Melodic Rock Fanzine #78

Page 1

CONTENTS 04_Place Vendome 06_Jack Russell’s Great White 07_Tokyo Motor Fist 08_The Murder of My Sweet 10_Battle Beast 12_Reviews 14_Jim Jidhed 15_Bloodbound 16_Stephen Pearcy 18_Unruly Child 19_Lionville 20_Pride of Lions 22_Age of Reflection Melodic Rock Fanzine The official Frontiers Music s.r.l. magazine Year #13 - Nr. 1 / Issue #78 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, Fabiana Spinelli. 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©2017 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy.

Band: Place Vendome

Interview with: Michael Kiske

Interview by: Fabiana Spinelli

Question: Hi Michael, happy new year! A year that seems to be really intense for you, starting from new Place Vendome album. We can start our chat from the artwork: the fire and the eagle are elements always put into the foreground in the last four albums. The eagle is not just a reference to the imperial eagle in Place Vendome, Paris, but also a symbol of power, elegance, freedom and audacity: do you think there is all of this, expressed in "Close To The Sun"? Answer: Oh Yes! I mean, according to my informations, the eagle is also standing for spirituality. It’s like a transformed scorpion, like the scorpion it’s a very low, kind of very dangerous, kind of star sign… and the eagle is where it gets transformed. I like it anyway, it’s a great symbol! Q: And don’t forget the fire, expressing all the power! A: Yes, especially in this new one, with the sun behind: it’s a strong image, it’s nice! Q: "Close to the Sun" continues the tradition started with "Streets of Fire", with songwriting entrusted to many musicians, all of them coming from different backgrounds. How do you feel singing all these facets? I'm thinking about the first, beautiful single written by Jani Limatainen, or the infinite sweetness of "Strong", a song by Alessandro Del Vecchio... A: I think this is always a great thing about Place Vendome, to have many songwriters that suggest their songs… Danny is fooling around with editing, he cuts all together and stuff like that! I mean, who played the most on the record is Dennis, he chose the artists, he produced everything, it’s more a Dennisthing, but I think it’s amazing. I really like the most the variations, in terms of music they’re the best, in my opinion. Q: Do you have a song that you like the most, in this new record? A: Mmm yes, I really like ‘Strong’ and ‘Helen’, for example. I love this happy kind of ballads, I like pretty much all the songs of the album… the song that I find weakest somehow it’s ‘Distant Skies’, but just because I had to make it twice, because I didn’t like the first version of it. At the end, it works but seems to be the weakest one in my opinion. I find the rest of the songs good in all ways. Q: Unisonic project it's musically heavier, old school, but here we can find all the AOR' carefreeness, you seem simply happy to sing Place Vendome' songs, you sing with a touching genuineness! Do you feel more free in PV project? A: Oh yes, you’re right! But I’m free everywhere, I always came to music with open mind… I always did that! Even when I was a teenager and I started getting into metal music, when I was about 14. I came from Elvis and The Beatles, but even when I started listening to the big metal records of the Eighties, to all my favourite bands, I was still listening to the stuff I said: Elvis, Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Eurythmics, U2, Pat Benatar, classical music, Stevie Ray Vaughan on blues, I was really open-minded and I never lost it! I get even more and

more open the older I get, I can listen to anything, as long as it is not destructive and negative, if it gives me somekind of emotional kick, I like it! It doesn’t matter what kind of song I sing, I try to make it my own. I of course like AOR music, for me music has not to be very heavy to be good, all that I need is a good song… Q: I found the presence of a cover, "Hereafter" by DGM, very interesting! Did you know the song? Who choose to put it in the tracklist and in a prominent position too? A: That was funny, because I didn’t even know that it was a cover! I was so surprised about the vocals, on the demo I heard, they were extremely good but I didn’t know who did it so I just say “Wow! I’ll try to do it different”, I was pretty much following in my own way, what I listened before. I think even Danny didn’t know that this song was a cover, he was mixing when he send me a link to the original video of that band! Q: From your return to the music scene, Place Vendome is your lasting project: do you think it could be possible to see you, on stage, as a band with Place Vendome's moniker? A: I don’t know if there will be the chance to play live as Place Vendome, it’s always been just a studio project, you know, from the very first time. It’s the same thing with Kiske/Somerville, it was only four records and I don’t think we’ll ever go live. Q: Yes, but the idea came out when you played a couple of PV songs the first time on stage with Unisonic! A: Oh yes, you’re right! But it was because we didn’t have a record, that’s the thing! We just had this offer to play at Sweden Rock and it was nice because we didn’t have a recorded album in 2010 or when it was… that’s the reason, we didn’t have anything else to play (laughs, ndF)! But at the same time, it makes that gig very special, because it was the very first time that Place Vendome songs were played live. Q: A lot of things are changed from your coming back, from your Supared project in 2003... What really changed your mind and gave you the will to come back on stage? A: 2003? Really? It could be, I didn’t remember exactly when it was (laughs... btw, 2003 is the right date, ndF). I think there was also Tobi with Avantasia, in the late Nineties… Anyway, at that time basically I didn’t have a band, I was fooling around with things, making records every three or four years. It was what you do when you don’t have a band, you know! There was a chance in 2009, when the Unisonic-thing came up, because that’s really a band… Q: You know, I have to ask you... You're coming back on stage with Helloween... How do you feel being the main character on many different fronts this year, with Place Vendome, Helloween’s reunion? A: Oh yeah, I mean… for a number of years I would never had thought I would never do this! It was just the way I felt… I was not really in the state of doing something like that. In the last two or three years, also four

I think, something changed somehow, I don’t care anymore! It’s funny you konow? When so many years went by… Hey it’s almost 30 years since when we split up… I was in the early 20! I met Michael Weikath in 2012, backstage at a concert, I think it was a festival, Sweden Rock again, and I just ran into him and he was really nice. He said: “Ok, you can tell that you want peace!” (laughs) He was asking me what did he do, that I can forgive him for what happened, and I just realized that I had forgiven! There was no anger, it was a very important moment for me, because I didn’t know what would have happened when I ran into him… And that moment, show me that I’m ok, it doesn’t matter anymore! And from that, it simply slowly goes on… After a gig in Spain, in 2014, Kai Hansen said something like “Michael, we’re stupid if we never ever do something together again with Helloween…” and I just said “You know, I’m open to it” and that’s how all started. The drummer of Unisonic (Kosta Zafiriou, ndF) is also managing Unisonic and he’s in the team managingm Helloween, so he was happy when I said that and everything fell into place. I feel very relieved, to be honest with you… I mean, I carried this anger, this hard-feeling for so many years and it’s great to be able to overcome that. If you can make peace with people you have fights with: do it! Q: Wow Michael, I’m impressed! I think that this is a great message and today more than ever, we’re living in a bad moment… I’m thinking about Istanbul, Berlin and I think that an artist have to send a positive message like this, it could make the difference… A: Totally. Anyone who’s in public somehow, it’s responsible! But you can only do it if you really mean it, you know? I agree with you, I’d like to say that no one gets kicked out, we’re not reforming the band, we’re just me and Kai adding to the team, we’re gonna make a celebration of thirty years of Helloween! This IS a great message, even if we only do a few concerts, it’s a healing kind of things for me to get this out from my system, for a long time I never thought that this would had happened! Like I said, if you ever meet someone that is your enemy, and that person wants peace, make peace beacause you don’t know how long you live, you don’t wanna take it with you when you die! Q: This is so simple and so important, but it seems so difficult to understand! A: It is difficult! When the wounds are fresh it’s difficult and almost impossible when the other side doesn’t want peace, but over the years things change. It’s a good thing to do that… Q: We can find all this vital energy in your music, “Close to The Sun” is full of these positive thoughts… isn’t it? A: Even if I don’t write the lyrics I often change them a little bit, but the people who write for this project, they usually know for who they’re writing for, so I got the impression that the lyrics fit me. Most of the stuff is about love stories, kind of dramas, spirituals, I just change it to suit me better. MRF | 5

Band: J. Russel’s Great White

Questions: Let’s get straight down to the title, is there any significance in the title and what Great White means to you? Answer: The title track 'He Saw It Comin' is based upon the knowledge that I was gifted with at the age of Six. When this knowledge started to unfold, I was and more grateful than I could ever say. I wasn't really surprised because “I Saw It Comin” at such a young age. Only that Great White was the vehicle that brought me to where I am now and I believe I still have a lot to do. Just by virtue of the fact that I am still alive and able to sing after all I have done to myself over the years. Q: The album sees Tony Montana lay down the bass and pick up the guitar, what has this switch brought to the new album? A: Two great guitar players instead of one and a new bass player who is one of the best. Q: We see Robby Lochner, Dan McNay and Dicki Fliszar joining the party, so how did these guys become members of the band? A: Robby has been with me since the beginning we were introduced by a mutual friend. Dicki auditioned for the band, and as soon as I heard it, I knew he was the man for the job. Dan was also discovered through an audition and I feel we got really lucky. Q: Back to the album, the classic GW bluesy tones are there, but there is a little edge at times. Was this intentional to 6 | MRF

Interview with: Jack Russell

bring both styles together on one album? A: The only thing intentional was to write the best things we could. I'm extremely proud of the album. Q: How long have you been working on this album? A: We were writing on and off for a few months. Then we spent maybe a couple of months recording. Q: Did you have any preconceptions of how you wanted the album to sound? A: Yeah, just like it does, lol. Q: Was it your intention from the off as Jack Russell’s Great White to write new material rather than going out just playing the hits? A: Yeah absoultely. I have a brand new band of musicians than anyone I have ever played with and not only that but I still have a lot to say. Q: The album has some very personal songs like ‘My Addiction’ and ‘He Saw It Coming’, was it good to get those feelings down in song? A: Yes. Writing has always been very therapeutic to me. Its funny, I can tell my fans things I wouldn't even tell my Psychiatrist. Q: Your voice sounds as distinctive and powerful as ever; what’s the secret of keeping in such perfect state, if there is’ A: First of all, thank you very much, I appreciate the compliment. Secondly, I am very disciplined when it comes to getting ready for

Interview by: Barry McMinn

performances. I wake up 7 hours prior and warm up throughout the day. I then warm down after every show, which is crucial. Q: Great White has been dominated with great up and downs through the years but what keep Jack Russell going and what will 2017 represent for both you and this band? A: The dream keeps me going, the fans keep me going. The fact that my voice still sounds great keeps me going. But most of all. This is why God put me on this Earth. Hopefully 2017 will represent a lot of shows. The record doing as well as I believe it should. And a lot of fun hanging out with my brothers and capping it off with a vacation for myself and my wife. Q: What does it mean playing r’n’r in 2017? A: It means I’m in my 50’s, ha ha. But seriously, it feels like quite an accomplishment to still be able to make a living. It’s not like it was in the 80’s, playing sold out arenas every night, but still, I feel fortunate and blessed to be using the gift I have been given. Despite the current musical trends, it also means that there are fans I am grateful for who continue to love the music that I have made, and hopefully this album will be no exception. Q: You’ve got a few shows lined up already in 2017, but are you looking to tour more extensively in support of the new album? A: Yes, of course, as many as we can do.

Band: Tokyo Motor Fist

Questions: How did the pair of you hook for this record and how did you get the other guys involved? Ted Poley: I was asked to participate by Steve Brown. He had the other guys already signed up and I couldnt resist when I found out who was in the band! Q: How did coming up with the songs differ from your approach in Danger Danger and Trixter? TP: They don’t sound like either band except of course for my voice. It’s a new thing. Something a little bit different but somehow familiar. Q; How did you record it? TP: In Steve Brown secret studio in a strictly hermetically sealed environment. Basically I sang the songs into a microphone like I usually do. We would do a few takes and Steve Brown would sew it all together after I got in my Corvette and drove home. The songs themselves weren’t easy, but Steve made the recording process very easy. As long as I knew my stuff, he got it down fast. Q: For your rhythm session, you and Steve Brown have called in Greg Smith and Chuck Burgi, who are well known especially for their past in Rainbow. Is it a designed choice? Is there any '80's Rainbow references into the sound you want to propose?

Interview with: T. Poley / S. Brown

TP: None at all! We sound like something new-all our own. Q: ‘Tokyo Motor Fist’, the album, sounds almost like a band effort, like you’ve been playing together for a much longer time than you actually have been. Where does this chemistry come from? Steve Brown: I’m glad you said that. It sounds like a real band because we are Rock N Roll Brothers. We have known each other a long time. We all come from the NY / NJ area. A lot of history is in this band. Each guy is a lot of fun. So we laughed a lot. It was a blast making this CD. Q: Have you written all the songs especially for this project or were there any ideas originally meant for Trixter but never used so you developed them here? (I think songs like ‘Love Me Insane’ would fit well on an album like ‘Human Era’, for example). SB: I always have a back catalog of songs available for any project in the Melodic Rock genre. Since it is my favorite style to write the songs came together very fast. I sent the guys 11 songs that were just about finished and told them each to make the songs their own and we will take this music to

Interview by: Duncan Jamieson

another level. Mission accomplished. Q: Was there ever a key moment in your career when you thought “wow, we’ve made it. This is really working”? And if so, when was it? SB: When we started playing Arenas in 1991 with band like Scorpions and Poison. That was a very special time. Night after night… sold out shows. An amazing feeling. Q: Do you have any long term plans for this band (like touring or more records) or should it be considered just a one off studio project? SB: We would love to play live. Waiting to see what kind of offers we get for Festivals. The set list would include TMF, Trixter, Danger Danger, Rainbow and Ted Nugent hits. We are all hoping it happens. It will be an incredible live show. Q: What are the chances of doing some live shows as Tokyo Motor Fist? TP: We all have such busy schedules but the idea is to play a festival here or there. Q: Do you think you’ll work together again in the future? TP: Yes of course! Schedules permitting. I would love to record a follow up to the debut album and play a few shows. It’s a great band-very cool guys to work with. MRF | 7

Band: The Murder of My Sweet

Question: First, let’s talk a little about “Beth Out Of Hell”, which marked your return to Frontiers and also garnered the group critical acclaim. An absolute outstanding record… and one that seems to be the ‘springboard’ from where you began your latest journey… Angelica: First of all thank you! And yes “Beth out of Hell” was a wonderful album to work on. I’ve always had a passion for storytelling and this was my big moment to explore that. And I just love how we at that time of our life had the time to put everything else in our lives on hold for about three years and simply become the project that we were working on. In today’s music business I think that’s fairly rare. Q: Let us talk about your approach to “Echoes Of The Aftermath”. Did you go in with a concept, or did you approach the writing from a different viewpoint? Daniel: This time we just wanted to write songs that related to our environment and our own lives. After such a heavy and dark record like Beth out of Hell we needed the music to showcase real life subjects and musically translate our own thoughts into songs. But don’t be alarmed, we don’t have any party lyrics here. There are enough of that already in the world. Q: May I ask, whom are the main songwriters for the group, is it you and Daniel? D: Angelica and I have so far written most of the songs but on occasion we invite friends to write with us. We’ve had Jesper 8 | MRF

Interview with: A. Rylin and D. Flores

Strömblad from In Flames, Fredrik Åkerlund from Opeth, Peter Wichers from Soilwork and the Swedish hit song writer Bobby Ljunggren. We tend to ask people that have a certain style that we think works great with our own choice of chords. Q: Some of the songs seem to be very personal, is this by design or what we call a happy accident? A: We are of course, as I’m sure stands for most musicians, very influenced by things going on around us. Like in the world and in our closer surroundings with friends and family so in a way all we write becomes very personal. I believe the best songs, or at least the songs that stay with you for many years, comes from a place deep inside of you so I guess you have to be both personal and a bit brave as well when sharing that with the world. Q: Now, looking at your recording methods, every piece seems to be a little more “brighter”. Did you employ any different recording approaches? D: Yeah, great catch. Well, we have always wanted to reach this level of clearness on every record but bright sound doesn’t always fit metal music. Fortunately this time it fitted with the songs also matching today’s standard in the audio world. Q: Your artworks are always very striking, and this time it was not going to be less. What message do you find behind of this album cover? D: We worked with an artist called Mattias Norén who has done most of our previous

Interview by: Bruce Atkinson

album art. He’s an amazing artist and has this way of putting our ideas into great pieces of art. The booklet and the cover art and even the CD inlay becomes a part of the whole package when you buy an album so it has to be something special. A: For me, the young girl screaming her lungs out at a tree that is bending from her voice is a visualisation of frustration and empowerment combined. Someone taking control and owning the situation. Q: Personal Hell" has a very clear message, and is very well reflected in the video clip. What inspires you to make this song? A: We’ve all come across people who live in un-healthy relationships and perhaps living with someone who has an addiction of some sort. This song portraits that feeling that your stuck in someone else’s person Hell that you can’t escape. It’s not possible to be a by-stander so you get drawn in and if you don’t get out in time you’ll get destroyed too. And you can’t just leave because you love the person so, it becomes a downward spiral. Q: …And what about road work? Are you planning on taking “Echoes Of The Aftermath” on the road? D: We are always in discussion with booking agencies that are willing to give us a spot, hopefully we will find more gigs for the band during the summer festivals in 2017. Keep an eye on and our Facebook page for further info.

Artist: Battle Beast

Question: Noora, may we begin with the history of “Battle Beast”… how did you all get together? Answer: Battle Beast was officially established in the year 2008. Pyry, Juuso and Anton started playing together since they were kids. They had different members along the way but in the end Janne and Eero became as the permanent members along with Pyry, Juuso and Eero. Finally they discovered Nitte as their lead vocalist. This lineup stayed until 2012, when Nitte informed she would leave the band. Now the band had booked the next tour with Sonata Arctica without a lead vocalist and they were under lot of pressure. By accident they found me from Youtube singing Janis Joplin’s “Piece of my heart” and asked me to join the band. We started rehearsing for the tour and we started recording the presentation of me and the new Battle Beast-album straight away. I had never sang Heavy Metal before, even though I had listened to it since I was a teenager. But this was the challenge and the opportunity I had been waiting for and I have no regrets. We, as a band and friends, have definitely grown together through the years gone by and still keep learning of each other. Q: And may I ask, has your original vision for the band differed now in 2017? A: In my opinion it has developed towards the direction it should - more touring, more fans, more successful and more everything. Q: You have a long standing and supportive relationship with your label, this must give you room to explore your music more confidently… A: Nuclear Blast has always been very respectful 10 | MRF

Interview with: Noora Louhimo

towards their bands - The music comes first. They don’t try to affect the result before it’s done. They have always made me feel they actually care about us and what we are doing. Q: So, let’s talk about your overall sound… yes it is muscular, but also very melodic in places… A: My main job is to be the interpreter and the “final touch” in the painting of the songs. I use my voice as the song demands - if it’s aggressive and powerful, that is how my voice should act. Or if the song is full of hope and a light feeling my voice should be representing that. I love using my voice as much as possible. Q: With two guitarists and a keyboardist, the musical vistas that you can indulge in must be vast… A: Sure it give us more possibilities to use the whole potential in songwriting and sound wise. Q: The new album, “Bringer Of Pain” is so full and rich, you all must be very happy with the results… A: Yes we are happy how it turned out and people who have heard it, most of them like it the best album from us. Q: Now, may we talk about some of the songs… beginning with “Beyond The Burning Skies”… A: Is written by our new guitar player Joona Björkroth, who is also the little brother of our keyboardist Janne. This is one of my favourite songs on the album. It is full of hope and I could sing this song the way I wanted. The atmosphere in the song is also very free and full of joy. This song is about the will to see the world and experience everything new that is around the corner. Q: I realise that “Battle Beast” wears the man-

Interview by: Bruce Atkinson

tle of Heavy Metal and of course, wears it well…however the band is much more than one category, how would you identify the group? A: 100% Battle Beast, 0% bullshit. We are the melting machine of music putting different musical influences through the Battle Beast filter and giving it our signature sound. Q: Noora, your vocal style is so strong, and varied…truly a musical instrument—and singing Metal, it must be quite the strain, how do you care for it and keep it pure? A: Living healthy and doing different exercises with my voice. I sing everyday in some ways. Hygiene is also very important as you should not get infected by any bacterias and illness. Q: Back to the new record, “Bringer Of Pain”, do you, yourself, have any favourite songs, or is that an unfair question? A: I think I did answer to this already but I can name another one. I like all the songs because of different reasons but if I have to name one, I would say one of my favourite is “Bastard son of Odin”. Whenever I sing it or hear it, it puts a smile on my face. Q: So, here we are in a brand new year, and “Battle Beast” with a brand new album!! Can we expect a brand new tour? A: Brand New TOURS in Europe, USA and Canada. The tour in Europe is going to be our headlining tour and the USA and Canada we will be supporting Sabaton with Leave’s Eyes. On the show there is going to be a lot of new songs, new surprises and new guitar player, you don’t want to miss it.



TOKYO MOTOR FIST “S/T” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Put together Ted Poley from Danger Danger and Steve Brown from Trixter and what you’d hope for is a disc that sounds like this one. It chock ful of big, catchy melodic rock anthems. It’s only a matter of months since Poley released a solo album but this new project shows no signs of diminishing returns. There are quality feel good rockers throughout. Since Trixter’s comeback Brown has helped the band become one of those 80s bands that is actually stronger now than they were back in the day. Brown’s got a way with a pop metal hook and Ted is in his element delivering the likes of ‘Pickin’ Up The Pieces’, ‘Shameless’, ‘You’re My Revolution’ and the heavier, Def Leppard sounding ‘Put Me To Shame’. The ballad ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ shows the boys can do the sensitive stuff with aplomb too. Poley likes to crowd please and that’s what he’s doing here, giving his fans exactly what they’d want.In those dark months at the beginning of the year, this brings you enough sunshine to keep your vitamin D levels up until the summer comes. DJ (94/100)

ASIA “Symfonia” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Recorded on the 21 September 2013 as part of the Sounds of the Ages festival, 2nd Century Roman Theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. During the performance, the band were accompanied by The Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Levon Manukian. The album sees John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes, along with Sam Coulson on guitar, bringing the classics to this magnificent ancient theatre. The album is broken down to two CD’s, the first featuring just the band, with the second seeing them joined by the full orchestra for classics likes ‘Don’t Cry’, a stunning version of ‘Heroine’ with full string accompaniment, plus ‘Heat of the Moment’ is given a full orchestral backing and sounds just amazing. I would have loved to hear the full set with orchestra backing but what we got is just superb and a must for all fans of the band. BM (85/100)

PLACE VENDOME “Close to the Sun” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Place Vendome, the melodic hard rock project put together in 2004 by Serafino Perugino, is a still living creature and it’s in excellent health. The New chapter “Close To The Sun” is an elegant and refined record with great production and polished songwriting, entrusted to some of the most brilliant musicians of the rock/metal scene. The dinamic duo Dennis Ward (Bass guitar and deus ex machina of the band) & Michael Kiske (vocals) hit the target: a fresh, pleasing rock and roll piece with AOR influences. The album starts with the titletrack “Close To The Sun” (written by Simone Mularoni, DGM), followed by the first single “Welcome To The Edge”, a little jewel written by Jani Liimatainen, with a great power metal structure. On the ballads Kiske do his best, so prepare yourself to a bunch of emotional listenings to one of the record higlights: “Strong”, composed by Alessandro Del Vecchio, will melt your heart and make you dream. Everything in this work seems to have a great vibe, with a romantic and emotional mood; you can find a blast of genuine rock with “Falling Star” or heartbreaking intensity with “Breathing”. Twelve songs full of energy and vitality, to create a captivating album, absolutely recommended to AOR and Hard Rock lovers! FS (95/100)

LANCER “Mastery” (Nuclear Blast) ‘Mastery’ is the third album from Swedish Metallers Lancer and their first under Nuclear Blast. The Swedes return to deliver their trademark Power / Speed Metal in ten tracks of pure unadulterated riff spewn heavy metal. With speed comes great melody, something that has been a big part of the Lancer sound since their incarnation in 2009. From the opener ‘Dead Raising Tower’, the full-on attack it at fever pitch, no fancy intro’s or narratives, just straight into the driving guitars and powerful bass and hard hitting drums. The band give no quarter as they unleash monster riff after monster riff, with the likes of ‘Future Millennia’, the thumping title track ‘Mastery’, the massive epic feeling of ‘Iscariot’ and the hard hitting full speed attack of ‘Freedom Eaters’. This band has it all. I think Powermetal is like driving a Italian sports car, anyone can drive at full throttle, but keeping it on the road takes skill and Lancer never take speed for granted, as they understand the melody is just as important. BM (87/100)

BATTLE BEAST “Bringer Of Pain” (Nuclear Blast) “Bringer of Pain” is this Finnish band’s fourth album. Keeping the energy high and the beats pulsing are drummer Pyry Vikky, bassist Eero Sipila and keyboardist Janne Bjorkroth. “Battle Beast”, yes, Heavy Metal, yes, Hard Rock, and then all of a sudden we hear passages of Progressive Metal that just broaden their already heavy and hardened sound! “Bringer Of Pain” is an album that will consistently surprise! A collection of rockers that will set your heart pounding, matching every beat of each and every track, even those that slow the pace down-dig deep and reveal the more emotive sides of the group. We are all in for an epic ride with this slice of molten Metal! After a couple of dramatic years, I would say that “Battle Beast” have resurfaced far stronger and more commanding. A group with renewed energy and conviction and “Bringer Of Pain” is just the beginning of a new chapter for this Metal beast from Finland! BA (90/100)

UNRULY CHILD “Can’t Go Home” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) The re-uniting of “Unruly Child” has produced a power house album! “Can’t Go Home” is full of high calibre Melodic Power Rock. This new effort has undoubtedly been benefitted from each member’s growth in their other musical ventures. From the ‘honeyed’ vocals of Marcie Free to the pulsating rhythms of Larry Antonino and Jay Schellen-which anchor each composition. These strong rhythms provide expert foundations for the explorations of guitarist Bruce Gowdy and keyboardist Guy Allison. As we listen, extraordinary vistas of sound open forth, full of energy and vitality. With eleven beautiful pieces to sail through. Certainly this is a Melodic Rock album, but it gets tough as well… like “Get On Top”: very melodic and with some tough undercurrents that burst forth reaching heights that have put “Unruly Child” on the top tier of the Melodic rock pile. “See If She Floats” ripples with such energy and meshes complicated rhythms that constantly feed us with a variety of soundscapes. We have, in “Can’t Go Home” eleven top drawer journeys that showcase each member’s Talent and growth. An album of diverse explorations, so many rivers to discover, so many adventures to hear. “Can’t Go Home”, the latest from five legendary musical masters! “Unruly Child” are back! BA (90/100)

SUPERNOVA PLASMAJETS “S/T” (AOR Heaven) This German band fuses classic melodic rock with youthful angst and energy. The band have the chops. There are big solos, riffs that can be meaty, sleazy or spiky and then the band can throw in good instrumental parts that incorporate anything from bluesy piano to dancefloor beats or a bass solo. Jennifer Crush possesses a good versatile voice capable of tackling melodic rockers like ‘Feel Your Fear’ but she is also adept at a big power ballad moments such as ‘Hold You Tight’ or a punky attitude ason ‘Turn Off The Lights’. ‘Nothing Gonna Stop Me’ hints at The Darkness but also throws in some leftfield dance beats midway and “Faster” has the heaviest riff but has a rappy verse. The track that sums them up best is ‘Supernova Team’ which is frothing over with teen-like exuberance. Not your typical AOR Heaven band but it’s an interesting debut, with Crush offering them a USP in the crowded melodic rock market. DJ (84/100)

THE MURDER OF MY SWEET “Echoes of the Aftermath”(Frontiers Music s.r.l.) I have always been inspired by this Swedish band, both musically and yes, spiritually. I’ve always listened to each creation this group have composed with amazement and “Echoes of the Aftermath” is no exception! So much depth, musically and lyrically. The talent? Angelica’s vocals are top form, Daniel’s drumming and keyboard work is amazing! The fluid notes from Patrik continue to build the strongest of foundations. And those astonishing flourishes of vibrant colour keep coming at us with the stunning fret work of Christopher! “Echoes…” is varied, concise and rocks straight to the point. Each foray is muscled, yet flows so smoothly that we are continually carried from peak to peak. Each song, strong, each creation a vast array of instrument and voice. A Recorded Work that soars and pulsates through the speakers! Perhaps more so than in the past, we hear sonic brilliance that reveals the many sides of this group. Progressive styling’s that are hardened with melodic currents that run through each composition. The writing and arrangements are done in the highest order and care! An album that is full of rich tapestries that will continue to astound! “Echoes of the Aftermath” will resonate within, long after your music system is turned off! BA (91/100)

SWEET MARY JANE “Winter In Paradise” (AOR Heaven) With ex-members of Roulette and Airborn (no, not that one) plus some new young talent, they deliver a sound that recalls the late 80s with its mix of stabbing keys, melodic guitars and big hummable hooks, making them a good fit for AOR Heaven. Singer Tomas Bergan is the brother of Stefen Bergan (Snakes In Paradise/Grand Slam) and there must be something in that sharedgene pool as he puts in a fine performance here. ‘Madeleine’ is ludicrously catchy and has definite single potential while ‘Fire In Your Eyes’, ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ and ‘Surrender’ keep the energy levels up. The ballads ‘Miracle’ and ‘Angel Eyes’ also have good hooks. It’s a solid well-written album with no duffers, some good arrangements that keep songs varied within the narrow confines of the genre and it’s all wrapped up with a polished production job from Lars Chris from Lion Share. It might not be anything radically new but it’s done well and here’s hoping we’ll see them out on the road in the future. DJ (88/100)

ACCEPT “Restless & Live” (Nuclear Blast) Recorded at “Bang Your Head Festival”, in Germany, during 2015, "Restless & Live" proves how powerful, thunderous and energetic ACCEPT still are on stage. Even if the band members themselves had some doubts – in the beginning – because new musicians, Christopher Williams and Uwe Lulis had only joined the line-up just shortly before, those doubts were very quickly proved wrong. As the concert showed that they meshed perfectly into the distinct corpus that is ACCEPT. Available on both formats, Blu-ray and DVD (each of them equipped with the audio part comprising of two CDs), the live-shooting is really brilliant, with a lot of cameras placed around the stage bringing you exactly where the action is; and the sound is equally perfect. A technically and artistically superior LIVE-album for a band that appears to be now stronger than ever! PB (90/100)

STEPHEN PEARCY “Smash” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Minus his Ratt-pack, Pearcy delivers a varied set of quality hard rock. Synonymous with Sleaze and rock ‘n’ roll excess, Pearcy’s leery voice still makes you want to shower and visit an STD clinic after hearing it. His last outing with Ratt was the triumphant ‘Infestation’ comeback disc, this isn’t as consistently great as that record but it is still very good. Not technically the greatest singer but he knows what works for his love ‘em or loath ‘em vocals. He operates s best on the no-nonsense Rattlike pop-metal of ‘Ten Miles Wide’ and ‘Hit Me With A Bullet’. Being a solo album, he pushes his character more to the fore with self-mythologising rockers like ‘I Know I’m Crazy’ and ‘Dead Roses’ that evoke Alice Cooper. He experiments and strays from the Ratt formula with the Led Zeppelin influenced ‘Shut Down Baby’ and Zep/Guns ‘N’ Roses hybrid ‘What Do Ya Think’. The further though he strays as on the closing tracks ‘Passion Infinity’ and ‘Summer’s End’ the less potent the result. However overall, this is a strong disc from Pearcy, and his band, that suggests Ratt need him more than he needs them. DJ (92/100)

MICHAEL BOLTON “Songs of Cinema” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Michael Bolton is a multiple Grammy Award-winning Singer, Songwriter and Social Activist, who has sold more than 65 million records worldwide. This is his 27th album, “Songs of Cinema”, a tribute to beloved songs from the world’s most iconic films. For most of the melodic rock and AOR lovers and fans, Michael Bolton is an legend; his first albums “Michael Bolton”, “Everybody’s Crazy” and “The Hunger” are surely acclaimed like one o the best melodic rock albums ever. This new release is not Melodic Rock like the aerly days, but just listen to “Stand By Me”, “Old Time Rock & Roll”, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, for exemple, and I’m sure everyone will be pleased by the amazing Michael Bolton voice and passion he always put singing these famous songs. He is still one of the best voice in the World and this album proves it one more time. VN

PRIDE OF LIONS “Fearless” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) This is the fifth album for Jim Peterik’s post-Survivor band and it has all the elements you’ve come to expect from POL; big melodies, romantic, empowering lyrics from Peterik and powerhouse vocals from Toby Hitchcock. It kicks off with ‘All I See S You’ which has a fiddle on it, giving it a slight Kansas or Shooting Star dimension which works well. The title track shares some DNA with ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ as it’s a song designed to get you off the ropes and aiming for glory. Few do this kind of thing better that Peterik. ‘Tell Me’, ‘Silent Music’ and ‘Rising Up’ rock like you’d want them to and the big ballad ‘Everlasting Love’ is soppy but sincere. On a lot of the songs Peterik shares lead vocals with Hitchcock. Peterik has a theatrical aspect to his voice that I’m not convinced by and I think the material would work better with just Hitchcock singing. Nevertheless, there are moments that will have you punching the air triumphantly and if you’re already on board with POL then this is an easy purchase. DJ (92/100)

BLACK STAR RIDERS “Heavy Fire” (Nuclear Blast) “Heavy Fire” is the album #3 (after 2013 “All Hell Breaks Loose” and 2015 “The Killer Instinct”) for the quintet composed by frontman Ricky Warwick, guitarists Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson, bassist Robbie Crane and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. Recorded with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Deftones, Rush), “Heavy Fire” contains 10 brilliant rockin' tunes, from the Warwick / Johnson / Gorham-penned title track to the closing, euphoric & driving “Letting Go Of Me”, passing thru the likes of the catchy “When The Night Comes”, the Van Morrisontinged “Cold War Love”, the beautiful “Dancing With The Wrong Girl” and the intense & groovy “Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed”. They might easily be one of the most vital acts on the circuit – as “Classic Rock” describes them; and their new album has definitely that Classic Rocksound that made an act like Think Lizzy such a legend. PB (88/100)

CRYSTAL VIPER “Queen Of The Witches” (AFM Records) After releasing five full studio albums and extensive touring across the globe, the group suddenly stopped in 2013. Now, after a period of recovery and returned vigour, a vital Marta Gabriel has written a brilliant concept piece and re-launched “Crystal Viper’s musical course. The whole of the album deals with the dark world of witches, from the past to the present, and the interesting lyrical journeys are matched ever so well with the music that has been created. Along with her gifted writing, Marta’s voice is rich, varied and has an extraordinary range, although listening to her, it all seems so effortless! The music is heavy, solid forays of rock and at times the molten currents are tinged with a metallic edge that lifts each pulsating piece to heights we are not prepared for. “Queen Of The Witches” is a most dominant statement, and one that not only screams we are back, but one that shows us a little of the future of the progression of “Crystal Viper” and their music. BA (89/100)

JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE “He Saw It Comin’” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) 2017 sees the welcome return of Jack Russell under the moniker of Jack Russell’s Great White. A man with more than his fair share of media attention over the years, he returns with fellow Great White bassist turned guitarist Tony Montana, along with Robby Lochner (Guitar), Dan McNay (Bass) and Dicki Fliszar (Drums). The album has that great bluesy Hard Rock feel that Great White had and Russell’s vocals have never sounded better. This album also has a harder edge in parts, which I think are down to Montana’s bass roots. The album opens with ‘Sign of the Time’ and instantly you’re back in the Jack Russell fronted Great White of yesteryear. Those unmistakable deep bluesy vocals power through, not just on this track but the entire album. Check out the likes of ‘Crazy’ and smooth rock of ‘Love Don’t Live Here’ and feel the years disappear. They say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, well then Russell is the embodiment of that, with the heart felt ‘My Addiction’ for the rockers, then the title track ‘He Saw It Coming’, before ‘Spy vs Spy’ and the excellent ‘Blame It on the Night’, which has a certain Alice Cooper vibe about it, before the acapella closer ‘Godspeed’ shows the man still has the voice. A great return from Russell and a hell of a way to start 2017. BM (90/100)

AGE OF REFLECTION “In The Heat Of The Night” (AOR Heaven) Again Sweden and once again a monster of a debutalbum! Influenced mostly by the bands like Atlantic, Giant and Strangeways on top of their faves, their sound reminds me a winning mix between White Widdow and Angels Or Kings, enriched by a perfect production (courtesy of “Blowout Productions” by Erik Mårtensson), that adds that incredible “plus” to the chemistry. The opener “Borderline” will definitely be a contender for the Melodic Rock “track of the year”, with its incredible hooks and vocals harmonies, and the following “The Mirror Never Lies” follows on the same amazing path, with a slight W.E.T. - influence in the chorusAnd, to tell the truth, they're doing it great! Carl Berglund, Jan Skärming, Lars Nygren, Jonas Nordquist and Michael Sjöö definitely put together the album of their dreams, and you guys out there can't miss the chance to check out this so-exciting A.O.R. act. PB (92/100)

LIONVILLE “A World of Fools” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) With two critically acclaimed albums under their belt, the 2011 self-titled debut and the 2012 sophomore album ‘Lionville II’, Stefano Lionetti’s Lionville return in 2017 with their much anticipated 3rd album ‘A World of Fools’. Once again, the vocals are handled by Lars Säfsund and Lionetti and from the off the album takes up where the second album left off with opener ‘I Will Wait’. Yes, the band has been influenced by the likes of Toto, Richard Marx, Giant and the like, but with this new album they have pushed out of that envelope and produced an album that takes AOR to a new level. Songs of note have to be the ballad ‘Heaven is Right Here', the midtempo rocker and title track ‘A World of Fools’, the excellent ‘All I Want’ and for the fans of West Coast AOR, check out ‘Our Good Goodbye’. All in all, a great slice of AOR with enough to keep the diehard fans of the genre satisfied, and for those looking for new band to keep the genre going for many years, well this is a must. BM (90/100)

BLOODBOUND “War of Dragons” (AFM Records) Bloodbound was founded by Fredrik Bergh (keyboards) and Tomas Olsson (guitars) in 2004. The band quickly set out their stall with the release of their debut ‘Nosferatu’ in 2005, now into their 12th year, the band unleash their latest assault on the senses ‘War of Dragons’. Like the band previous outings this is Swedish Power Metal as its very best. The Swedes show why the Scandinavians have been so dominant in the Power Metal genre, maybe it’s the Viking bloodlines and the epic Legends of old that inspire them, but the Monsters and Myths that power Bloodbound are here in all their glory. From the likes of opener ‘Battle in the Sky’, right down to the closer ‘Dragons are Forever’, the band carry that epic feel to everything they do. The rampaging guitars interwoven with double-kick drums and a thunderous bass line are just the tip of the iceberg, as the vocal might of Patrik Selleby really brings this album to life. If you love your Power Metal done to the highest quality, then this a must for you. BM (87/100)

JIM JIDHED “Push On Through” (AOR Heaven) “Push On Through” is Jim’s sixth solo effort, and one that finds this fine vocalist stretching his voice over some tasteful rock creations. Now, just last year Jim was introduced to drummer and producer extra-ordinaire Daniel Flores, by a mutual musical friend. Turns out both men admired each other and meeting each other opened up an opportunity long sought. “Push On Through” is a collaboration, and a brilliant one at that! The collection of songs herein are solid, mid-tempo rock with strong melodies and emotive lyrics. Eleven absolute gems, and Jim’s vocal stylings are mesmerising. Each performance should bounce around in our memory for a long time! “Push On Through” captures some stunning performances from those who helped out on this record, and gives us another opportunity to hear Jim’s rich and textured voice. An album truly worth checking out! BA (90/100)

Artist: Jim Jidhed

Question: Jim, it is so good to be able to talk with you! Congratulations on your new record, “Push On Through”! I must say, the title actually says it all, just a fantastic collection of original material… Answer: Thanks, it really feels good and I´m so looking forward to the release of the album in a couple of weeks. Q: I understand that this is the first you have worked with Daniel Flores… it seems to be a match made in musical heaven! A: Yes, this is the first time we been working together and it´s been a real pleasure. Q: I would like to touch upon your song writing. Some of your compositions are very deep… You seem to have a lot of feelings that you can tap in to… A: Well, it´s hard for me to say, I just do what I know, but I am glad if that´s the way you feel about it. Q: Being that Daniel is also a song writer, did the both of you collaborate? A: Not that much on the actual songwriting but more on how we wanted the album to sound and he played an important part arrangement wise. Daniel had an early vision about how he wanted the album to 14 | MRF

Interview with: Jim Jidhed

sound and sure enough, he did a really great job making that happened. Q: You also seem to take a bit of a more rockier approach to some of the pieces… Is that correct? A: That is correct and that was the plan from the beginning. Q: In the past, you have created a variety of recorded Works, both as a solo Artist and also with your band “Alien”. Can we look forward to more with “Alien” as well as your venturing in to some unique fields of music? A: You´ll never know. Q: You have such a positive vibe to the songs on “Push On Through”, even though we are living in so much uncertainly, have you found it hard to to find these bright gems? A: Well, I think some of the songs reflecting myself in some ways. I want to push on through in life. And for sure we´re living in a very uncertain world today but that should make us even more eager to live our dreames in the best way we can, and try to be truthful both to ourselves and to the people around us. Q: Who were the bands or musicians who

Interview by: Bruce Atkinson

had the greatest influence on you? And who has been your vocal influences throughout your career? A: Bands like Status Quo, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC but also artists like Christopher Cross Vocal-wise I appreciate the ones I already mentioned but also singers like Tom Jones, Tina Turner... Q: Now, with such a strong record… Are you wanting to take this on the road? A: YES !! Q: What do you think about your music impact in Sweden and in the world? What are your ambitions? A: My impact in Sweden was quite big in the eighties, today I think I have a big impact around the AOR world thanks to internet, and thanks to the music we make. Q: So, if you are going to tour, will we be able to hear the musicians that helped you with recording to be the ones that perform with you? A: Yes that is the plan. I hope to go on tour very soon and play all over the world. I will post all the information on my socials and website, so please stay tuned and I hope to meet you all on the road for some great shows!

Band: Bloodbound

Question:This is the latest album with Patrik Selleby as frontman and is the bands strongest to date, so how has the band evolved since the critically acclaimed ‘Nosferatu’? Answer: Yes, it is our fourth studio album with Patrik. Thanks for saying so, I can only agree. It feels like we are improving for every album we make. If you compare Nosferatu to War of Dragons I believe we have a totally different sound these days, it’s been a constant development and improvement. We have all improved as musicians and we have found our own style on the last two albums I believe. So we are very happy with where we are right now. We are ready to conquer the world with dragons and metal! Q: What do you feel Patrik brings to the band? A: Well, We have now done 4 studio albums and the live dvd with Patrik. The main reason he is working so well is of course because he is a fantastic singer and frontman and is a much loved guy by our fans. He has no big overblown ego either, and that my friend is very rare when it comes to singers. LOL. I cannot see any other guy who would be better for the job to be honest. He is also a talented songwriter. He has surprised us all with the 3 song ideas he brought in for War of Dragons. Q: The band have seen several line-up changes since its inception, mostly on the vocal front, do you think the changes in line-up halted the bands

Interview with:Fredrik Bergh

evolution over the years? A: I can only agree, the first five years of the band were pretty rocky, we couldnt find a working line up and a singer who we could work with. We didnt have a good record label or booking agency / management back then either. So not much happened with the band even though we put out some great records at the start of the career. Since 2010-2011 we have been going in only one direction and that is UP! We have a great singer and a working line up and we have the great German label AFM Records and the top booking agency Rock The Nation. So we have achieved very cool things during the last five years. Great album sales and we have been on some great tours and have played at some of the biggest metal festivals in the world. Q: Back to the new album, how long have you been working on the album? A: Tomas and I write songs all the time, so you can say we have worked on it ever since the last album Stormborn came out. When the time comes for the actual recording we collect all the ideas and start to arrange and put together the ideas to songs so to speak. If I speak for myself, I always write the basic music and the vocal melodies first and record a VERY simple demo. If the demo idea is perfect melody and harmony wise we go forward and creates riffs and orchestrations etc. The songs on this album needed lots of choirs and orchestral arrangements, so I worked very hard on getting the sounds and arrangements right on

Interview by: Barry McMinn

this album. I cannot say it was difficult to do the arrangements, but it was very time consuming. Only the keyboards were like 50 channels on each of the songs. Q: Where do you get your inspiration for the songs? I’ve seen very little about the whole concept of the album, can you tell us about ‘War of Dragons’ and the background to the album? A: Personally I get my inspirations for songs from everywhere if you mean my musical inspirations. I listen to almost all kinds of music, as long as it’s good of course. LOL. Since I was a kid during the 80s and the 90s my favourite bands and inspirations within the rock and metal genres are bands and artists like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Dio, Journey, Rush and so on. Among the newer bands I really like Within Temptation, Nightwish and Sabaton for example. Q: Do you think with the world in such a turmoil that albums about Dragons and Fantasy are a much needed escape from the everyday doom and gloom? A: Absolutely, music is an escape for sure. Q: The band are going on tour with label mates Crystal Viper later this year, is touring still a big part of the whole Bloodbound ethic? A: Touring is very important to us. We put a lot of work into the live performances. We want people to have a great time at our shows, so we try to put together the best shows possible for the fans. MRF | 15

Artist: Stephen Pearcy

Question: This is a strong, eclectic record from you. You must be pleased with it. How does making your own records differ from making albums with Ratt? Answer: Differences between solo and Ratt are that I have more breathing space and time, try things and try to be more diverse. Take chances. With Ratt music it's kind of its own thing that transpires and formulated itself, even if we or I get outside or off track to our formula, way we write. Q: Who wrote the songs on the new record? A: The opening song "I know I'm crazy" was co-written with Chris Hager, previous guitarist in solo group. "I can't take it" co write with guitarist friend Michael Raphael, myself and Erik. All the other songs are Pearcy and lead guitarist Erik Ferentinos. Q: There’s a wide variety of material on this disc. Was it intentional to make it eclectic or is that just how it transpired? A: It was conscious and deliberate to be diverse and a begging, middle and end to the record. It's own story in sequence. Q: There’s a definite Led Zeppelin vibe going on during ‘Shut Down Baby’ and ‘What Do You Think’. Was that deliberate? A: Yes, well Led Zeppelin. I was very influenced by from the start and when Erik introduced me to the riffs on a couple certain 16 | MRF

Interview with: Stephen Pearcy

songs, I just let myself go there. Not to emulate, it just came out. "Shut Down Baby" was the first song I tracked vocally and the lyrics and content came so easy, fast. I didn't want to over do it, keep it simple. Q: Some of the songs appear to be addressed to particular people like ‘I Know I’m Crazy’ and ‘Jamie’. What are the stories behind those tracks? A: "I know I'm crazy" lyrics are more of an Ingushes address to someone and I wanted to have anyone relate to that subject. "Jamie" is a fictitious person that just needed a name, could of been a Jane, Jodi or Mary, lol. The name just flowed with the structure. I do at times wrote person, place or environment. With Smash I got a lot deeper in subject matters outside of norm for me. More interesting subject matters. Time, space, underworld, reality from my perspective. Glad I put lyrics in this record. Which I hate doing, only twice I've done it and probably the last time. I like the listener to listen then read and make their own assessment of what I'm talking about. Q: Which songs from the new record do you think will find their way into your live shows? A: That I'm looking forward to, probably 34. Maybe "Shut down", "Ten miles wide", "Want too much", "Train" and "Hit me with a bullet". Have to rehearse as many as pos-

Interview by: Duncan Jamieson

sible to see. Q: Tell me about the band you’ve got playing with you on the record? A: Studio players are the same guys in band live. Erik Ferentinos. Lead guitars, Greg D Angelo drums, Matt Thorne bass and Frankie Wilsey (Arcade-Sea Hags)back in the band on guitars. Been with me for (Greg and Matt) 5 years, and Erik and Frankie about 14 years now. Q: You’re a busy guy with a lot of interests, not only musically. Tell us what you’re up to outside of music these days. A: Music for TV shows, movies anything worth doing. Putting bands in my indie label, trying to sponsor another drag race car and getting ready to start another book end year. Q: You’ve left Ratt again. Do you think the band will ever get back together again with you singing? A: Not true, Ratt with Warren, myself, Juan and Carlos just did a show not long ago and letting dust settle on some legal things. We (RATT) start doing shows Feb. 11 and are headlining M3 Festivsl in April 29th to start. More shows on the way. Started demoing new music for a new Ratt record for end 2017. My solo group is also doing the "Smash" tour until July. We start the solo shows Feb. 25th. Going to be a SMASH-Ratt n Roll 2917. Be there!

Band: Unruly Child

Interview with: Guy Allison

Question: What drove “Unruly Child” to start all over again, so to speak? Answer: Hello, and thank you for the opportunity to talk about Unruly Child once again. We just decided that we wanted to crank up the Unruly Child engine again. We had time in our collective schedules and we felt like we had something to say, more music to make. Q: Everyone in the band, has ventured into other musical avenues, and of course have been met with success. Now, with the new “Unruly Child” album-we hear all of those influences coming together, was it hard for you all to focus or were the sessions very fluid? A: The sessions were time consuming because we set a high water mark that we wanted to hit. Personally speaking, once I'm into that frame of mind, I don't get easily distracted. The influences, and thank you for noticing, are hard to avoid. Everything we've collectively learned in our

experiences (professionally and personally) bleed into the music. The musicians that make up UC, that bring their respective levels of creative abilities and expertise to the band make it nothing less than a joy! So yes, very fluid. Q: Did you set about recording any differently than years gone past? A: We have always recorded with the gear and technology commensurate with the times, though the process of creativity has never changed. If we had our older gear from 1991, perhaps the tracks may have taken shape differently in some respects, but the song writing is always built on a very simple beginning - an acoustic guitar, a microphone and a pen. Q: The new record sounds like you have never left! However, we do hear a maturity in both the music and lyrical content… Would this be a direct result from, say, your solo ventures and those of the other members? A: Thank You sincerely! I don't think

18 | MRF

Interview by: Bruce Atkinson

one can sound exactly the same after 25 years. If there is a maturity there, I'm grateful. Once we engage in the Unruly Child songwriting process, there are certain things that we can't escape. It's almost like no matter what direction we take a composition in, the basic heart of who we are creeps in, and you just get this sound again. Bruce and I always laugh about this, but it's comforting to know that there's a creative thread between all of the band's work. Q: Having the backing of a major label must open up new vistas for you, as an Artist as well as a Band… A: It's certainly easier having the support of people who have the kind of experience that gets you in front a bigger audience. We are always grateful for that. Q: Hopefully 2017 will see “Unruly Child” hit the road! Do you have any plans for touring as of yet? A: So far, one show in Milan in April of this year - but we have an eye on the future.

Band: Lionville

Question:‘A World of Fools’ is the bands 3rd studio album and sees a four-year gap since ‘Lionville II’, so why the break between albums? Answer: At the beginning my purpose was to take some time to think about which direction to follow in the future. But after a break period of one year some trouble with the label arised. I would prefer to not talk about this point but I just can say that we’ve drifted apart for many reasons…So once I put together a few demos I thought to get in touch with Serafino Perugino and try to finally follow my dream: and I succeeded! The negotiation and the production work took a long time so... here we are! Now I really hope to make happy all those who have waited so long for this new album. QOnce again, the album is a great mix of AOR with West Coast influences, was it clear that you wanted this album to take up where the last album left off? A: Thank you Barry! The beauty of Lionville is the mixing of FM sound and direct songwriting, good arrangements and parts well played by the musicians. I think we kept the A.O.R. sound with a touch of west-coast for all records, “II” included (you probably remember the song “Open your Heart”) but with “A World Of Fools” we surely made clearer this kind of style adding some little “reference” to other musical genres. Q: With the last two albums receiving critical acclaim did you approach this album any differently? A: The first two records received a great and unexpected feedback so I approached to this album with the awareness that I would have to make a better one than the previous ones! And it was not easy at all. As you know

Interview with: Stefano Lionetti

people expect always more from you and a new album is a kind of challenge also because I’m never entirely satisfied with my work… Anyway I tried to turn the pressure into a new motivation to do something better! Q: The album sees a host of guest songwriters, is it good to have outside influences who are have the same love for the genre contributing to the album? A: Most of the guests were involved for the lyrics because I usually don’t take care of it and they gave me a great contribution. I just sang a few lines in the chorus or suggested the subject to be dealt with and they were able to build complete lyrics. I normally prefer to compose the music of my songs on my own but sometimes it’s really funny to share and mix ideas and inspiration with another songwriter. So as I’ve done in the previous albums I thought to write again a new track with Robert Säll who is in my opinion one of the best songwriter in the current melodicrock panorama. He made an awesome job and “I Will Wait” was chosen as a first Lionville single by Frontiers! I would also like to mention “Image Of Your Soul”, a touching song written by Alessandro Del Vecchio. Q: This is the first album on Frontiers Music Srl, so why the switch of labels? A: First of all I would like to thank Serafino Perugino and the other guys on Frontiers for believing in me and bringing Lionville onboard. This is really a dream come true for me. As I mentioned, somewhere along the way I have been at cross board with Avenue Of Allies and I preferred to leave the label as the agreement allowed me to do. Now I’m working with a professional label

Interview by: Barry McMinn

that gives the right prominence to his artits. Q: The first two albums saw the cream of Italian musicianship come together and again this album does the same, so is Lionville just a project or do you see it as a band? A: Since Lionville started, I worked with a lot of italian players and they have shown to be very good musicians and persons. Even if we took different ways, I’m very proud to have worked with them. For this album I chose to involve new collaborators and I’m very satisfied with their contribution. Giulio Dagnino, Michele Cusato and Martino Malacrida are good friends and they’re mainly focused on Lionville so it’s really funny to work with them. Even if Lionville was born as a studio project I always wanted to turn the project into a real band. It would be great to play our songs live after our previous partecipations to Firefest and H.E.A.T. Festival, but we will wait to see how things develop. Q: Where would you like to see Lionville go from here and what does 2017 have in store? A: Now I hope that the enthusiasm, me and everyone else involved put into this third record will be embraced by the audience, so I can be totally focused on the forthcoming album release. But the best thing that could happen to me musically was the involvment in the next Frontiers Rock Festival! It will be amazing to play on that stage next April so… two great things already coming in 2017… And then let's see what I have to look forward to in life. As I said before it would be great to play some live gigs in Europe but I just want to be aware of everyone's availability. MRF | 19

Band: Pride of Lions

Interview with: Jim Peterik

Interview by: Duncan Jamieson

Question: This is your fifth album as Pride Of Lions now! How do you feel ‘Fearless’ compares to the previous records? Answer: Actually our sixth if you count our Live in Belgium disc. I think Fearless may be our most consistent set of music since our self-titled debut. Of course we always strive for no album “fillers”- only the good stuff! This time I think all the songs and performances are very strong and the sound is the best yet in my opinion. Q: According to your statements, you have been listening the previous albums to understand what was working and what you could have improved. Did you find the answers you were looking for in “Fearless”? A: Yes I did! I think like so many songwriters, I started to feel that more complicated is, better when actually simpler can be more effective. I don't need to impress other songwriters, I need to connect with my audience. In my most successful efforts which include the very first Pride of Lions record and of course Vital Signs part of their success was due to that type of simplicty, both in chord structures and lyrics. Q: How long has it taken you to write and record ‘Fearless’? A: It was about a year in the making. Pretty quick when you realize these songs did not exist in the form you are hearing them until I started writing for this record. Q: Is there any common theme with the new tracks? A: There is a certain fearlessness to many of the themes, Fearless of course, but also Rising Up. Even a song such as “Freedom Of The Night” invites the listener to fave the unknown, whatever lies beyond the fringes of the darkness. Q: Which tracks represent best the album? A: I'm liking the album as a whole piece- almost as a song cycle. But I do think that our first single “All I See Is You” is a good example of going back to a more innocent style of writing. Also “Silent Music” is in that direction as well and “The Light In Your Eyes.” Q: You’re very proud of some of the lyrics you’ve written. Are there any couplets on this disc that you particu-

larly like? A: “Take The Highest Ground - Stand And Fight - You Gotta Be Harder - You Gotta Be Tougher - You Gotta Be Fearless!” That is my battle cry. Q: To which one of the previous albums would you compare “Fearless”? A: I would have to say on an overall basic it would be our premier cd from 2003, but each cd has had moments that wouod compare. The song “Immortal” as one example contains one of my all time favorite lines, "For all the times we've failed, It's the one thing we did right, that laeves a mark forever on this world and makes us, Immortal.” Q: You’ve been working with Toby Hitchcock well over a decade now. What do you like about him as a singer and person? A: To me a singer has to be more than a great voice. There has to be a real person behind it. Toby is that person. He is super sensitive to people’s feelings and will bend over backwards to help a friend. Then add that one of the best set of pipes in the universe! Q: How do you think you’ve changed as a musician and person since the Survivor days? A: I don’t think I’ve changed very much but I do appreciate the people around me more than ever. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. We are not islands - life is a team sport. I see that more and more and try to give these people my total appreciation. As a musician, I think I’m about the same but to stay the same you have to keep moving forward so you don’t slip back. Q: “Freedom of the night” have been composed with Jimi Jamison’s keyboardist. Jamison was the historical voice of Survivor and passed away in 2014. Can we considered it a tribute to Jimi? How do you remember him? A: It is definitely a tribute to Jimi and my co-writer Hal Butler feels the same way. It’s the last song seed that Hal got to play for Jimi before he passed away. When I ferst heard it, I could imagine Jimi singing it. When I finished the song I did it with how I feel Jimi saw the world, he loved to get alone and just walk through an unknown city at night

and kind of get lost. I like to think that Toby and my vocals on it captured that emotion. Q: It seems Karen, your wife, is still your muse listening to the lyrics on ‘Everlasting Love’. How important has she been in keeping you grounded? A: She has been my rock and solid foundation for 48 years now- since the day we met. That song is all about the evolution of our love from two scared kids on the altar so two mature people who have pretty much found their way. Q: You’re playing the Frontiers festival in April, what can we expect? A: I’ll be doing and all acoustic set backing myself with acoustic guitar and piano. No prerecorded tracks. I’ll play a sampling of songs I’ve written and loved through my past by various artists I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Certainly some new songs from Fearless- and some stories of my journey to where i am today. Q: You are on the stage for a life time almost but the quality of your music doesn’t falter. What makes you so inspired? A: Life is a constant source of wonder and inspiration. I am always up to top myself. Many people ask my what is my greatest song- I usually say- "I havent written it yet!" My goal is to touch people- for them to say- "I can totally relate to this song- and it makes me feel better about what I am going through" comments I get like this are my greatest reward and my reason to keep writing meaningful songs. Q: You made the Peterik / Scherer album a couple of years ago. Any plans to work together again? A: Marc is an amazing singer and dear friend. You will be hearing a lot more from this team! Q: In your autobiography, you mentioned that when it came to writing songs you were a natural collaborator. Who would you like to work with that you haven’t worked with yet? A: Most are dead! Lol! But if I can’t get john Lennon, I’d settle for mick Jagger and Keith Richards. I also would like to see what i could do with Ed Sheeran, but he really does not need me, does he? Cheers and years of great rock & roll! MRF | 21

Band: Age of Reflection Interview with: Carl Berglund Interview by: Primo Bonali

Question: How do you feel about this Work? Is exactly the album you always dreamt of? Answer:We are really happy that you like our album. We are very pleased with the album and the result was, if possible, even better than we could ever have hoped for. When we first released our EP this summer, it was so great…finally after all these years, a melodic rock album out on Spotify, iTunes among others…unbelievable. For a moment at that time, regarding the tracks on the EP, I

felt like “Fine…just get them out and then it’s done…who will care?”, but the response was overwhelming and we couldn’t believe the great response. In one month four record companies replied and wanted to sign us to their label. In the end, AORHEAVEN (which also is the label I’ve always dreamt about being signed to) gave us by far the best proposal based on our wishes and requirements. I’ve always been into music, since first grade, and my biggest dream have always been playing in a melodic rock band.

In the early eighties, I fell in love with melodic rock and AOR and have been ever since. So the release of “In the heat of the night” is really a dream come true. Q: Your band’s name is very nice and it has a multifaceted meaning. How have you chosen it and why? A: Just like you said, the name has a multifaceted meaning. We wanted a name that reflected on our philosophy, which was the most important part. It means that we live in a time where we need to stop and reflect on what the consequences of our actions will be, what will happen if we do not take care of our planet, but also the band reflects of what at one time created their interest in music and they want to recreate the same feeling. We also needed a name for people to remember that could be cool with just the initials. We’re all into AOR, more or less, and we also want people to reflect of what’s happening in the world right now so it was kind of easy to find the name. Q: How did you get in touch with your label, AOR Heaven? A: I contacted Georg right after we released our EP this summer and he sent a proposal just after a few days. Q: Any plans for live-shows in Europe? A: Nothing booked right now but we wish and hope for a lot of gigs around Europe 2017. We’re also hoping for festival gigs so we finally can meet our European fans but also play our material for those who have never heard us.