Melodic Rock Fanzine Issue #46
This new issue includes reviews and interviews of Sebastian Bach, House Of Lords, Kimball / Jamison, Sinner, Grand Design, Newman, Trillum Upcoming, Gotthard, Grand Illusion, Fergie Frederiksen, Uriah Heep, Issa... and more!
04 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 14 15 17 19 20 Sebastian Bach House Of Lords Kimball / Jamison Sinner Grand Design Newman Trillium Upcoming Reviews Gotthard Grand Illusion Fergie Frederiksen Uriah Heep Issa CONTENTS The official Frontiers Records magazine Year #7 - Nr. 5 / Issue #46 Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi Graphic & Design: Elio Bordi Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob "Ezy" Bone, Fabio Mainardi, Tommy Hash, Primo Bonali, Justine Bevan. Headquarters and general contacts: Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 18 80125, Napoli - Italy Tel: +39.081.2399340/7753 Fax: +39.081.2399794 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.frontiers.it Myspace: www.myspace.com/frontiersrecords Editor and publisher: Frontiers Records s.r.l. Copyright�2011 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy. Melodic Rock Fanzine ARTISTI: SEBASTIAN BACH ALBUM: KICKING AND SCREAMING INTERVIEW WITH: SEBASTIAN BACH INTERVIEWED BY: FABIO MAINARDI Focus on: SEBASTIAN BACH - Kicking And Screaming (Frontiers Records) 4 | MRF Sebastian Bach is back, back to his roots! His new album "Kicking & Screaming" is definitely way harder and focused on th a n his predecessor "Angel Down". Simply listen to the opening track and first single : "Kicking & Screaming" and you will realize what I'm talking about. I believe this track can be considered one of the best Sebastian has recorded since 1991 . It's amazing the thunderous drumming by Bobby Jarzombek on this one ! Same power can be found on the third on the list, "TunnelVision", with a shining guest appearance by guitarist John 5 and "Dirty Power". The album also has the "have to be there" ballads "I'm Alive" and "Dream Forever" (amazing tune this one ! ) . The now classic modern radio rock sound seems to be a bit too generic at a first listen but soon after you keep playing the album you will discover a real solid hard rock cd , direct and honest. Only weak point is where Bach strain s a bit trying to hit some higher notes, rock 'n' roll lifestyle takes its toll sometime...A deep tough t goes also to the recent dramatic facts that crashed on Bach, having his house flooded by Iren e hurricane...we truly hope the success of this album will help his future. Fabio "Deuce" Mainardi (90/100) Question: Well, first of all, how are things going for you now? How is the promo campaign for the new album pretty intense? Answer: Things are great I am so proud of the new CD "Kicking & Screaming " & the new dvd "as long as I got The music" which comes with the Deluxe Cd / dvd edition. The music sounds great I can't wait for you all to hear it! Q: I guess you're already very willing to release the record and see the fans' reaction, and also play the new songs live, are you? A: Yes we have already played alot of these songs live. There are live versions of "Live the Life" & "TunnelVision" on the Bonus DVD. Q: Did it take you long to prepare the material for the recording? Were all the songs basically ready when you went into the studio to record them? A: We spent about 2 years getting the material ready for the record. Nick Sterling brought in a bunch of great ideas & we wrote some songs together as well. We wrote some tunes with Bob Marlette & I also wrote a song with John 5 from Rob Zombies band. He plays guitar on that track too. Q: What does it means the Kali goddess behind you on the cover? A: She is the most loving of all Goddesses, with the most terrifying visage. I have just gone through a divorce from my wife of 18 years & a lot of the lyrics on the record have to do with breaking up, & some lyrics have to do with finding new love. The girl with the 8 arms slashing me with her knives & dragging me into hell kind of feels like what I have been going through lately. What about your musical evolution from "Angel Down" to "Kicking & Screaming"? What are the differences between these two albums? A: I think the main difference is Nick Sterling on guitar, he is a little more melodic than my guitar player on Angel Down. I think "Kicking & Screaming" is a little more melodic than "Angel Down" I love both records though! Q: You're now working with the young guitar prodigy Nick Sterling. How did you find him, and were there many guitarists whom you turned down before finally choosing Nick? Tell a little about your experience of working with him, your impressions. A: I found Nick in Guitar World magazine. He was the best player I could find & the best songwriter as well. I love writing songs with him & playing onstage with him. I got him in the band when he was 19 & he just turned 21 last week. His playing on the record is stellar. Q: A guest musician, guitarist John 5 has played on one of the tracks, "TunnelVision". How did the collaboration happen? A: John 5 was actually in the Skid Row video for "Piece Of Me" which we filmed in 1989. He is one of the dudes who stagedives in the video. He has always been a big fan & the song is amazing. I would like to work more with him in the future. Q: Who are you playing the current shows with (the members of the band, I mean)? A: Same band I have had for the last couple of years Nick Sterling & Johnny Chromatic: guitars Bobby Jarzombek: drums Rob Deluca: bass. When are you going to start performing the songs from the new album live? A: We have been playing most of these songs live for a couple of years now. "I'm alive" is on youtube from birmingham UK gnr tour from last october. Q: By the time when the issue with this interview will be out, the single and video from the album will have already been released - there will be the single & the video, will they? Have you already chosen the song? Tell a little about that. A: The first single is the title track "Kicking & Screaming" . We shot 3 videos for the record , "Kicking & Screaming", "TunnelVision" & "I'm Alive" with Devin DeHaven that turned out incredible I am very happy with the videos. Q: The song "I'm Alive" from the new album is a very catchy one, a beautiful ballad that goes straight to the heart. Can you reveal the story behind it? How did the idea of it come to you? A: That song has to do with the breakup of a relationship . Its a beautiful song that totally encapsulates what I am going through in my life right now. Q: There's an interesting coincidence that I've noticed while reading the tracklist of "Kicking & Screaming": the phrase "As Long As I've Got The Music - I'm Alive" - fig- ures out. Were the songs intentionally placed one after another due to their titles? A: No but you're right that is pretty cool! I go over every detail on the Cd millions of times over & I'm surprised I didnt catch that! Its true. Q: And basically, can you say that the above statement ("As Long As I've Got The Music - I'm Alive") is true for you? Which songs helped you get through hard times in your life? A: The next one. Coming up with new music is so much fun & very cathartic. I make music to release my emotions & document things going on in my life, or my head. Q: You've been involved with all that music TV stuff, reality shows & TV music programs... Which is no wonder, 'cause you're just a perfect TV person - handsome and charismatic. But now is, I think, and we can all see that, the time of the decline of music TV. There's no music on MTV anymore. VH1 stays, but I'm not sure if it's for long. Do you feel sad about that, or is the golden era of music television gone for good and there no need to regret that? A: Its a bummer theres very few places on tv for my new videos to be seen. I am so proud of the videos I wish there was somewhere on tv you could check them out! They are included on the deluxe DVD though. Q: Do have any plans to do some more theater / Broadway work in musicals in the future? You really were good at that, as far as I know. A: I may return to Broadway, who knows. I would like to be in spider man because i dig Marvel Comics. The play "Rock of Ages" is interested in having me but i have not seen the show. I will check it out. For now Rock is the top priority. Q: Have you ever planned to became a full-time actor? Would you like it? What kind of movies do you like to be in? A: I have starred in 4 Broadway shows so I have already been a full time actor at different parts in my life. It depends on the role. My favourite role I ever played was in Jekyll & Hyde. I just shot the movie "Rock Of Ages" with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, & Catherine Zeta Jones. Look for it in theatres next year. MRF | 5 ARTIST: HOUSE OF LORDS ALBUM: BIG MONEY INTERVIEW WITH: JAMES CHRISTIAN INTERVIEWED BY: BRUCE ATKINSON Question: Could you tell me about "Big Money"? What represent for you an album as this one? Answer: The Album "BIG MONEY" is another chapter in the history of House Of Lords. We have a long career and I feel we have always delivered a solid record on each release. This is what I am most proud of. There is no Bull-Shit on any of the CD's. We write until we have something we can all enjoy playing. Q: Why "Big Money"? A: Why Not? It is just a title. No hidden message, the song has to do with greedy people who have everything in life, yet they are never happy, there is also a political insinuation here as well. I feel in politics both sides can be greedy always wanting more and never thinking about the consequences. Q: Gene Simmons said "Money Is All". Is it the same for you or you think are more important love, family, friends, emotions...? A: FAMILY, LOVE, FRIENDS, MONEY. Focus on: Q: How was the overall recording process? A: Our process is always the same, first we write the complete song and then we record it. I do not like to piece together music as I am recording it. I do not mind editing the song to give it the correct arrangement, but I hate writing and recording as I go along. I want a full song that I can play on acoustic guitar and sing. If I can do that then the production will work beautifully. Q: Is there any of your song you are damn close to and why? A: Very many, Demons Down, What's Forever For", One Man Down, These Are The Times. There are more. I love these songs because they still work for me today after many years. Some songs are timeless. Q: What about the lyrics? A: Lyrics are really important, but on some songs, I like it when the lyrics can be a little Tongue and Cheek. Some people read our lyrics and say Oh WOW they use the word "BABY" In their lyric, I look at it this way. I still call my wife BABY so why would I not sing the word in a song. Silly things like that are annoying to me. Other times the lyric is very serious like in "One Man Down" that is a different story. Lyrics should tell the story. Q: Which is the greatest satisfaction happened to you in your musical career? A: Being chosen to be the singer of House Of Lords. It came at a time when I was about to give up on trying to secure a record deal. That was a very long road which ended up quite well for me. Q: What release of the past did you have the most fun recording and why? A: Actually Demons Down was a lot of fun because we had an huge budget and we were able to really live like KINGS in the studio. We also hired the LA Philharmonic orchestra to do strings on Demons Down and Inside You. That was an amazing time. HOUSE OF LORDS - Big Money (Frontiers Records) 6 | MRF "Big Money" is all that you may expect from this band: big vocals, catchy melodies and blistering guitars, not to mention also well focused song writing. The album opens up with a cannon ball, the title track "Big Money", the slow stomping song emphasizes all the fierce energy and this band offers. "First to Cry" is the best track on this one, to me while "Someday When" seems to come out from one of their first albums with its huge keyboards work and a bittersweet guitar solo, not to mention about the big vocals from James Christian. With "Living in a Dream World" House of Lords put on the table a very technical track almost a progressive one but with an arena sounding harmonies that will blow people out when will be played live. "Big Money" represents the best 80's Arena rock music played and recorded nowadays with a renewed energy and a classy production. A must have for all Melodic rock and Class metal fans out there. Fabio "Deuce" Mainardi (90/100) Question; So let's start from the beginning, how did the whole Kimball/Jamison union come about? Bobby Kimball: Jimi and I have been working together for over 25 years, and we've been discussing doing a CD together for many years. However, both of us were always busy touring, or writing and recording our own Solo projects. We got an offer from Frontiers Records to do a "Duet CD" called "Kimball/Jamison", and that was our opportunity to get together and record a CD finally. Q: The album boasts a host of great songwriters, but how did you decide who'd sing lead on what songs and were there any songs you both wanted to do? Jimi Jamison: Bobby and I have sung together so much it was almost automatic deciding who would sing which parts. He has that unmistakable and powerful sound that everyone recognizes right away. I took a lot the lower parts for want of a better comparison - kind of like the rock "rightous brothers"! Q: With two well-known vocalists like yourselves, how easy did you find working together? BK: As a matter of fact, it was probably the easiest, and most fun CD I've ever worked on, because Jimi and I are very good friends, and there were no "Ego problems" involved with getting the job done. It was only fun, and I look forward to working with Jimi in the studio again as soon as possible. Q: The album was produced by Mat Sinner, was he a hard task master or did you all agree what you wanted from the album? JJ: Mat is a brilliant producer. He's not a hard taskmaster but he does expect the best you have to give. He is the kind of producer who seems to be able to get more out of an artist than the artist knows he has. Q: Who's idea was it to put together the ARTIST: making of the album DVD? KIMBALL / JAMISON BK: That was part of the contract we signed ALBUM: with Frontiers. We agreed to do all of the proKIMBALL JAMISON motion possible, to support the CD, and I INTERVIEW WITH: thought it was a good idea to film "The Making KIMBALL - JAMISON of The CD". INTERVIEWED BY: Q: By having two singers from very well BRUCE ATKINSON known bands, how important was it to make this album different from the bands you're both better known for? JJ: We all agreed that it was important to have songs that do not sound exactly like toto or survivor. Naturally the voices will automatically give you a taste of the original sound of both bands, the new songs let us stretch out a little more vocally. Q; Do you ever see this as a touring band or is it just a studio project at the moment? BK: Jimi and I have just done a tour in Germany together, and one of the concerts was the "125th Anniversary of Mercedes Benz" for 11,000 people. Another was a live performance on a very big radio/TV Network. We performed two of the songs from the new CD, and within 2 days, one of the songs was in heavy rotation on the radio, and within4 days, it was in the charts. I guess they liked the CD a lot. Q: Are there any songs on the album that you're particularly proud of, if so why? JJ: Sail away is one of my favorites. I'm a big fan of richard page's writing and vocal style. Q: Apart from the prospect of a second album, what does the future hold for Bobby Kimball and Jimi Jamison. BK: The prospect of another Kimball/Jamison CD is very strong, but both Jim and I are working on several Solo CDs. I have been working on one for 8 years, and couldn't get into the studio with the right players because I was touring, recording with other friends, or just too busy to find the time to finish this CD. I love it more than anything I've ever done, and I can't wait to finish the last 2 songs and release my Solo CD that will define what I love about music. I'm sure Jimi is about in the same position, because he's working on 3 Solo CDs right now. Focus on: KIMBALL / JAMISON - Kimball Jamison (Frontiers Records) Two titans of the genre come together for the first time on an album, this is sure to once again cement their names as two of the finest vocalist this genre has, bringing together this very special friendship born out of appearances on the "Legends of Rock" and the "Voices of Classic Rock" shows. The pair share vocal duties on this album as they duet on each and every track, along with the musicians duties taken up by Alex Beyrodt on guitars, Mat Sinner on bass, Jimmy Kresic on key's and last but not least Martin Schmidt on drums. With an almost impossible task of picking out some of the many highlights, for review purposes I would have to say the album opener `Worth Fighting For' is a real insight into what the rest of the album has to offer, as both vocalists deliver on all levels. For lovers of the ballad then `Sail Away' and `Find Another Way' will melt even the hardest of hearts, but for the rockers then I recommend `Chasing Euphoria' and the fantastic `Back In The Game'. This is definitely one of the albums of the year. Barry McMinn (98/100) MRF | 7 BAND: SINNER ALBUM: ONE BULLET LEFT INTERVIEW WITH: MATT SINNER INTERVIEWED BY: FABIO MAINARDI Question: When did you decide to release new songs with the Sinner moniker? Answer: We had a very good feedback from the fans with the Crash & Burn album and played for the first time in years a lot of shows incl. South America and Russia. It was already planned to enter the studio one year earlier than expected, but for some various reasons it needed a little longer, but the plan was made during the last Primal Fear European tour in a bar in Helsinki. Q: Mat has always been busy with several projects like Primal Fear and Rock Meets Classic to just name a few, was it easy to find the time to reform the band and start recording? A: Of course if you enjoy the music and the team. We recorded very old school all together in one studio to catch the vibe. It was a great process with a bunch of fantastic musicians! We were 100% focused on the recordings for the time we've spend in the recording studio. Q: Would you like to introduce us the band members? A: We have Andr� Hilgers from the band Focus on: RAGE on drums, Alex Scholpp on guitar � he plays with TARJA and the FRAMER BOYS, then Alex Beyrodt make his comeback on this album and played 12 years in SINNER, you know him as full member of Primal Fear since 2 years and always a touring member of the band or Voodoo Circle. The third guitarist is Christof Leim who's in the band since summer 2005. Q: When the album has been recorded and how long did it take to you to finish it up? A: We recorded in my hometown Stuttgart in the U3 studio and the Audiospezialist studio. Overall we needed 2 weeks to record the tracks and another week to mix the album. We wanted to keep the vibe as fresh as possible and really recorded a lot of the parts together. Just the lead vocals and the backing vocals by Erik Martensson and me were added later. We've tried to catch this vibe during the mixing process too! Q: Three guitars are definitely a huge wall of sound, how the recoding process has been affected having three guitars players? And how are you going to share parts live? A: All three guitarists are very different and that makes the split between them very interesting. Alex Scholpp is the best rhythm guitarist I've worked with, very experienced in all styles of the rock music and very modern in his riffing and view. Christof Leim comes from the Zack Wylde school of guitar and his parts and lead guitars are very brutal. Alex Beyrodt is the high class classic rock guitarist on a very high technical level. Alex was the perfect opposite to the other guys and that made the album for me very special. We made a plan who's playing which part and overall it worked out fantastic � only smiling faces in the studio! Q: I've heard you are going on tour soon through out Europe, could you anticipate us which countries will you play in? A: We're playing 12 shows in 2 weeks in 4 countries. We have to keep it short, because I have some more projects going on incl. finishing the new Primal Fear album which needs my full focus. If the album will sell good and the concerts are well attended, we plan to play some more shows! SINNER - One Bullet Left (AFM Records) 8 | MRF Since their last 2009 studio album, "Crash & Burn", Sinner are back again. Matt Sinner (vocals and bass) formed a three guitarists project with Christof Leim (from previous line up and The New Black), Alex Scholpp (Tarja, Farmer Boys) and Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle) on guitars and Andr� Hilgers (Rage) on drums. "One Bullet Left" will not be Sinner's masterpiece to date but it's an good metal album for sure. The band has delivered better album in the past and although the quality of the music is always granted by Mat musicianship, the lack of continuity in the personnel in the band has taken its toll. The three guitars stunt is great and much appreciated especially in the up-tempo opening track `The One You Left Behind', but Sinner has lost its row heavy metal power in favor of more rounded rocking feel, but some of their old fury are still clear on the title track "One Bullet Left" that's a great heavy metal song, thanks also to a huge and powerful drumming by Andre Helgers. German metal fans will surely appreciate this album. Fabio "Deuce" Mainardi 80/100 BAND: GRAND DESIGN ALBUM: IDOLIZER INTERVIEW WITH: PELLE SAETHER INTERVIEWED BY: DUNCAN JAMIESON Question: Welcome to Melodic Rock Fanzine. How are you? Answer: I'm great!!! We are releasing a new album IDOLIZER 28th of October and the pre response have been outstanding � so Im flying on clouds right now Q: Your debut garnered some great reviews with its great mix of melodic rock and Def Leppard influences. How do you feel the new album improves on that record? A: Well as I stated in our new bio � we knew we had found a formula to make 80s songs & sound fit in the 21st century so we kept that in mind when we recorded IDOLIZER. And since it worked veeeey well on "Time Elevation" we said: Why the hell change it???? I worked alot on the production to be even bigger than our 1st album and Im very pleased. I think we have made 10 songs in the same standard as the previous ones � big sound, big choirs and catchy refrains. Q: Was there more pressure on you following up the well received debut? A: Yes and no � Ive got mail almost Focus on: every day from fans asking about the new album � they were worried it wouldn't sound a feel the same. Well I can ease ur minds � we have worked our asses off to make u happy and we are sooo satisfied with the result. Q: There's a slightly heavier sound this time out, was this intentional? A: I haven't thought about that � maybe there is. We still blend distorded & clean guitar sound � we still use rockman amp. We have 2 uptempo rock songs on IDOLIZER � and they really rawk!! So there u have a slightly rockier sound. So back to ur question � no we had no intentions making it heavier. Q: How do you approach song writing and work in the studio? A: Well I do all songs + lyrics and then we do the arrangements together. This time we recorded the guitars first!!!! Then drums bass & solos � I wanted to try another way of recording and I liked it alot!!! Q: You're playing the great Fireworks festival in Nottingham England in October. This must be a big thrill. What preparations have you been doing for that show? A: Well we played Firefest 2010 and it was a blast!!! Great show and alotta fans showed up even if we played at noon on Sunday � the place was packed!!! Q: Any bands over that weekend you're keen to see? Which other bands would you cite as influences? A: Since we don't play this year I don't know which bands are playing � Warrant would have been great with Jani (RIP) Q: You all played in quite high profile bands before Grand Design. How did you decide the music of Grand Design was the way forward? A: Well when we started everybody laughed at us � they are not laughing now... We all have backgrounds in melodic bands so we felt it was time to do a larger than life production ala 80s rock and songs and arrangements in the same manner. Since the 1st album went so well we can now release album #2 IDOLIZER!!!! GRAND DESIGN - Idolizer (Aor Heaven) The "Idolizer" of the album's title could refer to the band themselves and their obvious infatuation with Def Leppard. After the rave reviews of their debut you feel the band has decided to go out and make the record Def Leppard should have done after "Adrenalize". They have taken the sound of Def Lep's "Pyromania" and "Hysteria" as the blueprint for their sound; the same guitar sound, the electronic drums, the bass melodies, the Joe Elliot style vocals and the huge multi-layered choruses and have come up with an album that sounds more like Def Leppard than Def Leppard do these days. "Get On With The Action" is "Armageddon It", "Rocket" and "Let's Get Rocked" all rolled into one song. "OughtoGraph" has a chorus that's the Siamese twin of "Photograph" and the big ballad "Love's A Runaway" is "Love Bites" meet "Hysteria" and so the comparisons continue. It's done lovingly rather than plagiaristically and for Def Leppard fans who wish "Slang" had never happened this is a must. Duncan Jamieson (88/100) MRF | 9 BAND: NEWMAN ALBUM: UNDER SOUTHERN SKIES INTERVIEW WITH: STEVE NEWMAN INTERVIEWED BY: BARRY MCMINN Question: Last year with `Art Of Balance' you put together what many see as one of your best albums to date, so did you feel any pressure to come up with goods with again with `Under Southern Skies'? Answer: Great to talk with you, and thank you for your kind words. I didn't really feel any pressure writing "Under Southern Skies" as a matter of fact the album came quite easily. Last year ended up being a very emotional one for me with the loss of both my mother and father. I used a lot of the emotion of those events to channel into my music and I think it can be heard on a lot of the songs. With "The Art Of Balance" I wanted to create a very "in your face" record with a lot of impact. The idea behind the new one was to concentrate more on the melody and hooklines and give the music a little more space than some of my previous work. Q: The album was recorded and self produced in your own studio, did this give you more freedom to make the album that you Focus on: wanted in the timescale of your choice? A: It's nice to have the luxury of having my own recording facility but I try not to lose sight of the fact that things can get over produced. I do try and write to deadlines within a project to keep things fresh and exciting. As it turned out the deadline for AOR Heaven was pretty tight so this kept me on my toes !! Q: Your name has appeared in the credits of many albums over the past year, how did you manage to fit a new album into such a busy workload? A: A lot of the songs that I am now appearing on I recorded some time back. It's amazing how you can write or record something with another artist and it may take up to a couple of years to be released. I am very privileged and humbled that other artists want to use my services on their music and it's always great to hear the finished product once it comes out. Q: When working on a new album do you have a certain mindset of how you want the album to sound and were you pleased with the end result? A: Whenever I record an album I learn so much about the recording process, you never stop learning !! I always try to take that knowledge onto the next project, so my songwriting, performance, and recording evolves with each new thing I'm involved with. I'm really pleased with the way the new album has turned out. I think it's a step forward from the last album in both songwriting and production. Q: The album has a multitude of style and tempos, but if you had to pick the track your most proud of what would it be and why? A: It would be difficult for me to pick a favourite from this album. I really do love all the songs for different reasons, probably the reasons you have given in your question. I do believe the album has a good variety of styles from "Killing Me" to "Fire With Fire" and "Montserrat". Hopefully there's enough colour in there to hold the listeners attention as well. NEWMAN - Under Southern Skies (Aor Heaven) 10 | MRF Formed back in 1997 by Steve Newman, Mark Mulholland and William Marshall Newman, the band released their self titled debut the following year. Since then the name of Steve Newman has been associated with great melodic rock and now in 2011, Newman are back. Joining Steve on this new album are Rob McEwen and Shaun Bessant for yet another stirring slice of Melodic Hard Rock. The album is 11 tracks of melodic rich rock that showcases perfectly the depth of talent behind this man and his music, with something for every fan of the genre. Some of my personal highlights being the title track `Under Southern Skies', the excellent slow burner `Strength To Carry On', then across to the moody modern rocker `She's Gone', but this is just one man's tastes. This album has both great ballads and great rockers and all points in-between. This is without a doubt, the best Newman album to date, as it embraces all we love about this style of music but with enough modern influences to take the genre ever forward. Barry McMinn (87/100) WHITE WIDDOW - Serenade (Aor Heaven) This, the second effort from Melbourne melodic rock quintet White Widdow; "Serenade" showcases their collective musical talents in a most harmonious way. The group wear their influences on their sleeves...and that is not a bad thing! Steeped in late `70's and early 80's Melodic Symphonic Rock--White Widdow have a keen sense of song crafting. Richly imbued with keyboards and symphonic guitar stylings, the group create soaring mid-temple AOR. "Serenade" is a collection of musical expressions that will continue to roll around in your head long after the first listen. The vocal technique of Jules Millis allows for a `radio friendly' feel, as well as the ability of the lead vocal to take on new heights. Jules' voice also has range and depth...allowing the group to express themselves with more aggression as well. There is an `organic' feel to this release...what with all the digital technology available for recording; it is certainly nice to hear real musicians playing real instruments! White Widdow's soul shines through on "Serenade"."Serenade": an outstanding second effort and worthy of your attention! Bruce Atkinson (88/100) BRAINSTORM - On The Spur Of The Moment (AFM Records) It begins... slowly building, ever burning and very ominous..."On The Spur Of The Moment" marks the next stage of German progressive-metal group Brainstorm! With such titles as "Below The Line" "In These Walls", and "No Saint-No Sinner", this record should take Brainstorm to the next level! No fillers here... this album goes from heavy to ultra-heavy. The gents have taken great pains to present this music in an uncompromising and assertive way. Creating an atmospheric and pulsating soundscape that will permeate your deepest recesses! Talking about penetrating music... listen closely to the lyrical content and be prepared to be intellectually stimulated as well! Between the best moments of the album I would like to mention some songs that I think represent the album in perfect way:In The Blink Of An Eye, In These Walls, Still Insane and here Your Actions Lead You To Live. "On The Spur Of the Moment"... it hits on all cylinders!! Bruce Atkinson (90/100) DREAM THEATER - A Dramatic Turns Of Event (Roadrunner Records) Having another incredible musician like Mike Mangini aboard means a brand new chapter in Dream Theater story. More progressive, more melodic, more "classy", and - most of all � way far BETTER than everything they released after "Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory", "A dramatic turns of event" is a triumphant return to their roots, and - at the same time - nothing less than an instant masterpiece in the genre. Personally, I don't like when the band goes into the self-indulgent mood of showing the world how difficult and how great they can play, a thing which happens here and there during the 76+ minutes of this CD, but I guess that's something we have to live with, if we want to listen to some jewels like "On The Back Of Angels", "This Is The Life", "Br! eaking A ll Illusions" and the closing-theme "Beneath The Surface". Thumbs up and glory forever! Sorry, Portnoy, but you did the wrong move... Primo Bonali (95/100) STEVE HACKETT - Beyond the Shrouded Horizon (InsideOut Music) Having several solo albums behind him, Steve Hackett always brings his familiar six string prowess to the table, and all the while keeping it fresh and new. Like Out of the Tunnel's Mouth, Hackett dives head first into various styles, placing his own signature throughout the variances of techniques he uses to approach different musical mannerisms.With Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, the guitarist nods to his Genesis days with the prog of "Loch Lomond," "Prairie Angel," & "Waking to Life;" runs through Arabian themes on "Two Faces of Cairo;" returns to classical motifs on the solo piece "Wander Lust" and the extended concerto "Turn this Island Earth;" prevails with acoustic dreamscapes with "Till These Eyes" & "Between the Palms and the Coconut Trees;" then playing out some jumpy pop with the tune "A Place Called Freedom;" delivering balladry with "Looking For Fantasy;" and really lets loose by rocking out on the blues metal infused "Cat Walk" - again being extremely diverse. Beyond the Shrouded Horizon is another dynamic record from a dynamic guitarist who has transcended multiple genres all the while creating his own patented sound that is instantly recognizable from the first note. Tommy Hash - Ytsejam.com (90/100) GLYDER - Backroads to Byzantium (SPV) This is the fourth album now for the Irish rockers, and the first with new vocalist Jackie Robinson. Their influence remains the classic rock sound of the 70s. It gets off to a shaky start with the slight Sabbath sounding "Chronicled Deceit" which is ordinary at best. The record picks up on the first person narrative of "Don't Know Where I'm Going" which carries a Thin Lizzy vibe. The feisty "Don't Make Their Mistake" which attacks the bigotry that exists in Ireland is better too. These songs draw you in. Robinson`s decent voice connects best with these type of lyrics, and these songs are much more compelling than some of the other pedestrian chuggers such as "Long Gone". There's some interesting guitar work from Bat Kinane and Pete Fisher on "Something She Knows", which also has a radio friendly chorus. The closing track "Motions On Time" has well meaning environmental lyrics but flounders with a mundane melody. Although fairly average in places, when it does work the band evoke the plaid shirt, flared jeans vibe of 70s rock well. Duncan Jamieson (82/100) CHICKENFOOT - III (EarMusic) This band has to have a BIG sense of humour. How the hell, otherwise, they should call their second album as "III"??? And how the hell did they decide to shoot a video-clip for the first single "Big Foot", using a man with a chicken-dress, without fearing to be ridiculous??? They obviously know what they do, and they know perfectly how to ROCK! Still composed by singer Sammy Hagar, guitar-hero Joe Satriani, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and R.H.C.P. drummer Chad Smith, this super-group has recorded 10 Classic Rock songs, influenced by the `70s sound as well as by the traditional Blues and R'n'R music, enriched by an incredible production courtesy of Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica). Everything is BIG here, the overall sound, the guitars, the rhythm section and, obviously, the vocals. And everything here looks like it has been written to be performed live! So we can't really wait!!! The game is open; and now it's Van Halen time. Will they be able to reply to this huge statement??? Only time will tell, they say... Primo Bonali (93/100) 12 | MRF ALMAH - Motion (Afm Records) "Motion" is the third studio effort for this Power Metal band, Almah, led by Angra's singer Edu Falaschi and his band-mate bass player Felipe Andreoli. Produced by the couple and recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the sound of this album is much more aggressive and solid if compared to the Angra's one; especially Falaschi's vocals here are quite abrasive and heavy, and definitely not so high-pitched, as we are used to listening to the Angra material. The guitar parts and the melodies in general follow the same direction, adding also some more "progressive" structures here and there ("Days Of The New"), which makes the whole album not so "easy" on the first listen. Personally speaking, during this year I heard tons of better albums, but I guess it's only a matter of personal tastes... Primo Bonali (72/100) TOUCHSTONE - The City Sleeps (SPV) Touchstone is a British progressive/melodic metal band founded in 2003 by keyboard player/vocalist Robert Cottingham and guitarist Adam Hodgson, later on by bassist Paul Moorghen, vocalist Kim Seviour and drummer Henry Rogers joined them to complete the current line-up. "The City Sleeps" is their third studio work, following the 2007 debut album "Discordant Dream" and 2009 "Wintercoast". Touchstone sound mix up the classical Yes progressive music with somehow more aggressive and rocking flavor of the Arena rock. A step forward is reached by the enjoyable vocal interplay between Kim Seviour and Robert Cottingham a trademark in their music. Touchstone music goes from the epic rock of the title track "The City Sleeps" to the more melodic tunes such as "Horizon" or "Half Moon Meadow" where Kim love for folk singer shines on. Although it can be said "The City Sleeps" to be the more mature and well crafted product from this band, they sometime indulge too much for my taste in technicalities and self-esteem of their musical capabilities losing some how a direct connection with the listener and a more rock oriented feel of their composition, all in all a really good album. Fabio "Deuce" Mainardi (83/100) BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION � 2 (Mascot Records) The group has left off where BCC1 ended and continued on. What we get here is an album chock full of hard hitting bluesy hard rockers with soul drenched powerhouse vocals and a swagger that normally takes bands 10 years to develop. There aren't as many stand out "hits" songs on BCC2, if anything, it is even less commercial than the uncommercial debut! But what is here is a selection of 11 songs that are more consistent than the debut and of an overall higher quality. The opening couple of tracks steamroll the album, while Hadrian's Wall is soft and introspective. Save Me proves that BCC are the heir to Led Zeppelin's crown, with a song destined for a Zep reunion before it fell apart. Smokestack Woman is much the same. Pure 70s Zep. The 8 minute Faithless seems to be over in half that time due to some stellar musicianship which is a joy to listen to. And check out Crossfire for that classic Hughes funk and swagger. The big soulful ballad Cold closes the album. Another hour of classic rock at its peak. Essential for all fans of the individual parts and all that purchased the debut album. Andrew McNeice - melodicrock.com (94/100) AXEl RUDI PELL � The Ballads IV (SPV) Following the success of their last album "The Crest", that achieved great chart-success in Germany, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden, the band around German-wizard Axel Rudi Pell is releasing now another "all ballads" compilation-album (the previous "The Ballads III" came out in 2004), with the addition of three newly recorded songs. All the ones into this band's material (an impressive 20 releases in 21 years!) will already know these songs, so there's nothing to add about it. The "news" here are the first three songs: "Where The Wild Waters Flow" is a nice power-ballad, very close to the Gotthard soft material, and "Hallelujah" is a melancholic cover-version of Leonard Cohen's song. The most controversial one is definitely "Holy Diver", a ballad-type rendition of the world-known song by Ronnie James Dio, with soft piano and keyboards-parts, some orchestra-strings, and a cello, that makes the whole thing not very recognizable and quite far from the spirit of the original (but I guess that this was exactly the idea of Axel Rudi Pell). Once again the vocal-performance of Johnny Gioeli here is incredible, as the songs fit perfectly to his emotional and soulful voice. Primo Bonali (88/100) MIKE TRAMP � Stand Your Ground (Edel) Stand Your Ground isn't a heavy album at all, it's one of his lighter ones in fact, but the mood just picks you up and brings you along for the ride. These are great songs, pure and simple. There is a Midwestern vibe here, and a stripped back raw, earthiness to the production and song arrangements. There's only a few out of the box rockers here. The rest remain acoustic driven with electric guitars adding to the texture rather than forming it. Highlights are many � the Mellencamp-esque feel of the ballad Straight From The Look In My Eyes; the feel good uptempo Alright By Me; the latter day Bon Jovi-ish blues of Distance; the rollicking Got Me Crazy and the British rock flavour on Wish You Well, featuring a great vocal. Prettiest Girl is another feel good track and the album closes with another Tramp vs War epic � The Soldier Never Started A War. Mike Tramp fans can purchase this without hesitation. Definitely a lot strong than the last disappointing release and back to his best solo work. Production and mix both very good and vocals as raw and honest as always. Andrew McNeice - melodicrock.com (92/100) ADRENALINE MOB � Ep Combining modern mainstream metal aggression (Avenge Sevenfold, Disturbed) with arena rock songwriting (Primal Fear) & prog minded thrash overtones (Iced Earth, Death Angel), Adrenaline Mob is a unit of Russell Allen, Mike Portnoy, Mike Orlando, Paul DiLeo, & Rich Ward which is a quick ride and poses the question when can we have more (supposedly a full-length is planned for 2012). Many can argue that doing an album like this might be clich� by how heavy it is, but it's getting away from some clich�s in particular that has let these five guys let loose to get down to it and create something that is more in your face than something that might make you have to stop and think. Four original tunes plus a cover of Sabbath's "Mob Rules" grace the E.P., "Psychosane" & "Believe Me" hearken the brooding end of the spectrum, while the stoner groove riddled "Hit The Wall" and the anthem chorus driven "Down to the Floor" show what this group can do in a short outing, instead of being redundant and one-dimensional - most certainly being a great teaser for what is to come. Tommy Hash - Ytsejam.com (89/100) MRF | 13 BAND: GOTTHARD ALBUM: HOMEGROWN-ALIVE IN LUGANO INTERVIEW WITH: LEO LEONI INTERVIEWED BY: VITALE NOCERINO Question: You have the traditional 80's classic rock sound.. What do you think makes it so special and so loved still today? Answer: Both young and old fans love it because it was/is fun, happy and not full of regrets and depression. There is nothing wrong with being happy, just think about 60's music it was the same. There has always been a positive vibe around rock n' roll, like back in the 50's. Rock n' roll has nothing to do with satanic or the devil, it is meant to be fun and happy. Q: What about the 90's when the music scene changed so much and got depressing...How did it affect Gotthard? A: Well we actually started up in the 90's. We just decided to fight for what we believe in. At our gigs I want to see people that are happy, not people that are fighting and hitting each other in the crowd you know! The 90's was too much aggression I think, I'm glad it's over. Q: When thinking of Focus on: Switzerland the things that come to mind are the classics: cheese, chocolate, clocks, the band Krokus etc. Are there any advantages in coming from Switzerland or disadvantages? A: In Switzerland we have 4 different parts of the country with different languages. We are from the Italian side which is even smaller than the rest of Switzerland. Back when we started it was different and maybe more difficult than now. But like I said: if you believe you can do it, then you can! In a way it's good because Swiss people are liked, we are nice and peaceful etc. At one point in the beginning of my career I wanted to leave Switzerland and thought ok, I want to go to Los Angeles like everyone else. Then I met Steve and we really clicked and started working together and I thought well America is still going to be there. Let's do this and see where it takes us. And step by step we did it and now we have been together 20 years! Q: You have an impressing list of achievements: 3 x triple platinum, 4 x double platinum, 4 x platinum, 1 gold single etc. What do you think has made GOTTHARD this big and are you the biggest band in Switzerland? A: That's an interesting question! Maybe we should ask the other bands what they think. But yes I think we are the biggest band in Switzerland. But we have always worked hard, we don't let our fans down and we always make the best possible records. We have always put a lot of work into our band and I think the people can see that and are proud of us. Having the support of your own country also means that you can excel in what you are doing, you know. The music scene in Switzerland is very much alive, there are lots of bands and artists. But many sing in German/Swiss German, in French, in Italian. And there are of course hard rock bands like Krokus that sing in English. GOTTHARD - Homegrown-Alive In Lugano (Nuclear Blast) 14 | MRF The tragic death of lead singer Steve Lee in a motorcycle accident makes this live release all the more precious. Recorded in their hometown of Lugano, it captures the Swiss melodic rockers at the height of their powers. What strikes you most about the album is Lee's charismatic performance, charming the crowd between songs in English, French, German and Italian. Lee's obviously having a great time and it's infectious as the crowd sing along. His voice, a mixture of David Coverdale meets Claus Lessmann (Bonfire), gives the band their own character and his voice is commanding on tracks such as "Top Of The World" and "Anytime, Anywhere". The rest of the band meld melody and muscle to give the live renditions of these songs some added thrust. They're good enough to make Joe South's "Hush" their own. The rocking "Shangri La" and crowd favourite "Lift You Up" are two further reasons why this is a must for any Gotthard fan and any fan of quality melodic rock in general. It's a fitting tribute to the talent of Lee and further proof of how much the rock world is going to miss him. Duncan Jamieson (92/100) BAND: GRAND ILLUSION ALBUM: PRINCE OF PAUPERS INTERVIEW WITH: PETER SUNDELL INTERVIEWED BY: BARRY MCMINN Question: With a four year hiatus and the release of brand new world, how long after this did you start work on the new album `Prince of Paupers'? A: It didn't take long at all. I wrote the first two/three songs before "Brand New World" was released and in the end of July 2010 all the songs were written so it only took a couple of months. It was really easy this time to come up with new songs. Probably good inspiration since we all had fun making our reunion album and we were eager to come up with more music. Q: What can the fans expect from the new album, are you continuing where `Brand New World' left off? A: It's so hard to describe music in words but several people has described "Prince of Paupers" as a combination of our second album" View From The Top" and our last album "Brad "New World". Personally I am very pleased with the hooks and melodies and maybe Focus on: it's not as heavy as the last album, more melodic rock than heavy rock. But again it's so hard to put labels on your own music. Q: This new album features a host of guest artists once again, what was it like working with the likes of Steve Lukather and again with Greg Bissonette and Tim Pierce? A: There's no better feeling than to work with your musical heroes. To hear your music being played by these music giants is a dream come true for all of us. To be in the same studio trading ideas and to get their response and reactions makes you believe in yourself. "I must have done something right". Gregg, Steve, Jay, Paul and Tim and all the people involved are not only great musicians, but they are also really nice people to hang with so it's is a very pleasant working environment. Q: The album also features legendary conductor and arranger Paul Buckmaster, how did he get involved with the album? A: Paul is a close friend to our lyricist Arlene Matza-Jackson. Arlene played Paul our latest album "Brand New World" and Paul was over-themoon enthusiastic over it and wanted to be a part of our next album and that's something that we of course were thrilled about. Paul also expressed that he wanted to work on an up-tempo song and not a ballad so we thought that the song "Gates of Fire" would be great for mixing heavy melodic rock with big a orchestral arrangement from Paul. The funny thing is that Paul was so positive and wanted to do more so our will hopefully continue working together in the future too. Q: Finally any words for the army of Grand Illusion fans out there? A: Thanks to everyone that has been supporting us through the years. Your support means a lot. We hope that you will love our new album as much as we do ourselves. Christmas is coming early this year! 28th of October!!! GRAND ILLUSION - Prince Of Paupers (Aor Heaven) Joining them on this release is a who's who guestlist that sees Gregg Bissonette, Steve Lukather, Jay Graydon and Tim Pierce adding their collective talents to what is another great Melodic/Hard Rock album. From the opener `Gates Of Fire' the album takes over where `Brand New World' left off, with stunning melody rich rock mixed with some stunning orchestration giving the opener a very atmospheric touch. This superb album continues to impress with the rocking `Better Believe It' and the fantastic title track `Prince Of Paupers', before melting hearts with the ballad `So Faraway'. It's back up to AOR rocking pace with the excellent `St Teresas Love' and `Through This War', then it's time for the orchestrations of the simply superb `Eyes Of Ice', before turning up the heat once more with the rocking `Gone'. Another great ballad in `Believe In Miracles' leads into another two great rock tracks in the shape of `On and On' and `Under The Wire', before the album closes with the AOR fuelled `Winds of Change', which rounds off the best Grand Illusion to date. A real Prince among Paupers. Barry McMinn (91/100) MRF | 15 Question: I'm delighted to speaking to you after the year you've had. In June last year you were diagnosed with liver cancer. Can you tell us what you've you been through this year? Answer: For me to tell the whole story would take far too long so I'll give you the short version. Serafino asked me if I would like to do a cd with songs he picked. I have wanted to record a new cd before another five years and it sounded like a good fit. Serafino has a good vibe about what people want and a great ear. So I said lets hear some songs. He did as expected and choose some great songs. After the songs were OK'd I started recording. Not too long after that I found out I had cancer. As you can imagine it caught myself and my kids by surprise. I really question whether I wanted, or could, actually do it. My close friend Alex Ligertwood made it all make sense. I, between operations and the on medication, started recording. Serafino was also very understanding and very supportive. Q: Is there any particular hidden meaning behind the beautiful album artwork? A: Yes there is. I thought of this picture a long time ago. If you ride bikes, you'll understand the feeling you get when your on your bike hitting the road. It's freedom and joy that makes you appreciate everything around you. So does the title, There is no road to happiness, happiness is the road! You can spend your life waiting for the perfect job, the perfect mate, to win the lottery when with some faith, it's ARTIST: FERGIE FREDERIKSEN right in front of you. It's the, here and now factor ALBUM: that seems to get missed. Be grateful for what you HAPPINESS IS THE ROAD have and live your life to the fullest. INTERVIEW WITH: Q: What kind of impact had your personal FERGIE FREDERIKSEN health issues on this record's music? INTERVIEWED BY: A: My health was touch and go for a long time. I'm DUNCAN JAMIESON not " out of the woods" yet but things are looking up. But during the recording I would have days I would go to the studio and have to leave. I wasn't able to get past the side effects. On others I would gut it out and some days sing my ass off. Q: Dennis Ward has an important role on this record, being both producer, bass player, and multi-instrumentist. What can you tell us on working with him? A: Dennis is great. His sense of arrangement and musical ability is amazing. Very pleased with the way it tuned out. Dennis is a Monster. Q: I believe the recording of this record was difficult at times due to operations you had had and the medication you had to take. What was a typical recording session like? A: Once we picked the songs, Serafino and everyone at Frontiers were my main support. They understood my health issues and supported me the whole time. Thanks Serafino and Frontiers. Q: Any chance to hear this music live in the near future? A: I have not confirmed any shows but Tommy Denader and I are working on something for November. My health has improved and I want nothing more than to perform there. We will know soon. Q: What lies in the future of Fergie Frederiksen, the artist? A: I want to record again as soon as possible. I'm sure talks will begin soon. Q: Let�s see how good you are at self-promotion. Give us three reasons why someone should buy your new record. :-) A: I'm not the best at self promo but hear goes. Because I'm single, good looking, talented and modest. How's that. Mawwwww Q: Any final message for your fans in Italy? A: I send my love and prayers to all those who prayed for me. I know it has made a difference and thank you. I hope to see you soon and viva Italy. God bless. Focus on: F E R G I E F R E D E R I K S E N - Happiness Is The Road (Frontiers Records) "Happiness Is The Road" might be album's title but the road Frederikson has been travelling down this last year has been an altogether more difficult and rocky one. Diagnosed with liver cancer last June, his prospects weren't good. However, against the odds his health has improved allowing him to make this record. It's an inspirational story and one that leads to some inspirational music. Apart from one co-write on the strong title track with Jim Peterik (Survivor), the other songs have been written and performed by the likes of Mark Baker, Robert Sal, Joe Vana, Dennis Ward and Eric Ragno. The result is a polished old school AOR record of sweet hooks, melodious guitar and tinkling keyboards. Frederikson's distinctive soaring vocals echo his previous bands Trillion, Le Roux, Toto and in particular Mecca. His recent struggle adds poignancy to tracks like "I Still Believe In Love" and "The Future Aint What It Used To Be". I'm sure the upbeat mood of the record is what has helped pull him through his illness and the record is a triumph of spirit and the power of music to heal. Welcome Back Fergie. Duncan Jamieson (92/100) MRF | 17 Question: In today's throwaway society it's great to still see the name of Uriah Heep putting out new albums. Answer: Thanks, and it is very important to us to keep releasing new product, and moving forward. Q: What has kept the band going over the last 46 years? A: Simply put, we have the same passion and energy that we have alway had for our music. Q: The band obviously has had numerous line-ups over the years but the sound has remained true to this day, has that been an important factor for the band? A: Very much so, as it is important to establish your own sound, and keep to it. If you try and copy anyone else or any other genre, you can only be second best, as others are doing it before you. We estabFocus on: U R I A H H E E P - Live In Armenia (Frontiers Records) lished ours with 5 part harmonies, that we use almost as another instrument, along with the Hammond Organ, and my Wah Wah guitar. Q: The band has a new album out live in Armenia, why did you decide to record the album there? A: It was an opportunity too good to miss. We were invited to play there, and they had TV cameras in place at the concert, so we took advantage of that to document the event. Q: With a vast back catalogue is it hard to put together live sets especially when you are still bringing out new material and fans what to hear the classic Uriah Heep songs? A: The general template for a set list is to play all of the famous songs we are known for, coupled with some of the newer material. It makes for a very strong set. Q: The band has always been hard to pigeon hole into one genre, it's hard rock, it's prog rock with heavy guitars and keys ... how would you describe the bands sound to anyone not familiar with Uriah Heep? A: Melodic Rock! We were never a band that that wanted to be one dimensional. Q: When you all started out many moons ago did you ever think you'd still be going nearly 50 years later? A: Of course not, but I am very happy that it has. I became a musician for life, but little did I know most of that musical life would be in Uriah Heep. Q: Will there be a new studio album for 2012? A: We certainly hope to record one in 2012. BAND: URIAH HEEP ALBUM: LIVE IN ARMENIA INTERVIEW WITH: MICK BOX INTERVIEWED BY: BARRY MCMINN The words legendary are bandied about with too much ease these days, to artists who are just wet behind the ears, but one band that deserves the legend moniker are Uriah Heep, a band that have been around for some 40 plus years. In a world where bands come a go quicker than the seasons, Bernie Shaw-lead vocals, Mick Box, guitar, Phil Lanzon-keyboards, Trevor Bolder-bass guitar and Russell Gilbrook-drums, are not only still producing great albums, but still touring as hard as ever. With this new album the band went to Armenia to bring Uriah Heep to the masses and unleashed a set of not only classics, but also tracks from their most recent albums and everything in-between. This is pure Heep with the classics 'Stealin', `Easy Livin', the massive `Lady in Black', `Sympathy' and my personal favourite `Gypsy', as well as the rocking `Overload'. This band had and still have it in spades and this is must for all fans of the great Classic keyboard and guitar fuelled Rock. Barry McMinn (88/100) MRF | 19 ARTIST: ISSA ALBUM: THE STORM INTERVIEW WITH: ISSA INTERVIEWED BY: BRUCE ATKINSON Focus on: ISSA - The Storm (Frontiers Records) 20 | MRF The Norwegian Siren has returned! Yes, Issa is about to create a storm with her second release from Frontiers Records. October will see "The Storm" unleashed on a worldwide audience. This sophomore effort shows a stronger, more confident vocalist. Issa has included some of her original writings in "The Storm's collection. You will be delighted by such self penned gems as "Invincible", "We're On Fire" and the title track, "The Storm". The new record establishes her as a songstress in the highest degree! With "The Storm", Issa continues her work with other songwriters as well... with such Artists as Chris Laney and Robert Sall. The production duties are handled by Daniel Flores, whom also plays on the album. Yes, "The Storm" is a much fuller musical expression, but we still hear that "smokey" edge to her voice... and finely textured arrangements that are at the same time a bit rough... keeping the rock definitely intact! All in all... "The Storm" will further propel Issa into a stellar position in the musical horizon. October will see a Storm coming our way... so don't take shelter, embrace it! Bruce Atkinson (97/100) Question: Issa, first a great big hello from Canada! And congratulations on your second release. In our first interview you did express the hope that you would be working with Frontiers again, and here you are... Let's talk about "The Storm"... being a songwriter yourself, have you had some of the material we hear on the new record in mind for some time? Answer: Yes.. since the last record I hooked up with the "Martin brothers" and together we wrote many songs over the last year- several ended up on varius albums. One of the most special songs for me is Invinceble. I was so dissapointed when I heard the song was going on a album, really hoping I could keep that one and as a surprise it did at the end, making me a very happy girl. When I recorded the demo of this song it came so easy to me considering that the song and lyric is so personal. Almost 8 monts later I recorded the album, but I was almost tempted to use the demo recording as I found rerecording it much harder then expected. It's a feel you have when you write a song thats just then and there:o) but it all turned out great. It's so exciting to write and even more exciting to see what people will think about it. Q: Obviously, singing your own songs is a special experience; can you tell us what some of them mean to you? A: Ahh- all the songs are spesial to me and the titles it self do reveal a lot. Titles such as "Were on Fire", "The Storm" and Invinceble sais it all really. All I'll say is that it's been a crazy life-changing year and when you listen to the songs you will understand just what's been going on. I can't wait to start preforming these songs and Italy will be my first stop on my way. Q: In my preamble, I mentioned that you and I talked about this same time last year... and with this album coming out; it seems to have been a hectic year for you... A: I can't even begin to mention all thats been happening, its been such a crazy year. I've made big decisions for myself and it's been hard but so much fun. I've been focusing on getting more involved in writing but also finding back to my roots as a singer. I think every singer or needs to take a step back and get back to that feeling you first had when you started to sing. I hope on this record it will show in a funny way. I also think I've learned so much this year and I've taken that with me on this new record. Q: Again, I know that you are very happy with working with Frontiers; I also take it that you have had room to express yourself, take control of things to the point where you have had more creative input in "The Storm"? A: I love working with Frontiers and as I've said before I look at them as my own family. They have given me the chance to even again release an album working side by side with Frontiers. I love the fact that some of my songs ended on this album and I love that they always encourage me to write more. Everything we do we do together and I'm just fortunate to have Frontiers expertise and expirience. The different thing on this record is also that I've produced all the vocals myself. It was awesome having total control of what goes on the record vocally, it's harder work but very giving. Q: Getting back to the song writing, I realise that you have also had some extraordinary talent collaborate and contribute...who have you worked with on the new release? A: It's been so many talented writers involved on this record. S�ren Kronquist gets a special thanks from me becouse he has been so involved and has also been at my gigs really writing songs that will fit me and my voice perfect. He wrote lots of the songs on the last album and again he shows hes so talented. Daniel Flores witch also produced this record wrote a song that I really love (Black Clouds) again a song that really fits me song. I love the fact that Daniel really understand female vocal and what benefits a femal singer compared to a male singer. The Martin brothers witch I've already mentioned, they are soooo talented and like last album they have come up with songs that are amazing. I've just mentioned a few here, but I'm just very fortuned to have these talented people around me, using their talent and creativety on me. Randy Goodrum as well wrote for "Toto"- its an honor all in all. Q: In my review of your debut, "Sign Of Angels"...I mentioned that it was a refreshing and commanding debut... and I know I will hear that commanding performance from you in "The Storm" ...you are such a professional, and hard worker! May I ask what drives you? What I mean is, what inspires you to push this hard? A: It's so many things driving mefirst of all it's my love for music and the scene but also I think I love to set goals for myself. I'm a big believer in enjoying what comes you're way. I always keep in mind I'm so lucky to do this. It's so many out there with these dreams and I owe it to them to work hard and apresiate what I have been given. When it comes to singing and performing it's just a fighting spirit I have in me that drives me forward- the passion and the urge to sucseed. I think on this record you will se a more vournerable side of me but at the same time you get the attitude I love to give. Q: Although this is only your second solo album, you have been singing professionally since the age of seventeen...how has the business side of music been treating you? A: The buisness is hard but fun, so far it's been grate, but it's a judging and demanding too. I'm just lucky to work with a record company that can have a laugh with me on things. I know for some people in this business it's not the same and that's why I apreciate it so much. I sat the other day thinking back on all I've done and I have to admit it put a smile on me. It's fun knowing I now have the confidence and a realistic look at things. I'm glad I've had to fight and try hard, it made me just who I am today. Q: Issa, do you find that in creating your music, and/or writing your songs, that you need solitude, or can you find that inspiration in almost any situation? A: I think life is a box full of inspiration. I use my imagination and thoughts combined with my own life experience to create and preform. Sometimes I find it hard putting things down in writing, that's when its so good to have someone to lean on for help. I think as a person I have some causes that stands out for me, those are the once I find hard writing about in a funny way. How do you really write about the hard topics around? I would love to write more about the awful things happening around in home all over- and be able to put words to it; in the future I might but right now my focus is on a bit lighter subjects such as love and heartache hahahhaha... What I want to say is that i'm progressing in my writing and I hope on this record you can see some of more that will come. Q: Live performing is something that you have done in the past... are you touring or planning to tour soon and if so... where? A: Yes I'm planning sooo much at the moment. Last year was full of fun gigs and lots of hard work, but also I moved country last year. I want to work more on writing and it was what felt right to me. I'm now located in Uk and I have a really cool team around me. I can't wait to start preforming on this record and Napoli will be my first stop very soon. I'm excited and it means so much to me to be able to work with what I love sooo much; all I can say is thanks to all the people supporting me and buying my records, you are the nr one to me. As far as I tour � you'll just have to keep folowing my facebook. MRF | 21