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A rather strange name for a new band, but the reason behind it is rather simple, because it is the brainchild of three members of the Chicago-based jam-band UMPHREY’S MCGEE along with two members of OHM. The line-up reads Chris Poland – guitars, Robertino Pagliari – bass, Jake Cinninger – guitars, Joel Cummins – keyboards and Kris Myers – drums. 8 instrumental songs are on the CD they released on MAGNA CARTA RECORDS. Musically very laid-back almost Jazz/Fusion type of Rock is played here, almost feeling like a long jamsession, but that is not really weird if you consider the fact that the CD was recorded in just 2 days! These five musicians locked themselves in a Los Angeles based studio for two days, fueled by nothing but pizza and recorded this CD. A jamsession with many spontaneous breaks is the result and definitely worth checking out, although it is something you have to appreciate, because don’t expect any real songs here, just put on the CD and let it take you into a relaxing mood. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


The Encyclopedia Of Heavy Metal is a book written by DANIEL BUHSZPAN. It was published a few years ago, but still very interesting to check out due to the fact that this Encyclopedia contains some of the best pictures I have seen in ages in an encyclopedia. Admitted, the book is not the perfect Encyclopedia, because where’s DREAM THEATER for instance! However, the rather large format and 300 pages filled with some amazing pictures is making that up big time. Almost every page has a picture and they are all in full colour! Daniel has included very well-known bands of course, but also some very rare underground obscure Cult bands and not just only Metal, but also Hardrockbands are present. Basically a very nice summary, with also some great lengthy biographies. Highlight for me personally were the incredible pictures of THE RUNAWAYS on pages 210 and 211, a real eye-catcher of these beautiful girls, of whom of course in later years JOAN JETT, LITA FORD and CHERRY CURRIE would go on record some great solo material, but THE RUNAWAYS were an amazing all-female band back in 1976. Gladly I have all their LPs and recently re-issued CDs here closeby! But there are loads more, mostly 1980s and 1990s bands, included here, ranging from WHITESNAKE, WINGER, WARRANT, QUEENSRYCHE, RATT, MOTLEY CRUE, MEGADETH, URIAH HEEP, Y&T, RIOT, RAVEN, RUSH, KISS, MALMSTEEN, MANOWAR, FATES WARNING, BLACK SABBATH, DIO, DOKKEN, BLUE OYSTER CULT, etc. etc., so actually the title should have been Hardrock and Metal, because not all of these bands may be considered Metal! The biographies are well written, but like mentioned before the absolute highlights are the included photos of the bands and musicians that look very impressive. Besides all band features, additionally we can find some sidebars, such as the genres, radio, venues, magazines, etc., a foreword by Metal God RONNIE JAMES DIO and at the end a bunch of Charts Metal related. Not that many bands are included, so we can not call this the ultimate Encyclopedia, but it does at least give a real good inside look into the genre and it’s subgenres, with also visually something to look at, making this Encyclopedia a real recommended Book. Available through:  , but probably in the better book stores in the major cities available too…

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Now this is not your average book and surely not something you have ever seen before. It reminds me of that excellent Metal Boardgame I received many years ago, which also hailed from Canada and was basically the first and probably last Game/Trivia about nothing but Metal! Well, here is another very original item, because this ‘book’ is actually a Puzzle Book with all kinds of fun activities, such as drawing, crosswords, wordsearch puzzles, memory, rebus, wordgames and much more! And the fun thing of course is that it is all related to Hardrock and Metal, so find youself enjoying here to solve a puzzle about AC/DC or finish a drawing from IRON MAIDEN, although my favourite was the HAIR METAL CROSSWORD PUZZLE, which was a very fun one to solve, filling in 28 bands from the 1980s. Of course the puzzles are not that hard if you’re a Metalfan, but it is the incredible originality of author AYE JAY and the fun while reading through the 48 pages that makes this really worth checking out. Be sure not to miss the most original book of all times (!) at: 

(Points: 9.0 out of 10)


Now this is something you don’t see everyday, because this book by author W. FRASER SANDERCOMBE is actually a guide to each book about THE BEATLES available in the world! He evaluated more than 1,400 books about the Fab Four, which is of course quite astonishing, because not many bands are able to tell they have more than a 1,000 books written about them, not even KISS! A whopping 430+ pages are telling you about every book available about THE BEATLES. Categorized alphabetically from A to Z divided into 3 sections namely ‘by author’, ‘by title’ and ‘by year’ with additionally by the group themselves, this book sums up something every musicfan and of course especially THE BEATLES freaks are interested to see. If you have a book about THE BEATLES it will certainly be included in here. The books are briefly featured with title, author, publishing company, publishing year and some extra info (hard or softcover, country…). Must-have for THE BEATLES fans! Available through:  and 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


Soft Pop/Rock with a lot of Harmonica, kinda like a mix between JOE COCKER, TOM PETTY and some other soft Westcoast/Middle Of The Road type of music. Not bad at all, because these Swedish musicians deliver quality, but somehow I had expected a more AOR type of approach a la PROMOTION. Instead they went for a more Pop direction. Vocally it is very raw (a la JOE COCKER), so it would have been better if they had used the female singer, who is singing on just one track. She is called KARIN RISBERG and sounds pretty good actually. Nevertheless, if you’re interested in above description, then do check the band out at: 

(Points: 7.5 out of 10)


HYSTERICA is a Swedish band and not just another one after you have seen the pictures in the CD booklet of their debut album 'Metalwar', released on ANIMAL RECORDS. They are an all-female band looking like the female equivalent of MANOWAR. They are probably the hottest looking Metalband in ages, easily beating the likes of ORAL, PHANTOM BLUE, GIRLSCHOOL and VIXEN, actually looking quite close like LEE AARON did in the early 80s, but then 5 times LEE AARON, as HYSTERICA exists of 5 female musicians! And despite the incredible cliche tingled lyrics of the songs on their CD, it needs to be said that this rather young all-female band can actually play and create some catchy typical pure Metal as well. Vocals are strong and a European Tour recently showed they are able to play their instruments very well, so this is not just a gimmick band created by a bunch of male moneymakers. HYSTERICA are a real band, looking good and with songs like "Halloween", "Girls made of heavy metal", "The bitch is back" and "Heavy metal man" showing they are a potential True Metalband! Don't miss out these 5 gorgeous Metalgirls as they are a multiple version of classic LEE AARON (visually) meets MANOWAR (musically). All info at:  and 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


They are back... Probably the finest German band ever in music history, FAIR WARNING, they have released a new album titled 'Aura'. For the production of their previous albums the 4 musicians (unchanged since their debut from 17 years ago!!!) always choose unusual locations with a very special atmosphere. Previous album 'Brother's Keeper' this was the mansion of a befriended record company CEO and this time the halls of an old Knight's manor was the perfect setting to record 'Aura'. Musically nothing has changed and they once again came up with a superb album loaded with melodic rock anthems or should I already say... classics... OK, it is hard to ever reach the high level of their classics 'Go' and 'Rainmaker' from 13+ years ago again, but especially the first 3 songs on this new album are destined to become the absolute melodic rock highlights of the year 2009! These are the uptempo melodic rockers "Fighting for your love" and "Here comes the heartache" as well as the excellent semi-ballad "Hey girl". Songs like these have been in my head ever since I heard them for the first time and with the hot summer weather at the moment the perfect entries for a Summer Chart on the I-POD. Following 3 songs ("Don't count on me", "Falling" and "Holding on") are a little less sensational, but with "Walking on smiles", "Someday", "It takes more", "As snow white found out" and "Station to station" they reach the pot of Gold again. FAIR WARNING have had the status of being the best German or should I say European Melodic Rockband since the mid 1990s and with 'Aura' they will keep this high profile for sure. Must-have for any Melodic Rockfan out there! More at: 

(Points: 9.1 out of 10)


The Swedish Melodic Metalband STONELAKE return with a new CD titled ‘Shades of eternity’. Musically we are close to Classic 80s US Melodic Power Metal a la very early FATES WARNING, JAG PANZER, CRIMSON GLORY, QUEENSRYCHE, etc. etc. Yet with a slight European Metal touch, thanks to the bombastic use of keyboards here and there. Vocally quite raw and high-pitched (sorta reminding me of MIKE VESCARA meets UDO!), so typical US Power Metal style, yet quite melodic in the chorus department, with as highlights the more Melodic Rock orientated tracks “Rescue you”, “Can’t steal your heart” and “Fly out”. Not a sensational release, but still a nice one to check out if you like high-pitched US Power Metal mixed with some Melodic Rock (a la TNT). More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


OPTIMYSTICAL is a new Swedish band featuring musicians of WOLVERINE, VAGH, TEASER, TOKEN and unknown lead singer RONNIE HAGSTEDT. Ronnie has a FANTASTIC Classic Hardrock voice (a la classic DAVID COVERDALE and GOTTHARD singer STEVE LEE) and gives the catchy pure 80s Swedish Melodic Rock an own identity. OPTIMYSTICAL is sorta the baby of guitarist/songwriter ROBIN VAGH, of whom we reviewed quite some projects in the past. With the debut release ‘Distant encounters’, OPTIMYSTICAL is not doing something completely new, but on the other hand what we get to hear is “high quality super professional Melodic (Hard) Rock. Especially during the uptempo Melodic Rockers “Startide rising”, “Happen” (An AOR chorus with harmonyvocals a la classic DAKOTA!), “Lost horizon” and “Sunburst in the midnight” (SUPERSTRONG MELODIC AOR CHORUS!), which are all very strong songs. And how about the SUPERB “The storm”, an uptempo Melodic Heavy Rocker that sounds like a mix between RAINBOW/MALMSTEEN fronted JOE LYNN TURNER and DEEP PURPLE fronted DAVID COVERDALE. Slightly heavier, but still it’s all reminding of classic bands such as ALIEN, TALISMAN, TALK OF THE TOWN, MADISON, TREAT, DALTON, BAD HABIT, DAVINCI, etc. etc. mixed with 80s WHITESNAKE, RAINBOW and a bit of DAKOTA choruses… Better make sure you check out this great new release, more info at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


It’s already album number 13 of this legendary British band, whom were formed 20 years ago. They never changed style and have always been one of those bands that is loved by the press for it’s experimental and out of the ordinary Hardrock/Metal sound. The band mixes Folk, Metal, Rock and Thrash with Doom Metal and each song sounds different, also on their new album ‘In the… all together’. Fans of the band and most of the Metal press will probably also love this new album.

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


GRIMMSTINE is the new band of legendary lead singer STEVE GRIMMETT, who once had quite a lot of success with the band GRIM REAPER. He released 3 albums with them in the 1980s, selling together almost 1 million records in the USA, that was his fifteen minutes of fame for sure! He also released albums with ONSLAUGHT and LIONSHEART, but never achieved the success of GRIM REAPER. Anyway, with the debut CD of his new band GRIMMSTINE, Steve continues his Melodic Heavy Metal sound of the past, which results in a 15 very good new tunes, of which the highlights are the melodic rocker “’Til they take my wings”, “You’ll never know” (a ballad), the fast “It’s over” and the WHITESNAKEish “You give me love”. Although a few songs like the highlights are pure Melodic Rock (with twin-guitarwork in classic British tradition), in the end xxpect a mixture of GRIM REAPER and LIONSHEART here musically, so maybe nothing new is brought on the release of the very first GRIMSTINE album, it still marks a nice return of one of Britain’s great Metal voices! More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10)


HOLY WATER was a band from New York whom were active in the late 1980s and early 90s. Somehow they never managed to get a record deal, which is almost unbelievable if you listen to their CD ‘The collected sessions’, which sounds like a major label release from 1990, not far away from bands like FIREHOUSE, TYKETTO, SHADOW KING, FOREIGNER, VALENTINE, DANGER DANGER and such… Most of the songs are midtempo based and that is the only complaint here, because some uptempo rockers or a pure ballad here and there could not have hurt the value of the CD. Nevertheless, the fact that this CD has been released is remarkable to say the least, because HOLY WATER only did a few studio sessions almost 20 years ago, which now have been pressed onto CD by PERRIS RECORDS. The sound quality is superb and songs like “If I knew then…” (by far the best song here!), “Some things have to happen” and “I’m not worried anymore” show the band’s high quality sound they had many moons ago, but still did not give them a record label deal. The band featured an excellent singer (DAVID KNIGHT) and a brilliant guitarist (THOMAS JUDE), while several other musicians made a guest appearance, including former FOREIGNER keyboardplayer AL GREENWOOD, who also produced 3 songs. The song “Crocodile Rock” is the only song with a slightly rawer production quality, but the rest all sounds as good as a major label release. Highly recommended to check out if you’re a devoted late 80s melodic rock style fan! More info at: 

(Points: 8.6 out of 10)


I would not call this a classic, but on the other hand it was a very important part in the career of SAMMY HAGAR, because in between his MONTROSE and VAN HALEN days he released a whole string of solo-albums. 'Street machine' was one of them. This album from 30 years ago has now been re-issued onto CD by ROCK CANDY RECORDS. Although his later solo-albums were stronger efforts and went for a more AOR/Melodic Rock approach, this album is a pure 1970s Hardrock affair in the style of the first 2 YESTERDAY AND TODAY albums (the 1970s stuff they put out) and also TED NUGENT comes to mind a lot of time. Songs like "Growing pains", "Feels Like Love", "Plain Jane" and "This Planets On Fire (Burn In Hell)" are considered to be classics in the eyes of the SAMMY HAGAR fans out there. The remastering was done in perfection as always with ROCK CANDY RECORDS and with a glossy looking booklet a must-have for any SAMMY HAGAR fan! More info at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


Originally released back in 1988, the New York based band CIRCUS OF POWER went a complete different way than the at that moment US wave of mainstream hardrock and glamrock popularity. CIRCUS OF POWER played a much rawer Rock and Roll style that was more going into the direction of ROSE TATTOO, although there were also clear similarities to the early 90s Sleazy Hardrockstyle that was quite popular in the 2 years before the Grunge arrival around 1991/1992. The band gained some popularity in especially Europe (read: the UK) and with their major debut release on RCA Records future looked bright. Although they released 4 more albums they split up in the mid 1990s, the band never became really big, despite the huge cult following they had. Now 20+ years later their debut album has been re-issued onto CD by ROCK CANDY RECORDS and as always they did a fantasic job. People who still remember this band will be stunned by the sound quality of this re-issue, then be sure not to miss it through: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


RAGING SLAB was a band based in New York City, whom had their fifteen minutes of fame back in 1989 when they released their 2nd album on RCA RECORDS. Produced by DANIEL REY (THE RAMONES, CIRCUS OF POWER…), the band were destined to deliver something American musicfans basically adore, namely a pure Southern Hardrock Classic in the style of LYNYRD SKYNYRD, only heavier and sometimes more sounding like a cross between BADLANDS and BAD COMPANY, 2 bands whom were becoming quite popular around that time frame (BADLANDS being a new band in the late 80s and the renewed interest in BAD COMPANY thanks to a Levy commercial!). RAGING SLAB fit right into these 3 bands, so a bright future was looking ahead for them, especially since this album sounded that good. Filled with a bunch of Southern Hardrock Classics, this album has now been re-issued onto CD by ROCK CANDY RECORDS, sounding better than ever and filled with a terrific looking CD booklet. Although the band managed to release more albums in the following years, even recently, this 1989 release was definitely their finest moment and it should have made them as huge as LYNYRD SKYNYRD once was. Nevertheless, never forget about this release if you call yourself a Southern Hardrockfan! More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


This is something very special, as PHIDEAUX from France deliver a nice epic album (their 7th already!!!) that sounds like a cross between Progressive Rock, Classic Rock and some Folk Rock, ending up sounding not too far away from MOSTLY AUTUMN, KARNATAKA and PINK FLOYD. A male and a female singer can be heard throughout the 16 included tracks, which is a bit light here and there, but from start to finish showing a very professional sounding band. The female singer (VALERIE GRACIOUS) has a wonderful voice and if only she would have sung the whole CD and the band had included some uptempo rockers, this could well have been a sensational record. Nevertheless, it still is a good album, which will please especially fans of mentioned bands. The music is most of the time at a slow tempo, kinda relaxing and very melodic in every aspect and also quite atmospheric, typical British actually, despite the fact this band is coming out of France. More info at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Somehow this release passed us by 2 years ago, but better late than never to discuss it. TONK is an Australian band signed to a major label and with ‘Sister switchblade’ they deliver a very impressive huge sounding raw Rock and Roll release. The band has 2 excellent guitarists (WAYNE WITHERS and STEVE GRAY), whom are both delivering superb guitarsolos all throughout the CD, although Steve comes up with the best ones in the songs “Libertine” and “Predator”. The music itself is basic raw rough rock and roll, a little different than for example THE ANSWER and AIRBOURNE, although not that far away either. Thanks to the guitarists, this release is standing high above all the similar releases in this genre and I’ll bet these shredders will become rockstars someday soon, because they are really good at the guitar, very sensational to say the least… Definitely a band to check out in case you missed them the first time around. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Already 9 years back since we last reviewed something of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist JEFF CUTTLE, who is a musician playing a sort of late 80s/early1990s US melodic rockstyle. The production could have been better, which is the same remark I made back in 2000. Happily, the included songs, such as “Crushed”, “Don’t want 2 get 2 know U better”, “Fake love”, “Loneliness to me” and “December Ash”, these are all very catchy uptempo Poprockers with Glam touch, reminding like a cross between CHEAP TRICK, POISON and especially SCOTT WENZEL, JOHNNY LIMA and JOEY C. JONES AND THE GLORY HOUNDS. Also throwing a ballad in between (“Don’t go” a la DEF LEPPARD/BON JOVI) is making this quite a nice album for the melodic rockfan. If Jeff could only go into a big studio with a major producer someday who knows what the result will be… Go check out his site at:  and e-mail him at: 

(Points: 8.1 out of 10)


MAY’S HOUNDS is a band from Gothenburg, Sweden whom deliver a great record here. Backed by 2 female backing vocalists and 4 male musicians (guitars, bass, drums and Hammond), this 7-piece band is fronted by a fantastic female singer called MARIA EKSTRAND. She has a wonderful voice and the music on the first CD of this band is very impressive soulful melodic heavy bluesrock with classic rock, southern hardrock and melodic rock influences. 10 songs are included and all of them have potential, but thanks to the excellent vocalwork of Maria this band is lifted way up to a very high level. It reminds me a bit of ZIA LINDBERG, SASS JORDAN, ALANNAH MYLES and such female singers, with a slight sorta LYNYRD SKYNYRD approach. Without a doubt, this is a band with a future and perhaps who knows someday they will be big. More info at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


Out of Greece comes the band THANEVER, a female fronted band playing a bit 80s influenced obscure Melodic Metal. The first song on their full-length CD ‘Domina’s Nightmare’ is a rather strange song one could also hear in the 1980s sometimes, Metal with a dark side during the vocal lines, hard to describe, but anyway with next song “Forget” we are more in the catchy traditional Melodic Metal approach, not far away from BITCH, BETSY, GIRLSCHOOL, KAREN KENNEDY, WARLOCK and such. Vocalist DOMINA has a pretty good voice and the guitarwork of PROFESSOR MARIA is quite stunning actually and as the CD progresses the songs are getting better and better, with as highlights “Mother Saint”, “Evocation of the past” and “Mystic life”. In the end this is a surprise release from the Greek band THANEVER. A real good album that sounds very close to 80s obscure Metal releases and to some people this sounds right up their alley. Finally a female fronted release that is completely different sounding, so not at all a Gothic Power Metal release! More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Although the band made a comeback a few years ago with a new CD, which was a live recording, and also the re-issue of their 1989 originally released debut album ‘Heartbreaker’, the real return comes in the shape of this new studio-CD titled ‘Because rust never sleeps’. This is the follow-up to their 2nd album ‘Out of the business’ from 18 years ago! Somehow it seems like musically speaking they have not changed a single bit, because the albums follows exactly the style of their first 2 albums from approx. 20 years ago! They were able to record 13 new songs and I must say it does sound really good. What we get to hear is typical Classic 80s female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock in the style of LAOS, VIXEN, DANTE FOX, TONE NORUM, DONNA CHRISTY, WITNESS, ALYSON AVENUE, COASTLINE, HEAT (Germany ELKE KLEIN fronted band), HEART and such. Maybe not really original and very close to these acts, it still sounds damn impressive, with such great material like “Surrender”, “Heat of the night”, “Through the night”, “Talk to you later” and “Take me as I am”, must-have songs for the fans of classic 80s female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock. Despite a few weaker songs (“Zone zero” and “Hard times shuffle”), this CD needs to be checked out asap by fans of mentioned acts. More info at:  and e-mail at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)


MATILDA is a female singer/songwriter from the northern part of Sweden. She has released her first solo-CD with ‘Heartbreaker’, on which she sings, while musician STEFAN MOREN (KEEN HUE???) played all the instruments. Her singing is pretty good, but her music could be a little bit better, because now between the 10 included songs we can find some songs that do not really impress. The music is typical catchy female fronted poprock as we know it today the day (KELLY CLARCKSON meets BIFF NAKED meets KATE PERRY), but then a bit more experimental here and there. Not bad at all and with songs like “George”, “Torture pain” and “Spineless” (best song), MATILDA shows she is able to come up with some catchy melodic rock, although next time please include some uptempo straight-ahead rockers to make it a bit more diverse, because now most of the songs go in a similar groovy kinda rockstyle. Check out MATILDA at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


The band LUMINA POLARIS is coming out of Finland and they sing in their own language. Therefore they can be compared to other Finnish bands like UNIKLUBI and TERASBETONI, whom are playing the same kind of music, which is Melodic Metal with also Finnish lyrics. LUMINA POLARIS seems to be the best of all these bands, because their 2nd CD ‘Vastalsku’ is a very impressive sounding album that despite the Finnish language is an excellent melodic metal album to check out. 11 songs are included and some are really great, with superstrong choruses. Be sure not to miss this band at: 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


VIP is yet another high quality Melodic Power Metal singing in their own language, which seems to be a very popular thing to do in Finland. VIP however have been releasing a whole string of albums since 1999. Although I have never heard of them before, they are doing a great job on their new CD. Just like their label mates of LUMINA POLARIS, also VIP seem to be playing high quality and sometimes very catchy Melodic Metal, such as in the EDGUYish “Kunnes kuolema erottaa”. However every song of the 10 included is high quality Melodic (Power) Metal with strong choruses and some excellent guitarwork, all very melodic and very sensational here and there! More info at:  and 

(Points: 8.4 out of 10)


KOOZNETZ is a Canadian band playing thrashy Power Metal, a bit like ICED EARTH, but then without the big bombastic choruses, because instead we can hear some SAVATAGE kinda influences and also METAL CHURCH comes to mind here and there. The band is taking things very professional, despite the fact they are an independent band. Their release includes a CD with 11 tunes and a DVD with a very impressive videoclip, behind the scenes, interviews and some live footage. The band’s sound is huge and features some great guitarwork. Vocally it is sadly a bit going into the METALLICA vein, so not that melodic, but nevertheless the included songs are very good to check out, especially if you’re a fan of True Metal. More info at: 

(Points: 8.0 out of 10)


Quite a surprise this EP release, because SLAVES TO FASHION is a band from Norway and right from the start we are dealing here with something very sensational, because this band is playing modern rock with superstrong melodies. Sorta throwing AOR melodies in the choruses, while the music is being thrown in a Modern Rocksound that borrows Classic 1970s Groovy Hardrock guitar riffs and Progrock structures. The result is a very impressive 4 tracks containing EP, which happens to be the follow-up to their full-length debut CD ‘Crossing over’ from 2007, which I sadly have never heard. This EP alone is definitely worth checking out asap and convinced me enough to say that we will hear much more of these guys in the future, just listen to the awesome “The Garden” and we got ourselves a winner here. In the meantime, check out their site at:  and e-mail them at: 

(Points: 8.7 out of 10)


As always, the US archive label EONIAN RECORDS deliver a high quality product here. Musically however not as sensational as their first 4 releases, because UZI were playing a sort of heavier groovier Sleazy Hardrockstyle that sounded a bit like a cross between SKID ROW, EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE and THE ALMIGHTY. They recorded a bunch of demos back in the late 80s and early 90s, but never managed to release a full album. That’s when EONIAN RECORDS stepped in and released a full CD worthy of material from the band recorded over 18 years ago. Happily, the sound is huge and after repeated listens it seems like this could have been a major US Label release from 1990 or something. Meaning this is a must-have release for the fans of the US Hair Metalsound of the late 80s/early 90s, which sounded a bit rawer and groovier than the somewhat polished sound of the years prior. The ballad “Away from my heart” is an exception as this is the WARRANT/WINGER/LA GUNS type of ballad every respected US band created 20 years ago. Another exception and highlight is the catchy uptempo “Raise Hell” that sounds like RATT 1984 meets DOKKEN 1982, a really excellent tune. The rest of the CD (= 8 tracks) is LA GUNS meets GUNS’N’ROSES meets SKID ROW meets EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE, so a must-have for fans of that style. Available through: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Another Hair Metalband that have been digged up from the past out of a basement somewhere in the USA. The band was called SHAKE CITY and in 1987 they were playing the clubs and actually their story owes a lot to WARRANT, whom also started around that period. They got their shot to fame and fortune, but SHAKE CITY never released anything official until now. EONIAN RECORDS releases an excellent sounding CD filled with material from the band recorded way back in the 1980s. Still it does not sound dated at all and also thanks to EONIAN RECORDS, the production and sound quality is superb (some of the songs were originally recorded and mixed by PAT REGAN). Some of the songs featured here were written by members of BLACK AND BLUE and WARRANT (JANI LANE!). No surprise that most of the songs are in fact pure 1980s American Hair Metal a la WARRANT/BLACK’N’BLUE/KISS/KIX, etc. etc. 12 tracks are included and of course all the cliché songs are present, such as the ballad (“Little Lianne” and “Sweet dreams”), the groovy midtempo rockers (most of the songs), the uptempo tougher rockers (“Submarine”, “Game of war” and “Psychedelic ride”), etc. etc. It sounds a whole lot like WARRANT and BLACK’N’BLUE, so fans of these bands make sure to check out this release at: 

(Points: 8.2 out of 10)


Ohio/USA settled guitarist ROB JOHNSON is of course best known as being the fantastic guitarist of one of the greatest Progressive Metalbands from the USA, namely MAGNITUDE 9. However, he also has a solo career and his latest release is titled ‘Shredworxx’. The album is filled with excellent shredding instrumental guitar orientated neo-classical music, which will please any fan of the likes of MALMSTEEN, PETRUCCI, MACALPINE, SATRIANI, VAI, etc. etc. From start to finish, this is how an instrumental record should sound like and Rob of course is a master on the guitar. Still I hope MAGNITUDE 9 will release a new album someday soon, because their albums are really incredible, but in the meantime, this new solo-album of their guitarist is really worth checking out as well. More info at: 

(Points: 8.5 out of 10)

(All reviews by Gabor Kleinbloesem except where noted)