UPDATED March 4th, 2024


I am a sucker for books about rare rock and metal from the past, and this 500+ pages counting book by author ALEXANDROS ANESIADIS is a superb book about all kinds of unknown rare bands from the huge history of American Metal. Although personally I know quite a lot of bands and rare albums from especially the 1980s, even I was introduced to some of the really unknown gems that are pictured in this book. Any rock or metal encyclopedia is fascinating, because you discover new stuff every time you grab the book and start reading. MARTIN POPOFF’s 70s Hardrock reviews book and the very first AARDSCHOK Hardrock/Metal encyclopedia book are 2 of the finest pieces ever written on this music style. And now there is a fantastic new book entirely focused on the immense underground movement of metal in the USA that occurred throughout the 1980s when there was an explosion of new metal bands trying to follow the paths taken by acts like OZZY OSBOURNE, MOTLEY CRUE, VAN HALEN, METALLICA and such. Hometown heroes is the term being used in the USA, or local heroes you might call them. These are the countless bands that were popular in a region somewhere across the country, of course trying to make it big, but eventually only managed to reach their local fans and therefore sadly splitting up and on occasion doing a reunion gig. However, those bands left behind some legacy through demo tapes or vinyl releases, and that’s what this wonderful book is all about.

ALEXANDROS ANESIADIS is a record collector and writer, who actually was known for being a Hardcore and Punk fan and writer, but somewhere along the way he became a Metal fan as well. I think this is due to the fact that he focuses himself on the underground stuff, so not the basic main/popular acts of the genre, and Metal is known for its huge underground movement. In this book the heroes are those local bands that only managed to be active for a short while in a region of the USA, and Alexandros captured the finest bands that were also able to release music either on cassette tape or vinyl. Especially in the past 10 years there have been many official releases on either CD or LP of rare unknown metal from especially the 1980s, so this book is a good read to get to learn new ‘old’ bands that might one day (or have recently gotten) get new releases of their past recordings. In some cases, bands reunited and started recording new material, but most of the bands in this book are very rare and only known by the real insiders and dedicated fans and/or the people who grew in a certain area where these bands originally came from.

Over 500 pages of a lifetime work is what’s inside this book that is roughly spoken split into an A-Z discography of about 130 bands that are widely reviewed via interviews with it’s members and a review of their work along with pictures of their release(s) and the band itself. However, there’s also a separate chapter in the book that covers another 600 bands in a short review, and here we go a bit wider in it’s music genre, because here are also some rare AOR/Hardrockbands covered, which makes this Metal dedicated book a bit more diverse actually. It’s wonderful to read about the passion of Alexandros, who by the way also gets help from co-writer YANNIS SKARPELOS, and he truly shows that independent bands also should get their fifteen minutes of fame. In this book the local bands are for the first time in any encyclopedia being the most important bands (and perhaps it’s also the first time some of these bands appear in any printed book), despite the fact that probably nobody ever heard of bands like SHADOW, DUNGEON, AXXE, XCEL, TYRANT’S REIGN, DEAD SILENCE, VALOT, SNOW, STONEHENGE, EMERALD, etc. etc.

Almost forgot to mention that the book is also further divided into sections of the USA, because you have the bands listed under chapters called east coast, west coast and central/rest of the U.S. Of course there are still bands that the more dedicated Metalfans will probably recognize, such as HALLOWEEN, RUFFIANS, CIRITH UNGOL, BROCAS HELM, HADES, SIREN, ALIAS, STEEL VENGEANCE, DECOY PARIS, IVORY TIGER, HAMMERHAWK, IRON CROSS, WINTERKAT, etc. etc. and to read about them is just as cool as reading about those bands that never made it big. Some of these bands were also reviewed by yours truly in the past, so it’s great to relive memories of these bands.

All together this is a beautiful book about bands you might have heard about or never heard about it, but one way or the other, the stories behind them are really great to read. It’s a book that you will love to check every now and again, because every time you will discover something new and thanks to the internet it’s quite easy to search even deeper and even listen to the bands listed in the book. The book is available through:   

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


Yet I Remain is the debut album of the Dutch band PANDORA’S KEY. This female fronted melodic symphonic metal band is formed around Vera Veldhuizen – clean vocals, Rik van Schaaik – heavy vocals, Sebastiaan Pongers – lead guitar, Bram Luiken – rhythm guitar, Regine Lotstra – bass and Dimmy Marcelissen – drums. They already released an EP in the past, but this is their first full-length album. The band’s music is typical Dutch, because the symphonic melodic metal sounds bombastic, but also touches of both classical music (piano/keys) and death metal (the grunts), like we have also heard on albums by EPICA, AFTER FOREVER and the first couple of WITHIN TEMPTATION albums. The production of the 10 included songs and the artwork of the CD booklet, it is all of a very high level. The music itself reminds a lot of the aforementioned bands, and although they do not reach the incredible high level of those similar acts, PANDORA’S KEY is definitely a recommended band to check out. They do have a sorta own little style here and there, which can be heard during the partly Dutch sung De Bockereyder and the rather catchy melodic chorus driven Freedom’s Call, which also captures fast black metal drums and medieaval opera alike harmonies by the way. Altogether, this is a nice journey and yet another recommended new Dutch band in the familiar Dutch female fronted melodic sympho power metal genre! More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


DEZ DARE is an Australian musician who has been making music for over 3 decades, and this is his 4th solo CD so far. The included music is a mix of all kinds of rockstyles. Punk, doom, noise, fuzzy rock and metal are melted into one exciting rocking sound that can be heard during 11 songs that lyrically speaking have a lot of humor with songtitles like No One Wants To Hear It, Call My City, Don’t Call My Telephone, A Billion Voices Screaming, Hello Void! And the hilarious 10,000 Monkeys + An Argument With Time (which has some cool 80s donkey kong computer game sounds as well). It’s a quirky adventure that surprises more than a few times, and it’s done very well actually, although for some it might also sound a bit too experimental here and there, but on the other hand fans of let’s say Post-Punk or TALKING HEADS might really love DEZ DARE. Check for yourself at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


2 years ago the German band SCHUBMODUL released their debut album Modul I, and now exactly 2 years later there is the follow-up Lost In Kelp Forest. There is not so much information on the band from Bochum, Germany, but they do play an amazing instrumental mix of progressive rock, progmetal, stoner rock and some elements from HANS ZIMMER’s film music. The result is epic and very melodic, with soaring melodic progrocking guitar solo’s and lovely hypnotic stoner rock rhythms, so their influences of DREAM THEATER, ELDER and KING BUFFALO can clearly be heard throughout the 6 long songs that can be found on their massive sounding new album. LONG DISTANCE CALLING is a nice comparison, but actually SCHUBMODUL has an own identity that combines doomy/stoner rock riffs with lovely atmospheric melodic parts and in-between there are narrator voices which all together makes up for a nice fictional story. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The French singer/songwriter NICOLAS GORODETZKY has a long music history that goes back to the early 1970s. He played and performed with many successful French acts throughout the decades, and became known as DR. ROCK, under which he now has a new project called DR. ROCK & THE FAMOUS MERENGO. Willow Creek is the debut album of this interesting Westcoast-pop-aor act, which further features several other musicians, including multi-instrumentalist YAN GORO. 12 songs are included and without a doubt, this is high class pure Westcoast in the style of YOUNG GUN SILVER FOX, THE DOOBIE BROTHERS, PLAYER and such. I only have to say that the lead vocals are not as strong as the lead vocals of aforementioned acts, but the whole feeling and vibe as well as the production and harmonyvocals/choruses are making that up big time, because they give this album that smooth summer Westcoast vibe of the classic 1970s LA period when this kind of music had it’s peak. Especially listen to songs like Crazy Gina, Instant Lovin’, Between Lane 2 and 3 and Paris City Blues, then you’re definitely in Westcoast heaven! Fans of YOUNG GUN SILVER FOX, JOEL SARUKOLA, AOR, ED MOTTA and such need to check this out a.s.a.p.! More info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


ANALOG AFRICA always puts more than a 1000% effort into their releases, so this new compilation CD they just released is another example of their lifetime work in getting the best of the best on disc. Now we are heading to Congo during the 1970s when there was dictatorship ruling the country. Musically speaking however it was an interesting period, because many great songs were created during that time. Most of them will be unfamiliar to outsiders, but ANALOG AFRICA narrowed down 2000 songs to 14 tunes to be included on this compilation CD Congo Funk! 1969-1982, because they represent the so-called best of the best from the country’s music history. Right from the start with SUNGU LUBUKA and MFUUR MA, it is clear that this is African Funk at it’s very best, and thanks to the crystal clear mastering, the sound is also really impressive. JAMES BROWN and BOB MARLEY were so-to-speak the main influences for all those African musicians back then, and you can hear that all throughout this CD, which contains as already mentioned 14 songs by 14 different acts. Other recommended bands are M.B.T.’s SOUND, NGANTSIE SOUL (superb!), and LOLO SOULFIRE. The music might be 40+ years old and many are unknown from a country far away from most of us, the fun mood and catchy groovy vibe makes it a pleasure to listen to these rare gems from Congo. Also recommended if you like for example CYMANDE, KHRUANGBIN and even ALTIN GUN, because it is psychedelic groovy world music at it’s best by all these acts from the 1970s! Check out all info at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


The American singer/songwriter DOUG SCHMUDE has been in the music business for quite a while now, and his latest release is the EP Cavalry. He also plays guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, organ and piano, and does therefore most on it’s own. He gets a little help on especially the drums, but also some strings and backing vocals. Anyway, musically speaking this is a mixture of Americana, singer/songwriter and folk, kinda like a mix between STEVE EARLE (the nasal vocals) and JOHN COUGAR/MELLENCAMP. It’s honest authentic working class music that during the uptempo/midtempo pieces has a rootsy rock feeling, while during the slower balladry work it gets a little alternative country ish. 6 songs are on this EP, and it’s a nice short listen that will please the fans of the aforementioned music genres and acts. More info at:                                                 

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


SON OF THE VELVET RAT is a band that consists of the musicians Georg Altziebler and his wife Heike Binder, whom left their birthplace Graz, Austria about 10 years ago and moved to the Joshua Tree in California, USA. Their latest album is titled Ghost Ranch, which musically speaking is a mix of fragile neo-folk chanson, dark Americana, singer and writer and a bit of garage rock. Mostly on the calm dark side, it’s an album that might appeal to fans of LEONARD COHEN, LOU REED, BOB DYLAN, TOWNES VAN ZANDT and such. Check for yourself at:

(Points: 7.3 out of 10)


Singer/Songwriter/multi-instrumentalist ANNIE GALLUP from Maine, USA returns with a new solo-album entitled Small Fortune. She has released 14 CDs throughout the past 30 years and is also part of the band HAT CHECK GIRL. She sings and plays guitar, keys, lap steel, while her partner PETER GALWAY plays bass, percussion and keys besides co-producing the new album with Annie. All other instruments are played by HARVEY JONES. Musically speaking it’s a calm atmospheric singer-songwriter affair that shows influences from the 60s/70s list of singer-songwriters, but the music also has a modern touch due to the use of keys and synths. It’s quite laid-back and Annie’s own unique voice gives the music an own interesting identity that is actually impossible to compare, so it’s best to hear it for yourself at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


We have reviewed a lot of albums of the American singer/songwriter/multi- instrumentalist PETER GALLWAY from Rockland, Maine, USA, and he has also performed on countless other releases of other acts, including albums of his partner ANNIE GALLUP, and most of these were also reviewed in the past. However, he also has side projects, including this PARKER GRAY, which is a duo together with keyboardplayer/synthesizer player HARVEY JONES. The included music is a sorta spoken-word new age kinda mixture, which creates a chilling kinda vibe sometimes due to the combination of Peter’s low speaking voice and Harvey’s dark synths. Some post-prog elements can also be traced in the instrumental parts, while there is some singer-songwriter to be heard when Peter starts singing in a TOM PETTY ish Americana setting (In Cold ’27). Interesting release for sure, experimental and perhaps also recommended if you like for example LEONARD COHEN, JAMES BLAKE and even BRIAN ENO (the experimental part) so if you’re starting to become interested please go to:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Out of the island of Cape Verde comes the talented singer NANCY VIERIA who has a beautiful voice and her music is typical Portuguese with a Fado touch, yet also with the traditional island influences where she is coming from, and a little jazz here and there. It’s a mixture of calmer relaxing jazzy Cape Verdian music and cheerful uptempo summer ish pieces, which gives the album a lovely diversity. Nancy released her debut in the 1990s and with some long pauses in-between she kept on releasing new albums throughout the years, and now she releases Gente. She is assisted by several guest musicians, such as Olmo Marín (guitars) and Jorge Cervantes (bass) and drummer/percussionist Iúri Oliveira, and from start to finish this album sounds really good, cheerful and summer ish jazz fusion world music vibes all over the place. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Out of Boulder, Colorado, USA comes the traditional classic country/southern rockband DRUNKEN HEARTS, whom are formed around singer/songwriter/guitarist ANDREW MCCONATHY, TYLER ADAMS (keys, piano, organ), JAMES DUMM (guitars), DREW PACKARD (bass) and ALEX JOHNSON (drums). Mastered by Grammy winner David Glasser, they deliver here a great piece of typical American music that fits somewhere between polished country-rock, light rawer southern rock and smooth Americana pop/rock. I believe Reckless Ways Of Living is their 3rd album, and I must say that the Americans are the only ones in the world delivering this kind of typical deep southern US kinda music in the most authentic way (although here in The Netherlands we also have some good ones, such as THEM DIRTY DIMES and the Canadian rockers of THE DEAD SOUTH are also a good example). 10 songs are included, and there is a healthy mix of uptempo tunes and ballads on the CD. The uptempo pieces such as Good Graces, 100 Proof and the catchy Popcornin’ Percocets also contain folk / bluegrass influences, and these are all actually really strong hit potential songs. It’s the typical American melting pot here, and DRUNKEN HEARTS does it at a pretty high level, so this band could easily breakthrough if they are lucky. More info at:

 (Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Here we have a typical American authentic rootsy americana rock album with country influences, and during songs like Got To Where I’m Going and Nothing To Lose heading into the SPRINGSTEEN / COUGAR direction. It concerns the new album of Texan RODNEY RICE, who has a long list of musicians to accompany him here. Rodney has a raspy typical American voice, kinda like NEIL YOUNG, but then without the whining. The best songs are the aforementioned uptempo rockers, as well as the catchy Rabbit Ears Motel and the lovely Wonder Where I Came From, but basically any song of the 9 included will appeal to the fans of SPRINGSTEEN / COUGAR and also if you like JOHNNY CASH you will definitely like this album a lot. More info on Rodney can be found at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Here we have a beautiful calm authentic Americana/Singer-Songwriter/Country/Folk release by a singer songwriter from Austin, Texas, USA who is called JEFF TALMADGE. He has already released a lot of albums since 1999, and on this new album Sparrow he delivers 10 great new tunes. He is assisted by multi-instrumentalist J. DAVID LEONARD and a few other musicians. The result is a lovely story-telling album that is mostly situated around Jeff’s honest raspy voice along with his acoustic guitarplaying. One of the highlights is the fantastic Night Train from Milan. Check out more info at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


The New York based singer/songwriter RACHAEL SAGE has been in the music scene for quite a while now and her new album is titled The Other Side. Besides writing and singing, she also plays guitar, piano, percussion and some other instruments, while on this brand new CD she is assisted by a list of other musicians. The music is calm, collected and sweet singer-songwriter orientated pop/rock that has both a 70s and 90s kinda vibe, the period in music history when countless other female performers were very popular. Rachael herself has already built up quite a name so far and she toured with well-known singers like BETH HART, HOWARD JONES (who sings a duet on this album), JUDY COLLINS, SARAH MCLACHLAN and many more. 15 songs are included in total, and from start to finish this is an enjoyable adventure through the eyes of the beautiful singing Rachael. The artwork and soft of art cards that are inside the CD booklet are a nice present while listening to the lovely new album of the talented Rachael. More info at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


It was a bit hard to find information on this rather rare piece of music, but the vinyl albums I received from New York concern a great little band called ANILORE. They were founded way back in 1992 around Andy Cheng, Andrew Malenda, and Michael Worsa, and they are a slow shoegaze/dreampop/post-prog ish band that is focused on playing calm slow atmospheric melodic music with a lot of room for the synths/keys and dream alike psychedelic vocal melodies along with a subtle dark gothic ish guitarsound. It’s a genre that is very much an underground movement and actually most of these bands are quite underrated, because the new album Lia Fail the band sent me is a beautiful piece of music that has a modern CLANNAD kinda vibe, yet still different and perhaps closer to let’s say LONDON GRAMMAR, MY BLOODY VALENTINE or especially SLOWDIVE (best comparison!). However, ANILORE should not be compared to other acts, because they are already 32 years active and they have created an own kinda interesting melodic slow dark atmospheric sound with lush vocals. Especially the songs Words and Motion In Maze on side-B of this LP are absolutely beautiful. The band’s earlier 2 albums were released a long time ago, so this Lia Fail is their real comeback album so to speak, and it’s available on vinyl! Check them out a.s.a.p. at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Actually this is the first time I get to hear METALITE, thanks to the wonderful looking limited edition clear Curacao vinyl edition I received for a review. I have to say that despite the music being labeled as cliché and kitsch, the package and performance on the 4th album Expedition One of the Swedish band METALITE is definitely of a very high level in the genre they are active in. METALITE was founded in 2015 by guitarist/producer/composer EDWIN PREMBERG, who gathered around him female singer ERICA OHLSSON, guitarist ROBERT OMESVED, drummer LEA LARSSON and bassist ROBERT MAJD, and together they recorded 3 albums in the years to follow. Now in 2024 METALITE returns with their first concept album entitled Expedition One. The gatefold LP edition looks lovely and so does the rare Curacao vinyl itself, because I have not seen such beautiful blue alike before on vinyl. The lyrics are printed on a separate booklet, and so we have a lot to look at while listening to the music of the band. Basically this is faster uptempo melodic bombastic symphonic Scandinavian power metal, with neo-classical influences and sugarsweet hooks and choruses, while the keyboards sound massive and are way-up-front in the mix. Done very well, it might scare the metalheads off, because most of the time this is your typical ABBA Metal like we also know it from bands such as AMARANTHE, AMBERIAN DAWN, XANDRIA, VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, EDENBRIDGE etc. etc. This subgenre in the Metal started more or less back in the early/mid 90s by acts like NIGHTWISH, THE GATHERING and WITHIN TEMPTATION, but those bands sounded heavier and less commercial, yet throughout the 90s acts like KAMELOT, SONATA ARCTICA and STRATOVARIUS introduced the straight-forward uptempo symphonic melodic metal sound. Combining both by especially the new female fronted Northern European / Swedish bands, who were obviously also throwing in ABBA choruses, we entered somewhere in the early 2000s the sound in which METALITE is active. AMARANTHE and the time when NIGHTWISH was fronted by ANETTE OLZON (ex-ALYSON AVENUE) are probably the 2 acts that gained a lot of inspiration for a whole new generation of acts throughout the 2000s and 2010s, and METALITE is one of them. 16 songs are included and most of them follow that same path, which is happy radiofriendly faster uptempo melodic symphonic Euro Metal with extremely catchy ABBA choruses, and as highlights I would like to point out Aurora, Ctrlaltdel, Cyberdome, Outer Worlds, New Generation and Free, but actually any of the included songs will appeal to fans of the aforementioned acts.

Concluded, this might not introduce anything new to the genre or to the world, but on the other hand METALITE does a great job in delivering the symphonic female fronted melodic heavy rock/metal sound at a very high level, and to the fans of any of the aforementioned bands I can definitely say that you need to check out especially this beautiful looking and sounding Curacao vinyl edition of the band’s new album. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Irish singer/songwriter AUDREY BRIDGEMAN dedicates her album Fire In Your Soul to her dad NOEL BRIDGEMAN, who sadly died during the production of the CD. Noel was also the drummer on this album, and he has a long rich music history that goes all the way back to the late 1960s when he played in the original SKID ROW band that also featured the late GARY MOORE (and at one time the late PHIL LYNOTT of THIN LIZZY). He also played in the band THE WATERBOYS and together with VAN MORRISON, STEVE EARLE and MARY BLACK, so he was a real legend. Fast forward to the present day, Audrey co-produced the CD Fire In Your Soul in 2022 along with Noel, but sadly he couldn’t finish the job. The included music is a nice mixture of various styles, although bluesy soul/rock like ANA POPVIC meets JOSS STONE could be a nice description for the 11 included songs. A song like Freedom has got that vibe of aforementioned similar singer/songwriters. The uptempo bluesy heavy rocker (a la LARKIN POE) On Your Own Terms is a very strong catchy tune and here and there we can find some more really good tunes on the CD. There’s even Reggae ish material during a lovely song such as Brighter Future (with a cool jazz saxsolo) and also the excellent groovy 70s Moving Up shows Audrey at her very best, while the 70s Westcoast vibe of Nothing To Hide is another memorable tune. The better part of the CD is clearly towards the end of the album, and I have to say that after a couple of spins it becomes a really good album. Audrey sent me 2 new calmer songs as well, which follow the style of the 2022 CD. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


6 years after their 2nd album We Live By The Steel, the German band INNER AXXIS returns with a new album entitled The Ghost From Within. The band was actually formed back in 1999 as MIDGARD, but changed their name to INNER AXIS back in 2008. Their line-up currently consists of Thies Jacobsen (Drums), Zacharias Drosos (Guitars), Kai Hagemann (Vocals) and Nino Helfrich (guitars), and their music is typical German Melodic (Power) Metal in the PRIMAL FEAR / SINNER / MYSTIC PROPHECY style. Just listen to songs like I Am The Storm, Strike Of The Cobra (awesome guitarwork), Midnight Hunter and Spartan War-Cry, then you will understand what I mean, as this is picture perfect German Melodic Metal! Thanks to the massive production, it should easily find it’s way to fans of the aforementioned bands! The guitarwork is phenomenal and the songs are deadly catchy and a must-hear if you like hear Metal to sound Teutonic! More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


WOLFEN RELOADED is a German band which released their debut Changing Time back in 2018, and they now follow it up with The Ghost From Within. Actually the band was already active in the 1980s, but eventually quit before reforming at the end of the 2000s and they are now called WOLFEN RELOADED, because there is another Metalband called WOLFEN active in Germany. Anyway, this WOLFEN RELOADED is a very melodic affair, yet on the progressive rock/metal/melodic heavy rock side of life, sometimes reminding slightly of AXXIS. The band consists of vocalist Christian Freimoser, guitarist Wolfi Forstner (who has an amazing guitar tone), bassist Thomas Rackl and drummer Manuel Rimmer. Highlights on their 2nd CD include the strong midtempo progressive melodic rockers Point Of No Return, Dangerous Minds and Poison In Your Veins. Melodic Progmetal is the best description, and there is a lot of attention on strong melodic hooks and catchy choruses, so it does have an 80s meets 90s kinda approach (try combining Y&T with DREAM THEATER meets AXXIS, if that makes sense!). Definitely a nice album with a superstrong production and amazing guitarwork. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Now this is what I would call a band with a real 80s female fronted AOR/Melodic Rocksound, so without any modern influences. Of course in the past few years we have seen more acts doing it, such as CHEZ KANE and FIRE TIGER, but this SUNDAY FACTORY from Germany is one of the few new acts doing it really close to the legendary bands of the past. They were formed during corona and worked hard in those 2 years to create a classic 80s sound, and now the result is their debut album Sleepless. The band comes out of the city of Hamburg, and they are formed around DeeDee - Lead Guitar & Songwriter, Steffi - Vocals & Lyrics, Mike - Rhythm Guitar, Carsten – Bass and Stefano - Drums. Opener Run sets the record straight immediately, because this is prime-time 80s female fronted uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock in the best 80s tradition of LAOS, IF ONLY, ROUGH, HEADMASTER, DANTE FOX, VIXEN, 80s HEART, HEAT, WITNESS and such. It’s been a long time since I last heard this style, because most female fronted acts in the past 20-30 years followed either a big bombastic WITHIN TEMPTATION/NIGHTWISH direction, plain pop/rock or go for the singer/songwriter style, but SUNDAY FACTORY is clearly an exception to the rule. This is pure 80s AOR/Melodic Rock with soaring guitars, catchy hooks and memorable choruses in the style of the aforementioned acts. Ready To Let Go follows that same path and basically every song of the 9 included are reminding of the early days as a reviewer in the mid-90s when there were still many female fronted AOR/Melodic Rockacts active. Other highlights on the band’s debut CD Sleepless are Learn To Live Again (AOR anthem with a killer chorus a la classic early 80s PAT BENATAR, CINDY CRUSE and DONNA CRISTY), Follow Me and titletrack Sleepless. If you like the 80s female fronted AOR/Melodic Rocksound, then this SUNDAY FACTORY is yours to take, so then make sure to check them out at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Although the band is called LOS GUAYABO BROTHERS, the line-up of this Colombian band does not reveal any members with that name. "Guayabo" means "hangover" in Spanish, so it has a completely different meaning than one would think at first sight. The band is about to release their 2nd CD called Psychotropical, a very fun summer ish cheerful Latin American music influenced album. The band consists of Juan Pablo Álvarez: electric guitar, backing vocals, percussions, Arnulfo Carazo: lead vocals, acoustic guitar, synthesizers, Iván Hernández: alegre, congas, backing vocals,  Álvaro Olmos: bass, backing vocals, Rodrigo Peña: tambora, bombo leguero, drums, Camille Floriot: trumpet, female gaita, backing vocals, Gabriel Ray: trombone, male gaita, Olga Pavía: clarinets (feat. “El Francer”) and Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto (feat. “El Mohán”). Right from the start of their 7 songs counting first album it is clear that we are dealing with a strong sensational band that is focused on those Latin Rhythms like we know it from SANTANA. Songs like especially La Cumbia Libertaria and El Mohan are songs that should worldwide get people moving when being played on the radio or live on stage. This is cheerful fun music that makes you long back to warm summer days, which hopefully will soon also happen, because at the time of writing the weather over here in The Netherlands is really poor. This music lifts you up, and LOS GUAYABO BROTHERS has got all it takes to become a bigger arena act, because their songs are very catchy and the musicianship is of a very high level. Check them out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The French singer/songwriter CLAUDIA MEYER has a long music history that includes an 80s latin pop single recorded under the moniker MARCO POLO, but also several other collaborations with other well-known French singers, and she also has a solo career that gave us a couple of releases in the past 20 years. She shared the stage with ANDREA BOCELLI, LENNY KRAVITZ, LARA FABIAN and many others, and her new solo album La Negra pays tribute to a huge South American singer called MERCEDES SOSA, who sadly died in 2009. This new CD is based on the musical show. The original and innovative character of Claudia Meyer’s interpretation brings back to life the musical itinerary of this artist, internationally known for her voice, “the voice of silent people”. This album retraces the different steps of her life as an artist and as a woman. We can hear 2 duets: an exceptional one with Mercedes Sosa herself, and one with Maurane, to whom the album is dedicated. The versions of the legendary songs of Mercedes by Claudia on this CD are quite close to the original, yet Claudia brings her personal touch by playing ethnic instruments such as the charango, the cuatro, and particularly the bombo (andean drums) which Mercedes Sosa used to play on stage. The result is a typical Latin/South American affair that clearly feels like you’re in that part of the world. The honesty and emotion in Claudia’s voice is amazing and lovely to listen to. Even though she is not latin/south American as mother tongue language, Claudia does a wonderful job and it’s a joy to listen to her voice and her versions of the classic tunes that once were recorded by Mercedes. The duet Siempre En Ti with Mercedes is likewise the absolute highlight on the CD, and perhaps also for Claudia herself. Job well done here with today’s modern technology, because the voices were recorded separately in the past, but are now joined via digital merging. Anyway, this is a great South American/Latin album done by a gifted French singer, and for more info please go to:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Schattenläufer is the 2nd album of the German duo TEVALIK, whom are coming out of the Dusseldorf/Cologne area, and they are creating a mix of electropop and dark wave with a heavy focus on synths and keys. The duo consists of THORSTEN SCHUMACHER and MICHELE PESCH, and their dark electro synthwave with German spoken words lyrics feel very hypnotic while listening to the 13 songs on their new CD. DEPECHE MODE is likewise an influence, but TEVALIK feels more like a gothic electronic industrial underground dance or EBM movement, although here and experimental kraut is also notable. So basically it follows it’s own approach to classic German bands electronic bands such as RAMMSTEIN, KRAFTWERK or NEU!, and I can inform you they are doing a great job actually. A song like the titletrack has even got hit potential, with it’s ADAMSKI ‘Killer’ alike synths and RAMMSTEINish vocals. If you’re starting to become interested in this electronic explosion called TEVALIK, then make sure to check them out at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


WOO is an English cult/underground duo consisting of brothers MARK and CLIVE IVES. They created in the 80s several recordings, and also some stuff during the 1990s, but this 2-CD set released on INDEPENDENT PROJECT RECORDS is actually a re-release of 2 albums they recorded and released in 2016 and 2017, yet the recordings itself were based on ideas and music they have previously recorded in the 80s and 90s. Anyway, as always INDEPENDENT PROJECT RECORDS did an excellent job, as this is a very nice clean Double album package of both Robot X and Xylophonics IPR reissues in one double CD set. It’s packaged in a hand-letterpress printed die cut CD pocket folder complete with letterpress-printed stamp sheet in a folding booklet insert, which looks absolutely beautiful. The instrumental music of the brothers is definitely 70s/80s orientated, mixing elements of new age, krautrock, electronic music and sci-fi soundtrack theme music. Without a doubt, this is really great to listen to and it takes you into a sorta trance after a while, because the music is very smooth and relaxing. There’s some light prog elements as well, but mostly you might call this electronic new age kraut that is not to far away from TANGERINE DREAM and KLAUS SCHULZE, although less heavy synth based. Mark plays guitars, bass and midi horn, while Clive is playing electronics and percussion. The packaging alone makes it worth checking out this sensational release of a cult duo band that probably is unknown to most of us. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


TORN BOYS was at first a short-lived Californian duo consisting of Jeffrey Clark (vocals, electric guitar) and Kelly Foley (vocals, acoustic guitar), whom formed the band in 1982. However, they quickly split up in 1983, but before they split up a few months earlier the musicians Duncan Atkinson (synths/drum machine) and guitarist Grant-Lee Phillips had joined them. These 1983 archival recordings have now been released onto CD by INDEPENDENT PROJECT RECORDS. It’s packaged in a hand-letterpress printed die cut CD pocket folder, and like any other releases on this American label, also this CD is a beauty with all kinds of booklets and pictures of the band in their heyday. Anyway, the sound is not always crystal clear, but the music has that typical edgy dark new wave sound of the early 80s. After a very strong uptempo early 80s synth punk pop piece called See Through My Eyes, which is a rather catchy little tune a la THE CURE and JOY DIVISION, things get quite experimental during Mystery, which is a live recorded tune that sounds close to TALKING HEADS. The band is at their best during the uptempo pieces, but the dark experimental tunes are definitely showing an original arty band that fans of aforementioned bands will surely like. More info can be found at: and

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Not to be confused with MOS GENERATOR, a Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Rock band from the USA, because this here concerns the band MONDO GENERATOR, which was formed all the way back in 1997 by ex-QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE/KYUSS bassist/singer NICK OLIVERI. Along with guitarist MIKE PYGMIE and drummer BIG MIKE AMSTER, Nick recorded the new album We Stand Against You, which is as far as I believe their 8th album so far. The included music is fast, heavy, aggressive, mean and it seems that Mike is very angry, because this is close to extreme screamo/hardcore, which is a total contrast to the Stoner Rocksound of his former band QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. I trust no-one, Fuck the government, Fuck the system are a few of the words that are screamed at you while listening, and you can honestly feel the emotion and anger of MONDO GENERATOR, so there’s no doubt about that! However, it’s all a bit too much for a full length record, and I understand if you’re a hardcore/metalcore fan, then this album should be yours for sure. Fans of CRO MAGS for example will probably like this a lot. It’s not bad at all, but at least some melodic parts, and songs in the shape of throwing in some doom/stoner rock influences, this might have helped to get some more diversity than the overall fast punk/hardcore attitude which can now be heard all throughout the album. From start to finish it’s aggressive and angry, brutal heavy stuff that might only appeal to fans of that extreme genre. I do have to admit that the pink vinyl version looks lovely and contributes to getting a copy of the album on vinyl for sure! More info at: and

(Points: 6.4 out of 10)


Danish Multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter EMILE BUREAU is a member of the psychedelic heavy rockband THE SONIC DAWN, but he also has a solo career going on, and Spirit is his 2nd solo album so far. It was recorded in a minimal setting somewhere in the countryside, along with a few guest musicians, such as Jonas Waaben – Percussion, Erik Errka Petersson - Hammond Organ, Morten Grønvad – Vibraphone, additional percussion and Rasmus Miehe Sørensen – Flute. The vinyl version I received is a beautiful pink edition that is likewise limited, and I have to admit that it sounds really good, but that’s mainly due to the wonderfully produced music on the album itself. The music on Spirit is calm honest authentic, mainly acoustic driven story-telling psychedelic singer/songwriter folk music with a dark touch. It has a clear late 60s touch of the psychedelic Woodstock era, yet Emil definitely gives it his own touch, and although it’s clearly far removed from the rock and metal sounds that we usually hear on the HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS label, it is without a doubt an album you learn to appreciate when you listen to it over and over again. Check it out for yourself at: and

(Points: 7.7 out of 10)


The American band YAWNING BALCH managed to release 2 albums in 2023, both on the Italian label HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS. It concerns here a trio that is made up of FU MANCHU’s BOB BALCH on guitar, along with YAWNING MAN’s musicians GARY ACRE (guitar), BILLY CORDELL (bass) and BILL STINSON (drums), hence the name YAWNING BALCH. The trio went to the famous went out to Joshua Tree, and jammed for five hours. That session was thankfully recorded, and eventually now pressed onto 2 beautiful vinyl albums, split into a volume one and a volume two. The music is instrumental psychedelic and quite calm post-progressive rock with a focus on subtle jamming guitar solos that have a dreamy psychedelic touch. What makes these albums so special is the fact they were recorded in a few hours somewhere in the desert, because after a couple of spins, it sounds like they actually wrote and recorded a couple of tracks together, and spent days, weeks or even months to finish, but this is really jamming for a few hours and see where it goes and leads to. This information makes it even more interesting to check out these fantastic albums, and fans of instrumental psychedelic post-progressive rock will definitely go nuts. Then I am not even talking about the beautiful artwork of both albums (John McGill), which especially on vinyl look like real paintings. The rhythm section has a nice groove going on in all of the songs that are included on the albums, while the guitar duals between the 2 guitarists are a joy to listen to, because they are definitely heading into a LONG DISTANCE CALLING meets 70s PINK FLOYDish direction, yet with an own identity of course. This is a wonderful trip and perhaps the best thing members of the bands FU MANCHU and YAWNING MAN have ever done, because it sounds so authentic and honest, and it is a journey you don’t want to miss. Check out more info at: and and

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


TANKZILLA is dirty, mean, raw, sleazy, heavy, but authentic real rock and roll the way it was meant to sound. If MOTORHEAD, KYUSS, TURBONEGRO and such legendary rock and roll/metal bands were melted together in a milkshake, the result could be TANKZILLA. This Dutch duo consists of PETER PAN SPEEDROCK’s vocalist/guitarist Peter van Elderen and WOLFSKOP drummer Marcin Hurkmans. We have seen more rocking duo’s in the past like THE DEAD LETTERS and of course THE WHITE STRIPES rocking out big time, and TANKZILLA are doing it as a duo as good as those acts. The sound is heavy and rocking out big time for sure, groovy here and there, and straight in your face ballsy rock and roll with a stoner rock approach during most of the songs. I don’t think you can’t get more dirtier pure rock and roll orientated than this TANKZILLA record, because if you hear songs like the superb Diggin’ 4 Gold, Hard Way and Lucifer, these are such big groovy anthems that live will definitely get people moving up and down. On vinyl, TANKZILLA sounds even more authentic, and if you go for a vinyl copy, then make sure to get the vinyl splatter version, because this looks simply amazing. Incredible effort to get the music sound good on such a lovely design as this splatter vinyl edition! Peter’s vocals remind me somehow of a somewhat aggressive version of the late PHIL LYNOTT, while the music is as already mentioned a dirty heavier Stoner Rock version of MOTORHEAD! If this all sounds interesting, the album is available through: and you can check out the band at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The American band THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX was formed all the way back in 1993, so they started in the middle of the grunge/alternative movement. However, from out of the underground stoner rockscene bands like MONSTER MAGNET, KYUSS and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE became the prominent acts during the mid-90s, and eventually influenced a lot of (new) bands to go into that direction, and so THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX became another band that shocked the world with their same titled stoner rocking debut album in 1999. The band from New Jersey was originally formed by bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, guitarist Ed Mundell and drummer Keith Ackerman, but now almost 25 years later their line up consists of 1 original member Chris along with drummer Bob Pantella and the superb guitarist/vocalist Garrett Sweeny. The band released several albums during the past few decades, and their music is a mix of ultra heavy groovy guitar riff driven psychedelic stoner rock with passionate angry yet melodic vocals. Actually, there are a lot of 70s classic hard rock influences to be heard, especially if you listen to the lovely THIN LIZZYish Coming In Hot and the VAN HALEN orientated So Come On on the fantastic live vinyl album of their performance at the legendary Freak Valley Festival that was released in 2023 on HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS. This is 70s rock at its best, especially due to the heavy riffs (BLACK SABBATHish during Liv A Little), flashing guitarsolo’s and memorable choruses, but there are also some modern influences to be heard in both the guitar and vocal department. The blue vinyl edition looks and sounds very good, and I can understand why THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX is a really popular band, because especially live they rock pretty hard, but in a very good way definitely. The album is available through: and check out the band at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Absolutely sensational and very original is the perfect combination I need to mark when starting the review of the new album of the Italian band GIOBIA. They have already released quite a few albums during the past 20 years, but Acid Disorder is the first album I get to hear and review. The orange vinyl edition looks and sounds wonderful, and also the artwork of their new album is phenomenal. The band’s music is a mix of various 70s genres, such as krautrock, stoner rock, doom, progressive rock and a bit overdose of psychedelic rock, although actually their music is widely best known as Acid Rock. Imagine a mix between HAWKWIND, WHISPERING SONS, BLACK SABBATH, KIKAGAKU MOYO and PORCUPINE TREE, then you’re close to GIOBIA from Milan, Italy. The band’s line up consists of Stefano 'Bazu' Basurto - string instruments, vocals, Melissa Crema - organs, synthesizers, vocals, Paolo 'Detrji' Basurto – bass and Pietro D'Ambrosio – drums.

I was completely blown away by this superb record, because it sounds very original and incredibly well done, with the fuzzing guitarsound moving up and down, the spacey keys and synths finding it’s way throughout each song and the vocalwork at the back has this strange interesting psychedelic dream… it’s all very interesting and unique sounding. This band has an own identity, and that’s something rare these days. 8 songs are included, and on side-A it’s especially the sensational Consciousness Equals Energy that grabs all the attention with it’s mix of psychedelic guitars, spacey synths and haunting goth/dreampop alike vocals. Screaming Souls shows a slightly different face of the band, because here the vocals are mixed up front, and somehow it has a sorta 80s psychedelic rock trip.

On side-B one of the absolute highlights is the superb instrumental spacey heavy synth driven Circo Galattico that sounds like an absolute classic from the 70s krautrock movement, such as TANGERINE DREAM, but also reminds me of KIKAGAKU MOYO. However, play this song loud and proud, and you’re tripping straight into an Acid adventure! Also closing track Acid Disorder is a lovely psychedelic rock dream. Actually, there is no single weak moment to be found here!

Concluded, this is a hidden masterpiece secret that will stand it’s time for sure. This is one of those albums you can listen to over and over again, and every time discover something new. It’s such a picture perfect record to keep listening to, and as mentioned, there is a lot to find out, because it is very diverse. You will discover a lot while listening to the 8 songs. Fans of kraut, prog, doom, stoner, acid, psych rock etc. will absolutely go nuts when hearing this gem from Italy! The orange vinyl edition is the finishing touch, which is available through:, so make sure you don’t miss this album! More info at:

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


The Italian band 1782 is named after the year when the last witchcraft trial in Europe took place, which was the torturing and killing of ANNA GOLDI. In honor of all the burned and murdered witches this band was formed by guitarist/vocalist Marco Nieddu (24Moons / Raikinas) and drummer Gabriele Fancellu (Raikinas). Later on Francesco Pintore joined on bass, and they have already released a couple of albums. Clamor Luciferi is their 3rd album so far, and the pink vinyl edition looks funny, especially when you consider the fact that the included music of 1782 is actually slow ultra-heavy doom metal that sounds like a cross between BLACK SABBATH and REVEREND BIZARRE. Although the doom metal sounds quite good, the band is not yet at the same high level of aforementioned bands. That doesn’t mean they are weak, but you can feel that some more effort needs to be done to convince us on a studio album. It’s hard to tell what it is, perhaps live they will sound better, but for now this is just a nice album that will mostly interest the die-hard doom metal fans among us. I do think however 1782 will improve themselves in the future, because the signs are there to record a stronger record. For now, the album is available through: and check out the band for yourself at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


Life Is Much Stranger is the 4th album of the New York based band THE GOLDEN GRASS. This band is formed around Adam Kriney-drums/vocals (of LA OTRACINA/ZONED OUT/DEAD TAPE and tour member of NEBULA/CULT OF YOUTH/CASTANETS/CLOUDLAND CANYON), Michael Rafalowich-electric guitar/vocals (of STRANGE HAZE/WHOOPING CRANE and tour member of TAV FALCO'S PANTHER BURNS) and Frank Caira-electric bass/vocals (of THE ABOVE). Together this 3-piece band recorded a true authentic 70s classic rock record that is a must-have for anyone into obscure 70s rock and roll. Here and there the material is a little commercial (70s KISS, STARZ), but in a good way, and it’s a joy to listen to this album from start to finish, because THE GOLDEN GRASS absolutely delivers a masterpiece with this album Life Is Much Stranger. Especially the splatter vinyl edition looks amazing and thankfully the included music is as authentic as possible in its glorious 70s rock/classic rock passion.

The album opens with Howlin, a lovely 70s melodic rocking piece that has cool tempo changes, a great soaring guitar solo and a catchy chorus, melting SABBATH, KISS, STARZ, THIN LIZZY, LEGS DIAMOND and BUDGIE quite perfectly. Its quite a long song as well, but shining from start to finish in all its 70s rocking craziness! Springtime On Stanwoods follows in a more straight-ahead direction, with KISS and VAN HALEN influences during the anthemic chorus. Closing Side-A is Island In Your Head, a nice uptempo tune with a B.O.C. meets MAX WEBSTER kinda progrocking touch.  

Side-B starts with the rather catchy early 80s NWOBHM ish uptempo melodic heavy rocker 100 Arrows, which has a deadly catchy guitar riff (ANGEL WITCH/SAXON style) and a strong melodic chorus. Not Without Its Charm is groovier and slower, heading more into a pure 70s classic rock direction, somehow reminding me of STARZ during the catchy melodic chorus. However, the absolute highlight on Side-B is the superb pure 70s melodic rock and roll piece The Answers Never Know, which sounds like it was recorded 50 years ago, and again I have a STARZ meets BLUE OYSTER CULT kinda feeling, especially due to the sensational catchy melodic chorus. You can’t get any closer to pure authentic 70s hardrock than on this song, and the guitarsolos are absolutely stunning! The album finishes with the groovy rocker A Peculiar Situation, which has a LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH and BUDGIE kinda mix going on.

Concluded, if you like your music to sound like the classic 70s rock/hardrock of aforementioned bands, with a touch of early 80s NWOBHM, then look no further than this wonderful new album of THE GOLDEN GRASS. The album is available through: and more info can be found at:

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


BELZEBONG hails from Kielce, Poland, and they were formed in 2008. Sonic Shapes & Weedy Grooves was their debut album originally released back in 2011. More than 11 years later it has been re-released by their new album HEAVY PSYCH RECORDS. The band consists of Sheepy Dude: Bass, Alky Dude: Guitar, Cheesy Dude: Guitar and Hexy Dude: Drums, and their music is extremely slow and heavy fuzz dominated distorted doom metal, and they do their job really well during the 4 included songs that all together give the vinyl album a 30 minutes of playing time. I don't think you will get closer to pure heavy psych Doom than this BELZEBONG, so in case you're a fan of REVEREND BIZARRE and such you urgently need to check out this Polish band as well at:  The album is available through:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Out of Barcelona, Spain comes the female fronted Power Rock trio CACHEMIRA, and Ambos Mundos is their 2nd album so far. The band's line up consists of Gaston Lainé/Guitar, Claudia González/Bass & Vocals and Alejandro Carmona/Drums, and the music they bring us on this new album is of an incredible high level. Claudia has a superb voice and the music is classic rock at it's very best, actually not that far removed from bands like DEVIL'S BLOOD and BLUES PILLS. 8 songs are included, and Claudia gives the material an extra dimension due to her superb vocal chops. Songs like Don't Look Back (To The Fire), Keep An Eye On Me and Mujer VuduI are pricless classic rocksongs with superb melodies and instrumentally in the best 70s way of improvising. Make sure not to miss this sensational band at: and get yourself a copy of the lovely shining vinyl edition of this sensational release! The album is available through: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10) 


ERWAN MENGUY QUARTET is a French act consisting of Erwan Menguy  (wooden flute, low whistle), Erwan Berenguer  (Guitar), Kevin Le Pennec (Cistre) and Hugues Lassere (double bass). Leader Erwan is a gifted Breton flute player who has built up an international career and along with his own quartet he now releases the lovely instrumental album Spi. The included music is cheerful medieval influenced folk music that is based around the flute. It has a lot of memories of FOCUS, yet minus the rock, although some of the songs do have progrock structures. It’s something different than what we usually receive to review, but without a doubt a quality release for sure. More info at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


I believe Vortex is the third album of this act called AMINA MEZAACHE & MARACUJA. The line-up of the band consists of Amina Mezaache: flutes and compositions, Yoan Fernandez: guitars, Fabien Debellefontaine: sousaphone and flute, Jonathan Edo: percussions and the guest artists on the album are Simon Deslandes: trumpet and fuglehorn, Florent Sepchat: accordion and Edgar Sekloka: rap. It’s a very diverse instrumental album that takes influences from all kinds of music and elements from nature all over the world. It has therefore a very natural feeling, although I have to say that during several songs it goes a lot into a sorta Brazilian direction, so with a Samba kinda vibe, but the 70s calmer progrock touch is also present. Amina is clearly the leader here, as she wrote all the material and her flute is leading throughout the album. However, it is very nice to hear such diversity in the music, and also the fact it is upbeat and quite danceable, despite the fact that the flutes are upfront most of the time. A wonderful experience that should please especially fans of world music and classical music. More info at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


TAREK ABDALLAH and ADEL SHAMS EL DIN recorded a beautiful authentic instrumental World Music album that is called Ousoul. As mentioned in the press release, his previous album was called Wasla, which is the name of a particular expression of the musical suite developed by different Arab traditions such as the nuba in North Africaand fasl in Syria. Wasla is a creation developed by Tarek Abdallah proposing to revive the golden age of this musical tradition through a personal approach to the Egyptian musical suite in terms of composition, interpretation and improvisation. And on his new album Ousoul he continues the sound created on that previous album Wasla. Tarek is accompanied by the Egyptian percussionist Adel Shams el Din on the classical Arabtambourine known as riqq”. Basically this CD has the feeling of the old Egyptian music, and this can be heard throughout 18 songs on the CD. Especially the use of all these original old  instruments along with the Egyptian melodies, it gives you the feeling you’re somewhere in the Middle East, and I have to admit Tarek and Adel deliver a wonderful job here. It is also funny that these World Music/Egyptian Music influences that can be heard on this CD have eventually also influenced some of the epic symphonic melodic metal bands that are out there in Europe whom are combining it with eastern metal melodies (for example KAMELOT, EPICA, WITHIN TEMPTATION, MYRATH, etc. etc.). Music is an universal language and this CD is a recommended piece if you want to explore new middle eastern music at it’s very best! Tarek is a high class Oud player from Egypt you need to check out a.s.a.p. at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


That’s The Way You Want It is already the 6th studio album of the British band NIGHTBLADE. The band was formed back in 2010, and their current line up consists of Tim Cutcliffe/Bass, Sam Morse/Guitars, Mark Crosby/Vocals and Rich Lawley/Drums. Musically speaking they are playing 80s influenced melodic hardrock that sounds like a cross between HAREM SCAREM, THE PROMISE, LOST WEEKEND and BLACK’N’BLUE, or at least somewhere in that direction you should think of when the name NIGHTBLADE pops up. Anyway, their new album continues the sound of their previous albums, and this time the highlights are the uptempo melodic rock pieces That’s The Way You Want It, Your World, My Thoughts, New Year’s Change and the early 80s EBONY RECORDS/NWOBHM influenced tunes Your Disguise and A Song Coming On. There’s also a cool cover of the classic tune Baker Street of GERRY RAFFERTY, which now features a guitar solo instead of a sax solo. More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


CARPET is a band from Germany, and they have been around for quite a while now. I was not familiar with them before, so this Collision is the first album I get to hear. It’s the band’s 4th album so far, and it took some time to finish it, as the previous album About Rooms And Elephants dates back to 2018. Anyway, they melt 70s genres such as Progressive Rock, Classic Rock and Psychedelic Rock, sounding quite melodic actually in both the vocal and guitar department. MOTORPSYCHO is mentioned as comparison, and that’s quite understandable when listening to the first couple of songs on Collision. Their line up consists of Maximilian Stephan: electric guitars and lead vocals, Jakob Mader: drums and percussion, Sigmund Perner: Fender Rhodes, Roland Juno, Hubert Steiner: bass, Martin Lehmann: trumpet and flugelhorn and Maximilian Wörle: backing vocals, percussion, and 7 songs can be found on their new album. Each song is absolutely a highlight, because they all have a lot of diversity going on, because here and there also some Jazz and THE BEATLES influences present, which can be heard right from the start during the lovely The Moonlight Rush, a song that could be labeled as a progressive rocksong like THE FLOWER KINGS, but then minus long instrumental complex passages, because CARPET is all about vocal melodies during rather catchy soaring choruses. There are somehow similarities to CAMEL and BLUE OYSTER CULT during the fantastic following track Dead Fingers, which is an uptempo melodic rocking piece that also reflect 00s indie harmonies (like FLEET FOXES). The album is a real surprise actually, melting all the aforementioned bands and coming up with a rather relaxing smooth melodic sound. Without a doubt, CARPET is a band you absolutely need to check out! More info at:


(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


CHATTE ROYAL is the main band of guitarist DIEGO DI VITO (also known as member of WE STOOD LIKE KINGS). This new Belgian band has just released their debut album titled Mick Torres Plays Too F**** Loud, and included on the CD is high quality instrumental rock music that combines influences of several genres, such as post-progressive rock and melodic punkrock. They are doing a great job, sounding very melodic and proggy actually, with some great guitarwork by Diego. Other members in this interesting new band are drummer DENNIS VERCAUTEREN, bassist FRANCOIS HANNECART and guitarist TEO CROMMEN. There are countless instrumental post-progrockbands out there, but CHATTE ROYAL shows right away with this first album they are a band to keep your eyes open for in the near future. Check them out at:


(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


ERICH ZANN ENSEMBLE is a German band with a changing line-up, although the constant member is multi-instrumentalist FRANK INCENSE, who is also a member of the band THE SUN OR THE MOON. On this new CD Bieber Sessions he gets help from multi-instrumentalist DANIEL RECK, saxophone player CHRISTOPH HEIMBACH and drummer NICLAS CIRIACY. Together they recorded a great instrumental album at the famous Tonstudio Bieber in Offenbach, Germany. The music is a mix of 70s psychedelic jazz-fusion, krautrock and jamming progrock, so it melts a bit of everything, and I have to admit that the 5 long songs that are included on the CD sound very sensational and capture the essence of classic 70s instrumental music due to it’s groovy vibe, weird noises, subtle guitar and synths, and overall sounding quite hypnotic and melodic, with world music/Arabic influences as well here and there, so a lot of variation can be heard here. Without a doubt, this CD is a must-have if you like the classic 70s sounds, and I can imagine that also a fan of let’s say KHRUANGBIN will like this! More info at:


(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


Out of Belgium comes the new band THRONE OF THORNS, and they deliver here a high quality release on ROCK OF ANGELS RECORDS. The band was founded by guitarist and songwriter THOMAS JEHTRO VERLEYE, who gathered around him vocalist JOSEY HINDRIX, keyboardplayer WIM WOTTHIER, backing vocalist/producer/mixer GUY VERCRUYSSE and drummer BARUCH VAN BELLEGEM. Together they recorded Converging Parallel Worlds, which musically speaking is melodic bombastic neo-classical progressive symphonic power metal in the style of KAMELOT, PAGAN’S MIND, STRATOVARIUS, HELLOWEEN, FATES WARNING, AVANTASIA, etc. It’s the genre that developed throughout the late 80s and 90s thanks to HELLOWEEN, PRETTY MAIDS and prog metal bands like FATES WARNING and QUEENSRYCHE, and eventually a 90s European mainland scene developed in especially Scandinavia and Italy. Fast forward to 2024, THRONE OF THORNS from Belgium delivers a wonderful album in the style of aforementioned bands. After the short intro we are heading straight into the melodic prog/power metal genre with such great songs like Storm Maker and Atomic Retribution. The sound/production is impressive, the guitarwork is phenomenal (just listen to Atomic Retribution for example), the lead vocals are really good (a bit like RONNIE ATKINS of PRETTY MAIDS) and every song is loaded with riffs, solo’s, hooks and a catchy chorus, so this all combined gives me a good feeling when listening to this CD. I am safe to say that the album will find it’s way to the fans of the genre! More info can be found at:


(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The French band BUTTERFLY BULLDOZER was formed in 2021 and focuses on Post-Punk. We have seen hundreds of bands playing the Post-Punk genre in recent years and BUTTERFLY BULLDOZER definitely does it at a reasonable level on their debut EP CD The Great Becoming Of Captain Fuzz. The band consists of Vincent Allix (Vocals), Manu Lem (Guitar/Synth), Aubin Pougnant (Guitar/Synth), Corentin Bougerolle (Drums) and Tanguy Serand (Bass). 5 songs are included and opener BTF BDZ is clearly classic uptempo Post-Punk in the most British tradition you can imagine, so this French band surely knows how to impress. The other songs on the CD go for a more experimental direction and even reveals some melodic art/progressive rock influences during a song like OB-1. Concluded, a nice start for this band that might impress even more on future releases! More info at:

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)