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AOR HEAVEN ::: N E W S L E T T E R ::: 17/02/2017

 

Howdy melodic rockers,

Gosh, this was indeed a challenge to get all the reviews for next week’s new releases together. As you can see below it’s  a huge list of new titles containing 5 new releases from Frontiers, 7 re-issues from Rock Candy plus more goodies from the likes of Axxis, Bloodbound, Mike Tramp, Sainted Sinners and Stefanie.

Well, that should keep me busy during next week putting them all into our website !

 

The line-up for H.e.a.t. festival 2017 has been nearly completed – it looks like following:
DAN REED NETWORK, DARE, HARDLINE, FM, TYKETTO, BROTHER FIRETRIBE, JIM JIDHED, ART NATION, DANTE FOX, MARTINA EDOFF, CRYSTAL BALL, SHAMELESS/TUFF, LIONCAGE, SUPERNOVA PLASMAJETS + 2 more acts to come!

That’s indeed a stellar line up – get tickets from our website !

 

Please check www.metalheaven.net for soundbytes from our upcoming March 2017 release from BLACK DIAMONDS !

 

Have  a great week

Georg & Monika

 

 

AOR HEAVEN RELEASES!

AGE OF REFLECTION - In The Heat Of The Night

A: 11 € B: 13 €

Borderline (Edit)

In The Heat Of The Night(Edit)

The Mirror Never Lies (Edit)

Carl Berglund (g) had a clear vision: Putting out a pure melodic rock/AOR record. After a long process of looking for the right people to go with, Swedish band AGE OF REFLECTION was born. Thanks to a powerful mix of Erik Mårtensson (ECLIPSE) there is a lot of roaring guitars among the mighty keyboards. "Age Of Reflection" is a great album with no fillers and mostly meaningful lyrics far away from the typical Rock'n'Roll clichés. Frontman Lars Nygren is able to showcase both quiet moments and - within the limits of the genre - rough vocals, which is impressively proven by the two versions of "Every Time". "The Mirror Never Lies" or "In The Heat Of The Night" are pure rockers at times and do have strong hooks

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKM0GJX0IPo

 

SUPERNOVA PLASMAJETS - Supernova Plasmajets

A: 11 € B: 13 €

Hold You Tight (Edit)

Leave Forever (Edit)

Will I Ever Know (Edit)

SUPERNOVA PLASMAJETS is a young and upcoming band from Mannheim/Germany playing an interesting blend of eighties hardrock, sleaze, punk and and a slice of modern or alternative rock. Female vocalist Jennifer Crush and the guys at times sound like HALESTORM or SISTER SIN - only with with way better songs and melodies all over the place. Although releasing the debut, the five-piece has got an impressive live-history, which can be felt in every single note on the record. Next to numerous party-compatible tracks in the vein of RECKLESS LOVE that simply rock, the SUPERNOVA PLASMAJETS and Jennifer Crush in the first place prove that they are capable to provide fantastic ballads ("Hold You Tight") as well. This will give you goosebumps easily. A band to absolutely keep an eye on!

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xdGxhcAJAc

 

EXPECTED NEW RELEASES!

LIONVILLE - A World Of Fools

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Finally Italian AOR outfit LIONVILLE is back! After a break of almost five years and once again with Lars Säfsund (WORK OF ART) on vocals, "A World Of Fools" is perfect AOR for sure. Once again featuring Bruce Gaitsch (g, RICHARD MARX) or Alessandro DelVecchio (key) on a couple of songs, Stefano Lionetti (g) and the guys are more of a band these days. Pure AOR rules the place. A must-have for fans of WORK OF ART, CARE OF NIGHT or WIGELIUS!

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nafc04EeXsc

TOKYO MOTOR FIST - Tokyo Motor Fist

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

A blend of DANGER DANGER, TRIXTER, RAINBOW and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT wanted? No problem, musicians of the bands mentioned showcase their qualities. Fronter Ted Poley (DANGER DANGER) and his charismatic voice perfectly carry the eleven tracks. Melodic Rock with a rough edge that will make you happy. Although this being just another project, "Tokyo Motor Fist" simply is a fantastic record. Let alone the opener "Picking Up The Pieces" shine!

MARTIN STARK

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEP-cnjJpXU

PLACE VENDOME - Close To The Sun

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Fourth output of the AOR project fronted by Michael Kiske (ex HELLOWEEN, UNISONIC, AVANTASIA). Even with Kiske being all over the scene at the moment, he can sing for sure and the army of songwriters contributing to Frontiers Records have come up with lots of great songs. Bass player and producer Dennis Ward (PINK CREAM 69, UNISONIC), alongside Kiske the second main man to this project, and lots of well-known guests on guitar like Gus G. (FIREWIND) or Mandy Meyer (KROKUS) complete the picture.

MARTIN STARK

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5JEGqYWeO0

SAINTED SINNERS - Sainted Sinners

A: 13,5 € B: 16 €

SAINTED SINNERS is a band around American singer David Reece (ex ACCEPT, ex BONFIRE), Frank Pané (g, BONFIRE), who wrote the songs, and Ferdi Doernberg (keys, AXEL RUDI PELL). There's 100% classic rock on the menu, classic rock in the vein of the old masters DEEP PURPLE, WHITESNAKE, LED ZEPPELIN as well as younger bands like VOODOO CIRCLE. A debut like a sudden explosion!

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DhqY3d2XVk

AXXIS - Retrolution +1 (ltd. edition digi pack)

A: 13,5 € B: 16 €

AXXIS surprise with one of their best efforts in their long-spanning career. The album-title, put together from "retro" and "revolution", is well-chosen here because most of the songs offer a bit of classic rock among the typical happy melodic rock/metal. But apart from a classic rock touch both in songwriting and production it's not a real revolution on album number fourteen because it's still melody all over the place and the unique voice of Bernhard Weiss.

MARTIN STARK

BLOODBOUND - War Of Dragons (ltd. edition 2 CD, digi pack)

A: 14,5 € B: 17,5 €

Swedish band BLOODBOUND consistently play their very style. Melodic power metal with epic songs full of dragons, wizards or heroes. "War Of Dragons" offers a similar atmosphere like the early efforts of RHAPSODY or SKYLARK and numerous great songs like "Tears Of A Dragonheart" or "Fallen Heroes" can be found. A pristine but powerful production highlights the songs almost perfectly. That's the way it should be! Pull the swords!

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtQ-f-vFz0c

MIKE TRAMP - Maybe Tomorrow

A: 13,5 € B: 16 €

A new solo effort of the former WHITE LION frontman and the sixth in a row in close collaboration with his fellow Dane Sören Andersen on guitar and behind the desk, a continuity that is eminent in every single note. It's a pretty personal album successfully balancing between acoustically minimized and rocking sounds. A great and honest piece of work from one of the hardest working artists out there.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yrhc3nMSIg

STEFANIE - Stefanie

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Debut album of American female vocalist Stefanie Johnson is an amazing blend of (melodic) rock, pop music and a slice of (modern) country. The powerful but at times emotional voice is showcased perfectly by rocking as well as pretty pop-like tunes. STEFANIE doesn't have to hide from SHANIA TWAIN or ALANIS MORISETTE vocally. There is Charlie Calv (keys, SHOTGUN SYMPHONY) on board.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9-T9ppjSog

ASIA - Symfonia (2 CD + DVD, digi pack)

A: 15,5 € B: 18,5 €

Although there seem to be more ASIA live documents than letters in the alphabet, "Symfonia - Live In Bulgaria 2013" is a remarkable 3-disc-set. The setlist is pretty interesting covering the obligatory classics (e.g. "Only Time Will Tell") and more recent material ("Face On The Bridge" or "Heroine"). Also the sound is authentic because it is pretty raw and pure. There's a huge orchestra on some of the songs, too, adding a nice touch. Comes with either DVD or Blu-ray.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edYVLH91w10

UNRULY CHILD - Can’t Go Home

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

The 1992 UNRULY CHILD debut is a true classic in the melodic world. But the Americans have been mostly gone undercover since then, but have recently resurfaced. "Can't Go Home", the third effort with Marcy Free on vocals, delivers the classic sound but also some steps left and right like the FLEETWOOD MAC-like "See If She Floats", the happy tune "When The Love Is Gone" or the slightly futuristic "Ice Cold Sunshine". A strong blend of melodic and classic rock with an amazing voice and mature songwriting.

MARTIN STARK

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRJGQgbg3z0

KING KOBRA - Ready To Strike (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Journeyman drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, DNA) was the main guy behind KING KOBRA. Appice had been cutting some demos with Earl Slick (David Bowie) and wanted Mark Free to put vocals on them. From this King Kobra was born. Somehow securing a major label deal with Capitol, the debut was produced by Spencer Proffer who had caused Quiet Riot so much grief in the 'Metal Health' glory days. In summation 'Ready To Strike' (1985) put the band on a platform they tried hard to stay on, it allowed them to tour with Iron Maiden and Kiss, but wasn't as good as many thought. Digitally remastered re-issue from Rock Candy records.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixEV13jggvY

KING KOBRA - Thrill Of A Lifetime +1 (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

King Kobra - armed with flash, dash, threads and peroxide bottles, came at us from the bowels of L.A to entertain us during the 1984-88 timeframe. Their 1985 debut 'Ready To Strike' was a well-heeled slab of commercial L.A metal - though admittedly with a few rough edges around the sides. The following year, the band deserted their more 'metallic' side and went down the path trailblazed by Arizona band Icon - deciding instead to dabble in AOR. Hence 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' being the end result. It's still a miracle while this album sold properly, cause it's full packed with AOR anthems like "Dream On", "Feel The Heat", "Overnight Sensation" and their minor hit "Iron Eagle". Rock Candy re.issue, digitally remastered.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxBUs7mB5ys

707 - 707 (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

707 originally started off performing in the LA clubs in the late 1970's and it wasn't long before they eventually got their break landing a deal with Casablanca Records. Those pomp rock fans amongst us will find that 707's debut delivers all the staple ingredients required to satisfy their appetite for the overblown - intricate musicianship, tempo changes, sweeping orchestral arrangements, plenty of melodramatic choruses and an abundance of keyboard/guitar interplay. The big drum sound prevalent throughout, reinforces the majestic nature of this musical experience. Imagine a mix of early Survivor, Le Roux, Airborne and Grand Prix and you'll get the picture. Digitally remastered re-issue from Rock Candy.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pr5GJ7nU30

707 - The Second Album (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Keyboardist Duke McFadden had been a pervasive influence on the 707 debut, contributing to the majority of the songs. When the 2nd album was recorded the band had streamlined down to a three-piece and straight ahead AOR ensued as a result. For the 2nd album 707 had decided that it should be a little less pomp and a lot more guitar. There's a definite Journey influence to the opening strains of upbeat rocker 'Tonite's Your Night', 'Millionaire' on the other hand is heavy hitting, built around a stuttering guitar riff and underpinned by Jim McClarty's solid drumbeat. Produced by Jai Winding (Le Roux) this is a hugely enjoyable album chock full of memorable AOR tunes. Rock Candy re-issue, digitally remastered.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn0atsId314

707 - Megaforce +6 (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Originally released in 1982, the third album from AOR veterans 707 became their best selling album ever due to the success of the title track (out of the selftitled movie). The quality of the albums doesn’t reflect the problems during the writing  and recordings of the album, cause their initial label Casablanca had been purchased by Polygram which didn’t wanted the band on their rooster. They found a new home with Boardwalk Re-cords, which convinced them for a more commercial AOR style and a new singer (Kevin Chalfant of The Storm fame). The result was a typically early 80s AOR sound similar to early Survivor meets Journey. Digitally remastered re-issue from Rock Candy.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4RNPlgktpI

CREED - Creed +6 (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

From the dim dark days of 1978 came a band with a southern style called Creed. Lets not get this mob confused with that other popular outfit by the same name from the late 90's. This Creed go way back into time, and originate from Memphis Tennessee. The guys in the band weren't up to much before and after this effort, but they did leave a legacy of a great album with some enjoyable moments. They have a bar-room boogie mentality about them, which places them in the same booth as The Boyzz, or Foghat for that matter. Unfortunately for Creed, there would never be another time for them again, based on this one off effort. Rock Candy records re-issue, digitally remastered.

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdjX1FsLIuM

THE OUTLAWS - Playin’ To Win (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

„Playin' To Win“ (1978), the fourth album by Southern Rock cult outfit The Outlaws, was produced by Robert "Mutt" Lange. Lange, is best known as the producer and "unofficial sixth-member" of Def Leppard as well as Shania Twain's ex. Lange moved the center of The Outlaw's sound in a more pop-oriented rock direction. In addition it was The Outlaws first album without Henry Paul, a personel change that certainly contributed to the difference as well. „PTW“ would prove to be less than a commercial success as many long-time fans were not pleased with the pop-oriented direction. That isn't to say that the whole is bad, the first five tracks truly compare favorably with their best while. Rock Candy re-issue.

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWYUAdMAEtg

 

NEW RELEASES IN STOCK!

OSUKARU - The Labyrinth

A: 11 € B: 13 €

Swedish melodic rock act OSUKARU is back on track with their fourth full length album "The Labyrinth". This time the Swedish five piece offers us a concept album, which is lyric wise a love letter to classic fantasy movies from back in the day and in particular the 1986 fantasy flick "Labyrinth", thereof the album title. Music wise "The Labyrinth" sees Osukaru taking one step back and two steps forward into their already established AOR-with-an-edge territory, raising the keyboards and the melodies just another notch. Maybe slightly punchier as their previous albums "The Labyrith" offers a great mixture of powerful melodic rock guitars and fantastic classic AOR flavoured keybaords. Overall a superb album, don't miss it !

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj_PgT5Pf-k

DAMIAN WILSON - Built For Fighting (digi pack)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Threshold singer Damian Wilson is constantly busy with recording new music and projects and his solo career brings us a sensational new album in the shape of "Built For Fighting". Completely different from the progressive metal of Threshold, this album is an excellent mix of aor/melodic rock and singer/songwriter stuff. Especially the first couple of songs are truly fantastic with lovely vocals by Damian, one of the greatest singers at the moment. This guy should be filling arenas, it doesn't matter what he sings, it always sounds fabulous! Most of the songs are slow to midtempo, with a beautiful ballad here and there and reminds me of the Joey Tempest solo stuff. Highly recommended for lovers of quality rock music !

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqfBcDMn4t0

JIMI ANDERSON GROUP - Longtime Comin’

A: 12,5 € B: 15 €

Classic rock with some blues and a little bit of melodic rock, that's what you can expect from "Longtime Comin'". The JIMI ANDERSON GROUP, lead by the singing Scotsman, sounds like a bunch of veterans to this very sound. And it's true: Anderson is well-experienced both in the studio and on stage. Timeless music with a lot of passion and an all but dry production. "Better This Way" or "Where Do We Go From Here" are a good couple to get into this record easily.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmvUC08ZZvQ

SAINTS & SINNERS - Saints & Sinners

A: 12,5 € B: 15 €

Saint And Sinners are the amalgamation of a few Canadian musos plus Californian keyboard hero Jesse Bradman. Rick Hughes had a previous past with Canadian HM band Sword, while Bradman was better known as a studio muso, a touring keyboardist for Night Ranger. They recruited Stephane Dufour (guitar), Martin Balduc (bass) to form the group. Aldo Nova performed on and produced their slick hard rocking debut album. The album should have made them superstars, but being on an independent label and the influx of grunge music into the mainstream led to Saints & Sinners being severely overlooked. What a pity, cause we’re speaking about first class stuff like Kane Roberts, XYZ or even Hardline.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLtNSHVrHek

MARENNA - No Regrets

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Marenna is a project started in 2014 by songwriter and lead singer Rodrigo Marenna, an experienced Brazilian musician who was part of many local bands. After releasing a couple of singles Danish label Lionspride Music picked up this Brazilain bunch and released the singles incl. the videos on the EP "My Unconditional Faith". "No Regrets" is now the first full album from Roger Marenna and his bunch and it is the kind of albums that fans of the pure side of Melodic Rock / AOR love from start to finish. There's no tricks, no alternative or slightly experimental tracks here, just true '80/'90s music with melodies galore. Roger Marenna owns a solid deep tenor register specially designed for this type of music. Recommended for melodic rockers !

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbhVx0zWJD8

MICHAEL BOLTON - Songs Of Cinema

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

A new MICHAEL BOLTON record? Once again no rock but new versions of well-known movie classics like "Stand Be Me" of the movie by the same title or "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" from "The Wizard Of Oz". "I Will Always Love You" of "Bodyguard" sees a duet with country icon Dolly Parton. Not really innovative but the songs offer respectful interpretations, are well-produced and mostly come with striped down arrangements.

MARTIN STARK

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESdaNADAyZ4

STAMINA - System Of Power

A: 12,5 € B: 15 €

Italian power/progressive metal outfit STAMINA walks the path of SYMPHONY X, DREAM THEATER or ROYAL HUNT. Fast, partly aggressive guitars and diverse keyboards are all over the place on the eight songs of "System Of Power". Although the drums could have been a bit more powerful, the sound and style is reminiscent of the mighty SHADOW GALLERY at times. Vocalist Alessandro Granato does a really good job, too.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wW8J8sMy2o

EDENBRIDGE - The Great Momentum (2 CD, ltd. edition digi pack)

A: 14,5 € B: 17,5 €

New to the well-known and beloved symphonic metal are small slices of modern sounds. But still Sabine Edelbacher's voice and the soulful playing of guitarist Lanvall are the key elements of the Austrian band. The orchestral "The Moment Is Now" for sure will become a future band classic or the slightly oriental sounding "Return To Grace" illustrate these qualities on "The Great Momentum" pretty well.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPxlQxwHNEs

EMPIRE - Hypnotica +3

A: 12,5 € B: 15 €

Empire was a project comprising some of the luminaries of metal, led by guitarist Rolf Munkes (Majesty). The debut album „Hypnotica“ (2001) featured performances from the likes of Lance King (ex-Balance Of Power), Mark Boals (ex-Malmsteen), Neil Murray (ex-Whitesnake), Don Airey (Deep Purple) and Anders Johansson (Hammerfall). It features some stellar performances, excellent production, and solid songwriting. It is 1980s style metal with excellent execution, excellent guitarwork, excellent vocals and excellent … you're getting the idea. If this album had come out in the 1980s we'd still be talking about it. But it came out in 2001 and it lacks inspiration and creativity. Re-issue incl. 3 bonus tracks.

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oayx5YNFCRw

 

SPECIAL OFFERS !

DALTON - Pit Stop

A: 8,5 € B: 10,5 €

Together with Europe and Treat, for a few years in the late 80’s, DALTON was a force to be reckoned with in Sweden. They enjoyed successful touring, teen media coverage, TV appearances and a string of radio hits. 25 years after their debut album “The Race Is On”, the original members came back with a vengeance and a reunion filmed for TV. Loaded with inspiration and dedication the band went through demos made for the never recorded third album along with some newly written songs. They ended up with 11 pure excellent tracks, recorded in good company with producer Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T.). The result is simply stunning – pure and classy Scandi AOR of the highest order – a cracker!

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWsk5uHXcow

KING OF HEARTS - 1989

A: 6 € B: 7,5 €

The group KING OF HEARTS  were born during Richard Marx's "Repeat Offender" recording sessions in 1988. In fact, this is a duo comprising the talents of Bruce Gaitsch and Tommy Funderburk, supported by a dream team: Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger) George Hawkins and Bill Champlin. This one, their debut, was recorded for a major US label in 1989 but got rejected, until it got released by a small Japanese label in 1999. The album is a mix of pure smooth and laid back westcoast with some more guitar driven pure rock. Tracks like “Working Man”, “Don't Call My Name”, “Lovin' Arms” and “Smack Dab” are some of the best examples of pure American FM rock you could find on this planet.

listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCgK0eerm3E

MITCH MALLOY - Making Noise

A: 6 € B: 7,5 €

A welcome return of the US sunnyboy after a break of almost four years since his latest studio album "Sine On" (2012). "Making Noise" marks the first time Mitch has undertaken an album solely by himself from start to finish – songwriting, producing, instruments, mixing and mastering. Overall the album sounds quite controlled like Mitch Malloy has done the recent years, keeping true to that melodic rock, well perhaps with a some more rough edges. The formula for "Making Noise" is still typically melodic rock flavored, but Mitch is also dealing with some classic rock influences like the first single "My Therapy" or the opening tune "Rock'n Roll". To sum it up - "Making Noise" is definately as good as Mitch Malloys last two albums.

watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j859-1GyvhA

SONIC STATION - Next Stop +4

A: 6 € B: 7,5 €

Sonic Station is the project of Swedish guitarist and composer Alexander Kronbrink. An accomplished musician, Kronbrink is heavily influenced by 80s AOR, notably Toto, Mr Mister and Journey, but also the West Coast sound of Airplay and Chicago. The seeds of Sonic Station are also in his song writing collaboration on singer and keyboard player Marika Willstedt. Contributing lyrics and vocals, Marika handles the lead vocals on 3 tracks while the other singer, Johan Boding, takes care of the lead vocals at the remaining 8 tracks. The music of Sonic Station is rather mild melodic rock, but also with the pleasant appeal of the hooks and melody of AOR and the breeze of West Coast, tailor made for fans of Work Of Art or Theander Expression.

watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR3J1QSRJNM

 

COMING NEXT !!
 

BLACK DIAMONDS - 03/24 -
HONEYMOON SUITE - 03/10
BROTHER FIRETRIBE - 03/24
ECLIPSE - 03/21
NIGHT RANGER - 03/21
HOUSE OF LORDS - 03/21
 
     
 

AOR - Metal Heaven :: Georg Siegl :: Landshuter Str. 11 :: 84051 Altheim :: GERMANY

phone: ++49-8703-8517 :: fax: ++49-8703-8568 :: e-mail: georg.siegl@aorheaven.com

www.metalheaven.net :: www.aorheaven.com