Facebook Like Hard Rock Info on Facebook!

REVIEWS 2020 - Page 7

Page 6   Index   Page 8

Mark Boals & RING OF FIRE: All The Best! - Double Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Mark Boals have some good songs here, no doubt about that, but it sure ain't 30, which is the number of songs that he has included on this best of collection. But then it's 1 disc with solo material, and another with his band RING OF FIRE. Many of his solo songs sounds like Yngwie Malmsteen, while the songs with RING OF FIRE is almost progressive. So a mixture of melodic hard rock/neo-classical metal and progressive hard rock/metal is what we get here.
Mark Boals is a vocalist who has worked with people like Doug Aldrich, Tony MacAlpine, Jeff Kollman, Neil Citron, Vitalij Kuprij, Vinny Appice, Virgil Donati, Erik Norlander, Chris Brooks, and Steve Weingart. But he is probably most well-known for fronting Yngwie Malmsteen's RISING FORCE on the 1986 album "Trilogy".
Mark has released 3 solo albums between 1998-2002. RING OF FIRE has released 4 albums and 1 CD/DVD. And just if that wasn't enough, he has just recently recorded a melodic metal album with VISION DIVINE and LABYRINTH guitarist Olaf Thorsen under the name SHINING BLACK.
markboalsofficial.com   frontiers.it
Published: Oct. 26, 2020

LYKANTROPI: Axis of Margaret - Single
(Despotz Records)
Well, what is there to say that I have not said about this band already? Seems like this is another band who is going to release half the album (to exaggerate a bit) as singles before they finally give us the album. But it's another great song that sounds just like they use to, which means dark and melancholy vintage rock from the forest.
Their upcoming album, "Tales To Be Told", will be their third. It will be a must-have!
But while you wait for that album to be released, let yourself be hypnotized by "Axis of Margaret", and the 2 previous singles.
lykantropi.bandcamp.com   despotz.se
Published: Oct. 26, 2020

WILDNESS: Ultimate Demise - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
WILDNESS was originally intended to be a studio project by drummer/songwriter Erik Modin, but developed into a real band in 2014. The debut album from this Swedish band came out in November 2017, and now their second album is here, which is the first with new singer Erik Forsberg (ex-BLAZON STONE).
The music that this band play is melodic hard rock in the same class as ECLIPSE, H.E.A.T. and EUROPE, and they are doing it very good. So if that sounds like something that you might like, then you must give this band a chance.
facebook.com/wildnessofficial   aorheaven.com
Published: Oct. 25, 2020

Rob Moratti: Paragon - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
Nowadays Rob Moratti is a solo artist. But he has previously been the singer for FINAL FRONTIER, and has also been fronting SAGA. This Canadian man blend his own style with elements of melodic and progressive rock. This album is full of harmonies and memorable choruses, and Mr. Moratti can really sing.
Among the people that he have been working with on this album are Joel Hoekstra (WHITESNAKE, NIGHT RANGER), Ian Crichton (SAGA) and Tony Franklin (BLUE MURDER, The FIRM), to name a few.
If you like melodic rock/AOR, then this is absolutely something for you. Because this record is crammed with good songs.
aorheaven.com
Published: Oct. 25, 2020

IMPERIUM: Heaven Or Hell - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
IMPERIUM is the solo project of Finnish drummer Mika Brushane. He has been playing drums and percussion in various bands (jazz to metal) since 1981. This project started in 2012, when Mika composed songs for an album with STRIKE, and suddenly realized that there were more songs in him that needed to be released. A debut album, "Dreamhunter", was released in 2016, and was followed by "Beyond The Stars" in 2018.
"Heaven Or Hell" is filled with great melodic rock/AOR with a big dose of the 80s, both in feeling and sound. And this is a must for people who are into this genre.
facebook.com/imperiumproject   aorheaven.com
Published: Oct. 25, 2020

PERDITION SECT: End Times - Album
(Seeing Red Records - Release date: Dec. 11, 2020)
"PERDITION SECT is an observation and reflection of our times in 2020. This album was written and recorded all during quarantine with the sole focus on creating the most blistering DISCHARGE-worship D-Beat imaginable from 4 extreme metal stalwarts commenting on the day to day chaos during these uncertain times." The 4 guys involved in this project is Kyle Severn (INCANTATION, SHED THE SKIN), Aaron Dallison (KEELHAUL, BRAIN TENTACLES, AXIOMA), Matt Sorg (RINGWORM, SHED THE SKIN) and Mike Lare (RINGWORM), all from Ohio. And this is their way to handle the pandemic, social oppression, police brutality, civil unrest, political chaos etc.
Well, I can really hear the DISCHARGE influence here, and it also reminds me of the Swedish legends ANTI CIMEX (who also was fans of DISCHARGE), possibly with a touch of metal. This is really good stuff that you absolutely should check out.
seeingredrecords.com
Published: Oct. 24, 2020

CORNERS OF SANCTUARY: Heroes Never Die - Album
(RFL Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
So, CORNERS OF SANCTUARY are still stuck in the mid-tempo district, which makes it a little boring to listen to a whole album with them. And when there's 12 tracks, I don't think it's too much to ask for at least 1 or 2 faster tracks (really fast). It seems like this band won't go anywhere. Not if they continue like this year after year.
Another problem with this American band is that they don' have that much hit potential, so it's impossible to remember any of their songs. Metal should be big anthems that you can sing-along to, but I can't really hear those strong choruses that I would like to have.
Another thing that I have been thinking about is if they use the same guitar riffs in almost every song? It actually sounds like that to me anyway.
Now this is hardly a new band either, as this is their 7th album. So I don't think that they ever will learn. But if you think that half boring US metal could be something for you, then go ahead, I won't stop you.
cornersofsanctuary.com   rflrecords.com
Published: Oct. 24, 2020

AFTER EARTH: Before It Awakes - EP
(Self released)
They call this Swedish death metal and compare the band with legends like AMON AMARTH, UNLEASHED, ENTOMBED and DISMEMBER. Well, then I must have got the wrong record then, because that's not exactly what I can hear on this EP. To me it sounds more like some kind of melodic groove/death metal, and much more modern than any of those old bands.
AFTER EARTH was founded in Skövde, Sweden in 2017. And during 2018 and early 2019 they developed their own sound. Their first 5-track EP, "Before It Awakes", is the result of that. It seems like it's just available digitally.
facebook.com/AfterEarthSWE
Published: Oct. 24, 2020

ÅSKOG: Varg - Demo
(Self released)
Swedish black metal duo ÅSKOG came to life in the early summer of 2020, so it's a pretty fresh band. But at least 1 of them (maybe both?) have previously played with MURDRYCK. Anyhow, this is a new chapter and the first release from ÅSKOG, which is available on cassette and digital.
The goal with this band is to create a stronger identity and improve their songwriting, as well as deliver a stronger production and a fresh sound. Thematically it's based on the cold and harsh brutality of nature. So while other black metallers praise hell or sing about war, this band believe in darkness instead.
The music is mainly black metal in the heavier league, and they are not afraid to mix it with elements of doom metal, heavy metal and death metal.
The digital version of this demo contains 2 tracks, "Varg" and "Korp", which are 2 quite different tracks. The cassette version features a bonus track, "Vatten".
The band plan to release their debut album in 2021.
askog.bandcamp.com
Published: Oct. 22, 2020

CITIZEN RAGE: Black EP - EP
(Wasted Wax Records)
CITIZEN RAGE comes from Clagary, Alberta in Canada, and they formed in 2014. They have released a few EPs through the years, and play a hybrid of hardcore/punk and thrash metal. So I guess that we could call it crossover.
These 4 tracks are fast and angry bangs, and they are all really good. But as the songs are pretty short - 1:38-2:58 minutes - it's over very quickly.
Absolutely worth a listen for fans of both hardcore/punk and thrash metal.
citizenragehardcore.bandcamp.com   wastedwaxrecords.com
Published: Oct. 22, 2020

SACRAMENTUM: Finis Malorum - Album reissue
(Vic Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
This is a re-release of a mini CD from 1994, plus 2 covers (SEPULTURA and MERCYFUL FATE), a 5-track demo from 1993 and 1 very early and rare track. The mini CD was recorded at Dan Swanö's Unisound Studios, while the covers were recorded with Andy Laroque at Los Angered Recordings (2 legendary studios that doesn't exist anymore).
The music that we get is Swedish melodic black/death metal like it was done in the 90s. No symphonic or atmospheric crap here. Just fast and raw metal with melodies. It sounds good to me anyway.
SACRAMENTUM recently reformed, and will release a new album via Century Media Records.
facebook.com/sacramentumofficial   vicrecords.com
Published: Oct. 21, 2020

REVEREND: A Gathering of Demons - Album reissue
(Vic Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
This American thrash/power metal band was formed in Seattle, Washington in early 1989 when vocalist David Wayne left METAL CHURCH. Most of the earliest band members were recruited from the Los Angeles power metal band HERETIC (and HERETIC's vocalist Mike Howe joined METAL CHURCH). REVEREND released 2 studio albums, 1 live album and 2 mini CDs.
David Wayne sadly died from complications resulting from a traffic accident in 2005. His final recordings and releases was REVEREND's "A Gathering of Demons" mini CD and his solo album "Metal Church". Both was released in 2001.
This re-issue of "A Gathering of Demons" contains a brand new remix of the record, plus the original 2001 mix, the UFO cover "Lights Out" and rare live recordings from San Antonio.
This is absolutely not bad at all. Maybe not any masterpieces, but still worth listening to if you like more powerful metal.
facebook.com/Reverend-2243067239239928   vicrecords.com
Published: Oct. 21, 2020

CELESTIAL SEASON: The Merciful - Album
(Vic Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
CELESTIAL SEASON formed in 1991, and are from the Netherlands. They have released 5 full length albums through the years. The band have evolved from doom/death metal to gothic/doom/death to stoner metal on their last few albums. They were one of the first to combine death metal with doom and violines and keyboards.
"The Merciful" contains their debut demo from 1991 and a promo release from 1994. And these 7 songs are actually very boring to listen to. This just doesn't work for me.
The group will release a brand new album this fall.
facebook.com/CelestialSeason   vicrecords.com
Published: Oct. 21, 2020

ASPHYXIATOR: Trapped Between Two Worlds - Album reissue
(Vic Records - Release date: Oct. 30, 2020)
ASPHYXIATOR came from the UK, and were active between 1993-98. They released 1 full length album in 1997, and that album is now being re-released with 1 exclusive bonus track.
It's said that this is one of the most sought-after albums ever. That is probably a exaggeration, but I guess it's pretty hard to find anyway.
What about the music then? Well, it's death metal like it used to sound back then. They might not have been the best band in the world, but this is definitely not bad at all. So you have to give it a try at least.
facebook.com/Asphyxiator-117420245022978   vicrecords.com
Published: Oct. 21, 2020

Devin Townsend: Order Of Magnitude, Empath Live Volume 1 - Live release
(InsideOut Music - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
Now it was a long time since I heard anything with Devin Townsend last time, but as far as I can remember it wasn't so bad for being progressive rock and metal. This on the other hand.. A double sandwich with all and nothing mixed in, which makes it very hard to swallow. In his best moments there actually is some rock and metal, and then it's not so bad. But in all those weaker moments, which seems to be way too many here, it's almost pop or opera and who knows what to call it (it sure ain't rock music anyway). But he is at least doing his own thing, and is hardly a copy of anybody else.
There's as much as 16 tracks here, who are between 5 to 11 minutes. The whole thing was recorded at The Roundhouse in London in December last year, and the audience seemed to like it anyway, so who am I to complain?
This release is available in several different formats, both audio and film.
hevydevy.com
Published: Oct. 20, 2020

The OBSESSED: Incarnate (Ultimate Record Store Day Edition) - Album reissue
(Blues Funeral Recordings - Release date: Oct. 24, 2020)
2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the American doom band The OBSESSED. And what we have here is a remastered edition of a collection from the early 2000s, which consist of rare demos, outtakes and singles. The album has been gone from digital streaming services and been out of print for a long time.
This new edition also features 4 new tracks, and is packaged with all new artwork, photos, and extensive new liner notes with band leader Scott "Wino" Weinrich himself telling stories behind each long-lost gem. It will be released digitally as well as in a gatefold double LP package with a unique vinyl color configuration exclusively for Record Store Day on October 24. Simply a must for every true fan of the band.
facebook.com/TheObsessedOfficial   bluesfuneral.com
Published: Oct. 20, 2020

Snowy White and The WHITE FLAMES: Something On Me - Album
(Soulfood)
The only thing that made me interested in this album, is the fact that this old man have played guitar with THIN LIZZY, as well as PINK FLOYD, Peter Green (FLEETWOOD MAC) and Roger Waters (PINK FLOYD). This on the other hand is hardly the same thing as THIN LIZZY. Because this sounds more like old man blues rock for fans of something like Joe Cocker and DIRE STRAITS/Mark Knopfler. In other words, not really my thing. And on top of that the first track last for 7:44 minutes, and every song is so laidback that I almost fall asleep.
Published: Oct. 20, 2020

BAD RELIGION: What Are We Standing For - Single
(Epitaph Records)
Bad Religion at Liseberg
BAD RELIGION has release a new single, with a song that they wrote during the recordings of their latest studio album, "Age Of Unreason". And it sounds just as usual, which is just like it should. In other words a really good melodic punk rocker that you have to check out.
The song is one of support and compassion for professional athletes, and others, whom have taken a knee to protest police brutality and racism. BAD RELIGION have always advocated for humanism, reason, and individualism, which in our current political climate is a message that has never been more essential.
2020 is by the way the band's 40th anniversary.
badreligion.com
Published: Oct. 20, 2020

FABRIKEN: Tortera Mig Med Kärlek - EP
(Beat Butchers - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
FABRIKEN play a catchy and melodic kind of punk rock that is very Swedish somehow. Some people would probably call it trallpunk, but I don't as the tempo is too slow here.
The latest lineup of the band is: Curre Sandgren (COCA CAROLA, ROLANDS GOSSKÖR, KRYMPLINGS), Åke Noring (ROLANDS GOSSKÖR), Patrick Trankell (ROLANDS GOSSKÖR, NEIN), and the latest addition Urban Enlund (Roger Rönning etc). And sometimes Johan Johansson (KSMB, KSM3, STRINDBERGS etc) step in to the studio for a short visit.
The band have during the years tried to make an EP for the 4 seasons, and this last one (which is their 7th EP) in that project is summer. And these 4 tracks are just as good as their previous EPs. So if you are a fan of Swedish melodic punk rock like ROLANDS GOSSKÖR and similar, then you must give this band a chance (after all, there's as much as 3 members from ROLANDS GOSSKÖR).
ifabriken.com   beatbutchers.se
Published: Oct. 19, 2020

DIAMOND DOGS: The Atlantic Juice - Album
(Wild Kingdom Records - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
The party level is really high on this album. This must be their most energetic and action-filled album in their whole discography. Listening to this on any other day than Friday or Saturday should be a sin. But do rockers like us care about that? Hell no! So if you think that The ROLLING STONES are too old, then DIAMOND DOGS is the band for you.
It would have been very nice to see this band live, but I don't think that's gonna happen as long as this Pandemic doesn't have the good taste to fuck off once and for all. And no, a live stream is not good enough. I want to stand infront of the stage with a beer in my hand and actually see and hear it live.
As you probably know by now, the band's first 10 years (1993-2003) is being reissued. And "The Atlantic Juice" is a compilation of 2 records: "That's The Juice I'm On" and "Atlantic Crossover". Here you can find a songwriting collaboration with BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRIVE's Randy Bachman, Darrell Bath's unique guitar playing, a version of New York punk rock legend Jeff Dahl's "I'm In Love With The GTO's" (Jeff also covered the DIAMOND DOGS song "Bite Off" in the sessions for "Atlantic Crossover") and much more.
facebook.com/everylittlecrack
Published: Oct. 19, 2020

Johnny Casino: Vibrations, Yours and Mine - LP
(Beluga Records)
O.k., this wasn't exactly what I expected from Beluga Records, who use to deliver power pop, garage rock or punk rock. This is more like some kind of soft, acoustic singer/songwriter with a touch of country instead. It's laidback, but pretty nice somehow. But are you man enough to give it a try?
Johnny Casino is an Australian rock artist, who nowadays seems to live in Spain. He have done a lot of solo concerts in Spain and other European countries, and that's when he got the idea to record some songs in this more intimate stripped back way. So he went to a studio with just a guitar and a handful of ideas. 3-4 hours later he had recorded a whole album. And "Vibrations, Yours and Mine" is the result.
belugarecords.com
Published: Oct. 18, 2020

MATRIARCHS: Year Of The Rat - Album
(Upstate Records - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
A big problem with metalcore or hardcore/metal (whatever you want to call it) is the lack of variation. It sounds too much the same way too often, which makes it boring after just a few songs. And MATRIARCHS is no exception. Nowadays people seems to like calling it metallic hardcore instead, like that would be any different or make it more interesting.
MATRIARCHS formed in L.A. in 2014 as a studio project by founding guitarst Ben Levi. He was inspired by European beat down (whatever that is, never heard of it) and 90s hardcore/metal from New York. It soon became a band though as you can understand. And after a hiatus the band is now back again with some new members and new energy.
The music on this album is really heavy, but yet full of adrenaline. Not my thing, but you might like it.
facebook.com/matriarchshc   upstaterecordsny.net
Published: Oct. 18, 2020

DENY/BÖSET - Split 7" EP
(Flyktsoda/Cramada)
What we have here is 2 hardcore/punk bands from Sweden, and they are both very good at what they are doing. 3 songs each is what we get on this EP.
DENY have been around for many years. They started the band in 1995, but had a hiatus for a decade before they released a new EP, "Parasite Paradise", in 2018. Earlier this year they released a new album, "Dystopia". The members have played or play with several other bands. 2 of their songs here was recorded at the same time as the latest album, and 1 was recorded in 2017.
BÖSET was a new band to me. They participate with 3 completely new songs that sounds really good. 2 cassettes and a 10" vinyl has been released since 2016. While DENY sing in English, BÖSET sing in Swedish.
Limited edition of 300 copies on vinyl, but it's available digital as well.
denyhc.bandcamp.se   bosetpunx.bandcamp.com   cramada.se
Published: Oct. 17, 2020

BÜRNER: Baptized In Gasoline - Album
(Time To Kill Records)
This Swedish band's biggest influence seems to be the legendary MOTÖRHEAD. But they also like classic acts like AC/DC and SAXON for example. And you can of course have worse influences than that. They might not always be as good as their heroes, but they are doing a really good job here anyway, so this is absolutely worth a try.
Raw hard rock n roll drenched in gasolin is probably a good description to what this trio deliver. It's full of energy, and it's very loud, but still catchy.
This album is full of top songs, like "Hammerdown", "Kill You Till You're Dead", "Murder" and "On The Shitlist" for example.
burner.nu   timetokill-records.com
Published: Oct. 17, 2020

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT: The Symbol Remains - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Much BLUE ÖYSTER CULT reviews lately. Then it has been old live material and a few reissues, but "The Symbol Remains" is a completely new studio album. Their first in nearly 2 decades actually.
You probably know this band already, and then you also know that they have been rocking since the 60s. Some of their hits includes "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burning For You" and "Godzilla", just to name a few. And their sound is somewhere between what we call classic rock and hard rock, but can sometimes go as proto-metal as well. It's often catchy and melodic songs.
The only original members left are Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom, who suddenly got inspired to make a new album with as much as 14 tracks. And they don't just look back at ancient days here. This is actually a pretty lively record, which is full of variation. And I can hear many good songs on this album, but if any of them are going to be future classics remains to be seen.
blueoystercult.com   frontiers.it
Published: Oct. 17, 2020

AMONG PHANTOMS: Memories/Catastrophes - Album
(DiGiDi)
AMONG PHANTOMS is a hardcore/metal band from Denmark, who formed in 2016. Their ambition is a strong focus on melody, and big catchy choruses. This is backed up by heavy guitars. Their inspiration comes from bands like DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, BURST, REFUSED, HE IS LEGEND, PERIPHERY etc. A self titled EP was released in 2018, and now their debut album is here.
Well, this might not really be my kind of hardcore, but it's absolutely not bad anyway. I would guess that fans of the 90s hardcore scene will be happy to hear this, because this is something similar to that.
This album seems to be available digitally only.
amongphantomsofficial.bandcamp.com
Published: Oct. 17, 2020

METAL FOR KIDS UNITED!: Burn - Single
(Self released)
Scott Ian with Anthrax in GBG
Even though it's called METAL FOR KIDS UNITED!, this is not some kids playing and singing. This is actually a true all-star lineup with 25 metal musicians, who is doing a cover version of DEEP PURPLE's "Burn". Some of the people involved in this project are David Ellefson (MEGADETH, Ellefson, METAL ALLEGIANCE), Scott Ian (ANTHRAX, S.O.D), Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR, GAMMA RAY), Jens Ludwig (EDGUY), Thomas Stauch (BLIND GUARDIAN, MENTALIST, DAWN OF AMBER, SERIOUS BLACK), and many, many others.
The purpose with this single and video is to support Peter Pan Association, a voluntary association helping children with cancer and their families since 1994 through free hospitality in Rome during care treatments at Child Jesus Hospital. You can support the project here: gofundme.com/metal-for-kids-united-against-kids-cancer.
Well, that these people are doing a good job should not come as a surprise. They burn off a hot version of this classic, which last for 8 minutes. This is really good stuff! And that they want to help children with cancer is also damned good of course. So support this project in every way that you can.
metalforkids.com   peterpanonlus.it
Published: Oct. 16, 2020

HUGO'S WILL: She Goes For The Throat - Single
(Discouraged Records)
This is a rock trio from Umeå in northern Sweden. A city that to me is more well-known for their hardcore scene in the 90s, and a few great punk bands. "She Goes For The Throat" is the first single from HUGO'S WILL, where they celebrate all things that are rock n roll. But they also add a little bit of blues, psychedelia, soul, punk and gasoline-fueled garage rock to their brew. And this sounds good.
The members have previously played in bands such as CRYSTAL CARAVAN, HELLBOUND, JOHNNY ELECTRIC and MOLOKEN, among others.
facebook.com/DiscouragedRecords
Published: Oct. 16, 2020

BOYS FROM HEAVEN: The Great Discovery - Album
(Target Records - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
This is something for fans of 80s AOR bands like TOTO, CHICAGO and JOURNEY. And it's absolutely not bad at all, so you should definitely check them out if you like those bands.
These 7 boys are not from heaven, as their band name says, but from Denmark. They have previously released an EP, "No Way But Anyway", in 2017. "The Great Discovery" is their first full length album.
boysfromheaven.com   targetgroup.dk
Published: Oct. 15, 2020

ONE AND A HALF DOG: Game Over - Single
(Self released on Oct. 16, 2020)
I wrote about this Norwegian hard rockers in February, and I liked what I heard then. Now a new single is here, and it's not so bad either. Their own description to this song is a heavy 80s JUDAS PRIEST comp, but with their own touch. Give it a try, mate. That's all I have to say.
facebook.com/OfficialOneAndaHalfDog
Published: Oct. 15, 2020

PITCHBLACK: Death & Disbelief - Album
(Emanzipation Productions - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
Death metal they call this, and say that it fits fans of The HAUNTED, The CROWN, ENTOMBED and HATESPHERE. I don't agree. I'm not sure if I have heard the last band, but the 3 first are all much better than this Danish band, which I think sounds more like some kind of heavy groove metal, possibly with elements of death metal then.
This is actually a pretty boring album to listen to. They try so hard to be catchy and brutal at the same time, but they just fail again and again. It just end up in a heavy bloody mess. No, this is not my thing..
PITCHBLACK was formed in 2002, and have previously released 2 albums.
pitchblackdk.bandcamp.com   emanzipation.dk
Published: Oct. 15, 2020

SECONDHAND HABIT: Contact High - Album
(Self released?)
SECONDHAND HABIT call themselves a high voltage rock band, and they are from Victoria, BC, Canada. Their music have been compared with acts like NIRVANA, FAITH NO MORE, MASTODON and ALICE IN CHAINS. So I guess that alternative rock is the right genre, even though it sounds like hard rock to me. They have been playing since 2010.
Their new album, "Contact High", is a compilation of 7 different singles that they have released over the past few years. And most of these songs are very good material. It's very catchy and often (not always) sing-a-long friendly.
Their strongest numbers are the 2 first tracks, "Hey" and "Get Back". Those 2 are like made to be singles, while the other tracks are just good b-sides.
secondhandhabit.com
Published: Oct. 15, 2020

SISTER: Die With A Smile - Single
(Flick Records)
SISTER are really active now. How many singles have they released during the last months? But they prove over and over again that they are a really good band, so I don't complain. And this is of course another great song.
SISTER will release their 4th album next year, and that's where all these singles comes from. That will probably be a great album, so I look forward to hear it.
sisterofficial.com   flickagency.se
Published: Oct. 15, 2020

SILVERA: Edge Of The World - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: Oct. 16, 2020)
It was o.k. until the singer opened his mouth, and started to sing with that voice that I don't really like. This is probably something for young people who like NICKELBACK, VOLBEAT, ALTER BRIDGE and similar modern bands, but not an old man like me.
Sometimes they try to be a little harder, with heavy guitars. But it always end up in another catchy and melodic song of the modern kind. So to me this is a pretty hopeless album.
SILVERA comes from Denmark, but as you might have figured out already, this sounds very American. "Edge Of The World" is their debut album, which features a duet with Kobra Paige (KOBRA AND THE LOTUS) on the song "Everything We Are".
silvera.dk   mightymusic.dk
Published: Oct. 15, 2020

HELLSMOKE: 2020 - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: Oct. 16, 2020)
Hard rock/metal in the heavier league, with former members of BAI BANG, CLOUDSCAPE and SYRON VANES, as well as current members of DARKANE and ALICATE. The band comes from Sweden, and this is the band's debut album, which gives us heavy guitars, pounding drums and melodic vocals. This is not another one of these heavy rock bands though. This is something else, with more melodies.
"2020" is a really good album anyway. I think you should give it a try.
facebook.com/pg/HellsmokeOfficial   prideandjoy.de
Published: Oct. 14, 2020

SPIRIT ADRIFT: Enlightened in Eternity - Album
(Century Media/20 Buck Spin - Release date: Oct. 16, 2020)
SPIRIT ADRIFT began as a studio project for multi-instrumentalist Nate Garrett in 2015. He was soon joined by permanent drummer Marcus Bryant, and the band started to play live in 2017. The music they play is timeless hard rock and heavy metal, with influences from the 70s, 80s and the 90s. But this is not another traditional heavy metal band or a retro band. They have a modern production and sound.
I'm actually not really sure how to describe this band's sound. You simply have to hear it for yourself. But I can at least say that there's lots of guitars and melodies in SPIRIT ADRIFT's music.
"Enlightened in Eternity" is their 4th album.
spiritadrift.com   centurymedia.com
Published: Oct. 14, 2020

DEATH VALLEY GIRLS: Under The Spell Of Joy - Album
(Suicide Squeeze)
That first track, "Hypnagogia", wasn't such a great idea. It's actually a very boring track. You can see it as a too long intro though, because it's not until the end that there's any action. And this last for as long as 5 minutes.
After that it's much better though. Everything might not be great, but they have some good stuff here. The keyboard in "Bliss Out" makes me think of the early albums with Swedish power pop band CAESAR'S PALACE, which is really good stuff. Another song that I like is "Little Things". And there's a few more among these 11 tracks.
How do I describe their music then? Some kind of alternative rock with a touch of garage rock and pop melodies maybe? They combine American punk, psych rock and proto-metal according to the press release anyway.
facebook.com/DeathValleyGirls
Published: Oct. 12, 2020

CRUACHAN: The Hawthorn - Single
(Despotz Records)
CRUACHAN is an Irish folk metal band, who formed back in 1992 as MINAS TIRITH. They play a unique combination of Irish folk music and metal, and "The Hawthorn" is the first single from an upcoming new album.
This is more or less a ballad actually, but still pretty nice. It might not be something for fans of metal though, but more like something for fans of folk music I suppose.
cruachanband.bandcamp.com   despotz.se
Published: Oct. 12, 2020

SOLITARY: The Truth Behind The Lies - Album
(Metalville - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
Here's another band who are hardly here to reinvent thrash metal. Simply old school Bay Area thrash. And SOLITARY are just as good as any other band in this genre, so there's nothing to complain about. You simply check this out, and that's it!
It seems like this UK band are real veterans, as they have been around for more than 25 years. And well, I can really hear that they are hardly any amateurs. It's tight and heavy, but at the same time fast, while the vocals is harsh and raw.
metalville.de
Published: Oct. 12, 2020

FREAKS AND CLOWNS: Justice Elite - Album
(Metalville - Release date: Oct. 16, 2020)
FREAKS AND CLOWNS was founded by Johan Lindstedt (ASTRAL DOORS) and Chrille Wahlgren (singer) in Borlänge, Sweden in 2017. The 2 met in a studio to exchange a few song ideas, and it quickly became clear that influences of classic heavy metal combined with modern sounds was the way to go. The other members of the band became Mathias Henrysson, and 2 more guys from ASTRAL DOORS: Mats Gesar and Ulf Lagerström.
A self titled debut album was released a year ago, and now the next album is here already.
What we get here is a hard and heavy kind of traditional heavy metal. Think of bands like JUDAS PRIEST, ACCEPT and BULLET for example. And this is absolutely not bad at all, so you should give them a try.
metalville.de
Published: Oct. 12, 2020

MAD DOGS: We Are Ready To Testify - Album
(Go Down Records - Release date: Oct. 16, 2020)
You might have heard a Swedish band called The HELLACOPTERS? Well, then you know what this band sounds like. And in case you don't, we talk raw, dirty and energetic rock n roll with punk attitude. What they use to call action rock (at least here in Sweden). But there's some softer songs here too, that reminds me more of the later period of The HELLACOPTERS. So you could say that you get the best of both worlds here.
MAD DOGS formed in 2009, and "We Are Ready To Testify" is the band's third album. And it's actually not just The HELLACOPTERS that they are influenced by, but also SONIC'S RENDEVOUZ BAND, RADIO BIRDMAN and MC5, among others.
facebook.com/maddogsrnr   godownrecords.com
Published: Oct. 11, 2020

ASTRAKHAN: Astrakhan's Superstar Experience - Album
(Melodic Passion Records - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
Have you ever seen the "Jesus Christ Superstar" movie or musical? Because if you enjoyed the music, then this might be an album for you, as they perform songs from "Jesus Christ Superstar".
ASTRAKHAN is an ensamble of Swedish musicians, which was formed in 2013 by members of PAIN OF SALVATION, ROYAL HUNT, HOUSE OF SHAKIRA etc. They have previously released 2 albums with original material. This album was recorded during a mini tour in Finland and Sweden in 2018, when they made a stop at Spira concert hall in Jönköping, Sweden. And the most well-known name here for fans of metal is Mats Levén (CANDLEMASS, Yngwie Malmsteen, TREAT, THERION etc etc) who play Judas.
Most of the album is good classic rock and sometimes hard rock, so there's not that much to complain about.
facebook.com/Astrakhan.band
Published: Oct. 10, 2020

DEFECTO: Duality - Album
(Black Lodge Records - Release date: Oct. 23, 2020)
DEFECTO is a melodic progressive metal band from Denmark. "Duality" is their third album, and they seems to be one of the most popular metal artists in Denmark, and has over 5 million streams on streaming services. They have been support act for bands like METALLICA and RAMMSTEIN, and has been playing at large festivals.
But does all that makes them any better? Well, even though they are a progressive band, they are not just advanced for that matter. They also have lots of catchy melodies, and I guess that's what have caught people's interest in the band. Which is very good of course. Because I almost hate when a band get a lot of attention just because they are skilled musicians, but don't have any good songs at all. You must have good songs too of course. And I think that this band has succeeded to write some really good material actually.
defecto.dk
Published: Oct. 10, 2020

KRAKEN DUUMVIRATE: The Stars Below, The Seas Above - Album
(Silent Future Recordings - Release date: Oct. 16, 2020)
Some kind of atmospheric/avantgarde stuff. Not much action here, and very boring to listen to. I would guess that this is supposed to be doom, but who cares? Same damned thing over and over again for an eternity, with long instrumental parts (not that there is that much vocals anyway, just some whispering). Who wants to listen to that? Total crap! But you might like it?
KRAKEN DUUMVIRATE is a duo from Finland, who started in 2008 with an interest in astronomy, deep sea, occultism and art. They have previously released 2 EPs.
Published: Oct. 10, 2020

Old Kerry McKee: I've Been Building - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
This is a softer and more laidback song by the man who use to deliver an evil mixture of old American folk music, blues and black metal. But this is more like dark country/singer-songwriter or something like that. Still good, even though I really liked the previous singles he has released, which were more raw and dirty.
The album "Mono Secular Sounds" will be released on October 23. That can be an interesting adventure.
oldkerrymckee.com   icea.se
Published: Oct. 9, 2020

HOLY DEATH TRIO: Bad Vibrations - Single
(Release date: Oct. 9, 2020)
Texas rockers HOLY DEATH TRIO gives us an up-tempo anthem, which will give you energy to fight back against negativity and rise above whatever's holding you back. Their sound is described as "what would happen if Jimi Hendrix played with BLACK SABBATH and John Dwyer from THEE OF SEES set up his pedalboard." It might not tell you that much, but let's say that they blend psych rock and hard-hitting riffs. And they give it all when they do it.
Now this power trio is focusing on their debut full length, which will be a concept album. I look forward to hear that, and while we wait we listen to this song.
holydeathtrio.com
Publishing: Oct. 9, 2020

METZ: Atlas Venedig - Album
(Sub Pop - Release date: Oct. 9, 2020)
They open with a song called "Pulse". And yes, it has pulse, but unfortunately it's so weird that I don't know what I should call it. Some kind of alternative noisey psych/garage rock on too much drugs maybe? Stay away from that shit guys!
"Blind Youth Industrial Park" and "The Mirror" is a little bit better, and possibly something I could call punk, even though it would be alternative punk then.
And after that comes "No Ceiling", which to my surprise is actually good. Must be because it's the most normal and catchy rock song on the whole album, even though some of the songs after that is pretty normal too (compared to the first track at least).
The last track, "A Boat To Drown In", last for approximately 7 and a half minutes. And almost half of that song is a noisey, instrumental ending. I still can't figure out why they released that song as a single. The only single song on this album is "No Ceiling".
"Atlas Venedig" is the 4th album from this Toronto group. And the only reason why somebody would call this punk, is probably because it's so noisey and energetic. I have never really figured out what the genre noise rock is, but it wouldn't surprise me if it sounds something like this. But fact is that they don't really sound like anybody else (well, not that I listen to anyway).
facebook.com/metz
Published: Oct. 8, 2020

LASTWORLD: Over The Edge - Album
(Perris Records)
LASTWORLD is an American duo with Jim Shepard on all instruments and David Cagle on all vocals. "Over The Edge" is their second album, which gives us a whole candy bag of soulful AOR, melodic rock and West Coast rock. And these gentlemen are doing this very good. So if you are looking for high quality, then I can really recomend this album to you.
Jim has released several solo albums, but also been a member of a band called TAXI. David is a award-winning international singer, who has recorded vocals on more than 1000 songs in all kinds of genres. So no, they are hardly new in the game, which you can hear on this album.
facebook.com/LastWorldMusic   perrisrecords.com
Published: Oct. 8, 2020

R.I.P.: Dead End - Album
(RidingEasy Records - Release date: Oct. 9, 2020)
R.I.P. comes from Portland, OR, USA, and play a grimy and sleazy kind of street doom (as they call it). This album has influences from such a wild mixture as John Carpenter films, post-apocalyptic grunge, pro-wrestling attitude and salty lo-fi hip-hop aesthetics to ferocious heavy metal. But their sound is not as crazy as it may sound. It's mainly a heavy doom/rock album, where the songs draw as equally from NIRVANA as BLACK SABBATH.
"Dead End" is their third album, which start with a useless electronic intro. But after that it's guitars and heavy rock for all the money, and this is actually not so bad. Especially "Judgement Night" is really good. But many of the other songs are really good too. And I actually think that this sounds like if Hank Von Helvete-era TURBONEGRO would try to play stoner rock (which could have been more interesting than their latest albums).
facebook.com/R.I.P.P.D.X   ridingeasyrecords.com
Published: Oct. 7, 2020

ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS: Apocrypha - Album
(Dissonance Productions/Back On Black Records - Release date: Oct. 9, 2020)
This is described as "a creative, and innovative journey of pioneering vocalist Burton C. Bell", and "a vision untold". The album is built on ambient atmospheres, melodies and introspective lyrics. It's atmospheric and melancholy all the way. And fact is that most of these songs are pure pop to me.
It seems like they have been working on this album for 10 years. It's not totally useless, but hardly a smash hit either. There's 2 songs that are a little better though, "Key To The Cosmos" and the opening-track "Ghost Heart".
Why they had to do a cover of "Sign Your Name" (Terence Trent D'Arby) is a big question mark for me. That song is pathetic (might just be my opinion though).
dissonanceproductions.co.uk   backonblack.com
Published: Oct. 7, 2020

MORTUARY: The Old Skull Reign - EP
(XenoKorp)
French thrash/death metal veterans MORTUARY has always re-recorded old demo material on their albums. And the 3 songs on this EP was recorded as exclusive bonus tracks for the limited edition CD of their latest album, "The Autophagous Reign", which sold out as fast as they play. But now those songs has been released as a digital EP.
These songs are originally from their early 90s demos, and this is really fast! These songs will easily blow you off the chair. It's like a war machine that plows down everything in its path. But yet it's damned good.
xenokorp.com
Published: Oct. 6, 2020

NUCLEAR: Facing Towards You - Single
(Black Lodge Records)
After 5 years of silence, Chilean thrash/death metallers NUCLEAR are getting ready to release their 6th album, "Murder of Crows". But that album won't be released until November 13, so while you wait for that you can always check out the first single, "Facing Towards You".
This is what the band themselves describe as a "simple, fast and brutal&qout; song. And that's exactly what it is. It also happens to be among the better songs from the album, so give it a try.
Pre-order the album here: orcd.co/murder-of-crows
nuclear.cl
Published: Oct. 6, 2020

NECROPHOBIC: Dawn of the Damned - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Oct. 9, 2020)
NECROPHOBIC are veterans in the death/black metal underground. The band formed back in 1989 in Stockholm, Sweden. Their debut album, "The Nocturnal Silence", was released in 1993. New albums has been released once in a while during the years, and there has also been numerous changes in the lineup.
Their 9th studio album, "Dawn of the Damned", definitely show us how it's supposed to be done, and that the band is not getting weaker. This is an energetic and violent attack on all senses, but yet with some kind of melody baked in. And I really like what I hear on this album!
necrophobic.net   centurymedia.com
Published: Oct. 5, 2020

TwentyDarkSeven: Undertow - Single
(Metalapolis Records)
"Undertow" is the first single taken from a forthcoming album with this southern German band. The band features former BRAINSTORM and PUMP vocalist Marcus Jürgens, and it's 4 years since their last album, "Momentum", was released.
The band's music is best described as heavy hard rock, and this song is absolutely not bad. I don't really know what else I should say though, but I think you should give it a try at least.
The new album will be released next spring.
youtu.be/WwnZ3woSMDk   metalapolis.com
Published: Oct. 4, 2020

HYDROGEN: Disappear - Single
(RFL Records)
American hard rock/heavy metal band HYDROGEN are going to release a new album, "The Boiling Point", on October 30. And this first single from that album is a taste of that.
This is a good song that sounds very American and very 90s somehow. That's my best description to this.
HYDROGEN formed in 2003. It seems like they have been away for 6 years, but now they are back with a whole new lineup and ready to explode. "The Boiling Point" is their 12th album.
hydrogyn.com   rflrecords.com
Published: Oct. 4, 2020

FROM THE SKY: From The Sky - Single
(Ninetone Records)
Another song that starts slow and acoustic, but becomes a heavier rock song after almost a minute.
This is the third single in a short time from this Swedish band, which features Pontus Snibb (BONAFIDE, Pontus Snibb's WRECK OF BLUES) on vocals. Their sound is lurking somewhere in the shadow of DEEP PURPLE, even though it's not exactly the same. And the lyrics seems to be influenced by the late John Lennon (The BEATLES).
Well, this is a really good song, and I think you should check it out. It's just as simple as that.
ninetone.com
Published: Oct. 4, 2020

DONNA CANNONE: Cross The Line - Single
(Despotz Records)
Here's a new rock band from Sweden, with former members of THUNDERMOTHER and Björn "Speed" Strid from SOILWORK and The NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA in the lineup. "Cross The Line" is their debut single, which is a hooky and melodic rock song. And for some reason it makes me think of the Hank Von Helvete era TURBONEGRO (when they was as best) - Big arena rock from a small band from the north. You have to check this out!
An album is planned to be released in early 2021. That could be interesting to hear.
donnacannone.bandcamp.com   despotz.se
Published: Oct. 4, 2020

DEFECTO: Tempest - Single
(Black Lodge Records)
Danish melodic progressive metal band DEFECTO will release their third album, "Duality", on October 23. And here's a little taste of that.
"Tempest" is not about Joey Tempest (EUROPE), as far as I know. It's a pretty commercial song with its catchiness, that might even make the pop fans like them. But the guitars are at least heavy enough to be melodic metal, and this song is very good. And a good song is a good song, and that's it.
defecto.dk
Published: Oct. 4, 2020

BLISTERHEAD: Balaclava Boys - Single
(La Mer Nordique)
Blisterhead at Sticky Fingers in GBG
O.k., so this is the first single in 3 years from this Swedish punk rockers, who turned 20 last year (the band, not the members). And what can I say? It sounds familiar and just like it should when it comes to these boys. Simply a good song to shake loose to. And fans of a band like RANCID should absolutely check them out.
They have spiced the song with piano, and the message is about what happens to a society that is so skewed that people create their own kind of justice.
BLISTERHEAD has toured all over Europe since the early 2000s, released 4 albums and a few 7" singles. And it seems like the band is working on a new album, so this could be seen as a warm-up for that.
facebook.com/Blisterhead   lamernordique.com
Published: Oct. 4, 2020

v/a: Tribute For TIAMAT - Compilation
(Antichrist Magazine/Grand Sounds PR)
I don't own a single record with TIAMAT. And after listening to this compilation I don't even know if I ever have heard them at all, because nothing sounds familiar. Fact is that it just goes in through 1 ear and out through the other. So I guess that this is not a band for me.
But that doesn't mean that it's total garbage though, so don't let that stop you. I guess that if you are a fan of TIAMAT, then this might be of interest.
Antichrist Magazine, in co-operation with Grand Sounds PR, have collected 13 bands from both Europe and USA, who is doing 1 song each by TIAMAT. Among these acts are: MYRHOLT, IN A DREAM, XENOS, EKKU, ZANPANZAR, The REVENGE PROJECT, ASTROLBORNE, TYHJA, SAVOTH, ROUGH OGRE etc.
This tribute is available for free on YouTube: youtu.be/reHuJYdrXKM
antichristmagazine.com   grandsounds.net
Published: Oct. 3, 2020

VIS VIRES: The Fight Goes On - LP
(Contra Records/Battle Scarred Records/The Firm Records/Common People/Comandante Records)
Typical Oi! punk with harsh vocals and melodic guitar melodies. Really good, even though they sounds like lots of other bands in this genre, and are hardly doing anything new at all. But it doesn't always have to be new and fresh to be interesting. And old farts like me actually prefer the good old sound.
This is the debut full length from VIS VIRES, which consist of 11 tracks. And this is said to be something for those of you who like LA INQUISICON, LEGION 76, CONCRETE ELITE or the sound of the last OLD FIRM CASUALS album. I have never even heard of any of those bands, but if they sounds like "The Fight Goes On", then they must be good.
contra-net.com
Published: Oct. 2, 2020

THIS CALLING: Methods Of Protest - LP
(Black Star Foundation)
Oh, this was great! Punk rock with melody is what we get here. And sometimes it's also pretty fast, almost melodic hardcore actually. I guess that this is something for fans of bands like BAD RELIGION, MILLENCOLIN and similar.
THIS CALLING is an Hungarian band, with members from acts like BRIDGE TO SOLACE, POISON ALLEY and The IDORU. "Methods Of Protest" is their debut album, with 11 songs.
Now I'm not familiar with the Hungarian punk scene, but if they have more bands that are as good as THIS CALLING, then there's hope.
facebook.com/thiscallingpunk   facebook.com/Blackstarfoundationrecords
Published: Oct. 2, 2020

The DIVIDED: Pack Of Lies - 7" EP
(Contra Records)
After a lot of positive feedback and attention for their debut album, "The World You're Living In", the Orange County-based punk band The DIVIDED fires back with 3 more songs on an exclusive 7" for German label Contra Records.
To me it sounds very British, and like many of today's Oi! punk bands, with harsh vocals and football choirs. But this band also add some rock n roll guitars, which I guess makes them a little unique.
These 3 songs are damned good anyway, so you should absolutely check them out as soon as you can.
contra-net.com
Published: Oct. 2, 2020

DEAD LOW: Listen Up! - EP
(Audio Epidemic Records)
DEAD LOW is a pretty new punk rock trio from Massachusetts, USA, who formed last year. And this 4-track EP is their first release.
The title track sounds like British punk in the hard school. Like it would have been done in something like 1982. And that's something that I really like! The other 3 songs are more like street punk/Oi!, which I also like. So in the end they are a very good band that you should check out if you have any interest at all in true punk.
facebook.com/deadlow508   audioepidemic.net
Published: Oct. 2, 2020

GRID: Livsleda - Album
(Selfmadegod Records)
Grindcore from northern Sweden, with a band who has existed since 2014. Their goal then was to annoy the local (Umeå) hardcore elite. But the sound of today can actually be a bit melodic sometimes, even though it's mainly fast d-beat and hard blast beats that we get here. The lyrics are misanthropical.
Well, this is actually not bad for being a grind band. They are among the bands who succeed to make music even though it's fast and intense.
gridumea.bandcamp.com
Published: Sept. 30, 2020

SANCTUARY: Into The Mirror Black (30th Anniversary Edition) - Album reissue
(Century Media - Release date: Oct. 9, 2020)
"Into The Mirror Black" was originally released in 1990. And now it's time for a 30th Anniversey Edition of the album, which will be released as a double CD and triple LP. And yes, that means a lot of extra material in form of 3 previously unreleased demo tracks from 1989 and an entire concert from 1990 (which has only been partially released on a rare promo EP). So that's a lot of songs for the money - 22 tracks to be exact, and more than 110 minutes of music.
The album has a gloomy atmosphere and thought-provoking lyrics, and the music is a mixture of heavy and thrash metal, which is sometimes almost a little progressive. These songs might not be for everyone, as they are hardly any typical party anthems. But I really like what I hear anyway, and recomend you to give this a chance.
After touring for this album, the members went seperate ways, and didn't release any new album as SANCTUARY until 2014. Their singer, Warrel Dane, died in December 2017. Nowadays Joseph Michael is the singer in the band.
sanctuaryofficial.com   centurymedia.com
Published: Sept. 30, 2020

Bob Mould: Blue Hearts - Album
(Merge Records)
O.k., so the old HÜSKER DÜ member Bob Mould begin with a soft acoustic song. But after that it's more action in the speakers. Some kind of catchy and melodic punk rock is what I call this, even though there's some rock and softer tracks as well. And this is not so bad at all. I think you should check it out at once.
You could see this album as a step back to his past, while the lyrics deal with things that are current now - like climate change, the next generation etc. Some other songs are grounded in personal relationships.
bobmould.com
Published: Sept. 30, 2020

NEHODA: But Anyways... - Album
(Release date: Oct. 2, 2020)
This trio has references to many different genres, from grunge to Americana and blues, via good old rock n roll to alternative rock. But it's actually a pretty soft and sometimes a little boring record that they have made. Especially if you are really angry and hate all and nothing. But it might work better on a nice day with your partner (if you have one, I don't). I have to admit though that a more catchy and energetic song like "Shakey Pop" is much better. And sure, "Afterglow" is o.k. too. But otherwise there's not that much to sing hurray for.
nehoda.bandcamp.com
Published: Sept. 30, 2020

L7: Smell The Magic (30th Anniversary Edition) - Album reissue
(Sub Pop Records)
L7 came from Los Angeles, and didn't really fit in. These women created their own unique blend of punk and hard hooky rock, with humor and cultural commentary. Originating out of art punk circles in 1985, L7 played countless poetry readings, drag shows, art happenings and punk rock dive bars. They released a self titled album along the way, but it wasn't until 1989 that they succeeded to get signed by Sub Pop Records in Seattle.
The first release on the label was a 3-track single, where the A-side, "Shove", became a small hit in the underground scene. They were then supposed to record a EP, which was later expanded to a full length album that became "Smell The Magic". And that album was a succees in the underground rock scene when it was released in 1990.
To me L7 sounds like a female The STOOGES in the 90s alternative rock scene. It's raw, punky and dirty rock that still kicks ass after all these years. And now I sit here and wonder how the hell I could have missed this band. And why have nobody told me about them? I really like what I hear now though, and to discover a good band later is better than never at all.
This new edition includes all 9 songs from the album and nothing else. It's been remastered, and is for the very first time also available on vinyl.
l7theband.com   subpop.com
Published: Sept. 30, 2020

KING MOTHERSHIP: The Ritual - Album
(Century Media - Release date: Oct. 2, 2020)
This is the kind of melodic pop/rock that I just don't like at all. The whole damned record is totally useless. And if you happens to like pop music, what are you doing on this site then?
KING MOTHERSHIP is the solo project of Spencer Sotelo (PERIPHERY), where he explores all kinds of different influences - everything from MUSE to Jamiroquai, via The MARS VOLTA to The DEAR HUNTER, and the almighty QUEEN. Simply a progressive soup that doesn't smell so good to me. This is actually the kind of band that makes me angry. Simply because it sucks so much. I really love music. Music is my life. But I really hate bad music.
twitter.com/spencesotelo   centurymedia.com
Published: Sept. 30, 2020

IRON ANGEL: Emerald Eyes - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: Oct. 2, 2020)
German speed/thrash metal band IRON ANGEL return with their 4th studio album, which is the follow-up to their 2018 comeback album, "Hellbound".
The band originally formed as METAL GODS in 1980, and changed the name to IRON ANGEL in 1983. 2 albums was released - "Hellish Crossfire" (1985) and "Winds Of War" (1986) - before they went seperate ways. Then they reunited in 1997, which lasted for 10 years before they split up again, just to come back once again in 2015.
Now I have not heard their old albums, but it's said that they have brought back a lot of the thrashiness from their early days. At the same time everything has reached a new level in quality. This actually sounds so hungry and energetic that you can wonder if it's not some younger men that have made this album.
facebook.com/IronAngel.hh   mightymusic.dk
Published: Sept. 29, 2020

KAVEE: Metempsychosis - Album
(Self released on Oct. 1, 2020)
KAVEE is a personal and acoustic project with Valerio Goattin, singer/guitarist of GALAVERNA and SLAP GURU, which was born during the quarantine. The songs was composed, recorded and mixed by himself between May-August 2020 in Verona, Italy.
The album is said to aim at being "an acoustic escape towards the dreamlike dimension of music", and "a journey through mysterious and distant landscapes". In other words some kind of soft psychedelic folk rock. A very laidback album, but pretty good anyway.
kavee.bandcamp.com
Published: Sept. 29, 2020

STRYPER: Even The Devil Believes - Album
(Frontiers Music srl)
This band has existed for an eternity now, but that doesn't stop them from rocking like they still were young. And the big surprise is that they still are so good after all these years. Many bands just gets weaker and weaker, but not STRYPER. And on this album they continue to prove that they are still relevant, and a band that you can trust. So if you don't check this out, then there must be something wrong with you.
stryper.com   frontiers.it
Published: Sept. 28, 2020

Simon Collins: Becoming Human - Album
(Frontiers Music srl)
AAAAAA! I really hate these useless intros! And the music that we get is not much better. Some kind of really soft and electronic, progressive rock on the border to pop. This is a really boring album that doesn't even work on a Sunday.
And yes, Simon is the son of the legendary pop artist Phil Collins (ex-GENESIS), so what you can expect here is a mixture of his father's solo material and GENESIS, but with Simon's own little touch though.
This is his 4th solo album. He has previously been a member of a band called SOUND OF CONTACT.
frontiers.it
Published: Sept. 28, 2020

RISING STEEL: Fight Them All - Album
(Frontiers Music srl)
RISING STEEL is an up-and-coming heavy metal band from Grenoble, France. Their influences mainly comes from 80s NWOBHM, hard rock and thrash metal, which gives them a solid and powerful sound. Fans of the classic heavy metal acts should like this a lot, because this is really good.
The band released their first EP, "Warlord", in 2014, which was followed by their debut album, "Return Of The Warlord", in 2016. And now, after 4 years, their second album is here.
frontiers.it
Published: Sept. 28, 2020

PERFECT PLAN: Time For A Miracle - Album
(Frontiers Music srl)
Swedish melodic hard rock band PERFECT PLAN released their debut album, "All Rise" in 2018. In my review I wrote: "Just like so many other bands in this genre, they reminds me a lot of the happy 80s sound". And I also wrote that: "Fans of EUROPE, DEF LEPPARD and similar bands has yet another band to check out".
Now their second album is here. And now they aim at a slightly heavier and more "in your face" sound. But don't worry too much about that, because you will still hear obvious references to classic AOR bands like FOREIGNER, SURVIVOR etc., even though I would call their music melodic hard rock and not really AOR.
frontiers.it
Published: Sept. 26, 2020

LANDFALL: The Turning Point - Album
(Frontiers Music srl)
LANDFALL is a hard rock band from Curitiba, Brazil. Their singer Gui Oliver (ex-AURAS) is said to be "a true dead ringer for the legendary Steve Perry of JOURNEY". And their sound is described as falling between classic melodic rock a'la JOURNEY with some slightly heavier influences, such as classic era DOKKEN, WHITE LION, and EXTREME.
In the end it's simply melodic hard rock that we get from these guys. And this is absolutely not bad at all.
facebook.com/landfallofficial   frontiers.it
Published: Sept. 26, 2020

HELL IN THE CLUB: Hell Of Fame - Album
(Frontiers Music srl)
HELL IN THE CLUB is an Italian hard rock band, featuring members of ELVENKING and SECRET SPHERE. This is their fifth album, which gives us a pretty melodic kind of hard rock with a tocuh of sleaze rock. And it sounds really good.
It actually sounds like they have tried to make an album that will become a classic. But unfortunately I don't think that will happen. Sure, the songs are strong with its big choruses, but not strong enough. It's still worth checking out though.
facebook.com/hellintheclub   frontiers.it
Published: Sept. 26, 2020

HELIX: Eat Sleep Rock - Album
(Perris Records)
The most interesting thing with this record is that it actually sold out 2 weeks before the release date (a second pressing have been made since then). Interesting because I can't really figure out how a new album with HELIX can be so interesting to people in 2020. But I guess that I&'m living in the past when I think that their best time was something like 1983-1985, when they made their 3 best albums according to me.
But now it was their latest album, "Eat Sleep Rock", that I was going to talk about. And the beginning of the album is not so funny to listen to, as the singer tell us the story about this Canadian band. Yes, he talk (with music behind) and doesn't sing. It could be more interesting (that word again) to read the story instead (which I can find on the internet I suppose).
Most of the other songs is a compilation of their favorite songs recorded since the band left Capitol/EMI in 1990. The title track is previously unreleased though. And even though their golden days was over at this time, most of these songs are (to my surprise) actually pretty good. But it took something like 5-6 listenings before I finally figured that out.
I'm impressed that they continued to rock and never gave up. The band is actually still around today, but I'm not sure how many originally members there's left.
planethelix.com   facebook.com/PerrisRecords
Published: Sept. 24, 2020

LYKANTROPI: Kom Ta Mig Ut - Single
(Despotz Records)
"Kom Ta Mig Ut" is the second single from their upcoming third album, "Tales To Be Told". And it's another spellbinding song, with beautiful harmonies and all.
Swedish rock band LYKANTROPI is a witch brew of The MAMAS AND THE PAPAS, JETHRO TULL, COVEN and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. Their lyrics deal with Swedish folklore, myths and legends from the forest and the wilderness, the clear-cutting and the bog. Let's call it dark heavy/folk rock.
And this band is a little funny sometimes. Because even though the title is in Swedish, they have a tendency to blend English and Swedish in some of their songs, like they do in this song too. I remember that they did that on their last album.
This is damned good and a must!
lykantropi.bandcamp.com   despotz.se
Published: Sept. 24, 2020

Steve Hackett: Selling England By The Pound & Spectral Mornings, Live At Hammersmith - Album, DVD, Blu-ray
(InsideOut Music - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
It wasn't that long ago since Steve released a live album with GENESIS songs. So why he release another live album with GENESIS songs so soon after that is a mystery. But while "Genesis Revisited, Live At The Royal Albert Hall" was a recording from 2013, this is a brand new release. It's a little like milking a cow though - Sick and greedy, and absolutely not necessary (let the poor cow give her milk to her child instead, and let people breath a little between each release with the same artist).
This recording is from his UK tour last year, where he performed the entire GENESIS album "Selling England By The Pound", as well as selected tracks from his solo album "Spectral Mornings" and his latest studio album "At The Edge Of Light". We get as much as 21 tracks here, which last for as long as 283:50 minutes.
Fans of Steve Hackett and GENESIS will probably love this. I don't know what to think about this though. It feels like it never ends.
hackettsongs.com
Published: Sept. 24, 2020

SUNKEN: Livslede - Album
(Vendetta Records)
After a useless, silent piano intro, and then some more silent playing, they finally find the accelarator and put the pedal to the metal, while the singer scream like it was his last day on earth. But even though it's pretty intense, they also have melodies and atmospheric elements. So it's not just a hell of a noise here.
SUNKEN is a atmosheric black metal band from Denmark. They take us on an emotional journey through anxiety, self-hatred and hopelessness. It's dark and cold.
5 tracks is what we get, and 2 of them are as long as 11:31 and 12:27, while 2 are 8:46 and 8:58 minutes.
sunkendenmark.bandcamp.com   vendettarecords.de
Published: Sept. 24, 2020

TORCH: Reignited - Album
(Metalville - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
TORCH was originally formed back in 1981, by 5 guys from the small Swedish town Eskilstuna. They released a EP and 2 albums before they split up in 1986.
Over the years there were many requests from fans for a reunion. But it wasn't until 2013 that it finally happened. 4 of the founding members brought their old friend and guitarist Håkky into the band to play on a rock cruise, which was such a huge succees that they decided to continue with the band. And in 2019 they started to write and record some new material. The result of that is this album, "Reignited".
These guys has obviously been listening to the harder heavy metal, like JUDAS PRIEST and ACCEPT for example. Because that's what these 9 songs makes me think of. And it's absolutely not bad at all.
The album was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT, U.D.O., PRETTY MAIDS etc).
metalville.de
Published: Sept. 23, 2020

PLACES AROUND THE SUN: Places Around The Sun - Album
(Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
This Portugese heavy rock band reminds me a little of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, even though there's more ingredients than that here. And just like that band, this band is pretty o.k. but not much else. There are a few exceptions though, like "Down The Road" and "Lost I Am Found", which are a little bit better than the rest.
They have previously released 2 albums: "Still Here" (2016) and "Pluto" (2018). And it seems like they have an interest in experimenting with other music genres, and in exploring a more danceable sound, even though the main ingredient here is heavy rock.
facebook.com/placesaroundthesun
Published: Sept. 23, 2020

HULKOFF: Pansarfolk - Double Album
(Faravid Recordings - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
Hulkoff with Bourbon Boys at Holmens Rock
Folk metal is the best way to describe this, and the album is available in 2 versions: Swedish and English. I got both, and there's both good and less good tracks here, but most of them are o.k. anyway.
The music is a mixture of heavier metal and traditional Swedish folk music. Both typical rock instruments and old folk music instruments are used. Pär Hulkoff (RAUBTIER) have a special and sometimes a little funny voice though, so I had a few laughs when I was listening to this. He is doing this with all his heart though, so excuse me for that.
"Pansarfolk" is his second solo album, where Anders Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen, HAMMERFALL etc) play drums. We also get a guest apperance from Erik Grawsiö (MÅNEGARM).
Published: Sept. 23, 2020

ENTER: 1991, Images From Floating Worlds - Album
(Pure Prog Records)
This band's music is progressive rock like it was done in the old days. A very vintage sound, like it would be a forgotten treasure from the 70s or the 80s. The song I like best here is "Holy Office". None of these 6 tracks is bad though. Absolutely worth checking out. And especially if you like the early prog rock bands.
ENTER was an Italian band, and this recording is an old demo from 1991. The members of the band has been active in other projects since then. The 2 original founders of the band were keyboardist/singer Gabriele Bulfon and drummer/singer Marco Ferranti. Gabriele is nowadays a succeesful fushion/jazz pianist and composer, while Marco is drummer/singer for the Italian QUEEN tribute band MerQury BAND. Singer Vittorio Ballerio was a member of the prog metal band ADRAMELCH, and is currently singing with CARVAGGIO. Bassist Franco Avalli was also a member of ADRAMELCH, but is nowadays a jazz/fusion bassist.
puresteel-records.com
Published: Sept. 23, 2020

DIAMOND DOGS: Too Much Is Always Better Than Not Enough - Album reissue
(Wild Kingdom - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
This is the third album by Sweden's best rock n roll band, which was originally released in 2002. It's said to be their most raw and stylistic album, with effective songs, sharp edges and loads of attitude. But I can promise you that it's just as good as they always seems to be. So in other words another damned good album.
Sure, it's mainly rock n roll when it comes to this band, but fact is that sometimes there's also some good old R&B (and then I don't mean the modern pop shit) and even glam rock.
This is simply a must for every true fan of rock n roll.
facebook.com/everylittlecrack
Published: Sept. 23, 2020

DEAD END Finland: Wounded & Bleeding - Single
(Inverse Records)
"Wounded & Bleeding" is taken from an upcoming EP with Finnish melodic metal band DEAD END Finland. The EP will be released in the end of 2020, and if they have more songs like this on that EP, then it will be interesting to hear.
The sound is modern, with a good mixture of both soft and aggressive parts. Check it out!
deadendfinland.com   inverse.fi
Published: Sept. 23, 2020

MYSTERIZER: Alea lacta Est - Single
(Inverse Records)
Finnish heavy metal band MYSTERIZER released their debut album, "Invisible Enemy", in 2019. Now they gives us a new single, "Alea lacta Est". And this is very good stuff in the good old tradition, so you should check it out of course.
Well, if they have more songs like this, then their next album will be very interesting to hear.
mysterizer.com   inverse.fi
Published: Sept. 22, 2020

MIND WARS: The Fourth Turning - Album
(Dissonance Productions - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
Well, if it's old school thrash metal that you are looking for, then MIND WARS is what you are looking for. Even though it's not the hardest and most aggressive thrash metal, but more like heavy/thrash metal.
This is their 4th album, which is said to be their most promising and heaviest album. We get 10 original compositions and a cover of SLAYER's "Criminally Insane". And among the lyrical themes are war, civil unrest, disease and authoritarian governments.
Well, they are doing a really good job here, so there's not much to doubt. You simply check this out.
Published: Sept. 22, 2020

FIERCE HEART: War For The World - Album
(Dark Star Records/Sony/Universal - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
They start the album by letting the guitarist, Rex Carroll, show that his a fan of Eddie Van Halen. Simply guitar masturbation, and nothing else. That last for approximately a minute.
After that demonstration we get some good old guitar-driven hard rock with lots of melody. And this is damned good! They deliver hit after hit. It's almost like finding a forgotten treasure from the 80s. Because this sounds a lot like the great bands of the 80s.
And the sound is not such a big surprise, as the story of this band goes back to the mid-80s. Because back in 1985 Atlantic Records released FIERCE HEART's debut album. But not much else happened, so in 1986 Rex formed WHITECROSS, and he also played in a band called KING JAMES. The singer, Robert Reynolds, joined GRAVE DANGER from L.A.
But after an eternity, the band is finally back again with their second album, "War For The World". And if you want to relive the 80s, then this is the band for you.
fierceheartband.com
Published: Sept. 21, 2020

ENEMY ALLIANCE: Damnation Dawning - Album
(Black Star Foundation/Mondo Macabre)
This reminds me of many other Swedish bands who play fast and melodic punk rock/skate punk. And I guess that's not such a big suprise as we have members from some of those bands in ENEMY ALLIANCE. And with that said I guess it's not such a big surprise that they are doing a really good job here. They are obviously experienced guys by now. After all we talk about members from bands like SATANIC SURFERS, ATLAS LOSING GRIP, NO FUN AT ALL, INTENSITY and VENEREA.
ENEMY ALLIANCE formed in 2006, and released a demo and a EP. As a duo with Rodrigo Alfaro (vocals/drums) and Stefan Bratt (guitars/bass) they also recorded an album, which for some reason never was released at the time. But now, 12 years later, it's finally here. 13 tracks in 31 minutes. And if you have any interest in this genre, then you have to check this out.
This album was released on CD and digital on the last of July. Now it will also be released on vinyl LP on September 26.
facebook.com/enemyallianceofficial   facebook.com/Blackstarfoundationrecords
Published: Sept. 21, 2020

Derek Sherinian: The Phoenix - Album
(InsideOut Music)
The first song is something for all you guitar freaks out there, who just love to listen to a man who build his songs on playing guitar solos. There's no vocals at all.
But that's just the first track, and we have 7 more here. And some of the other songs have more electronic melodies. The only song with vocals is a cover of "Them Changes" by Buddy Miles. Otherwise all tracks are instrumental. And we get all kinds of musical styles here. Sometimes it's almost metal, and sometimes more like rock, while other songs have pop or even jazz influences. And well, that's not even all of it.
Derek Sherinian is a keyboard player, who has played with artists like Alice Cooper, DREAM THEATER, KISS, Billy Idol and BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, and is currently a member of the all-star band SONS OF APOLLO. Once in a while he has also released solo albums during the last 2 decades. "The Phoenix" is his first album since 2011.
dereksherinian.com
Published: Sept. 21, 2020

CLIFFORD: All Might To Tegnell - Single
(Despotz Records)
This is not a new song, but an English version of their first song "All Makt Åt Tegnell", which is a tribute to Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, because they think that his coronavirus strategy is great.
Well, you can think whatever you want about that, but fact is that this is still a o.k. death metal song.
CLIFFORD consist of the 2 Swedish brothers T. and J. Clifford.
despotz.se
Published: Sept. 21, 2020

JUST BEFORE DAWN: An Army At Dawn - Album
(Raw Skull Recordz - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
JUST BEFORE DAWN are nor better or worse than any other death metal band in the old school. But for some reason I think they are pretty mediocre. Not really sure why though, and that is not the same as that they would be bad. It could possibly be because it seems to be more or less mid-tempo in almost every song, and not enough action. That makes them sound heavier somehow.
It looks like this Swedish band need a singer, because they have used several different singers on this album - Ralf Hauber (REVEL IN FLESH), Jonny Pettersson (WOMBBATH etc), David Nilsson (FERAL), Mattias Parkkil (BLOOD MORTIZED) and Robert Karlsson (CREEPING FLESH) are some of them all.
The band was formed in 2012, and their debut album, "Precis Innan Gryningen", was released in 2013. "An Army At Dawn" is their 4th album. They has also released a few EPs and singles, as well as a compilation.
justbeforedawn1.bandcamp.com   rawskullrecordz.com
Published: Sept. 20, 2020

The IDORU: Old Songs - EP
(Black Star Foundation - Release date: Sept. 26, 2020)
They call this melodic hardcore, but to me it sounds more like some kind of modern melodic rock. Very catchy stuff as you might understand, but actually not so exiting to hear. The only song out of these 3 that I can call melodic hardcore is "Unacceptable", which is the only good song according to my opinon. I didn't say that it's excellent though.
The story of this Hungarian band goes back to 2003. Since then they have been touring in Europe and Japan, but they have also released 4 albums and a few EPs. And now, after a 10-year break, they are back again with a new EP.
facebook.com/TheIdoruBand   facebook.com/Blackstarfoundationrecords
Published: Sept. 20, 2020

KAT: The Last Convoy - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
Polish heavy metal veterans KAT formed back in 1980, and celebrate their 40th anniversary with this album. I have not really figured out if this is re-recordings of old songs or new songs, or maybe both? But except for their own songs, we also get some covers: "Highway Star" by DEEP PURPLE, "Blackout" by SCORPIONS and "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC. Mainly good stuff, but there's also an acoustic track which is not so good.
This might not be a must in your collection, but it's good enough for me at least.
kat-band.com   puresteel-records.com
Published: Sept. 19, 2020

BYFIST: In The End - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
BYFIST comes from San Antonio, Texas, and have been active since the mid-80s. They have during the years released as much as 45 (!) singles, a couple of EPs and a compilation album. But they have never before released a full length album with brand new songs. Well, not until now anyway.
"In The End" gives us some classic US metal, with high-pitched vocals and all. In Europe we call this power metal, or simply heavy metal. But anyway, it's good stuff that they deliver, and then you can call it whatever you want. O.k.?
We get 8 tracks in 46 minutes, and this is powerful and just the right medicine when you're thirsty for metal.
byfist.com   puresteel-records.com
Published: Sept. 19, 2020

ANNEXATION: Inherent Brutality - Album
(Iron Shield Records - Release date: Sept. 25, 2020)
ANNEXATION was founded in 2015 with the intention to play fast and aggressive thrash metal, influenced by bands like SLAYER, EXODUS, DEMOLITION HAMMER, POWER TRIP and VIOLATOR. The members comes from different extreme metal bands, and they are based in Germany. They have previously released a demo (2017) and a MCD (2019).
And yes, fast and aggressive it is, but they mix it with heavier parts here and there. This is really good, so you should definitely check them out. And especially if you like a band like SLAYER, or why not KREATOR? You should not be dissapointed anyway.
facebook.com/Annexationthrashmetal   ironshieldrecords.de
Published: Sept. 19, 2020

SHRAPNEL STORM: Shrapnel Storm - Album
(Great Dane Records)
Finnish old school death metal band SHRAPNEL STORM formed in 2007, and their biggest influences are 90s Florida death like OBITUARY, BOLT THROWER and SIX FEET UNDER. Heavy riffs, catching choruses and crushing groove describe their music pretty well. And this is very good stuff that most death metallers should like. So give them a try at once!
Not really sure what else I should say, so just let the music do the talking instead.
shrapnel-storm.com
Published: Sept. 18, 2020