UPDATED July 5, 2021


Just like most other releases on METALLIC BLUE RECORDS, also the SOLDIER CD My Window contains a CD booklet that tells extensively all about the band and its members. SOLDIER is a bandname we have encountered more than a few times, but this here concerns a band from a small town in Utah, USA. They released a CD in 1993, but like many other bands faced hard times when the 80s ended and so now we are looking at a ‘new’ SOLDIER CD that contains old remastered unreleased material. The lead singer of this band was CHRIS BOUDREAUX, who was also in the bands THE TAKE and BOUDREAUX, of whom we reviewed other CD releases om METALLIC BLUE RECORDS. This SOLDIER CD contains 7 songs recorded back in 1986 and 5 songs recorded in 1995. The music is clearly going into a mid-80s AOR/Melodic Rock direction, with Chris handling upfront keys besides of course singing. He also wrote the majority of the songs, which explains why his keys are up front in the mix. No problem at all, since this is 80s AOR done at a very high level. The other involved members are CLAYTON AUSTIN (guitar, keys), JED BRADSHAW (bass), BRIAN KIRBY (guitar) and TRACY NIELSON (drums). Opener My Window is pure early 80s AOR with dut-dut keys and a catchy chorus, reminding me of bands such as PASSENGER, MERE MORTALS, AIRRACE, PREVIEW and such, with a very slight touch of 1983 BON JOVI’s Melodic Rock. More of that early BON JOVI can be heard during Without Love, which also reminds me of SURGIN’, TOBRUK, SHY and such. Slipping Apart is a pure early/mid 80s AOR ballad like SYNCH. Other highlights are The Cells Are Locked, Michelle and Life, which all have that pompy keyboard friendly AOR sound of bands like FM, WHITE SISTER, AVIATOR, GIUFFRIA, TOUR DE FORCE, early PHANTOM’S OPERA and such. The 5 songs from 1995 are likewise less keyboard/AOR orientated, but still songs like No Easy Way Out and Can’t Stand Still are nice 80s based uptempo melodic aor/rockers. This SOLDIER CD is therefore another highly recommended METALLIC BLUE RECORDS release if you’re into classic 80s melodic rock! The CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


The story on THE TAKE continued after Hard Wave Heroes, because METALLIC BLUE RECORDS released 2 more CDs of the band’s later material. Get taken contains 11 songs recorded in 1985 and 1997, with on lead vocals CHRIS BOUDREAUX, who joined the band again after leaving them a few years earlier. He was originally the drummer, but stepped up to become frontman, while singer and leader MICHAEL COONES switched to rhythm guitar. This clearly was an improvement, because Chris had a great voice and the included songs here are all great AOR/Melodic Rocksongs that sound like a cross between TOUR DE FORCE, MERE MORTALS and PHANTOM’S OPERA. Songs like Baby Don’t Leave (an BOUDREAUX original). City Kid, Boulevard, the super catchy Young Girls In Love (LOVERBOYish), Love Me In Leather and It’s My First Offense Of Love are all great timeless 80s AOR/Melodic Rock pieces that will be appreciated by fans of the aforementioned bands. You can get a copy of the CD through and the European customers can purchase a copy via

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The 3rd THE TAKE CD Pink And Proud contains material recorded in 1985/1986 after CHRIS BOUDREAUX had left the band again, so MICHAEL COONES stepped up front again and sang on the 9 included songs. Thankfully Michael has improved even more, so it seems the band now sounds quite professional. Musically speaking it was once again 80s AOR/Melodic Rock, done well and with as highlights this time Young Girls In Love (a la URGENT-USA), the lovely ultra-80s catchy AOR/Poprocking HAYWIRE/BYSTANDER ish Katrina, Parlez Vous Francais and The Power Of Youth. Concluded, THE TAKE from Utah, USA was a very productive band during the 1980s, and now 3 CDs filled with their original material are available and the AOR/Melodic Rockfans will certainly be interested in checking them out. Personally I would say start with the Get taken CD, which features THE TAKE at their very best, although I have to admit that Pink And Proud sounds as the most professional CD! You can get a copy of every THE TAKE CD through and the European customers can purchase a copy via   

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


The re-issue label METALLIC BLUE RECORDS is focused on releasing rare 80s US Melodic (Hard) Rock onto CD. Most of the releases contain material that was previously only available on either cassette tape or was not released at all. THE TAKE was a band from Utah and they were as independent as you can get, with a typical indie AOR/Poprocksound that was not far removed from STEEL BREEZE, THE CARS and even MOON MARTIN. Lightweight radiofriendly cheerful uptempo keyboard driven hookladen AOR/Poprock, borderline Powerpop/Radiorock is the style THE TAKE was doing and they released a few albums, of which Hard Wave Heroes is a stunning 2-CD set released by METALLIC BLUE RECORDS. The 2 CDs count together 38 (!) short songs that reflect the AOR/Poprocksound described earlier in this review. Most of the songs are in the same style, which is pure early 80s uptempo basic US AOR/Radiorock with a focus on catchy choruses, but less sensational than for example 707 and STEEL BREEZE, which is due to the vocals of MICHAEL COONES, because he is not a strong singer I’m afraid, Nevertheless, it is still interesting to check out if you’re a fan of this style, because songs like Calling Dr. Love, Drive Another Nail In My Heart, Bad Reputation, London Girl, It’s My First Offense Of Love, Hold On and Turn Away Eyes of CD 1 are all in the described style. CD 2 is much heavier and more AOR/Melodic Rock orientated with an improved Michael on vocals, better songwriting and overall a really nice collection of catchy tunes. Highlights on CD 2 are Take Me Back To Tokyo, United We Stand, Call Of The Wild, We Are The Young (a bit TREATish) and the 3 instrumental demos that are very AOR based (Inside A Lonely Heart, Straight Through The Heart and China), reminding me a lot of the band THE HEAT (if anyone knows them!). The amount of songs is overwhelming, and there are actually 2 more THE TAKE CD releases on METALLIC BLUE RECORDS, which are also reviewed by yours truly. This one is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via

(Points: 7.8 out of 10) 



CHRIS BORDEAUX is the name of the lead singer of the band BOUDREAUX, of which METALLIC BLUE RECORDS released an interesting CD filled with material Chris and his band recorded in the aftermath of the US Melodic Hardrock/Hair Metal era (1993-1994). I remember well this period, because upon discovering as a teenager in The Netherlands the Hair Metal scene in the USA back in 1988/1989, it all ended abruptly in 1991 when Grunge and Alternative Rock took over. Thankfully I was able to track down a lot of unknown gems of this genre during that period since everybody got rid of their 80s albums and I started Strutter’zine in 1995, so I got in touch with countless bands that were still very active during the 1990s, but were completely ignored by the major press. The underground scene in the 1990s was huge and a lot of bands should have deserved much more attention and one of them was BOUDREAUX. Chris had already been in and out of bands for many years, worked with all the major label bands and musicians, but around 1993/1994 he went into the studio with bassist JUSTIN JUKNELIS (SCARLET BLUE), guitarist DARWIN DEVITIS (CUT THROAT, MICKEY RAT), guitarist KEN SNYDER (CUT THROAT, ROKKIN’ HORSE) and drummer RAMSAY BISHARAH (SAVANNAH NIX, STRAIGHT JACKET, CUT THROAT) to record a bunch of excellent US melodic hardrock in the best late 80s style, but due to the fact it was 1994, it was shelved and now 27 years later released as Fallen Angel on CD by METALLIC BLUE RECORDS. Lovely uptempo 80s melodic rockers (a la FIREHOUSE, KNOW ILLUSION) such as Road To Nowhere, Baby Don’t Leave, Who Peed In The Pool and Why Did Our Love Go Away as well as a bunch of groovier hard/heavy rockers (a la EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE, SKID ROW) now get a second chance through this wonderful CD, which is available through: and I need to additionally mention that the label put together one of the finest and longest biographies of a musician I have ever seen in the CD booklet! The European customers can purchase a copy via

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Before lead singer MARC GROVER joined ROCK BOULEVARD, he was part of the band RAWKON, a great 80s Melodic Metal band with a couple of rare cassette and EP releases back in the 1980s, which have carefully been remastered and put together on 1 CD by METALLIC BLUE RECORDS. The sound is a bit raw and rough, edgy at times, but still the real deal for fans of classic 80s Melodic Metal in the style of bands like RIOT, RUFFIANS, SAVAGE GRACE (the Detroit band from the 80s), HEIR APPARENT, FIFTH ANGEL, LEATHERWOLF etc. etc., although some of the songs also reflect AOR/Melodic Rock influences. 13 songs from the period 1986-1988 are included here and despite the demo sound quality, the music is really great and besides aforementioned bands, also fans of the underground EBONY RECORDS sound from the early-mid 80s will definitely like this a lot. It’s as authentic as possible and highlights for me personally would be Vicez, Street Eagles (SUPERB a la KUNI, featuring a surprising keyboardsolo!), Reflections (AOR influences) and Destiny (incredible high pitched vocals that would even make GEOFF TATE jealous!). If you don’t mind a slightly lower budget production/sound quality here and there (actually only the 1986 metalish recordings, because the majority of the CD does sound very good), but if you really care for 80s melodic metal (and a bit of melodic rock/aor sometimes, especially the keyboard driven I Know You Know and the sensational songs Johny’s Eyes and Times Changin’, which are almost pure AOR, both recorded in 1988) at an incredible high level, then check out this album a.s.a.p.! The CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 8.7 out of 10) 



The Nevada based band ROCK BOULEVARD was called ROCK BLVD during the greater part of the 1980s, but they changed their name to ROCK BOULEVARD after releasing a vinyl single under ROCK BLVD. in 1987. The band switched their line up and released a collectable same titled CD, which has been re-released as I Got What You Want on METALLIC BLUE RECORDS (review elsewhere). The same label also released Stand And Fight under ROCK BOULEVARD, which is a collection of songs the band recorded between 1987 and 1989, of which 2 songs were released on that aforementioned vinyl single. 10 songs are included, and opener How Many Times is a superb uptempo classic 80s Melodic Rocker in the style of ICON, DANGER DANGER, FIREHOUSE, DOKKEN, KNOW ILLUSION, etc. etc.The midtempo Rock With Me already reveals AOR influences, sounding even a bit like H.E.A.T. and with the keys upfront during the lovely uptempo Stand And Fight, we are even closer to a WHITE SISTER, yet with a harder edged ICON (circa An Even More Perfect Union area) touch. The heavier Mystery Woman is a fantastic catchy uptempo melodic hardrocksong, with a sorta Y&T ish chorus and it has this really cool pure 80s vibe, definitely one of the finest songs on the album. JEFF KERR is a superb vocalist, which you can clearly hear on all these songs, especially during the superb uptempo melodic rocker Y R U Lyin’, which sounds like a cross between NIGHT RANGER and JACK STARR (circa Rock The American Way/In Your Arms Again). I think by now you’ll get the picture what this band was all about, delivering top-notch 80s US Melodic Rock with everything sounding picture perfect. One Time Lover continues the big melodic rocksound, reminding me a bit of early ALDO NOVA, so again with an AOR touch, and also featuring a great guitarsolo in the best 80s style. Self-Sacrifice is slightly heavier, with a RATTish twist, although the Melodic Hardrock of ROCK BOULEVARD is at times, especially during this song, it is very close to ICON. You Left me Cryin’ follows in the same style, while closing track How Many Times is featured again, this time in an alternate version with guitarist DELAND VOTH singing (he also sung on the previous 2 songs as those songs were part of a 3 tracks counting demo), because their original singer Jeff had left the band when they started working on their official debut CD, which was released in 1990 (story continues during the review of I Got What You Want). Without a doubt, this is an awesome CD you absolutely need to own if you call yourself a fan of the classic 80s American Melodic Rocksound. The CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 9.0 out of 10) 



As mentioned in the review of the other ROCK BOULEVARD CD Stand And Fight which was released by METALLIC BLUE RECORDS, the same label also released I Got What You Want. This marks the re-release of the band’s 1990 same titled CD, along with 3 unreleased songs added to the original 6 songs. The band’s sound didn’t change that much compared to the other CD, perhaps a bit heavier in the classic FIREHOUSE department (and clear SKID ROW influences here and there, such as during the groovy I Live For Rock’N’Roll), yet the real change was notable due to the switch of singer, because MARC GROVER took over, and he has a fantastic crystal clear (slightly higher pitched) voice a la SEBASTIAN BACH. Right from the start during the catchy uptempo melodic rocker Girl You Know (It’s Your Love) you can hear that the band sounded even more professional than they ever did before. Following Let’s Go Wolfin’ (a single that was not available on CD before) even goes for an uptempo Melodic Metal in the style of FIFTH ANGEL. Imagine a mix between ICON, FIFTH ANGEL, CHARACTER, SKID ROW and FIREHOUSE, at the same high level of these bands, then you will the sound of ROCK BOULEVARD on I Got What You Want. Unlike the other CD, this time the band threw in an AOR Power Ballad in the shape of Mama, which obviously was influenced by the WARRANT, SKID ROW and WINGER ballads that topped the US charts 30 years ago (and also reminds me a bit of the ROBBY VALENTINE classic Over And Over Again), but thankfully it’s done at an extremely high level and therefore this is a sensational ballad to check out if you’re a sucker for such songs. This song could have easily been in the MTV countdown charts back in 1990! Other highlights on this 2nd ROCK BOULEVARD are the superb midtempo Invisible Chains (pure FIREHOUSE circa their 1st), I Got What You Want (HEAVEN’S EDGE meets early SKID ROW) and . This is definitely another recommended late 80s US Melodic Hardrock/Hair Metal gem to check out and just like every release on METALLIC BLUE RECORDS, also this one comes along with extensive liner notes! The CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Although I have a rather large collection of female fronted early 80s keyboard driven AOR/Poprock, this EXPOSURE from Utah is completely new to me. They were originally called NIGHTLIFE, but changed their name after a while. EXPOSURE managed to release a CASSETTE EP titled Matter Of Time in 1985, of which its 5 tracks are now released on CD, with in addition 5 more songs the band recorded in the early/mid 1980s. The tape was and still is very collectable, but thankfully this CD release should give more people the possibility to hear this little unknown rare female fronted AOR/Poprock gem. It’s keyboard driven and sounds like it was recorded in the 1982-1984 time frame when this kind of style was very popular. I hear similarities to TANE CAIN, PAT BENATAR, LAURA BRANIGAN, LUBA, DRAMA, THE BREAKS, DONNA CRISTY, CINDY CRUSE, SHEENA EASTON and countless more, and it’s all done at an extremely high level. Without a doubt, the most important members of EXPOSURE were their excellent singer ANDI SCHOPPER and keyboardplayers ALLAN BETZ and FRED BETZ, two brothers. The other members in the band were drummer RON THOMPSON and guitarist DANE RINEHARDT, and the material of EXPOSURE was very radio-friendly and could have easily become huge hits when hearing such wonderful songs such as Soft Machine, Nature Of The Beast, One By One, Take Me Away (SENSATIONAL SUPERB CLASSIC 1983ish AOR in the best TAHNEE CAIN style) and Take Me. Without a doubt, if you’re one of those fans of early 80s female fronted AOR/Poprock with a lot of keys/synths, pompy rhythms, catchy hooks and memorable choruses in the style of aforementioned acts, then get this CD a.s.a.p. through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


The Salt Lake City based band BAD BOYS was definitely a major label sounding band when listening to the 11 songs on their CD Turn On The Radio. They managed to release 2 strong demo tapes during the late 1980s, which have now been put together and released on CD by METALLIC BLUE RECORDS. The band featured ex-THE TOOLS singer MIKE RAFONE, an excellent vocalist of whom we talked about in the reviews of the 2 CDs of THE TOOLS. Back to BAD BOYS, this was prime-time American Hair Metal/Melodic Hardrock of the best mid/late 80s style, not far removed from bands like FIREHOUSE, EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE, BANGALORE CHOIR, BABE BLU, WHITE LION, AUTOGRAPH, FRICTION, KILLER DWARFS, DOKKEN, ROCK CANDY, STRUTT (a lot!) etc. etc. etc. 11 songs can be found on this wonderful high quality CD, with as highlights the uptempo pieces Bad Boy, Judgement Day, Love Me Tonight and Turn On The Radio, while the AOR ballad Guillotine is also sensational. Must-have CD if your heart is in the 80s US Melodic Mainstream Hair Metal sound! This killer massive sounding CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 8.9 out of 10) 


During the late 1970s and early 1980s the Salt Lake City, Utah based band THE TOOLS was active and the first time I heard these guys was via a wonderful 1983 released vinyl compilation record titled Wasatch Rocks. Little did I knew they also released a full-length cassette album in 1982. Both are combined now almost 40 years later and released on CD under the title Diamond Lace. The included music is lovely classic early 80s AOR/Melodic Rock with a focus on superb vocalwork  (MIKE RAFONE) and catchy uptempo melodic rocking tunes, reminding me a bit of the STRANGER album from 1982 crossed with a bit of LOVERBOY’s early 80s Powerpop, but just a touch heavier and more straight-forward, with also fantastic guitarwork by DANNY DICKMAN. It’s great to see the band getting an official CD release a few decades later, because they offered some sensational classic early 80s melodic rock when you hear wonderful songs like Liar (not unlike 38 SPECIAL), Another Lover, the superb A Girl (even a bit reminding me of NIGHTWORK), Tear It Up, the lovely Dreams, the RATHSKELLERish On The telephone. Hookladen guitar orientated catchy uptempo melodic AOR/Radiorock of the best early 80s kind is the name of the game here on this THE TOOLS CD, which is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 8.8 out of 10) 



The story continued on the band THE TOOLS from Utah, because they recorded a 2nd album titled Remodeling in 1987, which gained interest from GEFFEN RECORDS, but sadly it was shelved and never released until now. METALLIC BLUE RECORDS released the original 10 album tracks onto CD, and the sound is excellent classic 80s melodic hardrock with that late 80s major label approach of bands like MELIDIAN, HERICANE ALICE, FIREHOUSE, HEAVEN’S EDGE and such. The vocals were once-again spot on and the catchy uptempo melodic rock is present all over the place, with as highlights Looking Back, Thinking Of You and Rock & Roll On The Radio (superb catchy a la ROCK CANDY and AUTOGRAPH). There’s quite some diversity as well, because there is also some rougher sleazier late 80s rough heavy rock included as well, such as the KIXish Sting me, the groovy VAN HALENish Do It For A Living (featuring a fantastic soaring guitarsolo) and a Power Ballad (Wasting My Time) like SKID ROW. Remodeling was definitely a more mature sounding album than the earlier release, but personally I like both a lot and fans of 80s rock/hardrock absolutely need to check out this band’s 2 CDs. Also this TOOLS CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


The METALLIC BLUE RECORDS catalogue is made up of material from bands around the 1980s Utah area when Melodic Hardrock and Hair Metal was the main rock and roll sound in the USA. Sadly thousands of bands did not get the chance to sign to a major label and release something official. Thankfully METALLIC BLUE RECORDS steps in and releases CDs of these rare unknown bands from the 1980s. Most bands are actually connected to each other, because the scene in Utah was very tight back then. AERIAL is a bandname we have seen a lot, but this one recorded several songs during the 1980s, of which 4 are included here, while the other 6 songs on the CD were recorded during the 2000s after they reformed. The music is pure 80s Melodic Hardrock with a focus on catchy hooks, memorable choruses and soaring guitarwork and it is clear they were just having a good time! A song like Crazy Over You is a deadly catchy chorus driven uptempo melodic rocker in the best 80s style of DANGER DANGER, BON JOVI, DOKKEN, FIREHOUSE, WHITE LION… Thankfully all of the songs are a mixture of these bands, so in case you like that legendary authentic 80s American rocksound, then you will definitely like songs such as I’ve Seen It All (VAN HALEN meets RATT), Is It Over (Rock Version), Hot Summer Nights and Cuz I Know. Vocally speaking it sounds a bit less stronger during the newer songs, but fans of aforementioned bands will definitely like this one! The CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Just like all the other releases on METALLIC BLUE RECORDS, also this BRAXXTON CD release contains everything you need to know and hear of the particular band. Carefully remastered and along with extensive liner notes (via a recent interview with their original guitarist) and pictures, you get a good idea of another rare 80s band from the Utah area in the USA. BRAXXTON consisted of lead singer JEFFREY LYNN BAGFORD, guitarists JEFF ALLEMAN and SCOTT SNEDDON, bassist ERIK BRINKMAN and drummer DAN SMITH. They recorded an awesome cassette titled Take One in 1986, which has now been released on CD, with in addition an unreleased bonus track titled Into The City. The included music is pure 80s American Melodic Rock and Roll with influences of DEF LEPPARD, VAN HALEN, DOKKEN, SCORPIONS and such. They looked and sounded like the typical American band at the time. Their somewhat underground sound also reminds me a lot of bands like SHIRE, VYPER (Prepared To Strike), BLITZKRIEG (Ready For Action) if anyone can remember them! The guys were very young at the time, but they sounded sensational, with superstrong vocals, picture-perfect guitarwork and a handful of great catchy uptempo rockers, such as Fading Away, In The Night and Taking On The World, although they also included a typical 80s Power Ballad in the shape of Never Give Up On Love. Nice job to see these guys getting an official CD release almost 35 years later! The CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


CIRKUS from Salt Lake City, Utah was one of many bands during the 1980s that delivered great typical 80s melodic hardrock/hair metal/aor, but they sadly did not manage to get something officially released on CD or LP, although they did manage to release a full album cassette titled Who Do You Do? In the winter of 1987/1988 and this has now been re-issued onto CD by METALLIC BLUE RECORDS. Besides the original remastered 12 songs, 4 bonustrack are added. CIRKUS consisted of lead singer CHRIS COFFIN, guitarists JEFF ALLEMAN and CAMRON CRESALL, bassist TROY FILLMORE, drummer SCOTT FILLMORE and keyboardplayer SCOTT YELONEK, and the 16 songs on this CD are a great trip back in time when their kind of music was very common. The 80s BON JOVI, SHY and DANGER DANGER similarities are very clear and fans of that sound will absolutely love songs such as the uptempo melodic rockers Dream In, Don’t Go, On Your Own and Oh! C’mon (very much reminding of mid 80s SHY). Vocally speaking Chris reminds me a bit of the PRETTY BOY FLOYD singer somehow, so there’s a Glamrock touch here and all together it is a nice release for sure. The 4 bonustracks seem a little bit better produced and also showing a more mature melodic rock based CIRKUS on songs like One Way Love and Spent My Last Dime. The CD is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via  

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Out of the US state of Utah came the band VICE and they existed for over a short period during the mid-1980s and they managed to release a cassette tape in 1985, which eventually became a collector’s item. There were quite a few bands under the name of VICE back then, but within Utah they became very popular despite they split up after only 1 cassette tape release. The band consisted of vocalist BERT WHITE, guitarist JAY GOUGH, drummer MARTY DELAND, bassist MARK MORRISON and keyboardplayer ALAN LUDINGTON, and all of the members went their own way, spreading throughout the USA. However, in 2018 the newly established Utah re-issue label METALLIC BLUE RECORDS managed to release an official CD filled with the original 5 songs of that cassette tape along with 3 live demo cuts. The result is that finally after all those years this VICE gets an official release and so everyone can enjoy their music. Opener Fooled By Your Love is a nice midtempo melodic rocker, while September is the typical 80s melodic power rockballad that follows. They remind a bit of BRIGHTON ROCK, mixing AOR keyboard friendly melodies with somewhat rough hardrock/metal ish lead vocals and guitar riffs. This can also be heard during the uptempo melodic rocker Calling On Your Love, which sounds like a cross between 80s BON JOVI and TOBRUK. Waiting In Line follows the same kind 80s Melodic Hardrock sound as the previous song. The (Teutonic) Melodic Metal ish Warlords is featured twice, in its original studio version and a live demo version (live it sounded awesome because VICE had a real Metal shouter as a singer!), while the remaining 2 songs are the live demo cuts You Won’t See Me Cryin’ (catchy uptempo 80s melodic rocker) and Played The Fool Again (nice semi melodic rockballad). The live cuts sound a bit rougher, but thankfully still good enough to listen to and showing that VICE was live pretty much on fire. Concluded, this is a nice documentation of a band that did not make it to the major label back in the 1980s, but nevertheless now is getting awarded with this official CD release, which is available through and the European customers can purchase a copy via   

(Points: 8.1 out of 10) 



 After a short intro titled When The World Ends, the Los Angeles based female fronted band PIERA dives into classic 80s inspired synth driven uptempo pop-rock with the catchy Cosmic Reaction. It actually concerns a duo here formed around PIERA KLEIN and MICAH PLISSNER, who are clearly influenced by 80s somewhat dark synthesizer driven pop/rock with a focus on those cool 80s synths and lush melodies. The band is influenced by the acts from the 70s Krautrock and Electronic 80s Popmusic scene, such as KLAUS SCHULZE, THE SWANS, DEPECHE MODE... Combined with the relaxing and very strong vocals of Piera, this synth duo takes you on a journey that sometimes also reminds me a bit of classic BERLIN, EURYTHMICS, THE MODELS and MISSING PERSONS, however PIERA leans clearly more towards a bit more experimental krautrock/dark wave/EBM direction here and there instrumentally speaking. A song like the superb It's True is a fine example of this mixture. Anyway, the band was kind enough to send me a blue vinyl record version of their debut album, which was originally released in 2019. Other highlights on the album are Lost In You (could be a massive hit with the retro 80s synth sound now taking over the world again!), the experimental Dust, and the lovely catchy uptempo Calling You Out. Recommended band to check out if you want to hear something slightly different than the rest. I liked it a lot and I am sure enough people will do that as well. More info at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



Now this is a very interesting and well written university book about the legendary Canterbury sound, which was very popular for a while during the 1970s. Almost 50 years later not many people will remember that sound, but it combined the 70s progressive rock with elements of other genres, such as jazz, blues, psychedelic rock and classical music. The result could be put between the regular prog/sympho of YES and GENESIS, the Jazz/Fusion of for example STANLEY CLARKE and the experimental drift of ZAPPA. The Canterbury took the best bits and pieces of these sounds and came up with a whole new sorta fusion rocksound that gave birth to wonderful bands such as SOFT MACHINE, GONG, CARAVAN and NATIONAL HEALTH. Eventually during the 1970s prog and also the Canterbury sound became less popular, which was also due to the sometimes complicated and stretched improvisations going on, especially during live concerts. However, almost 5 decades on, people still talk about the Kent, UK based Canterbury sound, which has now been extensively written about in this interesting book. It does feel like a university essay book due to its use of complicated terms and detailed look into the genre. However, the 3 authors did a terrific job and everyone who wants to learn all the ins and outs on the classic Canterbury scene, then look no further, because this book tells you all about it, not just the bands, but also an incredible detailed look at the musicstyle itself. The book is available through:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10) 




There once was a period I was received loads of packages from all these great unknown bands out of Brazil, which must have been in the late 1990s after ANGRA had become very popular. Sadly the following decades it became very quiet and actually this is one of the first CDs I received from Brazil after all these years. It concerns the band ANAMA, which is a female fronted melodic neo-classical power/prog metal band from Sao Paolo formed around BABI BUENO (vocals, piano, keys), NIKOLAS MARCANTOANTOS (drums, percussion) and CAIO GARIBALDI (guitars, death metal growls, programming) and they were kind enough to send me their very professional European sounding album Tales Of Doubt And Death. The album counts 5 well-produced and excellent sung tracks that reminds me of bands like AFTER FOREVER, NIGHTWISH and EPICA. It’s a pity such bands from Brazil hardly get recognition here in Europe, because they easily reach the level of the aforementioned bands. Check them out a.s.a.p. in case you’re a fan of such bombastic symphonic melodic neo-classical prog/power metal at:


(Points: 8.3 out of 10)




Now here we have something sensational, although quite commercial, but done in a way it is acceptable. MOLLY BURCH comes out of Austin, Texas and Romantic Images is her 4th album so far. She studied jazz and has a deep love for NINA SIMONE and BILLIE HOLIDAY, but her own music is indie pop with a commercial pop touch. Actually it’s the typical modern female fronted popsound we also know from ANGEL OLSEN, FLORENCE & THE MACHINE, SHARON VAN ETTEN, WEYES BLOOD, ST. VINCENT, etc. etc. 10 songs are included and each of them has the potential to become a huge radiohit if of course they pick up. Otherwise the social network should do her work to get MOLLY BURCH to bigger fame and fortune. One of the absolute highlights for me personally is the superb New Beginning, with its sorta 70s ish westcoast/jazz/fusion guitar lick. Emotion is one of the songs I would pick to throw out on the social network and make ready for radio airplay, because this has a very cool retro late 70s disco touch, yet with the modern feeling like other successful female singers. Check out this rising superstar for yourself at:


(Points: 8.3 out of 10)




Blue Heroin is the debut album of JODI aka NICK LEVINE. He was a founding member of the band PINEGROVE before he went solo and released this album. Musically speaking it is a very depressing adventure, with a dark calm melancholic singer/songwriter approach in the LEONARD COHEN/NICK CAVE direction. Done very well, it is a must for fans of aforementioned acts, although personally after a while the depressing low-tuned vocals doesn’t make it easy to get through the record. Anyway, as mentioned if you’re a COHEN / CAVE fan you will love this!


(Points: 6.0 out of 10)




CLIVE NOLAN is of course known as the keyboard wizard in the prog/sympho rock world. I have seen him perform live multiple times and he is amazing. His involvement in ARENA, PENDRAGON, SHADOWLAND and such bands are just a few examples of all he’s done the past 40 years. During the pandemic he started working on a new idea, which is now finished as Song Of The Wildlands, which is a sorta progressive rock opera/musical project that involves musicians and singers from the UK and Norway. The story is about a ‘fantasy’ journey through time with stories about demons, dragons, heroes, battles, weapons and much more. This is one of those albums you put on and just let it take you into a complete different world, which in this pandemic is a huge welcome of course. Folk, Prog and Sympho Rock are connected well in each and every of the 15 included songs. It sounds at times very mythical old mediaeval folk music orientated, while Clive also shows his enormous skills on the keyboard in-between. This mixture makes it a joy to listen to such wonderful songs like the mediaeval folky There’s a Threat! (also a bit 2010s KAYAK), the massive RHAPSODY light sounding Beowulf’s Promise, the symphonic Grendel Attacks, and the uptempo Underwater Cavern. This has got to be one of the big surprises of 2021! It’s an amazing journey that is packed with a huge sound that should appeal to everyone who likes bombastic sounds, opera like themes and also mediaeval folk moments, because that’s all included in this concept record. Check out all info at: 


(Points: 8.6 out of 10)




As soon as the opening song Take Me To The City of the 2nd album Hope Dies Last of Canadian multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and record producer STEVE MARRINER blasts through the speaker, we’re safe to say that this is going to be a great adventure, because Steve is a gifted singer/songwriter and guitarist. The song itself is a fantastic uptempo soulful bluesy rocker that has all the ingredients to become a massive hit. Steve is best known as member of the Canadian bluesrockband MONKEYJUNK, but also played and performed with many other musicians and recently produced records and did session work with other artists. However, he also puts out solo records, although his solo debut Going Up was released back in 2007. Now it’s time for the 2nd album Hope Dies Last and as already mentioned it started very well with Take Me To The City, which is followed by the slow blues rock of Honey Bee, while How High picks up the tempo again. This CD smells and feels as good as for example JOE BONAMASSA or KENNY WAYNE SHEPHARD, yet a bit more authentic and also more soulful like for example GARY CLARK JR or even LENNY KRAVITZ. Steve has a wonderful voice and besides playing guitar and bass, drums and piano here and there, there’s a list of guest musicians on guitar, bass, drums, piano and backing vocals. Other highlights are the lovely midtempo melodic rocking Somethin’ Somethin’ (with a JOHN MAYERish touch and superb vocals that stretch to a sensational direction towards the end of the song), the amazing midtempo Coal Mine, the rockier Hear My Heart (with harmonicasolo by Steve himself) and closing track Long Way Down (a beautiful calmer piece). Without a doubt, this is a sensational release which basically every fan of real music will love! If he’s lucky one of the songs should be picked up worldwide, because it has huge potential to become massive! More info at:


(Points: 8.8 out of 10)




The Canadian folk singer MURRAY MCLAUCHLAN has been active in the music business since the 1970s and in his homeland of Canada he is a major artist with 11 Juno Awards and he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame and Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame. He released a total of 18 albums and shared the stage with legendary performers like JONI MITCHELL, EVERLY BROTHERS and his songs have been covered by many other iconic artists, such as WAYLON JENNINGS, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, TOM RUSH, etc. Now he releases his new album Hourglass, which is a beautiful pure authentic folk/americana album. In the past he flirted with rock and roots, but on Hourglass it’s all about the singer/songwriter folk direction he is best known for. His voice has aged very well and the 10 songs are a joy to listen to, because they tell us all kinds of real stories. Besides Murray on guitar and vocals, other involved musicians are drummer AL CROSS, bassist VICTOR BATEMAN, steel guitarist BURKE CARROLL and keyboardplayer VEZI TAYYEB. Together they came up with a great harmonic sound that is perfectly suitable to either start your day with or close your day alongside a campfire. Murray shows he is one of the great Folk performers still around today, with new music as can be heard on Hourglass. More info at:


(Points: 8.0 out of 10)