04 C a l i f o r n i a B r e e d 06 Te s l a 07 T i m o To l k k i ’s A v a l o n 08 O u t l o u d 09 P e r f e c t V i e w 10 S h a k r a 12 R e v i e w s 15 S a b a t o n 16 M o t h e r R o a d 17 N e a l S c h o n 19 N i g h t R a n g e r 20 Uriah Heep 21 Sonic Station Melodic Rock Fanzine The official Frontiers Records magazine Year #10 - Nr. 3 / Issue #62 Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi Concept, Graphics & Design: Elio Bordi Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, 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: email@example.com Website: www.frontiers.it Facebook: facebook.com/frontiersrecordsofficial Twitter: twitter.com/frontiersrec Editor and publisher: Frontiers Records s.r.l. Copyright©2014 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy.
band. california breed album. california breed’ Interview with:. g.hughes - a.watt interviewed by:. d.jamieson
C A L I F O R N I A B R E E D - California Breed (Frontiers Records) No sooner had Black Country Communion dissolved, when Glenn Hughes rallied and reinvented himself once again with the beast that is California Breed. There are similarities to BCC, of course, as there couldn’t not be with Hughes trademark elastic vocals and Jason Bonham’s unmistakable drum sound locking into the groove with Hughes’ bass but new guitarist, 23 year old Andrew Watt is no Bonamassa clone. He brings his youthful interpretation to the hard rock of the late 60s and 70s and much of the bluesy, classic rock sound of BBC is ejected and replaced by a rawer, psychedelic groove. Hughes lyrics appear darker and he wants to vent and get things off his chest on this one. ‘The Way’, the psychedelic ‘Breathe’ which incorporates a Led Zep stomp too, ‘Sweet Tea’ also Zep like in its rock intensity and the honest sounding ‘Scars’ show that Hughes and the band aren’t safely re-treading what’s worked in past but instead remain artistically alive. It sounds almost live in the studio and might require more patience initially than BBC but demonstrates Hughes, Bonham and Watt are a power trio well worth investigating. Duncan Jamieson (90/100)
4 | MRF
Duncan Jamieson: It’s a vital, energetic album. How would describe the music of California Breed ? Andrew Watt: Pure, in tampered with Rock n Roll. From three real musicians who actually played live till we got it right! DJ: Can you please explain how did you become the CB guitarist and what is the story behind the band? AW: It was all very seemless and natural there was no "becoming" anything. California Breed was born the day I stepped into Glenn's house and we wrote two things on the spot. It was unlike anything the two of us had done before... Glenn Hughes: Black Country Communion broke up in September 2012 but we didn’t tell the press until March 2013. So cut to the chase, February 11, my dear friend Julian Lennon was having a party in LA to celebrate his fantastic photographs. And at that party, the night before the Grammys, Julian wanted me to meet this kid, you know, this guy Andrew Watt. So I met this young man and he was very, very articulate and very intelligent and spoke of music, spoke to me and I really kind of went, this is kind of interesting. So I went, “Do you have any music I could listen to?” And he sent me some music a few days later. I loved it. He came to my home the week after from New York and in one afternoon we wrote two songs: “Chemical Rain” and “Solo.” The next day I called Jason Bonham up, who is actually in LA. We went in the studio in Burbank and I said, “Let’s just see what happens.” And we came out with these two songs. And that was the start of the band. But we kept it very, very quiet. DJ: Did you already know Glenn and Jason? AW: I was introduced to Glenn by Julian Lennon and to Jason by Glenn.
DJ: What is your opinion about Glenn? AW: He is the greatest male singer alive currently... DJ: What is your opinion about Jason? AW: He is the most dynamic and powerful drummer I have ever personally witnessed. DJ: Can you please talk about the incredible and powerful single “Sweet Tea” ? GH: Crazy thing about that. That song was probably one of the first songs I wrote and I started to sing [begins singing the chorus] as I’m playing it on the acoustic guitar. Then Andrew asked me if he could finish the lyric for me and I said, “Go ahead. You’re young so go for it.” But that song kind of wrote itself. I wrote like three or four songs in a day. I think I wrote “Breathe” and “The Grey” as well in like one afternoon. But I think “Sweet Tea” might have been the first song I came up with. No song on this album was recorded for any other band other than California Breed. There were no old songs from bands or solo things. Everything was written specifically for this project. It’s been very, very real. DJ: Can you please let me know what is your music background and what are your favorite bands and guitarists? AW: I am a multi instrumentalist and grew up on Zeppelin and Pearl Jam DJ: How do you feel playing in a power trio? AW: I l o v e t h e s p a c e t h a t comes with it. There is room to move and shake... DJ: Is this your favorite kind of band dynamic? AW: Absolutely!! DJ: How much input did you put on the material for California Breed? AW: W e a l l w r o t e f o r t h i s album. It was a true collaboration between the three generations of rock.
DJ: Songs like “Scars” and “All Falls Down” have a dark edge. What’s the story behind those songs? AW: Both of those were based around guitar riffs I had with hook ideas. Then Glenn did his thing with them and made them personal to him and his story. Funny you pair those two together as they are amongst my favorites on the album. DJ: What’s next for California Breed? Will you play just California Breed songs live? AW: We are going to be touring extensively through the fall and winter into next summer. Through all of that we will be writing the next album... Something tells me we may return to Nashville to record... GH: No, honestly, if we had two albums out, like if we were on the second album on the second tour, we’d probably be playing pretty much all new songs. But I say this to you, we’re probably going to play probably all of this album. And we’ll play, obviously, a couple of selective songs from our pasts, which people will know. But for me, it’s the first time ever, I can announce, that it looks like we’ll be playing pretty much most of this album. And I think my fanbase has always wanted me to kind of play new music. There was a time maybe when it wasn’t so. But now, I’m sort of more obviously wiser as I’ve gotten older. I think that the past is the past. Everybody knows what I’ve done in the past and it’s been well written, but I’m so proud of these new songs with these two fellas I’m working with, and I’m the oldest guy, but we’re such a fresh energetic young band; although I am sixty-two. Trust me, I don’t feel it. I belong in a rock & roll band singing rock songs to a rock audience. Whether it’s in Brazil or whether it’s in Baltimore. It’s the way I was raised. MRF | 5
band. tesla album. simplicity Interview with. d.rude - b wheat interviewed by:. b.atkinson
Question: “Simplicity” will take us back to the Tesla roots. Anything else you want to say about it? Dave Rude: Man, I really think Tesla fans are gonna like it. I think rock fans are gonna like this record because it’ s different than what has been coming up lately from most bands. We really didn’ t pay attention to the radio or anything than any other band were doing. We are trying to be contemporary and compete with anybody. We just wanted to make a sound we were really happy with, and that’ s difficult to do for an established band these days. There’ s a lot of influences and pressures on you when you make an album and this time we just said “fuck it”... We do what we wanna do!” Hopefully Tesla fans will buy it, and I think we definitely succeeded at that. We spent a lot of time writing the record before we went in the studio, and then we went in the studio and spent a lot of time making songs to getting them to where we were happy with them, Focus on:
but we didn’ t like over producing, it’ s still pretty live for the most part, most of the music was all cut live, and we didn’ t add a lot of stuff to it because it’ s pretty old school. Q: “Simplicity” is the name of your new album… Is there a message there? Brian Wheat: Yes, the title of the album came from the lyrics of the first track MP3. The song was inspired by all of the technology of today, and TESLA is a simple band so we thought Simplicity was a good title. Q: What we hear are brand new musical journeys from you— when did you actually go to the studio to record this new effort? BW: End of 2013 we went to Virginia for pre production at Tom Zutaut’s farm. We then recorded the record in Brian Wheat’s studio in our home town of Sacramento. Q: Did you produce the recordings yourself? BW: No, Tom Zutaut co-produced it with the band. Q: I take it that this is your first
for Frontiers, is that right? BW: No, we’ve also released “Forevermore” and the live album. Q: “Going back to “Simplicity”, there seems to be a feel of ‘back to your roots’…is this a correct impression? BW: Absolutely. Q: In the recording process did you embrace the analogue way more so than the digital method of recording? BW: We actually embraced the analogue vibe as we always do, but we recorded it with the digital method. Q: Tesla has been on the road for most of last year, are you planning to tour this year as well… And where so far? BW: Yes we are, everywhere and anywhere that wants us. Q: Thanks for this brief conversation, Brian… Good luck on your European tour, and thankyou for this fantastic album…please leave our readers with some final thoughts… BW: Let’s kick some ass and enjoy the music!
T E S L A - Simplicity ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) They are back! Tesla are giving us the simple goods! “Simplicity” is all new and it is a no nonsense slice of Hard Rock from this musical force! Yes, guitar dominant still, the Tesla sound is just as hard and just as full of unique signatures as they were from the beginning. Melody? This quintet pulls melody out of the air and lay it all down effortlessly. Listening to “Simplicity” one could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that this five piece must be brand new Rock Heroes and not the thirty year veterans that Tesla is. That is the energy level you are about to experience. Each and every track is a musical statement in of itself, no matter what Jeff is singing about or what musical emotion is being played out. Dave, Troy, Frank, and Brian just keep giving it and the combination is amazing! Each song builds in to the next, combining to give us one heck of a wild ride! Stand-out tracks? Well, all of them in fact, however a few of my favourites? “Cross My Heart”, MP3”, “Life Is A River” and “Flip Side”. Tesla: simply enjoy! Bruce Atkinson (91/100)
6 | MRF
artist.t.tolkki’s avalon album. angels of the apolypse Interview with. t. tolkki interviewed by. primo bonali
Question: Let's talk about your new album, the magnificent "Angels of The Apocalypse", which - if I'm right - is the second part of the "Avalon" Metal Opera concept, after the successful "The Land of New Hope", released last year. This new album sounds even more symphonic, majestic and epic than the first chapter. What do you think about it? Can you present it to the MRF readers? A: My aim was from the beginning to create much more symphonic album than the previous one. So I used lot choir and classical instruments. The basic are though, good songs. I feel that the songs represent the Apocalyptic atmosphere of the album. It is much darker album feeling wise than the previous one. Q: Do you think that the lyrical themes of the album inspired also your music and pushed it to a somehow different songwriting approach, maybe a darker direction? A: In a way yes. Of course I had the storyline to follow, so I based the song titles and lyrics to those. Q: What was the inspiration for Focus on:
the story behind this album and behind the whole "Avalon" concept? A: It’s really Serafino’s idea. He got in touch with me about this. I am very happy that he did because I believe these are unique albums. On "Angels Of The Apocalyspe" you finally managed to reunite the legendary STRATOVARIUS "Dreamspace" line-up, with Antti Ikonen and Tuomo Lassila to play keyboards and drums. How did that happen? When did you decide to ask them to join you on this and have all of you been in touch for all these years? A: We have been hanging together for a few years and played together a few and seen how it gels together. It felt very natural to invite them to do the record. And we had so much fun in making this record. Q: How have you chosen the all stars vocal - cast appearing on the album and, this time, including Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Simone Simons (EPICA), Fabio Lione (RHAPSODY OF FIRE), David DeFeis (VIRGIN STEELE), Zachary Stevens (ex SAVATAGE, CIRCLE II CIRCLE) and Elize Ryd
(AMARANTHE)? Have you written all the songs with these singers already in your mind? A: I wrote all the songs in Athens Greece in last October 2013. This time I was lucky to know all the singers beforehand, so I could write directly to them. Q: Please tell us something about the recording process. Where the songs have been recorded and where have been mixed? Who has been in charge of this work? A: Some of it was recorded at East Sound Studio in Helsinki. Most parts,mixing and the mastering has been done in my own studio Studiotolkki. The process was very smooth, just like with the previous one. Both albums have good energy in them. Q: Which are your plans for the next months? Some live gigs or will you start working on the new album? A: It seems we cannot do a tour due to the commitments of Elize Ryd and Floor Jansen but I am confident that at some point we will do a tour. Now I’m just resting and makings some plans.
TIMO TOLKKI’S AVALON - Angels of the Apocalypse ( F r o n t i e r s R e c o r d s ) Second part of the “Avalon” Metal Opera concept, “Angels of The Apocalypse” features the legendary STRATOVARIUS “Dreamspace” line-up, finally reunited with Antti Ikonen and Tuomo Lassila busy playing keyboards and drums. Along with them, and, obviously, the Finnish guitarist and composer, here we have a long list of top-vocalists including Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Simone Simons (EPICA), Fabio Lione (RHAPSODY OF FIRE), David DeFeis (VIRGIN STEELE), Zachary Stevens (ex SAVATAGE, CIRCLE II CIRCLE) and Elize Ryd (AMARANTHE). The album sounds even more symphonic, majestic and epic than the first chapter, and the the first prove comes immediatey, with the opener "Jerusalem Is Falling" performed by the one and only Fabio Lione. Someone call it "bombastic Symphonic Power Metal", someone else labels this sound simply as Melodic Metal; regardless the name you can put on these 10 songs, the music you can hear on "Angels Of Apocalypse" is dangerously catchy, wisely composed and arranged, perfectly played. Timo can't wait to show anybody his huge talent. Primo Bonali (90/100) MRF | 7
band. outloud album. Let’s Get Serious Interview with. b.katsionis -c. mogtel interviewed by:. duncan jamieson
Question: It’s your third album as a band. Did you approach this one any differently than the previous two? Bob Katsionis: Yes,this time it was me the main songwriter so I had completely different stuff in mind, and more versatility to move musically. I was directly working with Chandler in the States via emails and we we working really smoothly. I think that this gave us the opportunity to experiment and do different stuff that we couldn’t or we wouldn't do in the past,like the ultra speed drumming on Death Rock, the "power-metal-ish" part of "Bury The Knife" or even the intstrumental "Let's Get Serious" itself. Q: “Toy Soldiers” is probably your heaviest song to date. You’ve got Mike Orlando of Adrenaline Mob guesting on guitar on that track. How did that come about and what was it like working with him? Focus on:
Chandler Mogel: Mike has been a friend of mine since about 2006. I was working on some tracks with him and AJ Pero from Twisted Sister on and off. They unfortunately got put on hold when the whole Adrenaline Mob thing happened. Bob was a fan of the band and asked me if I thought I could get him to do a solo on the album. So I asked him and he sent me the song back in one night. He is a fantastic player and I’m so happy he’s getting the attention he deserves. Q: There’s a cover of the OMD track Enola Gay. An usual song for a hard rock to cover. Why did you choose that song? BK: "Enola Gay" is a very famous song in Greece, not because of gay people (since there's no connection with that term) but because of the extreme airplay it had back in the 80's. Actually it was one of the first songs I can recall liking on the radio ever! During a period that I
was looking for the perfect cover, I heard that on the radio and just did it! All the band loves this song,and we might play it live as well. Q: How do the band’s other music work commitments affect what Outloud does? CM: Until Gus calls. Haha! No Bob’s right, scheduling has been an issue, also add to the fact that I’m in USA and the guys are in Greece, it’s a difficult thing. But we do what we can. We are now working on more live stuff at one time than ever. So there is a lot of interest in our camp and out there as well for us to play. Q: Do you have any live commitments to promote the record? BK: For the first time, live proposals have started coming without any move from us! We were proposed a tour in Spain a festival in Sweden and we are working on a Greek tour as usual.
OUTLOUD - Let’s Get Serious (AOR Heaven) This is the third album now for the Greek hard rock band, fronted by the golden tonsils of American Chandler Mogel. Their debut was one of my favourites in 2009 with its mix of European rock power and 80s good time hair metal and AOR tunes. The follow up, I felt, their mojo had deserted them somewhat so I came to this one hopeful but cautious. Still not a match for the debut, it does however have some cracking tunes that suggests Outloud are back on track. The thundering “Death Rock!”, “One More Time”, the melodic rock of ‘I Was So Blind’ and “Like A Dream” have all the Outloud trademarks; an upbeat rhythm section with new drummer Kostas Milonas laying siege to his drumkit impressively, melodic yet scything guitars and big hooks courtesy of Mogel. The acoustic “It Doesn’t Really Matter” offers a delightful soft AOR touch while “Toy Soldier” sees them move in a heavier direction than before. It doesn’t end so well though with an instrumental and a rather strange choice of cover in OMD’s “Enola Gay” which sees the guitars rocking up the original keyboard parts. Not flawless but when it is good, it’s great. Duncan Jamieson (80/100)
8 | MRF
Barry McMinn: “Red Moon Rising” is the band’s second album and comes nearly four years since the debut “Hold Your Dreams”, so why so long between albums? Francesco Cataldo: First of all we had a line-up change. Cristian Guerzoni, the bass player on the debut album, decided to leave the band for personal reasons at the beginning of 2012, about one year and half after the release of "Hold Your Dreams" (October 2010). We were lucky enough to find another bass player in a short time, but at the end of May 2012 a big earthquake that struck our area caused us great problems. For about six months all the activities of the band were frozen. When the situation returned to normality we worked very hard on the new songs. We are
perfectionists so maybe it takes a little longer than normal to finish our songs... Anyway we recorded the new album between May and November 2013, then it tooks about a month to complete the artwork. After that we sent all the material to the label (Avenue Of Allies) and the release was scheduled for May, so... Here we are! BM: How would you describe the musical direction of the new songs compared to the debut album? FC: We think that the music in the new album is more focused. It's definitely an album that has some musical diversity but it maintains a clearer stylistic identity compared to "Hold Your Dreams". Also we think that "Red Moon Rising" is better produced, mixed, arranged, written, played... We believe that it's the "logical evolution" of the previous album from all points of view and we believe that it's a significant leap forward from "Hold Your Dreams". BW: I love your songs, your new album is awesome. The songs are very infectious and feature some
amazing melodies. Who usually writes them and where do they get their inspiration? FC: Oh, thanks a lot Barry! Each song is created in our rehearsal room, starting from an idea of one of us (sometimes the song structure it's almost complete, sometimes it could be only a riff). We work in the old way, jammin' all together until a song is finished and satisfies all of us. Obviously instruments like guitar or keyboard are more functional to bring a new idea but each of us is free to give suggestions at any stage of the creative process. Furthermore none of us requires someone else to play a specific part on his instruments. For these reasons each song contains significant contribution of each of the musicians. This helps to have more musical diversity... And I think it's worth! Personally I draw inspiration from everything that surrounds me and that touch my heart in some way. There's not a general rule. BM: The album include a cover in Toto’s ‘Home Of The Brave’ so why that particular song? FC: Because we all love Toto and they are one of our main influences. We thought that this song could be a tribute to one of our favorite bands. When we decided to put one Toto's song in our album we wanted to have an epic song. The choice was essentially between two songs: "Home Of The Brave" and "Kingdom Of Desire". At the end we opted for "Home Of The Brave".
band. shakra album. 33 The Best Of Interview with. Thomas Muster interviewed by:. b. atkinson
Question: Sorry to hear that John has decided to leave the group—however how is the search going for a new singer? Answer: To be honest, I’m not very motivated right now. But Thom just started to check out some possible guys, right now I’m not yet involved in this process. I’m a bit tired of all this, I guess I need a longer break… Q: Some other good news though — a new release which not only is a “Best Of”, but a couple new songs as well… Please talk about what you have done with this new release… A: Well, it is mainly a “Best-Of”. There are 30 classic SHAKRA tracks on 2 CD’s. With all three singers we had in the band so far. And all the songs are in a chronological order, the newer material first and the older stuff afterwards. And then we have 3 brandnew songs on the album. Focus on:
“Live For Today” is a straight rocker. Cool song. Then there is a kind of ballad called “For The Rest Of My Days” and finally a song called “The Beacon”. This one is almost 7 minutes long. It’s a bit progressive for SHAKRA-circumstances, but I really love that one! Q: Not only three new songs, but you have re-mixed a few more… A: Two songs on the album are remixed versions: “Chains Of Temptation” and “Take Me Now”. Both from the “Fall”-album. We released that one in 2005. It sounded a little bit special… I was never really happy with the production, so I asked Thom (our lead-guitarist and producer) if he’s in the mood to remix these two tracks. So well, he did it! Q: It is good to see that you are not giving up! Of course it depends on when you accept a new singer—but have you plans for recording more new
material? A: No, not at the moment. It’s not easy to make some plans if you don’t have a singer anymore… Q: As a music fan, which artist/band would you say that has influenced you mostly? A: AC/DC. My first AC/DC album was “Let There Be Rock”. My parents bought me an acoustic guitar with nylon strings. I had a few lessons at the local music school. I had to play this fingerpicking classical stuff. Then I started to play “Bad Boy Boogie”, “Whole Lotta Rosie” and all the other songs from the album! That was much more fun for me to play! So that album showed me what Rock 'n' Roll means! Q: Well, gents thanks so much in answering these questions—all the best, and looking forward to your new record! A: Well, we’ll see what happens in the future!
SHAKRA - 33 The Best Of (AFM Records) This veteran Swiss group are about to close another chapter in their long and storied career. Yet, they are also readying for a brand new, exciting chapter to be added! “33 The Best Of” Shakra is a very ambitious release. Yes, this one is thirty-three tracks on two cd’s and contains three brand new heavenly pieces of Hard Rock! Unfortunately, just last month, John Prakesh announced that he was leaving the band-however Thom, Thomas and Roger and Dominik are pushing forward. But, we shouldn’t worry-as “33…” shows us that “Shakra” are not ready to throw in the towel! All stand out tracks, with thirty of them taken from the group’s nine albums… When you come upon the three brand new tracks, don’t be surprised that their next full-length album will hit that magic spot as well! “33 The Best Of” shows off every great piece of Hard Rock this five piece have created. Their attention to melody, dramatic lyrics and constant high energy is overflowing here. There are some rare pieces on this release as well… So, this scribes advice? Embrace this release… Treasure it, as “33...” is full of gems from this top drawer Hard Rock five piece! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)
10 | MRF
CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD - Before Plastic (Dead End Exit Records) Coming off of a critically acclaimed debut, “Captain Black Beard”’s second effort “Before Plastic” should cement all those accolades rendered by music journalists the world over! There is definitely some solid Rock happening on this effort. Melodies that will linger a long time, Rock passages that will make you sit up and take notice! Each track is full of energy, great vocals from Sakaria and Robert, Victor and Christian just keep laying down the vibe! Hailing from Sweden, “Captain Black Beard” have been a staple in that country’s live scene since 2009. You certainly can hear it, this band is so tight, and a controlled discipline that does not wane the energy levels. Each song has the “chops”. “Before Plastic” should put the group up to the next level, opening up more live opportunities and raising their profile globally! Bruce Atkinson (82/100) BLUES PILLS - Blues Pills (Nuclear Blast) This album is a real trip, a journey in time and space that will bring you back in the '70s and far beyond (60’s). Led by the charismatic and emotional voice of the band's blonde archangel Elin Larsson, and with the idea to take Soul Music and combining it with Blues and Rock, Blues Pills recreates very faithfully the unique, intense and emotional atmosphere that bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix used to forge, back in the day. Recorded in Gothenburg with infamous producer Don Alsterberg (GRAVEYARD), the band's self-titled debut album contains 10 songs of Blues driven Heavy Rock with a Psychedelic wave that will put a smile on the face of all the fans of the above mentioned bands (and you can add to the list Janis Joplin and Fleetwood Mac). Woodstock in 2014? Yes. here it is. Primo Bonali (85/100) ELVENKING - The Pagan Manifesto (AFM Records) Nobody does this kind of overblown metal as well as the Italians. Next to their more classic sounding counterparts Rhapsody (Of Fire), Elvenking are masters at what they do. Folk Power Metal is a precarious mix but Elvenking get the balance right. A strong production sound, although it would be nice to hear it a bit more organic, lets the material unfurl its widescreen vision. It’s the perfect soundtrack for any movie set in the middle-ages. If you are happy to suspend belief then Elvenking will take you by the hand through fields of folksy whimsy and up cliff faces of jagged metal to a land far, far away in the distant past. Other bands who attempt to blend genres often do it clunkily but Elvenking make power metal and folk seem like the most obvious of bedfellows. Eight albums in, this offers up perfect escapism for those who wish the world was more dungeons and dragons than taxes and bills. Duncan Jamieson (90/100) RIK PRIEM - Rik Priem’s Prime (Avenue of Allies) For this young guitarist “Prime” is a very ambitious debut. Helped by musical mate Carsten Schulz of “Frozen Rain”, Rik’s dreams of a guitar-driven musical soundscape has been realised. Bringing in some of Europe’s finest musical craftsmen has also helped. Of course there is Carsten on vocals, Greet Margodt on keyboards, with Ramy Ali providing the pounding rhythms, with Vincent De Laat keeping pace on the bass and all four producing such solid material that Rik can soar from! “Prime” of course is a guitar album, and a guitar lover’s album! Rik’s talents on the fret board is just unbelievable! Displaying a wide spectrum of style and influences, his skill blossoms, as does each other member of the band. A collection of thirteen tracks that offer up a variety and depth that will astound. Upon one listen it is hard to believe that this is Rik’s debut. Rik Priem is a rising star and “Prime” is his rocket, the line-up on this record are set to bring these tasteful explorations of sonic brilliance to the stage… So get ready for a rocket ride this Summer!! Bruce Atkinson (89/100) SONIC STATION - Next Stop (Avenue of Allies) “Next Stop” is the much-anticipated second album from Alexander Kronbink’s AOR outfit Sonic Station, bringing that 80’s West Coast AOR to the masses. Things get underway with the single “Amelia” that instantly brings that 80’s West Coast vibe back in spades. Bodings wonderful vocals take us back to a simpler time, when this style of rock ruled the airwaves and was the soundtrack of the day. But the album isn’t a nostalgia trip, this is AOR for the now and a great example of this is the excellent “Catch Me If You Can”. Boding leads the way on this one before we are given our first taste of the wonderful vocals of Willstedt, who’s majestic tone takes things to a whole different level. The two vocalists used on the album have two very different qualities that make “Next Stop” such a great multi-faceted release. This is a wonderful release and if you weren’t around when West Coast AOR was at its highest, then check out this album because this is an album that shows it’s not dead and buried, but very much alive and kicking. Barry McMinn (92/100) ACACIA AVENUE - Cold (AOR Heaven) This is the second album from Danish guitarist Torben Enevoldsen’s Acacia Avenue project. Enevoldsen goes for a far more AOR approach here than he does on his Fatal Force records, Evidence One and even the Fate records. Like the first album, he’s recruited a number of great AOR singers for the songs, the only pre-requisite is being able to sing high enough to make these melodies soar. There are a number of terrific vocal performances from wellknown names such as Steve Newman on “Time” and soon to be Brad Pitt favourite “Angelina”, Rob Moratti (Final Frontier and Saga) on “Love Will Survive” and “Signs Of Love”. Best of all is perhaps the lesser known Albin Ljungqvist on the AOR perfection of “It’s Over” who had me thinking he was the great Jim Jidhead from Alien at first, so good was his vocal performance. If you’re a fan of AOR projects such as AOR, Lionville or Shining Line then this has some equally European AOR songs on it. Duncan Jamieson (79/100) 12 | MRF
RAGE - The Soundchaser Archives (Nuclear Blast) “The Soundchaser Archives” is “Rage’s celebration of thirty years of molten metal. The double CD package begins with a new song before the group takes the road back through their catalogue. “Anybody Home” opens everything up, and should ensure fans that these guys have a solid future ahead of themselves. Now, this isn’t just a re-cap of thirty music making years from Rage, “The Soundchaser Archives” feature unreleased tracks, demos, and varying versions of some tried and true numbers! The group as it stands in 2014 is Victor Smolski; guitars and keys, Andre Hilgers on skins, and of course Peavy Wagner on bass and vocals. Take this trip back with these three, and re-live all of their glories, plus some hidden gems! Go figure! “The Soundchaser Archives” contain thirty tracks on two CD’s and there is not one dud in the collection. This anniversary release will be just what the hard core fan wants, and if you don’t know much about “Rage”, then this is the perfect way to get to know this Metal icon from Germany! To Rage… A great compilation and thank-you for the last thirty years!! Bruce Atkinson (86/100) DEAD END HEROES - Roadkill (AOR Heaven) Born as a solo-album of Swiss drummer Daniel Voegeli, DEAD END HEROES developed into a proper band with the inclusion of guitarist and producer Rolf Munkes (EMPIRE, TONY MARTIN, MAJESTY) first, and extraordinary German vocalist Carsten Lizard Schulz (EVIDENCE ONE, DOMAIN, LAVALLE) then, both immediately impressed by Voegeli's drumming and songwriting. On Schulz's recommendation, the line-up was finally completed with Scottish bassist Paul Logue (EDEN'S CURSE, DOOGIE WHITE, LAVALLE) and Hammond Organist Holger Seeger. The result is a Classic Hard Rock album, with good hooks and powerful guitar parts, not too far from the music style of bands like Whitesnake, MSG and Rainbow. The stars here are the singer Carsten Schulz who delivers an highly impressive performance, and guitarist Rolf Munkes, technically superb, still emotional and melodic. A talented band for a good album. Primo Bonali (85/100) PERFECT VIEW – Red Moon Rising (Avenue of Allies) “Red Moon Rising” is the second album from Italian Melodic Rockers Perfect View, and once again the quintet have produced an album that will ignite the hearts of many a fan of the genre. From the opener “Where the Wind Blows”, there is a stylish mix of classic melody rich rock interwoven with a modern edge that makes for a refreshing listen. The album continues to mix things up as it continues with AOR infused “By My Side”, then switches to a more hard-edged guitar sound for “Room 14” and the excellent “Slave to the Empire”. For the more traditionalist Melodic Rock fans there is the haunting tones of “I Will Remember”, but its rockier side of things that really makes this album stand out from the crowd, with the excellent “In The Name of The Father” and “Dead End Street” just two of my favourite tracks off the album. The band also squeeze in superb cover of Toto’s “Home Of The Brave” to round off the album in style. The sun may rise in the East but the moon rises a red glow over Italy. Barry McMinn (90/100) UDO – Steelhammer-Live From Moscow (AFM Records) Only a couple of years since UDO’s ‘Live In Sofia’ album, this record may at first sight seem unnecessary but the band has changed its line-up since then and there’s a heavy emphasis on the last album Steelhammer, with six tracks from that record here and UDO has included a number of songs that don’t normally get an airing so in fact this proves to be a record that will appease fans of the man’s music. There’s only room for one Accept song (‘Metal Heart’), the rest is his own band’s material. His unmistakable, gargling razor blades voice, has influenced a generation of metal singers and his solo material has the metal bite of Accept but adds a surprisingly melodic, radio friendly element which can explain why UDO is still such a draw on the live circuit today. Live here his vocals don’t stray far from his signature growl, less diverse than what he does in the studio, but the band around him add incisive riffs, played with flair. ‘Steelhammer’,’Azreal’ and ‘Holy’ are just some of the highlights on a record that fans will appreciate for its coverage of new and rarer material. Duncan Jamieson (82/100) KADAVAR – Live In Antwerp (Nuclear Blast) With their distinctive and heavily 70s-influenced sound, Berlin trio Kadavar releases its first live album, after only two studio albums. In the own band's words, with over 250 shows played, they have always considered themselves as an absolute live band, so - following the success of last year's "Abra Kadavar" - the band decided to put on Cd and Double LP the full live concert recorded in Antwerp and show the world how their powerful and epic sound becomes if brought into a live-dimension. No doubts that the band can play and their Heavy Doom Rock, clearly influenced by Black Sabbath and Hawkind, benefits of the band's creativity and jamming ability. If you're a fan of the genre and of the band, you'll not be disappointed; maybe the casual listener should check the band out, starting from their previous studio album. Primo Bonali (82/100) 21 OCTAYNE – Into the Open (AFM Records) When it comes to believing in your product. you don’t have to look any further than 21Octayne’s “Into the Open”, an album that was toted around various cities around the world at various listening parties, with the ultimate goal of the band to secure a label deal. The result of which was Germany’s AFM Records finally bringing Marco Wriedt (guitars), Alex Landenburg (drums) Andrew Lauer (bass) and Hagen Grohe (vocals) dream to light. The album boasts some great rock tracks from the opener “She’s Killing Me”, a towering anthem to the gritty modern rocker “Turn the World”, the heavy thumping tones of “My Teddy Bear”, to the single roaring rock of the single “The Heart (Save Me)”. These are just a few of my favourite tracks from what is a refreshing slab of monstrous rock. This album might have been a long time coming but it was well worth the wait. One of the finest rock albums you’ll hear this year. If they stick to this formula then the world is 21Octayne’s oyster. Barry McMinn (95/100) MRF | 13
band. sabaton album. heroes interview with:. Svara Vidaresand interviewed by:. primo bonali
Question: Hello guys! How are you doing? I know you're actually on tour in USA with Iced Earth. How's the tour going? How is the US market for Sabaton? Answer: We just returned from USA and started the festival summer in Europe. Sabaton is a smaller band in USA than in Europe but every time we go there more and more fans show up so its increasing! Q: Your new album "Heroes" has been released a few days ago. That's your 7th Work but the first with the new line-up (guitarists Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund and drummer Hannes van Dahl). How do you feel about it? What are the biggest differences on this album if compared to your previous ones? A: Well, since Joakim is the main songwriter of the band and me and Joakim wrote all lyrics and concepts in the past not so much changed there. But it was great to record. The new guys really proved why they were reqruited when it came to the studio and the recording was the smoothest and most perfect in our entire career so far. Absolutely great. Focus on:
Q: Have the new members in the band helped you in the songwriting process? A: Yes a little. Actually Thobbe helped on two songs and Hannes on one. Chris wrote several songs which we have saved for the future and we will see. It’s exciting that the guys write songs! Q: What's the lyrical concept or main theme of the album? Why a title like "Heroes"? A: The theme of the Album is based around World War II where we wanted to write about individuals instead of bigger battles. We had the basic idea that we should be singing about single of few people who went beyond the call of duty, risked their lives. All for others. Q: I read that "Heroes" will be released with two different cover-artworks. Can you explain this decision? A: One is basically for the limited edition. I personally love when bands put some extra effort into doing cool editions and this is definitelly a step on that way. We had two artworks for Carolus Rex too. Q: During 2013 you played many shows as supporting-act for Iron
Maiden. How was that experience? Any particular stories to tell us about this huge tour? A: Iron Maiden has always been one of my greatest inspirations and after touring with them I must say that its now even more than ever. To see them go on the stage with so much passion after all these years is inspirational. I will work hard to be in that shape at their age. We never met them, but I understand that. They cannot hang out with all bands they tour with. Q: How was to work with Peter Tagtgren, who produced, recorded and mixed "Heroes" in his own own "Abyss Studios"? How did he help you in studio? A: This was the second album done together with Peter. He has been there somewhere helping with basically every album but since “Carolus Rex” he is now fully producing our albums. He lives close to us and we are great friends so, it’s very simple to work together. We have fun and we can relax in his studio. Now Peter also knows how we in Sabaton work and what we are capable of and not. It’s a great relationship that has evolved over 14 years now!
S A B A T O N - Heroes (Nuclear Blast) Following the big success of their previous and platinum-selling studio-album "Carolus Rex" (the sixth in their career), and the release of the massive "Swedish Empire Live" CD/DVD, Sabaton is now considered as one of the most important Heavy-Power Metal bands in the international scene. The new album, “Heroes”, marks a brand new chapter in Sabaton-history as it's the first with the new line-up with guitarists Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund and drummer Hannes van Dahl. Luckily, the result in both departments, songwriting and musicianship, is still top-notch, with vocalist Joakim Broden and bassist Par Sundstrom (the only survivors off the original line-up) taking the main roles in the band. Their aggressive still very catchy, epic, majestic and melodic Metal approach is still there, and the production of Peter Tägtgren, in his own “Abyss Studios”, take Sabaton music to the next level - as usual. Power Metal fans will love it. Primo Bonali (88/100) MRF | 15
band. Mother Road album. drive interview with:. k. slack interviewed by:. b.mcminn
Question: So give us a brief history of the band, how did Mother Road come together? Answer: Chris was looking for a vocalist to put a new band together after he left Soul Doctor. and I happened to be available at the time. Birgitt Schwanke (our Manager) contacted me and asked if I would be interested. Chris and I colaborated on a few songs in the following weeks and realized that we had great song writing chemistry. Plus we are both easy going Leo’s. Which is very rare. Q: How long has it taken to put the new album together? A: Well, the actual writing and recording didn’t really take long at all. The only thing that took a little time was putting all of the pieces together in the proper order. We wanted to do things right this time and get the right players, the right distribution, the right artwork etc… We didn’t want to settle for anything less than excellent. Q: Did you have a vision of how you wanted the band to sound or was it just an organic process? A: We didn’t go into this with any preconceived notions. We merely wanted to create great roots rock with all of the ingredients that we all love and grew up with. I have been waiting my whole life to be able to make a record Focus on:
with a real B3 organ on it. When Ale plays that thing, it brings a tear to your eyes! All of the guys are monster players! I am very fortunate to be a part of it all. Q: There are definitely some 70’s vibes on some tracks on the album, are your influenced by that era or is it just how the album took shape? A: I should have clarified from the previous question that we didn’t go into this trying to be something that we are not. However, we did grow up heavily influenced by the late 60’ and 70’s. My first records growing up were groups like Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, Sly and the Family Stons, Elton John, Deep Purple etc… So I have always felt comfortable with that era of music. Q: The album is released on your own Road Songs label, was it easier to find a distributor than a label? A: We had a lot of label offers. However, the few that we were interested in were tied up re-signing old artist of yesteryear. You know… they have to guarantee their bank roll. So to answer your question; it’s not that it was easier, it’s that it was the right thing for us to do. We worked our asses off for this record. We sacrificed our time and our bank roll for our
passion and dream. Why in hell would we want to just give it away to some suits that wants to give out a measly 10 grand or so and keep all of the rights. You can’t be naïve in this business anymore and survive. Granted we are not trying to get rich. We just want to be able to do what we love and come home and have the light switches still work. So a distribution deal made the most sense for us at the time. Q: With the band members based in the four corners of the rock world is Mother Road going to be a touring band or just a studio project? A: Mother Road is definitely NOT just a studio band or some project dreamed up by guys in suits! This IS a rock band with guys who passionately play the shit out of their instruments, and whom can’t wait to get on stage and play every single night! Q: Have you thought about a follow up album yet or it just to soon to think about the next record? A: We’ve already started on it. In this business you can’t wait around for shit to happen. You have to stay busy and work your ass off or the bus will leave you standing on the side of the road. We understand that very well, and are grateful, hungry and ready for any and all opportunities.
MOTHER ROAD - Drive (Aor Heaven) A quick pop quiz – What do you get if you bring together Keith Slack (Steelhouse Lane, MSG) and Chris Lyne (Soul Doctor)? The answer - Instant rock chemistry. Throw into the mix Alessandro Del Vechio, Zack Tsoukas and Frank Binke, the result is Mother Road, the band with its heart firmly in the 70’s keyboard infused hard rock. The album starts off with one a deceptive path with the opener “The Sun Will Shine Again”, which starts off with a little Southern acoustic guitar but soon builds into a track of hard rocking might. The album continues with Bad Companyesque “Feather in Your Hat”, with Del Vecchio lending that Hammond organ edge to proceedings, before Lyne brings back that bluesy guitar for he stomping rocker “Drive Me Crazy”. The album continues along the 70’s highway bringing in more Hammond organ on likes of “Dirty Little Secret”, even jazzing things up with a little funk on “Still Raining”, before bringing back the blues with the excellent ballad and album closer “On My Way”. If you’re looking for that Classic Rock sound without digging out your old vinyl then this is the album for you. Barry McMinn (82/100)
16 | MRF
band. Mother Road album. drive interview with:. k. slack interviewed by:. b.mcminn
Question: Can you please let pur readers know how this project is born and the story behind it? Answer: It was near the end of “The Calling” record that I was doing with Steve Smith and Igor and Jan. I was having a great time in the studio. I hadn’t been over to Fantasy Studios in a while in Berkeley, which is kind of like our old stomping ground. I got very comfortable in there. It’s a great sounding studio and I didn’t want to leave. When the record was done, I wanted to do something else, so I called to see if Deen and Marco were available and they were. I just stayed in the studio and they came in and we just kind of winged it. Nothing was planned out at all, I just didn’t feel like leaving the studio when I was done with the other record. Q: You wrote some songs with the incredible Jack Blades of Focus on:
Night Ranger. How is write with him and how this cooperation is born? A: I started writing with Jack and I had some ideas. I went up to his ranch and we had worked on a couple of songs off this record that were pre-written before I went into the studio. Jack and I always kind of kick it around when we’re home and our own touring commitments lighten up. We always come out with something. If I get together with him for a day, it’s a sure thing that we’ll come out with a pretty decent tune afterwards. I was basically taking advantage of the time that we had off together.We pre-wrote a couple of songs and then I went into the studio and I didn’t really know I was going to cut a record for those songs at the time. I was just writing with him and then when Marco and Deen were available to come in, I just thought, “What a great
opportunity to do those songs with these guys playing.” At that point, after we had made up the rest of the songs [by] pretty much just improvising on the spot in the studio, like I did with ‘The Calling,’ I called Jack in. So as we were recording and overdubbing, I started writing lyrical ideas and then we went back and forth on lyrics and wrote lyrics together, and it’s sort of how we were able to finish up very quickly. Q: In your opinion, what are the best songs of the album? At lest the songs you prefere in this moment and you think will best feedback from the fans... A: You know what? I’ve been away from it so long that I don’t even know. I’m going to have to wait and see what people react to. Like I said, the record musically is kind of all over the map. For the most part it is a fusion rock record with a lot of different flavors.
N E A L S C H O N - So U (Frontiers Records) Let me just say “So U” is bloody amazing! Just think of it, the lead guitarist of one of the world’s most active groups, “Journey” Neal Schon still finds the time to create such a masterful statement such as this! Neal has teamed up with heavyweights Marco Mendoza and Deen Castronovo, bringing us a true Power Trio. The level of creativity on this album blows the scales! All three players are deeply involved in the superb grooves we hear. Neal has also collaborated with legendary “Night Ranger”, Jack Blades on the songwriting side. Neal has been a masterful and timeless guitarist ever since he picked up a six string when he was a teen and went to cut his teeth with Santana, and this record shows us all of that and more! Now, teaming up with the likes of Marco and Deen seems to have allowed all three to enter the inner sanctum of Rock’s soul, and produce a sea of music that flows in all directions. What we hear on “So U” is an extremely heady, trippy slice of musical super consciousness! One can’t just talk about one-two-or three songs, one must immerse in the whole. “So U” is a “MagicalMystery” Musical ride of the year, and don’t hesitate to get on it! Bruce Atkinson (93/100) MRF | 17
band. night ranger album. high road interview with:. k. keagy interviewed by:. b.mcminn
Question: The band have returned to the studio for your new album ‘High Road’, how long has this album been in the works? Answer: We started In March or April of 2013. Then we went on tour and throughout the year we kept coming back to record and write more songs. Then we would go back on the road. It went like that for 9 months until we got off the road and finished it in April of this year. Q: Some say this new album takes up where “Somewhere In California” left off and others say it’s a return to the sound of “Midnight Madness”, where do you think this album falls? A: It's another great Rock in Roll record. I have a hard time looking at things that way because every album is different. It's a different decade and we just get in there and play and write without thinking that we are going to repeat ourselves. We just go after the best music that comes out of us. Never looking at it like we want to try and make a record like Midnight Madness or Dawn Patrol. Q: Some of my favorite tracks off Focus on:
the album have to be “X Generation” and “St Bartholomew”, but are there any particular tracks that you feel particularly proud of? A: I think that we hit on a few tracks that were emotionally charged. Like I think the 2 slow songs "That Man Don't Live Here Anymore", "Only For You Only" and the lyric in "Brothers" that Jack wrote were really great. I love the way "Rollin On" takes off in the solo. I jump out of my seat every time that solo goes to double time. Q: After 30+ years do you find the songwriting process easier as you have more life experience to reflect on, or does it get harder get the creative juices flowing? A: It's a bit harder but I have Jack Blades and Brad Gillis to work with. That makes things a lot more interesting. Without those great lyric ideas from Jack and the big guitar riffs from Brad it would be like pulling teeth! Eric came up with "Only For You Only" and Joel came up with the guitar hook for "I'm Coming Home" that kit that song into high gear. Q: With the band having such great vocalists in it’s ranks, do you feel
this has given the band a greater spectrum of possibilities, when it comes to songwriting over the years? A: Oh I think you're right, 2 vocalists make the canvas bigger and broader to paint on. We like coming up with background vocal parts that move around the the song adding texture and content lyrically. Q: The album has actually been produced by the band themselves, do you feel this gave you greater control into producing the album you wanted? A: With this band we all have so many ideas on any given song, that we might have a hard time with a producer bringing in his ideas and what he or she my bring to the songs. Someone might get hurt! I'm kidding of course. We can have total freedom to express our ideas and throw them out or experiment how we want. I do sometimes wish a producer was there once in a while to give us a break. It would take 2 years then because we would have take time out to try the producer's ideas!
N I G H T R A N G E R - High Road (Frontiers Records) When it comes to iconic Arena Rock acts, they don’t come any bigger than Night Ranger. Now in 2014, the band releases their 11th studio album, the excellent “High Road”. The album kicks off in emphatic style with the title track ‘High Road’ and from the off “High Road” takes up where the band previous album “Growing Up In California” left off, proving the band are still a relevant force in today’s Hard Rock world and still are able to produce high quality albums. The album is pure Night Ranger as it continues to impress with the anthemic “Knock Knock Never Stop”. The band still have an edge as they bring the heat with “Rollin On” and the excellent “X Generation”. What has always been the staple of any Night Ranger album is the ballads and it has a couple of corkers in “Don’t Live Here Anymore”, the first track to feature the vocals of Kelly Keagy. Also the stunning “Only For You Only”, that will have the die-hard fans in raptures for sure. The band show that even after all these years, they can still produce songs that pull at the heart strings. Another nice touch is the fact that the cover art for the album incorporates elements of the artwork from the band’s previous releases. Barry McMinn (98/100) MRF | 19
band. uriah heep album. outsider interview with:. m.box - R.Gilbrook interviewed by:. d. jamieson
URIAH HEEP - Outsider (Frontiers Records) After 45 years in the business, you’d expect the Heep to know exactly what they’re doing. Long ago the Heep decided to stick to what they do best so this record is awash with swirling Hammond organ, large harmonies and Mick Box’s trademark guitar, the only constant member since their inception. It’s the first record since the sad passing of bass player Trevor Boulder. New man Davey Rimmer equips himself well. Hitting the same quality as their other recent Frontiers Records “Into The Wild” and “Wake The Sleeper”, the record succeeds in being a well-balanced record with enough peaks to bring you back for multiple listens and also provides enough good tunes to hope these tracks push their way into Heep’s live set amongst the old classics. OK, it might not replace the albums “Demon and Wizards” or “Abominog” in your affections but it’s still a classy record. The well-arranged “Speed Of Sound”, the sing-along potential of “One Minute”, the rock power of the jammy “Looking at You” and hummability of “Can’t Take That Away” and “Jessie” all make this an assured, worthwhile collection that proves they’re still ‘eavy and still ‘umble after all these years. Duncan Jamieson (92/100)
20 | MRF
Question: Welcome back with your 24th album! Why “Outsider”? Russell Gilbrook: We chose Outsider because we thought it was the best name for the album title, that's all... Q:How do you feel about Outsider? The album draws many parallels to some of the most legendary stuff you did… RG: It's very much a rock album employing inspiration from the past and the present. I feel it as another fresh start for Uriah Heep. Having cowritten the album I have concentrated heavily on the power of melody and lyric. Q: For the kids... Can you please tak about the band and how was born? Mick Box: Basically we were a four piece. We were actually called Spice, so we were the Spice Boys before the Spice Girls. Unfortunately, that story is true. We went into the studio and started recording the songs we had as a four piece and I was always a big Vanilla Fudge fan, so I loved the Hammond organ. A Hammond organ is a really versatile instrument; it could be moody, it has all the dynamics in it. It can be beautiful, and I thought it really suited the music we were writing at the time. So, we kind of recorded much of the album and started messing with the keyboards, and we started thinking, “This is the sound the band’s gonna have.” We thought we’d give it a new moniker because Spice was a little too tarty. We managed at the time, actually it was in 1970, which was the 100th birthday of Charles Dickens. Of course, in England there were a lot of books everywhere, and book clubs and film clubs and tvs and stuff like that and our manager, Gerry Biron, took his two boys to see the film David Copperfield where he saw the Dickensian Uriah Heep character, and he came back and suggested the name to us. We thought, “That’s rather moody,” and in fact it looked good in print at the time. In those days you got everything from your music trade papers. There was Deep Purple
and Black Sabbath, and we thought, that stands out good for us.” Q: How did the sad passing of Trevor Boulder affect the band on this record? RG: Well we were all so sad about Trevor, but he would have wanted us to continue and keep all of his hard work and ours going throughout the world... We had an album to do and although Trevor was greatly missed Dave did an outstanding job which Trevor would have been proud of I'm sure... Q: What has Dave Rimmer brought to the band? RG: Well Dave is a great guy and a great player. He understands that old school Rock thing and fits very well with the rest of us... The chemistry has to be right in a band, and when he joined it worked straight away... He adds energy and is a nice guy to be in the road with, as that's also important for us that we can tour so much and all get along... Q: To my ears, this is one of the best album of 2014: great production, great lyrics and a torrent of creativity. What’s the secret behind your inspiration? RG: The famous question: there is no secret, we look at life and there it is, everything! Q: Which songs from the new record do you think will make it to your live set? RG: Well we have not decided yet which songs as we need to rehearse them and place them with the classics... We want to find the right songs that work within the set, to make the set flow... Q: A lot of classic hard rock bands tour but don’t release new albums these days. Why do you feel it’s important to still create studio records? RG: I think it's very important to continue to write great music and release it as an album, your always being creative and so therefore new music is waiting to be recorded all the time. Also we like the fans to realize that we are moving forward in
the music business and not getting stale... It's a great promo tool for promotors and keeps the band in the press. It's healthy for the record companies as well as for us... Long live the album... Q: How have you remained so very ‘eavy and so very ‘umble for over 40 years? RG: For us as a band it's a life thing... We are so passionate about music and playing live etc that the years just fly past... We all live to play and enjoy the response from our fans so much that we can't help but continue to play, write and record... Q: What advice would you give to bands with the same old as Uriah Heep? RG: Keep playing! There’s no point in giving up! Keep enjoying it! I think the most important thing is to enjoy it. If you are a musician you enjoy playing, and you should never forget that, why you wanted to be a musician, and what made you start to be a musician. Actually, I go back to when I was a kid, when I first started playing, and I was enthusiastic, and I wanted to be in the Beatles, or the Stones, or whatever. I remember that I wanted to be in a big band, and how great it was to go out and play in little pubs, and clubs… And now, I’ve been all around the world and played all the biggest venues you can play, and stuff, but the most important thing is wanting to play, wanting to be a musician, no matter where you are playing. Just go out there and really enjoy playing… Q: You’re gigging all over the world with the release of this album. How has the touring experience changed for you over the years? RG: The touring has not really changed too much really... We still wait in airport lounges, sit on tour buses, walk around shopping centers and play from 1000 seater Rock club to 100,000 people at a Festival... You have to be a certain type of person to keep touring the way we do, but hey, it's a great life if you love it like we do... MRF | 21
Barry McMinn:“Next Stop” is the much anticipated follow up to your self titled debut album, so how long after the first album did you start work on ‘Next Stop’? Alexander Kronbrink: I had a two months break from songwriting after I finished the first album. That means I started writing for the second album before the first was released. But then it was a pretty long period of just writing and making demos before we started to record in the studio. Which we did in February 2013. (The first album was released February 2012). BM: The band has been described as the Toto for the new millennium, but how do you see Sonic Station? AK: That is of course very flattering. Obviously Toto is a huge inspiration for me. Sonic Station is following the tradition of AOR, soft rock, Westcoast or what you prefer to call it. The new album is definitely a “retro album”, put together with the ingredients that I personally connect with my favorite bands of the 80’s. We play a lot live in the studio and with a full band, and get the dynamics and energy that a lot of modern AOR-bands are missing, I think. But at the same time I would like to believe that we are taking the genre a bit forward. The song “Catch me if you can” is a mixture of rock ‘n roll, AOR and also some 90’s grunge inspiration from bands like Soundgarden. A blend of styles that is probably the result of me being influenced by grunge, since that was a huge thing when I was a kid and started to get into music. Bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana definitely had a huge impact on me. With “Stopped beating” we are flirting with more modern synthesizer sounds trying to give the old AOR a different touch even here. BM: You’ve proven that Sonic Station is more than just a project by playing live, but do you have any dates line-up in the not too distant future? AK: We are working on it. We have a release concert in Stockholm 12th of June. But we sure hope to come out and play more after this album. BM: So where does Sonic Station go from here, any thoughts about album number three, or are there any other projects you’re involved in we should know about? AK: Of course there are thoughts about an album number three. I have already started writing songs and putting down ideas. We’ll see when and what it leads to. But I won’t stop writing and producing music. For the moment I’m also writing material for an instrumental band I have together with my long time music bestie (and Sonic Station keyboard player) Jonathan Fritzén. This project, called “Moonlight Sailors”, also includes bass player Henrik Linder and drummer Aron Mellergårdh from the band Dirty Loops, and has a more popjazzy touch than Sonic Station has.