melodic rock fanzine #29
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DESCRIPTIONThis new issue includes reviews and interviews of Tesla, Thunder, Robert Berry, White Lion, Richie Kotzen, Lost Weekend, Jimi Jamison, TNT, China Blue, Ecliptica... and more!
January 23rd, 2009:January 23rd, 2009:- VISION DIVINE “9 Degrees
West Of The Moon”
- JORN “Live In America” DVD
- PLACES OF POWER
“Now Is The Hour”
- TALL STORIES “2”
February 13th, 2009:February 13th, 2009:- PLACE VENDOME
“Streets Of Fire”
- JEFF SCOTT SOTO
- HARDLINE “Just Add Water”
Contents Issue 29 -November - December 2008:
07 Robert Berry
08 White Lion
09 Lost Weekend
10 Richie Kotzen
11 Reviews - The most important releases of Hard Rock and AOR music that you will find in your favourite music stores during the next months.
15 Jimi Jamison track-by-track
17 China Blue
21 Jimi Jamison
Melodic Rock FanzineThe Official Frontiers Records NewsletterNovember - December 2008
Editor-in-chief: Primo BonaliExecutive Editor: Elio BordiWriters: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Fulvio Bordi,Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Marco Spaeth._______________Main Office:Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 18 - 80125 Napoli - ItalyTel: +39.081.2399340/7753 - Fax: +39.081.2399794email: [email protected]_______________Chief Editorial Office:email: [email protected]_______________Editor and Publisher:Frontiers Records
Copyright © 2008 by Frontiers Records. All rights reserved.Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Printed in Italy
04 Melodic Rock Fanzine
At first congratulations for the
wonderful new album!
“Forever More” sounds classi-
cally Tesla, more than the previ-
ous studio album “Into The
Now”, which had a more up-to-
date production. Do you agree?
If so, why did you choose this
Tesla: Well, I would say it sounds
very modern as well as Classic
Modern in the approach and
“I Wanna Live” is a smash hit-
single, absolutely amazing. How
did you write it, and what do you
think about this song?
T: It started with the drumbeat, then
I started messing about with the
verse chords and then took it to the
rest of the band. Terry (Thomas)
finished it. I think it has a very
catchy chorus …very TESLA!
The album was produced by
Terry Thomas. Is it because
you liked his work with Bad
T: No, actually he did a record
of ours called “Bust A Nut”, in
1994. We really liked working
with him back then. He’s one
of the best out there. He’s a
real producer: he plays guitar
and writes songs. He co-wrote
all the songs on this album.
The songs of the album have
TESLA has always been about songs, uncompromised Rock attitude and great music. .Their new album, the amazing “Forever More”, is no exception: the band is back with 13brand new songs offering a ride of energy that doesn't come easy for a band of rookies muchless a band who’s been doing this for over 20 years! And - as the perfect accompaniment -TESLA offers us a concert recorded in Minnesota in February 2008 that gets on DVD andreleased for the first time in Europe! At the sold-out show, Tesla treated fans to numerousclassics such as “What You Give”, “Signs”, “Modern Day Cowboy”, “Love Song” and“Little Suzi”. It's Tesla's first long video released in 17 years (since 1991's “Five Man VideoBand”) and is filled with over two hours of live music, over an hour of special behind-the-scenes footage and never-before-seen material, including footage of TESLA interacting withfans, giving viewers a personal tour of Seattle, and an up-close look at their touring equip-ment and guitars.
been recorded in one session,
or did you compose them over
T: We started writing in
December of 2007. All the
songs were worked on, from
December 2007 thru comple-
tion in August 2008.
Is there a past Tesla album
that you would compare to
T: No, but I would say it’s clos-
est to “Into The Now”.
Your first album
"Mechanical Resonance" is
considered one of the greatest
Hard-Rock debut. How do
you feel now about it?
T: Very thankful. I think that,
when you look at careers of
bands like Tesla or any band
that has been around for 20
years or so, their first album
always leaves a lasting impres-
“Forever More”the new album by Tesla:
review page 11
Melodic Rock Fanzine 05
“Five Man Acoustical Jam” is
the first great unplugged album
that reached a top success. Do
you feel like pioneers in this
T: I’ll tell you a story. About two
years after “Five Man Acoustical
Jam” came out, I met one of my all
time-heroes, Jimmy Page. I was
talking to him and he told me he
really liked “Five Man...”. I was
surprised and told him I didn’t
think he even knew who I was and
he said: “Are you kidding? You did
the first live acoustic album!”. So
my answer is yes, we did the first
live acoustic album, but we didn’t
start the whole unplugged thing. I
would have to say Led Zeppelin
did with “Led Zeppelin 3”.
I love also the album “Bust A
Nut”, which was underrated
beacuse it was released in the
Grunge period. What do you
think about it?
T: I think it’s a good album but
disjointed at times. We were not
in a very good state while we
were making it... but, having said
that, it does have its great
(by Alessandro Ariatti -
courtesy of “Rock Hard Italy”)
“Comin’Atcha Live 2008!”the new DVD by Tesla:
review page 12
06 Melodic Rock Fanzine
Thunder enters their 20th Anniversary year with a blistering new album, “Bang!”, their9th studio LP recorded in a seriously old castle in the west of England. The resulting recordis a great collection of songs, assembled and delivered in the way only Thunder know how.Several are surely destined to become future Thunder concert classics!
Hello! “Bang!” marks Thunder’s20th anniversary! Would you like tointroduce us to this new release? Howwould you describe it? Thunder: The most important pur-chase you will make this week!How did you decide a so “funny” andpartucular title for the album? Has it,in some ways, a meaning to displayyour musical attitude?T: The title is supposed to grab yourattention and demand that you listen toit. A little like a petulant child!I know you’ve recorded the album ina very peculiar place, giving songs areal particular sound. Would you tellus something about it?T: A wonderful friend of the band ownsa fabulous castle and she kindly lent itto us. It consists of eight turrets and the“Keep”. The turrets are the most amaz-ing place to record drums, and give areal “John Bonham”-feel to the sound.Will it be difficult to recreate thissound playing live?T: Not if we take a leaf out of RichieBlackmore’s book and only play in cas-tles, eh, eh eh!
Which ones have been your very firstimpressions since you finished therecording session?T: How much I like the sound of therecord and the pride I feel in the fact thatthe band produced this album from con-cept to delivery.Any tour dates fixed right now?T: We have a UK tour in November. Wewill be coming to Europe on the 16thFebruary and playing Holland,Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.Details at www.thunderonline.comEvery time I listen to a Thunderrelease, one of the first thoughts com-ing in mind, besides enjoying themusic, is the fun you communicate.Thunder looks like a band reallyhappy to make its music, record itand play it live. In your opinionwhat’s the secret to keep the sameenthusiasm alive after so many releas-es done?T: I think we are lucky that all the mem-bers of Thunder keep their egos welland truly in check and we truly enjoywhat we do for a livingAfter so many years and releases,
what do you think any of youThunder musician has learnedeach one from the other?T: That no matter how hard you tryit’s very difficult to recognise a tunefrom just the drums!
(by Fulvio Bordi)
“Bang!”the new album by Thunder:
review page 11
Melodic Rock Fanzine 07
RoberRobert Berrt Berry is ay is aname that needs litname that needs lit --tle intrtle introduction.oduction.WWith experience inith experience inbands such as HUSH,bands such as HUSH,3 (with Keith Emerson3 (with Keith Emersonand Carl Palmer),and Carl Palmer),AMBROSIA, GTRAMBROSIA, GTR(with Steve Howe of(with Steve Howe ofYES) and YES) and ALLIANCE +ALLIANCE +5 solo r5 solo releases Robereleases Robert ist isa singer/pra singer/producer/multi-oducer/multi-instrumentist whoseinstrumentist whosename stands as a guaranname stands as a guaran--tee of good music, both intee of good music, both inthe Prthe Progrogressive and in theessive and in theMelodic Rock fields!Melodic Rock fields!
Robert, your new album “The DividingLine” is more a Melodic Rock albumthan what we're perhaps used to; wasthis your intent from the off?Robert Berry: Yes, it was my intent. Ihad written myself a note when I first wasasked by Frontiers to do a new albumabout what I wanted this album to be like.And it turned out just the way I had hoped.One of the favorite times in my life waswhen I had the band with Keith Emersonand Carl Palmer. We were trying to bridgethe gap between the more progressivemusic and the melodic Rock format. It is astyle that comes very natural to me and Istill can use some progressive toucheswithin the style. I also tried to accomplishthis with GTR and Steve Howe when Iplayed with him.When working on an album like this,what comes first the lyrics or the music,or is it a mix of the two?RB: Songwriting comes in all directionsfor me. But usually it is created all at thesame time. I get a phrase or a series ofwords I like, and instantly the melody andchords come to me. Sometimes I writethese down in a song book I keep, andother times I'm actually in the studio and just set out right then to record thefirst demo version.Do you take a different approach towriting solo material, to say Alliance orother band material?RB: Yes, I do. Alliance is what I call astraight up American Rock band. Mylyrics revolve more around relationshipsand circumstances. And Gary and I domost of the music writing together so it isreally guitar-driven. With my solo materi-al I tend to write about what kind of per-
son I am trying to be, or something witha positive slant. It is actually much morepersonal and it expresses my inner mostbeliefs.Who actually features in the bandbehind the music on “The DividingLine”?RB: Well, that is something I don't talkabout a lot. On “A Life Worth Livin” Ihave used my band-mates from Alliance,Gary Pihl and David Lauser. They haveboth been such a big influence in my lifethat I just couldn't do an album withoutasking them to be on it. The rest of thealbum is just me doing what I love to do.Many people don't know this but what Ido at my studio almost every day is pro-duce music tracks for solo singer-song-writers. They bring in their song and I goabout working on the stucture with them,arranging it and then playing all theinstruments. Not a fake computer versionof instruments. I play the real instru-ments. I love doing this and it has givenme the most incredible job in the world.Every day I help somebody bring a newsong to life. Ah, I should have been adoctor, ah ah!I thought the new Alliance album is amasterpiece; do you have plans for afourth album yet?RB: I am so glad to hear you say that.That was such a long, hard journey to getit done. And by the reviews we got it wasworth every bit of it. We have alreadystarted working on songs for the 4thalbum. But we only know one thing forsure: it won't take 9 years to get it done!We are thinking sometime in 2010.With such a vast career behind you,what keeps Robert Berry motivated
these days?RB: Well, some of it I explainedalready with the artists I produce. I doit fairly inexpensively so I am justbusy all the time. I charge a writer onethousand dollars to produce a com-plete music track. There isn't a daythat I don't do some kind of originalwork for somebody. And a lot of whatI do is new Rock and Pop stuff. Saysomething in the style of a Fall OutBoy or Foo Fighters. Or even aBritney or Madonna pop tune. I do allkinds of styles. Now this probablyseems odd to some of the people thatlike my music. But what it does is itkeeps me fresh, keeps me currrent andkeeps me motivated. Life is good!
(by Barry McMinn)
“The Dividing Line”the new album by Robert Berry:
review page 11
08 Melodic Rock Fanzine
The brand new The brand new WHITEWHITE LIONLION DVD rDVD reflects the magic of an unforgettable night at theeflects the magic of an unforgettable night at the“Bang “Bang YYourour Head Festival” in Balingen, Germany on June 2005, with amazing rHead Festival” in Balingen, Germany on June 2005, with amazing renditions ofenditions ofall the band’all the band’s hits and signaturs hits and signature songs. e songs. AA testament of what was and a statement fortestament of what was and a statement for thethefuturfuture who bre who brought the successful studio rought the successful studio return album “Return of the Pride”. eturn album “Return of the Pride”.
Hi Mike! Congratulations for this veryinteresting White Lion DVD concert!Would you present it to the band’sfans? Mike Tramp: Well, it’s the first DVDconcert from the band ever, so it is a goodfeeling having something out there for thefans that can’t come the shows or neverget to see us ‘cause they live in othercountries, etc.Which are your best memories aboutthat concert at “Bang Your HeadFestival” in 2005?MT: It was an amazing feeling going outthere, even more because no one knew wewere there ‘cause we were a surpriseguest. The greatest thing was that theheavy fans judge the band on its perform-ance and talent and not on the past. Ispent almost 5 hours hiding in the dress-ing room before the show, so noonewould know it was White Lion that wasthe surprise guest! So I never got to seethe stage or crowd before I walked out.When I walked out and saw the big crowdit was incredible, and that to me was thegreatest moment; and also in the finalsong, “Radar Love”, when the ramp goesup in the air and I stand up in the skylooking over the big crowd!What about production? Who didwork on it? And are you totally gladabout the DVD final result?MT: One of the camera-men edited it andwe mixed the audio. At the same time, wehave to remember that this was not justour concert and it wasn’t planned that we
were going to be captured on film. Whenother bands do it, they plan it for a longtime; we just went out there and got cap-tured on film. But at the same time it’s avery cool concert.In your opinion, which are the mainlive-performances’ differences betweentoday’s White Lion and the classic 80’sline-up?MT: You have to include that it’s 17years later and everything has changed.But this is a much more music line-up.We go back into the songs and see wherewe can make it better without changing it.Do you think this concert is the bestway to display all the actual WhiteLion’s live potentialities?MT: I think it’s for the Rock fans that likethis kind of stuff... nothing beats being ata real concert!And, looking back, is there a particularconcert you have great memories aboutamong all the ones the band did in the80’s?MT: There were so many, we were mov-ing so fast and never thinking about whatwe were doing. But I would say the threeshows we did at the “Marquee club” inLondon in 1988, that was very specialand anyone who was there will say that.Please, tell us about the next WhiteLion steps? Any new live dates or newstudio release scheduled for 2009?MT: A new album next year. Touring andsome other surprises. Right now we arejust finishing a year of touring and weneed a little break.
Now that your main band WhiteLion is back on track, are you goingto make other solo releases as youdid in the last decade?MT: Yes, I am and, yes, I will. WithWhite Lion back, I am able to do whatI want to do with my solo music andthat has nothing to do with White Lionor Hard Rock.Please, leave your fans a final mes-sage...MT: This actually is the first WhiteLion concert on DVD, so now fansaround the world that likes the bandbut never got to see the band can bepart of what the rest of us have been fora long time! Rock’n’Roll always!!!
(by Fulvio Bordi)
“Live at the Bang YourHead Festival 2005”
the new DVD by White Lion:review page 12
Lost Weekend have been together for 15 years. They are made up of musicians who overthe last 25 years have rocked the stages of Britain, Europe and the world. With a slightchange in personnel, the band are now a twin guitar based band resulting in a heaviersound more akin to the likes of the Scorpions, UFO and Thunder to name a few...
Hello to everyone in Lost Weekend!Recently you have parted ways withZ Records; please bring us up to dateon what is happening with LostWeekend?Lost Weekend: Hi Bruce! RegardingZ Records, we just felt the new albumneeded a label with a better trackrecord for getting the product to themusic fans; with Escape Music wereally don’t think there is a better labelout there for this genre of music!Lost Weekend have an history datingback to the 1990’s; has this been along haul for you?LW: We really have been busy now forthe last 15 years honing our craft,recording not just for us, but - as youmight know - also the Bob Catley soloalbum “Spirit Of Man” and, indeed,touring around, even managing to visityour wonderful country, and hope toagain in support of the new album!It seems that you are in rejuvenatingperiod; is that a fair assesment? LW: Yes, rejuvenating is a gooddescription! Over the years we havehad keyboard-players and that reallygave us one sound, so we opted for a
second guitar player and this workedso well... in fact writing this albumbecame so easy as we could work toremit of making the album very organ-ic and british-sounding. Basically westripped back the sound from beingvery keyboards-AOR influenced andwent back to our roots... the end resultis a powerful mix of Rock riffs, vocalswith great melodies and production todie for.You have come through some diffi-cult times; what drives you andkeeps you keeping on?LW: Being in a band over many yearsis like a marriage: you have great timesand bad times, you have to work at itall the time. What you have to remem-ber, at the end of the day, is that we areall working for the same goal, butsometimes we arrive at that a differentway that all.I wish you well in the future, and asis my tradition, please leave ourreaders with a few partingthoughts... thanks again for takingthe time in answering my questions,and thanks ever so much for yourpast Musical Nuggets. May the
future hold for you, good fortuneand good health!LW: We would just like to say we hopeyou enjoy the new album “Fear AndInnocence”, and really hope to see youout on tour in the New Year. Keepchecking the Lost Weekend websiteand myspace sites for updates... oh, andhave a peaceful Christmas and a happyNew Year! Keep rocking!!!
(by Bruce Atkinson)
“Fear And Innocence”the new album by Lost Weekend:
review page 12
AA perfect complement to the rperfect complement to the r ecent CD-only recent CD-only r e lease “Liveelease “Livein Sao Paulo”, the “Bootlegged In Brazi l”DVD is the f irstin Sao Paulo”, the “Bootlegged In Brazi l”DVD is the f irsteverever solo v ideo l ive performance frsolo v ideo l ive performance fr om the formerom the former MrMr BigBigand Poison guitarand Poison guitar playerplayer, Richie Kotzen. , Richie Kotzen.
Hello Richie!! This is your first ever solovideo DVD. When did you decide it was theright moment to release it, at last? Richie Kotzen: There are some DVDs that I’veput out, but they were sort of homemade - justfor the hardcore fans. But this is a pretty coolshow that we did down in Sao Paulo, and wehad the opportunity to have the cameras there,and have the “Pro Tools” there to record every-thing the right way. So it came out pretty well.I’ve been so much appreciating this DVDsince the first shot! Is there a particular rea-son that made you decide for this concert inBrasil?RK: No specific reason. We happened to havethe situation come together where there was theoption of filming made available to us. The ideawas that if the show was an inspired perform-ance then we would review the footage with theidea of releasing a DVD from the show. Luckyfor us everything came together! Is there a particular thought or memorycoming into your mind every time you startwatching it again?RK: To be honest I have not watched it since wefinished it. There is so much time spent puttingit together that once it is finished the last thing Iwant to do is keep watching it. I do rememberthat tour as being a lot of fun. We had somegreat crowds to play in front of. That is usually
what makes a great show: theenthusiasm of the audience com-bined with the band beinginspired.What do you mostly appreciateabout the people coming to seeand listen to your shows? RK: I think it is a great thing to be able to goaround the world and perform my music withmy band in front of so many different people. Itis a great feeling to know there are people inter-ested in my work.The band features Johnny Griparic on bassand drummer Dan Potruch. Please, tell usabout them...RK: I knew both of them years prior. When Iwas recording “Go Faster”, I was at a studio andDan was there. We got to talk and - once I foundout that my drummer at that time was not avail-able to tour - I remembered how much I likedDan's drumming. I asked him to do the tour andhe said “yes”. The situation with Johnny wasvery much the same. And what about interplay? Are there someparticular inputs, notes, rhythms, or feelingstheir way to perform that give you and makeyou particularly inspire when you’re impro-vising? RK: Yes, there is. With any live-situation it isabout feeding off the other players. Especially
in my type of music. So much of the improv comesout of the reaction of the other musicians. Whatthey play, what we all play influences each other.In your opinion, which are the main differenceswhen you listen to your same song played liveand in studio? RK: Well, the studio performance does notchange. Live it is always a little different, espe-cially in the songs where we stretch out the solo-sections. Those sections are a little different everytime. That is what keeps the show fresh and excit-ing.What about next steps now? Have you alreadygot some new material or compositions for astudio release?RK: I am writing all the time. I’m not sure when Iwill release another studio Cd, but I would guesssometime in 2009. As for touring, I am booked inEurope Jan/Feb 2009. I am also making plans totour North America early next year which I havenot done in a long time. South America is bookedfor April 2009.
(by Fulvio Bordi)
Melodic Rock Fanzine 11
TESLA - “Forever More” (Frontiers Records)Tesla are back again with their undistinguishable full hard rock energy with the brand new studio release “ForeverMore”. All the band is well inspired and in perfect shape since the opening title-track notes, with a so smart, par-ticular combination of heavy sounds with a clean guitar arpeggio. Jeff Keith’s aggressive voice gives songs the righttrademark and melodic lines, the rhythm section kicks powerful as should ever be done, while guitars sound soheavy. The very first word coming in mind carrying on listening song after song is “variety”. While the band’s per-sonality and musical trademark keep stable for all the twelve tracks, at the same time compositions sound like dif-ferent not just as chapters each from the other, but in their inner structure too. Just find out the different songwrit-ing and arrangements approach among songs like “I Wanna Live”, “One Day At a Time”, “Breaking Free”, “In AHole Again”, “So What” and “Just In Case”, just to name a few. “Forever More” is a new perfect release forall the die hard Tesla fans and raw, straight sound hard rock lovers. (Fulvio Bordi) 95
JIMI JAMISON - “Crossroads Moment” (Frontiers Records)Oh! My goodness... he’s back! And with a vengeance! Jimi Jamison found himself at a crossroads and recorded theexperience for all of us to immerse ourselves, enjoy and be inspired! “Crossroads Moment” feels and sounds likeJimi has fallen in love with singing once again! Teamed up with long time friend and musical mate; Jim Peterik,Jimi has returned to the musical universe with a smashing Work. Fourteen very melodic and timeless creations, thisrecord harkens back to the peaks of Survivor and reaches beyond…all in one fell swoop! Mr. Jamison’s vocalprowess just keeps getting better through the years, and he puts in stellar performances each and every time. Mr.Peterik’s contributions are also huge, having written all the material, however through the inspiration of his longtime musical friend, “Crossroads Moment” is a grand collaboration of these two musical giants. A mostrefreshing Creative Work. (Bruce Atkinson) 98
THUNDER - “Bang!” (Frontiers Records)Every time a new Thunder album gets released, be sure a brand new heart shaking Hard Rock chapter is here toshow us how today making brilliant old school Hard Rock, as only few bands right now are able to do, is still pos-sible. As the title suggests, this new Thunder release, irrupts to our ears bringing twelve new gems of heart-per-formed Hard Rock. “Bang!” is their 9th studio release and marks in the best way possible the band’s 20thAnniversary year. Sound comes out great and all the songs have been recorded in a very particular way: into a cas-tle in the west side of England, choosing different rooms giving a very peculiar sound for each one of them. So, allthe tracklist has been recorded almost totally live, with the only exception of few guitar lines and percussions over-dubs. About songwriting, well, anyone who already loves this band and all the true melodic Hard Rock loverswon’t miss the opportunity to enjoy “Bang!”and its genuine compositions played with verve and excellentmelodic hooks. Today Thunder is a band to be trusted with both eyes closed. (Fulvio Bordi) 95CHINA BLUE - “Twilight Of Destiny” (Frontiers Records)The origin of this record goes back to the late 80s when keyboard player Eric Ragno and lyricist Tom Gasbarroteamed up to create China Blue. Now, finally this project has come to fruition. Alongside Eric, there’s some melod-ic rock big hitters; Ramos (Hardline, The Storm) on guitar, JK Northup behind the mixing desk and Fabrizio Grossishows up to supply some additional bass. It’s Tony Mills’ (Shy, TNT) distinctive vocals that have the biggest effecton how this album turns out. His tenure with TNT has received a mixed reception but if you hanker after the soundof Shy during their “Sky Diving” era then look no further. Ramos’ melodic solos have room to stretch out and Eric’skeyboards augment the melodies well. Lyrically, “Twilight of Destiny” is about those pivotal moments in life whenthe boy gets the girl or the boy loses the girl. It takes a few spins before songs reveal their separate identities butit’s worth the wait. Songs as strong as “Changing Ways” (Touch-esque) or “Take Me As I Am”, have youthinking, “Boy, they don’t write songs like this anymore”. Fortunately for us lovers of AOR, China Blue stilldo. (Duncan Jamieson) 93
ROBERT BERRY - “The Dividing Line” (Frontiers Records)Anyone who caught the Alliance album “Road To Heaven” earlier this year will know what a talent Robert Berryis, even if you hadn’t heard of the man himself before then and with his new solo album “The Dividing Line”, Berryhas once again shown its Melodic Rock pedigree with yet another stunning release. This is pure timeless MelodicRock from beginning to end as things get underway with the opener and title track “The Dividing Line” and this iswhere the man’s talent for pure un-littered smooth rock begins and grows as each song unfolds. This pure bliss ofthe album continues to impress with the semi- acoustic “One Good Man” before the wonderful “Listen To ThePeople” and the superb “This Life”, songs that reflects fact that Melodic Rock can be saved as long as this high cal-ibre of songs are still coming out of the genre. You just have to admire the man’s fortitude to keep on putting outgreat albums after one another whether as a solo artist or in a band. This sort of talent doesn’t come roundeveryday, so people embrace it and buy it when released! (Barry McMinn) 95
12 Melodic Rock Fanzine
STEELHEART - “Good 2B Alive” (LiveWire)Brilliant! I think the best way to enjoy and really appreciate this new Steelheart chapter is to completely forget whatthis band was almost twenty years ago. Today Steelheart music is a complete Miljenko Matijevic’s brainchild: sinceall the songwriting work, then going to production, vocals and most of the guitar lines. “Good 2B Alive” comes tobe an entire autobiographical set of ten compositions, giving music a deep, heavy, dark mood. Talking about thestyle Miljenko’s true love for Led Zeppelin is now revitalized and well mixed together with modern influences andsounds. His incredible talented voice now carves its lines on heavy, huge and hypnotic musical carpets, whereinstable, and cutting riffs give their support to incredible suspended notes, high vocal peaks and very particularatmospheres. Be aware this is not music easy to be understood, listening to it time after time will give us the nec-essary stairs to reach its musical and lyrical message. Don’t be diffident listening to it since the first time,just wait to understand it, give it time and you won’t get disappointed. (Fulvio Bordi) 88
LOST WEEKEND - “Fear And Innocence” (Escape Music)Lost Weekend are back with the brand new album. With this “Fear And Innocence” the band shows a new face
always with their irresistible trademark that made the band one of the best melodic act in Europe. Still with great
melodies and great chorus, Lost Weekend’s music now is a journey into great riffs and very intensive guitar works.
With a slight change in the line-up the music points in elements like twin guitar resulting in an heavier sound like
Scorpions, UFO and Thunder to name a few. With four albums on sale around the world and band on the eve of the
best release to date with their new album on Escape titled "Fear and Innocence" the band goes from strength to
strength! (Vitale Nocerino)90
TESLA - “Cumin Atcha Live 2008” DVD (Frontiers Records)Tesla has released a new concert DVD that shows the band is one of the most underrated live groups of their gen-eration. A Tesla concert is a huge experience with soaring guitars, raw vocals and tons of rock n' roll energy.Recorded at “The Myth” in St. Paul, Minnesota, Tesla put on a show full of their greatest hits and album cuts. Frontman Jeff Keith is a ray of sunshine as he forcefully grabs the microphone and sings from the lungs. His smiles andnods to the crowd show how much he loves his job. He is one of the most genuine vocalists in the game today.Newbie Dave Rude fills in nicely for the missing Tommy Scheoch while Frank Hannon puts on a fret board dis-play of massive proportions. Hannon is a guitar god who has never got the respect he deserves. Watching him on"Comin' Atcha Live," "Heaven's Trail," and the UFO cover "Rock Bottom" will go a long way in convincing themasses that he is the real deal. Dispersed throughout the performance are band interviews where they discusstheir career and the songs that have made them famous. This DVD will suffice until Tesla comes to yourtown and you can see them live and in person! (Jeb Wright - classicrockrivisited.com) 95
WHITE LION - “Live At the Bang Your Head Festival 2005” DVD (Frontiers Records)White Lion are back with this great DVD filmed during the bang Your Head performance in 2005. Even if the band
is new, they play perfectly all the songs taken from all the band’s history. Mike Tramp voice is amazing and the
quality of the show is of really high level. This DVD reflects the magic of an unforgettable night with amazing ren-
ditions of all the band's hits and signature songs. Highlights of the concert are incredible performances of “Lights
And Thunder”, “Broken Heart”, “Fight to Survive”, plus a special interview to Mike Tramp, the slide show, the sec-
tion called “Lights and Thunder across the USA” (Live performance of songs from the USA tour) and - as Easter
Eggs - “Hungry. It's Over” (Live in the USA). A must-have for all melodic lovers! (Vitale Nocerino)90
ECLIPTICA - “Impetus” (Frontiers Records)From the first stream of notes…one quickly realises that Ecliptica, a sextet hailing from Austria, mean “serious busi-ness”! “Impetus”, their first full length album, belies the ‘youngness’ of the group. Highly talented - the six musiciansgathered here create a deep ocean of emotive Progressive Metal that does not let-up! An unique line-up that compris-es of two vocalists, Elisabeth Fangmeyer & Thomas Tieber, accompanied by founding member; guitarist MarkusWinkler, along with Bernie Scholz also on guitar. The group is rounded out with the relentless rhythm section of drum-mer Roman Klomfar and bassist Florian Thur. Ecliptica deliver 10 mature, and stirring musical creations. Powerfulby nature, “Impetus” will undoubtedly resonant for years to come! There is so much depth to this Recorded Work, somuch Talent, that there is not enough space in this Review to adequately describe what you are about to discover!However, take it from me: Ecliptica are six of the finest and most gifted musicians, singers and songwriters we havetoday! “Impetus” is a most powerful debut. Ecliptica: a new generation of Progressive Metal Rockers, andmore than deserving of your support! (Bruce Atkinson) 93
TNT - “Atlantis” (Metal Heaven)Following the band’s “The New Territory” release, Le Tekro and Mills have come under some flack about the soundthe direction the band was taking and - to be honest - this comes as a surprise to me because every TNT album todate has had something different than its predecessor, and the trend continues with their latest album “Atlantis”.Like Le Tekro’s solo release, the band have gone for a heavily influenced late sixties/early seventies vibe on someof the tracks but there is just a sprinkling of classic TNT there as well. The album gets underway with such a song“Hello, Hello”, a great opener that must have had laid down the impression to the die-hard Melodic Rock fans thatthe band had turned a corner, but this is short lived as that Brit Pop vibe comes back to haunt them with the likesof “Peter Sellers Blues” and “Baby’s Got Rhythm”. But this album is what Tony Mill’s vocals were meant for, themix of highs and lows really give Mills a chance to shine and he does on numerous occasions. This might notwin the band any new fans and those who found “The New Territory” hard will find this much of the same,but if you persevere with this album it will grow on you. (Barry McMinn) 81
Melodic Rock Fanzine 13
RICHIE KOTZEN - “Bootlegged In Brazil” DVD (Frontiers Records)After so many solo studio releases done along the years, Richie is ready to put on the track a solo DVD concert, atlast. This is the very first solo DVD live release aver done from this extremely talented guitar and voice artist and,as the bio states, it is the perfect complement to the live CD “Live In Sao Paulo”, out just a couple of months ago.In my opinion, this DVD really displays how a great concert should ever be: three very talented musicians, per-forming their music in front of an amazing crowd response, with an absolute instrumental quality, wide improvi-sation moments, deep feeling and a tracklist of hard rock/blues compositions only a real, artist such as RichieKotzen is able to create. This is a DVD for any true music lover, who looks for a “concert”, more than a “show”.Plus I’m sure this is the release I would absolutely suggest to anyone who would like to get in touch with RichieKotzen’s music for the first time, because this DVD concert is the real, complete manifesto of what this artistand his music are: only music, deep inner feelings with absolutely no futile compromises. An absolute musthave. (Fulvio Bordi) 93
CRYSTAL EYES - “Chained” (Metal Heaven)Marking their sixth release, “Chained” is the latest effort from Sweden’s Crystal Eyes, and the second for new
vocalist Nico Adamsen. Seemingly, the line-up of Crystal Eyes has once again solidified, giving way for the group
to concentrate delivering another set of solid Heavy Rock to the masses. “Chained” is nine slabs of granite with
such titles as ‘The Devil Inside’, ‘The Fire Of Hades’, and ‘Guardian’, creating a dark and driven atmosphere. A
no nonsense collection of molten Metal that should satisfy any and all fans of this group. Stand out tracks: ‘Dying
In The Rain’, ‘Shadow Rider’ and ‘Guardian’. (Bruce Atkinson)
MARSHALL LAW - “Razorhead” (DR2 Records)There must be something being added to the water in the Birmingham as it has given us the godfathers of all thatis dark, Black Sabbath, and all that’s meta, Judas Priest. It’s also given us Marshall Law, from Birmingham, whoare darker and more metal than either of those Rock legends. Six albums into their career and there’s no sign ofthem lightening up. This is heavier than the Devil’s Anvil (incidentally, a song on this CD). Leader Andy pykegrowls menacingly in a way that you wouldn’t want him living next door to you. With lyrics about “DecayingFlesh” and “Ripping Your F**king Spine Out” it’s not one for your granny’s Christmas stocking. Songs“Razorhead”, “Night Terror” and “Another Bullet” possess catchy choruses and the horror riffs of “Headtrap” and“Hell on Earth” have a certain flesh creeping charm. After 15 tracks of punishing, pounding corrupting metal youfeel somewhat violated. If inside you feel like a screaming banshee who thinks being defiled sounds like funthen this is everything you could want in an album. (Duncan Jamieson) 80
THEOCRACY - “Mirror Of Souls” (Metal Heaven)You know that feeling when you suddenly get hit behind the neck and are completely pole axed? Now if you putthat feeling into when you here a piece of outstanding music, then that’s the feeling I had when I first put on thenew Theocracy album “Mirror Of Souls”. To say this is an exceptional piece of Progressive Metal would be a mam-moth understatement, this is just a superb slice of Prog Metal that will shake your very foundations. It’s hard tobelieve this band started out as a one man project by Matt Smith who played and sang on all tracks on the bandsself-titled debut in 2003 and now five years later the band are grown three-fold with Jonathan Hinds and ShawnBenson now joining Smith. Although the album boasts only eight tracks they are eight stunners with the pierce deresistance being the twenty-three minute magnum opus title track ‘Mirror Of Souls’. The album gets underwaywith ‘A Tower Of Ashes’ and from this monstrous start there is no looking back as the album unfolds a plethora ofsoaring guitars, gigantic booming rhythms and some of the best Prog Metal melodies you’ll here this side ofheaven. A must-buy album. (Barry McMinn) 95
ZZ TOP - “Live In Texas” (Eagle Records)Here the Tres Hombres (who have been together around 40 years!) are on home soil blasting out 16 of theirbonafide rock classics on what is, unbelievably, their first official full length live recording. There’s also a DVDversion, but you don’t need to watch them in their diamond studded, beardy weirdy glory to enjoy the aural bril-liance of their fuzzy blues. Track wise it’s balanced between the older 70s classics and their MTV conqueringzenith, although disappointingly there’s nothing post 1987. Live, their tone is so down and dirty the Texas mud getsunder your fingernails, and Billy and Dusty’s vocals are deeper than a Texan oil well. Their madcap humour andan ageless coolness are so infectious that you feel life really would be better if you donned a pair of dark glassesand grew a beard down to your waist. I defy anyone who says they like rock music not to submit to the final one,two knockout punch of the turbo charged “La Grange” (which pilfers a John Lee Hooker riff) or the salacious“Tush”. More archive live material in the future would spice up our lives more than this trio’s favouriteMexican Burritos. (Duncan Jamieson) 93
CRYONIC TEMPLE - “Immortal” (Metal Heaven)Just when you think there can’t be another new Swedish Power Metal band along comes Cryonic Temple. Well,they’re not exactly new as this is there fourth album but vocalist Glen Metal has gone taking his Steve Grimmet(Grim Reaper) and Bruce Dickinson style vocals with him. In his place is Magnus Thurin (Mindscape) who has astronger voice and indicates the bands burgeoning ambition. Previously on the likes of the “Blood, Guts and Glory”album they had a predominately True Metal a la Manowar type battle cry. Yes, that still exists on the likes of “Fightto Survive”, but “Where Sadness Never Rests” with its gentler verse comes across like Jethro Tull if they ditchedthe flute and turned power metal as it gallops towards the chorus. “Fear of the Rage” and “Time” also show howthis band is broadening their metal sound. It’s still macho stuff and probably not one for the modern metro sexualman. For existing fans there’s still enough of the signature sound to enjoy. With Thurin’s added brio and thenewer dimensions this record should bring on board new fans of this genre but some of the songs remainstrictly foot soldiers. (Duncan Jamieson) 83
14 Melodic Rock Fanzine
AXTON - “Bad Desire” (Heart Of Steel Records)It looks like the Italian label Heart Of Steel lately is specializing into reissues of long-forgotten gems of the golden eraof the ‘80s. So – after reissuing the very well worth debut-albums of Dark Lord and Lyin Rampant, plus the 2nd never-released chapter of Serena - the Italian label put its hands on another jewel, the debut-album from Class Metal act,AXTON, originally released - only on vinyl format - in 1990. The band (from Lecco, Italy) was, back then, clearly influ-enced by the European Melodic Hard Rock scene, and by names like BONFIRE, SCORPIONS & VICTORY. Songslike “Symbol Of My Sex”, “Don’t Break My Heart Again” or “Turnin’Wheels” are shining examples of the then-called“Class Metal” (have someone used this term since then?), and they show a band that knew how to play powerful riffsand offer to their audience sing-a-long chorus, with a singer who was never trying super-high notes, but he used his verywarm voice to give the songs a pleasant and charming sound. To be noticed that the Cd reissue features a com-pletely remastered sound from the original master-tapes and that has been enriched by 7 bonus-tracks featuredon the band’s very first professional demo-tape called "Time To Kill" (1987). (Rob “Ezy” Bone)
NEONDAZE - “Neondaze”Hot on the heels of the likes of the Backyard Babies and the rest of the sleaze driven rock out of Sweden, comesNeondaze, a band that are about to shake the very foundations they stand on when they hit the stages of Europenext year with their infectious guitar driven mix of Glam and Hard Rock. The band are the LA Guns of the newmillennium with the likes of vocalist Marcus Lundgren and guitar wiz Lars Boquist behind the band, the founda-tion is there for a great all guns blazing rock n’ roll band. The album is a high octane riffs filled frenzy from the offwith ‘Intoxicated’ getting things underway, with the vocals of Lundgren the feature point of this and most of theother tracks, with Boquist’s fine guitar work a close second. This is good time rock n’ roll Swedish style, with someof the more memorable tracks being ‘Million Miles Away’ and the Girl like ‘Hold Me’, before the sublime ballad‘Oullbemi Vampire’, which is the bands ‘Ballad Of Jane’ and a song that wraps up a great debut from a bandthat will surely make waves in 2009. (Barry McMinn) 86
TRAGEDIAN - “Dreamscape”Known as a Power/Speed Metal assemblage, Tragedian have released their full-length album in “Dreamscape”.
Although this group is made up of some very talented musicians, this collection seems to get bogged down in its
own creation. Unfortunately, nothing inspired, although the production and execution of each musical piece is pre-
cise, the songs come across empty, void of emotion and feeling. An ambitious effort, yes, as technically Tragedian
are a great Speed Metal band... however, after repeated listenings, “Dreamscape” just comes out short….
HARMONY - “Chapter II: Aftermath” (Ulterium Records)The Polar Icecaps aren’t being melted by the sun, but by the vibrations caused by the hoards of Swedish bands blast-ing out Power Metal. This is Harmony’s sophomore album and fans of Darkwater will recognise the names of Bathon vocals, Sigfridsson on guitar and Engbert on drums, as they make up most of that band too. Less progressivethan Darkwater, Harmony operate at the catchy melodic end of the power metal spectrum. Bath’s vocals soar majes-tically and he articulates the lyrics clearer than a bell; definitely one of the genre’s better singers. The guitars anddrums thunder along with a pleasing urgency and the keyboards fill out songs with symphonic splurges and oldschool jamming. All of this is evident on standout track “Rain” which even throws in some nicely stacked vocalharmonies from Bath. The best tracks are racked up at the front of the album; the catchy “Prevail”, the harder“Aftermath” and the brooding “Kingdom”. The band have Christian leanings which aren’t obviously appar-ent or likely to spoil your fun if you’re not a believer. Heavy yet brimming with melody and well worthchecking out if you have a weakness for Power Metal. (Duncan Jamieson) 82
NOIZE MACHINE - “The Jumping Clown”Noize Machine is the new project band headed by talented Italian axeman Dario Mollo and this debut release enti-tled “The Jumping Clown” won’t miss to satisfy anyone who loves the good combination of Deep Purple, BlackSabbath, Glenn Hughes and Thin Lizzy elements well fused together and played with a very aggressive and heavyapproach. Compositions such as “Ready To Fight”, ”I Like It”, “The Count”, Who Are You” have excellent vocals,melodic hooks, a solid rhythm section with crazy drumming performances, while guitar riffing sounds so heavy anddark. “Stormweather” shows very good particular keyboard parts well combined with guitar lines; “So Far Away”gets a Led Zeppelin and early eighties Deep Purple east flavored verse leading to a very wide breathing beatelesquerefrain. “The Jumping Clown” is a Hard Rock release composed and performed with passion, intelligenceand technique. Don’t ignore it, it would be a crime! (Fulvio Bordi) 88
LIZHARD - “Lizhard” (Perris Records)Rock’n’Roll is back, assuming from their opening-track. The “mission” of this four-piece act coming from Italy isclear. So is their attitude and their music: pure 80s-influenced Hard-Rock full of big guitars, solid rhythms & catchyvocals. This is their debut-album, after they spent some years playing as a cover-band, and it’s a really good one.Maybe “originality” would not be the best word to describe their music, yet they have much to offer to all the fansof this “classic” Hard Rock sound. Especially singer Luke Marsilio delivers an hell of a performance in this Cd, hisvoice recalls the heavenly one of Mr. Joey Tempest, and this already should be enough for all guys into Europe,Dokken, Firehouse and early Warrant to try getting a copy of this cd immediately! A couple of heart-breakin’ bal-lads and a cover of Eagles’s classic “Life In The Fast Lane” complete the picture. Only the production could havebeen better but, hey, we can’t have it all. We have a great, young and hungry band… and that’s enough!
(Rob “Ezy” Bone) 88
“Battersea” - I thought we were finishedwith this album when Peterik called me andsaid “get your butt down to Chicago, I justwrote the opening track”. Well I did - and itis!!
“Can't Look Away” - One evening Jim andI were having a drink at a local pub and onthe TV there was a news flash of the latesthigh school massacre and suicide. We want-ed to ignore it and continue to celebrate agood day's session. But we couldn't ignoreit. We couldn't look away. The next day wetracked the song Jim had stayed up all nightwriting.
“Make Me A Believer” - I guess I'vealways been kind of a doubting Thomas. Isang this song with a lot of feeling becauseI was thinking about my daughter and howher birth gave me something to believe in.
“Crossroads Moment” - This song meansso much to me because this is exactly thepoint of life I was at when Jim first played itfor me. I really was at a crossroads betweenmy past and all the options of my future.Recording this album helped me findmyself and take all the right turns.
“Bittersweet” - One of our most emotionalsongs... the moment we find the right personand fall in love. You have to take all thegood and the pain that always seems tocome along for the ride. I was lucky enoughfor my dear friend Mickey Thomas to cometo Chicago and duet with me. Just like backin 1984 our voices blended like magic.Thanks Mickey!
“Behind The Music” - This was the song
we recorded to see how this new team wasgoing to work. It is also what convincedFrontiers to move full steam ahead with theproject. They heard in it the sound of thepast and the future. In a way this song tellsthe story of Jim and I. He has always beena mentor to me.
“Lost” - “Dear St. Anthony I'm asking youfor your kind and urgent help". Jim calledme with that line and we talked about a manthat is lost without the woman he loves.Later that day Jim called and sang it overthe phone. Even through an intermittant cellphone the desperation came through.
“Love The World Away” - I guess youcould say I got the ball rolling on this one. Iwas watching a movie one night. There wasa scene of a couple making love so passion-ately that they didn't even hear the sirensoutside their window. Turns out their hotelwas on fire! Peterik thought this wouldmake a great concept for a song. I think it'sone of the most rocking songs on the album.
“She's Nothing To Me” - I always lovedthat John Waite smash “Missing You”.When Jim first played me this one a heardthe same contradiction in the lyric. Thisman is desperately trying to convince him-self that she doesn't matter to him one bit.
“As Is” - When Mickey came to Jim's stu-dio to sing I sat him down behind the con-sole and played him a rough mix on thisone. When he turned around he had a tear inhis eye. He said that the song was a classicand that it was one of my best vocals. I don'tknow if it is or isn't but it sure was nicehearing that from one of my favorite singers
of all time.
“Till the Morning Comes” - I can't getenough of this song. It reminds me of thefirst time Jim and Frankie played me “IsThis Love”. It is pure Pop with a Rockedge. I hear echoes of the Doobies, Halland Oats and of course vintage Survivor.
“That's Why I Sing” - This is the mostjoyous song I've ever sung. Every harmo-ny. Every melody. Every lead line puts asmile on my face. This is all about the rea-son I fell in love with music in the firstplace. The music fills my heart - that'swhy I sing.
“Friends We've Never Met” - This songis our tribute to the true royalty in Rockand Roll: the audience. I think I recallalmost every show I've played through theyears. It never stops being a thrill whenthe crowd connects with a band and sud-denly it's just one big band. Peoplesinging along, clapping, laughing - reallyanother member of the band. I've madethousands of friends over the years -friends I've never met.
“When Rock Was King” - This song isour tribute to the larger than life 80's.Helping me celebrate that era is some ofmy best friends: Mickey Thomas, JoeLynn, Don Barnes, Jim Peterik, DaveBickler, Mike Reno, all weigh in withtheir signature vocal style. “Big hair - bigdreams - big visions” says it all. It's notlike any of us have stopped moving for-ward and growing, but it is fun to lookback at an era “when Rock was king!”.
A f t e rA f t e r TTo n y H a r n e l l l e f t t h e b a n d i n 2 0 0 6 , o n y H a r n e l l l e f t t h e b a n d i n 2 0 0 6 , T N TT N T f o u n d i n f o u n d i n TTo n y M i l l s ( e xo n y M i l l s ( e xS h y ) t h e p e r f e c t s i n g e rS h y ) t h e p e r f e c t s i n g e r f o rf o r t h e b a n d . t h e b a n d . A f t e rA f t e r a c ra c r e a t i v e p e r i o d i n R o n n i ' se a t i v e p e r i o d i n R o n n i ' ss t u d i o t h e b a n d m a d e l o t s o f n e w m a t e r i a l w h i c h rs t u d i o t h e b a n d m a d e l o t s o f n e w m a t e r i a l w h i c h r e s u l t e d i n t h e a l b u me s u l t e d i n t h e a l b u mc a l l e d “ T h e N e w c a l l e d “ T h e N e w TTe r r i t o re r r i t o r y ” a n d i n t h e u p c o m i n g e fy ” a n d i n t h e u p c o m i n g e f f o rf o r t “ A t l a n t i s ” .t “ A t l a n t i s ” .
Hello guys! Firstly congratulation onanother ground breaking TNT album!Again the band have gone against the“expected” formula for what is describedas a Melodic Rock band. Is this definitelythe new way forward for the band?Tony Mills: Thanks! I think there's enoughtraditional Rock foundation in the musicwithout unnecessarily following a certaingenre or style for the sake of it. I think theband all agree that we definitely do not everintend to write product for groups of peoplewho “expect” something from the band.I think this band is what Tony Mills’ voicehas been crying out for, the depth and vari-ety of songs really brings out the best inyou... TM: Actually, you are quite right. TNT havebought out a lot more scope from me as asinger than previous projects I've beeninvolved in. The song keys vary considerablywhich allows me a greater range to performand that has helped me considerably.The album has definite “British late sixtiesand early seventies”-vibe going on with it;are these the musical generations that real-ly inspire you?TM: Yes, I think so. Both Ronni and myselfwere bought up on music of the 60's/70's andthe inspiration behind that led us to do whatwe do today. There are definite tributes insound toward some of the artists from thatera.The album “The New Territory” got somequite adverse reviews but those who’ve fol-lowed the band know the different levelseach TNT album has; do you think thesereviews were unjustified?
TM: Adverse reviews have come from peo-ple who don't know the band and conse-quently don't know what to expect from theband. I think there have been fans that havefavourite albums and wish for a similarstyle once more round, but that won’t hap-pen and my best advice for any of thesepeople is to expect the unexpected and youwon’t be disappointed. Over and above that,of course, has been the line-up changes inthe band, and that can be a kick in the teethfor the ardent fan; but this is rock’n’roll andlife, of course; change comes to us all...There are some quite poignant tracks onthe album and “Me and Dad” is one ofthem; is there a particular story behindthat song?TM: No. I did not write “Me And Dad”, andI have spoke to Ronni about this song. Heinsists that it isn't really personal about hisown father, rather a song about “Dads” theworld over.Do you have any personal favourites offthe album and - if so - which ones andwhy those particular songs?TM: Well, “Tango Girl” excited me whenwe first started playing it live, because ofthe heavy bounce it has, and it works greatfor the audience, but now I think “Atlantis”has surpassed that for me, because it has agreat guitar base and has a dream state feelto it.The band has a tremendous following inNorway and always pull in thousands offans at their live shows; any plans tospread your wings and tour outside ofNorway next year?TM: Yes. We promised ourselves after thir-
ty months performing in Norway andSweden, we would get a flight south andstart to break back into Europe during2009. I think we start with Spain in January2009.Finally if you had to explain what TNTmeans to you, which three words wouldyou use?TM: Unpredictable. Groundbreaking.Controversial.
(by Barry McMinn)
“Atlantis”the new album by TNT:
review page 12
16 Melodic Rock Fanzine
CHINA BLUE is a brand new All Star Melodic Rock Project masterminded by Eric Ragno, former mem-ber of TAKARA, now with VOX TEMPUS. Together with Eric there are some familiar faces such as TonyMills (ex SHY, now with TNT) on vocals, Josh Ramos (ex The Storm, now with Hardline) on guitar, DougOdell on bass and Zane Petersen on drums. Musically the debut album “Twilight of Destiny” is an absolutedelight for all fans of classic Shy, Journey and The Storm music with a slight Progressive edge!
You dreamt up this project back in thelate ‘80s. Why has it taken so long fromthe original inception to final releasingthis great CD? Eric Ragno: This album has been a life-long ambition for me. The idea came whenI was between bands and looking for somevindication, some new direction. Thensomething would come along, and ChinaBlue went back on the shelf. This hap-pened a few times, until finally my bandVox Tempus went on hiatus and I had ahalf dozen songs left over that I was veryproud of. It seemed like the time to pull itall together and finish the China Bluerecord - and include some friends I madealong the way!Which songs were written in the ‘80sand which ones were written morerecently? ER: “Don’t Be a Stranger” came from thatera, as did “Passions”, “A Last Goodbye”and pieces of others songs like “Crimes”,“Movin On”, etc. Others were Vox Tempusdemos like “So Wrong”, “Take Me As IAm”, “What Do You Need But Love” andmost of “Crimes”. I am always writing andyou never know where the songs will endup! Michael Riesenbeck brought in the ini-tial ideas for “Changing Ways” and “Lost”,and we built upon those. We re-recordedeverything and streamlined the album tokeep it consistent.Tony Mills’ vocals have a huge effect onthe overall sound of the CD. Did youalways have him or his type of voice inyour head when you were writing thesongs? ER: As you mentioned, some of thesesongs pre-date my association with Tony.He sent me his initial demo of “I Feel LikeDying” and my jaw hit the floor! I love
what Tony did with this record, many feelthis is his best work to date. I didn't knowwho would sing on the album until the musicwas 70% written. I kept writing and believ-ing that things would fall into place when thetime was right. We needed a singer whocould hit the high notes and bring it all home,and Tony nailed it with easy. He is a goodfriend, we spent some time together in theU.K. and I just love the guy to bits. Hisfriendship has been a blessing. I really hopeFrontiers green-lights a follow-up record aswe've hit upon some real magic together. Another well known name on the CD isJosh Ramos who supplies the great guitarsound. How did you find working withhim and how much did his playing affectthe way the record turned out? ER: Josh is a great man and a deep soul. Webuilt a real bond while working on theRamos/Hugo album together - we wouldlock ourselves up in a house and just writefor a week at a time. And we did this morethan once. I was a big fan of The Storm - Iwrote the end of “Don't Be a Stranger” yearsago as a tribute to Josh's work on “Show Methe Way”. I never thought I'd have Josh play-ing it! Our original guitarist MichaelRiesenbeck quit due to family obligationsand Josh was the obvious choice - he's soeasy to work with, you just point him in theright direction and he shreds! But his onlyavailability was between Christmas & NewYear, so I sent the family away to New Yorkfor that week and spent the time producingJosh's parts, eating fine dinners and enjoyingthe holiday season with my friend. RonnySmith recorded many of the rhythm parts, soJosh only had to worry about the solos,which he appreciated a lot! Josh's solos werethe last layer to go down, so we went throughit section by section and filled the spaces
with pure melody. I have a lot of good mem-ories with Josh, we speak frequently.Do you think there's a chance of seeing youguys getting together and playing somelive shows soon? ER: Ha ha ha! You sound like them! All ofthe guys are bugging me to put together somesort of touring scenario. They are all busyguys but each of them wants to hit the roadwith China Blue, Especially Josh & Tony.This isn't some anonymous project; theseguys are all friends of mine, and they workwell together. It would be great to have thechance to perform at some festivals in 2009.Can you imagine the possibilities of the setlist we could do with the legacy of theseguys? Be sure to give our manager, RonVining, shout as he’d love to put a tourtogether with the right promoter.
(by Duncan Jamieson)
“Twilight Of Destiny”the new album by China Blue:
review page 11
ECLIPTICAECLIPTICA is ais aHeavy Metal bandHeavy Metal bandfrfrom om Austria foundAustria found--ed by guitaristed by guitaristMarkus Markus WWinklerinkler inin2005. 2005. They played aThey played alive-set at the worldlive-set at the worldfamous “Wfamous “WACKENACKENOPEN OPEN AIR” inAIR” inGermany and theirGermany and theirmusic is defined inmusic is defined intheirtheir musical rmusical roots:oots:blending the tradiblending the tradi--tional Heavy Metaltional Heavy Metalof the 80’of the 80’s togethers togetherwith intricate rwith intricate rhythmshythmsand Prand Progrogressive eleessive ele--ments with the usements with the useof two vocalistsof two vocalists(male and female(male and femalevocalists)... vocalists)...
Hello guys! Let’s begin with the form-ing of Ecliptica: you hail from Austria;please introduce yourselves for ourreaders….Ecliptica: The band was founded origi-nally as a solo-project, but since mid2005 Ecliptica exists as a band with aconstant line-up. In December 2006 wehad our live-debut in front of 400 mani-acs supporting Dead Soul Tribe. After wereleased our first demo “The Awakening”in April 2007, we promoted the CD withseveral gigs: we supported Symphony X,and - as the winners of the “AustrianMetal Battle” - we played at the leg-endary “Wacken Open Air” in Germanylast year, then the “Donauinselfest” inVienna and we’ve done a small club tourin Austria last autumn. After that weentered the studio to record our firstalbum “Impetus”.A six member group, with two vocal-ists, this must open up limitless oppor-tunities for you…E: We are actually five band members.But, yes, with two vocalists there aremany opportunities to work with. We justdid two gigs with only one vocalist in thelast weeks. It worked quite fine in mean-time, but we will consider if we will workwith a second voice again. Let's see whathappens the next weeks.Ecliptica is such a young group, yetyour music is so mature; does everyonecontribute or are there a couple ofmain songwriters?E: Basically our songwriting processworks that way: I write a song, a roughbuilding with some melodies and lyrics.Then I take the idea to the rehearsingroom and introduce it to the guys. If theylike it, we finish the song together. Theworking-process is a bit like building a
house!It is nice to hear a blending of HeavyMetal and Progressive Rock; take usthrough some of your influences andhow they inspired you… E: The members of Ecliptica have manydifferent influences. Some like the tradi-tional Metal stuff from the 80s, and somelike Extreme Metal genre too. Somehoweverything is floating together andbecomes a strong mixture. I would saythat bands like Queen, Iron Maiden,Savatage and some bands especially fromScandinavia and Germany likeThunderstone or Edguy are the maininfluences. Let’s talk about how you got the atten-tion of Frontiers… E: We were searching for a label thatwould release our new album “Impetus”.Listen up Music (the company of Visonsof Atlantis’ Drummer Thomas Caser)helped us to get some good connections todifferent record labels. After a while wegot some good offers and chose for sim-ply the best opinion in our mind: FrontiersRecords.We know the company for a long timebecause of their work with musicians welike. Musically we fit perfect to the labeland they offer us a strong support as wellas good possibilities for the future.If we look at your home country, isthere a good music scene in Austria? E: Austria have a really strong under-ground scene with a lot of very goodbands and a few really engaged people,companies and presenters which offerssome good opportunities to make musicand develop your band. But if you take alook at the commercial scene there areignorant radio stations (most of them pub-lic), wrong or no investments, less record
labels with international standards,managers who are acting just for theirown wallet and a whole lotta peoplewho are just looking to present them-selves in the name of helping theAustrian musicians. All in all it is verydifficult to take your music from theunderground to international stages ifyou are in Austria.Please tell us what is behind the name“Ecliptica”? E: As I started the work on my soloproject back in 2003, I was thinkingabout a good band name. Influenced bythe first Sonata Arctica Album, I am abig fan of this band, impressed of thewonderful and mystic sounding word, Ifinally chose ECLIPTICA. Guess it islike a poetic version of the word“eclipse”…
(by Bruce Atkinson)
“Impetus”the new album by Ecliptica:
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SSSS OOOO NNNN AAAA TTTT AAAA .... .... .... IIII NNNN TTTT HHHH EEEE AAAA LLLL PPPP SSSS !!!!
JIMI JAMISON is the formerJIMI JAMISON is the former SURSURVIVVIVOR singerOR singer, one of the voices that helped shaping, one of the voices that helped shapingthe Melodic Rock genrthe Melodic Rock genre and that bre and that brought it to the highest levels. He is the voice of suchought it to the highest levels. He is the voice of suchtimeless songs such as “Burning Heartimeless songs such as “Burning Heart”, “The Seart”, “The Search is Over”, “I Can’t Hold Back” &ch is Over”, “I Can’t Hold Back” &mormore. e. AfterAfter his deparhis departurture fre from Survivorom Survivor in 2006, Jimi has teamed up again with thein 2006, Jimi has teamed up again with theotherother ex Survivorex Survivor Jim Peterik . Jim Peterik . The rThe result is “Cresult is “Crossrossroads Moment”, a true Melodicoads Moment”, a true MelodicRock masterpiece bringing back the music of the most exciting SurvivorRock masterpiece bringing back the music of the most exciting Survivor days...days...
Greetings, Mr. Jamison, it’s good tofinally have this opportunity to inter-view you! First, congratulations onthe release of “Crossroads Moment”!I know it has been a long anticipatedalbum. Could you elaborate on thewriting and recording process?Jimi Jamison: Hi Bruce, good to talkto you! Early 2007 I began recordingdemos for a different kind of projectaltogether. Meanwhile I had been incontact with Serafino at Frontiers aboutdoing a solo record. When we decidedto do the solo-cd, I asked Jim to beinvolved in the writing. We did a cou-ple of songs in the studio and we wereboth pumped and songs began to flowout of Jim Peterik. We recorded the Cdin spurts of time as both, he and I, hadlive shows we were commited to. Ittook a few months to complete becauseof this but it also gave us more time tocome up with some great ideas. WhenJim agreed to be a part of the project, itinspired me to be the best that I couldbe and made me want to work harder.
Long hours pass in a studio and withoutinspiration it can get quite tedious. Wehad plenty of inspiration based on therespect we have for each other. Thatmade the recording process a lot easierand a lot more fun. Jim put a lot in tothis project with his songwriting andproducing but, more importantly, heput his heart into it!Yours and Jim’s relationship is quiteunique; he actually wrote the lyrics,but “through you”. How did this cre-ative process work?JJ: I don’t know if I would say hewrote them “through me”, but wetalked a lot about what each other hadbeen up to and how life is treating usnow. We pretty much just throw our lifeout on the table and see what shines... alot of ideas come from just what isgoing on around you and from thewords you use to express your feelings.I’ve actually written songs based on aconversation I had with someone. You have also surrounded yourselfwith some great talents, so please tell
us who else is playing with you on“Crossroads Moment”...JJ: For my album I used some of thebest musicians in Chicago. They hap-pen to be part of Jim Peterik’s WorldStage band which are also part ofPride of Lions: Ed Breckenfeld ondrums, Klem Hayes on bass, MikeAquino on guitar, Jim Peterik,Christian Cullen and Jeff Lanz onkeys, Joel Hoekstra on shred guitar.They made sure that they got insidemy head so that it would really reflectmy style. They were amazing to workwith and I'm really happy with theresults. Working hard became funwith these guys.There is a concept to this record;give us a little peek into the story...JJ: I think there comes a time ineveryone’s life when they have tomake a decision on which way to go.A decision that can change your lifedepending on what you choose to do.I’m not a problem solver for lifesproblems or decisions, but maybe lis-
Melodic Rock Fanzine 21
tening to this album will at leastput someone in the right mindset toface their crossroads moment.“Crossroads Moment” is yourfirst recording since your lasteffort with Survivor; how differ-ent was recording this work fromhow you recorded withSurvivor? JJ: You know, recording is record-ing, no matter what you are work-ing on, so it wasn’t a drasticchange. The biggest difference wasthe actual time I had to be awayform home. With the Survivorrecords I would always be gone atleast a month. It was a much short-er time away with this record. Alsorecording at Jim’s studio wasalmost like being home anyway...working with people I’ve knownfor years!Now, you have completed andreleased this fantastic slice ofmusic. Are you preparing a roadband, and if so, whom will be
playing with you? Are any datesconfirmed as of yet?JJ: I am planning to tour with this Cdbut there are no dates as of yet, and, asfar as band members, I have severalgreat players in mind but haven’trehearsed with anyone yet. With thepeople I have in mind I don’t think alot of rehearsing will be necessary.It’s going to be a great band.This is a big release and has gottenthe attention of Frontiers Records,who are solidly behind this effort; isthis just the beginning and are youplanning more recordings withFrontiers?JJ: I am so thankful and proud to be apart of the Frontiers Records family.They are a “music first” record label.They know good music and they takecare of their artists. If you take a lookat their roster, they have some of thebiggest bands of all time doing newrecords. They bring so much greatmusic to the world. I’m really hopingfor a long relationship and many more
“Crossroads Moments”the new album by Jimi Jamison:
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records. Is “Crossroads Moment” internation-ally released through Frontiers or areyou licensing the release to otherlabels throughout the world?JJ: I’m going to have to speak toSerafino about that one. His input isinvaluable in that area. Being in this crazy business for a longtime, what changes are you seeing,from when you entered and now… JJ: It’s a different world now from theway it was. Constant touring was themain way to promote your record whenI first started. With the advent of theInternet it’s almost like learning all overagain. Radio has changed but the popu-larity of different styles of music seemsto flow in cycles; with Country musicbeing the “in” thing at one minute, thenRock, etc... I think music does come fullcircle after awhile.Do you feel that the business-side ofthings is healthier in Europe and Asiathan in North America... or is this nota fair question?JJ: Yes, it’s a fair question and, yes, Ithink it is a healthier situation in Europeand Asia. The economy in the US is at alow point and the corporate musicindustry is shrinking. I think is tough fora new band to realize even the mostbasic things like from who and howthey earn money.Well, Jimi, it’s good to see you backand recording! You have fans all overthat can’t wait to snap up this album!As is my tradition, I like to leave thelast words to my guests... so pleasefeel free to leave us with some finalthoughts!JJ: I would just like to say thank you toFrontiers and also to all my friends inEurope and Asia. I really think you aregoing to like this Cd. I’m very proud ofit.
(by Bruce Atkinson)