Melodic Rock Fanzine issue 54
This new issue includes reviews and interviews of W.E.T., Crashdiet, Snakecharmer, Hardcore Superstar, Rage of Angels, Vandroya, Great White, Diamond Dawn, Player, Pink Cream 69, Jorn... and more!
04 W. E . T. 06 C r a s h d i e t 07 S n a k e c h a r m e r 08 H a r d c o r e S u p e r s t a r 10 R a g e o f A n g e l s 11 Va n d r o y a 12 R e v i e w s 14 Danger Zone + Sapphire Eyes 15 G r e a t W h i t e 17 D i a m o n d D a w n 19 P l a y e r 20 P i n k C r e a m 6 9 22 J o r n The official Frontiers Records magazine Year #9 - Nr. 1 / Issue #54 Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi Graphic & Design: Elio Bordi Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Gema Fernandez, Primo Bonali. 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 Facebook: facebook.com/frontiersrecordsofficial Twitter: twitter.com/frontiersrec Editor and publisher : Frontiers Records s.r.l. Copyright©2013 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy. CONTENTS Melodic Rock Fanzine band. w.e.t album. rise up Interview with. e. martensson interviewed by:. d.jamieson Focus on: W.E.T. - Rise Up (Frontiers Records) 4 | MRF In 2009 the merging of the talents of Jeff Scott Soto, Eclipse’s Erik Martensson and Work Of Art’s Robert Sall was a mouth-watering proposition and their debut together didn’t disappoint. “Rise Up”, the follow up, is equally as good. There are hooks galore with enough different melodies within each song to have you humming these tunes for months and big heavy rock guitars beef up the AOR tunes. With three members of Eclipse on board you get the same high energy approach as that band. The lead-off single “Learn to Live Again” is a belter with Soto and Martensson trading vocal lines to winning effect. “Walk Away”, “Rise Up”, and “Bad Boy” are all up-tempo gems with Soto singing as well as ever. Of the ballads, “Love Heals” is gloriously anthemic, replete with a “Woah, oh, oh” chorus and “Still Believe In Us” tugs at your heart in all the right places. As the band themselves sing on “What You Want”, “I’ll give you what you want, what you want from me”. They certainly do. 2013 has just started and this will prove to be one of the strongest melodic rock releases of the year. Duncan Jamieson (96/100) Question: It’s great to have you back. Answer: Thank you. We're very happy to be out with a new album! Q: The new record is a monster! For your debut Erik and Robert wrote the music and Jeff came in to add the vocals. How did the song writing differ on this one? A: Well, for this record Jeff was involved in the lyric writing which is a big difference of course. But otherwise the working method was kind of the same. Don't fix it if it ain't broke. Q: With three great song writers in the band, it must be an interesting process. Do you approach song writing in similar or different way? What have you learned from the others? A: With this new album as with the debut. Robert and I met up in my studio, put on coffee and start fiddling with our guitars and after a while we'll have the basic structure of a song and a melody. But just as the debut album we had help with the song writing from my brothers in arms Magnus Heriksson and Miqael Persson. Q: How did you record the album? Did you spend much time in a studio together or do you rely on the power of the internet to record your parts separately and send the files to each other? A: All writing, recording, mixing and mastering took place in my own studio in Stockholm except for Jeff's vocals that he tracked in Los Angeles. The rest of the members of the band lives in Stockholm. It's been quite the same of the first album actually except that Jeff's been involved in the writing. Usually we meet up in my studio, drink too much coffee and try to get the creativity going. I think we did quite a good job this time and I really prefer this album to the debut. The whole album has been recorded in my studio Blowout Productions except for Jeff who recorded his parts in London and Los Angeles. With Wet we kind of build the songs step by step doing one instrument at a time which we feel is a good way of working in this kind of music. Q: Can you please talk about the band? A: Just as the previous album Magnus Henriksson from Eclipse and Miqael Persson were involved in the writing. New this time is that Jeff Scott Soto has been involved in the writing which he wasn't at all on the debut. Also a good friend of mine Johan Becker has been involved in a couple of songs. The band is identical to the debut which means Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Robban Bäck on drums, Magnus Henriksson on lead guitar, Robert Säll on keyboard and myself on Bass, all rhythm guitar, lead guitar and backing vocals. Q: What about the songwriting pricess? A: Usually I write with a specific goal in my mind. So when it was time to write for the WET album that was the main focus. But of course I get a lot of ideas that won't fit the specific project I'm working on. Then I just record the idea really rough with an acoustic guitar and sing some nonsense word on a Dictaphone so I won't forget it. One never knows when that specific idea can come handy. For example, the WET songs One Love and Brothers In Arms where left over songs from Eclipse's "Are You Ready To Rock" writing session. Q: The buzz the debut created in melodic rock circles was terrific. Were you surprised by how positively it was received? A: A bit, yeah. We knew that it was good but the way people reacted was overwhelming. It's already a classic in the genre. I really think that fans that loved the debut will love "Rise Up" just as much. I personally think it's way better. It's more W.E.T. Q: You’re extremely busy these days. For example Eric’s already had an Eclipse album out this year and he wrote and produced Jimi Jamison’s recent album and Jeff’s got his solo career and Trans Siberian Orchestra. How do you keep the creative juices flowing? A: We work really hard. That's the answer to the question. It's just not talent. We put a lot of hours in the making of these albums. But I love working with music and as long as I like what I do I think the creativity will keep on coming. Q: How is difficoult to work on so amazing projects and albums like the Jamison album and the Eclipse new album? A: Last year and this year has been pretty hectic to say the least. And the two albums you mentioned is just the ones released by Frontiers. I do a lot of other stuff for other labels and bands too but not so much melodic rock. I work full time in doing music so I need to be creative and quick to make it. Pressure can be a good and a bad thing. It forces you to be creative but it leaves no time for reflection which sometimes can be good. But as recording budgets are nowadays it's very hard to focus too long on anything. Q: With Eric, Magnus and Robban all from Eclipse do these guys try to play differently here? A: Absolutely. With Eclipse we just think hard rock and almost metal. We make everything over the top but with Eclipse we concentrate more on the songs and making them as strong as possible. Eclipse is more guitar and drums mayhem! Q: When you recorded the first WET album did you envisage it would be an ongoing project? A: Not at all. But after a while we understand that this was evolving into something more than just a project. That's why we decided to take the name W.E.T. just to make it more "Our Own" and not just another project with a fishy name. It's truly a band and not just a project. Q: You stole the show for many at The Firefest in 2011 and I was surprised you weren’t on the line-up for the 2013 shows although of course Robert’s there with Work Of Art and Eric is there with Eclipse. Were you asked? A: No, we were never asked. But I think Eclipse and Work Of Art will make up for it anyway. Q: Any chance of a tour in Europe this year? A: Nothing's decided yet. We must release the album first and then we take it from there. There is a huge demand for us to go out and play live so it's possible. Q: Can we expect more from WET in the future? A: Absolutely. We only just got started and they always say that a bands third album is the best so we need to do our third classic first! MRF | 5 BAnd. crashdiet album. the savage playground Interview with. Simon Cruz interviewed by:. Primo Bonali Question: This is the second album with the same singer, a totally new experience for Crashdiet. Could we consider “The Savage Playground” your real new beginning? Answer: I think many people have had doubts about Crashdiet but they have been persistent and endured what most bands couldn't survive. I think with this album we have instigated the flag in the music realm. Q: Can I ask you about the recording process of the album? A lot of songs seem to be recorded live in the studio… A: That was one of the initial ideas for this album, to make it more raw. We wanted to find the energy we have together live. The songs are played togehter in the studio and even some of the singing takes are "one takes". Q: Have you ever thought about moving to California to compose your music? A: We have thought about moving there and tour the shit outta the Focus on: C R A S H D I E T - The Savage Playground ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) country, and possibly write some material there too. We might actually do that after the next world tour! Q: Monroe and Motley Crüe are considered one of your biggest influences, how did you feel to be on tour with both of them? Can you tell us some of the craziest moments of that tours? A: Touring with Michael Monroe was such a privilege. Him and his band gave cracking performances every night, it was like watching your best live concert every night. I especially remember Leeds, and the after party is a bit blurry but from what I remembered sick crazy and we missed the load in next day cuz I was late for the buss call, turning up in my undees and boots. We only played one gig with Motley so far and that was in Finland. The perfect way to start the touring of summer festivals! Beautiful day in the park, thousands of sleazylookin people and welcoming fans. I briefly talked with Sixx, he seemed nice. Was hoping to see them at the after party but don't think they were there, I guess I wouldn't have noticed anyway as I got thrown out from climbing the walls to get to the bar. Another great evening! Q: The songs of the new album seem to be the more influenced by the L.A. sound. Do you agree? A: I’m not sure what you mean but I think the songs are more genuine and honest. I think they are less Mötley Crue less Skid Row and more ourselves. Q: I know you wrote around 50 tracks for Generation Wild. Did you use any of those ideas and songs for the new album? A: Actually Snakes in Paradise was the first song I wrote with Crashdiet as I still was auditioning, but it has gone through a few remakes since then, but Im happy we nailed it for this album. Drinking without you is another song written firstly in winter 2009. Their previous “Generation Wild” (first album on Frontiers Records) opened many doors for this swedish band and put CRASHDIET on the Glam Rock international map, with the highlights being the sold-out shows at “Whisky A Go Go” in Los Angeles, CA and “Webster Hall” in New York City, NY. And with this brand new Work, “The Savage Playground”, the band has their minds set to break through on a worldwide basis, with a tour that will see the band going back to the US as well as going to Japan for the first time. The plan is really big. What about the album, then? What would you expect, guys? Yes, the Crashdiet sound is still there, the album rocks pretty hard, some songs have a really heavy and rough sound, also if my impression, sometimes, is a sort of “déjà-vu”; The album has to be played a few times before being really appreciated. This is a nice addition to your Crashdiet and Glam Rock discography, and for sure a must-buy! Primo Bonali (92/100) 6 | MRF band. snakecharmer album. snakecharmer Interview with. Micky Moody interviewed by. d. jamieson Question: This is a great slice of British blues -based melodic rock. Who had the idea to put this band together? Answer: The original idea was conceived when I met up with Neil Murray and we spoke about playing some gigs for fun. He suggested Laurie and Harry and a keyboard player called Michael Bramwell, and Chris Ousy's name was suggested to me by a friend. This line up was given the name Monsters of British Rock by an agent I know and we ddid a few shows performing early Whitesnake, Thunder, a couple of Chris's and one of Laurie's. Q: Everyone in the band is a well recognised and respected name in rock circles. How was the band assembled? A: As above except that our manager suggested that we invite Adam Wakeman into the line up. We chose the name Snakecharmer and voilà! Q: How did you decide the direction of the album? A: Although the sound of the early (Moody-Murray era) Whitesnake was an influence, we made no concious effort to emuFocus on: late any particular Whitesnake tracks; the music writers wrote and demo'd what they thought was appropriate then sent them to Chris for the lyrics and vocals before going into the studio to record them. Q: Snakecharmer have a strongly melodic sound all of their own, less like the Whitesnake sound ,given the name, than some people might have anticipated. Was this a conscious decision to do something that people wouldn’t mistake for Whitesnake? A: Not really, it just came from the overall influences of the guys in the band. Q: Why did you decide to self produce the record? A: We had a limited budget, but sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention! Maybe next time we'll take on a producer - it well certainly relieve the pressure. Q: With all the members of the band having such a rich back catalogue of great music, what do you expect a setlist to look like? A: We haven't yet compiled one but probably some historical favourites from our back catalogue and Snakecharmer originals. Q: You’ve played a couple of gigs together this year. How was the chemistry on stage between you? A: Excellent! There's mutual respect coupled with a sense of achievement. Believe me, getting us all together at the same time is an achievement in itself! Q: With everyone involved in other bands, how do you balance that with Snakecharmer and are you hopeful there will be more to come from Snakecharmer? A: It's not easy to get everyone together, but we will be gigging and hopefully writing and recording another album. Q: Do you have any gigs lined up for 2013 ? A: We are being offered gig,s but as much as we look forward to live work, it has to be economically viable. We are obviously aware of promoting the album so we will be out there soon. Summer festivals are appealing too! S N A K E C H A R M E R - Snakecharmer ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) This is a veritable rock super group, featuring ex-Whitesnake members Mick Moody and Neil Murray, the talents of ex-Thunder skin pounder Harry James, Wishbone Ash guitarist Laurie Wisefield, keyboard player Adam Wakeman and Heartland singer Chris Ousey. Ousey has that classic rich, bluesy, honeyed voice that Britain has produced with regularity since Paul Rodgers set the blueprint. Although everyone had a hand in writing the material, Ousey’s voice and contribution to song writing means that this disc sounds a lot like Heartland, albeit a touch bluesier in places and less like Whitesnake than many might expect. “A Little Rock ‘N’ Roll” has a distinct Micky Moody influence in it as does “Nothing to Lose” and it’s interesting to hear him playing with the more melodic Wiseman instead of the bluesier Bernie Marsden. “My Angel”, “Cover Me In You” and first single “Accident Prone” are polished slabs of radio friendly rock. “Guilty As Charged” is heavier blues and is the kind of song you might have anticipated more of. Snakecharmer should entice anyone with a love of classic British blues-based rock. Duncan Jamieson (92/100) MRF | 7 BAnd. hardcore superstar album. c mon take on me Interview with. Jocke interviewed by:. bruce atkison A: Yes, in away maybe?! But the song titled "C´mon take on me" is about a girl who's stalks you and wants you just because you are famous. Q: By the sounds of the new record, I hope Hardcore Superstar is preparing to conquer the world! What plans do you have in 2013 in regards to touring and generally reaching out to that untapped world wide Rock audience? A: Hardcore Superstars plan is and has always been "World wide domination"! We are gonna tour in Scandinavia during March and April. Then we hit the European festivals during the Summer months and hopefully a European tour later this fall. Q: Thanks gents for taking the time to answer some of my questions… ”C’mon Take On Me” is a huge slice of great Rock!... Nice going! May 2013 be the year that Hardcore Superstar become, what we call, a household name! A:Thanks a lot for your kind words! Question: Can we begin with a brief history of the group? Answer: We started up back in 9’8, Martin and I started the group. Adde joined a few years later, and Vic during the Dreaming in a Casket tour in beginning of 08, when Silver decide to leave the band. We have done a total of 8 records. On the 3 first albums we were searching for the "Hardcore Superstar sound". We didn´t find it until the self titled album "Hardcore Superstar", or as some want to call it "The Black Album". From then until now, we have always known how we want to sound, but of course you always have to try to improve yourself, otherwise you might get stuck. Each new album needs to have its own special touch. Q: You seem to be a very independent group, not getting on any ‘bandwagon’, which is nice to see. However, has this independence held you back in any way? A: Yes, we always tend to go our own way, sometimes good and Focus on: HARDCORE SUPERSTAR - C’mon Take On Me (Nuclear Blast) sometimes bad. Of course it is sometimes a bit stupid to not be more commercial, and accept commercial amusement TV offers, but if it does´t feel right we won´t do it. And due to this we have never lost the "Hardcore feeling". Although we understand that this might have kept us a bit unknown to the big audience. Good or bad, that´s up the the fans to decide! Q: Let’s talk about the new album coming out… somewhat experimental, however with a strong and fresh Rock presence! Would you say that this album is your best to date? A: Of course it sounds a bit a cliche, but according to me the newest album is always the best one. Its new and fresh! I like the mix in-between the different genres you can hear on the album. There are grunge elements, sleaze, thrash and pure rock n roll. Q: “C’mon Take On Me” is not only the title of the record, but it pretty much sums up the band’s attitude… Any comments? 2013 sees the wild party bunch opening another chapter in the history of street metal. Their ninth output “C’mon Take On Me”, produced by the band and mixed by no less a figure than Randy Staub (METALLICA, MÖTLEY CRÜE, THE CULT). “C’Mon Take On Me” is such a succinct title for this, the latest from “Hardcore Superstar”. Hard core Rock: yes it is! Superstar potential; Most certainly. These guys meld several styles of Hard Rock and Metal into a unique rhythmic powerhouse of swirling sounds that will make one’s head spin! In a good way, mind you. The group’s sense of dynamics propels this record. A driving wall of sound which wraps itself around compelling lyrical subject matter delivered in a towering - sometimes desperate manner. “C’mon Take On Me” is a incredible way to start 2013, a sonic delight and a true ‘take no prisoners” musical statement. Bruce Atkinson (90/100) 8 | MRF Question: It's a great album. How long have you been working on the songs on it? Answer: Thank you so much, I'm very pleased you like it ! I have had the plan to do an album since the days of Ten, but the timing was never right, however, in the last couple of years everything seemed to come together with my studio, so the songs on the album are a culmination of just over two years hard work. Q: You took a ten year gap to raise your daughter. Was it daunting returning to the music scene? A: I did think it would be daunting at first yes... But the warmth and support I received from everyone I spoke to, old friends and new, was not only humbling but also acted as a great boost to make the album something special. Q:You've got a fantastic line-up of rock talent on the record. How did you get them all on board? A: Between myself, Bruce Mee and then of course Khalil Turk, we made up a "wish list" of some of our favourite musicians that we wanted to play on the album, and thankfully everyone we asked said yes !! Focus on: RAGE OF ANGELS - Dreamworld (Escape Music) Q: Tell me about the guitar-fest that is Requiem For The Forgotten Soldier. A: Ahh I like the term "guitar fest" !! You're absolutely right... It really is a monster of a song... And a real treat for any aspiring guitarist. I was already working with Vinny Burns on "we live" for the album, and our good friend Ralph Santolla challenged Vinny to a guitar battle... So I wrote this track specifically for these two guitar gods... Throwing Martin Kronlund and Xander Demos in there turned it into a full scale war !!! I will leave it to the listeners to decide who won. Q: There's a real eclectic mix of styles on the record from radio friendly melodic rock to heavier, atmospheric material. Did you set out to have a range of styles on the disc? A: The only thing I set out to do was to write the sort of songs that I wanted to hear, the sort of music that got me excited all those years ago when I discovered rock music... So it's an album that reflects my taste in music, but I think it's good to have a few strings to your bow... Be able to go from a full on rock track to a beautiful haunting ballad... It wasn't planned, it just happened that way naturally... Q: You took the name Rage Of Angels from a Bruce Mee lyric. How did that happen? A: Well, Bruce had sent me a set of lyrics that he had written that where really good and asked if I wanted to set them to music... When we were thinking of ideas for the band, the name Rage Of Angels was put on two of the lists that we had between mysel, Bruce, Khalil and Barry from the label... We all liked it and agreed on the name... It really was the obvious choice. Q: I believe you already have plans for a follow up? A: Oh absolutely!! One of the things I really liked about working with Escape music was the fact that Khalil didn't want just to do a one off... He wanted to really develop the band and put his faith and money into it because he really believed in it as much as I did... It's a really great family atmosphere and we have worked so well on this album... I've already written the follow up album and have started recording it already. band. rage of angels album. dreamworld Interview with. ged interviewed by:. d.jamieson 10 | MRF Not to be confused with the 80s Christian rockers, this Rage Of Angels is the new project from ex-Ten keyboard player Ged Rylands. He’s surrounded himself with some of the best names in melodic rock but the strong line-up would all count for nothing if the songs weren’t up to it but fortunately Rylands proves himself to be a great writer of melodic rock songs. It’s an eclectic set of tunes from instantly memorable radio friendly songs like the glorious “Spinning Wheel”, one of two songs sung by Danny Vaughn, to heavier material like the guitarmaggedon of “Requiem For A Soldier” or atmospheric closer “We Live, We Breathe, We Die” sung by Robert Hart. With Neil Fraser handling the bulk of the lead guitar parts and Vinny Burns popping up to then Ten comparisons are inevitable such as on the storming title track sung by Matti Alfonzetti while Harry Hess helps turn “See You Walking By” into a Harem Scarem style song. Well crafted, varied songs and stellar performances from the A-list guests make Rage Of Angels heaven sent for melodic rock fans. Dunca Jamieson (92/100) band. vandroya album. one Interview with. daisa interviewed by:. g. fernandez Question: Why too much time since Vandroya was born, the release of the Ep and your first album debut? Answer: Because it is a return, actually. Vandroya is a band that exists since 2001, with many lineup shifts and breakdowns. At first, we were just a group of kids, teenagers that was trying to play something, learning music, and we decided to form a band with no pretentions at all. We just wanted to do some metal, talk about our favorite bands, exchange CD’s and experiences, this kind of stuff. However, Marco Lambert and I already had some experiences with others bands. But things change, we grew up, we gained experience, so we felt able to create our own songs and in 2005 we recorded our EP, Within Shadows, which was very well accepted. Then, the problems came and we decided to take a break on Vandroya’s activities, and I believe each one of us became more mature with this Focus on: breaktime, and none of us stopped playing and learning music: Rodolfo Pagotto, for exemple, became a very renowned music teacher and Marco Lambert dedicated himself to musical productions besides his role as guitarist in Soulspell’s recording sessions and touring. It was only 2010 when we decided to finish what we started and it had everything to do with Soulspell. Heleno Vale encouraged us a lot and we felt that was the right time to do it. Now I realize that if we had launched this album before, we would be just a bad band launching a bad album. Q: Has Daisa composed the lyrics and the vocal arrangements? A: Writing is a thing that I found out when I was a teen and it has been an escape valve for me since then, and I use to write a lot about my own life as well as my beliefs, my concerns, my restlessness. But Otavio Nuñez was a very welcome partner in this process, and we wrote the lyrics of “Anthem (for the Sun)” and “This World of Yours” together. Also, “Change the Tide” has the lyrics by Heleno Vale, and except for this one, all the vocal melodies/arrangements were made by me. Some of them emerged at the moment I was recording. Q: What is the plus point Vandroya has and what are the differences between Vandroya and the other rock bands? A: I believe that any judgment of my own band I make, in a way, could sound like a tendencious self-promotion, you know? It's like a son, and a mother will always emphasize the qualities of her son and hide his faults (laughs). Still, we believe in our work, and we do everything with such passion that be different or not, makes no difference. But our fanbase is increasing and this surely is linked with the fact that we do music with our hearts, and we feel very glad when our fans recognize it and identify themselves with it. VANDROYA - One (Ulterium Records) My first word is going to be “wow”, Daisa surprise me in all aspects. She has the power, glow, energy and a remainds me the old vocal glories. This is important for me because lately all the female singers are using the same technique for singing, too many bands… This is their very first album since the band was born on 2001 when they decided to release an Ep with good feedback in they country, Brazil. They are progressive power metal and their music is well played. I want to mark the song “Why Should We Say Goodbye?” Here they make a real great composition, you can rest a little bit from drums and enjoy listening just the composition. This band definitely is just spreading his wings to find the right place to show their creativity in a scene full of competitive bands, but they have chaces to “win”. Good job guys! Gema De Llames (89/100) MRF | 11 EDGE - Live At the Mystic (Escape Music) Have to say that normally it´s hard to impress me due more or less in the last ten years, real hard rock didn´t change that much, but it is true that a big fan of this style like me always find the key to hear something special in each melodic band. There is much to feel and to discover behind every note. This is the first album for this Scandinavian band Edge.This album presents a careful and thoughtful selection of songs where you can explore simplicity and at the same time it magical sounds that since the first note impress you. You can hear perfectly each instrument in its place and just a nice music sounding. The final result is a good production and also they have some special guests such Tommy Denander playing the solo for “How Long”. Only “Heaven Knows” how good things Edge will present in the future. Gema de Llames (85/100) SHAKRA - Powerplay (AFM Records) Mark Fox may have been the face of the band, right up to and including their 2009 ‘Everest’ album, but with him gone and new vocalist John Prakesh in, the Shakra of today is a different beast. More strident, more penetrative and yes, heavier. In 2011 the band unleashed Prakesh vocal might on their ‘Back on Track’ album, now in 2013 they return with new album ‘Powerplay’ which takes up right where ‘Back on Track’ left off. With Prakesh they have found a veritable vocal powerhouse and this is felt right from the off with opener ‘Life Is Now’, a great Hard Rock track to kick off 2013 with a bang. The album is 12 tracks (13 with the digipak) of pure Hard Rock gold, with personal highlights like the stunning ‘The Mask’, the riff laden ‘Higher’ and ‘Don’t Keep Me Hanging’, as well as the gentler but equally impressive mellower moments like ‘Wonderful Life’ and ‘Because of You’. All stunning rock songs that show Shakra are once again ready to climb even higher than the mighty Alps of their native land and show that Switzerland is not just chocs and clocks, it also ROCKS. Barry McMinn (95/100) GREAT WHITE - 30 Years-Live From The Sunset Strip (Frontiers Records) A great way to wrap-up an eventful year for this hard working band! Great White are not only celebrating thirty years but the beginning of a new phase in their illustrious career. A tougher perhaps more rhythmic sound, this live album reminds us of why we stuck with this group through the years, and it is a fresh promise of their maturing music. With the arrival of Terry Ilous there is a new found energetic vibe to the group. Terry seamlessly has added a deeper blues interpretation and his rock solid vocals solidify the Great White standards. He is an even match to the biting licks of lead guitarist Mark Kendall. All this done in a invigorating way, and not dis-colouring all the ingredients that have made Great White the force they are. A live testament, this album holds those brilliant musical memories, plus gives us a sneak preview of where these five fine musicians are heading toward. A great home-coming and a promising future, all wrapped up in one package: that is “30 Years-Live From The Sunset Strip”! Bruce Atkinson (91/100) JORN - Symphonic (Frontiers Records) In my last review of a Jorn Recorded Work I said “... This outing may just be the Masterstroke we have been looking for!”... now that was regarding “Bring Heavy Rock To the Land”. “Symphonic” is the Masterstroke we weren’t expecting!! This release contains some of the best Jorn on record, however dressed differently, quite differently. Full orchestrations grace these journeys of sonic brilliance. An idea that Mr. Lande had bouncing around for a spell… most likely one of those “I wonder what this would sound like if I did…”, and now we know! Jorn - it sounds fantastic. Each creation takes on a whole new life, and the teaming of Jorn with Lasse Jensen; whom took on the task of the arranging, is one that - in this scribe’s mind - would be fully fulfilled when presented in a concert performance! In the meantime we have “Symphonic”, another Jorn masterpiece. Bruce Atkinson (90/100) ENFORCER - Death By Fire (Nuclear Blast) Formed in 2004 in Arvika Sweden Enforcer set out with a mission to bring back the old school, no nonsense Metal, that became the foundation for all we love about Rock and Metal music today. Big riffs, towering drums and pounding bass lines, all wrapped up with a powerful vocal, think NWoBHM with a modern edge, Diamond Head meets early Maiden. With ‘Death by Fire’ the band have taken up where their 2009 album ‘Diamonds’ left off, with powerful opener ‘Death Rides The Night’ setting the bar for the rest of the album, with the power riffs leading the attack along with a powerhouse back-beat of the bass and drums. The band hit hard and hit fast as they power through the likes of the Maidenesque ‘Crystal Suite’, the riff spewn ‘Mesmerised By Fire’ and very metal ‘Satan’. It may not be new, but to an old rocker who grew up with this sound, it’s good to hear it’s making waves again. This music moved a generation once and will do it again I’m sure. Barry McMinn (85/100) TASTE - Taste (Metal Heaven) While Germany lacks of some talented Melodic Rock newcomers since many years, Sweden seems to have them growing on the trees. Latest evidence are TASTE, consisting of brothers Felix and Christoffer Borg. Very soon after releasing their debut via digital platforms like Amazon, they had a record deal. No wonder, as songs like the anthemic and keyboarddriven “Our Dreams”, the slow-paced and a little melancholic “Cry For Love” or the straight forward rocking “Fallen Angel” show some extremely good promise! Friends of 1980’s stuff like TREAT, ALIEN or BAD HABIT will definitely feel attracted by TASTE. There are still some fillers in-between (e. g. “My Rose”) which don’t hit the nail on the top, but in total there is no doubt about it that TASTE have the potential to create a monster record with album # 2. So keep TASTE in mind! Marco Spaeth (85/100) 12 | MRF HOLY GRAIL - Undying (Nuclear Blast) Like many of the legendary bands whose influences they wear on their tattered sleeves, the Los Angeles quintet HOLY GRAIL made an immediate impact when they exploded onto the metal scene in 2009. Great guitas, versatility, speed, skill and innovation walking on all the songs. The producer is Matt Hyde (SLAYER, CHILDREN OF BODOM), he brought out a darker, hungrier side of the band. The album sees HOLY GRAIL continue to expand the limits of their sound by incorporating classical guitar ("Wake Me When It's Over"), a cinematic, QUEEN-like vocal intro (the otherwise anthemic "Sleep of Virtue"), a trance-like guitar loop ("Silence The Scream") that cleverly belies the lyrical content it introduces, and a moody finale ("Rains of Sorrow") inspired by a family member's battle with cancer. "Ride the Void" is an album full of greatness, strength, grat from beginning to end. A real surprise for me... and for sure you will enjoy the music all the time because there are no fillers. If you are a metal music lover, make sure to give a try to this band! Gema De Llames (89/100) VOODOO CIRCLE - More Than One Way Home (AFM Records) It is music like this that excites me about the year 2013! Alex Beyrodt’s third effort with ‘Voodoo Circle’ strikes hard and true to the mark. “More Than One Way Home” is a hard-melodic slice of blues-tinged Hard Rock. Twelve pieces that should electrify and amaze. Every potential of ‘70’s style hard rock is realised right here! A solid musical statement that doesn’t shy away from the influences that Alex and fellow band members wear. Each expression shows strength, variety and top drawer musicianship. Certainly this record is performed by six highly rated and skilled craftsmen. The skill of ‘Voodoo Circle’ is matched by the production of this album. A thick and meaty sound punctuated with emotion in both the vocals and instrumentation. Most certainly, this is the group’s strongest effort to date. Yes, there may be “More Than One Way Home”… But this is the best way! Bruce Atkinson (85/100) SHOGUN – Shogun (Steelheart Records) The story tells that, after having recorded the successful debut-album with TOKYO BLADE, vocalist Alan Marsh decided to leave the band due to artistic discrepancies. Together with former Chinatown guitarist Danny Gwilym, Alan Marsh formed SHOGUN during 1984. The name was referring to Marsh’s knowledge and respect for the Oriental culture. One year later the band released the debut-album, that was later described by “Classic Rock” magazine as “a competent rerun of DEF LEPPARD’s Pyromania”. As a matter of fact, “Shogun” sounds like a winning mix between a classic NWOBHM sound (recalling the Tok! yo Blade -debut) and a slightly more melodic Metal style (a la Heavy Pettin’ / Def Leppard / Tygers Of Pan Tang). This de-luxe remastered CD-edition (500 copies only) comes with the bonus-track “High In The Sky”, taken from a rare 7” of 1986. The previous (and only in existence) CD version (on Zoom Club Records) is now very rare and sold on incredibly high prices on ebay (plus the sound was not remastered); so, if you’re a fan of NWOBHM or ‘80s Melodic Rock, better grab your copy now. Rob “Ezy” Bone (90/100) HELKER – Modern Roman Circus (AFM Records) Ronnie James Dio has been and still is one of my musical heroes. No doubts about it. His death moved me so bad. I never listened to any of his records till then. A couple of days ago I’ve received this promo. Never heard about this Argentinian band before. I’ve pushed the “play” button and… what the hell? Is it HE (R.J.D.) who’s singing??? And these notes recalling so close “Neon Knights”?! Man, I’ve been shocked! With the second song on, the comparison between the two singers becomes slightly less evident, still singer Valdez (who appeared on the latest Tarja Turunen live DVD/CD as a guest vocalist on the song "Phantom Of The Opera") is singing on this pretty unique vocal range. And he’s doing a great Work! Indeed. All the tracks have been produced and co-written by Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Sinner) and mixed by Achim Köhler, plus Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen) and Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) make guest-appearances on the album, which shows how much AFM Records believes into this album. If you like the “real” Heavy Metal a la Dio/Black Sabbath, check this out. Metal is still alive and well. Primo Bonali (85/100) SHYLOCK – Walking Tall (AOR Heaven) I guess most Melodic Rock fans are familiar with SHYLOCK as „Walking Tall“ is the sixth studio album from this German band. The new record continues where the last two longplayers “Devotion” and “Rock Buster” left off, even though it sounds a little more matured. In particularly the contemporarily arranged songs like the heavily rocking “Bridges” or the radio-friendly “Away From Here” show some great talent! On the other hand, SHYLOCK has always been a band that delivers straight Hard Rock in the vein of acts like BONFIRE and SHAKRA. So it goes without saying that the fans of that sound get high quality stuff with songs like the riff-driven “Walking Tall”, the cleverly arranged “Sad To Know” or the vicious “What It Takes”. Special highlight of the album is the light-footed ballad “Anything” which could turn out to be a true hit song for SHYLOCK! “Walking Tall” is a colorful piece of Hard Rock that the friends of 3 DOORS DOWN should check out just as well as the fans of BONFIRE and SHAKRA. Marco Spaeth(92/100) SHOGUN – 31 Days (Steelheart Records) It was a real shame that one of the best albums in the whole AOR/Melodic Rock history was never been released officially on Cd before. So – at the end – justice is done and “31 Days” might finally shines in all its glory and beauty! After the self-titled debut, a very nice album yet most on the NWOBHM-style, the band decided to update the songwriting, moving the style to a more americanized and melodic sound, still retaining the typical British scent. The result was “31 days”, a first-class keyboards-driven British Melodic Hard Rock/AOR with powerful guitars and awesome vocals, recalling the style of UK bands like Shy, Peroux and Moritz, or international acts like Skagarack, White Sister and Surgin. Steelheart Records offers this gem as a fully remastered CDedition (500 copies only), with the addition of two bonus-tracks. Needless to say, this is UNMISSABLE! But watch! out as I heard there’s also a bootleg version available, which is NOT authorized by the band and the Steelheart Records is the only legit. Rob “Ezy” Bone (92/100) MRF | 13 Gema De Llames: There are some special guests, in the case of Anette Olzon, the song is the hardest of the album, have you composed “This Love This Time” thinking of her? Niclas Olsson: No, actually not. I just needed a female voice for the part in the song and when she heard the demo version of it she insisted to do it. And it came out great as usual. GDL: Can we consider this a real band or just a project? NO: We have talked about forming a band several times thru the years but Thomas Bursell, the lead singer, and I, both have a lot of things going on musically. We help each other out and we always have a lot of fun when we are working together. GDL: How is the way to compose melodies, lyrics, what´s first? NO: 99% of the time I have a melody line I´m working from. But sometimes a clever phrase / lyric line can start the writing. GDL: Talking about the recording sessions, why Anders Theander as a producer? How is the relationship between him and you guys? NO: We have known each other for some years now and RoastingHouse already mastered the SECOND HEAT project I did in 2004. Anders “Theo“ Theander heard a couple of songs from the Sapphire Eyes album and insisted to do the mixing and mastering. He didn’t produce the album though, but he really liked the songs and that’s important to do a great work which I think he did. I first met Theo thru my friends in the Progressive Metal band Cloudscape and their first recordings at RoastingHouse. GDL: This is your first album, but there is a long carrer in you both, tell us about you past in music. NO : Well, I have done three Alyson Avenue albums and also wrote the only Second Heat album for which Thomas also did the lead vocals, then I co-wrote and played on Michael Bormann’s solo album, and of course played with SHIVA. I have worked a lot in my studio and done vocal recordings for the debut of Fullforce, Star One, The Rasmus, Swallow The Sun etc. I also recorded, mixed and co-produced the debut of Scandal Circus. Thomas has been involved in the project of the former Cloudscape guitarist, Björn Eliasson, WARNOT. GDL: Does Sapphire Eyes thought about the way to play live, because if there are two members can´t be impossible somehow to play live, at least will strange for a hard rock band this matter, are you thinking to play with the same musicians who had recorded the album? NO: I would love to do a few gigs with Sapphire Eyes and would definitely use some of the players from the recordings, but only if someone is asking us to. I will not pick up the phone and beg for gigs. I’m done with that. I’m just too old. 14 | MRF Barry McMinn: If I may start off by saying what a great album ‘Undying’ is... Roberto Priori: Thank you so much! We really believe this album represents the band how it’s today but it also reveals our musical roots…we are really proud of it! BMM: The band got back together in 2010, what prompted you to give things another shot? RP: We quit in 1992 in Los Angeles, while the grunge music was spreading all over and the hard rock was taking a step back. We were somehow forced by the events but never really wanted to quit… So, to make the story short, when we had the chance to get back together we started right away, a great moment for all of us. We want to continue from where we left and go on! BMM: Going back to ‘Line of Fire’, did you ever think the album would see the light of day some twenty years on? RP: Well, after struggling and fighting for several years we all believed it wouldn’t and then we split, but keeping it unreleased was very disappointing for all us. Thanks to the “Avenue of Allies” label we finally had the chance to release it and they did a great job! BMM: How would you compare the new album “Undying” to the “Victim of Time” and “Line of Fire” albums? RP: Well, the first E.P. “Victim of Time” was written and performed by the first DZ line-up, our influence were more into the NWOBHM sound, only few years later we started to be more melodic and more oriented to an American style of Hard Rock and so “Line of Fire” was born. “Undying” is the natural follow up to LOF, with a strong connection to the past but with the sound of today’s Hard Rock. BMM: Did you write all new material for the new album or did you resurrect some older material as well? RP: Most of the songs were written right after the reunion but we also have included a few songs we wrote right before and after the recording of “Line of Fire” and that we didn’t use at the time. Of course we rearranged the old ones and Jody Gray, who co-produced the album, was very helpful since we were so used on how they were before and he poured in some very cool ideas. BMM: Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but if you could go back in time and meet yourself, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now? RP: We would suggest to stay here in Europe and build the biggest fan-base possible. Back in the day the US scene changed within only a few months and everything was wiped away. Here in Europe it seems like Hard Rock always had a place in the musical landscape and probably staying here was the right thing to do. Bruce Atkinson: Let’s begin in May of this year, when “Great White” released their brand new studio album; “Elation”. The record was met with positive reviews, and further cemented the Rock/Blues direction you guys are going in… Was this an opportunity to “symbolically speaking”, put your signature on the group? Terry Llous: Thank you so much for the very interesting questions. When I was asked to join the band I never saw it as an opportunity to add my signature. I was looking to pick up where Great White had left off back in the late 80’s early 90's when they had more of a Rock/Bluesy sound. I never wanted to change the classic format of Great White, they were doing great before they asked me to join their band. It would have been pretentious for me to try to reinvent the sound they are known for. When writing ELATION, we all knew we wanted to go back to that Rock/Bluesy sound. My voice and writing style fit right in. BA: As “Elation” was being released, you were also hitting the road, with some musical friends… Let’s talk about your Spring / Summer tour: was it what you expected? TL: Yes indeed it was! Fun, lots of fun but also lots of hard work. It has been very challenging. It’s never easy to replace a singer. People get used to a certain sound and style. They are not always ready for a change. I understood that completely. That is why when I sing the classic Great White hits, I make sure to respect the core structure of the melody. I have never tried to clone the previous singer, but rather respected the style but also added my own twist. It’s not the first time that I have been asked to replace a very well known singer. That’s probably one of the reasons that I was not selected to be in Foreigner or Journey. I love those singers and respect their work but by the same token I will never be someone's clone. I have been an established singer with a distinctive Rock/Bluesy sound for too long now. It was indeed a test as many were curious, some even skeptical. I can understand that but I did, and will continue to do my very best to continue to please all my fans. BA: 2012 marks the thirtieth anniversary of ‘Great White’ and you are celebrating with the new live set: “Live From Sunset Strip”, now is this also a return to your roots? TL: Of course, the bands started on the Sunset Strip many moons ago. To have the opportunity to record a live CD on the Sunset Strip was truly a great thing. It’s ironic because I am also a "Child of the Sunset Strip" as my old band, XYZ, was the last official Rock Band at the Whisky a GoGo! Yes indeed my friend, only The Doors, Motley Crüe, and XYZ were labeled, “Official Whisky A GoGo Bands.” So you can say that this live CD is a return to our roots. BA: Great White has become a ‘timeless’ band, and Terry, being the ‘new kid’ in a manner of speaking, has there been any daunting moments for you? TL: I won’t lie to you. Of course there have been daunting moments. What made me feel better was to watch a video of Ronnie James Dio explaining how he felt when joining Black Sabbath and how difficult it was sometimes. Ronnie! Wow! So I figured if Ronnie went through that then I can brace myself and hang tough because he replaced Ozzy, talk about iconic singer here!!! Same experience happened to Coverdale and Brian Johnson. They, too, replaced amazing well loved singers! BAnd. diamond dawn album. overdrive Interview with. alex interviewed by:. primo bonali Question: Let’s start with a short history of the band. Who put together the band? Answer: Alex and Olle met in highschool in 2010 and started Diamond Dawn. At that time it was pretty much just a fun project, but after about a year we decided that we would try to make something more serious out of the band. We decided to try and find new band members that had the same goals as ourselves. Fortunately, Alex met Niklas at a music camp and fell instantly for Niklas piano playing. They had a great connection and Alex decided to let Niklas audition for Diamond Dawn. A few weeks later, Alex found bassist Mike while browsing a webpage called bandfinder. Mike had just come home from Los Angeles after having studied there. Alex, Olle, Mike, Niklas and a drummer also found on the internet saw each other in a coffee shop and started talking about the future and goals for a supposed band. It felt very good after the meeting, and we decided to start rehearsing. After a few not so awesome rehearsals with the drummer from internet, we decided to find another one. We found the mega drummer we we're looking for in Niklas friend Effy Larson. After one audition we knew that he was the guy we had been looking for. Something still wasn't entirely right, we felt that we wanted a front man, someone to Focus on: take on the audience intensively. At that point, Alex who sang lead vocals and played guitar decided to go with only the vocals in Diamond Dawn. As we then were looking for a second guitar player, Mikes friend Jhonny Göransson was recruited. This was in the spring of 2011 when we released the first demo of Standing As One. Since then it has been a hell of a ride but we ain't tired yet! Q: I read that the buzz around your band started when you recorded and released digitally your song called “Standing As One”. What happened after this? A: We released the demo of “Standing As One” in the spring of 2011. The song was released digitally through an internet competition for unsigned bands called Metro OnStage that ended in june. The competition was a good opportunity to promote the band and the song, simply put, we had a reason to rub ourselves in peoples faces. Clearly it made an impact as people from all over the world soon started to get the buzz going about us. We received great attention during the competition and we ended up in the top 10 of several thousand contestants. During the rest of the spring and the summer we were set to record an EP, to be able to promote Diamond Dawn even better towards record labels. Luckily this did not go as fast as we intended, and while still working on the EP in the fall of 2011, Frontiers Records contacted us and asked us if we would like to record a full length album. Of course we wanted to, and that's what we've been doing until now! Looking back, we probably have “Standing As One” to thank for where we are today. Q: Your album sounds really energetic, melodic and somehow pompous, still rocking hard! Which are your most important influences, musically talking? It looks like you've been strongly influenced by the '80s Melodic Rock and especially by bands like Toto (in primis), Foreigner and your country-mates Treat, Europe (early and mid-career) and Skagarack, am I right? A: You are definitely not wrong! We all come from different musical backgrounds and take inspiration from different types of music and bands. We can't say that we're only influenced by the '80s, this is 2013 and there's just so much music around. Still of course we have all listened to bands like the ones you mention! We do try to create music that is very energetic and build the songs around big melodies that you can remember and sing along to. It is very important for us to write music that we really believe in and stand for, and not just rush something together. Still we want the songs to be easily understood and excite people. D I A M O N D D A W N - O v e r d r i v e (Frontiers Records) Sweden. Where the girls are pretty and the bands play GREAT Melodic Rock! Diamond Dawn is the latter incredible group to come out to this unique country and - to say it simple - if you love Work Of Art or most popular bands like Toto, Foreigner, Treat and Skagarack, you’ll fall in love also for this act! Put together in Gothenburg during 2011, Diamond Dawn recorded and released digitally only one song, called “Standing As One”. The buzz around the band started immediately after that, and the rest is history… Which is resulting in the debut-album, “Overdrive”, 11 tracks of superb, melodic, hard-rocking and pompous sound, with heavenly vocals, anthemic chorus and over-the-top arrangements. Strongly rooted on the 80?s, the band’s sound has a sort of modern approach to Melodic Hard Rock with a strong use of keyboards. The production is crystal clear due mainly to the mixing of Tobias Lindell (Europe, Hardcore Superstar, H.E.A.T.). Already a candidate for the “debut-album of the year”! Duncan Jamieson (92/100) MRF | 17 band. player album. too many reasons nterview with:. R.Moss-p.beckett interviewed by:. b.mcminn Question: If we could start by going back to 2003, what event sparked Player to start playing together again? Answer: Ronn had been doing his TV show (the Bold and the Beautiful) for some time and I was doing a lot of film and TV stuff. We started working on a Ronn Moss solo CD with me writing and producing and it kind of developed into a new Player album (Lost In Reality). After that we started hanging out together a lot more and put a new band together. Q: So why the gap between then and the release of this new studio album? A: We were both pretty busy with other projects but were still doing a handful of gigs, mainly on the weekends due to schedules. During those years we came up with two Ronn Moss solo efforts, “I’m Your Man” & “UnCovered”. Then toured Australia and parts of Europe to promote them. Ronn was still on B&B and I was still active in film and TV. Focus on: P L A Y E R - Too Many Reasons (Frontiers Records) Q:Did you write the songs specifically for the new album, or are there some older songs you’ve not released, seeing the light of day for the first time? A: I am constantly writing. When we were approached by Frontiers records I had a stockpile already, but not everything worked for Player. Along with Frontiers, we picked the ones that worked and I set myself about writing a bunch of new ones until we had a cohesive collection. Then we took it all back in to the studio. We are very happy with the outcome. Q: Since 2003 Player has been you two guys with an all-star backing band, will you be taking to the road in 2013 and if so, will you be still be using the same formula or do you have a permanent live band? A: We are planning on touring in 2013 and we have had the same band now for about five years. It’s tight and ready to rock. Q: You’ve both been involved with many aspects of the enter- tainment business, but what drives you to continue producing great melodic rock songs? A: Personally, it’s all I’ve ever done and all I know how to do. Plus, when we started, we were considered an R&B band. But the truth is… When we performed live, we were much more rock and roll oriented. We’re still mainly rock driven but the Player sense of great vocal harmony driven songs still holds true. Q: Are there any songs, which you’ve written for other artists that you wish you’d put to one side to maybe feature on a Player album someday? A: Not really. We would have no problem putting an already covered song on our CD if it worked. However, there is always a surplus of new material, so it’s not really necessary. We have done it in the past though ie: Little River Band and Kenny Rogers. Plus, we do some of the songs previously covered by other artists in our live show. Formed in 1977 when Englishman Peter Beckett met J.C. Crowley and then Ronn Moss and John Friesen were enlisted, Player was born. Four albums and several hit singles later, the band members took different paths, including song writing and producing as well as acting and even appearing on the Italian version of “Dancing With The Stars”. But in 2003 Peter Beckett and Ronn Moss got back together with an all-star line-up and Player was resurrected. Now in 2013 the pair return with the new studio album ‘Too Many Reasons’, a must buy for lovers on pure Melodic Rock that once again highlights what we’ve been missing all these years, first class, melody rich rock. With highlights such as ‘Man on Fire’, ‘Life in Colour’, the stunning and moving ‘Sins of Yesterday’ and the modern reworking of the classics ‘Kites’ and ‘Baby Come Back’, these are just a few of the many highlights from a great Melodic Rock album that brings that 80’s vibe back, only this time with a modern edge. There are simply ‘Too Many Reasons’ why you should check this one out. Barry McMinn (90/100) MRF | 19 band. pink cream 69 album. ceremonial Interview with:. d.ward interviewed by:. B.atkinson Focus on: P I N K C R E A M 6 9 - Ceremonial (Frontiers Records) It’s been six years since their ‘In10sity’ opus,, now PC69 are back with a bang with their much anticipated new album ‘Ceremonial’ and once again the band of Ward, Readman, Koffler, Reitenauer and new drummer Chris Schmidt, have produced an album worthy of the PC69 name. From the opening salvo of ‘Land of Confusion’ and ‘Wasted Years’, you can tell this album is going to be something special and that is continued with what else but ‘Special’. The new album has been described as their most diverse, but I feel this is the evolution of the sound brought to light on their ‘Thunderdome’ and ‘In10sity’ albums, with great melodic moments like ‘The Tide’ standing along the all out rockers like ‘I Came To Rock’. It may have been six years in the making, but when the quality is this good we can forgive. It’s like a good wine with time improving the final result. Barry McMinn (95/100) 20 | MRF Question: Your new album, “Ceremonial”, is going to be released on next 25th of January, after six years from your previous record, “In10sity”: what are the reasons of this long wait? Answer: We don’t have a lot of reasons, we just took our time doing other projects or just relaxing. Some times you need a break to make things fresh again. We feell this was very important or else we would have just made a generic PC69 album. Q: Did you work on the new songs during all this time? how long did the songwriting take place this time? A: Well of course not but we did have songs that were written as early as 2008. As usual, the 3 main songwriters (Koffl, Dave and myself) wrote the main parts of the songs and then collaborated together where needed. Usually one writer has the main idea and the others add to this idea. I’ve combined my melodies with Koffl or, in the case of “Big Machine”, kept the complete vocal lines and totally re-wrote the music to it. There are no rules as to how we work and we don’t care who writes what. We just want the best results. Q: Listening to “Ceremonial” I have noticed a fresh sound and a modern approach to hard rock: what are your feelings about the album instead? A: We purposely tried not to “over produce” this album. We used less keyboards and more guitars but not too much of anything. We are hoping that this will make the songs translate better when playing them live. Plus we wanted to get a bit more “raw” and “real” with this album. Less is more! Q: Did your new drummer, Chris Schmidt, participate in the song-writing process? A: No, the main songwriters and Koffl, Dave and myself. We usually work out the songs together and exchange MP3s until we’ve found what we are looking for and then we work out the final instrumentation in the studio with the musicians at the time of recording. Of course if Chris WOULD want to present some ideas we are all very open to them. He did, of course, give his ideas and many great suggestions in the studio to ensure that the drums really rocked... Q: Why did you choose a title like ‘Ceremonial’. what does it mean to you? A: We feel that the mix of styles sounds like a celebration of all the music we personally enjoy. Also It’s a celebration of finally getting the album done! And, after our last band meeting to discuss the plans for the album, Koffl had made the statement “let the ceremonies begin” as if he were Julius Caesar announcing the “games”. This line always stayed in my head and I felt it could somehow be used. Q: What about the cover artwork? what does it represent? it looks somehow vintage and somehow obscure... A: Yeah, kind of makes you go “hmmmmm....”. If you are familiar with the painting by Grant Wood he painted a picture of 2 elderly people, actually a man and his daughter, called “American Gothic”. To quote wikipedia: Wood decided to paint the house along with "the kind of people I fancied should live in that house.” I always wondered what these 2 people might be looking at since his glare more an expression of wonder than that of a “pose”. This is what we think he saw I’m not much into artwork to be honest. I just want something cool to look at and I think we’ve made our point. Q: Most of you have a number of different projects. does it slow down PC69's actiovity somehow? A: No, it’s something we do when PC69 is not doing anything. It’s never easy when PC69 been offered a gig but you can’t play it due to other obligations, but sometimes these obligations are not music. They are birthdays, or holidays, or even just “work” plain and simple. That’s life! Whenever we have other “plans” we inform the band members about it before hand, usually about 3 months or more. Usually this works out quite well. Q: Last year you reached the important goal represented by 25 years of activity (considering the foundation of the band): what are your reflections after all this time in the music world? A: That there are simply too many “pseudo - bands”. Anyone can make an album, on their laptops, in the cellar, in the practice room, and call their project a “band”. The listening world is overwhelmed with music input. Kind of a turn off really, but there are also more people on the planet than every before and more and more ways to reach them than ever before. Being a professional musician is no longer a “big deal”, unless you can actually make a living from it. Q: Are there any other particular goals you would like to realize yet? A: I’d like to record a kind of “live in studio” DVD but this is a lot of work and not really cheap to do either. Not sure if it can honestly be done at the moment but it would be fun! Q: Today is quite usual for a band to release a significant number of DVDs: at the moment, if I am not wrong, you only produced one video during your long career. Are you projecting a new DVD? A: No plans. My experience shows me that DVDs are very difficult to produce (well) and they might get copied a lot but they don’t sell well. As I said before, I’d love to do a ambient “live in studio” kind of thing but to realize this would be a pain in the arse. Q: When will you be on tour to promote “Cerimonial”? A: No tours are planned as of yet. It’s not easy balancing personal schedules as well as professional ones to fit each and every member. We are not 20 year - old power - youth anymore and we have families. Packing up and leaving for tour for a couple weeks needs a lot of logistic planning on our side. We do have a show in May but that’s it so far. We are hoping to get a few more. We’ll see how the resonance is to the album and then we can make more definite plans. Q: Since Dennis also plays with Unisonic, would it be possible to imagine a tour with them? A: Could be possible, if Unisonic get the album done by the end of the year. MRF | 21 Bruce Atkinson: Jorn, “Symphonic” is simply a very tasteful surprise, and after Reviewing you last studio work, “Bring Heavy Rock To The Land”…I was completely surprised that you took on such an enormous project! How long have you had this in the back of your mind? Jorn Lande: It was actually not something I had been "pregnant" with for a long time. A friend of mine Lasse Jensen who runs a studio not far from where I live, made some arrangements for "I Came To Rock" and the result was pretty good. I asked him if he would be interested in doing the same on some other selected songs, and between early July and the end of September he made orchestral arrangements on 15 tracks. The idea was to record some real strings such as violins, cellos etc, and then do the rest with keyboards/piano and the studio computer. BA: You are certainly moved by other musical Artists, and of course some of your inspiration comes from those…that being said, when you are in the writing mode, do you actually hear orchestral movements within the songs and music you create? JL: Yes, I often tend to hear some kind of finished arrangement in my mind when working on a song. Not necessarily in a classical context, but in general, wether it's a simpler rock arrangement or more complex with various instruments. The melody in my mind starts like a lonely road, then I create the musical landscape around it. Very often the result ends up pretty close to the picture I painted. The only exception is when I work on something and for example the guitarist plays something totally different from what I originally had in mind. It will often lead a song in a new direction, a slow heavy song could suddenly become a fast rocker. BA: In the press release concerning “Symphonic”, you did not want this to be a “typical best of release”, and it certainly isn’t! When adding the symphony did you find that you needed to re-record any of the originals, or did they just fit nicely with your new arrangements? JL: We mixed most of them again, but on a few songs it worked well just to add the orchestra to the original versions and then remaster. Sometimes an orchestra takes up too much space in the over all sound, and if so, the best way to make a good blend is to do a remix. BA: “Symphonic” comes out in January, a beautiful gift from you to us; are you prepared to build a live show around this? Can we see and hear ‘Jorn’ with an orchestra backing you in 2013?! JL: Would be great to put up some shows with an orchestra, but there are no plans for that as for now. There are already several "normal" Jorn shows confirmed for 2013, plus we have to finish the new studio album that we started working on before the european tour in November/December 2012, so it looks like it's going to be a busy year.