 'TNT' since 2007 when they recorded 'The new Territory' in 2007 and recorded 4 albums and a live DVD. Tony has also been involved with a solo career and various projects in between both Shy and TNT.

Now Tony is back doing what he does best, melodic AOR Hard Rock something similar to that of Jeff Scott Soto would do best at. Tony has a great voice and is certainly suited to this style of Rock music that is for sure. This album features Pete Newdeck formerly with Edens Curse and now with Tainted Nation, Newman along with  and many more who is a great drummer and singer. I am sure he plays drums on this record, he certainly does backing vocals on this fine album. The production was handled by Pete Newdeck with the help of Tony Mill which sounds great, nice solid sound and Tony shine through with his vocals.  

Musicians on the record include Linda Mills (bass), Joel Hoekstra (guitars), Tommy Denander (guitars), Toine Vanderlinden (bass), Pete Fry (guitars), Neil Fraser, Eric Ragno, Pete Newdeck, Robby Boebil, just to name a few musicians. Some interesting names and I am sure it took Tony some time to think about which musicians he wanted on his new record, a good choice here by all a counts.

The album comes with 10 songs of pure melodic Hard Rock/ AOR. Any fan of this type of music will love this record, catchy riffs and fine vocals here. Songs that I like are: Battleground, Legacy, Scars, Seventh Wonder, The art of letting Go, When the lights go Down, to be the strongest of the songs. A decent album and a must for any fans of the melodic Hard Rock/ AOR scene. Welcome back Tony.

Jag Panzer        "The Deviant Chord"     Steamhammer     ****      

Colorado Power Metal act 'Jag Panzer' return with their long awaited new album 'The Deviant Chord', the bands 10th studio album. Formed in 81 by original singer Harry Corklin, guitarist Mark Briody, bassist John Tetley, Joey Tafolla guitars & drummer Rick Hilyard in which the band were playing covers by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and soon found their own brand of metal music under the banner of Power Metal. In 83 the band recorded the EP 'Tyrants' which was circulated around their local area and on a nation wide base and received some good reviews with Harry's impressive vocals and decent music.

The band recorded their debut album 'Ample Destruction' in 84 which in later years saw the release been reissued several times until Metal Blade re-mastered and re released it in 91. This record set the the band in stone with the epic and powerful songs that this release delivered. Now the band had an album out it was time to record the bands 2nd album 'Dissident Allegiance' in 94 with new members with vocalist Daniel J Conca, guitarist Chris Kostka who replaced Joey and new drummer Rikard Stjernquist. Sadly the album didn't do too well for the band, vocals lacked what Harry had. 

The band broke up and soon returned in 97 when the bands debut album was received some positive sales and the band signed to Century Media for the new album 'The Forth Dimension' with Harry and Joey back to the fold, this was an incredible comeback album one that I really enjoyed listening too and reviewing too. The press and fans loved what they heard and a long relationship with Century Media followed played festivals like Wacken soon followed.

The band hired new guitarist Chris Broderick who later on joined Nevermore and Megadeth, after Joey's departure once again. The band did some fine albums in the 90's and early next century with albums such as 'Thane of Thorns', 'Mechanized Warfare', 'Cast in Stone'. Sadly the band went quiet for some time before they signed to new label SPV for 'The scourge of the Light'  2011. Still keeping the Celtic feel that still have on this record, it is something the band feel strong about and it works for these guys.

This new album which took 6yrs to record is a great comeback album, still having the classic Jag Panzer style that we all love to hear, epic Celtic feel that has kept with the band for years still works for them. Joey is back in the band and the rest remain, so a strong comeback album here. It comes with 10 songs produced by John Herrera who did the bands last album, so the overall sound is awesome, great drum sound and guitar sound too. Harry is on top form as usual. Greta album cover which I am sure will be a t shirt for the tour.

Check out: Born of the Flame, Far beyond all Fear, The deviant Chord, Black List, Divine Intervention, Long awaited Kiss, Fire out of your Spirit, Dare. A great comeback album, a must for fans of Power Metal.

Epica        "The Solar System"       Nuclear Blast     ***    

Dutch Symphonic epic dark band 'Epica' release their new mini EP 'The Holographic Principle'. Formed back in under the name of 'Sahara Dust' in 2002 with original singer Helena Iren Michaelsen who left to join 'trail of Tears'. This band also featured former guitarist of After Forever Mark Jansen. Mark decided to form back then 'Sahara Dust' but soon changed their name in later years and along came Mark's girlfriend as the singer Simone Simons who is currently the voice of Epica.

So for those that don't know why the band decided to call themselves 'Epica' I shall enlighten you, the bands name came from Florida symphonic Power Metal band 'Kamlot' when the band released 'Epica' album in 2003, so this was the perfect name for the bands direction. 

Joining Mark  who also does the growl vocals and Simone who does the operatic vocal is guitarist Isaac Delahaye, bassist Rob Van Der Loo, Coen Janssen (keyboards), and drummer Arien Van Weesenbeek.

The band have come along way since the days of their debut album which was released in 2003 titled 'The Phantom Agony' released through Transmission a small label. They released 2 albums for that label before signing to Nuclear Blast in 2007 for the album 'The divine Conspiracy' and ever since the band have stayed true to this label. They have become one of the biggest female fronted epic bands along side Nightwish and still growing.

I have to say I'm not a massive fan of this style of music but I still respect them for hanging in their and create some interesting music. I guess I can't get my head around the operatic vocals and growls on the same record. having said that the music is pretty good and this mini LP proves that. Some fine riffs and solid music with a great production makes this an enjoyable release. It just goes to show that some of this style of music can be enjoyable and I don't mind this at all.

This record was produced by Joost Van Den Broek and mixed by Jacob Hansen to which both have done a fine job. Songs to check out are: The Solar System, Fight your Demons, Architect of Light, Wheel of Destiny, Decoded Poetry. 

Portrait         "Burn The World"      Metal Blade      ****    

Portrait hail from Sweden, this powerful act were formed back in 2006 when 3 musicians bet up and realized they had some common goals that started to make sense and soon they started to write their own music and recorded a demo 'Welcome to my Funeral', which was well received in the press and it wasn't long before the band were soon signed to a small label for their debut release 'Into the Nothingness' as a single in 2007. Good reviews followed the release and in 2008 the band released their debut album for Iron Kodex.

In 2011 the band signed to Metal Blade for the next album 'Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae' , which received some positive reviews. This band have old school vibes, with Mercyful Fate, Agent Steel, Savage Grace, kind of a mixture of U.S. with a Swedish touch that works really well.

Members include Per Lengstedt (vocals), Christian Lindell (guitars), Robin Holmberg (guitars), Fredrik Petersson (bass) and drummer Anders Persson. Having reviewed the bands 2nd album which I thought was pretty good this album has a little more to offer and I like the way they play in the style of 80's metal and with the vocals sounds little bit like King Diamond meet Savage Grace really works well and the vocals are not as high as King so for those who don't like it too high this could be just the right album for you.

Catchy little tunes here that take me back to my youth, puts a smile on my face and I really wish that Metal Blade would sign more of the 80's style band, but on the other hand I understand why they have to keep up with the times just like any other label. The production isn't bad, I guess their trying to keep the old school vibe alive and nothing wrong with that. At times some of the music borders of the Black Metal riffs but not for long.

Songs to check out are: Burn the World, Likfassna, Flaming Blood, Martyrs, To die For, Pure of Heart. A decent album, old school vibes here that any old school metal head like me will enjoy. Give this album a blast especially if you like the above bands mentioned.

Anubis Gate       "Covered In Black"    Nightmare   ****     

Danish Progressive Metal band 'Anubis Gate' make another fine album for 2017 with 'Covered In Black' also released through Nightmare Records. it's amazing to hear this band progress over the years, I remember reviewing their debut in 2004 titled 'Purification', which reminded me of Crimson Glory and a band from the U.S. called 'Lordbane', the album also had hints of Queensryche and maybe some Fates Warning or Lethal. I really enjoyed the debut album, it just took me back to that magical 80's U.S. style of metal.

Formed by guitarist Kim Olsen who is the founder member of the band he has done really well making the bands music progress over the years. With the band's debut album featuring singer Torben Askholm who did a great job on the debut and 'A Perfect Forever' in 2005 but left the band to be replaced by producer and guitarist Jacob Hansen who is one of Denmark's top producers to handle the vocals for the next album 'Andromeda Unchained' in 2007 who also played guitar within the band up until 2010.

Various musicians have come and gone within the band, and the bands current line up consists of Kim Olesen, Henrik Ferve (bass & vocals), Michael Bodin (guitars), Morten Gade Sorensen (drums) for the new album. This line up has been active since 2014 with the album 'Horizons' another fine album.

So what's this album like I hear you say? Well it's still pretty much Anubis Gate, and I think this album has taken a little more of a darker and twister approach. On 1st listen some of the songs didn't quite grasp me, but after a couple of listens the music started to grow on me as it will with you. It's pretty much a concept album in a way but at the same time it's not, rather hard to describe but I think when you hear it you will get the full picture. Some impressive songs here and I really like Hendrik's vocals, well suited to the band direction they have taken of recent in the last few years.

Produced by Jacob Hansen, a nice polished sound, solid drums makes this a good album. Also Nightmare records do sign some interesting Progressive Metal. This album comes with 11 impressive songs that need to be heard. I still love their cover of Mr Mister's 'Broken Wings' it's killer!! Songs on this album to check out are: Psychotopia, The new delhi Assassination, The Combat, Too much Time, A journey to Nowhere, Black, Blacker, Blackest, Operation Cairo, From Afar. A really interesting album, well worth checking out. 

Threshold        "Legends Of The Shrine"       Nuclear Blast    ****   

UK Prog Metal act 'Threshold' release their long awaited new album, with their last album 'For The Journey' released in 2014, the band have released 4 albums for Nuclear Blast since leaving their previous long term label Inside Out 'Subsurface' in 2004. The band were formed back in 88 by guitarist Karl Groom who found members Damien Wilson (vocals), Nick Midson (guitars), Jon Jeary (bass), Richard West (keyboards) and drummer Tony Grinham for the bands debut album 'Wounded Land' released in 93 through Giant Electric Pea Records.

The band made a small but impressive impact on the Prog Metal/ Rock scene with this album, which was soon followed up by 'Psychedelicatessen' in 94 which featured session drummers. The band recorded a further 2 albums for GEP records before Inside Out music soon picked them up for 'Hypothetical' in 2001, and 2 albums followed with the label. Both Karl Nick and Richard remained in the band with new singer Mac who sadly passed away in later years and was replaced by 2012 by original singer Damien for the next album 'March of Progress'.

The band have come a long way since they formed and pretty much found their own identity, with of course some hints of Pink Floyd in certain mellow moments. Their a good melodic Progressive Metal band that really haven't had the break they deserve, a opening act for 1 or 2 shows with Dream Theater would do them a massive favour.

This new album features Karl, Richard, Glynn Morgan (vocals), Johanne James (drums), and Steve Anderson (bass) for 'Legends of the Shrine', I guess Lord of the Rings had something to do with the title. This album takes the band on an ever ending journey as this album comes as a 2 CD digi pack which has some great composed songs and has its up tempo tunes and some really cool ballads. The album was produced by Karl Groom and Richard West with the mastering done by Karl who has done a great job but then again Karl has his own studio and has produced the likes of Shadowkeep to name a few.

When you look at the cover and listen too the music the whole package comes clear and both really work well together, a nice cover and well suited for a Prog Rock/ Metal band. Songs to check out are: Small dark Lines, The man who saw through Time, Trust the Process, Stars & Satellites, On the Edge, Snow Blind, Subliminal Freeways, Superior Machine, Lost in Translation. It's good to see that the UK has some fine Prog Metal/ Rock bands still kicking it buy today.

Hexx      “Wrath Of The Reaper”     High Roller    ****    

Bay Area metal act 'Hexx' return with their long awaited album. Formed by Dan Watson (guitars) the only original member left who formed Hexx back then with 78 under the original name of 'Paradox' but in 83 changed their name, and for me Hexx is more suitable.

With Dan, , Dave Schmidt (drums), Dennis Menzo (vocals), Bill Peterson (bass) for the bands debut album 'No Escape' for Shrapnel Records in 84, a good album which was soon followed up by the cult classic 'Under the Spell' in 86, and for me is one of my all time favourite Power Metal albums of all time. This album featured Clint Bower (guitars, who sang for the band in later years) Dan Byrant (vocals) who did an amazing job.

With 2 successful album I was hoping that the band would release a 3rd album close to that of 'Under the Spell', but in 87 the band departed with singer Dan and Clint took over the vocal duties as well as his role as a guitarist. The music headed towards a more brutal Thrash Metal style somewhat close to Sadus, some older fans disliked it whereas some like me kind of liked it. 

They released a demo 'Help your Self' which I still own and the EP 'Quest of Sanity' in 88 was released through Under One Flag here in Europe. A decent heavy EP, which lead to ' Watery Graves' EP in 90 through Wild Rags. The album 'Morbid Reality' in 91 through Century Media soon followed.

In 2016 Metal Blade re-released the 1st 2 albums with a live DVD, sadly this boxset was not remastered and it really should have been as these albums are amazing. Now Dan is back with a new album and lien up that has been touring Europe with festivals like 'Headbangers Open Air', recorded a demo and signed to HR records.

This album 'Wrath of the Reaper' has the old school elements of old Hexx which is great, obviously it isn't going to be ';Under the Spell' but it's still a great album, that has some elements of 'Under the Spell' or even 'No Escape'.Dan is joined by John Scafer (drums), Mike Horn (bass), Bobbie Wright (guitars) and vocalist Eddy Vega. 

This new album is really good and has a decent production considering their a small label. It comes with 11 trax of pure Hexx style metal, yes it's early stages for the band but for a comeback album its a great start and the band can only make better albums. The music reminds me of Hexx, Exciter with vocals similar to that of Ronny Monroe (ex Metal Church)

Songs to check out are: Macabre processions of Specters (beginning sounds like Nasty Savage), Screaming Sacrifice, Slave in Hell, Swimming the Witch, Dark void of Evil, Voices, Exhumed for the Reaping, Circle the Drain, Certificate of Death.

Check out this impressive comeback album, I hope to see the band finally live soon.

Nocturnal Rites     “Phoenix”      AFM   ****     

Swedish Power Metal act 'Nocturnal Rites' return after a long absence 10 yrs. Some of you will be wondering why it's taken so long for the band to release this album and why they reformed, well it's good they reformed and put this album out. 

Formed back in 90 by  Fredik Mannberg (guitars), Tommy Eriksson (drums), Nils Eriksoon (bass), with original singer Anders Zackrisson began work on demos and in 94 the band signed to Dark Ages for ;In time of blood & Fire' which was just the beginning of what would take them to the next level when Century Media signed the band for the next album 'Tales of Mystery...' in 97.

The band signed to C Media and recorded 7 albums, for me their finest previous albums had to be 'Afterlife' in 2000. The band kind of remind me of Riot, 'Thundersteel' era a great album indeed, so every time I hear this band I think of Riot, and maybe Jag Panzer.

Now the band are back with the classic line up of Jonny Lindkvist (vocals), Fredik Manning, Nil Eriksson with new members Per Nilsson (lead guitar) and drummer Owe Lingvall for the new album 'Phoenix' for new label AFM.

So you maybe asking is their music what they use to create? Yes it is still very much Nocturnal Rites, classic Swedish Power Metal that still has that Riot touch, nothing wrong with that. The band have created some fine music here and you could say it is a continuation of 'The 8th Sin' released in 2007.

This album comes with 10 trax, 1 bonus for the digi pack making that 11 songs. Sadly I have no idea who produced it as the new bio doesn't state it, but it has a really good production. Jonny still has those great vocal harmonies he had back in 2007 or even earlier. The music is a little darker but still has the melodic elements of the bands previous work.

Songs to check out are: Heart black as Coal, Before we waste Away, The Poisonous Seeds, Repent my Sins, What's killing Me, A song for You, The ghost inside Me, Flames, Used to be Good, Welcome to the End.

A great album by a great band, welcome back to the house of sanity!!! May the Phoenix rise again.

  Arch Enemy       "Will To Power"    Century Media     ****      

Swedish Demi Gods 'Arch Enemy' hot back with their stunning new album 'Will to Power', the band's 10th , and over the years the band have grown and had the pleasure of opening up for Iron Maiden to name a few. With the bands debut 'Black Earth' in 96 with original singer Johan Liiva who recorded 'Black Earth' & 'Stigma' & 'Burning Bridges'.

Johna left the band and was replaced by female fronted Angela Gossow, who recorded the bands most successful albums such as 'Wages of Sin', 'Anthems of Rebellion', 'Doomsday Machine', 'Rise of the Tyrant' and 'Khaos Legion'. Angel also left the band and her replacement is Alissa White-Gluz, who has recorded 'War Eternal' in 2014 and now this new album.

Take it or leave it some of you would much prefer to have Johan back in the band or Angela but Allisa does a fine job and it's hard to replace such vocalists as Angela and Johan. The band have had some guitar line up changes but Mike Amott (ex Carcass) is still with the band and his brother Chris Amott quit to be replaced by former Nevermore axeman Jeff Loomis. The 2 are impressive shredders and the music speaks for itself.

Nothing changed with their music, it's still melodic and heavy and packs a punch, I mean there most Swedish so what do you expect? With Jeff Loomis been in the band the west coast of America influences certainly help out. The band have come a long way since the early stages but they keep on making quality music for the masses. 

This new album 'Will to Power' is yet another step up the ladder for the band, that still has the typical Arch Enemy sound and feel we have all come to love. This album was produced by Mike Amott and drummer Daniel Erlandsson, both of which have done a fine job and I am sure Andy Sneap mixed the album.

We have 12 songs here of in you're face melodic Thrash Metal, impressive guitar solos and riffs, fine rhythm section by Daniel and Sharlee and vocals by Alissa makes this a fine album. Songs to check out are: The Race, The world is Yours, The eagle flies Alone, Reason to Believe (cleans vocals here are awesome), First day in Hell, My shadow and I, A fight I must Win. Good to see them delivering a good strong album, check it out.

Venom Inc     “Ave”    Nuclear Blast     ****     

Well we all know that Venom are the godfathers of Black Metal, this Newcastle base trio have been creating noise and mayhem since the late 70's and still continue to do so too this day. Formed back in 79 by Cronos (vocals/ bass), Abaddon (drums) and Mantas (guitars), having released a couple of demos it wasn't long before Newcastle bases label 'Neat' saw the potential in the band and soon released 'In league with Satan' in 81, this was just the turning point the band needed and soon their debut album 'Welcome to hell' also in 81.

This was the turning point that shocked the world, we were not prepared for this type of music that journalist and metal fans world-wide wondered that the fuck this noisy shit was. In the end it turned out that these guys had the last laugh now matter how much shit they look they just kept on doing that they felt was best.

The band had a line up change back in 87 when Mantas quit and was replaced by Mike Hickney and the band added a 2nd guitarist James Clare for the album 'Calm before the Storm' in 87. Cronos quit taking both Mike and James, Abaddon requiredTony Dolan (ex Atomkraft) on bass/ vocals for the next chapter of the band next move. Mantas returned and another guitarist Al Barnes for the album 'Prime Evil' for Music for Nation's in 89.

  The band did get back together in later years with the classic 3 members, in which they played festivals and recorded albums such as 'Cast in Stone', 'Resurrection', 'Metal Black'. Now the band return under the name of 'Venom Inc', as Cronos carried on with his version of 'Venom', Venom Inc contains 2 original members from the classic line up, Abaddon and Mantas along with Tony  Dolan for this new adventure entitled 'Ave', recently released through Nuclear Blast.

I do remember their album 'Prime Evil', which I thought was a pretty good album, but this is way past that, more melodic but still very music Venom's old school. This power trio still bang old old school metal that we have all come to love, this is a epic album capturing some of their finest work. This has a good solid production that comes with some intense and impressive music and is surely worth getting hold of. Yes it has the old Venom on the record but some new what could be new Venom, catchy riffs and hooks on this record makes it well worth grabbing a copy.

  The album comes with 11 trax, of pure evil and still Venom all the way. Yes we all know the shit that's going down with Venom and Venom Inc , but who gives a shit? I certainly don't and if the music kicks ass then so what. This album does and here are some songs you really need to check out: Ave Satanas, Forged in Hell, Metal we Bleed, Blood Stained (not a Judas Priest cover), Time to Die, The evil Dead, War, I kneel to no God. A great album like I said so all hail Satan!!!

Kryptonite         "Same"      Frontiers      ****      

What the hell is this?? Good question, not the greatest of band names or projects for that matter but never judge a book by it's cover, and this is one album that really needs to be heard. Look at Metallica's 'Black' album, cover crap but sold millions. Well this might not sell millions, but this is a really great album. Not sure if it is a project or a band, but nevertheless this is a catchy Swedish album.

Put together by front man for 'The Poodles'  Jakob Samuels, a fine singer that could of Easley been with singer for Yngwie Malmsteen. Following Jakob is guitarist Michael Palace, bassist Pontus Egberg (ex The Poodles'/ King Diamond/ Treat), Robban Back (drums) and keyboard handled by Alessandro Del Vecchio (who also handled the production), also keyboards were handled by Peter Alpenborg and Mats Valentin.

A good little line up here that works well with this band playing a melodic style that could sound like The Poodles, TNT, Nation, Masquerade, Skagarack and many more fine Swedish melodic bands. I was pretty much hooked n this album when I heard the 1st 2 songs I knew the rest would be a great melodic album. A nice production here that comes with 11 hard rocking tunes which has hints of AOR mixed with the typical Swedish style of Rock and Metal. No guessing where the bands name came from, unusual  name that actually works well for the band.

Big question is, is this a project or a band? Doesn't really matter as long as they make another fine album that can match this gem. I recommend this album because the music is really cool and Jakob is a fine singer, I am pretty sure he sang for the band 'Midnight Sun', who released 4 albums another band I recommend.

Songs on this album to check out are: Chasing Fire, Is this the Moment, Keep the dream Alive, Fallen Angel, Across the Water, Knowing both of Us, One Soul, Better than yesterday. A really good strong melodic album here well worth checking out. Lets's see if the 2nd album can beat this!!

Circus Maximus       "Havoc in Oslo"      Frontiers       ****  

Norwegian Power Metal act 'Circus Maximus' return with their debut live CD/ DVD.  Norway has had it's fair share of excellent bands in the past such as TNT, Pagans' Mind, Conception, Ark, Jorn Lande, and many more great muscian's and now Circus Maximus. 

This band were formed back in 2000 by Michael Eriksen (vocals) with his brother Mats Eriksen (guitars), along with Truls Haugen (drums) Espen Storo (keyboards)  who was later replaced by Lasse Finbraten, with Glen Cato Mollen (bass) got together to create this impressive band. They 1st started out doing covers of Dream Theater and Symphony X, which today still you can hear in their own music. You can also hear some influences by Pagan's Mind, Vanden Plas, Evergrey, Shadow Gallery also in their music, all of which are great bands. 

The band have devolved into a strong unit create some fine music, especially in their early stages with such albums as 'The 1st Chapter' in 2005 which was the bands debut also released on Frontiers. A great debut with some very impressive vocals for me made a fantastic debut which really impressed me. Some catchy riffs and some awesome vocals made this one hell of a great debut. It wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Isolate' in 2007, a great follow up with yet again some catchy and yet melodic tunes with a slight detuned sound.

Next came the album 'Nine' in 2012, another album that seemed to impressive me. This sadly was followed by the bands latest album 'Havoc', which changed direction somewhat with their industrial feel and the fact they seemed to of lost what they once had, sadly this album didn't impressive me too much. I just hope the next album goes back to what they are good at. 

In the meantime, the band have released this live CD/DVD showing you just how good a live act they are, and I don't doubt it for a minute, I just feel the last studio album lacked. Saying that some of the songs from the bands last album to actually sound better on this live album/ DVD that's for sure. This release comes with 15 songs from the bands past and current release, which shows you just how good these guys are and how powerful vocalist Michael is, a fine Norwegian singer indeed.

A great release I can't deny some great playing here and catchy Progressive Metal songs. Songs to check out are:  Sin, Namaste, Pages, The One, Abyss, The Weight, Highest Bitter, Architect of Fortune, Arrival of Love, Game of Life, Loved Ones. A great live release, I have yet to see them live and I hope it will be soon.

Rage      "Seasons Of The Black"      Nuclear Blast      ****      

German Power/ Speed Metal return with the new album 'Seasons of the Black' and still the band keep on making quality music. Formed out of the ashes of 'Avenger' (Germany) Peavy Wagner formed this powerful trio back in 84, having recorded demos and already been known as their previous name Peavy sent demos to labels in which Noise International saw the potential in the bands music and soon signed them for their debut 'Reign of Fear' in 85, which was the beginning of what is now.

Having released 23 albums really does say a lot about a band. Mainly staying true to a Power Trio it was in 94 to 99 when the band added a 2nd guitarist, sadly it didn't work out and so Peavy stayed true to the trio that works best for him. Many band members have come and gone, with the likes of Manni Schmidt (guitars) left to later on join Grave Digger for a short time, other musicians that were in Rage were Mike Terrana and Jorg Michael as well as Russian guitar wizard Victor Smolski (now having somebody to step in his shoes is a big thing) and believe it or not current guitarist Marcos Rodriguez who joined in 2015 is doing a pretty good job. Drummer Vassilios Maniatopoulos is also doing a great job.

Rage like any of the older school bands don't need to change, sticking to their guns this is a pretty good album, nice solid songs in the vain that they do best and this album comes with 11 trax which was handled by the band with the help of Dan Swano (Opeth) and was also known for his work with Edge of Sanity  a band who released several albums through Black Mark records in the 90's. The overall sound is excellent as you might of guessed as Dan is well known for his work in the past, and the band have done the band justice both with production and mixing.

Peavy is the man that keeps the wheel on turning and this is a fine example of what he and the boys are creating, fine melodic but still heavy music that any fan of powerful metal would appreciate. Songs on this impressive album to check out are: Seasons of the Black, Serpents in Disguise, Blackened Karma, Time will Tell, Walk among the Dead, All we know is Not, Bloodshed in Paradise, Farewell. A great album by a band that knows just what they want and the fans, the albums and years says it all doesn't it? Look out for a tour with Firewind in 2018, that should be fun. It;s been a while since I last saw Rage so I will be looking forward to that tour.

Serious Black         "Magic"       AFM      ****    

When this band were formed some of you may of thought it was a project that would only record maybe 1-2 albums and that would be the end of the band. Well they proved those disbeliveers didn't they? After 2 albums the band return with this new album 'Magic' and I guess the title says it all real ... magic is what it is.

Formed by Mario Lochert (bass) who is also know for his work as a live sound engineer and has worked with some awesome bands in the past got together with ex Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow to disguise the formation of a new project what would seen become a band. Sadly Roland couldn't do the band due to health issues and Greek guitarist and keyboard played Bob Kotsionis (Firewind) would replace Roland. Also to front the band would be ex Tad Morose singer Urban Breed, a great singer who did some of Tad Morose finest albums would handle the vocals for this band. 

The band have had some lien up changes and now have drummer Alex Holtzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire) handling the drums for this album and tour which will happen shortly. Joining Alex and Urban and Mario, Bob is guitarist Dominik Sebastian (Eden Bridge), and keyboard player Jan Vacik who has worked with (dreamscape) all come together to create this magic album.

It's been a long time coming this album due to other commitments with band members doing other music projects, so this is a great comeback album that still captures the best of the band. I really do like Urban's voice and he certainly suits the bands music that's for sure.

This album has some really catchy tunes and a must for fans of melodic metal music, at times they kind of remind me of Eden's Curse, Tad Morose, its a good combination of Symphonic metal with some Progressive elements and some AOR makes this a really good listen. A nice production here which comes with 14 songs, which was mixed by Michael Streefkerk (Def Leppard) and mastered by Mikka Jussila (Finnox Studios) to which the overall sound is  well put together. 

Songs on the album to check out are: Binary, Burn Witches Burn, Lone Gunman Rule, Now you'll never Know, I can do Magic, Skeletons on Parade, The witches of Caldwin Town, Just kill Me. A good solid album by a band well worth checking out, got to love the album cover too, impressive. 

Dirkschinder       "Back To The Roots"      AFM     *****      

Like Accept UDO is the Godfather of German metal music, Rob Halford is the Metal God as we all know but I guess UDO would have to be the little Metal God. Formed back in 87 after his departure from Accept UDO has made some of the finest albums in his career and this live CD/ DVD shows some of his finest work with his former band mates 'Accept'.

With UDO playing on the finest Accept albums such as 'Metal Heart', 'Restless & Wild', 'Balls to the Wall', just to name a few. UDO has come along way since since departure from Accept with the likes of his debut solo album 'Animal House' in 87, he has continued to create some fine music that still stands the test of time, having produced 15 albums to this day and this new live album sees UDO playing a full set of Accepts finest songs.

It marks the end of his career with Accept and pays tribute to his long last career with the band, having released this as a farewell CD/ DVD which will be the end of him playing songs by Accept. he has enough songs to play of his own so this is just a goodbye to Accept songs and a fresh move forward with his own material in U.D.O. 

This live set must of been one of the hardest things he has had to do and think about, what he wants to play and what the fans want to hear, hard choice that is for sure. But at the same time this must of been a lot of fun recording this CD/ DVD for the fans who want to see the man in action the classic Accept songs. What you have hear is 27 songs of pure German Metal at it's best. UDO performance is second to none show you that he is still on top form, and with his son on drums Sven Dirkschnider along with long time bassist Fatty Wienhold with guitarist's Andrey Smirnov and Bill Hudson who replaced Kasperi Heikkeninen the band are set to work on a new album soon.

If you want to check out UDO and his past then this is a great start to checking out UDO playing the finest Accept songs, there are so many songs here to list all but songs I like just to name a few are: Starlight, Living for Tonight, Flash Rockin Man, London Leatherboys, Midnight Mover, Head over Heels, Neon Knights, Princess of the Dawn, Winter Dreams, Restless & Wild, Son of a Bitch, Wrong is Right, Screaming for a love Bite, TV War, Losers & Winners, Metal Heart, Fast as a Shark (The ultimate Thrash metal Anthem) Balls to the Wall.

A great live CD/ DVD well worth grabbing hold of today.. are you ready for the shark??  

Accept      "The Rise Of Chaos"        Nuclear Blast     *****        

German Metal God's 'Accept' return with their new stunning album, the 1st with new guitarist Uwe Lulis (ex Grave Digger) and drummer Christopher Williams to the fold after the departure of long time guitarist Herman Frank quit the band along with drummer Stefan Schwarzmann quit a few years ago. 

The band have a long history having formed back in the late 60's, but only started to get recognition and in 1979 the band released 'Accept', the bands debut which saw the band become the German Godfather's of metal just like 'Judas Priest' are here in the UK. The band have made some fantastic success in the mid 80's and early 90's, only to find that original front man UDO Dirkschneider would leave the band to go and form his own band 'U.D.O.' in later years. The band found David Reece (ex Bangalor Choir) for the album 'Eat the Heat' in 89. The band briefly reformed with original front man UDO with a series of live show and 2 albums.

In later years again the band reformed this time with original guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, bassist Peter Baltes and Herman Frank along with drummer Stefan Schwarzmann and new front man Mark Tornillo (ex TT Quick) to record their comeback album 'Blood of the Nations' in 2010. This was the test album for fans to see if they would except new singer Mark into the band, which surprisingly the fans took a shine to Mark and embraced him, and some sadly didn't.

Mark and the boys recorded Stalingrad' in 2012, followed by 'Blind Rage' in 2014 and now this new stunning incredible album 'The rise of Chaos', the bands 4th album for Nuclear Blast. This album is typical Accept, hard driven metal which is great driving music and strong ripping songs with balls out metal music. Some catchy riffs here, some nice and heavy like they have always done, a couple of middle of the road heavy tunes too. Mark's vocals here are on top form and the new members shine through too.

This album comes with 10 trax which was produced by none other than Andy Sneap, who has worked with the band since 'Blood of the Nations' in 2010. Yet again a fine production, solid powerful which makes the drums sound excellent and the guitar have that typical Accept feel. The cover of the album is excellent, and certainly suits the music, so this is a great album packed full of Accept at their best, so go grab a copy today. Songs to check out are: Die by the Sword, Hole in the Head, The rise of Chaos, No Regrets, What's done is Done, Carry the Weight, Race to Extinction. Their still at the top of German melodic metal no doubt about it.

Orden Organ      "Gunmen"      AFM      ****      

German Power Metal / Folk Metal band 'Orden Organ' return with their new album, again for AFM Records. Formed back in 96 by guitarist and front man Sebastian Levermann with drummer Sebastian Grutling in which the two musicians foudn the rest of the line up at a later stage.

The band released 3 demo tapes, 'Into Oblivion' 98, 'Soli Deo Gloria' in 99 and 'Testimonium A.D.' . It wasn't long before the band recorded their debut album 'Vale' through an independent label Yonah Records in Germany. With the release of the debut it wasn't long before AFM heard the band and a wanted to sign the band, and it was in 2008 when the bands 2nd album 'Easton Hope' was released. With excellent promotion it wasn't long before the band were making promo videos and getting some positive reviews from the press around Europe and the UK. 2011 saw the band have a line up change and next came 'To the End' was released in 2012.

The band have in total recorded 6 full albums and 1 live DVD. if you like such bands as Blind Guardian, Mob Rules, are 2 bands that spring to mind then you really are going to enjoy this band. The Folk and Power Metal that this band create certainly do work well. The band have come a long way since the early days and it's hard to believe the band have done s well and recorded so many albums.

This album is full on metal here, taking no prisoners that is for sure. Produced by Seeb Levermann who has also worked with Rhapsody the over all sound is solid and packs a punch as doe the songs. The Folk Power Metal thing seems to be a big thing in Germany at the moment and with bands like this the future for this style of music looks promising. With the bands line up been Seeb Levermann (vocals/ guitars), Tobin Kersting (guitars), Niels Loffler (bass) and drummer Dirk Mever Berhorn to complete this new studio album.

The album comes with 10 trax and a bonus live DVD from Wacken 2016 on the digi pack is really worth getting hold of. Songs on the album to check out are: Gunman, Fields of Sorrow, Forlorn and Forsaken, Vampire in ghost Town, Come with me to the other Side (featuring Liv Kristine), Ashen Rain, One last Chance, Finis Coronat Opus. It's certainly the best album they have done and I recommend you grab a copy today.

Decapitated       "Anticult"        Nuclear Blast     ***     

Polish Death Metal band 'Decapitated' return with their new stunning album 'Anticult', a damn good solid album indeed. Formed back in 96 from a city called 'Krosno' by former member Waclaw Kieltyka (guitars) with vocalist Rafal Piotrowski  along with drummer witold Kieltyka, who left later on and his replacement was drummer Michal Lysejko with bassist Hubert Wiecek as the current line up.

There's some pretty good extreme bands that have come pout of Poland such as demi gods 'Vader', along with Behemoth and thrash bands such as Turbo, Acid Drinkers and many more. Poland has its fare share of brutal music as this band is one of them. Having recorded several demos it was yet again Earache that showed a promising future for the band when they signed the band up back in 2000 with the album 'Winds of Creation' which took the press and extreme metal world of a storm and received some excellent reviews, this was just the beginning of that is now.

2002 saw the release of the bands next album 'Nihility' also on Earache Records, a well know British label that had the likes of Carcass, Napalm Death, Vader, Morbid Angel and many more. This label really have helped the bands out to were they are now. In 2004 the band released their 3rd album 'The Negation' and in 2006 the band released 'Organic Halluncinosis', this would be the last album for Earache. 

The band signed to Nuclear Blast in 2010 for the next album released in 2011 entitled 'Carnival is Forever' followed by 'Blood Mantra' in 2014 and now 'Anticult'.  The bands music is technical Death Metal, kind of remind me of Meshuggah meets Gojira with hints of Suffocation. A strange feel to their music that seems to work well with some elements of heavy Opeth thrown in.

This new album comes with 8 intense brutal Death Metal songs, which are very different from that of Vader or Behemoth. It's not the easiest of albums to get into but once you get you're head around the technical material it is a pretty damn good album. Songs on the album to check out are: Impulse, Deathvalution, Kill the Cult, One eyed Nation, Anger Line, Earth Scar, Decapitated. If you are  a fan of the band then this is certainly for you.

Municipal Waste       "Slime And Punishment"     Nuclear Blast      ***    

Richmond Virginia Thrasher's 'Municipal Waste' were formed back in starting out as a fun band playing covers by the likes of D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies amongst other covers which soon became clear that the band had more to offer than just doing covers by other bands. It wasn't long before the band started writing their own material and recording demos soon followed.

Mixing the Thrash Metal elements with that of the Hardcore movement such as D.R.I., Agnostic Front, Crumbsuckers, S.O.D. and the thrash elements of Evil Dead, Sacred Reich and Slayer seemed to go down well in the bands favour, certainly hasn't done them any harm.

With the new Thrash metal movement, I guess you could say that Municipal Waste are one of the godfathers having created a new bread of thrash this band certainly have what it takes to create fun mosh pit music. With the line up been Tony Foresta (vocals), Ryan Waste (guitars), Phil Hall (bass), DAve Witte (drums) and Nick Poulos (guitars) the band have recorded 6 albums. Their debut entitled 'Waste Em All' was released back in 2003 through Six Week Records, a small label that brought the band's attention to later on Earache Records where the band signed for their next album 'Hazardous Mutation' in 2005, now the band had a well established label behind them the word was their oyster.

A further 2 more albums would be recorded for Earache, these been 'The Art of Partying' in 2007 & 'Massive Aggression' 2009. In 2012 the band signed to Nuclear Blast for their next album 'The Fatal Beast' in 2012, this label has taken the band to the next level with more promotion and more tours. It has been 5yrs since the bands last release prior to the release of this album 'Slime & Punishment' which has recently been released. A decent album, some of you maybe asking was it worth the wait? Yes it certainly was a good strong album, good vocals in the vain of Evil Dead and the music having that crossover feel, a must for fans of either Thrash Metal or Hardcore.

A nice production here which comes with 14 hard hitting tunes, some of the songs to check out are: Breathe Grease, Enjoy the Night, Dingy Situations, Shrednecks, Bourbon Discipline, Slime & Punishment, Amateur, Low Tolerance, Under the waste Command, Think Fast. A decent album but I am not convinced about the vocals by Tony, they don't have much variation sadly, can't beat the old school thrash singer. 

Jorn     “Life on Death Road”    Frontiers    *****     

Norway's premier vocalist of Rock & Metal Jorn Lande returns with his stunning new album, and what an awesome album it is. Jorn was born back in 68 when the legend was soon taking up singing listens and it wasn't long before Jorn was making his name known.

His 1st band came in the light of 'Vagabond' back in 93/94 when he met up with members of TNT, another fine band from Norway which featured Ronnie Le Tekro (guitars) & Morty Black (bass). The band recorded 2 albums before departing ways and it wasn't long before former Whitesnake members Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden formed the band 'The Snakes', 1 album was recorded 'Once Bitten' and a live album.

Been the front man of 'The Snakes', his name was soon talked about having that Dio meets David Coverdale feel to his voice made all the difference for this young Norwegian. Sadly the band broke up and Jorn formed a band with Ark with member of Conception Tore Tosby (guitars) and 2 very interesting albums were recorded. Sadly after just 2 albums the band broke up.

Jorn has been involved with so many projects and bands which include Beyond Twilight, Millenium, Masterplan, Allen/ Lande Project, and so on... Jorn has recorded 15 studios albums as a solo artist and a couple of live albums/ DVD's. Jorn was also involved with the tribute show to Ronnie James Dio in London with Heaven & Hell along with Glenn Hughes and what a fantastic show that was.

Jorn has changed so many musicians with his solo albums which gives him a fresh approach in write with various musicians. He is without doubt Jorn's premier singer, is there anything he can't do? He was also involved with his Black Metal band 'Mundanus Imperium' who released one album on Nuclear Blast in 98.

This new album 'Life on Death Road' is a superb album which funny enough features members of Primal Fear, Mat Sinner, Alex Beyrodt, Alessandro Del Vecchio, and drummer Fransesco Lovino. The album was produced by Alessandro, who has done a fantastic job, and the songs are strong with Jorn shining at his best.

A solid production with Jorn's voice been on top form whereas the band shine through playing some of Jorn's finest material. If you are a fan of Jorn's previous work then you are going to love this little gem, awesome music here folks and vocals.

Songs to check out are: Life of death Road, Hammered to the Cross, Dreamwalker (amazing song), Love Remedy, Fire to the Sun, Absoluble Maze, I walked Away, Devil you can Drive (reminds me a little bit of Ark), The Optimist, Blackbirds.

If you're a fan of Voodoo Circle, Whitesnake, Deep Purple or Dio this is a must for you. Fantastic album, I really hope he tours the UK again soon.

Kissin Dynamite  'Generation Goodbye'     AFM     ****      

German metal act 'Kissin Dynamite' return with their new album which is a live album, featuring some of the bands finest work, their 1st album which is also released as a DVD.

This young band which are making waves in the metal scene were formed back 2007 as school friends who had the idea to form a metal band from the deep south of Germany. With these young guys creating music at a early age it wasn't long before the band released a demo which was sent to major label 'Capital/ EMI' and the band released their debut album 'Steel of Swabia' in 2009. This debut album had the melodic power of Skidrow with the attitude of Accept and U.D.O.

The bands 2nd album 'Addicted to Metal' saw the likes of UDO producing this album and the band delivered a heavier album in which I saw them live at Bang Your Head festival. I have to say I was impressed with the live performance and the impressive vocals of Hannes Braun. Joining Hannas is guitarists Andre Braun & Jim Miller with bassist Steffen Haile and drummer Andi Schnitzer.

With the band releasing the 2nd album AFM record soon got involved with promoting the band in certain areas in Europe. In 2010 the band started working with AFM and are still currently signed to the label on a full time basis.

In 2012 the band released 'Money, Sex, Power' which seemed to see the band heading for a more commercial approach, which wasn't a band album but I much preferred 'Addicted to Metal'. This was soon followed by 'Megalomania' in 2014 and 'Generation Goodbye' in 2016.

The band have come a long way since they formed having played some of the major German festival at a young age. This live album sees the band playing songs from their previous albums and includes 25 songs, a real value for money show which

I recommend you check out. If you are not sure what they sound like, well I'd say hints of Skidrow, Hardcore Superstars, and bands of that nature.

Some of the songs to check out are: Generation Goodbye, Money, Sex & Power, DNA, Highlight Zone, Running Free, Love me Hate Me, Shes a Killer, She came She Saw, Operation Supernova, Against the World, Supersonic Killer, Steel of Swabia, Ticket to Paradise.

If you like the bands previous work and you want to see what there all about on DVD then grab a copy today.

Masterplan       “Pumpkings”     AFM      *****      

German Power Metal act 'Masterplan' return with this album which features re-worked songs from the days of Helloween (Roland Grapow's previous band) when Roland had joined the band back in 89 and left the band back in 2001. Roland had played on some of the bands most important albums after the departure of Kai Hansen, this would include 'Pink bubbles go Ape', 'Chameleon', 'Master of the Rings', 'Time of the Oath' and 'The dark Ride', in which the Dark Ride saw the band heading in a more heavier approach, and I rather liked that album.

Since Roland's departure with Helloween he formed Masterplan with former Helloween drummer Uli Kasch in which they met Jorn Lande as the vocalist with bassist Jan S. Eckert and keyboardist Alex Mackenrott and their debut album with AFM records was soon released as a self titled album in 2003. Rave reviews were coming out from the press world-wide and the fans embraced Roland's new band.

The band soon recorded their 2nd album 'Aeronautics' in 2005, another fine album of melodic Power Metal, and this would be Jorn's last album along with drummer Uli, who were soon replaced by Mike DeMeo (ex Riot) with drummer Mike Terrana (ex Yngwie/ Rage) for the next album 'MK II' in 2007. Again more line up changes for the next album with Mike DeMeo leaving the band only to have Jorn back as the lead singer for 'Time to be King' in 2010.

In 2013 the band released the next chapter of Masterplan's career with new singer Rick Altzi (ex Frequency), a fine singer and really suited the band's music, I guess he has a Jorn lande feel to his voice but with more of a grasp voice. The band released 'Novum Initium' in 2013 with new bassist Jari Kainulainen (ex Stratovarious), and former Cradle of Filfth drummer Martin Skaroupka.

This new album features some classic tunes from Roland's days with Helloween days with new drummer Kevin Kott, which have totally been re worked and sound really good. I guess some of you maybe thinking how can they redo these songs, well Saxon did it with 'Heavy Metal Thunder', so why can't Masterplan do it too?

The songs sound really good and with Rick's vocals somehow have given them that extra special touch. Produced by Roland the overall sound is solid and very impressive and comes with 11 tracks of some of the finest work Roland recorded with the band. Some of you might be thinking why the hell record these when a new album could have been recorded instead. Well good question but I am sure the band will be working hard on this very shortly.

Songs to check out are: The Chance, Someones Crying, Mankind, Mr Ego, Still we Go, Escalation 666, The time of the Oath, Music, The Dark Ride. A great album packed full of old classic reworked and sound great... buy today.

Iced Earth      “Incorruptible”      Century Media     ***      

U.S. Power Metal gods 'Iced Earth' return with their new stunning album 'Incorruptible', the bands were formed by guitar wizard John Schaffer, the mastermind behind the band that where formed back in Tamp (Florida) back in 85 originally under the name of 'Purgatory' but after a demo soon changed their name due to another band under the same name.

With the band choosing the name 'Iced Earth' back in the late 80's with such demos as 'Enter the realm' which I'm happy to say I own a copy, saw the band sending it out to various fanzines and record companies world-wide and it wasn't long before the band were signed to Century Media from Germany. The band released their debut self titled album in 90 mixing the likes of early Metallica meets Iron Maiden, which works really well for this band.

In 91 the band released 'Night of the Stormrider', a fine 2nd album which saw the band grow. The band have released 11 previous albums, 3 live DVD's and a reworked album of the band's early material. Jon is the founder member of the band, having seen musician's come and go, and such outstanding singers such as Tim 'Ripper' Owens (former Judas Priest), Matt Barlow (who last on returned to the band) and Stu Block (former Into Eternity, a great band you should check out). Stu has been with the band since 'Dystopia' in 2011 and also recorded 'Plagues of Babylon' in 2014 and now 'Incorruptible'.

This new album I have to say didn't strike me on the 1st few listens but soon I started to feel the love for this album. With Iced Earth you know what you get, galloping chugging riffs and soaring vocals, which comes across between Metallica, Iron Maiden with Rob Halford type of vocals somewhat.

This album comes with 10 trax, produced by Jon with the aid of Zeuss (who has worked with Queensryche/ Sanctuary) and the overall sound comes across solid and powerful. A nice drum sound for Brent, with a cutting edge guitar sound for Jon and new guitarists Jake Dreyer (White Wizzard) along with bassist Luke Appleton, this is an album that if not at 1st will grow on you.

Songs on the album to check out are: Great heathen Army, Black Flag (reminds me of Manowar vibe), The Veil, Seven headed Whore, Ghost Dance, Defiance, Clear the Way.

Not a bad album, if you like the bands previous albums then you will surely like this. I'm still struggle with it a little bit, I'm find it hard to get into this album as something is a miss. Maybe it's just me, I love Iced Earth's music just not sure about this album... Time will tell.

Kobra And The Lotus     “Prevail”     Napalm     ****      

Canadian metal act 'Kobra & the Lotus' return with their new album, the band's 4th album and what a pretty decent album this is. Formed by female sing Kobra Paige with local guitarists Matt Van Wezel and Chris Swenson the 3 started making music and recording music around their local area.

It wasn't long before the trio found drummer Griffin Kissack for the album 'Out of the Pit'  which was released as a self financed album. In 2010 when Kiss bassist Gene Simmons saw interest in the band and soon signed them to Simmons label along with Universal Music. This album was a damn good debut album which had elements of Power Metal for the 2nd album which was a self titled album released also through Spinefarm.

This 2nd album saw the band opening up for the likes of Judas Priest around Europe and a change to play Bloodstock festival. The band started to find their own identity and it wasn't long before the band were selling alums on  a international basis. Kobra is a great singer and the band have created some fine powerful music that has that added Power Metal feel and works well for the band.

I'm not sure who they sound like to be fair, maybe some Hammerfall & and some of you could say their could be some elements of Epica without the growling vocals, I guess some Crystal Viper could be heard in their music. Kobra is joined by Jasio Kulakowski, Brad Kennedy and Lord Marcus Lee and the album was produced by done other than Jacob Hansen along with Ted Jensen, Jabov has worked with some of the finest bands such as Pretty Maids, Primal Fear and many more and is one of Denmark's top producers.

This is a really good album, fine vocals which are not over powering like bands such as Epica, Nightwish, vocals that I am not too keen on. Kobra does it more like old school metal so for me I can relate to it a lot easier.

Songs to check out are: Gotham, Trigger Pulse, You don't Know, Specimen X, Light me Up, Manifest Destiny, Check the Phyrg, Hell on Earth. A great album, the band are heading for bigger things with this great album, buy to day.

Royal Hunt     "2016.. Live"    Frontiers     ****    

Danish melodic progressive metal act 'Royal Hunt' have been around for some time now, having formed back in 89 by Russian born keyboard wizard Andre Andersen who studied music and soon later on decides to form a symphonic progressive metal band that in later years would turn out to be 'Royal Hunt'.

Andre search for musicians by placing ad's in music magazines and it wasn't long before he started to get positive response from musician's when he decided to move to Denmark.  Soon came singer Henrik Brockmann along with guitarists Jacob Kjaer and Mac Guanna with bassist Steen Mogensen and drummer Kenneth Olsen and the debut album 'Land of broken Hearts' was released by Japanese label Teichiku in 92. An impressive debut that took a shine to the Japanese market and Danish too and later on the world would be talking about the band.

In 95 new singer from the U.S. D.C. Cooper joined the band for the bands 3rd album 'Moving Target', and D.C. recorded 'Paradox' in 97 and left the band to started Silent Force among other later projects. His replacement was John West 'Artension', who recorded 4 albums with the band, he was soon replaced by Mark Boals 'ex Yngwie' and later on D.C. would return in 2011 for 'Show me how to Live'. The band have seen some musician line up changes and now the band consist of Andre, D.C., Andreas Passmark (bass), Jonas Larsen (guitars), and drummer Andreas Johansson.

Now the band are ready to start work on their new album soon, but for now the band have released their 3rd live album and DVD in the form of this epic live show. I believe this is the bands 2nd live DVD with D.C. and a great show it is. The band shows you just how talented they are with some impressive melodic rock and metal music with lots of progressive and classical elements.  This live CD/ DVD sees the band playing some if their finest work and having so many songs to choose from isn't easy for the band to chose the perfect set.

Fine vocals by D.C. with backing vocals by Kenny Lubcke a great singer who sang for Narita (shame he isn't doing much now) doing the backing vocals. A great live sound here and if you have seen the band before you will know how good they are live. There are 14 tracks here and some of the songs I suggest you check out are: River of Pain, One minute Left, Lies, Wasted Time, Heart on a Platter, You may never walk Alone, Until the Day, Half past Loneness, Message to God, are some of the highlights on this live performance. If you like the band or are curious about their music make sure you grab this live CD/ DVD.

The Ferryman      “Same”     Frontiers    ****    

A new project here for Frontiers label, the label that seems to be growing like AFM Records for projects. This time around it's 2 names that most of you will be familiar with, Mike Terrana on drums (ex Yngwie/ Rage) to name a few and one hell of a drummer, a powerful stick's man who knows his shit that's for sure.

Joining Mike is Swedish guitarist Magnus Karlsson, known for his work with Last Tribe, Primal Fear, and many more fine projects and bands. Fronted by Spanish vocalist Ronnie Romero, known for his work with 'Lords of Black' and Richie Blackmore's Rainbow.

Between the 3 of them this is a fine and yet melodic and powerful heavy metal album with lots of Power Metal elements. The whole project started back in the summer of 2013 when Magnus started putting the project and ideas together, creating some powerful riffs for Ronnie to scream out, and the end results speaks for themselves.

Mike's drumming is on top form and one of his best performances with Magnus shredding some fine guitar riffs makes this a great new project that can I hope only get better. Ronnie is a great singer that reminds me of Ronnie James Dio and the singer for Helker from Argentina, and a little guy with a big voice just like RJD.

Magnus also plays keyboards and bass on the album and he also produced the album with the mixing by Simone Mularoni who has worked with DGM with the art work by Stan W Decker whjo ahs created some interested and fine covers over the years. I really can't knock this album, well presented album packed full of some fine melodic tunes and fine singing as well as some impressive guitar solos. If you need to hear an album for the year make sure this is one of them.

Songs to check out are: End of the Road, Ferryman, Still standing Up, Cry Wolf, One Heart, The Darkest Hour, Enter your Dream, Eternal Night, Welcome to my Show. If you're a fan of either work these guys have done then you will like this, its a slightly heavier side to Allan/ Lande project and kicks butt.

Harem Scarem      “United”     Frontiers     ****     

Canadian melodic rockers 'Harem Scarem' have been rather quiet for a few years, this is until recently since 2014 since the bands last album was released for Frontiers titled 'Thirteen'. These guys are no strangers to the melodic rock scene having formed back in 87 when the band were formed back in Ontario & Toronto (Canada) were these young guys got together to create some of Canada's finest melodic rock/ metal music.

Some could say they come across between Def Leppard meets Firehouse and even Tyketto, nevertheless there good musicians that write some good solid rock out music.

In 87 the band released their debut album in Canada which charted out there and reached at #68 which was an incredible start for the bands debut and had 2 hit singles. Having such a successful debut bands members Harry Hess (vocals), Peter Lesperance (guitars), Mike Gionet (bass), Darren Smith (drums) the 4 musicians took to record the bands 2nd album 'Mood Swings' in 93, which was probably their best album from what I have heard so far and I haven't heard them all.

Even more success would follow with their 3nrd album also for WEA Records entitled 'Voice of Reason' in 95. 97 sees bassist mike leave the band (only to return in late years) to be replaced by Barry Donaghy. More replacements followed leaving Harry Hess and Peter to continue with the band with various rythem sections until Mike returned only to leave again.

Now the band release their 14th album with 'United' which features drummer Creighton Doane and new bassist Stan Miczek. This album also features former drummer Darren Smith handling the backing vocals. The band have certainly made a lot of success over the years and have become one of Canada's premier acts. This new album features 11 pure melodic AOR Metal from start to finish and captures a fine production.

Songs to check out are: United, Here today...Gone Tomorrow, Gravity, Sinking Ship, No Regrets, Bite the Bullet,  The sky is falling. A good solid hard rocking AOR album here.

Below     “Upon A Pale Horse'  Metal Blade      ****      

This new album by Swedish Epic Doom Metal band 'Below' return with their new album 'Upon a pale Horse' is the bands 2nd full length album. The bands debut album was released in 2013 titled 'Across the dark River' which was also released on Metal Blade and was produced by King Diamonds guitar wizard Andy LaRocque at his own studio 'Sonic Train Studios.

Although the band had released an E.P prior to these releases already mentioned which contained 4 songs and sold really well. The band for those who are interested were formed back in 2011 which features singer Zeb, Hedmann (bass), Paud (guitars), Berg (guitars) Doc (drums) and it wasn't long before the band recorded that 4 track EP. 

Sweden is well known for some of the best musician's to ever come out of there, mainly known for such styles of metal as Power, Epic, Death and Black Metal mainly and of course Doom Metal. Sweden's godfathers 'Candlemass' certainly have set their own brand and style following the footsteps of that by Black Sabbath, Trouble, Angel Witch, Witchfinder General to name a few with a hint of Tad Morose.

Now they have a new epic doom band 'Below' who are pretty good at what they do, Vocalist Veb reminds me of across between Tony Martin, Thomas Vikstorm and some of the music reminds me of Memento Mori if you listen carefully.

I have to say that I am rather impressed with his album, not only is it Doom Metal but it is played really well, some fine guitar work and fine vocals. This type of music isn't known for up lifting beats most of the time, more like funeral music at times and could be rather depressing at time. But all is good with Below, some uplifting tunes here is all good.

Nice production here makes the album even more enjoyable. One can only think that Andy may have had something to do with the production again but then again I could be wrong. The album comes with 8 songs of doom and gloom.

Songs to check out are: Disappearing Into Nothing, The Coven, Upon a pale Horse, Suffer in Silence, 1000 broken Bones,  We are all Slaves.

A decent album and a must for all Doom Metal fans out there, it's a decent album to say the least.

Suffocation       "Of The Dark Light"      Nuclear Blast      ****     

New York Death Metal merchants Suffocation return with their new album 'Of the dark Light' which has recently been released and what a great album with a fantastic production. Formed back in 88 by Frank Mullen (vocals), with Josh Barohn (bass), Guy Marchais (guitars) and Todd German (drums) in the early stages of the band. Guitarist Terrence Hobbs & Doug Cerrito along with Mike Smith were in a band called Mortuary who broke up and who later on joined the band. 

With the band recording demos and distributing them to various labels and fanzines worked wide it wasn't long before the band were soon picked up by Roadrunner for the bands debut and very insane and brutal album 'Effigy of the Forgotten' which was for me a great album, that had some catchy and yet heavy riffs and insane drums with blast beats. I knew this band would be a force to be reckoned with and with the success of this album and rave reviews from the press the band would embark on a  tour that made them a name to be remembered.

Next step would be the next album 'Bleeding The Spawn' in 93, this album sadly suffered with the production and the songs didn't really have the same effect as the bands debut. This was overlooked when the band released 'Pierced from Within' in 95 and saw the band back on form, sadly this was the last album for Roadrunner and the band broke up pretty much later on.

In 2004 the band released their comeback album 'Souls of Deny' for Relapse records an album which meant business with their brutal riffs and heavy Death Metal style metal. 2006 saw the band released their self titled album and in 2009 the band signed to Nuclear Blast for 'Blood Oath', and the rest is history. Like most bands this band have had some line up changes too and the bands current like up consists of Frank Mullen (vocals), Terrence Hobbs (guitars), Derek Boyer (bass), Charlie Errigo (guitars) and drummer Eric Morotti.

Now the band hit back with their 8th album and  what a great album which is packed full of technical death metal riffs, pounding drums and brutal vocals this is going to be hard to beat in the death metal world of releases. A nice production here, something that the band needed is certainly on this record. It's typical Suffocation music here so you certainly know what you are getting.

Songs on the album to check out are: Clarity through Deprivation, The warmth within the Dark, Your last Breaths, Return to the Abyss, Of the dark Light, Caught between two Worlds. A great album and a tour is planned for Europe and the UK soon, in the meantime check out New York's must brutal act.

Supercream        "The Engine Cries"     Send The Wood Music     ****      

First impressions, who the hell are Supercream? Just what I was wondering when I 1st discovered them a few weeks ago, and what I have heard is an interesting band from France. Not you're typical band name but these guys play some impressive progressive metal music. As a 5 piece this band were formed in 2007 by Phil Vermont (guitars) & Eric Pariche (vocals) and in 2011 the band released their debut album according to face book history news on the band. 

The rest of the band consist of Daniel Sminiac (guitars), Stephane Lescarbotte (bass), and drummer Martin Mabire  with some early stage line up changes, the rest is pretty much history. As the band have an unusual band name which i great because progressive rock and metal tend to to have bizarre band names really works well for this band. 

It is really great when you come across bands out of the blue that you have no idea about and places like You Tube always helps to some degree. This band are talented musicians playing some impressive progressive metal that reminds me of the likes of Pain of Salvation, Vanden Plas, Pantommind, maybe some strange elements of Psychotic Waltz, but nevertheless this band are really good and interesting to hear. The vocals by Eric remind me of Pantommind that is for sure.

This album comes with 10 impressive songs that will inspire you and if you are a musician then this album will certainly appeal to you, either way it's a good listen and a great album. A nice production here makes the music and vocals shine through as this album does just that. If the band have done a debut that I am unaware of then I would certainly like to check it out. The album cover is the 1st thing that I noticed and was impressive with the artwork as you will be too once you have seen it and then heard the album. 

A great album which has catchy riffs, strong vocals and a nice production makes all the difference and with the album been a solid good progressive metal album it's an album that you must hear. Songs on the album to check out are: Evil Cream, The Engine Cries, Pandora, Your necklace of Bites, Way Out, Where's my Mum, Insane God. Give this album a listen it's a good album.

DGM        "Live In Milan & ProgPower"     Frontiers      ****    

Italian Progressive Metal act 'DGM' formed back in 94 as an all out instrumental Progressive Metal band, but soon found that there music needed a singer and in later times they found a singer to make this a full time band. Some of you may not be be aware that the bands name means 'Discipline Global Mobile', so now you know. Formed by guitarist Diego Reali along with keyboardist Maurizio Pariotti and drummer Gianfranco Tassella the 3 formed the instrumental version of the bands early stages.

In 95 front man Luciano Regoli joined the band and it wasn't long before the band recorded demos together and in 96 the band released their own mini CD 'Random Access Zone', this was just the beginning of that is now. With the band releasing their debut album 'Change Direction' in 97 and was an impressive start to the bands career. 

In 99 the band released 'Wings of Time' with new drummer Fabio Costantino who has remained in the band to this day. Current front man Mark Basile joined the band 2008 and is a great singer that reminds me of Ian Parry (ex Elegy) and with the music sounding similar to that of Symphony X & Eden's Curse. 

The bands current line up after several members leaving is Simone Mularone (guitars), Emaneuele Casali (keyboards), Andrea Arangeli (bass) with drummer Fabio. Now the line up is strong and solid the music is also the same, making some fine music that any fan of Progressive Metal would love to hear. Of course there are hints of Dream Theater and Evergrey in the music too.

With the band having released 11 albums to date the music speaks volumes. This is the bands 2nd live DVD and CD, the band released their debut live DVD in 2010 titled 'Synthesis' and received some fine and positive response.  Now the band return with this live DVD recorded in both Italy (Milan) and ProgPower in Atlanta (U.S.A.). It is a fine show that spans the bands career from early material to later material. A perfect performance here which includes 22 pure energetic tunes from start to finish with some amazing vocals.

Some songs to check out are: The Passage, The Secret Part 1, Reason, The Secret Part 2, Animal, No Looking Back, Numb, Reason, Daydreamer, In A Movie, Disguise, Fallen, Heartache, just to name a few. This is a great performance and well worth checking out buy it today. 

Tankard       "One Foot In The Grave"     Nuclear Blast     ****    

German drunk's 'Tankard' are no strangers to the world of booze and beer having been alcoholics since 82 since they were found in their local pub drinking tons of beers and also found out they had an interest for playing music, big question was would beer and music mix well for these guys? I guess it did and since 82 the band have drank more beer than any other band, still playing strong beet thrashing metal and still stand up for it. Sending various demos to labels and beer companies (not) it wasn't long before the band received interested from labels and one label Noise International (Helloween/ Kreator/ Celtic Frost) saw potential in the band and soon snapped them up for a deal with the debut release in 86 titled 'Zombie Attack'.

With this album firmly released and reviews from German press were coming in strong it wasn't long before the band recorded their 2d album 'Chemical Invasion' in 87 and with an amazing album cover really put the bands sales up, it was the 1st album I bought because of the cool album cover. I wasn't too sure about the bands lyrical contents and I have to admit I have not been a fan of lyrics with seem to be all about beer, this was something Tankard carried on doing and to be fair why would you call the band Tankard if you're going to sing about beer? It was m choice but the music speaks volumes and the sales speak for themselves.

These 2 impressive album would be followed by 'The Morning After', another fine album for the drunken state of mind and the title of the album said it all. It took the band a further 2 yrs to recover before they made another album and this has continued to this date. In total the band have recorded 17 albums, and that's pretty impressive. Like Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction these 4 band are the Big 4 of German Thrash, maybe a world tour would be nice. Only original members left in the band are Andreas Geremia (vocals) and bassist Frank Thorwarth who have kept the band alive all this time. In the current line up we have guitarist Andreas Gutjahr and drummer Olaf Zissel to complete the line up.

This new album for any alcoholic would love this album 'One foot in the Grave' pretty much says it all for everybody, and there some intense headache ripping thrash metal here from start to finish. Containing 10 cans of beer (well music) that is typical Tankard style metal. Some catchy riffs here and some of the songs kind of remind me of the band Assassin and parts of Sodom, so if you like both of these bands then you will love this album. I have to hand it to the band for some impressive album covers, certainly make great t shirts. The album was produced by Martin Buchalter who is known for his work with Destruction and Suidakra who the over all sound is solid and strong.

Songs to check out are: Pay to Pray, Arena of true Lies, Don't bullshit Us, One foot in the Grave, Syrian Nightmare, Lock um Up, The evil that men Display and Soul Grinder. It's good to see that the band have moved on from the beer song titles and this is one good album to check out. Let the party beginning!!!

Primal Fear       "Angels Of Mercy"      Frontiers     ****     

German Power Metal super group return with their new live album 'Angels of Mercy', another release from Frontiers and the label really are release a few albums of recent... a few reviews to do for me. Primal Fear formed out of the ashes of Gamma Ray's Ralf Scheepers (vocals), Mat Sinner (Sinner/ Voodoo Circle), Tom Naumann (guitars), Alex Beyrodt (guitars) known for his work with various bands, Francesco Jovino (drums) known for his work with U.D.O., and Magnus Karlson (guitars) known for his work with Last tribe and many more. Having 3 live guitarist is like Iron Maiden and why not?

The band have last a long time starting out as a bit of a super group people wondered if they would carry on after their debut album 98 which was left titled. Good thing is that they have survived despite a few line up changes Mat and Ralf with Alex have kept the band ever moving strong than ever before. Having Tom and Magnus on board has left as Tom was once with the band in the early days and left the band only to return in later days. The band have recorded 11 albums in total, a strong band that has the feel of Judas Priest, Saxon in their music along with some German influences such as Sinner, Gamma Ray as you can imagine  and there's nothing wrong with that.

This is the band's 3rd live DVD/ Blu Ray which also has a live CD with the DVD, just a pity that all bands and labels don't have live CD's with Blu Rays as they are the most expensive and I just wish they would include them with Blu Ray's too. This live release comes with 15 live trax spanning from the bands early material to the more modern of albums which include the bands last studio album 'Rulebreaker' released in 2016.

This release contains 14 trax of pure German Power Metal, which has some really good songs, the only bad thing I guess is the lack of interacting with the crowd, Ralf doesn't speak much to the crowd sadly and its almost like a studio live album if you didn't see the DVD or Blu Ray, but I can't criticize their performance.

Songs played are: Final Embrace, In metal we Trust, Angel in Black, Rulebreaker, Sign of Fear, Seven Seals, Angel of Mercy, The end id Near, Roll coaster, The sky is Burning, Nuclear Fire, When death comes Knocking, Metal is Forever, Fighting the Darkness. Any fan of the band has to have this its a great addition. Looking forward to the new album soon I hope.

Dream Evil        "Six"      Century Media     ****       

It's always good to see a band return after a long absence, and in this form its the return of Swedish Power Metal act 'Dream Evil'. Formed back in 99 by guitarist and producer Fredrik Nordstrom, who met Greek guitar god Gus G (Firewind) and in later years Gus moved to Sweden to start work on the debut album 'Dragonslayer' in 2002 which the band signed to Century Media. 

The band included former King Diamond madman Snowy Shaw on drums, with bassist Peter Stalfors and singer Niklas Isfeldt to complete the line up. With the debut album released and awesome reviews and sales it wasn't long before people started to take this band as a full time band and not a project. A strong debut having the likes of Hammerfall style of metal but with their own style and sound, it was a great debut which was soon followed by 'Evilized' in 2003, and this album was a perfect 2nd album. 2004 saw the band release their finest album, a real heavy metal anthem to say the least 'The book of Heavy Metal', I mean this is a fucking great album, not a bad song on the album that also featured a Ozzy tribute singer. This was sadly yhe last album that Gus G recorded with the band as Firewind were becoming his main priority.

The band replaced Gus with Mark Black who did the 'United' album and Snowy quit to pursue his own projects, his replacement was Pat Power. Mark quit after 'United' and was replaced by Daniel Varghamne for the next album 'In the Night', which was released in 2010. Sadly this was the last album for some time as the band broke up only to return in the last year for this new album 'Six', which is released through Century Media.

This album features Peter, Niklas, Fredrik, Pat and Mark Black to return in the band and is a fantastic comeback album. Maybe not as good as 'The book of heavy Metal', I mean that album is a classic album, but this is a great comeback album that shows that the band still have what they had 7 yrs ago. I am sure this is the album they would of made in 2011 onwards anyway. Niklas voice is great, and for some reason they kind of remind me of a Power Metal version of The Scorpions, does any one else feel the same way?

Produced by Fredrik, who certainly knows how to produce and has given this the best production he could of, again powerful and solid sounding album. A great comeback album that features 12 blistering songs from start to finish. A fine album of melodic metal and power metal all in one. Songs to check out are: Dream Evil, Antidote (love the video so funny), Sin City (sounds like The Scorpions), Creature of the Night, Hellrider, Six hundred and 66, How to start a War, Too Loud, 44 Riders, Broken Wings, We are Forever.

Welcome back guys, let the 2nd chapter of the book of Heavy Metal be opened, the mayhem has just started. 

Vanden Plas       "The Seraphic Live Works"        Frontiers        *****   

German Prog Metal Gods 'Vanden Plas' are no strangers in  he world of Progressive Metal, having formed back in the mid 80's but didn't actually started getting noticed until 91 when the band started to write their own songs and it wasn't long before they recorded a demo tape which was soon picked up by the German underground press and later on the word was out outside of Germany. The band also recorded a song for their local football team 'Keep on Running', which certainly got them noticed rather quickly.

The band have really done well having a very strong relationship as a band, good friends always helps and this band are no exception too that. Since the beginning of the band's career has remained the same with vocals by Andy Kuntz (vocals), Stephan Lill (guitars) and his brother Andreas (drums) with Torsten Reichert (bass) and keyboardist Gunter Werno make this band one hell of a great band.

Since the band released their debut 'Colour Temple' back in 94 through LMP/ Dream Circle I remember reviewing it well and was blown away by the great musicianship and a excellent powerful production. To this day they still remind me of across between Dokken meets Dream Theater, and Andy is a much better singer than James I have to say. This successful debut was soon followed by an EP 'AcCult', an unplugged EP, which was soon followed by The God Thing' in 97, a fine follow up of some fine Progressive Metal riffs and tunes, and for me I don't think the band have done a single bad album like some bands do this band just carry on making fine albums. Maybe they don't make as many year after year but quality in this band's eyes makes all the difference. 

In total the band have recorded 9 studio albums, 1 live album and now this live CD/ DVD which sees the band perform live at the famous U.S. festival 'ProgPower' in Atlanta. If you haven't seen the band live before then I suggest you do so if they play near you. I have had the pleasure of see in them at Bloodstock indoor festival, they should come back there. At times they have the heaviness of Symphony X and even Evergrey, so any fan of prpg metal really needs to hear this band.

Sadly this DVD/ CD is pretty short, sadly no extra's like interviews or other shows added, this is something I am disappointed with when it comes to Frontiers, they seem to not but enough work into their live DVDs, I hope they do in the very near future. Its about value for money. Still saying that this is a great performance and a great band, well worth checking out.

Songs on this CD/ DVD include: Postcard To God, Rush of Silence, Holes in the Sky, Far off Grace, Scar of an Angel, Quicksilver, Cold Wind, Frequency, Silently. Sadly that is all you get which si a damn shame as I really liek their music and like what they create. Buy it anyway and check out the bands previous albums there all great releases. 

Body Count      "Bloodlust"     Century Media      ***       

Body Count is the metal band put together by rapper 'Ice T', known for his outrageous gangster Rap of previous work before coming a TV star and also acting in some films. Rap isn't my thing far from it, but I have to admire Ice for been a metal head, having been friends with the likes of Slayer and recording an Exploited cover, people started to see Ice T in a new light.

I also have to admit that from what I have heard in the past by Body Count didn't interest me just because the productions sucked which didn't help when you play metal, it's a power and energy in the studio and this lacked for Body Count. Not only just that, but I didn't think the songs were up to much scratch, this was up until now. Ice has certainly got his act together having recruited ex Steel Prophet bassist Vincent Price a great Power Metal band and the legend Juan Garcia from the band Agent Steel/ Evil Dead, another band that I admired just like Steel Prophet.

Ice is joined by long time school friend Ernie C, who had an idea of forming a metal band back 1990. The band recorded demos not knowing if the band could pull it off playing metal and it wasn't long before they found themselves a deal with Warner Brothers and the self titled album was released in 92. Was this accepted by rap and metal fans? Well it certainly seemed that way, only question was, a project or band? It soon became known that it would be a full time band. The production for that album didn't help neither did the 2nd album 'Born Dead' in 94, again a lack of power in the production didn't help but they did get better in later times.

Musically Body Count are heavy a little thrash metal here and there mixed with the likes of Biohazard or Suicidal Tendencies seem to fit well some of course some Rap influences. The band recorded in total 5 previous album up until the new album 'Bloodust', released through Century Media. The band certainly need a strong production and a good metal label to promote is and I can finally say this band have both now.

The album features guest by Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) on the song 'Civil War', and Max Cavalera on the song 'All love is Lost', as well as Randy Blythe on 'Walk with Me', so a couple of well known names here to help with sales goes a long way. Production on this album is good, a solid metal sound and nice heavy drums and some decent guitar riffs here, which the help of Juan certainly must of added that extra touch. Not knowing who produced the album sadly it has a good solid sound which comes with 11 trax..

I have to give credit to Ice T and the boys for making a decent album, finally making a great record for that it is. What they do is good and it can only get better. Songs to check out are: Civil War, The ski mask Way, All love is Lost, Reign in Blood/ Post Mortem (Slayer covers), Walk with Me, No lives Matter, Bloodlust, Black Hoodie. Respect were it's due this ain't bad at all, let's see what the next album brings. 

 

Dead Daises       "Live & Louder"     Spitfire/ Steamhammer       ****      

Most of you will already be aware of 'Dead Daises', who were formed out of the ashes of ex Whitesnake bassist Marco Mendoza who had also worked with Thin Lizzy along with David Lowy (Red Phoenix/ Mink) , and later on guitarist Doug Aldritch along with vocalist John Corabi (Motley Crue/ The Scream), Brian Tichy (Ozzy/ Foreigner),  who came together back in 2012 in Sydney Australia by Daivd Lowy who had met up with some amazing musicians from the U.S. as well as Australia.

With the band successfully formed it wasn't long before they recorded their debut album 'The Dead Daises' in 2013, which at that time had different musicians and singer, David was the man who formed the band and the album went global. Having success it wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Revolucion' in 2015 which featured Richard Fortus (guitars), Jackie Barnes (drums), and keyboardist Dizzy Reed. This was released on Spitfire Records and the success of that album was soon to make the band more of a success.

In 2016 the band released 'Make some Noise' for new label 'Steamhammer'  which are in partnership with Spitfire and featured Brian Tichy and Doug Alritch came to be part of the band. This was an amazing step for the band having even more members of Whitesnake added to the band, what could possibly go wrong? This album saw some amazing work been written and the vocals were cool too, playing Hard Rock with some Blues elements made this a great album.

Having seen the band last year they were awesome and well what can you say about Doug Aldritch, John Sykes little brother an amazing guitarist who also has the elements of Dave Meniketti (Y&T) he is one of the best guitarist out there for the style he is playing. This new live album/ DVD is well worth grabbing, it has some of the bands best songs which contains 15 live songs recorded in Europe, and a 40 minute added documentary t the DVD is well worth grabbing a copy of & also had video clips also added. John's vocals are spot on, the music is excellent and well worth checking out. A nice production here for a live album certainly makes all the difference.

Songs to check out are: Long way to Go, Make some Noise, Fortunate Son, We all Fall Down, Lock N Load, Something I Said, Join Together, With you & I, Mainline, Midnight Moses to be the most outstanding songs. Grab a copy if you can it's a great addition to you're collection especially if you like Hard Rock. Check out the band live this summer around Europe. 

Harlott          "Extinction"         Metal Blade    ***     

Australian Thrasher's 'Harlott' return with their new album, their debut album 'Origin' was released back in 2013 through an independent label which broke the band out of the Australian scene and proved that not all band sound like AC/DC thank god. Formed back in Melbourne the band recorded demo tapes, which were soon circulated around the underground scene and it wasn't long before the band were noticed in their home country.

The band were supporting some local acts up until Metal Blade heard what the band were doing and saw what the band had to offer, and soon offered them a deal for the bands 2nd album entitled 'Proliferation' which was released back in 2015, which certainly saw the band ever moving forward with a great promotion campaign and a tour with Annihilator which took the band around 19 countries in 6 weeks. 

The band consist of Andrew Hudson (vocals/ guitars) Ryan Butler (lead guitars), Thomas Richards (bass) and drummer Tim Joyce. The 4 musician's play some impressive thrash metal which Andy's vocals are very close to that of Tom Araya (Slayer) with the music sounding across between Slayer, Exodus, Forbidden, Evil Dead a certain feel to the Bay Area that's for sure.

This new album features 12 trax, and was produced by Jens Borgen known for his work with Kreator, Opeth, Soilwork and many more and the overall sound is second to none. Some catchy riffs here and some mind blowing thrash riffs that any fan of old school thrash is going to like. Having said that there are hints of modern trash like Gama Bomb, and many more bands in that vain. At times the vocals are tend to be very same in sound, kind of like Tom Araya, you either love or hate them.

Songs on the album to check out are: Extinction, First world Solution, The Penitent, Whore, No Past, Better off Dead, Parasite to be the best of the songs on the album. Not too bad in general a bit more variation wouldn't go a miss that's for sure. 

Snake Charmer      "Second Skin"      Frontiers    ***      

This new super group from the UK formed out of the skin or ashes of Whitesnake, with Micky Moody and Neill Murray, long time members of the band back in the early days who had successfully recorded most of the classic albums that Whitesnake had released aback in their early days. After their departure from Whitesnake the 2 former musicians formed 'The Snakes', with Norwegian singer Jorn Lande, who was replaced later on by Gary Barden and changed their name later on to 'Company of Snakes', and recorded 2 albums. Later on changed their name to M3 with Doogie White on vocals and recorded 2 albums.

Snake Charmer were formed back in 2011 when the 2 musicians met Thunder drummer Harry James who is also known for his work with Magnum in recent years. Also in the band is Chris Ousey (vocals) Heartland, Laurie Wisefield (guitars) Wishbone Ash, Simon McBride (guitars), Adam Wakeman (keyboards) Ozzy/ Black Sabbath, and of course Neil Murray (bass).

This is the band's 2nd album, their debut 'self titled' was released in 2013 and did really well in sale and with the strong songs and nicely produced album certainly did the band justice for a debut. Now the band are back with this new album 'Second Skin', which still manages to capture the classic Hard Rock with elements of Blues on this record. I guess you could say Whitesnake, Thunder bring to mind with the music but there are also other bands that spring to mind such as, Mr Big especially with the vocals as they do sound like Eric Martin somewhat, which do work well for this band. Other's include the likes of Bad Company & Foreigner. It's a good Hard Rock album that any fan of Blues and Hard Rock with some great vocals would enjoy.

The album comes with 11 songs which which has a solid and nice production making all the instruments shine through, strong vocals makes this a good 2nd album and having such a strong line up and some really talented musicians makes this a good choice of a great 2nd album.

Songs on the album to check out are: Sounds like a Plan, That kind of Love, Are you ready to Fly, I'll take you as you Are, Hell of a way to Live, Fade Away (great ballad), to be the strongest of the songs on this album. Not a bad album indeed, a must for any fans of Blues Hard Rock and Whitesnake's early material. Catch the band live on tour now in the UK and Europe.

Labyrinth        "Architecture Of A God"      Frontiers    *****   

Italian Progressive/ Symphonic Power Metal band return after a long absence since the band released their last album back in 2010 entitled 'Return to heaven Denied ..Pt.2', is it's been a few years since we've heard from this band. Formed back in Massa (Italy)  in 1991 having recorded several demos it wasn't lone before the band were soon signed for their debut 'No Limits' in 96 released through Arise Records. This was the beginning of of a promising future, with front man Fabio Lione (Rhapsody) handling the vocals for the debut but was replaced by Rob 'Tyrant' for the 2nd album 'Return to Heaven Denied' in 98, a fantastic album and with a great singer like Rob things could only progress. 

The band have had their fair share of line up changes and with Rob Tyrant (vocals), Olaf Thorsen (guitars) Andreas Rain (guitars), Nik Mazzucconi (bass), Oleg Smirnoff (keyboards, known for his work with Eldritch & Vision Divine), and drummer John Macaluso (known for this work with Ark/ Riot/ TNT). So you have an impressive line up and I'm so glad that Rob is back as the vocalist, it wouldn't of been Labyrinth without him on vocals.

The band have come along way from their early stages, moving away from the typical Stratovarious style they once had and have found their own identity. I guess some elements of Helloween, Evergrey, shine through in their music. It's still Labyrinth but this is at their best, some really moving elements here and it certainly takes you on a journey from start to finish.

Produced by the band with the mixed handled by DGM producer Simone Mularoni and the overall sound is excellent as well as the songs. Rob sings at his best and the band play well together, tight and solid which makes this a great comeback album.

Songs on the album to check out are :Bullets, Still Alive, Take on my Legacy, A New Dream (awesome ballad), Someone Says, Architecture  of a God, Those Days, We belong to Yesterday. A great comeback album and the band are certainly ready for the new chapter in their careers, welcome back guys.

Treat     "The Road More or Less Traveled"     Frontiers    *****     

Swedish melodic rocker's Treat have been around for some time now having formed back in 81 under the name of 'The Boys' formed by singer Robert Ernlund with guitarist Andres Wikstrom & Leif Liljegren and later on drummer Mats Dahlberg in 83. In 85 the band released their debut album 'Scratch & Bite' through Mercury Records, this was just the beginning of what is now. With the debut released it wasn't long before their name was out and about receiving some excellent reviews in Sweden and world-wide. 

Like any band they have line up changes, Treat have had a few, singer Robert left the band and was replaced by Mats Leven (a fantastic singer who had worked with Candlemass/ At Vance/ Yngwie Malmsteen) to name a few and he recorded the album 'Treat' in 92. In 94/95 the band sadly broke up only to return back in 2009 when the band had been receiving emails from fans world-wide to ask them to reform in which they did. Both Robert Andres got the band back together with the aid of Jamie Borger (drums), Nalle Pahlsson (bass) and keyboardist Patrick Applegren for the album 'Coup De Grace' in which the band signed to Frontiers.

With this album released the fans took the band more serious and tours and fantastic reviews were received world-wide. In 2016 the band released their latest album 'Ghost of Graceland' also through Frontiers with new bassist Pontus Egberg (King Diamond) in which this album was recorded. An impressive comeback album and the title track for me is a great song.

Now the band are about to release or have released their new live DVD/ Blu Ray & live CD which features 14 tracks recorded live at Frontier's festival in Italy. I have yet to see the live DVD, only heard the CD which I am reviewing now but form what I can hear it's well worth checking out. if you are a fan of melodic metal such as Europe, Vanden Plas, Skagarack, to name a few then this is a band you need to check out. Some great singing here and some fine track which must of been hard to prepare considering the amount of songs they have released.

Songs on the CD you need to check out are: Ghost of Graceland, Better the Devil, Nonstop Madness, Ready for the Taking (I really love this song), Papertiger, Do your own Stunts, Gimme one for Night, We own the Night, Conspiracy, Skies of Mongolia, Roar. If you like Treat or just melodic metal then this is for you, the Swedes know how to rock don't they?

Dimmu Borgir        "Forces Of The Northern Night -  DVD"         Nuclear Blast        *****     

Norwegian Metal Metal masters 'Dimmu Borgir' return with their new live DVD. Formed back in 93 by singer Shagrath and guitarist Silenoz and former member Tjodalv when Black Metal was just starting to become a force in Norway, like most Black Metal bands that have shitty toilet productions and and the ability to only play a Cacphonfew chords, Dummi Borgir soon became Norway's premier act that would learn t actually play their instruments and have added flavour to their style in the form of symphonic metal. To be this band have really grown on me, and I have to say I only like this band and the godfathers of 'Venom', the rest just does nothing for me.

The band released their debut EP 'Into the darkness of Eternity' in 94, which sold out rather quickly and in 95 the band released their debut album 'For all Time' through Cacphonous Records, which soon was receiving some impressive reviews world-wide. In 96 the band released 'Stormblast' and in 97 the band signed to Nuclear Blast for their next album 'Enthrone Darkness Triumphant', having heard some of the bands early material this was the turning point for when the band soon moved away from the typical Black Metal of Scandinavia and found a more melodic root but still keeping true to Black Metal.

In total the band have released 9 albums, the last one was recorded in 2010 titled 'Abrahadabra', and some of you maybe wondering why they have taken so long to release a new album, good question and I am sure it wont be long before the next album. 

With the bands line up been Shagrath, Silenoz, Galder (guitars) with sessions live and studio musicians Daray (drums), Cyrus (bass0 and guitarist Gerlioz to complete the line up for this outstanding live DVD. This new DVD is packed full of energy and amazing shows,  especially in their home city were the band have a full choir, a full orchestra and a very atmospheric feel embraced by classical elements makes this one hell of a DVD to check out. It comes with 2 DVDs, one from Wacken festival showing you hw well they can play outdoors, whereas the show in Norway is spectacular to say the least, I just wish I had of seen that or they would bring it to the UK. I can just imagine how awesome it was to be there.

This is without doubt an awesome DVD that any fan of extreme music should check out, only negative thing is the fact that the interviews are conducted in Norwegian, subtitles grrr lol. I recommend this dark embracement and I await the new album. Norway's premier dark metal band.

Trail          "Motherless"      Metal Blade       ***     

New to me is Swedish Doom Metal band 'trail' formed back in 2007 and wrote songs together for 2 yrs before finding singer Linus who completed the formation of the band. In 2010 the band recorded a demo with very little money or lack of equipment but still went ahead with the recording, which soon saw the band landing a deal and the bands debut 'The Primordial Temple' was released in 2011, this soon saw the band record and release their EP in 2013 titled 'Malicious Art'.

Later on the band landed a deal with Metal Blade and the album 'Vessel' was recorded in 2015 and the start of what is now has just begun. With the band consisting of Linus Johansson (vocals) and Andreas Johansson (guitars), along with Alexander Ellstrom (guitars), bassist Andreas Olsson and drummer Martin Svensson the band have been making epic Doom Metal.

Well the music has some elements of Candlemass as you would expect, with hints of Destiny and maybe some early Fates Warning, and some medieval influences, certainly not much Trouble here or Sabbath as you of you may think of. Certainly the vocals are similar to that of Destiny, so if you like their music you will like this.

The new album 'Motherless' was produced by Olof Berggren at Studio Mega in Sweden and the overall sound is solid, some nice riffs here and the vocals are pretty good too, at times a little too over powering sadly but still good enough for the music they are creating. I guess there a little strange like Psychotic Waltz with ideas if you know what I mean.

Sweden is known for some great musicians and vocalists, this is one band that could grow on you  if given the chance. Any fan of epic Doom Metal will love this. The cover reminds me of a hippy style cover from the 70's. Songs on the album to check out are: Motherless, In Empyrean Labour, Juxtaposed, Cold comes the Night. Not a bad album alittle work on the vocals would certainly do the music better justice though, just saying.

Fates Warning       "Awaken The Guardian... Live"    Metal Blade   *****      

No introduction really need here, one of the finest if not finest underground Power/ Progressive Metal bands of all time have made yet history again. Having formed back in 82 by vocalist John Arch and guitarist Jim Matheos along with bassist Joe DiBiase, guitarist Victor Arduini and drummer Steve Zimmerman, the 5 musicians made history with their debut album 'Night on Broken' back in 84, which had I think about 3 different cover. 

An album that was very close to Iron Maiden but with more Power Metal elements. Of course John would sound very close to that of Bruce, and later on after his departure from Fates auditioned for Dream Theater.

The band released their 2nd album (my favourite of the early) 'The Spectre Within' in 85, this album saw Victor leave and his replacement was Frank Aresti for the album 'Awaken The Guardian' which was officially released in 86. A fantastic album too like 'The Spectre Within' album, and this is what we have here in it's live form performed live at 'Keep it True' festival and 'ProgPower U.S.'.

The band have been thought some line up changes but it was time to reform the classic line up for this spectacular event as there seemed to be a demand for this line up to perform the enter album 'Awaken the Guardian' in it's enter form. This awesome release comes in many formats, including Blu Ray, DVD & CD's, LP's, T shirt and a ltd Boxset which I have ordered, which comes with a hardback book contain artwork for the album and more, in total about 62 pages roughly.

John Arch is on top form on this release so is the rest of the band, I can't wait to see this Blu Ray soon, it's going to be epic. It also features songs from 'The Spectre Within' so it has the best of both worlds and is highly recommended. Some of you like me would be wondering if the band will ever record a new album with this classic line up as a one off? Funny that Victor wasn't included in this release, I wonder if he was ever asked?

I can't fault what I have heard and seen on you tube, it's something that any fan of Power Metal should have in their collection, a great start if you haven't heard them before. In total you get 24 songs, 12 from each venue it was recorded at. These guy rock and are one of my all time favourite bands. Check out this live performance with the choice of you're recordings to buy. A must!!!

Mind Maze      "Resolve"       Inner Wound       ***      

U.S. female front Progressive/ Power Metal band 'Mind Maze' return with a new album, in total 3 albums to date. The band hail from Pennsylvania in 2012 by Sarah Tees and Jeff Tees (guitars) when the 2 of them found bassist Rich Pasqualone and drummer Mark Bunnett, having played in 18 states within the U.S. and supported the likes of Saxon and Armored Saint.

With the band having their debut album 'Mask of Lies' released in 2013 which I believe was a self financed release which put the band on the circuit it wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Back from the Edge' for Inner Wound Records, which also featured guest appearances by Mike Lepond (Symphony X), Stratovarius, Lord and Pharaoh members would appear on this release. This was surely going to make them sell albums with such a bunch of great musicians.

if you haven't heard the band before then I will try to describe their music, to be they sound across between Evergrey, Symphony X, maybe some hints of Crimson Glory, and Stratovarius, I really don't hear much U.S. metal influences in their music, which is a little disappointing for me but I guess there trying to find their own identity. I am not sure they have played the ProgPower festival but if not I am sure they may one day.

Sarah's voice is pretty good, certainly not Doro here but pretty strong, not sure who she sounds like maybe a little bit like a modern female metal singer that's been thrown into a Prog metal band. Music is pretty good through seem to mix some good riffs and work well on the albums. The album does feature 13 songs, 3 of which are instrumentals. 

Produced by Brian J Anthony who has done a god job nice sound all around and with the artwork done by Carl - Andre Beckston who has worked with Seventh Wonder, Harem Scarem, House of Lords and so on.

It's not a bad album, some good riffs and some impressive vocals and if you like the band's previous albums then check out this album too. Songs to check out are: Fight the Future, Drown Me, Sign of Life (sounds like Eden's Curse), Abandon, Sanity Collapses, Twisted Dreams, True Reflections, Shattered Self. Pretty good album, let's see what the next album brings, in the meantime check out this album.  

Helker         "Firesoul"        AFM       *****     

Argentinean Power Metal gods 'Helker' return with their new stunning album 'Firesoul', the bands 5th album believe it or not. Formed back in 98 by guitarist Mariano Rios with bassist Christian Abarca who later on found 2nd guitarist Leonardo Aristu and drummer Hernan Coronel along with Argentina's finest metal singer Diego Valdez who is very much like across between Ronnie James Dio meets Tim 'Ripper' Owens, 2 fantastic singer. I am sure both Ronnie and Tim are or would be proud of Diego just like I am. A very powerful singer which also reminds me of Ronnie Romero from Lords of Black.

The band 1st released their debut album 'Secret Legacy' in 2002, which broke the band into the band national metal circuit. This was followed by 'Resist', another fine album making them a name for themselves and in 2010 the band released 'N.D.A', a great album from what I have heard on you tube, sadly it's an album all in Argentinean, and I feel this album could easily be reissued with English vocals and sell extremely well. This is something the band should talk about with label AFM, maybe reissue the previous albums too.

I 1st discovered the band with the next album 'Somewhere in the Circle' in 2013, the album I 1st reviewed, such a fantastic album which featured Mat Sinner, Tim Owens, and more. Musically they remind me of Primal Fear, Saxon, Dio, a nice mixture here and if you're a fan of Lords of Black but have never heard this band I suggest you do soon. It's a great album, maybe not as heavy has the bands last album but still some good vocals and catchy tunes here. Produced by Mat Sinner with the mixing by Achim Kohler who has worked with the likes of Brainstorm, Sodom, Amon Amarth and Sinner/ Primal Fear to name a few.

The album comes with 14 songs, 1 of which are cover of 'Neon Knights' by Sabbath. if you like the bands music then you will love this album too. Not to forgot the band have a live DVD out recorded at ProgPower U.S.A., can't wait to see this. I'd love to see the band over here in the UK, maybe supporting the likes of Primal Fear would be a great start.

Songs on the album to check out are: Fight, For all the Eternity, Playing with Fire, The One, You are in y Heart, Empty Room, Leaving out the Ashes, Stay Away, Break your Chains, Firesoul, Rise or Fall. A superb album, great band and great singer Argentina should be proud off, buy today.

Sinner          "Tequila Suicide"   AFM      ****     

Sinner return with their long awaited album 'Tequila Suicide', the band's 18th album, now that's rather a collection of albums from such a band. Mat Sinner (vocals/ bassist) is the godfather of the band having started his career early 81/82 recording demos and sending them to various label it wasn't long before he signed to Noise International, the label that brought you Helloween, Rage, Kreator, Celtic Frost and so many more great band. Having released their debut album 'Wild n Evil' in 82 this was the beginning of what is now. 

Having released such classics as 'Danger Zone', 'Touch of Sin', 'Comin out Fighting', and in later years 'Judgment Day', 'The Nature of Evil', 'One bullet Left' and now 'Tequila Suicide'. Mat is also known for his work with Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle, and Rock meets Classic, so Matt is a very busy guy.

In later years I have noticed that Sinner's music has started to evolve with elements of Thin Lizzy and the Celtic feel of the Scott's and Irish style of music mixed with Rock & Metal and mix really well. Mat could of easily joined Thin Lizzy no doubt about it. This new album is a really good album, which starts off a little rugged sadly but soon picks up after the 1st 2 songs for me which really don't strike me too much but like I said it soon picks up and becomes a classic Sinner album once again.

Produced by Matt with Denis Ward also co producing and mix the album makes this album sound fantastic. Mat voice is almost like Phil Lynott and if Phil was alive to day he would be proud of his vocal abilities. The albums also features guest appearances by Gus G, Ricky Warwick, Magnus Karlsson, Pete Lincoln. With the band consisting of Mat Sinner (vocals/ bass), Tom Naumann (guitars), Alex Scholpp (guitars) and drummer Francesco Jovino. 

The whole band work well together and this album is a classic 80's metal album, and they could easily support Thin Lizzy and why not??? Some really catchy tunes here and I really like the album once I get over the 1st 2 songs, don't get me wrong there good but they don't sound like a continues of the bands last studio album 'One bullet Left', maybe it's just me.

Songs out he album to check out are: Road to Hell, Dragons, Battle Hill, Why, Gypsy Rose, Loud & Clear, Dying on a broken Heart. Good album, some catchy riffs and melodic tunes here. Mat could easily sing for Thin Lizzy and if Ricky leaves they got have him on vocals that's for sure.       

Nick Douglas         "Regenerations"    ***    

If you're not familiar with Nick Douglas well I will enlighten you. Born in 67 hailing from New Jersey  this young talented musician soon found himself playing the bass for New Jersey Power Metal band 'Deadly Blessing' a fantastic band that released only 1 album sadly titled 'Ascend from the Cauldron' for New Renaissance records back in 88, I just wish they would do another album soon. 

Nick left the band and it wasn't long before he found his feet firmly on the ground with Doro Pesch formerly with 'Warlock', who after a few albums decided to go solo and Nick was soon in the band. He has been with Doro now since 1990, having rehearsed with Doro it wasn't long before he recorded his 1st album for Doro 'Angels never Die' in 93. I guess the rest is history having recorded 9 albums with her and the band.

Nick has also played or recorded with the likes of Chris Caffery (Savatage) and Blaze Bailey (ex Iron Maiden/ Wolfsbane). He has also done 2 previous solo albums 'Through the Pane' in 2001 and 'Untitled Release' in 2013 and after a short break in-between the next Doro album he has released this new album 'Regenerations'.

This album features vocalist & song writer Sharlotte Gibson from Los Angeles who has worked with the likes of Whitney Houston and Nine inch Nails and co write the song 'Before you Break'. Also on this album it features Rebecca Gowarty from Pennsylvania and another singer who co wrote 'The soul you Keep'. The album also features Doro member Johnny Dee on drums and former Doro Harrison Young on keyboards, leaving Nick doing the guitars and bass& some of the vocals.

As a album it's pretty good music, certainly nothing like Nick's work with Doro or Deadly Blessing for that matter, so some of you maybe a little disorientated if you think this is a metal album. I guess there could be some elements of Doro or a little style of AOR or even the style of The Beatles, it's hard to pin point what the music is really like. Nevertheless it's a pretty good album. Production is good, I'm sure Nick handled some of it. The album has 11 trax and some of the songs I suggest you check out are: Come Alive, All on Me, Before you Break, Uncomfortable, You Break, Blue.

Not a bad album, best of luck Nick hope it does you justice and sells well, I am sure it will.

Vascera        "Beyond The Fight"        Pure Steel      ***     

Some of you may know be familiar with Vercera, or should I say Michael Vascera, who once was the front man for U.S. metal act Obsession who released 'Method of Madness', 'Scarred for Life'. He later went onto Yngwie Malmsteen, Loudness, Dr Sin and Killing Machine before doing his solo material. Mike has been doing metal since 84 with Obsession before moving on.

I guess he did some fine albums for Loudness such as 'Solider of Fortune', 'On the Prowl', and with Yngwie 'Seventh Sign', 'Magnus Opus' and not to forget Roland Grapow 'Masterplan' 2nd album, which saw them perform at Wacken 1999. With his name well established it wasn't long before he started doing his own solo material with his debut 'A sign of things to Come' in 2008, which was just the beginning of what is now.

This new album released through Pure Steel label in Germany features ex members of Nighthawks been Mike Petrone (guitars), Frank Leone (bass) and drummer Fabio Alessandrini to complete this new album 'Beyond the Light'. A fine album of pure melodic metal with some influences his old band Obsession, Savage Grace, Malice, Impellitteri, bring to mind and it's very U.S. Power Metal in places which is all good stuff.

Production isn't band considering, drums seem a little light weight but you can't expect a great production from such a small label, it's all about budget folks. Still I ain't complaining the songs rip and the vocals shine through so does the music.

Songs on the album to check out are: Blackout in Paradise, In the Night, Stand and Fight, Dynamite, Vendetta, Suite 95. Not a bad album, if you like his previous work then I am sure you will enjoy this. Mike's a good singer that deserves to be heard.

J D Miller       "World War X"        Mighty Music     ***   

This is a new album that came by way recently, an unusual name JD Miller, consider no body in the band has that name. Formed back 2011 in Sweden which consists of the following members Peter Hallden (vocals), Emil Eriksson (drums), Alex Oriz & Elias Frojd (guitars), & Chris David (bass). With Tommy & Peter Timonen who actually formed the band but left the band in 2015. The bands name actually came from when the band were drinking Miller Beer and Jack Daniels (JD) and the mixed names became DJ Miller, strange but true.

This is the bands debut album for Danish label Might Music, who have Tygers of Pan Tang and Mike Tramp among others on their rooster. And as a debut it's not too bad actually, kind of reminds me of Eclipse meets Treat and maybe some heaviness of Evergrey which all seems to mix well and the vocals are strong and mind me of Treat a little.

The album comes with 9 songs produced by the band themselves in Studio Haga & studio Berghem in Sweden, and the album captures the power and energy that the band create in both song writing and performance. Vocals by Peter are good and like a I said more directed towards to AOR side of metal than he does towards to Progressive Metal side. Some catchy tunes here with some at times heavy guitar riffs.

There at times the Progressive elements in this records I guess Evergrey and Eden's Curse spring to mind, both style mix well and I presume they play well live too. They would be a great support band for Eden's Curse or Eclipse for that matter or even Treat.

Songs that you should check out are: Journey through the Past, Against the Wind, My open Arms, Power, Clouded Minds, Forgotten are the strongest of songs on the album. Not a bad debut, there's plenty of time for improvement, in the meantime check out this pretty impressive debut. 

Wretch        "The Hunt"        Pure Steel      ***      

Cleveland U.S. Power Metal band 'Wretch' were formed back in 84, and has Ohio has a preparation for some great Power Metal this band would be accepted by fans locally and later on across in Europe. The band consist of back then singer Colin Watson, guitarists Brian Gartland & Bob Spizac, bassist Wendle Lee, drummer Andy Moses. The band released their debut demo in 87 and in 88 the band released their next demo 'Mental Wars', which featured guitarist Nick Giannakos, who is the only original member to date.

The band have released 5 demos and finally got luck with their debut album 'Reborn' in 2006 and it was in 2014 when the band finally released their next album 'Warriors' for No Remorse, who released the debut album. In 2017 the band released their new album 'The Hunt' for new label Pure Steel, a great album that this is. I just love U.S. Power Metal more than the Europeans Power Metal, no offense it's just that they do it so well, screaming vocals like Halford, Tate mainly come from U.S. singers, whereas the Europeans singers are more directed to Helloween style of Power Metal Singers.

This album is a damn pretty good album, and I'd compare their music to the likes of Winters Bane, Oracle (the band who released album on Massacre), Savage Grace, Jag Panzer, so if you like old school U.S. Power metal then this album is going to appeal to you. The band have appeared at some festivals in Germany and Greece and this is a pretty good album to say the least.

The bands current line up consists of Juan Richardo (vocals), Nick Giannakos & Micheal Stephanson (guitars), Tim Frederick (bass) and drums Jeff Curenton to complete the line up for this new album 'The Hunt'. This album also features Tim Ripper Owens on the song 'Straight to Hell', and  a great song it is by both singers.

Production is pretty solid and the songs and music shines through and this is a great album, certainly their best album to date. Songs to check out are: The Hunt, Thorne of Poseidon, The final Stand, The King is Red, Straight to Hell, Pierce the Veil, Once in a life Time. A good album but sadly 3 intro's doesn't do the album justice, maybe 3 extra tracks might of helped. Maybe they will learn with the next album, less intros more songs. Still a great album just wish they had of made more effort with more songs. Anyway buy this it's a great album despite my opinions on the intros. 

Wolfpakk       "Wolves Reign"      AFM      ****        

Wolfpakk have finally released their 4th album, and as many of you may of thought this was going to be a one off or maybe a small project. Gladys it has turned out to be a more successful project than the musicians had expected. This is the project put together by Mad Max singer Michael Voss, a band that I grew up with and what a great singer he is along with Mark Sweeney (Crystal Ball). Michael & Mark has put this together some awesome singers and musicians to make this a great and successful project.

In the past the band project has featured the likes of Tony Martin (ex Sabbath), Paul Dianno (ex Iron Maiden), Jeff Scott Soto (ex Yngwie), Rob Rock (Impelitteri), Ripper Owens (ex Judas Priest), the list just goes on and it's incredible how both Mark and Mike have managed to ask such talented singers to appear on this impressive project. There are so many amazing singers on each 4 albums that have been released and if you haven't heard them yet I suggest you check out all 4 albums, you won't be disappointed.

The band released 'Wolfpakk' in 2011, which was followed by 'Cry Wolf' in 2013, 'Rise of the Animal' in 2014 and now 'Wolves Reign' in 2017, which is a fantastic album featuring some of the finest singers in Rock & Metal. Vocalist appearing on this album are Biff Byford (Saxon), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Michael Vescera (ex Yngwie), Tony Harnell (TNT), Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia), Jioti Parcharidis (Victory), Steve Grimmett (Grim Reaper), Pasi Rantanen (Thunderstone), Claus Lessmann (Phantom V), Danny Vaughn (Tyketto), Andy Lickford (Lickford).

Some impressive singers here as you can see, as for the guitarists on the album we have: Timo Somers (Delain), Brad Gilles (Night Ranger), George Lynch (Dokken/ Lynch Mob), Alen Brentini (A.Gabalier), Jen Majura (Evanescence), & Chris Holmes (ex Wasp). Bassists involved are: Rudy Sarzo (ex Dio/ Ozzy), March Lynn (Gotthard), Volker Krawczak (Axel Rudi Pell), Michael Muller (Jaded Heart). Whereas the drummers were handled by Alex Holtzwarth (Rhapsody), Gereon Homan. 

Together this is a great album, a perfect follow up to the previous albums, some outstanding vocals and playing by all involved. A nice production here by both Mark and Michael the overall sound is excellent and the songs a very well arranged and written. It's a perfect album from start to end, this would make a great live tour, and I wonder who would be the guest musicians?

Songs on the album to check lout are: Falling, Run all Night, Blood Brothers, Wolves Reign, No Remorse, Inside the animal Mind, Mother Earth, I'm onto You. A great album well worth buy a copy, impressive project and I look forward to more albums in the future. Maybe the next album might feature Rob Halford, Todd La Torre, Jorn Lande, Ray Alder and many more great singers. 

Sanctuary      "Inception"    Century Media      ****       

Seattle Power/ Thrashers 'Sanctuary' are one hell of a band, formed back in 85 by Warrel Dane (vocals) formerly Serpents Knight who released 1 demo and in later years the demo plus extra's were released as a CD 'Silent Knight...At Myth & Destiny'. Also the band were formed by guitarist Lenny Rutledge and Nick Cordle (guitars), bassist George Hernandez and drummer Dave Budbill. 

With the release of the demo it managed to get into the hands of Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) who eventually heard the demo and was surprised by the songs and vocals and soon got them a deal with Epic and offered to produced their debut album 'Refuge Denied' in 88. This album featured new bassist Jim Sheppard & Sean Blosl who replaced Nick. A fine debut album with some awesome screaming vocals by Warrel which could be compared to that of across between King Diamond and Rob Halford and somewhere in-between. This album for me even impressed me and I had the pleasure of see in the band live supporting Megadeth for this album release.

As I thought that was a good album it wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Into the mirror Black' in 90, for me this is the bands finest album still love it today. Sadly the band broke up with Warrel , Jim and later guitarist Jeff Loomis forming Nevermore, a more technical and thrasher band who released some awesome albums too.

Sanctuary would return in 2010 with Lenny, Warrel, Dave and Jim to do some reunion shows and with the interest of the metal community it wasn't long before the band found ex Forced Entry guitarist Brad Hull and the band signed to Century Media for the next album 'The year the sun Died' in 2014, a heavy and yet melodic comeback, rather amazing album indeed, showing that the band are back and going strong. We still await a new album which I hope will happen soon, but for now this album 'Inception', which sees the band releasing the demo songs prior to the release of 'Refuge Denied' album, and also has some unleashed songs which I think could easily make the next studio album which will be titled 'Dead Again' to be hopefully released in 2017.

It's funny to hear the early demos with Warrel screaming his lungs out and some impressive songs originally recorded. This album features 9 songs which have been re-mastered and mix by Zeuss who how was worked with Queensyrche and Sanctuary in the past. The album artwork is awesome, look really good as a t shirt. The booklet has inner notes and early bands pictures which is also impressive.

Songs to check out are: Dream of the Incubus, Die for my Sins, Soldiers of Steel, Death Rider, Battle Angel, Veil of Disguise. A great album and a must for fans of Sanctuary or even Nevermore. I am looking forward to see in the band live hopefully in Germany this year at 'Headbangers Open Air'.

Pyramaze       "Contingent"      Inner Wound       ****         

Danish Progressive Power Metal act 'Pyramaze' return with their new stunning album. The band were formed back in 2001 by guitarist Michael Kammeyer and drummer Morten Gade Sorensen (also with Anubis Gate) and bassist Niels Kvist and American keyboardist Jonah Weingarten who met U.S. vocalist Lance King (formerly with Gemini) . It wasn't long before the band signed to Lances label Nightmare and the debut album 'Melancholy Beast' in 2004, a great debut album which was the band play Bloodstock Open Air in the very early stages of the outdoor festival, I was gladly there to witness the bands performance which was outstanding. 

In 2006 the band released their 2nd album 'Legend of the bone Carver', another great album packed full of some great Progressive Metal and some fine vocals here too. This sadly was to be Lance's last album with the band due to other commitments, his replacement was ex Iced Earth singer Matt Barlow who did the 3rd album 'Immortal' in 2008, which had a more Power Metal approach something that did pretty well considering Matts experience with iced Earth. Next to be released was 'Disciples of the Sun' in 2015 for Inner Wound records, a label that is growing with Progressive Metal or Symphonic Metal.

The band changed a couple of members but soon found a steady line up for this stunning new album 'Contingent' which features Jacob Hansen (Well known for his outstanding production work and former bands Invocator/ Beyond Twilight/ Anubis Gate) who also produced this incredible album. Also in the band is Morten (drums), Jonah (keyboards), Toke Skjonnemand (lead guitar) and vocalist Terje Haroy who also did the bands last album. Terje vocals are a mixture of Anubis Gate meets Bjorn Jansson from Tears of Anger and so does the music, which makes this a great album as I love both bands mentioned, sadly miss Tears of Anger.

This is without doubt a great album and there's some kick ass bands that have come out of Denmark. I don't think this band have done one bad album and this is highly recommend especially if you're a fan of Progressive Metal. 13 songs of pure magical Progressive Metal here that I recommend. 

Check out the songs: Land of Information, Kingdom of Solace, Star Men, A World Divided, Nemesis, 20 Century Second, Obsession, Under Restraint, Symphony of Tears. A cracking album with some great music and vocals, a fine album for 2017... buy today. 

Emerald       "Reckoning Day"       Pure Steel          ***          

Swiss Power Metal band 'Emerald' were formed back in 1995 playing just covers before the realized they had more to offer and started writing their own material and it wasn't long before the band recorded some demos which ere soon shipped out to labels and magazines world-wide. Having established their sound and direction it wasn't long before the band released their debut album 'Rebel of our Time' in 95 which the band released themselves.

With the debut released the band were soon heard around Switzerland and in 2002 the band released 'Calling the Knights' released through Shark records who released some acts like Phantom, to name a few. The band were doing well and and the band released their next album 'Forces of Doom' in 2004 also for Shark Records. In 2007 the band signed to Pure Steel and the release of 'Hymns of Steel' was released, and the band started to get some very good support slots around Europe.

The next album was 'Re-Forged' in 2010 followed by 'Unleashed' in 2012 and now the new album 'Reckoning Day'. The bands current line up is Mace Mitchell (vocals), Julien Menth (guitars), Michael (guitars) & Thomas (keyboards) Vaucher, Vania Truttmann (bass) and drummer Al Spicher, with guest vocals by George Calls from Aska & Alexx Suter along with guest guitar solo by Sladu.

Production on this album was handled by V.O. Pulver known for his work with Gurd, Poltergeist & Destruction. The overall sound is solid and the playing is great, so are the vocals by both singers on this record. It comes with 14 songs so it's well worth check out. If you haven;t heard the band's music before then I would say they sound like Grave Digger, Mystic Prophecy, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest so a bit of Euro Power Metal mixed with traditional UK metal works well for this band.

Songs that I suggest you check out are: Only the reapers Wins, Evolution in Reverse, Horns Up, Through the Storm, Ridden by Fear, Reckoning Day, Reign of Steel, End of the World. There are a few intros here so that is why I've given it 3/5, pity as its a pretty good album and Georges vocals have done the album justice. Not a bad album, well worth a listen, great CD cover by the way.

Eruption         "Cloaks of Oblivion"         Extreem Music    ****     

Some of you out there will know of this band, for me there a band that I recently discovered from the label Extreme Music. This band have been around for some time having recorded 3 albums to date and hail from Slovenia of all places that play some cool ripper Power/ Speed/ Thrash Metal. This 5 piece were formed back in 2004 by Klemen Kalin (vocals), Andrej Cuk (guitars), Ivan Cepanec (drums), Andrej Skof (bass, later on replaced by Nika Krmelj) and Tim Tajic (guitars, replaced later by Grega Kamensek) to complete the line up.

With the band releasing their debut album in 2009 titled 'Lifeless Paradise', &  certainly out the band on the underground map and word was out about this great band from Slovenia. A fantastic debut which was soon followed by 2012 titled 'Tenses Collide' & the band EP 'Live Transmissions' in 2014, a nice follow up to what was to come later on in 2017. As the band had line up changes it wasn't long before the band were back in the studio getting ready to record this new album 'Cloaks of Oblivion'.

Having played with the likes of D.R.I., Nuclear Assault, and playing such festivals as 'Metal Days', showing just how good this band are the fans and press were soon talking about Slovenia's best kept secret. This new album features 9 powerful Power/ Thrash Metal songs that any fan of such bands like Forbidden, Sanctuary, Wargasm, Shadowkeep, Helstar would love to hear it's a great album with some great vocals which remind me of Warrel Dane and Russ Andersson.

A nice production here which was handled by the band with the help of Simon Jovanvic who have done a great job and have created a great album that any of of Thrash Metal would love to hear. With a decent cover done by Alex Boca the overall package, production and songs are well worth checking out.

Songs to check out are: Sanity Ascend, Cloaks and Oblivion, Drone, Reborn into Demise, The Yearning, This Barren Existence, Seven  Archons. Cerainly a great album by a band with a promising future. Grab a copy today if you like the bands mentioned in this review. I look forward to the next album 

Aldaria     "Land of Light -  The Metal Opera"      Pride & Joy Music      ***     

Recently arrived this new CD, a project of all star metal opera featuring some fine underground musicians of the melodic metal world. There's been plenty of projects out there in this field of music such as Ayreon, Rock meets Classic and now Aldaria, which has some impressive musicians and singers in the metal scene.

This is a great melodic Symphonic Power Metal album that features such musicians as Symphony X, Divide Multitude ,Masterplan, Signum Regis, Within Silence, Memorized Dreams, ex Helloween. With vocals by Rhapsody of Fire, Masterplan, Riot V, Falconer, Dragonland, Guardians of Time and many more... 

The project has some great songs and kind of reminds me a little bit like Avantasia, so if you're a fan of that project then this would certainly appeal to you. Produced by Roland Grapow and mastered by Jacob Hansen the whole sound is excellent and you can imagine and the art work by Stan W Decker who has worked with Jorn & Serious Black.

I am not a massive fan of the Symphonic metal, but this isn't bad, there's some Helloween, Rhapsody of Fire, Labyrinth here so if you like these bands then I am sure this is going to appeal to you. Some projects fail and I'm not sure how well this will do, but I am sure with the names on the record it will be a successful release.

I just wish I had more info on who is doing the vocals on each song, as some of the singers I don't recognize. Songs on the album to check out are: Another Life, Guardians of the Light, Test of Time (sounds like Future World) Trail of Tears, Where reality Ends, From the Ashes.

Great musicians, nice melodic music even if it's not really my thing I have to say it's still a good album for fans of the music that's been played. I'm more of a U.S. Power Metal fan or Progressive Metal. Just a matter of opinion.

Six Feet Under      "Torment"    Metal Blade    ****    

Death Metal merchant's Six Feet Under return with their new album 'Torment', the band's 10th album with 2 classic cover's albums. Formed back in 1993 in Tamp Florida by ex Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes, who had recorded the 1st 4 album with that band. Having departed ways with the band he deiced to form 'Six Feet Under' with formed Allen West (Obituary), Terry Butler (ex Death/ Massacre/ Obituary), and Terry's brother in law Greg Gall on drums.

With the band establish and writing songs it wasn't long before Chris former label Metal Blade signed Six Feet Under 95 the band released their debut album 'Haunting' with producer Brian Slagel own of Metal Blade, and this was a successful album for the band, knowing that is was a band and not a project in later years the fans took them more serious in later years.

Inn 96 the band released an EP 'Live & Undead', a warm up for the next studio album 'Warpath' in 97. I guess you could say that their music might have a hint of Cannibal Corpse, which is understandable but there is a lot more in their music, across between Celtic Frost, Obituary do spring to mind too, but they have their own identity too. 

Having played some of the biggest festivals and selling over 370.000 copies of their back catalogue says a lot of about this band. The bands current line up consists of ex Cannibal Corpse guitarist/ Deicide Jack Owen, Jeff Hughell (bass), Marco Pitruzzella (drums), Ray Suhy (guitars). With the new album 'Torment' just been released, this is typical Six Feet Under material with an added touch of blast beats from time to time which gives it that added touch. It certainly breaks the album up that is for sure. Produced by Chris Barnes, the overall sound is heavy as you would expect for a Death Metal album. Some interesting tunes here, nice riffs and nice drum sound makes all the difference.

Songs on the album to check out are: Sacrificial Kill, Exploratory Homicide, Schizomanic, Slaughtered as they Slept, In the process of Decomposing, Obsidian, Bloody Underwear. If you're a fan of the band's previous work then you will love this, pretty good stuff if you ask me. I'm just waiting for the next Classic album to be released of more classic covers...

Battle Beast    "Bringer Of Pain"      Nuclear Blast      ***       

Finnish melodic metal band 'Battle Beast' were formed back in Helsinki in 2008 by guitarist Anton Kabanen, Juuso Soinio (guitars) and drummer Pyry Vikki who were all school friends that had an idea to form a metal band. Later on vocalist Nitte Valo, bassist Eero Sipila and keyboardist Janne Bkorkroth joined the band.

In 2010 the band were entered into a battle of the bands at Wacken and were invited to play the festival. At this point Hype Productions  signed the band and in 2011 the band released their debut album  'Steel', which the band would start to get a name for themselves. In 2013 the band signed to Nuclear Blast with new singer Noora Louhimo who would sing on the album 'Battle Beast', another step up the ladder which soon saw the band heading out on more successful tours around Europe. 

Next to be released would be 'Unholy Savior' in 2015, a more melodic album and a successful album. The band's music reminds me of across between Nightwish/ Tarot across between symphonic metal meet the Deep Purple/ Rainbow style of tarot's music. This seems to work well for the band, and vocalist Noora is a pretty good singer, rather strong in places and the music serves the band well.

In 2016 guitarist Anton quit the band to be replaced by Joona Bkorkroth and this new album 'Bringer of Pain' would be released. This album would also feature guest appearance by Amorphis Tomi Joutsen on the song 'Lost in Wars'. The production on this album is strong, solid drums and a nice balance of guitars and keyboards with some strong vocals by Noora which are a little more directed towards a metal singer as to those symphonic vocalist like Floor Jensen.

Songs on the album to check out are: Straight to the Heart, Brings of Pain (sounds like Warlock's 'Burning the Witches at the start), King for a Day, Familiar Hell, We will Fight, Far from Heaven. Not a bad album, and if you like Battle Beast then I am sure you will like this album. The band hit the road soon in the UK  and Europe so go and see them.

Witherfall        "Nocturnes & Requiems"        ****         

This new CD came my way recently by a band from Los Angeles (U.S.A) and I wasn't too sure what to expect by looking at the album cover, I was thinking of a Doom Metal band, but never judge a book by it's cover. This album turned out to be a fantastic Progressive Power Metal album with some Thrash elements, across between Nevermore, Psychotic Waltz, Evergrey, Helstar 4 great bands, and there is a lot of Nevermore & Psychotic Waltz in the music and vocals.

Formed back in 2013 as a project that features members of White Wizzard, Iced Earth & Kobra & the Lotus, Circle II Circle and Into Eternity this is a must for any fans of the above bands. The band features Jake Dreyer (guitars), Joseph Michael (vocals), Adam Sagan, sadly Adam passed away so this album is dedicated to him.  Guitarist Jake Dreyer released an EP titled 'In the shadows of Madness', which received some excellent feedback and the demand led to this stunning album.

This album was recorded in Phoenix with engineer Ralph Patlan (Megadeth/ MSG) and mixed in New York by Chris Zeuss (Queensryche/ Sanctuary/ Hatebreed), and the overall results are awesome solid powerful production here with some fine and interesting songs makes this one hell of an album.

When a band release such a great debut like this it makes me wonder if they can beat this, I hope they can as this album is a fantastic debut release and I highly recommend this album to any fan of Progressive Metal, some very talented musician's here and awesome singing too. If a decent label doesn't pick this band up I will be surprised to say the least.

There's so much talent here as you will hear in the music, the whole album  feels like a journey from start to finish, pity there's a couple of intros and a few more songs to compensate it would of gone the album more justice. There's not one bad song on this album, if you want a copy check out the bands website at https://witherfall.com .

Songs on the album to check out are: Portrait, What we are dying For, Sacrifice, The great Awakening, End of Time, Finale & Nobody sleeps here Anymore. Superb debut album, can't wait to hear the next one. Buy today it's one of the best album for 2017 so far!!

Pride of Lions       "Fearless"       Frontiers    ***    

Well here's a new album that recently came my way, a band called 'Pride of Lions', a band that I had heard of but never actually heard until now. Looking at the band's history they have been around for some time, and rather amazed me to know this. Formed back in 2003 by former Survivor guitarist  & keyboardist Jim Peterik with vocalist Toby Hitchcock formed this band. 

The band have released 5 albums, the bands debut was released in 2004 titled 'The Destiny Stone'. Jim has co written songs for the likes of Lynard Skynard, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Uriah Heep, Reo Speedwagon, to name a few so he's well established that's for sure. As for Toby, his work included been a roadie, sound engineer and dancer among other things has come along way and was born in 1977.

Joining Him & Toby are Christian Cullen (keyboards), Klem Hayes (bass), Ed Breckenfild (drums) , Mike Aqunio (guitars) for this new album. With the band's debut album in 2004 the band soon released their next album 'The Roaring of Dreams' 2007, and just before this release they released a live DVD, which sold well for the band.

In 2012 the band released 'Immortal' and now in 2017 'Fearless', for some reason it seems to take them a few years to release another album, question is... Is this album worth the wait? That is a question you the fan will have to answer as I haven't heard their music before this release so I can't comment.

This album comes with 12 tracks of melodic AOR music, which kind of reminds me of Asia with the vocals sounding like Max Bacon (Bronz/ GTR), and that guy has a great voice so this album does kind of appeal to me, Toby does have a great voice and is a well suited singer for this type of music.

Songs on the album to check out are: The Tell, Silent Music, Fearless, Freedom of the Night, The light your Eyes, Rising Up, The silence says it All, Faster than a Prayer. Not a bad album, a must for fans of melodic AOR and mainstream Rock.

Immolation         "Atonement"     Nuclear Blast     ***       

New York Death Metal merchant's 'Immolation' are still making old school music, and I haven't heard the band in some time, in fact I didn't know they were still around. I'm glad that there still making old school music the way it should be played. Formed back in 86 by Ross Dolan (vocals/ bass) and Robert Vigna (guitars), who are the only 2 original members left to this day. 

Having released demos to various labels around the world it was Roadrunner that saw interested in the band and soon released the bands debut album 'Dawn of Possession' in 91 and a European tour with Cannibal Corpse soon followed.

The band soon followed their debut album up with Here in After' in 96, a bit of a gap but this was due to line up changes and labels in which the band signed to Metal Blade and released 3 albums before signing yet another deal with French label Listenable for the next album 'Unholy Cult' in 2002 in which the band recorded 3 albums for that label.

In 2010 the band released their next album for new label Nuclear Blast with the release of 'Majesty & Decay', which aw the band ever moving forward, still capturing their own style which they have kept to this day. Kind of remind me of Morbid Angel a little for their unique sound and style, this is something I don't think the band would of been able to do if Rob had left the band, so his guitar style and Ross vocals makes what is Immolation.

I guess this new album 'Atonement' reminds me still of Morbid Angel, Vader and of course their own sound and style. This is the band's 10th album to date which was produced by Paul Orofino and mixed by Zack Ohren and comes with 11 trax of pure Death Metal. It has a nice production, solid and brutal sound that has made Immolation and their music. 

The bands current line up consists of Ross, Rob, Steve Shalaty (drums) and guitarist Alex Bouks to complete the recording of this new stunning album. It just goes to show that the older bands can still full if off and continue to record quality albums, whereas some of the newer bands seems to only last for a few years. The band will be on tour this year with Polish label mates 'Vader', so that's going to be a heavy and brutal tour.

Songs on the new album to check out are: The Distorting Light, When the jackals Come, Foresting the Divine, Thrown to the Fire, Lower, Atonement, Above All.

A good album by one of the few lasting old school Death Metal bands still playing extreme music for the masses. Go check out the album and see them live soon!!

Bloodfeast      "Future State Of Wicked"      Hell's Headbangers     ***   

New Jersey thrasher's 'Bloodfeast' return after a very long absence of 17yrs. Formed in 85 by original drummer Kevin Kuzma, Louis Starita (guitars), vocalist Gary Markvoitch and (Adam Tranquilli who is the only original member left). Originally under the name of 'Bloodlust' the band changed their name due to Power Metal band under the same name who signed to Metal Blade.

In 86 the band recorded their demo 'Suicide Mission' in which 2nd guitarist joined the band Michael Basden and it wasn't long before the band were soon featured on the New Renaissance record's compilation album, which soon led the band to signing to to the same album and their debut album 'Kill for Pleasure' was released in 87. A fine album with some fine catchy riffs and heavy songs, sadly the only bad thing that let the album down was the lack of poor production, this would of been a killer album with to days technology. I really loved that debut album, and it was that album that I interviewed the band for the very 1st issue of back than Friday 13th fanzine, had some great interviews in that addition.

The band soon after that recorded their EP 'Face Fate', a great production featuring 2 new songs and 2 old songs re-recorded, a great little recorded that soon followed by 'Chopping Block Blues' in 89, sadly the songs were not as good and once again the production suffered for this release. Rather strange that the EP had the best sound. The last album 'Chopping Block Blues', saw the departure of Adam leaving the band as a 4 piece.

The band broke up due to lack of support, only to return in later years in 99 when the band were invited to play 'Headbangers Open Air' in Germany but that didn't last long with Kevin,  soon left the band leaving Adam to continue with a new line up. The band were still in demand and so Adam found new members for this new album 'Future state of Wicked' been Lorenzo and Natalini and Joe Moore on drums.

Now the band had recorded new demos it wasn't long before label 'Hell's Headbangers' soon picked up the band for this new album, the bands best production, which isn't hard these days with today's technology. This album features 10 head ripping Bloodfeast style Thrash metal. Some good riffs here, catchy but I'm not sure about the vocals, I guess I was expecting a little more old school, but still Chris Natalini's voice seems to suit the music, it's heavy and it's still pretty much Bloodfeast. 

I have to say this is a pretty good comeback album, well musically anyway. I guess the vocals will grow on me, time will tell. Songs on the album to check out are: INRI, Off with their Heads, By the Slice, Last Rites, Who prays for the Devil, Remnants II, Nein. Not  a bad comeback album, music is cool, as for the vocals I think there's just going to grow on me. 

Sepultura      "Machine Messiah"    Nuclear Blast     ****      

Brazilian Demi-Gods 'Sepultura' are no strangers to the world of heavy metal, having formed back in 84 by the 2 Cavalera brothers Max and Igor along with original guitarist Jairo Guedz (who later on formed Sarafargo), who had only played on the band mini EP and album 'Morbid Visions' in 86. His replacement was Andreas Kisser who played on the next album 'Schitzophernia' in 87, both albums were released on Brazilian label 'Cogumelo) and later on picked up Roadrunner. 

Members Andreas and original bassist Paulo Jr are the only 2 members left that have kept the band together and ever moving stronger than ever. Yes there has been lots of press and fans stabbing the band, but hey there still Sepultura and they still remain Brazil's finest metal band. Having conquered the world several times over with Derrick Green, originally from New York and had played on the NY scene with such bands as 'Outface' before joining Sepultura in 98 for the album 'Against'.

Fan's either accepted Derrick or not either way he's here to stay and is a great front man. Sepultura's music hasn't changed that much, in fact they have gone heavier with some Hardcore influences, something that Derrick influences shine through. Later the band added drummer Eloy Casagrande in 2011 for the album 'Kairos. The band have never lost their roots as this new album 'Machine Messiah' proves just that. It's a great album that has the Brazilian roots of traditional music, mixing with heavy thrash metal. I guess you could say there is a hint of Slayer in their music, just for the heaviness.

Derrick & the boys have pulled off a great album here, a ripping traditional Sepultura album of pure head ripping thrash metal that any fan of the band old or new would probably like. Produced and mixed by Jens Borgen who has worked with the likes of Opeth, Kreator, Paradise Lost and many more. A soild and heavy production here, with all the instruments shining through. I really like the song 'Phantom Self' as it has that Egyptian meets Brazilian style of ethnic roots, and works well. I hope they play it live. 

This is a great album, the bands still remain in top spirit and form and let's face it this line up is here to stay, accept it or move on... Great catchy tunes and vocals. Check out: I am the Enemy, Phantom Self, Iceberg Dance, Sworn Oath, Resistant Parasite, Silent Violence, Vandals Nest. It's heavy, its Seputlura what more do you want? Buy it and go see them live with Kreator and Soilwork. 

Bloodhound     "War of Dragons"    AFM     ***      

Sweden melodic Power Metal act 'Bloodbound' return with their stunning new album 'War of Dragons', the band's 7th album to date. Formed back in 2004 by Fredik Bergh (keyboards) along with Thomas Olsson (lead guitar) in Gothenburg (Sweden). The 2 later on looked for further musicians and along came Michael Bormann (ex Jaded Heart) but was soon replaced by ex Tad Morose singer Urban Breed, who is a great singer and played on the bands debut 'Nosferatu' in 2005 on Metal Heaven, but was later on re-released on AFM Records. 

The band have kept both guitarist Thomas Olsson and Hendrik Olsson, and keyboardist since the beginning of the band with vocalists and bassists leave the band from the past line up's, with various studio and touring drummers helping out. The band recorded 3 albums with Urban Breed, before he was replaced by Patrik Johansson who joined in 2010/11, with bassist Andres Broman. The band still haven't a permanent drummer.

The band mix the symphonic Power Metal of those bands such as Rhapsody of Fire, the speed of Helloween, with some hints of maybe Kamelot, and Sabaton are certainly shown in their music. It's a pretty good album, despite this type of enchanted symphonic metal really isn't my thing. I can say that their music is good and vocals are strong, so if you are a fan of Rhapsody and Sabaton this is a band you really need to check out.

This new album comes with 12 trax, a 2 cd digi pack, vinyl, and boxset so you can take you're pick here. The album was produced by the band I am guessing, not much info on who mixed or produced it here sadly. Either way the sound is solid and powerful and is a must of any fans of the symphonic metal scene. Sadly I'm not a big fan of this type of music, don't get me wrong there good musicians and this album shows just how good they are. I guess if I was a fan of this type of music in a bigger way then I would probably give it 4/5 - 5/5.

Songs on the album that I suggest you check out are: Battle in the Sky, Tears of a Dragon Heart, War of Dragons, Stand & Fight, King of Swords (more like Power Metal), Fallen Heroes. Not a  bad album to say the least, not really my kind of metal but still enjoyable, melodic and well worth grabbing a copy today. 

Michael Schenker Fest      "live Tokyo -  DVD"   Inakustik      ****        

Michael Schenker is no stranger to the world of rock & roll, having once been in U.F.O., The Scorpions, MSG and many more.. Born in 1955 in Germany, Michael soon started playing guitar at a young age, with this brother Rudi been in The Scorpions and his sister Barbara been in Viva, the family were soon becoming a musical based family.

First been in The Scorpions, he departed to join U.F.O. but soon left in 78 after recording 5 albums, he soon formed MSG with Gary Barden and later on Graham Bonnet who only recorded 1 album with the band. Michael had recorded some of the finest work and even influenced the likes of Lips from Anvil, the reason why lips started playing guitar was because of Michael. In later yrs with MSG the band was fronted by Robin McAuley, who had recorded 4 albums with the band. Michael had also recorded albums with Contraband, Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock , who I managed to see live supporting Judas Priest, just to name a few.

Now he is back with yet another live DVD, this time recorded at the Budokan in Japan, a place where most of the biggest metal bands have played and recorded there. I really would like to go to this venue, maybe one day I will but for now it's just watching the shows on DVD sadly.

Having reviewed Mike's last DVD 'Temple of Rock' which featured 2 former members of The Scorpions, which impressed me it was time to review yet another DVD by Michael. This time live in Japan, the land of the rising sun this is a really good release, which features Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley playing on various songs with old long term bassist Chris Glen, & drummer Ted McKenna who has been in the band in the 80's with 2nd guitarist Steve Mann.

This release comes with DVD and 2 CD's, LP and Blu Ray and contains 18 of Michael's pretty much finest work and features the odd U.F.O. or The Scorpions tunes. The Japanese very much appreciate good music and this release just shows how loyal they are to the scene of rock music.

It's a great DVD, and if you are a fan of Michael's work then this is for you. Songs featured are: 2 intro's followed by Attack of the mad Axeman, Victims of Illusion, Cry for the Nations, Let sleeping dogs Lie, Armed & Dangerous, Assault Attack, Desert Song, Dancer, Captain Nemo, This is my Heart, Save Yourself, Love is not a Game, Shoot Shoot, Rock Bottom & Doctor Doctor

If you're a fan then you really need to grab a copy now, and even if you have not heard or see this genius then grab a copy when it is released on 24th March  2017.

Over Kill      "Grinding Wheel"    Nuclear Blast     *****   

New Jersey thrasher's Over Kill return with their new stunning album 'Grinding Wheel', the bands 4th album, the band's 1st album release for Nuclear Blast been 'Ironbound', which was a fantastic album to say the least. Fronted by Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth, who not only is he a great front man but a classic thrash metal singer who can certainly deliver the god. He is joined by long time bassist D.D. Verni who has a distinct sound like Lemmy 'Motorhead', D.D's bass sound has a sound of his own just like Lemmy and you know that it is Over Kill once you hear D.D's bass.

Sadly Bobby & D.D. are the only 2 original members after Rat Skates and Bobby Gustafson quit the band in the early stages, leaving Blitz and D.D. to find suitable replacements in which they did. Various guitarists and come and gone, the same could be said for drummers. Now the band have a steady guitar section in Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer with new drummer Ron Lipnicki to complete the line up. Having said that I am a little confused as the band used drummer Eddy Garcia for their last European tour in 2016 and on the bands recent videos, so I'm not sure who is their current drummer. Either way the drumming kicks ass.

Over Kill to me are the gods of Thrash Metal. and no disrespect to other thrash bands, for me they just have that extra define sound that other's don't have, maybe it's D.D.'s bass sound. Either way the band for me come up on top and I think they really haven't recorded a bad album yet. With some fine albums as 'Taking Over' & 'Horrorscope' been my 2 favourite albums of the past. 

This new album is yet another step up the ladder for the band, with the album produced by D.D. and the band with the mixing done by Andy Sneap, the overall sound is amazing. Solid pounding sound with some of Blitz amazing vocals this is an album I recommend to you all. I think more thrash bands need to use Andy Sneap for the mixing side if anything, even Judas Priest for that matter.

The album comes with 10 hard hitting east coast thrash tunes, ripping from start to finish. This is a great album, any thrash fan needs to grab a copy of this album and go see them live. If you're a Over Kill live virgin then make sure you see them on this tour you will not be disappointed. 

Songs on the album to check out are: Mean green killing Machine, Goddman Trouble, Our finest Hour, Shine On, The long Road, Let's all go to Hades, The Wheel, The Grinding Wheel. A great album, can't wait to see the band live again. Buy the album... go see them live you won't be disappointed. 

Kreator      "Gods of Violence"      Nuclear Blast    *****      

It's good to see German Demi--God thrasher's 'Kreator' return with a new album, which like all Kreator albums is something that needs to be heard. Formed in Essen Germany in 82 by front man Mille Petrozza & Jurgen 'Ventor' Reil & bassist Rob Fioretti under the original name of 'Tyrant' the band recorded demo tapes and soon changed their name to Kreator.

It wasn't long before German label 'Noise International' soon picked up the band for their debut release 'Endless Pain' in 85, a pretty raw and savage album to say the least which was pretty good. Like their processors Destruction & Sodom, the 3 godfathers of German Thrash who also released savage and raw debuts. Kreator however released their 2nd and brutal album for it's time 'Pleasure to Kill', this album seemed to sound like a completely different band, more heavier and brutal this album was.

Kreator released 6 albums in total with Noise before switching to G.U.N. Records for their next chapter 'Cause for Conflict' in 95, which 2 albums were recorded before they signed to Steamhammer/ SPV  for 3 albums. In 2012 the band released their next album for new label Nuclear Blast 'Phantom Antichrist', which still captured the essence and spirit of true thrash metal. The band have kept a steady line up for a number of years now with Millie, Ventor been the 2 main members along with bassist Christian Giesler and guitarist Sami Yli Sirnio.

This new album 'Gods of Violence' is a brutal yet melodic album capturing some of the bands finest work, a mixture of old school Kreator thrash with a modern approach and still it is Kreator, a band that has their own identity and to be honest I think they are more brutal than Slayer. They write some great riffs & music as this shows the ability of what the band are capable of. Millie

This new album comes with a live DVD or Blu Ray filmed at Wacken and show you just how good they are live. The album however comes with 12 heavy and in your face brutal thrash metal that was produced by Jens Borgen, who has worked with such acts as Soilwork, Pain of Salvation, Symphony X, and a ton more. A great producer that knows his stuff like Kreator knows their music. A nice solid production here with all the instruments shining through. This really is a faultless album, packed full of energy and power.

Songs on the album you should check out are: World War Now, Satan is real, Totalitarian Terror, Gods of Violence, Army of Storms, Fallen Brother, Death becomes my Light, Side by Side.  A truely great album by such an impressive and influentially band like Kreator. Check out the forthcoming UK and European tour happening now.

 

Krokus       "Big Rocks"     Century Media     ***      

Swizz rocker's Krokus return with their new album which happens to be a cover's album featuring some classic rock bands from the 70's & 80's. This band formed back in 75 when Chris Von Rohr and Tommy Kiefer with Marc Storace in which the band released their debut album 'Krokus' in 76. The band have recorded in total 18 albums which says a lot about a band that have been around for many years.

Been Swizz answer to AC/DC these guys are great at what they do, I remember see in them on a UK kids program in the 80s called 'Tizwazz', some of you may remember that if you're from the UK. Marc could of easily joined AC/DC recent no doubt about it, why the fuck they use Axel Rose?? 

Having seen the band twice, I no there a good band and perform really well. This album features classic over songs by such acts as Led Zepplin, The Who, Queen, Black Sabbath, The Animals, Bob Dylan, and many more on this new CD. It's a really good album this, as the band play classic hits from various acts. It's good to see Marc back in the band, I really can't see another singer doing this band even though they have had 5 previous singer including Carl Sentance (Persian Risk) at some point between 1999-2003 according to wikepedia.

The band have become icons in Switzerland as well as becoming a major icon on a world wide basis. You only have to listen too albums like Hardware, One Vice at a Time, Headhuner, and in later years Hellraiser. 

Songs on this record to check out are: Black Sabbath 'N.I.B.', Queen 'Tie your mother Down', The Who 'My Generation', The Troggs 'Wild Thing',  Led Zepplin 'Whole lotta Love', The Animals 'House of the rising Sun', Neil Young 'Rocking in the free World', Steppen Wolf  'Born to be Wild'. Other artists include Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones.

A great album for fans of rock who grew up with this style of music, I appreciate why they did this, not really my thing but still enjoyable. 

Attacker       "Sins Of The World"      Metal On Metal     *****    

New Jersey metal act 'Attacker' are no strangers to the underground scene, having been around since 83 when founder members Michael Sabatini (who later on formed Jersey Dogs), guitarists  Pat Marnelli & Dominic Spina formed the band, who later found singer Brian Bob Mitchell and it wasn't long before the band recorded demos to which were sent out to labels and various fanzines worldwide. Spina left the band and was replaced by Jim Mooney and it wasn't long before Metal Blade showed interest in the band.

The band recorded a song for the Metal Massacre compilation album with the song 'Call on -The Attacker', which the band soon began their career with Metal Blade, with their debut album 'Battle ay Helms Deep' in 85 too the underground scene by storm and aw some amazing album reviews. In 88 the band released their 2nd album for Mercenary records 'The Second Coming', another powerful album but sadly the band broke up. Due to popular demand in Europe the band reformed and in 2004 the band signed to Iron Glory for the next chapter 'Soul Taker', this put the band back on the metal map a fantastic comeback album.

Next came 'The Unknown', 'Standing the test of Time' and 'Giants of Caanan' and now this awesome new album 'Sins of the World'. It's good to see that the last few albums have put this band back on top form playing what they do best, old school U.S. Power Metal the way I love my metal!! I don't care what you say the bands who started it and the U.S. Power Metal is were my heart is. You can't beat a real metal screamer and Bobby Lucas is one hell fo a great metal singer, former Seven Witches, Bobby is more at home with Attacker that's for sure. 

The bands current line up consists of Michael Sabatini, Bobby Luca, Mike Benetatos (guitars), Brain Smith (bass) and guitarist Jon Hasselbrink for this new album, which is truly a heavy classic old school metal album. If you like their early stuff with attitude or bands like Helstar, Omen, Bloodlust. Savage Grace or more modern bands like Cage then this is for you. Can't fault this great album, production is good which was handled by Tom Beaujour and the band, and all the instruments shine through. Some great U.S. style Power Metal riffs here and soaring vocals making this a great album for fans who appreciate real metal.

Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Sins of Man, Carcosa, Garuda, We Rise, Choice of Weapons, Archangel, Where the serpent Lies. I highly recommend this awesome album, you won't go wrong. One day I hope to see them live. 

Firewind      "Immortals"       Century Media      *****     

Greek Power Metal act 'Firewind' return with their new stunning album 'Immortals', released through Century Media Records. Formed by Gus G back in 98 when Gus attended Berklee School of Music in Boston (U.S.A.) and later on his demo tape was sent to Dave Chastain's label 'Leviathan' and it wasn't long before Gus released the 1st Firewind album 'Between Heaven & Hell' in 2002 with singer Stephen Fredrick , Brain Harris on drums with bassist Konstantine. This was a great introduction to what is now with Firewind. Gus has also worked with Dream Evil in the early stages in between Firewind, another great band making a comeback. Gus was also once with Nightrage & Mystic Prophecy. 

In total the band have recorded 8 albums to date, with various singers in the past with Stephen, Chitral Somapala, Appollo Papathanasio, who stayed with the band from 'Allegiance' in 2006 to 'Few Against Many' in 2012, and decided to do his solo career a great singer indeed. Now he has been replaced by Hanning Basse (ex Metalium). The bands current line up is Gus G, Hanning, Bob Katsionis (keyboards/ guitars), Petros Christo (bass) and drummer Johan Nunez.

This new album 'Immortals' is a great album I pretty much love their music having seen them a few times in the mid of their career. This is a great comeback album with the bands last album released in 2012, with Gus been busy with Ozzy and doing his solo album. Bob has also been involved with his other band 'Serious Black', so things have been put on hold until now. Produced by the band with co producer Dennis Ward, a great choice for this type of music, given a polish and shined sound making all the instruments shine through and Hanning's vocals on top form as he was with Metalium. 

Only last 44 minutes this album has some fine Power Metal that we have all come to love. Gus has a feel of Marty Friedman in his style of playing somewhat and kind of reminds me of Cacophony.

I highly recommended this excellent album, a must for any fans of Power Metal. Songs to check out are: We Defy, Ode To Leonidis, Back on the Throne, Live & die by the Sword, Lady of a 1000 Sorrows, Immortals, Warriors & Saints ,Rise from the Ashes.  fantastic comeback album, the gods of Greece have spoken... buy today. 

Grave Digger      "Healed By Metal"        Napalm       *****       

German Power metal Gods 'Grave Digger' return with their new stunning album 'Healed by Metal' through Napalm Records. Formed back in 80 By front man Chris Boltendahl who is the only original member left from the original line up. The band formed originally by members Peter Masson (guitars), Willi Lackmann (bass) and drummer Albert Eckardt and released their debut album 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' for Noise International, the label who also had Helloween, Kreator, Celtic Frost to name a few.... and this album was released in 84. 

Having received some excellent reviews around Europe it wasn't long before the band would release their 2nd album 'Witch Hunter' in 85, another fine album mixing the likes of Speed Metal and some Power Metal. back in the day they were more directed to the Speed Metal sound that Germany pretty much created along with Helloween. Next came my favourite album 'War Games', there's just something about this album that I really like and it kicks ass. In Between the 1st 2 albums they had bass player line up changes from Willi to Rene T Bone to C.F Frank.

The band broke up leaving Chris to form 'Digger', along with Albert and C.F Frank along with new guitarist Uwe Lulis, a more commercial album that only lasted 1 release. The band reformed and recorded 13 releases prior to the release of this album.

This new album is awesome one of the bands best releases in some time, don't get me wrong they have done some amazing releases, and this is just a great album. The band's current line up is Chris Boltendahl, Axel Ritt (guitars) Domain, Jens Backer (bass) former Running Wild, Stefan Arnold (drums) former Mind Odyssey, Marcus Kniep (keyboards - known as the Grim reaper) to complete the line up of this record.

I can't knock the album really it has some fine tunes, a true 80's metal feel the way I love my metal. Funny thing about this record is the fact that the song 'Free Forever' which has a total clone of Saxon's 'Solid ball of Rock' riff that the beginning, nothing wrong with that really I just expect Biff to start singing and it soon goes into another song, funny but still cool song. The cover like all Grave Digger cover is excellent, done by Gyula Havancsak who has worked with the band on previous albums.

This album comes with 10 ripping Power/ Speed Metal songs, with some classic cheesy titles that really are well cool and take m back to my youth. I just love the 80's, you just can't beat it. The album was produced by Chris and the band the whole album sounds great, solid and the songs just shine through from start to finish. I really can't fault this album, it's a must for all metal heads that appreciate real good metal music.

Songs to check out are: Healed by Metal, When night Falls, Lawbreaker, Forever Free, Call for War, The ten commandants of Metal, Kill Ritual, & Laughing with the Dead. A fantastic release, a good release for 2017 that's for sure. By today and let's see the band play the Uk this year, it's about time.

Dario Mollo   "Rock The Cradle"       Frontiers      ***     

Dario Mollo Italian born guitarist has been around for some time now having worked with 2 former Black Sabbath singers Glenn Hughes with the project Voodoo Hill and Tony Martin 'The Cage', who both projects have released 3 albums each. Dario is a well known guitarist from his home country and has a feel of Hard Rock/ Blues in his guitar playing, something of across between Deep Purple, Rainbow, sort of Richie Blackmore in some ways.

Having worked with Tony Martin & Glenn Hughes on 2 fantastic projects, I often wonder if he will work with either of these in the very near future. This new project or band features Persian Risk/ Krokus/ Nazareth singer Carl Sentence who I have to say is a great singer, I love the Persian Risk album 'Rise Up', so I know he is a underrated singer. Also joining Carl and Dario for this record is Dario Patti (Bass/ Keyboards) and drummer Ezio Secomandi, who I have no idea who these 2 musician's have worked with in the past sadly. 

The music on this CD has that Tony Martin or Glenn Hughes feel to the music with the likes of The Cage or Voodoo Hill and with Carl's vocals adds the the music. Produced by Kit Woolven who has worked with Thin Lizzy, UFO & Magnum with the aid of Dario at the help also.

A nice production is, with some dark elements of music, something that Tony Martin would do and it has some really good songs and some that I feel could be better. I feel that in some places Carl's vocals kind of don't fit the music as well as either Glenn or Tony, and I feel that this isn't Dario's best work... Not sure what it is there is just something lacking here sadly and I wish I could put my finger on it. Both Carl and Dario are great musicians and singers.

Songs on the record I do like are: Red, Take me High, Navigator, Rock the Cradle, Gates of Time, Running from the Shadows, Fright. Not a bad album, let's hope the music has more of a kick for the next album with Carl. I'm not knocking the musician's I just feel this album lacks what could of been.

Crowbar         "The Serpent Only Lies"     Steamhammer / E1     ***      

No stranger's to the world of Doom/ Sludge/ Stoner that could also have some elements of Hardcore in their music, whatever you want to call them. Formed back in New Orleans in 1990 with original members Kirk Windstein who met drummer Jimmy Bower when they were originally in a band called 'Shellshock' a hardcore/ Punk band. Kirk was also for a short time a member of Exhorder, who released 2 classic albums through Roadracer Records. Influenced by the likes of Trouble, St. Vitus, Black Sabbath, Type O Negative seemed to shine through in the bands music.

Crowbar have like all bands of today's age have had their fare share of lineup changes and released several albums. The band's debut album 'Obedience Thru Suffering' saw the light of day in 92 through Pavement Music, in which the band have recorded 10 albums to date, with various labels such as Candlelight, Century Media, Spitfire, Mayhem, E1 and now Steamhammer.

Kirk is the only original member (vocals/ guitars) who is also joined by Todd Stranger (bass), Tommy Buckley (drums) and guitarist Matthew Brunson. These 4 musician's play well and this album show it. Having that feel of those bands from the deep south of America such as Acid bath, Eye Hate God, Exhorder, Soilent Green, Graveyard Rodeo, and bands like Pantera and C.O.C. seem to be shown in their music. Not to forget the likes of 'Down' a band that Kirk and former Pantera front man Phil Anselmo, another band that seem to be doing well on the Doom/ Sludge circuit.

This album features 10 tracks which were produced by Kirk and Duane Simoneaux who also mixed the album. it's not a bad album by far, some up temp songs and some well sludge songs so a mixture of Doom and Sludge here. I can listen too it but I prefer my Doom to be more like Trouble.. a little more up tempo. 

Songs that I do like are: Falling Whilst Rising, Plasmic & Pure, I am the Storm, The Serpent only Lies, The enemy besides You, On Holy Ground, As I Heal. Not bad at all, and if you're a fan of their music then you're going to love this way Doom Sludge album.

Graham Bonnet     "The Book"    Frontiers    ***     

Graham Bonnet is no stranger in the Rock & Metal world, with his 1st successful band been in such bands as Rainbow, Alcatrazz, MSG, Blackthrone (featuring Bob Kulick ex Meat Loaf) Impellitteri, Anthem (Japan) and of course his own solo career. Born in 1947 not too far from where I live, Skegness (UK) his 1st stadium started with a band called 'The Marbles' when they release a hit single 'Only one Woman' which was written by the Bee Gee's. In 1979 he joined Rainbow and recorded such album 'Down to Earth', which featured the song 'Since you been Gone', which charted here in the UK.

Next came Alcatrazz which featured Yngwie Malmsteen in the early stages and in later times Steve Vai, two incredible guitar players. There 2 successful songs that I am aware of were 'God bless Video' and 'Hiroshima Mon Amour', in which Graham had recorded 4 albums. After which Graham joined the Impelletteri band after Bob Rock quit the band, and release 'Stand in Line', an awesome album and in later years Graham returned to record 'System X', sadly Graham left to pursue a solo career. 

Now Graham returns with his new band and new album, this album features a great drummer of 2 bands that I grew up with, Mark Zonder formerly with Warlord and Fates Warning. Mark had done some of the best albums with Fates Warning in later years and some epic albums with Warlord. This album also features Beth Ami Heavenstone (bass), Conrado Pesinato from South America on (guitar) and former Alcatrazz keyboardist Jimmy Waldo to complete the album which is known as 'The Book', released on Frontiers records.

I've never seen Graham Bonnet but I wish I had last month when he toured the UK, but I am sure he will return hopefully with this awesome line up.  Graham is a very powerful singer totally underrated, and has probably influenced tons of singer new and old. With his dynamic and powerful voice he can pretty much cover anything and this albums proves it when it comes to singing the classic Rainbow songs that this album also features as a bonus CD.

This album features classic songs on disc 1 and classic songs from his past bands on disc 2, all re-recorded with today's technology. A fine production here that captures songs spanning from his early stages right up to more recent times. Songs that are featured are: Eyes of the World, Into the Night, All night Long, Welcome to my Home, Lost in Hollywood, Earth's Child, Since you been Gone, Rider, Night Games, Dead man Walking, S.O.S., Strangest Day, Attack Attack, The Dance, Where were You, Desert Song, The Book, Island in the Sun, Everybody has to go There, Hiroshima Mon Amour, California Hair, God bless Video, Will you be Home, Witchworld, Stand in Line, Here comes the Night.

A cracking album, let's just see if Graham and the boys release a new album in 2017 of new songs? Time will tell. 

Pretty Maids      "Kingmaker"      Frontiers     ****    

Danish metal giants 'Pretty Maids' return with their new stunning album 'Kingmaker', the band's 15th album to date. The band started out in the early 80's and recorded their mini EP (PUT NAME HERE, IN ??) which in 1984 the band released their debut full length album 'Red hot & Heavy', their debut album for major label CBS/ Epic. This masterpiece is a classic in it's own right, having such fine songs like 'Back to Back', and of course the title track. The band soon followed this up with 'Future World', a slightly more commercial album but still had classics such as 'Yellow Rain' 'Love Games' and many more. The next album 'Lethal Heroes' or 'Jump the Gun' which ever title you own was the last album with this 1st line up before Ronnie Atkins (vocals) and Ken Hammer (guitars) found new members for the band.

Ronnie and Ken found drummer Michael Fast and Kenn Jackson bassist & Alan Owen  on keyboards for the next chapter of the bands line up and the album 'Sin Decade', which for me was one hell of an amazing release. Several more albums were recorded with this line-up before another line up change would happen. In later years Allan Tschicaja on drums and Rene Shades on bass with the aid of Morten Sandager on keyboards recorded some of the bands heaviest releases, especially the album 'Pandemonium' one fantastic album. The band have come along way since the early days and still managed to stay true to their own identity without jumping on any bandwagon, and why should they???

Ronnie and the boys have made some impressive album that have certainly influenced by, Denmark's finest melodic metal band in my opinion. This new album 'Kingmaker', again was recorded with the help of Danish master Jacob Hansen, who had worked on the bands previous albums as well as mixed the live DVD/ CD. Again the production on this album is solid, clear and all the instruments shine through. Ronnie is still Denmark's top metal singer as far as I am concerned along side King Diamond and the rest f the band are equally as important contributing the such a fine album. Pretty Maids are a band that mix the heaviness of Power metal with the melodic roots of the Hard Rock/ AOR style of metal that mixes really well for this band. Either way if you like it softer to the edge of Power metal then this band is for you. I like them either way as I like both side of of the coin.

Songs to check out are: When God took a day off, Kingmaker, Face the World, Humanize Me, Last beauty on Earth, Bull's Eye, King of the right here and Now, Civilized Monster, Was that what you Wanted. A great album by a great band and certainly one of my all time favourites since 1984. Add this to your Xmas list!! Now we need a UK tour in 2017 please!!

Nightmare       "Dead Sun"    AFM    ****     

French Power Metal band 'Nightmare' return with their stunning new album, the bands was formed in the early 80s and released their debut LP 'Waiting for Twilight' in 84 and in 85 'Power of the Universe', both of which were released through Hull (UK) label Ebony. Since the band formed they released 'Waiting for Twilight' in 84 & 'Power of the Universe' in 85. Sadly the band broke up only to return in later years.

The band back then consisted of (Christophe Houpert (vocals), Nicolas  De Dominicis (guitars), Jean Stripolli (guitars), Jose Amore (drums) and bassist Yves Campion. Drummer Jo Amore took over the vocals duties whilst his brother David Amore took over the drum stool in 99, the same year the band released 'DeLIVErance'. In 2001 the band signed to Napalm Records from Germany and their next LP 'Cosmovision', which saw the band opening up for Saxon in the same year of the release of this record. The band would also open up for the likes of Grave Digger, Blind Guardian, as well as playing some of the major festivals such as Wacken, I remember this well. In 2003 the band released their next album 'The silent Room' followed by  'The Dominion Gate' in 2005.

The band were signed to German label AFM in 2009 and in the same year their next album 'Insurrection' was released, see in the band with a fresh new guitarist that were added to the old school musicians of the band, and their music was certainly lifted. A more powerful style of Power Metal was formed, mixing the likes of Brainstorm, Primal Fear, Paragon style of melodic but powerful music. This was of course a fantastic album that even I enjoyed listening too. Next came a live CD/DVD and the next album 'The burden of God', in 2012 which sadly was the bands last album with current singer Jo Amore.

Now the band are back and hitting harder than ever, and with only 1 original member thus been the bassist Yves Campion, who has managed to find a new drummer, singer and current guitarists, these now been Maggy Luyten (Beautiful Sin/ Beyond the Bridge) on vocals, Franck Milleliri & Matt Asselberghs and drummer Olivier Casula to complete the line up for this stunning new album 'Dead Sun'.

This album is a fine example of what the band has to offer and comes with 11 tracks which were produced by Patrick Liotard together with Joost Van Den Broek, who had worked with the likes of Epica, The gentle Storm, with the aid of Gerald Jan at the desk. The artwork was done by Julien Spreutels who had worked with the likes of Epysode.

I really didn't even know the band had changed singer and when I 1st heard Maggy I recognized their voice thought she was with Beautiful Sin, and how right I was. Question is, does her voice suit the music? Yes is the answer, she has a powerful and yet melodic voice kind of like Kate French/ Leather Leon but in a different way. There are some great powerful female vocalists out there that can handle metal music and Maggy is certainly suited to Nightmares music and this new album.

Songs on this album to check out are: Infected, Of sleepless Minds, Tangled in the Roots, Red Maple & Gold, Ikarus, Indifference, Dead Sun, Seeds of Agony & Inner Sanctum. This is a great album by a band that are still going strong and creating fine metal music, grab a copy today.

Herman Frank     "The Devil Rides Out"       AFM     *****    

German guitar legend Herman Frank, former 'Accept' and guitarist for 'Victory' 'Sinner' & 'Panzer', the side project with Schmier from Destruction, he has also released 2 solo album prior to this release, so he's been pretty busy guy. It is a shame he left Accept along with Stefan Schwaarzmann who parted ways in 2014. Herman is a fantastic guitar player and underrated within the German Scene and deserves more credit for his contributes to the metal scene. He's done 2 crushing solos albums to date 'Loyal to None' and 'Right in the Guts' and now this fine new album 'The Devil rides Out', the debut for AFM records, and with both previous solo albums now been re-released on AFM it's a lot easier for you to grab a copy then ever before. 

Herman comes up with classic riffs and songs and certainly knows good musician's as this album shows just how good the songs are, we have 4 talented musicians here, firstly we have singer Rick Altiz (ex Frequency), Masterplan, and former At Vance singer, a great addition to this record, no doubt about it, he's a great singer kind of like Jorn's Swedish brother. I don't think this album would of been as good if Herman hadn't of picked Rick, a fantastic singer for such a strong and powerful album. Joining Rick and Herman is bassist Michael Miller (Jaded Heart) another fine musician and I love his bands music so having Mike in the band is a fine example of fine musicianship's. Drummer and former Rage, also with Sinner and Silent Force is Andre Hilgers, another fine musician with plenty of experience.

This album sees Herman and the boys playing their finest album to date, and still has that German vibe which is good, the music kind of reminds me of Accept, Steeler (Germany), Primal Fear, Victory, Pretty Maids, just classic German metal at it's best. Catchy tunes and riffs and some fine vocals here. The album was mixed by Charlie Bauerfeind (Saxon/ Blind Guardian) and produced by Herman and the boys. The over all sound is excellent, wellw hat do you expect from a musician who has years of experience?

We have 12 tracks of pure classic metal here, and there's not one bad song on here. I haven't played drums in years but after hearing this album I think I might start up and again and form a band like this. It's just a great and fine album from start to finish, not a bad song on the album, pure classic metal with Power Metal edge that makes this a fine album. Songs to check out are: Running Back, Shout, No tears in Heaven, Ballhog Zone (Highly recommended), Run boy Run, Thunder of Madness, License to Kill, Stone Cold, Dead or Alive. Well this is one of the best melodic/ power metal albums of 2016, buy today!!

Kee Marcello        "Scaling Up"      Frontiers        ****      

Just in case you don't know who Kee Marcello is, he was once with Sweden's biggest rock band 'Europe', between 86 to 92, and released such classic albums as 'Out f this World', 'Prisoners in Paradise', before the band disbanded only to return to released 'Start from the Dark' in 2004. Kee's career started with a band called 'Easy Action' in 82 when the band released 2 albums titled 'Easy Action', 'That makes One' and where the 1st band from Scandinavia who released their albums in the U.S., leading to more success.

After John Norum quit Europe Kee joined the band, toured with world and recorded my favourite song by Europe 'Superstitious', I just love that song, so cool and catchy. Kee kind of went quiet for some time only to return later on in life as a musician with his next release 'K2'  with the album 'Melon demon Drive' in 2004. He later on recorded 4 solo albums and appeared on several albums doing guest guitar slots on various albums.

Now he is back with this new album 'Scarling Up', which reminds me of across between Skagarack meet Mr.Big, a pretty impressive sound of 2 excellent bands with a touch of early Treat and Europe. There's a hint of Hard Rock/ Blues in this record which makes it sound even more impressive. Also Kee handles all the vocals and guitars & keyboards, and is a pretty cool singer, reminds me of Skagarack singer Torben Schmidt. As the album gets further into it, it is a great album, just the right amount of Blues and Hard Rock all rolled into one.

Joining Kee is Ken Sandin (bass), Darby Todd (drums) with  guest slots by Mattias Eklundh doing guitar solo on 'Good men gone Bad', and Michele Luppi doing keyboards on the song 'Wild Child'. The album comes with 12 tracks produced by Kee, a nice solid production, drums sounds great and guitar are at a nice tone. I haven't really heard his solo material but will certainly be checking them out. In the meantime check out this album and the following songs: Black hole Star, On the Radio, Fix Me, Wild Child, Finger on the Trigger, Solider Down, Scaling Up, Don't know how to love Anymore, Blow by Blow. A pretty good album for a debut new comeback album, and like I said if you like Hard Rock meets Blues then this is a groovy cool album that will certainly get you rocking!!!

Saxon        "The Vinyl Hoard"    LP Box set      *****    

Nothing surprises me with the mighty Saxon, they are a band to be recognized with as mighty as they are they have created some of the must influenced metal music of all time, the underdogs of real metal. There are bands out there that get too much resonation and really don't deserve it, but Saxon really do deserve more credit for their contributions to real metal music. I mean take a look, all 4 musician's are outstanding players a fine drummer Nigel totally underrated and both guitarist Paul & Doug are a twin nuclear assault of powerful guitar riffs and Nibbs... well he's an amazing bassist and total animal live, one of the best. Biff is an outstanding singer that has even influenced James Hetfield (Metallica) and many more.

Formed in Yorkshire (Barnsley area) UK under the original name of 'Son of A Bitch', back in 77 by Biff Byford, Paul Quinn & Graham Oliver & Steve Dawson with Pete Gill, the 5 set out to record demos and play live shows around Barnsley and surrounding areas. After grabbing a deal with French label Carrere the band soon changed their name to Saxon and the cover was soon done for their debut album self titled in 79. The band recorded 6 albums for the French label before EMI took them to the next level for the next album 'Innocence is no Excuse' 85. In total the band have recorded 21 albums, and that says a lot for such a great band like Saxon and one of the godfathers of real metal music.

Now the band have released their current album 'Battering Ram' which is a powerful album and one of the bands most powerful released the band also recently released their new DVD 'Let me feel your Power', which sees the band playing one of their finest shows. It's also good to see the band release this vinyl box set of the bands later albums which also contains live concerts from the period of the album that is also enclosed within the box set. It's a great addition to any fan of the bands and a must for you're collection.

This box set comes with 8 LP's  (each release had 2 LP's in each package) spanning from the 'Dogs of War' tour 95, 'Lion Heart' tour 2004, 'A Night out with the Boys' 2005, 'Rock Sound Festival' 2006. Each album has a great sound capturing the band's spirit and energy on each record. It's really good to hear each record sounding different with the bands and vocals been at their best on each record. Both guitarist Paul & Doug play some inspiring riffs packaged full of power, and with Nigel and Nibbs delivering a powerful Rhythm section and of course Biff's soaring vocals make this band a force to be reckoned with.

What a great collection of some of Saxon's finest songs from span a decade of pure class real metal music. There's so many songs on these records to tell you about but some of them are: Crusader, Dogs of War, Iron Wheels, Light in the Sky, The Eagle has Landed, Solid ball of Rock, Can't stop Rocking, Lion heart, Man & Machine, Beyond the Grave, Flying on the Edge, Dragon's Lair, Travellers in Time, Backs to the Wall, Redline, Frozen Rainbow, See the light Shining, To hell and back Again. Pure class by one of the master of metal still going strong and on .... Buy today. 

Destiny        "Climate Change"         GMR Music     ****     

Does anybody old enough like me remember these guy around the 1st time? Swedish metal act 1st formed back in 82 and soon released their debut album 'Beyond of Sense' in 84 which was produced by Ken Olsson, which was later on in 2005 re-released on CD. The 1st time I heard the band was when they released their 2nd album 'Atomic Winter' in 88, this album was released through US Metal records and a pretty good album kind of mixing Doom Metal with Power Metal kind of across between Candlemass meets Artch. 

Formed back then by Stefan Bjornshog (bass) & John Proden (guitars), & Peter Lundgren (drums). The band like any have had there fare share of line up changes. The band have recorded 6 albums to date prior to the new release 'Climate Change' and the bands previous albums were 'Nothing left to Fear' 91, 'The Undiscovered Country' 98, 'Future of the Past' 2004, and the re -release of the debut album with singer Kristoffer Gobel, who was also in the band Falconer. 

The band broke up after the release of 'Beyond all Sense' re-release and it was in 2005. Now the band return with members Jonas Heidgert (Dragonland) on vocals and a fantastic singer, I just wish that Dragonland will continue with Jonas too. Also in the current line up is Stefan Bjorgshog (bass), Michael Aberg (guitars), Veith Offenbacher (guitars), and Kane Svantesson on drums. Sometimes it's good when a band make a comeback after so long, it gives them time to refresh their minds and come up with fresh and exciting ideas and this album is just one of those.

This new album was produced by the band with the help of Hendrik Pettersson, and recorded at DRS Gothenburg Sweden with the artwork by Matthias Noren and comes with 14 tracks, so the wait has certainly been worth it and comes with some re-released songs from the past with Jonas on vocals.. The band are back on top form and delivering quality metal music like they use to. Songs on the album to check out are: Duke of Darkness, Living Dead, Medieval Rendezvous, Lead into Gold,  Nothing left to Fear, Sabotage, Sheer Death, No Reservation, Devil in the Dark, Evil Trinity, Dream Reaper. This is an album of all old songs with Jonas on vocals, good in a way but I think it's about time the band recorded a new album don't you? 

Tygers Of Pan Tang        "Same"     Mighty Music      ****        

Well Tygers of Pan Tang like Judas Priest & Saxon were the 3 main influences for me growing up as a kid, I just loved Tygers of Pan Tang as a kid. I 1st discovered them whilst in WH Smiths in the UK, the album of 'Crazy Nights' caught my eye, the cover impressed me at the age of 11 in 81, and to turn the album cover over and see this band of long haired dudes on a massive stage with dry ice just blow me away... I had to have this LP. It came with the 12" free single which was an added bonus and from that day I became a massive fan of their early work. I soon bought 'Spellbound', 'Wild Cats' and even got to see and meet the band in Hull (UK) on 'The Cage' tour, still got the autographs now.

Original guitarist Robb Weir is the only member left sadly but he has continued to carry the flag high for this outstanding band from Whitley Bay area near Newcastle. This N.W.O.B.H.M. band have been around for many years now, and after 'The Cage' album Robb left the band to form a band called 'Tyger-Tyger' with former singer Jess Cox. Both Brian Diuck (drums) and Jon Deverill (vocals) continued with Tygers of Pan Tang for a few more years until they broke up. Robb came back with Tygers later in 2000 when the band in 2001 released 'Mystical' with singer Tony Liddell. Robb and the boys have released 4 more album since that release, with Richie Wicks on vocals and since the release of 'Animal Instinct' in 2008 the band features vocals and to this day Jacopo Meille along with long time drummer Craig Ellis. Joining Craig Robb and Jacopo is bassist Gav Gray and guitarist Micky Crystal to complete the lien up for this new album.

So does this sound like Tygers of Pan Tang in their early day? Well in some places yes and in others they have moved on slightly but their still playing 80/90's metal. It's cool that they have still managed to keep going and play quality music. I am pretty such the band re recorded some older songs for an album, which I need to hear. I'd love to hear a tribute CD to this band played by Power Metal bands, just imagine what they could do with 'Running out of Time'?

This album comes with 11 songs which where recorded in Newcastle and mixed by Soren Andersen at Meledy studios in Denmark who had worked with Glenn Hughes Mike Tramp and any more. A nice production here well worth listening too. Harry Hess mastered the album from the band Harem Scrarem who has done a great job too.

It's good to see the Tygers still roaring out good old metal music and why not? Songs on the album to check out are: Only the Brave, Dust, Never Give In (Great old school Tygers), The reason Why, Do it Again, Praying for a Miracle, Blood red Sky, to be the finest of songs on the album. Welcome back to the crazy zoo guys, looking forward tos ee in and interview them in my home city of Hull end of October. I can hear the ROAR already!!!

Theocracy        "Ghost Ship"       Ulterium      ****     

Christian Power/ Progressive Metal act 'Theocracy return with their latest offering, the band's 4th album, in which the band released their debut was originally released in 2003 through Metal Ages and was later on remixed and re released. The bands 2nd album 'Mirror of Souls' was released in 2008, then 'As the world Bleeds' in 2011 before the release of this new album.

Formed back by vocalist Matt Smith in 2002 in Athens Georgia (U.S.) when Matt decided to create a one man project in which he played and programmed the drums for this debut release. It was soon to be a full time and full line up band and not a project after the release of the debut when the press and fans wanted to see this turn into a band. Matt is now joined by Val Allen Wood (guitars), Jonathan Hinds (lead guitars), bassist Jared Oldham with drummer Shawn Benson.

I have listening too the band grew with each album mixing the likes of Symphony X, Dream Theater, Kansas, Helloween, Iced Earth all rolled into one and works really well for this band. Each album has it's own identity and this new album 'Ghost Ship' is without doubt the bands finest work, I have really started to enjoy this album. some fine vocals and strong melodic metal music here. The band have attended the Prog Power USA festival and various Christian festival and there becoming a great band.

The album comes with 10 songs which were produced by Matt, with the art work handled by Felipe Machado Franco (Blind Guardian/ Rhapsody of Fire/ Iced Earth) to name a few and the mastered by Vlado Meller, in which the whole production and artwork is well worth hearing and see in. Some fine guitar solos here and music, powerful, heavy and melodic with some fine melodic vocals that has to be heard.

Songs to check out are: Paper Tiger, Ghost Ship, The wonder of it All, Wishing Well, Around the world and Back, A call to Arms, Currency in a bankrupt World, Ester & Castaway. This is certainly the band best work and I highly recommend this album to any fan of Progressive Power Metal.

Hammerfall        "Built To Last"    Napalm      ****     

Swedish Power Metal God's 'Hammerfall' return with their 10th album, the bands debut was released back in 97 titled 'Glory to the Brave' and featured In Flames guitarist Jesper Strombald who at that time was the drummer in the early stages of Hammerfall, and Oscar Dronjak who was formerly with Ceremonial Oath.  The debut album was soon to be released found singer Joacim Cans, Fredrik Larsson (bass), guitarist Glenn Ljungstrom and drums by Jesper Strombald, who later on concentrated on his band In Flames and still does to this day.

With the debut album released by Dutch label Vic Records, it was also soon picked up by Nuclear Blast, the label that the band recorded all their albums with up until 'Evolution' in 2014. The band have released some fine albums such as my favourite 'Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken' which for me is a fantastic album. The band do what they do best, full on Scandanivian Power Metal, which reminds me of Accept, Saxon, Judas Priest, with hints of U.S. bands like Warlord, to name a few and all this works really well. It's really hard to say they sound like some Swedish band considering they have been around long enough to be compared to other Swedish Metal bands.

Like all bands they have line up changes, the only line up change in some time for this band is drummer Anders Johansson (ex Yngwie) left the band after the release of 'Evolution' and is now released by David Wallin who I believe played on this record, he joined the band last year in 2015. This new album is also the debut for new label Napalm Records from Germany, and see the band in a new relationship and hopefully a strong one like their previous label Nuclear Blast. This album comes with 10 pure strong melodic Power Metal which has a decent production, not sure who produced it no info but I presume it could be either the band and or Fredrik Nordstrom, but either way the over all production is good solid and strong like the songs. It's typical Hammerfall, so if you like their previous albums then you're going to like this album too. 

Songs on the album to check out are: Bring It, Hammer High, The sacred Vow, Dethrone & Defy, Stormbreaker, Built to Last, The star of Home, New Breed, Second to None. Well it's typical Hammerfall, powerful, melodic and yet still manages to capture the power of the might sword and steel. Buy when it's released. 

Monty Pittman         "Inverted Grasp of Balance"      Metal Blade    ****     

Well I have to start this review off by say I have never hear of Monty Pittman, and that's no disrespect to him at all. So I've just done some research into how he became a musician and who he's worked with. Surprisingly he worked with Madonna having recorded and toured with her, Prong having recorded 'Scorpio Rising', 'Power of the Damn Mixxxer' , also worked with Melanie C, Adam Lambert, as well as releasing 5 solo albums and so many other artists. So he's been around for some time as a musician. 

Born in 75 Monty worked in a local music store selling guitars and it wasn't long before he quit his day job to become a guitar teacher and later on taught Madonna how to play guitar and then later on became her main guitarist for albums and tours. Monty went on to do solo albums and now he has returned with this new album 'Inverted Grasp of Balance', a damn good album and something I wasn't expecting, as I was expecting some heavy stuff with screaming Nu Metal style vocals. Gladly this isn't the case on this record, yes there's some heavy music but the vocals are clean and melodic and suit the music well. I would say the music is kind of like the 1st Galactic Cowboys music with different vocal harmonies that really do suit the music. I guess the music also has hints of C.O.C. and some Prong, and maybe some Down/ Trouble elements, all of which is good stuff.

This is Monty's 2nd album for Metal Blade, his debut 'The Power of Three' was released 2014, in which he has released 4 metal albums in total. The album also features drummer Richard Christy (Charrred walls of the Damned/ Death/ Iced Earth), bassist Billy Sheehan (Dave Lee Roth/ Mr Big/ Winery Dogs), and produced by Jay Ruston (Anthrax/ Steel Panther) and the overall sound is excellent. I haven't heard Billy Sheehan play this heavy before so it's an added bonus and has certainly got my respect even more so now.

The album comes with 12 trax, some pretty nifty riffs and vocals and I really would love to know what Madonna thinks of this album? Songs on the album to check out are: Panic Attack, Arisen in broad Daylight (sounds like Prong/ C.O.C), Guilty Pleasure (Sounds like Charred Walls... this really does test Billy's bass playing), The times are Changing, Double edged Sword, Pride comes before the Fall, to be the strongest of the songs on the album. It's a pretty good album and if you like his previous stuff them you will more than likely like this too. 

Cry Of Dawn           "Cry Of Dawn"       Frontiers       ****        

Cry of Dawn is the new band put together by the one and only Goran Edman, who's best known for his work with the early Yngwie Malmsteen albums such as 'Eclipse' as well as albums with Glory, John Norum 'Total Control' Europe's guitarist and appeared on albums as guest singers. Goran is a fantastic singer that reminds me of Paul Roger's, a strong singer with a dynamic vocal range that stands out like such singers like Jorn Lande, and many more fine vocalist's in rock & metal.

Just how many albums has he recorded? Well he has recorded and appeared on over 50 albums, holy shit this guy is really busy and like I said an amazing singer. Some of his work I need to check out but most of it I have heard. His 1st band was a band called Madison, who recorded 'Diamond Mistress' in 84 and 'Best show in Town' in 86, the rest is pretty much history.

This album sees Goran delivering yet another quality melodic hard rocking album with some AOR elements thrown in too. Joining Goran on this record is drummer Daniel Flores, known for his work with Minds Eye, a band that seemed to of called it a day sadly, really like their work. On bass and guitars is Michael Palace, Soren Kronqvist (keyboards), and the album was produced by Daniel Flores, who seems to do a lot of productions these days. A nice solid production for such a melodic album like this , which at times the music reminds me of Journey, Bad English, Skagarack, so if you like the bands mentioned then this is an album for you. I do like some AOR music, and a lot of it these days isn't as good as it use to be, but when an album like this comes along it's worth checking out. 

A strong album by one of Sweden's finest melodic rock singers, and if you like his voice or music then this is for you. Songs on the album to check out are: Chance, Listen to Me, When right is Wrong, Tell it to my Heart, Light a Light, Building Towers, Hands around my Heart, Yearn, Tell Me. A great album by such an incredible singer that just makes damn good albums, buy today it's well worth it. 

Charred Walls Of The Damned         "Creatures Watching Over The Dead"     Metal Blade    *****     

It's good to see a band like Charred Walls of the Damned make another album, some might say this is a project or a band, to be honest I'm not sure, but either way they make great music. This band were formed by Richard Christy (ex Iced Earth/ Death) drummer with the help of fellow Iced Earth and Death bassist Steve DiGiorgio and former Iced Earth Singer/ Judas Priest Tim Ripper Owens with guitarist Jason Suecof, who's is mainly a producer and has worked with bands such as God Forbid, Death Angel, Cryptopsy, Six Feet Under, Monstrosity, Austrian Death Machine, Firewind and many more....

This super group have released 3 albums to date now, their debut self titled was released in 2010, which was a great debut album, and what would you expect from some of the finest underground metal musicians? With hints of Death/ Control Denied in the music and also elements of Testament, this album was extremely good and received some great reviews. It was later on followed by 'Cold winds of timeless Days' in 2011, yet again another great album of technical thrash metal with progressive elements. As we all know Tim is a great singer and one hell of a great screamer, a voice to be reckoned with. Richard and Steve deliver a great rhythm section packed full of surprises and twists and turns which makes them some of the finest musicians in metal. Guitarist Jason, is a fine musician creating some fine riffs and melody hooks, and he also produced the album which is of a powerful and strong production. 

it's been 5 years in the making of this new album, with Steve been involved with Testament, Tim doing his solo career touring, Jason producing albums and Richard appearing on Howard Stern show has taking a while to get this album recorded and written. Question is, is the wait worth the wait? Yes it is, a fine album technical complex metal with some guitar solos reminding me of Cacophony in places. Tim does a fantastic job with his clean and also scream vocal melodies it would be nice to see them tour at some point. This album was recorded in Florida at 'Audiohammer' studios with is run by Jason, just outside of Orlando and comes with 9 technical and yet melodic and heavy tunes.

Songs on the album to check out are: My Eyes, The Soulless, Afterlife, Lies, Reach into the Light, Tear me Down, Time has Passed. A great album by a great and strong band with lots of positive energy. Buy today!! 

Asphyx         "Incoming Death"      Century Media     ****       

Dutch Death Metal merchants 'Asphyx' return with another album 'Incoming Death', the band put together by Bob Bagchus, Tonny Brookhuis and Eric Daniels, Chuck Colli in which the band recorded their debut demo 'Enter the Domain' in 88. Colli was replaced soon after by Theo Loomans and their 2nd demo was recorded. Funny how none of the early demo line up members remain in the band now, only original member who recorded the debut album 'The Rack' in 91 is Martin Van Drunen who was once the bassist and vocalist for Pestilence, the band recorded 2 albums with Martin 'Malleus Maleficarum' 88 & 'Consuming Impulse' in 89. 

After leaving Pestilence Martin hooked up with Daniel and recorded their debut album 'The Rack', a good strong album which consisted of a mixture of brutal Death Metal meets Doom Metal elements, kind of across between Obituary & Celtic Frost meets Candlemass and works well for the band to day. Been loyal to their label Century Media the band have remained with them throughout their career having recorded 9 albums to date. Most of you will remember them for the debut album and also the self titled album, which were known to be some of the bands best work. Still capturing the brutal early stages of the bands music they take no prisoners and continue to write what they feel is best, brutal and honest music. 

This album takes you back to the bands early stages but in a more heavier approach, brutal and intense vocals and music mix really well here. The album is about Entrenched Soldiers under severe Artillery fire. I guess with the music been as brutal as it is the music does kind of reflect in how a solider would be feeling having heard this during war. Current line up is Martin Van Drunen (vocals), Alwin Zuur (bass), Paul Baayens (guitars) and drummer Stefan Huskens. The album comes with 11 brutal Doom/ Death Metal tunes which were mixed by Jan Gensheimer who has done a great job, a nice brutal and heavy guitar riffs here with insane vocals by Martin makes this one hell fo a brutal album and a good one at that. 

Songs to check out are: Candiru, Divisions Brandenburg, The Feeder, It came from the Skies, The grand Denial, Incoming Death, Forerunners of the Apocalypse, Wildland Fire. Not heard much Death Metal these days but this is a damn good album, be good to see them on tour with such a band like Vader. Go check out this band especially if you like brutal music.  

Iron Mask        "Diabolica"      AFM       *****     

Some of you maybe already aware of this band from Belgium, formed out of the ashes of a band called 'Magic Kingdom' by guitar wizard Dushan Petrossi, I think the band released 2 albums, one of which was released on LMP Music. Sadly that band broke up, a pretty decent band but soon Dushan formed Iron Mask and soon released their debut album for Lion Music from Finland. Their debut album 'Revenge is my Name' which was released in 2002 as a side project. It soon became clear that this was more than just a side project and so Dushan continued this as a full time band. 

The band so far to date have released 6 albums, the albums been 'Hordes of the Brave' 2005, 'Shadow of the Red Baron' 2010, 'Black as Death' (which featured Mark Boals) in 2011, and 'Fifth son of Winterdoom' in 2013, which also featured Mark Boals.  I do think that 'Black as Death' is the best album out of the previous releases and I am sure a lot of you will agree. Now the band return with a new album and a new great singer, this time it's Argentinean singer Diego Valdez from the superb band 'Helker' who have also released about 4 albums to date. 

A great singer that comes across as a Dio meet Tim 'Ripper' Owens style of vocals, works really well for Iron Mask. Joining Diego and Dushan is bassist Vassili Moltchanov and drummer Ramy Ali. Not sure why Mark left the band but Diego is a fine replacement and this album is a killer album, which captures that atmospheric feel that Yngwie Malmsteen captures when he does that mid pace style of neon classical metal music. Of course there are some up tempo riffs and here with lots of energy and double bass drumming. Dushan is a great guitarist and he has come along way since forming Magic Kingdom and this albums shows just how good a musician he is. The rest of the band are equally as good and the music speaks for itself. 12 trax here produced by Dushan along with Angelo E.Buccolieri with the artwork been handled by Stan W. Decker.

This is a great album, and if you like the bands last few albums then this is a real treat for you, songs to check out are: I don't forget.. I don't forgive, Doctor Faust, Galileo, Oliver Twist, March 666, All for Metal, The Rebellion of Lucifer, Diabolica, Ararat, Flying Fortress. If you're a fan of either Helloween, Masterplan, Yngwie Malmsteen then this is for you, a great album.. go buy a copy today.

Eden's Curse      "Cardinal"      AFM   *****       

It's good to see a band that's an internationally band like Eden's Curse, having formed back in 2006 by bass player Paul Logue along with Thorsten Koehne (guitars) to be the only 2 original members left in the band. Having been through some line up changes, where Michael Eden original singer left the band after the bands 'Trinity' album in 2011 after recording 3 albums in total with the band, 'Eden's Curse' in 2007 & 'The Second Coming' in 2008. The band have gone through various keyboard players and now features Christian Pulkkinen (Adamantra) along with John Clelland (drums) who joined the band for the live album 'Live with the Curse' in 2015. 

Together the band have created a fantastic new album that captures the spirit of the band's music, catchy riffs, amazing vocals and some excellent melodies that make this a special album. We all have our favorites and this is a great album, but for me my heart is with 'Symphony of Sin' released back in 2013, this is a great album and features Nikola Mijic on vocals, a fantastic hard rocking vocalist, who has that AOR feel to his voice. The music is mixed well with the progressive elements with a touch of the AOR feel really do jell well for the band. 

Now the band return with this new stunning album 'Cardinal', some catchy tunes here and some fantastic vocals makes this yet another fine release by the multi cultured band, which good as different parts of the world's musicians come together to write this great album. With yet again backing vocals by Pete Newdeck and production by Paul Logue and mixed by Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) again the production is excellent as always. There's also a guest vocal appearance by Liv Kristine (ex Leaves Eyes) on the song 'Unconditional' which is a duet with Nikola and a great song indeed.

I wouldn't say there's a bad song on the record, it's Eden's Curse and they do it really well, a must for fans of melodic metal with that like I said AOR feel. The band kind of remind me of across between Strangeways meets Dream Theater or Pink Cream 69, all great bands indeed. If you like the bands previous album's, especially the last one then you're going to enjoy this album too. Look out for the tour soon, it's going to be epic!!

Songs on the album to check out are: Prophets of Doom, Sell your Soul, The great Pretender, Find my Way, Utopian Dreams,  Rome's on Fire, Unconditional, Saints & Sinners, Jericho. A great new album by a fine band that's going places it's only a matter of time... watch this space and buy this incredible album!!

Dirkschneider         "Live -  Back To Roots"      AFM       *****      

Udo Dirkschneider certainly isn't no stranger to the world of Heavy metal and if you think he is... well go back to school!!! We all know by now that Udo was the original singer for German metal gods 'Accept' from 76 from their professional career. The band released their debut 'self titled' in 79 which featured songs such as 'Free me Now', 'Street Fighter' and many more. In 1980 the band released 'I'm A Rebel' which soon leaded to 'Breaker' in 81 and later on 'Restless & Wild' in 82, to me their finest album that featured one of the heaviest tracks in metal of all time 'Fast as a Shark' a true Thrash epic.

With Udo recording 7 albums before leaving to record his new band U.D.O. but returning in 'Objection Overruled' in 92 and 'Death Row' in 94 & 'Predator' in 97 to return to his solo career UDO once again. UDO did however do some reunion shows with the band but sadly they didn't work out. Accept went their own way and so did UDO. UDO has recorded 15 studio albums, 3 live albums and DVD's to date and now this new live DVD/ album, which is a must for any fan of the band as well as Accept songs. This release is all his previous band's work that he wrote and recorded, yes folks Accept and this is the last time he will be playing these songs. From now on it's U.D.O. all the way, so if tou missed this tour... tough!! You only have yourself to blame, so you will have to do with this live recording. 

UDO has has a steady line up for some time now, Fitty Wienhold (bass), Andrey Smirnoc & Kasperi Heikkinen (guitars) and son Sven Dirkschneider on drums. This line has been strong for a few years now, Sven came in later when Francesco Jovino left to join Primal Fear. UDO's work is heavy but yet melodic and staying true to real metal I guess you could say he has some Accept's music in his music but then again he has much right to sound like Accept as much as they do. The last few albums 'Dominator', 'Rev-Raptor', 'Steelhammer' and 'Decadent' have all been great albums, delivering some fine German metal.

This album sees UDO and crew playing some of the finest work he did with his previous band, some excellent songs here and a must for any fan of real metal music. It must be hard to pick a set list like this, but it's a great set list, some songs are: London leatherboys, Living for Tonite, Flash rockin Man, Midnight Mover, Breaker, Neon Knights, Princess of the Night, Restless & Wild, Son of a Bitch, Up to the Limit, Screaming for a love Bite, Metal Heart, Fast as a Shark, Balls to the Wall, and so many more.... Great album by a legend in German metal history, buy!!!

Grim Reaper        "Walking In The Shadows"     Dissonance   ****     

The long awaiting talked about Grim Reaper album is finally here. There was talk about a reformation of the band with original members but sadly this didn't happen, so front man Steve Grimmett decided to do it alone. The band were 1st formed back in 79 as part of the N.W.O.B.H.M. and in the early 80's the band were recording demos and it came to the attention of then Hull (UK -  Where I live) based label Ebony Records who signed the band up and the recordings for the debut album 'See you in Hell' was recorded in 83. A fantastic debut album that saw the likes of Kerrang, Sounds, Metal Forces take a shine to the band. A raw but yet melodic album which kind of reminded me of Judas Priest back then soon saw the band making waves for their next album 'Fear no Evil' in 84, also for Ebony Records. This album saw the band been flown to the U.S. for a series of dates around the states. Another fine album indeed with some awesome vocals by Steve Grimmett and some fine music by Nick Bowcott (guitars), Dave Wanklin (bass) and drummer Lee Harris. 

Sadly the band parted ways with Ebony but the label held the rights to their work and they weren't allowed to record with any other label, and in 87 RCA released 'Rock you to Hell', a fine album, which had an awesome production, very catchy tunes something that the band needed and this album proved to be a fine art of music indeed. Songs like 'Night of the Vampire', 'Lust for Freedom', and the current song were all amazing tunes. Sadly again the bad called it a day after this release due to the fact that more fans were looking at heavier stuff like Thrash Metal. Steve moved on and formed 'Lionsheart' in the early 90's, releasing a few album and sounding like a heavier Whitesnake and great music too. Also joined Onslaught for the album 'In search of Sanity' and later on Grimmstine, Steve Grimmett band and appeared on vocals for the Empires of Eden albums.

Now the band return with Ian Nash (guitars), Mart Trail (bass) and drummer Paul White. The band recorded demos and after a while had enough material to record this album 'Walking in the Shadows' which has just been released. A strong album that still captures the old school sound of Grim Reapers past, and according to Steve he wanted a 80's production all analog and with a cheesy 80's cover it really does take you back to the good old days. Good old fashion metal music here, certainly driving music that's for sure. I wasn't too sure of the production at 1st but in a recent interview I did with Steve he explained the reason why the production isn't up to date in sound. In a way it's a good move. The album was recorded at Steve's studio and comes with 12 old school chilly tunes that even the grim reaper would be banging his head too!!

Songs to check out are: Wings of an Angel, Walking in the Shadows, Reach Out, I'm coming for You, From Hell (beginning sounds like 'Hell bent for Leather'),Call me in the Morning, Rock will never Die, Temptation, Blue Murder. A great album and well worth checking out, if you have the previous albums then this is for you and if you also like real metal music this is a must. Buy or the reaper will come for you!!!

DGM       "The Passage"       Frontiers      *****      

Italian Progressive Metal act 'DGM' return with new label Frontiers, the band have recorded 11 releases to date so their certainly no strangers to the world of Progressive Metal, especially in Italy and I have to say this is one hell of an awesome album. Italian metal has always had those Progressive and symphonic elements, I guess it's just the way they are brought up musically with such artists like Mozart, Beethoven and it shows in their music, very Classical trained. The band were formed back in 94 by former members Maurizio Pariotti, Gianfranco Tassella, and Diego Reali (DGM), but sadly these guys are no longer part of the band. The bands current line up consists of Mark Baslie (vocals), Simone Mularoni (guitars), Emanuele Casali (keyboards), Andrea Arcangelia (bass) and drummer Fabio Sanges.

I have heard some of the bands previous albums but not heard all, this is something I need to investigate as this band really are a top band, and would be great to see them at ProgPower USA in the near future. If you're a fan of such bands like Symphony X, Allan/ Lande Project, Elegy (featuring Ian Parry) as Mark really does remind me of Ian's vocals at times and also Johnny from Axle Rudi Pell, Dream Theater  & even Eden's Curse then this band are certainly for you. This album also features Tom from Evergrey on vocals for the song 'Ghost of Sanity', a fine song. The album also features guitarist Michael Romeo from Symphony X, so a find combination here of fantastic songs and musicians that appear on this record. The band released their debut 'Change Direction' in 97 through Elevate Records (Italian label) who had released the bands 1st 3 albums.

This album is perfect and if you haven't heard the band before this is an awesome 1st record to hear by this band, and was mixed and recorded at Domination Studios (Italy) and comes with 11 pure progressive songs that take you on an ever ending journey. Some really great music here and Mark is certainly the best singer the band have had, 100% superb vocals here that makes this one of an awesome album. It's a faultless album, from start to finish you get a great album and a must for any fan of Progressive Metal. Songs on the album to check out are: The Secret Path 1 & 2, Animal, Ghost of Sanity, Fallen, The Passage, Portrait, Daydreamer, In Sorrow. A great album like I said before and a must for any fan of Progressive Metal and just good quality metal music. I'm sure a tour will be planned soon, I hope they play the UK too.

Poltergeist     "Back to Haunt"    Pure Steel      ****      

Swiss Power/ Thrasher's 'Poltergeist' return after a long over due album, formed back in the mid 80's this band recorded 2 successful albums both released on Century Media Records. Like Coroner and Celtic Frost also fellow countrymen this band had some pretty good success back in the day and some great tours around Europe. Originally called 'Carrion' and released 1 record titled 'Evil is There' in 86 under Srilanca Records, an unknown label that have never heard of. With the release of that album it wasn't long before the band changed their name to 'Poltergeist', they recorded demos and were soon picked up by Century Media Records were the band recorded 'Depression' in 89, and this album received some awesome reviews worldwide. In 91 the band recorded their 2nd album 'Behind the Mask', a fine album which was also released on Century Media records and saw the band touring more so for this album. In 93 the band released their 3rd album for new label Haunted House titled 'Nothing lasts Forever', and saw the band moving forward. Singer back then and still to this day Andre Grieder stood in for German thrasher's 'Destruction' on the album 'Cracked Brain' when Schmier quit the band and formed 'Headhunter'. Now the band are back with their new album for new label Pure Steel under the title of 'Back to Haunt' and what a great album this is, back full of energy and power which reminds me of the 1st 2 albums they released back in the 80's.

It's good to see original singer Andre still in the band along with V.O. Pulver (guitars/ vocals), Ralf Winzer Garcia (bass), Sven Vormann (drums) and guitarist Chasper Wanner to complete the line up for this new album.  The band broke up only to reform back in a decade or so later to record this new masterpiece which I have to say is pretty impressive. Like Assassin, this band have come back strong and hungry for metal. If you haven't heard the band before then I would say they sound like Destruction, Mandator, Tankard, maybe some Kreator, just good strong German Thrash and if you remember the band the1st time around you're going to like this. 

I can also hear some Artillery here so a little Scandinavian flavor makes it a little better. This album comes with 11 trax , sadly I am not sure where and who produced it as the biography sheet doesn't indicate this sadly, but it is a good strong album and the opening song 'Back to Haunt' is a great opener, capturing the old school of Poltergeist. Songs on the album to check out are: Back to Haunt, Gone and Forgotten, Patterns in the Sky, And so it has Begun, When the ships Arrive, Faith is Gone, Beyond the realms of Time & A distance Knowledge. A decent album and there's always time for improvement when a band makes a comeback. If you like the bands early albums then you will like this. 

Serious Black      "Mirrorworld"    AFM      ****      

It's good to see European Power Metal band 'Serious Black; return with their 2nd album also for AFM, the bands debut 'As Daylight Breaks' in 2015, which was a great debut album. This band have some pretty well known underground musicians and singer which I will tell you about in a moment. The band were formed back in 2013 when Roland Grapow (ex Helloween/ Masterplan) talked to Mario Lochert (Emergency Gate / Visions of Atlantis) spoke about doing something together, in which later on Serious Black became a band and not just a project. Roland couldn't commit to the band so they had to find a replacement later on. Mario contacted Thomen Stauch (ex Blind Guardian) and later on Jan Vacik (Dreamscape) Dominik Sebastian (Edenbridge) and Urban Breed (ex Tad Morose) and the band were complete & Roland Grapow. 

A bunch of songs were recorded and it wasn't long before AFM Records took a shine to the band their debut album 'As Daylight Breaks' was released in 2015. With this album having a release and receiving some promising reviews the band were soon touring with the likes of Gamma Ray for instance. With the release out the band had some line up changes for the 2nd album, Roland, Thomen, left the band and were replaced by Firewind keyboard player Bob Katsionis as their new guitarist and drummer Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire) and it wasn't long before the band recorded this new album 'Mirrorworld', the next step up for the band, having a European Power Metal sound with some Progressive Metal elements, mixing Firewind, Evergrey, Helloween, MAsterplan, Brainstorm and Tad Morose feel to their music really does work well. Urban is a great singer and a friend of mine from Tad Morose days, so I know just how good a singer he is. Bob I have seen with Firewind so I also know what he is capable of, same can be said for Alex. 

I haven't seen this band live yet but I am sure they will play the UK at some point. This new album sees the band taking their music to the next step, mixing some fine vocals with some fine music, which comes with 8 songs & 1 intro, and a bonus 7 song disc which is a must for an fan of the band. Recorded by the band with the mixing done by keyboard player Jan who has done a great job making all the album sound solid which was recorded mainly in Germany with the vocals in the U.S.A. where Urban now lives. The band will surely do well around Europe especially around with a tour planned with Sin Breed later in the year, the Japanese are going to love this record for sure. Songs to check out are: As long as I'm Alive, Castor Skies, Heartbroken Soul, Dying Heart, Mirrorworld, State of my Despair, to be the strongest of songs on the album. A great band and only 2 albums into their career and with hopefully more albums to follow and maybe a live DVD at some point. Only time will tell but for now this is a great 2nd album by a promising band from Europe that are surely to make a great impression into today's music scene. 

Lordi        "Monstereophonic - Theaterror Vs Demonarchy"    AFM      ***      

Finnish band 'Lordi' return with their new album 'Monstereophonic' through AFM. The band's last album 'Scare Force One' in 2014 saw the band return with yet another scary and horrifying album which followed up 'To Beast or not to Beast' which was released in 2013 the bands debut for AFM. The band were formed back in 92 by front man Mr Lordi when he released a demo album titled 'Napalm Market' in 93, this was the birth of the band which lead to the bands debut 'Get heavy' in 2002 in which BMG Finland soon picked the band up. With their scary horror mask's which make Kiss look like Bon Jovi Findland were in for a shock. Like Gwar, another masked band with a heavier approach to that of Lordi, the 2 had different style of metal music, Gwar were more Hardcore/ Thrash approach whereas Lordi were a little more lighter but still managed to keep their own identity. In 2004 the band released 'Monsterican' which saw the band been taking more serious as the Finnish society started to take this band more seriously.

 Next album came 'The Arockalypse' in 2006 saw the band winning the 'Eurovision Song Contest' were the band were treated like kings and queens back home in their home country of Finland. There costumes are incredible and really take some time to put on. With the band having 8 albums released to date, this new album 'Monstereophonic' sees the band making even more scary music, yet melodic and kind of reminds me of somewhat harder edge AOR music and works well for the band. The bands current lineup is Mr Lordi (vocals), Amen (guitars), Ox (bass), Hella (keyboards) and drummer Mana. The band have been busy with this new album recording with producer Nino Laurenne , to this monstrous album was recorded which contains 14 scary songs from start to finish of pure melodic metal/ rock music. I'm not sure who they sound like, I don't want to say Gwar as that would be unfair as their music isn't as aggressive as Gwar, their music certainly has some Scandinavian elements but it's still Lordi that's for sure. The album is broke up into 2 sides, the 1st is 'Theaterror' is a side of catchy riffs and songs, whereas side 2 'Demonarchy' tells a story of a undead son, A bloodsucking count, the she-wolf, and the witch, which is kind of a concept album, almost like a horror story or play. 

A nice production here where the album was recorded in Finland to which the overall sound is impressive and the songs are catchy, melodic and kind of eerie, but that else would you expect?  The 1st few songs are pretty good and when the band play 'Demonarchy' is is without the best song on the album a wake up call, heavy riffs and pounding drums, a great song to play live. The same can be said for 'Break of Dawn' another heavy song, sometimes I wish the band would create an album like these 2 songs, killer songs. Other songs on the album that are decent are: Let's go slaughter He-Man, Down with the Devil, Mary is Dead, Sick Flick, Demonarchy, Break of Dawn. Not a bad album, if you're a fan then you're going to love this album. I do feel that sometimes I wish they would record heavier songs like 'Break of Dawn', just open up a little more. Still a good band with great customs. Check out their tour this autumn around Europe & the UK. 

Running Wild      "Rapid Foray"       Steamhammer        ***        

Well shiver me timbers, those jolly boys at port royal are back. Yes you guessed it 'Running Wild'. Those pirates from Germany are up to no good again, sails are mast and ready for the open seas. Well it's good to see a band like Running Wild still making records, funny thing is, they said a few years ago they would be splitting up, funny how they are back together I guess the money has brought them back together. Formed back in 76 in Hamburg (Germany) By Rolf Kasparek (vocals/ guitars) and is still the original member left. The band recorded demo tapes which were sent to various labels and fanzines/ magazines internationally and it wasn't long before Modern Music/ Noise International soon signed the band up, the label that also had Helloween, Celtic Frost, Rage, Kreator and many more top bands from Europe back then. In 84 the band released their debut album 'Gates of Purgatory' which pretty much set the band up, at that time their lyrics dealt with witchcraft and satanic themes but soon changed into a pirate theme band. 

With the debut on sale and doing pretty well it wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Branded & Exile' in 85 and with more rave reviews from the press people were starting to talk about the band. 87 saw the band release their most talked about album 'Under jolly Roger', with 'Port Royal' to follow in 88. 95 saw the band release their last album for Noise 'Masquerade' , which saw the band sign to G.U.N . for 'The Rivalry' in 98. In total the band have recorded 16 albums to date, pretty impressive stuff. Now the band return with their new album 'Rapid Foray', the bands 3rd album for Steamhammer/ SPV and a pretty nifty album indeed and still managing to drink the old rum on the seven seas. Bands like Alestorm are certainly influenced by these guys no question about it. Front man Rolf has kept the spirit of the band alive now and with the help of Peter Jordan (guitars), Ole Hempelmann (bass) and drummer Michael Wolpers it's time for these guys to show the world of true metal what they have to offer. 

Produced by Rolf with the engineering done by Niki Nowy, the 2 also mastered the album with the artwork done by Jens Reinhold who has worked with Virgin Steel, Freedom Call among others, nice artwork here too. The album features 11 songs of pure pirate metal from start to finish, and if you're a fan of the bands previous work then this is for you. I don't mind the band's music, there still playing what they believe in and that's a good thing. You can't knock a band for trying and still making music that appeals to those out there. Songs on the album I do like are: Black skies red Flag, Warmongers, Stick to you're Guns, Rapid Foray, By the blood in your Heart, Black Bart, Into the West, Last of the Mohicans. Not a bad album, certainly not their best I like the bands early stuff best but still this is a decent album and at least its a metal album. I'm sure the band will be entering a port near you soon, till then check out the album, and shiver me timbers. 

Evergrey     "The Storm Within"      AFM      *****     

Swedish Progressive Metal act 'Evergrey' return with their stunning new album 'The storm Within', the bands 2nd album for AFM which followed up 'Hymns for the Broken' which was released back in 2014 and saw the classic line up returning of Jonas Ekdahl (drums), Johan Nieman (bass), Rikard Zander (keyboards), Henrik Danhage (guitars), & Tom S. Englund to complete the new return album line up. This band in my opinion haven't done a bad album yet, there all pretty much unique and have own identity and since the band released their debut 'The Dark Discovery' in 98, which pretty much opened the door the band with more successful albums to follow. Like any band Evergrey have seen members come and go and with Tom been the only original member from the start. The longest member besides Tom is keyboard player Rikard who joined the band in 2003 for the album 'Recreation Day' which was a fine album indeed. 

The band have made some fine albums in their past with a total of 9 previous albums their music is top class Progressive Metal. I'd say they have their own style but if I had to say who they were close to I would say the likes of Pagan's Mind, Pain of Salvation (early days), Fates Warning, Eidolon, a great band indeed. Heavy but yet melodic and with Tom's vocals been on top form this band are not going to stop for anybody. The music is fantastic, great melody hooks riffs and all around just a fine album. Anybody who faults this is pretty dumb to say the least. It's great to see the classic line up back together creating some fine music, I just wish this was a longer album as you just get into it and then it's over. The album features 11 songs, the digi pack a bonus song of Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid', which I have yet to hear but I can imagine it will blow the original off and I'd be interesting in hear that. The album also features Nightwish singer Floor Jensen on 'In Orbit' and 'Disconnect', and with Tom's wife on the song 'The paradox of the Flame'. Produced by the band with Jacob Hansen mixing and mastering the album the overall sound is excellent and Jacob is really making a name for himself working with Primal Fear, Pretty Maids to name a few. 

I wouldn't say there is one bad song on this record, it's a prefect album from start to finish. Some songs that I recommend are: Distance, Passing Through, Someday, Astray, My Allied Ocean, In Orbit, The Paradox of the Flame', Disconnect & The storm Within. Absolutely a fantastic album, a truly underrated band with so much talent and a band really worth check. One of the best Progressive metal albums of the year along side Fates Warning. The band are on tour later this year sadly a co headlining tour, so I'll wait for them to return to the shores of the UK as head liners. Buy today you wouldn't be disappointed. If you haven't discovered the band yet or their music now is the time.

Sodom      "Decision Day"      Steamhammer    ****         

German Thrash God's 'Sodom' along side Kreator and Destruction have certainly influenced a lot of bands around Europe and even North & South America, having formed back in 81 By front Man Tom 'Angel Ripper', when he started  Sodom with former now diseased drummer Chris Angelwitch in which they found guitarist 'Destructor' in which the band recorded @In the sign of Evil 'Obsessed by Cruelty' in 85 & in 86 which was released on SPV/ Streamhammer. This album was a pretty good release mixing the likes of Motorhead, Exciter and Bathory/ Venom all rolled into one. The band back then had silly hair cuts, like of like a thrash version of 'The Beatles' was a lot of people couldn't take serious at 1st. 

This of course was too change later on in their career. In 87 things would change and the album 'Persecution Mania' was next, when the band grow their hair and looked more the part and the album had was a great 2nd full length album, now that the band were finding their true sound and style. Album sales were on the up and touring started for the band around Europe. Next came 'Agent Orange' in 89m this for me was the turning point when the band became a strong trio playing some fine Thrash Metal and a tour with Coroner and Destruction soon followed. Guitarist Frank Blackfire quit the band leaving them to fine a suitable replacement for the next album 'Better off Dead' in 90. The band went through more line up changes throughout their career leaving Tom been the only original member along with his long time guitarist Bernd Kost been the longest guitarist in the band with newest member on drums Markus Freiwald on drums. Sodom have recorded 15 albums to date which says a lot for this band, like Kreator and Destruction who just on going and are the demi-gods of German thrash. It's good to see a band like Sodom still making records and staying true to themselves without jumping on the bandwagon and why should they? 

Tom Angelripper has kept this band together for years and I wish them well. This album was produced by Cornelius Rambardt, which contains 11 trax of pure German Thrash Metal and with the artwork handled by Joe Petagno who has worked with the likes of Motorhead, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin and many more. This trio still have what it takes to deliver quality music and this some proves it, OK so it's maybe not as good as 'Agent Orange' but still a great album and well worth a listen. Songs to check out are: In Retribution, Rolling Thunder, Decision Day, Who is God, Strange lost World, Virginal born Evil, Belligerence, Blood Lions, Sacred Warpath. Sodom do what they do best, deliver quality thrash at its best, grab a copy soon!!! The band are on tour later this year now so if you get the chance to see them do you, pity there not comign to the UK and ideally it would be great if the Demi-Gods of German thrash toured together, Kreator, Destruction and Sodom all on the same bill.

Helstar      "Vampiro"      EMP     *****        

Texas Power Metal Gods Helstar return with their new album 'Vampiro' for new label EMP the label but together by Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) new label who saw potential in the band having worked with the band in the last with the album 'Multiples in Black' in 95, when Dave produced some of the songs from that album. Not a bad album but the production suffered sadly and I fee this would be a great album to re do in the near future. Helstar have been around since 82 when guitarist Larry Barragan teamed up with James Rivera to form the band. It wasn't long before they recorded demo and soon sent out to all the major metal labels in which Combat Records showed interest and a deal was complete in 84 after 2 demos were released. Combat then sent the debut album 'Burning Star' to Music for Nations in the UK for a European release. 

A pretty good album that was indeed having elements of Iron Maiden but in a more Power Metal mold which has worked fantastic for the band ever since. With the release of the debut album it wasn't long before the band released 'Remnants of War' was released in 86, this was the turning point for the band, having found their sound and style which they have kept ever since that release, a great album which didn't sound like the bands debut much at all. A super heavy but yet melodic album indeed, love it!! This album featured Rob Trevino (guitars), Jerry Abarca (bass) and drummer Rene Luna who left after this release. With this fantastic album released it wasn't long before Metal Blade signed the band for their next album 'A Distant Thunder' in 88, yet another killer album, which captured some songs riffs, technical song structures and impressive high scream vocals by Power Metal God James Rivera. This album and the next would probably be their best albums to date 'Nosferatu' in 89. Sadly the band broke up leaving James to do his own thing after the band recorded 2 demos which didn't get them a deal. In 95 the band returned with their next album 'Multiples in Black' a pretty good album, but lacked with production sadly. A few more released of live albums and James Rivera legacy were released and in 2007 AFM signed the band, they re-recorded old songs with a modern sound which saw the band getting great response and it wasn't long before the band released their next new album 'King of Hell' in 2007, a heavy and yet still a classic Helstar album saw them back on top form, an album that I loved, great production and songs which featured drummer Russell Deleon, who played on 'Multiples in Black'. Next was 'Glory of Chaos' in 2010 saw drummer Mikey Lewis on drums. This album was followed up by 'This wicked Nest' in 2014, again heavy but still Helstar at their best. Now the band return with new guitarist Andrew Atwood, along with bassist Garrick Smith, along with Mikey Lewis (drums), Larry Barragan (guitars) and of course James Rivera. 

The new album 'Vampiro' takes you back to the 'Nosferatu' era, a dark and heavy place which captures some of the bands finest riffs, soaring vocals and pounding drums that makes this a fantastic album for 2016. The album was produced by the band at Larry's studio for the guitars and vocals whereas the drums were done at Mikey's studio and the overall sound is awesome as Bill Metoyer mixed the album, well known for his work with lots of Metal Blade band and still a cult producer. Songs on the album to check out are: Waken unto Darkness, Blood Lust, To dust you will become, Off with his Head, To their death bed they fell, Repent in Fire, Abolish the Sun, Black Cathedral. An awesome album by one of the best Power Metal bands ever, a must for any fan of true old school Power Metal. And now for a UK/ European tour with Omen please.

Vicious Rumors      "Concussion Protocol"     Steamhammer       *****      

San Francisco's Power Metal gods 'Vicious Rumors' return with their latest offering to the table, 'Concussion Protocol', a follow up to the bands last studio album 'Electric Punishment' which was released in 2013, prior to that was 'Razorback Killers' in 2011 which featured former singer Brian Allen. The band were formed back in 79 by guitarist Geoff Thorpe who is still a member of the band, who later on met Larry Howe (drums) to record the bands debut demo and later on signed to Shrapnel Records for their debut album 'Soldiers of the Night' in 85, which featured Vinnie Moore (guitars) now with UFO, along with bassist Dave Starr and vocalist Gary St Pierre. 

A great debut album packed full of power and energy and some fine songs like the debut title along with 'March or Die', 'Blitz the World' and many more. Soon after the release the band saw the band having line up changes with Gary and Vinnie leaving to be replaced by ex Ruffians singer Carl Albert and guitarist Mark McGee for the band's next album 'Digital Dictator' in 87, a truly mind blowing release, one of the bands finest releases. In 90 the band signed to Atlantic and their 3rd album self titled was released, another fine album, one of my all time favourite albums by the band. In 91 the band recorded 'Welcome to the Ball', the bands last album for Atlantic Records, which led to them signing to Rising Sun for 'Word of Mouth' in 94, a stronger and heavier album. Sadly this was the last album Carl recorded with the band, sadly he passed away and a fine singer indeed. Mark & Dave quit the band leaving Geoff to handle the vocals, new bassist Tommy Sisco joined with Steve Smyth (ex Nevermore/ex  Frobidden) for the album 'Something Burning'. The band have recorded several albums to date, with various singers such as James Rivera (Helstar), Brian Allen (ex Malice) and now Nick Holleman from Holland to record the bands last live album 'Live you to Death' in 2014 and now this new album 'Concussion Protocol', which is yet another fine example of pure Power Metal. When I 1st heard Nick doing the band's early material I wasn't convinced he was the right guy for the job but having heard this new album his vocals have become stronger and more powerful. The band have played some of the finest metal festivals in Europe including Wacken, Bang your Head, Graspop and many more. This new album also features Thaen Rasmussen (guitars), Tilen Hudrap (bass) with guest guitar slots by Steve Smyth, Brad Gillis (ex Ozzy) on some guitar solos, with production handled by Geoff Thorpe, and Juan Uteaga who have been working with the band for the last 10yrs. The album comes with 11 heavy ripping tunes of the bands finest standards, playing typical V.R. style metal from start to finish. There are some fine riffs here, great pounding drums and some impressive vocals by Nick.

All together this is a great album, well worth listening too. Songs to check out are: Concussion Protocol, Chemical Slaves, Victims of a digital World, Chasing the Priest, 1000 Years, Circle of Secrets, Take it or leave It, Bastards, Every blessing is a Curse, to be the finest of the songs on the album. I do hope they tour soon and play the UK, there's still fans over here guys!! Fine album by a fine band that I still admire. 

Crystal Ball      "Deja-Voodoo"      Massacre     ****       

Swiss melodic metal band 'Crystal Ball' return with their new album 'Deja-Voodoo', the bands recorded 8 previous albums to date, their debut was released in 99 titled 'In the Beginning', which opened doors for the band, like Gotthard, Krokus, Celtic Frost, Coroner, Shakra, all these bands have all made history in the Swiss metal and rock scene. With the debut album by Crystal Ball been released and the Japanese fans really taking to this band, it wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Hard Impact' in 2000, followed by the likes of 'Virtual Empire', 'Hellvetia', 'Timewalker', 'Secrets', 'Dawnbreaker', & 'Liferider'. This band have come a long way creating some fine melodic metal which reminds me of Bonfire, Pretty Maids, Helloween, Jaded Heart all 4 great bands. Vocalist Steven Mageney certainly has that Andi Deris (Helloween) style of vocal harmonies to his voice and really work well with the bands music. I have followed the bands music and have seen how the band have progressed throughout the years and the last few albums certainly have seen the band making some fine and strong music. 

Formed back in 95 under the name of 'Cherry Pie' (sounds like a Warrant cover band), and after changing their name the band recorded their debut album and a tour with the likes of Pretty Maids and Gotthard soon started for the band. The band have been with various labels such as Nuclear Blast, Point Music, AFM, and now Massacre Records, the band have released 3 albums for Massacre to date. The bands current line up consists of Steven Mageney (vocals), Scott Leach (guitars), Tony Castell (guitars), Cris Stone (bass), and drummer Marcel Sardella to complete the current line up. It only seems like yesterday since the band released their last album 'Liferider' in 2015. Now the band return with this stunning new album 'Deja-Voodoo', which sees the band ever moving forward, with some fine melodic riffs and great vocals. Produced by Stefan Kaufmann (ex U.D.O.) who has done an excellent job recorded in Germany and the art work was done by Thomas Ewerhard (Kissin Dynamite/ Shakra/ Rage/Voltbeat) and many more. Since the band began they have also toured or played with the likes of Doro, U.D.O., The Poodles and many more. 

This album is a great melodic metal album, and if you like what the band have done before then you will love this gem too. Songs to check out are: Deja-Voodoo, Director's Cut, Suspended, Never a Guarantee, Reaching Out, Home Again, To freedom & Progress, Time & Tide, Fools Paradise, Dr. Hell No, To be with you once More.  A great album, now the band are on track and this album is a really great album, well worth checking out. See the band live in Europe with Shakra, pity no UK dates. Now all I have to do is interview the band for this release, hope it happens soon. I really think it's about time that the band, and the label talked about releasing a live DVD, they have enough material out now to do this, make it a nice long live DVD with all the bands promo videos included.

Stuck Mojo     "Here Come The Infidels"    Napalm    ***     

If any of you remember this band from the 90's then you will know that they made rather a big impact on the metal scene, playing Dynamo festival in Holland were the band received probably their best reception at any festival. The band was formed back in 89 by guitarist Rich Ward (who later on formed Fozzy), when Rich Met former singer Bonz (Vocalist/ Rapper) to form the band. The 2 had met and the search for a drummer and bassist was on. They found original drummer and bassist who recorded the bands debut album 'Snappin Necks' for Century Media records back in 95, a great debut album that took the world of Rap/ Metal by storm. 

A great album packed full of energy and some catchy tunes. After the release of the debut original bassist and drummer left, letting Corey Lowery (bass) and Frank Fontsere (drums) who joined  the bands next adventure (Pig Walk) in 96, a heavier album and with a more solid production made this one hell of a great album, even more catchier songs which including the video song 'Pig walk'. Now that the band were on the up making some great albums, next was the bands biggest seller album 'Rising', which the band had the pleasure of opening up for the U.S. Wrestling anthem with the song 'Rising' 89, which the band played in front of a live audience for the wrestling audience. This album was released after the band mini CD 'Violated' 96. The album 'Rising' was certainly the biggest selling album back in the 90's for the band, great heavy riffing tunes, fine vocals by Bonz. Bonz left the band leaving the band to find new vocalist Lord Nelson to join the band and the next chapter would begin. Other albums would follow 'Southern Born Killers', 'The Great Revival' before the band dispended. Now the band return, with a new vocalist Robby J (Canadian born) along with new bassist Len Sonnier for the next chapter for the band, thus been 'Here comes the Infidels' for Napalm Records. A fine current album with a fresh line up creating new styles and riffs, it's Stuck Mojo, so if you like the bands previous albums then you're going to like this album. 

This album still has the heavy riffs and the rapping vocals that the band have always had, again recorded with Andy Sneap in Derbyshire (UK), where the mojo have recorded before with Andy, so I guess Andy is the right guy for the job. The new album contains 11 songs of heavy riffing Mojo style riffs, up to date fresh sound, modern approach for the young generation as well as the old fans of the band. I think this is a pretty decent album, lots of great ideas and a great production makes the album well worth checking out. If I had to say which was my favourite album by the band it would be either 'Pigwalk' or 'Rising' from the bands previous albums. Still this is a good solid album. Songs to check out are: 'Here come the Infidels', 'Rape Whistle', 'Charles Bronson', 'The business of Hate, 'Worst person on Earth', 'I am Legion', 'Tambourine'. These are the strongest songs on the album in my opinion. Not a bad comeback album, let's see what the bands and the rest of the press say about this album. Look for a tour later this year it's going to happen and it would be great to catch up with my mojo brothers soon. 

Q5     "New World Order"     Frontiers    ***    

It's always good to see old bands make a come back, in the last decade this is something that has become popular and containing to grow which is good for the old schoolers as well as the youth of to day. Q5 however, I remember buying their debut album 'Steal the Light' on Music For Nation's back in 84, damn I was 14yrs old and 1st heard the the title track which I thought was amazing, this soon followed by 'Missing in Action' also played on the BBC radio 'Friday Rock Show'. I knew the album would have some impact on me and I am sure it had the same for the best of the world. I classic album that captured some fine tunes from start to finish. With such a classic album like this this was soon followed by When the mirror Cracks' in 85, a great album which had more of electronic sound and more commercial but still captured some great songs. 

The band remind me of AC/DC meets The Rods, T.K.O. and Picture & Krokus. Sadly the band broke up leaving singer Jonathan K to form new band 'Nightshade' with their debut album 'Dead of Night; in 95, also for Music For Nation's. This band were a heavier band that created some great song, kind of reminded me of Accept, Leatherwolf, Banshee etc... and recorded 4 albums between 91 to 2008. No1 Q5 return with 3 original members been Joathan K (vocals), Rick Pierce (guitars), Evan Sheeley (bass) with newer members Dennis Turner (guitars) and drummer Jeffery MCcormack (ex Heir Apparent/ Fifth Angel) the 5 have been playing festivals in Europe like 'Head Bangers Open AirFestivals', 'Keep it True' and now built their fan base back up and now stronger than ever. After playing festivals it wasn't long before the band started writing new material and a new deal with Italian label Frontiers was signed. In 2016 the band released their long awaited comeback album 'New World Order', sounds like a Testament album I know, but this album captures some old school Q5 as well as some new fresh Q5 songs. 

I am not convinced that this is a fantastic album, but there is always room for improvement and I am sure the next album will kick serious arse. Don't get me wrong there are some great songs on this new album, some of them sound like old songs that never made an album so that si way I am in 2 minds about the album, and on a positive note it's great to see the band back together. This album features 14 trax of pure hard rock from start to finish. Not sure who produced the album, I presume it was the band and the overall sound has that 80's feel to it. It's a good driving album to listen too, kind of windows down on you're car and blast it out on a hot summers day. Songs on the album that I do like are: We came here to Rock, One night in Hellas, The right Way, New world Order, Halfway To Hell, Prisoners of Mind, Un required (A woman of darkness & Steel), Land of the setting Sun. Not  a bad album, some great tunes here, and like I said there always time for improvement but it's good to see the band return. I hope they play the UK soon.

Assignment       "Closing The Circle"      Massacre     ****   

Newly signed to Massacre Records is 'Assignment', a band from Germany who surprise have released 3 previous albums and I am not sure if I have reviewed or heard them before. Formed back in 95 and at the beginning they played technical Death Metal but soon changed their direction to create a Power Metal band and the bands debut was released in 2004 titled 'Progressive Changes', which was followed up by 'Disunion Denied' in 2008 which resulted in the band supporting Orden Organ, Poverty's No Crime, to name a few. In 2013 the band released their 3rd album which featured guest vocalists like Mat Leven (Therion/ Candlemass), Micheal Bormann (Silent Force/ ex Jaded Heart) and even Robin Beck, titled 'Inside the Machine' through Mausoleum Records. I have yet to hear these albums in full but from what I have heard sound pretty good indeed. 

This new album featured Poverty's No Crime bassist Heiko Spaarmann and Helker singer Diego Valdez (a great Argentina band), who have released 3 albums to date, sadly 2 of them are in Argentinian and these could really sell well if they were re worded with English vocals. Nevertheless, this band have come along way and having Diego in the band will certainly help them a lot, he is without doubt Argentina's best metal singer, sounds like Dio & Ripper Owen/ Ralf Scheepers all rolled into one. The band soon signed to Massacre after the recording of the the recording of the new album. The bands current line up consists of Diego Valdez (vocals), Goran Panic (guitars), Gert D. Sprick (keyboards), Heiko Spaarmann (bass) and drummer Sven Pollkotter. Now that the album was recorded which comes with 10 powerful song which were recorded by the band and mixed by Norbert Leitner & mix by Mike Wulf. Artwork done by Caio Caldas (Doro/ Dragonforce/ Paul Di'Anno) to name a few. This is a really good album ad like I said having Diego in the band will really help the band sell more records, it's not you're typical German Power Metal, which makes a change, nothing wrong with German Power Metal I love it, but this is different, maybe some Helker maybe thrown in their music too. Not sure who they sound like, let me think for a moment... Helker, Brainstorm, Evergrey, maybe some Dream Theater or Vanden Plas, either way there a great band and I really need to hear their previous albums. 

A nice production here, great music, great vocals makes this a great album. Songs to check out are: Evolution, Closing the Circle, Presence of Death, Genetic Slavery, Crimson Poison, Variaxis, Taste for Sin, Entering the Universe. A great album well worth checking out and I hope they tour with Diego soon. If the band continue recording albums like this then there gong to create some fine albums in the future.

Kissin' Dynamite       "Generation Goodbye"      AFM    ****     

German young rocker's 'Kissin Dynamite' return with their new album for AFM Records, this their 4th album for AFM, but the band have also released 1 album prior to the AFM deal, these been 'Steel of Swabia in 2008'. I remember see in this band at 'Bang Your Head' festival in 2009 and wondered how cool and heavy they were back then, kind of like heavy version of Skidrow. Since that festival the band signed to AFM and released 'Addicted to Metal' album a great album which reminded me of across between Skidrow and U.D.O. a fine crossover indeed and the music suited the vocals too. Formed back in Southern Germany back 2007 whilst in school these 5 young musicians jammed covers and it wasn't long before the band wrote their own material. AFM saw the potential in the band and soon signed them up knowing these young musicians would deliver some fine music to come and in their case they did. 

The album 'Addicted to Metal' also featured U.D.O. Dirkschneider appearing as a guest singer on the album, this certainly did the album justice and the band too. Next came 'Money.. Sex & Power' in 2012, yet another impressive album in a slightly different approach, slightly more commercial then previous albums but still a good album. In 2014 the band released their most commercial album 'Megalomania', which for me sadly wasn't that a good album, as the band started to heard in a keyboard/ electronic sound style which let them down. As for this new album 'Generation Goodbye', the band have ditched the electronic sound and gone back to a more traditional sound that we all love to hear from the band. Vocalist Hannes Braun has certainly come along way since the early days, a much stronger singer these days and the music has matured more since the early days. 

The band have kept the same line up pretty much since the beginning of their career, a strong team spirit here makes all the difference to the song writing. Produced by Hannas, the over all sound is solid and strong, making all the instruments shine through and comes with 11 songs, a ltd digi pack CD that has a bonus DVD, and a ltd 500 box set so it's worth grabbing a copy. I would say that this album is a little commercial but still it's a vast improvement on their last album, kind of back to basics. The band would be really good playing Bloodstock and even maybe Download here in the UK and well as all the European festivals for the release of this album. Songs on the album that I do like are: Generation Goodbye, Hashtag your Life, If clocks are running Backwards,  She Came She Saw, Highlight Zone, Flying Colours, Under friendly Fire, Larger than Life. If you're a fan of the band then this album is for you. A great young band still growing and learning. Let's hope the band tour soon, be great to see them over here in the UK at some point. 

Six Feet Under        "Graveyard Classics - Number Of The Priest"     Metal Blade   ****     

Death Metal Merchants 'Six Feet Under' formed by ex Cannibal Corpse front man 'Chris Barnes' returns with yet another creepy and ere collection of the 'Graveyard classic' collection. Barnes left Cannibal Corpse back in 95 and it wasn't long before he had talks about doing a new band with Allan West ex Obituary) and Terry Butler (ex Death) about forming 'Six Feet Under' as a side project, not knowing this would become a full time band in later years. Allen and Terry later on left the band. Now that Chris had left the band it wasn't long before the band would demo and sign to Metal Blade (obvious choice) to record their debut album 'Haunted' in 95, the album that opened door ways to a promising future for the band. 

Having released their debut it wasn't long before the band would tour and release their 2nd 'Alive and Dead' in 96, this would be something that has become a vast success for Barnes and the boys recording 11 albums, 3 previous Graveyard Classic albums and now this their new 'Graveyard Classic' release. On previous albums the band covered songs by the following artist's, Metallica, Exciter, Anvil, Sabbath, Accept, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Van Halen, Prong, Slayer and many more. Now with this album we see them return with classic Judas Priest and Iron Maiden all on 1 classic album. Some of you may think that they may well cover the heavier songs by Judas Priest, in fact they haven't but they have done the very early stages and turned them into their own classic versions. It's rather funny as the music is similar until Chris sings and I have to laugh not too insult Chris but they way he sings these classic cover tunes. The band have done them so well and Chris is like Rob Halford's worst nightmare in a funny way. I would love to know what Judas Priest and Rob thinks of these classics? One day we might get to find out. The band also cover some interesting Iron Maiden songs mainly from the Paul Di'Anno era with with a couple of Bruce Dickenson songs thrown in to. 

If you're a fan of Priest or Maiden and you want to hear them played differently, well sung different anyway then this is well worth checking out. Six Feet Under consist of Chris Barnes (vocals), Josh Hall (drums) and Ray Suhy (guitars / bass) to complete this line up. As Chris states this is a trip down memory lane to the 2 greatest metal bands that ever came out, couldn't disagree with him, not forgetting Saxon, Motorhead and Sabbath. This could be an album that could be played at a party of metal heads or before bed... give you nightmares!!! 11 nightmarish songs here that would turn you're grandparents in their graves for sure. Songs included are: Night crawler, Star breaker, Genocide, Invader, Never Satisfied, Murder in the Rue Morgue, Prowler, Flash of the Blade, The evil that men Do, Stranger in a Strange Land, Total Eclipse. A great album by a singer and band that respect the older's, not to disrespect them and I look forward to hearing what Chris and the boys come up with the next album in the classic 'Graveyard Classic' series. Buy this is if you like you're classic metal with a difference.

Michael Schenker's      "Temple Of Rock"    Live In Madrid    DVD     Inakustik     ****       

Guitar gods come in all shapes and sizes, so many talented guitarists out there in the rock and metal scene, and in years we have the likes of Richie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Randy Rhodes, Gary Moore, to name a few and the likes of Rudy Schenker (Scorpions), brother of Michael who was also a member of U.F.O., before going solo some years ago with MSG which featured singer Gary Barden. Michael released some of the finest albums with U.F.O. such as 'Force It', 'Obsession', 'Strangers in the Night' and later on 'Covenant' and 'Sharks'. Michael also played for 'Scorpions' in the band early stages with such albums as 'Lonesome Crow', 'Fly to the Rainbow', & 'Lovedrive'. MSG recorded some classic albums too, such as 'Assault Attack', 'Built to Destroy', 'Rock will never Die', 'MSG' and many more... 11 in total studio albums, some live albums and some re-release albums. 

Michael also recorded with McAuley Schenker group, who had also released 5 albums. Various projects and solo albums would appear later on and now Temple of Rock, the band that have recorded 3 albums to date, their debut 'self titled' was released in 2011, which was followed by 'Bridge the Gap' in 2013 and 'Spirit of a Mission' in 2015, along with a live album in 2012. Previous singer would included Michael Voss (Mad Max), Herman Rarebell (ex Scorpions) who is also in the band now, with Pete Way on bass (U.F.O./ Waysted) and it also featured additional vocals by Doogie White (ex Cornerstone/ ex Yngwie) on vocals who is now the front man for this DVD. There are a lot of musicians on this album, an album that I have not heard but will certainly be checking out soon. The bands current album 'Spirit Mission' is a great selling album, the album that took the band on tour supporting the mighty Judas Priest late last year around the UK and Europe. Joining Michael and Doogie and Herman is also former Scorpions bassist Francis Buchholz and guitarist/ keyboardist Wayne Findley who was with the band 'Savior' along with Mark Zonder (ex Fates Warning), a great band who recorded 1 album. Having seen the band on tour with Judas Priest last year I have to say that their performance was spot on and for a support slot they played some classic U.F.O. songs, Scorpions and their own material. 

This DVD however sees the band in their full glory playing some classic songs from the above era and their own material in front of a packed Madrid audience, something that the Spanish fans really enjoyed as much as the band enjoyed playing the show and having it filmed. This DVD features 22 songs spanning from the late 70's to the modern era of the bands music. I can't fault this DVD, only thing that would of been nice would of been interviews with the band, sadly this was not too be on this release, maybe the next one. Michael is a great guitarist just like his brother, maybe better in some ways. Doogie makes me laugh, with his Scottish humor kind of reminds me of Billy Connelly, and the rest of the band delivered some fine music. Some songs on the DVD are: Doctor Doctor, Live and let Live, Lights Out, Before the devil knows you're Dead, Lovedrive, Coast to Coast, Rock Bottom, Blackout, Too hot to Handle, Rock you like a Hurricane, and many more classic. If you don't already own this then I suggest you check it out, especially if you are a fan of his work.

Jorn    "Heavy Metal Radio"     Frontiers     *****      

Norwegian vocal God 'Jorn Lande' returns with his new tribute album, after the release of the Dio tribute album in 2010 and the 'Unlocking the Past' album in 2007 & 'The Gathering' in 2007, which also featured some classic covers by the likes of Michael Schenker, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Rainbow and many more. Jorn is known for some of the finest cover tunes in some time. Born in 68, this metal god or rock god has come along way since the days of his early career, been a solo artist and in such bands as Ark, Vagabond, The Snakes (Whitesnake), Millennium, Beyond Twilight, Masterplan, and later on projects such as Allen/ Lande, and many more this guy is pretty much amazing. Having a great voice that has seen him either sounding like Sting, Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Dio, Tony Martin and of course David Coverdale, the guy is a genius to say the least and he can pretty much sound like a lot of classic rock singers, is there any end to this talented singer? No!! 

I've seen Jorn live with Masterplan, and as a solo artist and he is pretty much one of a kind, like fellow countrymen Roy Khan (Conception/ Kamelot), Tony Harnell (TNT), and Nils K Rue (Pagans Mind) have pretty much set the way for Norwegian metal bands , 4 very unique singers that all have their own identity. Jorn as a solo artist has recorded 11 solo albums, 2 live albums and 3 tribute albums, as well as previous projects and guest appearances and he's only half way through his career, more classic albums to come I hope. I do hope that Jorn's next album is a new album of new songs, pulling away from the tribute albums for a little time as we all want to hear more of his own recordings instead of other peoples songs. This album sees some interesting Rock and not so Rock songs, songs that you may not expect but still a great album and really enjoyable release. I think if he was to record another album like this then he should do songs that are not rock based, like Bjork, Police, and so on as this guy would really make artists like this sound awesome. What we have here is 12 songs, from different periods and styles. This album features new musicians which are Alessandro Del Vecchio (keyboards), Francisco Jovino (drums) Primal Fear, Thomas Bekkevold (bass), Trond Holter (guitars)  from Wigwam for the recording of this album, with various guest spots like Jorn Viggo Lofstad, Willy Bendiksen, Tore Morten, Jimmy Iversen, Nic Angileri, Sid Ringsby, Lassen Jensen. 

A nice production here captures the songs and melodies of the album too, nice drum sound, guitar sound and vocals all add up to make a perfect album. Songs on this album are: I know there's something going On (Russ Ballard), Running up that Hill (Kate Bush), Rev up the red Line (Foreigner), You're the Voice (John Furnham), Live to Win (Paul Stanley), Don't stop Believing (Journey), Killer Queen (Queen), Hotel California (The Eagles), Rainbow in the Dark (Dio), The final Frontier (Iron Maiden), Stormbringer (Deep Purple), Die Young (Black Sabbath). Interesting album as you ca read, some great songs from like I said various eras from the 70's to the 90's. A must for any fan of Jorn Lande, a pure Genius indeed. 

Denner Shermann       "Masters Of Evil"       Metal Blade   *****         

For those who don't know.. this is the new band put together by former Mercyful Fate members Michael Denner and Hank Shermann, who recorded the classic M.F. CD's such as 'Melissa' and 'Don't Break the Oath', which are cult classics to this date. As you maybe aware that M.F. was formed back in 81 by King Diamond, who later on went onto form his solo career which is still going strong. In the early stages of King Diamond Michael Denner also was a member of the band, whereas Hank did his Fate band and released 2 album, not sure if the 3rd one was released, as well as the band 'Force of Evil'. Time pasted and a reunion with M.F. in 92-99 emerged in later yrs with the release of 5 albums were recorded. 

Sadly after 5 albums the band went separate ways leaving Michael and Hank to do their own thing. Hank and Michael hooked up in later years about doing a band together and in doing so this is the result of both ex members of Mercyful Fate coming together and recording their debut EP in 2015 with the 'Satan's Tomb' release, which featured 4 songs of classic old school metal with some Power Metal elements. The band would also feature ex King Diamond drummer Showy Shaw, who was also in Mercyful Fate for a short time, a great drummer who had worked with both guitarist for some number of years. Also joining Mike, Hank and Snowy is U.S. Power Metal singer Sean Peck from the band 'Cage', a great band who have released several albums to date, along with bassist Marc Grabowski form the band 'Corruption'. With the EP released and the record receiving some awesome reviews it was only time before the band would release their debut album under the name of 'Masters of Evil', which is a fantastic album, containing 8 songs of pure evil and dark magical metal, a mind blowing release packed with some amazing riffs, vocals which Sean is at his peak delivering some outstanding vocals here. I can't fault the album, only thing is it's a shame that the album only has 8 songs, but then again they are quality tunes to say the least. 

I guess you could say there's hints of Cage meets Mercyful Fate here in some ways which is a good things as the both mix well. Both releases artwork was done by Thomas Holm who did the early albums of Mercyful Fate releases, whereas the recording of the album was done by the band with the aid of Maor Appelbaum mixing the album. If you're a fan of Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Cage or classic metal then this is an album you must have in you're collection. Every song on the album is amazing, high class metal from start to finish. Songs that I do like are: Angels Blood, Master of Evil, The wolfs feed at Night, Pentagrams and the Cross, Escape from Hell, The Baroness are songs that I enjoyed the most. Well with the release about to come out it won't be long before the band start touring Europe and maybe the UK soon later in the year. Things can only get better for this new band and exciting things are going to happen in the future. Great release.

Paradox      "Pangea"      AFM    ****       

German thrasher's 'Paradox' return with their new album 'Pangea' through AFM Records, this is the band 5th album for the label, their debut for AFM was in 2000 with 'Collision Course' in which the band came back with a strong album after an absence since 11 yrs of the bands last album 'Heresy' which was released in 89 through Roadrunner. The band's debut album 'Product of the Imagination' was released in 87. The band formed back in 86 by guitarist Charly Steinhauer (vocals/ guitars), who is the only original member to this day along with Alex Blaha (drums) and later on bassist Roland Stahl and guitarist Markus Spyth joined the band. With the band up and running the band soon began to record demos and 86 their demo got the attention of Roadrunner who immediately showed interest in the band and their debut album was soon recorded. 

Having received some impressive album reviews it wasn't long before the band would tour Europe. Roland & Spyth quit the band just before the release of the bands 2nd album and was replaced by Matthias Schmitt and Dieter Roth for the next album. The bands 2nd album 'Heresy' was a vast improvement and saw the band been taking to the next level, a good solid Thrash Metal album with Speed Metal elements, sadly this was the last album the band would record for some times as the band went separate ways.  When the band returned in in 2000 Charly would be the only original member who found brothers Oliver (bass) and Alex Holzwarth (drums) to join the band along with Kai Pasemann (guitars) to release 'Collision Course'. Now the band were back and stronger than ever I managed to see the band at Wacken in the same year and what a great live band they are. It wasn't long before the band had another line up change, Oliver &Alex would leave, been replaced by Olly Keller (bass) and Roland Johoda (drums) would record the next album 'Electrify' in 2008 another big gap between both albums  made the band and fans seem unsure what the future would hold for this band. 

Gladly the band continued writing more albums. Again another line up change leaving Charly been the only member to find new musicians in the form of Gus Drax (guitars), Tilen Hudrap (bass) and drummer Kostas Milonas for the new album 'Pangea', which has just been released. A fine strong album following the band that they can create good quality music mixing Thrash with Speed Metal elements. This album was produced by Charly himself and he has done a fine job creating some of the bands best work, solid sound, heavy riffs and some fine vocals which remind me a little bit of Blind Guardian in some ways. There's a lot of old school German Speed in this album, bands like Violent Force, Risk, Helloween (early), and bands like that. Songs on the album worth checking out are: Apophis, Raptor, The raging Planet, Manhunt, Pangea, Alien Godz, El Muerte. If you like the bands previous albums then you will love this album, it's good old school German Metal.

Sunstorm    "Edge of Tomorrow"      Frontiers    ****     

Some of you maybe aware of 'Sundance', the band put together by former Rainbow/ Deep Purple/ Yngwie, Brazen Abbot singer Joe Lynn Turner, born in 1951, this America singer has been on some of the greatest Rock albums of all time, certainly made a name for himself singing on some of the most classic songs by the bands he played with. Joe also did the Hughes/ Turner project, with 2 fine releases and a tour in which I managed to see live and meet both him and Glenn. He is a great singer, a great AOR singer indeed and has done so many projects and solo albums I could be here all day but I'm not. Sundance was born back in 2005/ early 2006 when the band released their debut album which was self titled. In the early days of the band they had Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) on bass, who also mixed and produced the album, Dennis also appeared on the 2nd album 'House of Dreams' in 2009 and this album featured guest keyboard player Gunter Werno (Vanden Plas), Chris Schmidt (drums) who also played on the debut album with guest guitar spots by Thorsten Koehne (Eden's Curse), and guitar player Uwe Reitenauer. With 2 albums released and doing well it was time for Joe to record the next album 'Emotional Fire' in 2012 with the same line up and keyboard player Justin Dakey. 

With 3 albums released of fine AOR Hard Rock which have elements of Deep Purple/ Hughes Tuner Project this music is excellent and with fine vocals and music. Some of the lyrics on the 3rd album were done by Tony Martin, Michael Bolton, Desmond Child, so a few excellent songs writers were involved with that album. Now Joe is back with the 4th album 'Edge of Tomorrow' also for Frontiers, the label that has the best in Hard Rock with so many names to mention this is a great label. Joe had worked with the album 'Rated X' and wanted to go back to his roots with Sundance, so he met Alessandro Del Vecchio keyboards (Hardline/ Edge of Forever) who also produced the album. Also on this record is guitarist Simone Mularoni (DGM), bassist Nik Mazzucconi and drummer Francesco Jovino (Primal Fear/ ex U.D.O.) to make this excellent album. I have only heard a couple of Sundance albums and this album is a great album for 2016, full packed of melodic riffs, catchy tunes and some excellent vocals by Joe. 

Wouldn't it be nice if Joe did an album with Jorn and Tony Martin & Glenn Hughes, that would kick ass. If you like the previous albums then this is for you, a nice balance of melodic rock from start to finish. Songs on the album to check out are: Don't walk away from a Goodbye, Edge of Tomorrow (very Journey sounding), Nothing left to Say, Heart of the Storm, The sound of Goodbye, The darkness of this Dawn, Angel Eyes, Tangled in Blue, Burning Fire. A great melodic rock album this I recommend, it's good to hear an album that is so good as this for this type of music, well worth a listen. I just hope they tour and play here in the UK and some festivals like Frontiers this year.

Phantom V       "Same"     Frontiers    ****    

So who are Phantom 5? Well this is a new band or it could be a project put together by former Bonfire and long time singer Claus Lessmann (vocals), who sadly left Bonfire a couple of years ago and was replaced by David Reece. Claus is joined by Michael Voss (Casanova/ Mad Max) on guitar & vocals, Robby Beobel (Frontline) on guitars, Francis Buchholz (ex Scorpions) bass and drummer Axel Kruse (Jaded Heart) to complete this melodic Rock/ Metal album. A pretty god line up here of some of German's finest musicians of the melodic metal/ rock scene. 

All of which have been around for some time now creating quality music from the 80's and 90's, so there pretty much know what they are doing. According to Michael Voss the states that this is an album of classic Bonfire's 'Fireworks' meets Frontline/ Jaded Heart vibe and I wouldn't disagree with him on this. Staying that I don't think that 'All the Way' isn't the greatest of songs to open the album, it's one of those middle songs on a record. The album has some great songs that would easily of picked any of them to open the album up. This is a decent album for fans of Hard Rock, you wont be disappointed with this album, kind of reminds me of Bonfire, XYZ, maybe some Dokken in there too, kind of German meet USA Hard Rock and works really well. I guess there could also be hints of Michael Voss old band Casanova, and the songs are catchy and have some great riffs and excellent vocals by Claus, but then again I always liked Bonfire, especially the 1st 3 albums. Some of you maybe asking is this a side project or is it a band? Good question, I hope that they will tour and record more albums, I am sure they will.

As the album progresses it becomes clear that this is a really good solid Hard Rock album, and I presume that Michael Voss produced it along with Claus, but I am not sure. A nice production here which comes with 11 hard hitting melodic tunes and as I said the songs get much stronger after the 1st song which is 'All the Way', which should of been the last song on the album. It takes a couple of listens before the album becomes more enjoyable and I have to say this is a decent album. Songs on the album to check out are: Blue Dog (A bit Whitesnake in this), Someday, Don't touch the Night, Renegade, Flying High, Since you're Gone (A bit Def Leppard sounding here), They Won't comeback Again, Frontline, We both had our Time, Why. This is a pretty decent debut album for a side project and I am sure there will be another album next year and you never know a tour too, even if it's a short one. Maybe they will play the Frontiers festival. If you like German Hard Rock with elements of U.S. Hard Rock  then this is an album for you. It's good to hear an album that takes you back to the early 90's like this album does. Check it out!!

Iron Savior        "Live At The Final Frontier"     AFM      ****    

Most of you will already be aware of this German Power Metal act, this band were formed out of the ashes of Blind Guardian's Thomas Stauch (drums) with Gamma Ray members Kai Hansen & Piet Sielck (vocals & guitar), who started this project out which ended up been a band in later years. Piet is the only original member left from the original line up, formed back in 96 in Hamburg. 

The band recorded their debut album their self titled album in 97 which was released through Noise records, the label that also had Gamma Ray back then. With the debut album receiving excellent reviews it wasn't long before the band would record their next album 'Unification' in 99, this was a step up the ladder for the band having that mixed feeling of Gamma Ray, Helloween, Blind Guardian and maybe the likes of Running Wild, typical old school German Power/ Speed Metal which works well for this band. The band also mix the likes of the N.W.O.B.H.M. with sci -fi lyrics. Kai pursued his career with Gamma Ray leaving Piet to carry on with Iron Saviour. Nine albums have been recorded to date with a re-release of 'Megatropolis 2.0' in 2015. The band signed to AFM for the album 'The Landing' back in 2011. This band have recorded some fine albums of pure energetic Power Metal since they formed back in the mid 90's. The bands last album 'Titancraft' was released this year and saw the band ever moving forward and carrying on with their traditional sound. This live album  which is also a live DVD sees some of the bands finest work all released on a fantastic live DVD and CD. It's hard for a band to release a live DVD when they have so many excellent songs out there, and this comes with 17 songs, 1 DVD and 2 CD's in this classic package. Joining Piet are Joachim Kustner (guitars), Jan-Soren Eckert (bass) and drummer Thomas Nack. They work well together as a band and the songs are on top form, vocals by Piet remind me of a little bit of Blind Gaurdian meets Gamma Ray and with the music been powerful and strong this is a great album. AT times Piet's vocals remind me of Astral Door's Nils Patrik Johansson and if you already know Piet's voice then you will already know that there are hints of Nil's vocals in his voice too. 

This live DVD sees the band playing songs from their debut right up to the bands later material and some fine songs on here indeed. Songs that I suggest you check out are: Last Hero, Starlight, The Savior, Revenge of the Bride, Break the Curse, Burning Heart, Mind over Matter, Hall of the Heroes, I've been to Hell, Heavy Metal never Dies, and Judas Priest cover of Breaking the Law. A great live DVD/ CD by a band that have been around for some years now. A great band well worth checking out, so grab a copy of this live DVD/ CD when you can. You won't be disappointed, especially if you like the above bands already mentioned. Now it's time for the band to tour around Europe and the U.S. in the very near future. Bands like this never die and just keep on going. 

Assassin      "Combat Cathedral"     Steamhammer     ****     

Anybody remember this band from the 80's? The band who back then were signed to Steamhmmer and released 2 albums, their debut 'The Upcoming Terror' in 86 a great debut album full of energy and power, very aggressive indeed and like all German Thrash metal a lot heavier than the U.S. style Thrash metal. Certainly in the case of aggressiveness when you listen too such bands like Kreator or Destruction & Sodom the 3 godfathers of German Thrash. I remember buying the bands debut when it was released, and knew it was a great and heavy album back then. This was soon followed up by 'Interstellar Experience' in 88, and for me this was an even greater album, they reminded me of across between Kreator meet early Artillery and still do to this day. Sadly the band left Steamhammer and it was 7 years before the band would release their next album 'The Club' & in 2011 'Breaking the Silence', 2 albums I have yet to hear and I really didn't even know they were still together. 2012 saw the band release their debut live DVD, a raw DVD which captured the band in a small club playing their finest songs to a full packed out thrash audience. 

Formed back in the early 80's the only 2 original members are the 2 guitarists Michael Hoffmann & Jurgen Scholz, who are joined by Joachim Kremer (bass), Bjorn Sondermann (drums) both of which have been in the band since 2009 and new singer who joined in 2014 Ingo Bajonczak. The band have been rather quiet for some time but it's good to see them return and back to their original label Steamhammer and this album sees that the band are still making full on German style Thrash Metal, taking no prisoners and this is a decent comeback album. They kind of remind me of Kreator, a little bit of Tankard, Destruction, Darkness (German) just to name a few & UK thrashers Onslaught. This album features 12 songs which were recorded at 'Nemesis Studios' in Essen (Germany) by Marc Gortz, who has done a great job, making the instruments shine through and giving the guitars a well heavy sound and the drums sounding solid. At time the vocals kind of remind me of Schmier from Destruction. The artwork for the album was done by Brazilian artist Marcelo Vasco who had worked with Machine Head, Slayer and many more musicians. 

This is a nice solid album that shows that the band are still capable of playing thrash like they use too as you will hear if you buy the album. Songs on the record to check out are: Back from the Dead, Frozen before Impact, Undying Mortality, Servant of Fear, Slave of Time, Whoremonger, Ambush, Sanity from the Insane, Red Alert. A great album, maybe not as aggressive as the bands 1st 2 releases but it still captures the energy and power of German Thrash Metal. If you like it heavy yet groovy then check out this album. I am pretty sure the band will be on tour soon and playing festival in Europe, just be nice to see them hit the UK, a great opening slot for them with Flotsam & Jetsam with Destruction I guess. 

Flotsam & Jetsam        "Same"     AFM     *****       

Old school thrash band never die, they just get stronger and stronger with age. They either break up and comeback strong or just make better songs throughout their career and in Flotsam & Jetsam's case they have just done that. Kept on going ad making heavy albums. OK not ever band can make a perfect album, they all make mistakes and in the case of Flotsam they have done that I am sure. Formed back in 81 in (Phoenix) Arizona by drummer Kelly David-Smith along with Peter Mello (guitars) & Dave Goulder and later on Jason Newsted (ex Metallica). In 82 Eric A.K. joined the band it the band were playing covers by such bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, UFO and so on... 

It wasn't long before the band realized they could write their own material and so they did and demos would soon follow with 'Metal Shock' demo which saw the band soon been snapped up by Metal Blade. The band would appear on the 'Metal Massacre' series before a record deal would follow in the shape of 'Doomsday for the Deceiver' in 86, with Jason on bass, Eric vocals, Edward Carlson (guitars), Michael Gilbert (guitars) and Kelly on drums. This was a fantastic debut album that shocked the world of Thrash Metal that even the bay area scene would take notice of this epic debut album. With the album released and receiving rave reviews it wasn't long before the band would be supporting the likes of Megadeath across Europe and the UK. More successful tours would follow, by this time Jason had left to join Metallica. The band released their 2nd album 'No place for Disgrace' in 88 which was also released on Elektra Records with new bassist Troy Gregory, who was replaced by Mike Spencer (ex Sentinel Beast). A few line up changes and albums followed and the band recorded their last album 'Ugly Noise' in 2012 with only 1 change in some years been Jason Ward who joined the band in 92 for the album 'Cuatro'. Now the band return with probably their heaviest album since 'No Place for Disgrace' with their self titled album and new label AFM. This album sees the band making one of their heaviest albums to date. 

This album features 11 trax and comes as a ltd gold vinyl box set as well as a digi pack CD. Not sure who produced the album, but I guess the band had something to do with it and have done a fantastic job. This album also features new drummer Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall) as Kelly had to leave due to family commitments. I have always thought that this band were the thrash version of Iron Maiden and this album certainly proves it, a Steve Harris like bass sound and riffs makes this a great album for fans of thrash metal and Iron Maiden alike or even fans of Omen as well. Songs on the album to check out are: Seventh Seal, Life is a Mess, Taser, Iron Maiden, Verge of Tragedy, L.O.T.D., Monkey Wrench, Smoking Gun, Forbidden Territories. All the songs shine through and so does the music as well as some of Eric's finest vocals ever. A great album, well worth a listen and go see them live with Destruction later this year. Believe it or not I have never seen this band, so now is the time to see them on one of their best albums in a long time.

Diamond Head      "Same"    Dissonance    ***     

Well we all pretty much know that Metallica & Megadeth are very big influences on this band, having Metallica covered 'Am I Evil' back in the 80's on the b side to 'Creeping Death' single in the mid 80's. A fine cover that has gone untouched and is set in stone as an epic song. Formed back guitarist Brian Tatler back in 76 and is the only original member left since the 70's, who met singer back then Sean Harris along with Colin Kimberley (bass) and drummer Duncan Scott. The band recorded demos and sent them to various labels and gigged locally and in the south and it wasn't long before the band were soon releasing their debut album 'Lightning to the Nation' back in 79 thought their own label Happy Face Records. Now that the band were off the ground with their debut it wasn't long before MCA Records showed interest in the band and signed them for their next album 'Borrow Time' in 82. This is when I 1st heard the band on UK radio 'The Friday Rock Show' with Tommy Vance, who at that time played and wasn't scarred to take the chance with new acts for the BBC, I think I 1st heard 'In the heat of the Night' or 'Borrow Time' and I knew then that this would would become a pretty big name. Playing the likes of Monsters f Rock certainly put the band on the rock & roll map and people would be talking about this classic UK band that kind of reminded me of Tygers of Pan Tang. 

With the band become established it wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Canterbury' in 83 also on MCA Records. This album featured  old bassist Colin along with Mervyn Goldsworthy (FM) along with drummer Robbie France & Jamie Lane along with Duncan Scott and Chris Heaton on keyboards. Another fine album, slightly different from that of 'Borrow Time'. The band broke up due to lack of success and returned in 'Death in Progress' in 93 with the help of Metallica the band would make a new album, with only Brian & Sean been the only original members along with drummer Karl Wilcox and bassist Pete Vuckovic, this was a pretty good comeback album which saw the band return with some successful tours and a gig at Bloodstock in their early days. Next was 'All with be revealed' in 2005 with new singer Nick Tart, rhythm guitarist Adrian Mills and new bassist Eddie Moohan. Again rhythm guitarist was replaced for the next album 'What's in your Head' in 2007 Andy Abberley, this album was released on Cargo. 

A Tour with the Big 4 saw Diamond Head play to some of the biggest crowds in years. It was in 2016 when this new album was going to be released, only thing is how long will we have to wait for the next album? It's a difficult time for Brian and the boys, but I hope they will release yet another album in the next year or so. This album self title is a pretty good album, which featured new singer Rasmus Bom Andersen manages to keep their identity and like I said they remind me of early Tygers of Pan Tang, maybe these guys should tour together. Produced by Brian the sound is decent and takes me back to the 80's, but sadly some of the songs remain the same, they really don't move on too much which is a shame as they are a good and very influenced band like Anvil, Raven, Samson and a lot of the smaller N.W.O.B.H.M. bands. Songs on the album that I do like are: Bones, Shout at the Devil, Set my soul on Fire, All the reason you Live, Blood on my Hands. Not a bad release but certainly not their best by far. 

Omen      "Hammer Damage"      Pure Steel     ****    

It's good to see classic bands reform that I grew up on.... Omen like Helstar have always been my top U.S. Power Metal bands from a childhood. Metal Blade records back in the 80's had the best U.S. Power Metal bands, that was for sure and with the likes of Omen's albums like 'Battle Cry', 'Warning of Danger' and 'The Curse' were all top class albums for their time and still timeless classics today. Omen were formed by original guitarist and long time members Kenny Powell along with drummer Steve Wittig who met Jody Henry (bass) and vocalist J.D. Kimball who sadly later on passed away but not forgotten. J.D. left the band after the bands 3rd album when they recorded 'Escape to Nowhere' in 88, sadly this wasn't the bands best album as things started to lack in their music. 

Sadly the band broke up and it wasn't until 97 when the band reformed, Kenny had his son Greg Powell doing the vocals on the next release 'Reopening the Gates', released through Massacre Records, this was certainly a much strong album to that of 'Escape to Nowhere' which featured Corburn Pharr (Ex Annihilator).  Again this was a pretty good comeback album, certainly show the band were heading back on form to their old standards. 2003 saw the band return with their next album 'Eternal Black Dawn', which featured Kevin Coocher (Phantom X) on vocals and this really did see the band been back to their early days with Kevin sounding similar to J.D., this made the album more enjoyable for me and fans alike. Again the band had some bad luck and broke up again only to return playing festivals like bang your Head, Keep it True to name a few but no albums were released up until now in the shape of 'Hammer Damage' in 2016. Now with Kenny, Kevin, Steve and bassist Andy Haas this album sees the band return to what they do best, pure classic Power Metal from start to finish. Anybody who is a fan of the bands 1st 3 albums is going to love this, it captures the classic sound that Kenny and the boys delivered in the 80's, something that J.D. would be proud of I am sure. A nice album cover here sees the Cobra 'Warning of Danger/ The Curse' era return with a true Omen style Power Metal, Maiden type sound in some places. 

Anybody who likes classic Power Metal... Helstar, early Fates Warning, Savage Grace, Liege Lord etc.. is going to love this. Produced by Kenny the overall sound is pretty good, and I understand they are on a budget with a small label behind them, but I hope that one day they will get a even more solid sound. Nevertheless this is still a great comeback album, and I wish them well. I yet to see Omen live and one day I will, hope they make it to the UK. In the meantime check out the following songs: Hammer Damage, Chaco Canyon, Cry Havoc, Knights, Caligula, Era of Crisis. A good comeback album, their certainly on the right track with this album and I bet the next one will be even better, welcome back boys!!

Jaded Heart         "Guilty By Design'      Massacre     *****   

It's always good to see such a great band like Jaded Heart still making quality music. Having formed back in 1990 by Michael Muller (bass), Axel Kruse (drums), Dirk Bormann (guitars) and brother Michael Bormann (vocals). The band recorded their debut album 'Inside Out' in 94, a great album I remember well and also reviewing that album. Michael Bormann was before joining this band the front man for Letter X, a more melodic Power Metal band, whereas Jaded heart were more melodic AOR, kind of reminded me of Strangeways, Journey, with a slightly heavier edge. Now that the band had released their debut album and it was getting good reviews it wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Slaves & Masters' in 96, this album featured various guest guitarist to fill in for the album whilst the band looked for a suitable replacement. 

The band had recorded several albums with Michael Bormann who later on left and is now the singer for Silent Force and had also done some solo albums and guest appearances. Michael's replacement was Swedish singer Johan Fahlberg, a fantastic singer and a great replacement for the band. As the band recorded more and more album it was becoming clear that the band were heading in a more heavier approach even though they were still melodic, so Johan was the perfect choice for the band. Johna's 1st debut for the band came in the form of the album 'Helluva Time' in 2005, this is when the band were looking to go into a heavier side of metal, perfect timing for the band & Johan. I really liked that album and everything else the band have recorded since then, such as albums like 'Sinister Mind', 'Perfect Insanity' for me were 2 amazing albums. The band have also recorded in total 11 previous albums and now 'Guilty as Sin', the bands debut for Massacre Records. This album features new drummer Bobo Stricker (Callejon) and so the current line up is : Johan Fahlberg (vocals), Peter Ostros (guitars), Masashiro Eto (guitars), Michael Muller (bass) and drummer Bobo Stricker. 

This album was recorded at Erik Martensson (Ecilpse, W.E.T.) who mixed the album and did an awesome job, all the instruments shine through. The art work was done by Thomas Ewerhard with a video clip for the song 'Rescue Me', which has been released on you tube. The album is a lot heavier than they had done before but it's still melodic and still captures the spirit of Jaded Heart's music and as long as Johan is the singer the band will just keep on writing some quality music. Songs on the album I like are: No Reason, Godforsaken, Seven gates of Hell, Remembering, Rescue Me, Salvation, Watching you Die, Bullying Me, This is the End, My Farewell, Torn & Scarred. A fantastic album by a band I really want to see live, it's a must and I hope they play the UK soon, till then I shall have to wait and just listen too this and many of their albums. Great band!!

The Order       "Rock N Rumble"      Massacre     ***   

Swiss Metal act 'The Order' return with their new album, formed back in 2005 by Bruno Spring (guitars), Mauro Casciero (drums), Andrej Abbplanalp (bass) and original founder Gianni Pontillo (vocals). The band signed to Hamburg 'Dockyard 1' Records and released their debut album 'Son of Armageddon' in 2006, a successful debut that certainly put the band on the map of rock & roll. In 2007 the band released 'Metal Casino' also through the same label and 'Rockwolf' was released in 2009. Opening for the likes of Y&T, Wasp, Shakra certainly made a name for themselves. In 2012 the band released their 4th album '1986', and now this new album 'Rock n Rumble' for Massacre Records. Gianni's vocals at times remind me of across between Thunderhead and Mystic Prophecy singers, and you will hear why when you get to this great album. 

The music certainly has the feel of Thunderhead who had released a few albums in the 90's, there are also hints of Krokus, Steel Panther, Shakra, Gotthard, there certainly seem to be a lot of Swizz elements here, must be something in the air. As the album progresses I guess you could hear the likes of maybe Voltbeat Still the band deliver pretty good music, certainly driving music and if you like hard rocking music then this is for you. I guess if you are a fan of Skidrow then you could like this band too. The album was recorded at Sven Burgins Studios with the mixing handled by Achim Kohler (Brainstorm/ Primal Fear) so the overall sound is great with as always a solid drum sound, the rest of the instruments shine though. This album also featured guest musicians on such songs as 'Fight' by Shakra guitarist Thom Blunier & guest vocals by V.O Pulver (Gurd/ Poltergiest) on 'Karma'. The artwork for the album was handled by Jan Yrlund, known for his work with such bands as Messiah's Kiss, Korpiklaani. This album features 10 hard rocking tunes that would certain appeal to fans of the Hard Rock era, catchy tunes and decent vocals here makes this a decent album all around. 

Songs to check out are: Rock n Rumble, No one can take you from Me, Fight, Gimme a Yeah, Womanizer, Turn the Pages, Wild One, Reason to Stay & Karma. A decent album, worth checking out if you haven't heard them before, then I  recommend their music. This band are pretty good at what they do and I need to check out of the bands previous work. Check out this true rock & rock bad arse band from Switzerland, there's some good bands coming out of this country, not so as heavy as I thought but still worth a listen nevertheless. Are you ready for the next round? Dare you enter the ring of Rock & Roll and take these boys on? Well best of luck to you.

Back:N:Black      "Live Voltage"  CD/ DVD   Burrito    ***   

As well all know the sad news of Brian Johnson having to quit AC/DC due to health problems, and what worries AC/DC fans is the fact that Axel Rose of GNR's looks like he's got the job. That's sad and let's face it he isn't no good for the likes of AC/DC. Yeah I could think of 2 singers, one Angry Anderson 'Rose Tattoo' and Marc Storace from' Krokus' is the only 2 that could really pull it off. OK enough of that, we all know that bands like AC/DC, Maiden, Priest, Sabbath more more covered by tribute bands than any other acts of the old school Rock or Metal as well as Zepplin. In the past decade we have seen a couple of female tribute bands such as The Iron Maiden, Judas Priestess, and now Back:n:Black from Switzerland, a young and very talented band of young hot rock chicks, playing homage to to their idols 'AC/DC' of course. 

The band have been around for some time now, making waves around Europe playing biker festivals, clubs and pubs and certainly making a name for themselves as these bunch of hot rocking chicks play hard and heavy. So who said girls can't rock? There girls can and this live CD/ DVD just goes to show how much talent they have. Formed back in 2010 by BB who plays the parts of Malcolm Young who is a very talented and attractive guitarist, who is also known for fireball playing on stage. Joining BB is vocalist Hell-Ena who is a pretty little thing who has a big voice and is certainly a good front girl for such a band, yes she does the job of Bon Scott and Brian Johnson really we as you will see and hear on this live CD/ DVD. Next is the talented young Angus young a.k.a (Antra) who is studying music and lives in the UK, she has  been playing around the world, mainly is places such as Dubai, before settling down in the UK. Bassist Kat comes from a mixed race, Swiss father & Filipino mother is a fine bassist and plays a few instruments as well as plays in a few bands too. Last but not least is drummer Dana, the newest member who replaced Angie who moved to the U.S., Dama originally from Germany has been playing in various Punk bands so I guess joining Back:n:Black is a good move for her. This album/ DVD features 15 impressive AC/DC songs, and I guess a band like AC/DC isn't easy to set a list of songs for a tribute album when the original band have so many songs under their belt. 

I guess this CD has some of the finest songs that the band wanted to record for this record. The girls perform well on the DVD and show just how good girls can rock just like the fellows can. It doesn't matter as this is a really cool album for what it is, be great to see the band playing together with Judas Priestess and The Iron Maidens all on the same bill, maybe one day this may happen. Some of the songs on this CD/ DVD to check out are: Hell Ain't a bad place to Be, Back in Black, Dirty deeds don't come Cheap, Live Wire, If you want Blood (You got It), Thunderstruck, Hell's Bell's, Whole lotta Rosie, T.N.T and of course Highway to Hell. To get you're copy of this check out the band's website www.backnblackgirls.com . Look  out for the girls on tour near you soon.

Tainted Nation      "On The Outside"   Pride & Joy  ****    

Some of you out there will already be aware of the bands background, if you don't well I will enlighten you. The band were formed out of the ashes of Eden's Curse when drummer back then Pete Newdeck was with Eden's Curse since the bands debut and stayed with the band up until the band released 'Trinity' which was released back in 2011, a great album to finish you're career on. Pete took a back seat as a drummer for this band only to become the front man and a pretty decent singer he is indeed. Pete met ex Firewind/ Metalium drummer Mark Cross to be the drummer for this band, along with Lionsheart guitarist Ian Nash and ex Poodle now with King Diamond bassist Pontus Egberg & guitarist Joel Peters (Fury/ Newman) to complete the line-up. The band have only released 2 albums to date, the bands debut 'F.E.A.R.' which was released through Massacre records back in 2013, a pretty decent debut I must say. 

The band have toured and played some pretty interesting shows since the band formed, and with the band also been in other bands it's good to see that a band like this can still make good quality music especially when you are in more than one band. With a steady line-up does really make all the difference and this new album 'On the Outside' is certainly a better album than the debut, stronger songs, better vocals and a great production. This album is certainly heavier than the debut and I think this could be because the band have become closer as friends and as musicians, finding their feet always helps anybody. This album is the new album for new label 'Bride & Joy', a label that I am not too familiar with but the label are doing the band justice with advertising and more... The album was recorded in Stockholm, Tewkesbury and Worchester in the UK, a nice production here which comes with 13 hard hitting metal tunes, and this isn't a Power Metal album, just a good quality hard hitting metal album, I guess at times there could be a hint of Ozzy or Zakk Wyldes vocals in Pete's voice, which is a good thing. Musically the music is kind of Ozzy'ish but has more to it in other style too. 

It's kind of hard to describe who they sound like really, but nevertheless this is a kick ass album with some catchy riffs and strong melodic music. If you are a fan of in you're face metal then this is for you. Songs on the album to check out are: Live & Die, Defiance, Barriers, On the Outside, The Stroke, Karma, Pulling me Under, Back to Earth. A good album featured a culture of various musicians from around the world. If you like the debut then this album is even better, the band have found their feet finally. 

Accuser     "The Forlorn Divine"      Metal Blade   ****       

Who would ever think that this German band 'Accuser' would be the same band that released albums on Atom H Records back in the 80's. Formed back in early 80's hailing from Kreuztal (Germany) the band recorded demos like any band does and it was in 86 when Atom H released the bands debut record 'The Conviction', a promising release mixing the likes of the old school German thrash like Kreator, Destruction with a twist of the U.S. thrash with the likes of Nuclear Assault, Exodus, which mixed well for the band. 

Next came the band's 2nd album 'Experimental Error' in 87, followed by 'Who Dominates Who' in 89, this is the album that I 1st heard from the band, knowing that the band had been around for some time and already released 2 albums, this was a pretty impressive album. In 91 the band would release their last album for Atom H records 'Double Talk', and soon signed to Japanese label Teichiku Records with the next album been 'Repent' in 92, and the band released 'Reflections' in 94 for new label Major Records. A further 4 albums would be released, 2 early releases re-released and an EP. The band only have 1 original member, who is Frank Thoms (vocals/ guitars) who has kept the band alive since the debut album. In 95 the band would release their last album for some time 'Taken by the Throat' and would return in 2010 with 'Agitation' and come back with a heavier approach. Joining Frank now is Dennis Rybakowski (guitars), Frank Kimpel (bass) and drummer Oliver Fechner to complete the current line-up and for this impressive new album 'The Forlorn Divine', released on Metal Blade. 

I have to say that I haven't heard the band in some time not since 'Taken by the Throat', so I am really impressive with this alum, the band have certainly gone for a more heavier approach and at time has some Death Metal elements, nothing wrong with that. The more I listen too the new album, the more I enjoy it. It certainly has lots of twists and turns that's for sure, maybe not as light weight as their previous early albums, but this album does capture the German thrash scene with the likes of Destruction, Kreator, and Sodom & even Assassin or Exumer, not to mention the likes of Exodus, Slayer, and maybe Testament. The album features 10 mind blowing, skull crushing songs and in places I can hear hints of Death Metal such as Malevolent Creation or thrash from Sepultura (early) or Machine Head. So what you get here is a mixture of Thrash and Death Metal which just goes to show that the 2 elements mix well. The production on this album is pretty impressive, and captures the energy of the bands music and the chemistry of the band within. Songs on the album to check out are: Lust for Vengeance, Unreal Perception, Arbitrary Law, Perish by Oblivion, Fifth Column, Flow of Dying. It's a pretty decent album with some catchy riffs and songs, be good to see them live at some point. 

Judas Priest     "Battle Cry"   DVD    Columbia       *****   

Another tour past with the 'Epitaph' tour were we all thought this was the last tour the band would perform, the tour that also featured Richie Faulkner on guitarist, once the guitarist for Lauren Harris band (Steve Harris daughter), and was soon auditioning for the mighty Judas Priest when K.K. left the band April 2011. I been a massive fan of the band was hoping that this would not be the last tour or album, something that the band would reconsider in the very near future, glad that they did. It was in 2014 after a very successful so called farewell tour that the band would soon record their next album 'Redeemer of Souls', their follow up album to the bands last album 'Nostradamus' released in 2008. That album was an interesting experiment, and for me took some time to adapt too. The bands last album 'Redeemer of Souls' saw the band back on top form playing straight forward classic Judas Priest style Heavy Metal, with the edge of 'Painkiller' thrown in for good measures. The 'Epitaph' tour also saw the band release a live DVD recorded at London's Hammersmith, a fine and extremely fine concert which showed the band at their best. Now the band return with yet another live album and DVD 'Battle Cry' recorded live at Wacken festival in 2015 in Germany, one of the top if not the top heavy metal festival in the world, a small festival that has grown since Dynamo festival stopped in the early 2000's. Many fine bands have played Wacken and I am pretty sure that Judas Priest have played this before but this time around the timing was right to record the whole show for this epic DVD, showing the band in their prime and glory. 

As we all know the older and the more albums any band record the hard it becomes to choose the songs for a tour or a DVD, maybe one day the might Priest will record a double live DVD before the band really do call it a day, hopefully not for some time yet. Rob on this DVD shows just how much of a fantastic singer and performer he really is, his age does not let his vocal abilities down far from it, if anything he is much better now. Screaming like a possessed demon from hell, a pure metal maniac at his best, whereas both guitarist Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner are a fine example of pure solid heavy metal twin guitar assault on stage, pure demonic guitar masters. Ian Hill and Scott Travis deliver a pure solid and powerful rhythm section for the band something that this band really need. Fantastic bas splaying by Ian and Scott's drumming is increable to say the least, a pure solid drummer, somebody I really admire, even with his work in Racer X. 

This DVD contain 17 hard hitting pure metal assault tracks here live from Wacken, 3 bonus songs from Poland that were later on in the year on their tour. If I had to say anything which could of been added would be interviews with the band, some backstage footage. Maybe they will add this for the next DVD. It's a faultless DVD, something that I have wanted to see since see in the band live twice last year, still the best by far. Songs on the DVD include: Battle Cry (intro), Dragonaut, Metal Gods, Devil's Child, Victims of Changes, Halls of Valhalla, Turbo Lover, Redeemer of Souls, Beyond the realms of Death, Jawbreaker, Breaking the Law, Hell bent for Leather, The Hellion/ Electric Eye, You've got another thing Coming, Painkiller, Living after Midnight. Bonus songs are: Screaming for Vengeance, The Rage & Desert Plains. If you like metal... well grab this masterpiece today, it's a must for any fan of the band. Looking forward to the next album in 2017, but who isn't?

Circus Maximus     "Havoc"    Frontiers     ***     

Norwegian Prog metal band 'Circus Maximus' return with their new album 'Havoc' their 4th album. The band started out back in 2000 when Michael Eriksen (vocals) met brothers Mats (guitars)  & Truls Haugen (drums) Espen Storo (keyboards) & drummer Glen Mollen to form the band. In the bands early days they were trying to copy the likes of Dream Theater and Symphony X, nothing wrong in that but soon developed their own style mixing the likes of Queensryche, TNT, Shadow Gallery and Pagan's Mind and maybe some Conception. Having like all bands they also recorded demo songs and sent them to various labels and press, which soon resulted in the band signing to Frontiers, and a management deal with 'Intromental' from Denmark. 

The band released their debut album 'The 1st Chapter' in 2005, a fine debut album that I remember well and I soon interviewed the band for this album (see my interviews page). A fine album of Progressive Metal, fine vocals by Michael and some great playing made this debut a very enjoyable release. The question was, would the band be able to release the next album as good as this? The answer was yes, ' Isolate' in 2007 was a fine 2nd album, still capturing the spirit of the 1st album but with more added twists and turns. What I like about this band is not are they great musicians but Mike is a fine singer and the albums are more enjoyable ad featured new keyboardist Lasse Findraten. Next came 'Nine' in 2012 another fine album with yet again some great music and vocals, lots of touring and a tour of Japan saw the band make new fans. Now the band return with 'Havoc', and in my opinion isn't their best album, a more relaxed and less heavier album, sometimes reminds me of U2 (I hate to say this), but in places it just seems a little lame, thankfully Mike's vocals make up for the music. Don't get me wrong, their great musicians still but I just fine this album a little to laid back and I am curious to know what the fans think of the new album. 

Nice production here, some interests songs and a couple of less interesting songs, that's why I have given this 3/5. I am hoping that the next album will be more heavier and back to the bands earlier style of music. It's a crying shame when a band have done some great albums and then for some reason just do a really chilled out album, not sure what is going through the bands heads when they wrote this album. Still it's not a bad album nor a great album, just average sadly in my opinion. Songs that I do like are: The Height, Highest Bitter, Pages, After the Fire, the rest of the album is either a hit or miss sadly. If in doubt hear before you buy. I'd still like to see the band live just for the older material as I have never seen them before.

Royal Hunt     "Cargo"      Frontiers     ****    

Danish Progressive/ Symphonic metal act 'Royal Hunt' return with their new live album, in support to the bands current live tour. Royal Hunt have been around since 89 by keyboard wizard Andre Andersen originally from Russia moved to Denmark and studied music and in which found members of the 1st line up of Royal Hunt. Demos were soon recorded and it wasn't long before they released their debut album 'Land of broken Hearts' in 92 through Rondel Records in the U.S. and in Japan Teichiku. The line up back then was Andre Anderson (who also played guitars) , Henrik Brockmann (vocals), Steen Morensen (bass), Kenneth Olsen (drums), with the help of various session guitarists on this record. A good album which opened the doors for the band in later years, mixing their brand of Classical music with Progressive elements of the 70's with a heavier edge. With the release of the debut off the ground the Japanese fans loved the debut album and it wasn't long before the band would return to the studio for their next album 'Clown in the Mirror' in 93 in which the band introduced guitarist Jacob Kjaer. 

More progressive elements here, more complex album catchy riffs and some fine tunes. In 95 the band released their next album with new singer D.C. Cooper, in which the band released 'Moving Target', and things would just get better for the band, as singer D.C. from the U.S. brought a stronger approach to the bands music. The band were soon breaking through more in Europe and tours were been set up across Europe and Scandinavia, as well as Japan. The band recorded in 97 'Paradox' with D.C., which sadly would be his last album for some time as he went on to form Silent Force only to return in 2011 'Show me how to Live' album. In between the gap of his absent Mark Boal's and John West would be the front man for the band, in which 6 albums would be released. With the band well established now, the band have made a big impact on the classic/ symphonic metal and progressive scene the band have also released 4 live albums. 

The bands current line up is D.C. Cooper, Andre Andersen, Andreas Passmark (bass), Jonas Larsen (guitars) and new drummer Andreas Johansson to complete the line up now. I think this is a good album, but sadly I don't think it has been released as a live DVD sadly, something the band and label should of thought about. I have noticed that the band use ex Nartia singer Kenny Lubcke doing backing vocals, rather odd I know as he is a great singer and really should reform Nartia. This album comes with 12 pure symphonic metal tunes that should please all fans of the band. Some of the songs include: The Mission, Time will Tell, Half past Loneness, It's Over, May you never walk Alone, River of Pain, A life to die For, Message to God. Any fan of the band must include this gem in their collection, a  great band still going strong. 

Lords Of Black      "II"    Frontiers     ****      

Never heard this band before until now, has anybody else? This band are not a new band as they have recorded an album prior to this release, which was self titled. This is the bands 2nd album, I believe their 1st for Frontiers the label that seems to signing more heavier bands more towards Power Metal which is really good. This young band was formed a few years ago when singer Ronnie Romero a Chili born singer who moved to Spain met guitarist Tony Hernando, who has released 5 solo albums prior to this band forming. The 2 met drummer Andy C, who had worked with Dark Moor who started making demo tapes and it wasn't long before they knew they had a passion for the same style of music. 

So it wasn't long before the band were making their debut album which was self titled and sold really well. I have yet to hear this album, but judging this album I presume it is a damn pretty good album. Ronnie's vocals remind me of across between Ian Parry (ex Elegy), Helker and Ronnie James Dio, a good combination indeed. Musically they remind me of Symphony X, Elegy, Helker, Tim Ripper Owens, DGM. If you like you're music Progressive with some Power Metal/ Symphonic elements then this album could be for you. A very talented band that writes some really cool songs, and with a nice production which I guess was handled by Tony with the help of Roland Grapow (Masterplan) the overall sound has balls, solid and with the music been interesting makes all the difference. It has also come to my attention that Ronnie will be the singer for the new Rainbow, who will be touring soon, so that will be something interesting to watch and hear.

This album comes with 12 songs of pure powerful music from start to finish and you will hear from impressive tunes that any fan of melodic metal will love. Songs on the album to check out are: Merciless, Only one life Away, Everything you're Not, New World's Coming, Cry no More, Insane, Ghost of You, Shadows of War. I am going to check out the bands debut album, and if you like Helker then you're going to like this album, especially with the vocals. The band are on tour with Axel Rudi Pell later in the year, sadly no UK dates. Check out this impressive album, it's a great album. I can see why Frontiers signed them up, I am sure labels like AFM would of been interested in the band too. As a 3 piece this band are great musicians, they just need a bass player before the tour starts. Let's hope they play the UK at some point and that the next album will be as promising as this gem.

Lita Ford       "Time Capsule"    Steamhammer     ***      

It's good to see Lita Ford return with her new album, a follow up to her last successful album  'Living like a Runaway', which came out in 2012 also through Steamhammer. I really thought the album was pretty good, certainly better than her previous album 'Wicked Wonderland' in 2009, which in Lita's eyes certainly wasn't the album she wrote, ex her wrote it and she really hated that record. It's good to see her back with this impressive album, as Lita in my eyes is an underrated guitarist (deserves to be recognized) as well as great singer. I have been a fan of Lita's work since I 1st heard 'Gonna let Go' from the album 'Dancing on the Edge', released in 84 aged 14 I have followed her work ever since and only ever seen and met her the once. Lita as we all know started her career with the Runaways with Joan Jett, who later on went solo. 

The rest of the band pretty much did nothing up until recently when Cherie Currie came back making music. Lita's 1st album 'Out for Blood' was released on Vertigo records back in 83, followed by 'Dancing on the Edge' in 84 and in 88 she released her self titled album which had hit singles like 'Back to the Cave' and 'Kiss me Deadly' and the duet 'Close my eyes Forever' which Ozzy. Things were on the up but sadly both Sharon dropped Lita , leaving Lita to look for a new label and manager, her next move was 'Dangerous Carves' in 91, sadly this would be her last album for RCA, and her music seemed to suffer with 'Black' which was released in 95 through XYZ Records. 2009 was her next release 'Wicked Wonderland', which sadly did her no justice but I was glad when she made a comeback with 'Living like a Runaway'. Now that Lita is back on form it wasn't long before she released a live album and a successful tour with Def Leppard and Poison around the U.S.. In 2016 Lita returns with this new album 'Time Capsule', which features singer like Jeff Scott Soto, bassist Billy Sheen (Mr. Big), Rodger Carter (Rick Springfield) on drums to name a few. This album features 11 songs which were engineered by George Tutko, and with the help of co-written songs from gene (Kiss) and her ex husband Chris Holmes doing the intro to the album well things couldn't be better. 

Some of the songs are old songs that have been lying around Lita's old house and have been re-worked. Songs on the album to check out are: Anything for the Thrill, Black leather Heart, Killing Kind, Little Wind, Mr Corruption, Rotten to the Core, Where I will find my heart Tonight. Not a bad album, might take a few listens to get my head around it, certainly not the heaviness album she has done sadly. I hope that she plays the UK, it's a long time coming and she hasn't played here since the early 90's that I am aware of, and yes I'll be there. Still one hell of a hot rocking lady who can play the guitar bad ass!!

Thunderstone        "Apocalypse Again"      AFM    ****      

It's been some time since this Finnish band 'Thunderstone' recorded an album, having formed back in the early 2000, when guitarist Nino Laurenne put the band together in Helsinki and after meeting the rest of the band in various locals bands it was known that these guys had something special in the scene in Finland. Along side the likes of Tarot, Night Wish, Stratovarious, Stone, Children of Bodom, these band were some of the biggest names to come out of Finland. Nino met the rest of the band Kari Tornack (keyboards), Mirka Rantanen, Titus Hjelm (bass) and vocalist Pasi Rantanen to complete phase 1 of the early stages of the bands line-up. 

The band soon recorded demo tapes which were sent to all the major independent metal labels around the world. It was Nuclear Blast that showed the most interest in the band and were soon signing the band for the release of their debut album in 2002 which was self titled. A decent debut album, a band that reminded me of across between Helloween, Tarot, Mob Rules to name a few... Now that the debut was released the band were getting solid and positive reviews from the press world-wide, a decent Progressive/ Power Metal  album indeed. The band recorded 4 albums with this line up, and in 2009 the band released their 5th album 'Dirt Metal' which featured Rick Altzi (Masterplan) on vocals and new member Jukka Kariinen on keyboards, this for me was the bands best album, it was certainly a more darker and heavier album and with Rick taking the band to the next level things were certainly on the up. The band released a Best Of in 2011, and it was unsure if the band would continue, and I am glad to say the band made a come back with this new album 'Apocalypse Again', for new label AFM, the label who also has U.D.O., Brainstorm and many more... This album also sees the return of singer Pasi, and on 1st listen his voice sounds totally different, at times like The Poodles singer or Ian Parry (ex Elegy), nothing wrong with that. I have to say that this album is a really strong album, some fine songs and vocals here and also features new drummer Atte Palokangas. The album features 9 songs as a digi pack but I am not sure who produced it or where it was recorded as I have no information from the label sadly.

I can say that this album has a nice production nevertheless, and some great vocals by Pasi, certainly his best in sometime, I guess taking time out he has had the time to retune his voice. The music on this album kind of reminds me of Tunnel Vision another great band sadly missed from Finland. Songs on this album you need to listen too are: The Veterans of the Apocalypse, The Path, Fire & Ice, Through the Pain, Walk away Free, Days of our Lives, been the strongest songs. This is certainly the best album with Pasi in my opinion. Buy it when it is released you won't be disappointed. 

Sindrome       "Resurrection - The Complete Collection"    Century Media   ****      

Are there any metal heads out there old enough to even remember this band or even own their demo tapes? If you do then you know just how good they were and how sad it was that this awesome band never got signed to a label. I am honored to own the bands 2nd demo tape 'Vault of Inner Conscience' which was released in 91. The band also released their debut demo 'Into the halls of Extermination' in 87, these two demos are amazing and still hold the test of time today. Formed back in 86 in Illinois there bands were featured in all major metal mags around the world, as well as fanzines like my own back then. Having heard the 2nd demo 1st I knew this band have a promising future, but I don't understand why nobody picked them up. If you like good Thrash Metal close to that of Sacred Reich, Evil Dead, Gammacide then this band is certainly for you, they had the heaviness but also the technicality and great song structure that showed that this would be signed soon. 

Sadly the band broke up before any plans of a record deal was set, I guess this came too late for this band trying hard to get a deal and play as many shows as they could. Not sure what the band members did after the demos, which bands they went onto, but in later yrs the demos were re-released unofficially from what I can gather until now. German based label Century Media have decided to re-release both demos with live material onto a 2 CD set, which I highly recommend, as the vocals by Troy Dixler reminds me of across between King Fowler (October 31) meets Steve Nelson (Evil Dead) at times so the 2 style come well together. Other band members include Ken Savich & Mick Vega both n guitars, drummer Tony Ochoa and bassist Shaun Glass. Having a following in Illinois and surrounding areas the band had some great support slots and I could be wrong but I am sure that Century Media back in the day showed interest in the band but like I said thing didn't work out for the band, the big question is... are the band reforming? 

I hope they do and record a new album in 2016 with the help of Century Media. The bands debut demo is a good calibration of strong songs and heavy guitar riffs and pounding drums and some fine thrash vocals. The bands 2nd demo however for me back in 91 pretty much blew me away, couldn't believe how good the sound was and the demo booklet and the whole songs in general. Both are now available to hear for the 1st time as an official release. As the demos get further into them I hear the likes of Nasty Savage in their music too, maybe some Slayer 'Hell Awaits' era. Songs on this fine double CD worth checking out are: Into the halls of Extermination, Rapture in Blood, Cathedral of Ice, Aortic Expulsion, Descending into Madness, Extra Sensory Warning, Astral Projection, Against Infinity, Exit Screaming. The live songs are total bootleg quality nothing great to be fair, would of been better having a live DVD if anything to be fair. All in all a great CD, nice to hear them finally on CD after all this time. Thrash bands fan this just for the demo songs. 

Redemption     "The Art of Loss"      Metal Blade     *****       

Progressive metal merchants 'Redemption' return with their new album 'The art of Loss', the bands debut album for Metal Blade records, the label that also has Ray's other band signed to the label 'Fates Warning' has now signed Redemption. This band was formed by guitarist Nick Van Dyke who met up with members of Steel Prophet, Agent Steel and Symphony X in the early stages of the bands recordings. It was for the debut album released on Sensory Records, a Progressive label from the U.S. that showed interest in the bands early stages and soon released their debut album which was self titled in 2003. This album featured Rick from Steel Prophet, Jason & Mike from Symphony X, Bernie from Agent Steel, Mark ex Fates Warning, & Corey ex Magnitude 9 were all involved in the early stages of the band. It was Bernie and Ray that stayed with Nick and in which the 3 found bassist Sean Andrews and drummer Chris Quirarte (Prymaze) are still within the band in to days line up. 

The band have had some slight bad luck with Nick been ill and now Bernie, who has taken time out to recover for this new album but will return asap. The band soon released their 2nd album for label Inside Out and released 'Fullness of Time', this was a big step up from the bands debut, a sound had been created and with Ray's amazing vocal skills the band were on the up and nothing was going to stop them now, at 1st people thought they were a project of Ray's but it turned out they were a band and a great band at that. I guess some elements of Fates Warning would be in their music considering Ray font's Fates Warning, but they also developed their own sound. I guess been a progressive band they will have elements of Fates Warning, other bands that spring to mind are Evergrey, Pagan's Mind, are two band that spring to mind. The band have made 5 previous studio albums, 2 DVD's and now this new awesome album. I really like their music and Ray's is a great singer and they are a tight band live as I witnessed in London a few years ago. When the band released the album 'Snowfall on Judgment Day' in 2009 was the last album that keyboardist Greg Horharian did with the band and left leaving them to a 5 piece, in which guitarist Nick ended up programming the keyboards for the next album and tours. After the release of the bands last album 'This mortal Coil' in 2011 was the bands last album for Inside Out music in which the band signed to Metal Blade. 

Now they return with their next album, a stunning album indeed that is is, the music and vocals are solid and well put together. Some interesting playing here by all members, and this album 'The art of Loss' is the 1st album in some years that doesn't feature guitarist Bernie Versailles due to ill health but is making a speedy recovery thank God. This album features guest appearances from Chris Brodrick (ex Megadeth/ Jag Panzer), Chris Poland (Ex Megadeth), Marty Friedman (ex Cacophony/ Megadeth) a right Megadeth family here, with the ad of Tom Englund (Evergrey) to play on the album with some guitar solos & John Bush as guest vocals on a Who cover 'Love Reign o'er me'. The album however has some great tunes and comes with 9 explosive stunning Progressive Metal songs, produced by Tommy Hansen with the artwork done by Travis Smith (Opeth/ Death/ Psychotic Waltz). It's a fine album and a must for any fan of Progressive Metal and Redemption fans alike. Songs to check out are: The Art of Loss, Slouching towards Bethlehem, Damaged, Hope dies Last, The golden Light, The center of the Fire, been the finest songs on the album. If you're a fan of Fates Warning's heavier side this is for you, also for fans of Evergrey, Psychotic Waltz and Pagan's Mind. Can't wait to see the band live again.

Artillery    'Penalty By Perception"      Metal Blade      *****     

Danish thrasher's 'Artillery' return with their new stunning album, the bands 8 album since they formed back in 82 by former members Carsten Nielsen (drums) and Jorgen Sandau (guitars) who later met Michael Shultz (guitars) and his brother Morten who was playing bass in the early stages of Artillery but switch the guitar later on. With original singer Per Onink who recorded a demo 'We are the dead' in 83 and 'Shellshock & Deeds of Darkness' in 84. In 85 the band were signed to Neat Records and found new singer Flemming Ronsdorf and the bands debut 'Fear of Tomorrow' was recorded. 

A great debut that captured the harder edge and rawness of the bands early stages, kind of hard to describe but I do think they had their own sound and style back then, and I remember been rather shocked on how good the band were at the aged of 15 in 85.  A shock to the system back then and the album certainly got rave reviews, this was soon followed up by 'Terror Squad' in 87, for me this is and will always be my favourite Artillery album, it's just a cult classic for me, fine songs catchy riffs and great vocals for a Danish Thrash band. Other albums later on followed but the band broke up in 99 after 'By Inheritance' in 90 when they recorded 'B.A.C.K.' and yes it was a kick ass comeback album, making them a force to be reckoned with. Now the band are back in business and now signed to metal Blade with their last album 'Legion' released in 2013 with their latest addition to the vocals been Michael Bastholm Dahl who is a fantastic singer just like their previous singer Soren Adamsen who left the band after 2 albums. The bands last album 'Legion' was a fine comeback with some killer riffs and great vocals, the same can be said for the new album 'Penalty By Perception' , some catchy riffs and fine vocals and pounding thrash drumming makes this a great album for 2016. I like the way that the band have made the eastern feel to their music, kind of their trade mark now, eastern thrash I guess. The music still captures the classic Artillery thrash sound that we have all grown to love. 

The album comes with 11 trax which were produced by Soren Andersen who worked with the band on 'Legion', so it was only right to use him again on this masterpiece. Head ripping classic Artillery here and if you have their previous albums you will love this album too. Songs on the album I suggest you check out and mind you there all great songs are: In Defiance of Conformity, Live by the Scythe, Penalty by Perception, Mercy of Ignorance, Sins of Innocence, When the magic is Gone (featuring Morten Sandager ex Pretty Maids, a nice semi ballad), Cosmic Brain (featuring Michael Denner & Hank Shermann Mercyful Fate), Deity Machine. Great album indeed one of the best thrash albums of 2016 and we are only 3 months in 2016. Make sure you grab a copy today. 

Mob Rules       "Tales From Beyond'   Steamhammer     ***      

Another band fro m Germany release yet another new album, this time around it's Mob Rules. The band which was formed back in 94 by guitarist Erstwhile Van Blanc and bassist Thorsten Plorin. The two started to look for a singer in which Klaus Dirks came to be the front man and still is today, with drummer Arved Mannott. Now that things were starting to build up in the form of Mob Rules playing shows with Pink Cream 69 the band soon added a 2nd guitarist known as Oliver Fuhlhage in which the band soon signed to LMP Music just like Human Fortress and their debut album 'Savage Land' was released in 99. A decent debut it was capturing some fine melodic Power Metal with some what could be described as Folk/ Symphonic metal elements. In places that album reminded me of Riot, Skyclad and Helloween, and in today's music these roots still show. It wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Temple of two Suns' in 2000 again also for LMP Music, still very much in the same vain as the debut the band carried on creating magical music that fans in Europe were starting to love. 

In 2002 the band signed to Steamhammer and released their next album 'Hallow by thy Name', and the band started to create even better music playing festivals like Wacken, Bloodstock and many more... The band have stayed with Steamhammer ever since and built up a good relationship between the label. The band have seen various line up changes leaving Matthias  Minuer (guitars) and Klaus the only 2 original members left from the early days. Joining the 2 remaining original members is Sven Ludke (guitars), Markus Brinkmann (bass), Nikolas Fritz (drums) and keyboardist Jan Christian Halfbrodt to complete the line up for the new album 'Tales from Beyond'. 

This is a pretty good album, some great guitar riffs, good vocals by Klaus and some of the music reminds me of Savatage meets Riot & Vanden Plas and really works well for the band. The album was produced by Markus Teske who had worked with Vanden Plas, Saga amongst others. A nice production here which comes with 10 trax, 11 on the digi pack. Songs on the album to check out are: Dykemaster's Tale (very Iron Maiden), Somerled, Signs (Sounds like Savatage), On the Edge, Thy Kingdom Come, Dust of Vengeance, A tale from Beyond  - Pt 1 & Pt 3. A decent album and a must for fans of Savatage, Vanden Plas and maybe Riot. The band are about to embark on a European tour with Axle Rudi Pell in April across Europe, sadly no UK dates. 

Human Fortress        "Thieves in The Night"    AFM      ***    

German Power/ Symphonic Metal band 'Human Fortress' return with their new album , this is the bands 5th album. The band were formed in 97 by guitarists Torsten Wolf & Volker Trost along with bassist Pablo J. Tammen originally under the name of 'Time Zone' in which the band only recorded 1 demo and broke up. The 3 members searched for new members and found Jioti Parcharidis (vocals), drummer Apostolos Zaios and keyboardist Derk Marquardt and Human Fortress was born. In 2000 the band released their 1st demo in which Hamburg music company LMP Music showed interest in the band and soon signed the band in which Lord of earth & heaven's Heir' was released in 2001. I do remember reviewing this album, which the band at that time were more Symphonic/ Pagan Metal, this is something that the band still have in their music from time to time. 

If I remember rightly I thought the band had hints of Skyclad in their music, mainly because of the violins from time to time. I do however hear the likes of Kamelot, Stratovarius, Virgin Steel in certain places of their music. In 2003 the band released their next album, with Massacre records now signing the band with the title 'Defenders of the Crown', in which guitarist Torsten left the band and was replaced by Frank Sawade. Another album and now the band were supporting some international acts and they actually played in Hull (My home city) to headline a festival which was a pleasant sight in later years. In 2007 the band had some line up changes once again with singer Jioti & drummer Apostolos and replaced by Carsten Frank & Arndt Krone to continue the bands success and the next album was soon to follow. 

Next came 'Eternal Empire' also released on Massacre Records in 2008. In 2013 the band released their next album for new label AFM titled 'Raided Land, this was one of the bands best albums, and an improvement certainly showed. This new album 'Thieves in the Night' is a pretty good album, certainly some interesting parts and features singer Gus Monsanto (ex Adagio) , Todd Wolf (guitars), Volker (guitars), Andre Hort (bass), Dirk Liehm (keyboards) and drummer Apostolos Zaios who returned back to the band. The album comes with 12 songs which were mixed by Sebastian Levermann (Orden Organ), and the overall sound is excellent. Songs on the album I like are: Amberstow, Last prayer to the Lord, Rise or Fall, Thrice Blessed, Vicious Circle, Dungeons of Doom, Gift of Prophecy, Alone. Not a bad album, certainly an album for those who like Symphonic Power Metal, and I do like Gus vocals, a great singer originally from Brazil. Check out the album a must for fans of the bands previous work. 

Myrath     "Legacy"       Nightmare     ****    

Well it is good to see a band return and with a strong comeback like Myrath have done. Hailing from Tunisia formed back in roughly in 2001 when guitarist Malek Ben Arbia when he was just 13yrs old, had a wish to form a metal band with a difference, a progressive metal band. With the band getting established with various line-up changes up until the band released their debut album in 2007 'Hope' released Brennus was a pretty good album and rather successful in their home country and various countries around their homeland. 

In 2010 the band recorded their 2nd album 'Desert Call' which was the bands 1st album for Nightmare records based in the U.S.A. and owned by Lance King (Gemini/ Balance of Power) a great little label. Lance certainly had faith in the bands music and their relationship with band and label grew and still continues today. In 2016 the band released their best album to date 'Tales in the Sand' which saw the band release a promo video 'Believer' and the band had the pleasure of playing ProgPower in the U.S., gaining a bigger fan base. Now that the band were been recognized outside of Tunisia the band were on the up. Now the band return with 'Legacy', just a fine album with the music reminding me of Kamelot with Arabic elements and the vocals reminding me of Eden's Curse in a way the, both Kamelot, Eden's Curse mix well for this bands music and I can also hear Evergrey in their music too. The band are currently on tour with Symphony X, sadly I missed their UK appearance recently but I hope they return soon. The new album 'Legacy' was recorded by Kevin Codfert and mixed by Fredik Nordstorm of which both have done an excellent job and comes with 11 Symphonic/ Progressive metal songs, a nice blend of both with their home land influences makes this a good album, not sure if it is better than the last one but still a good album. 

The bands current line up is Malek Ben Arbi (guitars), Zaher Zorgati (vocals) Aris Jouini (bass), Elyes Bouchoucha (keyboards) Morgan Bethet (drums). Songs on the album that I like are: Believer, Get your freedom Back, Nobody Lives, The Needle, The Unburnt, Daut, Endure the Silence, Storm of Lies. A decent album, something different and there showing you what Tunisian metal is all about, this band are good at what they do. If you like Kamelot in a Arabic way then this could be for you. Give it a go, there a really good band, just wish I saw the recent tour. 

Innerwish      "Innerwish"    Ulterium      ****     

Some of you may already heard this band, some may not, this Greek band are no strangers to the metal world, have already released 6 previous albums. I do remember reviewing maybe 1 or 2 of their previous albums in the past. The bands debut 'Waiting for the Dawn' was just a bunch of young kids wanting to play metal music with no real goal in life but some good future came their way and the band soon recorded this debut album. Now established on the Greek metal scene the underground fanzines and webzine in Greece took a shine to this band. Next was a split CD 'Realms of the Night' soon followed by Silent Faces in 2004 again the band were on the up and yonder having received some great reviews and international bands were soon taking them as support slots around Greece. 2006 saw 'Inner Strength' album yet another fine example of what the band were capable of. 

2010 saw the band release their next album 'No turning Back' and now the band are one of the top bands from Greece in the Power Metal scene, sounding like Primal Fear, Grave Digger, Brainstorm a very German influenced style band with a hint of Nightmare from France, nothing wrong with that just good solid Power Metal. Vocalist George Eikosipentakis reminds me of the singer from Hibra from Brazil, and George is also joined by Thimios Krikos & Manolis Tsigos both on guitars, bassist Antonis Mazarakis and drummer Fragiskos Samoilis & keyboardist George Georgiou completes the line up. This new album self titled is a great album, and I am sure the band have some Christian connections but I am not sure, doesn't bother me at all. Nice production here, done by Fredik Nordstrom (former Dream Evil)  and Henrik Udd in which both have done a great job, like Fredik's productions have always been solid capturing a nice solid drum sound. 

This album comes with some great playing and vocals and in total 13 songs are composed for you to check out. Songs on the album to listen too are: Roll the Dice, Broken, Modern Babylon, Machines of Fear, My world on Fire, Serenity, Through my Eyes, Ground Zero, Tame the seven Seas. Some of the music also has hints of Kamelot and maybe Hammerfall, all in all a good album, not heard all their albums but this is a good album for 2016, check it out!! I am sure this band will tour soon, in the meantime make sure you grab a copy of this if you like Power Metal with some Symphonic roots. 

Wicked Maraya       "Lifetime In Hell"    Massacre   ****   

Does anybody old enough remember these guys from New York back in the early 90's? Just a thought, well you would if you ever bought their debut album 'Cycles' which was released in 94 through Mausoleum Records, a great debut album indeed. The album was recorded in Tampa Florida at Morrissound studios with Jim Morris. This album was a great debut which their music reminded me of across between Crimson Glory, Hittman, Fates Warning and really worked well for the band. Singer Lou Falco is a fine singer and the band play really well on this debut album. The band features brothers Michael & John Ladevaio both plays guitar & bass , joining them is 2nd guitarist Daniel Malsch and drummer Mike Nack. 

The debut was a great album and saw the band playing with the likes of Dee Snider's Widowmaker, and even Yngwie Malmsteen to name a few. Now the debut was released the band soon recorded their 2nd album 'No hope for Humanity' which was released on Rising Sun Records, this was a decent album but for some reason didn't manage to capture the energy or power of the fantastic debut album which was almost Power Metal. This 2nd album was good but just seemed to be slightly laid back, not knocking it but if you heard the debut 1st you will know why. Sadly the band recorded their last and 3rd album 'Counterculture' on 80 West records. Again the music seemed to suffer moving away from the harder edge that they once had. Having said that this album 'Lifetime in Hell', is the band 4th album that was never released until now, originally recorded in 91 at Morrissound studios again, this album has more of an edge to it, certainly heading more towards the debut album, the heavier side of the band. It's good that the band have pretty much kept together, having lost one guitarist only to return with the original line-up now could make all the difference for the band. 

This album features 9 unreleased songs and 2 new songs, something to look forward too on the next album. Now signed to Massacre Records this album captures a slight hint of Hittman, Fates Warning and maybe some Crimson Glory. The 2 new songs 'Suicidal Dawn' & 'Fall from Grace' are pretty good stuff, and I have always liked Lou's voice, having saw them twice in the U.S. in 97 they are a great band especially when they play stuff from the debut album. I am looking forward to hearing the new full length album of new songs. Songs on the album to check out are: Sounds of Evil, Life time in Hell, Tomorrows Child, Crash & Burn, Seizure, The Calling, Blackout, Fall from Grace. A great album that was almost never released but glad it has. Let's see what the new album will bring. Maybe a European and UK tour in 2016.

Them       "Sweet Hollow"      Empire    ****    

A new band recently came my way which featured 2 members of bands that I already know. So who is this new band Them?  Well it's kind of a super group in a way, of underground musicians, featuring Mike Lepond (Symphony X), Kevin Talley (drums) who has played with Dying Fetus, and currently with Suffocation. He has also played with Chimaira, The Black Dehila Murder, and tones more. Troy Norr (vocals) known for his work with New York Thrash band 'Coldsteel', Troy and myself have been buddies since the demo days of Coldsteel. Coldsteel recorded 'Dead by Dawn' demo which was an amazing demo, I loved it back in the day and this was followed up by another demo which was good, the music reminded me of Testament, Forbidden, Over Kill, Hades style thrash. Sadly the band didn't do much until Turbo music in Germany released the album 'Freakboy', a decent album, but sadly lacked a strong production due to the labels fault. 

Joining Troy is Richie Seibel (Ivanhoe & Lanfear) Markus Ullirch (Lanfear & Cosmic Trail), Markus Johansson (Sylencer) to complete Them. At 1st this was just a project, but it has now become a band and with this stunning album I just hope that 2nd album will be as equally as good. At times when any band release a debut as good as this, you sometimes wonder if the band will ever be able t match it or not better it, time will tell for this band. What I do know is that Them is King Diamonds little brother, and I am sure King would be proud of hear this album that's for sure. I really do think that this is classic King Diamond style metal somewhere between 'Abigail' meets 'Conspiracy', 2 fine albums indeed, but saying that all of King's albums are top music, just love it. Not sure who produced this album, but it has a great sound, maybe King could take a leaf out of their book as his last few releases haven't had the most exciting productions sadly, but this album has it all, great vocals and certainly doesn't sound like Troy at all, I'm impressed. 

If you like classic Power Metal in the style of K.D. then this is an album for you. it comes with 12 trax of pure impressive metal music. It's a pretty almost perfect debut album, only hope the next one can top this gem. Songs to check out are: Rebirth, Forever Burns, Down the road to Misery, Ghosts in the Graveyard, The Quiet Room, Dead of Night, Festevil, The Crimson Corpse, Blood from Blood & When the clock struck Twelve. Anybody who likes good metal music with some outstanding playing is going to love this. King Diamond fans especially, and liek I said King would be proud of this album I am sure. He really needs to take this band on tour with him around Europe soon.

Fireleaf       "Behind The Mask "    **  Massacre         

Newly signed to Massacre records is 'Fireleaf', a band hailing from Stuttgart (Germany) formed back in 2015 by former Tyran Pace/ Stormwitch guitarist Ralf Stoney who also approached former Stormwitch drummer Micha Kasper who was also the drummer for Glenmore (a great band who sadly only did 2 albums). Former Chinchilla/ Miracle Master bassist Micha Vetter son joined the band and vocalist Bastian Rose (Vanish) as the vocalist. As the band progressed they realized they needed a 2nd guitarist, so Aki Reissmann also with Miracle Master/ Pump joined the band. The band soon started recording songs as demos and a couple of songs were sent to various labels, and it was Massacre Records who showed the most interest in the band. Signed the band and in February of 2016 'Behind the Mask' was released. 

This album was produced Ralf Stoney with the help by Andy Horn who mixed and mastered the album, who had worked with Rob Halford, Voices of Destiny, Edenbridge. The band have also just released a video for the song 'Monsterman' which you can see on You Tube. The album is based on a concept of a madman who starts to become more precise. It's a pretty good album, which comes with 10 tracks of pure German Power Metal, somewhat close to Paragon, with a hint of Andy from Brainstorm's. I'm not 100% sure that the music anything outstand that hasn't been done before, it's OK so for me I do think there is room for improvement, which is a good thing. Vocals are not bad, like a said the backing vocals remind me of Andy from Brainstorm. I guess the album has a little more of a groove to it than most Power Metal bands tend to have, which is kind of a good thing. In some other ways I can hear a hint of Tad Morose in there music too, not sure what it is but I think this could be an album that would grow on you. 

Songs on the album to check out are: Bloody Tears, Monsterman, Forgiven, The Quest, Isolation, Behind the Mask. If in doubt about the album listen too their music on You Tube. I do think there's room for improvement that's for sure, a little more drive and power wouldn't go a miss. This album will either make or break the band, I just hope they manage to survive the tough world of the music business and make a better album for the 2nd one. Don't get me wrogn it's not a totally bad album, just gets a bit boring after a few songs sadly. 

Exumer    "The Raging Tides"       Metal Blade       ****     

German thrasher's 'Exumer' return with the next chapter in their career, this time with 'The Raging Tides', a follow up to the band last successful come back album 'Fire & Damnation', which was a classic old school album taking us back to their debut album 'Possessed by Fire' released back in 86, which was released in Disaster Records, who also released albums by Angel Dust, Mandator, all of which are hard to find out of print original pressings. Formed back in 85 by vocalist and bassist at that time Mem V. Stein and guitarist Ray Mensh where the band would record their demo 'A Mortal in Black' in 85, which lead the band signing to their 1st label, a great debut album was 'Possessed by Fire', capturing the heaviness of Kreator mixed with some Hardcore elements such as D.R.I. and Agnostic Front as well as Slayer. With the band releasing their debut album which featured Sykes Bornetto (drums), Bernie Siedler (guitars), this debut was also produced by Harris Johns who had worked with Destruction to name a few German bands. In 87 Mem left the band w#only to be replaced by Hawaiian bassist and vocalist Paul Arakari to record the next album 'Rising from the Sea', another album a little more thrasher with hints of S.O.D. elements in this record, still a great album indeed and a tour i had the pleasure of see in the band live with Nasty Savage and Atomkraft here in the UK back in 87. 

For some reason this was to be the last album for the band as they broke up in 91, only to return as a one off show at the 2001 Wacken Open Air festival in Germany, another time I had the pleasure of see in the band once again, this time with Mem on vocals, a great day indeed. In 2011/12 the band were back and strong then ever with their latest album 'Fire & Damnation', a very strong comeback album, with some heavy riffing tunes and with Mem back on the vocals with long time member Ray, along with newer members H.K. (guitars), T Schiavo (bass), Matthias Kassner (drums), and with producer Waldemer Sorychta (Grip Inc) at hand the overall sound was solid and very powerful. Now the band return with this new album 'The Raging Tides', with once again  Waldemer Sorychta as producer the sound again is outstanding, powerful and heavy. Mem's vocals are on top for as well as the music, very Slayer sounding at time with the heaviness of Kreator, German thrash is heavy going compared to a lot of U.S. Thrash bands, you got to have the stomach to handle German thrash. 

This new album now features guitarist Marc B who replaced H.K but still it doesn't change the bands music or attitude and as Mem now live in New York I guess some of his environment and surroundings has paid of in the writing of the album. A strong album again here, heavy guitars and an excellent drum sound all which comes with 12 trax, 2 of which are bonus trax. I woudn't say that the album cover is the most exciting but the music speaks for itself. Songs on the album to check out are: The Raging Tides, Brand of Evil, Catatonic, Sacred Defense, Welcome to Hellfire, Sinister Souls, Dark Reflections, Hostage to Heaven (Grip Inc cover). It's a great start to 2016 by a great German Thrash band, a band that have elements of Hardcore, Slayer, Grip Inc and Kreator all in one.

Mystic Prophecy       "War Brigade"     Massacre    ****    

German Power Metal act 'Mystic Prophecy' return with their latest release 'War Bridge', the bands 9th release, formed back in 2000 out of the ashes of the band 'Valleys End', a band who released a couple of albums through LMP Music. The band was put together by vocalist R.D. Liapakis met up with Gus G (Firewind) & Martin Albrecht (guitars) met through a friend David Chastain. It wasn't long before the band were signed to Nuclear Blast with their debut album 'Vengeance' in 2001, a decent debut indeed playing sheer Power Metal German style with a Greek twist of Gus G, which made the album more interesting. It wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Regressus' also for Nuclear Blast which was released in 2003. Another fine album mixing the likes of Firewind, Pagaon, Brainstorm, meets U.S. Power Metal of Vicious Rumors, made their music rather special. 2004 saw the next chapter of the bands releases been 'Never-Ending', and 2006 the band signed to Massacre Records for their next album 'Savage Souls' which was also recorded in the same year. 

The band like most had line-up changes but vocalist R.D. Liapakis is the only original member left, a fine singer that defiantly suits the bands music. This new album is the band's 9th studio album, which was mixed by Fredrik Nordstrom (ex Dream Evil), who has worked with Sabaton, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Powerwolf and produced by singer R.D., both of which have done a fantastic job, all the instruments shine through and the vocals are on top form, it's a pretty faultless album to say the least and the funny thing about it, is the fact they have covered Tom Jones 'Sex Bomb', a great version which I am sure Tom would even approve. Great artwork here done by Uwe Jarling who did the last album 'Kill Hammer', two great album covers which would look great as a t shirt. 

The bands current line up is R.D. (vocals), Markus Pohl (guitars), Laki Ragazas (guitars), Joey Roxx (bass) and drummer Tristan Maiwurm. The album comes with 12 songs of pure powerful Power Metal, fine riffs, pounding drums and great vocals, a faultless album, their best work to date. Songs to check out are: The Blind, Metal Brigade, Burning Out, Pray for Hell, 10.000 Miles Away, War Panzer, Fight for one Nation, War of Lies & Sex Bomb. A great album that I recommend you check out. The band are on tour soon with Orden Organ and Manimal in March but sadly no UK dates. A fine band on the top and onwards as this album proves just how good this band have become in recent years. I highly recommend this album, and the band's last album in any, be great if the band released a live DVD, I'd like to see that for sure and hopefully some festivals this summer might be booked for the band.

Hexx       "No Escape/ Under the Spell"    Metal Blade    *****       

One of my all time favourite bands and albums has finally released their classic albums on CD (officially for the 1st time) ever, have the album officially released on Shrapnel Records in 84 'No Escape' and 'Under the Spell' in 86. Both of these albums were later re-released unofficially by Reborn Classic label, the label that put out CD's by band that their previous labels never releases, so in some what it helped the fans get them on CD. Having 1st heard this band in 86 when BBC Radio 1 'Friday Rock Show' 1st played the song 'Edge of Death', I was hooked on the band and wanted to buy this album aged 16. I finally got a hold of this masterpiece, loved ever song on the album, and then later discovered the bands debut album 'No Escape'. 

Why it's taken so long to finally release them on CD officially is a mystery to me and fans alike, but I am glad they are now officially re-released. Only bad point is that the band or label never re-mastered them, which is a shame as these albums really needed that extra push. On a positive note, this awesome package comes as a 2 CD set and also includes a live DVD (recorded at Headbangers Open Air/ Keep it true & various early videos) bonus demos  before the recordings of the album and a demo when the band were called 'Paradox', which was recorded in 83. Yes the demos are raw, but interesting to hear how the band sounded, it also includes 2 new songs from 2014 'Burn or Boil' & 'Swimming the Witch', with singer Dan Bryant, as well as a demo from 2013, which includes 'Left for Dead', 'Lost my Way', 'Drop Away', 'Crumble' with vocalist Dennis Manzo. It also comes with a nice booklet packed with liner notes from original member Dan Watson, who has reminded the only member left from the bands original line-up. 

In 88 the band made a comeback with their EP 'Quest of Sanity' for Under One Flag records, which moved away from their Power Metal elements of the 1st 2 album and headed towards a more Thrash almost Death Metal sounding release, close to that of friends Sadus. This was a good little EP, followed up by 'Watery Graves' 90 released through Wild Rags records, and later on the band released their next album 'Morbid Reality' in 91. This was sadly the end of a classic band, up until recent years when Dan reformed the band, making music which is a set back in time, the way we love to hear Hexx, back to basic Power Metal and if all goes well the band should sign a deal soon, hopefully with Metal Blade. The bands current line-up is Mike Horn (bass), Dan Watson (guitars), Eddy Vega (vocals), John Shafer (drums) & Bob Wright (guitars). This is an awesome release, especially the 2nd album 'Under the Spell', which is certainly in my 3rd favourite Power Metal album of all time, pure fucking class. Make no mistake about it folks, if you like Power Metal, this box set I highly recommend. Best of luck for 2016 to the band, may the Hexx be on you!!! 

Anvil       "Anvil is Anvil"      Steamhammer       *****       

Well what can one say about the might Anvil? One of Canada's forefathers of Metal . These guys have been through thick & thin to survive the mighty  music industry and stood the test of time. With the band originally called ''Lips' it wasn't long before they changed their name to 'Anvil', a more appropriate name for the name and the music they created. Some say that this band are the original Thrash Metal band, that is a tough question to answer and will be debated for yrs to come. The band released 'Hard & Heavy' in 81 as young kids, this album made a impressive outlook for the band and for what was to come in the future from this band, classic albums like 'Metal on Metal', 'Forged in Fire' would follow and later on more fine albums including the 'Story of Anvil' a fine documentary and still the best music documentary in my book in the music world. 

With the last 3 albums previous albums proving that the band are going from strength this album 'Anvil is Anvil' is a superb album, why? Well the songs are strong, music is well structured and the playing is on top form. Lips has come up with some great riffs, and Rob's drumming is still on top form too, one of the best and underrated drummers around. I guess bassist Christ Robertson is a fine addition to the band, a really funny guy and a manic on stage, fits in well with Lip's crazy stage antics. This album has certainly got the best production the band could ever ask for, it has a solid drum sounds, ripping Anvil style guitar riffs, which was recorded in Germany with producer Martin 'Mattes' Pfeiffer, who is a great producer and I really think that Anvil should use him for the next album in the same studio if they can. The album was recorded at 'Red head Studios' in Pulheim (Germany). 

I was almost going to visit the band during the recording of this album but sadly money got the better on me. The album however has artwork done by drummer Rob Reiner, who is a really talented artist outside of Anvil, who does plenty of artwork at home. The album cover is interesting showing an Anvil in the mirror, kind of like a self portrait, a dark cover, which I guess reflects in the albums music, dark and heavy. This album comes with 12 trax of pure Anvil music, some double bass drumming songs, some not so double bass sounding but still it's Anvil, there not going to change for anybody and why should they? Some fine songs here, songs I like are: Daggers & Rum (Reminds me of the theme by Running Wild or Alestorm), Up down Sideways, Gun Control (reminds me of Black Sabbath meets 'Never Deceive Me') Runaway Train, Zombie Apocalypse, It's your Move, Ambushed, Fire on the Highway, Run like Hell. A strong album indeed, the band are back and strong then ever, this is Anvil at their best, one of their finest albums. Can't wait to see them on tour with U.D.O. in April. 

Axel Rudi Pell        "Game of Sins"      Steamhammer       ***      

German guitar wizard Axel Rudi Pell returns with his new album 'Game of Sins', which he has recorded 15 albums to date, 1 of which was a covers album. This is his 17 album, and it does say a lot about this guy who raises the flag for his homeland. He 1st started out as a professional guitarist with German act 'Steeler', who also were signed to Steamhammer and recorded 2 albums, 'Strike Back' and 'Undercover Animal', I love the album 'Undercover Animal'. He also recorded 2 albums before signing to Steamhammer, they were 'Steeler' in 84, 'Rulin the Earth' in 85, these are 2 albums I need to check out as I have not heard them. He has come along way since the early days of his solo career, having former Yngwie singer Jeff Scot Soto, Impellitteri sing Rob Rock, with drummer Jorg Michael (ex Running Wild/ Stratovarius) and Mike Terrana, who was once with Rage now with Tanja. Long time vocalist Johnny Gioeli has been with Axel's band since the album 'Oceans of Time' in 97. 

I wouldn't say I am a big fan of Johnny's vocals are far, he is good don't get me wrong but for me there is something that doesn't quiet grab my attention too much sadly. Musically the music is good, reminds me of Rainbow, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath (Tony Martin era) or even Dio, so if you like those type of bands then you will enjoy this release. He has also made a few live DVD's in the past and live albums, but never really come to the UK to tour sadly and I am sure he has fans over here. The band have pretty much kept a steady line-up with only 1 member change for this album, this been new drummer Bobby Rondinelli (former Black Sabbath/ Rainbow) to this new album, in which he is a great addition to the band. The music is good but for the last few albums I really don't see much of a progression for the bands music, 

I am not sure if they want to take too many chances which is a same I never really hear many songs with double bass drum patterns, a little bit of spice in their music wouldn't go a miss sadly. Nevertheless, this isn't a bad album at all, produced by Axel who has done a fine job, probably his best work for some time. It comes with 11 tracks, 1 of which is a bonus song. Anybody who likes his previous work is going to love this album, nothing wrong with it I just seem to feel that there could be a little bit more in the album, a couple of up tempo song with additional double bass drumming wouldn't go a miss. Songs on the album I like are: Fire, Sons in the Night, Game of Sins, Falling Star, Till the world says Goodbye, Breaking the Rules. Not a bad release, I just wish they would take the chance instead of playing it safe all the time. But hey don't take my world for it, any fan of the bands work is going to love this album, it's just my opinion. 

Bloodbound      "One night of Blood"     AFM     ****   

Swedish Power Metal band 'Bloodbound' return with a new release, this time it's the band debut live CD/DVD. The band for those don't know were formed back in 2004 by keyboardist Fredrik Bergh & guitarist Tomas Olsson. The two found Michael Bomann (Jaded Heart/ Silent Force) with Pelle Akerland (Morgana Lefay) in the early stages of the bands career, and later on when the band released their debut album 'Nosferatu' this album also featured Urban Breed (ex Tad Morose) as the vocalist, this album was released in 2005. Urban is a great singer and he did a great job for Tad Morose in the years he was in the band, he also recorded the band 3e#rd album 'Tubula Rasa' in 2009 before forming his own band 'Serious Black'. 

Michael Bormann recorded the bands 2nd album 'Book of the Dead' in 2007. The band later on recorded the next album 'Unholy Cross' with new singer Patrik Johansson who also recorded the next album 'In the name of Metal', a fine album. The bands music reminds me of across between Dream Evil meets Hammerfall, two great bands, sadly not sure if Dream Evil will ever do another album, we can all but wish. The bands current line up is Patrik Johansson (vocals), Thomas & Henrik Olsson (both on guitars), Anders Broman (bass), drummer Pelle Akerlind and keyboardist Fredrik Bergh. I must admit the band write some great tunes I guess Scandinavian True Metal/ Power Metal here and if you like the 2 bands already mentioned then you're going to love this release and the bands albums. I really like them and think their music is growing with each album. 

I guess there could be other bands in their music like the slower stuff that Sabaton do and maybe some mystical elements of Black Sabbath (Tony Martin era)  & Firewind which all blend in well together. There's some fine music and tunes here, and there not all speed riffing songs, which makes the bands music shine through and become more enjoyable. Vocalist Patrik is a really good singer as you can see & hear on this live CD/ DVD, which I highly recommend. Songs that I like are: Iron Thorne, In the name of Metal, When demons Collide, When the kingdom will Fall, Moria, Metalheads Unite, When the lights Fail, Book of the Dead, Metal Monster, Stormborn. A fine release and if you see the band live shortly supporting Sabaton throughout the UK and Europe then I suggest you do so. This is a great release, in which I am looking forward to see in the live DVD soon. I also await the next release as this band are on the top with nothing stopping them.

Sinbreed        "Master Creator"     AFM     ***     

German Power Metal band 'Sinbreed' return with their new album 'Master creator', this is the band's 3rd album. Formed back in 2005 under the name of 'Neoshine', but due to legal reasons the band had to change their name to 'Sinbreed'. This band is put together by Blind Guardian drummer Frederik Ehmke & Avantasia vocalist Herbie Langhans (Seventh Ave) along with guitarist Flo Laurin and bassist Alexander Schulz & Marcus Siepen (Blind Guardian) who recently left the band leaving the band as a 4 piece outfit. The band released 3 demos under their original name, sending it out to various labels in order to get a contract. It wasn't long before this band were soon getting offers from some of the big indie metal labels. 

The band released their debut album 'When Worlds Collide' was released in 2010 and featured a completely different line up, Morten from Pretty Maids, Joost Van Den Broek (After Forever), guitarists Oliver Lohmann, Andreas Lancu and vocalists Thomas Rettke. You wouldn't think this was the same band that recorded the debut album, they might of well just changed their name, but I guess one original member has the right to carry the name on. With the band releasing their debut album for AFM it wasn't long before the band recorded their next album 'Shadows' in 2014, yet another move forward with their brand of Power Metal, which reminds me of Helloween, Rage, Brainstorm style German metal with hints of Grave Digger and Blind Guardian. Since the 2nd album the band consisted of the same line up as this new album, as already mentioned. 

This album was mixed and master by Markus Teske who has worked with the likes of Vanden Plas, Saga and Mob Rules. He has done a great job on this album, and the vocals are good too, as Herbie is a great singer, and can sing some pretty high notes and the music is pretty good too. I have to say that the opening song 'Creation of Reality' isn't something I would go nuts over... its a little to Euro for me like Helloween meets Stratovarius, it's ok but not a song that really striked me. Myabe it's just me, but the album does get better in my opinion. Songs that I do like are: Across the great Divines, Behind the Mask, Moonlit Night, Last Survivor, The Riddle, The Voice. If you like Euro Speed/ Power Metal then you will love this, I think it's a pretty good album, at least it's metal. But don't take my word on for it it's good quality metal #, just that I am not a great fan of speed metal or the sometimes Stratovarius style metal. Still a great album, great playing too. 

Prong    "X - No Absolutes"     Steamhammer     ***    

New York act 'Prong 'return with their new album, in which the band were formed by long time guitarist and singer Tommy Victor. Formed back in 86 who was the sound engineer for the famous club 'CBGBs', found bass player Mike Kirkland, who also worked at the club as a door man found drummer Ted Parsons back then to form Prong. Back then the band were more Hardcore with some Thrash Metal elements, the crossover scene which was taking place in New York in the mid 80's. In 87 the band released their debut EP 'Primitive Origins ', and put the band on the NY scene. A great Ep which it was was soon followed by 'Force fed' in 88. This saw a great record and I remember it well, some catchy tunes and a powerful full length release. I remember see in the band live for this record here in the UK, this was before the band signed to major label CBS for the next release 'Beg to Differ', the album that saw the band release 'Third from the Sun', another fine album and in later years the band released their most successful album 'Cleansing' which featured the single 'Snap your finger... Snap your Neck'. 

This for me was the turning point when the band went for a more commercial approach in order to gain more success in which they did so. 10 albums in total prior to this release the band had made. Now the band return with in my opinion is probably one of their best, because it is so diverse and captures some really good guitar riffs and song structures. The bands current line up is Tommy Victor (guitars/ vocals), Jason Christopher (bass), and drummer Art Cruz, something the band have kept as a trio from day one. Produced by Tommy and co-produced by Chris Collier, the 2 have given this a nice solid sounding album, cutting guitars, pounding drums and some fine vocals makes this a decent album. However, there are 1 or 2 songs that I'm not too keen on but then again you can never make a perfect album no matter what band you are in. 

Songs on this record I do like are: Ultimate Authority, Sense of Erase, Without Words, Cut & Dry, Do Nothing, Belief System, In Spirit of Hindrances, Worth Pursuing, Universal Law. Three bands come to mind when I hear this album, Fear Factory, Machine Head & Slayer as well as Prong. So if you like the 3 bands mentioned then you are going to like this release. European tour starts in March, including 1 in London at the Underworld on 26.3.16

Onslaught       "Live At The Slaughterhouse"      AFM     ****      

Another fine British Thrash Metal band 'Onslaught' return with their debut live CD, which is also the bands 2nd live DVD also included in the set. The band have been around for many years now and are one of the N.W.O.B.T.M. bands along with Acid Reign, Re-Animator, Sabbat, Slammer, Xentrix and many more bands that helped shape the British thrash scene. With the band formed by guitarist Nigel Rockett  & Steve Grice back in Bristol from 83-91, later reforming in 2004 and playing Bloodstock indoor festival at that time was great to see and watch. The band back in the day were more drawn towards the Punk scene more than the metal or thrash scene, but later on the band headed towards the thrash movement. With the band releasing their debut album 'Powers from Hell' in 85, which featured original singer Paul Mahoney and bassist Jason Stallard the debut was released on a small label called Children of the Revolution. It was a great start that saw the album receive some great reviews from Fanzines. 

It was 86 when the band released their 2nd album, which Music for Nation showed interest in the band. Vocalist Paul, Jason switching to guitar and bass and new singer Sy Keeler joined the band, a singer who had more diversity and range which took the band to the next level with 'The Force'. Feet now established firmly on the ground the band were opening up for some pretty good acts like Anthrax. Great success came the band why with the next level of London Records signing the band, now headling shows were set up, but Sy left the band and was replaced by ex Grim Reaper Steve Grimmett for the next release 'In Search of Sanity', with a tour supported by Annihilator around the UK and Europe. This was a fine tour that saw both Onslaught and Annihilator bring a stronger fan base. This album for those that don't know also featured Sy doing vocals on their demo, but sadly they never saw the light of day. With the band already releasing their debut live DVD 'Live Polish Assault' in 2007, it was about time the band released yet another live album/ DVD, and this is it. 

A great combination of some of the bands finest songs, maybe not long enough as some may think as the band have recorded some dine tracks in the past, so releasing a new release like this must of been pretty hard for thge band to choose the right songs for this release. This release sees the band perform 13 brutal ripping thrash tunes from start to finish. Both guitarist Nigel and Iain GT Davis are both a fine example of British thrash guitar assault, whereas Sk vocals are powerful and still scream those high notes. Rhythm section Jeff Williams, and drummer Mike Hourihan both deliver a powerful ripping section that makes the band one of the best UK bands around. Songs played are: The sound of Violence, Killing Peace, Chaos is King, Let there be Death, Rest in Peace, 66 Fucking 6, In search of Sanity, Metal Forces, Fight with the Beast, Onslaught (Power from Hell). A grea live album, looking forward to see in the live DVD.

Nordic Union      "Same"    Frontiers     ***     

Ok so I guess most of you out there would be aware of this project put together by Pretty Maids front man Ronnie Atkins along with Eclipse & W.E.T. guitarist Erik Martenensson who also plays bass, both started talking about doing a project together, something of which some of us wasn't sure if it would see the light of day. We are glad that the talks paid off as a project which features drummer Magnus Ulfstedt with guest musicians doing guitar solos been Thomas Larsson, Fredik Folkara, Magnus Henriksson & the whole album was produced by Erik, who is also known for working with various other bands. It's good when 2 musicians come together from Sweden and Denmark to create some music which comes across between both Pretty Maids meets Eclipse, seems to work well. Although this is not as heavy as Pretty Maids music, it still manages to capture the melodic elements that Pretty Maids have a lot in common with like Eclipse. I am sure this project will be blessed by both fans of Pretty maids and Eclipse and sell well. 

The album was produced by Erik, who has worked with a lot of bands producing bands in different styles of rock & metal music. The more I listen too this record the more I like, but I do much prefer Pretty Maids, as they have that edge to them that Eclipse doesn't, nothing wrong with that both are great bands just slightly different approaches with their music. This project could easily play 'Firefest' or festivals like that, not sure how they would do at Wacken, but I am sure they would go down well. Makes you wonder if projects like this will ever tour with the time they have with their other bands, time will tell. I was kind of hoping this album may of been a little heavier in places, but still it's not a bad album at all. Songs on the album that I like are: The war has Begun, Hypocrisy, Every Heartbeat, When death is Calling, 21 Guns

It's not a bad album, Ronnie is certainly my favourite Danish singer and the Maids might be my favourite Danish band, I'm not going too lie, I think It may take a while to get into, maybe my view might change after a few more spins. Fans of melodic rock are going to love it I am sure and I am sure it will sell well too. Look out for a tour maybe in 2016 I am sure they will do some festivals if anything.

Brainstorm     "Scary Creatures"    AFM   ****     

It's good to see Brainstorm still pumping out good quality albums since the bands debut album 'Hungry' in 97. The band were formed by guitarists Torsten Ihlenfeld & Milan Loncaric with drummer Dieter Bernert in 89. The 3 had a vision to create some new breed of Power Metal, mixing the likes of a Vicious Rumors style guitar riffage and style which works really well for this band. Later on the band found bassist Peter Waldstatter but left the band in 2000, opening the door for Andreas Mailander who later on quit the band in 2007 and singer Stefan Fronk, who was replaced by Marcus Jurgens, who did the 'Hungry' album along with the bands 2nd album 'Unholy' in 98, both of which were released through B.O. Records. 

In 99 Andy B. Frank joined the band, former progressive metal act  'Ivanhoe' vocalist was to join the band. The bands next stage was 'Ambiguity' in 2000 with a new label Metal Blade. Now the band were firmly supported by a well known and established label the band went from strength to strength, recording yet another 5 albums. In 2009 the band signed to AFM, and from this day onwards the band remain. Andreas left the band only to be replaced by Antonio Leva who joined in 2007, with his debut release been 'Downburst'. The band still manage to create some fine Power Metal, with not so many German influences shining through as you would expect, maybe the likes of Grave Digger or Primal Fear, but more U.S. bands come to mind, like I said Vicious Rumors been one of them. The band have played some of the most important festivals in the world, Wacken, Bloodstock, Summer Breeze, Hellfest, Sweden Rock and so on... Now the band return with this new album 'Scary Creatures', this is a great album for the beginning of 2016 as the band are still going strong and writing some fine music. 

This album features 10 tracks, with a bonus song on the digi pack and a live DVD. The album was produced by Achim Koehler, who is a great producer and has worked with the band before on their previous album. Likes Dennis Ward, Achim is a great producer and brings out the best sound out of this band. Songs to check out are: The world to See, How much can you Take, Where angels Dream, Scary Creatures, Twisted Ways, Scars in your Eyes, Take me to the Never. It's good to see the band back with a new album, let's hope they tour soon which includes some UK dates please.

Shakra         "High Noon"      AFM        ***    

New album by Swiss Hard Rock band Shakra now return with their new album for 2016. Formed back in 97 roughly and I am sure this band may of been called 'House of Shakra', who released some albums on Lion Music, don't quote me on this, it's just a certain feel I have that they may of been called this at some point. For some reason this band kind of remind me of Gotthard, also from Switzerland, and which both sounds very similar, not sure who is the heaviest out of the two but I am sure it could be this band. I do know that Gotthard have been around a little longer than this band. Shakra have made 9 studio albums to date which is a good thing so there certainly not a new band. 

I didn't realize how many albums this band have made, there one of those bands who have made some pretty good albums, having not heard all of them I can't say how much the band have progressed, but from what I have heard they are a pretty decent band. Their music kind of reminds me of Gotthard, Tyketto, Firehouse, Pink Cream 69 to name a few, so if you like melodic Hard Rock with some AOR elements then this is for you. I don't mind all of those bands to be honest, this is good solid Hard Rock with some hints of George Lynch sounding guitar solos, so their music is pretty interesting. I don't know too many bands from Switzerland, Celtic Frost, Krokus, Coroner, Gotthard really can't think of any others, but I am sure there are more quality bands. The bands current line up is Mark Fox (vocals - who replaced John Prakesh), Thom Blunier (guitars), Thomas Muster (guitars), Dominik Pfister (bass), and drummer Roger Tanner. The band signed to AFM and released their debut album for the label back in 20-9 with their album 'Back on Track' , which was followed by the album 'Powerplay' in 2013. 

I am sure the band haven't played the UK yet, and I think they would go down well at festivals like Hard Rock Hell or Firefest. This album however has 12 hard rocking songs that would appeal to fans of the above already mentioned and comes with a nice production, solid drums and nice guitar tones and new vocalist is well suited to the bands music. Songs that I suggest you check out are: Hello, High Noon, Into your Heart, Around the World, Eye to Eye, Life's what you Need, Stand Tall, Wild & Hungry. Not a bad album, and if you like the band's previous albums then you will surely like this gem too.

Primal Fear        "Rulebreaker"       Frontiers      ****      

It's good to see Primal Fear return with yet another classy album, as it's been some time since the last album. What with various projects by Matt, Alex & Magnus, thing shave been rather quiet for some time. Nothing wrong with that of course, some solo albums and projects always keep the main band fresh and full of ideas. The band's last album 'Delivering the Black' was released in 2014, a fine melodic Power Metal album, mixing the likes of Judas Priest, Saxon, Thin Lizzy with the German elements of Helloween, Sinner, and Gamma Ray, resulting in a fine bunch of musicians. Main members Matt, Ralf and Alex have managed to keep this band rolling since 97, with the band playing the likes of Dynamo festival, Wacken with their debut album which was self titled in 98, this was just the beginning of what is now, a rolling power house. 

The band have released some fine albums such as 'Nuclear Fire', 'Devils Ground', '16.6,', and later on 'Delivering in Black'. Now the band have old friend Tom Naumann on guitar along with Alex Beyrodt and Magnus Karlsson, making them the Power Metal 'Iron Maiden'. It's cool that they have 3 guitarist, I guess Judas Priest could do it if K.K. came back, and why not? This album is a fine album for the start of 2016, if like me you like Power Metal then this is a great start, I think you will be impressed. Produced by Jacob Hansen, known for his work with the likes of Pretty Maids, Voltbeat, who like the rest of the acts he has worked with has done an amazing job, solid drums, knife cutting guitar sound and ripping vocals by the German answer to Rob Halford. The band have progressed throughout the years as this album shows, still keeping their own identity which is a fine thing makes this a solid album for 2016.  Vocalist Ralf is certainly keeping his voice in top shape with the vocals sounding just as good as they were in the beginning , if not better now.  

Having 3 guitarist is a pretty cool thing and it's going to be fun see in all 3 doing solos on stage, that's for sure. Songs on the album I enjoy are: Angels of Mercy, The end is Near, Bullets & Tears (sounds like 'Breaking the Law' a little), Rulebreaker, In Metal we Trust, We walk without Fear, The devil in Me, Constant Heart, been the songs that stand out for me. I like the way they mix Power Metal with the classic German guitar riffs, work really well. Looking forward to see in the band here in the UK in 2016 I hope, there well overdue. 

Cloudscape        "Voice Of Reason"    Dead End Exit     ****   

It's always good to see a band make more albums, and of course carry on making quality music and this case Swedish progressive metal band 'Cloudscape', who have made some final album throughout their career. The band 1st started back in Helsingborg in 2001 with vocalist Mike Andersson, who met original members Patrik Svard (guitars) who is still in the band, who also met Bjorn Eliasson (guitars), Roger Landin (drums) and bassist Haynes Pherson. The band signed to Roastinghouse Music in 2002 and it wasn't long before the band released their debut self titled album. A fine debut mixing melodic metal with progressive metal elements, kind of Whitesnake meets Dream Theater which really worked well for the band. 

Their debut album was a great debut that impressive such journalist like myself that I knew the band would become something special that Sweden so rightly were missing and with the band releasing their 1st video for the song 'Under Fire'. With the debut out in record stores it wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album for the same label titled 'Crimson Skies' in 2006, this album saw the band release their 2nd video 'Demon Tears', this album also featured former Nightwish singer Anette Olzan, known on the album as 'Anette Blyckert for the song 'We will Remain'. The band released for me their finest work to date (we all have our favourties) 3rd album 'Global Drama', I lve this album, not one bad song, fine music, production and vocals on this record. This would sadly be the last album with the original line-up, leaving Mike and Patrik to find new members. This would come in the form of Stefan Rosqvist (known for working with Mike's other band 'Fullforce') who had joined the band along with Hakan Nyander (bass) and drummer Fredik Joakimsson. The band would record their next album 'New Era' in 2012, this album saw the band supporting Royal Hunt around Europe and the UK. This album was a darker album, of course it still had the progressive elements but more of a detuned and heavier approach. It took me a little long to adjust to it, and I guess the new album 'Voice of Reason' also for me took me a little longer for get into. I guess I was hoping for another 'Global Drama' album, a part 2. 

The new album however is a great album, and after a few spins I realize this is as good as the bands last album. Produced by Anders 'Theo' Theander, who also mixed and mastered the album, who has done a great job. All the instruments shine through and Mike's voice is still on top form. This album comes with only 8 songs, but still a great album despite the length of the album, or lack of tunes. Never judge a book by it's cover, it's still a a fine album and in 2016 this masterpiece will be released. I really am looking forward to see in the band live again soon. In the meantime check out this album, songs to listen out for are: A New Design, Futuristic Phsyco, Don't close your Eyes, All for Metal, Voice of Reason, Needle in the Eye, Thunder of Extreme. Don't worry it's still CLoudscape, and it's a great album, just wish it had of been a little long. Welcome back guy, any chance pf a part 2 of 'Global Drama' please? Only joking, but you never know? Looking forward to the next UK tour.

Voodoo Circle       "Whiskey Fingers"       AFM      ****      

Great to see Alex Beyrodt bring back another album of Voodoo Circle with the likes of David Readman (Pink Cream 69) and Matt Sinner (Primal Fear/ Sinner) to the fold, as we all know Matt and Alex are in so many bands or projects together it's hard to keep up with them and how the hell do these guys find time to do so much music? It's good that they do and the music for Voodoo Circle shows how good musicians they are and how diverse they can be, not only playing Power Metal but also Hard Rock/ Blues influenced music such as this band do. OK so a lot of you call this band the Whitesnakes of Germany, not sure if that is initially true, yes they may have some Whitesnake in their music, but there are also hints of Deep Purple and Rainbow too, although they are all linked together this band do it so well. The band were formed from Silent Forces guitarist Alex with the help of David Readman and Matt Sinner, when some amazing ideas came together to make this an official band, who released their debut album their self titled album in 2008, for me this was a great debut album, how how much feel and passion a guitarist with the right musicians can create a great vibe and music. In 2011 the band released 'Heart Break Syndrome', another fine album which still captured the Hard Rock/ Blues feel, strong vocals by English singer David, amazing guitar riffs and solos, the rest just jelled well together. 

In 2013 the band released 'More than one way Home', for me this was the bands finest work, amazing riffs, vocals and melodic tunes made this an album which I thought could be hard to beat. I'm some ways I was correct, the new album 'Whiskey Fingers' is a great album, but I feel that the bands finest album was the last one. Don't get me wrong there's nothing really wrong with this new album, great songs, riffs, vocal melodies and a little too close to that of Whitesnake on this one. I love Whitesnakes music, but I am sure Dsvid Coverdale would properly laugh at this album, saying that David Readman is a better singer. This album also sees keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio handling some of the vocals as a joint effort and I must say his has a pretty good voice. I can't knock Alex's playing , he's one of the best, mixing the likes of John Sykes, Doug Aldritch and Richie Blackmore with Dave Menketti works extremely well for him as a guitar playing. 

New drummer former U.D.O Francisco Jovino fits in well and it's good to see him doing something different. This album comes with 11 pure Hard Rock songs, a great production too which was handled by Alex and I am sure Dennis Ward may of had something to do with the mixing of the album. It's a great album, love to see them live if they ever come to the UK. In the meantime check out the album, great musicians and great music. Songs to check out are: Trapped in Paradise, Heartbreaking Woman, Watch & Wait, Medicine Man, The day the walls came Down, Heart of Stone, The Rhythm of the Heart, Been said & Done (Is Axel Rose on vocals here?) to the finest of songs on the album. If you like the bands previous stuff then you're going to like this too.

Manimal         "Trapped in the Shadows"       AFM    ***     

Newly signed to AFM is Swedish metal act 'Manimal', who were formed back in 2001 in Gothenburg, this 4 piece band released their long awaited debut album 'The Darkest Room' in 2009, after the band spent time rehearsing and recording demos to submit to record labels. AFM records saw a promising future and soon snapped up the band to release their debut album, the beginning of a good future for the band. The band consists of Samuel Nyman (vocals), Henrik Stenroos (guitars), Andre Holmqvist (drums) and bassist Kenny Boufadene to complete the line up. 

The band's debut was a promising release, which saw many journalists like their debut as much as the fans of new liked what they heard. Now the band return with this new album 'Trapped in the Shadows', a more heavier but still capturing the melodic riffs and vocals that so many Power Metal bands capture. The band are pretty new but have some exciting riffs, OK so maybe more original riffs but still interesting enough to like, and if you are a fan of bands like Primal Fear, Helker, Dream Evil, with maybe some recent Saxon, then this is the band you must hear. For me I like what I hear, I love the high pitch Halford screams and the melodic riffs that make such a good album like this well worth checking out. At some times I can also hear the likes of bands like Nocturnal Rites, Brainstorm, Gamma Ray,  as well which makes it an even better album, certainly better than the bands debut and I am sure a lot will agree with me. 

Produced by done other than Achim Koehler who also mixed and mastered the album, a great engineer and producer who has worked with the likes of Sinner, Primal Fear, Brainstorm to name a few. This album comes with 10, one of which UDO sings on, thus been 'The Journey', a great and very influence singer indeed since his days with Accept. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Irresistible, March of Madness, The Dark, Trapped in the Shadows, Invincible, Man Made Devil, The Journey, Screaming Out & Psychopomp. A decent 2nd album, well worth checking out if you like the band already mentioned above. Let's see what 2016 bring for the band, hopefully some decent tour and festival appearance would be a great start to the next year. I always like AFM Records they have a lot of cool Power Metal bands, not many labels seem to stick to mainly one type of music, AFM are one who do. 

RAM      "Svbverssvm"      Metal Blade     ****     

RAM return with yet another album, this is the bands 2nd album for Metal Blade, but not their 2nd in their career by far. The band was formed back in 99 by Harry Granoth (guitars) who wanted to create a more old school metal band in the vain of the 80's, and he certainly did that in later years. Harry met Daniel Johansson who also played guitar for the band for some time but later on left the band. Now the 2 guitarists were found it was next to find Oscar Carlquist (vocals), now 3 were in the band drummer (Morgan Pettersson) and bassist Tobias Pettersson and later guitarist Martin Jonsson for the current line up. The band recorded in earlier years 'Sudden Impact' on Black Path records in 2003, which saw the band on the rise and it wasn't long before Metal Blade soon heard this band and thought they were good enough to sign them as they managed to capture the true old school spirit of Metal Blades earlier bands. In 2012 the album 'Death' was recorded, putting the old school metal scene back on track. Rave reviews for a debut album impressed the label that they kept them on to release more records. Next album that came was 'Under Command' in 2014, another masterpiece from Swedish Power Metal Gods. 

This new album however, 'Svbverssvm' is a fine album, mixing early stages of Warrel Dane style vocals of the 1st Sanctuary album 'Refuge Denied' , mixing music of that by Sanctuary, Savage Grace, Leatherwolf, Liege Lord, King Diamond, just to name a few... all bands that I love so I am really everything on this album so far. Some fine old school guitar riffs, ripping high pitch vocals, and it really takes me back to my youth. I just love the 80's and I wish Metal Blade would release more albums and sign more bands like this. I do think the production could be slightly better as the songs are excellent, it would of certainly done the album  more justice for sure. In the meantime, you should check out this great old school metal album and the following songs: Return of the iron Tyrant, Eyes of the Night, The Usuper, Enslaver, The Omega Device, Forbidden Zone, Temples of Void, Svbverssvm. A fine album a great band playing old school metal... my up most respect to the guys in this band. If you like the 80's and it takes you back to you're youth like this album did for me, then I suggest you grab a copy of this album, you can't go wrong!

Vanden Plas        "Chronicles of the Immortals - Netherworld II"       Frontiers   ****   

German Progressive Metal act 'Vanden Plas' return with their new album, a follow up to the bands last album 'Part I- Path' released last year. An interesting album indeed, a concept album which continues with with this new album. The band were formed by brothers Stephan Lill  (guitars)& Andreas Lill (drums) in the mid 80's, when they found singer Andy Kuntz along with bassist Torsten Reichert and keyboard wizard Gunter Weno. The band recorded a couple of demos and a single, which certainly helped them in the German metal scene, and it was later on when LMP Music got a hold of the singe 'Fire' in 92, in which LMP sent it onto Dream Circle records. The label were impressed with what the band had to offer they offered them a deal and in which 'Colour Temple' in 94 was released. I remember hearing it and reviewing it back then I was impressive with what this German band had to offer, mixing the progressive metal elements of Dream Theaters 'Images and Words' album meets Dokken's 'Back for the Attack' era, both of mix well for the band. 

Great musicians and great music with some fine vocals made this a great debut album. Now the band were getting well known around Europe it wasn't long before the band released their next album 'The God Thing' in 97, again mixing the two band with their own brand of Progressive music the band went from strength to strength and saw the band supporting Dream Theater around Europe and the UK. More albums would follow 'Far off Grace' 99, 'Beyond Daylight' 2002, 'Christ O' 2006, 'The Seraphic Clockwork' 2010, and of course the 2 albums mentioned earlier. Andy also did a solo project 'Abydos' for the label Inside out in which Vanden Plas later on signed too. Now signed to Frontiers, the band are going stronger then ever and in fact this band is the only band I can think of that has kept the original line up with no changes since the formation, so respect to them a great bond makes excellent music. 

This new album sees the band ever moving forward writing some complex music, yet melodic and still has that progressive elements with traditional 80's kind of American style metal , which works well in their favour. Not sure who produced the album but I have a feeling it was the band and of course the sound is excellent, strong vocals, complex guitars, beautiful keyboard sounds and pounding drums makes this a great album. If you're a fan of the bands mentioned as well as bands like Evergrey, Kamelot this band is for you, be a great tour for all 3 of them. Songs that I suggest you check out are: In my Universe, Godmakers, Stone Roses, Monster, Diabolica Comedia, The last Fight, Circle of the Devil (Sounds like Savatage). A good album, maybe a little softer than the earlier albums but still a good listen. 

Magnus Karlsson's Freewill      "Kingdom Of Rock"     Frontiers   *****      

Some of you out there will properly wonder who the hell Magnus Karlsson is? Well I will enlighten you, Magnus was once for guitarist and founder member of the band 'Last Tribe', a great melodic metal band that had some Power Metal tendencies, somewhat like Pretty Maids with what they tend to. This band recorded from what I recall 4 albums all for Frontiers, and they were truly awesome albums to say the least. With singer Rickard Bengtsson is also an incredible singer who also has been featured on Magnus solo albums, I think the last album he did as a solo artist. With 4 albums with his previous band, Magnus went onto join Primal Fear in later years and toured wit the band. Not only has he worked with Primal Fear, he has also been involved with various projects such as Starbreaker, Allen/ Lande, Midnight Sun, Bob Catley, Tony O'Hora, The Codex, Planet Alliance, just to name a few. 

He has become a very demanding guitarist and song writer in the last few years and I am sure he will be involved with more projects in the near future. With Magnus Karlsson's Freewill, this is his 2nd album his self titled album was released in 2013, which featured such singers , who are still involved with the new album such as David Readman (Pink Cream 69), Rick Altzi (Masterplan), Tony Harnell (TNT/ Skidrow), along with singers such as Russell Allen (Symphony X), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Mark Boals (Ring of Fire). This time around this album features also on vocals, Jorn Lande, Tony Martin (Ex Black Sabbath), Jakob Samuel (The Poodles), Joe Lynn Turner (ex Yngwie/ Rainbow), Harry Hess (Harem Scarem), Rebecca De La Motte to complete the vocal line up. Musicians included on this record are, Jamie Salazar on drums, whereas Magnus handles the rest of the instruments. This really is a great 2nd solo album, some fine melodic metal songs with like I said some Power Metal elements, and some of the finest Rock/ Metal singers out there, I could mention a few more but I will save that for the interview coming next week. 

Production was handled by Jacob Hansen (Voltbeat/ Primal Fear/ Pretty Maids) to name a few and like Andy Sneap, Jacob is the Danish answer to Andy, a fine producer that gives all the bands they work with excellent sounding albums. Songs that I recommended are: Kingdom of Rock (Jorn), Out of the Dark (Jakob), No Control (Joe), When the sky's Fall (Tony Martin), Angel of the Night (David), I am coming for You (Harry), Another Life (Rick), Never look Back (Tony Harnell), Heart so Cold (Tony Hess), Walk this road Alone. A fantastic and very well put together album, I really do enjoy albums that feature a variety of singer and Magnus does it so well. Buy today!!

Saxon      "Battering Ram"      UDR     *****    

Well the mighty Saxon return with yet another outstanding album and I have to be honest this band are going from strength to strength on each album, especially for me since the band recorded 'Metal Head', for me that was the turning point of a harder edge Saxon, more power and more energy immerged pretty much out of the blue. Saxon originally based from Barnsley (Yorkshire - UK) back in 76 with original front man Biff 'Peter' Byford met Paul Quinn along with Steve Dawson and Graham Oliver along with original drummer John Walker. The band back then as you may know were called 'Son of a Bitch', but later changed their name to 'Saxon', and with John leaving the band he was soon replaced by Pete Gill who went  onto joining Motorhead in later years. Saxon have recorded some of the finest albums from the N.W.O.B.H.M. back in the day such as 'Denim & Leather', 'Wheels of Steel', 'Strong arm of the Law', and in later years 'Crusader' , 'Power & the Glory'. With a few line up changes, mainly bass player they later on found Tim 'Nibbs' Carter, a complete animal on stage, crazy as a fox and fantastic bassist. a true showman indeed. 

I mean you really have to see Saxon live for their sheer power, stage presence and a wild manic 'Nibbs', a complete headbanger to the max. The band however have to of the finest twin axe men since Judas Priest's KK and Glenn, been Paul Quinn and Doug Scarrett. Some of the finest and underrated guitarist since Judas Priest's twin axe men. Singer Biff does a fine job live and on this album his voice is still on top form, and live just as powerful. Drummer Nigel Glockler is a power house, delivering a machine that is second to done and with Nigel been in hospital earlier this year he has made an fantastic comeback and this albums shows just how good if not better he is as a drummer now. The line-up however has recorded 8 albums to date, and in fact I feel that their best work has certainly been achieved by this line up, I doubt many people will disagree with me. The bands last album 'Sacrifice' was an incredible album which saw new by Andy Sneap (Hell/ ex Sabbat), who is also known for his work with bands as a producer such as Exodus, Testament, Megadeth, Arch Enemy to name a few. Andy once again with the help of Biff has recorded this new album 'Battering Ram', at Andy's own studio 'Sneapy Hollow' studios. This album is a solid and very powerful sounding album, making the guitars shine through, drums as powerful as a battering ram, and bass having that bunch sounding with Biff on top form. 

At time I can hear the high screams of Biff which remind me of Glenn Hughes on the song 'Queen of Hearts', its as if Glenn his there with Biff, rather incredible to say the least. A powerful album indeed, having the classic Saxon guitar sound with a Power Metal edge to their songs. There isn't a bad song on this record, but songs I do enjoy are: Battering Ram, The Devils Footprint, Hard & Fast, Queen of Hearts, Stand your Ground, Top of the World, Kingdom of the Cross , which features David Bower from Hell, (this song should be a charity songs for the fallen heroes of the great war), To the End. Well this is one of their finest albums, well worth checking out and if you don't have Sacrifice check this out too. Welcome back guys... their true crusaders of metal!!

Grave Digger        "Exhumanation  - The Early Years"     Napalm     ****   

German Power Metal band 'Grave Digger' just keep on making fine albums, in some peoples mind maybe not so but for me I love their music, I always have. I 1st discovered the band when I was like 16yrs old back in 85 with the album 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' fine album in which I later bought the next album 'War Games' in 86 and became hooked on their music. I then back tracked and bought 'Witch Hunter' later on. The band were back then of course signed to Noise Music... the label that also brought you Helloween, Kreator, Celtic Frost, Voi-Vod and so many more fine acts from Europe. Grave digger was formed by vocalist Chris Boltendahl, who has constantly carried the flag for these German Metal Gods for some years now. Of course like any band they have had there fare shares of line up changes throughout their career. 

I would be here for some time if I had to mention all the drummers, guitarist this band has gone through..., but the current line up features drummer Stefan Arnold who joined in 96, with bassist Jens Becker who joined in 97, and in the last few years current guitarist Axel Ritt joined the band, former Domain, who 1st recorded 'The Clans with rise Again' in 2010 and has recorded 3 albums to date as well as this re-vamped classic tunes re-recorded with today's technology. For some people they won't see the point in re-vamping old songs, but when Saxon released 'Heavy Metal Thunder' for me it was just amazing and so why shouldn't any other band do it too? 

Id love to see Over Kill do the 1st 2 albums reworked too. This album featured 13 classic Grave Digger tunes, which I really think should of been a double album as the band have enough back catalogue albums. Nevertheless, this is a fine album, and if you're new to the bands music then this is a great introduction to classic Grave Digger. Nice solid production, which I can only presume that was done by the band, making the old songs shine through and yes Chris is still on top form with his vocals. He always kind of reminded me a little bit of U.D.O., the rasp sound vocals, but for this bands music goes really well. Songs on the album to check out are: Fire in you're Eyes, Head banging Man, Shoot her Down, Heavy Metal Breakdown, Enola Gay  - Drop the Bomb, Get Away, We wanna Rock You, Paradise. A great German band still cracking out some fine Power metal music... old school of course and why not? 

Gama Bomb        "Untouchable Glory"      AFM     ***    

Irish Thrash Metal band 'Gama Bomb' were formed back in 2002 in a placed called Newry Northern Ireland, to which the band were formed by school friends Joe McGuigan (bass) with Philly Byrne (vocals) and guitarist Luke Graham, in which the band soon build a small but loyal fan base in their home city. The band soon recorded their debut demo 'The Survival Option', to which the demos was sent to many labels and journalists around the world, this was soon followed by a single under the name of 'The Fatal Mission' with a tour in the same year. Back in the day the band were seen as a crossover band with soon supported Punk band 'Dangerfields' around Scotland. 

In 2006 the band released their debut album 'Survival of the Fastest' through Witches Brew and this was just the beginning of better things to come. In 2007 the band signed to Earache, the label that brought you Evile, Municipal Waste, and older bands like Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Carcass. The band released their next album 'Citizen Brain', which mixed the old school Thrash Metal with some elements of bands like Municipal Waste. For those who have never heard this band, they remind me of a early Over Kill 'Feel the Fire' & 'Taking Over' era meets the likes of such bands like At War, the rawness. Singer Philly certainly is a younger version of Blitz that's for sure and I can see why over Kill took these guys on tour in the past. In 2011 the band released their next album 'Tales from the grave in Space', another fine album that saw the band pick up an award at Metal Hammer awards. Sadly after this the singer went under surgery and long time guitarist Graham left the band after 10yrs and was replaced by John Roche of Slave Zero. The rest of the band consist of Domo Dixon (guitars), Paul Caffery (drums). 

In 2009 the band signed and released 'The Terror Tapes' for new label AFM, better production on this album, more old school Thrash Metal the way it should be. This was a great next level album, catchy riffs, pounding drums and Blitz style vocals. Now in 2015 the band released their next level of Thrash metal 'Untouchable Glory', fast in you're face Thrash metal from start to finish which is inspired by vintage Kung Fu films. Sadly I am not sure who produced the album, but nevertheless, it has a solid production making it have a fine raw edge to the music, one for any Thrash metal fan. Songs on the album to check out are: Ninja Untouchables /Untouchable Glory, Avenge Me, Drinkers Inc, Tuck your T shirt In, Ride the Night, She Thing, Raging Skies, After the Fire. Not a bad album, at all just wish at times the vocals would have a bit more variation which would d the music more justice.

Pagans Mind      "Full Circle - Live at Center Stage"     Steamhammer    *****    

It's good to see that Pagans Mind are doing so well and having been around for many years now. As some of you may know the band formed out of the ashes of a band under the name of 'Silver Spoon', not the greatest of name granted but still the early stages of Pagans Mind that also featured Nils K. Rue, with Stain Kristoffersen along with ex Pagans Mind guitarist Thorstein Aaby, and after just 1 album in 2000 the band broke up and formed Pagans Mind in which the band released their debut album for LMP Music in 2002 titled 'Celestial Entrance', a fine debut album and slight different from that of Sliver Spoon, but early indications of their previous band does shine through with the debut Pagans Mind album. The as a debut album was a superb start to a career that has last over a decade and longer. 

In 2004 the band released their next album 'Infinity Divine' also through LMP, yet another fine album which saw the band take their music to the next level in terms of Progressive Metal, such bands as Evergrey, Kamelot, Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz and Queensryche started to show in their music and for me this was truly a band well worth checking out. Next to come along was album number 3 'Engimatic - Calling' in 2005, for me this was the turning point to were the band would be one of the finest bands to come out of Norway along side TNT, Conception to name a few. In 2007 the band released their next album 'Gods Equation' and with guitarist Jorn Viggo Lofstad producing the bands albums the music was top notch and vocals by Nils were spot on. It was 2011 when the band released their next album 'Heavenly Ecstasy' with new label Steamhammer, a new label and a fresh new approach the band were on the top and received some fine reviews from the press world-wide.  

The band played some of the most important festivals worldwide including the 'ProgPower' in Atlanta (U.S.A.) tow ere this DVD was recorded. This is the bands 2nd official live DVD, their 1st was released in Norway 'Live Equation' in 2009. The band have kept a steady and solid line up for many yrs now with Jorn, ROnny, Steiner and Stian and Nils delivering quality music for many yrs now. I can't wait to hear the next album in 2016. This DVD was recorded at Progpower the enter 'Celestial Entrance' album along with other tracks from other albums, and it goes to show just how good this band are, totally professional all the way. What you get here is 2 sets from ProgPower with 23 songs of pure Progressive metal magic from start to finish. Pity the DVD didn't have any interviews but you cant have it all. A very impressive DVD, which comes with 2 CDs. Buy this awesome DVD you will not be disappointed. 

Tad Morose       "St Demonius"      Despotz Records     ****     

Sweden has some of the finest metal bands as well all know but other countries have some kick ass bands too, just that Sweden has most of the top musician's around, don't know why it's just that they have some superb musicians. One of those bands is melodic Doom/ Power Metal act 'Tad Morose', a band that puts 2 bands into one, thus been Savatage meets Black Sabbath (Dio/ Tony Martin era) and when these 2 bands comes together in the form of Tad Morose these guys to do it so well. Tad Morose hail from a small town close to Stockholm called Bollnas, the same area to that of Morgana Lefay, the 2 bands have been close friends for some time now. Formed in 1991 by long time guitarist Christer 'Kr(C)unt' Andersson (sorry Christer I couldn't resist) he has constantly kept the spirit of the band alive for 3 decades and with the band signed to Black Mark in the early 90's the band soon released their debut album 'Leaving the past Behind' in 93, a fantastic debut which saw the album receiving some excellent reviews including my old Fanzine. 

This debut album featured former singer Kristian Andren, who recorded the band next album 'Sender of Thoughts' in 95 which was also followed up by the EP 'Paradigma' in 96, after which he left the band and was replaced by Urban Breed who recorded 'A Mend Rhyme' in 97, the 2nd chapter in the bands career and what a great album this was too, which saw the band taking their music to the next level. In 2000 the band signed to Century Media and they released 'Undead', another fine and powerful album which saw the band playing the likes of Wacken and some of the major festivals around Europe. The band later on went to play in the UK, ProgPower U.S. In 2003 Urban would record his last album 'Modus Vivendi' with the band and it was also the last album sadly for Century Media. Just when you thought the band would come to an end Christer and long time drummer Peter Moren found new guitarist Kenneth Jonssson and bassist Tommi Karppanen and vocalist Ronny Hemlin to record the next album 'Revenant' in 2013 with new label Despotz who took the band to the next chapter. A great comeback album still in the vain of traditional Tad Morose, epic and doom feeling tunes with that Power Metal edge. The band were back and going strong and now the band return with their new album 'St Demonius', with a cover that looks like the house is on the same street as King Diamonds 'Abigail' street haha!! Nice cover, but I do feel that Tad Morose need to bring back their old logo, it would certainly do the band better justice and I think a lot of people would agree with me. 

The album comes with 12 intense and melodic songs which were produced by the band with the help of Ronny handling the mix with the aid of Johan Lofgren, in which the overall sound is excellent with all the instruments shining through. The cover on the other hand was done by Isis Sousa with the help of the band and (King Diamond) only joking haha!! Songs to check out are: Bow to the Reapers Blade, Forlorn, Where ignorance Reigns, Remain, Black fire Rising, Day of Reckoning (has a Crimson Glory feel), Darkness Prevail, Dream of Memories, Fear Subside & The world is growing Old. A fine album by a Swedish band that know what there doing and they do it well. 

Symphony X        "Underworld"    Nuclear Blast      ****    

New Jersey Progressive Power Metal Gods 'Symphony X' return with yet another outstanding album, the bands 2nd album for Nuclear Blast titled 'Underworld', the bands 9th album, and with the band recording their debut self titled back in 94 the band have continue to make amazing and fine albums not only for musician's but for metal heads in general. If you appreciate good music then this band are you for, there heavy technical, and progressive with some of the finest musicians around. When I 1st heard them when they released their debut album I was pretty much blown away by the sheer guitar riffs, and powerful vocals, kind of reminded me of across between 3 acts... Yngwie Malmsteen, Pantera and Dream Theater and for this band the music works well. For this band all 3 acts mentioned work extremely well in their music and I have seen the band progress throughout the yrs writing quality albums. So what would be you're favourite CD? 

Good question for me it would have to be across between 'The Odyssey' or 'The Divine Wings..' it's a difficult question to answer as this band are killer musicians and write some amazing songs. The band have had a steady line up for some time now, and this goes to show how successful a band like this band can be. Vocalist Russell Allan has been busy with various projects like Level 10, Jorn Allan project over the last couple of years, whereas bassist Mike Lapond has been busy with his solo album 'Silent Assassins', which featured Alan Tecchio former Hades , which was also a great LP. The rest of the band have been rather quiet and I guess just concentrated on the new album. 

It has been a while since the bands last album 'Iconoclast' which came out in 2011, the bands debut for Nuclear Blast. This new album sees the next chapter in the bands careers, a heavy album indeed but still manages to keep their own identity with some excellent guitar riffs, pounding drums and great melodic vocals all 3 Michaels, Russell and Jason have delivered a quality album indeed. This album was produced by Michael Romeo with the help of Jens Bogram at Fascination Studios, with the overall end results been awesome, a very symphonic album with bombastic keyboards and and orchestral arrangements makes this a very big and epic sounding album. The album comes with 11 beautifully composed songs and any fan of the bands previous work should buy this album too. I look forward to see in them love in March in the UK. In the meantime check out the following songs: Nevermore, Underworld, Without You, Kiss of Fire, Charon, Hell & Back, In my darkest Hour, Swansong, Legend. A superb album by a band that I really admire. anybody who likes bands like the above mentioned and also bands like Evergrey, Dragonland, will surely like this. Top stuff!!

Ivanhoe        "7 Days"     Massacre      ****     

Well it has been a while since German Progressive Metal act 'Ivanhoe' released an album. This was the band that started out back in the 86 when Giovanni Soulas (bass) met up with Markus Britsch (keyboards) and drummer Lars Hornig. it wasn't long before the found singer Andy  B Franck & guitarist Chuck Schuler to record demos such as 'Behind the Wall' in 88 and in 89 Written in Stone' demos. These were soon passed around and label WMMS, a small Progressive label that gave the band the chance to open up to the world, and released 3 albums for that label. The bands debut 'Visions of Reality' saw the light of day in 94, a pretty song album which had hints of such bands like Marillion, Enchant, Fates Warning and maybe Queensryche. Vocals by Andy were a little strange at time, as if he was trying too hard on the high notes which sadly let the music down. 

It wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Symbols of Time' in 95, a decent album with more technical songs and some pretty cool guitar riffs, again Andy seemed to be struggling a little on this too sadly. In 97 the band released their last album for WMMS 'Polarized', their best album with Andy on vocals and this was the album that saw Andy new becoming a better singer. Sadly he left the band due to musical difference and joined Brainstorm and his vocals were very much suited to their style. The band soon found new singer Mischa Mang to record their next album 'Walking in Mindfields', this was a great album with more suitable vocals for the music they were creating, and with Massacre Records behind them the band were now on the up. The band soon recorded their next album 'Lifeline' in 2008, later on followed by 'Systematrix' in 2013, this was the last album with singer Mischa, who was soon replaced by new singer Alex Koch, who actually sounds a little like Mischa. 

The bands current line up is Alex Koch, Giovanni Soulas, Chuck Schuler, Richie Seibel (keyboards) and drummer Rob Kudlek. This new album is a good album, maybe not as heavy as their previous latest albums but still manages to keep that feel and sound that they have had for so many years. It's still a  good album and I think it just takes a little while longer to adjust to the music. The album comes with 12 songs, which were produced by Andy Horn (Lanfear/ Rob Rock/ Edenbridge) so the overall sound is excellent so it the music and vocals. Songs to check out are: Light up the Darkness, No Sorrow, See the Truth, Overrun, 7 Days, Dancing with a Ghost, The great Admit, Last Warning & Left Behind. A decent album, takes a few listens thought until you realize how good it is, maybe not so heavy as their previous albums. 

Voodoo Hill         "Waterfall"      Frontiers    ****    

It's been some time since Voodoo Hill released an album on Frontiers, the band put together buy Italian guitarist Dario Mollo who was also responsible for the band 'The Cage', who released 2 albums that I am aware of and also featured Glenn Hughes (The Voice of Rock). This band also features Glenn on vocal's, and this band or project has released 2 previous albums to date, their debut in 2000 self titled was the debut for this label, a decent album with some good melodic guitar hooks and awesome solid vocals by Glenn, saw an impressive debut. In 2004 the band released 'Wild seed of Mother Earth', a dark and heavier album but still a kick ass album. 

Now in 2015 11yrs later the band return with this new album, so why the long wait? Well I guess Glenn has been very busy with other projects and I guess Dario has done other projects too. This new album features mainly Italian musicians such as drummer Richardo Vruna & Vladimir Ruzicic Kebac with bassist Andrea Maiellano to complete this awesome melodic Hard Rock album. Produced by Dario Mollo the album has a great solid and nicely produced sound with a great drum sound and Glenn on top form as always. Glenn Has done so many projects since leaving Deep Purple, and his voice just gets stronger and stronger with age and this album prove just that. Having done albums with Black Country Communion and California Breed, Glenn has now done this album and is also about to tour with Doug Aldritch Ex Whitesnake around the UK. This album however sees the band going back to their debut roots of the debut album and not so as heavy or dark as the last album, some of you maybe be joyed and some maybe disappointed, it's all down to personal view. 

Either way you can't deny the music speaks for itself and the vocals scream joy!! Songs on the album that I suggest you check out are: The Well, Rattle shake Bone, Underneath and down Below, Waterfall, Karma Go, Evil Thing, Eldorado, White Feather, Last Door. A fine album by a great project/ band call it whatever you want. Let's hope one day this music is taking out on the road as a live act, that would be a great tour to see I am sure. In the meantime check out this awesome new album, an amazing singer and an great guitarist that work well together. It's time for some heavy Hard Rock/ Blues my friends.

Psycho Drama        "From The Ashes To Wings"      Pride & Joy      ***     

Does anybody remember this band the 1st time around? Some of you will this U.S. Progressive Power Metal band from Colorado Springs released 2 albums for German label Massacre Records. Their debut album 'The Illusion' which came out in 95 and I had the pleasure of interviewing the band. This debut album was amazing, great tunes and melody hooks, but sadly a poor production let the album down, so if you haven't already got this I suggest you do so just for the sheer brilliance of tunes on it. This was followed up by the next album 'Bent', a decent follow up, better production but sadly the songs were not as strong this time around. This could of been the fact that the band never recorded another album, maybe lack of sales, who knows? 

After the break up of the band vocalist Corey Brown formed a band with Rob Johnson 'Magnitude 9', an awesome band who released 3 albums for label Inside Out. Pity the band broke up as they really did write some great songs and Corey's vocals shone through. Now Corey is back with Psycho Drama, long with members Ian Ringler (ex Magnitude 9) on bass, Hercules Castro (guitars), Greg Sands (drums) and the band signed to Pride & Joy to release this new album 'From the ashes to Wings'. I never even knew the band had reformed until now, glad they have and there is always time for improvement, as this album sadly suffers in production with the guitars, drums and Corey's vocals seem not too be too strong sadly. 

For some reason the whole album suffers with production and somewhat the songs too, I hate to say this but it's not the best for a reborn reunion, but on a positive note there is time for improvement like I said earlier & the production on this album is high at one point and low in others, how strange? I don't think this album is also as progressive as they were back in the 90's, really not sure what to make of the album, it's not a bad album by far just an average album all around. Songs that I do like despite the production are: Far from Grace, From ashes to Wings, Requiem, Edge of Forever, A New Day,  Broken Road. If you like bands like Queensryche, Fates Warning, and bands like that then this is you for. I hope to hear more in the future and better songs all around. I do hope they make more albums and get a decent production behind them, Corey is a great singer and the band were once good. 

Stryper         "Fallen"      Frontiers      ****     

Great to see Stryper back with yet another album, seems like the band are here for good and I hope they keep it that way. Formed by the 2 Sweet brothers Michael Sweet (vocals/ guitars) and Robert Sweet (drums) along with Ox Fox (guitars) and Tim Gains (bass) the 4 brought Christian Metal to the masses and created some really awesome songs, and some not so impressive sadly. They were always one of those bands who would create some fine music, almost 85% of an album would kick ass and there would be 15% that always seemed to let the album down sadly. For the last 2 releases on Frontiers 'No More Hell To Pay' was a great album indeed and saw the band back on top form, an almost perfect album to say the least, 1 or 2 teething problems which have certainly been corrected on this amazing album. 

I have to say that 'Fallen' has the most heaviest of tracks the band has released or the most impressive songs they have done in a long time indeed. You will not be disappointed with this album that's for sure, high pitched vocals, Stryper's intense guitar riffs and pounding drums makes this one great album for 2015. Good thing about this band is that they are not afraid to admit they are all Christians and even if they are their music speaks louder than ever!! Every song on this album kicks serious ass and even the cover of Black's Sabbath 'After Forever' is a great cover tune, like their processors Deliverance another Christian Thrash metal band who also cover this songs like 15 yrs ago, both version are excellent. Styper do have some excellent tastes in music such as Judas Priest, amongst other bands they grew up on so respect were it's due. Not sure who produced this album, but the album was recorded at 'Spirithouse' Recordings. The overall sound is excellent, solid production here which comes with 12 pure solid Heavy Metal songs, I'm not going to put them into a category, there just pure solid Metal music. 

I've never seen the band live but when and if they do play the UK I have to check them out. Michael's vocal are kind of like Rob Halford somewhat with the high pitch vocals and I have to say they set their own identity with the guitar sounds, a bit like Dokken and Ratt, I guess there somewhat mashed into one, which works well. Songs on the album to check out, well all kick arse, but the best songs are: Yahew, Fallen, Pride, Big Screen Lies, Heaven, Till I get what I Need, Let there be Light, The Calling King of Kings. It's a awesome album, nightly recommended, and it's an album that takes me back to the 80's, the best era... great driving album indeed!!!

Malevolent Creation     "Dead Man's Path"     Century Media    ****      

It's always good to see a band from the late 80's make another album, this bunch of hard edge Death Metaller's pkay fast and hard... not to mention have some of the finest guitar riffs in Death Metal. Florida is well known for its brutal and aggressive Death Metal, especially in Tampa where most of the biggest Death Metal bands came from. But Malevolent Creation were originally formed back in Buffalo NY but the band soon moved to Florida in search of a bigger fan base and warmer weather. 

With the band releasing a couple of demo it was the 1990 demo which I own that got them signed to Roadracer Records, the label who signed most of the Death Metal bands in Tampa such as Obituary and other acts would follow like Sepultura, Exhorder, Gorguts, etc... With the band releasing their debut 'Ten Commandments' in 91 this was truly one of the finest debut Death Metal albums ever, with some ripping brutal tracks it that not only considered of head ripping brutal tracks but also had some impressive slower parts that were equally as good. The band played Europe with Pestilence and it wasn't long before they released their next album 'Retribution' in 92. The band have always been one of my favs along side C Corpse, 2 of these bands hould tour Europe and UK together in 2015... now that would be a brutal package worth seeing. The band have been on various labels in the past including Nuclear Blast & Massacre and now the band have finally signed to Century Media, a great label that have certainly given the band a decent budget finally to make a solid production that really does this album justice. 3 Original members Phil Fasciana (guitars), Brett Hoffmann (vocals) and bassist Jason Blachowicz. They are now joined by drummer Justin DiPinto and guitarist Gio Geraca. 

This new CD was produced by the band along side Dan Swano (Edge of Sanity), who has done this album justice. It comes with 10 blistering ear bleeding heavy Death Metal and the 1st song is an intro 'Dead Man's Path', which reminds me to the intro of their debut album, but soon kicks into 'Soul Razer', a brutal as hell song that will knock you off the back of your chair... This really is a killer album, and if you like their previous albums especially the early ones then you're going to love this gem. Check out the following songs: Soul Razer, Imperium  (Kill Force Rising), Corporate Weaponry, Resistance Is Victory, Prophecy, Fragmental Sanity, & Face your Fear. A killer album by a killer band... check it out, cant wait to se them in the North of the UK in 2016 (come on guys Sheffield please)!!.

Queensryche     "Condition Human"      Century Media    ****     

It's good to see the Ryche return, with the band releasing their last album which was self titled back in 2013 through new label Century Media. Many people thought that the Ryche had died a death... but I am happy to say that Todd La Torre (former Crimson Glory) came to the rescued and saved the band's uncertain future. Many people thought it was the end of the band when heads together with Geoff Tate and the rest of the band, and when you think of the great albums that the band had released such as  'The Warning' (still my all time fav album), 'Rage for Order', 'Empire' and 'Operation Mindcrime' were all amazing albums, but things started to go wrong for the band... heading for a more mellow approach in my eyes almost killed the band. The band were heading towards a more alternative sound towards the end of the Tate era, which for me as just a lame and lazy Rcyhe.

 I am happy to say that Todd certainly give them the kick they needed and they soon to released an album that brought the 'Queen' back to the 'Ryche', catchy tunes and a heavier approach but them back on the metal map. Having saw them on the comeback tour and with Todd and a new album was amazing, especially when the band started to play songs like Queen of the Reich, Take hold of the Flame' etc.. was just mind-blowing for me, they were back with a vengeance. No one who saw them on that tour could knock them for the amount of quality songs they played. Now the band return with this new album 'Condition Human', which sees the band move towards the future with an impressive album, which Todd been on top form and if you close you're eyes you would think Geoff was still in the band. Musically the album has some interesting progressive twists, heavy at time and interesting. This album never gets boring, this is something the band tend to do... when they do it good they to it with passion and this album has just that. 

It's hard to say if the band will ever do another 'The Warning' (I can only wish and pray) but this is a good album, and the more you listen the more it becomes more interesting. I wish I could say the same for Mr. Tates album (still not knocking him as a singer), who's album is either a hit or miss. This album however was produced by Zeuss who is known for his work with Sanctuary another fine band, Hatebreed, Rob Zombie to name a few. An amazing sound here, great drum sound, nice guitar sound and amazing vocals makes this a great album, just wish there were some double bass kick ass songs on this album, but hey it's still a great album. This album comes with 12 classic Queensryche songs, fine outstanding vocals and a guitar sound that has become their own identity. Songs to listen out for are: Arrow of Time (sounds like Maiden), Guardian (has a slight hint of Vio_Vod in it for technicality), Hellfire, Toxic Remedy, Eye9, Bulletproof, All there Was, Condition Human, are the songs I suggest you listen out for. It's a fine album, looking forward to the next UK tour and another interview soon. 

Millennial Reign        "Carry The Fire"      Ulterium      ***     

Another Progressive Metal band 'Millennial Reign' have signed to Swedish metal label Ulterium, this time this band have released just 1 debut album which was self titled back in 2012, this is an album I have yet to hear so I really can't compare the new one to the debut. This band was formed by Aska bassist Dave Harvey, in which writing for the debut album began in 2010 when Dave found drummer Bryan Diffee and vocalist at that time Trae Doss. Thing were in motion and it wasn't long before the rest of the band would follow and the debut album would be released. Both Trae and Bryan were not available for the next album so Dave had to find suitable replacements. 

Dave soon found new vocalist James Guest from the band Eden's Realm and Wayne Stokely as the new drummer. Other members include Jason Donnelly (guitars) and bassist Daniel Almgro to record this new album 'Carry the Fire'. This new album was produced by JT Longoria and Gary Long at Nomad Studios known for their work with King Diamond, with the artwork done by Felipe Machado (Blind Guardian/ Rhapsody of Fire), all of which the production is good, the instruments shine through and comes with 10 trax of pure U.S. Power Metal with Progressive elements. On first listen I can hear the vocals by James sounding somewhat like Narnia singer, meets an early Geoff Tate, and with the music sounding like Queensryche, Crimson Glory, Fates Warning, Sacred Warrior, and maybe some hints of Aska. 

I am not sure if this band are a Christian band as I know the label as a few Christian bands, but nevertheless it's a pretty good album. In place I can hear a Celtic influence in the guitar riffs which add that extra spice to the album. I have to say that the American's certainly come up with the best Power Metal ever, I mean pretty much all my Power Metal influences hail from the states, Liege Lord, Omen, Helstar, Fates Warning (early days), to name a few. If you are a fan of this type of music then I am sure you will enjoy this, bare in mind there's some progressive elements too. Songs that I suggest you check out are: Forever Changed, Way up High, Millennial Reign, Men stand Alone, Will You, Innocent Cry, I'll Try. Not a bad album, great music and the vocals are pretty good... pity he is trying too hard to sound like across between Worldview/ Sacred Warrior/ Narnia style of vocals. Still a decent album, worth a listen. 

One Machine       "The Final Cull"     Scarlet    ****  

Well it's always good to see a band return with yet another chapter in their career, this time it's the return of One Machine with a new album. Formed by ex Forbidden/ Nevermore/ Vicious Rumors/ Testament and Dragonlord guitar wizard Steve Smyth, along with Biomechanical guitarist Jamie Hunt & Stefano Selvatico ex Savage Messiah and drummer Michele Sanna with new front man Chris Hawkins ex Endeavor . The band released their debut album 'Distortion of Lies' in 2014 with also featured former Mercenary singer Mikkel Sanderager, who left the band to pursue different musical directions. This album for me is a vast improvement, as the music is more controllable and with Chris on board the vocals are way more suitable and Chris vocals really do make this a more easier album to get into and enjoy. Don't get me wrong it's still a heavy Progressive Thrash Metal album and with Jamie and Steve guitar wizardry make this an even more enjoyable album. 

Chris on the other hand can sing low and also high which gives the album for of a variation and twists. The album was produced by Marco Angioni  with the help of Tue Madsen one of Denmark's extreme producers known for this work with The Haunted, Sick of it All, with the aid of Steve at hand. Nice production, making all the instruments shine through, nice solid drums, pounding bass and shredding guitars with ripping vocals. This is a pretty damn good 2nd album, and if you thought the 1st album was either too extreme then this album is more for you, it's heavy but not over the top with the vocals. 

No matter what I can still hear the ghost of Nevermore in the music, which isn't a bad thing by far, a fine band sadly missed so if you like Nevermore then I am sure you will like this too. Steve ex bands still shine through on this album, no matter if you are a fan of Vicious Rumors, Testament, Nevermore or Forbidden you will find all the music on this record and even Jamie's old band along with Stafeno's old band too. All great musician's and fine vocals very suitable for this type of music. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Forewarning, The Final Cull, Screaming for Light, The grand Design, New motive Power, Born from this Hate, Ashes in the Sky &Computer God (Dio cover). A fine album that I recommend to any fan of technical Thrash metal, good to see you back guys and I await the next tour.

Operation: Mindcrime       "Same"    Frontiers     ***      

Geoff Tate, former Queensryche returns with his new band 'Operation: Mindcrime'. There was a big battle between Geoff and the rest of the Ryche over the band's name, sadly Geoff lost the battle and so forth decided to build a new band under the name he chose now. There is no denying that Geoff Tate is one of the finest metal singers around that has influenced so many vocalists along side the likes of Dio, Halford, Dickenson, Ozzy, Biff and so on... and the fact that he still has in incredible voice says it all. Sadly I wish I could say the same for his music, why? Well for the last few albums that he did with the Ryche the music suffered to say the least... very laid back, lack of energy almost killed the Ryche. 

So it was a good thing in a way that both parties moved on and separated in ordered to find their roots. The Ryche continued to make more heavier music, whereas Tate decided to go for a more Seattle sounding approach, which to this date is rather lax. It's a really shame to have to review such an album like this and feel that the music is still what he was doing in the later years with his previous band. There are some up lifting songs here and there on this album, but I just get the sense that all is not well still with how he feels. The band however features Simon Wright (drums), Kelly Gray (guitars), Scott Moughton (guitars), Dave Ellefson (bass), John Moyer (bass), Mark Daily (vocals), Randy Gane (keyboards), Scott Mercado (drums) and another drummer Brian Tichy. Some familiar name on this record as you may notice them, one or 2 I don't know of from bands like Candlebox, The Voodoos. This album certainly has that feel of Operation Mindcrime albums, another concept album, some good ideas and riffs here and I can't knock Geoff's vocals, can anybody? 

I just feel the album lacks the power or any aggression that would of thought he would of had after his long battle over the right of the Ryche name? For me I would of comeback pissed off and ready to take on the world, but sadly this album doesn't even touch that. The album was produced by Kelly Gray and comes with 12 songs, 1 or 2 intro's here. Production is pretty good, but the guitars lack heaviness whereas the drums shine through. Songs on the album that I do like are: Inventing the Future, Life or Death, The Stranger, Hearing Voices, On Queue, The Fall. It's either a hit or miss album, for me I'm really not convinced this is a great comeback. If you like the later albums that Ryche did with Geoff you may like it. For me I prefer something with drive or balls, this captures neither for me really sadly. I hope his next effort has balls and attitude as this is just too Seattle sounding for me.

Praying Mantis       "Legacy"     Frontiers    ****   

N.W.O.B.H.M. band 'Praying Mantis' have as such right to be recognized  as much as the big boys like Maiden, Priest, Sabbath, Saxon, Motorhead etc... as they have also played a big part of the UK music scene. Formed in 74 by the Troy brothers, Tino and Chris, were both brothers had a vision and goal to create music to the masses and succeed 3 decades later. Other members that were infvolved with this band were ex Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton, and in later years the likes of Doogie White (vocals) became involved with this band. In 1980 the band were signed to Arista Records and soon the band were releasing their debut album 'Time Tells no Lies' in 81 and successful support slots for the likes of Iron Maiden, Lionheart ect... would follow. 

In 84 the band changed their name and released an album with former Clive Burr (R.I.P,) former Iron Maiden drummer under the name of 'Stratus' and released their next album 'Throwing Shapes'. Sadly Praying Mantis broke up only to return in 91 'Predator in Disguise' for Japanese label Pony Canyon, this album was followed by A cry for the new World' 93, which was released on Music For Nation, a fine album and the 1st time I had heard the band. In 2003 saw the band once again break up with their last album 'The journey goes On', before returning back in 2009 released for new label Frontiers titled 'Sanctuary' and now this new album 'Legacy', which is a great album mixing classic Hard Rock meets AOR music and it really is a great album. 

It's nice to hear an album were you can actually understand what they are singing for a change!! This album features singer John Cuijpers who replaced Mike Freeland, Tino Troy (guitars) and Chris Troy (bass), along with Andy Burgess (bass) and drummer Hans In 't Zandt to complete the line up. This album features 11 trax which were produced by Andy and Tino with the mixed been handled by Andrew Riley in Atlanta, with the overall production sounding excellent, drums shine through as well as the guitars and vocals. Artwork was handled by Rodney Matthews known for his work with early Magnum albums, Allen/ Lande, Diamond Head and many more bands. Songs on the album to check out are: Fight for your Honour, The One, Believable, Better Man, All I See, Eyes of a Child, Against the World, Fallen Angel. A fine album by such a great band who deserve the right to be heard.

Act of Defiance        "Birth and Burial"      Metal Blade      ****    

Newly signing to Metal Blade is 'Act of Defiance', a band that rose out of the ashes of former Megadeth/ Nevermore/ Eidlolon/ Jag Panzer members Shawn Drover & Chris Broderick with the help of Shadows Fall bassist Matt Bachand and vocalist Henry Derek from the band Scar the Martyr to complete the line up. Shawn and Chris left Megadeth in 2014 and found Matt and Derek in the form of this new adventure in a form of a slightly modern feel but still managing to keep the tradition Thrash metal sound. 

So what you have here is a mixture of Nevermore/ Megadeth & Eidolon all rolled into one with vocals that sound like something like Trivium or something of that nature with hints of Dave from Megadeth here and there. One ting I can say it that their fantastic musicians, I have always been a fan of Jag Panzer, Eidolon, & Nevermore and still am, so I know what to expect in some way. Musically it's technical and has that modern Nu Metal/Thrash feel, so I guess a mixture of both is good for some bands and for this band they do it well. Melodic Thrash with some slightly Death Metal vocals, here and there too. The album was recorded in 3 separate studios, Chris handled the vocals and guitarist at 'Ill Fate Studios' where such bands as Queensryche, Rob Zombie recorded, whereas the drums were done by Shawn at Dexter's Lab in Connecticut and Matt did the bass at Manshark studios in Massachusetts, where 10 songs were developed  to create this new breed of metal music. The playing is faultless, and the vocals are pretty damn good too, mixing 2 types of vocals in good for some, for me I can take or leave it. 

Music is top notch for sure, with shredding guitar solos and what makes me laugh is the vocals that sound at times like Dave Mustaine as you may hear. Bands the spring to mind are the likes of Arch Enemy  at time or maybe Carcass, 2 great bands indeed. Songs to check out are: Throwback, Legion of Lies (sounds like Eidolon meets Arch Enemy), Thy Lord Belial, Refrain and Re-Fracture (sounds like Bullet for my Valentine), Dead Stare, Disastrophe, Poison Dream, Birth & Burial. A pretty good debut album indeed, check it out you won't be disappointed if you like the bands already mentioned in this review. Check them out live and I await for the next album in 2016. There is life after Megadeth as this album prove it and you will get to hear, buy today!!

Lynch Mob      "Rebel"      Frontiers     ***       

Some of you will know already of this band, some of you will not depends on you're age. Lynch mob is the band that was formed by former Dokken guitarist George Lynch, an amazing guitarist who created his own style and not many have managed to copy in almost 3 decades. George did some great albums with Dokken, 'Tooth & Nail', 'Under lock & Key', 'Back for the Attack', which were the bands strongest releases. Having departed from Dokkken back in the late 80s and in 89 Lynch Mob was formed with former Dokken drummer Mick Brown with the help of singer Oni Logan (vocals) and bassist Anthony Esposito and the band released their debut album 'Wicked Sensation' through Elektra Records. 

This was a great debut album, in fact an amazing album  which still had elements of Dokken in their music and a this album saw the band supporting Queensryche around Europe and the UK (anybody see that tour? I did) an amazing tour that was as Queensryche were touring for the album 'Empire'. With a successful album and tour the band went back in the studios to record the next chapter, which was a self titled album which was pretty good but not up to the standards of the debut sadly. In 99 the band returned with only George been the only member left, and he found new members to create 'Smoke This', an album that I never heard so I can't tell you my thoughts on this album. Next came 'Revolution' in 2003 followed by 'Sun red Sun' before this new release 'Rebel'. This album sees the return of original singer Oni who reminds me of Eric Martin vocal wise to some degree. 

Also in the band is Jeff Pilson ex Dokken now with Foreigner and drummer Brian Tichy (ex Whitesnake). So this album is a pretty good album and the more you play it the better it becomes. It would be great to see the band make a part 2 of 'Wicked Sensation' wouldn't it? The guitars on this album have that de-tuned feel so it gives it that edge and rawness. Vocals by Oni are great just like they were back in the 80's/ 90's and Jeff's bass has that dirty feel to it which brings the album together nicely. Produced by Chris Collier who had worked with the band on previous album has done a fine job on this album. The album comes with 11 hard edge Rock/ Metal songs with a hard edge Blues feel. At times a I can hear the likes of Badlands in this record both musically and vocally. Songs to check out are: Automatic Fix, Between a truth and a Lie, Testify, Pine tree Avenue, The hollow Queen, The Ledge, War. Not  abad album at all, let's see what the next album brings, but in the meantime check out this album. It's a must for fans of Badlands, Zeppelin.

Hammercult        "Built  For War"     Steamhammer     **     

Well here's a new band for me, not new to the underground scene but this band from Israel released their 2nd album 'Steelcrusher', which was released in 2013 also on SPV. The band release their debut album 'Anthems of the Damned' in 2012 through Sonic Attack records, and before that an EP 'Rise of the Hammer'. Formed in October of 2010, this band soon became Israel's premier metal act and decent supports from international bands would soon follow. Formed by Yakir Shochat (vocals), Arie Aranovich (guitar), Guy Ben David (guitar), Elad Manor (bass) and drummer Maayan Henik. In 2012 the band were invited to play Wacken festival and soon gained more of a fan base outside of their native country, popularity soon built up and the band were soon signed to SPV and the rest is history. They soon supported the likes of Malevolent Creation, Sepultura, Hate Breed to name a few. 

The band have certainly become popular and sales have increased since signing to SPV and as this album proves the band can deliver powerful heavy Thrash Metal, there is no stopping them now. Guitarist Arie left the band to continue his career as a producer working on other albums around his local area. Their music reminds me of Malevolent Creation, Destruction mixed with the more modern Thrash metal. Not sure about the vocals at times as the new age metal thing does grind on me. 

Production and music is good, and comes with 13 songs of brutal metal music. Songs on the album to check out are: Rise of the Hammer, I live for this Shit, Raise some Hell, Let it Roar, Altar of Pain, Saturday night circle pit Fight, and the cover of Slater's 'Evil has no Boundaries. Not a bad album but the vocals get on my tits after a couple of songs, I think I'll only play this a couple of times and leave it alone. Don't take my word for it you may probably like it, just got my thing really, I prefer old school Thrash Metal!! I've heard better sadly, but I am sure this will be a great album in the eyes of those those like to hear this kind of metal music.

Mad Max       "Thunder, Storm & Passion"      Steamhammer      *****      

Well here's a band from the past. German rocker's 'Mad Max' make a comeback with this new album, which is an album that features some of the bands best tracks from their 1st 3 albums which were recorded back in the early to mid 80's. Formed in 82 when the N.W.O.B.H.M. made a massive impact on this young at the time band from Muenster (Germany) started to create and form a band playing their own style of New Wave Metal German style. It wasn't long before the band were recording demos and send them to all the at that time major indie labels, in which Roadrunner saw the potential in the band and soon signed them up. It was their debut album 'Rollin Thunder' in 84 saw the band deliver the fans of their fellow country take them by storm. As a debut it sold pretty well and with vocalist Michael Voss (still the current singer) who has a great voice became strong in time with his vocal range. 

The band released their 2nd album 'Stormchild' in 85, this is when I 1st discovered the band and having heard some of the songs on BBC radio 'Friday Rock Show' I was blown away at the age of 15 and immediately rushed out and bought the album, and I am so glad I did. This album to date is still one of my all time favorite melodic metal albums of all time (I highly recommend it). In 87 the band released their next album 'Night of Passion', a decent album but for me the band had done their finest album with 'Storm Child' and so it was going to be hard for them to make an impact on me that the last album did. On 99 the band released 'Never say Never', an album I think I haven't heard and I guess I kind of lost interest and moved on. Maybe I should check it out!! In 2006 the band returned with a new album and label AOR Heaven with the album 'Night of white Rock', again the music for me wasn't the same the spark had gone for me, but as musicians go they all are great musicians. Now the band return with this album, which is a re-vamped best of album, re worked old songs put together by today's technology and yes this really is a fine album. 

It's great to hear old songs recorded with today sound, fresh and exciting. The album starts off with songs from the bands debut onwards and when I hear songs from the 'Stormchild' album on here like 'Never say Never', 'Lonely is the Hunter', Stormchild', 'Heroes die Lonely' to name a few just brings back happy memories. This is without doubt a fine album, takes me back to my youth and if you haven't heard this band before then this is a great starting point. I hope the band make another new album in the vain of 'Stormchild'. Other songs on the album I like are: Burning the Stage, Wait for the Night, Night of Passion. If this band didn't form then I am sure the likes of other such acts like Jaded Heart, Letter X, wouldn't of formed. Buy this great album and I hope they record a new album soon. The current line up is Michael Voss (vocals/ L. guitar), Jurgen Breforth (R. guitar), Thomas Bauer (bass) and drummer Axel Kruse.

Royal Hunt       "Devil's Dozen"        Frontiers     ****     

Danish Progressive Metal act 'Royal Hunt' return with their brand new album, a follow up to their last album 'A Life to die For' which was released in 2013, which saw the return of D.C. Cooper, after this departure from the band back in 98 after the release of 'Paradox' in 97 and saw D.C. join Silent Force. Things were quiet for the band until they found new singer, Artension singer John West who joined the band for the next album 'Fear' in 99. John had recorded 4 albums with the band, before going solo. His replacement was ex Yngwie singer Mark Boals, who recorded 'Collision Course' in 2008, who had recorded 3 albums with the band before D.C. would return. Formed back in 89 by Russian keyboard wizard Andre Andersen, who had various musical skills and studied music know what he wanted. 

A Progressive/ Symphonic Metal band what would change the world of metal forever, and he did just that. The band have had various guitarists, drummers and bassist, but Andre has kept the band alive throughout 2 decades. Now the band return with this new stunning album 'Devils Dozen' which is yet again released through Frontiers, sees the band playing yet another epic album of symphonic elements with more melodic twists and turns. Production on the album is faultless, handled by the keyboard wizard himself. The album comes with 8 beautiful composed songs with a  rough time about 7 minutes for most tracks on the album. D.C.'s vocals shine though and having seen D.C. last year with the band for the 1st time he really is a fine singer. 

I really liked his work with Silent Force, but sadly he left the band to become a fire fighter, and now he back in the band. Backing vocals by Kenny Lubcke makes this an even greater album, Kenny was once the singer with Narita, a very cool band from Denmark who I highly recommend. Andre is a keyboard wizard, one of the finest and is joined by drummer Andreas Habo Johansson who replaced Allan Tschicaja who was also with Nartia and left the band after the bands last album. Also in the band is guitarist Jonas Larsen and bassist Andreas Passmark. This album is a really good album full of melodic symphonic melodic metal tunes that any fan of the band will enjoy. Songs to check out are: So Right.. So Wrong, May you never walk Alone, Tear in the Rain, Until the Day, Way too Late, How do you Know. A fine album and I hope they return to the UK soon, in the meantime check out this album. The band are back with a fine and strong album that any fan of the band will be delighted to hear. 

Hevilian         "The End of Time"     Massacre      ****      

Recently signed to Massacre records in Germany is Brazilian Power Metal band 'Hevilian', a band that I haven't of until now. This band were formed back in 2005 by Johnny Moraes (guitars) who wanted to form a band that would be melodic but still capture the power and energy of a new band out of Brazil. It wasn't long before Johnny found Biek Yohaitus (bass) and Alex Pasqualle (vocals) to which the band made an E.P. called 'Blind Faith' was released as a 3 song release. 

The band were soon touring with Primal Fear in Brazil and the band soon approached Primal Fear drummer Aquiles Priester to record this album for the band. I have to say this is an impressive debut album, they kind of remind me of Helker another band from South America & Hibria, 2 fine bands mixed with Nevermore. So if you like these 3 bands then you're gonna love this bands music too. This album was produced by the band with the help of Brandon Duffey, Adair Daufembach and Adriano Daga, all of which have done a superb job on this record, a nice polished sounding album with some impressive vocals and music. 

This album also features guest vocal appereances by Warrel Dane (Sanctuary/Nevermore) & Dr Sin's guitarist Eduardo Ardanuy on the song 'Shades of War'. As the album progresses it becomes a powerful debut album and in cases like this it is hard for a band to make their 2nd album as strong, only time will tell for this band. I really do recommend this album it's a great Power Metal album. Songs on the album to check out are: Time Regenesis, Shades of War (there's 2 versions of this song, 1 features Warrel Dane), Minus Call, End of Time, Sanctum Imperium, Dark throne of Babylon, Son of Messiah, Loneliness, Quest of Illusion. The artwork for this album was handled by Robson Piccin with 3 people handling the production. A fantastic debut album which I recommend to any fan of Power Metal, I hope the next album is as good if not better. best of luck guys!!

Dew-Scented         "Intermination"       Metal Blade     ***     

German Thrasher's 'Dew-Scented' return with their new album 'Intermination', just released through Metal Blade. This band was formed back in 92 by vocalist Leif Jensen along with drummer Uwe Werning and guitarist Hendrik Bache and it was in that year that the band released their demo tape which fell into the hands of previous label SPV/ Steamhammer in which their debut album 'Immortelle' was released later in 96. 

The band soon found themselves opening up for the likes of Lakes of Tears, Edge of Sanity and Sadist. After this album was released and a tour the band changed some line up members and also a new label signed the band, this time around it was Grind Syndicate Media/ Nuclear Blast for the album 'Innoscent' in 98. Another album of brutal Thrash/ Death Metal hit the streets and the fans loved it. It wasn't long before the band released their new album 'Ill-Natured' in 99 and more would follow. I have noticed that every album this band have released starts with the letter 'I' in the title, how strange, there must be a good reason for it. It was in 2010 when Metal Blade released their album 'Invocation', 'Incurs' followed in 2012 and now this new album 'Intermination'. This album features members Leif Jensen (vocals), Michael Borchers (guitars), Martin Walczak (guitars), Alexander Pahl (bass) and drummer Marc-Andree Dieken. This new album sees the band playing hard and faster than ever before, some aggressive vocals here by Leif and music could be described as across between Kreator, Malevolent Creation, just for the brutality of the music and vocals. I must admit the vocals for me do grind on me in places sadly, ok so they might fit the music but it's one of those albums were I can't listen too it for long sadly. 

Don't get me wrong the music is fine and some of the vocals are too. This album features 15 ear splitting tunes that with certainly piss you're parents off. Nice production here too which was handled by Jorg Uken (known for his work with Sinister/ God Dethroned) and has given this a brutal and solid production.  Songs that I recommend you check out are: On a Collision Course, Scars of Creation, Affect gravity, Demon Seed, Power Surge, Living Lies, Reborn to be the strongest of the songs. If you liek you're music brutal and vocals then this is an album you must buy. It's a great album but sadly for me not really a hit which is a shame.

U.D.O.           "Navy Metal Night'      AFM       ****      

It's always good to see a legend like UDO Dirkschneider return with yet another release. It wasn't that long ago since his last studio album 'Decadent'. Also see in the band and interviewing the man himself in the UK in March he did tell me about this release, but I would of never thought it was going to be released so soon, nothing wrong with that!! The recent tour was a great success and this new live CD/ DVD shows just how much of a great band U.D.O. really is. As we all know UDO's career began with Accept, and in 87 he quit Accept to go solo with his debut album 'Animal House' been released in 87 through  RCA Records and recently re-released through AFM along with some of his early albums. UDO, Andrey Smirnov (guitars), Kasperi Heikkinen (guitars) Fitty Wienhold (bass) and Sven Dirkschneider (drums), but for this life release former drummer Francesco Jovino played drums on this release. 

This is what I believe the bands 4th live DVD to date, the last one was 'Live in Moscow' in 2014. This live CD/ DVD however features the German Navy orchestra playing along side the band and this really does work well. The same thing has happened before to such bands as Rage, Saxon, I wonder if Judas Priest will ever release a live CD/ DVD like this? Be interesting to see. Getting back to this album 17 of some of the best work that this band have recorded, not every song can mate a live CD/ DVD when one has so many release under their belt. It must of been hard to pick some of the songs that would be suitable for this album. 

The album was produced by UDO, Fitty Mattes with the help of Jacob Hansen mixing the album. The overall sound is excellent and with the orchestra behind the band the songs come across well composed and arrangements are superb, something a little like Metallica's 'S&M' DVD. Songs on the CD I enjoy are: Future Land, Independence Day, Animal Instinct, Heart of Gold, Man & Machine, Dancing with an Angel (featuring Doro), Faceless World, Stillness of Time, King of Mean, Animal House. A pretty good release, it would be better to watch this to see the full glory. So why don't you grab a copy when it is release, a great addition to you're UDO collection. Let's hope they tour again in the UK and Europe soon. UDO is a band and man that deserve respect a God in German metal there's no doubt about it.

High on Fire        "Luminiferous"         Century Media     ***      

Not to be confused by a band with a similar name this band don't play Power Metal, in fact they play Sludge/ Doom/ Stoner Metal, somewhat across between C.O.C, Sabbath, I Hate God, Acid Bath, meets Motorhead, an interested combination indeed. For this band it works pretty well, formed back in the late 90's this band from the U.S. have certainly made a name for themselves, with the band releasing their debut  in 2000 titled 'The art of self Defiance', which the band was grabbed up by Relapse records in 2001 and when the band released their 2nd release 'Surrounded by Thieves' in 2002, this was pretty much the beginning of a pretty successful history for the band. They soon released 'Blessed black Wings' in 2005, which saw the band ever moving forward to create some impressive music for fans of Stoner, Sludge, Doom metal. 

It was in 2007 when the band released their next album 'Death is this Communion', in which the band did some extensive tour with some pretty big names. The band however recorded another 3 albums prior to the release of this album 'Liminiferous' for century Media Records. The band's current line up is Matt Pike (vocals/ guitars), Des Kensel (drums) and bassist Jeff Matz. This type of music is for fans that either love or hate this style of music, for me it's not bad but I wouldn't go out of my way what with for me Trouble are the Doom Gods. I can hear the likes of Down, Crowbar also in their music, you can tell (but I could be wrong) that there a band from the deep South, like Red Necks. Production on this album is pretty good, but I'm not sure who produced it, I guess the vocalist might have had something to do with it. 

The album comes with 9 songs of pure hateful heavy going music, which most of you will enjoy. Songs on the album that I do find of interest are: The black Pot, Carcosa, Slave the Hive, The dark side of the Compass, Luminiferous, The lethal Chamber. I guess other bands spring to mind for the heaviness like Obituary, Six feet Under, the list could go on. If this is you're style of music then you should grab a copy of this album. Stoner, Doom Metal heads are gonna love this, you look out for a tour in the near future this year or next, it's gonna be Doom and Gloom!

Obsession      "Carnival of Lies"        Inner Wound      ***     

Well it's great to see bands from the 80's making a comeback, and for and anybody else who was brought up on 80's metal this is like heaven!! If like me you remember this U.S. Power Metal band Obsession, who formed back in 82 by vocalist Mike Vescera, who is known for his work with Loudness & Yngwie Malmsteen in later years. It was in 84 when the band were featured on Metal Blade's 'Metal Massacre 2' series which also led to the band released their debut EP 'Marshall Law', it wasn't long after this EP that the band signed to Enigma Records and both 'Scarred for Life' and 'Method to Madness' were released, both albums were superb and received some impressive reviews. 

Sadly the band broke up in 89. It was in 2004 the band returned with their next album 'Carnival of Souls' through Mausoleum Records, and now re-released in 2015. The band also released their next album back in 2009 titled 'Order of Chaos' through Inner Wound records. For some reason the label have re-released this album, maybe due to the lack of press from their previous label i don't know. I never did hear this the 1st time around so it's good to hear it now. The bands current line up consists of: Mike Vescera (vocals), Jay Mezias (drums), Scott Boland (guitars), John Bruno (guitars), Chris MCcarvill (bass) to complete the current line up. This album has been re-released for the 2nd time, don't know why really, you would of thought a new album would be more important. However, this is a decent Power Metal album, old school of course and kind of reminds me of such bands as Fifth Angel, Malice, Racer X, Leatherwolf and bands along those lines. Songs on this album to check out are: Smoking Gun, Carnival of Souls, In for the Kill, Playing Dead, Imagining, The Offering, Pure Evil, Guilty as Charged, Judas. A decent album, and if you haven't heard it before now is you're chance. This album was produced by Mike Vescera, with the art work handled by Felipe Machado (Rhapsody of Fire, Blind Guardian). 

This is a must for any fan of Melodic Metal or Power Metal, as this really does take you back to the good old days of you're youth, the 80's will always rule no matter what anybody says young or old. I am sure the band will also record a new album soon, and maybe a tour. Time will tell!!

A Light in the Black      'Dio Tribute CD'     Massacre    ***       

One of the godfather's of Metal, Ronnie James Dio has inspired more musician's than pretty much anybody else, along the likes of Rob Halford, Ozzy, Lemmy, Biff Byford, & Bruce Dickenson, these guys have created some of the finest music ever in metal. Ronnies work pretty much started with the band Elf, who recorded a couple of album, before joining 'Rainbow' & later on 'Black Sabbath'. In later years the man of the silver mountain formed his own band 'Dio', who in 83 released their debut album 'Holy Diver', a classic blend of traditional metal. In 84 he released 'Last in Line', the tour I saw and met him on with support by Queensrcyhe, what a great gig that was. Dio continued to make some awesome albums throughout the 80s and 90s and with such classic albums as 'Sacred Heart', 'Dream Evil', and in 2004 was the last Dio album recorded titled 'Master of the Moon', released on SPV. 

The man himself rejoins Back Sabbath under the name of 'Heaven & Hell' and released The devil you Know' in 2007, a fine album which saw the band touring world-wide. Sadly in 2010 the man of the silver mountain died at the age of 67, leaving a legacy to millions of metal heads world-wide creating some of the finest music ever. Mystical, dark, powerful music was what he created and some of the best around. Since his death, there has been tribute gigs, albums of so many in the last few years the one that Jorn Lande released and the other one which featured Lemmy amongst other well known artists. This release is on Massacre is yet another album to the man himself. Yes this time this album features some of Massacre's finest bands old and new. This CD comes as a double CD containing 20 songs, which features some of Dio's finest songs, and there are some great songs here and some that are not so good but still enjoyable. It must be really hard to pick some of the songs for such an album like this. 

I have to say even though its a great song 'Kill the King' is now become a boring song, I'm sick of hearing bands cover in it. Sadly this song is on the CD, not a bad version by Messenger a German band. Some of the songs that I really do like are by bands like: Crystal Ball 'Sacred Heart ' & 'Sign of the southern Cross', Messenger 'Kill the King', Gloryful 'Heavy Metal will never Die', The Order 'I Could Have Been A Dreamer'& 'Last in Line', Circle of Silence 'One night in the City' & 'Time Machine', Love Might Kill 'Stand up and Shout' & 'Hungry for Heaven', Iron Fate 'Light in the Black'. Not  a bad album but there are 2 versions of 'Kill the King', which is a shame when Dio wrote so many great songs why play it twice? Still not a bad album. 

Pyramaze        "Disciples of the Sun"      Nightmare     ****    

Well I never thought this band would release another album  and I am pleased that they have. This Danish band formed back in 2002 by guitarist Michael Kammeyer which also consisted of bassist Niels Kvist and U.S. singer Lance King (former Gemini) on vocals. With the band releasing their debut album 'Melanocholy Beast' in 2004 and which saw the band playing one of the very early open air Bloodstock festival, which I was happy to of been there to witness this band live, great they were too. Their debut album was a great album indeed full of progressive elements as well as some power metal elements too, which made the debut a great album. 

In 2006 the band released their next album 'Legend of the bone Caver', another fine album , sadly this was the last album for Lance, who left and was replaced by ex Iced Earth front man Matt Barlow, who recorded the next album titled 'Immortal' in 2008. Matt did the album but left to return to Iced Earth. The band were due to tour with Voltbeat so a suitable touring singer was need, this is were they found Urban Breed (ex Tad Morose) for the tour. With the 3rd album released I thought the band had somewhat lost their Progressive elements and entered a more Power Metal direction. The band had some line up changes with Michael leaving the band and was replaced by Toke Skjornnemand on guitars. The current line up also features Jacob Hansen known for his work as one of the top Danish producers at the moment on guitar.  

Saying that Jacob was once with Danish thrasher's 'Invocator', a  great band and for some of you who don't know he was also in the band 'Beyond Twilight' another band that once featured Jorn Lande. Joining Jacob and Toke is Terje Haroy (vocals) who joined in 2013, Jonas W (keyboards), and drummer Morten Gade Sorensen to make this new album 'Disciples of the Sun', released on Nightmare records, Lance Kings label. It has been 7 years in the making for this album and the big question is, was it worth it? Yes, the band have gone back to their Progressive roots, kind of remind me of Pagan's Mind, Beyond Twilight, Fates Warning, Crimson Glory, Evergrey to name a few. This album as you know be aware of was produced by Jacob and has a solid and impressive production and I have to say that singer Terje is a great singer for the music that the band are creating now, not sure if his vocals would of suited 'Immortal' album, but for this album indeed he does. This has some great tunes on the album, ones I suggest you check out are: The Battle Of Paridas, Disciples Of The Sun, Back for More, Genetic Process, Perfectly Imperfect, Hope Springs Eternal, been the strongest songs on the album. This is a great album and Lance King has a great label and taste in music... respect!!

Crystal Ball    "Liferider'    Massacre    ****    

Swiss melodic Metal act 'Crystal Ball' return with their new album 'Life Rider', released on Massacre records. It was in 95 when the band were formed under the name of 'Cherry Pie', which later on turned into 'Crystal Ball' and in 99 the band released their debut album 'In the Beginning' in 99. This if I believe became a hard to find album and I hope it has been re-issued. With the release of the debut the band soon recorded Hard Impact' in 2000 , which followed by 'Virtual Empire' in 2003, having played with the likes of Dokken, Pretty Maids, Gotthard , Krokus (fellow countrymen), Doro, U.D.O. Axxis and Pink Cream 69 the band have had some pretty good success as you can see. 

I have only heard a couple of the bands previous albums and I have to say that this is one of their best CD's to date. The band have released 7 previous albums to date and now this new album. As I listen more into this album I can hear the likes of U.D.O. , Pink Cream 69, Helloween, Evidence One, and maybe Gotthard. A great combination of classic European Metal. Vocals by Steven Mageney really are great, not sure who he sounds likes but they sound familiar and really do suit the music. The other band members consist of Scott Leach (guitars), Markus Flury (guitars) Cris Stone (bass) and drummer Marcel Sardella. The album comes with 12 tracks, with the digi pack having 3 more songs, 2 of which are from the Dio tribute 'Sacred heart' and 'Sign of the southern Cross' along with 'Not like You'. The album was produced by Stefan Kaufmann (ex U.D.O/ Accept) who also plays guest guitar solo on the song 'Memory Run'. Overall production is excellent, as you would expect from former U.D.O member, solid drums and nice guitar sound. 

There's some great songs on this record so I think I'm going to check out some of the bands previous albums I have missed. Songs on the album I suggest you check out are: Mayday, Eye to Eye, Paradise, Hold your Flag, Take it All, Bleeding, Rock of Life, Liferider, Memory Run. This is a great album, which also featured battle beast singer on the song 'Eye to Eye' with the artwork done by Thomas Ewerhard who has worked with the likes of Kissin Dynamite, Shakra, Rage, Voltbeat and many more. So all in all this is an all around great album , certainly from what I have heard of the bands previous and not all this is their best, check it out!!

Burning Point      "Same"     AFM    ****    

Another band to hit the Finnish scene is 'Burning Point' who are certainly no strangers to the underground scene. Having formed back in 97 when mastermind Pete Ahonen (guitars) formed the band to create a new fresh sound from Finland to create a Power Metal band in the form of 'Burning Point'. This band released demos and in 2001 LMP Music in Hamburg saw a promising future in the band and signed them for their debut album 'Salvation by Fire'. With this album released and the Finnish metal heads taking a liking to them it wasn't long before the band were receiving some awesome reviews around Europe. It wasn't long before the band released their 2nd album 'Feeding the Fames' in 2003 also released through LMP and in 2006 the band signed to Metal Heaven for their next album 'Burned down the Enemy', another step up the ladder for the band. 

Next album to hit to streets was 'Empyre' in 2009 and 2012 'The Ignitor', this time released through Scarlet records. The band are now a 6 piece and featured new female singer Nitto Valo (Former Battle Beast), who is a damn strong singer who reminds me of Leather Leon, Veronica Freeman & Kate French, Crystal Viper, so I think you can imagine how strong Nitto is as a singer. The rest of the line up consists of  Pekka Kolivuori (guitars), Sami Nyman (bass) and drummer Jussi Ontero to complete the current line up. This new album which is self titled is the 1st for new label AFM and hopefully more to come. This album features 5 new songs and 6 re vamped classic Burning Point songs with now female vocals, impressive as it maybe it's well worth checking out. I am not sure who produced on this album but it overall sound is pretty strong, making all the instruments shine through. 

Songs on this album I suggest you check out are: In the Shadows, All the Madness, Signs of Danger, Heart of Gold, Dawn of the ancient War, Blackened the Sun & the Kiss cover 'I've had Enough', certainly better than Kiss version. AFM plan on releasing the bands previous albums this year so keep an eye open for those. In the mean time check out this impressive Power Metal band. If you get the chance to see this band live I suggest you do, I am sure they will be playing Europe at some point and even some impressive festivals. I've always throught they were a pretty good band just needed the push and right promotion which I think AFM will do the band justice and their music finally.

Armored Saint      "Win Hands Down"      Metal Blade      ****      

Californian metal act 'Armored Saint; return with their long overdue album 'Win hands Down', through Metal Blade, the label the band have been with pretty much since the early days. Formed back in 82 by brothers Phil Sandoval and Gonzo, they met up with former guitarist David Prichard, sadly passed away in the early 90's. The 3 met vocalist John Bush and Joey Vera in which the band recorded a demo that the song 'Lesson well Learned' was featured on Metal Blades 'Metal Massacre II' and soon saw the band releasing an EP for Metal Blade in 83. In 84 the band signed to major label Chrysails Records and they recorded March of the Saint' in 84. 

This was the album that I first discovered the song 'Can you Deliver' with the cheesy 80's video that all bands released back then, a great song and video nevertheless. The band recorded their next album 'Delirious Nomad' in 85, which lead Phil leaving the band and the band released their last album for major label with 'Raising Fear' in 87. Due to the lack of help from the label the band returned to Metal Blade to record their next album which was live titled 'Saints will Conquer', which former Odin guitarist Jeff Duncan joined the band. The band released more albums only to break up with John joined Anthrax, Joey joining Fates Warning. It was in 99 when the band got back together and well the rest is history. 

I have to say that I do like Anthrax, but I didn't think that John fitted into their music, don't get me wrong he is a great singer but I just didn't think he was suitable for their music. For Armored Saint there can only be one singer and on this album is sounds great. In fact the music is spot on... properly their best album in some time. I can not only hear Armored Saint old here but also the likes of some progressive elements to like Fates Warning, which for me is a great addition to their music. The band's last studio album 'La Raza' came out in 2010, so it's been some time since that release to record this one, but it really does have some great tunes, great vocals and a nice production, so you get the best of all 3 really. This album comes with 9 songs which I can only presume was produced by the band, having no info about the production side I know of Joey Vera's work so I am sure he had something to do with it. Songs on the album to check out are: Win hands Down, Mess, An Exercise In Debauchery, That Was Then, Way Back When, In an Instant, been the strongest of favorable songs for me. It's a great comeback album, so check it out, at least it's real metal music!! 

Exxiles      "Oblivion"           Nightmare     ****          

Newly signed to Nightmare Records is Exxiles, a band from the USA, in which Mauricio Bustamante departed from his old band 'Reign of the Architect' to pursue this new multinational band under the name of 'Exxiles'. To be honest I haven't heard his old band but I will certainly check them out. So you could be asking me who is in this band? Well there's a few names on here that you will know and some you may not, depending on you're knowledge meant of the underground scene. 

From what I can hear and see there's some interesting vocalist's here which I will tell you about in a minute. From what I can hear on this CD is some really good U.S. Symphonic Power Metal, which kind of reminds me of Kamelot, Symphony X with hints of European bands like Evergrey, Brainstorm, all thrown into one, which really works well for this band or project whatever you want to call it.  So who appears on this CD as vocalists or musicians. Well you have Zac Stevens (Circle II Circle), Mike Lepond (Symphony X), Chris Caffery (Trans Siberian Orchestra), Marcela Bovio (Streams of Passion), Oddleif Stensland (Communic), Gus Monsanto (ex Adagio), Oyvind Haegeland (Spiral Architect), Mats Haugen (Circus Maximus) to name a few. So you have some interesting underground names here, some that you may not of heard from in a while and there are more musicians on the album, which makes this an more impressive album to listen too. I could be here all day telling you all the people involved with the album, but I don't bore you. The production is decent and I am sure Mauricio produced it, which comes with 11 trax. The more I get into it I can hear the likes of Crimson Glory, Lordbane, Queensryche, Fates Warning, so there's a lot to offer on this album. 

If you are like me and you love this type of metal music then this is an album for you. Songs to check out are: A Better Legacy, Hopelessness, Anthem of Lies, Introspective, Dictator of Trust, Awakening Part.1 (Dark Resistance), The Messenger, Rise. A really good album for a debut, let's hope the next one is just as good... time will tell. In the meantime check out this album its a fantastic debut indeed and the more I hear it I start to hear the likes of Epysode, another fine project. Nightmare Records certainly have some interesting band, a great label indeed. I am sure this band will be playing the ProgPower in the near future. 

Caines Offering        "Stormcrow"      Frontiers   ***      

I am always up for new albums by artists either doing solo projects or new bands, but I'm not sure about this album. Don't get me wrong this is prety good music, it's the solo album by Stratovarius singer Timo Kotipelto, along with wait for it... other members of the band which include Jens Johansson (keyboards), Jani Limmatainen (guitars) from the band Sonata Arctica, along with Jonas Kuhlberg (bass), Jani Hurula (drums) to complete the line up. To be honest this isn't  bad album, I just feel that Timo isn't the greatest of singer by far, especially live when he sings high live... terrible to say the least all out of key... sort but its true. 

On this album his vocals however seem to be more controlled and more enjoyable. Having said that, the music is still in the vain of Stratovarius meets Sonata Arctica, so for me there's nothing really new here. I don't want to sound like this is a bad or negative write up but I really don't see the point in releasing a CD of a band you are already in, it's pointless. There's however some great playing on this album, some of the highest Finnish musicians on the album, some great melodic parts too which makes this a decent album, and for that I will give this album 3/5. The more I get into the album I can hear the likes of Angra, especially with the song 'Tired to Run', a decent ballad that any fan of Angra would love. Production on the album is good, not sure who produced it but it comes with 11 Symphonic Metal songs that any fan of the mentioned bands should surely love. I believe this is the debut album by this project and I am sure more will follow, I am sure of that. 

Songs that I think you will like are: Stormcrow, The best of Times, A night to Forget (reminds me of Nick Kershaw), Too tired to Run, Antemortem, On the Shore. Like I said I am not a big fan of Symphonic Metal... it all sounds the same, rather listen too good quality Power Metal. But don't take my world for it, it's only my opinion. If this is you're then you will love it. Enough said. Go see the band live if they tour, keep an eye open on the internet. 

Empires of Eden        "Architect of Hope"     Melodicrock  ****    

Some of you out there will may of heard of a band from Australia called 'Dungeon', a fine and superb band that released some kick ass albums in the 90's and early 2000's. Sadly the band broke up and guitar wizard Stu Hammer Marshall went on to form Empires of Eden, which featured some kick ass singers and musicians. So far Empires of Eden have recorded 4 albums to date, with the debut album featuring singers like 'Channelling The Infinite', which featured some amazing singers such as UDO Dirkschneider, Rob Rock, Sean Peck, Mike Dimeo, Steve Grimmett, Ronny Monroe to name a few. Stu released the 2nd album 'Reborn in Fire' , another fine Power Metal album which featured some kick ass riffs and music once again. 

This time around singer included were: Zak Stevens, Sean Peck, Mike Vescera, Steve Grimmett, and many more. Next came 'Songs of war & Vengeance', another fine guitar shredding album with some kick ass music from start to finish. Now Stu returns with another hard hitting album with some impressive singer, this album 'Architect of Hope', is another impressive album with some screaming vocals, shredding guitars and powerful music. This time around Stu has gone for some powerful singers on this album, and some impressive musicians. The musicians on this album are: Ross the Boss( Death Dealer/ex Manowar), Metal Mike (Halford), Bruce Bouillet (Racer X), Shame French (Circle II Circle), Glenn Williams (Dungeon), Richie Hausberger (Star Eternal), Tsuyoshi Ikedo (Unviel Raze), Hideshki Ueki (RMG) to complete the musicians on the album. As for the vocals, well there's some kick ass singers on this release, which include Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Rick Altzi (Masterplan), Jeff Martin (Racer X), Mike Dimeo (Riot), Carlos Zema (Immortal Guardian), George Call (Aska), Tony Webster (Archetype), Rahael Dantas (Perc3ption), Mike Cotoia (Fate Breaks Dawn), Some of them I haven't heard of but some I have. 

Production however is awesome, great sound and all the instruments shine through. Songs on the album to check out are: Vanish in the Light (Rick Altzi), Architect of Hope (Ralf Scheepers), Push the Limits, Taken (George Call), Weaponized, Six Feet Under (Jeff Martin), Silent Hell, Holy Pharaohs. A great album, this guy just keeps making great music and finding some awesome singers... maybe Jorn Lande, Ray Alder, John Artch on the next album. If you're a fan of Ripper Owens Judas Priest, Iced Earth and such bands like that with screaming vocalist then this is a great band for you. Check it out!!

Six Feet Under        "Crypt of the Devil"        Metal Blade     ****    

Former Cannibal Corpse front man Chris Barnes is no stranger to the underground metal scene, having been on the scene for some years now. After leaving his previous band back in 93, Chris Barnes decided to form his own band under the name of Six Feet Under. As his previous band were still making successful albums, Metal Blade also kept Barnes on their rooster and quickly signed Six Feet Under, and the bands debut album Haunted' in 95, which was a successful debut album, which kind of had some Cannibal Corpses influences as well as some Celtic Frost elements and their own musical direction. Still capturing the old school Death Metal sound Chris let up with Allen West formerly with Obituary and the 2 hit it off like fire and ice, creating what could be across between C. Corpse meet Obituary with added flavour. 

Chris and Allen teamed up with ex Death & Massacre Bassist Terry Bulter, now the 3 were writing some impressive songs it wasn't long before they found drummer Greg Hall. Impressive debut releases and a tour of Europe was set on the card the fans were delighted to see 3 figure members of cult Death Metal bands immerge into . The band would record several albums more and 98 Allen left to be replaced by Steve Swanson, who to this day is still involved in the bands music to this day. In recent years the band have released albums titled 'The Graveyard Classics', which featured some of the bands upbring influences such as Anvil, Mercyful Fate, Metallica and many more, great album they were too. Now the boys are back with this new album 'Crypt of the Devil', a great album, similar to that of the bands previous albums, intense, brutal and packed full of energy to say the least. I have to say the artwork is impressive, great as a t shirt as you will see, and the album was produced by Phil Hall and brother Josh, both of which are involved with Cannabis Corpse, both of which have given the album a brutal, powerful album in production, which was recorded in 2 separate studios. The album comes with 10 trax of ripping face brutal Death metal with groove and attitude. 

Band members Chris Barnes, Steve Swanson, Jeff Hughell & Marco Pitruzzella make this album well worth checking out. With additional musicians on the album been Phill & Josh Hall, along with Brandon Ellis, this is a great next leveled albums for the band. Some great guitar solos here makes it an even more enjoyable album. Songs to check out are: Gruesome, Open coffin Orgy, Broken bottle Rape, Lost Remains, Stab, Eternal in Darkness. A impressive new album indeed, some fine old school Death Metal here the way it should be played. 

Kamelot         "Haven"        Napalm      *****   

This band from Florida have come a long way since the early days when guitarist Thomas Youngblood formed the band back in 88 with Richard Warner in sunny Tampa, but soon changed their name from Camelot to Kamelot in 91. This is the birth of the band to what we all know now. The band recorded 'Breaking the Silence' for a cassette for the local Florida scene which soon got into the hands of Noise Records back in 94/95 when the band released their debut album 'Eternity', this album was a great debut which reminded me of Queensryche and Crimson Glory, with some impressive vocals by Richard who minded me of Midnight from C .Glory, and with the Medieval / Celtic style of music by riff master Thomas Youngblood the music was impressive and saw the band been played on Radio 1 here in the UK. I had to get in touch with the band before the band released 'Dominion' in 97. Having interviewed Thom I had the pleasure of staying at his house in Tampa in 97, hanging out with the band was a pleasure, thanks Thom. 

Sadly after the release of this album Richard left the band and was replaced by ex Conception singer Roy Khan, who was featured on the next album 'Siege Perilous' in 98. Roy was the perfect replacement and released the next 6 albums. Sadly Roy left the band leaving the band yet again looking for somebody who could fill his shoes, this was going to be some task. It was in June of 2011 when the band had found a perfect replacement, this been Tommy Karevik, formerly with Seventh Wonder, the band who released 2 albums through Lion Music. I have to say that Tommy is a perfect replacement no doubt about it, having a voice similar to Roy at first I really thought it was Roy doing the vocals on the next album 'Silverthron', which was released in 2012. With this album released another successful tour was planned as the sales charted the band once again. Now the band are back with the new album 'Haven', a new label too been Napalm Records, the band are ready for their next crusade and this is one hell of a superb album, capturing some stunning vocals, beautiful arranged music and guitar riffs along with some impressive drum patterns. I really can't fault this album, the band have always done quality albums and this is yet another chapter in the band history/ career. 

The band capture the melodic symphonic sound with some impressive Celtic influences... kind of Lord of the Rings meets Brave Heart, especially on the song 'Under Grey Skies'. The album was produced by Sascha Paeth and mixed by Jacob Hansen, to which the overall sound is amazing, faultless in fact. Songs on the album to check out are, well there all good but for me I like: Under Grey Skies, Fallen Star, Insomnia, Citizen Zero, Veil of Elsyium, My Therapy, Beautiful Apocalypse, iar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy). A fanastic album one of the best so far in 2015. I hope they come back to the UK soon for a full tour. Now I just have to interview the band... keep you all posted on that one. 

Worldview        "The Chosen Few"     Ulterium      ****         

It's been some time since I heard a good Christian band, back in the 90's and late 80's there were some great bands such as Stryper, Deliverence, Recon, Barren Cross, Sacred Warrior, Believer, and many more great acts. Stryper was the only band that really kept the scene alive, along with Sacred Warrior and maybe a few other bands. Christian metal has always been black listed, why I don't know. For me I don't care what they sing about as long as the music and vocals are great who really cares? So you maybe asking who are these guys 'Worldview'? Well this is the new band putting together by the incredible vocals by ex Sacred Warrior front man Rey Parra, a superb singer who reminds me of a early Geoff Tate (Queensryche), a very powerful singer and one of the best in the Christian metal scene. Joining Rey is former Recon/ Deliverance guitarist George Rene Ochoa, another 2 bands that I thought were awesome, sadly Recon only did 1 album 'Behind Enemy Lines', you really have to check this out!! For fans of early Queensyrche, Lethal, Fates Warning. This band started when Rey was asked to form the band when Rick Macias (Sacred Warrior) told Rey to get another band together, sadly Rick passed away before anything really happened and so Rey teamed up with George to form 'Worldview'. 

The results was this impressive debut album 'The Chosen Few', which is a mixture of melodic metal with hints of Progressive Metal. What I can hear on this CD is a mixture of Sacred Warrior, Queensryche, Fates Warning, Eden's Curse, Evergrey with some impressive vocals and music. On a slight downside is the fact that there really isn't any up tempo songs with double bass drumming which is kind of a shame, as 1 or 2 songs would of given this album more variation. The music is good so please don't get me wrong and Rey vocals are still on top form like they were with his previous band Sacred Warrior. 

If you're a fan of the bands already mentioned this is an album for you. Produced by George who has given the album an impressive production, and the album was also mixed and engineered by the famous Bill Metoyer (Trouble/ Fates Warning/ Slayer), who had pretty much worked with nearly all the Metal Blade bands back in the 80's. So the over all results are impressive, same could be said for the artwork which was handled by Felipe Machado (Rhapsody of Fire/ Jorn/ Blind Guardian), and the album cover is awesome, look great as a t shirt. This album features guest appearances by Oz Fox (Stryper), Jimmy Brown (Deliverance), Les Carlsen (Bloodgood), Larry Farkas (Vengeance Rising) to name a few. Overall this is a great melodic metal album that captures hints of Power Metal meets Progressive Metal. Songs to check out are: Mortality, Illusions of Love, Back in Time, The Mirror, Why, Prisoner of Pain, The last Cry. Check out this album, good stuff I await the next album in the near future. 

Raven       "Extermination"       Steamhammer         ***      

Newcastle (UK) has seen some pretty impressive N.W.O.B.H.M. bands to come out back in the day, such as Venom, Tysondog, Avenger, Atomkraft, and Raven to name a few. It was in 74 when Raven appeared and shook the north of England with their insane brand of metal, a band that would be Venom's little brothers. Both brothers John (bass/ vocals) & John Gallagher (guitars) formed the band with former drummer Rob Hunter. It wasn't long before the band were signed to Venom's label Neat and their debut album 'Rock Until you Drop' in 81, the debut that received some impressive reviews in the once good magazine 'Kerrang' among other international magazines. With  the release of the debut album firmly of the ground it wasn't long before the band released their next album 'Wiped Out' in 82, this was the album that brought my attention to the band. A decent album with some catchy riffs and decent vocals, back then the band were know to be wild animals or rock like their band mates Venom. 83 saw the next album 'All for One', which brought in Megaforce records, the label behind Anthrax, Metallica, Over Kill, Testament and many more. 

This album was also produced by Udo Dirkschneiner and Michael Wagener. The band saw in 87 Rob leave the band only to be replaced by Joe Hasselvander on drums, who has been with the band ever since. This new album sees the band moving forward, still creating some impressive N.W.O.B.H.M. with some Power Metal influences, and their music reminds me of across between Anvil, Riot, are 2 bands that spring to mind when I hear Raven's music. This album is the bands 13th album, and in 2014 the band were asked to open up for Metallica, as Metallica opened up for them back in the early 80's, this was a blast from the past. 

This new album sees the band moving forward and still playing quality old school metal the way it's intended to be and sound. The album was produced by Kevin 131, who had worked with the bands previous album 'Walk Through Fire' , and he certainly has given this album a solid sound and the drums sound great. John's vocals are still on top form and at times likes to show his screaming high pitch vocals which works well for the band. Songs on the CD to check out are: Destroy All Monsters, Tomorrow, It's Not What You Got, Fight, Feeding The Monster, Fire Burns Within, Silver Bullet, Malice In Geordieland (great title). Welcome back guys, good to see a band like Raven still banging out good quality albums.

Kiske          "City of Heroes"       Frontiers       ***          

Most of you will already know who Michael Kiske is, if you don't I will enlighten you, he was the front man for Helloween at their peak back in the 80''s when the band released 2 fine albums 'Keeper of the 7 Keys' Pr 1 & Pt 2 back in 87 onwards. The albums that featured 'I Want Out', 'Dr Stein' and many more classic albums. Michael left Helloween in 94 after the release of 'Chameleon', after which nothing was heard of by Michael up until 96 when he recorded his own solo album, from what I remember they weren't too good of albums sadly. 

In later years he was involved with Tobias Sammet from Edguy, with the project under the name of 'Avantasia', the project that featured so many vocalist including Ripper Owens, Bob Catley, and many more... Michael also has the band 'Place Vendome', which featured Dennis Ward (Pin Cream 69) Gunther Weno (Vanden Plas) and many more musicians. Other projects would follow including 'Unisonic', 4 albums recorded for that project. He has also appeared on lots of albums as a guest singer, so now his comeback is certainly at the right time. This band kind of reminds me of Kamelot, Vaden Plas, Eclipse, Last Tribe. This band features Mat Sinner on bass, Primal Fear, Sinner and tons more bands, I can't keep up with him!! Also this band features ex Primal Fear guitarist, also with Last Tribe Magnus Karlsson, along with drummer Veronika Lukesova and joint female singer Amanda Somerville. 

This is a great melodic Hard Rock/ AOR/ Metal album, which has plenty of twists and turns and some interesting tunes. This really is a good album for any fan of melodic metal. The album was produced by Jacob Hansen ( Pretty Maids/ Voltbeat) and many more, a great producer and once guitarist in Invocator. Some people either like female singer mixed with male vocalist, and in this case it seems to work really well. Songs on the album to check out are: City of Heroes, Walk on Water, Rising Up, Lights Out, Breaking Neptune, Open your Eyes, Run With A Dream. Other bands that spring to mind that they remind me of are Eden's Curse and Stratovarius. So if you like all the bands mentioned this is an album for you. If they ever tour and this is you're type of music then check them out, you have 2 powerful voices playing melodic Symphonic Metal with some slight edge AOR rock thrown in. A good choice of music mixed well. 

Sorcerer         "In The Shadows Of The Inverted Cross"     Metal Blade     ***     

I remember this band back in the when they 1st released their debut CD, which I am sure was a demo CD and I have it somewhere. This Swedish Doom Metaller's have made a comeback due to lots of interest from the demo CD which John Perez (Solitude Aeturnus), who had his own label concentrating on Doom Metal. Since the release of the demo CD the band have now become more popular and the demand of the band to reunite and record a new CD has finally come. 

It was in 2010 when the band were approached to play the 'Hammer of Doom' festival in which bassist Johnny Hagel was asked if the band would play the festival. It was this that generated the bands reformation and a new CD would follow a few years later. The band were happy to make another album and this time the bands line up consists of Kristian Niemann (guitars), ex Therion, Anders Engberg ex Twilight/ 220 Voltz/ Lions Share (vocals), Peter Hallgren (guitars), Robert Iversen (drums) and of course Johnny Hagel (bass). 

If you are a fan of Candlemass, Tad Morose, are 2 bands that spring to mind. I wouldn't say there typical Doom Metal, as they do have some up tempo songs and Andres is a great singer, I always like his voice with Twilight and all the stuff he has done, a fine singer. This album is actually better then the demo CD which came out a few years ago. The production is better, the songs are more up temp and catchy so all in all its a good album indeed. Doom Metal is the type of music that has an enquired taste, you either love or hate it, not sure if there is such a thing as in between love or hate. This album was produced by the band with , with Ronnie Bjornstrom handling the mixing,. This CD comes with 8 songs of pure Doom, some up tempo songs, some slow as you would expect. Songs on the CD I do like are: The Dark Tower of the Sorcerer, Sumerian Script, Exorcise the Demon, Prayers for a King, The Gates of Hell. The music is pretty good, but Andreas vocals certainly make up for the music if I had to say. Like I said Doom Metal is either hit or miss for more people, I do like bands like Candlemass, Trouble are my favourite. If you have heard the band before then this album is certainly for you. I am sure this band will release some decent albums in the future now that Metal Blade are behind the band, time will tell. I am sure this band will make more albums and so rightly they should. 

Impellitteri      "Venom"        Frontiers     ****      

Well it's good to see Chris Impellitteri back with his band, after the band released their last album for Heavy Metal heaven titled 'Wicked Maiden', a great album indeed. Chris started his career back in the early 80s but it wasn't til 78 when Chris Met Rob Rock and they released their debut EP which was self titled. A year later Rob left the band and was replaced by former Rainbow front man Graham Bonnet joined and the band released in 87 'Stand in Line' which featured the title track as a promo video. It did really well for the band and the album sold extremely well, released on Relativity Records. In 92 Rob returned and the band recorded 'Grin and Bare It' . 

More albums would follow with Rob such as 'Answer to the Master' in 94... and a following of  6 albums would be recorded with Rob & Chris. Other members would come and go.... but in recent years the band have kept a steady line up consisting of Rob, Chris, Glen Sober (drums), James Arnelio Pulli (bass), Ed Roth (keyboards) to which the band have recorded  some of the finest albums to date within the band. This new album features ex testament / Slayer drummer Jon Dette . The band have also had Graham return for the album 'System X' and also singer Curtis Skelton who recorded 'Pedal to the Metal' in 2004. Now that Chris & the boys are back after a successful last album 'Wicked Maiden', this albums is another album packed with energy and power with some impressive vocals by Rob and outstanding guitar work by Chris... much better than Yngwie Malmsteen, the rest of the band really do pull together making this one of the best shredding albums in some time. 

Yes it is heavy but at the same time melodic and has plenty to offer. Chris is a guitar wizard that leaves a lot of shredders behind , there's not many guitarist left that can shred, but there are some fines ones out there. This album features some excellent songs and there are 10 head ripping melodic tunes to choose from. Although it's not a really long album it does capture some of their finest work from start to finish. Songs that I suggest to check out are: Venom, Empire of Lies, Nightmare, Face the Enemy, Rise, Time Machine, Hold On. It's great to see the band back with a new stunning album. Check it out and I hope he finally comes to the UK... Chris you owe my beers brother haha!!  A master of guitars, fine band indeed. 

Pantommind      "Searching For Eternity"        Spectastral      ****       

Progressive Metal is now become extremely popular since Dream Theater broke it into the big time, having said they weren't the 1st, Fates Warning were actually doing it before them but sadly never got recognized for their work until later on. There are so many talented bands out there now and out of all the countries there's places like Bulgaria that sees the likes of this very talented band called 'Pantommind', this band formed back in 93 by members Peter Christ (guitar/ bass), Ross (guitars), under the name of Lavender Haze. The band changed their name in 95 and the band soon found Drago (drums) and Sunny X (keyboards)  & Tony Ivan (vocals) and it wasn't long before the band the band were recording 96 when the band recorded their demo 'Unreality'. 

This was just the beginning of what too come. In 2003 the band recorded their debut album 'Shades of Fate', which was a decent debut album showing the world that Eastern Europe can also deliver good quality music just like Western Europe. This album was released by Sensory records in the USA, with Italian label Lucretia handling the press in Europe. It was later when the band released their 2nd album 'Lunasense' in 2009, and this was the 1st time I had heard the band. In total the band have recorded 4 albums to date. This for me was an incredible album, kind of blow me away. I knew this album would be a great album and every song on that album proved just that. Great musicians and great singing made this a well enjoyable album. 10 songs of pure magic from Bulgaria that I highly recommend. Now the band return with yet another fine album, this band kind of remind me of Fates Warning, Queensryche, Cloudscape, Pagans Mind, so if you like bands like that you're going to love this album. The new album Searching for Eternity' is yet another superb album, which sees the band moving forward. 

I really think this band would be on a bigger label and certainly be playing the Prog Power festivals. The new album comes with 11 trax of pure melodic and technical metal with some awesome vocals by Tony which gives the album that extra special touch. I really can't fault this album, it's one of the best Progressive Metal albums of 2015 for sure. Check out:  Not for Me, Moon Horizon, Walk Away (featuring Mike from Cloudscape), Hypnophobia, Tell Me, Searching for Eternity, Lost. I fantastic album that has to be heard... check out this album and also their previous albums. I hope to see the band in the UK at some point. 

Messiah's Kiss          "Get Your Balls Out"      Massacre    ***      

Well I didn't even know that Messiah's Kiss were still together until bassist Wayne Bank's contacted me through a friend in Saxon (cheers Paul). Having saw the band back in 2002 when the band supported Doro in the UK and Wayne has just joined the band. Back then the band were really cool, I had interviewed singer Mike Tirelli for what was Friday 13th Fanzine back then. The band have musicians from Germany, U.S. and UK evolved with the band, which give them that extra special touch of Europe meets the U.S. all rolled into one. The band however have had some line up changes but 3 original members still remain in the band, these been Mike Tirelli (vocals), George Kraft (guitars) and drummer Eckhard Ostra, along with brothers Wayne Banks (bass) and Jason Banks (guitars) makes the bands line to what it is today. 

Mike has been involved with other bands such as Holy Mother, whereas Wayne has also helped out Saxon, and is also the bassist for Persian Risk at present. The band's debut album 'Prayer for the Dying' was released in 2002 and was released on Steamhammer, a great powerful album of European Power Metal with songs New York vocals by Mike. The band's music reminds me of across between Grave Digger, Judas Priest & Saxon. Nowadays the music is still good stuff but I do feel that the band have lost their Power Metal touch sadly, why? I have no idea as there great musicians and Mike is a powerful singer. I do feel they need to get back to the Power Metal style they once had as this band do create some fine music. This new album does have one or two elements of the Power Metal era such as songs like 'Survivor', an up temp song the way the band need to play more of. 

Don't get me wrong there a great band, but I just feel this album lacks the power they once had. I hope the next one returns to their original roots please!! The album however does have a nice production but I am not sure who produced it. The album does have 16 trax, 2 of which are bonus songs, so it's value for money. Songs on the album I do like are: Living in Paradise, Rescue Anyone.. Rescue Me, Survivor, Only Murderers Kill Time, Mission To Kill, Whisper A Prayer, Buried Alive, It's no Good. Having listened too the album I can hear that Mike sound across between Dio meet Ripper Owens, a great combination. All in all a decent album, great musicians but I do fell they need to get back to their heavier roots somewhat. Time will tell. 

Morgoth      "Ungod"   Century Media        ****     

Well here's a band from the past, Morgoth a great German Death Metal band that took Europe by storm back in the late 80's, early 90's and made some impressive albums. Formed back in 85 by Rudiger Hennecke & Carsten Otterbache. Later on Marc Crew would join the band and the rest would follow. The band recorded their debut album for Century Media back in 91 after the band released their debut EP 'The Eternal Fall' back in 90, the album to follow was 'The Curse' in 91, which saw the band supporting Obituary and Demolition Hammer, does anybody remember that tour? Shit I still have all my tour shirts from that tour!! That was a great tour and it certainly made Morgoth more noticed especially here in the UK. This album was just the start to more success for the band and having Marc working for Century Media certainly helped the band with promotion and more. 

The next album to come was 'Odium' in 93. Next was 'Feeling Sorry for the Frantic' in 96, this was the last album the band would record before breaking up, but saying that the band did record a live DVD. The band would reform back in 2014 but sadly Marc Crew would leave the band, leaving the rest to find a new singer. Having heard this new album I honestly thought Marc was still in the band, but sadly not but his replacement is now Karsten Jager, joining him is also Harald Busse (guitars) the original guitarist, Sebastian Swart (guitars), Marc Reign (ex Destruction) on drums, Sotirios Kelekidis on bass. 

I have to say that singer Karsten does sound across between an early Chuck from Death meets Patrick Memeli , and the music is really good so the 2 mix really well vocals and music. The band have come back stronger than ever and this album proves it, solid songs , nice production makes this a great album. If I had to say what this album sounds likes it would be Death's 'Scream Bloody Gore' meets 'Malleus Maleficarum' a well balanced blend if brutal Death Metal. The album comes with 11 brutal old school Death Metal songs to rip you're face off. Songs to check out are: House of Blood, Voice of Slumber, Snakestate, Nemesis, God is Evil, Traitor, Prisoner in Flesh. A decent album, strong riffs and heavy vocals makes with a great old school Death Metal well worth checking out. Look out for the band touring soon, I am pretty sure they will and this album is going to bring lot's of success for the band. 

Ruthless       "They Rise"     Pure Steel     ***     

U.S. Power Metal Veterans 'Ruthless' are back after a long awaited absence from when the band recorded their debut mini LP 'Metal without Mercy' back in 84 and their cult classic album 'Discipline of Steel' in 86. This debut album for me was a great album, their image reminded me of W.A.S.P a little and I guess to some degree their music was also a little like them, but with more balls and attitude. Across between W.A.S.P meets Omen, Savage Grace, Hexx to name a few. Sadly in 90 the band disbanded and it was 20yrs later when the band would reemerge with this cult style 80's metal, the way we love to hear our music, I know I love my 80's. Original singer Sammy DeJohn is still in the band and singing higher than ever, whereas guitarist Kenny McGree delivers the powerful riffs once again. 

Along with Kenny and Sammy is Dave Watson (guitars), Marc McGree (bass), and drummer Jason Van Slyke. At one point Dark Angel guitarist Jim Durkin was once involved with the band but is no long helping the band. I have to admit I really liked the bands debut album back in 86, it just captured the rawness and power that U.S. Power Metal bands do and for me they are the best at creating Power Metal, the American's who their shit!! This album features 14 pure melodic Power Metal in the 80's style which was produced by Bill Metoyer, the man behind all the classic albums from the 80's, especially the Metal Blade era. So you know what you are getting from Bill, a decent production from one of the finest producers of the 80's. I mean you hear the 80's Metal Blade albums like Slayer, Bill did them all, he certainly did some of my all time favourite albums like Helstar, Omen, Fates Warning, Liege Lord and so on... 

Production is pretty good, rather solid but could do with more of a edge on the drums to make this album sound more powerful, but other than that it's cool stuff. The band are ready to hit Europe once again and after lots of interest from 'Keep It True' festival in Germany this album could put them back on the metal map. Yes it's a pretty good album, but they still need more aggressive songs like they had on their debut... there's time for that I am sure. Songs I like are: Defender, Laceration, Circle of Trust, Hang Man, Frustration, Gates of Hell, Metal without Mercy, Fever. Not a bad release, I await the next album and yes it's good to see the band back.. welcome home!! 

Bonz      "Broken Silence"       Eternal Sound     ***         

Well here's a name from the past, never in the enxt 10yrs would I of thought my good old buddy Bonz (Stuck Mojo) would be releasing an album of his own since the late 90's. I became good friends with the Mojo having spent time with them on their tour bus traveling and have a blast it was sad to see Bonz leave the band back then. I wouldn't get my head around the new singer sadly and that's no disrespect to the rest of the band , the spark had just gone in my opinion. And so it was good that Fozzy formed out of the ashes of the Mojo. It wasn't until recently the band had reformed with all 4 of  classic line up members been back in the saddle, Rich, Bonz, Corey, and Buddy. With mojo having toured withy the likes of Type of Negative, Machine Head, Pantera, and many more.  

Now a decade  later the Mojo are back and Bonz is also back with his solo CD 'Broken Silence', released on Eternal Sound Records from Germany. I was rather shocked when this CD arrived to my home, 1st of all I wondered were they got my address from and secondly... I thought who the hell is this? To my surprise it was my old buddy Bonz and I was happy to see he had done his own band/ solo CD which comes with 10 hard hitting Metal/ Rap songs that only Bonz could deliver. Joining Bonz is Curt Taylor (guitars), Erin Stagg (drums) and bassist Don Leslie. It was in 2011 when Bonz met up with Curt from Primer 55, to form Bonz and the results are heavy but the Rap does mix well as Bonz is a master of mixing the 2 together and hitting it off with top results. This album was produced by Curt and the overall sound is impressive, a raw sound that makes the music and vocals shine through. Bonz still hasn't changed, his vocals are still the same, impressive and certainly fit the music well enough. 

I guess some Mojo does rub off on this album, maybe some Machine Head harmony vocals too here and there. If you like what Bonz has done in the past I am sure this is another album for you. Songs that I like are: Sinister Grin, Comes Over Me, Godshine, Broken Silence, Take it Personal, Bad Love. If anybody can Rap and mix it with metal it has to be Bonz, the godfather of Rap/ Metal. Welcome back Bonz.. Lets see what Bonz band and Mojo come up with in 2015. Good luck to them. Let's see what 2015 bring for Bonz and the band's his in, I am sure 2015 will be a great year for him, be great to meet him again. 

Dr Living Dead          "Crush The Sublime Gods"     Century Media     ***    

Well here's the new album by Dr Living Dead, the band that were formed back in 2007 and had recorded 2 demos back in the day. Their debut demo 'Thrash After Death' in 2007 saw the door open for the band which led to positive reviews and in 2008 the band recorded their 2nd demo 'Thrashing The Law', more fans were starting to come together and it wasn't long before the band signed their 1st deal and released their debut album in 2011. 

This album was self titled and certainly saw the band been taken serious by the press over Scandinavia & world-wide. This promising Swedish metal band took their debut to the next level with 'Radioactive Intervention' in 2012. This album sold well for the band it wasn't long before the band signed to Century Media for this new album 'Crush the Sublime Gods', which was recorded in Soundlab Studios' in  Orebro Sweden in September of 2014, which also featured former singer Dr. Ape's artwork handling the artwork for the album. The band consist of Dr's Toxic (guitars), Rad (bass), Mania (vocals) and Slam (drums). The band mix the thrash metal with hardcore, mixing a crossover sounds that sounds across between Evil Dead, Savage Messiah, Gamma Bomb, Gothic Slam, Nuclear Assault, Suicide Tendencies, D.R.I. a bit of old meets new Thrash/ Hardcore and mixes well for this young Swedish metal act. As always great musicians coming out of Sweden that certainly have that an edge having U.S. influences for a change. 

There's certainly an element of new age thrash metal in this bands music, so if you like the new style of thrash this is a band you need to check out. Vocals remind me of Mark from Death Angel, in fact the music sounds like 'Ultra Violence' in places. The band have had the pleasure of supporting Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Suicidal Angels, to name a few. As the album progresses the music also becomes more of the same. Any fan of the new age Thrash metal is going to love this, bands like Gamma Boy, Linch King and many more... Songs to check out are: Crush The Sublime Gods, Team Dead, Buck$, Forced Fed, Scanners (sounds like Nuclear Assault), Wake up.... Join the Dead. All in all not a bad release, although it does after a while become rather middle of the road Thrash Metal. Next... I just wish some of these bands would actually have more variation within their music as I really don't get the new age Thrash stuff at all. At least there's time for improvement. 

Uriah Heep        "Live At Koko"       Steamhammer      ***    

Old bands never die and this is one band that just keeps on going like bands like Sabbath. Motorhead, Maiden, Priest, Saxon, Whitesnake and many more... Whereas new bands come and go, the older bands have that special touch that new bands just can't touch. Formed back in 67 in London by guitarist Mick Box, and vocalist David Byron along with keyboardist Phil Lanzon. David left the band and was replaced by Bernie Shaw, who to this day is still at the front stand delivering the goods to the fans world-wide. Trevor Balder on bass (who lived near by me) was with the band for many years but sadly passed away in 2013, his replacement is Davey Rimmer, also in the band is Russell Gilbrook on drums. 

The band have recorded 24 albums in total, now that say's something that I knew nothing about, I did know they recorded a lot of albums but never did I think it would be this many. The band made a massive success in Russia as one of the 1st bands to break the Iron Curtin, allowing more Western bands to also become more successful in Eastern Europe. The band have certainly never lost their fan base and the band have grown with the younger generation too and as this live CD/DVD shows the band on top form and full of energy even if they are in their 50/ 60s, the band put 100% into a show and still create quality Prog/ Hard Rock music that so many have come to love. I have even heard Power Metal bands. This release comes with 17 roughly songs and the band show the crowd just how full of energy and power they still have in their music. Listening too this CD you can tell the crowd are totally behind them, I'd love to see the DVD at some point. In the meantime this is a great addition to any collection of the bands music you may have in you're collection. 

Songs to check out are: Against the Odds, Into the Wild, Gypsy, Overload, Traveller in Time, Sunrise, I'm Ready, Easy Living, Nail on the Head. A legend band still making quality music to the masses. I can't believe I still haven't seen the band live, 1 day I will. this is an album that all fans have been waiting for, sadly Trevor is no part of this, only in spirit. Legends don't die they just live forever and this band are legends no doubt about it. The band will be playing some of the major festivals around Europe this summer so be sure to check them out if you can. 

FM      "Heroes & Villains"      Frontiers     ***     

It's always good to see the old bands making a comeback, FM are another one from the 80's/ 90's who made a name for themselves. Formed back in London in 84 when former Samson/ Diamond Head bassist Merv Goldworthy and drummer Pete Jupp met up with the 2 Overland brothers Steve & Chris to form this band and to create a new fresh sound. It wasn't long before the also found keyboard wizard at that time Didge Digital. Demos were recorded and and sent out around the London scene and to various labels. It wasn't long before the bands music was in the hands of major label Portrait, part of Epic records. 

With the debut album finally released it was time for the band to release their debut video to which brought a lot of success for the band, this was the song 'Frozen Heart'. This song was soon talked about and the band's population soon became bigger then ever. 89 saw the release of the bands 2nd album 'Tough it Out', released through Epic, a great 2nd album which featured the sing 'Bad Luck'. Sadly the band 90 the band left Epic but were soon picked up by MFN's for the next album 'Talkin it to the Streets', a great album that featured the cover song 'Heard it through the Grapevine'. The band toured and recorded 5 more albums prior to the release of this new album 'Heroes & Villains', released through Frontiers, the label that seem to be signing some awesome bands right now. 

The band has seen members come and go but Merv, Steve and Pete remain the full backbone of the current line up from the early days, which is a great step forward. joining these guys is guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick and keyboardist Jem Davis. This new album is a really good album , having not heard the bands music in a long time I am impressed with the overall songs on this album, and Steve's vocals are still on top form. The production is nice and solid for the music the band play and comes with 12 tracks, of typical Fm style melodic AOR/ Hard Rock with hints of Def Leppard & Journey. Not sure who produced the album, having no info about it but still a good sound with catchy riffs and strong vocals. Songs to check out are: Digging up the Dirt, You're the best thing about Me, Life is a Highway, Fire & Rain, Incredible, Cold Hearted, Big Brother. All in all a decent album, not all the songs appeal to me, but that's just my choice. The band are great musician's, no doubt about it and if you like the band's previous work then this will also appeal to you. Check out the band live in April around the UK and Europe. 

Eden's Curse      "Live With The Curse"       AFM        *****       

It's good to see that Eden's Curse are getting strong and stronger and the bands last album 'Symphony of Sin', which was just a pure magical album, which captured some of the most outstanding performances from the band and with Nikola vocals this was certainly their finest album to date. This great multi cultured band have been releasing album since 2008. This was the beginning for a strong and promising future for the band. With the band's debut line up been Paul Logue (bass), Thorsten Koehne (guitars), Ferdy Doernberg (keyboards), currently with Alex Rudi Pell, Pete Newdeck (drums) now with Tainted Nation, and Michael Eden (vocals), who is no longer in the band. The band as this line recorded 3 albums, their debut been 'Eden's Curse' in 2007, followed by the album 'The Second Coming' in 2008 and later on with the album 'Trinity' in 2011. In 2013 'Symphony of Sin' was the album been fronted by new singer Nikola Mijic, a superb singer from Serbian who could be as good as any singer from Journey. 

The band had now found their strongest singer and strongest music ever. After the release of this album Pete Newdeck left and also keyboardist at that time Alessandro Del Vecchio would leave and joined Voodoo Circle. Steve William's from Power Quest would take his place and John Clelland. This is the band 1st live CD, recorded in Glasgow (Scotland) in front of a warm welcoming Scottish crowd and fans from around the world. I have to say the bands last album is certainly their best and I can't see the band doing an thing wrong now and they have finally found their feet. This album was mixed by Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), who like all albums he is involved with has a certain solid production. he is certainly 1 of the best for Melodic Metal albums as a producer and mixer. 

The album features 18 of some of the bands finest songs, certainly can't be easy to pick songs when you have more than 2 albums released, but I think the band have got it right on this release. All the musician's shine through and vocals are amazing. I would be here all day telling you the whole set list, but here are a handful of songs I enjoy on this release. Pity the album wasn't released as a live DVD, hopefully the next one will be soon. So the songs I enjoy on this album are: Fallen from Grace, Symphony of Sin, Black Widow, Fly Away, Just like Judas, Jerusalem Sleeps, Time to Breath, Rock Bottom, No Holy Man, Unbreakable, Evil & Divine. A fantastic release no doubt about it, well worth checking out so grab a copy today Great band indeed.

Golers      "In N Outlaw"    Golders     ***       

New arrive recently came my way, was this new band from Canada under the name of 'Golers', an usually name indeed and having received a message from front man Chainsaw Charlie (vocals/ guitars) on Facebook I was happy to accept his request in having this CD sent to me. I'm glad I did as I also found out an old friend is also in this band, Stuart Carruthers (ex Grip Inc) Dave Lombardo's old band. So I have also gained a CD review and found an old friend. This band was formed back in the late 90's, when Chainsaw Charlie teams up with Derek Rockall (guitars/ vocals), Jason Mosdell (drums) and later on Stuart, who joined the band later on in the band career. 

The band released their debut album 'South Mountain Style' in 99, which saw the band mixing Thrash, Death Metal with Hardcore & even Punk. After the release of the debut album the band recorded '2nd Generation' in 2004, which the band back at home started to gain a fan base around Vancouver B.C. (Canada), and with numerous gigs from total and international bands soon came to be. It was in in 2009 when the band released their next album album 'Backwoods Messages'. In 2013 the band released this album, yeah I  know it's an old release but I was sent it recently so I thought I'd give it a write up. This album was produced by Rob Shallcross who worked with Gene Holgan, Strapping Young Lad, but sadly passed away. This album has seen the band heading all over Canada, U.S. and even Europe supporting the likes of Kreator, The Accused, Napalm Death, Suicidal Tendencies, Destruction & Dayglo Abortions. Having heard the album I can hear the likes of The Accused, especially with the vocals, Napalm Death for the music and some of the vocals and the aggression of Kreator or Destruction.

 This is a decent album for fans of extreme music crossing over from Thrash to Punk. This album also features 14 head ripping tunes that any fan of the above bands are going to love. It's a lethal combination that drank carefully works well. Songs on the album I like are: In n Outlaw, Lemon Eyed Devil, Angel Disruption, Behind the Sun, Inbred Militia, Country Pumpkin, Riff Cult/ Relations. Not a bad album at all, but I do feel the vocals to tend to get a bit too much at times, rather screaming too much, but songs like Riff Cult are much better. I do hope the next album the vocals are a little more varied and less extreme. Musically it's pretty good too. For more info how to get a copy please contact the band at : www.golers.ca 

Eclipse       "Armageddonize"      Frontiers    ****   

Swedish melodic rocker's 'Eclipse' return with their new album 'Armageddonize', released through Frontiers Records from Italy. The band were formed back in 99 in Stockholm (Sweden) and it wasn't long before the band released their debut album, which saw the light of day in 2001 titled 'The Truth and Little More', released on Z Records. This saw quickly followed by the album 'Second to None' in 2004, in which the band signed to Frontiers and recorded yet another 2 more albums until this new release was the light of day. The bands current line consists of : Erik Martensson (vocals/ guitar), Magnus Hendriksson (l. guitar), Robban Back (drums), Magnus Ulfstedt (bass). In the band the band had the following members, Fredrik Folkare (bass), who quit the band. Having only heard 1 or 2 songs from this band in the past I can't compare each album from 1 another, but I can tell you this is a great melodic Rock/ Metal album indeed.

The band's music reminds me of such bands like Eden's Curse, Bad Moon Rising, Dokken, Harem Scarem, to name a few. A great combination of some of the finest melodic Rock/ Metal acts. Other bands that spring to mind are the likes of Journey, Whitesnake and maybe the likes of early Jaded Heart. With Eik and Magnus been the 2 main song writers and producers within the band this album has plenty of soul and feel to it. The 2 also have been involved with producing the likes of such bands as W.E.T., Jeff Scott Soto, Giant, Dalton and many more. The overall production is solid, crisp and and has bags of energy. Eik's vocals mind me of Nikola, a strong character that both sound like Steve Perry former Journey. This album features 11 of some of the finest melodic rock songs for 2015, a great start to the year. 

Songs that I suggest you check out are: I Don't Wanna Say I'm Sorry, Stand On Your Feet, The Storm, Wide Open, Live Like I'm Dying, One Life-My Life, All die Young. A great album, this is a band I need to hear more of their music. They also about to start a UK tour starting 10th March, so you check them out if you can. I am hoping to see and interview them on this tour. Let the mayhem begin!!!

Satan's Host       "Pre-Dating God Pt. 2"      Moribund  Records     ***    

Not many people will be aware of this band, I only discovered them about 2yrs ago by accident. Originally formed in (Denver) Colorado  back in 86 believe it or not. Formed by Jag Panzer/ Titan Force front man Harry 'The Tyrant' Conklin, who's goes under the name of 'Leviathan Thisiren' in Satan's Host had got together with Patrick Evil (guitars). It was in 86 when the band released their debut album 'Metal From Hell', which became a cult classic and with the band recording the famous bootleg 'Midnight Wind', to which the underground metal scene soon got wind off and the word was soon spread. In the debut album is now out of print and hard to find so if you're lucky enough to own one then you are one lucky person. 

Maybe the band should re-release this gem. With the release of these hard to find release now out the band sadly dismembered but soon made a come back in 99 when guitarist Patrick Evil found new singer L.C.F. and in 99 the band released their next CD 'In Articulo Mortis', and a year later 'Archidoxes of Evil', 2 albums I still have yet to hear to compare to this new album. Apparently the band took a more darker approach within their music but still kept the traditional metal influences. More albums would follow in total 12 the cult underground band and with various line up changes the band are now back with this stunning new album. The bands current line up consists of Harry Conklin, Patrick Evil, Anthony Lopez (drums) and bassist Margar. 

The band have also released a live DVD, which I think I'm going to check out. It's also good to know that the band have covered the Grim Reaper classic 'See you in hell', which is a pretty damn good version. If you I had to say any bands that they sound like, they would have to be the following, Titan Force, Helstar, Candlemass (somewhat), Sentinel Beast, just to name a few. Songs on the album I enjoy and suggest you check out are: Fanning the Flames of Hell, Hell's Disciples, Soul Wrent, As the Dead, They Sleep, Descending in the Shadow of Osiri, Greed Lust Hate War, After the End and