CONTENTS 04_Primal Fear 06_Inglorious 07_Nordic Union 08_Last Autumn’s Dream 09_Signum Regis 10_Shakra 12_Reviews 14_Wigelius 16_Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia 17_Diviner 18_Rick Springfield 20_Last in Line 22_Resurrection Kings Melodic Rock Fanzine The official Frontiers Music s.r.l. magazine Year #12 - Nr. 1 / Issue #72 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/frontiersmusicsrl Twitter: twitter.com/FrontiersMusic1 Editor and publisher: Frontiers Records s.r.l. Copyright©2016 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Printed in Italy.
Band: Primal Fear
Interview with: Mat Sinner
Interview by: Bruce Atkinson
Question: With your last album, we heard you push the envelope, and this time around you pushed even further… Answer: “Delivering The Black” was a really successful album and we toured it around the world. We saw and heard what the fans really wanted to hear from Primal Fear and with this impression we started the songwriting for the Rulebreaker album. It was time to continue straight into the same direction with some little modifications and not making extreme changes or musical experiments. But from the first riffs and melodies there was fabulous flow and the vibe was great. So all the pressure on our shoulders went early and we knew we had a really nice and creative time with the songwriting. Q: Tell us what is behind “Rulebreaker”? What was the inspiration towards these sessions? A: We are free thinking persons and most of the lyrical content is about that – rockers, rebels, live free and not let any people dictate you what you have to do and where to go – politically and with any religion. We are artists who take their responsibility very seriously. That’s the message of Rulebreaker, but the lyrics have always to fit with the music. Q: Now, being on the scene for such a long time, it most likely is tempting to put out a “safe” set of songs, but not Primal Fear, as mentioned, you continue to push the envelope! The motivation of each member must be high… A: That has always been our target from the beginning of the songwriting until the mastering in the studio or the last shot of the video clips in the middle of the night. The first reactions and reviews from the media are phenomenal and we hope this will continue. We wanted to write and record the best Primal Fear album with a lot of motivation and ambition. We pushed ourselves in the studio and Jacob
Hansen did a killer job mixing the album. Overall I think the production and sound really developed on this album to the next level. We‘re really sure that we did our job and now the fans will decide. Q: And not only motivation, but the well you draw from must be deep as on this album each and every piece is fresh and vibrant! Can you go through your creative process? A: We’ve found a nice set-up how to write and record and it works. This time we’ve recorded for the first time more parts in Jacob’s studio in Denmark. For example it was a really cool move to record the drums with our new drummer Francesco Jovino out there. This gave us a lot of basic help to make the music sounded fresh, natural and raw. With this basic set up it was really cool to record the other instruments and vocals. Not overloaded, but always powerful. Q: What about the production? A: We produced a little differently this time, because we’ve learnt again from the last production. We’ve recorded the drums and some more stuff at Jacob Hansen’s studio in Denmark, then we’ve recorded the guitars @ Magnus Stuntguitar Studios in Sweden and Vocals in Ralf’s studio, then I was going back to Jacob’s studio to mix the album with him in Denmark. Finally we found a way to improve and took some right decisions. We’re very happy with the final result and in my opinion this is the most powerful sound and excellent of Primal Fear so far. You can listen to the album on a cheap or an expensive system and it always sound really fat and kicking. Q: I really enjoyed the song “We Walk Without Fear”... A: Magnus and me are two guys who work really hard and peacefully all over the years with great results. This time we had the idea to write our longest song ever, with a lot of rhythm changes, harmony changes, big hook and real place for guitar duels. We’ve
worked for about 6 months until we were both happy with the final arrangement.You can imagine that you are recording and mixing a song which is three times as long as a regular song, but in the end it’s all worth it. Q: Let’s talk about the new band member. Can you please introduce him to us? A: We have been knowing Francesco since 10 years now and we’ve played a lot of concerts and shows with his former band Udo. We really like his style of drumming and he’s a really pleasant and peaceful guy. When we heard that he left Udo we were already playing with Aquiles Priester from Brazil but we had some problems with the travel and logistics. So we played a show with Cesco to check him out on stage with us and he was just fantastic. He really loved to join the band and that was our story! Q: How long after the ‘Delivering The Black’ tour did you start recording? By the sound of “Rulebreaker”, it seems not long as the energy level is so high! A: Very soon – there was no time for a break. We were really ambitious and motivated to start writing and reflect all the moments we’ve brought back from all over the world. Q: I’m sure that with this effort, as a group, you will break new ground and I hear another world tour is in the offing? A: We will tour Europe in Feb. 2015, then 3 guys of the band are busy doing the huge arena tour Rock Meets Classic like every year in March & April, Primal Fear will go on a huge US / Canada tour in May/June, then Japan, then Open Air festivals, September we will rock South America and then a second round of shows in Europe in October. Busy times ahead. And if some promoter from Italy gives us a good offer, we will of course be happy to come back and play a crushing show for you guys with the best Primal Fear line up and album ever! MRF | 5
Questions: I would like to begin with a little background. Being such a young group, that is recently formed..but with veteran musicians, it must have been a long process in picking the membership? Answer: That was the hardest thing. Finding people that fit the bill in every respect and have the same influences. Guys that are nice, great musicians and performers, that want to be in a rock band in a world of bedroom players that wanna be session guys… Q: Obviously, you had a specific vision and one that seems to be fulfilled. So, with the band being formed in 2014, did you spend most of 2015 polishing that vision, and obviously recording the first album… A: Yep. It wasn’t smooth by any means. We had a few hiccups with guitarists but as soon as we had the line up I had dreamed of it was full steam ahead! Very quick easy process making this album. We recorded it in less than a week. Q: In reading other articles about “Inglorious”, I see that you have a great organisation behind you… Effective management and a strong work ethic. As you were moving forward, how did you connect with Frontiers? A: We are managed by an awesome team, QEDG. They look after such greats as Asia, ELP and Yes. They introduced us to Derek Shulman who signed Bon Jovi, Nickelback 6 | MRF
Interview with: Nathan James
and Dream Theater to name a few…he was very keen on us and between Derek and QEDG they thought it would be a great idea to show the band to Frontiers. They flew over to see our sold out debut show and signed us that that week. Its great that a label is signing young bands in our genre and making to possible for us to get our material out there for rock fans to enjoy for many years and inspire the next generation of fans too! Q: Upon listening to selected tracks off the new lp, one can tell that you guys love playing live! It is almost a “jamming” feel to it. Would you care to comment? A: That is exactly right. We don’t use click tracks, autotune etc. We like it to sound real and live. So people feel like they are at a show. That also says a lot of the musicianship of this band I think. If people like the album they will like us live. We wanna do great shows, exciting shows, entertain people!!! That’s whats missing for me in todays scene. Proper rock and roll shows!!! Q: So, keeping with the new record, when it became time to write, how did that process begin? Does everyone in the group write, or is it one or two individuals? A: The whole band writes. It was my first time writing to be honest with you and the final track on the album is the first song I ever wrote. It was on tour in the US at the time with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the
Interview by: Bruce Atkinson
boys were sending me demos and riff ideas and in my bunk every night on the tourbus I would write melodies and lyrics. When I returned we had about 20 songs including some co writes from Joel Hoekstra [Night Ranger, Whitesnake], Al Pitrelli [Megadeth, Alice Cooper], John Mitchell [It Bites] and Neil Fairclough [Queen]. Q: With such experience from each and everyone one, is it harder to write together… Or do you find that the creative process is much more energetic? A: It is so easy. We wrote Holy Water, track 4, in 45 minutes. And Until I Die, the opening song, in the same day. It’s easy when we are all together. Our method is honesty, if something sucks we say it sucks and move on. No time to be precious. Q: Relating again to what we are going to hear on the debut, as a group, you are not afraid to share your influences, and from such a strong point. Do you feel that this may limit you in any way? Personally I think “Inglorious” is such a breath of fresh air, and breathing new life in the tried and true Rock & Blues standard… A: Why thank you! In a word, No. This is what we do and its very natural for us all and hopefully people will see that and appreciate it for what it is… Good classic hard rock played by people that really care and can play live.
Band: Nordic Union
Question: The new album sounds like a perfect marriage of Eclipse and Pretty Maids. How did you get together with Ronnie? Answer: I’ve been doing a few projects for Frontiers records during the past years and they contacted me and asked if I was interested to do an album with Ronnie Atkins, singer from Pretty Maids, and I said yes immediately. Pretty Maids is a great band and I love Ronnie's voice. We got in touch and Ronnie instantly liked the first couple of songs I sent to him. Q: How did the song writing differ from the approach in Eclipse? A: Well, one difference is that I wrote most of the songs all by myself. With Eclipse I always write together with Magnus Henriksson (guitar). And I also tried to find a little different approach compared to Eclipse. I wanted it to be really melodic but a little more dark and moody. Both melodies and lyrics. It’s absolutely not a theme but I wanted the album to have that over all feeling. Q: How did you record the album? A: All music is recorded it in my own studio in Sweden, (Blowout Productions), but we recorded Ronnie’s vocals in Denmark at Jacob Hansen's studio. The whole recording went really smooth and Ronnie did a fantastic work singing the album. He always gives 100% and so do
Interview with: Erik Martensson
we all. Q: There are a number of more sombre topics touched on that differs from the useful kind of boy meets girl rock lyrics. Can you tell me a bit about the ideas behind 'The War Has Begun', 'When Death Is Calling' and '21 Guns'? A: As I said, I wanted the album to touch a little more serious themes and melodies. “The War Has Begun” is about how we treat each other and mother earth. We’re crossing over a line and there is soon no way to turn back and repair all we destroyed. “When Death Is Calling” is about we’re all facing death alone. There’s no escaping it and when death is calling you gotta answer whether you want it or not. “21 Guns” is about all the pointless wars that’s going on around the planet. People with power send poor men to fight for them. They will not do the fight themselves but they don’t hesitate to send the expendable youth. When they’re sent home in a box all they get is 21 gun salute. Q: Do you think this is a one off project or will there be more from Nordic Union? A: It’s all up to the music fans really. If people like the album and if people have interest in the project I would love to do another album of course. I really like the way it turned out.
Interview by: Duncan Jamieson
Q: You collaborate with a lot of artists. What is it you like about working with other artists? A: I see it as a way of doing stuff I can not do with Eclipse. Not that they sound miles apart in style but still there are many small differences. And it’s also a privilege to be able to work with such great singers. But I write for many different artists and bands. I also produce, mix or master many albums every year. All from Country to Death Metal. Q: Is there anyone else you'd like to work with? A: Oh, there are so many great singers out there. And so many bands I would love to work with. Actually, Joey Tempest would be a dream singer to work with as I listened a lot to Europe as a kid. Q: When can we expect to hear new music from Eclipse and Pretty Maids? A: I know that Pretty Maids are writing for a new album right now. And Eclipse will release a new album in February 2017 if everything goes as planned. But we will also participate in the Swedish qualifications to Eurovision with a song I wrote so there is actually a brand new Eclipse single coming out very soon! Q: Any chance of you performing these songs live? A: Absolutely. If there is an interest for it we’ll do it. We haven’t closed any doors with Nordic Union. MRF | 7
Band: Last Autumn’s Dream
Question: So what’s the story behind the new album’s title? Answer: We knew that this time people would think that we got to have a number 12, but no no no no, we had this idea of these songs and of course every song that should be like “musical painting” in a way. Sounds like a crazy thought but it suits me perfect because I see all songs in my mind as a picture. So, paintings it is. Q: This is the bands 12 studio release, not bad for a band that only been around since 2003, so what makes Last Autumns Dream such a prolific album band? A: Just because we're not so much on the road with LAD, we all have projects and bands beside this. Hopefully someone will pick up the phone and offer us some gigs or tours. We are all busy writing songs between the other gigs. Q: Are you sort of person whose life is reflected in their art or do you take your inspirations from different things? A: My inspiration comes from life experiences and classical music. In my case I got ideas when I hear 8 | MRF
Interview with: MikaelErlandsson
trains goes by, a door with a cracke noise or sound, or a baby crying with beautiful harmonies. I don't write my songs with an instrument, they all come up in my head, sometimes in my sleep or lately, when I took a shower... Then I record all my ideas in my own studio. Q: Andy Malecek unfortunately decided to leave the band in 2014 because of personal reasons and was replaced by Peter “Pac” Söderström, was Peter the obvious choice to replace Andy? A: Yes, he was already in this progress 6 albums ago, but not as a full member. Peter did and do all rhytm guitars on every album, Andy did all the solo parts. But sadly Andy got weaker and in the end he just could't deliver his master brilliant guitar solos anymore... So, with blessing from Andy we asked Peter to join us. And he followed the classic style and sound of LAD. Q: Also we see producer Ulf Wahberg join the band as keyboard player, how did he go from producer to keyboard player? A: Ulf is still the producer, but he is
Interview by: Barry McMinn
also a keyboard player. We asked him IF he would like to play keyboards when we are appearing live. It's only a "live thing" I still do all the keyboards and arrangements on the albums. Sometimes Ulf adds some small keyboard things, just for the production. Q: The band played Rockingham Festival in Nottingham in 2015, what was it like to play in the UK in front of a die-hard Melodic Rock crowd? A: We were more than happy! This must happen more often in the future. It was truly magical to perform our songs live and the audience was awesome. Highlight of the year for me, I must say! Q: The album is due for release in February, so are you taking the band on the road to promote the album in 2016? A: We are doing our best to promote this and the older albums too. First of all we're gonna release a radio single from this album, "Take it on the run". A cover and a brilliant song from REO Speedwagon, hope you all will love it - we do.
Duncan Jamieson: On your last album ‘Exodus’ you had different singers on the songs but this time you’ve settled on one singer, Mayo Petranin. Can you tell us about him and how you decided he was the one you wanted for the job? Ronnie König: The 3rd album Exodus was done with 10 or 11 different singers and Mayo was one of them. He was quite a well known singer on the Slovak metal scene, so Filip (guitarist) suggested to invite him too. This was the trigger for everything that followed. We have known each other before, but after this little cooperation, we became friends, we started rehearsing together, we even started playing live together. Later we decided to really start anew as a band with fixed line up, with Mayo behind the microphone. We are very happy with this decision and with the direction that we are heading. DJ: The songs are tied by a theme. Can you explain the idea behind the concept of the record? RK: I have to correct this a little bit. It is not a concept album per se, every songs stands on it’s own. On the other hand, you have to find an album title and a theme for the artwork. We thought, the song Prophet Of Doom could work. There is a line that says: “if you do not like the message, do not blame the messenger”. That’s basically, what you can see on the front cover. There is this figure showing people, that there is a big evil cloud coming, he is trying to warn them. And what do the people do? They blame the messenger and want to lynch him. That's the way it usually goes. In ancient times and also in today's politics. DJ: How have you written the songs? Is it lyrics initially or do you come up with guitar parts first? RK: In our case, the music and the melody come always first. The lyrics are written according to an existing melody. DJ: Which artists do you listen to? RK: The recent weeks, I’ve been listening to Primal Fear, House Of Lords, Meat Loaf, Lord (Australia) and Gamma Ray. My all time favorite bands are Megadeth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Gamma Ray, John Fogerty, Dio, Helloween, Impellitteri, Rod Stewart, Grave Digger, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. DJ: What’s the music scene like in Slovakia? RK: The one thing, that I can definitely say is: it’s getting much better. The bands in the underground keep on getting better, there is some international recognition of some of the bands going on. In addition to that, there is no lack of metal events anymore. You have all sorts of bands coming here to play. From Iron Maiden to Dream Theater, Avantasia, you name it. DJ: With a permanent singer now, does this mean you’re likely to tour? RK: It’s possible. It’s also about how you define touring. We have been playing live shows regularly for 2 years, but it was a show here and a show there. If we are talking about the traditional meaning of the word (being on the road for 3 months without a break), well let’s see. Anything is possible, but for the next 3-4 years, it is more realistic to keep on doing short, mini-tours 3-4 shows in a row, booked around a weekend.
Interview with: Thomas Muster
Question: You sound re-energised on “High Noon”. Answer: Thank you very much! Yeah, I was very motivated to work on this album when it was clear that Mark will rejoin the band. I was writing almost day and night, so in the end we could choose from more than 30 songs. Thom also did a great job on the production. We’re really happy how everything turned out! Q: Mark Fox is back. What is like having him back in the band? How is it different now? A: Well, we had a lot of problems back then in 2009. There were different reasons why we splitted up finally. First thing we had to do after all those years was to talk about all that shit that happened in the past. We did a lot af mistakes back then and so he did. I think it was very helpful, that he had his solo band in the last few years. He learnt that success doesn’t come easy just because his name is Mark Fox. I mean, he has a great, very distinctive voice, but he also needs a real band as we are to make things complete. So the main difference actually is: we talk about whats’s going on, with a lot of honesty and respect now.
Q: So what happened with John Prakesh? A: He called us one day in summer 2013 and said: Boys, I need to talk to you. I immediately knew what it was all about. We felt that he wasn’t really happy anymore. It wasn’t his world, the rehearsal room, the studio and the stage. Sometimes I think he thought that everything would be much easier. But to play in a rock band doesn’t only mean to have fun all the time, first of all it means a lot of work. And he wasn’t willing to put all the required effort in the band. Q: Did the difficulties with line-up changes inspire the music? A: A lot people asked me in the past where the inspiration and energy is coming from. And my answer has always been the same: I have no idea! As I said before, surely I was very motivated to work on new material when Mark came back. But on the other hand, I was always very motivated when we were working on a new album in the last 20 years! Q: It is a great melodic rock record, with some great riffs and some of your catchiest songs to date. How much time did you spend in the writing and
10 | MRF
Interview by: Duncan Jamieson
recording of the disc? A: Thanks man! It took us about 12 months to write these songs. As mentioned before, we did demos for more than 30 songs. Chris von Rohr from Krokus helped us a bit to choose the right tracks for the album this time. I mean we do not work with an external producer – Thom, our lead guitarist, produced the album once more – so sometimes it‘s good to have an opinion of someone who’s not actually involved in the songwriting process. It often happened that I sent a new song idea to Chris and he just said: “Sorry, not good enough. You can put this song on the album if you want, but I wouldn’t”. Well, you know what I did next? I just wrote a new song. Until Chris said: “Well done, Thomas”. Haha, that’s why it finally took us one year to write these 12 tracks. Q: What plans do you have for touring? A: We start playing in Switzerland in March. Then we will play some shows in Germany, France and hopefully Spain. And a lot of festivals then in Summer. I hope we make it to Italy also sometime this year!
PRIMAL FEAR “Rulebreaker” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Eleven shining pieces of Metal populate the group’s latest release. “Rulebreaker” is aptly titled, as ‘Primal Fear’ have broken some rules while successfully pushing their own borders. From track one; there is renewed energy from every corner of the group. The result is harder hitting anthems for the heavy soldiers of ‘Primal Fear’s legions of heavy metal’lers! “Delivering The Black” solidified the group’s premium position in the Metal musical galaxy, and now-“Rulebreaker” has just elevated them that much higher! Any and all releases from this juggernaut of musicians’ is a celebration, but a little extra celebrating is in order here. “Rulebreaker” marks the return of founding member Tom Naumann back to the studio, along with his blistering guitar work! And it is all here, the scorching vocals, twin guitar attack and the high octane back rhythms and lightening fast percussion. All wrapped up in an unrelenting performance, song after song after song! Already this album is being touted as ‘Primal Fear’s strongest yet… Hey! I remember reading that very statement about their last release, and, I wrote it myself in the previous release! Obviously, the group have outdone themselves once again and so it seems that ‘Primal Fear’ hold no fear, and are limitless in their collective creative powers! A toast to these six masters of music… Germany’s foremost Heavy Metal’lers: “Primal Fear” BA (98/100)
LAST IN LINE “Heavy Crown” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Vivian Campbell, Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain who played together on Dio’s Last In Line record (hence their name) are back together and they're doing a great job of keeping the Dio sound alive. Andrew Freeman is the man who has the unenviable task of filling Ronnie James Dio’s shoes. Freeman is a strong singer and wisely doesn’t try to do an impression of Ronnie, so the band despite their obvious debt to the Dio sound, add enough of their own character to create something special. The best songs tap into the spirit of classic Dio but add some modern oomph thanks to Freeman’s vocals and Jeff Pilson’s excellent production job. It's great to hear Campbell really rocking hard and heavy here. The strident ‘Devil In Me’, the brooding ‘Starmaker’, the more modern ‘I Am Revolution’ and the title track all would be worthy of a DIo album. Lyrically deeper than you might expect, the fight against illness, that plagued Ronnie and now Vivian, crops up metaphorically in ‘Already Dead, ‘The Sickness’ and on ‘Blame It On Me’ cancer is overtly mentioned. Dio’s legacy lives on. DJ (94/100)
INGLORIOUS “Inglorious” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Hell! what can I say!? This debut will simply blow you away! From the power of lead vocalist; Nathan James to the organic rivers of sound created by guitarists’ Andreas Eriksson on lead, and Wil Taylor on rhythm. The command of ‘Inglorious’ is absolutely underlined by the pulsating Sonics driven by bassist Colin Park and Phil Beaver on drums! Now, these five musicians are all graduates from the grand Old School of Rock. They play with passion, spirit and harmonise to the nth degree and… Don’t pull any punches! Just one listen and you will hear what Blues-Rock needs to and should sound like! Each song was recorded live, and contain very little over-dubs. What you hear is what you’ll get in a live concert performance! The range of vocalist Nathan James is unbelievable a whiskey throated soulful singer that can also reach the highest of registers. OK, so what about the music? Glad you asked! You’d better strap yourself in. ‘cause as I said ‘Inglorious’ will absolutely blow you away! Powerful, rhythmic and melodic, full throttle Rock n’ Blues, with molten lead licks and organic undertones. Real Rock, with soul, muscle and melody, a group of musicians that live it and breathe it! BA (92/100)
WIGELIUS “Tabula Rasa” (AOR Heaven)
RHAPSODY OF FIRE “Into The Legend” (AFM Records)
AVANTASIA “Ghostlights” (Nuclear Blast)
GRAND SLAM “A New Dawn” (AOR Heaven)
BRIDGE TO MARS “Bridge to Mars” (Pride and Joy)
BRAINSTORM “Scary Creatures” (AFM Records)
The sophomore album from the Swedish AOR band is more varied than the first and perfectly captures that mid to late 80 sound of US AOR. Anders Wigelius puts in an impressive vocal performance throughout, although I think it’s fair to say his voice is at times more pop than rock. The wellarranged opener ‘Do It All Again ’ has an eighties sounding slap bass, twinkly keyboards, a good hook and a tasty guitar solo that all combine to leave you in no doubt this is a quality act. The rockier guitar on ‘Long Way From Home’, the ludicrous catchy trio of ‘Time Well Wasted’ ‘Run With Me’ and ‘Please, Please, Please’ are all highlights. It veers into pop territory on ‘These Tears I Cry’, the early Nelson-sounding ‘ 9 Out Of 10’ and the Richard Marx-like ballad ‘My Cherie’ which may prove too lightweight for some of the rock crowd. This is a more mature sounding album than their debut. Eric Wigelius’s production has the polish to give it that million dollar studio sound despite, one would imagine, a much more modest budget. Overall this is a classy disc at the lighter end of AOR. DJ (92/100)
Seven years of recordings in four different studios, incredible classic orchestral parts, several symphonic choirs, and an exclusive use of original instruments make “Into The Legend” probably Rhapsody Of Fire' most extensive and ambitious piece of work ever. Epic, majestic, orchestral, cinematic and powerful, the new album is a 70 minutes-long kind of Power Metal soundtrack that will make any fan of the band happy and proud. In a certain way, “Into The Fire” marks the return to the roots of the band, stylistically recalling elements off their first four albums, with double bass-driven anthems like “Distant Sky”, “Into The Legend” and “Realms Of Light” being clear examples of it. Add to this a couple of authentic gems like the beautiful ballad “Shining Star” and the 17 minutes-long “The Kiss Of Life” that closes the album in a grandiose way and you'll have a picture of “Into The Legend”. Fabio Lione's dramatic and powerful voice matches perfectly with all the majestic orchestrations that Keys-wizard Alex Staropoli has written for the album. Like them or not, you cannot deny that Rhapsody Of Fire have an unique sound and that they really know how to write and perform an epic, dramatic and symphonic Metal album. PB (85/100)
This goes where previous Avantasia records have gone but there are new musicians swelling the ranks as well as those who have shaped the sound of Avantasia in the past. Old stalwarts like Jorn, Bob Catley, Ronnie Atkins and Michael Kiske are back because what they bring complements Sammet’s vision perfectly. The characterful Dee Snider joins the ranks this time as well as Marco Hietala, Robert Mason and Geoff Tate. Across twelve tracks, the album tells a complicated story of a spiritual awakening of a life lived in the modern, materialistic world and a story of corrupt scientists. Sammet uses every trick in his musical arsenal to keep the whole enterprise engaging. The Mystery Of The Blood Red Rose’, which opens the record, is the illegitimate child of Meat Loaf. There are a couple of other very melodic moments in the melodic metal of ‘Babylon Vampyres’, the uber catchy ‘Unchain the Light’, ’A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies’. There’s power, symphonic and goth metal too. Diverse enough to take multiple listens to fully appreciate. Sammet’s restless creativity is well realised on ‘Ghostlights’. DJ (92/100)
Although formed in 2007, “Grand Slam” are just celebrating the release of their debut: “A New Dawn”. Founded by drummer Andy Swaniz, Sweden’s “Grand Slam” was positioning themselves to be a recording unit and exploring the vast spectrum of Melodic Rock from the comforts of a studio. “A New Dawn” is the result, and a complete package as this album features some of the group’s older material as well as new creations. A line-up that has been solid since 2014, containing both Andys’ plus bassist Henrik Hansson and keyboardist Daniel Gronberg Svensson and lead guitarist Andreas Gullstrand, this debut is a spirited affair. Performed to perfection, “A New Dawn” is immersive, uplifting and soars with melody. Appealing choruses and energised songs, this record should certainly turn heads. Each track builds upon the previous, continually climbing higher and gathering more energy. The older material just seems to be re-energised as well, just listen to “Waiting For Tomorrow”. High calibre all the way, ‘Grand Slam’s debut “A New Dawn” certainly is for these five! BA (89/100)
Over the past couple of years there has been resurgence in the 70’s Hard Rock sound and another band making waves in that direction are Swedes Bridge To Mars, with their self-titled debut. Take a classic sound of Led Zeppelin with a dash of Cream and stir gently, and that’s what they bring to the table. The album has that 70’s feel, but with all things coming out of Sweden at the moment, they have managed to take that classic sound and make it their own. Take the likes of ‘Soulshine’, it has more groove than a pile of vintage vinyl and ‘Mirror Magic Spirits’, which is pure Psycodelia Rock at its finest. ‘In The Light’ carries on that dream state feel while ‘Jupiter’s Dream’ brings the best of those two worlds and combines them in one melting pot of 70’s groove infused funk. This might not be an album for the younger rock fans out there, but the fans of a more, shall we say more mature elk, will really enjoy this release. BM (80/100)
‘Scary Creatures’ is the fifteen album from German Powermetal giants Brainstorm and follows their 2014 ‘Firesoul’ album. The band are back with an album that once again sees the Germans showing how Powermetal should sound. Also on this new opus the band have expanded their sound to bring in a more heavier anthemic sound and you can feel this from the opener and first single from this release ‘The World To See’. It’s a prime example of what this album is all about, big licks powerdriven rhythms and of course, the mighty vocals of Andy B. Franck. The albums takes the Powermetal bull by the horns and shakes it for all its worth, with the likes of ‘We Are’, the pounding ‘Where Angels Dream’ and the title track ‘Scary Creatures’. It may have been two years in the making, but the wait was well worth it. Brainstorm are back and bigger and better than ever. BM (85/100)
NORDIC UNION “Nordic Union” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) Fancy a band that is a cross between Sweden’s Eclipse and Denmark’s Pretty Maids? Well, that’s exactly what you get when you pair Eclipse’s wunderkind Eric Matensson and Pretty Maid’s gravelly voiced Ronnie Atkins. The big melodic rock sound and huge hooks of Eclipse are here in abundance while Atkins distinctive vocals add character. Atkins’ lived-in voice adds gravity to the more sombre lyrical content of ‘The War Has Begun’, ‘The Other Side’ and the excellent ‘When Death Is Calling’. Despite the serious lyrics on ’21 Guns’ it is an infectious, hummable melodic rocker and ‘True Love Awaits You’ is a ballad with an impressive dynamic performance from Atkins. 'Falling' and 'Point Of No Return' are typical of Mathiesson's output with an energy level that's off the scale. No duffers, this is an album chock full of great songs, expertly performed and although it’s one of the first releases of the new year, it will figure highly in many people’s list of favourites at the end of the year. DJ (96/100)
RICK SPRINGFIELD “Rocket Science” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) ‘Rocket Science’ is the 18th studio album from the multi-talented Rick Springfield as he returns with another stunning album in ‘Rocket Science’. The album is pure Springfield as he mixes the obvious country influences with hard rock in what is his best album to date. The album opens up with the single ‘Light This Party Up’, a fitting title to get this rock n’ roll party started. The album continues with the excellent mid-tempo ‘Down’, which again is pure Springfield, as is the wonderful ‘One’. The album is 13 tracks for pure ear-candy, with some of the best tracks Springfield has released in years. The phase “all killer, no filler” should be come with this album as standard. Take the bluesy ‘Miss Mayhem’ mixed with the Country & Western infused ‘Crowded Solitude’ and the hard rocking ’We Connect’, all songs from different spectrums of Springfield’s influences, but all excellent examples of the mans superb craft. Like I said before, one of Springfield’s finest album to date and his fans will just love it. BM (98/100)
RESURRECTION KINGS “Resurrection Kings” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.) The term supergroup has been about for sometime now and everyone has their opinion on them, but when you put the names of Craig Goldy, Sean McNabb, Vinny Appice and Chad West together, then throw in producer songwriter supreme Alessandro Del Vechio and the supergroup mantra takes on a whole new meaning. Because these guys have produced one hell of a hard rock album to kick of 2016 in their self titled debut Resurrection Kings. With four stellar musicians and an acclaimed producer involved in the project you’d expect good things and you’d be right. Resurrection Kings is a great Hard Rock album and worthy of all involved from the opener ‘Distant Prayer’, right through to the closer ‘What You Take’, this is one hell of way open 2016. Chas West has the power and might to bring the best out of the songs, with the Goldy delivering some sublime licks and the powerhouse rhythm section of McNabb and Appice, this without a doubt, one of the most anticipated albums in recent years. BM(95/100)
LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM “Paintings”(AOR Heaven)) When it comes to consistency and great albums, you can look no further Sweden’s Last Autumns Dream. Album after album, Mikael Erlandsson and co. have produced some of my favourite albums and in their new opus ‘Paintings’ this continues. This is melodic rock of the highest calibre. The band have taken the genre by the scruff of the neck and will shake its very foundations once more with this stunning release. This is the bands 12th studio album and showcases the band at their very best. They’ve taken the canvas of Melodic Rock and completely painted over the cracks to produced one of their best albums to date. Erlandsson is just sublime and with the backing of Peter Pac Söderström’s superb guitars, plus with Jamie Borger on drums, Nalle Påhlsson on bass and Ulf Wahberg on keyboards, this is L.A.D. at their very best. Check out the likes of ‘Rock Star Crazy’, ‘Bring Out The Heroes’, the superb ‘Too Late’ and the cover of Reo Speedwagon’s ‘Take It On The Run’ if you don’t believe me. BM (96/100)
SHAKRA “High Noon” (AFM Records)
WITCHCRAFT “Nucleus” (Nuclear Blast)
RAGE “My Way” (Nuclear Blast)
TAINTED NATION “On The Outside” (Pride and Joy)
THEANDER EXPRESSION “Wonderful Anticipation” (AORHeaven)
RICKY WARWICK “When Patsy Cline Was...” (Nuclear Blast)
Like some marriages that split up, those involved realise after the fact that they can’t live without each other and this is sort of the case with Austrian band Shakra on their tenth studio album. Despite recently having made two albums with lead singer John Prakesh , Mark Fox who left the band in 2008 is back. The result is a re-charged Shakra whose mixture of tough riffs (harder than your average melodic rock band), big hooks and the love ‘em or loathe ‘em vocals of Fox combine to make this one of the band’s strongest albums to date. Hummable rockers like ‘Hello’, ‘The Storm’ and the title track are great examples of European melodic rock. ‘Around the World’ throws in an unexpected, but tasty bluesy solo. The ballad 'Life Is What You Need' shows Fox can handle the slower material as well as the vocal shredding up-tempo tunes. Songs like ‘Raise Your Hands’ and ‘Watch Me Burn’ are simple and direct but no less enjoyable for that. The band and Fox's time apart seems have rejuvenated them and they've come back hungrier and more focussed. Welcome back. DJ (92/100)
“Nucleus”, “Witchcraft’s fifth album can be reviewed with only a few descriptive terms: A masterful, absolute awesome sound experience! However, I can’t help myself and must write a little more about this unique powerhouse from Sweden. Out of the creative genius of Magnus Pelander, “Witchcraft” took form some sixteen years ago. This power-trio, (as it stands now), have forged a sound that is unique, touching upon various expressions of music including: ‘classic-rock’, ‘hard-blues’, ‘psychedelic’ flourishes and even atmospheric currents! Magnus is accompanied by Rage Wilderberg on drums and Tobias nger on bass. Magnus’ own fret work is so fluid and matches his vocal style. Combined, the massive talents of all three weave a mystical tapestry of sonic brilliance! As we travel through “Witchcraft’s ‘Nucleus’, we are confronted with some very dark and far reaching lyrics, that propel over the brooding rhythms into the most melodic vistas of sound. Sounds that completely envelope our senses. We will find ourselves totally immersed and at times totally lulled into the group’s musical spells! “Nucleus” should bring “Witchcraft” forth to the masses, and out of their ‘cult’ status. What is next for this musical master? Perhaps it’s World domination! BA (90/100)
An outcry went through the metal scene, when Peter „Peavy“ Wagner and Victor Smolski declared the end of their musical collaboration in the beginning of February 2015. Peavy made it clear over and over again in interviews that the new line-up was already completed... An d so here we are with the new members and a new release. For this scribe, “My Way” is an unexpected release from Rage. With only four tracks-powerful as they are - this can only be viewed as an ‘Ep’. I’m hoping that this is just a taste of what is in store for this revitalised power outfit. “Rage” still have loads of life, ascertained by newer versions of “Black In Mind” and “Sent By The Devil”. The newer material has much potential, and leaves us wanting to hear more. ‘Ep’ or not ‘My Way’ at least gives us a glimpse at what is brewing with these heavy rockers! And by the sound of it ‘something heavy is coming down!’ BA
Comprising of well known musicians from the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal world, such as drummer Mark Cross (Helloween, Firewind, Outloud), bassist Pontus Egberg (The Poodles, Lions Share) and guitarists Ian Nash (Lionheart, Steve Grimmett) and Joel Peters, along with above-mentioned Pete Newdeck (Eden's Curse, Grim Reaper, Blood Red Saints), TAINTED NATION play a mixture of modern Hard Rock and melodic Metal. After the nice debut "F.E.A.R.", and some live appearances in UK and Europe, here comes the second Work called “On The Outside”, following basically the same path stylewise: 13 tracks of melodic Metal with some catchy melodies and a modern production, something that sits between The Poodles, Sixx:A.M. and late Ozzy Osbourne. Featured as special guests on the album we have Pontus Norgren (of Hammerfall), who wrote three tracks and provided a couple of guest solos, Nick Workman (of Vega) appearing as backing vocalist on the title-track and Issa performing a duet with singer Pete Newdeck on “Pulling Me Under”. An album worth checking out. PB (83/100)
Theander Expression is the AOR project put together by Swedish guitar-player and songwriter Andrée Theander, who debuted in 2013 with an album called “Strange Nostalgia”, a perfect blend of lite Melodic Rock, AOR and West Coast music. Two years later and here's the follow-up, “Wonderful Anticipation”: AOR at its best, played with class, amazingly arranged and written with heart and passion. Listening to the opener “You Always Ran Away” (after the “Anticipation Anthem” intro) bands like Work Of Art and Houston come to my mind, and the title-track follows the same path, with a Toto/Foreigner-influenced ballad of epic proportions. Apart Andrée Theander, who produced and recorded the album and playedall the guitars, most of the bass and keyboards, some percussion, and vocals, other musicians featured on the album are Erik Martensson (Eclipse, W.E.T), Herman Furin (Work of Art), Bengan Andersson (NIVA), Kristofer von Wachenfeldt (Care of Night) and Björn Lundqvist (Sunstrike, Twilight Force). A superb lite melodic rock affair that will definitely please any fan of the genre. PB (88/100)
Ricky Warwick is definitely no stranger to fame and success, having started his career as guitarist of UK Punk/Folk band NEW MODEL ARMY, to then going to form THE ALMIGHTY, with whom he enjoyed ten Top 40 singles and four Top 20 albums in the UK and shared the stage with such iconic bands as THE RAMONES, IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA. Although extremely busy with his main band, Warwick found in between the time to write some songs, not really in the classic style of BSR, so he decided to record and to release them as soloproject. The result is a 20-songs double album, the beautiful acoustic album called “Hearts on Trees” and the electric one called “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy”. With a lot of acclaimed musicians guesting on the album, such as Joe Elliot (DEF LEPPARD), Damon Johnson (BLACK STAR RIDERS), Andy Cairns (THERAPY?), Ginger Wildheart, Richard Fortus (GUNS N’ ROSES) and more, this is a no-frills Rock album that tells the experience of growing up coming from the Greater East Belfast area. Not something that every MRF reader will like, yet a very personal effort containing some good songs (my personal faves being “Celebrating Sinking” and “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy”)... PB (85/100)
Band: Wigelius Interview with: Erik Wigelius Interview by: D. Jamieson
Question: The new record sounds like your sound is evolving and is very varied. Answer: Thanks! That was what we where aiming for. We wanted the sound to feel really fresh and a step up compared to our last album. Q: The sound of the record is heavily influenced by the rock music of the 80s. What is it about that particular music that speaks to you, as you were too young to experience it first time round? A: Well, simply it just appeals to us. We all grew up listening to 80’s rock music among a lot of others, so of course that has influ-
enced us in a lot of ways, but we can’t specifically say its that thing or that song. Our music is the result of everyone in the band’s own story. Q: There are a lot of ideas on the record. It sounds like a lot of care and attention was given to the record. How long did it take to write and record? A: Well, some songs are actually quite old, some are even from the Reinventions record or right after it was released, so this has been a working project for about 3 - 4 years. Basically we wanted to make sure to release a damn great record. Q: Which songs on the record best sum
up what Wigelius are all about? A: Well if we have to give an answer it has to be the whole complete album, it’s impossible to pick just one or few since it is the whole record that sums it up. Q: Erik Wigelius does a great job with production. It has that big, polished 80s sound. Who has influenced him as a producer? A: CLA and Bendeth among the few, also his friends, music, life and all that surrounds him. Q: Patrik Janson has joined the band as the bass player. What difference has that made to the band? A: Patrik is a genuine person and a heck of a bass player that we all known for some time and that Erik have had several rock bands with. Platitude is one of them where also Wachen was playing keys, who started Care of Night. Picking Patrik for the bass was a very natural choice for all of us. He is also a killer graphic designer and has made the covers for our singles and the "Tabula Rasa" record. Q: The album rocks but you're also not afraid to dabble in more pop territory. A: Thanks, yes that's true! We feel that the mix of good quality AoR music with pop influences sounds really good. Also it is available not only for the hardcore AoR fans, but also for the pop audience. Q: Do you have plans to tour? A: We have some plans touring with some other bands, but it is in the idea stage right now.
Band: Tobias Sammet’s Avabtasia
Question: Can you talk about “Ghostlights” and what is about? Answer: It’s about spiritual questions of a life lived in a materialistic world. Questions that can’t be answered in school books. The twelve songs are twelve different views of different aspects of the lives of the protagonists, who are me to some extent. It’s about a young agnostic scientist who interacts with entities that throw him onto a spiritual path. It’s about the pace of modern life that is thrust upon us. The story is that there are scientists who are trying to align society by building bridges to get people closer together but there’s a suspicion about them, that there’s something sinister behind it. It’s actually a tool to control society. As the young scientist gets deeper into it, following his profession, he kind of unlearns what to think, and he starts to think about what really is important in life. Q: The initial thing that strikes you about the new album is the first song “The Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose” which, unless I’m mistaken, sounds a lot like Meat Loaf. A: It’s not an accident. There was a realistic chance to get him involved in the project. We had the chorus which was like Avantasia meets ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ and ‘Bat Out Of Hell 2’ and then we worked on the song and it came out like Meat Loaf. It wasn’t pushed or forced. I contacted his management but they 16 | MRF
Interview with: Tobias Sammet
want him to do a record and not get distracted by other things. The management keeps it away from the artist. It is blatantly screaming out Meat Loaf. It’s a tribute. Q: There have been a number of metal projects since the advent of the internet has made recording with multiple artists more of a viable proposition but most of them never get to play live. Avantasia is an exception. Was it always your intention to make this music to play it live? A: At the beginning I thought it would never happen. I made the music just to make myself happy. Then we got the financial back up in 2008 to try it live. When you’re offered to headline the biggest heavy metal concert in front of 100,000 people you shouldn’t say no. If there is a God, and you said ‘No’ then he’d say ‘What’s that guy doing? I’m never giving him that chance again.’ I’m happy that we did it. That’s what’s made the difference. People make various attempts at this genre of rock opera. What we do though is very unique. When I talk to my agency about what Avantasia is, calling it a project, downsizes what we do. This is a phenomenon in continental Europe. Any musician can say they’re not going to buy themselves that new car this year and instead pay for 6 singers to sing on their record about dragons, dwarves and witches but what we’ve done on a stage and in arenas, getting Eric, Michael and Bob up
Interview by: D. Jamieson
there is something I’m really proud of. Q: How much of the song is done when you give it to the singers or other musicians? A: In all cases they get a version of the song with me doing it; drums, rhythm guitars and bass. Jorn and Michael come to my studio. Sometimes people take it the way it is. Some situations it changes. The melody Dee Snider sings, his phrasing was unique and the mood changed completely. That’s the great thing about collaborating. Q: Do you always decide who you want to sing the songs in advance or does it happen more spontaneously? A: Both. The song Geoff Tate sings ‘Seduction Of Decay’ started as this epic song, oriented in the direction of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Black Dog’. I could have got Jorn to do it in a Zeppelin or early Whitesnake way but Zeppelin have done that. There’s nothing more to say that way, Zeppelin said it all. In my basement, that magical place, which looks like the Castevet’s building in Rosemary’s Baby, I’m not saying I worship the devil though, the song started to remind me of an early Queensryche type song that could be on their ‘Rage Of Order’ album. It’s got a heavy metal and almost progressive edge and Geoff does it his way. It was something I couldn’t have predicted or foreseen at the beginning of the song. That’s the great gift of Avantasia for me.
Question: How did the band get together and can you tell me a little about the other members? Answer: I'm more than thankful for your comment on "Fallen Empires" my friend! Diviner are actually a dream come true to me, since I had the whole concept in my mind for a long time now and it's finally time I see it all come to life! My dear friend since childhood, Thimios Krikos, with whom I've shared many musical journeys in the past was the first one to join me on this attempt, while he also continues to play the guitar for Innerwish. We soon began working on the songwriting and pre-production and pretty quickly the rest of team was completed, formed by well-known musicians of the local metal scene who also happened to be friends and willing to try bringing the classic roots of heavy metal to meet the current requirements of modern sound and approach. Diviner's team is adapted by George Maroulees on the second guitar (4Bitten), Herc Booze on the bass (SixforNine) and Fragiskos Samoilis on the drums (Innerwish). Q: Itâ€™s a very metal album, classic in spirit but with a heavier darker, modern edge. Which bands would you say have influenced your sound? A: My friend I cannot express how happy I am to hear you say that! It was a great challenge, to combine the original heavy metal mentality with
Interview with: Yiannis Papanikolaou
a modern feel, without counting any losses in atmosphere. Diviner share plenty of obvious influences, but also some not obvious ones, mostly those coming from quite "fresh" and more upto-date backgrounds, such as Iced Earth, Megadeth, Annihilator, Amon Amarth, Bruce Dickinson and Halford solo projects. Among the "old time classic" influential bands for Diviner, I could never avoid mentioning Dio, Accept, Judas Priest, Metallica and Iron Maiden as well. Q: The band has been together for a while. How long has it taken to write and record the album in total? A: Truth is, from the day songwriting began till the day we had the entire album fully ready, mixed and mastered, a good four years must have gone by. There are absolutely no regrets, though, given the fact that we were in no need to hurry for any reason, there were no deadlines of any kind but only our strong urge to never stop until we would reach the desired outcome. Much of the total time spent was dedicated to trying to come up with the most appropriate production to best bring out Diviner's sound, which was quite of an accomplishment of Thimios, who is also responsible for the album's production. The good thing is also the fact that "Fallen Empires" has sunk so deeply into us by now, that we feel more than ready to share it with everyone and give our 100% on stage!!! Q: Who or what influences your lyrics?
Interview by: D. Jamieson
A: Like I said, the entire conception of Diviner was very dear to me for many years now, and lyrics were definitely one aspect that concentrated all my attention and care. In "Fallen Empires" Diviner are story-tellers of fictionary tales, full of symbolisms and allegories, bringing out themes taken from the eternal battle between Good and Evil. Our inner struggle to overcome obstacles that keep our human nature from excellence is a sure inspiration, as is the mind journey we need to take, to make it through dangerous traps and manage to evolve, always through positivity and hope. Q: How did you get Peter In de Betou whoâ€™s worked with Arch Enemy, Opeth and Amon Amarth involved for the mastering? A: Like you said, we were no strangers with Peter In de Betou's work, in fact we had been following his amazing contribution on the albums of major bands, like the ones you mention above. It clicked from the very beginning that his approach was the one we had in mind for Diviner and, of course, we were more than confident that we would get the result we needed. So we reached Peter and sent him over our work, hoping for a positive feedback which, indeed, we received, and luckily everything fell right into place after that. We feel we could not have done a better choice, working with an expert like himself was a great privilege and an extra reason for us to fall in love again with "Fallen Empires"! MRF | 17
Artist: Rick Springfield
Question: What part of your life do you think ‘Rocket Science’ reflects most? Answer: What’s going on inside my head. It deals with love, lust, the world round us, human nature but the songs are about how that all resonates in me obviously as the writer. Its definitely from my positive side. Much more so than “Songs 4 the end of the world”. I figured the only way to help begin to heal all the crap is to start it within myself. Clean up your own backyard kind of thing. I sit and bitch ad moan with friends but it doesnt really do anything but make you more depressed and angry. Trying to change that. Q: You obviously have a love for Nashville as you’ve brought some Country elements into the album. A: Yes its really where real playing and good pop has gone. It’s still the only music town where it matters than you can really play your instrument. Not that computers arent music, they are and some of what I listen to and like is that computer pop but as a guitar player myself I love the real thing more. My first hit single 'Speak to the Sky' had me playing a banjo as the lead instrument (1972), so its not a giant stretch to have banjo resurface on my album 40 years later. Q: This is your 18th studio album, so have you found it easy to keep produc18 | MRF
Interview with: Rick Springfield
ing great albums while still pursuing a successful acting and writing career? A: Yes, don’t sleep. I love what I do 83% of the time and have a lot of energy for all these things. I dont watch TV or play video games so I have a lot of free time. And Im on planes and hotels a lot, so more free time and I better put it to good use becauase this life is it baby. Unless the Buddhists are correct. I sometimes have to reschedule concerts and stuff around acting or other projects that come up, but so far its been pretty painless Q: The mix between Hard Rock and Country works really well on the album, but are there any particular songs that you feel particulary proud of? A: Well they're all your babies so its hard to draw lines but I think Best Damn Thing and Down work as the rock/country thing. Where as We Connect is pretty much straight ahead rock. We didnt force it and if it didnt fit we blew it off for traditional rock instrumentation. I like the mix though and the banjos fiddles pedal steel adds nice touch and colors to the music for me. Q: You’ve already showcased some of the new songs live, what has been the fans reaction to the new material? A: They hate them. No just kidding.
Interview by: Barry McMinn
They're already signing along so thats a good sign. The new songs work really well with the older one live because we have always played the older stuff with a little more muscle that they had on the original recordings. Q: What keeps Rick Springfield motivated in a world where music is seen a disposable commodity? A: The same thing that motivated me when I was 14. I LOVE this shit! I consider myself fortunate to be doing what I basically love, for almost 50 years (how old is this guy anyway??). Q: You’ve done the acting, the writer and the rock star thing, is there anything you’d really like to try you hand at? A: Broadway musicals. The first music I was ever aware of was Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, Oliver all those amazing musicals. We didnt have a TV growing up in the country in Australia so my parents and my brother and I would stand around the old player piano at night after dinner and sing all the songs my mom and dad liked. I still love them and they are amazingly crafted works. Both lyrically and musically. I think I really noticed the lyrics were clever when I was a kid which makes me sometimes spend days on a lyric.
Band: Last in Line
Interview with: Vinny Appice
Interview by: Duncan Jamieson
Question: The new album is a great mix of Dio and your own identity. Why did you decide to get the 'Last In Line' line up back together and why now? Answer: Last in Line got back together the first time just to jam together without a singer. It went so well we decided to do another jam. At that point I invited Andy down to come sing some Dio songs that led to the thought of “let's do some gigs”. Which we did and that led to a record contract with Frontiers Records offering for us to do an album which we accepted. Q: What's it like working with the others again? Did it feel different this time round? A: It's really great playing with Vivian and Jimmy again. It felt like it did back in the Holy Diver days. We enjoy each other’s company and we enjoy playing together. This just a certain magic about it. Q: The collaboration between you, Vivian and Jimmy I think works with perfection really on this album. Do you agree? A: Yes as I said before there is magic between Vivian Jimmy and myself when we play, we just lock in. We have the same feel, the same soul. The music comes out naturally when we play together and most of all we enjoy it. Q: How did you decide on Andrew Freeman to front the band? What did he bring to the band? A: I asked Andrew to come down and sing on one of the early jams and he did. He blew Vivian and Jimmy away I knew we could sing great but he really nailed it and we were all floored. Since he's such a nice guy we asked him to join the band and go further along. Q: How were the songs written? A: The songs were written as they were previously on Holy Diver and Last in Line we jammed alot recorded the jams the riffs the melodies and
then we picked out what we like and continued to work on those with more detail and structure. Everyone had a part in the writing of this album, everyone had ideas and it was a really a creative process that worked so very well. Q: This new album was recorded in a relatively short amount of time. What was the recording process like? How does that differ from what you’ve done in the past with writing and recording music? A: We wrote this album as we did Holy Diver album. We went into rehearsal and tried different ideas and different riffs and started to put songs together. Everyone had an open mind and was willing to try different ideas just like the first record Holy Diver. The rehearsal and recording sessions were done in different blocks of time over a period of a year and a half. The writing was very easy ideas were flowing creativity was flowing and it was quick to come up with some great songs. The recording side of it was equally as easy plus we had the help of our producer Jeff Pilson who had many many ideas and directions that really helped us pull the songs together. Q: There are some quite serious lyrics on the likes of 'Devil In Me', 'Already Dead', 'Blame Me' and 'The Sickness'. Can you elaborate on these songs? A: The lyrics to these songs where written by Andy and a few ideas by Vivian. I am NOT a lyric guy, I am a music rift structure guy, so I cannot elaborate on the lyrics for you. Q: You're all busy with other bands. Do you see Last In Line being able to tour? A: Yes we intend to tour as much as possible with this band and support the release of heavy crown due Feb 16th. We will make all the schedules of everyone work, so we're out there playing this great music. Q: You've got a headlining slot at
the third Frontiers Rock Festival. What can we expect from you there? A: We are very excited to headline the Frontiers Rock Festival, we're going to play a great set of songs with lots of energy and excitement. Should be amazing! We are also very excited to meet everyone from Frontiers Records who have been so supportive in the making of this album and believe in this album. Q: What was it like working with Ronnie James Dio in Dio? A: I've worked with Ronnie for many years from 1980 and we became like brothers. We shared a lot of interests together we had the same musical attitude. He's the most amazing person, so talented an incredible vocalist and he loved his fans and his music. He always had time to sign an autograph or take a picture to his fans even remember names years later when they would meet again. No one will ever sing the way Ronnie sang he left behind a very high standard of Rock vocals. Q: Do you have regrets about those days? A: I have no regrets other than maybe some business decisions that could have been better for the band. Musically it was fantastic. Q: What's next for Last In Line? A: Last in Line looks forward to touring and playing around the world and supporting the new released album “Heavy Crown” and building up a great following of die hard fans including new fans and older Dio fans. This music is very much alive 30 + years later. The Last in Line show is a combination of great playing energy fun. we're going to play all the classics from the first three albums we made. We will now also incorporate two songs from the new album. It's going to be an amazing show and people that love “Holy Diver” and the last in line album this is the show for them to see. MRF | 21
Band: Resurrection Kings
Question: How did The Resurrection Kings come together? What was the main concept of the band and its music? Answer: It all started with an email that I got from Serafino the President of Frontiers Records asking me if I would be interested in being part of a recording project that involved other players who’ve also made a name for themselves in the ‘80’s and steering the music towards Whitesnake, Dio and Rainbow! I was more than happy to be a part of something like this so I agreed to proceed further! I was also invited to submit some original material that they would consider utilizing for the album. The first song I thought of was the song that Chas West and I wrote together called “Livin’ Out Loud”! Then the whole thing just kinda snowballed from there! The vocalist they had in mind also played bass… When he fell through I thought of Chas West and Sean McNabb! Fortunately, they were both interested and available! Then the drummer Frontiers had in mind fell through… And since Vinny Appice and I stayed friends from the Dio days, he and I were doing a recording session at the time the drummer fell through… So I asked Vinny and he was both interested and avail22 | MRF
Interview with: Craig Goldy
able! To the naked eye, this project was falling apart at the seams… But in reality it was becoming stronger and more powerful than it ever would’ve been before! Q: The term supergroup has been thrown about by many, but do you see yourselves as this, or just like-minded musicians doing what they believe in? A: A little of both actually! In the eyes of the fans initially it would seem like just another “Super-Group” with guys from the 80’s but in reality, not only did it become like-minded musicians doing what they believe in mostly because of the material that we were going to be recording and the record company involved, but we all were friends, had either recorded and performed together at one point in the past or had performed together and wanted to form a band at some point in the past! We liked each other which is extremely important for any kind of chemistry to develop for a new project and we all respected each other’s gifts and talent’s so that no one individual was calling all the shots! Q: Do you see this as just a studio project, or would you like to take Resurrection Kings on the road as a full on live band? A: Actually we all are so impressed with
Interview by: Barry McMinn
how this album came out, we are currently in negotiations with managers and agents to put together a tour in support of this record and we all would like to do another album afterwards! Q: Are there any songs off the album you are particulary proud of, if so which ones and why? A: Definitely! The song “Livin’ Out Loud” is one that I am particularly proud of, because it really is a strong song musically, melodically and lyrically, with all the elements that I mentioned in the previous question! I like the mixture of tough, sexy and dark rolled into one song….and that one has it! Plus it’s one of my favorite riffs that I’ve written! Same for “Falling for You”. Alessandro and I wrote that one together, and this song definitely brings to life the favorite elements I spoke of before! The ballad, “Never Say Goodbye” that one Alessandro wrote and I think it’s a very strong song for a ballad, but he gave me a chance to “paint” with my guitar on that song, which is something I haven’t had a chance to do in quite some time!! Each song on this album, in my opinion, has the “favorite element mixture” that I mentioned above and I am very fortunate, grateful and proud to be a part of this album!