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BOSTON, Stryper, Reo Speedwagon, Royal Hunt, Fate, Angelica, Benedictum, AOR, Iron Mask, Signum Regis, Seventh Key, Place Vendome, Hell ...and more!


Page 1: Melodic Rock Fanzine #59
Page 2: Melodic Rock Fanzine #59
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CONTENTS04 BOSTON06 Stryper07 Reo Speedwagon08 Royal Hunt + Fate09 Angel ica + Benedictum12 Reviews14 AOR15 Iron Mask16 Signum Regis19 Seventh Key20 Place Vendome21 Hell

Melodic Rock FanzineThe official Frontiers Records magazine

Year #9 - Nr. 6 / Issue #59

Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi

Graphic & Design: Elio Bordi

Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, BarryMcMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Primo Bonali.

Headquarters and general contacts:Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 1880125, Napoli - ItalyTel: +39.081.2399340/7753Fax: +39.081.2399794E-mail: [email protected]: www.frontiers.itFacebook: and publisher: Frontiers Records s.r.l.

Copyright©2013 Frontiers Records. All rightsreserved. Reproduction in whole or in part

without permission is prohibited.Printed in Italy.

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band. bostonalbum. life, love e hopeInterview with:. T. Scholtz

interviewed by:. Duncan jamieson

Focus on: BOSTON - Life, Love & Hope (Frontiers Records)

It’s over ten years since Boston’s last album “Corporate America” so expectations for this oneare high. However, a look at the tracklist shows three of the songs are reworked versions oftunes that already appeared on “Corporate America” and another track is a two minute instru-mental. Despite these shortcomings, it does sound like a Boston album. Deliberately so, Scholzhas gone out of his way to include his distinctive Rockman guitar sound, the lush harmoniesand the painstakingly crafted songs the band’s known for. As a result, it does have a morecohesive sound than “Corporate America”. The new material is all written by Scholz. “Heavenon Earth” and “Sail Away” are good tunes with guitars that sound like space rocket engines(very “Third Stage”) and even when Kimberley Dahme takes the lead vocal on “If You WereIn Love”, it’s still unmistakably Boston. “Love Got Away” sees Scholz take the lead vocals. He’sno Brad Delp, but the song has a good arrangement and the harmonies in the chorus reallylift the song. This record can’t match the classic debut of course but it tries to mix some of thebest elements of “Corporate America” and “Third Stage”. Duncan Jamieson (90/100)

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Question: Welcome toMelodic Rock. How’s life?Answer: Very exciting right now!Q: Ten years is a long timebetween albums. What tookso long?A: A typical album recordingsession involves a sizeable col-lection of professionals includinga producer, engineer, assistant,studio tech, 5 or 6 performers,and maybe an arranger or song-writer. BOSTON albums are verytime consuming productionsbecause I work alone; I do mostof these jobs myself. It's actual-ly kind of surprising that it does-n't take longer! Even moreimportant, BOSTON recordingsare very complicated, withinstrument and vocal parts thatare hard to perform and seldomrepeat. Also, when I get intothe studio my mind fills withideas, and I invest a lot of timein trying many of them. Most ofwhat I record in the studio nevermakes it to the final cut.Making a BOSTON album is socostly in terms of the demandson my personal time that once Istart one I seldom get a realvacation. I'm overdue for a verylong one!Q: Can you please presentthe album to your fans?A: These are songs from theheart, each of them taking manymonths of effort to write,arrange, perform and record,always up to the demands ofBOSTON's harshest critic, me.They have all been meticulouslyrecorded to analogue tape onthe same machines and equip-ment used for BOSTON's hits forthe past 35 years.Q: Can you talk me throughthe process of one of thesongs that took the longesttime to finish on the record?A: They all took forever and aday, but just to put it in per-spective, "Sail Away" was start-ed in 2003 and finally finished in2012 after numerous completedversions turned out not to becomplete after all. The compli-cation develops something likethis: I lay down a piano track tomy drum track only to discoverthat the tempo should slowdown more in the chorus and inthe chorus outro. After replayingthe drum track I lay downanother piano track followed bya rhythm guitar track at whichtime it becomes obvious that athe piano chords in the chorusshould be different to work witha new idea I have on the guitarpart, which also necessitates aseveral changes in the drumpattern and fills. Adding thebass, other keyboards, lead gui-

tar, and vocals each lead tochanges in the parts I havealready played and changedrepeatedly and also create newopportunities to try additionalideas in the arrangement. Thereare literally thousands of differ-ent versions of each of thesongs heard on the album, asthere have been for most of therecordings ever released underthe name BOSTON. Are yousorry you asked? Q: Is it true that HurricaneKatrina inspired “SailAway”?A: Yes, or more correctly, thehorrible inequity obvious in theway the poor in New Orleanswere treated. It has been tenyears since that incredibleimmoral travesty, and yet thedisparity between rich and poorin the US has only gotten worse.Q: What made you decide tore-record three tracks fromyour last album “CorporateAmerica”?A: I wanted to get it right.Somehow my original vision forthose songs got lost in the pan-demonium of trying to make analbum involving other writersand musicians. I'm trying to for-get "Corporate America," it wasan experiment that didn'twork... Although I do still likethe song "Corporate America."Q: Can you please be so kindto do a little track by track ofthe album?A: "Heaven on Earth" - Doesn'thappen very often; hang on to itif you find it."Didn't Mean to Fall in Love" -As they say, love happens whenyou least expect it. This wasremastered from the original2002 recording; released againhere because I just really likethis song."Last Day of School" - Thisinstrumental was performedpublicly for the first time on thehuge pipe organ at Boston'sSymphony Hall for MIT's 150thanniversary celebration, withthe Boston Pops."Sail Away" - A retrospective ofKatrina and the devastationendured by the poor, sweptunder the rug by the rich. Sailaway to a better place."Life, Love, and Hope" -Sometimes it takes a traumaticevent to make us realize what'sreally important."If You Were in Love" - We've allbeen there and we can alldream. "Someday" - A shout out to allthose who stand up to bullying;malicious people make lifeworse for everyone."Love Got Away" - A story from

personal experience. I had tosing this one myself."You Gave Up on Love (2.0)" -It's too precious, don't do it.This is a new arrangement and arerecording of the song original-ly released on CorporateAmerica."Someone (2.0)" - The song is"Someone," but most everyonewho's been in love can relate tothis song, a version of whichwas first heard on CorporateAmerica in 2002. This was mychance to release an arrange-ment more like my original con-cept, which somehow got lostthe first time around. Now I cansleep tonight. "The Way You Look Tonight" - Tomy wife Kim, a very good endingafter letting love get away. Q: In the ten years since“Corporate America” themusic industry has changeddrastically. How do you viewhow it’s changed?A: Several steps for the worse.Online piracy has all but madefull production recording impos-sible, unless your willing to losemoney making an album. LuckilyI was. What's worse is that theonly viable means of gettingyour music to your listeners isby CDs (bad digital reproduc-tion) or online MP3 downloads(horrible digital reproduction).In their take-no-prisonersapproach to make corporateprofits I believe the on linemusic sales giants have helpedto destroy the apprecitaion ofwell recorded music. You can getanything you want instantly, aslong as you don't mind that thesound sucks! There is a glimmerof hope on the horizon though:under pressure from manysides, a couple of providers havebegun offering high resolutiondigital reproductions that shouldsound far better than MP3s oreven CDs. In my humble opinionthese still can't hold a candle toanalogue vinyl or even a wellmade cassette, which is what Ilisten to daily in the studio.Q: It must be pleasing toknow BOSTON’s music hastruly reached the “classic”status. How do you feelabout it?A: It's nice to still be appreciat-ed.Q: What are the plans for atour and is there any chancewe might see you in Europe?A: Yes, and I hope so this com-ing year!Q: Good luck with the album.A: Thank you. I'm just happy tolisten to it now knowing I don'thave to think about how I shouldchange it.

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Focus on: STRYPER - No More Hell To Pay (Front iers Records)

Heavy as hell. Or should I say Heaven? In Michael Sweet's words "No More Hell To Payis the record we needed to make as a follow up to "To Hell With The Devil". Every songhas a hooky guitar riff. Everything is in minor keys, so it's a little darker sounding anda little tougher. It's definitely our heaviest record!". The band is in full shape, theStryper trademark is always definitely there ("that" guitar-tone, the huge vocal har-monies) and Sweet still reaches these high notes that made his singing so popular andloved. In some songs, “No More Hell to Pay” (Stryper’s eighth original studio album and- once again - played by the original line-up of Michael Sweet as lead vocalist and gui-tarist, Robert Sweet on drums, Timothy Gaines on bass and Oz Fox on Lead Guitar)makes me think also to "Soldiers Under Command", with a better production (courtesyof Michael Sweet himself) and with probably the band's heaviest material ever. It lookslike the band - after the long break - decided to recoup the lost time and to push themachine full force. A long tour and the recording of a Live DVD-CD are the next movesfor the yellow and black boys. Jesus Is Just Alright! Primo Bonali (90/100)

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Question: Hello guys, it’s a realpleasure and an honor for me tohave the chance to interviewyou… I’m 47 years old now and Igrew up with your music! First ofall, my best congratulations foryour great new album! It’s a real-ly heavy & somehow dark, yetvery melodic album, with theusual great Stryper-trademark,and some updated contemporarysound. Do you agree? What doyou think about?Answer: I'm really excited about thenew album, more so than any otheralbum we've produced and released!I believe it's our best yet and after 30years of doing this, that's really say-ing a lot. I think there is a long roadahead of the band and we're ready totravel that road :-)Q: Which are the main differencesbetween your previous one“Murder By Pride” and the new“No More Hell To Pay”, in youropinion?A: NMHTP is definitely heavier andmore focused. MBP is a very goodalbum and one that received greatreviews/feedback but NMHTP takes ita step further (many steps further)and shows the world that we're capa-ble of delivering our best, even 30years later! As you can tell we'requite excited about the future!!!Q: When the songs for “No MoreHell To Pay” have been written?Are some of these taken out off

your archives or are all of thembrand new? What is the processof songwriting in Stryper? Haveall the band’s members con-tributed to the songwriting?A: I wrote all of the material for therecord. Aside from "Jesus Is JustAlright", the other 11 tracks are alloriginal and new except for "MarchingInto Battle, which I wrote when I was16 years old. It got shelved for somereason and I felt like it was a perfectfit for NMHTP and that it was time todust it off and finally show the worldwhat kind of song it is - heavy!Q: Your voice is still powerful andmelodic as it was back in the ‘80s.How do you manage to do thatand to keep your great voice,after years of heavy singing?A: I try to take care of my voice andtake care of myself. I have continuedto sing throughout the years andthat's important too. I'm blessed tobe able to do this still and to be ableto sing as well. My voice has changeda bit over the years (deeper / grittier)but I don't necessarily think that it's abad thing...Q: Talking about the past, whichhave been your highest “highs”and your lowest “lows” in yoursuccessful career?A: To Hell With The Devil was ourhighest high and Against The Lawwas our lowest low. We've learned alot from both periods and we are themen that we are today due to experi-

encing good and bad, highs and lows.Now, we hope to see NMHTP be ourhighest high yet!Q: What led to the decision tosplit up the band in 1992? Andwhy did you take some long yearsto come together once again?A: I left in 1992 because I felt that wehad fulfilled our time and accom-plished all that we needed to do. I feltthat it was time to move on. After a10 year hiatus it seemed like it wastime to reform and do it again(2003).Q: “To Hell With The Devil” (if I’mright, you’re most successfulrecords, sales-wise) and “In GodWe Trust” became instant clas-sics and still the best ChristianHard-Rock release of all times!What do you remember of thesegreat years?A: Amazing! We were so young yetwe were doing things that one canonly dream of. We went from clubs toarenas in the blink of an eye and itwas surreal to say the least. Specialtimes and many memories...Q: Any european tour planned(let’s really hope so!)? And howdo you feel about playing live,after these years?A: Yes, absolutely! We are planningto come to Europe next year (2014)to tour extensively. We love to per-form and meet new fans/friends andof course old fans/friends alike! Itfeels amazing!!!

band. stryperalbum. no more hell to payInterview with. m,. sweetinterviewed by:. primo bonali

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Question: Can you please presentthe album to our readers?Answer: We were doing Moondanceback when the dressing room wasthe back of your truck! It’s come along way, and it’s such an awesomeevent, because it’s a dying breed —the actual old-school rock festival.We have over 30,000 people in theaudience and it’s a four-day weekendand people are all camping out. Imean, it’s really cool. We were sofortunate, because over the yearswe’ve recorded and videoed a num-ber of shows, and there’s alwaysbeen something that didn’t work.Either there was a technical glitch orI didn’t feel like I sang well or some-body’s guitar was out of tune orwhatever. There was always some-thing that messed it up. For this par-ticular show, we had 15 hi-def cam-eras — it was a big deal and a hugeproduction with 30,000 people [inattendance], and man, it just allcame together. The weather wasperfect and people were psyched.And from our standpoint, the bandjust had a smokin’ night. So after 40years, we finally nailed it, so we werejust so psyched. We had a greatnight, everything worked camera-wise and the sound was good, so we

finally got what we feel is kind of thedefinitive performance of this config-uration of REO Speedwagon, sowe’re very, very proud of this thingand glad that it’s going to to bereleased worldwide.What rapresent the music in yourlife?A: Guitar saved my life. I reallywanted to be the point guard on ourbasketball team, but unfortunately Iwasn't given that gift. So I startedtaking guitar lessons but wasn't real-ly sure why I was taking them.Then on a night in 1964, I saw theBeatles play on Ed Sullivan andeverything changed for me. Theywere the first band that played theirinstruments, sang their songs andwrote their songs. They encapsulat-ed everything I wanted to do andfrom then on, there was no otheroption.Q: Any news about a new studioalbum?A: Well, we loaded up into a friend ofmine’s studio and just started mess-ing around. I had a basic idea of asong and was working on it. It was-n’t even finished, and it was very dif-ferent than the way we usually dothings. But we just loaded in andstarted playing, and so we’re just

kind of trying to see if there’s otherways of doing things. Recordedmusic has changed so much over thepast few years, and plus, ourlifestyles of changed. Bruce [Hall]moved to Florida, Neal [Doughty]moved to Minnesota — we don’t alllive in the same neighborhood any-more like we used to, so it makes ita little more challenging, the thoughtof making an album. I love albums,and I just love when songs are justsequenced in a certain way and itkind of all works together. The reali-ty and the practicalities of doing thatat this point in our lives is that itwould take a minor miracle for thatto happen. So we’re looking at alter-native ways of getting music outthere. As far as an announcement tomake of something, I really don’thave one right now. All I can tell youis that we’re investigating and we’reexperimenting at soundchecks andwe’re just messing around with stuff.You know, fortunately we’re having alot of fun out on tour right now. One of the things we’ve been doing istaking some of the songs from thecatalog that we feel kind of like wemissed the boat on a bit the firsttime around. So we’re kind of treat-ing them as if they’re new songs.

artist. reo speedwagonalbum. live at moondance...Interview with.

interviewed by. b. atkinson

A great package from a fantastic band from the American heartland! “Liveat Moondance Jam” is a visual and sonic live testament of one REOSpeedwagon. Although on the scene for forty plus years, Kevin Cronin andCompany are still very much alive and rocking! The band are squeakytight, Kevin’s voice still unique and pure. “Live at Moondance Jam” captureREO Speedwagon at their highest. This concert performance is sonicallyhigh definition, and so is the visual document! For the first time in theband’s career, they are presented in High Definition-showcasing everydetail of this extraordinary performance. Give yourself a gift of AmericanHeartland rock n’ roll. REO Speedwagon: “Live At Moondance Jam”!

Bruce Atkinson (90/100)

Focus on: REO SPEEDWAGON - L ive At Moondance Jam (Front iers Records)

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Bruce Atkinson: Andre, when we talked last, “ShowMe How To Live” was just about to be released. Youwere re-united with DC Cooper and he returns onthis new work. Going into this session, were youmore comfortable in what you were about to create,knowing that you were about to expand the bound-aries?Andre Andersen: I´d say so as it´s always easier to workwith the stable line-up: you know what to expect from peo-ple, you know their strong sides and general preferences. BA: Speaking of expanding the boundaries, you aretaking the group to a higher level, with expressingyourself more completely in the symphonic area.Any unique challenges in this regard?AA: The main one being working with classical musiciansand incorporating them into our songs/arrangements;some things just took more time to achieve.BA: When composing, I know that you keep in mindthat the members of Royal Hunt are their own musi-cal personality. How do you accomplish maintainingyours and their musical personalities in the finishedcreation?AA: It´s a natural situation for me: I write as I always doand as I´m starting with arrangements I penning every-body´s parts according to their preferences (which I knowpretty well by now). Of course we´ll change some bits hereand there while recording in order to fit everybody´s styleeven better, but so far – nothing major. BA: In our last interview, Andre, you identified aVision that you and the group have held for severalyears. Are you still holding to that Vision, or haveyou found it a tad more difficult in our trying times?AA: It´s getting harder every year, but look at us today:new album, new tour… We´re still around.BA: Again, with this album… There are of course,some very strong lyrical statements, including thetitle of the album itself: “A Life To Die For”. Do youfind it harder writing, or are the times we live instand as a source of inspiration?AA: The inspiration is everywhere, you just have to look forit… a book, a movie, a headline in the newspaper, a per-sonal event – there´re plenty of issues to be inspired by.

ROYAL HUNT - A Life to Die For(Frontiers Records)The twelfth studio album from perhaps the bestSymphonic Melodic rock ensemble: RoyalHunt’s “A Life to Die For” is just that, music todie for! It begins with the paradoxical “HellComes Down From Heaven” and epically takesoff from there! A complete lyrical & musical

masterstroke from Andre Andersen and friends. This five piecehave outdone themselves, and I think I said that in my review oftheir “Show Me How To Live” opus, but this time they absolutelyhave! It doesn’t matter if we are talking about Jonas’ guitars, thepounding yet melodic Bass of Andreas’ or Allan’s precise and hardhitting percussion… Andre & DC Cooper are surrounded by amagnificent team of players. Twelve, historically a number thatrepresents completeness and fullness… Royal Hunt’s twelfth stu-dio expression is utterly complete & with musical excursions thatare full to the brim! Bruce Atkinson (91/100)

Barry McMinn: This is second album with thesame line-up, do you see this version of the bandas next chapter in the story of Fate?Jens B: Yes this is definitely the line-up that Fate willkeep for at long time, band is sounding better then everand we have a great chemistry in the band now.Everybody is older and more mature as musicians andpersons and the egos are not an issue. We enjoy play-ing music together and have fun playing live. BMM: How long after ‘Ghost From The Past’ didthe band start working on new material for ‘If NotFor The Devil’?JB: We are always writing songs but we seriously start-ed during the spring of 2012 and wrote the album dur-ing the year. We decided the 12 songs for the albumlate September 2012 and started to rehears from there. BMM: Does all the band have input into the songsor is there one main songwriter in the band?JB: Yes all 5 members are writing songs but it mainlystarts with a idea from one of the guys and then we allpitch in with ideas to form the final result. BMM: How do you compare this album to yourprevious releases, especially first four albums?JB: We didn’t think to much on that when we startedwriting the album but with this line-up it’s just a perfectmatch for melodic hard rock and we all like the oldalbums so I think it’s was only natural that the newalbum sounds like it does. For me the new albumreminds me of “Matter Of Attitude” and “Scratch N´Sniff” most and its my personal favourite ones. BMM: The bands sound has been described asanything from AOR to Melodic Rock to Metal, doyou think the diverse nature of the band has madethe band hard to categorize and do you think thisis a good thing?JB: Well the band didn’t have much time writing the firstalbum but I think if you go from “A Matter Of Attitude”to today except for “V” I think the best category isMelodic Hard Rock. FATE has never been metal and hasonly flirted with AOR I think, but it’s so hard to saybecause it’s very a very personal thing categorizingmusic. It isn’t any thing we in the band are thinking of.

FATE - If Not For The Devil(Avenue of Allies)“If Not For the Devil” is the latest albumfrom Danish rockers Fate. This new albumshows the band at their diverse best.Once again the 2011 line-up of DagfinnJoensen (vocals) Torben Enevoldsen (gui-tars), Mikkel Henderson (keyboards),

Peter Steincke (bass) and Jens Berglid (drums), deliver analbum full of Scandinavian panache, that gets off to a greatstart with “Reaping”, an all guns blazing hard rocker thatsets the bar high for the rest of the album to follow. And fol-low it does with the title track “If Not For The Devil” withEnevoldsen unleashing the big licks while the powerfulvocals of Joensen deliver on so many levels. The album con-tinues to rock big style with the likes of “Bridges AreBurning”, “Gambler” and “Hard To Say Goodbye”. These arejust some of the many highlights on what is a great slice ofScandinavian rock. Barry McMinn (89/100)

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Barry McMinn: “Obey” is the band’s fourth album andsees a couple of line-up changes, with Rikard Stjernquistand Aric Avina joining the ranks, what do these guysbring to Benedictum? Veronica Freeman: Change always seems to be inevitable andthis is the case with Benedictum as well. We are really proudto have Rikard and Aric on board. Rikard (formerly of JagPanzer) has a style that is perfectly suited for Benedictum.Aside from the fact that he tells some of the best storiesaround! He is a seasoned professional and I think we all learna lot from him. Aric (formerly of Tynator) was really thrown intothis whole crazy Benedictum circus as we were already prepar-ing for the album and getting ready to record. We almost hadto start the process without a bass player but we really wantedto make sure and get the right fit. Aric brought a certain calm-ness to the whole situation and within a few days was ready forthe studio and really did a great job. These guys are a LOT OFFUN and to me that is what really makes it all come together. BMM: What was the song writing process like for the newalbum, did the new guys have any input on the newsongs?VF: The process was a lot smoother and seemed to flow betterthis time around. Basically, Pete and I still work the same wayas we always have. It seems like we have a little formula thathas always worked for us. He passes some musical ideas byme, I listen to them over and over and then start piecing somemelody and lyrical ideas together and we develop a song.Rikard had a lot of input as well, especially when it came toarrangements on some songs and giving things that certain“feel”. Aric entered on to the scene after the writing processwas pretty much over but I am sure he will have plenty of inputon the next album and he did a great job under pressure withthe recording of this album OBEY.BMM: The band have gone from strength to strengthwith each album, how do you think the band has evolvedoverall since its creation back in 2005? VF: Well one thing for sure is we have had a lot of differentmembers lol. I think that each one has brought something tothe table that helps to make us what we are as a whole. I thinkthere is usually a natural evolution with music unless of courseone is deciding to stay in a particular pattern and stick to justthat. I didn’t want to do that, I was glad that we are able tohave a distinct sound but I never want to feel that we are stuckin a holding pattern and cant branch out now and then. Thereare certain things that work and certain things that don’t andthe only way to find that out sometimes is to give it a try. I thinkwe have found a certain identity within our music. Hard to pinit down but we know it when we hear and feel it.

BENEDICTUM - Obey (FrontiersRecords)“Obey” is the fourth album fromCalifornian Heavy Metallers Benedictumand once again led by the vocal might ofVeronica Freeman and the guitars of PeteWells, who are joined by new band mem-bers Rikard Stjernquist of Jag Panzer on

drums and Tynator’s Aric Avina on bass. The album seesthe return of Jeff Pilson as producer, (who handled theirdebut album ‘Uncreation’ back in 2005), the album seesthe band return to the more aggressive edge of their firsttwo albums, with Freeman delivering a monstrous vocalas always. The album gets underway proper after the introwith ‘Fracture’, an all out Metal attack that will have youraising the metal horns in salute from the first few licks.The all out metal continues with the massive title track‘Obey’, with Mills firing out the big licks, while the rhythmsection pounds out the back beat in true Metal fashion.This is the band’s fourth release and without a doubt theirbest to date. Barry McMinn (89/100)

Primo Bonali: How and when did you decide tocreate a classic and majestic AOR-MelodicRock album like this?Angelica Rylin: It’s always been a dream of mine tomake an album like this. I grew up with this type ofmusic and there’s a special spirit in it that I love.When Mr. Perugino of Frontiers Records approachedme about this opportunity about two years ago Inever hesitated for a second and here we are now!PB: I'm wondering what your most importantinfluences, musically talking, are, as with yourmain-band Murder Of My Sweet you show a dif-ferent side of you.AR: I have always had a wide spectrum when listen-ing to music and never really settled for just onefavourite source of inspiration. I’ve always believedthat a good song is a good song no matter the genreand by that I’m never limited into writing or singingin just one way. This is also what I wanted to showby recording this album, that I’m not just a “onetrick pony” and that it’s ok to be versatile and still beable to keep the quality of the music. PB: How did your band-mate and producerDaniel Flores help you in putting together"Thrive?AR: I use to say that Daniel is my musical mentor.He has a big part in making me perform better andbetter every time we work together. On this projecthe helped me get in touch with some of the musi-cians and songwriters and of course he produced,mixed and mastered the album. I had a big role toplay. PB: Which are the themes you're dealing with,lyrically talking, in your album?AR: I guess LOVE is a big topic in the songs. WithTMOMS many of our songs are story based and hasa deeper undergoing mening so on Thrive I wantedto write straight up, non complicated love songs andfocus more in trying to capture the vibe and theenergy of our sessions. The lyrics either stems frommy own experiences or my idea of love. Sometimesit's wonderful, sometimes it's really hard. It canmake us do strange things or it can be paralyzingbut most of all we can't go without it.PB: Your future plans?AR: I wish to be able to tour with this album andthen hopefully record a second one. I really wishthat my fans will support me by buying this albumand request live shows. It’s all about the fans, thepower lies with them!

ANGELICA - Thrive (FrontiersRecords)An exciting and astonishing Melodic Rockproject put together by Swedish singerAngelica Rylin (previously known as leadvocalist for Murder Of My Sweet), withthe usual precious collaboration ofFrontiers Records-team, ANGELICA fea-

tures the songwriting talent of no less than Harry Hess,Robert Sall, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Anders Wigelius andDaniel Flores (who also produced this debut-album). Theresult is definitely awesome, 1st class AOR/Melodic Rockthat might recall the grandiose sound of some ‘80s classicslike Signal, Saraya, Witness and the likes, with that typicalSwedish flavour (Work of Art, The Magnificent, Wigelius)thrown into for good measure. But it’s Angelica’s voice thatis the real “high” here; it looks like she was born to singsongs like these, going from the energetic opener“Breaking My Heart” (what a great keys intro!) to the morePop “I Am Strong”, passing through the sweet melodies of“Nothing Else You Can Break” and “I’m Not Waiting”. Ohwell, I’m in love… Primo Bonali (92/100)

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DOGFACE - Back on the Streets (AOR Heaven)

They’ve been busy-both Vocalist Mats Leven and Guitarist Martin Kronlund have involvedthemselves in some heavy duty and various projects since the last Dogface release: 2002’s“In Control”. “Back In The Streets” find this duo joined by Drummer Perra Johansson andBassist Mikael Carlsson. Ten rollicking tracks are the result, with this the third Dogfacerelease-being solid and straight. Straight to the high energy output, crisp production anda showcase for several guest musicians. “Back On The Streets” is a noteworthy return! Thestrength of the group is aptly heard in such songs as “Higher” and the title track. The highdegree of musicianship and songwriting are carried through such tunes as “The Fall”. All inall, “Back On The Streets” is Dogface at their finest… Besides, “Crazy Horses” is finallydone the way it should always have been!! Just saying! Bruce Atkinson (88/100)

REVOLUTION ROAD - Revolution Road (Avenue of Allies)I’m sure most of you guys over there still remember the name of Swedish singer StefanBerggren, a distinctive, warm and bluesy voice that let anyone immediately think to the obvi-ous comparison with Mr. Coverdale. Berggren, former of Snakes In Paradise and Company OfSnakes, left his bands a few years ago. He got a call from italian producer/songwriterAlessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Hardline, Lionville, Fergie Frederiksen), who decid-ed to contact him, offering the main role on this new project called Revolution Road.A “clas-sic” Melodic Hard Rock played with intensity, passion and musicianship, and a great comebackfor this great singer who might surely have the Snakes in his heart but he’s still able to standon his own with his awesome voice. Fave tracks of mine: the opener and AOR-oriented “WingsOf Hope”, the acoustic-driven “Shooting Star”, the ‘80s-oriented “Losing You” and the bluesy-to-the-bone ”Ain’t Gonna Give My Heart Away”. Let’s slide it in! Primo Bonali (88/100)

IRON MASK - Fifth Son Of Winterwood (AFM Records)With the help of Vassili Moltchanov on Bass and Ramy Ali on Drums, Boals and Petrossi have written,played and arranged 12 songs in the most classic and pure Heavy Metal vein. The opener "Back IntoMystery" is already very representative: a great mix of Power and Melodic Metal with some Progressiveinfluences. The real jewel comes with the second track, "Like A Lion In A Cage", a fast song that soundsso close to the best Malmsteen and Stratovarius. The album goes one with two songs ("OneCommandment" and "Seven Samurai") more Power-Epic Metal a la Hammerfall - R.J. Dio and withsome real heavy guitars, but unfortunately also with some weaker songs like "Angel Eyes Demon Soul","Reconquista 1492" (Iron Maiden's "Fear Of The Dark"-type guitar riffs everywhere!) and "The PictureOf Dorian Gray" (what a disturbing and childish riff in the middle of the song!). All in all, a powerful andenjoyable album, full of excellent musical performances and top-notch vocals, although the final resultis not so spectacular as you could expect from these names... Primo Bonali (80/100)

RHAPSODY OF FIRE - Dark Wings of Steel (AFM Records)Armed with a new recording contract and label-“Rhapsody of Fire” are about to spread their“Dark Wings of Steel”. The group’s first since 2011’s “From Chaos to Eternity”! Continuing intheir ambitious ways, the recent upheavals have not damaged the insightful and rich vein ofcreativity that Alex Staropoli and mates work in. “Dark Wings Of Steel” is an immense sympho-ny-somewhat ominous-however masterful in its entirety. Alex Holzwarth’s brother Oliver hasbeen the group’s Bassist since 2011, and both brothers form a very solid rhythm section thatallows the build-up of symphonic expressions that propels us to the highest level of the soundspectrum! Roberto De Micheli intertwines his guitar fluidly with the forceful & melodic keyboardjourneys of founding member Alex Staropoli. Long time Vocalist, Fabio Lione delivers with suchvirtuosity & opulence, that you can hear every musical breath he takes! “Dark Wings Of Steel”is another epic from this stellar grouping of musicians. Bruce Atkinson (91/100)

HUMAN FORTRESS - Raided Lands (AFM Records)After a change of direction on their last album almost derailed them permanently, five year onthe German epic metallers are back with an album that should connect with those who likedtheir first two albums or those who like epic metal in general and songs of old battles. Thebiggest change is new lead singer Gus Monsanto. The Brazilian singer has sung for RevolutionRenaissance and his vocals are very good indeed and surprisingly melodic for the metal herebut it works (on “Child Of War” he even sounds a little like Hardline / Axel Rudi Pell vocalistJohnny Gioeli). There are big hitting songs like the call to arms of “Raided Lands” and “GladiatorOf Rome (Part 2)” with lots of keyboard assisted atmosphere, big, impressive riffs and warlike,anthemic choruses. Light folk elements are added in a couple of intros to add depth. The firsthalf of the record is stronger than the latter half but overall this sounds like a band which haslearned from its own mistakes and are back in the fight. Duncan Jamieson (82/100)

EPICA - Retrospect (Nuclear Blast)Since their debut album ‘The Phantom Agony’ in 2003, the band have gone from strength tostrength and have become firm favourites amongst the Symphonic Metal fraternity. Now in 2013they celebrate 10 years of raising the Symphonic Metal bar with their aptly entitled “Retrospect”opus. The album will be made available as 2 DVD / 3 CD and 2 Blu-ray / 3 CD. The show wasfilmed with 10 high-definition cameras and is edited, mixed and mastered by Jochem Jacobs. Thisis 3 hours of pure Epica, filmed at Klokgebouw (Bell Building) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands infront of thousands of adoring fans. The album goes through the bands entire back catalogue with26 massive Symphonic Metal overtures to entice even the die-hard fans. Simone is a vocal forceto be reckoned with, over 3 hours of pure Symphonic majesty. The three-hour concert – whichincluded accompaniment from the seventy piece Extended Reményi Ede Chamber Orchestra andThe Miskolc National Theatre Choir, is a must buy for all fans of the genre. If you haven’t yetexperienced the power of Epica, then this is the album for you. Barry McMinn (85/100)

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SILENT VOICES - Reveal the Change (Ulterium Records)The original four have regrouped: Henrik Klingenberg on Keyboards, Paul Kauppinen on Bass, Jukka-Pekka Koivisto on Drums/Percussion, and Timo Kauppinen on guitar. These four plus, are reclaimingtheir rightful place in the higher echelons of the Progressive music galaxy. Joined by Vocalist TeemuKoskela, this Finnish five piece have grown leaps & bounds through their self-imposed exile. “RevealThe Change” displays brilliant song crafting, musicianship and an original take on all that is consid-ered Progressive Metal. This album also plays host to a plethora of guest vocalists! Adding a newsense of adventure to an already adventuresome disc! Finely textured and even more finely struc-tured, “Reveal The Change” could be considered a “comeback” album. Each musical composition isperformed with deep confidence, and although certainly progressive, contains an organic sound thatreveals the richness and depth of each members individual Talents. Extraordinarily done so withoutcomprising or overshadowing any individual player. Silent Voices should not stay silent again. We aremore than ready to hear their changes! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)

KICK - Memoirs (Escape Music)

You just can’t keep the Jones’ down! Chris and Mikey Jones are wrapping up 2013 with therelease of “Memoirs”. Technically, this is Mickey’s second solo effort, however for all intendsand purposes, “Memoirs” has been equally contributed by brother Chris. A great stand-up rockrecord, this release should elevate the group’s profile, especially if they hit the road this win-ter, with this excellent set! We are greeted with a “straight-up” production, with Mikey han-dling this chore as well. Steeped in the tradition of past Kick releases, “Memoirs” constantlyrocks out. Kick-ass tunes from a kick-ass band! Do you want some esemples? Try to listen tosongs like the opener “Doesn’t Take much”, “Radio, Round 6 Round” or “Highrway to theSun”... They will surely take to to the shop to buy the album! A disc that just doesn’t quit.Kick-“Memoirs”, you like no-nonsense Rock? Then just get this! Bruce Atkinson (91/100)

SLEEPING ROMANCE – Enlighten (Ulterium Records)Sleeping Romance are a Symphonic Power Metal band coming from Modena, Italy, and“Enlighten” is their debut-album. Led by charming lead singer Federica Lanna and guitaristFederico Truzzi (who also wrote all the orchestrations), the five-some delivers its blend ofPower, Symphonic and Gothic Metal with ability and good ideas, without carefully followingthe usual formula with those abused operatic vocals, but, instead opting for some emotion-al, all-clean, melodic, sweet and sometimes quiet vocals. That said, you could anyway findhere most of the elements that made bands like Epica and Without Temptation so success-ful: heavy & crunching guitars, epic atmospheres, orchestral arrangements, and a prettymodern production. Supported by a rich and crystal clear production (the album has beenrecorded in the band’s own studio and mastered by Roberto Priori in Los Angeles), “Enlighten”contains 10 songs that could appeal to all the fans of the genre. Primo Bonali (85/100)

NIGHTWISH – Showtime, Storytime (Nuclear Blast)Nightwish are finally back with the new line up and a new release. Floor Jansen is the new singer and“Showtime, Storytime” is the live album that show how she pefectly fits in the band. After being decorat-ed with triple platinum status in Finland as well as gold status in numerous European countries (Germany,Switzerland, Poland, among others) for their most current studio masterpiece “Imaginaerum” and follow-ing the highly successful release of their very own fantasy motion picture “Imaginaerum by Nightwish”, theband is closing in its cycle of the “Imaginaerum World Tour” with this special gift / release. The sound andproduction are incredible and the setlist is perfect for all Nightwish fans and for who would like to listen tothe band for the first time. The second disc consists of 120-minute tour documentary “Please Learn TheSetlist in 48 Hours”, with no short of drama or overall madness. Also, there is a 16-minute NIGHTWISHTable Hockey Tournament, filmed on tour. On top of this there are two music clips: “I want my tears back”(Live at Hartwall Arena) and “Ghost Love Score” (Live in Buenos Aires). Vitale Nocerino (95/100)

ROADFEVER – Wolf Pack (Avenue of Allies)

Claiming to be Sourthern flavoured rock, the second album from the female fronted Swiss out-fit, while having the odd Southern influence, is mostly a hard rock album with an 80s influ-ences and “Brother” have a whiff of the South, with a touch of slide here and lyrics that arephrased in a Southern way. Otherwise, what you really get on the record are the straightfor-ward uptempo blues rockers like “The Dice Will Roll”, “Drain your Mind” and “Wolf Pack”. Thebig riffs and choruses are a touch AC/DC, a bit like guitarist David Pariat’s previous bandSideburn. Stevie “Manou” Pike’ vocals are OK, at times a little like Sass Jordon. Matt Sinneris a guest vocalist on “Magic Sun” which offers a different dynamic which works reasonablywell. It grooves in places but can’t escape it’s European feel, so it’s not wholly convincing asAmerican Southern rock. Likeable enough though. Duncan Jamieson (79/100)

HELL – Human Remains (Nuclear Blast)The story of HELL is so unique; always considered as one of the prime movers in theNWOBHM scene, the band never managed to release a full-length album back in theday, due to many unlucky circumstances, and they stayed inactive for more than 20years. Then, two years ago, under the push of world-famous producer/guitarist AndySneap, fan of the band since his teen-age, the band reunited and recorded the solong-due debut-album, “Human Remains”. And now it’s the time for the follow-up,“Curse And Chapter”, a 50% new / 50% old material-affair that – enriched by a stel-lar production and the most sinister & hellish (still very melodic) vocals you mighthave listened in the last years - will leave many HEAVY METAL fans open mouthed,with comparisons (to my ears) ranging from Demon and Diamond Head to MercyfulFate and Annihilator. Hell ain’t a bad place to be. Primo Bonali (85/100)

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band. AORalbum. the secret of lainterview with:. frederic slamainterviewed by:. d.jamieson

Question: I can’t believe this isnow the 12th AOR record! Youmust be constantly writing songsfor this project.Answer: Yes, my main job is being asongwriter anyway. During the last 30years i've written a lot of songs for theJapanese and European market in var-ious styles. I'm working with a veryfamous publisher in Japan and writesongs for them every week. So for myAOR albums, I always write a lot and alot of songs and I always keep the bestones possible. So I have a catalogue ofseveral hundreds songs and I'm alwaysinterested to write for new artists andbands. The trick with AOR is to find theright singer for the right song which isnot always an easy task. For "TheSecrets Of L.A", my 12th album as youmentioned, I've tried to keep all thesongs very melodic with interestinglyrics that have a real meaning and astory to tell! I'm very proud of thisalbum which is for me the best I'verecorded (yet ha! ha!).Q: Do you write the songs with asinger in mind?A: Yes usually I have specific singers inmind like Lou Gramm or Steve Perry,but as you may guess it's very hard toget them to record anything thesedays, so I have to find excellent singersthat can really delivers and do the job.

Of course more than often I write withspecific singers in mind and try to chal-lenge them with some surprisingmelodies or lyrics they are not used tosing. But it always turned out wellbecause the people I'm calling arealways the top of the crop and knowwhat singing really means.Q: You have some great AORnames involved again. You musthave worked with almost everysinger in the genre of AOR over the12 albums! How do you get somany involved?A: I had the luck to work as music jour-nalist for 25 years and to live in LosAngeles for 10 years. So I made a lotof contacts and friends there. So I haveone of the biggest address book in thebusiness. I recently counted how manydifferent musicians I worked with(including my solo albums and produc-tions) and it was over a total of 150!(Not bad, huh? ha! ha!). The thing isthat the best singers and musiciansknows that I'm doing a high qualityproject and that they will be part of ahigh class cd with big production andother big names, so it's much easier toinvolve someone I don't know muchwith these kind of credits. And I mustadd that all these musicians are so niceand professional, that they are alwaysready to record on a high quality

release.Q: Any singers you’d still like to geton an AOR record?A: There are still many singers I'd liketo work with, so I think I will be herefor the next 50 years until my wish listis complete. Of course legends likeSteve Perry, Lou Gramm, Ann Wilson,Paul Rodgers or Bobby Kimball. Butalso many talented singers I hadn'ttime yet to work with or contact yetlike Stan Bush, Joe Lynn Turner, FionaFlanagan, Steve Walsh, Jimi Jamisonor Richard Marx among many others.My wish list would take at least 10pages ha! Ha!Q: Tommy Denander plays the gui-tar on the record. What’s it likeworking with him?A: Tommy Denander is not only a goodfriend of mine and a fabulous humanbeing, he's one of the top producer andguitar player in the world. It's veryeasy to work with him because heunderstands right away what I need fora song and can put to life my wildestideas! It's like we have telepathy ha!Ha! We've done 10 AOR albumstogether and we're finishing the 11thone right now, and year after year it'sa pleasure to work with such a pposi-tive, classy musician who knows what'simportant in life and music ! So my hatoff to my buddy Tommy!

Focus on: AOR - The Secret of LA (AOR Heaven)

Hard to believe this is now Frederic Slama’s twelve album for his AOR project.Again, he assembles a cast of great AOR singers for ten tracks of classy melod-ic rock. It’s rockier than his early westcoast sounding AOR albums. He producesthe disc with Tommy Denander and it’s easy to make comparisons withDenander’s three Radioactive records where he also used some great singers tofront his tunes. Every singer takes a song, except Axe’s Bob Harris who getstwo. It goes from the rock tracks like Fergie Federicksen’s “Deep Whirlpool” andJeff Scott Soto’s “Stage Struck” to the AOR of Jim Jidhead’s “Secrets In TheShadows” and the almost Fleetwood Mac sounding “Voices In The Wind” sung byChicago’s Bill Chaplin’s wife Tamara. This project is a much better vehicle for hismusic than than his recent collaboration with French duo Chasing Dreams.Quality, polished melodic rock with no duffers. Duncan Jamieson (90/100)

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Question: First of all, pleaseexplain the title: Who is “The FifthSon Of Winterdoom”? It seemslike the title track contains Irishinfluences, right? But the lyricssomehow are related to Nordicmythology. Am I right or wrong?Dushan Petrossi: Yes you're right!Celtic kind of melodies, let me explainbit about the lyrics. Every song hasit's own identity, Fifth Son ofWinterdoom is a poetic metaphore toexplain how I see my “life” and mysadness concerning the loss of myparents and what changed in myvision of life since I was a kid, turninginto a more dark and pessimistic feel-ing, about the meaning of a life, ourhopes, and what we have to face oneday, the brutal reality of death andhaving to ”survive” without the one

we loved themost, the onewho reallyknew who Iam. I am theFifth Son ofWinterdoomin every way,I'm the fifthchild of myfamily and it'salso the fifthIron Mask CD,so for me in away my fifthbaby. Thebaby on thecover repre-sents me, theblack and

white wolfs represent my parents,who both passed away inwinter.Thats a winter curse, a frozendoom.Q: Will there be a video clip forthe new album just like “GodPunishes, I Kill” for “Blacks AsDeath” or “Forever In The Dark”for “Shadow Of The Red Baron”?“Rock Religion” would be perfect! DP: Yeah we have a new video clip,and it's ROCK RELIGION haha! It’s ananthem dedicated to the fans outthere. Music unites, and helps you toovercome adversities in your life.Q: A lot of your songs on all ofyour CDs are inspired by historyand literature (this time OscarWilde’s “The Picture Of DorianGray”). Are you an intellectual

man who reads a lot? What areyour preferences? DP: I just love history in general,itsvery important to know where youcome from if you don't wanna takethe wrong road in the future, anothersong like Reconquista 1492 is basedon Spain's christian kingdom recon-quering the throne, this is a real fact,not only imagination, I try to make itas real as possible and then read a lotof information about the subject Ineed to work on. I also love sciencefiction and all the mysteries of theuniverse and physics, galaxies andstars are something we cant evenstart to understand,this is reallywhere all creation started, I believe ina more abstract God, there's some-thing more than what we all think itis, when we will find out the “creationequation” we will be able to touchGod's finger or at least that mysteri-ous force that started the wholeprocess of the universe birth and itsevolution. Q: Will there be a new MagicKingdom album in the nearfuture? DP: Yes, I started working on it ,it willbe again very symphonic with cine-matic parts but still very great catchychoruses and melodic speed metal. Q: Iron Mask exists for twelveyears now, which is a notableperiod of time. Where do you seethe band in eight years (20thbirthday!)? DP: I hope playing at wacken open airhaha!!!

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There’s more ambition to the Serbian power metal band’s third album. On previous

records they used the veristile Swedish singer Goran Edman. He’s here again, but this

time there are a number of other strong singers such as Matt Smith of Theocracy,

Michael Vescera and Lance King amongst others to bring a broader sound to this disc,

that’s inkeeping with the epic nature of the album’s concept. “Exodus” tells the story of

the jews fleeing from the Egyptians, and its epic historial theme is suited to the power

metal, symphonic metal, prog and neo-classical elements the band use to tell their tale.

Ironically, considering the middle eastern setting, there’s less eastern sounding music

than on their previous records. Songs like “Enslaved”, the punishingly heavy “Let Us

Go!”, the more melodic title track, and guitar wizardry on “Song Of Deliverance” make

this a good example of contemporary epic, power metal. Duncan Jamieson (90/100)

Focus on: SIGNUM REGIS - Exodus (Ulterium Records)

Question: Let’s talk about thisconcept album: What comesfirst? The music or the con-cept?Answer: In this case, it was themusic that came first. The first 3songs, that were written, are “LetUs Go!”, “Wrath Of Pharaoh” and“Exodus”. The idea with those 3songs is quite old, so I can't reallyremember what was the inspira-tion for this. Maybe I was justreading the Bible or watching theMoses movie or something.Q: The great Goran Edmansings on this album as the pre-vious records but this timethere are also other leadsingers involved (e.g. LanceKing, Matt Smith, MichaelVescera and more). Why didyou decide to use other singerson this record?A: We were trying to find areplacement for Göran Edman. Wewere very happy about all therecordings we did together, but hedidn't want to play live. He plays

live, but not metal anymore. Sowe were trying to find someone tofill in his shoes and who would bemore enthusiastic about the possi-bility to tour. The truth is, wecouldn't find anyone, who wouldbe from our area a who would beavailable. We contacted few peo-ple and they all had their ownthings going on, but all of themwanted to do a guest appearancefor the new album. That is whatled to the idea to give up lookingfor a full-time member at thatpoint and rather record an albumwith guests. Q: How did you get theminvolved on the album?A: Emil of Ulterium Records helpedus a lot. Actually without him,none of this would happen. Heknew all the singers, he had thecontacts and arranged it. Or atleast most of the singers werecontacted with his help. Once wewere in contact with the guys, wewere deciding carefully who shoulddo which song. It looks like we the

decision process went perfect. Asfar as I can tell, all of the guys hadfun doing it. In some cases, theproposed melodies were changedand improved by the singer.Samuel Nyman and Lance King dida great job in changing the melodyto fit their style.Q: How do you feel the SignumRegis sound has evolved overthe three albums?A: I think, when it comes to pro-duction, we have always managedto improve a little bit from onealbum to the other. We were open-minded enough to record variouskind of songs, use different keys,tempos and scales. I believe, thisenables us to do a fresh soundingrecord every time. Stated differ-ently, at this point, fans expectcolorful music from us and not thesame 3 song all over again. Ibelieve, if you have musical vari-ety and you have your own style atthe same time, it's a very goodthing. I am already looking for-ward to recording the 4th one.

band. signum regisalbum. exodusinterview with:. ronnie koniginterviewed by:. d.jamieson

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Q: “I Will Survive” is the longawaited third album from SeventhKey, so why so long in betweenalbums?A: It’s only beenQ: I looked at the dates on some ofthe sound files and the dates thatare on some of the sound files datedate back to November of 2008.A: Honestly, Mike and I live on differ-ent coasts of the US. He lives in LosAngeles and I live in Savannah,Georgia, which is on the east coast. Inorder to write together and record Ihad to travel out to his house. So, Icould only travel when my touringschedule with Kansas would allow. Theway Kansas tours these days is thatwe tour year round. We are muchbusier in the spring , summer and falland then really slow down during thewinter months. I had to take advan-tage of downtime with the band to beable to travel the 2500 miles to LosAngeles to work on the record. I prob-ably made 15 trip to L.A. before I couldactually do the remaining work in mystudio in Savannah. That included

redoing vocal part and backing vocals.Also, while we were recording therecord, Mike was working on othersprojects, recording and mixing. I,along with 3 of my band mates inKansas recording a CD called “NATIVEWINDOW”. Everyone except Stevewas involved in this record. So, therewas a log of distractions that made theprocess much longer that usual. Q: The album features Billy Trudel,Terry Brock and Bobby Capps onbacking vocals, so how did theseguys get involved in the album? A: Everyone of these guys, with theexception of Billy Trudel, are closefriends of mine. Mike had been work-ing with Billy in Los Angeles for otherproject that he had been working on.Also, I had heard him sing on some ofthe songs that Mike had produced.Billy has a great voice and was basical-ly on call when Mike need backingvocals. I didn’t meet Billy until we shotthe video and now I consider him agood friend. Great voices all of them.Q: We also see fellow Kansasmember Dave Ragsdale lending

some violin on the almost folkish“Sea of Dreams”, how did Dave getinvolved?A: All I had to do really was just askand he was very willing to oblige.David has a recording room in hishome and was able to do the tracks athis leisure when he found the time. Heplayed some really cool stuffQ: Does the album title “I WillSurvive” have and particular refer-ence, if so what’s the story behindthe song?A: My concept for the CD was was tofeature the Myan Calendar as thecover, which predicted the end of time,or so everyone thought. The title track“I Will Survive” had particular meaningto me in that I had gone through roughtimes in my life on a personal level.Althought the story in the lyrics does-n’t spell out what I went through, I wasjust trying to convey that when youare at your lowest, when everyone andeverything seems to be against youand the world seems to be ending toride through the storm and all will beOK.

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This is the much-anticipated third album from Billy Greer and Mike Slamer’s SeventhKey. Once again, the pair have come up with a truly magical release that mixes somany elements, that it’s almost alchemy, the result of which is just pure musicalgold. From the opener and title track “I Will Survive”, you can almost taste the qual-ity, from the majestic vocals of Greer to the near perfect guitar and keyboard workof Slamer, this is six minutes of pure joy and a great opener. The pair show theirrockier side with the excellent “Lay It on the Line”, a melody rich opus that just oozesquality, before mixing things up again with the ballad “I See You There”. Bringingthe tempo back up again, we have the fantastic “It’s Just a State Of Mind”. There isno doubting the quality of this release, with Slamer not only laying down guitars andkeyboards, but also doing a damn fine job on the production side too. This is one forthe Christmas list of any fan of great Melodic Rock! Barry McMinn (90/100)

Focus on: SEVENTH KEY - I Will Survive (Frontiers Records)

band. seventh keyalbum. i will surviveinterview with:. b. greerinterviewed by:. b. mcminn

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band. place vendomealbum. thunder in the...Interview with. michael kiskeinterviewed by:. d. jamieson

Focus on: PLAVE VENDOME - Thunder in the Distance (Frontiers Records)

Right from the opening strains of “Talk to Me” one knows they are in for an exquisite musicaljourney! “Thunder in the Distance” is the third such journey for Place Vendome and well worththe wait. Michael Kiske returns with a renewed energy and commitment. This release displaysthe musical genius of Frontiers Records’ President: the man behind the concept! Of course,those that are the musical members of this band are also genius’s, whose Talents absolutelyshine! Songs like the opening “Talk to Me” and “Power Of Music” are testament of the afore-mentioned statements. As we travel further with this band of minstrels, Place Vendomebecome somewhat tougher… Yes that’s correct; tougher! Still maintaining that magnificentmelodic pulse, “Thunder In the Distance” is just that, you actually here that thunder buildingup, and after each song, the musical atmosphere electrifies! Stellar, veteran musicians GunterWerno, Uwe Reitenauer, Dennis Ward, and Dirk Bruineberg constantly propel Michael to everhigher levels vocally. There is so much on this album and each work of art created so loving-ly, that to list any type of ‘standout’ tracks would be impossible! “Thunder in the Distance” isa Melodic Masterpiece that will set your musical heart a soar! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)

Q: Michael, this is your thirdeffort with Place Vendome,have you approached“Thunder In The Distance”any differently than the previ-ous two recordings? A: No, not really. We alwaysselect the songs at first which webelieve might be right. Dennisprepares rough versions of thosesongs for me that I can start try-ing vocals for them. In the mean-time while I do the singing,Dennis does the recordings of themusicians. Then I send him myvocal tracks and he starts mixing.Q: With this project, you areable to take your strong voiceinto different musicalplateaus… This must be verysatisfying for you…A: Yes, I love doing differentthings. And Place Vendome ismaking me known in a slightlydifferent field as a singer.Q: After Streets Of Fire and

Michael’s engaging inUnisonic, not so many peoplebelieve that Place Vendomecould be back? Was it difficultto be together again for a newalbum?A: Not really. Since I don't haveto write songs, only choose songsthat I like and do the singing, it'san easy job for me that I enjoyvery much anyway. After UnisonicI had the plan first not continuingwith PV. But I did two world toursin the last 24 month - last yearwith Unisonic, this year withAvantasia - and always peopleasked to do another album of PV.So I thought we should continue ifthere is request for it. It’s cer-tainly a present to the fans and Ihope they enjoy.Q: Who wrote Thunder In TheDistance songs? How did youshare the song-writingprocess??A: I didn't write anything for it.

The songs have been collected bySerafino at Frontiers who basical-ly spoke to several artists of thelabel. I know he also put somesort of contest out there on theInternet asking songs to whoeverwanted to write and based on thatthey found a guy in AustraliaBrett Jones. He wrote “BrokenWings” and “Fragile Ground”.There are a few Italian writerswhich you may know AlessandroDel Vecchio, Andrea Cantarelliand Roberto Tiranti. Also TimoTolkki wrote a song “Lost inParadise”. Other writers are fromScandinavia (Tommy Denander,Magnus Karlsson again and SorenKronkvist among others).Q: On this excursion, you areagain collaborating with sev-eral different Artists… Howhas this experience been anddid you ever think you wouldbe working with such writers?A: This whole thing was an idea

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from Serafino right from the start. Before the first PVrecord I never worked like this before. I was surprisedmyself how good this can turn out. It's great to workwith various people. Q: How did you conceal Michael’s work withUnisonic ad Place Vendome? Do you think is itpossible to work full time to both projects?A: They do not both need full time. Place Vendome isa side project that's easy done for me, while Unisonicis a full band with everything that comes with that.When we have an off year for Unisonic, I can sneak aPV in.Q: “Thunder In The Distance” sounds a littletougher! Was this intentional or are youresponding to the subject matter of the songs?A: It always just happens, nothing is intentional withme. Not even my career. To me TITD is the most AORof all three records.Q: Several songs sound a little bit electronicrock, often in the beginning notes. Why thisdirection?A: Why not? Think it has to do with Gunther, theKeyboard guy that Dennis asked in to make the pro-duction more interesting. In general I am very happywith the way Dennis has worked on the arrangementsas he truly enhanced the value of the songs. Also Ithink the performances of the musicians are top notch,so this makes the record very interesting and varied.Q: The album sounds darker than the past? Areyou agree with this mood?A: Possible. To me it is very AOR, and also moody attimes. This is a project which was started to try andstretch out the boundaries of the music I have beendoing. I have always liked the music and certainlythere are several moods in the songs and in thealbums.Q: Now, with the band members themselves,everything seems so tight… Are you planning ontaking this line-up on the road?A: Not really, since I have a main band at the momentcalled UNISONIC, we don't really have the time fortouring also with PV.Q: …Songs like “Broken Wings”, “Lost InParadise” show that melodic streak, do you haveany favourites… Or is this an unfair question?A: One of my personal favourites is MAYBE TOMOR-ROW. I like the way the chorus opens up for myvocals. Q: I truly feel that Place Vendome really allowsyou to stretch your vocals… Do you, at timesthough, feel that you are being challenged or doyou walk away satisfied and with a small smileon your face… Knowing that you hit it right ontarget?A: Every song is a challenge in a different way. Youalways have to find the right way to sing it, so it feelsand sounds right for your own ears. If you didn't writethe song yourself, you have to make it your own,which sometimes needs a while. When it is finallydone, it usually won't sound like it, but also technical-ly you have to figure out how to do it right. But that isnormal for every singer.Q: Are Place Vendome here to stay?A: For a while for sure and I have always open doorsfor this project. Let's see what happens and again Ihope the fans will like the album. If there is request,why not?Q: Michael, thank-you for “Thunder In TheDistance”, another example of how you and theband can push the envelope in the most positiveway!A: Thanks you for your interest in what we do!

Primo Bonali: The new album is called “CurseAnd Chapter”. What can we expect from thisalbum? Kev Bower: “Curse And Chapter” really starts where‘Human Remains’ finished. It takes all of the ideasand concepts which made the first album so suc-cessful, and elevates everything to a much higherlevel. The album is darker musically and lyricallythan the first one, but 100% retains the HELL‘house style’ so we believe our fans will love it. It’svery diverse, very textured and very dense –there’s a lot happening on there and it’s somethingwe have worked very hard on. It also represents adefinite progression, and although we wereimmensely proud of the first album, we all believethat the second one will be even better - we reallybelieve we have something quite incredible withthis record. We also have some exciting plans forthe cover/packaging concept. Above all, it’s very,VERY heavy...PB: I read somewhere, the material on thisalbum is 50% new and 50% old. Can youexplain this more accurately? If this is true,why have you once again used old material? KB: It’s more like 60% new – 40% old, actually.Out of 11 tracks on the album, 7 songs are brand-new and we have re-worked 4 older songs from the‘80’s as we did on the first album. There’s also areworking of a 5th older song which won’t make thefinal album cut – but it will possibly end up as anaudio-only bonus track on the DVD. The reasonwhy we have included some older material is thatwhen the tracklist for ‘Human Remains’ was decid-ed back in 2011, there were some older HELL songswhich we couldn’t fit on there, so we decided to dothem this time around instead, mainly to satisfy thefans who were disappointed that those songs didn’tmake it on the first album. And of course those aregreat songs which deserve to be heard.PB: There are also plans for a Bonus-DVD.What’s on this DVD?KB: The DVD consists mostly of songs recorded atour sellout headline show in Derby, UK, in Februaryof this year. We had some technical problems withthe recording which meant that some of the mate-rial was unusable, so we’ll also add some materialfilmed at Bloodstock Open Air. There will also pos-sibly be an audio-only bonus song as I mentionedabove.PB: Any plans after the release of “Curse AndChapter” for a tour? KB: Yes – in fact the album will be released midwaythrough an extensive European tour with AMONAMARTH and CARCASS which starts in Oberhausenon 07 November and continues all the way throughto Helsinki on 09 December, taking in 26 showsacross 13 countries in Europe and Scandinavia.After that, we’ll maybe start looking at our ownheadline club tour for early 2014, starting in the UKprobably. It’s still too early to tell...

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