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Giant Keel The Muder Of My Sweet Sora Angels Of Babylon Brian Howe The Fire Reviews Oliva’s Pain / Orden Ogan Heavenly Rick Springfield / Jeff Silverman Stage Dolls Wig Wam Bruce Kulick
Melodic Rock Fanzine
The official Frontiers Records magazine Year #6 - Nr. 1 / Issue #36 Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi Design: Elio Bordi Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Fulvio Bordi, Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Alessandro Ariatti. Headquarters and general contacts: Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 18 80125, Napoli - Italy Tel: +39.081.2399340/7753 Fax: +39.081.2399794 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.frontiers.it Myspace: www.myspace.com/frontiersrecords Editor and publisher: Frontiers Records US Headquarters: usa.frontiers.it Copyright©2010 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy.
Band: Giant Album: Promise Land Interview with: Mike Brignardello Interviewed by: Fulvio Bordi
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GIANT - Promise Land (Frontiers Records)
The long awaited new Giant chapter “Promise Land” irrupts now sweeping off all the skepticism showed by part of the long date fans worried towards the Dan Huff absence bringing to a some kind of quality and original personality lack. Now the release is out, once again, we find out all the talks around done before listening are always just wasted time. Giant come today with a lineup featuring original members David Huff and Mike Brignardello on drums and bass, plus long time acclaimed monster vocalist Terry Brock (Strangeways, Seventh Key) and John Roth (Winger) on guitars, giving life to a new awesome musical chapter. Former mastermind, singer and guitarist Dan Huff has not completely left the band, keeping his role as outside Giant member, figuring out as writer and co-writer of almost all the tracklist and featured as special guest with guitar solos on “Save me” and “Believer (Redux)”. “Promise Land” carries on the musical path in the tradition already traced with the previous historical classic releases “Last Of The Runaways”, “Time To burn” and “III” and the presence of two new musicians in the line-up gives the band a new attitude in the sound and performances, but without compromising the classic original approach and trademark all the fans have been loving since the mythic first release. Don’t be afraid, “Promise Land” is already a new Melodic Rock classic! Fulvio Bordi (94/100)
Question: Firstly thanks for taking the time out to complete this interview, welcome to the Italian webzine metal.it and welcome back in the rock circus! Please, introduce to our readers the new “features” of the mighty Giant! Answer: It’s obviously a new line-up. Along with founding member David Huff on drums, we recruited Terry Brock (Strangeways) on vocals, and John Roth (Winger) on guitar. We decided to keep the core band four piece, so we don’t have a keyboard player. We wanted to focus on the songs and try and highlight all the elements from the original band; strong melodies, good songs, and guitar-focused production. We also recruited engineer Ben Fowler who was invaluable in helping keeping the production big, and brought a lot of energy and ideas to the final mixes. Q: Dann Huff has contributed to the new album only as a “very special guest” and the fourth founding member Alan Pasqua left the band after the release of “Time to Burn”… Somebody could think that maintain this name could be a “dangerous” choice for this band… Why did you choose to go back to rock business with this leading but also a little “onerous” monicker? A: I don’t think it’s an “onerous” moniker at all. Like many bands, we decided to carry on after one of the members left the band. Musicians are always free to go where their hearts lead them, but just because one person decides to leave, it doesn’t obligate the rest to simply pack up and go home. Since David Huff and I were two of the founding members it didn’t feel like a dangerous choice at all. Quite the opposite, with all the encouragement we got from our fans and our record label, Frontiers, it was an easy decision. In addition, Dann Huff co-wrote about half the record, played guitar solos on 2 songs, and had nothing but encouragement for us to go forward with the project. With all that going for us it felt like a natural next step. Q: In which way did you choose the new entries of renewed Giant line-up? A: David Huff and I wanted to do another Giant record ever since the release of Giant III, but we knew Dann was too busy to devote enough time to the project. We became aware of guitarist John Roth (Winger) and knew he would be a good fit in the band, but we couldn’t find the ‘right’ singer. It was Serafino Perugino, from Frontiers Records who suggested Terry Brock as a possible new singer. We met in Nashville early in 2009, kicked around ideas, talked about what the new band should sound like, and even began writing tunes. The chemistry was immediate; David and I knew we had found the new line-up. Q: When you were writing "Promise Land" did you feel the
pressure that people were expecting a lot from it? A: The pressure came from within the band. We knew how long and hard we had worked on the first records, and we just wanted to always live up to that standard. It’s probably one of the reasons it took us nearly a full year to get the right combination of songs, produced the ‘right’ (Giant) way. Q: I think that the new amazing album can easily compete with the fabulous Giant's legacy and that the performance of Terry Brock (great vocalist!) and John Roth is really effective, even if I have to confess that it’s a little “strange” to listen to a Giant album without the voice of Dann… What are the differences with your previous albums? Do the compositions come from the same writing session or period or do they belong to different moments along these nine years? A: It’s always “strange”, as you say, when a band changes lead singers. But David Huff and I had a clear vision on what the band should sound like, so it was easy to make production choices, and writing decisions with a clear vision guiding us. Terry Brock is truly a world-class singer, and once he locked into the ‘Giant sound’ (and that only took a second) we were off and running. In addition, Terry co-wrote a lot of the songs, putting his stamp on the new band. The songs came from every direction. Some were songs that had been in the Giant vault; those were rearranged, usually had a new lyric written for them (often by Terry Brock) and recorded with our new production matrix in mind. Some of the songs were written by the band expressly for this record. Some came from outside writers like Mark Spiro and Erik Martensson, some were written with Dann Huff, others were not. Our main goal was to record the best songs, no matter where they came from. As I said, we had a specific vision of how this record should sound, and I think we achieved what we set out to do. Q: I find your new sound probably a slight more AOR than in the past. Do you agree? If so, is it a natural evolution or a kind of precise “strategy”? A: It wasn’t a strategy, per se, it was just the way the record evolved. We cut an albums worth of songs and when we looked at the final song lineup, we felt we didn’t have the perfect combination. With the help and encouragement from Frontiers Records, we gathered in the studio and cut another batch of songs. From the total, we chose what is now the final line-up for the CD. I like the way the songs hang together as a whole piece, and I think the songs compliment and contrast with each other well. We were trying to hit the right ‘Giant’ touchstones on this record, and I think we did that. Q: Why a title as "Promise Land"?
What about the meaning of this title and, more in general, about the album lyrics? A: ‘Promise Land’ is about re-starting a relationship, and getting back to the beginning reasons for the relationship. It turns out it’s not a bad metaphor for our band! We also thought the production of ‘Promise Land’ embodied all the classic Giant elements and would make a great CD title as well. I’d rather not interpret the lyrics too much, because I’d prefer the listener to make his own movie, but if I had to sum it up, they’re mostly about women. What else is there?! Q: What are your hopes professionally for your band, the new album and for yourself? A: Right now we’ve just put the finishing touches on the video for ‘Promise Land’, and we’re finishing all the details for the CD package. After that, we’ll began sorting through several offers we’ve had for tours, and try and see if we can do some live shows later this year. All four members have busy music careers, but we all want to tour in support of this record, so we’re working hard to make it happen. It’s been too long since Giant toured Europe, so we’re all excited about the possibilities. Q: If you had your choice, what would you do to change or alter the music industry, now that (I guess!) you’ve had a chance to experience its goods and evils? A: I think the worst thing that happened to the music industry is having huge ‘entertainment’ corporations buying up record labels. Labels have changed from being run by people who had a passion for music, to being run by accountants who are only concerned with the bottom line. The socalled A&R departments are a joke, standing as gate-keepers to keep bands out, rather than acting as talent scouts trying to develop acts. I think it’s evolving so smaller labels, like Frontiers, are becoming the source of more and more music, with the big corporate labels marketing the latest American Idol contestant. I think labels like Frontiers are the future of the music business, and Giant is very happy to be teamed up with them. Q: Which are your next moves? I hope it’s true (as stated by Frontiers promo-sheet!) that you’re back to stay! A: We hope we’re back to stay!! The next move is to sort out some tour dates and see if we can’t take the new record on tour. The record was such a great experience for all of us, we would like to continue the momentum. It’s also a big bonus to find a record label that is truly on the same page as the band. Serafino, Mario and everyone at Frontiers played a big creative part in making this record, and we know how fortunate we are to have found such a great team. We’re gonna keep it rolling and see what the future brings.
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Band: Keel Album: Streets Of Rock N Roll Interview with: Ronn Keel Interviewed by: Barry McMinn
Question: This is the bands first album in over twenty years, what prompted the band to get back together? Answer: We’ve stayed friends, always talked about it, and wanted to make sure that we could do it the right way – and since it was the band’s 25th Anniversary, it felt like the perfect time to get back on stage for some of the major U.S. festivals. And the Reunion ignited a creative spark that inspired the new songs that appear on “Streets Of Rock & Roll.” Q: You played your first shows in years at last year’s Rocklahoma, M3 and others, what was it like playing live together after so long? A: It was easy, natural, and a lot of fun. We wanted to have a good time with it and enjoy ourselves. But also everyone came in to the very first rehearsal prepared to rock, still feeling that hunger and passion that has always driven KEEL. It was just like old times – combining the precision and the power of the music with a wild fun spirit of rock & roll, and sharing good times with the fans. Q: The new album is KEEL through and through, was this your intention from the beginning to keep the same sound but with a more modern edge? A: Of course we wanted great songs and Focus on:
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great production – but we really didn’t have any discussions about what direction to take. We didn’t talk about it, we didn’t even really think about it, we just started spitting out hard rock songs and it came out sounding like KEEL. Q: Were all the songs written after you got together again or did you have older songs that you just updated? A: This is all-new brand-new material, written in the past year, fueled by the energy of the Reunion. Except for the title track, which Bryan and Dwain already had written and recorded with their previous band Dogbone under a different title; the lyrics and music fit perfectly with both where we’ve been and where we are now. I really wanted to create a song with the title “Streets Of Rock & Roll” and tried singing that over the chorus of their song, and history was born – it worked so well, we decided to make it the title track of the new album. The rest of the songs were all written since we got back together. Right around the time we were announcing the Reunion, Bryan Jay and I were working on music for his TV & Film business, and came up with “Hit The Ground Running” and “Looking For A Good Time.” We realized these could be KEEL songs... then Marc & Bryan sent me the music for “Come Hell Or High Water” and I put the lyrics and melody to it, and
suddenly we had three strong songs to provide a foundation. That’s when we decided to move forward and record a new album, and the creative process shifted into high gear. The new songs started pouring out of us, sometimes two or three a day, it was a very magical time and one of the fiercest creative storms I’ve ever been a part of. Q: As well as the new album 2010 also sees the re-release of the ‘Right To Rock And Roll’ as a 25th Anniversary package, does it really seem like 25 years? A: Man, it seems like another lifetime. I pack a lot of living into a year, and I’ve always felt that my pace was three times the normal speed of life – so for me it feels like 75 years ago! But it’s strange how when we’re on stage, or in the studio, or writing songs, the years melt away and we’re the same wild crazy guys we were back in the day. Q: What does the band have planned for 2010, any tours mapped out yet? A: We’ll have our first European shows since 1986, starting with the Stockholm Rock Out in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 30th – we’re hoping to add to the itinerary, and we have some exciting possibilities that will hopefully materialize. Hopefully the new album will be successful enough to create a demand to see the band live.
KEEL - Streets Of Rock N Roll (Frontiers Records)
Well it’s been a long wait but finally Keel are back and back with a vengeance with their long awaited new album ‘Streets Of Rock & Roll’, a real Hard Rocker’s dream of an album. Right from the opening assault of the title track ‘Streets Of Rock & Roll’ it’s clear the band are back and better than ever, as Marc Ferrari and Brian Jay get things going with some great guitar work, then Ron Keel takes over and shows the world that he still has the vocal power that we all remember back in those early days. The album is all power and grace as each track shows the band still have what it takes to make the Hard Rock world shake.With some superb rockers like ‘Hit The Ground Running’, ‘The Devil May Care (But I Don’t)’ and ‘Gimme That’ just few of my favourites. But the band still can deliver a decent ballad as ‘Does Anybody Believe’ shows, a track to pull at the heart stings. But this album is more Hard Rock than you can shake a stick at, as Ferrari and Jay unleash some sublime six string moments, all wrapped around some of the best Keel vocals I’ve heard. All in all a great come back album, let’s hope some European dates follow or even some festival dates in 2010 so that the street can be paved with rock and roll once more. Barry McMinn (89/100)
Band: The Murder Of My Sweet Album: Divanity Interview with: A. Rylin / D. Flores nterviewed by: Vitale Nocerino
Question: Could you tell us the origins of your moniker, and of the name of the album? Daniel Flores: We love Film noire movies and we wanted something that wasn’t that far from this style. The clothes and moniker are totally inspired by this. If you have a band name like “THE MURDER OF MY SWEET” then you need an album title that is very progressive and what better than a hybrid word (which it’s beautifully called), a mix of DIVA, VANITY and DIVINE. All those words conclude what we are as a band on this album so it was a perfect combination for us. Q: I’ve seen many important results, as to review and chart positions. Did you expect all of this? DF: I have to be honest, after a while I was even astonished with what we where able to come up with. So yeah, I could predict some of the results but Chart positions are difficult to predict as it’s the public who decides what they like, but so far we are all glad of the outcome. Focus on:
Q: How much did your label work for the promotion of this record? Angelica Rylin: We have a great relationship with Frontiers and they have been such cool guys to work with but frankly they entered the picture quit late regarding to how long we’ve been promoting our songs by our selves on myspace and other internet sites. But they took us the extra mile that we couldn’t have gone on our own and we are very happy with the cooperation. Q: Now, I think it will be time to tour! Have you already got touring schedules? AR: We have a couple of promoters around Europe working on getting us on tour and we are very anxious to come out and meet our fans. Hopefully we will do some festivals this summer and it would be cool to do a few opening acts as well. I would really love to go and play in Italy and to rock the night clubs in Rome. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be a really cool city. Q: Arriving to success in such an unexpected way can cause unex-
pected troubles, or is life still going on as it was 6 months ago? AR: My life runs mostly the same as six months ago. I don’t get as much sleep as I used to though but hopefully I will be able to cut down on my day job when the album is out and we have booked a couple of tours ;) But I have to say that it’s a huge ego-boost to log in on myspace and read all the comments and emails that we get and that makes up for that whole lack of sleep. Q: Where did you find Angelica? She has a very particular and charming voice… DF: Yes she has a very unique voice, not the type of voice you normally would expect in a rock band yet it fits so perfect. It was one of the things that really got me hooked when she came and auditioned for me. Some have said that it sounds like Celine Dion playing with Ozzy and in a way I have to agree with them. She has a very warm and sensual voice and it’s a cool blend when you put it into music that is heavy and have lots of complex layers.
THE MURDER OF MY SWEET - Divanity (Frontiers Records)
A new band signing to Frontiers although one of the main people behind the band is certainly well known, one Daniel Flores of Mind's Eye fame. The band also have a very talented female singer in Angelica Rylin. What a set of pipes she has! Ranging from Kate Bush one minute to a more female prog metal sound. Listening to the album it does remind you of Mind's Eye and in fact you could say at times this album is like a female fronted Mind's Eye. But there are some new musical avenues explored including the pomp rock of 'Valerie' (Journey meets Dream Theater) and the single, 'Bleed Me Dry' which is an instant hit on the ears. On 'Follow The Rain' the band throw in everything bar the kitchen sink with sweeping strings, banks of keyboards and guitars along with Angelica's vocals. 'Death Of A Movie Star' is a real OTT musical ride, featuring masses of harmony vocals (very Queen like in their construction) and lots of orchestration. A very accomplished debut album and hopefully they will do another album as it would be criminal if this was the only musical output from this collection of musicians. Whether you like pomp rock, Dream Theater, Mind's Eye, Muse - this album will be right up your street. Jason Ritchie (92/100)
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Band: Sora Album: Desire And Truth Interview with: Erol Sora Interviewed by: Gregor Klee
Question: Hello Erol, your new album will be called “Desire And Truth”. Why the title ? Answer: I called the album “Desire And Truth” and as found a lot of the songs touched on the theme of desire in terms of power, money, lust, religion and where in reality this leads many people. A lot of the songs are simply reflections of what's been going on in the world the past few years as I tend to write from a very topical point of view so this album turned out heavier and darker than the last. Q: Which leads to my next question, how would you say “Desire And Truth” differs from your previous album “Demented Honour” ? A: This one is definitely heavier and more intense in terms of guitar playing. The songs just naturally turned out this way as I just wrote what I was feeling at the time. These past few years have seen a lot of crazy things going on in the world which came through in the lyrics/feel of the songs, though having said that, there's still some lighter moments
on the album in songs such as Winter, Stop Messin' Around, etc.... Compared to Demented Honour, this album is more consistently British sounding as I really wanted to capture the spirit of bands like MSG, Whitesnake, UFO, Gary Moore from the late 70's/early 80's which is an era often overlooked. Q: Who are your main influences in terms of guitar players and vocalists ? A: My favourite players are people like Ritchie Blackmore, John Sykes, Michael Schenker, Gary Moore. They're all guitarists who combine melody with technique, who play from the heart and have very memorable solos, almost songs in their own right. I really made a conscious effort to take that approach with this album so the lead breaks would be memorable and have a beginning, middle, and end. In terms of vocalists I've always admired singers such as David Coverdale, Paul Rodgers, Ian Gillan, John Lawton (my previous band mate!), though I wouldn't say I sound like them! Singing is such a personal thing so I
Focus on: SORA - Desire And Truth (Avenue Od Allies)
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simply try to be myself and come across as natural and honest as possible and make the best use of the voice I was born with. I enjoy singing as much as playing guitar so was thrilled with the positive response I received after my last album was released which was my first venture as a lead vocalist. Q: What does the future hold for Erol Sora? A: This album took a long time to make but I simply didn't want to rush it as I wanted it to be something I can be proud of in the future. I hope the album does well enough so it will warrant doing more shows in Europe. Having lived in the UK for so long and playing many different countries with The John Lawton Band, I want to get back ASAP! Besides promoting this album, I'm going to continue writing/playing and doing what I've always done! In closing, I have to say a big thanks to all the amazing fans and their words of encouragement over the years which means so much to me. It really helped in making and completing this album. Cheers!
Sora’s second album is heavier and more guitar oriented than the debut from 2006, yet still very melodic in terms of vocals and songwriting. Highlights include the in-your-face opener “Taste of Rock & Roll”, a heavy bluesy Whitesnake influenced song, “The Storm Has Just Begun”, with its stunning guitar solo. The Schenker-influenced Melodic Rocker “Diamonds In The Wind” and the tongue-in-cheek “Rock & Roll Dog”. “When You’re Gone” a heartfelt ballad, and the haunting “When You Gonna Love Me” deliver the quieter moments of this fascinating new album, recapturing the spirit and sound of great British bands from the late 70s/early 80s such as MSG, Whitesnake, Rainbow, UFO and Gary Moore. A Must have for all melodic and hard rock fans! Gregor Klee (90/100)
Question: State Of Rock is a debut release basing on the reunion of three ex Frontline bandmates finding themselves together working on new songs in cooperation with monster Melodic Rock voice Tony Mills. Please, would you tell us about the story behind this new band? Tony Mills: Well, thank you!!! I think it was very important for AOR Heaven to see Robby Bobel and the guys from Frontline play live again, but they had lost contact with their vocalist. Georg Siegl contacted me and asked me if I would be prepared to co-write an album with Robby and after hearing the initial backing tracks, I was delighted to get involved with such proficient musicians. The music has great credibility in my view, so it has been very exciting so far. Q: I think “A Point Of Destiny” comes out as a very interesting, elegant, great sounding album, featuring extremely high-level songwriting. How did songs come out? TM: It was actually written in only eight weeks and there is a simple reason for this. The music was handed to me with no vocal ideas, but the strength of the performances inspired the writing of the songs immediately and before we knew where we were, the record was finished. It came as a surprise, but it just goes to show when strong ideas are formulated, it doesn't take long for everything else to fall into place. Q: Where did the band record the album? And who did produce it? TM: The music was recorded in Nuremberg and the vocals were recorded in Birmingham, U.K. Robby finished the mixes and produced the album himself. Q: Since the starting “Black & Blue”, passing through “Without My Love”, “Heartless Dreamer”, “Hanging In The Balance” and so on, I’ve been immediately kicked into the band’s world, captured by intense Hard Rock paths and melodic hooks going straight deep into the heart. Is the final result what the band exactly had been expecting since the very beginning of the songwriting sessions? Or things have been changing step by step bringing to a different musical horizon? TM: The songs practically wrote themselves. In fact, I think we only decided to lose one of the ideas that we came out with, because it didn't stand up to the rest of the material. Black and Blue was the first piece of music I was presented with and it blew me away. I think I finished the song the same day. It was really a similar situation throughout the recording process; no sooner had I returned a completed song than Robby had sent me a new track and so on. There was no specific protocol other than to write a middle of the road straight ahead commercial rock album. Q: Besides the Tony Mills’ presence, which are, in your opinion, the main differences of what you did with Frontline compared now with this brand new State Of Rock act? TM: Obviously, this is Tony answering the interview, so I cant really answer for Robby on this question. Q: Is the band meant to be a stable project among your otherones? TM: Yes. We have already played together in Germany and we now have plans to play in the UK and plan a forthcoming album at the back end of 2010. Q: Any project for the next months? Has the band planned some live dates to support the release around? TM: Yes, we will be promoting the album over the coming months and looking to jump on any credible festivals both in Europe and the UK. Exciting times !!!
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Album: Circus Bar Interview with: Brian Howe Interviewed by: Fulvio Bordi
Question: The first track says it all: “I’m Back”. Well, after thirteen years from your debut album, here you are with your second solo chapter “Circus Bar”. Answer: It's actually been 13 years. I really have been concentrating on live concerts during that time. I have been everywhere except Italy. My shows have been mainly sell outs in the states. Serafino from Frontiers Records contacted me and asked if I wanted to make a record and I thought well, it has been a long time, so why not. Q: I read the CD title comes because of your creative time spent in a bar managed by circus artists. How did this place influence your songwriting inspiration? A: It was in Panajachel, Guatemala. it is run by former european circus people and the live music is amazing. We would work all day and in the evening we would walk about 2 miles to the bar and eat and drink a little. It has a unique atmosphere. Clown marionettes hang from the ceiling above the bar and thats what gave me the idea for the front cover. Have you ever wondered where clowns go to relax?? They head for the circus bar. The mariFocus on:
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onette i used for the front cover is also now hanging from the bars ceiling so go and say hello. Q: The tracks feature so many friends of yours performing. How important has been their support to end up the album? A: I picked young, keen talented players though the experience was also there with Wayne Nelson from the little River Band on bass and Pat Travers on guitar. I didn't want to work with jaded people like i had before in a band. Brooks (the producer) is also a great guitar player and that was a great help. My regular band was also involved with Matt Brown (drums) and Miguel Gonzalez (bass) and my long time guitarist Dean Aicher. Q: Two newly refreshed songs coming from the Bad Company era are featured in the tracklist. Please, tell us of how did you get the idea to give them a new interpretative dress. A: I think Holy Water has developed into a wonderful new version which bears little resemblance to the original. how about that has been revamped with a new arrangement and real drums and I think it is better than the original. It’s not as if I have just repackaged an old recording like so many older bands
and call the record a different name. Q: You recorded a song with NWOBHM band White Spirit. What memories do you have from that experience? A: 1982... That was a fun time... We werent very good but we were keen. I left them because I got tired of them trying be Deep Purple clones and wanted to move on with different material. As for them recording one of my songs I have no idea, I certainly haven’t been paid for anything but I guess thats in the mail. Q: What about the future? A: I have already started recording my next cd and it is going very well... Q: Any tourdates fixed to support the release? A: I will go and play wherever I am welcome... I would love to do some european shows but I guess we will have to see what happens with the record. It’s very expensive to bring a band over from the states but if I sling enough shows together I would love to come over. I have lots of shows booked for the summer in the states and i am hoping for european dates... I am off to Iraq in march to do 5 shows for the troops and i am looking forward to that... not many bands have the balls to do that !!
BRIAN HOWE – Circus Bar (Frontiers Records)
Brian Howe, ex Ted Nugent, White Spirit voice and the one who replaced Paul Rodgers in Bad Company in the eighties’ giving life to albums such as “Fame and Fortune”, “Dangerous Age”, “What You Hear Is What You Get- Live”, “Holy Water”, “Here Comes The Truble”; as the opening track title states, is back on the line and ready to bring us to the beauty only the good old school Melodic Rock can lead. Songs come out great, written and performed with heart, passion, just as a wide open window of inner feelings. Music and arrangements are perfect to get quite direct, raw and essential, just to create the right home for the Brian’s voice; but, at the same time, guitars get particularly rocking and push the songs in a more “solid” dimension than the previous thirteen years ago solo debut “Tangled In Blue”. Brian Howe’s voice is in great shape, giving us such an interpretative performance so many today’s new upcomers singers could only dream on to produce. “Circus Bar” is a release of soulful melodies and music going straight to your heart. Fulvio Bordi (90/100)
Band: Fire Album: Thrill Me Interview with: R. Longo / K. Calleja Interviewed by: Michael Bugeja Question: You are a successful band in your home country of Malta. Still there will be a lot of people that might not have heard of Fire before, can you please introduce the band by telling us about the history of the band. Robert: Fire started out in 1998 as a cover band. Over the years the band has gone through a lot of lineup changes, in fact our singer Kenneth is the only original member in our current line-up. When Pexja and I joined Fire about five years ago, the band had only one original song, but we were very interested in becoming involved and over the course of the years the original material became more and more, which led ultimately to the recording and the release of our first album “Ignite” in 2006. The following year we shared the stage with the Swiss Hard Rock icons Krokus and we also did a couple of gigs in the UK. Later in 2007 we recorded a radio single called “Miss You This Christmas Time”, the song will now be featured in the movie “Maltageddon” along with the title track from our brand new album “Thrill Me”. We also did a video for the song “Thrill Me”, which you can see at various sites on the internet. Q: You are well known for your live performances, so I guess you love being in front of a live
audience ? Kenneth: Playing live is a great feeling. There is so much energy and the songs take on another dimension. Opening for Krokus back in 2007 was an incredibly gratifying experience. R: When I look at our audience it’s practically all ages, from teenagers to middle-aged people and older ones too, and they all share the same passion for our music. Q: Please let us know a bit more about the song writing process of the band. R: The live situation and the studio are two very different situations, in the studio the possibilities are endless, you can take your music anywhere. Actually all of our songs are “born” in the recording studio. For the most part I am writing the music and after demoing a song I usually pass it on to Kenneth who writes the lyrics. The band then records the track and we all rehearse the final version. This way we can work out how to adapt the songs for a live setting. Q: Would you agree to the statement, that the new songs are a bit heavier than the ones on “Ignite” and what is your view on today’s Hard Rock scene ? R: Well, we’ve tried to infuse new modern sounds and elements into our signature Hard Rock sound. We love this musical style with its driv-
ing energy, powerful rhythms and prominent melodic traits. Hard Rock has survived changing trends for over four decades and it’s still going strong and even though it may no longer be the preferred style of the masses, it still commands a loyal and dedicated worldwide following. The overall sound of the new album is harder and edgier, with songs like “Come with Me” and “Where are Going” being considerably heavier and darker than any of the band’s previous offerings, but still the songs have the strong melodies we are known for. Highlights of the album include the ballad “No More Pain”, which reveals the band’s softer, bluesier side, and of course the title track ‘Thrill Me’, a footstomping crowd pleaser that has already garnered extensive airplay on local radio stations and we are currently number one on several local charts with this particular track. Q: What are the bands plans to in the near future ? K: The band has already lined up a couple of live concerts for the next weeks and months on Malta and we hope to get the chance to play abroad again. We are also talking with our German label “Avenue Of Allies” about the possibility of a reissue of our debut album “Ignite” with some bonus tracks for the international market.
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KEEL - The Right To Rock 25th Anniversary Edition (Frontiers Records) Kicking off with the title track and possibly the band's most recognised song, it's easy to hear why The Right To Rock made enough of an impact to break the Billboard top 100. Ron's vocals are tough and gruff, however he possesses bags of character and the sort of ballsy performance so many of today's pretenders can only dream of. Whether it's the razor sharp riff of "Speed Demon" or frenetic licks on "You're The Victim (I'm The Crime)" his style is hugely engaging and still feels fresh some 25 years down the line. The remastering of the tracks breathes new life into an already classy set of tunes, however the bonus songs really add little to the release as the remixed version of "Easier Said Than Done" is no improvement on the proper version and the 25th anniversary rerecording of the song "The Right To Rock" smoothes all the edges off the original and lacks the raw appeal that made it such a great song in the first place. Putting those tracks aside The Right To Rock has a place in any serious rock collection and hopefully this welcome reissue will see it regain the recognition it deserves. SeaOfTranquillity.org ORDEN OGAN - Easton Hope (AFM Records) From the onset the German Melodic Metallers Orden Ogan take no prisoners with their epic metal tales on their new album Easton Hope. The album is all you would expect from a Melodic Metal band and more. Rampaging guitar licks a thunderous rhythm section and a massive (I mean MASSIVE) vocal presence. From the opening epic styled intro which leads into the album’s real opener ‘Rise and Ruin’, you know that this is without a doubt going to be a thunderous success in a genre that has many false prophets declaring they are the new messiah in Metal, but stand aside all those who have gone before because a new band is in town and their here for the crown. The album is an all guns blazing metal assault, mixing short bursts of metal thunder and madness, with tracks of epic proportions. The thunder starts with ‘Rise and Ruin’ as showers of guitar riffs with ear melting double kick drums hail down on the unsuspecting listener. This torrent of molten metal continues throughout the album with a few of the noteworthy highlights like ‘Easton Hope’, ‘Welcome Liberty’, the titanic ‘We Are Pirates’ and ‘The Black Heart’ (from me the track of the album). As I said earlier, an album that will see the band take to great heights and definitely on band to watch out for in 2010. If you like you metal big and bold and edging towards the grandiose then ‘Easton Hope’ may be the one for you. Barry McMinn (90/100)
STATE OF ROCK - A Point Of Destiny (Metal Heaven) Take all the best Middle European Melodic Hard Rock tradition having in mind classics such as Bonfire, Frontline, Jaded Heart , Talon, Affair; add the best melodic hooks possible with the ex Shy, Siam, TNT Tony Mills, shake it all and then serve on the rocks! Now here we have State Of Rock! The band has been built up with the reunion of three ex Frontline bandmates (axeman Robby Bobel, bassman Hutch Bauer, drummer Rami Ali) crossing their ways with a different charismatic voice. “A Point Of Destiny” gets the final result, featuring ten tracks of brilliant, class sparkling high level Melodic Rock gems. I love the Tony Mills’ performance, how his melodies and songwriting interplay so damn good with the rest of the band. Special mention about the arrangements, the sound production and for the really smart use of essential keyboard carpets giving songs a still more ear-attracting sound. “A point Of Destiny” is a sure top notch release for any Melodic Rock fan and now State Of Rock merge as a new fantastic act to keep in mind from now on. Congratulations guys! Fulvio Bordi (88/100)
THE QUIREBOYS - Halfpenny Dancer Vol I (JCPL Recordings) For the life of me, I do not know why Spike and The Quireboys are not a household name around the musical world! The expanse of talent seems to know no bounds. The Quireboys are simply a top drawer group and ‘Halfpenny Dancer’ cements that notion. This release sees the group rework some of their finest compositions and breathe in to them some fresh air. Coupled with some new gems, ‘Halfpenny Dancer’ is certainly a ‘must have’ for any serious music lover. Now, being that this cd is subtitled ‘Volume One’, we should expect more from the lads along this stunning vein of musical expression. Exploring the acoustic side of the Quireboys allows us to further appreciate the high talent of Spike’s song writing and the poignant slant of his lyrics…and his interpretation of others. Everything this group writes about is genuine---they have lived through every moment. Let the Quireboys take you on a musical voyage that will tear at your heartstrings…and let you in, just a little, to their world of musical adventures and halfpenny dancers! Bruce Atkinson (80/100) LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM - A Touch Of Heaven (Escape Music) LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM was formed in 2002 by Mikael Erlandsson and Andy Malecek (FAIR WARNING) and since then they have recorded 6 studio albums; "A Touch Of Heaven" is their new one. I have to mention that Nalley Pahlsson(TREAT) is a new member due to the death of Marcel Jacob (TALISMAN) who was their former bassist. "A Touch Of Heaven" is absolutely a melodic album that can make you dream. From the beginning to the end I enjoyed it’s music so much... It just made my mind fly! There are some songs, like "Candle In The Dark", "Heartbreaker", "Renegade" and "Jenny’s Eyes" for example, that you want to listen to again and again, or (to say it better) are pretty catchy. And what can I say about Mikael’s voice? Just excellent! Awesome melodies, lyrics that can stick to your mind... I think that this album has it all. If you look for something melodic enough you should give a chance to this album. I’m sure that you’ll love it. metal-temple.com (90/100)
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SHYLOCK - Rockbuster (Metal Heaven) The most obvious comparison for this German band is the present incarnation of Jaded Heart as both bands deal in muscular rock that emphasis heavy riffs and strong melodies. Now on their fifth album, Shylock continue their modern spin on the traditional metal sound. There’s a contemporary song structure that takes you into euphoric choruses especially on “Damn Good”, “Dawn” and “Somebody Else” that the likes of Paramore and the emo brigade have found success with in recent times. An interesting choice of cover song is Timex Social Club’s “Rumours” which is an old style r’n’b number from the ‘80s given a metal make over. Its crunchy verse and bouncy pop rock chorus is an example of their willingness to keep things current. More traditional rock fare can be found on the power ballad “Sunshine vs. Rain” that is lighter than much of the other material on the disc but it’s got an effective chorus and the Middle Eastern vibe on “Rose of Cairo”, both demonstrate the band’s versatility. If Teutonic metal with contemporary rock hooks interests you then see your local moneylender and get your hands on this. Duncan Jamieson (85/100)
RICK SPRINGFIELD - Venus In Overdrive + Live in Rockford (Frontiers Records) This new “Venus In Overdrive” version comes with the worthy addition of a bonus track (a new recording of Celebrate Youth) and a concert DVD, “Live in Rockford” originally released in October 2006 in the USA only. “Venus In Overdrive is powerpop/AOR by perfection because you don't have to skip tracks or just, while listening to it, wait for “better songs”. Rick also shows what a down to earth kinda guy he is with the song "Saint Sahara" which is a celebration to Sahara Aldridge, she was a huge fan who attended frequently to Rick's shows and recently passed away. VIO has everything you could ever wish for in a Rick Springfield album, the single "What's Victoria's secret" gets maximum points from me but other songs worthy to be featured on future best of compilations are "Mr.PC", "3 warning shots, "One passenger" and "I'll miss that someday". This has classic written all over it! Vitale Nocerino + Melodic.net (90/100)
ANGELS OF BABYLON - Kingdom Of Evil (Metal Heaven) Angels Of Babylon are a gathering and combining of some heavy Talents from the kingdom of Heavy Metal… including ex-Megadeth bassist David Ellefson and Manowar drummer Rhino. “Kingdom Of Evil” is a very strong statement and powerful debut. Vocalist David Fefolt has a rich & deep voice that lends itself swimmingly to the ten muscular musical creations that appear on this record. Solid guitar work Ethan Brosh guarantees that this recorded effort finds a prominent place in Metal lovers’ musical libraries. The album drives on… each performance: beefy… each arrangement: classy. Highlights of the album are, in my opinion the opener “Conspiracy Theory” and the second track “Apocalypse 2012”, “Tarot” and the amazing “Kingdom Of Evil”. From four heavy Talents, “Kingdom Of Evil” is a fitting debut from a promising new band. Bruce Atkinson (89/100)
JON OLIVA’S PAIN – Festival (AFM Records) The beautiful CD’s cover is the right bridge to introduce us to “Festival”, the new chapter in the Jon Oliva’s Pain discography. “Festival” maybe it is the best album among the ones this band has been releasing until now and absolutely won’t disappoint all the long date Savatage and Jon Oliva’s fans. The best thought coming in mind after so many times spent in listening is this is a very peculiar album, complex, sophisticated but… simple at the same time! Sure, indeed, this is their most progressive effort made, but the way all the different feelings, musical types and moments are grouped and linked together along all the tracklist, and in the songs themselves, is disarming. Songs flow easily one by one surrounded by a very thrilling and dark atmosphere until the final chapter “Now”. Guitars riffs and solos cut just like a blade , while the rhythm section gives the perfect dynamic boost to all the songs’ structures, creating a so wide intense depth. No excuses, this is an absolute “must have”! Fulvio Bordi (95/100) HUMAN TEMPLE - Murder Of Crows (Escape Music) From the beginning of the CD, "Not My Fault" can put you in the right mood: the inspiring chorus is able to stick to your mind for days and the tuneful aura will ’trap’ you from the first two minutes just like the following "Just One Night" does. The vocals remind me something between Joe Lynn Turner and Joey Tempest’s tone, whereas the keyboards are in the middle of VAN HALEN’s and JOURNEY’s musical structure, a fact that you can clearly notice in "Lie". I believe, though, that the breath taker of the album is the ensuing "Ghost Of You": a pure AOR song with a strong chorus and an absolutely melodic reading that fulfills all the expectations for fans of this genre. "Murder Of Crows" has all the components to be an all time classic album for the melodic Hard Rock scene (another reason why we love Finland) and, for that, is strongly recommended. Don’t let the crows on the cover scare you... Metal-temple.com (80/100) MASQUERADE - Cybernetic Empire (Steelheart Records) It’s really incredible to think that awesome material like the one featured on this CD have seen the light of the day almost 20 years later than when it was recorded! MASQUERADE was a band coming from Holland and active between the end of the ‘80s and mid-‘90s, and – during their career – they opened some shows for the one and only European headlining-tour of CRIMSON GLORY, plus they played with HELSTAR, ELEGY and more. As you might guess from the above mentioned bands, Masquerade’s music style is strongly placed into the US Power-Progressive Metal vein; their trademarks were the incredible vocals a la Geoff Tate/Midnight, powerful and fast double-guitars parts and awesome melodies, recalling, obviously, bands like Crimson Glory, Queensryche, Heir Apparent and Screamer. This CD includes all the songs MASQUERADE ever recorded, starting from their first “Behind The Mask” demo-tape, passing thru’ the never released 5 tracks EP and finishing with alternate versions, studio-outtakes, live and unreleased songs, spanning a 1989-1994 period. It would have been a real crime to leave these songs unheard. Out of the dusted shelves and into the stores. Finally. Rob “Ezy” Bone (90/100)
HEAVENLY - Carpe Diem (AFM Records) Hang on to something! Anything!—as you are about to be propelled into the stratosphere!! “Carps Diem” is perhaps Heavenly’s strongest set yet! What with a sterling production and deep complicated musical rivers flowing throughout, this record will delight, stimulate and send your aural senses in to a cosmic spin. Driven by a wall of guitar and draped profoundly by amazing keyboards… each piece is driven by heaving percussion and topped with towering vocals that are, at times, unbelievable! Heavenly performs at top form-always. There are no fillers here! In some passages, the group sound like classic Queen, but on steroids!! Totally strapping in their delivery, combining power and subtlety in an unique fashion—Heavenly truly reaches musical Nirvana. As one listens and flows forward with “Carps Diem”…you will start to plunge in the vast undercurrents of their music. Recognising their immense and varied Talents, increasing your appreciation of the richly layered and powerful music that lies before you! Wrap yourself around the depth of this operatic collection and listen carefully to what is being sung… then and only then will you have a true Heavenly experience! Bruce Atkinson (88/100) MRF | 13
Fulvio Bordi: Hi Chris! “Festival” is a very brilliant work and the title says it all! It is a real festival, a parade. So complete, polyhedral, well rounded. I’ve been considering it as a release where we can find so many influences and elements involved in the songwriting’s style: from Heavy Metal, Prog Rock influences, Seventies’, Classical Music, Rock Opera and even Jazz inserts, celtic and folk influences. What do you think about? There’s really everything. Is it the right impression? Chris Kinder: Awesome and glad you like it! Thats the best description we have heard so far, and so accurate. We went into writing this new record with no boundaries whatsoever. Actually I can recall some of the early pre-production sessions with Jon with him saying: " I want us to think outside the box and try to make this record as interesting and compelling as possible... heavy, epic, sad, fun, evil, silly, technical... let's just for it and see what happens". FB: Why a title such as “Festival”? CK: The CD is a music "Festival" just as you described in the last question. It's a crazy musical carnival with your ears and your soul being pulled in all different directions. What title would have been more appropriate? FB: May we consider it as a concept album? If so, please, would you like to tell us in brief the story and the philosophy behind the lyrics? CK: Definately not a concept album...more like a bunch of short stories. You may even consider them life stories of those attending the festival....so many people, so many emotions, so many stories to tell. FB: All the tracklist features a real kaleidoscope of musical moods and feelings. Since rage, pain, anxiety, desperation, to hope and sweetness. Where did Jon find the inspiration this time? CK: Same place he always does...life! He has such an incredible way of capturing the day to day emotions of all of us. There's a song for everyone on this album. And that song changes day to day as our life and life experiences change. Maybe your feeling evil today,,,maybe your missing a loved one. It's all there is this cd if you just let it get inside you. FB: How did the band work on songwriting this time? CK: Jon of course brings the main body of work and idea's. It is my job as producer to help him formulate those idea's in an interesting/balanced structure. From there Matt, Kevin and Tom get copies of "the work in progress" and are all expected to bring fresh new idea's to the table. It's always a group effort but Jon is firmly at the controls of writing. We make so many changes and decisions in the studio...when the real art begins to be recorded. FB: What about the band’s line-up? Is it the same of the previous release? CK: Yes, minus John Zahner (keyboards). John has other projects he is working on so JOP is now permanently a 5 piece outfit... It's all good! FB: Any tourdates to support the album at the moment? Will you perform live with the same band? CK: Always booking tours...Summer Festivals and a big fall tour for sure. The band is fully intact and ready to come to Italy. We miss the fans and the food/wine! 14 | MRF
Barry McMinn: For those unfamiliar with the band how would you describe the band’s sound? Lars: It’s always hard to do this, because I’m too close to it to be really objective but I will try anway. Orden Ogan is a metal band that draws its influences from Power/Melodic/Traditional (which ever label you prefer) Metal, Progressive Metal and Thrash Metal. You can find elements of all those styles in our music. Generally the melodies – be it vocally or instrumentally – are a big focus of ours, so in that regard pop is an influence, too. Aditionally, we can get quite bombastic at times, but we NEVER lose track of fat metal riffs. These kind of „modern“ (uh-oh, I’ve said the bad word ;-)) elements are also underlined by the crushing production of „Easton Hope“. To sum it up: If you like metal, check us out!! ;-) BM: The band’s new album ‘Easton Hope’ is a triumph of Heavy Metal, how long did the album put together? Seeb: We startet with the songwriting directly after we released "Vale" in 2008. Some Songs were finished very early (Nobody Leaves, Easton Hope), some others have literally been finished the moment they were recorded (The Black Heart for example). The complete recording process from the first drum take to the last fader on the mixing desk I moved in the mix took around 6 months. That's heavy shit and if we would not have our own studio we couldn't have realized this record . But we wanted to take as much time as needed for recording and we tried out a lot of things (different mics, different guitar amps and so on). But it was all worth it. BM: How would you compare ‘Easton Hope’ to the bands 2004 album ‘Testimonium’? Lars: Simply put: It’s way better! ;-) Well, obviously the band has changed a lot since then. The line-up has changed since then and so has the music. The songwriting is more focused now and stylistically the band had a much bigger folk/medieval touch than today (that is mostly gone now). As an album, "Easton Hope" is superior in every respect: songs, songwriting, melodies, playing and not leastly the production. But I guess that's a natural development and we still like "Testimnium AD". BM: How did the band come to get involved with AFM Records? Seeb: Timo, our A&R Manager from AFM records was a fan of the band since the release of "Vale" in 2008. He is what you can call a "hardcore supporter". So he showed the record around at AFM and very quickly everyone there was sure that they wanted to have Orden Ogan in the AFM band rooster. We always wanted to have a record company that gives 110% for the band and with the cooperation with AFM records this dream came true. Even the boss is a Orden Ogan fan meanwhile - is there anything better that can happen to a band?! ;-) BM: What plans do the band have for 2010? Lars: To play as much as possible! We're planning to do several tours, but nothing's confirmed yet. We're also going to do as many festivals as possible, with some already confirmed. The highlight will of course be the legendary Wacken Open Air, where we will be playing for the first time this year. We're already looking forward to that and it's definitely going to be huge fun. Actually, I really can't wait for that! ;-) We'll hopefully see a lot of your readers there in the first row! :-)
Bruce Atkinson: First, gents…let’s talk about the history of the group, knowing that Heavenly has progressed through several line-up changes, are you now feeling satisfied with the strength of the group presently? Charley Corbiaux: In a band as in the normal life, it always hard to find someone who is able to do the same things or to go in the same directions at the same moment. As you have said, Heavenly through several line-up changes for thoses reasons. We don't really know what the future holds but today everybody found his place in the band and is ready to do his best to lead our music as far as possible. And I think our new album Carpe Diem is the proof of that. BA: Being that we are beginning a New Year, and decade…let’s go through some of your plans…beginning with the release of your new album…. CC: Carpe Diem was released few weeks ago all over the world so we do not enough feedbacks to pronounce us about sales, but at this moment everything is positive. About future, we hope first to continu heavenly and have fun!!! this is the best wishes we could have for futur … because things are perfect for us today… I am not sure that sells more cd’s make more happiness or make your music better… so if we could do as today should be fantastic!!! a good thing also should be to go on tour as headliner… then why not record a dvd of this experience !!! we still have many project for our band. But first of all as our album title is .. we want to live the moment now and enjoy it "trusting as little as possible in the future"… CARPE DIEM…. BA: Take us through your creative process… with such complicated yet beautiful musical expressions, it must take months for a complete album to be finished, (in the writing stage). CC: The writing process is simple, we record demo songs and each member bring his own part. Sometimes, we start by a guitar riff, so I give it to Olivier and Charley who rearranged and each musician arrange his own part. I'm still the main writer in Heavenly, Olivier and Charley compose a little too. For the recording, we've got our own studios, this album has been recorded at home. Then we've sent all the tracks to our sound engineer, Philip Colodetti, who works with Kamelot and Epica, and he did the mix and mastering. We started to write this album early 2008, and finished on spring 2009. Then entered in studio. Carpe Diem was expected for September 2009 but as ever we got problems during the mix and mastering, so we delayed the release to December. Finally, the composition and the recording of this album have been standard but we started it lately and problems we met delayed at the end of the production. BA: What about touring? Are you hoping to tour in 2010? Where can we see you? CC: First, we're scheduling a new music video clip. Then, I hope we could plan a tour as soon as possible, this could be nice on spring. We are eager to play live, it's always a great experience. Also, we want to play in summer festival. But nothing is definitely scheduled today....hope soon. We obviously want to defend this album on stage so we'll play everywhere we could.
Band: Springfield / Silverman Album: From The Vault Interview with: R.S. / J. S. Interviewed by: Vitale Nocerino Question: How would you like to this "Collection of Works" was the most the "Grunge" explosion have on introduce your fans to your "From cohesive sounding group of songs. you, both from the artistic and the Vault" Release? Q: I suppose that looking back business point of view? Rick Springfield: First of all I would like through this material made some RS: On these songs, not much obviousto say "God bless you for still being old memories resurface. Is there ly but the grunge thing did get me fans!" This is a collection of songs and anything you'd like to recall? excited in a smaller way like the punk experiments from the late 80's. Songs I RS: Mostly that Jeff and I drank a lot of movement did in a huge way back in wrote by myself and some with Jeff red wine during these sessions. And I the 70's. Silverman my long time friend and a listen back and am quite pleased at how JS: I was a big fan of the alternative great producer. We recorded these in adventurous some of the arrangements Seattle sound, with great bands like his studio and they never really found a were. It’s clear to see I was definitely Nirvana and Pearl Jam. But, I was an home till now. I'm glad they finally experimenting, and some of it really even bigger fan of watching how it have. works. expanded not only top 40 radio, but Jeff SIlverman: There are very few JS: "Religion of The Heart" has always took the song-writing, production, sonic times in your life that you can watch a been one of my personal favorites of and structural boundaries to a much memory transform into a reality. "From our co-writes and was the last of the larger creative field to work in. That The Vault" is a collection of works that co-writes we did together (but hopeful- era, reminds me of how current rock is exactly that. Unreleased songs and ly not THE last). There was a maturity bands such as Nickelback, Linken Park, versions of songs that have never had and comfort level that had evolved with Creed, and one of my most favs, the opportunity to be introduced to the our collaborations and friendship by this Apocalyptica, have expanded the rock world in this way. time, and I believe was a direct reflec- field once again. To take 1:45 seconds Q: Was this collection of songs all tion in the writing and production of this to get into the first verse? UNHEARD OF that you had to offer, in terms of song. So, we both decided to have me for the most part in the more conservaunreleased material, or there's a re-master the tracks and then evaluate tive top 40 rock days. Song structures chance more will be released in the if we were hitting or missing the mark. with limited to pretty much of the stanfuture? It didn't take long to figure out that the dard verse/chorus/verse/chorus with a RS: This is the best of the unreleased mixes were going to stand the test of bridge, maybe? Now it's ok to include stuff I think but there is always more. time once I began re-mastering additional unrelated sections to add Mostly demos, some rougher than oth- "Dancin' On The Edge Of The World" as even more dimension to the production ers. I have reels of unreleased demos my first song on the timeline. It and song-writing. Sounds, structures, from the 'Working Class Dog' period ROCKED! The rest just fell into place. lyrical content etc. are opening back up and there are always songs that dont Q: The songs were conceived in a again with rock, especially, with influmake it to an album. These are the best span of time (late eighties+early ences with that very heavy metal sounding and best recorded of the nineties vs. rest of the nineties) undertone with a pop/rock overtone to group. where the music scene went make it more commercially accessible. JS: There were other candidates, but through some really dramatic Breaking new ground once again. I after much consideration, Rick and I felt changes. What kind of impact did LOVE IT! Focus on: SPRINGFIELD / SILVERMAN - From The Vault (Frontiers Records) From the Vault (A Collection of works by Rick Springfield & Jeff Silverman) consists of 13 tracks, originally recorded between 1986 and 1999, that have been digitally re-mastered by Jeff Silverman, giving the audience an entirely new listening experience. The album is compose by brand new tracks never releseased like:Dancin’ on the Edge of the World, Right Planet, Wrong World, You Write the Book, Dream in Colour, and Religion of the Hear and some songs already recorded for Springfield’s albums (Somewhere, Monkey, Love Receiver and My Depression). Pay attention, this is not a compilation but a real album full of passion and love ofr the classic aor sound. Both the artists are really amazing players and they really can be “described” like icon of the 80s melodic music. Buy the album and discover what amazing songs were never been publiched and live the real mood of the classic melodic rock. I love this album! Vitale Nocerino (90/100)
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Band: Stage Dolls Album: Always Interview with: Torstein Flakne Interviewed by: Vitale Nocerino Question: Your last studio record, “Get A Life”, was released in 2004. What have you done in the meantime? Answer: 6 years is a very long time between 2 albums but we’ve been touring a lot,doing from 50-100 gigs a year. We also believe that you have to come up with some good songs to do an album because it’s gonna last a long time for the fans, well, this time it took 6 years. Q: How much time did you actually spend with the writing and the recording of “Always”? A: The first song I wrote for the album was ‘Rainin on a sunny day’, I started with that one late 2007, the last one I fininshed I guess was ‘Always’ summer 2009. We did some tracks nov. 2008, and the rest through 2009. Q: The album was mixed by your past producer Bjorn Nessjo and features the same backing singers as your “Stage Dolls” album. Did you want to go a little bit “back to the roots” for the new album? A: Me and Terje have always liked the sound of the old stuff, mixing our sound with the ‘soul’ - feel of Darryl, Angela amd Vaneese. To get them back to sing on this was really amazFocus on:
ing. We haven’t had contact for so long and meeting up was unbelievable, we all sounded the same! Getting Lisa Fisher to join in with them was also tremendous. Then we have the singing wizard, Mark Spiro, that we started to work with on Get a life. He has a great voice that helps a song getting from good to ‘Yes’! I’m really pleased that they all could work on this. Bjorn helped out on ‘Rainin’, and that brought back good memories as well. I think we have found out that this is the Stage Dolls’ sound,some kind of trademark. Lat but not least I have to mention Ronny Wikmark (mix / production / keyboards). He’s done a unbelievable job here. He’s a great musician and very important for me to ‘play ball with’. We talked a lot about the sound,for instance, noone uses the kind of reverb (room) that we used before, therefore we decided to use it. Q: How would you describe the musical direction of “Always” in your own words? A: Basically, it’s me writing some songs on the acoustic guitar that I like, I bring it to Morten and Terje and we arrange it together. Even if there’s just the three of us threre we usually sort out like where to have keyboard
STAGE DOLLS - Always (AOR Heaven)
parts, background etc. It’s not like ‘ let’s do a more bluesy album or harder of softer’. We write songs we like and hope that somebody else likes them too. What about doing a live DVD? Any chance you will film one during your upcoming shows? A: At the time,no actual plans.We will probably bring along some cameras on certain gigs but mostly for documentation. If we’re gonna do a DVD it has to be properly done like everything else we’re doing. Q: I guess you will do a tour in Norway to support “Always”, but what about the rest of Europe? Any plans to enter stages aboard? A: We’re gonna do a big tour in Norway this summer so everyone thinking about going here has to check out our schedule on stagedolls.com, apart from that there’s no actual dates abroad but I know there’s talk about certain festivals. Check with our web-site! We did one gig in Munich last January and would love to go back. It was a shock to us to hear the packed house singing along on almost every lyric.From what I heard, people were coming from all over Europe to see us there, fantastic!
They might be Norwegian but the Stage Dolls sound as American as Yankee Doodle Dandy. Their signature sound of Brian Adams with touches of Def Leppard remains intact on the raucous opener “Always” and the Adam’s comparison remains on “Better Off with a Pretty Face” and the party-tastic “Saturday Night”. There’s a nod to Colin James on the funky raunch of “Rollin”. Elsewhere it’s a mellower affair but it’s adult rock of the highest order. Tracks like “Highways”, the terrific smouldering “Taillights” and “Where the Blacktop Ends” have the rootsy feel of Jude Cole and even a hint of the assured cool of Don Henley. The band is augmented by female backing singers (the same ones from their breakthrough album “Stage Dolls” back in ’88) who add a classy Southern Soul feel to many tracks. There’s even a successful stab at alt-country on “My Strangest Friend”. The song writing throughout is first-rate and they’ve matured in the way Bon Jovi can only wish they had. It might still be winter but I’ve already found a record that’s a perfect companion for those long hot days ahead. Excellent. Duncan Jamieson (95/100)
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Band: Wig Wam Album: Non Stop Rock N Roll Interview with: Flash Interviewed by: Bruce Atkinson Focus on:
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WIG WAM - Non Stop Rock N Roll (Frontiers Records) Modern day ‘Power Pop’?... Nah!!... this record is just what the title says: fortyfive minutes of ‘Non-stop Rock n’ Roll”!! So are Wig Wam glam? Yeah, to a pointbut they are more… actually they are exactly who they are: Glam—Teeny—Flash— and Sporty! That is right… a fantastic combination of Talent that delivers hook laden Rock that fires on all cylinders. ‘Non Stop Rock n’ Roll’ is a collection of addictive memorable melodies, wrapped up in a straight shooting Rock attack. Others are calling this Wig Wam’s most complete Work to date, and they are right. The group is showing their wide spectrum of musical craftsmanship… excellent sensibilities of melody and straight in yer face Rock! Oh!, they can deliver some very tasty heart melting musical forays as well… just for good measure! Bruce Atkinson (95/100)
Question: I would like to begin with a brief history of the group… and your influences: Answer: WIG WAM was founded late 2000 after finding back to our personal musical roots as a jamband. Covering songs that inspired us to pick up instruments in the first place gave birth to Wig Wam. Bands like Kiss, AC/DC, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Beatles, Queen and Journey to mention some, are obviously our musical heritage. We released our first album 667… neighbour of the beast in 2004 after heavy touring the previous years. After joining the Eurovision song contest in 2005 things really got moving with the big hit “In my dreams” We toured Norway extensively, Europe, and went to Japan for the first time. After a break in 2008, we all found our way back to the studio to record our third album “NON STOP ROCK’N ROLL” and here we are excited to present this album through our record companies which has made this a world wide release simultaneously. Q: Others are saying that the new album, “Non-stop Rock N’ roll” is your most complete to date… do you agree? A: Absolutely! We’re wiser and better at what we do. We’d had a break which did us some good in the sense that we got more motivation and inspiration to write and record new songs. We just wanted to make the best record and have fun with it again. This time the conditions for making this album were better than ever. Q: What makes this a different effort than before? Did you record differently? A: This was the first time we had a record company and time to record at the same time. Which means we’d record our first album on our own expenses and, finally got to release it after some time. The second album we did in just three weeks. Now we had better equipment and more time which meant we could do things over and over until we all felt it was where we wanted it to be. The recording process was the same as before except now we did in a proper studio, not Teeny’s living room. Q: Are you more comfortable with the creative side? Say, approaching the songwriting differently? A: The three of us who are writing are constantly trying to write more together, and this time we did. When we meet there’s always an creatively explosion coming out. But still there are songs brought on the table more or less
complete. Still, we all have bits and pieces in the drawer which might fit in where we all agree that something is missing or should be altered. Personally I would like to spend more time writing together, yet I find it relaxing writing by myself too. In other words, there’s no formula in this band. Q: Your music and look remember of 80's glam-hair metal: do you feel particularly linked to that decade? A: Yes we do, we all started our careers back in the early eighties and the heavy metal style had it’s hey days when we started playing in different bands. You can say we are very familiar with the style and really enjoy all the funny Spinal Tap sides to it. Q: Many metal bands comes from Norway, Sweden or Finland: do you think there's a bond between Scandinavia and metal music? A: I never really thought of that, but I noticed many reporters have picked up the fact. I don’t have any answers to why that is, but maybe the weather conditions are particularly good for rock music or maybe it’s in our genes. Q: It seems that you have a very hard fanbase: do you think that touring a lot through Norway and Europe has something to do with this? A: If you don’t tour, the reason for your existence as a band is gone. When the record sales are gone, the only thing left is touring. And we have toured a lot. Mostly in Norway, but also some abroad. Luckily there’s nothing that can beat a live show. It’s where we connect with our fans and hopefully meet new ones. Wig Wam will always put on a big show. During those 90 minutes you’ll always have in mind that you will give the audience a good run for their money. Q: How did you came to the idea, in your first record, to cover Mel C's single I Turn To You? A: I really don’t remember it too well. We recorded some tracks in the early days which were mostly cover songs. I think it was Teeny’s idea to make the song a bit like Billy Idol style. I had not even heard the original before and was very reluctant to the idea. But it turned out to be very successful. The song is still with us in our live set. Q: Looking forward to the new year, do you have plans on touring in 2010? If so, when and where? A: Right now we’re at the early
stage in booking a tour. There are just a few confirmed dates, still a Japan tour is confirmed in late April early May. We are doing some gigs in Norway of course, but would very much like to do some gigs throughout Europe this time. This is after all the first time an Wig Wam album is released in several European countries and the US as well. So playing some new territories would be exciting indeed. Q: Back to the new album, overall, the sound is fresh, almost like a rejuvenated band, am I detecting this correctly? A: Like I said, we spend more time on this one, and we had a lot of material to choose from. When it comes to producing, it’s obvious that Teeny has come a long way and can easily be compared to any producer in the business in my opinion. And after constantly touring since 2001-2002, we’d really needed a break. And when we finally got back together, everybody was really up for doing an album with lots of energy and a fresh spirit. So in many ways this album confirms that the band is rejuvenated and ready to rock non stop. Q: I’m sure we will all share in your exceitment about the new release… any comments on your signing with Frontiers’… especially the US release of “Non Stop Rock n’ Roll”? A: Frontiers has been in touch with the band for some time now, and finally we’d signed a deal through our Scandinavian record company and so far it looks very good. I know the label has many acts, but I’m confident that these guys have the ability and the desire to make this album do very well. When it comes to the US release we are very excited about it. Still we know what a huge market it is, but to be in a position where we could do some gigs over there would be a thrill for us. Q: In closing, I usually leave the last words to my Guests… so please, go ahead and all the best in 2010 and beyond!! A: Thanks a lot. I really want to make your readers aware of this album. If you’re into a classic rock’n roll album with a “in your face” attitude, and a bunch of well written songs with big hooks and loud guitars, I’m sure this one will put a big smile on your face. There’s no fancy effects or overdubs on this one. Just great tunes played by a band on fire. Hope you’ll enjoy it, and to see you out there soon. MRF | 21
Band: Bruce Kulick Album: BK3 Interview with: Bruce Kulick Interviewed by: Barry McMinn Question: Hi Bruce thanks for taking time out to complete this interview, we really appreciate it. I would just like to say what a great album ‘BK3’ is. Answer: Thank you! It was a labor of love for sure! Q: How long have you been working on the album? A: It took a long time due to many reasons. I had to work between my schedule for travel with Grand Funk shows, and other performing gigs, like the Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp, and various other events from clinics to KISS Expo's. Of course the other reason was my producer Jeremy Rubolino and I were determined to be 100% satisfied with the results, which caused us to be extra cautious with the recording. We would redo things if we needed to, and the song choices for the final disc kept changing as we got closer. It is no accident it is as strong as it is. It took from writing in late 2003 to recording in 2006 till mid 2009 to get the CD finished! Q: You have a number of artists featuring on the album, was this how you envisaged it from the beginning? Focus on:
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A: Not really. I knew John Corabi would be asked sing one or two songs. Jeremy is a huge fan of his, and he loved the Blue Room UNION CD from 1999. But honestly things got heated up when Gene Simmons committed. Then he suggested his son Nick, and then Jeremy convinced me to get Steve Lukather for the instrumental, and so on. A natural progression of guests and for all good reasons. I am very proud of the contributions they all made to BK3. Q: One notable guest is Gene Simmons, how did you manage to tie the great man down for the album? A: Eric Singer (another guest on the disc) suggested I ask him. When I did Gene was very quick to say yes. That was a real score for me. We got together when we could and worked on a few song ideas. Once we realized we were on to something strong it was time to coordinate the studio time. We wrote the lyrics in the studio and Gene did a great job singing it right after that. Q: This album differs from your previous two solo albums, was this a studio evolution or did you set out to make a different album?
BRUCE KULICK - BK3 (Frontiers Records)
A: When Jeremy approached me during my recording of Transformer the second BK solo disc, I told him lets hook up when I am ready to my next CD. As soon as we got together to write, I heard the chemistry we had and knew that we would be making some great songs for my next effort. He reminded me of REVENGE, my fave KISS CD and said lets make it that good... which would mean we would have to use better studios, engineers, and be "no compromise" about the approach. I kicked and screamed but he was right. By following his lead with all of this, and us being very clear what we loved would stay on the CD we were on our way to my best work yet. Q: How hard was it to focus on another band when putting a band together for ‘BK3’? A: Not hard at all. I wear many hats you know with the different work I always do... easy to change gears and do a GFR show or record a blistering solo. Q: Will you be taking ‘BK3’ on the road or is this purely a studio project? A: I do hope to get out there and perform and support the CD. I am up for it.
More renowned for his twelve years as KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick is more than a one band man, with over thirteen years as a guitarist before the KISS years, first gaining notoriety as part of Meat Loaf’s touring band, as well as being a member of Hookfoot and Blackjack amongst others. After KISS he collaborated with John Corabi on the band Union and later joined the Grand Funk Railroad. But it was in 2002 when he first released his first solo album ‘Audiodog’. Now in 2010 it’s time for the third solo effort, some five years after album number two, simply entitled ‘BK3’. This is a stunning Hard Rock album which features a host of guest artists including Gene Simmons and son Nick, John Corabi, Tobais Sammet and Eric Singer, even the legend that is Steve Lukather gets involved in this excellent album. The album is quite simply stunning a great mix of various rock styles with some quite sublime moments like the opener ‘Fate’, an angst filled rocker, the anthemic Gene Simmons collaboration ‘Ain’t Gonna Die’, the feisty rocker ‘I Am Animal’. The list just goes on and on. There is something for everyone on this album and is as true an example of Kulick’s formidable years at the top of the guitar world. A must buy album for all true rock music lovers. Barry McMinn (92/100)