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AOR HEAVEN ::: N E W S L E T T E R ::: 09/04/2021

 

Howdy melodic rockers,

Some really cool newies are just around the corner as you can see below. Starting by today we should receive those three White Heart re-issues followed by the Robbie LaBlanc solo album and both mega classic Allies Cds due early next week.

 

Our April releases incl. Bryan Island, Escape and FarCry should arrive next Wednesday. Incl. more new titles from the likes of Backwood Spirit, My Refuge, Temple Balls and Icon Of Sin this looks really cool.

 

 

wishing you a great week

Georg & Monika

 

 

 

 

AOR HEAVEN RELEASES:

BRIAN ISLAND - Brian Island +1

A: 11 € B: 13 €

BRIAN ISLAND (real name Brian Cowieson) is a Canadian bass player and vocalist. He has played with many local acts, written songs for other artists and scores for movies & TV shows.
Island was part of the cult cancon AOR band Prototype which released a very good album back in '83.
For his one and only solo album, Island required the services of his old partner in Prototype, guitarist & producer Dan Lowe. Lowe, an inventor of an enhancement method for stereo recording (named Q-Sound), also contributed on guitars and songwriting. This recording sounds million bucks indeed, with excellent instrument separation and a crispy edge. Island's style is Hi-Tech AOR with an high dose of adult Pop. A playground where the likes of Stan Meissner, Zappacosta or Ian Thomas hang out. All the songs on this disc come along in a catchy and highly enjoyable style, featuring strong bass lines, very good guitars and cool keyboards. If you are fan of high quality Hi-Tech, perfect recording techniques and compact, glossy sounds, don't miss Brian Island. Initially only released in Canada and extremely rare these days. Limited edition of 500 copies incl. 1 bonus track and liner notes by Dave Reynolds.

 

listen: https://youtu.be/Jp7hIOAC6KY

 

ESCAPE - Fire In The Sky

A: 11 € B: 13 €

British AOR outfit has been away for quite some time but now guitar player Vince O’Reagan (BOB CATLEY, LEGION) starts a new version of the band including a new line-up. It’s  a collection of re-recorded and freshly produced songs from earlier ESCAPE records and some of his solo stuff as well as two songs previously recorded by BOB CATLEY but written by O’Reagan (“Blinded By A Lie“ and “Walk On Water“). Everything is typical British AOR with lots of majestic keyboards but also with balls or in other words, sharp guitars. If you dig the likes of TEN, NEWMAN or SERPENTINE, you can’t go wrong here. But a completely new ESCAPE record is in the making, too.

MARTIN STARK

 

watch: https://youtu.be/48CL03i93lY

FARCRY - Balance

A: 11 € B: 13 €

“Balance“ is the third in total and first FARCRY output in roundabout ten years. The Americans offer a refurbished line-up with new vocalist Bob Malone and play straight-forward melodic hard rock with (almost) no keyboards, Mastermind Pete Fry (g) and the guys deliver an honest album with lots of hook lines as well as quite versatile and mature songwriting. Just check out the hook-driven tracks “Stay Away“ and “Long Distance Love Affair“ for a first impression or the emotional tracks “I’ll Find A Way“ and “Chasing Rainbows“, too. Definitely one of the best records hailing from far away America in the given genre in a long time. 

MARTIN STARK

listen: https://youtu.be/8P9eSGhJF8c

 

 
EXPECTED NEW RELEASES !!

ROBBIE LABLANC - Double Trouble

A: 12,5 € B: 15 €

First ever solo record of the American singer (BLANC FACES, FIND ME, EAST TEMPLE AVENUE) is no classic AOR like people could expect but rather seventies-infused pop-rock. Written and produced by Steve Overland (FM) and Tommy Denander (g, e.g. RADIOACTIVE). But can you ever go wrong with this stellar voice? Well, even two or maybe three rather average songs can be found on “Double Trouble“, but tracks like “Start Motor Running“ or “Never Let A Good Thing Go“ justify a purchase.

MARTIN STARK

TEMPLE BALLS - Pyromide

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Energetic and hot hard rock from cold Finland. Produced by Jona Tee from H.E.A.T. Album number three rocks like hell and is full of hooks. TEMPLE BALLS are one of the hottest discoveries recently and “Pyramite“ will definitely pave the way to greater attention and success. There is a certain live feeling in the sound which likely comes from the band touring a lot over the last years. Tracks like “Thunder From The North“, “Fallen Youth“ or “If Only I Could“ are the real deal.

MARTIN STARK

watch: https://youtu.be/Y5e280Op6cY

BACKWOOD SPIRIT - Fresh From The Can

A: 12,5 € B: 15 €

BACKWOOD SPIRIT, that’s Swedish classic rock with none other than Göran Edman (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, JOHN NORUM) singing. It sounds like the last three decades simply did not exist as it rocks, grooves and is full of bluesy sounds, organically produced and simply authentic. Music like a cool drink at a campfire on a summer’s night. Compared to the 2017 debut album, “Fresh From The Can“ is able to raise the bar considerably.

MARTIN STARK

listen: https://youtu.be/-0B2mzHuEOE

ICON OF SIN - Icon Of Sin

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

ICON OF SIN is a new band from Brazil around singer extraordinaire Raphael Mendes who sings exactly like Bruce Dickinson (IRON MAIDEN). Not much of a surprise that the songwriting is similar to the one of xxx and at times it’s really, really good (“Unholy Battleground“, “Arcade Generation“ or “The Howling“). But it’s all about the voice of Mendes here, that’s a fact. A good choice not only for those who dig IRON MAIDEN.

MARTIN STARK

watch: https://youtu.be/IklKIpmj8mI

MY REFUGE - The Anger Is Never Over

A: 12,5 € B: 15 €

Melodic power metal outfit MY REFUGE from Italy started in 2014 and what used to be a normal band developed into a project involving musicians from 14 countries and 4 continents on this second longplayer. If you are into sounds in-between PRIMAL FEAR and SKYLARK, you should give the album a listen. Check out the fast “War In Heaven“ or the touching ballad “What If Tomorrow Never Came“. The thin red line is missing a bit across the whole distance, though.

MARTIN STARK

listen: https://youtu.be/Lbk5jwcDaiU

ALLIES - Allies (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Formed as a by-product of the Christian outfit Sweet Comfort Band (SCB), which was the vehicle for musician Randy Thomas. When they split in 1984, singer Bryan Duncan went on to a successful solo career while Thomas formed Allies, inviting a relatively unknown Bob Carlisle to join as the singer. The style prevalent on SCB's last album 'Perfect Timing' was a natural progression for Thomas to take into Allies, but even so, he improved the quality ten-fold, so much so that this Allies debut album (1985)  is now a collectors item among the melodic rock fraternity. This improvement was also a recognition of Dino Elefante's excellent production job. Almost perfect 80s AOR stuff – every home needs a copy !

watch: https://youtu.be/kbiud0tfZlk

ALLIES - Virtues (digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Christian band Allies were one of the better acquisitions for the Light Music label back in the mid 80's. With Allies, the label released just the two albums: 'Allies' (1985) and this one 'Virtues' the following year. I rate both albums very highly, with former Sweet Comfort Band guitarist Randy Thomas and singer Bob Carlisle leading the way. Vocalist Bob Carlisle seems in better command of his voice here and spends less time "showing off" his range and more just trying to communicate the lyric. Standouts here are the hunger relief ballad "Prayer for the Children" and the anthemic rocker "Runnin' Out of Time". Overall nearly as good as their debut, this is another prime example of perfect keyboard driven 80s AOR stuff.

listen: https://youtu.be/YjXuRvCRBfU

WHITE HEART - White Heart +1
(digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

This was White Heart’s introductory album. Formed in 1982 by two members of Bill Gaither’s group they decidedly recorded and performed a more upbeat style of music. Lead by the extraordinary pipes of vocalist Steve Green and the legendary brothers Dave and Dann Huff, both of who should need no introduction; this is one of the best Christian rock debuts ever recorded. Keep in mind, Toto were at the height of their powers when this record was released and it's clear where the group took its inspiration. Spine tingling really and tracks like 'Hold On' and 'Everyday' will make any 'west coast' fan swoon with White Heart standing toe to toe with the best of Maxus, Pages and any other band of similar ilk you care to mention.

listen: https://youtu.be/zFXaQb0D51g

WHITE HEART - Vital Signs +1
(digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Whiteheart was turned down by every major Christian label until Chris Christian heard their demo and signed them to Home Sweet Home Records and gave them their first record deal.  By the time they released their third album on Home Sweet Home Records, they were selling in excess of 250,000 albums.  After their self-titled debut album was released in 1982, singer Steve Green left the band and was replaced by Scott Douglas. The band released its second album, "Vital Signs", in 1984.  Dann Huff left the band shortly afterward and recommended his high school friend, Gordon Kennedy as his replacement and Scott Douglas was added as Huff's replacement as lead vocalist. Digitally remastered re-issue incl. 1 bonus track.

listen: https://youtu.be/yApJ7t_VXvw

WHITE HEART - Hotline + 2
(digitally remastered)

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Dann Huff left the band shortly after the release of "Vital Signs" to pursue his dream of being a studio musician, and recommended his high school friend, Gordon Kennedy as his replacement for the next White Heart album, "Hotline". Later, in 1985, David Huff left the band to pursue other interests as well, including touring with Michael W. Smith. Eventually he would join his brother Dann to form the hard rock band Giant. "Hotline" follows the paths of the previous two albums, highlights icl. the Toto like "Jerusalem" and the amazing "In His Name", which are among their best songs ever. Digitally remastered re-issue incl. 2 bonus tracks.

listen: https://youtu.be/RgLXW_9OAo8

 
 

NEW RELEASES IN STOCK!!

FM - Tought It Out Live (2 CDs)

A: 14 € B: 16,5 €

FM put out a pure milestone in melodic rock in 1989 whose anniversary was celebrated on their 2019 tour and put out as a live document now. The full album performance is enriched by some other classics as well as some cherry-picked tracks like “Hollow“ or “Breathe Fire“ that are rarely performed live making this double-decker with its great and balanced sound a really good choice both for FM maniacs and newbies. Frontman Steve Overland still sets the pace vocally in the given genre.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://youtu.be/feyqMzNXvpk

THE TREATMENT - Waiting For Good Luck

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

THE TREATMENT were able to develop from album to album and number five is no exception to this rule. They are an hardrock institution from the UK these days. Lots of seventies vibes in the sound of the Britons that is full of energy, groove and fun for sure. And they definitely never sound old-fashioned, just authentic and raw. Lots of AC/DC, some THE ANSWER and bits of THE WHO - What an album! It’s pure Rock’nRoll.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://youtu.be/s4c9n4wKSXU

CHEAP TRICK - In Another World
(digi pack)

A: 12,5 € B: 15 €

Produced by longtime associate Julian Raymond, "In Another World" sees CHEAP TRICK doing what they do better than anyone — crafting indelible rock 'n' roll with oversized hooks, mischievous lyrics, and seemingly inexorable energy. Trademark anthems like "Light Up The Fire" and "Boys & Girls & Rock N Roll" are countered by more introspective — but no less exuberant — considerations of times past, present, and unknowable future on such strikingly potent new tracks as "Another World" and "I'll See You Again". "In Another World" — which marks CHEAP TRICK's first new album since 2017's double-header of "We're All Alright!" and "Christmas Christmas".  Pure class !

Listen: https://youtu.be/nWiDivIUxIA

INFINITE & DIVINE - Silver Linings

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

INFINITE & DIVINE, that’s Swedish musician/songwriter/producer Jan Åkesson (STONELAKE) and his female singer Tezzi aka Terese Persson (EPYSODE) who is also from Sweden. Pretty melodic and quite contemporary sounding melodic rock with mighty keyboards but also powerful guitars that highlight the sweet and dreamy but also rocking and at times aggressive sounding voice of Tezza. Only the artificial sounding drums dim the light or the very positive impression here a little bit.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://youtu.be/_sKkY23jo6I

SCREAMACHINE - ScreaMachine

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

This Italian five-piece seems to have studied ACCEPT, METALLICA, ICED EARTH and JUDAS PRIEST foremost and offers a remarkable debut. “ScreaMachine“ contains almost no surprises but very solid songwriting, a powerful production and with Valerio “The Brave” Caricchio they have a frontman who sings (almost) without accent. There’s also a little bit of SAVATAGE and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN to be found in the song material. Melodic metal of the better sort mostly.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://youtu.be/nbYKQ084slw

SWEET OBLIVION - Relentless

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

Geoff Tate (ex QUEENSRYCHE) sings on the second output of SWEET OBLIVION, too. It’s an Italian project with, well, of course lots of QUEENSRYCHE vibes. “Relentless“ is, like the debut “Sweet Oblivion“ (2019) a great piece of music even though the magic of the four or five first QUEENSRYCHE records can’t be found over the whole distance but it’s definitely closer to the classics than the original band these days. Check out “Strong Pressure“ and “Wake Up Call“. Tate did some songwriting for the first time here and sang one song in Italian! Thumbs up!

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://youtu.be/tlpHNGDva5Q

THE END MACHINE - Phase 2

A: 13 € B: 15,5 €

DOKKEN without Don Dokken (v) but with Robert Mason (v, WARRANT). The second album of this band/project is typical US hard rock. Pretty solid songwriting but without real “hook-monsters“ whatsoever. A versatile production, cool bass lines by Jeff Pilson (DOKKEN, FOREIGNER) and a beautiful artwork are positive, though. George Lynch plays great as always but nevertheless, the magic moments are missing on “Phase2“ for the most part. 

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://youtu.be/Ts2mJ2JPyek

JOHAN KIHLBERG’S IMPERA
- Spirit Of Alchemy (digi pack)

A: 13,5 € B: 16 €

Project of Swedish drummer Johan Kihlberg with yet another record. Melodic metal with great melodies and quite a collection of guests like John Leven (b, EUROPE), Lars Chriss (g, LION’s SHARE) or Snowy Shaw (d, ex SABATON, KING DIAMOND) to name only a few. Pristine and powerful sound and sharp guitars as well as interesting songwriting all over the place make “Spirit Of Alchemy “ a cool choice for lovers of the genre.

MARTIN STARK

Watch: https://youtu.be/5gmYq2WWjZw

 

COMING NEXT !!
 

PROUD - 05/28
TUPLE - 05/28
MICHAEL FURY - 05/28
DARREN PHILLIPS PROJECT - 04/23
ROBIN MCAULEY - 05/14
 
     
 

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