UPDATED March 22, 2021


How something as evil as covid-19 can turn out to be a positive change in someone's life, because Belgian singer-songwriter/blues guitarist GHALA VOLT was already quite successfull with her 2 earlier albums, but due to covid she couldn't tour or barely recording a new album, because travelling is a major issue worldwide. However, she reinvented herself by learning to play guitar and drums at the same time while singing her songs, kinda like a busker, and as a result she toured across the USA all by herself, and eventually recorded this sensational 3rd album One woman band on her own. There are a few guest spots from bassist DEAN ZUCCHERO and guitarist MIKE WELCH, but overall she does everything on her own here. The album is a sensational piece of original heavy blues rock with superb vocals and excellent guitarplaying, while the songs are quite memorable. 11 songs are included and you can feel the real soul of her work and I am safe to say that we need to keep our eyes wide open in the future for this beautiful talented musician. Hopefully after covid, she will return to the stage and then she will mesmerize us with all her talents as a one-woman band. More info at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



ALLY VENABLE is one of the youngest musicians in the blues rock scene, with already quite a few releases so far. Heart of fire is her latest album, and it features guest appearances by some big names, such as DEVON ALLMAN and KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD. 11 songs are included in total, and despite you can hear she is still young and her voice needs to develop further into the future, her guitarwork is sensational. Besides Ally singing and playing guitar, other involved musicians are drummer ELIJAH OWINGS and bassist BOBBY WALLACE on most of the songs, while we can also hear PAT FUSCO (keys), JANA MISENER (cello), CODY DICKINSON (drums), LANDON MOORE (bass) and RICK STEFF (keys). Just like on her earlier albums, Ally delivers a top-notch high class heavy blues rocksound , with as highlights Heart of fire, Hateful blues, Road to nowhere and the lovely closing track What do you want from me, although the instrumental Tribute to SRV is also a great song that is a tribute to the late great STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN. Check out more info on Ally at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



As soon as the first song I Love The Way You See The World is playing loud in my room, it is clear that we are dealing with a very interesting album that musically speaking fits somewhere between melancholic singer-songwriter pop, modern atmospheric semi-progressive rock and catchy chorus orientated indie-pop/rock. It concerns here the 5th album of Norwegian singer, songwriter, guitarist and engineer PETTER CARLSEN, who worked with DANIEL CARDOSO (ANATHEMA) in the past and is assisted on this new album by multi-instrumentalist KRISTIAN S. OLSTADT, BENJAMIN MJORK (synths), WETLE HOLTE (drums), MIKAEL PEDERSEN (drums) and ARKTISK FILHARMONI (strings). He actually lives in Alba, Norway, which is a town up north close to the polar circle! After the great start of the afforementioned opener, following Dogs is a lovely midtempo indie-poprocker with a great chorus that feels a bit like early 90s U2 somehow. The calmer Contradictions is a beautiful song that shows the incredible talent of Petter as a singer/songwriter, because this modern pop song is radio-ready and even reminds me a bit of KEANE. The prog influences are also hearable on a lot of songs, such as during Pagee, the fantastic rockier Good news and the superb Funny old life (bombastic song with superstrong melodies like a calmer MUSE meets AIRBAG). Overall, this feels like a great journey through a musical adventure that balances somewhere between the atmospheric modern calmer melodic progressive rock of ANATHEMA, AIRBAG, PORCUPINE TREE, STEVEN WILSON and a indie-rockier approach to darker melancholic singersongwriter pop-rock a la TAME IMPALE. More information can be found at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



Back into the light is the 4th album of the French stoner rockband ZOE, who are signed to the legendary BRENNUS MUSIC label. Back in the 1990s this label, which was a rock orientated sublabel of MUSEA RECORDS, it brought a lot of great album releases from mostly French AOR, Hardrock and Metalbands. ZOE is probably the last and only act on BRENNUS MUSIC nowadays, but thankfully they are a great rocking band to check out. Their new album is mastered by GORAN FINNBERG (MESHUGGAH, IN FLAMES...) and 10 songs are included on this great record. The band is formed around  Musically speaking we are heading into classic massive sounding groovy heavy fuzz guitar orientated Stoner Rock a la QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, KYUSS, and 70s acts like MC5 and BLACK SABBATH, but also here and there a touch of dirty mean sleazy rock and roll (Cut class). The lovely frontcover is already making you eager to check out the album as quickly as possible, and as highlights we need to mention Voices, the melodic Down in a hole (classic retro melodic hardrock that even reminds me a bit of FOO FIGHTERS) and White trash. ZOE is definitely one of the stronger French bands right now, so go check them out at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



Psychedelic jazz meets Afro-funk or fusing ethiogroove, dub, psychfunk and eastern sounds with memories of classic 1970s prog/krautrock as well, that is what this is all about on the official debut full-length release of AZMARI. This instrumental Belgian band is formed around Arthur Ancion (drums), Basile Bourtembourg (keyboards), Jojo Demeijer (percussion), Niels D’haegeleer (bass), Mattéo Badet (sax) and Yohan Dumas (sax) , and via an earlier EP release they were already tipped as a band to watch out for, and now with this new album, which has a beauitul frontcover by the way, this AZAMARI is ready to make their big breakthrough. Sometimes quite jazzy (Cosmic masadani and Kadikoy), while at other times even touching classic 70s kraut/progrock (Kugler and the lovely Fat Ari) and of course the Middle-Eastern meets African influences in a lot of the songs. This beautiful album feels like a trip around the world, with so much diversity going on, although also concentrated around melodies in each and every of the 9 included songs. In general, they come across like a mix between 70s WEATHER REPORT, SOFT MACHINE, AZYMUTH, OMER AVITAL and ALTIN GUN. One of the absolute highlights is the superb Azmari and also the aforementioned Fat Ari, which combine all those elements perfectly, with the arabic rhythms and western mixture of jazz and psychedelic 70s kraut/progrock, it is simply said a joy to listen to from start to finish! This is one of those bands that makes you realize how wonderful it was to watch them perform live on stage during for example NORTH SEA JAZZ. Let's hope it will all happen again in 2022 and onwards, but for now check out AZMARI's superb album and more info at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



Out of Germany comes the wonderful classic rock/bluesrockband HENRIK FREISCHLADER BAND, who are formed around guitarist/singer/songwriter HENRIK FREISCHLADER, a gifted and very talented musician from the city of Wuppertal. The other members in the band are bassist ARMIN ALIC, keyboardplayer ROMAN BABIK, saxophone player MARCO ZUGNER and drummer MORITZ MEINSCHAFER. They have released quite a few albums so far, while Henrik himself also released a lot of solo albums. I hope I am able to check out more on him soon, because this new album Missing pieces is a lovely record from start to finish. The artwork is stunning, with many things to look at while listening and thankfully the music is of an incredible high level. After the short instrumental Opening, which is a bluesy guitar solo by Henrik himself, the ball starts rolling with New beginning, a wonderful calmer relaxing bluesy and very soulful tune that showcases not only the excellent guitarplaying of Henrik, but also his beautiful soulful voice, which is a pleasure to listen to. It gives you goosebumps when listening to the precise melodic guitarwork in combination with those soulful vocals, so it is even more remarkable he has not yet had his absolute big breakthrough. Anyway, the album continues with the rockier Power to the peaceful, a groovy tune with superb guitarwork and also a soul vibe, somewhere between GARY MOORE, JOE BONAMASSA and WALTER TROUT. Following Let the people be free continues this midtempo groovy soulful blues vibe, because this is a sensational song that even touches for example LENNY KRAVITZ and JOHN MAYER, while the soaring melodic guitarsolo of Henrik shows once again he can let his guitar sing and that's what makes him such an interesting guitarist! Another missing piece is a calmer tune with a sorta BILL WITHERS vibe somehow, while the RAUL MIDON-ish Justice blues and It ain't funky (with jazzy touch) are great funky groovy tunes in classic retro 70s style. The calmer bluesy slow ballad I wanna thank you follows in a classic BB KING style. What have I done to you? speeds things up a bit in a more groovier heavier blues rock direction in the style of GARY CLARK JR. and KENNY WAYNE SHEPHARD, including a wonderful guitarsolo. Following tracks Grown up and We used to be happy have that groovy jazzy touch again, while One and one is one is a very slow soulful song and closing track Walking in the shadows of the spotlight blends the funky RAUL MIDON sound with a bluesy JOHN MAYER touch. Do not miss this talented musician! Check out more at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



Out of the US state of New England comes THE PAWN SHOP SAINTS, a band formed around singer/songwriter/guitarist/bassist/banjo player JEB BARRY, guitarist MICHAEL O'NEILL, drummer JOSH PISANO and bassist CHRIS SAMSON. They have already achieved some success with their previous albums, so this new album Ordinary folks will probably find it's way to the fans of the band. Musically speaking it is calmer and somewhat depressing singer/songwriter/folk orientated like BOB DYLAN, NEIL YOUNG and TOWNES VAN ZANDT. It's not a real uplifting album, but this is no problem at all, since this is also the purpose of the 9 included story-telling songs that are all written by Jeb, and here and there are dealing with today's stuggles of the youth due to the covid lockdown worldwide. Lynyrd Skynyrd for example is such a song, which of course also refers to the legendary band. If the aforementioned names are up your alley, then I would recommend you to check out THE PAWN SHOP SAINTS at:

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)



The Austrian band WITCHRIDER was formed in 2012 and quite quickly they released their debut album Unmountable stairs on the Swedish label FUZZORAMA RECORDS. After some line-up changes, it took the band some time to come up with the follow-up, but eventually Electrical storm is now released. This 2nd album is a great record and of a very high level, including 11 songs in total. The first couple of songs clearly show the band's love for the Stoner Rock of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and the modern Alternative Melodic Rock of FOO FIGHTERS, although the uptempo You lied even reveals somehow memories of DURAN DURAN vocally speaking, so there is a very slight pop touch to be heard, which can be heard even more during the calmer gothic/wave influenced titletrack Electrical storm, a superb atmospheric and somewhat melancholic dark semi-ballad that is very melodic. The album continues this interesting mix of 90s grunge, 00s alternative rock, stoner rock and the melodies of a band like DURAN DURAN or even THE CURE. This rocks big time all the time and the musicianship is quite impressive, while the vocals of lead singer DANIEL DORNINGER are also superstrong. The other members in the band are guitarist HANS-PETER LEITNER, bassist BERNHARD WEIGL and drummer MICHAEL HIRSCHMUGL. Not a single weak song to be found here, and as highlights I would like to point out Shadows, I am confused, Mess creator and the superb Let go (which sounds like DURAN DURAN joining FOO FIGHTERS to record a song produced by QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE!). If you're starting to become interested, then check out this excellent highly recommended Austrian band at: and

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)



ENIGMA EXPERIENCE is a new band from Norway/Sweden and basically they are a super band, because their line up consists of TRUCKFIGHTERS guitarist Niklas ‘Mr.Dango’ Källgren, ex-TRUCKFIGHTERS/WITCHCRAFT drummer Oskar ‘Pezo’ Johansson and BREED/MOTORFINGER vocalist Maurice Adams. The resulting debut album ? is a lovely piece of work that combines retro Classic Hardrock soaring guitar solos, Stoner/Doom Rock/Metal orientated heavy fuzz guitar riffs and melodic hooks and choruses from the Melodic Rockbook. I am always jealous of the fact that this kind of rockmusic is especially made in the Scandinavian countries at a very high level, because over here in The Netherlands only a few bands are creating such rock, but nowhere near the high level of this ENIGMA EXPERIENCE. Opener Realityline kicks off the album and right from the start you will be impressed, because this 10 minutes counting song has got all the ingredients to become a classic in the future to come. You absolutely can't go wrong after such a sensational start, and the following 7 songs continue this high level mixture of classic hardrock, stoner/doom and melodic hardrock, with as other highlights the uptempo Lonewolf, Corruption, and Equilibrium. The band has an own identity, but if you like bands such as BLACK SABBATH, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, FOO FIGHTERS, SPIDERGAWD, TRUCKFIGHTERS and even THIN LIZZY, then you will love this album for sure! Check out this superb band at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)



Ordinary love is the 10th album of folk singer/songwriter ELLIS DELANEY from Minneapolis, USA. She sings, plays acoustic guitar and ukulele, while there are quite a few guest musicians appearing on her latest album. 12 songs are included and after a calm start with the acoustic The finest adventure, things get a it more uptempo with the catchy I think about you. Somehow I must think of a cross between ALANIS MORISSETTE, ILSE DELANGE and SUZANNE VEGA, both vocally and musically speaking. Other highlights are Pie for breakfast, Happy life and Paper wings. Ellis has a strong voice and her music is a nice mixture of folk, singer/songwriter and calmer 90s melodic pop/rock. Check out more info on Ellis at:

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)



The American singer/songwriter has been around for a while, but his new album Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! is my first introduction to this talented musician. I believe he already released 6 albums in the past, but somehow I must have missed them, which is not that strange if you consider the fact that there are literally hundreds of releases each week. Anyway, back to Aaron's new album, this is a very strong album and a remarkable one, because it sounds different from the countless other new album releases. Aaron has a love for the past and he gives it his own touch to make it sound ready for today's world. 11 songs are included and opener Sunday women is a catchy uptempo Powerpop tune with clear influences from TOM PETTY and some THE BEACH BOYS harmonies during the strong chorus. Then there's also the fantastic midtempo catchy pop/rocker Up all night, which is TOM PETTY meets THE TRAVELING WILBURY'S meets GEORGE HARRISON meets ROY ORBISON being produced JEFF LYNNE, so I guess you'll get the picture what this sounds like! There are also calmer singer/songwriter moments to be heard (Another lovely day), but overall we can hear a great melodic powerpop/poprock adventure through past music history, with a lot of memories of the aforementioned acts. Other highlights are the superb midtempo Don't overthink it, the lovely dreampop-ish Cartoon music and Dada bois. The melodies are extremely catchy and Aaron has a pleasant relaxing voice, so go check out Aaron a.s.a.p. if any of the acts is up your alley. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



VOLTER is probably the future band for any dedicated MOTORHEAD fan, because when hearing their opener High gain overkill, this is basically classic MOTORHEAD all the way! The German band was formed in 2014 and High gain overkill is their 2nd album so far. VOLTER is a trio consisting of drummer ANTON HERRMANN, guitarist JAKE WEGENER and bassist/vocalist GREGOR MUSIOL, and High gain overkill is a classic rock and roll record, with a sound that dates back to the late 1970s/early 1980s when the borderline between punk and metal was extremely small and especially MOTORHEAD made it possible to unite fans of both genres. Although not very original, VOLTER are doing things at an incredible high level and therefore I can easily say they are a must to hear if you like classic dirty mean uptempo punky raw NWOBHM with raw vocals and a sleazy guitarsound. MOTORHEAD fans will absolutely love songs like the aforementioned titletrack High gain overkill, Kiss my ass and Damage dealer, but if you like for example AC/DC, RUNNING WILD, GRAVE DIGGER and such you will also like the growlin’ classic rock/metal of VOLTER. The closing Rockstar is one of the few songs that is slightly different, more midtempo with a sorta BLACK SABBATH ish Doom Metal approach, yet with pure LEMMY-ish vocals. Check out VOLTER at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



End of I feels like a soundtrack, with its dark calm haunting melancholic approach that is situated around a bombastic orchestral instrumental sound, with dark low pitched vocals that have a sorta gothic/doom kinda feeling. Imagine a mix of dark wave/gothic neo-folk (TYPE O NEGATIVE meets OMNIA) with a modern post-progressive rock touch (ANATHEMA, PORCUPINE TREE, OPETH), then you’re probably close to ART OF EMPATHY. It concerns here a Belgian project formed around JEF JANSSEN and the result is already a 3rd album since his debut in 2007. The music is quite melodic and it really takes you on a journey where I personally see myself walking through a rather cold and snowy landscape (which at the time of writing is exactly what I see in front of me when looking outside!) and I am looking for food and a warm place to shelter. Job done very well actually and especially the relaxing vibe of the album is making it a joy to listen to. Fans of Neo-Folk, Darkwave, Post-Progrock and even Celtic Mediaeval Romantic music (Legion features additional and really beautiful female vocals) are united on this album and it will also appeal to fans of Doom Metal and if you like a band such as WARDRUNA or LORD OF THE RINGS/GAME OF THRONES background music, this might be right up your alley as well. 12 songs are included and with a playing time of 71 minutes, it will give you a lot of pleasure from start to finish. Check out all info at:  

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



RAZMIG TEKEYAN is the only member left in the band THE SEARCH. This Swedish band was formed back in 1999 and they have released 9 albums so far. I was unfamiliar with them, so their new album Heart’s racing is a nice introduction. Razmig does everything on his own here, with 18 songs in total, starting with the Indie 80s calmer THE SMITHS ish Saturday night. However when reading the press release, I was quite surprised to see that influences came from BRYAN ADAMS, THE OUTFIELD and SCANDAL, but when the 80s synth influenced melodic wave/poprocker Under the radar is playing after this somewhat alternative indie start, it is clear that we are hearing something wonderful and pure 1980s retro based, quite close indeed to classic THE OUTFIELD, MR. MISTER and CUTTING CREW, with a real 80s synth/classic catchy hooks/chorus orientated sound. Also When the stars align is basically picture-perfect 80s New Wave/Poprock in an almost classic 1987 Canadian direction of bands like PLATINUM BLONDE, HAYWIRE, GLASS TIGER, COREY HART, RED RIDER, WANG CHUNG (British), 1927 (Australian), THE ARROWS and countless others. Other highlights are the superb Don’t let yourself down (uptempo 80s Poprock at its best), Tracker of kicks, the beautiful Tonque tied, Specimen, In the heat of the night and In my restless dreams. Here and there it has also a slight 80s Indie THE SMITHS-ish touch during the calmer songs and especially vocally Razmig reminds me of MORRISSEY, but most of the time, this is definitely a must-have to check out for anyone into classic 80s Canadian new wave-ish melodic poprock! More info at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


At the moment I write the review of the ART NOIR album I am shocked to read that the legendary GOLDEN EARRING guitarist GEORGE KOOYMANS is diagnosed with the disease ALS. The man behind this project is the German film composer/musician JAN WEBER (ex-keyboardist of IMPRESSIONS OF WINTER) who was diagnosed with ALS back in 2015 when he started working on this album. Back then he was able to move his fingers, but we all know that eventually the only way to communicate is through your eyes. The guitarist JASON BECKER is one of the best known musicians who is still making music via high-tech machines, eye-scans and the help of other guitarists. Jan is also moving in that direction and his new ART NOIR album Poems of an extinct species is an example how musicians still can produce new music despite having this terrible disease ALS. Along with singer NADIA STELZER, producers THOMAS NAVAS and STEFAN VESPER, this is a fine album that more or less feels like a calm and beautiful atmospheric dark ambient electronic wave/soundtrack in a sort of kraut/KLAUS SCHULZE/TANGERINE DREAM kind synthesizer direction most of the time, with also a touch of Synthwave (Shadows of the past) and of course the gothic melodic touch due to the wonderful vocals of Nadia (Moving sky and Gloomy Sunday). Done very well, this is a great record from someone who doesn’t give up making music. Check out more info at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



Here we have a sensational instrumental release from a French band called DELTA TEA. They are formed around keyboardplayer Antoine Gehin, guitarist Clovis Gehin, drummer Kilian Beyly and bassist Oscar Decamps, and The chessboard is their debut album. It mixes jazz/fusion with classic progrock/progmetal in a very clever way, so at one moment you think you're listening to a smooth jazzy fusion band, while at other times it's progrock all the way. STEVE VAI meets PANZERBALLETT has been a description by several people and I guess you can easily say that is more or less correct, although DELTA TEA has an own identity, which you will conclude after hearing the 5 songs on this first album. There is so much going on here, and it's amazing to see the band taking so much out of a lot of genres (jazz, rock, prog and metal), and in each and every song you can hear this smoothly incorporated, while there are countless beautiful melodies to identify. Without a doubt, this is a highly recommended instrumental album to check out at: and

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



Out of Nancy, France comes SNAP BORDER, a professional and international sounding band which was formed back in 2012 and they released their debut in 2016. Icons is the follow-up mini-CD, consisting of 5 new songs. Musically speaking SNAP BORDER is doing things at quite a high level, playing American influenced modern rock with a lot of room for clean catchy melodies and their singer is really able to sing quite well without an accent. An uptempo modern melodic rocker like Newsfeed icons is very strong and a promise for the future for this band! Here and there some aggressive screams, but if you like the modern American rocksound you will love this for sure! Check them out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Formed in 2018, the French female fronted band BURNT UMBER deliver now a strong impressive and very sensational full-length debut album titled Petroleum. The band has a powerhouse vocalist with an incredible high pitched range (ABBY), who (almost) reaches the vocal skills of NIGHTWISH’ FLOOR JANSEN and EVANESCENCE’s AMY LEE. Along with a huge sound, a lot of amazing songs and also excellent guitarwork, this first album of the band is highly recommended to fans of AFTER FOREVER, EVANESCENCE, and such! The band is completed by guitarists Massi and Wince, while bassist Mickael and drummer J-War are together filling the rhythm section. From start to finish, all of the 14 included songs are a joy to listen to, and it’s definitely Abby who lifts the band straight above the average female fronted rock/metal bands in the scene. BURNT UMBER are a sensational new band to check out and songs like Tree of sorrow, Rainy Sunday and Six feet underwater are the living proof of a band with a bright future! The only remark I would like to make is that Abby also needs to sing in a calmer mood here and there, so there is a bit more diversity, because now she is almost non-stop singing in the upper league of her voice. Check out this interesting band at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Out of Oslo, Norway comes 35 TAPES, and their new album is titled Home. The 3-piece band is formed around Morten Lund / acoustic & electric guitars, lap steel, sitar, keyboards, Mellotron, vocals, Jarle Wangen / bass, acoustic & electric guitars, vocals and Bjørn Stokkeland / drums. Their music is clearly calmer 1970s melodic progrock orientated like 70s GENESIS, CAMEL and such, but vocally speaking Morten is reminding me somehow of the late TALK TALK vocalist MARK HOLLIS. It’s a nice combination, although here and there I raise my eyebrows as it is not always sounding crystal clear, but on the other hand the 6 songs take you in a great classic prog journey. I am not familiar with the band’s debut from 2019, but I suspect it to be along the same lines. Highlight on this new album is the lovely Onward and you can check out more on them at:

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)



Out of Oslo, Norway comes SUBURBAN SAVAGES, a band/project formed around the drummer of Progrockband PANZERPAPA, TROND GJELLUM. I believe it’s the 3rd album and besides Trond on vocals, drums, percussion, programming, synths, drum-machines, samples, the other involved musicians are Anders Kristian Krabberød: bass, chapman stick, nylon string guitar, synths, e-bow guitar, backing vocals, Mari Lesteberg: vocals, keyboards, synths and Thomas Meidell: vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, electric sitar, bass VI, synths, theremin, omnichord, field-recordings, samples. The 4 of them create a sound that is best classified as pure neo-prog with rich cheerful keyboards in combination with strong song/vocal orientated melodies. The 8 songs offer enough for both interesting instrumental passages and memorable vocal melodies, easily finding the right balance between prog and pop/rock. One of the absolute highlights is the superb Iconoclast, which has all the ingredients to become a future prog classic! Done very well, this is a recommended progalbum to check out at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



CALIGONAUT is the solo project of Norwegian singer/songwriter/guitarist OLE MICHAEL BJORNDAL, who is known for working with bands like OAK, AIRBAG and BJORN RIIS. Together with a list of guest musicians, which include members of WOBBLER, MEER, OAK, PYMLICO and AIRBAG, this is an all-star Norwegian prog event. Magnified as giants is the debut album and I must admit it’s a very strong album that is basically picture-perfect calmer melancholic dark (and slightly depressing) but melodic progrock in the style of PINK FLOYD and 70s GENESIS, yet combining the classic sounds of those bands with a more modern take here and there (PORCUPINE TREE, OPETH), with a prominent role for the lovely soaring guitarwork from Ole himself, who is by the way also a strong singer/songwriter. This is one of those records that will absolutely be loved by the progfans out there. 4 long songs are included, and from start to finish it’s a great adventure through the fields of all the variation and diversity our beloved progrock genre has to offer. Check it out at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Wow, this is a full-blown classic late 80s/early 90s sounding Neo-Progressive Rockalbum in the style of classic IQ, PENDRAGON, PALLAS, IT BITES, ABEL GANZ, etc. In fact, some of the members played in ABEL GANZ 25+ years ago, so there is the connection! The band's line up consists of Martin Haggarty / Lead & Backing Vocals, Renaldo McKim / Electric Guitars, Acoustic Guitars, Ambient Guitars, Mike Baxter / Piano, Synthesizers, Hammond C3, Gordon Mackie / Bass, Fretless Bass, Moog Bass Pedals and Ken Weir / Drums, Percussion. Once around the sun is their 2nd album, following up their debut album The source from 2017. When listening to the fantastic opener We own tomorrow, we are pleased with a wonderful melodic song that captures the aforementioned classic neo-progsound from 25 years ago. It is as authentic as possible, and perhaps to some it might sound a bit dated, Scottish LONG EARTH are doing it at an incredible high level, which can be heard from the start until the very end, which is a concept song titled Once around the sun, which consists of the 4 seasons as different parts. The vocals and choruses are quite strong, the songs are based around cheerful keys and rich soaring guitarsolo's, so I think in the end, all the fans of PALLAS, IQ, PENDRAGON, ABEL GANZ and such, they will absolutely love this album! More info at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



Last year the legendary super group LIONHEART released a wonderful comeback record and in addition I recently received a vinyl single, which was released just before Christmas, since it concerns the Christmas classic Mary did you know on side-A. This is originally a song by the artist MICHAEL ENGLISH, but has been covered meanwhile by hundreds of other musicians, including LIONHEART now. Side-B contains a mixed version of the song The reality of miracles, which is the title track of the band’s album from 2020. Both songs are a positive message from LIONHEART to the world, and I think we need a bit of this kinda melodic rock at the moment. Check out this single and of course their sensational full-length album from 2020 as well as more info on LIONHEART at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



Metal in my head is the 12th album of the German band WIZARD, and just like their previous albums, it is filled with pure Heavy Metal/Power Metal in classic German teutonic meets MANOWAR style. As soon as the catchy sing-a-long chorus and twin-guitarwork of the fast uptempo opener Bring light into the dark is blasting through the speakers, we are definitely into Metal Heaven! It’s the band’s first album with their new guitarist TOMMY HARTUNG and the album was produced by MARTIN BUCHWALTER (TANKARD, DESTRUCTION). The sound is huge and this one of those albums where your heart is pumping a bit faster due to the strength of the real classic Heavy Metal in fantastic songs like Metal feast (somehow reminding me of classic NOISEHUNTER), the True Metal gang-vocals driven anthem Metal in my head (PRIEST meets PRIMAL FEAR) and 30 years of Metal, but they also throw in an epic ballad-ish tune (Whirlewolf) like MANOWAR and DREAM EVIL also did in the past. All hail to WIZARD and their sensational new album! More info at:

 (Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Canadian guitarist MICHAEL J. MILLER is best known as member of RAPID TEARS, a legendary 80s Metal band that released albums in the 1980s, which are currently re-issued by CULT METAL CLASSICS/SONIC AGE RECORDS. Michael continued with other bands and projects, such as ADRENALIN, of whom we reviewed the album Dedicated on LONG ISLAND RECORDS more than 25 years ago! However, he also formed MJM, and IV is their 4th album so far. The band’s line up consists of Zsolt Henczely – Bass, Tom Eakin – Drums and Michael J Miller - Guitars/Vocals and Stephany Dudas – Backing vocals, and the CD contains 9. Musically it is a clear throwback to classic 80s melodic heavy rock/metal and thankfully it is done very well with a focus on strong melodies and biting guitarwork, with as highlights Could it be, Humanoid (very strong epic progmetal ish piece a la SAVATAGE, EVERGREY and PSYCHOTIC WALTZ), the 80s orientated Voodoo doll (LIZZY BORDEN-ish) and the fantastic 80s Power Ballad, with lovely guitarwork. Go check them out at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



INDIA RAMEY is a talented singer/songwriter from Georgia, Alabama with a crystal clear modern appproach on her 4th album Shallow graves, although it also reveals traditional American music influences. Her new album was recorded with Mark Petaccia (a Nashville-based producer) and brothers Will, Carson and Cheyenne Medders on guitar, bass and drums. Opener and titletrack Shallow graves is a very strong uptempo southern country rocker with a sorta dark QUENTIN TARANTINO edge to it. Following Up to no good is a bit more traditional countryrock, with similarities to classic JUICE NEWTON. The witch is one of the strongest songs, with a dark alternative midtempo country/rootsy/bluesy rocksound, kinda like JOHNNY CASH with of course female vocals. The rest of the album continues this mixture of styles, although in generally speaking this is a mostly country-rock orientated album a la DOLLY PARTON with a darker edge here and there, and as other highlights we need to mention Debutante ball, the fantastic You and me against the world and King of the ashes. Check out this interesting singer/songwriter at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



Resuscitator is the debut album of the Scottish Americana band THE CARLOWAYS. The album was produced by PAUL MCINALLY (FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE, THE LAPELLE…) and the band’s Americana-Poprock is not only influenced by the American acts in this genre, but also shows the band’s love for Scottish Folk sometimes (especially during The king and It would not matter). The result is a strong and diverse album that holds together 11 songs that were written and composed by bandleader MICHAEL FRANCIS MACLENNAN. They flirt a lot of times with pop structures and melodies (like AVETT BROTHERS), which actually makes them a band with a possible breakthrough, because quite a few songs here are hit potential. Highlights are the catchy uptempo opener 1,2,3 (Oh well) (sounding like MUMFORD & SONS, with a sorta Bluegrass folky touch, yet more authentic for sure), the lovely midtempo melodic rockers Worrying kind (a la RYAN ADAMS) and Lonesome (actually a bit like BRYAN ADAMS), and Library (a very smooth melodic Americana pop/rock song influenced by THE JAYHAWKS). The band also takes a step back to calmer balladry here and there, such as can be heard during December (featuring ABIGAIL PRYDE as guest singer) and closing track How it’s meant to be. Check out this promising new Scottish band at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)



Waking up is the latest release from American singer/songwriter KRISTIN LARKIN. Together with KELLEN WENRICH (bass, strings, keys, harmonium), ANNA EILERMANN (vocal harmonies), ADAM TAYLOR (guitars), STEPHEN MASON (guitars), JACKI MACRI (drums), STEVE SMITH (drums) and MARK SLOAN (pedal steel), she recorded a very nice calmer singer/songwriter/rootsy Americana/country record that starts very peaceful with Tread lightly, but gets more uptempo on the following songs, with as highlights That’s beautiful, the slow rockier When you’re lying (fantastic song, with a sorta soul and rock touch!) and As we go along. Check out this talented singer/songwriter at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



Out of Australia comes singer/songwriter SPIKE FLYNN, and along with the help of MICKEY YOUNG (sax), GRAEME MOLLOY (piano, organ), CHRIS MCCUSKER (bass), DAVID MCDADE (drums) and a few others, he recorded a nice album titled Postcards from the heart. Included is calmer story-telling singer-songwriter 70s orientated pop that sounds melancholic and not far removed from LEONARD COHEN and even NICK CAVE comes around here and there. Spike has the raspy raw voice that is perfect for this kind of music and it makes you keep listening to each and every song. 11 songs are included, of which the highlights are A circle is a hard place to hide, My lady of sorrow and Stone to sand (one of the few uptempo folky songs). More info on this talented musician at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



The talented vocalist/guitarist/pianoplayer/songwriter DUDLEY TAFT has already released 7 albums since 2010 and now presents us his 8th album Cosmic radio. Just like his previous album, he also recorded this album in his own studio in Cincinatti, Ohio, the Muchmore Studios which he took over from the legendary PETER FRAMPTON back in 2013. Together with Kasey Williams (bass), Jason Patterson (drums), Walfredo Reyes Jr. (drums, SANTANA, CHICAGO, STEVE WINWOOD), Johnn Kessler (bass) and vocalist Charmae, Dudley recorded a strong new album. 12 songs are included, and opener Cosmic radio is a strong uptempo piece that sits for the greater part in the heavy blues rock direction, yet also with some other influences from the groovy late 80s/early American hardrocksound and even a tiny bit of LOVERBOY-ish AOR can be heard somehow. Also following Left in the dust has that kinda feeling, and so with 10 more songs to go, we are already enjoying the talents of Dudley. The devil throws in some raw dirty mean boogie rock and roll into the heavy blues rocksound, ending up sounding like a great cross between SEASICK STEVE and ZZ TOP. Up next is the bluesy midtempo Goin' away baby, which flirts with the classic blues rock sound, and so does the following One in a million, although this song even has some slight 90s grunge influences. The end of the blues is as you would expect a relaxing slower bluesy tune. Relentless has a nice surprise, because here a fantastic female singer called CHARMAE sings lead vocals, and she does a great job, sounding a bit like JOANNA SHAW TAYLOR meets BETH HART. This semi-bluesy rockballad might even be the best song on the album, thanks to especially the superb vocals of this talented guest singer, but also the wonderful soaring guitar of Dudley. To my big surprise I learnt that Charmae is actually the daughter of Dudley, so here we have a big promise for the future I guess. Following Fly with me is a melodic classic rocker that even reminds me a bit of FOO FIGHTERS. Hey hey hey is a nice basic bluesy rocker, while the following slow songs All for one and I'm a believer show again the light grungy rock influences (ALICE IN CHAINS). The album closes nicely with the piano ballad I will always love you. All together a great diverse record, so make sure to check out this talented musician at:

Points: 8.5 out of 10)



ROCK AND ROLL JUNKIE is a good-old fashioned dirty mean sleazy rock and roll band from Germany, and they sound extremely authentic on their 3rd album Commercial suicide. The band is formed around vocalist/multi-instrumentalist JUNKIE, who is doing almost everything on his own, except a few guitar solos (done by KIKI), so actually this is a project or one-man’s band. After two independent releases, the band is now signed to SKY PRODUCTIONS. 12 songs are included on the CD, and opener NTWV is a catchy up tempo 80s orientated sleazy/glam rocker that even reminds me a bit of classic TIGERTAILZ, LA GUNS and such. Following My darker side is slightly more melodic in the guitar sound, and somehow this song reminds me of a cross between TATTOOED LOVE BOYS, CHROME MOLLY, BILLY IDOL, HANOI ROCKS and THE CULT, quite a catchy tune. I think you’ll get the picture in which direction this is going, and from the other 10 songs the highlights are On your knees (awesome 80s hard rock guitar work), the title track Commercial suicide, Falling and Rock and roll diet. They sound very British 1980s hard/sleaze/glam rock orientated somehow, so they are doing this quite well if you’re a fan of the aforementioned acts. Check out ROCK AND ROLL JUNKIE at:  

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)



Out of Salzburg, Austria comes the sensational band BLANK MANUSKRIPT, and Himmelfahrt is their 4th album. The band has released their albums independently, and they were kind enough to send me their new album and also their 3rd album Krasna Hora. The members of the band are all multi-instrumentalists, which definitely help to come up with such a diverse sound they are bringing us. The line-up consists of Jakob Aistleitner – Saxophone, Flute, Electric Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Peter Baxrainer – Electric Guitar, Vocals, Manuel Schönegger – Trombone, Flute, Percussion, Vocals, Jakob Sigl – Drums, Percussion, Tape, Vocals, Dominik Wallner – Electric Piano, Organ, Synthesizer, Vocals and Alfons Wohlmuth – Electric Bass, Flute, Vocals. Krasna Hora already shows we are dealing with an exceptional band with an exciting and impressive 70s inspired Progrocksound, and all 8 tracks are a pleasure to listen to, offering a lot of diversity (Jazz to Prog), with as absolute highlight the superb closing track The last journey. Their new album Himmelfahrt is a sorta concept record and if we go through the listed songs, we have to point out a song like The underglow, which is an amazing song that many changes musically speaking, and also features a melodic chorus at the end of the song, so perhaps you could compare this to THE FLOWER KINGS, TRANSATLANTIC and such, but the song itself jumps to so many different styles, it gives the band an own identity. What makes this band also a joy to listen to is the fact that they are always keen on melodies, no matter if it is played on guitar, sax, trombone or flute, and this makes them a true 1970s orientated progrockband, yet with a modern approach. Just listen to the calmer start of Twilight peak and you will understand what I mean, because such a song is breathing the intelligence of the 1970s progrock movement, including jazzier moments slipping through here and there, kinda like SOFT MACHINE back in the day. The band finds a perfect balance between melodic progrock and here and there some exciting complex progrock parts, with a jazzy/fusion touch as well. Although instrumental most of the time, we can also hear some vocals/harmonyvocals here and there as a sorta chorus, and when that happens it sounds very impressive. Without a doubt, BLANK MANUSKRIPT is one of the great discoveries in prog lately, and even the jazz/fusion fans will appreciate this band. I am enjoying this new album of the band more than the new THE FLOWER KINGS, SPOCK’S BEARD or TRANSATLANTIC albums, and this means we are dealing here with a masterpiece! More info at:

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)



Out of Country Donegal, Ireland comes JOHNNY GALLAGHER, a talented guitarist/vocalist who has already released a few albums. Now with THE BOXTY BAND, which consists of his brothers JAMES GALLAGHER (bass) and PAURIC GALLAGHER (piano, organ, synths) as well as drummer SEAN O'REILLY, they recorded the A 2020 Vision album. In total 13 songs are included and actually it's a very diverse album that grabs back to all kinds of rocksounds from the past, but it still sounds very fresh. Opener 2020 vision is a raw uptempo rocker that fits somewhere between ZZ TOP and SEASICK STEVE, while the following Scars and stitches is a really great midtempo stompin' bluesy rocker. Both songs show that Johnny is a superb guitarplayer delivering soaring guitarsolo's, but he is also able to sing the right kinda way for this kind of rock. The album continues this rocking' mood on the following 11 tracks, but as already mentioned the diversity can also be heard a lot of times, especially during the album's highlights, which are the excellent Southern Rock meets 70s classic rock/prog influenced Bird (a la LYNYRD SKYNYRD/BLACKFOOT), the sensational classic 70s melodic pop/rockers Judi and The Spanish fountain (both even have some Westcoast/AOR influences and remind me of long lost bands like THE B'ZZ, STRANGER (1982), STEALER, COLD CHISEL, but with THIN LIZZY-ish guitars), the beautiful soaring guitarsolo-led bluesy semi ballad I've got nothing Toulouse and the catchy 70s-ish glamrocker The Jesus song. For me personally a really great discovery and without a doubt a musician to check out a.s.a.p. at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



GRANT HUA used to be part of the duo SWAMP THING, but the New Zealand based singer/songwriter is now a succesfull solo artist in his homeland. He sang on 7 studio-albums the past 10 years and his latest solo-album is titled Awa blues. Grant's music is soulful blues that sounds quite melodic and catchy when you listen to a song like This is the place, which reminds me a bit of JAKE ISAAC, GEORGE EZRA, RAUL MIDON and even JOHN MAYER. Grant has a great voice that sounds like a Soul singer of the old school, yet the material is rocking enough to make it sound quite modern actually and as already mentioned radio-ready on a lot of songs. Besides Grant on vocals and guitar, other involved musicians are TIM JULIAN (bass, piano, hammond, congas), FRED CHAPELIER (guitar), DELANIE UTOTAONGA (backing vocals, karanga), JESSE COLBERT (bass), NEAL BLACK (guitar), GEORGE KINGHORN (shakers) and GRAND BULLOT (harmonica). Next to aforementioned This is the place, other highlights include the uptempo Be yourself, the catchy Addiction and Mumma's boy. Check out more info on the talented New Zealand based music GRANT HAUA at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)



Blues guitarist/vocalist POPA CHUBBY comes out of New York and he has released albums since the mid 1990s, and Tonfoil hat is his March 2021 release. I am not that familiar with his earlier work, but I think this new record is musically speaking not that far removed from most of his previous albums. It's heavy blues rock with a touch of classic rock here and there. Popa is a strong singer and great guitarplayer, while the rest of his band consists of Tom Curiano (drums), Paul Loranger (bass), Dave Keyes (keyboards). However, I believe Popa did everything on his own on this new album, of which the highlights among the 11 included tracks are opener Tinfoil hat, the uptempo rocking Can I call you my friends?, the Reggae influenced Cognitive dissonance, the soulful Embee's song and the bluesy closing track 1968 again. It's a very diverse album that is not entirely blues band, but reveals quite a lot of influences as well. Check out Popa at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



The female fronted jazz/prog band POTTER’S DAUGHTER comes out of Virginia, USA and they released their debut The blind side in 2018. The band is formed around Dyanne Potter Voegtlin – Piano, Vocals, Amit Chatterjee – Producer, Arranger, Lead Guitar, Ian C. Voegtlin – Composer, Rhythm Guitar, Lincoln Goines – Electric & Acoustic Bass and Randy Crafton – Percussion, Hybrid Drum Set, and The blind side starts with the instrumental opener City lights, which is a bit jazzy, while it also reveals prog influences, but on the following track She is dreaming we are really introduced to the sound of the band, because here we have Dyanne singing. She has a strong clean voice, while the song itself is a calmer melodic progrocker with a jazzy piano and a beautiful soaring melodic guitar as main instruments besides the light groovy rhythm section, which gives the song a great relaxing vibe. As we listen further, this seems the way to go, so a mixture of jazzy piano, melodic soaring guitar, a proggy rock song structure and some very fine melodies, both instrumentally and vocally this is a great calmer jazz-fusion-progalbum. Other highlights on the The blind side album are Movement IV, To my love, and I lay down. The focus is leaning towards instrumental parts, but as mentioned, Dyanne also sings on a number of songs. The band’s new mini-CD Casually containing rage is released on MELODIC REVOLUTION RECORDS, and features 3 vocal songs that move in the same style as the previous debut full-length record, with as best song the closing track We could be. They are also preparing a new full-length release to be released later this year. Meanwhile check them out at: and

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



Out of the historic town in Frederick, which is close to Washington D.C., the American band THE 19TH STREET BAND has a clear Irish/Celtic/European Folk kinda sound on their 2nd album Diamond in the rough. A few of the songs were even recorded in Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland, so therefore the European/Irish touch to their sound. The songs are catchy and easy to sing-a-long, and also quite diverse. The band consists of GREG HARDIN (bass, vocals), PATTY DOUGHERTY (drums), CAOLAIDHE DAVIS (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and MEGHAN DAVIS 9fiddle, mandolin, vocals) and we can find 9 songs on the album. Especially during strong uptempo pieces like I just had to say, Firefly, I’ve been waiting and Away from our happy home, the band is at their best. Folk/Celtic/Bluegrass are blended together quite nicely here, and if ever over here we will have the PIJNACKER BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL again, this band should be on top of the bill. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



Out of the Czech Republic comes singer/songwriter MOONSHYNE PRIV and her latest album is titled Curtain of the moon, which is quite an original album that somehow feels a bit Irish/Celtic in a way that it reminds me of ENYA, CLANNAD, SINEAD O’CONNOR… Besides Moonshyne on vocals and guitar, other involved musicians are PAVEL SMID (bass guitar, array mbira, synths, drums), JOANNA SZCZESNOWICZ (ukulele) and STEPAN PODRAZIL (cymbals). The result is a beautiful calmer atmospheric modern sounding melodic ambient/dreampop sounding album divided over 11 melancholic tracks, of which the highlights are River, Feathers, Cave and the World Music influenced closing track Desert wind. There are also some light gothic and the aforementioned celtic influences in the music, and along with the angelic voice of Moonshyne, it gives a sorta Czech fairytale feeling. Quite a surprising album for sure and you can find more info on this talented singer/songwriter at:​  

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)



HANNU RISKU is a Finnish drummer and percussionist, accordionist, harmonium player, and I believe Kirpeitä Hedelmiä is his debut album I believe. Starting with a great midtempo bluesy americana/rootsy rocker (Moottoritie) with strong vocals and a catchy rhythm, also following track Niinkuin minakin is a catchy bluesy rocker with a focus on memorable melodies. The album continues until the end with a nice mixture of Americana-ish melodies and rootsy/bluesy pop/rock, but also with some singer/songwriter-ish meets folk material here and there. Closing track Saluet mua is a very nice relaxing slower bluesy song you might want to pick out as well to check out. More info on Hannu can be found at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)



Here we have an interesting CD that explores the African Music culture in 13 songs. It’s not just African Music, because you can hear all kinds of influences throughout the album, such as jazz during opener Tsiaro tsara, Eretseretse and Dadilahy. OMAR SOSA plays piano, percussion and sings, while he is assisted by STEVE ARGUELLES (drums) and CHRISTOPHE “DISCO’MINCK on double bass, keys and effects. However, the actual original recordings took place in the field with local traditional singers and musicians when touring in East Africa back in 2009. Back home in the studio there was the finishing touch by Omar, Steve and Christophe. It’s a great journey through countries like Madagascar, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Sudan, Kenya, Zambia, etc. It gives you an insight in the local music sounds, and this also gives you an idea where jazz, blues and rock originate from if we go back more than one century in time. More info at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)



When the first couple of songs blast through the speakers, it is clear we are heading into classic melodic true metal in the style of 80s IRON MAIDEN, HEIR APPARENT, LEATHERWOLF, PRETTY MAIDS, HELLOWEEN, PICTURE, HIGHWAY CHILE, etc. High-pitched vocals, melodic twin-guitarwork and catchy choruses are brought together in a slightly faster uptempo classic metal sound as if it was still 1985. A few times the band takes a step back, such as during the fantastic powerful melodic rockballad Outlaw. We are talking about the French band HELLROCK and their official debut full-length CD This is Metal, which has been released on the new French label STEEL SHARK RECORDS. In a limited edition of only 300 copies, this is a must-have for anyone into classic 80s Metal. The band does a great job, switching between faster pieces like This is Metal, The wanderer, Operation at Adel, The savage from the mountain, King of shame and Blood red line (awesome, classic MAIDEN at its best!), epic semi-ballad orientated songs such as the lovely Outlaw, Sailing to Atlantis (excellent!) and the beautiful Heartbeat away (a la FISC/HELLOISE), the superb classic 80s ACCEPT midtempo pumping Melodic Metal of Don’t come alone, and an instrumental Piece titled Epitaph which closes the album very nicely. Everything sounds picture perfect here (vocals, songs, production and the guitarwork is quite phenomenal!) and you would honestly think this is a re-issue of an old 80s metal classic, but HELLROCK from Toulouse is definitely a new band formed around guitarist Rémi Bonin, vocalist Paul Eyssette, guitarist Pascal Renaudat, drummer David Lienard and bassist Thomas Dechambre. Check them out a.s.a.p. at:  

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)



Formed around singer FRANK LEONE, the Italian band GENGIS KHAN was formed 10 years ago and Colder than heaven is their 2nd album so far. It’s their first one on the newly found French label STEEL SHARK RECORDS, and included is classic TEUTONIC METAL the 80s German way, with clear similarities to bands like RESTLESS, NOISEHUNTER, STORMWITCH, GRAVESTONE, RUNNING WILD, etc. The vocalwork is raw and harsh and the music is pure Metal, mostly faster and with the typical 80s German sound (remember HOT BLOOD/SCRATCH RECORDS?), but we are really talking about a new Italian band! Anyway, 7 songs are included and as mentioned, it’s straight-ahead and fast most of the time, so if you like your metal fast and still melodic, with pure 1980s guitarwork, then look no further than this strong band from Italy. Not much info to be found on them by the way, but you can check out more info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)