220 Volt have been on and off the map since their 80's heyday, with albums sporadically released in 1997 and 2005. However this new set in 2014 shows some of the style from their late 80's period, which can only be encouraging for some of the GDM readers.
With the recent tumultuous events surrounding AC/DC, it's safe to say their first album since 2008's 'Black Ice' has been overshadowed somewhat by founding member Malcolm Young's sad battle with dementia and Phil Rudd's recent arrest and apparent decline into drug induced oblivion. Musically it does nothing to influence the band, with the trademark sound as present as ever and probably more blatant than 'Black Ice' itself. Keeping things even simpler most of the songs are three minutes or less and the album clock in under 35 minutes, somewhat of a rarity in an age where every album seems to contain 15 songs and go over an hour.
In recent times, Ryan Adam's sound has become more centered in rock, which he demonstrates nicely on this self titled 2014 release. He ventures into Jackson Browne territory. In fact, this whole platter has a `Lawyers In Love' vibe in it's delivery
Take nothing away from these songs. It still sounds remarkably good, and like Harem Scarem before them, this band have their own signature brand that no one has been able to emulate yet. Investigate with confidence.
Of the three Amaranthe albums thus far, I feel that 'Massive Addictive' is slightly behind the first two. Unless I spend an inordinate amount of time with this one, will it move ahead in popularity' but I somehow don't think so.
If you've read many of my articles during 2014, you will have singled out how well British AOR acts have fared. You can add Angels Or Kings to this list. Better known as AOK during their previous incarnation during the early 70's, the band were snuffed out by the prevailing grunge scene, but like many others that have resurrected themselves in the 21st century, they have have come back to life better than ever.
Aniday have produced an album of first class melodic hard rock, which should appeal to not just Robby Valentine followers but also to a wider audience. It may be a little premature but I think this record is already nailed on to be one of the releases of the year.
These Japanese metallers just keep on 'keeping on'. Out of all the established bands from Japan, Anthem have proved to be the most consistent and reliable. This latest set of songs is full of spitire and brimstone; polished and heavy as horses.. which is just the way I like it!
Overall, it's an OK listen, but not a completely convincing exercise for mine. The songs drift between prog, symphonic and AOR, so that should keep Asia's fanbase happy in the short term. However, new boy Sam Coulson must feel under-utilised on this CD, but grateful for the experience nonetheless.
Nigel Bailey is two-for-two with fine melodic English-styled rock this year. This is a bit harder than the Three Lions album, and there are enough guitars here to whet most anyone's appetite. I think most of you would enjoy the whole album.
I can't find a poor track among the dozen. When was the last time you could honestly say that? Now you will probably be thinking this is not your kind of thing, with no mention of Survivor, Toto, Journey etc., so of course you can take it or leave it, but please at least inquire!
Hair metal is alive and well with the Beastly ones leading the way. There's no hint of modern metal. It's all about the 80's baby! There's no excuse, no apology, no damn caring about the modern age, and that's the way we like it!
He's better known as one-half of the songwriting team of Steinberg/Kelly. A duo who were all over the songwriting credits of top artists during the 80's, but Billy Steinberg had more to his bow than just songwriting.
I'm having a load of fun with 'Black Tora'. Released back in late May 2014, anyone that loves old school 80's metal done real well should check this band out. Added to this, if you like your metal played with tasty guitar riffs and licks and with a modicum of melody, then you really don't have an excuse.
I don't seem to have any problem playing this one over and over, so I'm quite sure this will be one of those go-to albums for me. If you're a fan of Stan, you'll definitely want to rush out and get this. You can count on this being in my top ten for the year.
Kjetil has been in the public eye since his 1996 debut, so on average it takes him between five and six years per release. Not quite in the Boston timeframe of staggered releases, but I'm hopeful that he can make this a more regular enterprise. He certainly has heaps to offer, and 'Better Days' might just be the platform for him to hit the studio more often. Record labels please step up!
'Cardboard Vegas Roundabout' is worthy of the praise it's getting among the power pop intelligentsia. The music is fresh, catchy and above all original. Give Dave Caruso your support and check out his colorful web site for more info.
'Silent Scream' must surely rank as one of the best rookie albums of 2014, and what's more astounding, that this album has so much traction for something that was released back in the first week of January 2014. There's very little left to be said, other than to say 'totally recommended'!
Great to see the Dalton boys back. It doesn't look as if they've lost anything after twenty plus years. All the songs are short, nothing over 5 minutes, but after a promising start, the consistency doesn't quite hold for the entire album.
Paul Laine has been spinning this new Canadian band since 2012. The genre they operate in is called Rebel Rock Country. That's a new one on me, but I reckon this lot could span contrasting genres like none before them!
There's no doubt that DR have something to offer, but this is far too slick and smooth that even I (biggest AOR-jar head on the planet), couldn't quite get into. I much preferred the heavier climes of 'Cross Your Heart..'..
So here we have Paul performing live in Krakow, Poland in April of this year at some festival with a bunch of hired guns adeptly playing note for note all the early Maiden classics. Then there's Dianno himself - words can barely describe the farce contained within this miraculously released piece of rubbish.
Martina's first love has always been female fronted hard rock. The Wilson sisters and Heart have had a huge influence on her musical life, and though you don't quite hear it consistently on this debut CD, the sentiment and spirit is no doubt close by.
'Futurama' follows a path of previous EP releases going back some twenty years. Steve Overland describes it as their most successful EP yet, and who would disagree with the Guvnor?! Add this neat little CD to the FM collection why don't you.
Not strictly in the AOR or hard rock scheme of things, but as a follower of the Granati Bros legacy, it's always good to see what they are up to. Pittsburgh would be a poorer place musically without their contribution. An eclectic set by the duo known as the Fourth Dimensional Beings, that much is true!
Yes, there are shades of many great 80's bands that can be heard on 'All The Shades Of Darkened Light', too many to name here, but rest assured, this is as classy AOR as you'll hear from Finland in 2014.
Ace will never top 'Frehley's Comet' but he's in decent form and the fact this album broke the Billboard top ten is a testament to his longevity and ongoing popularity among the Kiss faithful. A good effort from Ace and definitely deserving of the applause it's been receiving.
I'm thinking this is one of the most underrated albums to be presented in 2014. I'm hoping that From The Fire can sustain the effort and the interest which made 2014 such a good year for messrs Kelly, Lafferty and Sciotti. Let's hope so!
Any fears you might have had about the future of H.E.A.T are surely dispelled with this excellent offering. This contains more variety than any of their previous efforts. The overall feel is harder too, but not at the expense of melody.
It is quite safe to say that you should really enjoy this album if you're a fan of the band. It does continue the trend of sounding more commercial than the album before it, but that's a direction I embrace. Even with that approach, it really rocks.
This is definitely a mixed bag to my ears. I don't think the personnel changes have affected the sound, which is a good thing. I just think they took some risks with song choices that didn't hit the mark.
Iconic Eye is a UK Midlands based rock band. All the songs on show here are composed by main man Greg Dean and fall into the category of classic 80's flavoured AOR, with nods to the likes of Journey, Night Ranger and Hughes/Thrall.
This album is receiving heaps of praise all over other review sites, and my opinion is solidly in line with all the others who really like it. Great songwriting and strong musicianship are on full display here.
One thing is for certain. Anyone trying to put Incura into a pigeon-holed box is gonna have a problem. Difficult to categorise, and to be honest, why would one bother? Just let this lot do their stuff and prepare to be amazed.
The album comes complete as a muscular brand of hard rock with some nice keyboard touches here and there. OK, at this point I'll go as far as to say that 'Hide The Sun' is a hard rock album disguised as AOR. Yep, there.. I said it. Kingdragon and AOR, said in the same breath.
After seeing Krokus live for the first time a few weeks back on their recent U.S. jaunt, it inspired me to revisit this live album from last year, one which I'm sure most people barely know exists besides Krokus enthusiasts.
Twelve songs at a touch on 60 minutes might be too much in one sitting, but hey, you can always come back for seconds later on. Plonk this in the CD player and let it play on rotation. Some of these songs just might get into your head.
The music here is prime-time Lake, but the whole thing is given energy and sonic incision by Alex Conti's guitar solos. Without them, I think the album would have faded into a melodic wash without much contrast and counterpoint.
If I had discovered this little beauty back on its release back in 2014 I would have had no hesitation in putting this in my top 5 albums of the year.. it's that good. Looking for a band that evoke the glories of those trashy, glam days of the early 70's then look no further than the Last Great Dreamers
I'll say from the outset, that I enjoyed this much more than the debut, though in hindsight, there was nothing really wrong with 'Set The Night On Fire'. Definitely the bar has been set a bit higher, and it shows in the final product.
Let me be honest. The last three albums from Magnum were drawn out and uninteresting affairs. Too much tiptoeing through the tulips for mine. The best thing they did was to go back to the drawing board, and get rowdy again, and on 'Escape From The Shadow Garden' they did just that.
Here's a very understated, but cool prog band from Holland. Six tracks, but nearly 54 minutes playing time. There will be something for everyone here, as it traverses a number of sub-genres, but it mostly sticks within the progressive rock stream.
Fans of female fronted AOR should enjoy this. It's not particularly heavy, but it does have a batch of good song that with repeated spins could very well leave an indent in your sub-conscious. I like it.
OK, bit of a challenge for me, going to try and do my shortest article ever. Why? Because I am not convinced how much interest this album will have for most of you guys, but that doesn't mean to say you shouldn't be at least aware of its existence. Not an AOR vibe in sight, but it still shows that there is a genuine effect and focus gone into creating melodies.
If you enjoyed the thought of Blind Guardian and Iced Earth, but are put off by the rather rough edges they seem to have, Neonfly use lots of polish to have a cleaner and sharper sound, together with a policy of limiting the length of the tunes, which actually works wonders.
Overall, I found 'Incremental' to be a bit behind the magic found previously on 'Magnitude'. Still, if you look and listen hard enough, there is something to like among the multitude of songs onboard this disc.
This is likely to attract Nugent die-hards only, but there's no conceivable way they could be disappointed with it. Looking through Nugent's discography it's staggering he hasn't had a gold album since 1980's 'Scream Dream' and naturally this new one won't change that, but as far as quality is concerned, Ted's still on the same page as he was 34 years ago.
Much has been written and said about Anette Olzon's departure from Finnish supergroup Nightwish. That was a few years ago, and written into a past chapter, says the Swedish singer. She'll want us to focus on the future, and in early 2014, that means her first solo CD 'Shine'.
'Epic' is without doubt a great start to 2014, and effortless sounding album really, and another good body of work to add to the Steve Overland port-folio. Fans of Seventh Key in particular should seek this out when it's officially released in February. I needn't say anymore. Grab it when you can.
If you're a Pavlov's Dog completist, then 'Has Anyone Here Seen Sigfried?' should be right up your garden path! Considering this CD is sourced from the mastertapes, this should wipe out and supercede all poor quality bootlegs that went before.
This would have to be one of the finest modern pop/rock albums I've ever had the pleasure of listening to in recent times. It's not normally a genre I dip my toes into, but Michael Paynter is such a sensational singer, you simply cannot ignore music of this quality.
A few listens is required to peel back the layers of what is an excellent album. Max Ordine sings like a champion, while everyone else delivers solid and reliable performances. Their last CD I gave an 85, this time I am compelled to add that 5% extra and award it a 70. Enjoyable listening for sure.
There's still life in Quiet Riot and Banali has been proven right in the long run to keep the band alive in DuBrow's memory. Even with only six new tracks this is a worthwhile listen and even the live tracks have some appeal.
The Retrogress, surprisingly, are a band featuring only two members. They have an alt-rock meets blues style on their debut EP 'Future Stories From the Past', which showcases six songs offering up a variable sound.
The novelty value of these albums expired back in 1995 and to be honest there was no novelty to start with. With the whole retirement angle now null and void it seems there's nowhere to go for the Scorpions except further into parody and redundancy. After all when was their last real classic? 1984?
A very likeable album; you'll need to spend a little time getting to appreciate its finer qualities. Altogether very melodic, and holds up well. Not quite quintessentially British, nor Norwegian.. how about North Sea melodic rock instead?
Norwegian chanteuse Bente Smaavik, many of you will remember from her days as lead singer with Blonde On Blonde back in the 80's, is reaching out to the modern day audience with a series of singles, that have been staggered as releases over the last few months. Here's her second: 'Meant To Be'.
So there you have it. Eleven honey-laden songs fit for the AOR purist. It's the sort of CD that I'll be playing often this year just because of the quality and sheer enjoyment I've had listening to it. Support the scene, and get out and buy the CD. Alex and his crew deserve this and so much more. Top of the class!
I just knew when I saw the video from this band the other day, it would be hugely appealing to the GDM crowd. The pulling power of this five-piece is the spectacular lead singer going by the handle of The Duchess. This lady has got a fantastic voice, plus she's an absolute stunner to look at as well, with a habit for seducing all the viewers dressed in catsuits. Meow!
Stubblemelt are a young band who show plenty of promise and with this debut album have come up with a set of songs that do require repeated listening but present the listener with a vibrant, fresh sound.
I can't recommend 'Sound Mirror' highly enough. It's fresh and engaging music with just enough experimentation for progheads with open minds and alternative listeners looking for something different outside of Rolling Stone or Q's limited scope.