UPDATED March 4th, 2024


During the 90s I discovered the band PATRIARCH, thanks to the late Willy van Buel, and eventually I got in touch with one of the bandmembers, who was kind enough to sent me their rare vinyl EP from 1983. I remember doing a feature on this sensational release and remember that back then it was not that long ago, so now fast forward to 2023, and the original LP has finally been re-issued onto CD, thanks to the Greek label SONIC AGE RECORDS. The band only existed for a short while during the 1980s, which is such a pity, because their sound was amazing and should have gain them huge popularity. PATRIARCH came out of Kansas (just like KANSAS, PROPHET and SHOOTING STAR), so obviously they were influenced by the rocksound of the aforementioned bands, but still had an own identity. They consisted of Chuck Huels — keyboards and vocals; Steve Kuker — drums and vocals; Jeff Carroll — bass and vocals; Gregg Anderson — guitar, violin and vocals; Mike Maxwell —guitar and vocals, and were active between 1981 and 1987. They released the 4-track vinyl EP First Hand and a Demo Tape, and all of the 8 tracks are on this CD. The booklet contains the original beautiful artwork, and a long story and rare pictures of the band. Besides the re-issue, the band also performed in their original line-up, and a dream come true for me personally would be to attend one of their concerts, because these guys are live really good from what I saw on the internet. They absolutely deserve a big push, and let’s hope also new work will emerge someday soon.

Anyway, back to this CD, because opener Two Steps Away is an incredible AOR/Pomprock classic in the 1970s KANSAS style (and SHOOTING STAR), and how about the following uptempo rocking You Fool. Both these songs belong to some of the best independent American AOR/Pomprock ever, and it’s really lovely to hear it now on CD sounding crystal clear. PATRIARCH was one of the many unsigned bands in the USA playing classic AOR/Pomp/Progrock at an amazing high level, so it is unbelievable the band only managed to release a wanted mini-LP 40 years ago, because everything sounds perfect during those aforementioned 2 classic tunes. Melodies all over the place, both vocally and instrumentally, this is as close to the best KANSAS ever produced, but then done by PATRIARCH. I have played these songs so many times since I first heard them, so it is a trip down memory lane. Also the epic ballad 10 Years Ago (TRIUMPH meets RUSH in a KANSAS/JOURNEY fight) and the uptempo rocking Elysium (JOSHUA meets SHOOTING STAR meets TOUCH and even a bit of TOTO/QUEEN here and there, featuring epic keyboard versus guitar versus violin duals and cool proggy/pomp breaks) are worth mentioning of course, and besides the 4 original album tracks also the 4 songs that were going to be released on a follow-up EP are included on this CD. These were rough demos that I received as demo tape many years ago, but now they also sound close to the quality of the original LP tracks. Musically speaking a bit less proggy/pomp, but still in the SHOOTING STAR meets TRIUMPH kinda of AOR/Melodic Rock direction, such as can be heard during the superb songs Sentimental Youth and A Wall.

There’s no single weak moment to be heard here, so make sure to get this re-issue a.s.a.p. More info on PATRIARCH can be found at: and

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


I stumbled on SPIDERGAWD about 5 years ago when the Norwegian band performed a free concert close to my home, and I was immediately attracted to their classic twin-guitar driven melodic hardrocksound. The band has been in the scene since 2013, they have connections with another popular Norwegian band called MOTORPSYCHO, but musically speaking SPIDERGAWD is more straight-ahead than that (great) band, while their new album VII is probably their best album so far. The band consists of vocalist/guitarist Per Borten, vocalist/guitarist Brynjar Takle Ohr, bassist/vocalist Hallvard Gaardløs, drummer Kenneth Kapstad and saxophone player Rolf Martin Snustad (which is quite unique for a rockband, and especially live he really is a big bonus to the SPIDERGAWD sound, yet on this new record he’s a bit harder to hear except for closing tune … And Nothing But The Truth, but I don’t have any info if he’s still part of the band).

It’s their 7th album in 10 years’ time, and opener Sands Of Time is a superb catchy uptempo classic hardrock tune with strong vocals and harmonies, and it reflects a clear THIN LIZZY approach. Diving a bit into classic faster NWOBHM with the superb melodic metal piece The Tower that brings memories of other new bands such as AIR RAID and WYTCH HAZEL, and this song has a killer chorus as well as lovely twin-guitarwork. Other highlights are Bored To Death, Afterburner and Your Heritage, but actually every song continues the uptempo classic melodic hardrocksound of the aforementioned songs, and all of them feature memorable choruses.

Concluded, SPIDERGAWD might have released their best album so far, because this is a real winner for fans of classic hardrock, and I think their catchy tunes might even appeal to other musicfans out there, because it all sounds really sensational and memorable enough. Check out more info at: and

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


More than 3 years ago I received several singles of the Norwegian band MAYFIRE CHRONICLES, which were a sneak preview of a first full-length album of this sensational melodic progressive rock/metal band. Due to covid it took a bit longer, but now at the end of 2023/early 2024 the band finally releases it’s long awaited debut album. The band has shortened their name to MAYFIRE and the first CD is titled Cloudscapes & Silhouettes, which is released through ROCK OF ANGELS RECORDS. There is some amazing material on the CD, such as the superb Shadows (featuring Baard Kolstad of LEPROUS), which has haunting memorable melodies in the style of bands like THRESHOLD, SOEN and SUBSIGNAL, so this band is basically champions league melodic progressive metal! The killer vocals (who on earth is singing here?) and incredible melodies lift up this band easily above the rest of the countless other prog metal bands worldwide, while the guitarwork is also picture perfect, but I have absolutely no clue who the musicians behind MAYFIRE are, because it is basically a 2-man’s band consisting of MJX and RD (I am guessing Marius Andre Jacobsen and Rune Dahlen). There is not a single weak moment on this sensational CD, and other highlights are Thicker Than Water, Vinternatt and Fearless. Here and there we can hear an edgier approach, sorta like EVERGREY, but melody is king for sure! Hopefully this band will bring their music to the rest of Europe on a tour, because this album is definitely one of the finest melodic prog metal releases of 2023! More info can be found at: and 

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


The Glasgow, Scotland based band COMEDY OF ERRORS was formed all the way back in 1984, and Threnody For A Dead Queen is their 7th album so far. The band consists of Jim Johnston - songwriter, keyboards, Joe Cairney – Vocals, Mark Spalding - Guitars, backing vocals, Bruce Levick - Drums, percussion and John (The Funk) Fitzgerald - Bass and backing vocals, and their music is high class melodic neo-progressive rock with a focus on lovely melodies both instrumentally and vocally, not far removed from the well-known bands in the genre, such as PENDRAGON, IQ, PALLAS, ABEL GANZ, etc. although I have to admit that after a couple of times listening to their album, they definitely show an own identity that is focused on long exciting dark calm instrumental passages combined with lovely relaxing vocal melodies (even a bit reminding of classic ALAN PARSONS PROJECT/CAMEL), which can be heard right from the start during the lovely opening song Summer Lies Beyond that takes you into a 15 minutes counting trip.

8 songs are included in total on their new CD, some of them are very lengthy, and from start to finish it is an enjoyable adventure to experience for sure! Other highlights I would like to point out are the uptempo cheerful The Seventh Seal and the pure prog epic titletrack. There is no single weak moment on their new album, so make sure to check it out if you’re becoming interested in hearing this brilliant Scottish band! More info at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


When the new album of the Leicester, UK based band UNCLE FRANK came out of the postal package I received, and I looked at the album cover, I was immediately reminded of the QUEEN classic album cover of Sheer Heart Attack, because Diablo’s front album cover photo has a similar portrait of the bandmembers of UNCLE FRANK as the iconic QUEEN album photo cover of the QUEEN members. Musically speaking the band has a slightly different and more straight-forward rock approach than QUEEN. Anyway, UNCLE FRANK was formed about 20 years ago around multi-instrumentalists and producers Frank Benbini (also one third of THE FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS) and Naim Cortazzi, and along the way Darryl Reid (drums, guitar, bass, keys, strings) and Luke Bryan (bass, orchestral strings) joined them, and Diablo is their 4th album so far.

Opener Diablo is a catchy killer modern retro sounding uptempo rock and roll piece, and so is the following Mary Jane, but during the excellent So High things become more Westcoast/smooth pop/rock orientated, and I have to say that this a nice welcome in diversity, but most of the time UNCLE FRANK rocks and puts some ROLLING STONES influences in their music here and there, such as Rise Up, which also reveals a bit of LENNY KRAVITZ. Due to the link to THE FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS, you can also hear similarities to that legendary band sometimes. Other highlights are Solitude (uptempo melodic rocker), Off In The Distance (funky piece with a smooth melodic rocking chorus), the semi-ballad Bad Dreamer and the groovy midtempo rocker Melting (borrowing the classic LED ZEPPELIN Kashmir guitar riff). Definitely a great modern sounding but still retro rock and roll record that sounds pure and raw to the bone, so go check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The US state of New Jersey is one of the major states in delivering quality hardrock and metalbands, especially during the golden era of the 1970s and 1980s. It was about time a book was written about it, and that’s exactly what 2 veterans of the New Jersey metal scene decided to do, and the book Jersey Metal Volume One is only part 1! FRANK WHITE has been a music photographer for almost 50 years (!) and he has seen about every rock or metal band live and photographed countless bands in the past 5 decades. ALAN TECCHIO is a singer who sang in bands like HADES, NON FICTION, WATCHTOWER, SEVEN WITCHES and many more. The 2 of them combined have enough material for an entire book (and more to follow), so that’s what sums up this beautiful book they sent me for a review. The combination of stories, pictures and other memorabilia makes this book a fascinating one to go through. It concerns the period 1969-1986 when rock, hardrock and metal developed all over the USA, especially in the New Jersey/New York area where Frank grew up and was able to go to live shows almost every day. It is such a lifetime work of Frank, because he started at the age of 12 (!) sneaking in the big arena’s and smaller venues to catch a glimpse of these legendary bands that came to town. It is also quite funny, because he was so young and he just took the bus and the camera of his mother to go to the New York concert halls and take these amazing pictures up-close of legendary bands like QUEEN, KISS, LED ZEPPELIN, THIN LIZZY, etc. etc. The pictures in this book are simply stunning, especially if you consider the fact that Frank was only a teenager when he took them, and also that he did all of this without anybody’s knowledge, which makes it even more impressive what he did during especially the 1970s. I like the book’s chronical timeline setting that covers both the big arena rockbands and local hotshots of the upcoming new rockbands from the Jersey area and the combination of stories, pictures and rare memorabilia makes it an enjoyable read from start to finish. Eventually Frank became a professional photographer, and you can see his development in this book.

Alan sang in countless bands as already mentioned, and he is a real Metal singer, recently with LEVEL FIELDS and MIKE LEPOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS. However, he is also a writer, columnist and graphic designer for over 30 years, and he interviewed a lot of Metal bands throughout his life, so combined with Frank’s unique photographer talent, this book is a well written and designed book that keeps you busy for a long time. In total it captures about 340+ pages of work, with a focus on those unique pictures of the past and the stories behind them as well as the rare adverts of the club scene and bands that came to town. It’s a fascinating book that documents and illustrates the glorious past of the hardrock, rock and metal scene in the USA of the 1970s and 1980s. It’s incredible how much happened and all those memories are relived here for anyone to read and look at. It will never look like this again and that’s why books like these are a joy to own and everytime look back how things went back then.

As already stated before, this book is not about the Jersey Metalbands only, because it also covers all important rock, hardrock and metalbands that came to the New Jersey/New York area. Those pictures of QUEEN and KISS alone are a must to see if you’re a fan of them, while of course also the stories how Frank captures these are fascinating. It’s also great to see how many bands of the New York and New Jersey area are connected to each other, because there is a connection between BILLY JOEL, DREAM THEATER, BON JOVI, SYMPHONY X, FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS, PROPHET, DANGER DANGER and countless others, either via a local band that might be one of the first rock/metal bands in New Jersey (PHANTOM’S OPERA) or musicians that went on playing with each other throughout their careers. This book covers it all, and just shows what a vibrant scene it was so many years ago!

The book is available through: although the first version of volume one is nearly sold out and is a limited edition, however, the revised volume one book comes out March 1 and will be completely available on

or‘s bookstore! And hopefully volume two will be as good as this sensational book by Frank and Alan, 2 legends of the New Jersey Rock/Metal music history!

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


ROSEANNE REID is the daughter of GREG REID, who is one of the singing twin brothers of the legendary band THE PROCLAIMERS from Scotland. Lawside is Roseanne’s 2nd solo album, following up her 2019 debut Trails. Musically speaking we are mostly heading into a calmer singer-songwriter direction, and Roseanne has a lot of stories to tell throughout the 13 included songs. Although Roseanne sings and plays acoustic guitar on each and every song, she is assisted by quite a lot of guest musicians that give the songs a richer arrangement. Especially during the full band featured songs, such as Call It Love, Shine On, Daisy Chain and Mona Lisa, it sounds really good actually, but in case you’re more into the calmer 70s oriented singer-songwriter/Americana direction, then you will absolutely love a majority of the songs that go into that direction. Roseanne is a gifted singer with a lovely voice and for those longing back to the 70s female singer/songwriter movement, this is definitely highly recommended to check out at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)


Heart Murmur is the 2nd album of the Paris, France based band AUTOMATA. This band is a quartet formed in 2019 around JEAN-BAPTISTE ELINEAU (bass, synths), ETIENNE ERTUL (guitar, bass, keys, piano), FRANCOIS LAMOURET (keys, piano, guitar, programming) and DAVID VIVES (drums, acoustic guitar), and they released their self-titled debut back in 2020. Now there is the follow-up, and the included music is high quality instrumental music that combines all kinds of elements, but post-progressive rock would be a perfect description for sure. However, there is quite some experimentation going on as well, spoken-word parts, and actually some of the material could also fill as background music to a movie. 6 long songs are included and there is enough diversity to keep you interested listening from start to finish. Recommended to open-minded musicfans! More info at:   

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


RUBBER TEA is an interesting band out of Bremen, Germany, and they were formed back in 2017. From A Fading World is their 2nd album so far, and the band’s line up consists of Vanessa Gross – Vocals, Saxophone, Flute, Lennart Hinz – Keyboards, Vocals, David Erzmann – Bass, Jonas Roustai – Guitar and Henri Pink – Drums. Their music is a nice mixture of progressive rock, jazz and a bit of folk, sometimes reminding of classic 70s RENAISSANCE, yet with an own identity. The bands mix of melodic choruses, clean female vocals and interesting music sections that combine different influences due to the use of sax, flute, guitar and keys, this makes them a diverse band you might want to check out. Highlights on their new album are Go, Desert man and the experimental Superhexacatlyst. Concluded, a great diverse band that simply breathes the classic 1970s sound, so it will mostly appeal to fans of 70s symphonic rock (CAMEL, FOCUS, KAYAK, RENAISSANCE, etc.) More info can be found at: and

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


JENNY STURGEON (vocals, guitars, piano, keys, samples) and BOO HEWERDINE (vocals, guitars, piano, keys, samples) are 2 gifted musicians, whom along with co-producer/keyboardplayer/percussionist CHRIS PEPPER recorded the album Outliers. All of the included songs were written at their homes in Glasgow and the Shetland Islands. It’s an interesting combination of lo-fi singer/songwriter ish pop, chamber pop, folk, spoken-word and a touch of electronic new age, sounding quite original and exciting actually, and from the beginning song The Longest Day until closing track Powercuts this is an interesting journey that brings you in a sorta feeling you might get when you’re in the upper north of the British Islands. It might not sound really cheerful, because it has a dark approach, but there is a certain beautiful aspect in the sound of these 2 gifted singer/songwriters/musicians, especially when they sing those lovely harmonies together on most of the songs. These are all enjoyable story-telling songs that you definitely need to hear if you like authentic calmer music. The packaging of the CD is very impressive, with some lovely cartoon drawings in the booklet. More info can be found at: and and  

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Back in the 1970s British folkrock was a very popular genre, and bands like STEELEYE SPAN, LINDISFARNE and FAIRPORT CONVENTION were among many others the big leaders, scoring several hits 50 years ago, but eventually folk became an underground genre, especially during the commercial keyboard dominated 80s and the alternative 90s. However, throughout the decades many new acts started playing authentic classic folk music, and as a result there is a whole new wave, and one of those bands is the English/Scottish THE FURROW COLLECTIVE. This group was formed about 10 years ago, and they are dedicated to interpreting the traditional folk sound, covering songs from the past. All members also have parallel careers as solo artists, and these members include Lucy Farrell (viola, voice & saw), Rachel Newton (harp, fiddle, voice), Emily Portman (banjo, concertina, voice) and Alasdair Roberts (guitars, voice). We Know by the Moon is their 4th album so far, and from start to finish this is how classic close-harmony driven pure folk-pop/rock needs to sound, sometimes calm and collected, while at other times uptempo and cheerful in an Irish setting. Done very well, this band is also one of the more popular folk bands, so go check them out at: and   

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Now this sounds really good and very impressive, because the Belgian band SHOCKER has a super professional 80s American Melodic (Power) Metalsound on their debut album Fractured Visions Of The Mind, and their lead singer SAMMY PELEMAN (ex-AFTER ALL) has a fantastic (high pitched) voice (a la LANCE KING, MIDNIGHT), while also their guitarists CHRIS DEDEURWAERDER and DAVID VANDEWALLE are showing their skills on the guitar that usually end up in excellent twin-guitarwork of the old 80s US Metalschool. The rhythm section of the band consists of vocalist/bassist KOEN VANASSCHE and drummer LOUIS GENOVESE, and the 5 of them together are SHOCKER, a band formed back in 2018. After a couple of spins of this first album, which has been released independently, it is clear that we are dealing with an amazing band. These guys are really good, and everything sounds crystal clear here. Highlights are the uptempo pieces Stranded On The Borderline, Where Shrinking Violets Grow (SUPERB!) and Survive The Night, all reminding of classic 80s US bands such as FATES WARNING, QUEENSRYCHE, LEATHERWOLF, PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and such, yet the band also has an own identity, and I can safely say that this SHOCKER is one of the finest new Belgian bands I have heard lately, especially in the Metal genre. Make absolutely sure to check out this band if you like the old school 80s US Metal style! Especially for an independent release, this is an incredible impressive CD you need to hear for yourself! More info at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


THORIUM is a Belgian band, and Extraordinary Journeys Part 1 is their 3rd album so far. The high pitched vocals driven melodic metal is clearly influenced by IRON MAIDEN, and I have to say that they are doing a really good job here. The band has shared the stage with GEOFF TATE, ROSS THE BOSS, TOXIK, Q5 and many other legendary acts, while their previous album featured a few well-known guests, such as ARJEN A. LUCASSEN of AYREON. Anyway, the band’s powerful melodic metal has not only MAIDEN references, but also JUDAS PRIEST and AGENT STEEL come to mind, while a tiny but of Italo Power Metal also shines through here and there (just listen to Gladiator for example). The guitarwork of TOM TEE and DARIO FRODO is phenomenal, while as already said vocalist DAVID MARCELIS has a strong pure Metal voice. Not bad at all, so go check them out at:  

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


JOSH HOYER & SOUL COLOSSAL is a band out of Lincoln, Nebraska, USA formed around Josh Hoyer on keyboards/vocals, Benjamin Kushner on guitar, Blake DeForest on Trumpet, James Cuato on Saxophone, Harrison ElDorado on drums, and Stephen Cantarero on bass and they create a great mix of classic Soul, Blues and Funk. Their 7th album is titled Green Light, and without a doubt this album sounds very impressive! 10 songs are included, and the moment the album starts with the strong Evolution, that voice of Josh immediately grabs you and doesn’t let go, because he has this lovely classic soul tone in his voice and accompanied with a funky groovy sound that also reveals some blues rock influences, this album is a joy to listen to from start to finish. This is high quality soul/jazz/funk/blues mixed in a bag that should appeal to a lot of people out there. No matter what Josh sings, any direction and every single song on this CD is a winner for fans of ‘real’ music. Personal highlights are Loneliness, Harmony, Green Light and Crazy Love. People who like to hear something that comes across like a mix between GREGORY PORTER and THE DAWN BROTHERS should check out JOSH HOYER & SOUL COLOSSAL! More info at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


LINA (Carolina Cardoso Rodrigues) is a Portuguese fado singer who released her debut CD in 2014, and now 10 years later Fado Camoes is her 3rd album, and after repeated listens I think this might be her big breakthrough in the World Music territory. She definitely brings a new dimension to the Fade genre, which is due to incredible voice, and also the music influences she adds to each and every song on this new CD. Lina worked with many other well-known musicians in the past, including ROBERT PLANT of LED ZEPPELIN, so she takes this all with her into her music, and the result is a very impressive new album. Besides Lina on vocals and keys, other musicians include John Baggott: Fender Rhodes, Piano, Drum Programming, Moog Bass, Justin Adams: Percussion, Guitar and Programming and Pedro Viana: Portuguese guitar. Although I am personally not so much a fan of the fado singing, Lina does it really well and also her music takes you on a journey straight into the Portuguese culture, and that is one of my favorite European cultures! There is not a single weak moment to be found here, and so I can easily recommend one of the finest fado releases in this century! More info at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Out of New York City comes THE HASBROS, an original authentic rock and roll band with a nostalgic kinda feeling when listening to their new album God Hates The Hasbros And Other Conspiracy Theories. The band consists of guitarists Ken O’Connor and Bob Hanophy (vocalist as well), drummer Joe Gorelick (Garden Variety/Red Hare), and bass player Tom Cavanagh (Lita Ford/Pop Smart Overdrive), and the new CD follows up their 2018 debut LP Cart Before The Horse. The music of the band is mostly uptempo early 90s Melodic Powerpop orientated that reflects clear influences of R.E.M. (during a song like Wonder) and also reminds me of bands like THE POSIES, TEENAGE FANCLUB (especially during the very catchy Eye To Eye). A lot of the 12 included tracks are uptempo and giving you a rather good happy feeling when listening. Great little band that deserves more attention. Check them out at: and

(Points: 7.9 out of 10)


Chlorophylle is the new album of the French band LA SEVE, whom are heavily influenced by Western African Music (especially from Cameroon and Congo), although their overall sound is a mix of all kinds of styles that range from jazz to Caribbean Music, Reggae, etc. The band is formed around Guillaume Cornuel: guitar and voices, Gregory Brustier: guitar and voices, Samuel Paris: guitar and voices and Frédéric Jebejian: drums, percussions and voices. It’s a very cheerful World Music album that especially during instrumental pieces such as Ebene Epeme might even appeal to fans of jazz-fusion and progrock, although this CD will mainly appeal to fans of African Music, despite it’s played by a French band. This band is really good in playing all kinds of groovy styles on the 10 included songs of their new album. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Black Dawg Bone is the 9th album of TIMO GROSS, a German guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer who is a dedicated raw blues musician. The album is musically speaking not too far away from the sound on BILLY F. GIBBONS’ (ZZ TOP) solo album Hardware from 2021, but being in the business for such a long time gives Timo an own identity, especially due to his amazing raw way of singing. He gets help from several other musicians, and among the 10 included songs the absolute highlights are Train Of Mercy, Devil’s Class, If You Need Somebody and Running Wild, but any of the songs is a winner for fans of real mostly slow raw dark blues with a boogie here and there. Check him out at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


DAVID GOGO is a Canadian blues guitarist/singer/songwriter who already has a long history in his music career that started in the early 90s, and Silver Cup is his 16th (!) album so far. His music is true honest authentic blues, and several of his songs were recorded by a few well-known other blues musicians, such as BUDDY GUY and ERIC JOHNSON, with whom he co-wrote a few of the songs on his new album. Besides David on vocals and guitar, other involved musicians are producer STEVE MARRINER (guitar, piano, drums, bass, harmonica, percussion, etc.), Marisha Devoin (bass and backing vocals) and Jimmy Bowskill (violin). 10 songs are included in total, and especially uptempo pieces like Whatever I Need To Do, Morning Light and Works For Me are strong authentic bluesy Americana pieces that feature David’s raw voice in combination with his mainly acoustic blues riffs. Definitely an album to own if you want to hear real honest acoustic blues with strong compositions sung intensively by a great true blues legend David has become over the past 30 years! More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


ZITTER is a Swedish duo/band formed around Fred Z (vocals/bass), BG (guitar) and MacCalico Adee (software drummer). Their live shows in and around Stockholm are energetic according to the press bio, and they were kind enough to send me their 2 latest albums, Angry Bird and Bubblegum God. Musically speaking it is an electronic modern approach to classic rock/hardrock. Although vocally not superstrong and there is a drumcomputer instead of a real drummer, live these guys probably are able to get a party started. It’s like MOTORHEAD meets MOTLEY CRUE in an electronic danceable jacket (MINISTRY), so with a sorta house/techno beat to the classic hard/heavy rocksound of the past. Especially during a catchy uptempo rocker like Rockstars this works extremely well. They also remind me a bit of ZODIAC MINDWARP, who did something similar many decades ago. More info can be found at: and

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


Undecided Behaviour is the full-length debut album of the Belgian band SISTER MAY, whom released 2 EP’s in the past. It’s an independent release, and musically speaking SISTER MAY enters a Post-Punk direction, with also influences from Gothic, Industrial, Metal and even Progressive rock, so there’s a lot of diversity going on here. The band consists of vocalist Bert Goethalsm bassist Wannes Desramault, guitarist Carl Vangeluwe and drummer Stefaan Degryze. They are doing a really great job here in getting an own kinda identity, which does not surprise me, because the last couple of years there have been countless great new original bands coming out of Belgium, and a lot of them succeed in bringing an own yet interesting sound. SISTER MAY is no exception to the rule, because right from the start with The Floater, the band brings an interesting unique mixture of all aforementioned styles, and this can also be heard on the rest of the CD. Job well done, and recommended to check out to all modern rockfans! There’s a touch of KILLING JOKE in case you’re desperately longing for a comparison, but SISTER MAY is more modern and heavier overall, so it’s best to check out this recommended band! More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Here we have an incredible high quality album release from a Belgian/Spanish band, whom are making their debut with their same titled EP on NECKTWISTER RECORDS. The sound/production is champions league, which is due to the involvement of JOOST VANDENBROEK (POWERWOLF, BLIND GUARDIAN, AFTER FOREVER, EPICA, etc.), and furthermore, the EPICA singer/guitarist/composer MARK JANSEN makes a guest appearance on the CD, but without a doubt, this band can do it on their own for sure, because they have a great musicianship going on here, and most importantly, MALEVOLENT has a fantastic female singer called CELICA SOLDREAM. The other important member in the band is Nikolaas Van Riet (composer/guitars/synths/producer). Although it’s only an EP with 4 songs, it is clear that this band is a promise for the future to come, because all of the songs are sensational symphonic melodic (power) metal orientated, and MALEVOLENT might become one of the finest bands in this genre. The incredible vocals and melodies are overwhelming, and as catchy as possible! If you’re a fan of NIGHTWISH, EPICA, AMARANTHE, BATTLE BEAST, LACUNA COIL, etc. etc. then you need to check out this superb new band a.s.a.p.! More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.9 out of 10)


It’s 2024 and here I am listening to one of the finest classic late 70s UK style Garage Powerpop/Punkpop records I have heard since the days of THE BOYS, THE UNDERTONES, THE RAMONES, THE BUZZCOCKS, and such ended a long time ago. However, this is a band from Montpellier, France and they sing in French! This makes them even more interesting, because the 10 incredible catchy uptempo rockers on their 2nd album are all earworms and I’ll bet live on stage these guys will know how to keep the crowd jumping and singing along. The band was formed in 2016, and they released their same titled debut album in 2018. Their line up consists of bassist T. Boy, drummer Manah, guitarist/vocalist Romeo and guitarist/vocalist Francois, and they are now back with this superb new album. Songs like Mauvaise Fo, Pas De Regrets (cool pure 70s almost glamrock ish guitar riff), Soirée Standard (hello THE BOYS!), Ville Musée and Dernier Soir are all winners, although I can name any of the songs here, because this is a sensational record from start to finish! To fans of aforementioned bands I can only say that you need to check out this band a.s.a.p.! More info at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


The debut CD of THIS CELESTIAL ENGINE is described as GONG meets SWANS! This is not that strange if you consider the fact that the band features in their line up Dave Sturt (UK)- bass (GONG/STEVE HILLAGE), Ted Parsons (USA)- drums (SWANS/PRONG) and Roy Powell(UK)- keys (ANTHONY BRAXTON/BILL LASWELL). Their first CD is one to check if you like your prog to sound dark and avant garde ish, experimental, but not too much, so a mix of GONG and SWANS is actually pretty much close. Opener The Astral Doctrine starts dark and calm, in a sorta krautrock kinda movement of the 70s, but especially the last 5 minutes show a sensational instrumental modern post-progressive rockband! Following Supranormal Headspace even heads a bit into 70s symphonic jazz fusion with a touch of 80s new age, although at some point it could also easily be called a neo-progressive rock tune, and a good one for sure! Actually all 5 songs reflect the aforementioned influences, but each song has an own identity and style, which gives you overall a very diverse album that should appeal to both jazz and progfans! Check for yourself at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


THEO MAY is a violinplayer/composer who recorded an album titled Alive In The Forest Of Odd together with Gustavo Clayton Marucci: Bb and Bass Clarinets, Will Bracken: Piano, Ali Watson: Double Bass and Alex Temple-Heald: Drums, while guests include Francesca Brito & Jan Halen: Violins, Cubby Howard: Cello and Daniel Swani: Flute. The included music is interesting instrumental melodic electric violin music that has influences of progressive rock and celtic, and I must say that it sounds really good this instrumental album. Progfans might love this a lot, and there’s also classical music and jazz-fusion parts, so a really healthy fresh mix of aforementioned styles all throughout the album. Make sure to check for yourself at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


PAUL TAYLOR comes out of the North East of England, and he is playing one of the greatest music instruments of all times, which is the Hammon C3 organ, and despite the instrument has been part of many music genres during especially the 1970s, it’s especially known in the progressive rock genre. However, now in 2024 I immediately must think of DE WOLFF, a well-known rising rockband in The Netherlands whom are known for their Hammond Organ player. However, I have never experienced a full-length CD that is entirely based on the Hammond Organ only, because that is what this CD of PAUL TAYLOR is all about. There are no further instruments used during the 2 longs songs of Paul’s debut CD Whirl And Magnet on DISCUS MUSIC. It does feel like you’re in a church somewhere, because after all the sound is similar to a church organ, but Paul is an incredible talent on the Hammond, and he shows off his skills on the organ, and experiments and improves all throughout the 40 minutes of the album, so there is a lot to discover here if you’re a fan of the instrument. Check for yourself at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


LEADERS IN THE CLUBHOUSE is a duo from San Diego, California, USA, consisting of Spud Davenport (Vocals, Drums, Songwriting, other instruments) and Charlie Recksieck (Vocals, Piano, Songwriting, other instruments), and together they recorded the album Won back in 2015. Opener She Gets Loud is quite an incredible and interesting classic pop/rock tune that has a QUEEN Killer Queen kinda vibe and also KAYAK and BEATLES similarities, while on the other hand it also has a touch of today’s modern UK Garage Rock (KAISER CHIEFS) and some of 90s US College Powerpop (WEEZER). These influences can be heard all throughout the album, with as other highlights These Goddamn Devices, Museums, and Trophies, so I really enjoyed the CD Spud did with Charlie as LEADERS IN THE CLUBHOUSE. This duo/band really has potential, bringing back both fun and melodies back into the rock world, in a way reminding of what 10CC and CITY BOY did back in the 70s, so also adding some quirky theatrical elements here and there. Although at first sight it all might look and sound like some kind of joke, this is definitely serious high quality stuff that fits somewhere between 70s art/prog rock, quirky early 80s pop/rock and a tiny bit of 90s modern college rock. Check them out at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Out of San Diego, California, USA comes SPUD DAVENPORT, a multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter who is half of the duo LEADERS IN THE CLUBHOUSE of whom we reviewed Win. Now he has a rather cool new (2023) solo album out entitled Songs For The Cynical, which has the same sort of fun and humor of his other act/project, but this one rocks a lot more, and is sometimes even a close call to STYX and QUEEN here and there, so big time harmonyvocal driven theatrical arena pomp rock, yet always with a touch of the humor of acts like TENACIOUS D and 10CC. The result is a really nice catchy album, which has a lot of great tunes, such as Come Inside!, Enjoy Every Sandwich, You’d Love Me Now, Roommates and Paper Maps. I also loved the superb piano-led cover of the VAN HALEN classic Hot For Teacher, which is a big surprise here. He is helped by a few other musicians, including guitarist Andy Machin, although Spud did a lot on his own. Definitely a recommended CD to check out, because the material is very catchy and it has fun lyrics about everyday life in and around Spud’s hometown of San Diego. More info at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


During the 2010s the Dutch bands BIRTH OF JOY and DEATH ALLEY were 2 popular rock and roll bands on the club circuit here in The Netherlands, but after a tour together they fell apart. However, eventually some of the bandmembers joined forces and formed SPLINTER. Role Model is their 2nd album so far, and this new record was produced by TRIGGERFINGER drummer MARIO GOOSSENS. The included music is a nice mix of various style, sounding quite catchy and melodic right from the start with songs like Soviet Schoolgirl and Bottom. There’s a healthy modern mix of classic rock, post-punk, garage rock and new wave floating around on this CD, and I have to say SPLINTER deserves much-deserved attention. Over here bands like DI-RECT, THE VICES, SON MIEUX, DE WOLFF and such get most of the airplay and hits, but SPLINTER also should get more exposure, because this new album of them is filled with instant winners. Other highlights include Velvet Scam (early 80s post-punk-new wave ish piece), Children (catchy retro garage rocker), Every Circus Needs A Clown (faster uptempo pure 70s rocker, like GOLDEN EARRING, with a sensational Hammond Organ solo a la DE WOLFF) , Forbidden Kicks and the poppy catchy The Carpet Makes Me Sad, although closing track It Should Have Been Over is also worth mentioning, because this is a lovely calmer acoustic piece. Definitely an interesting and very diverse band to catch live if you get the chance (they recently played as support act for the legendary Glamrockband ADAM BOMB!), For now look up their great new album and more info at:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


The band COOGANS BLUFF from Rostock, Germany is a very interesting and diverse band which was formed more than 20 years ago, and meanwhile Balada is already their 7th album so far. Musically speaking there is a lot going on on this new album, which combines elements of psychedelic/progrock, krautrock, alternative rock, soul and a slight part of jazz, so I guess you can see that this band is moving into different directions in a matter of moments. A song like And Here I Stand is quite a heavy stoner rock orientated piece, while Farewell is an amazing lengthy psychedelic progressive rocksong with a calmer part, and If You Make It There reveals their love for jazz. The band is formed around vocalist/bassist Clemens Marasus, guitarist Willi Paschen, drummer Charlie Paschen, saxophonist Max Thum and Trombone player Stefan Meinking, and together these 5 musicians create an own original sound that might appeal to a lot of musicfans out there. Check for yourself at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


The German band DAILY THOMPSON has been around for a while now, and since their formation in 2012 they managed to release 5 albums so far, of which God Of Spinoza is their latest release. It was released originally in 2021, so we are now already 3 years later, but it’s quite a strong 90s orientated record that combines alternative rock/metal and stoner rock/metal, ending up sounding like a great mix of ALICE IN CHAINS and MASTERS OF REALITY. Songs like Nimbus (superb!), Cantaloupe Melon, Golden Desert Child, Muaratic Acid and closing track I Saw Jesus In A Taco Bell are very sensational pieces that reflect the aforementioned influences. The band is currently working on a new album, so meanwhile check them out a.s.a.p. More info on this highly recommended band can be found at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


THE PIGHOUNDS are a German duo from the city of Dortmund, and they were formed back in 2018. Phat Pig Phace is their 2nd album so far, and musically speaking Peter Bering (Guitar, Vocals) and Alessandro De Luca (Drums) create a heavy retro blues rock sound that is slightly heavier than for example THE BLACK KEYS or THE WHITE STRIPES, but more or less it has the same kinda vibe. 11 songs are included, of which the highlights are Big Ben, Green Lobster Inc and Jelly Bean. Sometimes the band goes for quite a heavy almost stoner rock direction, kinda FOO FIGHTERish, so this makes them actually quite diverse and heavier than the aforementioned similarities. Without a doubt a great rocking German duo we have here and you can check them out at:

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


LONG TALL J. is a Dutch Prog Rock Guitarist living in London, but he is also a captain flying airplanes all over the world. The past 4 years he has picked up his music career again after a long pause throughout the 2000s and 2010s. He started composing his own material in early 2020, then recording songs with the help of guest singers and musicians, and now he brings us already his 4th CD titled Solidarity. He is a gifted guitarist and on this new CD we welcome the fantastic guest singer MARIIA ARKHIPOVA (originally from Kyiv, Ukraine), who sings on 6 songs. 2 of those songs also feature guest vocalist PEH HONG lp and the remaining 4 songs on the CD are instrumentally. Opener Your Soul is a beautiful calmer piece featuring Mariia’s wonderful vocals for the first time. However, things get absolutely sensational during the following Ukraine, which is a superb piece of uptempo classic AOR/melodic rock with amazing lead vocals of Mariia that reminds me actually of acts like HEART, VIXEN, MEGHAN, ENVY, LANA LANE and such, so with a clear female fronted 80s AOR approach. The melodies are stunning and the screaming in the end has probably everything to do with the horrible war at the moment in Ukraine. The music during the following 8 songs are a melting pot of various style, but I guess progressive rock might be the best description, especially during the longest tracks on the album, which are Turandot and the instrumental closing track Floydian Blues. I also love the uptempo melodic hardrocksong Long Tall Boots, which again has the VIXEN / LAOS / IF ONLY similarities! Definitely worth checking out and LONG TALL J has the potential to become much bigger, especially with Mariia on vocals. This new CD of LONG TALL J. (which was mastered by THE PINEAPLE THIEF keyboardplayer STEVE KITCH by the way) is really good and for more info please go to:

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Now this is what real rock and roll needs to sound like, because the album Redneck Gasoline of the Danish band SUCKERPUNCH is clearly revealing a true authentic mix of southern rock and classic heavy rock and roll/metal in a way you can hear influences of BLACKFOOT, ZZ TOP, MOTORHEAD, TURBONEGRO, AC/DC and such bands in their mostly straight-ahead rock and roll sound. It sounds, dirty, mean and a bit sleazy here and there (remember the TATTOOED LOVE BOYS, FASTER PUSSYCAT, GUNS’N’ROSES and CATS’N’BOOTS days of the very early 90s), with a raw whiskey alike singer to make it appeal to the Metal and Southern Rockfans. Anyway, the band was formed about 15 years ago, and I believe this 2nd album was already released in 2019, but it now gets another chance through WORMHOLEDEATH. I am glad it did, because uptempo rockers like Hell To Pay and Filthy Rich as well as a ballad like Last Call (with even a bit VOLBEAT meets DROPKICK MUPRHY’s kinds vibe) are without a doubt very strong tunes. In fact, there is not a single weak moment to be found here and as already mentioned you can also smell the southern heavy rock influences quite a lot, such as during Dusty Windshield and Gators that smell BLACKFOOT meeting ZZ TOP somewhere down in Texas! Anyway, not much on the band out there, but do follow them at: because they have released one of the most authentic true raw dirty mean rock and roll records of the past 10 years!

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


More is less or less is more, that is what comes to mind when checking out the 2-CD set of MAX ENIX’ album Far From Home. Overwhelming is clearly one way to describe this album, because there is a lot happening on the 2 new CDs of French composer/vocalist/director/producer MAX ENIX. He has a list of guest musicians, singers, a rapper(!) and a full blown orchestra (the Budapest Symphony orchestra) to perform on 2 full-length CDs that is accompanied by an impressive cartoonized 48pages counting booklet. And I have to say it’s not bad at all, but at one point it is also a bit too much and too dramatic, slightly overblown and trying to capture elements of all kinds of styles, which is really hard to do, but in general speaking this is a symphonic rock opera alike style MAX ENIX is aiming for most of the time. He does a remarkable good job, and actually there is a lot of diversity to keep one interested from start to finish, but on the other hand sometimes it might feel overwhelming as mentioned earlier on in the review. Nevertheless, it sure is a nice modern sounding big sympho rock opera that will find it’s way to the fans of a lighter version of AYREON and AVANTASIA, but don’t be surprised to find some modern rap elements here and there, while the classical and opera elements are also on the foreground sometimes. Check it out for yourself at:

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


THE HITMAN BLUES BAND is a New York based bluesrockband formed around vocalist/guitarist RUSSELL “HITMAN” ALEXANDER, who has an amazing voice and also plays the guitar very well, while his band delivers a great back-up for him. Their new CD Hey, Can You Guys Play… is a collection of cover songs of original blues traditional of legendary acts like SON HOUSE, JL HOOKER, ROBERT JOHNSON, WILLY DIXON, BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, BOB DYLAN and a few more, yet they are all played in a bluesy rocking soulful version, so THE HITMAN BLUES BAND really gives it an own approach to these classic tunes. Right from the start with opener Hoochie Coochie Man the band shows what this is all about, playing really honest soulful bluesy classic rock and roll. And how about this DYLAN classic The Times They Are A-Changing’, which sounds completely different than it’s original and that makes this new version a must to hear, and actually every song of the 10 included you need to hear THE HITMAN BLUES BAND versions. I’ll bet live these guys really know how to put on a show! Check them out at: and

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


BROTHERS BROWN is an American band formed around Grammy nominee BROTHER PAUL BROWN (THE WATERBOYS) on Hammond, Piano and Moog Synthesizer and PAUL BROWN (L.A.) on guitars and vocals. L.A. Paul Brown has won 2 Grammys and produced more than 60 no. 1 singles for people like GEORGE BENSON, AL JARREAU among many others. The 2 Paul Brown’s met at the Grammy Awards in 2014 and they recorded together with bassist/guitarist DAVID SANTOS (BILLY JOEL, JOHN FOGERTY, ELTON JOHN) and drummer/guitarist PETER YOUNG (LORETTA LYNN) a debut album titled Dusty Road back in 2016. 8 years later there is a follow-up titled Nowhere Left To Go, which musically speaking contains a mixture of typical American styles, such as blues, Americana, southern rock, Westcoast and a bit of funky soul / pop. The result is a really great diverse album, of which the highlights are the midtempo bluesy southern rock ish Junior’s Back, the midtempo bluesy Nowhere Left To Go (ft. BOBBY RUSH) (which sounds like ROBERT CRAY BAND meets RAY CHARLES), the calmer Americana semi-ballad High Up On The Mountain, the funky Brand New Day, the raw early 70s ZZ TOP orientated Snakehole Road and the STEELY DANish Whatcha Gonna Do. Definitely an interesting band this BROTHERS BROWN, so for more info please go to:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


Well, well, well… here we have the very first sensational new progressive rock product of 2024! It concerns the 2nd album of the Minneapolis, USA based band K’MONO. From start to finish this is how we like our prog to sound. The melodies are really lovely and reflect clear YES and CAMEL references, so we are heading deep into classic 70s British orientated symphonic/progressive rock. The band is formed around JEFFREY CARLSON (vocals, guitars, keys), CHAD FJERSTAD (vocals, bass, keys) and TIMOTHY JAVA (drums), and these are 3 truly gifted musicians who can also sing very well, as a lot of the songs feature beautiful harmonyvocals besides the classic 70s sounding keys and precise guitarplaying. 7 long songs are included, and without a doubt, this is a dream come true for all the progfans out there, because more authentic 70s orientated isn’t possible. This band is also highly recommended if you like for example THE FLOWER KINGS! More info can be found at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Sadly only 5 songs are included on the first EP of CASSIUS KING AND THE DOWNTOWN RULERS, because it definitely smells good after repeated listens of the material, so I am eager to hear more of this talented American singer/songwriter/keyboardplayer CASSIUS KING. Included is high class bluesy rock situated around the wonderful soulful vocals of Cassius. This is definitely the real thing, and the fact that he writes his own songs makes it an even more enjoyable. His vibrato and material reminds me a bit of JOHN NEMETH. Along the ride he gets help from THE DOWNTOWN RULERS, which consists of guitarist CHALO ORTIZ, bassist CHRIS WHITE and drummer J.R. LOZANO. Although this is a short debut EP, without a doubt it’s a superb piece of original bluesy rock! More info at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


Here we have a sensational new band from Jönköping, Sweden, whom deliver their 2nd album with the self-titled album The Striders, which they released independently on vinyl, and they were kind enough to send me a red vinyl version of it. The band released their debut Out Of The Blues on SLIPTRICK RECORDS back in 2020, and now follow it up with this superb album. THE STRIDERS consists of Victor Gustafsson – Vocals, Linnéa Burman – Bass/Backing Vocals, Mattias Gudasic – Guitar/Backing Vocals and Sebastian Varas – Drums (meanwhile replaced by Jonathan Lassila), and 10 songs can be found on the new album. Opener Woman is a lovely uptempo classic rocker with a real good retro rocking vibe. Next track Devil Dressed In Green adds a bluesy groovy touch and does have an American southern rock swing as well, so a mixture of let’s say THE BLACK CROWES, RIVAL SONS, DIRTY HONEY and DE WOLFF. Just a few tracks on the ole record player and it is already clear that we are dealing here with a high quality band from Sweden! Victor is a great soulful singer, and he reminds me so much of DE WOLFF, so I guess if you like those guys, then you will love THE STRIDERS. They should do a tour together! Anyway, side-A of the vinyl album continues with Sky Is The Limit, a fantastic 70s classic ALICE COOPER/THIN LIZZY guitar riff driven uptempo rocker, while the chorus has a slower AEROSMITH/LED ZEPPELIN grooviness, and I must not forget to mention the amazing 70s guitarwork on this song. The Striders is the next song, and this is another lovely 70s soulful uptempo classic rocker like LED ZEPPELIN meets DE WOLFF, while Farewell closes side-A nicely in a slower LED ZEPPELIN mode, and during this song Victor once again shows his amazing vocal skills.

Side-B continues the cool rocking vibe of Side-A, so more authentic 70s classic rock can be heard, of which I would like to point out the songs Supernova (uptempo classic rock at it’s best!) and the catchy Shadows In The Dark, but actually every song on the album is a killer rocking tune that should find it’s way to fans of BLACK CROWES, DE WOLFF, LED ZEPPELIN, KINGDOM COME, etc. etc. These guys surely know how to deliver top-notch rock and roll, which is thanks to awesome songwriting, excellent musicianship and a fantastic singer! Concluded, we have a real new winner in the classic rock world with this THE STRIDERS from Sweden, so go check them out at:

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


THOMAS FRANK HOPPER is a guitarist/singer/songwriter from Belgium, although he travelled around the world, especially during his youth when he lived in Africa most of the time. Anyway, he has already released an album in the past, but Paradize City is the first album I get to hear and review. Without a doubt, this is a high quality modern melodic heavy blues rock album in the style of JOE BONAMASSA, KENNY WAYNE SHEPHARD and such giants of the scene. Thomas is a strong singer and also a gifted guitarplayer, while songs like the superb A Song For The Devil, Chimera (ZEPPELINish), Back To The Wild and April Fool are quite sensational and could also appeal to fans of bluesy melodic hardrock, because they even have a touch of early WHITESNAKE, THUNDER, KINGDOM COME and LED ZEPPELIN. Other members that help out Thomas on his new CD are guitarist DIEGO HIGUERAS, bassist JACOB MILLER, drummer NICOLAS SCALLIET and Hammond player MAXIME SIROUL. The album sounds really huge and should definitely interest musicfans all over the world due to it’s international vibe, so once again it is putting Belgium on the map to look for new quality original rockmusic. More info at:

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Canada and progressive rock have been a great combination for a number of years now. RUSH, SAGA and MYSTERY are 3 of the greatest symphonic/progrockbands ever, so it was likely that more prog bands were/are active in Canada, and here we have for example MONARCH TRAIL from Hamilton, Ontario. This band was formed by keyboard player/vocalist Ken Baird, who gathered around him some session musicians, such as drummer Chris Lamont, bassist Dino Verginella and guitarists John Mamone, Kelly Kereliuk and Steve Cochrane, and together they recorded 4 albums throughout the years, of which the latest is Four Sides. 4 songs are included, and the included music is classic 70s keyboard orientated symphonic/progressive rock that actually reminds me a lot of the Canadian band FM if anyone remembers that cult band. The songs have really great ALAN PARSONS PROJECT alike keyboards and the calm soft vocals of Ken give it this relaxed kinda setting. This is a recommended prog album, so go check them out at: and

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


LONE STAR MOJO is a Texas, USA based band which features musicians whom have been making music for over a dozen of decades in/with different band settings. Their music is pure Chicago Blues/heavy blues rock, and despite the fact that the lead vocals are not crystal clear, they are clearly showing that Hammond player/lead singer JOE SPLAWN (who was born blind by the way) has a passion for what he’s doing all his life and his raw VAN MORRISON alike vocals perfectly suit the band’s passionate raw bluesrock. Most of the time, this is blues “the real deal”, just listen to the ballad Thoughts Of You, an 8 minutes counting classic that also feels like classic BUDDY GUY and/or BB KING. The guitarwork of MARK SNYDER (who also sings a few songs) is phenomenal and recalls JOHNNY WINTER, ALBERT KING and ERIC GALES (and even newbie CHRISTONE KINGFISH INGRAM). Fans of such pure blues that also rocks here and there, they should check this authentic band a.s.a.p.! More info at:

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


At the start of this CD it is not exactly known where this is going, because we have some sort of 80s synth pop/art-pop kinda vibe going on, but it also has this neo-progrock thing slipping through my mind while listening and in particular YES or even SAGA or ALAN PARSONS PROJECT. I think the Norwegian band MESAVERDE fits somewhere in the middle, although there are also some rocking guitars a few times as if we’re into LED ZEPPELIN territory (not much, but just at the spot sometimes), however mainly it is calmer keyboard dominated synth prog on the 2nd album of this Oslo based band. The band’s debut Ky was released in 2022, so now 2 years later there is a follow-up of the band that is formed around drummer Jørgen Apeness (Sauropod, Thea & The Wild, Lazy Queen), bassist Lars Fremmerlid (Bugge Wesseltoft, Einar Stray Orchestra), guitarist Henrik Schmidt (Synne Sanden, Shimmering) and singer/songwriter/keyboardplayer Jonas Lundekvam. 9 songs are included, and from start to finish it is a very enjoyable calmer synth orientated prog/art-rock album that will definitely be of interest for fans of the aforementioned acts (YES, ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, KAYAK…), but also if you like calmer modern indie wave like for example LEPROUS, WEYES BLOOD and especially TAME IMPALE, because after repeated listens I definitely notice comparisons to that Australian act. Done very well, the album gets better and more interesting when you listen to it a couple of times, because there is a lot to discover here. Check the band out at: and

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Straight out of Northern Hollywood California USA comes the sensational modern hardrockband BLACKLIST UNION. They already released a few albums, which I also reviewed a long time ago, and their fifth album Letters From The Psych Ward sure feels very good after listening to the lovely black vinyl edition I received. The band was founded by lead singer TONY WEST back in 2004, and as already mentioned they released 4 albums in the past. Between 2017 and 2020 they were not active, but 4 years ago they reformed in the original line up that besides Tony further includes drummer Nathan West, guitarist Rafael Moreira and bassist Chris Johnson. Without a doubt, this band surely knows how to rock, and on vinyl it sounds really authentic! This new album of them is definitely a great comeback and maybe their finest album so far.

Opener and titletrack Letters From The Psych Ward as well as the following Out On A Jones, both show an uptempo hardrocking driven band that taps slightly out of the glorious late 80s/early 90s American Sleazy Rock past (L.A. GUNS, GUNS’N’ROSES and such) and a lot of the mid 90s alternative rock and roll side of life (ALICE IN CHAINS, VELVET REVOLVER, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, ALTER BRIDGE…), yet still with an own identity, and also a modern production. They sound really dirty, mean and authentic pure rock and roll from start to finish, and in total 13 tracks are pressed on this cool vinyl edition, which comes in a gatefold sleeve that contains besides some nice drawings all the information on the band you need to know while listening to the rocking new album of them. Other highlights are the catchy uptempo sleazy melodic heavy rocker The Whore Of Babylon (OZZY meets CRUE in a VELVET REVOLVER fight!), the stadium anthem metal ish Keys To The Kingdom, the superb slow 90s alternative metal/ALICE IN CHAINS ish Dirty Halo (lovely melodies that would have been an MTV hit 30 years ago!!!), The Queen Of Everything (a song OZZY would have loved to have recorded!) and the superb uptempo classic 80s hair metal/melodic rocker Gates Of Steel (actually a cover of the 1980s DEVO song).

Furthermore the power ballad Mia is a great cover of the classic AEROSMITH tune and closing track Golden Years is a nice cover of the DAVID BOWIE classic, so all together this is a highly recommended vinyl album. This is what rock and roll is all about, because in a world where it is hard to be original, you have to be a special and basically BLACKLIST UNION is a special band with a cool combination of a lot of various past rock and metal influences! More info on this superb Californian rockband can be found at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


The legendary British AOR band LIONHEART has a long history that started 44 years ago in the middle of the NWOBHM days. After a few years they developed into one of the most commercial American AOR sounding British bands during the heydays of AOR music in the early/mid 1980s. Their classic album Hot Tonight has never left my turntable, because it was loaded with lovely AOR tunes. The band originally featured vocalist JESS COX (ex-TYGERS OF PAN TANG), guitarist DENNIS STRATTON (ex-IRON MAIDEN), guitarist/keyboardist STEVE MANN (ex-LIAR, MSG, ELOY), bassist/vocalist ROCKY NEWTON (ex-WILDFIRE, AIRRACE, BAD MOON RISING, SAXON, DEF LEPPARD, BRONZ…) and drummer FRANK NOON (ex-DEF LEPPARD), and they were already back then one of the first so-called supergroups that featured musicians from all kinds of well-known bands at the time. CHAD LOWE became their vocalist eventually when they started recording their aforementioned one and only album Hot Tonight in 1984, but despite some videoclips and promotion by their label, it did not become the huge DEF LEPPARDish success everyone was hoping for, so they split up in 1986. Most of the bandmembers ended up in other British bands, and some of the unreleased LIONHEART material ended up on a 2-CD set (Unearthed – Raiders of the Lost Archives) released in Japan during the mid-1990s.

In 2016 LIONHEART reformed in an original line-up except for the vocalist and drummer, because those places were taken by vocalist LEE SMALL (SHY and PHENOMENA) and drummer CLIVE EDWARDS (ex-UFO and WILD HORSES). 2 albums followed during the next 4 years, and then corona hit the world, but now in 2024 the band returns with a brand new album entitled The Grace Of A Dragonfly, which is a concept album about World War 2. I received a beautiful limited silver vinyl edition of the album. It is a fantastic gatefold album that contains basically all the information you need to know on every bandmember, because there is an impressive LIONHEART band member discography and circle of bands overview on 2 sides of the inner sleeve, while also all the lyrics and much more information on the whereabouts of the recording is mentioned. Concluded, a lot to look at and read while listening to this great new album of LIONHEART!

10 songs are included in total, and opener Declaration is a superb uptempo melodic rocker with clear similarities to PRAYING MANTIS and SHY. The midtempo Flight 19 follows in a smooth AOR style, while the keyboard driven uptempo AOR piece V Is For Victory is throwing us back straight to the 1980s, with big sweet harmonyvocals, it has a touch of classic JOURNEY for sure. The midtempo This Is Woman’s War follows nicely in a lovely soaring guitar driven melodic heavy rocksound a la PRAYING MANTIS and SHY. Closing side-A is The Longest Night, a faster uptempo melodic heavy rocker that is again close to PRAYING MANTIS, and also THE SWEET circa the 90s comes to mind here. A pretty good tune that shows Lee once again shining as a one of the finest singers in Britain at the moment. His voice is quite close to GLENN HUGHES, and I also need to mention the superb guitarwork of both Dennis and Steve here, because it has the classic British sound of LIZZY/MAIDEN/SAXON.  

Side-B starts with The Eagle’s Nest, which picks up the pure 80s midtempo/semi-AOR ballad direction again, and this superb song is not far removed from SHY actually, while secretly adding some amazing 80s twin-guitar driven melodies throughout the catchy chorus. Little Ships follows, and this is another lovely uptempo melodic heavy rocker in the PRAYING MANTIS style (and also 80s MAGNUM). Just A Man is a very nice strong Power Ballad with a rather catchy chorus, while UXB is a terrific uptempo 80s AOR rocker in the style of AVIATOR, AIRRACE and early FM, while also touching the 80s GARY MOORE and PHENOMENA material. The chorus of UXB is deadly catchy and a real sucker for fans of aforementioned bands! The titletrack The Grace Of A Dragonfly follows in a more or less similar style, so another great uptempo AOR tune with phenomenal guitarwork, and final track Remembrance, Praying For World Peace closes the album nicely as a short epic ballad.

The artwork, inner sleeves and information printed inside the vinyl booklet are superior, so that is a real big bonus, and thankfully also the music is of a very high level. Especially the AOR/Melodic Rockfans will love this adventure back to the World War 2, and despite this might sound dark lyrically speaking, it a very catchy fun cheerful album dedicated to the people who gave their lives to fight for our freedom. In a time when 2 new wars have erupted the past few years, it should also be dedicated to those who are now sadly once again fighting for their freedom because they have no other choice. This vinyl album of LIONHEART will probably not end the wars, but it is definitely a great album you need to check out, because these old talented musicians recorded a timeless record both musically and lyrically speaking. Highly recommended to all AOR/Melodic Rockfans out there! More info at:

(Points: 8.8 out of 10)


SURGICAL STRIKE is a German band which released their first debut EP "V:II:XII" in 2016, their 1st full-length album Part Of A Sick World" in 2020, and now they release their 2nd studio album entitled 24/7 Hate. Actually they were founded in 1993, but they did not manage to release anything during the 1990s and 2000s. Actually, the band split up between 1996 and 2014, but since their reformation they have managed to actually record and release material. Their line up consists of Jens “Stöpsel” Albert – lead vocals, Marcelo Vasquez Rocha – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, Frank Ruhnke – lead guitar, Florian Seybecke – Bass, backing vocals and Joshua Jo – Drums, and I received the lovely black vinyl edition of the album. The artwork looks very nice due to its classic 80s bandlogo, and from start to finish musically speaking it’s full speed ahead fast Thrash Metal. They are not looking back at all, because this is classic 80s Bay Area aggressive Thrash Metal with cool shredding guitars all over the place. Vocally it is very much reminding of bands like FORBIDDEN, KREATOR, OVERKILL and a bit of SLAYER, so it leans as already mentioned more towards the aggressive side of Thrash Metal, so don’t expect TESTAMENT and ANTHRAX ish melodies, although the guitarwork is on the other hand very melodic. Thrash Metal will probably never die and there will always be bands around somewhere playing the genre that was introduced during the 1980s. Especially in parts of Europe and South America there is a huge market for the good old thrash metal sound, and to all those fans of the mentioned bands I can highly recommend the new vinyl album of SURGICAL STRIKE. More info at:

(Points: 7.8 out of 10)