UPDATED August 18, 2020


Straight from the underground comes the Italian band VIRTUAL TIME, whom were formed back in 2012 and they released their debut Long distance in 2016. Although I read they released 4 more albums, Pictures seems like the real follow-up and while listening to the first couple of songs I am quite surprised, because the included music is of a very high level. The band is playing Classic Rock and they do it very well actually. The songs are mostly slow to midtempo with a focus on melodies, both vocally and during the guitar riffs that seem to come straight out of the 1970s. Their line-up consists of Luca Gazzola: lead guitar, Marco Pivato: bass guitar, Alessandro Meneghini: drums and Filippo Lorenzo Mocellin: lead vocal, harmonics, acoustic guitar. 11 songs are included and songs like Charmed, Just you, Heaven is asking... and Beyond the sun (quite lovely!) are very nice melodic slightly groovy classic rock tunes with good vocalwork and strong guitarwork, packed in rather nice tunes that reveal influences from 1970s DAVID BOWIE, THE DOORS, LED ZEPPELIN (High class woman), a lot of THE BLACK KEYS (I see the moonlight), but somehow also it has a bit of 1990s US College Rock/Powerpop kind in the style of the THE POSIES, THE JAYHAWKS, etc. (Charmed and Nowhere land). The result is quite a nice affair filled with good clean groovy Classic Rock most of the time featuring strong vocals and for an Italian band overall sounding very impressive and definitely recommended to fans of DE WOLFF, THE BLACK KEYS, RIVAL SONS and such! Check them out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



It wasn't very easy to find information on the Italian band UNDERDOGS, but I did find out they released this same titled album in 2014, of which I have now received a vinyl record. The band is formed around Simone "Sabbath" Vian - Bass and Vox, Michele "Jimmy" Fontanarosa - Guitar and Alberto "Trevi" Trevisan - Drums, and they have been active 2004 and released a couple more records. This album contains a nice mixture of Classic Rock, Stoner Rock and some classic 70s BLACK SABBATH ish Hardrock/Doom. The overall sound is quite underground ish and this is one of those records you put on and can easily listen to from start to finish, because the delivered music is of a reasonable high level. In fact, I am safe to say fans of SABBATH, KYUSS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and such bands will definitely like this album a lot, especially during a strong uptempo rocker like Locked doors. More info at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


A very surprising sound we can hear on the 2nd album of the Italian band ANANDA MIDA, because opener The pilot brings me back to the late 1970s midtempo Classic Pomprocksound of bands like ROADMASTER and TRILLION, yet a bit rockier and proggier perhaps. Strong lead vocals and harmonyvocals combined with catchy choruses and biting guitarwork is making this band a very interesting band. They were formed back in 2015 and their current line-up consists of Davide Bressan: bass, acoustic guitar, Conny Ochs: vocals, Max Ear: drums, Matteo Pablo Scolaro: guitars, percussions and Alessandro Tedesco: guitars, percussions. The vocalwork is quite excellent, sounding very English/American, instrumentally all is in shape as well and the 5 included songs are quite sensational. After the lovely opening tune, next song Blankstare is faster and uptempo, but perhaps a little quirkier, yet still with that late 1970s/early 1980s Pomprock influence, although this time with a slight tougher almost punkier approach like also MPG did on their classic same titled album (the song Working overtime for example is quite identical). Pupo cupo goes more into a Progressive meets Psychedelic Rock direction, with even some KING CRIMSON and U.K. similarities. Out of the blue follows and is a calmer short acoustic piece that brings memories of JOHN WETTON. Closing track is the slow 22 minutes counting Doom and the medicine man (Part 1 - 4) that has a playing time of 22 minutes and is basically a dream for the fans of pure 70s Doom and also of interest for the Progrock and Classic Rockfans as it has an incredible lengthy guitarsolo! This ANANDA MIDA is a highly recommended band to check out, with it's almost authentic 1970s sound and overall this album sounds like it is a classic from 45 years ago! More info at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



VIC DU MONTE is an American musician living in Berlin, although his band PERSONA NON GRATA is setlled in L.A.. It features former members of bands like QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, AIRBUS and KYUSS and there have already been a few album releases the past 20 years, including this Barons & bankers from 2010. Opener Cockblocker is an uptempo Punky rocker a la BILLY IDOL, GENERATION X and so is following track Raising to the ground. Basically the whole album goes into this direction, which is Punky Rock and Roll meets Garage Rock and BILLY IDOL is definitely the best comparison. Good record and done quite well, with an authentic Garage Rock and Rollsound that will also appeal to ROLLING STONES, SMALL FACES and even GO BACK TO THE ZOO (Running to the moon) fans, although fans of BILLY IDOL and co will absolutely love this the most. More info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Out of the Italian city of Pisa comes DOME LA MUERTE & THE DIGGERS, whom were formed in 2007 and their last album was this Supersadobabi. The band is formed around bandleader DOME LA MUERTE, the guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer, while the rest of the line-up consists of Bassist Marco "The Grandfather" Serani, Drummer Giampiero "Jp" Palazzino and Guitarist Iride "Iri" Volpi. Together this foursome brings no-nonsense Classic Sleazy Hardrock from start to finish. If bands like HANOI ROCKS, LA GUNS, JUNKYARD, GUNS'N'ROSES and such are up your alley, then you will love songs like Nice family, Woman in trouble and Screamin' at the wind. Check them out at:  

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)




The Southern Rockstyle never brought many Dutch bands in the past, but when I caught the Helmond based band VOLTAGE last year by coincidence when they performed at a local free outdoor parc festival just around the corner of my house, I was hearing a real good pure original Southern Rockband! I really enjoyed their stunning performance and found out later they had already released an album, but with their new album It's about time, they take it one step further and reach for the level of a band like BLACKBERRY SMOKE, RIVAL SONS or BLACKSTONE CHERRY. Formed in 2011, VOLTAGE consists of Dave Vermeulen - Lead Vocals/ Guitar, Ruard Sanders - Lead Guitar, Kai Liebrand - Bass/ Backing vocals and Bart Candel - Drums, and It's about time features 11 very impressive songs.


After the calmer Southern Rock ish semi ballad The last time as opening song, they switch to a catchy uptempo melodic rocking crowd pleasing anthem for everyone to sing-along to during the excellent One more high to survive the low, of which BON JOVI would be jealous due to it's incredible strong chorus. A good thing is comin' is back to the Southern Rocksound of LYNYRD SKYNYRD and once again done very well for sure. The titletrack It's about time follows and this is a sensational midtempo Melodic Southern Rocker with a superstrong chorus. Then comes the radiosingle Wild and blue, a calmer ballad ish song which has already been a huge hit over here as it was played a lot by national radio during the corona times. The mill blues is one of the rawest songs on offer, as this is a real stompin' original midtempo bluesy Southern Rocker with a catchy beat that reminds me of ZZ TOP meets SEASICK STEVE. Uptempo rocker Born for runnin' without you follows in a similar ZZ TOP ish style. She's gone like the wind slows things down a bit, because this is a lovely midtempo acoustic driven melancholic TOM PETTY ish Americana/Heartland ish melodic pop/rocker. I'm still waving goodbye follows in a sorta similar style, although perhaps a bit rockier and reminding me of E.L.O. somehow during the chorus, which also has some BRYAN ADAMS similarities! The house is on fire is a very nice uptempo rocker, quite straight-ahead with an AC/DC beat, while closing track The victim is closing the album nicely in Southern Rockstyle.


VOLTAGE has released a really great new album with an international sound and due to the fact that not many other bands are making this kind of rock, I really think they have a big chance to breakthrough. They do have some Classic Rock/Melodic Rock influences as well, so it is not all about Southern Rock, but who cares if it is all done very well. Anyway, here in Holland they are already becoming quite popular despite the missing live gigs and let's just hope in the future they will be able to perform again and show their skills on stage. For now, check them out at:


(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



Mosaic is the 5th album of the Dutch band LESOIR, whom were formed back in 2010, and it seems like that with this new album they are going for the real breakthrough. The album was produced by John Cornfield and Paul Reeve (MUSE, SUPERGRASS, OASIS...) and you can clearly hear that, because the sound is huge! The band's line-up conists of Eleën Bartholomeus: guitar, vocals, Ingo Dassen: guitar, Ingo Jetten: bass, Bob van Heumen: drums and Maartje Meessen: vocals, flute, piano/ The music is not that far removed from THE GATHERING, yet perhaps a bit more moving into Progressive Rock and also more melodic and song based than those Dutch heroes. It is a coincidence that at the same time also the new album of another Dutch band called GOLDEN CAVES is released, because the music on both albums is quite similar actually. LESOIR's music is at a very high level and from start to finish it is an enjoyable adventure through their own kinda Prog/Female Fronted Gothic Heavy Rockstyle, with as highlights among the 9 included songs, the Progressive Rocker Is this it?,       the catchy and very melodic radio-ready Somebody like you (excellent chorus and perfect soaring guitarsolo), Dystopia (stunning PINK FLOYDish calmer instrumental Progrocker) and The geese (big bombastic Symphonic Melodic Rocker like a heavier 2000s KAYAK meets WITHIN TEMPTATION/DELAIN, with beautiful haunting vocals of Maartje). Check out this great Dutch band at:


(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Out of the beautiful sunny city of Valencia comes THE THIRD GRACE, a band with a melodic Prog/Powermetal sound and a combination of female and male vocals. They already released a full-length CD in 2016 and an EP which was part 1 of their new allbum Of fire and ashes. The band consists of Jose Masiá (main vocals, guitar and piano), Javier Masiá (bass, backing vocals), Ivan Tacchella (drums) and María Cobos (vocals). Their sound is quite bombastic and symphonic based around impressive instrumental prog/power metal guitar riffs and vocal melodies. I have to say that the vocals are not reaching the level of let's say AFTER FOREVER and EPICA, so you have to keep that in mind, but the music is quite nice to listen to, especially since the band is instrumental doing things at a high level. You can hear it for yourself at: 

(Points: 7.4 out of 10)




Out of Australia comes ... AND SILENCE REMAINS, a one-man's project formed around TIMO WIMMER, who did everything on his own on the first CD. The included music is European/German based Teutonic melodic Power Metal in the style of GRAVE DIGGER, RUNNING WILD, VETO, NOISEHUNTER, RESTLESS and such. The only thing that I would recommend Timo to do next time is to find a good singer, because now his voice is the weakest link I'm afraid, although in the 1980s a lot of German bands featured a similar voice. In fact, if you hear a song like Raising the dead, this is pure German Teutonic Metal heaven for fans of RUNNING WILD/GRAVE DIGGER, including a German accent, althougn Timo nicely settled in sunner Australia. If we look at the rest, all sounds very impressive, with superb guitarwork and some really great tunes, so if only Timo could find a real strong Metal singer, we might be dealing here with a sensational Aussie Melodic Power Metal band! Now you have to accept that the vocals are not the strongest point in the music of ... AND SILENCE REMAINS, but as mentioned that is the same when I listen to the afforementioned bands and they get away with it, so why not Timo and his interesting project. Check it out for yourself at:


(Points: 7.5 out of 10)



Out of Mesa, Arizona, USA comes multi-instrumentalist BRYAN DEISTER, who sent me his double CD The Dying savior. Musically speaking it is a sorta Gothic/Doom Rock/Metal adventure which is quite lengthy and although instrumental it does sound quite nice, I am afraid Bryan is not really a lead singer and he really needs to look for a singer next time. Judge for yourself at:


(Points: 5.0 out of 10)




Now this is quite a rare demo, because out fo Italy I received a CDR with just 1 song and no information of whatsoever, but this song is a strong soulfu/bluesy uptempo melodic hardrocksong with impressive female vocals. Not sure if I ever get to hear and review more, but for now check it out for yourself at:


(Points: 7.9 out of 10)




I had to listen to this album a few times before getting it, because KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH is a Synth whisperer and her music is really atmospheric and feels like one big Yoga trip. Actually it's almolst impossible to describe her music, because it is quite experimental. Perhaps a bit like CLANNAD or SINEAD O'CONNOR, but then differently and with a bog focus on modern electronic sounds. It's quite calm and relaxed, but at times also sounding quite frightening and dark actually. Kaithlyn comes from the Orcas Islands which is somewhere between Vancouver and Seattle and has been making music for quite some time, with several DJ's and always focusing on a natural Yoga ish approach that under certain circumstances will definitely work. For now, it's something you have to hear for yourself to find out if this is an interesting album for you. More at:


(Points: 7.7 out of 10)



Now this is really a bizarre album that musically is hard to describe but atmospheric instrumental New Age might do the trick here, although INVENTIONS from Portland, Oregon might want to be described differently I guess. The band is formed around Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) and their new album as INVENTIONS is a trip through their minds, with all kinds of strange noises that more feel like the background music for a Sci-Fi movie actually. Done quite well, it's best to hear it for yourself at:


(Points: 7.8 out of 10)




The Toronto, Canada based band SUPERCHUCKER consists of members whom also play (ed) in other Canadian bands, including the legendary Metal band PILEDRIVER. The line-up is as follows; Dave Barrett (lead vocals), Steve Macpherson (bass, vocals), Shawn Pegg (guitars, vocals), Robert Hassey (drums, vocals) and Stavros Theodorakopoulos (guitars, vocals) and Widespread panic is SUPERCHUCKER's debut album. 10 songs are included and basically it is a trip down memory lane to 1985! Opener Widespread panic is fast classic mid 1980s Heavy Metal, borderline Speed Metal (like RAVEN meets early METALLICA), with some great guitarwork, but during the following track Cartoon nation the guitarsound is really sounding phenomenal and pure classic 1980s Melodic Metal. This song is more Melodic Heavy Rock and sounds a bit like a cross between LIZZY BORDEN and TWISTED SISTER. DIO must have been a big influence on the following song Liar, a typical 80s midtempo headbanging Heavy Metal song that also has some similarities to ACCEPT. The album continues this pure 80s Heavy Metal sound like a mix between the aforementioned bands and if you're a fan of any of them, you will absolutely love this album as well. Make sure to check out such great gems like Forgotten, the TWISTED SISTER ish anthem We like to rock and the epic Another day with lovely SCORPIONS ish guitarwork. We have actually seen many new young Canadian bands playing this kind of 80s Metal the past 10 years and SUPERCHUCKER clearly fits in there, although it's members have already been in the music scene for quite some time now, but with Widespread panic they release a great debut album. More info at:


(Points: 8.2 out of 10)




Formed in 2016, the Canadian (with Russian roots) band RED CAIN have quickly built a reputation in Calgary with their Melodic Metalsound. The band is formed around Vocals - Evgeniy Zayarny, Guitars - Carlos Cruz, Guitars - Noah Bockmuehl and Drums - Taylor Gibson and Kindred Act 1 is their debut album and I have to say, a very impressive one of an incredible high level. 7 songs are included and the album opens with a massive Progressive Metal meets Power Metal song in the style of ICED EARTH, SAVATAGE, PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and such. A powerful massive song that has a major label sound and is of a very high level, both vocally and musically speaking. Next song is the sensational Midnight sarabande, an uptempo Neo-Classical Prog/Power Metal masterpiece that sounds like the perfect cross between SYMPHONY X and PAGAN'S MIND, including a truly amazing melodic and memorable chorus. From the other songs I would like to point out Blood & Gold (a calmer modern poppy tune) as a remarkable tune, but also that songs like Juliet and All is violence reveal some very modern agressive Metal influences that are close to Technical Thrash Metal, so showing a different side of RED CAIN. Closing track Wing of the crow even introduce female vocals and is songwise a sensational bombastic Symphonic Melodic Power Metal tune that reveal NIGHTWISH influences during especially the lovely haunting melodic chorus. RED CAIN is definitely a band not to miss if you're a fan of the mentioned bands, but also if you want to hear diversity and perhaps the best comparison is probably ICED EARTH. Check them out at:


(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



Out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada comes the Gothic band BENEVOLENT LIKE QUIETUS, whom are combining Melodic Metal with Gothic Rock, and overall they sound very European actually, Scandinavian to be precise! 11 songs are included and they remind me a bit of MOONSPELL, HIM, THE 69 EYES, SISTERS OF MERCY... They were formed in 2015 and their line-up consists of Drums: Ryan Spencer, Vocals: Daniel Louden, Lead/Rhythm Guitar: Ty Frederick, Lead/Rhythm Guitar: Matt Springer and Bass: Killian Murphy. Most of the songs are uptempo, very melodic and following the same direction, which is the melancholic Scandi Gothic Metalsound. They are doing a great job here for sure, because if you like one, you will love them all. One of the remarkable songs is the TEARS FOR FEARS cover Mad world, which was done very nicely and after 46 minutes you will still not believe that this is a band from Canada. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


LINK PROTRUDI is actually a different name of singer/guitarist Rudy Protrudi, who is known as the frontman of the legendary band THE FUZZTONES. That band is one of the most important Garage Rockbands of the 1980s, which started a revival of this genre. This side project LINK PROTRUDI & THE JAYMEN brings him together with Michael Jay | bass and "Mad" Mike Czekaj | drums playing music that could best be described as a mix of Surf Rock and Early Rock and Roll, somewhere between LINK WRAY, THE RAMONES and THE SHADOWS, rocking and rolling during 26 tracks that are included on this best of CD, which is a mix of songs taken from the 4 albums they released between the mid 1980s and mid 2000s as well as 3 unreleased live tracks. Still going strong, this best of CD shows that they were quite a great band with fun loving uptempo rock and roll songs the way they were meant to be created, simple, short but effective. Check for yourself at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



11 years ago in 2009 the Italian band MAD DOGS was formed and their debut album was released in 2015. This first album was in the Italian language, but the follow Ass shakin' dirty rollers was sung in the English language. The result is a nice sleazy garage rock and roll album that sounds dirty, mean and raw, with still strong melodies and mostly uptempo rockers. The band's line-up consists of Mark Cipolletti (guitar and vocals), Luca Zenobi (guitar), Simone Mosciatti (bass) and Giacomo Zepponi (drums), and their music is basically no-nonsense classic rock and roll in the style of DEAD BOYS, ROSE TATTOO, LA GUNS, GIRL and such, with a slight Punky attitude. Highlights among the 12 included tracks are Make it tonight, It's not over,Troubles and The right way. More info at:


(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



Formed in 2016, the Snohomish, Washington based band FRETLAND delivers a sensational independently released debut album. It's all brand-new, sounding very fresh and could well be the start of something huge in the future! They are formed around the amazing singer HILARY GRACE FRETLAND, who has got a killer voice with an incredible range and combined with a great band backing her up, FRETLAND has released one of the finest Americana/Folk/Pop albums of 2020! The first FRETLAND album was produced by engineer Nich Wilbur (ANGEL OLSEN) and producer Trevor Spencer (FATHER JOHN MISTY, FLEET FOXES...). They start a little less Americana/Folk though, because opener Long haul is a very strong radio-ready slightly quality pop orientated piece that could easily be a huge hit as it has a sound that fits somewhere between LANA DEL REY and ADELE. The incredible high level is continued on the following track, although musically speaking this song is more interesting, because Friendly fire is a beautiful melodic Americana pop/rocker. Actually none of the 11 included songs show any sign of weakness, because the superb musicianship of FRETLAND goes on and on with nothing but highlights. Have another beer for example is basically perfection when it comes down to cross Country, Americana/Folk and Melodic Pop/Rock like mixing the beauty of THE WEBB SISTERS, FLEET FOXES, YELLOW GRASS and FIRST AID KIT. Flirting with pop melodies is done all throughout the album, such as during the 'rockish' ballad Garden that once again could be an enormous hit worldwide. There's also time to settle down and introduce an acoustic song like the absolutely stunning Must've been wild and uptempo folkrock can be heard on I still care, which has a very rootsy rocking end. The diversity within the Americana/Popsound of the band is very impressive, but especially the vocalwork and excellent musicianship are making this debut album of FRETLAND a must to check out! It would not surprise me if they will be famous one day and sell out European tours, but for now they will have to start from scratch, so first thing you can do is check them out of course! More info at: and


(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



Out of Munich, Germany comes the interesting band THE ANCESTRY PROGRAM, whom are creating a somewhat 'new' sound. Consisting of Andy Lind / drums, Thomas Burlefinger / keyboards, Mani Gruber (BOYSVOICE, FRONTLINE, ROTTEN ROSE and countless others) / guitars and Ben Knabe / voices, THE ANCESTRY PROGRAM are doing things quite out of the ordinary actually. There are moments when it's like you're listening to a really great Neo-Progband, but then you are suddenly completely surprised by a big Extreme Metal influence. If we go through the 11 songs that are included, we can discuss what happens on this debut album of THE ANCESTRY PROGRAM. After the short intro Silver intro, we head into Silver laughter, which combines perfect high class Neo-Prog with complex Prog Metal. The vocals are quite good and pure Neo-Prog, with a sorta English kinda tone and this can be heard very clearly in the quirky Pun intended, especially during the start, but the chorus is surprisingly extreme Metal, with screams and such. Thankfully, the band sets the sound back to high class Progressive Rock during the lovely Another way to fly that combines nice Neo-Prog vocals/melodies with pure complex Progrock guitar riffs. And also the 10 minutes counting Easy for us is a lovely pure Neo-Prog tune that recalls memories of EVERON and features a very strong chorus, with however (happily) 2 very short Extreme Metal singing parts. The titletrack Tomorrow and More to this are the finest songs on the album, as these are really great Progrock perfection songs. It's quite a lengthy album in the end, but that's not an issue at all, since this is high quality music from start to finish. The only thing I really hope that next time they will completely drop the Extreme Metal singing parts. Check them out for yourself at: and


(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Recently we reviewed an album of the New York based PAPA SATCH, which is an act formed around singer/ songwriter Bob Sachnoff (PAPA SATCH) and multi-instrumentalist/lead singer STEVE RONSEN. Thankfully they sent 2 more albums they released, because they are up until now an undiscovered band in the AOR/Poprockscene. Soulful intent from 2017 and Fault lines from 2018 are the 2 other albums and both are an excellent collection of awesome pure 80s catchy AOR/Melodic Poprocksongs in classic BRYAN ADAMS, RICHARD MARX, RICK SPRINGFIELD, EDDIE MONEY (When I was a kid), BILLY SATELLITE and JIMMY DAVIS style. It's really enjoyable to finally hear an independent US act making this kinda music again instead of the countless Scandinavian bands or FRONTIERS signed bands. Anyway, the 2 full-length albums are filled with superb vocalwork and catchy hookladen songs that are really sounding like the good old American 80s AOR days we all miss so much. Highlights on these 2 albums are the midtempo AOR songs Think about it, This land, Believe and Where I'm going (a la JOHN WAITE and VAN STEPHENSON) and uptempo AOR/Poprockers There you go, Maryanne, Bottom of the ocean (RICK SPRINGFIELD style), Stand at night, A better life and I'll call (even a bit PREVIEW!). Definitely a big recommendation to fans of classic 80s AOR/Poprock the American way! More info at:


(Points: 8.5 out of 10)




Originally released in 2002, the Italian band OJM's debut album Heavy was re-issued on VINYL by GO DOWN RECORDS 12 years later. The included music had a sorta 1990s sound, which was quite dark, slow and doomy Stoner Rock with early 1970s Psychedelic Rock influences. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and KYUSS must have been the major infuences of their sound (especially during the best song As I know on Side-B) and what they presented on Heavy was indeed quite heavy and based around slow massive sounding guitar riffs from the old Doom/SABBATH/CANDLEMASS school yet with a modern fuzzy Stoner Rock approach. Vocally it was not that strong, but in combination with the production of PAUL CHAIN (from the legendary Italiian band DEATH SS) this has been covered up quite well and OJM delivers 10 quality Stoner Doom Rock/Metal songs that will please the fans of the genre. You can check for yourself at:


(Points: 7.0 out of 10)




It's a pity the Milan, Italy based band VERACRASH is not active anymore, because this 2012 VINYL release of their 2nd album My brother the Godhead is a very strong massive sounding Melodic Doom Metal affair with superstrong vocalwork. This is like BLACK SABBATH and CANDLEMASS into the modern day century and not a single moment you would guess this is an album from 2012, because it still sounds very fresh and up-to-date 8 years later. Kali Maa is uptempo headbanging perfection and of course a lot of the included songs also have that slow typical Doom Metal sound, but when they go uptempo (also during A blowjob from Yaldabaoth), they go for an incredible heavy sound! Produced in Sweden by Niklas Kallgren from TRUCKFIGHTERS, this album is one of the finest pieces of Italian Doom Metal released in the past 20 years and it's a shame it never got that much attention, so therefore here is a newly written look at this legendary underground album. The songs sound very impressive from start to finish and VERACRASH is definitely highly recommended to the fans of mentioned bands. Check them out at:


(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Straight out of the underground comes TUNDRA, a band from Venice, Italy whom delivered a sensational debut album titled Coro back in 2014. Two of the members played in a band called d MOUNTAINS and the strange thing is that after this release, we never heard anything of TUNDRA anymore, which is really a pity, because Coro is a very impressive and rather interesting album. The included music is instrumental and a mix of Stoner, Psychedelic and Progressive Rock, yet played by 2 basses and a drummer, but sounding like a full band, including the guitar! You don't miss the guitar at all, so TUNDRA has definitely something quite unique! The band consists of Marco Bortoletto - Drums, Alessandro Toffanello - Bass and Federico Favaron - Bass, and the 10 songs on Coro are really showing an incredible high level of instrumental Stoner Psych/Progressive Rock in classic 1970s style. I have never seen or heard a band with only a drummer and 2 bassists, so for that reason alone you need to hear this! Check it out for yourself at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



It seems like Italy is the leading country to look for bands/labels in the Stoner/Doom Metal direction, because we have HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS, BALCK WIDOW RECORDS and GO DOWN RECORDS. This last mentioned label is an independent Italian record label founded by Leonardo Cola and OJM’s drummer Max Ear. They were kind enough to sent me a part of their back catalogue, which consists of mainly sounds from underground music such as psych rock, stoner, doom, desert rock, '60s, hard rock, ‘70s and anything mixed or in-between. The releases are done on VINYL and/or CD and you can definitely hear that this label is founded by music fans. Most of the bands are Italian and this GDR/Split 1 VINYL Record contains on each side a different band. Side-A features songs by the Italian band MONGOOSE and these are really great Stoner/Doom orientated, with string vocalwork and a really raw big guitar dominate sound a la BARONESS and also a hommage to the classic 1970s sounds of bands like BLUE CHEER, BLACK SABBATH and especially MC5. The tree-piece band consists of Daniel Giardina | guitar, vocals, Stefano Castioni | bass and Serena Zocca | drums and they absolutely deliver something of interest here, with as highlights the slowtempo The fall and the lovely uptempo Final exodus. Hopefully much more on this band in the near future, because they are one of the better Italian bands at the moment in the Stoner/Doom Rock/Metal direction. On Side-B another band from Italy is showing their skills through 3 lengthy tracks. They are called JAHBULONG and formed around Pierpaolo Modena - Vocal/Guitar, Nicolò Bonato - Drums and Martino Tomelini - Bass. Their sound is somewhat similar to that of the other band, although perhaps a little darker, slower and vocally also quite different. JAHBULONG is grittier and rawer, especially in the guitar department, really going for that pure superslow Doom Metal sound like we heard it from a band like REVEREND BIZARRE. They are doing it very well and should be eaten alive by the fans of this genre that has not come out of the underground ever since OZZY and BLACK SABBATH parted ways in the 1970s! I was at one point really thinking if the vinyl record I was playing should really be played at 33 RPM speed, because a song like Green walls is one of the slowest Doom Metal songs I have heard in centuries! Anyway, I can highly recommend this split record that features 2 really interesting Italian band! More info at: and and

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



Out of Venice, Italy comes SUPERTEMPO, a threesome band formed around Federico Mellinato: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Stefano Michieletto: Bass, Vocals, Guitar and Marco Fabris: Drums back in 2010. They released 2 albums ion GO DOWN RECORDS, of which their latest 29 already dates back to 2014. The included music is mostly uptempo catchy punky powerpop with an alternative rock influence in the vocal and guitar department. They do remind a bit of 80s R.E.M. (It's the end of the world style) and also 90s US College Rock. SUPERTEMPO is quite a good band with a handfull of rather catchy tunes, although a bit more diversity would be nice, because almost all of the 14 included tracks are uptempo rockers. Not bad at all, but some more variation in tempo would be nice, because when they do that, we get to hear a pretty good melodic powerpop affair (You're always late). You wouldn't think this is an Italian band, as they sound very American and are highly recommended to fans of bands like THE JAYHAWKS, R.E.M., TEENAGE FANCLUB, WILCO, THE REPLACEMENTS... More info at: 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)




In contrast to most releases on the Italian label GO DOWN RECORDS, the VINYL Record of ALICE TAMBOURINE LOVER is a calmer almost Americana kinda record and a really good one actually. This duo is coming out of Bologna, Italy and consists of Alice Albertazzi (voice / guitar / tambourine) and Gianfranco Romanelli (dobro resonator guitars). The two musicians started back in 2011 and Down below is their 4th album so far. The music is quite calm and relaxed, but also a bit dark and melancholic, although the lovely female vocals make it sound very melodic. There aren't any drums and the guitar stays in the rootsy/Americana/Folk field, while the vocals sometimes go in a sorta Psychedelic Rock direction. I think this combination makes it an interesting album, but also a very laid-back one that you play on a sunny summer ish sunday afternoon. Done very well and all 8 included tracks have the same kinda feeling as described and you can hear that for yourself at:


(Points: 8.2 out of 10)




Now this is an interesting release from the Italian band GLINCOLTI, whom are making a sensational mix of classic 1970s Progressive Rock and Complex Jazz/Fusion and their Vinyl release Terzo occhio contains on the A-side 4 tracks from their album 'Ad Occhi Aperti', recorded live in 2017, while on Side are 3 previously unissued tracks from the 'Ad Occhi Aperti' sessions, with as special guests Sara B. (Messa), Jason Nealy (ex-Mad Fellaz, Sonic Wolves) and Andrea F. The band's line-up features Roberts Colbertaldo (drums), Andrea Zardo (bass), Alberto Piccolo (guitar) and Alex Donanzan (guitar) and together they create some really beautiful music. The result on this LP is a fantastic journey through the instrumental fields of Progressive Rock and with Jazzy parts here and there as well. It reminds me clearly of the classic 1970s and then you must think of bands like GENTLE GIANT, FLAVIUM and especially SOFT MACHINE, yet a bit more leaning towards pure Prog when going real proggy and rocky such as during the superb Il medico, which features absolutely phenomenal guitarwork. Side-B features on 1 song female vocals that make it sound completely different than the rest and although it took some time to get used to it, the song itself is a pretty strong Melodic Progrocker with Soulful vocals. This band should be huge in the progrockworld, but I don't think they are that well-known yet. Hopefully they will be re-discovered via this review! More info can be found at: and


(Points: 8.6 out of 10)




Good music does not always have to sound difficult and complex, because sometimes when going for a simpler sound you can also reach your goal and appeal to people. Take for instance the Italian band THE ROOZALEPRES whom are delivering short but sweet and sharp fast uptempo Punky Rock and Roll in the style of TURBONEGRO, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, PETER PAN SPEEDROCK, THE RAMONES, DANKO JONES, NASHVILLE PUSSY... Nothing new perhaps, but done very well and off we go through their 12 counting tracks on their debut album, we can hear a lot of fun and enthousiastic songs from a pretty good band, which has a lot of potential to become more known in the future. More info at:


(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



Now this is a very interesting mixture, because I hear a lot of influences in TINY BIT OF GIANT'S BLOOD's music. Overall it's pure Classic Glam Rock with massive harmony vocals driven choruses out of the classic THE SWEET/CITY BOY/QUEEN box, yet it sounds modern as well, with influences from modern rock bands (especially THE DARKNESS) and here and there some Punk Rock as well. The band comes out of Chicago and is formed around vocalist Tony Rogers, guitarist John Scholvin, bassist Jackie Schimmel and drummer Larry Beers. Their debut album is titled "Gigantosaur" and it has just been released. When checking their website, the band pictures and song titles, it is clear that we are dealing here with a band that is trying to combine the big bombastic 70s rock with humorous lyrics and a lot of rock star stage presence, ending up sounding and looking quite close to classic THE TUBES in their 1970s period, although CHEAP TRICK is also a band to mention, but there's so much more here. A song like "Girl Over Here" is a close-call to THE DARKNESS's modern glam rock, while the uptempo "To Be Is Beautiful" has some cool synths, galloping guitar work and a lovely catchy melodic chorus, sounding like a cross between 70's URIAH HEEP and 70's QUEEN. "Five Foot Heels" is another great uptempo rocker that sounds like the perfect baby of classic QUEEN and THE SWEET. "Little People" starts as a QUEEN piano-ballad with DAVID BOWIE-ish vocals, but halfway transforms into an uptempo rocker like THE WHO. The band is also not shy from classic late 1970s punk rock, because that can be heard in the song "Mick Jagger Carries My Boots," which sounds like THE RAMONES meets GENERATION X. Side-A (of the vinyl record they kindly sent to me for review) closes with the bombastic ballad sorta-rocker "All Hail The Opening Band," which has a great chorus and guitar solo and sounds not far from the 1980s power ballad, although once again QUEEN influences are crystal clear too.

Side-B opens with "Faux Tuff," a great uptempo 1970s rocker that has a guitar riff which is 100% identical to TOTO's classic tune "Angela," although the song itself is something THE TUBES could definitely have created many years ago. "If You Want Blood" is the surprise of the album, because this is an AC/DC cover and it's done quite differently, starting quite calm with synths, but ends up being a rocker as well, just like the original classic tune. "Signoria Dysphoria" takes another change in style, because this is a sorta Latin pop tune with traditional Spanish guitar, quite nice, although the rockers might skip here. On the other hand, this shows their love for QUEEN as well, because that band of course did such tricks as well. It's like TINY BIT OF GIANT'S BLOOD has listened very well to all those classic 70s rock bands, because ROLLING STONES influences pass by during the uptempo rocker "There Is Always More," which then again also reveals MOTT THE HOOPLE/SMALL FACES influences, although halfway they switch it to a slightly faster punky tempo, but also slow it down again to keep it QUEEN- influenced. It's all there and very cool to hear. I think if they are able to do this live at a professional level, they could become the next big thing. Who knows if that will happen...

In the end they are a highly recommended band to people who want their glam rock to sound a bit extroverted and theatrical like in the good old classic 1970s, kinda like QUEEN meets THE SWEET and a bit of THE DARKNESS. More info at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The band WILLE AND THE BANDITS comes out of Cornwall and they were kind enough to sent me their 5th album Paths which was released sometime ago. Formed in 2010 around Wille Edwards - Guitars, Lead Vocals, Harry Mackaill - Bass, Backing Vocals, Matthew Gallagher - Organ, Guitar, Vocals and percussion and Finn McAuley - Drums and percussion, they are slowly building a reputation and let's hope when corona is gone, touring will be possible again. Paths consists of 11 impressive songs that combine American Melodic Rock melodies with Bluesy Rocking soaring guitar solos and superb vocalwork. Opener One way starts very strong, because this is an uptempo rocker with a really catchy memorable 80s ish chorus ala VAN HALEN with SAMMY HAGAR. In fact, their lead singer WILLE EDWARDS is not only a gifted guitarplayer who can shred quite sensational, he also has a fantastic raw voice that reminds of a cross between SAMMY HAGAR and the ZZ TOP singer. Next track Make love is bluesier and more akin to classic groovy Classic Rock of the CREAM/ZEPPELIN/ZZ TOP kind. Victim of the night follows in a more breezy very strong laid-back ish soulful melodic rock direction with once again the SAMMY HAGAR similarities. MONTROSE also comes to mind more than a few times, but then perhaps a bit more bluesier like a JOE BONAMASSA or KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD. In a more semi-ballad direction is the bluesy melodic rocker Four million days where Wille once again shows what an incredible gifted singer and guitarist he is! I am really surprised this band has not yet had their big breakthrough, because they are of an incredible high level and probably belong with KINGSBOROUGH and ROBERT JON & THE WRECK to the best of the new generation of American orientated Bluesy Melodic Rock that has not reached the big audience yet. Here and there the band also goes for a slightly more experimental direction, such as the funky Keep it on the down-low that has more in common with RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS doing their own version of Play that funky music. On the other hand, even SAMMY HAGAR did such songs on his solo albums and the band rocks big time during Find my way, so the diversity on this album should be praised! All together I am safe to say that WILLE AND THE BANDITS is a highly recommended band to check out and hopefully in the future they will reach more people, because they have a lot of potential, especially of course their bandleader WILLE EDWARDS! More at:  

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



I was very surprised when I heard MOONLIGHT BENJAMIN on the last SONGLINES CD, because I had not heard of her before, but this Haiti-born singer and her Parisan band have already released 2 albums in the past, which I sadly haven't heard yet. They bring a sensational sound that combines Western bluesy roots/classic rock with African style vocals of Moonlight. The music really rocks in a way we know it from THE BLACK KEYS of THE WHITE STRIPES if we need to mention a reference, but then with a Soulful African way of singing. Their new album Simido should easily give them the breakthrough they absolutely deserve and hopefully also the rockworld will discover this Haitian/French sensation. 10 songs are included and the rock, soul, blues, americana, African/Carribean rhythms, desert rock and roots influences are melted perfectly here. Moonlight's vocals are one of a kind and really impressive, but also her band (Matthis Pascaud on guitar/synthesisers; Matthieu Vial-Collet on guitar; Quentin Rochas on bass and Bertrand Noël on drums) sound very tight. Opener Nap chape starts right away with that raw groovy bluesy rocksound I was refering to, but especially following tracks Ki nouvel and Salwe are fantastic sensational rockers with beautiful catchy melodies and explosive classic rock ish guitarwork (a la CREAM/ZEPPELIN). I'll bet live on stage this will be a great adventure to experience and let's hope this will be possible one day everything's back to normal. As we work our way through the 10 songs, it is remarkable that the incredible high level is kept from the start to the end, because besides the first 3 songs there are many more highlights and they all rock out big time, such as Pale pawol, Tchoule and Belekou. Although considered as World Music, I am safe to say that also the fans of Classic Rock (CREAM/LED ZEPPELIN) and/or modern retro Bluesy Rock (THE BLACK KEYS/JOE BONAMASSA) and such will definitely like this album a lot. This might secretly be one of the finest album releases of 2020, so you absolutely must not miss it! More info at:


(Points: 8.8 out of 10)



Progressive Rock is one of the finest music genres around and each year we are surprised with many great new albums. 2020 has already brought some strong progalbums, but we are waiting for that big one, which we can call the album of 2020 (perhaps the new HAKEN)! Well, MY ARRIVAL from my own country is definitely a contender, because this new band has delivered a wonderful melodic progressive album, although it is actually a bit calmer and song orientated than most of the other more complex albums in the progscene. On the other hand, it's also not really Neo-prog, as therefore it sounds too relaxed, poppy and modern. They call it themselves Art-rock and Post-rock combined, but I would probably describe it as a melodic modern sounding song orientated progressive pop/rock album. Imagine a mix between the old ALAN PARSONS PROJECT style, PINK FLOYD, RPWL, a lot of DIRE STRAITS and the new MARILLION, with a real focus on pop melodies and leaving out any complex instrumental improvisations. You might as well call it intelligent popmusic that just happens to give us memorable vocal lines and catchy choruses in a way that brings a band like COLDPLAY fame and fortune. MY ARRIVAL might be called a new band as already mentioned before, but they are actually a side-project of the SYLVIUM members BEN VAN GASTEL, FRED BOKS and RICHARD DE GEEST. We reviewed some of their albums in the past, but apart from the fact they all play in that legendary Neo-Progband, MY ARRIVAL is different and less proggy. The debut album Satur9 & Indigo is actually a concept album, although you can easily listen to any of the songs seperately without the need to listen to the whole album as to understand the concept behind it. Most of the songs follow the same relaxing laid-back sound and especially Gone, Pale white dot, Full dark no stars and Strange machine are quite memorable. The titletrack is basically pure PINK FLOYD at it's very best, including a DAVID GILMOUR ish soaring guitarsolo and like in any song also this one has beautiful relaxing pop melodies. There are a few times the tempo is a bit more uptempo, such as during Come undone and Null echo, which reminds me a lot of LONELY ROBOT, KINO and SOUND OF CONTACT, so these are closer to the modern day melodic Neo-progrock, but most of the time MY ARRIVAL's debut album is highly recommended to fans of RPWL, DIRE STRAITS, STEVEN WILSON, PINK FLOYD, ALAN PARSONS PROJECT and such calmer pop based prog. More info at:


(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



From out of nowhere comes this interesting release. Well, actually it is from Miami Springs, Florida and it's like in the old days when I also received packages with absolutely zero info and just a blank Tape or CDR. There's no info included or any tracklisting, so when surfing the web I was hoping to find more info, but I am afraid I cannot find anything on the band AATACHE. A pity, because it is quite good, sometimes very proggy such as during 4 and the lovely 7 (pure Neo-Prog) and at other times quiet calmer 70s pop orientated like in 5. There's also catchy strong melodic Progressive Poprock like the awesome 6, which is very close to classic CUTTING CREW. At times there's also a bit of STING similarities included and well overall it's a nice melodic mixture of mentioned acts and genres all together. This is all I can mention, because I don't know anything more on them! It makes it still quite exciting to learn more about them, so who knows soon that will be possible. You can email them at:


(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



Straight out of Pittsburgh comes the sensational band THE HAWK EYES, whom take the classic 80s Melodic Rocksound right back to 2020. They were formed back in 2013 and Ever for after is their 2nd album. I am quite surprised I haven't read anything more about them yet, becaiuse when listening to this new album and especially the first 2 songs, Now or never and Wanted man, we get to hear quite superb high quality uptempo Melodic Hardrock. They sound like a heavier and modern version of classic LOVERBOY, with the same kinda catchy hooks and melodic choruses and also a strong lead singer. Don't let this comparison put you off, because THE HAWK EYES sound like it's 2020, so nothing dated at all and much rockier, but they are clearly bringing back the classic melodies into rock and roll here. The band's groovy big time retro Hardrock ish material should also be mentioned here, because a song like John O is closer to bands like BLACK STONE CHERRY and RIVAL SONS and Stone's throw away even ticks the GOTTHARD Melodic Hardrock box! Basically it's a mix of all kinds of rock and roll from the past 50 years and THE HAWKS EYES are doing this at a very high level. Highly recommended to check out as soon as possible please at:


(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Now for something completely different, because out of Spain comes MANUEL FERNANDEZ and he brings on his new album Caminare perfectly swinging Spanish Latin/Salsa/Jazz like a calmer GIPSY KINGS. Right when you hear the opening song Fecha de Caducidad, it is clear we get to hear this kind of music at a very high level and a song like this could easily become a huge radiohit this summer. Although most of the CD continues in this style, there are also calmer moments such as during the Middle-Eastern/Andalusian influenced Sigue Caminando. When hearing this kind of music you feel the warm sunny breeze from the south of Europe or even South America and that's where Manuel will also get a lot of attention from. On the other hand, I really think when people in the Northern parts of Europe will hear this album, they will have a big smile on their face, because this kind of music makes you happy, especially when it is done very well, which is the case here. One of the more interesting songs besides the first song is the rockier No Quiero Volver a Tenerte. If you want to hear something else musically speaking, then why not try this album of Manuel! More info on Manuel at:

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)




BA BALANCE is a really great and interesting mixture of Western Bluesrock riffs and African rhythms. Recorded in Malmo, Sweden, BA BALANCE is a duo consisting of Danish guitarist Preben Carlsen and Gambian percussion player Sal Dibba. Together they create a fascinating sound that will appeal to fans of both World Music and Classic Retro Blues Rock. It's instrumental and very groovy, while the fact that only guitars and percussion are used and it still has a full swinging rocking sound, this makes it very impressive. There are also different vibes to be heard throughout the album, because JIMI HENDRIX ish material is included, but also for example a sorta Latin sounding song Pretty one. You can really feel the enormous joy and excitement of these 2 talented musicians when they recorded the 10 songs of Around the crocodile pond. Definitely recommended to check out at:


(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Out of Tours, France comes ELECTRIC VOCUHILA, which was originally started as a sax/drums duo in Berlin, Germany back in 2009, but developed into a full band consisting of Maxime Bobo, alto sax and claviers, keyboards & composition, Boris Rosenfeld, guitar, François Rosenfeld, bass & guitar and Etienne Ziemniak, drums. Through the years they released quite a lot of albums and also played and performed all over, resulting in the fact that eventually they settled themselves elsewhere in Europe. The included music is instrumental and quite diverse, because a lot of influences are melted together, making this a very interesting band. There's quite some Jazz and African music influences, but what comes around a lot of times is a really cool old style claviers sound, such as can be heard during the songs Toronto and Micky. All together a really nice isntrumental journey through various sounds and melted it sounds really cheerful and fun. There's even some carribean kinda rhythms to be heard (Paraky), so enough diversity to keep you entertained from start to finish. Check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



MELODIE GIMARD comes out of France, but is living and working in Barcelona. She is a gifted pianist, composer and arranger who mainly plays Classical Music on the piano, but combines it with Jazz rhythms and Flamenco vocals. Her latest album clearly shows this mixture and features 4 different Flamenco guest singers and a string of additional musicians on Trumpet, Contrabass, Drums, Percussion, Bass, etc. 10 songs are included on Numen and it is a very relaxing affair that you can easily put on as background music. Melodie plays the piano just perfectly, ranging from calmer parts to darker heavier sounding moments. She combines it as already mentiond with the jazzy arrangements and flamenco type of vocals, which makes it quite an unique adventure. This album takes you into Melodie's journey through 3 different worlds (Classical Music, Jazz and Flamenco) and in the end, it works really well and should be heard by as many people as possible.. Hear for yourself at: and


(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



Out of Italy comes SAMBUCA, which is a duo consisting of guitarist ROBERTO STIMOLI and vocalist IRENE AMATA. Although they are from Italy, the music they are making is Brazilian music, but they are also very active on the Parisian jazz/world music scene. This combination can also be heard in their music and it makes them a very interesting act and quite unique actually. While listening to the 10 songs on their debut album Luz, I find myself truly connected with their sound, which is a mixture of calmer Flamenco Guitar meets WES MONTGOMERY/GEORGE BENSON ish Jazz guitar playing and of course the relaxing beautiful melodic Portuguese language vocals. The songs are a mixture of world-famous songs that are covered and lesser known songs by Brazilian composers. The album goes by very quickly, because it is such a relaxing melodic laid-back affair and I am quite interesting to know how this will go down live on stage. That might take a while due to corona, but happily this CD will already give you a lot of pleasure and excitement for now. More info at:


(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



The incredible talented singer/songwriter GWENDOLINE ABSALON comes out of the beautiful tropical Island of La Reunion, which is French and quite close to Madagascar, Africa. Vangasay is Gwendoline's 2nd album and without a doubt, this could be her big breakthrough, because some of the songs are very strong and radio-ready, such as the fantastic Modernite. 12 songs are included and along with 6 other musicians (Pianist Hervé Celcal, Guitarist Rija Randrianiviosoa, Drummer Fabrice Thompson, Percussion drummer Vincent Phileas, guitarist Fabrice Legros and caroline Faber on backing vocals, triangle) and producer TING BANG, she recorded a wonderful album that sounds like the perfect mix between World Music/African Music and Western Singer/Songwriter Pop Melodies in a way STING or even SADE also did for a while, such as can be heard very clearly in the titlesong. Of course it's Gwendoline's vocals that make this sound different than anything else out there, because she has an unique voice that has likewise African influences, while her music is very smooth and will also appeal to a wide audience out there. For example listen to the beautiful piano-led ballad Ti fi la, which should be played on all radio stations out there! She could easily score a summer hit with one or more of her songs, as it all sounds very friendly and positive, which is something we definitely need in these corona times. Check for yourself at:


(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



The album Anahita from the Franco-Iranian soprano singer ARIANA VAFADARI is something unique and one you really need to hear, because what we get to hear is absolutely beautiful. Ariana is a soprano singer, so she sings in the 'Opera' style, like we know it from for example TARJA (ex-NIGHTWISH), but Ariana's music is very calm and a combination of Flamenco, Moroccan Music, Jazz and Western Classical music. She goes up quite high here and there, such as during Larbre, but also holds back and then it sounds really fragile, like in the opener La reve d'anahita, a beautiful piece. Somehow I am also thinking of CLANNAD and ENYA here and there, as it has the same sorta dark melancholic approach, but of course differently due to the soprano vocals. Ariana is singing in a lot of different languages, such as Persan, French, avestic, ancien, Italian... and the musicians playing on this album are Piano player JULIEN CARTON, Ud player DRISS EL MALDOUMI, double Bass player LEILA SOLDEVILA and Percussion player HABIB MEFTAH BOUSHERI. 10 songs are included and it might not have anything to do with pop/rock music, I challenge you to check out this beautiful album that should definitely be heard by a lot of people due to the incredible high level of musicianship displayed on the album. More info at:


(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



Transhumance is the new EP of the French band LES FILS CANOUCHE, whom are playing a mix of World Music, Gypsy Music and Jazz. They are doing this at a very high level and with over 700 concerts per year all throughout Europe and already 4 albums released in the past, this is definitely a band that knows how to play quality music. The only pity is the short playing length, but that's because it is an EP of course. The band's line up consists of XAVIER MARGOGNE (guitar), SAMUEL THEZE (clarinet), MAXIME PERRIN (accordion) and STEPHANE COZIK (double bass) and MININO GARRAY (percussion) and HUSSAM ALIWAT (oud) guesting. Together they create a cheerful vibrant Jazz/World Music/Gypsy sound that live will probably be very exciting to watch. For now check them out at:


(Points: 7.9 out of 10)



Out of Oslo, Norway comes the band AIRBAG, whom were formed back in the mid 2000s. We already reviewed one of their previous albums, but since the band's last album Disconnected and this new one A day at the beach 4 years have passed and a lot of things can change in such a longer period of time. The line-up of AIRBAG in 2020 is now a threesome, including HENRIK BERGAN FOSSUM (Drums), ASLE TOSTRUP (Vocals, keys and programming) and the mastermind BJORN RIIS (Guitars, Bass and Keys). Bjorn released a couple of solo-albums in the period AIRBAG was less active (3 in total!), but this still gave enough energy and positive vibes to create a sensational new album as AIRBAG.


Overall AIRBAG is the ultimate Progband, because they are still able to surprise after all these years and come up with a lot of diversity in their songs. Therefore they should easily be able to reach the fans of such modern sounding progbands like RIVERSIDE, ANATHEMA, PINNEAPLE THIEF, MARILLION and such, besides the classic PINK FLOYD and ALAN PARSONS PROJECT fans. What they are doing on A day at the beach is of an incredible high level, basically creating the perfect balance between exciting instrumental passages, beautiful melodies and still not forgetting the rock elements. 6 songs can be found on the new album, including a couple quite lengthy ones, but they do offer enough melodies, instrumental parts and rockier moments to keep everyone pleased all the way through this new AIRBAG adventure.

Opener Machines and men starts very calm and relaxed in a PINK FLOYD ish prog direction, but changes into an almost 1980s type of Synthpop tune after a few minutes and when the chorus comes around we are rolling into an uptempo melodic rocking mood, including a lovely soaring guitarsolo also coming through towards the end of the song. After this lovely opener we get to hear part 1 of the titeltrack, a short calmer prog tune, which is later on the album followed by the instrumental part 2. In between we have Into the unknown (beautiful calmer PINK FLOYD/MARILLION ish Prog, with excellent exciting instrumental passages that remind of DAVID GILMOUR in a lot of ways) and Sunsets (finest song on the album, a lovely midtempo Melodic Progrocker with a really catchy chorus, reminding a bit of classic ARENA or PALLAS, so Neo-Progish). Closing track Megalomaniac is an epic 10 minutes counting prog classic in the style of good old PINK FLOYD/DAVID GILMOUR and a touch of PETER GABRIEL era GENESIS, yet with a cool rocking part halfway. I guess you'll get the picture here, because you don't want to miss this sensational release, which is a must-have for all the proggies out there! More at:


(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



It's a pity I lost contact for a while with the Norwegian Progrocklabel KARISMA RECORDS, because they clearly are a high quality label and besides the new AIRBAG, they released in June 2020 another sensational album. This is the new record of the Norwegian band ARABS IN ASPIC, which is a lovely 1970s orientated piece of classic rock and prog history with all the elements from that era, such as mellotrons, rhodes, 70s synths, harmonyvocals, soaring guitar solos, a funky bass, acoustic and loud guitars, a melodic chorus or hook, a flute... it's all present on the 8th album of ARABS IN ASPIC. Their line-up consists of Jostein Smeby / guitars, vocals, Stig Jørgensen / organs, vocals, Erik Paulsen / bass, vocals, Eskil Nyhus / drums, cymbals and Alessandro G. Elide / percussion, gongs. 6 songs can be found on the album and right from the start you can feel there's something sensational happening here. Opener I vow to thee, my screen is a superb classic prog/rock kinda song that has elements of URIAH HEEP, LUCIFER'S FRIEND, 70s GENESIS, ASHBURY and such in both the vocal and instrumental parts. The band's songs are lengthy just like any other progband out there, but they also feature amazing beautiful melodies in the pure 1970s style of harmonyvocals. This can be heard very clearly during the next track Lullaby for modern kids follows, which is split in 2 parts and features those amazing harmonyvocals besides a somewhat funky bass and groovy guitar line, this song has similarities to KANSAS and even a bit CAMEL. The other 3 songs follow the same path as the earlier mentioned songs, which is that classic 1970s rock/prog sound, without ever getting uptempo, as the material of ARABS IN ASPIC is quite epic, calmer, with many acoustic guitars/harmonyvocals and goes mostly in a somewhat midtempo groovy direction. Without a doubt, they are doing a splendid job here and anyone into classic HEEP, KANSAS, B.O.C. and even BLACK SABBATH influences during closing track Heaven in your eyeHeaven , they will absolutely love this record. Check out this wonderful band in case you're not familiar with them yet. More info at:


(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



There must be something in the water, because the Norwegian city of Bergen offers so many bands that I honestly think every citizen is playing an instrument. Anyway, they are also home to this exciting band SHAMAN ELEPHANT, a band that grabs back to the psychedelic/progressive rocksound of the 1970s without sounding dated, as they also add some slight modern retro hardrock influences into their rocking sound, but also prog complexities and even a bit of screaming/90s Noiserock a la SONIC YOUTH. HAWKWIND comes to mind quite clearly here and there, especially when you listen to opener and titletrack Wide awake but still asleep that also reveal the modern Noise rock influences, but there's more to discover on the 2nd album of SHAMAN ELEPHANT. For example the progressive rock instrumental H.M.S. Death, rattle and roll or how about the song Steely dan, which is likewise a tribute to the legendary band of the same name. Strangely, Ease of mind sounds closer to STEELY DAN than the song which is supposed to be a tribute, although this song also has some similarities to LITTLE FEAT somehow. The epic Traveller is then again almost an uptempo melodic progrocker like RUSH meets B.O.C. meets MAX WEBSTER! Diversity is definitely present on this album! All together, it's quite an unique experience the new album of the band SHAMAN ELEPHANT, whom are going a bit further than being just another progband, as you never know what to expect on the following track, which makes them of course quite interesting. They are more an experimental 1970s meets 1990s rockband with some prog elements here and there, but it's best to hear for yourself at:


(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



And yet another band from Bergen, Norway! They are called TIEBREAKER and are playing Classic 70s Hard/Heavy Rock that fits somewhere between THIN LIZZY and AEROSMITH, with yet a rawer edge in a sorta MOTORHEAD ish direction. Mix those bands with a touch of bluesy rock and the sound of a new Classic Rockband like RIVAL SONS and you're close to TIEBREAKER. They are doing it at a very high level actually and at one point you wonder if they are not really coming out of the UK or USA instead of Norway! Death tunes is their 2nd album and I have to say that after a bunch of exciting but very raw edgier groovy set of hardrocking tunes, it was nice to see the band develop an own style during the 2nd part of the album, which also shows the band doing things a bit more melodic (The deep, Building up to die and Float away) than in the beginning. The absolute highlight however is the killer epic closing track Heavy lifting, where the band's lead singer THOMAS ESPELAND KARLSEN shows what an incredible singer he is. The song itself is a lovely bluesy soulful melodic rock ish ballad that sounds completely different than the rest of the album. I am really interested to see where this band is going into the future, because if they continue the style of this last mentioned song and mix it with the variety of their classic rock of the aforementioned 3 songs, then we could welcome another sensational Classic Rockact! On the other hand, they are now also quite impressive and recommended to check out at:


(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Now this is a somewhat bizarre and rare album, because it jumps from different music genres quite quickly. For example the first couple of songs seem to be going into a groovy RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS kinda direction with just a bit of progrock influences (ZAPPA), while a song like Like monroe is suddenly very melodic and almost pure prog rocking and Locking my doors is also melodic, but poppier and acoustically driven. Swing then again jumps into a quirky almost aggressive punkier modern heavy rock direction. As you will notice, this is not just a progrockband, but a very diverse band that stretches their sound quite far. DOBBELT GJENGER is coming out of Bergen, Norway and their 2nd album Limbohead was released in 2018. The band's musicians can definitely play their instruments very well and vocally it is really good, but somehow I miss a bit of a connection with their sound. It's not bad at all, because songs like Radio and Mangrove are quite interesting. You can hear in such tunes QUEEN ish harmonyvocals, but also somehow it reminds me 90s groovy Hardrock acts like HUMANIMAL, SAIGON KICK, mid-late 90s HAREM SCAREM, and the mid-late 90s TALISMAN albums crossed with the groovy/funk of RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS. Concluded, a real melting pot with a strong 1990s sound somehow, but definitely interesting. More info at:


(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



This is why I love doing my job as a reviewer so much! Everytime I hear a sensational new progressive rock/progmetal album I feel the need to write long essays about it, because I want everybody to learn about the album. In this case it is the album The void from the Quebec, Canada based band INNER ODYSSEY. They were formed back in 2007 by guitarist VINCENT LEBOEUF GADREAU and already released 2 albums before their new one The void. Musically speaking they are fitting somewhere between the calmer song orientated Neo-Progressive Rocksound of ENCHANT and RUSH and the heavier somewhat more complex keyboard vs guitar driven instrumental Neo-Classical Progressive Metal of (light) DREAM THEATER and PAGAN'S MIND, which can be heard very well during the first 2 songs Overhanging and The reckoning. However, the band is also bringing modern progressive pop/rock influences into their sound, which can be heard in the calmer titletrack Into the void that sounds like PORCUPINE TREE doing a TEARS FOR FEARS kinda song in the beginning, but when the song gets rockier after a few minutes, it is almost a pure Melodic Rocking semi-ballad with excellent twin-guitarwork and as to finish it off, we can hear a cool keyboardsolo in pure Sympho/Prog heaven style. This song is an absolute killer tune and probably one of the highlights here! 9 songs are in total included on the album, which has a playing time of 48 minutes. Besides the aforementioned guitarist and founder of the band Vincent, the band's line up further consists of the excellent singer Étienne Doyon (lead vocals, piano, keys), Mathieu Cossette (keys), Alex Rancourt (bass) and Cédric Lepage (drums). A big surprise between the other songs is the beautiful AOR ish ballad Don't walk away that has stunning melodies and reminds me a bit of MYSTERY, that other Progressive AOR/Melodic Rock band from Quebec, Canada. Also worth mentioning is the SAGA ish uptempo Symphonic Melodic Rocker Endgame and the instrumental Nemesis, which is the dream for every fan of Neo-Classical Progmetal. Concluded, this is one of those picture-perfect Progrockalbum that you simply must own and even the AOR fans might find something of interest here. More info available at: and


(Points: 8.9 out of 10)



Not to be confused with the legendary AOR/Poprockband of the same name that was active in the USA during the late 70s/early 80s. Actually I was even unfamiliar with the British BREATHLESS before I received 3 of their albums which have been re-issued onto CD by TENOR VOSSA RECORDS. The band was formed in 1983 by Dominic Appleton (vocals, keyboards), Gary Mundy (guitar), Ari Neufeld (bass) and Tristram Latimer Sayer (drums). Dominic is clearly the most important person here, because his voice makes BREATHLESS standout between the rest. It is quite interesting to see the band slightly changing their sound through the years, because the albums I received are from 1986 (The glass bead game), 1999 (Blue moon) and 2012 (Green to blue), so there's 13 years between the original recordings of the albums. They released more records by the way, but these 3 come in beautiful packaging, with bonustracks included as well, which makes them interesting for the fans. Anyway, in the 1980s the band had a sorta Gothic meets New Wave ish rocking sound, while the 1990s saw them changing a bit more towards a heavier Altrock ish sound, but also going for a very dark experimental slow sound. However, it's their Green to blue album from 2012 that really grabbed me, because this Post-Progressive Rock with haunting melodies, done in a very slow dark melancholic sound that does have some similarities to PORCUPINE TREE and STEVEN WILSON and even OPETH. However, when you hear the beauitful melodies of Next time you feel, a stunning tune, it is clear that BREATHLESS has an own face that will appeal to fans of various genres, kinda like a mix between Indie, Gothic, Dreampop, Post-Rock, New Wave, Doom and Progrock. Throw it all together and you have the BREATHLESS sound! I spent quite a few hours listening to these albums and I am really surprised that this band never broke through unlike so many other bands that followed the same sorta path. Dominic's voice is surely one you can listen to for a long time because it is quite unique and very pleasant to listen to. Don't expect any happy or uptempo tunes, as BREATHLESS take things very slow and melancholic on each and every release. Perhaps their 1980s releases were a bit more uptempo and friendlier, but as the years progressed the album definitely released their finest work in 2012 with the aforementioned Green to blue. I am safe to say that album should be in the hands of at least every Progrockfan out there, because it can easily compete with acts like RIVERSIDE, OPETH, STEVEN WILSON, PORCUPINE TREE, BLACKFIELD and yes even PINK FLOYD (!), etc. as this is modern prog the way it is still played and that is also something to mention here. BREATHLESS' albums are timeless and never sound dated and doesn't that make you a legendary band! I recommend you to check them out a.s.a.p.! A follow-up to this sensational album should be out sometime in 2021. More info at:


(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



All the way from Houston, Texas comes this awesome classic 80s (US) Melodic Metal/Hardrock sounding band called LOVE AND WAR, which was formed back in 2000 by guitarist/songwriter John Adams and vocalist Jeff Vandenberghe. The duo has been making music together since 1982, so now almost 40 years later they are still together and their band LOVE AND WAR is completed by bassist Ray Soliz and drummer Donnie Bragg.  They did release an album before Edge of the world, but this went unnoticed I am afraid. Anyway, their new record will reach more people I think, because it is a pretty good solid release that contains quality Metal. 9 songs are included and basically every song reminds me of some 80s Classic Metalband. For instance opener We all fall down is the kind of uptempo guitar shredding Melodic Metal like FIFTH ANGEL and HEIR APPARANT did back in the day, while following track Start believin' is a mix of ACCEPT and JUDAS PRIEST in their classic 80s period, with just a little bit of SKID ROW added for fun. Also next track Mercenary man continues that cool 80s Metal guitar sound and has once again clear similarities to JUDAS PREST and also should appeal to fans of PRIMAL FEAR. The ttletrack Edge of the world has some lovely classy guitar riffs, a very strong chorus and once again it nails the 1985 melodic metal sound just perfectly! From the other songs I would like to point out the midtempo Final destination and closing track Southside Johnny (a pure late 1980s groovy semi Hair Metal tune that sounds like the perfect cross between late 80s Y & T and late 80s SKID ROW). Definitely a big recommendation if you remember the days when guitar shredding, fists in the air, gang vocal choruses and high pitched metal screams were the most important ingredients of the true metalsound! More info at:


(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


And here we have a sensational band from Montreux, Switzerland called DAXX & ROXANE, whom are based in London, UK. They were formed back in 2009, released their debut in 2017 and are now shakin' the rockworld with their excellent new album, which seems to be self titled. Their line-up consists of Simon Golaz - Rythm Guitar, Cédric Pfister - Vocals / Bass, Luca Senaldi - Drums and Cal Wymann - Lead Guitar, and together they play a very strong high class mixture of 1970s Classic Rock and 1980s Kick-Ass Hardrock/Hair Metal, with influences from all the legendary bands, such as LED ZEPPELIN, MOTLEY CRUE, AC/DC, DEEP PURPLE and countless more. They know how to play their tunes, with some serious guitarwork and vocally, Cedric has a fantastic voice and he could well be the next Rock God with such a throat! 11 songs are included in total, starting with the kick-ass uptempo Classic Rocker Fast lane, which is followed by the groovy Strange woman and then back to straight-forward kick-ass uptempo Classic Hardrock again with the fantastic catchy Without you that also has a very slight 80s Hair Metal/Glamrock touch. After another uptempo crackin' classic rocker (Broken), the band slows things down with calmer instrumental Dawn and the lovely semi melodic rockballad Heal that feels like a late 80s intelligent Power Poser Ballad, but then done like TESLA, LILLIAN AXE and AEROSMITH melted together and yes it includes a guitar solo of course. Give it time is a midtempo rocker that is a strong mixture of VAN HALEN and TESLA. Someone I love follows and is another kick-ass uptempo Poser Metal tune in the good old late 1980s MOTLEY CRUE/POISON style, including a deadly catchy chorus to sing-a-long to for days and days. Get to it has some classic THIN LIZZY ish guitars mixed with AC/DC straight-ahead Classic Hardrock, although the 80s chorus reveals their love for VAN HALEN as well. Back door man is groovier and harkens back to the 1970s with a lot of LED ZEPPELIN influences and closing track Sugar rush is a clear AC/DC influenced straight-ahead Hardrocking tune. It's a bandname you will not forget very quickly and also musically speaking DAXX & ROXANE should find it's way to all the fans of both Classic Rock and Hair Metal, because they mix both rockstyles just perfectly! Check them out at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



NDV stands for NICK D'VIRGILIO, a Californian drummer, singer, piano/keyboard and guitarplayer who is best known for being in one of the greatest progbands of all times, SPOCK'S BEARD. I was lucky enough to catch one of the live performances of this band and until this day I have to say it was one of the finest I ever witnessed! Fast forward, because Nick eventually left the band for a while during the 2010s, did some other projects and also played in several other bands (MYSTERY, TEARS FOR FEARS, BIG BIG TRAIN...), but returned to SPOCK'S BEARD thankfully. However, he continues to do other music related adventures as well, such as this new solo-album Invisible he released under the moniker NDV. He gathered a very impressive list of guest musicians for this album, such as CARL VERHEYEN (SUPERTRAMP), JONAS REINGOLD (THE FLOWER KINGS), JORDAN RUDESS (DREAM THEATER), PAUL GILBERT (MR. BIG), TONY LEVIN (KING CRIMSON), JEM GODFREY (FROST*), RICK NIELSEN (CHEAP TRICK) and even recorded the album with a full orchestra at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, UK. Invisible is a very diverse album that is not only focusing on Progrock, because there are also multiple other music styles to be heard. It's quite a lengthy album, with in total 14 songs included. After the intro, we get to hear a beautiful calm ballad ish song, which is the titletrack. Turn your life around brings the rock forward and is a lovely Progressive Rocker in the classic SPOCK'S BEARD style, with nice breaks and a lovely melodic chorus. A change in style follows in I'm gone, a funky tune that has 70s and 80s influences, kinda like PRINCE a bit. After the quite original cover of the American traditional Money (That's what I want) and the smooth jazzy Waiting for no one, it's full Progrock during the fantastic Snake oil salesman. Also next track Where's the passion has some nice bombastic Progrock KANSAS ish similarities. It is for me personally crystal clear that when Nick goes for that classic proggy sound, he sounds at his best, but let's not forget to mention his amazing drum skills all throughout the album. That is what he is best known for of course, although he can also sing very well and this album Invisible is definitely song based and not based around his drumming. However, some of his drumming talents can best be heard during the heaviest song on the album, the Progmetal piece Mercy. Overcome is a nice theatrical bombastic proggy piece, while In my bones is a rather complex mixture of jazz, fusion rock and progrock. The final 3 songs of this epic adventure of Nick's new album are a progdream; Wrong place, wrong time (excellent Progressive Rocker), Not my time to say goodbye (lovely midtempo melodic AOR/Pomprock ish tune a la KANSAS again) and I know the way (very strong uptempo melodic progrock). Concluded, Nick has released a very diverse album, which still however has a lot of material that will please the fans of SPOCK'S BEARD, yet this is more song based and not so much on instrumental complex passages. It shows however the incredible talent of multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter NICK D'VIRGILIO, who together with a lot of well-known guest musicians has recorded a highly recommended album! More info at:


(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Out of Leicester, UK comes the interesting band SKAM, whom released this 3rd album The amazing memoirs of Geoffrey Goddard back in 2017. Somehow we missed this album, which is a pity, because it is a very impressive album, but as the band was kind enough to sent it, here's the review. The story of a pilot is fictional and told throughout each and every of the 12 included tracks and also explained in the massive booklet that comes with the CD. SKAM consists of Steve Hill - Guitars - Lead Vocals, Matt Gilmore- Bass - Backing Vocals and Neal Hill - Drums - Backing Vocals. The music of SKAM is classic melodic hardrock based and they are doing things at a very high level. Opener Between the eyes is a very strong high class midtempo melodic rocker and so is the uptempo melodic rocker Iron cross. It gets a bit groovier on the next couple of tracks, with some SKID ROW meets TYKETTO meets SKINTRADE meets HAREM SCAREM (especially the catchy Take it or leave it) ish Melodic Hardrock tunes, but the quality remains very high. In fact, this is a highly recommended Melodic Hardrockalbum in the style of the afformentioned bands, including top-notch musicianship, excellent vocals, a massive production/sound and some killer tunes with memorable melodic choruses. They also have some modern (melodic) heavy rock influences of the VOLBEAT, FOO FIGHTERS, ALTER BRIDGE, SHINEDOWN kind in songs like Peace of mind, Two worlds and Believe, so from start to finish there is a lot to enjoy here, combining the best of classic and modern Melodic Hard/Heavy Rock. Reommended band for sure! More info at: 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



Not a single, but an impressive double album is marking the debut of the Syracuse, New York based band EPIC TANTRUM. Without a doubt, it is a lovely impressive debut that is recommended to all the Progrockfans out there. The band consists of 4 members, whose names are shortened to their first name, so it's Peter on guitar, vocals, Paul on guuitar, vocals and keys, Greg on bass and vocals and Z on drums. The albums they created is musically speaking quite superb actually, because right from the start we are hearing Progressive Rock of the highest level. Although influenced by legendary established (prog) rockbands such as RUSH, STEELY DAN, PORCUPINE TREE, MARILLION, GENESIS, KING CRIMSON and such, EPIC TANTRUM somehow has an own kinda prog style that should appeal to loads of people. A few of the featured songs feature very good guest vocals by MATTHIESON BYER and SARAH PARKER ADA, but it seems like the vocals are also shared among the bandmembers, which means we are hearing a diversity in the singing department. Instrumental this is intelligent progrock, with quite some impressive improvisations. If we have a look at the highlights of their Abandoned album I need to mention opener Don't bother (superb high quality Melodic Progrocker with great female guest vocals), Outside the whire, Letting go and the titletrack Abandoned, all being very good melodic progrockers. The 2nd CD is In the stranger's room, which was recorded live and features songs from the Abandoned album, but also demos and unreleased songs that didn't make the Abandoned CD. Check for yourself all on this band at:


(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Rather quickly another new album of DAVID KUHN arrives and I must say that this new record Strong alone, unstoppable together is a very enjoyable smooth classic aor/westcoast/pop affair in the late 1970s/early 1980s style, sometimes reminding of STEELY DAN, but perhaps a bit more polished in the style of BILLY JOEL and even 80s JOE ANDERSON (YES) due to the light mid 1980s Symphonic Pop influences in songs like Don't give up and The day will come. 5 songs are included and David's vocals are quite excellent and so are all of the songs, especially the uptempo Force of nature that has some slight STING influences. Although it is all a matter of time and money, I am safe to say that David will one day release a sensational full-length release and hopefully this will be done on classic Vinyl, because he definitely derserves it. For now, check out more info at:


(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



As soon as the opener Hello kicks in, multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter DANNY MALONE from New Zealand shows that he is making classic 1980s Melodic Hair Metal at it's very best. It's like we stepped in a timemachine and went back to the year 1985 when DEF LEPPARD ruled the American "hair" waves. 10 songs are on his latest album The crossroad, which basically is prime-time catchy 80s driven hookladen melodic chorus driven Melodic Rock like a perfect cross between RICK MATTHEWS, DEF LEPPARD, BON JOVI, AUTOGRAPH/STEVE PLUNKETT, SIC VIKKI and JOHNNY LIMA. Shayne is a very gifted musician, who does everything on his own, so that's all the instruments, vocals, writing, recording, producing, etc. and I have to say the result is very impressive to say the least! This is the classic 80s US Melodic Rocksound at it's very best, with many highlights, such as the uptempo rockers Stop breaking my heart, Good time and It's gonna be alright, the midtempo The time has come and the semi-ballad Victim of the night, which even reminds me a bit of the legendary Danish band FATE, although the absolute highlight is the superb closing track The crossroad that has a few tempo changes and is quite a lovely epic melodic rock journey. I am safe to say that if any of the mentioned bands is up your alley, you can blindly get yourself a copy of this album. More info at: and


(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Back in 2017 the Welsh band MAGENTA released their previous album We are legend, which was received very well and now they return with another strong album titled Masters of illusion. They were formed 20 years ago and have released quite a lot albums so far and always continued to deliver high quality Melodic Progressive Rock with influences from the 1970s sounds of bands like YES, RENAISSANCE, GENESIS, MIKE OLDFIELD and such. The 6 songs on their new album are based around the private lives of characters from classic Horror movies, while the music is the progrocksound we know it from MAGENTA, which is calmer and very melodic with a strong focus on beautiful melodies that are sung by CHRISTINA BOOTH, who is joined by co-founder ROBERT REED on keys, mandolin, guitars and backing vocals, while the band in 2020 consists further of guitarist CHRIS FRY, bassist DAN NELSON and drummer JIFFY GRIFFITHS. The CD release comes with a DVD as additional disc, with videos and interviews to watch. Although only 6 songs are included, they are quite lengthy and each one takes you into the MAGENTA adventure that never seems to stop luckily. It's hard to pick favorite songs, because they are all reflecting that lovely MAGENTA Melodic Progrocksound, right from the start with Bela until the very end with the titletrack Masters of illusion. In those 20 years of existence, MAGENTA has clearly proven to be one of the great new bands in the Progrockscene and here's to the next 20 years for sure. Masters of illusion is a highly recommended album and a very nice 20-year anniversary surprise. More info at:


(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



Punkpop, Powerpop, Modpop or just poppy bouncy Ska-poprock..., no matter what you call the music of the Washington, D.C. based band THE REPLY, their music is or should I say was very catchy poppy and still rocked quite well, sounding like a perfect cross between 1960s THE HOLLIES and 1980s THE JAM, with also a bit of MADNESS fun. THE REPLY was active between 1983 and 1989, released 2 VINYL EPs in 1987 and 1988 and recorded several demos in 1988 and 1989. I received a very interesting double Vinyl LP with all these recordings and likewise the album is therefore titled The complete collection, because it contains all the songs they recorded in their short career. Back in the 1980s in Washington there was a very active experimental Punk/Hardcore scene and on the national US radio it was all about Hair Metal and AOR, so THE REPLY basically ignored everything and created a sound that went back to the late 1970s and early 1980s British ModPoprocksound with even a cool New Wave ish keyboard included. The songs are razor sharp, very catchy, uptempo, super melodic and feature a great singer on vocals. Their line-up consisted of bassist-singer Gary Roth, guitarist Ted Riederer, drummer John Lyons, and keyboardist Mark Thorp, and at times the band's sound fitted somewhere between THE JAM, THE BOYS, THE BEAT, THE RAMONES and a touch of ELVIS COSTELLO and JOE JACKSON, but with such bubblegum choruses one can even hear some similarities to the classic Working class dog of Powerpop hero RICK SPRINGFIELD (Razor sharp sounds like Rick doing a THE RAMONES cover!). In total 17 songs are included, split over 2 vinyl records, and I have to say it is a very enjoyable piece of music. The sound/production quality is very good and the guys really sounded very tight, so when hearing such great songs like Nothing more, Mirror image or Wake up, it is quite unbelievable that THE REPLY never became a household name, because their music was as good as any of the mentioned bands. Somehow their later tunes from the demos era of the late 1980s, which now found their way for the first time to vinyl, these songs are very melodic and feature some tasty keys, 80s ish guitar riffs and a big budget production, in a way that songs like Billy, Apology and Sneak preview even remind me of underground mid/late 80s AOR bands like CRYSTAL, MERE MORTALS, PASSENGER, RATHSKELLER... while on the other hand a song like Dead to rights is a very interesting cross between AOR, Reggae and Pop with critical lyrics, not unlike KING'S X perhaps, although here and there also JELLYFISH similarities pop up. As you can clearly read, the band sorta developed themselves throughout those 6 years and thankfully now there is this wonderful shiny looking 2-LP set of them available.


(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



Now here we have another sensational Classic 1980s US Melodic Hardrock/Hair Metal affair. This time in the shape of BEACH VIPER from Phoenix, Arizona, USA, who deliver this classic genre at it's very best during the 5 included songs on their album Alive and free. The band consists of Steve "Traik" Traikovich - Vocals, Robert Evan Trop - Guitar, Karl Sproule - Bass and Geoffrey "Kill" McCormick - Drums, and opener I shall return is like we're back-to-back classic DOKKEN circa Breaking the chains. This is prime-time classic 80s US Melodic hard/heavy rock/metal for you all to sing-a-long to. There's also clear VAN HALEN similarities to be heard (Climbing to the top is dangerously close to classic DAVID LEE ROTH era VAN HALEN) and even Y&T comes around (Beach stomp boogie), so expect a mixture of typical 80s classic US Melodic Hardrock with a touch of Hair Metal, all done at a very high level. Besides the earlier mentioned sensational opener I shall return, another highlight is the lovely closing semi melodic rockballad West coast. Check it out for yourself if you're a fan of pure 80s Melodic Hardrock/Hair Metal at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)