Marching Out, Rock Will Never Die, 2015

marching out - rock will never dieSo, you name your band Marching Out, your album Rock Will Never Die and start with a track called Prelude. If all that has not told you Yngwie inspired neoclassical metal, than nothing ever will.

These guys are from Japan and I must say, they are pretty good at what they do. Their guitarist must be a big Malmsteen fan, and must have studied pretty hard to get all them chops in his fingers. He sure is on fire here. And, since Yngwie has been getting quite some critique for no longer working with a decent singer, this band might provide lovers of the style with a decent alternative.
Maybe the pronunciation sometimes leaves a bit to be desired, but there is nothing wrong with the vocal prowess here. A bit in Dio territory I think.
Also, the songs are solid and with enough variation and bite to keep the momentum going. By the way, some of the ultra high soloing reminded me more of Uli Jon Roth than of YM, but that is probably just me.

So the songs are there, the voice is there and the flashy guitar playing is there. Seems to me lots of people would love to add this to their collection! No clue about availability alas, but if you dig this style, you might want to follow the below link to their website and pick up a copy. Oh, and yes that is Doogie White on the bonus title track.


Unified Past, Shifting The Equilibrium, 2015

unified past - shifting the equilibriumRecently I got in touch with Stephen Speelman, radio host of Friday Night Progressive. Turns out he is also the guitar and keyboard player in this band, Unified Past. So he was kind enough to send me a copy.

I am guessing that on first impression there will be little discussion about what genre we can expect here: yup, progressive rock. While listening to the album, my thoughts sometimes drifted back to the US outfit Cairo (where have they gone?). Not only because of the sound and timbre of singer Phil Naro, but also because of the complex nature of the songs. Which do not bother Naro to still succeed in delivering accessible melodies!  The band is completed by Dave Mickelson on bass and Victor Tassone on drums.

The 6 tracks that form the regular album all are ticking the right boxes for people into this type of prog: rhythmic changes, lots of ideas, technical wizardry on guitar and keyboards, epic songs, etc. And as I already mentioned, the singing keeps it all together and prevents the music from being all mind and no heart. There is a bonus track available on the limited edition but not sure you can find that anymore.

Damn good if you ask me, sorry I missed the original release!


Still Living, Humanity, 2015

still-living-humanityOne of the greatest benefits of the internet is that it makes this a small world. We can now get in contact with people from say, Brazil, and enjoy the music they make over there. Point in case is the band Still Living, here present with their second full length album Humanity. And where some folks dare to say that rock is dead, these guys prove that this is not the case at all.

The regular album has 10 tracks, and as a bonus 2 previous singles are added. I think it is fair to say that the roots of this album lay in the rock of the eighties. So we have plenty of keyboards, courtesy of Thiago Nascimento and all songs thrive on the vocal melodies of the talent that is Renato Costa. But in contradiction to the general sound of that time frame, we have a lot more natural sounding drums, and with great playing from Cleber Melo I might add. And especially a more modern guitar sound from mister Eduardo Holanda, who lets it rip whenever he can. Love his sur name of course 😉 All is held together by the flawless bass playing of Leandro Andrade.

So, all lovers of melodic (hard) rock, I can recommend giving this a couple of spins, it will not disappoint!


P.S. Originally an independent release, the band is now picked up by Rock Company for European distribution.

The Radio Sun, Heaven Or Heartbreak, 2015

the radio sun - heaven o rheartbreakRound two from these Aussies, and again on Melodic Rock Records. And more things are the same, as again Paul Laine was responsible for mixing the album. Another thing that has not changed is the music itself. As the name of the label already suggests, melodic rock.

Opening with the track the album got it’s name from, it is clear from the word go what we will get served: quality melodic rock built on steady riffs, tons of melody and flashy solos courtesy of Black Majesty‘s Steve Janevski. During playback of this album, it did seem that singer Jason Old has grown in his performance. Maybe it is just me, but it felt more confident and powerful. Whether in the rocking songs, or the great ballad Dying Without Your Love, there is a lot to like about this album.

Overall a rock solid follow up to the first album, and a nice surprise in the addition of Andy Taylor’s I Might Lie. Fans of the label or the genre, in case they do not already have it, you know what to do! Oh, and number 3 is already on the way…


Corners Of Sanctuary, Metal Machine, 2015

corners of sanctuary - metal machineIt might be the first time ever that I would only need three words to describe an album. And these three words are Traditional Heavy Metal. So despite one of the most extensive press information efforts ever, this is going to be a short one.

Corners Of Sanctuary (COS) are a 4 piece band from the USA and pride themselves in being old school. This is already their 4th album, yet the first one I heard. And for me it is a tough ride. The sound is thick, bordering into muddy and old school indeed. The music is strictly sticking to their beliefs, no surprises. True metal as it were.

So if traditional heavy metal is your thing, you will probably dig this a lot. Me, I prefer more adventure and diversity.


Zingo, Zingo, 2015

zingoI can almost hear you think, Zingo? Well, a little surprise maybe then, because one the of members is guitarist Keith Scott, who has been playing with one Bryan Adams for decades. And you guessed it, Zingo was his band preceding that. This album is a remaster of a hard to find release from way back, and also features 2 never before released songs.

The music is melodic rock that because of the progressive elements sometimes borders into pomp. And it is a pretty good album for lovers of the genre too. Of course it has a firmly rooted seventies sound, but it sounds fresh nevertheless. There are some special treats like sax solos, hammond organ, a Keith Scott who is on fire, and the vocals and vocal harmonies are up to par as well. The songs are well balanced, and I must say that especially when they inject extras, they really create some top notch stuff.

So I am pretty sure that any aficionado will be delighted with this now unearthed gem and label Renegade Sounds can be proud of it.


Wigg, Sally, 2015

wigg - sallyThis is the debut from Dutch rockers Wigg. In the vinyl time it would have been an album, now it is a more oversized EP, with 8 songs clocking in at almost 37 minutes. The band is a trio, with Mr. Joe handling bass and vocals, Ray Vaughn playing drums and Dan The Man on guitar. Of course these are not their real names, but I do not want to spoil that, even if the reason behind this is not clear to me. Can hardly imagine they are afraid of groupies or stalkers…

Anyway, for people who like old fashioned hard rock, there are quite some things to enjoy on this silver platter. Singer Joe has a wide range and is not afraid to use it. I like his voice! And I am guessing Dan has his Marshall stack up to 10, creating a seventies sound that has enough meat in it to feed your neighbourhood 🙂 Nice drum sound too!
Best songs for me are Blue, Sparkling Glance, Glad To Be Back and the more modern sounding Behaviour Of Bullets. Not so sure about the guitar in Loving Doll, but that might be a matter of taste. Also for me the sound of the bass would benefit from a more transparent EQ-ing. But that is also subject to taste.

Overall a promising start and since they play live on a regular base, I have little doubt they will be able to grow and test drive their songs to take them to the next level. Looking forward to the next batch!


Ghost, Meliora, 2015

ghost - melioraA lot of mystery is surrounding the band Ghost (B.C.). No one seems to be sure who they really are. Or if the ghouls and the papa emeritus are the same people on all of their releases. But what we are sure off is that this is their third album. And what is certainly not a mystery, is that this is easy their best yet. Yes, I loved the first two, but this little thing puts a big smile on my face every time I listen to it.

And I know they are labelled a metal band, but I would like to encourage everybody to take that with a large pinch of salt as the band goes way beyond that. Also do not be afraid of the occultism they are associated with. The music alone is so damn good and catchy, you will be able to enjoy this without the lyrics. Every song on this album is genius and nests itself in your brain before you know what happened. And all of that with songs that are creative, energetic, spellbinding and just plain addictive. Anybody that listens to Cirice and not gets hooked can be considered a loss for the music community as far as I am concerned, what a brilliant song!
Personally I keep thinking of a modern Blue Oyster Cult. But never mind referencing them, they are a force of their own and one I like better by the day. Absolutely fabulous and a mandatory purchase. In which case you will also be able to admire the stunning artwork in the booklet.


Awake By Design, Carve The Sun, 2015

awake by design - carve the sunShould anyone need proof that progressive metal is still alive in the UK, you might be interested to check out this bunch. I did not receive a lot of info from the band, but from their website I learned they are a 5 piece with vocals, bass, drums, guitar and keyboards.

But lets first take a look at the album, their second. On it are 10 songs with a running time of almost 50 minutes. For a independent release it sounds well produced and balanced, and manages to pack a punch. And like fellow countrymen Threshold, their brand of progmetal focuses more on melody than on technique. And every follower of the blog will know that is extra points in my book. The band are also not afraid to use dynamics in their songs. I must say singer Adrian Powell is at his best in the more quiet pieces in my humble opinion. When the band play full on, he has a hard time topping them with his melodies and voice. But that might also be down to the way they wanted it mixed.

I had fun listening to the album. Good songs, enough variation to keep me interested. A bit sad they have to do it all by themselves, but if we all buy the thing instead of downloading it from a torrent site, that might change… Recommended!


Amboaje, All About Living, 2015

amboaje - all about livingObviously there is a strong connection between Spain and Andrew McNeice from Melodic Rock Records, as this is not the first and probably not the last release matching these criteria. Amboaje is the brainchild of singer and principal songwriter Toni Amboaje. The first thing of note is the message in the booklet: “it’s just one life. Make sure you stand up for your dreams”.  True words and Toni took them by heart and let them inspire some lyrics as well.

First song Over And Over was debuted as a video and I liked the melody and arrangement of the song. Yet not so much the dancing 🙂 Listening to the whole of the album, it becomes clear that this is a very mature album for a first release under this moniker. No info about past activities though, so don’t quote me on that. Toni has written 12 songs that convince on all accounts. Good singing, strong playing and memorable melodies. What we are looking for in a melodic rock album! Another plus is the variety on offer. From rocking tracks like the title track, to a beautiful duet with Paula Rojo on It’s Always You to a emotional ballad like Once, it is all there.

So fans of the label and or melodic rock in general, check it!