Legion, Redemption, 2020

legion - redemptionSince their return in 2019 with Rising, Legion have wasted little time so here is their next effort Redemption. Delivering another 11 tracks, this is by no means a quick fix, trying to cash in on the gaining momentum. In fact, I think it is as least as good as their comeback album!

For those who are yet to discover the band, Legion is a combo of US singer Phil Vincent, with UK musicians Vince O’Regan (guitars), Gav Cooper (bass), Irv Parrat (keyboards) and Andy Pierce (drums). Together they deliver hard rocking tunes that may be bordering on the metallic. But since Phil is involved we need not worry about melody.
So we get power, groove, shredding and catchiness combining to form a winning formula.

Simply put, another great album that will not need much time winning you over.



Legion, Rising, 2019

legion-risingNo matter how hard I try, I just cannot seem to get the backlog in album reviews finished. One of the reasons might be Phil Vincent, because the man that never sleeps just keeps releasing new music. And this time it is with his UK buddies from Legion.

After some problems with their previous record company, they are now part of the Rock Company family and have delivered a damn fine album if you ask me. This time bordering into melodic metal, with Phil taking care of the melodies and vocal harmonies and trusted sidekick Vince O’Regan handling guitar duties. And boy does he shred his way through the 10 tracks on offer.

Kicking the album off in high gear with Nothing To Me, the band prove they have left the past behind and moved forward. Back with a vengeance so to speak. The sound is meaty, with a punchy bass and drums giving you enough oomph to go with the energetic songs. Riff after solo the band sound on fire and take no prisoners.
I know some people are afraid Phil is saturating his fanbase with all these releases. But when the outcome is this good, who cares…

Bring it on! Well, we already know there is no stopping Phil 😉


The Soul Exchange, Vow Of Seth, 2017

the soul exchange - vow of sethThe excellent previous album from Swedish band The Soul Exchange has been making quite a few rounds here at YMB HQ. And while they are working on their next full length, they have released an EP with 5 new songs. Well with 32 minutes of playing time, once that would have been considered an album 😉

Opening with the title track, the mood is set for another slab of that Soul Exchange goodness. Powerful rhythms, mysticism, power chords and that chilling voice of Daniel John. And while the band is on fire as usual, I can’t help thinking that John is the absolute star. His delivery grabs you from the go and he really takes you to other worlds.
But it would not be fair to appoint the attraction of the band solely to their singer. Their music, still a bit of a mix of Metallica and Ghost, proves the perfect platform for those vocals to shine on.

So the conclusion is simple, they have done it again! Now when is that new album arriving boys? Cannot wait!


Soul Exchange, Bloodbound, 2016

soul exchange - bloodboundEven though I believe this is their second album, for me this is my first time listening to Swedish band Soul Exchange. And the first name that popped up in my brain while listening to this was Demon. Might be due to the fact that some songs deal with topics like the ripper, pain, aliens, etc. Or that both bands create a working marriage of NWOBHM with prog.

Anyway, the quintet open with City Of The Ripper. Bells chime, and the stage is set for a song that slowly but surely creeps into your system. Especially the chorus with majestic harmony vocals hits home hard. I love harmony vocals, and this band treats them the way it should. Besides that, lead singer Daniel John has a voice tailor made for the genre. Powerful yet melodic. Next track Left Behind is more proof of the quality in the band. A clever riff put to good use as a foundation for the melodies. And a solo break that again shows prog tendencies. Also the tasty use of keyboards and organ does not go unnoticed. They really add to the overall sound.
Personal favourites are Torn To Pieces and Passenger Of Pain. But there are a lot of songs that will find a welcome home with those into melodic metal and more progressive accents.

So happy I got in touch with the band, this is a fab album! Head on over to their website and buy it!


Riccardo Scaramelli, Thunderproject Vol. 1, 2013

Thunderproject VOL.I Not so long ago I was treated with the great hard rock from Italian band Bluerose. And now singer and guitar player Riccardo Scaramelli fires his Thunderproject at us. Which in fact is more than just an album, as the release is accompanied by a book, should you choose to buy that edition. Alas I have not seen that, so let´s take a look at the album itself.

First thing to notice is the format of the package, as it is somewhere between CD and DVD formats. Looks good, and sounds good too. Compared to Bluerose, the style is more metal, and the progressive influences are even more evident. What not has been lost, is the attitude. Riccardo sounds very confident again here. Which is even more amazing if you consider this is a one man band! Except for a guitar solo on this edition bonus track Wasted. Another thing is that the melodies are still here. So even if it sometimes is more complex music, those choruses hook you to the songs. Another good thing is that this time we get about an hour of music, as that was my only complaint about the Bluerose album.

I consider Riccardo Scaramelli a big talent, great voice and accompanying instrumental capabilities. Let alone engineer, mixer and masterer… So do take the time to explore the music if you are into melodic metal and or progressive metal.


Morpheus Rising, Let The Sleeper Awake, 2011

Morpheus Rising - Let The Sleeper AwakeSeems this year so far has brought me a lot of new discoveries. The latest being  UK band Morpheus Rising with their Let The Sleeper Awake album. Kinda funny to name yourself after the Greek God of dreams, and then let the sleeper wake up… Ah well, I am sure they know what they are up to.
The band is formatted as a classic metal quintet (vocals, bass, drums and 2 x guitar) and that is exactly what first song Daylight confirms. High energy, dual lead guitar attacks, the works. Singer Si Wright has a warm and pleasant voice, but is not your typical metal screamer. His tone is darker and deeper, more like a 80´s new wave singer. Next track Lord Of The North continues that adrenaline pump, but here it seems keyboards are added. Low in the mix, but there is something cooking all right. The chorus is a big winner! The dual leads are again put to good use and deliver many a bridge that holds your attention. And much to my surprise Wright pulls off some screams as well. More metal than I figured 😉

As the album develops, the impression of the style of the band evolves as well. Due to the colours added with keyboards, I sometimes got a different vibe from this album. More progressive if you will, but I would like to bring that new wave connection up again. I really like the overall effect, bringing the band an identity of their own.
To sum it up, a very interesting melodic metal release that is very well worth hunting down. Excellent!


Reece Kronlund, Solid, 2011

Reece Kronlund - SolidSinger David Reece has been featured here before, both solo as with Bangalore Choir. Now he has teamed up with producer and guitarist Martin Kronlund. The pair are apparently not planning on leaving it at this, judging by the booklet text. Time will tell.
Together with known names as Andy Susemihl, Tommy Denander and several others, including my dear friend drummer Hans in ´t Zandt, they have recorded 10 tracks that will appeal to any serious rock addict. With so much experience involved, it is not a big surprise that this turned out really good. Well actually you don´t get guarantees on that, but you know what I mean.

First track My Angel Wears White is already testament of the fact they they are not out to leave anybody standing. Can easily compete with the best Bangalore Choir have released. Samurai is another winner, but here is no filler in sight. Another track I really like is Animals And Cannibals, up tempo, melodic and kick ass. Bonus points for the lyrics, often real feeling stories told here, instead of bubblegum ” I love you” in 100 variations.
My only complaint is the album length. With 10 tracks of 3 to 4 minutes, they leave us wanting more after just over 40 minutes. Really whets your appetite for more!


Revolution Renaissance, New Era, 2008

revolution renaissance - new eraAfter the much debated and publicised happenings in and around the Stratovarius camp, things went a bit silent in the Timo Tolkki corner. But he has resurfaced with  a new band and he called it Revolution Renaissance.

Up front I want to remark that any lover of Tolkki’s former band, will find listening to this a very comfortable experience. In fact, this plainly sounds like Stratovarius with an all new cast (besides song writer and guitar player Tolkki of course. So if you liked his former band, this will push the familiar buttons.

On the upside, the experiments many people dreaded are not present and now we have two bands operating in a similar style. On the downside, who needs two bands operating in a similar style? Why all the fuss if the outcome is so close?

Despite adding nothing to what is already there in his legacy, this is still an album to enjoy. Tolkki obviously still knows how to write a tune or 10, still handles his six string well and got new folks in to fill in the other parts.  Maybe not essential therefore, but little wrong with either. You decide if it is worth your time and money.

The website is no longer available…

The Murder Of My Sweet, Divanity, 2010

The Murder Of My Sweet - DivanityA band with practically a who´s who in Swedish rock. I mean Johan Niemann on bass, Daniel Palmqvist on guitars and Daniel Flores on drums; you could do worse! Together with Andreas Lindahl on keyboards and the unknown (to me) singer Angelica Rylin the band obviously mean business.

Melodic metal with some Gothic touches, this is well crafted music that will appeal to many. And to only address that to focal point Angelica does not do the album justice. With players of this calibre it is probably of little wonder that this leaves little to be desired. Big pompous sound with a lot going on arrangement wise. Yet the melodies and convincing vocals keep it all together.

So even if it all hints at a formulaic approach to attract the unaware fan, the quality is undeniable and you should delve into tracks like No Evil, Bleed Me Dry (video on the disk as well), One Bullit,  or the amazing album closer Death Of A Movie Star. You will not be disappointed.


Jorn, Spirit Black, 2009

jorn - spirit blackThe mighty Jorn Lande brings us another album under his own name. Jorn has been involved in many bands so far (Masterplan, Millenium, Vagabond, Ark to name a few), but this is already his ninth offering under his own name since his 2000 début Starfire.
In many ways, you can´t go wrong with Lande behind the microphone. His sound is instant, he as many colours (Dio and Coverdale being big influences) and within the melodic metal field there are not many competitors at his level. Russel Allen comes to mind, but that is about it I guess.
Also his band consists of some top ace players, Willy Bendiksen on drums and Tore Moren on guitars being among them.

If you heard Jorn solo before, this is a safe buy. Waste little time and get it, if you don´t already own it that is. For those not yet confident enough, here´s a thought for ya. Like big guitars, melodic choruses, a singer with a stellar set of pipes and songs to match? Dig that heavy sound and riffing, songs with diversity and mood swings, with a top notch production? Melodies to die for and solo´s that count? Hey (wo)man, where have you been, buy this on sight (and any other of his albums as well I might add). Oh and if you can, get the bonus edition. It has a cover of one of Thin Lizzy´s most beautiful songs (The Sun Goes Down) on it.

Personal play tips: Spirit Black, City In Between, Rock And Roll Angel.