Melodic Rock Fanzine #51

Page 1

CONTENTS 04 Eclipse 06 Asia 07 Hess 0 8 Tr i u m p h 0 9 Prayer 10 Oxygen 12 Reviews 1 4 Fa t a l F o r c e 15 Threshold 17 Wigelius 19 Million Dollar Reload 20 Loverboy

Melodic Rock Fanzine The official Frontiers Records magazine Year #8 - Nr. 4 / Issue #51 Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi Graphic & Design: Elio Bordi Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Fabio Mainardi, Tommy Hash, Primo Bonali. Headquarters and general contacts: Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 18 80125, Napoli - Italy Tel: +39.081.2399340/7753 Fax: +39.081.2399794 E-mail: Website: Facebook: Twitter: Editor and publisher: Frontiers Records s.r.l. Copyright©2012 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy.

band. eclipse album. bleed and scream Interview with. E.Martensson interviewed by:. barry mcminn

Focus on:

ECLIPSE - Bleed & Scream (Frontiers Records) One of the most anticipated albums of recent years has to be the second Eclipse album, and now we see the guys return with the stunning “Bleed and Scream”, the follow up to their acclaimed 2008 opus “Are You Ready To Rock”. The album is a blistering Hard Rock release that once again brings the vocal and song writing talents of Erik Mårtensson to the forefront of the scene, along with the stunning guitars of Magnus Henriksson, the flailing drums of Robban Back and the soaring keyboards of Johan Berlin. From the opening mêlée of “Wake Up Call” and title track “Bleed and Scream”, you know you’re listening to one, if not THE album of the year. The album boasts eleven glorious rock songs that will simply blow you away. Mårtensson has never sounded better, delivering the goods track after track. The overall musicianship is impeccable, there simply aren’t enough superlatives to say how good this album is. In my book there are no albums worth 100 / 100 but this one comes damn close. Barry McMinn (99/100)

4 | MRF

Question: Well what can I say “Bleed And Scream”, what an album! Congratulations, it rocks big style! Answer: Thanks! Yeah, it's a hard rocking album driven with a lot of shredding guitars and riffs. But without loosing the melodies which still is our main focus in songwriting. Q: With the band making such an impression with the last album, did you feel you really had to pull out all the stops on the new album? A: Absolutely. We new that we had to raise the bar a lot to beat the last album. And I'd say we managed to make everything better with this one. Better songs, better played and better sounding. I must say that I'm really happy with the album ind it's by far the best music I have ever done. Q: When did you first realise that you’d managed to take Eclipse to the next level with “Bleed and Scream”. A: When you start to get all the songs together and we started to record them we knew that this was a great album. But I'm not so optimistic while writing and recording so I still had my doubts but when it was finished all the doubt was gone. Q: The album is real in your face rock n’ roll, was this the band’s intention from the beginning, to hit hard and fast or was it just an organic process that came together by accident? A: Absolutely. I know that a lot of people know me from WET and other AOR projects, but personally I prefer to listen to a lot heavier stuff. We write for ourselves when it comes to Eclipse and we don't care what people want or expect from us. When we did this album I wanted to do the album I would love to find in the record store. Rock n roll and heavy but still catchy and melodic. That's actually a quite good way to describe our style of music. Q: What about the lyrics? Is there a common theme that links the songs of the album? A: Absolutely. The songs and the lyrics are more moody and dark and lean towards a more serious side than on the previous album. But it's not a theme album of any kind but the lyrics have kind of the same feeling to them throughout the album. With a few exceptions I must say. Q: Can you please be so kind to do a track by track of the album? A: Wake Me Up: A quick, classic Eclipse rocker with a contemporary sound and a contagious chorus. Classic chunky steroid-riffs that´ll appeal to all you hardrockers! Bleed and Scream: A dark, dra-

matic mid-paced song with a slight symphonic touch in the main riff. An uplifting chorus strong enough to break into any chart. Battlegrounds: A true classic gem that´ll probably out-live the most of us. Timeless melodies that will make you dream of Kings and Queens from a long lost kingdom. About to Break: Our very 1st attempt to write a classic power ballad. But everytime we try to write classic stuff it comes out sounding like new Eclipse-stuff :-) We thought we´d increase the population a little. Hence a ballad. You´ll see you will like it! We won´t tell anyone ;-) Falling Down: Our take on "Bad Boys" by Whitesnake. Could be it´s bastard son. Or is it the other way around? Hmmmm... Ain´t Dead Yet: A homage to the classic Scandinavian hardrock with a hint of Swedish folk-melody. Will appeal to those of you who liked "Under the gun" from the last album. Contains the highest vocal note on the album. S.O.S.: A contemporary, moody pop song with a heavy riff and a strong chorus. A potential radiohit. Take back the fear: Time for some double bassdrum kicking. A fast, heavy and furious rocker that will make the neoclassical metal fans go nuts. Magnus went "Yngwie allin" for the guitar solo. The Unspoken Heroes: Contains loads of classic Eclipse steroidriffs, with a chorus that will stick on you for a long time. A Bitter Taste: The last song we wrote for the album. Started out as an instrumental piece which we added lyrics to. It quickly became a favourite for us. An epic song that builds up more and more as the song goes. After the End of the World: This song initiated a new approach to songwriting for us. We tried lots of stuff we´d never done before. Impossible guitar-riffs with weird tunings. This is the song for the apocalypse! We strongly believe this song is cursed. Don´t listen to it! Don´t even look at it!!! Nooooooo...!! Q: After The End Of the World is a very particular song. Could you tell us more about it? What will be after the end of the world? A: It's a great song and it's one of the songs that kind of set the sound and feel of the whole album. The lyrics are more about all these people who have certain beliefs and say that the end of the world and humanity is approaching. We have survived all of the doomsdays so far and I'm pretty sure we'll outlive a few more. So the songs is more about that and not about the end of the world. Q: It’s been four years since

“Are You Ready to Rock”, so why the gap between albums and will we have to wait four years for album number three? A: First of all, I have been involved in writing, producing and mixing a lot of albums since the last Eclipse album so it's not that I've been lazy. But we didn't want to rush a new album either as we wanted to make our masterpiece. We have been writing on and off for sometime on this album but I'd say the real writing started in the fall and winter 2011. Hopefully it will not take another four years until the next album! Q: What are the differences between this new album “Are You Ready To Rock”? A: It's better in every single way. Better songs, better played and better production. I love the album and it's by far the best music I've ever done in my life. Q: The album has more than a few great moments but are there any songs that epitomize where Eclipse are this moment in time, musically and as band? A: I'd say that all of the songs shows pretty good where Eclipse is 2012. I must say that I really like all the songs on the album. Even the Japan bonus track is really great which they seldom are. Q: You also got involved with the W.E.T album. Any news on the much-anticipated follow up? A: Yes, most of the album is already written, recorded and mixed. It will be a really good album. Maybe a little heavier than our debut album but still extremely melodic. Q: You work also as producer and songwriter. When you have a good song for another project, don’t you think to reserve it for Eclipse? A: No, I don't spare anything. Honestly. When some artist or band wants a song from me I always try to give them the best possible song even if it would fit Eclipse great. I'm pretty sure my creativity and inspiration will last for many more albums. Q: You supported Deep Purple live. What have you learn form them? Was it a special experience for you or just a normal date for a rock band? A: Not much. It was just an opening gig but of course it was an honor and very fun to meet the guys in the band as I consider Deep Purple to be one of the best bands ever. Q: What most fans want to know is will Eclipse be touring in 2012 or early 2013? A: We are at the moment making plans for a European tour in late 2012, so we will definitely see you out on the road this year! MRF | 5

BAnd. asia album. xxx Interview with.geoff downes interviewed by:. d. Jamieson

Question: Since you got back together again in 2006, each of the three subsequent studio albums have had a different feel; “Phoenix” with more prog moments, “Omega” had you trying out some styles that we hadn’t heard from you before such as a couple of Beatles infuenced tracks and a folk number. “XXX” has more in common with your initial 80’s releases with its mix of rock and pop melodies. How would you describe the sound and direction of “XXX”? Answer: That’s a fair appraisal I would say. Certainly we were looking to have some connection with that original album on XXX. Probably the songs are generally more upbeat and pacey, than on the previous 2 albums. I think we maybe wanted to show that we still had some life in us! Q: It sounds like the songs were written either starting from the vocal melodies or keyboard ideas. How does the writing partnership of Wetton / Downes differ in its approach on an Asia record from what you do for the Icon releases? A: Most of the songs John and myself write stem from ideas that Focus on:

have been developed from the piano. We usually sit around the piano when we throw up the ideas that we have been working on individually. As far as allocating songs to various projects, I think we know inherently what has the stamp of an Asia-orientated song. Q: Were all the songs written especially for this album or were there some ideas left over from the’Omega’ record? A: No, this is all brand new stuff. I think when we get together, we like to start with a clean slate so to speak. Generally, unused ideas from previous albums have been excluded for a reason. Q: You’ve been very productive since you got back together with world tours, 3 studio albums and a livealbum You sense that you’re enjoying a creative spurt, and your enjoying the ride more this time round. How does the mood in Asia of 2012 differ from the atmoshere in the 80s? A: Yeah, I think we’re all enjoying it more this time around. It’s a case of not having to think too hard about it all, as we are in a no-pressure situation. And I guess this must also help the creative process overall. Certainly, the atmosphere is a lot

more relaxed about the band these days than it was in the early 80s. Q: As well as the great music, there are some interesting lyrics and memorable lines in there such as on’Al Gatto Nero’. Was ‘Faithful’ written for someone in particular and what inspired the lyric on’ The Face On the Bridge’ and ‘No Religion’? A: John’s probably the best person to ask about the lyrical content of the songs, as he is mainly responsible for that side of things. However, I can tell you that ‘Faithful’ was not insprired by any specific situation. It’s a title I came up with because I thought it sounded phonetically pleasant – John did the rest! Q: In the last 30 years Asia has had its fair share of ups and downs. What have been some of the personal highlights for you? A: It would be hard to disguise the satisfaction of coming from nowhere and taking the world by storm in April, 1982. Sure these were great times, but I think in recent years we have proved that there is still plenty of great Asia music to experience now, and in the future, and is still very enjoyable for us to perform. There are many highlights, too many to mention.

A S I A - XXX ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) Output since their reunion in 2006 has been steady and their third studio album since then co-incides with their 30th anniversary. It’s a fine record that shares more in common with their 80s releases than their last two outings. It combines their ability to mix beautifully constructed pop melodies with rock atmosherics. On the last album “Omega” Geof Downes and his keyboards won the man of the match award but on this record it’s John Wetton who wins that accolade. His distinctive voice, despite his heart surgery, sounds as robust as ever, and he sings some delicious melodies and comes up with some thoughtful, honest sounding lyrics. It’s a mature sounding album with the the band interplaying and bouncing off each other with finesse. Songs such as “Tomorrow The World”, “No Religion”, “Faithful” and “Face On The Bridge” are strong additions to their catalogue. The pop melodies might lighten some of the rocking but the songs seap into your head after several spins, and it’s a record you’ll want to return too. A pleasingly solid release and shows that after thirty years their special brand of pomp-pop AOR hasn’t dimished in quality. Duncan Jamieson (92/100)

6 | MRF

Artist. hess album. living in yesterday Interview with. harry hess interviewed by. b. atkinson

Question: First, I understand that you are pursuing more production in your efforts, as well as songwriting. Is “Living In Yesterday” a direct result of your Producer aspirations? Answer: I actually released a solo record about ten years ago called “Just Another Day“ that was much lighter sounding but I would say this record came out of me signing a publishing deal with Universal as a writer and co-writing many songs over the last few years. Then I picked the songs that I thought I could record as a “Rock” record. Q: I also understand that you have been working on this record for quite awhile…any reason or reasons that it has taken as long as it has? A: I really did it in between other production and mixing work. It’s very difficult to get motivated to work after a day of working on another record so I would steal a day here and there… Q: It must have been a thrill working with all of the musiFocus on:

cians that you have as guests on the record... A: Yes, I really wanted to get a few guest players on the record and I thought it would make sense to get a few guitar solos for some players that I liked. Q: Let’s talk about some of your guests… Tommy Denander and Magnus Karlsson in particular… A: I met Tommy in Sweden on a writing trip a few years ago and I wrote a song on the record with him called “I Don’t Wanna Want You” so he was an obvious choice… I just called Magnus out of the blue and asked him to do a solo and he agreed. Same with Chris Green and Howie Simon, I just sent them the song and they did some great stuff… Q: You have also enlisted the creative skills of former Harem Scarem bandmates… Which is wonderful. Do you feel that you have actually ventured further out than the Harem Scarem albums? A: Yes, I think they are world class players and people I work with all

the time on various recordings, business as usual in that regard. I don’t think I’ve done anything different on this record that I haven’t done in the past, I’m just trying to write songs that I think are good and hopefully other people like as well. Q: The songwriting can leave goose bumps on the listener… Did you write all the material, is some of the work a collaboration, and if so… With whom? A: Yes, all the songs on this record except the title track “ Living In Yesterday “ are co-writes. Some of my co-writers were: Tommy Denander, Danny Orton, Brian Melo, Daniel Flores, Fredrik Berg, Tony Cornelissen, Gavin Brown. Q: Being released by Frontiers, and the last group album being released by the same label…you must be very happy with your relationship with Frontiers… A: It’s been great, I think there is a mutual respect between us and I have been very impressed with their efforts on all of our past releases…

HESS - Living in Yesterday (Frontiers Records) “Living In Yesterday” is Mr. Hess’s first full stab at going about this without a group setting. Harry has enlisted a multitude of musical friends, including former Harem Scarem band mates, and has maintained control over the whole project. Harry has also produced this expedition. His production skills just seem to get better with every project he undertakes. “Living In Yesterday” is: beauty in song, muscular in music, and gigantic in production! There is quite a European feel to this record… something that is a direct reflection of Harry’s involvement with more and more European Artists. A vehicle of ever growing maturity and vocal talent from this Canadian son. An effort that pushes Mr. Hess in to new ground… Exploring musical plateaus that he hasn’t ever visited before, and giving us a work that is simply colossal! A rich collection of songs that simply rocket out of the speakers. “Living In Yesterday” is a loud statement of the future, Harry Hess’s musical future… Strapping, emotive, melodic and forceful! Thank you Mr. Hess… Thank you!! Bruce Atkinson (90/100) MRF | 7

BAnd. triumph album. live at sweden rock Interview with. mike levine interviewed by. fabio mainardi

Question: It has been so great and memorable to see you all together on the Sweden Rock Festival! What about about your feeling when you hit the stage once again? Answer: It was kinda like the first date of a tour in the early days… Excited, nervous, and really afraid that you would forget your parts. Q: Could you tell us what had been the trigger for this reunion? A: It was the two Hall of Fame inductions we were honored with in 2007 and 2008. Because we spent so much time together, any of the bad vibes that were hanging around were blown away like dust in the wind. And… We laughed a LOT!!! Q: Did you rehearsed a lot before the show? How did you get along playing together again? A: We played together pretty much every day for 6 weeks. The work was hard, but we had a great time. Q: It has been difficult to track down the set list for the show? A: The set list was dictated by the Triumph hits, Gil and Rik singing alternate songs, AND, the contest that ran on the Sweden Rock website, where the fans sent their ultimate set list in for consideration. I think that overall, we got over 90% of the requested songs into the show. Q: Will your fans be treated with other shows like the one at the Focus on:

Sweden? A: Right now, there are no plans for shows in 2012. Q: You played with the help of Dave Dunlop on additional guitar, can you tell us more about him? A: Dave is one of the top players in Canada. The new young gunslinger. He really helped keep us focused because he was a huge Triumph fan growing up. He also plays with Rik a lot on his solo gigs. Q: Triumph has always been compared to that of Rush, I think partly because you’re all from Canada and a trio. Has that been a frustrating comparison or flattering? A: I’m totally flattered with that (comparison). The real comparison is the fact that, as you alluded to, we’re both from Canada, we’re both from Toronto, both three piece bands. After that, it changes. I’m way better looking than Geddy! (Laughs). Rik’s way better looking than Alex. Q: Your music, Triumph music features a lot of progressive stuff, but also some straight forward rock’n’roll stuff. How easy or difficult was it to get that music through the listeners back then, in the late ‘70s, and ‘80s? A: I think we were pretty lucky, because by the time we started making records in 1976, we started to have some really good success in Canada in ’77, and ’78, and a big suc-

cess in America in ’79 with our recordings. I think we were just different than any other band. We weren’t a heavy metal band per say, we weren’t a pop band, we weren’t a progressive band. We were a miss-mash of all that stuff. So, Triumph had it’s own identity, so I think that helped us get successful, because Triumph was different than anybody else. They tried to compare us with Aerosmith, that didn’t work, they tried to compare us with AC/DC, that wouldn’t work, they tried to compare us with Journey, that didn’t work… so, we had our own little button hole, a niche where we were trying to sit into. Radio stations adapted our music as part of the format, which certainly without that we wouldn’t have had the big success we had, we would have done OK, but we were stapled on the radio in North America for many many years because of our style. We were part of the fount of radio. It was different because whenever a song went on the radio it was Triumph, it couldn’t be anybody else… Q: Have you ever though there would be a Triumph reunion some time and have you considered the idea to enter the studio to record new music? A: Actually, prior to the reunion, whenever I was asked if it would happen, my answer was “Never Say Never”. My answer to your new music question is the same. ;)

TRIUMPH - Live at the Sweden Rock Festival (Frontiers Records) It took 20 years to see Triumph reunion taking place. After almost two decades apart vocalist/guitarist Rik Emmett, bassist/keyboardist Mike Levine, and vocalist/drummer Gil Moore joined forces again and hit the Sweden Rock Festival stage with Dave Dunlop on additional guitar. And soon after that performance here we are with a visual and sound testimonial of that night. Both CD and DVD have the same track list, while the DVD have several bonus features, including the on-site press conference, a cool "behind-the-scenes" segment and a photo gallery. Both you choose the CD or DVD you will be stormed away by the legendary live shows energy of the Canadian trio that seems not having paid the toll of all the years passed. The virtuoso guitar work from Rik Emmet is still there with the pumping drumming from Gil Moore and the amazing bass lines from Mike Levine. This CD is the sum up of a glorious career and of a memorable performance. A must have for all the loyal Triumph fan but also for the Heavy classic Rock. Fabio “Deuce” Mainardi (90/100)

8 | MRF

BAnd. Prayer album. danger in the dark Interview with. mika pohjola interviewed by. b. atkinson

Question: I would like to begin with talking about the first goaround that you started in 2005… An album entitled “Wrong Address”… Was this the actual debut of Prayer? Answer: Yes, it was. Before that I had done many things with many different bands and projects, but “Wrong Address” was was the debut for Prayer. It all started with a high school band 1976, we played Dr. Feelgood, Stones and stuff like that. First album was “Anyway You Want It” with ICROCK 1982. We also did another album with that band called “Hard Beat” 1984. After that band broke up and I started a new one with TANNA 1985, we did three albums and hundreds of gigs all over and it was fun and we were doin´ okay. I also recorded another album 1993 with Tanna, but the line-up was not the same. Years went by, I became a family man and I did all kinds of demos and recordings every once in a while, until 2004 Prayer was formed. We were not supposed to make an album, we just went to soundmix to record some of my songs. It all went well, and we thought... Why not to send it to someone? We had nothing to lose anyway. So, I sent one copy Focus on:

to Escape Music, they liked it, and that´s how it all got started. Q: I realise that ‘Prayer’ is a vision of yours, Tapani… So the question must be asked, why so long between recordings? A: After the first album the feeling was good. We got good reviews and pretty soon we started rehearsing new material, but little by little things began to change. We recorded another album, mixed it, we even had the lay outs and covers and everything ready... But I decided to pull the breaks. I don´t want to go to all childish details, I don´t think that is important now, afterwards all I can say is that it was the right thing to do. We had so many clashes and different opinions and point of views that it was impossible to go on for me. It is funny how some people change, when they get their name or picture on an international website or magazine... Unbelieveble in this case. After that, it took some time to get things straight, and after a while I contacted some of my fellow musicians, for example Jukka Ihme, he was born in the same small town as me, I trusted him 100%. And now he plays on the new Prayer album! I was in no hurry, I thought that the songs

ain´t gonna disappear anywhere, we rehearsed every once in a while and did some demos and so on. I also wrote new songs all the time, spent a lot of time with my kids and my family. But like they say, it always feels when you look back that the time flies so fast. All and all, I want to thank Escape Music for their understanding and patience, thanks guys, really! Q: “Danger In The Dark” your new album, does it represent the ‘ideal’ band for you? A: All things considered, at the moment, yes. I have known all these guys a long time, we all know where we´re coming from. I’ve know Mika for some thirty years, he is the only hopeless one... hahaa, but like I said, I knew that already! We all have our families and jobs and everything under balance and to make music is just an extra privilidge and we really appreciate that. We are very fortunate that we could accomplish this and we respect each other and their talents. These guys are not “the new kids in town”. And we don’t care how many people like us or not, it´s just a record after all, nothing more, we have no pressure what so ever.

PRAYER - Danger In The Dark (Escape Music) We can look at this release as a re-introduction to the talents of Finnish musician Tapani Tikkanen! Although still under the moniker of Prayer… ”Danger In The Dark” arrives seven years after their debut, “Wrong Address”. This second effort marks a strengthening of the group. Now a five piece, ‘Prayer’ is still led by Tapani and comes with a harder, fuller sound. A record that showcases the Rock attitude of its creator. Tapani has written each musical passage as well as sung them. “Danger In The Dark” is majestic in its presentation, a depth contained in each song that is seldom heard, and not sacrificing melody for potency. As one progresses through the ten tracks, you are opened up to a broad spectrum of music… Constantly rich and diverse. Each musical creation will touch upon many Rock stylings from such influences as City Boy, Pink Floyd, and Mott The Hoople. Each piece is an instantaneous classic! Tapani plays and sings in the grand tradition of the great English Rock and Progressive Rock musician, and writes grand story telling lyrical compositions that hold you close. Hopefully ‘Danger In The Dark’ is just the beginning for this revitalised Artist. Bruce Atkinson (88/100) MRF |9

Question: Some people may recognise the name Tony Niva from metal bands Niva and Lion's Share. What was the catalyst that made you decide to go in a more Melodic Rock meets AOR direction with Oxygen? Answer: I grew up with melodic music which my father played every day at home. AOR and Melodic Rock has been an important indigriance when expressing various emotions and moods in my music. It was therefore natural to finally get to this genre, which to a certain extent influenced my music and musicality throughout the years. Q: Can you tell me about the guys in the band and how you got together? A: I met Roger Ljunggren already in the 80's when we had planned to start a music group which later on ran out of steam and I moved to Gothenburg. It was early morning when Roger called me up in the summer of 2011 and asked if I had given up the music and wondered if I could consider to contribute to a recording for the Eurovision contest. I thought it sounded exciting and we therefore recorded the song "Janitor Of Love" with a producer who I became a good friend with, Marcus Persson (keys). Since the board didn't like our song we decided to create a demo so we asked Bengan Andersson (drums) and Plec Johansson (bass guitar) if they where interested in being involved and they accepted. Q: There's a lovely mix of upbeat rockers and ballads. It sounds like there was a lot of care taken with songs that must have been time consuming. How long did it take to write and record the tracks for “The Final Warning” and what was the writing and recording process like? A: There are three songwriters in Oxygen. Ideas to music and lyrics emerge in each of us. We meet to complete the songs in its proper arrangement and execution. Many of the songs have the ideas to the melody and lyrics emerged in the early stages while it took longer for some others. Overall has the process gone very smoothly since we've been through musical barriers and also been marked by the same type of music and that's why I think we work so well together. Q: “The Final Warning” is an unusual album title for a debut. What's the idea behind the title? A: Originally, this is Escape Music's idea to name the album to Final Warning. The title is taken from one of the songs with the same name and we thought it sounded great. The song is about global warming and how important it is to start with ourselves, with the individual human to accomplish a change. Q: There's a good 80s rock vibe to the music. What bands have influenced you? A: It is a great mixture of different music styles and not just those who surround us during our formative years, but also modern music which has shaped the way we create the musical style that today is Oxygen. Q: What are the plans now the record is released? Any chance of live gigs in Europe this year? A: As I see it the plan is to release a second OXYGEN album and then maybe have a tour to follow up with depending on how the album will be received.

BULLET - Full Pull (Nuclear Blast) One of my fave new Metal bands, also if strongly rooted in the classic ‘80s Metal sound, Swedish fivesome Bullet returns with their 4th album, “Full Pull”, and with their unmistakable and anthemic mix of Accept and Ac/Dc (especially in the guitar-department), enriched by these rough and sharp-like-razors vocals, courtesy of Hell Hofer. Recorded in their home-country with producers Nicke Andersson (Hellacopters, Entombed) and Fred Estby (Dismember) and mixed by Tobias Lindell (Europe, Harcore Superstar), the new album features 11 powerful, catchy and very old-school Metal-track that will make jump and scream any real headbanger, starting with the powerful “Midnight Oil”, passing thru the instant anthem “Running Away”, and arriving to the classic old school Hard-Rock tune “Freeriding” and to the final “Warriors” (what an Accept’s “Metal Heart”-era déjà-vu!!!). That’s music meant to be played loud and proud, that’s the Metal-sound that the band feels, breathes, eats and shits every day… and, as for the previous three works, that’s a must-have album if you still trust in Metal. And I really do. So, horns up and bang your fuckin’ head to the mighty Bullet! Primo Bonali (90/100) RUSH - Clockwork Angel (Roadrunner) Co-produced with Nick Raskulinecz, Clockwork Angels marks the band’s first concept album. The story is about a young man fighting his enemy, the Watchmaker, who wants to drive the world into a sort of dictatorship. Lyrics apart Rush are still able to create the magic with blistering riffs and melodic choruses. Hands down, Clockwork Angels was worth the wait. Rush's music spans from heavy metal to rock prog, from classical to electric jazz. And the more you listen to the album the more you figure many more influences throughout the tunes. Best track to me is the title track, quite a concept album into the concept album. It sounds like a magistral mix between a Zeppelin and a Yes classic pushed to the limit. The up tempo opener “The Caravan” is Rush at its peak and I do believe that "Halo Effect" will enter the top five band's classic power ballads. To be mentioned also is "Headlong Flight", a seven-minute flights into Rush musicianship and technical abilities, where the listener is driven into an amazing journey among so many musical genres. What to say more, 36 years are gone but Rush are still delivering top notch music full of creativeness and gaining legions of fans, chapeau! Fabio “Deuce” Mainardi (90/100) H.E.A.T - Address The Nation (Ear Music) Europe – H.E.A.T. Same record label (EarMusic). Same country (Sweden). The funny thing is that Europe decided to stop being Europe and evolved into an Heavy Blues Rock band, while H.E.A.T. decided to take their role and becoming the new Europe! Clearly influenced from the classic Scandi AOR-Melodic Rock sound of the ‘80s (Treat, Skagarack, Glory and obviously Europe), H.E.A.T. delivers, with this new “Address The Nation”, another (the third in a row!) first-class album, full of keyboards-driven radio-friendly tunes, catchy choruses and amazing vocal melodies, courtesy of their new singer, the “Swedish Idol” winner Erik Gronwall. The production of Grammy award-winning Tobias Lindell is stellar, and songs like the first single “Living On The Run” with its crystal clear and epic melodies, and the heart-breaking ballad “The One And Only” might become huge hits. Definitely one of the best albums, in the genre, of 2012. Young rockstars outclass old masters… Primo Bonali (90/100) DORO - Under My Skin – A Fine Selection of Doro Classics (AFM Records) The Metal-Queen returns with this new Work, a “best of”-Compilation including 32 of Doro’s Classics + 3 videos, spanning thru her long and glorious solo-career (started early ‘90s when she left her own band WARLOCK). As usual for albums like these, this Double-CD Compilation might be a nice addition to any Metal-fans collections, but obviously most of the Doro-fans will surely already have most of the material here included. Anyway, some nice extra-material on the “Under My Skin” 2Cd are the versions of “I Rule The Ruins”, “Metal Tango”, “Fur Immer”, “Love Me In Black”, “Always Live To Win”, “Let Love Rain On Me” and “Tausend Mal Gelebt” performed with the Classic Night Orchestra, plus the acoustic version of “Rare Diamond” and the 2007 version of “All We Are” , which mean a new way to listen to some of these Doro classics! All in all, a good retrospective for the blonde Lady, with a Metal heart and a strong and powerful voice. When the going gets tough, the tough get going… Primo Bonali OXIGEN - Final Warning (Escape Music) Some of you may recognise Tony Niva’s name from the bands Axia and Lion’s Share. However, on Oxygen’s debut debut he moves in a more melodic rock/AOR direction Niva has a good range and his voice can take a phrase and make it soar high into the stratosphere, lifting the songs above the average.The nearest benchmark for his voice and music would be the Rob Moratti fronted Final Frontier. His ability to warbble at a high register could have a marmite love/hate effect for some listeners. Personally, I love it. He’s backed by chugging guitars, sparkly solos and gently caressed keyboards that remind you of some the best Scandanavian melodic rock acts such as TNT,Glory and Alien. Uptempo “Anything For You” and “Janitor Of Love”(despite the odd title) stand out as the best tracks as does “I Remember”, a Steve Perry-esque ballad that will have you wanting to dig out your old zippo lighter. On “Best Days Of Our Lives” his vocals might get a little too shrill but overall this is an enjoyable romp. The Swedish band are welcome newcomers to the melodic rock scene . You might even say that Oxygen are a breath of fresh air. Duncan Jamieson (88/100) LITA FORD - Living Like A Runaway (SPV) Lita Ford has a monumental task of overcoming one of the worst records in recent memory in her last album Wicked Wonderland. It was obvious to all at the time that the album was glory ride for then husband Jim Gillette. Thankfully Lita realized this and threw him out, along with most of the out of character influences of that hideous record. She's now back on track with the very enjoyable Living Like A Runaway. It's a far more enjoyable record with some tough contemporary rockers mixed in around a few more classic melodic rock songs that she was best at delivering in her early career. It may not be her best album, but it certainly excises the demons of Wonky Wonderland. Backed by a band that includes the awesome guitarist / songwriter/producer Gary Hoey, the album mixes old and new alike with some very personal and insightful lyrics. A winner for Lita personally and a definite positive for long time fans of the guitar / vocal legend. Gary Hoey's involvement is a real plus, both for fans of his and the fact that he brought the best out in Lita. Andrew McNeice - (88/100) 12 | MRF

DORO - Raise Your Fists In The Air EP (Nuclear Blast) It’s been almost four years since her ‘Fear No Evil’ opus and soon the unadulterated Queen of Heavy Metal Doro Pesch will be back later this year with a new album ‘Raise Your Fist’. In between now and then we have a bit of a taster of what to expect from the new album with this four track EP ‘Raise Your Fist In The Air’. As well as the anthemic title track ‘Raise Your Fist’, the EP includes two new songs, as well as a French version of ‘Raise Your Fist’. But let’s go back to the start with the first version of ‘Raise Your Fist’. This is typical Doro, a towering metal anthem with screaming guitars and power driven rhythms, all capped by the vocal might that is Miss Pesch. The anthems continue with the superb ‘Victory’, which starts off with an almost Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ start, before the old school Heavy Metal takes over with Doro at her metal best. The metal queen does have a penchant for a ballad or two and this EP has one of her finest with the haunting ‘Engel’, upon which Doro sings in her native German. The EP closes with that French version of ‘Raise Your Fist’, which finds the Queen of Metal showing off her vocal prowess again, only this time in French. If this is just a taster of what is to come from the new album, then I for one can’t wait! Barry McMinn (90/100) SHINEDOWN - Amaryllis (Atlantic) Shinedown have quickly become the modern rock band for me. They have everything I love about music – passion, drama, energy in spades and melodies big enough to hang your hat on. And best of all – they are unique. So many modern hard rock/metal bands out there have the same droll tone, but Shinedown, with their enigmatic frontman Brent Smith just ooze attitude and soul. And they are heavy! Everyone called their Sound Of Madness album a genre defining masterpiece and I agreed. I still love it and the attitude within hasn't been matched until now. And the band themselves said they wouldn't make another record until that one could be topped – Smith suggesting it could be years away. When news of this new album being underway came through, I was skeptical. This another absolute masterpiece as far as I'm concerned and after weeks and weeks of seriously heavy rotation. The same energy, attitude and passion is there and the album contains the same super heavy intensity and hard rocking feel as the last album, yet at the same time I feel it is a slightly more mature and more polished performance. Stunning. One of the best heavy records in my time reviewing and another absolute classic from Shinedown to follow the already acclaimed The Sound Of Madness. Recommended for all fans of melodic but powerful music and an ear for the modern era, with all the melody you'd expect from classic rock. Andrew McNeice - (91/100) MARILLION – Best Live (Madfish) Here is a band that is no stranger to giving their fans tons of musical souvenirs, as every year something new is conjured up as well as many "lost" albums and live concerts make their way as reissues, they are coming close to becoming the KISS of progressive rock, well as close as they could ever get. The latest coming from Marillion's box of goodies is this two disc live set from various performances spanning 2003-2011. Representing the band's lengthy catalog in new light, tunes "Warm Wet Circles/That Time of the Night," "The Invisible Man," "Man of a Thousand Faces," & "Three Minute Boy" are amongst the twenty tracks spanning this two disc set, again proving Marillion as a band on top of their gain as a continuous machine, being one of progressive rock's to live acts. Even with all of the live releases and assorted rarities comps, the fans still devour them, and hats off to a band that maintains that kind of fanbase and tight grip on their performances all across the board. Tommy Hash - (90/100) FOREIGNER – Alive & Rockin’ (Eagle Rock) They are the band that just can’t stop, and why should they. These days, it’s just founding member Mick Jones who is the only original member still leading the way as Kelly Hansen (ex-Hurricane) has long replaced Lou Gramm, and Jeff Pilson (Dokken), Jason Bonham, session musician Thom Gimbel among others have joined the fold, so it’s safe to say that they still pertain to the supergroup mantra as it was when they formed, but most importantly they are still at the top of their game as a live act (& in the studio as well). It’s a brief collection of live hits includes the classics “Dirty White Boy,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Double Vision,” “Hot Blooded,” a cover of Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” etc… and as the title says ‘Rockin’,’ there are no power ballads or any of the 80’s AOR that we also love, it’s just a rock and roll extravaganza performed tight, showing the crowd how it’s still done and how their name is still an eminent entity on the live stage. As companion DVD has also been releases concurrently with this disc. Tommy Hash - (85/100) DOCKER’S GUILD – The Mystic Technocracy (Season One) (Lion Music) The first in a five part series The Mystic Technocracy (Season One) mends a mixture of prog metal, symphonic rock, and neo-progressive rock – the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Douglas Docker, this album features a host of musicians who are more known for their involvement In the AOR scene than in progressive rock, a good thing, considering that their melodic sensibility will lend to a charismatic musical approach, yet there is certainly no minimalism. Along for the ride are John Payne, Göran Edman, Tony Mills, Amanda Somerville, Guthrie Govan, Jeff Watson, Gregg Bissonette, Magnus Jacobson, Tony Franklin, & Donald D. Docker and the tracks themselves lend to each vocalist’s and musician’s personalities. Dynamic and inventive, yet skillfully tuneful, this first installment of The Mystic Technocracy is enigmatic in both it’s technical and melodic delivery, again offering up the goods for those who want to hear great tunage and for those who want to dive head first into thought oriented music – there is something for everybody here. Tommy Hash - (80/100) EUROPE – Bag Of Bones (Ear Music) Being a fan of this band since their early days, I’ve had to accept their evolution from the traditional Rainbow-influenced Hard Rock of their first two albums to the sensational keyboards-driven AOR-Melodic Rock of their three biggest sellers (“The Final Countdown”, “Out Of This World” and “Prisoners In Paradise”) to arrive to the latest chapter of their glorious career, which marked both, the end of their thirteen year hiatus and a more “bluesy”, heavier and somehow dark sound. “Start From The Dark” (2004) showed the new way, but it’s with follow-ups “Secret Society”, “Last Look At Eden” and with the brand new “Bag Of Bones” that the band completed the musical transformation. Definitely gone are the poppy and happy melodies of “The Final Countdown”-days, and for a guy like me who grew up, loved, fucked and screamed at their biggest hits, that’s pretty hard to accept. I know we can’t stop the time, but, hey, with all this shit falling down to our heads these days, I definitely prefer to play on my stereo an happier and colourful album like last year immense TREAT “Coup De Grace” (just to name a band always compared to Europe) than this collection of dark and blues-influenced songs… Primo Bonali (75/100) MRF | 13

BAnd. fatal force album. unholy rite Interview with. t. enevoldsen interviewed by:. f. mainardi

Question: Could you tell us about “Unholy Rite” and its working process? Answer: Sure. I wrote all the music and then recorded some rough demos for Michael to hear. He would then start working on the lyrics, and later on, record the vocals at his own studio in Nashville. Everything else was recorded at my studio, here in Denmark. Michael would then send demos back to me for me to hear. I would get back to him with comments and all of this took place over the internet. Q: You are a very busy musician with lots of project going around, why did you decide to record again with the Fatal Force moniker? A: I always wanted to do a second Fatal Force album and the material I was writing at the time, simply fit the bill perfectly. Q: Can you introduce your band members? A: First of all we have Michael Vescera on vocals. He has worked with a lot of bands and artists over the years, but he is probably most known for his work with Focus on:

Yngwie Malmsteen and Loudness. Our new drummer, Dennis Hansen, isn't exactly famous, but he has played the drums for many years. Mainly however in cover bands here in Denmark. Q: How did you interact on the recording of the album? Did everybody had writing roles? A: No, not as such. I wrote all the music, as well as the melody lines, and Michael wrote all the lyrics. I did however strongly encourage both Michael and Dennis to influence the overall sound as much as possible with their own personal sound and touch. Q: Who do you consider the best hard rock guitarist of all time and who do you thing may become a new “master” among young musicians? A: Wow, that's a very hard question indeed. I think it's impossible to mention just one really, but if you were to twist my arm, I think I would probably have to say Edward Van Halen. I just love his style and sound. As far as new “master's” are concerned, I honestly don't have a clue,

sorry... Q: Have you new projects under your belt and or new album coming out in the coming months? A: I am currently working on my fourth all instrumental album, which should be completed in a couple of months, and we are also working on a brand new Fate album right now. Apart from this I am involved in a couple of projects and will soon start working on the second Acacia Avenue album. So there's quite a lot going on ;-) Q: Are you planning some dates to promote “Unholy Rite” and where are you going to tour? A: We currently have no live dates planned I'm afraid. I would love for this to happen, but it is quite a challenge to have Fatal Force do live gigs. Mainly because of the fact that everyone involved are very busy with various other projects, but also because we live so far apart. Still, I sincerely hope that we can make it happen at some point!

F A T A L F O R C E - Unholy Rite (Metal Heaven) After almost six years from Fatal Force's debut album, multi-talented guitarist and song writer Torben Enevoldsen presents its follow up "Unholy Rites". While the album has been available in Japan, where Torben is a highly renewed artist, since February this year, it is now distributed also in Europe. Companions to Enevoldsen this time, who play guitars, bass and keyboards, are singer Michael Vescera (Obsession, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, exLoudness) and drummer Dennis Hansen. Vescera joined the band in early 2010, writing the lyrics and recording all the vocals in his own studio in Nashville, while guitars, bass, keyboards and drums have been recorded at Enevoldsen's studio. The 10 tracks collection is nothing more and nothing less then a decent heavy rock album. "Unholy Rites" is clearly a good technical exercise but without a clear direction and lack of real commitment. The album is a mix of 80's Melodic Heavy Rock and modern Power Metal where obviously guitars are the center of all the productions. Best tunes the powerful opening “Run For The Cover”, the title track "Unholy Rites" where the Torben shredding skills shine and the melodic rock ballad “No One Will Listen”. Fabio “Deuce” Mainardi (86/100)

14 | MRF

BAnd. threshold album. march of progress Interview with. R. West interviewed by:. D. Jamieson

Question: Good to have a new album from Threshold. It’s taken a while, you must have thought the gods were conspiring against you when Damian Wilson got ill before the pre-release shows? Answer: Ha ha, yes it was very disappointing to lose those shows, I was really looking forward to them. We've done about 60 shows together since Damian's been back and they were some of the best ones we've done, so I hope it won't be too long before we do some more. Q: What lead you to call the record ‘March Of Progress’? A: It's a line from the opening song and it sums up the overall concept of the album fairly well. A lot of the songs deal with the idea of the life cycle of things, from individuals to empires, and how just as we get complacent about our progress things can sometimes start to fall apart. So in some ways the title is more of a question that a statement. Q: You’ve always tried to move your sound on with each album. There’s more writing on this Focus on:

album from other members of the band too. How would you say this album differs from the previous efforts? A: It's nice that we've got more collaboration this time. Our last album "Dead Reckoning" was only written by Karl Groom and me, and although it was great to have total control of the story for that album, this time it's been cool to have Damian Wilson and Pete Morten bringing their stories to the table as well. Sonically we've moved forward on “March Of Progress” since the last album as we always do. Obviously having a different singer makes a huge difference, but we haven't just made a follow-up to the last album Damian was on, that was a long time ago and we've changed a lot since then as both performers and writers. Hopefully you'll find "March Of Progress" contains all that was good about "Dead Reckoning" combined with all that was good about our older albums too. Q: How has the sad passing away of Andrew McDermott affected the band? Has it affected the music on

the new record? A: It was so sad, he was a lovely guy and he was in Threshold for a long time, so it's hard to come to terms with knowing he's gone. He wasn't involved with the writing in Threshold so it hasn't affected the music in that way, but we probably wrote slightly differently knowing how it would sound with Damian's voice. Q: How does it feel to be recording again with Damian? A: It felt a bit like a time warp, I still remember recording him for Threshold's third album “Extinct Instinct” fifteen years ago in that same studio, so it was strange to notice how much time had gone by. I've produced him on other albums over the years though, so we're probably used to working with each other by now! Q: What are your plans now the record’s being released? A: Well, we've finished the recording cycle so now we're looking forward to the touring cycle. And hopefully it won't take us five years to do another one!

T H R E S H O L D - March of Progress (Nuclear Blast) It’s been five years since the British prog metallers last release “Dead Reckoning”. There have been some changes since then including, sadly, the passing away of lead singer Andrew McDermott. He’s been replaced by their former singer Damian Wilson and you’ll know if you’ve heard him sing on the recent, excellent Headspace album that he’s singing better than ever. What separates Threshold from the majority of prog metal bands is their ability to fuse majestic, melodic choruses and musical passages such as on “Ashes”, “Return Of The Thought Police” and “Don’t Look Down” with the more urgent metal of “Liberty Complacency Dependency” and “Colophon”. It’s musically and lyrically complex with some terrific invention from guitarists Karl Groom and Pete Morten and keyboard player Richard West. This record makes a strong claim for melodic prog metal album of the year. Duncan Jamieson (92/100) MRF | 15

BAnd. wigelius album. reiventions Interview with. A. wigelius interviewed by:. b. mcminn

Question: You started out in a covers band: Gamblers. What made you take things to the next level and start Wigelius the band? Answer: When I got the phone call from Daniel Flores I didn’t hesitate one second to take the next step. I have always wanted to have my own band in this genre! I’m so grateful for this opportunity and so happy that I have all these killer musicians around me! Q: You’re just a young guy who wasn’t around when Melodic Rock and AOR was at its prime, so how did you first get into this style of music? A: I’ve always loved AoR ever since the day my father played me “Don’t Stop Beliving”. Who would have thought that twenty years later I would make my own record on their same label?! Q: How long have you been working on the material for ‘Reinventions’? A: Some of the songs are really old. Focus on:

I wrote “Talking About Love”, “I Reach Out” and “Love Can’t Be That Much” four years ago. And the rest just came along the way. Half of the album is written after I got the contract and is influenced by all of us in the band. Q: How was it working with Daniel Flores on the album, is he a hard taskmaster? A: We had a blast recording with Daniel! He’s a great guy and we got along fine! With his experience and great knowledge “Reinventions” became a perfect mix of old and new! Q: Harry Hess mastered the album, how did he get involved with the band? A: It was Daniels idea to make him a part of the record. He did a great job and that’s no surprise considering his huge career! Q: The album is pure Melodic Rock gold, did you have a vision of how you wanted the album to start from the beginning? A: No, not really. We just wanted to

make the music that we loved and do it the way they did it back in the days. In Wigelius we put a lot on emphasis in good melodies with a youthful touch. Q: Have you thought about album number two yet? A: Yeah! We’ve already in the process of making new demos for the next album. The Wigelius-story is far from over with “Reinventions”! Q: Are Wigelius going to be touring in the not too distant future? A: Hopefully! We’ll just have to wait and see the response of this album but in our minds we’re basically sitting in the tour-bus! Q: Where would you like to see Wigelius going from here? Do you have a grand plan for the band or are you just taking things as the come? A: We wanna make the AoR-scene come alive again! Most of the young kids out there don’t know what the genre stands for and we want to make it commercial again.

W I G E L I U S - Reiventions (Frontiers Records) The world of Melodic Rock is often seen as an older generations music, but over recent years there has been a surge of high quality young guns flying the flag for this genre and one of those new generation of young artists to make us sit up and take notice is Anders Wigelius. This young Swede brings the sound we love into the now, while keeping one foot firmly in the roots of the genre with his band on the excellent debut release ‘Reinventions’. From the opener Angeline you can feel yourself drifting back to the heady days of the 80’s when MR and AOR ruled the airwaves. The same high quality is present throughout this album as the melodic path is walked along again with ‘Talking About Love’ and the stunning ‘My Cassandra’, with a few touches of AOR in between with ‘Do You Really Know’ and ‘Next To Me’. There is even a bit of bluesy rock thrown into the mix with the excellent ‘Piece Of The Action’ and the tremendous ‘Too Young To Fall In Love’, but this is only half the story, to find out the rest you have to buy the album, but I’ll let you into a secret, things get even better on the second half of the album. Barry McMinn (91/100) MRF | 17

band. Million dollar reload album. A Sinner’s Saint Interview with:. Phil and Sean interviewed by:. B. Atkinson

Question: With all of the road shows and tours you have been on, when did you actually get down to business in recording this new release, “A Sinner’s Saint”? Answer: To say we actually sat down to purposely write “A Sinner`s Saint” wouldn’t actually be to accurate. It was kind of a case that in between gigs and tours we would always continue to rehearse regardless and with that it seemed that a new song was being brought into the rehearsal room at least once a week. So we would knock it into shape at rehearsals and that would happen on a regular basis. If we had have taken a scheduled period of time to “write” a record we probably would have ended up wit 40 – 50 songs! So I’d guess that over a period of 12 months “A Sinner`s Saint” got put written and put together . Q: Again, a strong record… Straight ‘in yer face’ rock n’ roll… When you record is it live off the floor for the most part? A: Yes that’s fair to say, although we do record guitar solos and vocals after the Focus on:

main guitar / bass / drum tracks are done. It’s quite a straight forward simple process for us .We don’t like to fuck around that much in the studio with sounds etc. We know how we want it to sound and what we need to do before we go in, we like to get in there record it and get out of there as soon as we can ! Q: Reading some other material and including your Press Releases, your aggressive attitude towards music is also there towards the business side of things… Which is a good thing!, however is it not taxing on the energy levels? A: We are involved in all aspects of Million $ Reload business affairs. It’s just they way we have always been, we want to know who is doing what, and when, and where they are doing it. We know of so many other bands that didn’t pay attention to the business end of things and ended up getting screwed by their managers and agents etc in the long run. We are determined to not be one of those bands. We are pretty much hands – on with everything, it never hurts to ask questions of those people who we deal

with on the business end. That way we know exactly whats going on. It can be taxing at times but its gotta be done. Q: Is “Bullets In The Sky” your first single off the album?... By the way, the video is just great! A: Thanks Bruce, yes its our first single. The video kind of gives off the vibe of what we are all about. If you notice there is a lot of live footage in the video… And that’s what we are all about… Playing live. The song “Bullets in the Sky” is about the futility of war from a soldiers perspective. Soldiers are brave, courageous people but I often wonder do they get scared? and do they feel sometimes that war is the wrong way of dealing with disputes but it’s a job they morally got to do? That’s what the lyrical content is about. However, people can interpret the lyrics in whatever way they feel is best suited for them. The late great Gary Moore once said, that after you have written a song and it’s “out there” for everyone to hear… It doesn’t belong to you anymore, it’s the fans song at that point, and they can interpret it the way they want to. I kinda agree with some of that sentiment.

M I L L I O N D O L L A R R E L O A D - A SINNER’S SAINT! (Frontiers Records) From their Press Release: “As any discerning music fan knows, there are only two kinds of music: Rock and Roll.” These five Irish lads agree! And with a vengeance! “A Sinner’s Saint” will Rock you to the n-th degree and have you Rolling in ecstasy! The group’s second effort puts everyone on notice that straight-up Rock n’ Roll is here to stay! Yeah… We are certainly being reloaded by this group! From the first single; “Bullets In The Sky” to the last cut, “It Ain’t Over”, we have a huge slice of uncompromising ROCK!! “A Sinner’s Saint” tells us why heads have turned upon hearing these five, smartly composed and exact pieces of Hard Rock with a pulsating bluesed out back beat. Million Dollar Reload ain’t no “one hit wonder”, no this is an Irish rocked out power to be reckoned with…and embraced! Just one listen will invigorate you to the upper limits and having you wanting more. Yes, these rockers can ‘Roll’ with the best of them. They deliver high energy effortlessly, as well as highly emotive expressions such as ‘Broken’. The record, well, it is hard, high energy music that will move you, rock you to the very marrow of your bones. “A Sinner’s Saint” is a huge slice of Rock n’ Roll Heaven!! Bruce Atkinson (91/100) MRF | 19

band. loverboy album. rock n roll revival Interview with:. m. reno interviewed by:. d. jamieson

Focus on:

L O V E R B O Y - Rock N Roll Revival (Frontiers Records) Lovin’ every minute of it? Pretty much. Once you get over the dissapointment that this isn’t all new material from the Candadian band but three new songs and re-recordings of some of their classic songs, it’s a fun listen. Of the new songs “Heartbreaker”, which has been available for a while, has the most nagging hook while “Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival” has the sunshine feel good factor of much of Loverboy’s best songs. The rerecording process adds some spit and polish to the old hits and they come across shiny and new, reminding you how good these songs really are. The re-recordings are failry faithful to the original versions but “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It” and “Hot Girls In Love” see the band stretch out and jam more than usual which will make die-hards want to seek out these versions even though they’ll have the originals. The title track states “It’s a rock ‘n’ revival, it’s all about survival”. Their own survival over the last thirty-three years has been assured thanks to the classy, upbeat radio friendly rock which you can hear on this disc. Duncan Jamieson (90/100)

20 | MRF

Question: Can you tell something about this new album? Where and how was it recorded? Answer: We recorded the first song at Mike's place in Palm Springs, USA. On my laptop, as usual. I saw a sign at the Vancouver airport on my way there from Calgary, that said Rock Revival, and it rolled around in my head until I got to Mike's. We set up on his dining room table, him singing into a mic I brought, and me going direct into the computer, no amp. I turned on Guitar Rig, a plugin in Logic, and lo and behold, as Tom Allom would say, "Touch nothing immediately!" I recorded the whole song ampless, an absolute first for me. That's "Rock 'n' Roll Revival". The next 2 tunes were co-written with Bob Rock, our engineer/producer from the 80's, and his Nashville buddy, Jaren Johnson. We recorded them at Bryan Adam's studio in Vancouver early last year. I played through my 50 watt Marshall 900, and used my old Strat I rebuilt in '74 for some of the parts. I made the neck from scratch, it's still holding together, amazingly. You can hear it on the 1st 2 Loverboy albums. Bob really wanted to record it again, and well, he's Bob freakin' Rock, what are you gonna say? Loose and Weekend were recorded live in Charlotte in '95, but I mixed them without any crowd sounds, trying for that" studio sound". I think you might be hard pressed to tell they're live, if I hadn't just let the cat out of the bag. The rest of the songs were recorded in March 2012 at a huge casino in Ontario, except for "Always on my Mind", which was recorded live in Winnipeg, Canada in 2005. Once again, that studio sound. Mike and I rewrote some of the lyrics, with the theme of the album title in mind. Continuity is King. We sang it at his house in Vancouver. How many houses does this guy have, for God's sake? Also I redid the guitars on “When It's Over” at my house in Calgary. Once again that excellent Guitar Rig plugin, flange and all. Q: Your last record ‘Just Getting Started’ was a terrific album and one of my favourites of 2007. Were you happy with it and how would you say the new record differs from that one? A: Glad you liked it. It had some

cool moments. I really enjoyed working with the producers, especially singing my parts with Mike. They had some pretty clever ideas for harmony parts, places I would never have gone. It was different from any other album I've ever recorded in that the drums were recorded last, instead of first. Q: The bands of the 80s such as Journey, Foreigner and Night Ranger are experiencing renewed interest in them at the moment. Have you noticed a resurgence in your own fortunes recently? A: I would say we're having a major resurgence. Our new manager Jonathan Wolfson just hooked us up with Frontiers Records, and we're very excited about that. Q: You’re touring the states this summer with Journey which is something you did back in 1982, 30 years ago! How would you say the Loverboy live experience has changed since then? A: You know, to me, every night we play is different from every other night. One night we might be very faithful to the original parts, sounds, and feels of the original recordings, and the next night all hell will break loose, everybody's experimenting, trying stuff we've never played. So for me, it's night by night, not decade by decade. Q: What tracks from the new record do you think will find their way into the live set this summer and what kind of setlist can we expect? A: Well, we have anywhere from 35 minutes to maybe an hour opening for Journey, and when it's 35, it'll probably be 6 “vintage" tracks, all from the album. When it's 60, I'm hoping some of the new tunes will get heard. We've been playing “Heartbreaker” live already, I'm looking forward to trying the other 2 sometime soon. Q: Mike Reno lost 50 pounds recently. How did he do it? A: I like to think he had 2 Hooters chicks in his room every night. Q: You have released a catalogue of classic rock albums over the last 30 years. Which record do you think is the one that has captured who Loverboy are best? A: I'd have to say this new one. It's a diary of how we play now. It's looser, more experimental, a lot of cool keyboard parts you

won't hear anywhere else, some decent guitar playing. But then I'm biased. Q: You’ve always looked like your having fun.In the 80s was life for you really like the way it was portrayed in your ‘Lovin’ Every Minute Of It’ video? A: I don't know about the part where the girls are helping me paint my guitar. No one paints my guitars. No one. Q: When you Scott Smith passed away did you consider stopping Loverboy? A: We definitely stopped. Stopped everything. Mike was especially devastated, we all were really. He was our best friend, to everyone in the band. The first time I met Scott it was like my brother had left town for the weekend, was home now, and I was picking him up at the airport. That easy, no pressure, never a bad vibe. It took a while, we tried a couple of new guys, and Matt's and my buddy Spider fit the bill. Still does. Q; If you were to say "If I could go back and change this one thing about my career that I've had, I would..." A: In all honesty, out of sheer desperation for some free time, I left Paul the reigns for a few years and he kind of went off and just focused on his guitar thing and we all just kind of went "OK, whatever" - just so we could have a couple of weeks off. That would have been a mistake that I will admit to. And I am NOT criticizing Paul... I am criticizing myself. Q: You were inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame in 2009. Can you tell me about that experience? A: This could turn into the Bob Rock story ;-). It's Bob and Loverboy, together again. Only this time on stage with 20,000 people live, and who knows how many on TV. The last time we had a really big night at the Junos, in '82, there were a few cameras off stage, maybe an interview or two. That's cool. This time we arrived, and we're ushered onto the Red Carpet, you know the walk between 2rows of screaming fans. Well maybe not screaming, more like curious I guess. “Hey wait a minute, that's not Justin Bieber.” No kidding. Still, really big time compared to '82. And a real pressroom, full of journalists. I think we did about 15 National TV interviews. So that was pretty exciting. MRF | 21