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This new issue includes reviews and interviews of Sunstorm, Ted Poley, Jorn, First Signal, Wickman Road, InnerWish, Universal Mind Project, Fury, Midnight Eternal, Wolf Hoffmann, Sunstrike, Withem, Dan Reed Network, Phantom 5, Vega and more!


Page 1: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74
Page 2: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74
Page 3: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74


06_Ted Poley


08_Firs t Signal

09_Wickman Road

10_ Inner Wish / Universal Mind Pr.

11_Fury / Paradox


14_Midnight Eternal

15_Wolf Hoffmann

16_Sunstr ike


18_Dan Reed Network

20_Phantom 5


Melodic Rock Fanzine

The official Frontiers Music s.r.l. magazine

Year #12 - Nr. 3 / Issue #74

Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi

Concept, Graphics & Design: Elio Bordi

Writers: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Vitale

Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Primo Bonali.

Headquarters and general contacts:

Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 18

80125, Napoli - Italy

Tel: +39.081.2399340/7753 - Fax: +39.081.2399794

E-mail: [email protected]




Editor and publisher: Frontiers Records s.r.l.

Copyright©2016 Frontiers Records. All rights reserved.

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is pro-

hibited. Printed in Italy.

Page 4: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Band: Sunstorm

Interview with: Joe Lynn Turner

Interview by: Duncan Jamieson

Page 5: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

MRF | 5

Quest ion: I t ’ s good to have you

back with the fourth Sunstorm disc .

When you did the f irst Sunstorm

record, did you think i t would lead

to further disc?

Answer: I t was always intended to be

a tr i logy (3 albums) . So, doing this

fourth was not planned ini t ial ly . But ,

the songs were so s trong and I l iked

the fact that in this CD I would have

complete control over the songs that

would end up on the album. In the

past , I did not choose al l of them.

Addit ional ly , Alessandro was wil l ing

to work with me and take direct ion

and ideas from me.

Q: The new album has a rockier

edge than the prev ious records .

Why is that?

A: After the release of the RATED X

album, I wanted to go back to the

more me lod ic ma ter ia l o f SUN-

STORM, but I also wanted to do a

Sunstorm with a harder edge. . .not so

much "80s glass" as I l ike to cal l i t .

I th ink i t i s the best of the series!

Harder . . . s t ronger . . . and heav ie r

than be fore w i thou t l o s ing the

integri ty of the melodic sound that

the project is about . . . I cal l i t Melodic


Q: Which songs did you have most

fun s inging this t ime round?

A: All of them were great and special

in their own way. The t i t le track has

a very prol i f ic pol i t ical and social

message, one that I s trongly bonded

with. That made i t easier for me to

s ing w i th more pass ion . Bu t a s

always, I want to know what the fans

think. What are their favori te tracks

and why?

Q: Who dec ides who wr i te s the

songs and which ones make the


A: Frontiers has major input into this

and so did Alessandro. But under-

s tand that this t ime I was sent skele-

tons of the songs. I was able to add

my own input . . .changing some l ines

and melodies . I do not ask for credi t

for doing this , in fact , I do i t wi th

almost every song that someone else

wri tes . As I said earl ier , this t ime I

also had complete control over which

songs made i t to the f inal CD.

Q: Alessandro Del Vecchio has been

instrumental in the making of this

record, playing on i t and writ ing

some of the music . How do f ind col-

laborating with him?

A: Outstanding! I t was great to work

with him and he real ly l is tened to my

vis ion and made i t come to l i fe . The

songs are craf ted wel l , the messages

are profound, the performances out-

s tand ing . A le s sandro De l Vecch io

and everyone involved can be very

proud of this e f fort .

Q: It’s not easy to s ing as wel l do

for as many years . How do look

after your voice?

A: Sleep is very important which is

why I try not to do too many inter-

views before a show. I also maintain

a heal thy l i fes ty le . . .eat heal thy and

work out at the gym, even when I am

travel ing. When your body is physi-

cal ly f i t i t helps maintain a good

vocal sound. Singing is very physical ,

especial ly rock s inging.

Q: Ritchie Blackmore was comple-

mentary about you recently. That

must’ve felt good.

A: Thanks, I was very pleased to hear

tha t R i t ch ie spoke ou t pub l i ca l l y

abou t t he fac t t ha t he though t I

should have been inducted into the

Rock and Rol l Hall of Fame. I also

posted a message back to him thank-

ing him. He has of ten said “Slaves

and Masters” is one of his favori te

Deep Purple records.

Q: Were you disappointed you did-

n’t get the cal l for the upcoming

Rainbow shows?

A: I would be ly ing i f I d id not say,

yes , I was disappointed. There was

some discussion over a year. . . I was

talking to his manager and there was

interest , but , he ended up working

with a s inger and some others that

were not part of the Rainbow legacy.

I wan ted an au then t i c l i neup fo r

Rainbow. I was talking to [bassis t]

Bob Dai s l ey , [drummer Bobby]

Rondinel l i , [bassis t] Roger Glover,

[keyboardis t] Don Airey… There 's a

whole bunch of guys out there that

were real ly wi l l ing to sor t o f ge t

involved wi th this… open up their

schedu les and ge t i nvo lved . And ,

apparent ly , Ri tchie didn' t wanna do

that . I t ' s regret table because we did

have some major promotion compa-

nies interested in booking a show that

would have included former members

of Rainbow.

Q: Rated X looked l ike i t was going

to more of a band situation than a

project . Wil l there be any more

music as Rated X?

A: We were hoping i t would be more

of a band s i tuat ion. That was our

intent so you are correct about that .

However, i t ended up being a learn-

ing experience in that we real ized

that we are al l very much in-demand

musicians. We make a l iv ing making

music and are very fortunate to be

able to do that . However, that means

we cannot depend on one band or

project to earn a l iv ing. Al l of us kept

get t ing of fers for various shows and

other s i tuat ions and we had to take

those of fers when they came in . We

could not postpone those of fers to

wait to see i f Rated X could get show

booking of fers . As for making anoth-

er Rated X CD, I always say “never

say never .”

Q: What’s coming up for now you

Joe? You’re not a guy to stand st i l l

for long.

A: Trying to play as many shows as I

can! There are other things in the

discussion s tages that I cannot reveal

r ight now but i f everything comes to

frui t ion i t wi l l be great . I have some

shows coming up in the USA,

Bulgaria, Finland, Sweden, Norway,

a big fes t ival in the UK and then

some dates in Spain. Lots more being

ta lked about bu t once we conf i rm

them we wi l l pos t on my websi te ,

Facebook, e tc .

Page 6: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

6 | MRF

Questions: I understand there is a

bit of a story behind this record,

would you care to share?

Answer: Well , I don’t know i f there as

any specif ic s tory, but the concept of

the t i t le refers to me being able to

st i l l release out kind of music long

a f ter i t s na tura l “ fade” . I t ’ s no

longer the mos t popu lar s t y le o f

music .

Q: Is this the f irst t ime that you

have worked with Alessandro Del


A: In the studio yes, but we have

played together l ive before this so we

were already fr iends. He is a great

person , very ta len ted and no ego

whatsoever. Very down to earth and

he laughs at my jokes so I love him.

Q: I also understand that a couple

of members of “Vega” were collabo-

rating with you in the song-writing


A: Yes they wrote most of the songs,

which Ale and I re arranged and pro-

duced into what you hear on the f inal

album. I love their songs and when I

add my f lavor to them I really love the

sound. I t ’s upbeat and catchy.

Q: I must say that hearing “Beyond

The Fade” it really sounds l ike you

and the others have been playing

for a long t ime… Everything is so


A: Thank you! I t’s only a solo album

in name, i t ’s very much a band ef fort

with great performances by the band,

my players, Ale, Anna, Mario are al l

amaz ing mus ic ians and they very

much inf luenced the f inal sound of the

album. I wanted the cd to be more

than just about myself . . . I wanted gui-

tar players so be able to enjoy the

leads, bass players to say “wow this

is great playing”, drummers to f ind a

coo l f i l l here and there and , o f

course, Ale layers the icing on the

cake wi th h i s keyboards . Tons o f

grea t mus ic iansh ip wen t in to th i s

recording .

Q: And of course, you sound l ike

you are having fun. . . The harmonies

are spot on, and the overall sound is

so fresh…

A: Thank you! I t was a lot of fun,

singing with Ale is amazing, you can

hear the blend,i t ’s very cool .

Q: So can we say that this release

wil l be considered to be your third

solo release, or are you thinking of

transforming this into a full f ledged

band project?

A: I t’s My 3rd Off icial Solo Release,

but As far as I can f igure out this is

actually my 22nd ful l length album

(not counting guest appearances on

other art is ts s tuf f) .

Q: Of course, I must ask… What

about l ive dates, anything planned

and if so, under what bil l ing?

A: I tour al l year both in D2 and as a

so lo ar t i s t . I have da tes booked

though 2017 already so I am very

enthusiast ic about f lying around the

planet s inging some new stuf f and

also the Danger Danger favori tes.

A: Thanks again, Ted for this inter-

view… All the best with “Beyond

The Fade” and it is great to hear

you once again…

A: Thank you and thank everyone who

read this far! I appreciate al l of your

con t inued suppor t ! P lease suppor t

your local “No Kil l” Animal Shelter!

Artist: Ted Poley Interview with: Ted Poley Interview by: Bruce Atkinson

Page 7: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Artist: Jorn Interview with: Jorn Lande Interview by: Bruce Atkinson

Question: Jorn, may we start with what

inspired you to record these classics?

Answer: There are so many songs that Ilove, and would want to do but there just

hasn’t been enough time to make it happen,

since I’m usually too busy writing/record-

ing my own music or been busy working on

various other projects. With “Heavy Rock

Radio” I finally found the time to do some

of them, but there’s still a list of 25-30

songs or so that I would like to do that did-

n’t make it on this album. Since growing up

in the 70’s and 80’s I’ve been carrying with

me many songs that I feel could be done

“Jorn style”. When I get such an idea for a

song by another artist, it just kind of “pops

up”, and I’ll know right away how to

approach it. Of course, it takes a bit of time

to get the arrangement sortet out, but as

long as the ideas are good it will always

trigger everyone involved and we’ll come

up with some good creative solutions pretty

fast. From the beginning I was not just into

rock music, but also enjoyed other music

genres, and the 60’s and 70’s was a golden

era for high quality music regardless of

music style. It was a time of true craftsman-

ship when music was create in a more gen-

uine and creative way, and you couldn’t

use technology as a substitute for the lack

of talent that so many do today. It was also

an era of more physical work and experi-

ence, which made it more natural and

authentic when channeling the expressions

through an instrument.

Q: Further, you not only covered these

outstanding pieces of music, your own

interpretation is inspiring… and in some

cases very far reaching…

A: Thank you for saying that! All the artistsand songs that capture my attention auto-

matically become a part of me, if a song

touches me and I can identify with the

lyrics, feeling and expression, it’s already

something personal.

Q: I would imagine that taking on a song

such as “Hotel California” and/or “Don’t

Stop Believing” may have been a chal-

lenge. However, even in saying that,

when one listens to either one, they sound

like they are your own! Care to com-

ment on your approach to these two?

A: No different approach to the other songson the album really, Journey and The

Eagles where two of my favourite bands in

the late 70’s early 80’s. The original

Eagles recording of Hotel California is

extremely good, but it didn’t scare me from

giving it a go. Maybe it’s because the

Eagles recording is so good that there are

hardly any cover version out there.

Recording a song like Hotel California is a

bit like messing with religion, a lot of peo-

ple will be pissed of if you fuck it up. The

idea was to make it sound more “bombas-

tic” and powerful by adding a heavy guitar

structure. It killed some of the dynamics

that the original has but at the same time it

brought something new and fresh to the

song, without changing it too much. “Don’t

Stop Believing” has been rerecorded by so

many so many times over the years that I

thought it was good to skip the well known

piano intro of the song and play it with a

more stripped down “rock band

approach”. It made it sound different, and

even though many might say that the piano

is an important signature of the song, the

song itself is so strong and melodic that

even if you make the arrangements “less

commercial”, the song is still “carrying the


Q: I realise that “Heavy Rock Radio” is a

salute to your own rock heroes, which

you have many, so does that mean we can

expect some more of these musical jour-

neys from you?

A: As mentioned earlier, I had a list of 40-50 songs but had to cut down to 12, so there

are definitely some unfinished business

there. Will continue with a new original

Jorn album scheduled for a 2017 release,

but maybe after that one in a couple of

years or so, I will find the time to do anoth-

er one.

Q: Now, looking at your overall creative

output, you seem to go and grow from

strength to strength… Whether it is orig-

inal music or interpreting other Artist’s

work. Is their no rest for Jorn Lande-

creatively speaking?

A: I will continue being creative withthings and I have no plans to stop, but

might slow down a bit with making albums

so frequently in a few years. I’m thinking to

play more live as I get older and also spend

more time on the albums before releasing

them. It’s healthy to be more selective with

things when you’ve been around for as long

as I have now, so at some point soon it will

probably be a good move to take longer

breaks between each album. This way I will

also be sure that the quality I’m looking for

is there.

MRF | 7

Page 8: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Band: First Signal Interview with: Harry Hess Interview by: Duncan Jamieson

Question: How did you hook up with

Daniel Flores?

Answer: I’ve known Daniel for 5 or 6 yearswhen he did one of the songs for my solo

record. It’s one of those records where not a

lot of people get in the same room. Frontiers

called me about the idea of another First

Signal album with Daniel writing and produc-

ing it. Songs were pitched and I threw in

which ones I liked. It was a pretty painless


Q: Do you approach the First Signal

records differently from Harem Scarem?

A: I don’t see them interfering. It’s great andit’s a different kind of style from Harem

Scarem. The fan base are interested in this

more aor, more melodic style that was on my

solo record and these albums. Harem Scarem

is more riff rock and we like to go off in differ-

ent directions with the music. There’s less sur-

prises with this kind of music. It keeps the Aor

fans happy in a way that Harem Scarem can

frustrate them. On these records, I have only

one thing to worry about as it’s way more

focussed and I only have to concentrate on the

vocals. Harem Scarem is a lot of hard work, a

very collaborative effort within the band but

we aren’t not asking for other people’s opin-

ions. I produce other bands who are new and

exciting and you can always learn something.

It keeps things fresh and not boring.

Q: How do feel about this new record?

A: It’s more of a retrospective thing. Whenwe’re making the record there’s a lot of back

and forth, via email. Everyone’s sort of on

their own, doing what they do. When Daniel

sent me his work to comment on I thought it

sounded great and only had about three com-

ments to make about the finished songs. I put

my thumb print on it and then step back.

Q: You made the original First Signal

album when Harem Scarem called it day.

Of course, happily Harem Scarem are very

much alive again.

A: Frontiers called me. We weren’ doingHarem Scarem anymore. Serafino said they

had this project idea with Dennis and when I

heard it I thought I could do a good job on it.

It’s more Aor based so there’s not much of

conflict. We’re not saturating the market.

When you hear it next to the last Harem

Scarem album it’s not the same. If it sounded

exactly like Harem Scarem that would be bor-

ing for me. It stands on its own.

Q: When can we expect a new Harem

Scarem release?

A: Stylistically, it’ll be a mash up. It’s goingto be a bit different next time, we stretch it out.

It might annoy some but it won’t be sons you

grasp at the intro, we’ll run off at a tangent

but it’s still about songs with real choruses

but they might be dark, heavy, light or what-

ever. “We’ll be working face to face. I have a

working studio and we will commit 100% to it.

Stylistically, it’ll be a mash up. It’s going to

be a bit different next time, we’ll stretch it

out. It might annoy some but it won’t be songs

you grasp at the intro, we’ll run off at a tan-

gent but it’s still about songs with real cho-

ruses but they might be dark, heavy, light or


Q: How is being in Harem Scarem different

since reforming?

A: We really needed that break. We’d beendoing it for 20 years non-stop . The pace since

we got back together hasn’t been as insane.

We play some dates because we want to do it

100%. It’s not a treadmill now. We’d do it

even if no one was listening now! With social

media now you get immediate feedback now.

A lot of people like what we do. The space

between records coming back meant we had a

lot of time to think about what we do. The re-

recording of the Mood Swings album helped

us re-join the dots. It helped us get back to

that mind-set.

Q: Can we expect to see another Harry

Hess solo record?

A: My solo work went on the backburnerwhen we did the last Harem Scarem record.

The band is my priority but I could do a solo

record at any time. I even songs, bits and

pieces. It would be written by me or with co-

writes that I do on writing trips. That’s more

straight ahead songs than Harem Scarem.

Q: How has your own writing changed over

the years?

A: When I go back to the first album, I wrotethose lyrics when I was 16 or 17 years old. I

was new to song writing. When we did ‘Mood

Swings’ we made something unique and I

wanted different words from what you nor-

mally hear. I don’t get excited hearing the

same lyrics from different bands but at the

same time I don’t want it to get too exoteric.

8 | MRF

Page 9: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Primo Bonali: Your debut album “After The Rain” is another

example of how Sweden became the leading country for Melodic

Rock / AOR music, nowadays. Do you think there's a particular

reason behind it? Do you guys over there eat

Toto/Survivor/Foreigner and milk for breakfast?

Wickman Road: Thanks! Yeah, we wish there would be Toto andSurvivor cereals to buy! It’s difficult to say why AOR music production

still is so big in Sweden, maybe it’s the influences from groups like

Europe, H.E.A.T and others still echoing in our music. We’re basical-

ly playing what we enjoy and it seems like that’s what it sounds like!

PB: How and when the band was put together?

WR: Well, Carl, Henrik and Robert have been playing together sincethey were really young. 2011 Eric joined the band as lead singer, after

a lot of convincing from the guys. We struggled on for a few years and

it started to sound really good but the missing part was a drummer

with same ambitions as the rest of the band. 2014 was the game chang-

ing year when Simon joined the group and Wickman Road was official-

ly born! A lot of new inspiration and motivation came along and since

then we have had a great time together.

PB: In your songs I can clearly listen to influences from classic

bands like Toto and Foreigner; which have been your most impor-

tant influences, musically talking?

WR: Yes Toto and Foreigner have absolutely inspired our music, butalso more synth driven music like Van Halen! Eddies guitar playing

has also inspired a lot of solos as you can hear! Whitesnake is also a

great inspiration along with other bands from the 80’s. But we like to

create classic 80’s music with our own modern touch.

PB: Where your monicker, Wickman Road, comes from? Any

meaning behind it? And why a title like “After The Rain”?

WR: The name Wickman Road comes from our childhood playground.It’s the name of an old forest road leading into the wilderness and it

has always awakened our imagination and inspiration. We picked the

name up after a troubling time within the old group, so we needed a

fresh start, a new road for the band to follow. The name Wickman

Road symbolizes the group finding the way back to the right path we

once were on, which we did! The title After the Rain is a direct trans-

lated Swedish saying, meaning there is brighter times ahead, which is

a great way of thinking, making us believe in the future!

PB: How did you get in touch with AOR Heaven?

WR: Our producer Ola af Trampe thought it would be a good idea tolet them hear our music, and for us to get in touch with a great and

suitable label. We sent some tracks and they liked what they heard and

two weeks later we signed a record deal!

Page 10: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Question: Let’s start with a little history les-son, how did UMP get started?Answer: It all started back in 2011 with MikeAlexander and Charlie Dominici writing ''TheJaguar Priest'' song, which also signified the lateralbum's title. Fellow vocalist Henrik Bäth wasalso in the game back then as well as many of ourother guests. 2012 found me coming in to do asingle song as a guest myself. It was ''The Forceof our Creation'' that we did and Mike asked meto continue with the project on more songs. So westarted writing together. Was really great! Weended up forming the nucleus of the band. Yearswent by and the first album was ready, ''TheJaguar Priest''. Then, our label, Inner WoundRecordings, had the idea that it would be cool if

we got a solid line up and turned this vision intoa band, for real. So we kept most of the workingforce already being there, me, Mike, Henrik... andwe added drummer Alex Landenburg who haddone a few songs on the record, before. Q: The album ‘The Jaguar Priest’ is the bandsdebut release, so why has it taken over fouryears since your inception to release thisalbum?A: Well, it was indeed 3...nearly 4 years toachieve this but the reasons were various. First ofall, inspiration comes and it gives you somethingbut that something takes time to be shaped andformed into what you want it to be. Both Mike andI, are kind of perfectionists so we have this prob-lem of redoing something again and again. To tell

the truth, we learned a lot through this process, soI would say we relaxed a bit after all. Perfectionis an illusion, it does not exist probably. Then, wehad lots and lots of guests and most of them werevery often busy touring or recording their ownalbums somewhere far away from home. So wehad to respect that and wait till we would get theirfiles. We wanted some very specific people forcertain songs so we prefered to sacrific time thango for someone else. Then, also the album wasready for a while but we did many things in a slowpace. You know, when you do a project solely onyour own sometimes daily life gets interfered.Also it took some time till the final team getsshaped. It is different when you in the end have aspecific number of people and you know they arethere, you can count on them to work equally asyou do. We do not regret anything, though. It allhappened at the right time, bringing the right peo-ple on our way. Q: Where did you draw your influences fromfor the album?A: My own life... Other people's lives. Alex, thedrummer, is probably my best friend, so we talkfor hours about anything and everything and he isreally into conspiracy theories, so I got a lot ofinspiration also from things he would discuss withme; aliens; this and that. The Mayan culture, ofcourse, the basis of everything on this album. Itwas a guideline I received from Mike, as well,because Charlie Dominici had written the lyricsfor the title song and already there was a tenden-cy towards this topic so I simply took it and devel-oped it further, to the point it got us somewherealtogether different as a story. In the song byDominici, the priest is described rather vicous butin my twist of the story, the priest turns out to haveso many more different sides. Turns out to be afigure with such depth that shapes the story itself,in the end.

Band: Universal Mind Proj.

Interview with: Elina

Interview by: B.Mcminn

10 | MRF

Question: If we can, let us go through the

last couple of years, and the line-up changes

you have faced… and your decision to

explore music from “Black Sabbath” and

from “Warlord”…

Answer: Well, these years between our previ-ous album, “No turning back” and the newone, “InnerWish”, were quite difficult for us.As a band, but as individuals also. We had toface some lineup changes. Me and GeorgeEikosipentakis (vocals) are the two new mem-bers of INNERWISH. These changes though,was one of the reasons we had to postponesome stuff and most important of all the cre-

ation of new music for a new album. When wesettled with the new lineup we started workingon this album and now we are back, good time!The two covers we made, you can say theyworked as a “crash test” also for our new line-up. A test before we entered the studio andrecord the new album. To see the chemistrybetween us. And I think the result is prettygood, regarding that these were the firstrecordings of our new lineup. And of course itwas a good chance to have a good time in thestudio again, recording covers for two belovedsongs!Q: So with this new record, are you starting

to explore a new musical plateau? Could

you take us through how “InnerWish” pre-

pare for a recording, and was it any differ-

ent this time around?

A: You can say so, yes. It might have the char-acteristics of INNERWISH, but it’s also like amark of a new era for the band. We still aremelodic, we still have the lyrical essence, butwe became heavier and more modern in manyparts, more than ever before. And I also thinkthat the diversity in this album is way morethan in any of the previous ones. The prepara-tion, but the recording process also, had twomajor characteristics: passion for creativityand sleepless nights! The difference this time,was that this album is a team-effort, like nonebefore in the band’s history so far.Q: Upon listening to “InnerWish”, the

album… I hear a new found strength and

may I say: confidence. Obviously you have

pushed your own borders… any comments?

A: You are correct! You can hear confidence,you can hear a new found strength, but youcan also hear a lot of passion, a lot of opti-mism and a very strong belief in ourselves, butmost of all, belief to the particular lineup andthe way it works. I don’t know if we pushed ourown borders. Everything came up so naturallythat it seemed normal in the end. We were verytired with all the process of course, causebesides INNERWISH we all have our jobs,families etc, so many things to combine. Butour need and will for this new album to comeout as better as it could, surpassed everythingin the end. Maybe we pushed our borders with-out knowing so...

Band: InnerWish

Interview with: F.Fragiskosa

Interview by: B.Atkinson

Page 11: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Band: Fury Interview with: Robbie LaBlanc Interview by: Primo Bonali

Question: Hello Robbie! It was great

to finally meet you at the “Frontiers

Rock Festival”. So let's start with this:

how has been your experience at the

Festival and which are the best memo-

ries of that event that you has kept

with you?

Answer: I had an amazing time at the

Festival for many reasons. First, it was

amazing to meet all the fans! What a

beautiful bunch of people, I'll never for-

get them. They made me feel very spe-

cial. Second, it was amazing to play with

the actual Find Me band. What an amaz-

ing group of musicians. They're great

people too. Third, it was amazing meet-

ing all the Frontiers staff again! Lastly,

what a great two day event to hear Paul

Laine, Kip Winger and all the other

great singers and bands. Great musi-

cians, all of them!

Q: It has just been released – for the

first time – the official reissue on CD

of your debut with FURY (originally

out in 1985), a real jewel of Classic

Melodic Rock. What do you recall of

those times? How was the music-scene

back then? And which had been your

musical influences in writing and per-

forming that album, together with

your brother Brian?

A: Wow, the music scene back then was

so different. I 'm not saying better

though. I feel it's so cool that bands can

record in modern day without a mort-

gage attached. We were always saving

money for studio time. The talent today

is amazing as well, the kids are getting

better quicker and at younger ages! I

loved more Pop Music than Hard

Rock/Metal, like Hall and Oates,

Foreigner, and Toto. Grand Funk too.

My bro and I could harmonize like the

Everly Brothers, the Bee Gees, the

Eagles. And we can still harmonize well!

We love melodic songs. I hope the Fury

album can still stand on its own!

Q: Are you satisfied with the final

result of the FURY CD-reissue and

how was your feeling when you have

received the final product?

A: I loved the final product, both graph-

ically and sonically. I was lucky that I

transferred the tapes before the fire in

Felix's house. My mom had all of the

pictures and my sister in law Rosanne,

helped me with the narrative. I remem-

ber feeling a bit annoyed at that time

(1985) because Felix brought in some

outside musicians. Now I wish they were

on more tracks! You live and you learn,


Q: You've played at the “Frontiers

Festival” a full electric set with FIND

ME, and – the night before (on the VIP

acoustic night) - you performed a

BLANC FACES set. Both great per-

formances! Do you plan a new Blanc

Faces release sometimes, or will you

concentrate only on FIND ME? Any

other projects on the way? When can

we expect some new material from


A: I've been on my brother to write

another BLANC FACES disc. He may

come around, I hope he does. I enjoyed

singing them at the acoustic night we

played at. Phil and Mike were great as

well! I hope to sing another FIND ME

soon! I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

Q: Anything to add for your fans in


A: Just a huge hug and kiss from me to

all of the fans. They made me feel very

welcome and changed my life forever. I

am blessed I can sing for someone at this

point in my life. Thanks to all at

Frontiers Records and to you, Primo, for

keeping the music alive! God love you


MRF | 11

Page 12: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74




“Ready II Strike”

(AOR Heaven)This Swedish group unleash“Ready II Strike”, their secondand it strikes straight to the musi-cal heart! An album that is com-pletely off the scales, every scale.Enormous energy, each selectiondripping with melody! Everysong bursting with power andharmony. Even with the ‘slower’numbers, absolute power balladsthat display that rich, deep andemotive swirl of music fromthese fine musicians, givingChristian Eriksson the opportuni-ty to match perfectly as he laysdown the vocals. The harmoniesare just as large as the music! Allof the band members, with theexception of the drummer buildthe choir of voices we hear! Andjust to make it that much better,two musical friends join in aswell: Danne Andersson, andAnnsofie Lindstrom. Elevenexcellently performed monsters;“Ready II Strike” will no doubtgarner critical acclaim for thesesix. A musical odyssey, one willsuch power—pure MelodicPower that simply rocks!Sonically brilliant in sound, mas-sive in scope, explosive in per-formance, “Sunstrike’s” sopho-more effort is destined to top theInternational Charts, and withease!! BA (90/100)


“Strong & Proud...”

(Nuclear Blast)Such a great package, “StrongAnd Proud – 30 Years Of RockAnd Metal” captures – on dif-ferent formats: 2Blu-ray-Digi,3DVD-Digi, CD and 2LP gate-fold – three unforgettable nights(including “Wacken Open Air”set), during which GermanMetal Queen Doro Pesch cele-brated his 30 years long career,inviting special guests like PhilCampbell, Biff Byford, ChrisCaffery, Blaze Bayley, HansiKürsch, Udo Dirkschneider, UliJon Roth and Joakim Brodén. Itcontains 38 songs in total,including all DORO classics,many old Warlock hits andgreat cover-versions of songssuch as “Fear Of The Dark”(with Blaze Bailey showing agreat performance) and “BallsTo The Wall” (with the one andonly Udo). The filming and cut-ting is phenomenal, and thesound no less than crystal clear.Additionally, “Strong AndProud – 30 Years Of Rock AndMetal” offers an unique music-movie with a two-hour plusdocumentary, "Behind TheCurtain, Inside The Heart OfDoro". It gives the spectatordeep and detailed insights intothe world of Doro. The packag-ing was drawn by Doro'sfavourite artist, GeoffreyGillespie. A great product forall Doro fans and for anyoneinto great Hard Rock music andclassy live performances.Recommended. PB (90/100)



(AFM Records)Formed in Hamburg in 1996,the German Power MetallersIron Saviour are back with thetheir 9th studio release‘Titancraft’. Led by the vocalmight of Piet Sielck, the bandreturn with another powerdriven metal assault. Thealbum is full blown Teutonicmetal at its most powerful,with more riffs and powerdriven rhythms than you canshake a stick at. The band hitthe ground running after theintro with the title track andinstantly we’re treat to thosefiery licks of Joachim Kustner,as the band go all out and con-tinue with their tale of themythical civilization ofAtlantis. It’s heads down metalall the way in true Iron Saviourstyle with the likes of‘Gunsmoke’, ‘The Sun Won’tRise In Hell’ and the massive‘Strike Down The Tyranny’,with the only break in thechain being the superb MetalBallad ‘I Surrender’. This iswhere Sielck shows off hismellower side, before round-ing this off in style with‘Rebellious’. Once again theseGerman’s rise like the SecondOrder of Greek mythology andto rule once more. BM(90/100)


“The Devil Strikes Again”

(Nuclear Blast)When it comes to iconicGerman metal bands Peter‘Peavy’ Wagner’s Rage arehigh on the list. Formedfrom the rampant HeavyMetal band Avenger back inthe mid Eighties and now intheir 32nd year, the band’snew line-up include guitaristMarcos Rodriguez, ex-drumtech and best friend of hispredecessor ChrisEfthimiadis, Vassilios“Lucky” Maniatopoulos ondrums, along with master-mind, frontman and bassplayer Wagner at the helm.The band return with a bangwith ‘The Devil StrikesAgain’, their 22nd studiorelease, which finds theseTeutonic metallers deliver afull on metal assault worthyof the Rage name. From theblistering ‘My Way’ whichwe first heard back inJanuary on the EP of thesame name, the massive‘Sprits of the Night’, the oldschool Heavy Metal of ‘TheFinal Curtain’ and the break-neck speeder ‘The Dark Sideof the Sun’, this is Rage attheir most brutal. To sum upthis album, it’s Metal, Hardand Loud! BM (85/100)



(Pride and Joy)Singer and songwriter forAlmah and previously withAngra, Edu Falaschi releaseshis very first solo-album,“Moonlight”, on which hepresents acoustic versions ofthe most significant songs ofhis 25 years-long career. Theparticular thing is that all thematerial has been re-arrangedfor an acoustic rendition,being Edu's voice here accom-panied only by piano, acousticguitar and orchestra; the resultis an outstanding mixture ofAcoustic, Jazz, Classic andPopular music, with Edu'svocals definitely shining thru'the 9 tracks of the Cd.Falaschi here performs togeth-er with several respectedBrazilian musicians such asTiago Mineiro on piano (whorepresents the Brazilian jazzand popular music scene),maestro and violinist AdrianoMachado (string arrange-ments), creator and conductorof the Symphonic OrchestraVilla Lobos, João FredericoSciotti on flutes and saxo-phone and Sandami on per-cussions. An unique and total-ly “different” album; some-thing you could need to giveyou some rest after your moststressful days... PB (85/100)

SUNSTORM “Edge of Tomorrow”

(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)As long as Turner's at the mic it's alwaysgoing to sound like Sunstorm even if sty-listically the sound on the fourthSunstorm album has moved slightly fromthe original aor template of the earlierrecords. This is a rockier affair, perhapsinfluenced by Turner's recent outing onthe tougher Rated X album. Alex DelVecchio takes over production and songwriting duties from Dennis Ward. Hebrings with him guitarist SimoneMularoni who helps give the material aharder edge than previous efforts. Joeseems to be singing at a lower register attimes than he might have in the past but'Don't Walk Away From A Goodbye', thetitle track and 'Everything You've Got'capture Turner's swaggering vocal abilitythat still marks him out as one of the bestin the business. With Vecchio handlingmost of the song writing (although thelikes of Soren Kronqvist and DanielPalmqvist are also involved) it meansthere isn't as much variety to the tunes ason the earlier discs. Nevertheless, ifyou're a fan of the previous Sunstormrecords and Turner then you'll want tocheck out this rockier incarnation of theproject. DJ (90/100)

TED POLEY “Beyond the Fade”

(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)“Lets Start Something”, the first track onTed Poly’s latest release, is just what weneed for the Summer of 2016! “BeyondThe Fade”, Ted’s third solo album isnothing short of a scorcher and sets up anequally molten slice of Melodic Rockfrom one of the Masters of this enduringand soaring musical idiom! Teamed withsong writers from “Vega”: Tom andJames Martin, Ted has delivered a blaz-ing collection of powered Melodicniceties that do nothing but please! Eachchorus will live long after the song finish-es. The dynamic, pulsating rhythms arethanks to Anna Portalupi on Bass andAlessandro Del Vecchio on Drums. Notonly drums, Alessandro gives us thosediscerning keyboards as well, perfectlyrendered and strengthening the powerthat is Ted’s singing! And those powercords? None other than the brilliantMario Percudian on the six-stringedslinger! With this much combinedTalent, it is no wonder that the leadvocalist of “Danger Danger” can take usall higher and way ‘Beyond The Fade’. Itis certainly good to hear this fantasticsinger once again, oh! make that very,very good! Yes-indeed! BA (90/100)

JORN “Heavy Rock Radio”

(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)“Heavy Rock Radio” is Jorn’s interpre-tation of some of the greatest songsfrom Artists that have had an impactupon the man himself. He has actuallyre-created some of these gems, but withrespect and dignity. Each selection issung and performed by him and hisband mates with new light bathing uponthem. Not to mention with enormousstrength and renewed vitality! A collec-tion of classic rock-bristling, shinningand yes, some even reaching a newfound musical spirituality! How Jornhears these songs serves us glimpses tothe man’s musical mastermind. Yesthese are songs written and performedby some of Rockdoms greats, yet theyall have a new set of clothes on thisunique Recorded Work! Just listen to“You’re The Voice”, “Killer Queen”,or “Don’t Stop Believing”, just to namea few. With Jorn’s version of“Stormbringer”, not only will it turnheads, but I bet that both Deep Purpleand David Coverdale did not foreseethe power hidden within! So there yougo: “Heavy Rock Radio” is a definite‘must have’! The defining RockAlbum of 2016!! BA (92/100)

WITHEM “The Unforgiving Road”

(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)“The Unforgiving Road” is thisNorwegian group’s second release andtheir first for Frontiers Records. The sym-phonic yet piercing guitar is from OlyvindVoldmo Larsen. Those heavy percussivepatterns are Frank Nordeng Roe workingout behind the kit, and solidifying thosecomplicated runs through the lower thirdis Miguel Pereira on Bass. Now liftingeach musical exercise to the highest oforder is Ole Aleksander Wagenius withhis incredible vocal styling’s! “Withem”are very much a working band, tried andtrue road worthiness. These warriors havelogged more miles on the circuits thanthose groups twice their age! And in themusic it shows! Tight, smart musicalexcursions, that are energized and tem-pered to the highest degree. Each per-formance sounds like they are live onstage, with breathing dynamics, full bod-ied and bombastic! “The UnforgivingRoad” is such a dynamic Recorded Work,that we have flourishes of brilliance, sonicoceans that have many undercurrents,constantly refreshing these stellar rivers ofsound. Progressive Rock hasn’t soundedor soared like this for a very long time!BA (92/100)

Page 13: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74


(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)Michael Voss (Casanova, Bonfire,Mad Max) and Claus Lessmann(Bonfire) together with the talentedmusicians from the Germany, RobbyBoebel (from Frontline), Axel Kruse(from Jaded Heart) and the ex-Scorpions bassist Francis Buchholz:Phantom 5! Now with all the talentinvolved in this band, the album betterlive up to the sum of its parts I hearyou say. Well with Lessman’s unmis-takable vocals behind the band, thisquintet have put together a greatalbum. With the opener ‘All The Way’laying down the gauntlet for the rest ofthe album to follow, the bar is set highand song after song the band show thatthey are a force to be reckoned with.Highlights for me personally would be‘They Won’t Come Back’, a songabout Rocks never to be forgottenheroes who left us all too soon. Thenthe excellent ‘Renegade’ and‘Frontline’ to name but a few. Lookout Avengers and The Justice League,there are a band of new superhero’s onthe block, they are Phantom 5 and theypull no punches. BM (90/100)


Another Day” (Frontiers Music s.r.l.)In all the years I’ve been doing reviews,there probably hasn’t been a more antic-ipated album than the return of the DanReed Network. It’s been 25 years sincetheir last album ‘The Heat’ and now Danand the rest of the original line-up areback, bringing their funk and grooveback to the scene, as they did all thoseyears ago with their self-titled debut backin 1987. For those who were luckyenough to catch the band first timeround, you’ll know exactly what I meanwhen is say the ‘Ritual’ has begun oncemore. ‘Fight Another Day’ is full of funkdriven bass rock songs that just oozeclass, right from the opener ‘Divided’ tocloser ‘Stand Tall’, it’s all killer, no filler.Simply put it’s 13 tracks of pure ear-candy. To pick a favourite is like pickingyour favourite child, but if I had tochoose my favourite highlights then theywould be the excellent ‘The Brave’, themellower electro infused ‘Champion’,the down right funky ‘Give It Love’ andthe excellent ‘Heaven’, but these are justa few of the many great tracks on what isa superb return. I don’t think there is sucha thing as a perfect album but this isdamn close. BM (99/100)

VEGA “Who We Are”

(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)Album number four sees the band delivertheir strongest album to date. The Martinbrothers know how to pen maddeninglycatchy choruses and there are plenty herethat will have you humming for days.Some songs have a touch of don't-bore-us-get-to -the-chorus about them but when thechoruses blast out with their sweet confec-tion of hooks and harmonies, you don'tmind one bit. 'Explode' does just that and isthe perfect lead track on the record, possi-bly the band's rockiest song to date. 'EveryLittle Monster', 'White Flag', 'GenerationNow' and perhaps the best of the lot'Saving Grace' are as good as anything theband have come up with previously. NickWorkman's vocals still add a different,nasally almost indie vibe at times. Thesevocals might be a sticking point for somebut they help separate the band out fromthe more generic sounding aor bands. Youcan hear him shine on the almost Queenlike ballad 'Nothing Is Forever' and gui-tarists Marcus Thurston and Tom Martinget to mix rock muscle with The Edge stylerhythm to good effect. There are sometracks here that you anticipate will godown a storm live, the environment wherethis band excel. DJ (92/100)


the Line”(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)It's pure aor on the second disc from theFrontiers project which features HarryHess from Harem Scarem. This timeround Daniel Flores of Murder My Sweetand Find Me picks up the song writingand production baton from Dennis Wardwho oversaw the debut. If you enjoyed thestyle of Flores' recent Find Me record withRobbie LeBlanc then this is its equallyhandsome twin. Musically it sticks to amore generic aor template than HaremScarem but that doesn't make it any lessenjoyable. Flores tunes have just the rightcombination of melody, parping key-boards and throwback emotive guitar,courtesy of new kid Michael Palace.Although Hess didn't contribute to thesong writing his vocals are great, makingeverything sound impassioned rather thanphoned in. It's consistent; you can drop theneedle anywhere and hear made to meas-ure aor but the standouts are 'Broken', atune that has a more modern angsty cho-rus, 'Minute Of Your Time' that is humtas-tic and 'November Rain' which is a potpourri of hooks that remind you of every-thing that was great about rock music inthe 80s. This is music engineered for thesummer sun. DJ (92/100)



(AFM Records)Seventh studio album for thegerman metallers and definitelya good way to celebrate theband’s 30th anniversary. Fouryears have passed since therelease of "Tales Of TheWeird” and the band is strongerthan ever, with the longestalbum (60 min) in the wholeband history and songs that willmake you bang your head andscream out loud their lyrics!Coupled with a fantastic coverartwork (courtesy of ClaudioBergamin, who worked forHalford and King Diamond),“Pangea” sounds powerful andintense, with absolutely killerguitar-riffs, a solid drummingand Charly Steinhauer’s typicalvocals. PARADOX definitelystick to their musical roots andwho liked the band on their firsttwo legendary albums willtotally love this Cd. And – as aspecial anniversary surprise –PARADOX's mainman CharlySteinhauer re-united the origi-nal line-up from the historicaldebut-album "Product OfImagination” (1987) for thebacking vocals on “Pangea”;so, horns up and let's celebratethe past and present of a greatSpeed Metal band! PB(88/100)


“After the Rain”

(AOR Heaven)Wickman Road is the new

amazing band coming from

Sweden and playing that

typical AOR/Melodic Rock

that bands like Work Of Art,

State Of Salazar and

Wigelius (just to name three

of them) proved to play at

its best. Composed by two

couple of brothers (Eric

Ahlqvist on vocals and Carl

Ahlqvist on keyboards,

Henrik Åkesson on guitars

and Robert Åkesson on

Bass) plus Simon Rydén on

drums, Wickman Road had

been playing music together

for years; written, arranged

and played in a very mature

way, the songs on this

debut-album sound fresh

and catchy, in the true spirit

of Classic Melodic Rock.

The keys-oriented

“Breaking Free”, the heav-

enly ballad “I Believe In

You” and the supreme

AOR-hit"I Can't Wait

Anymore" are my personal

fave on this CD, although I

have to admit I really like

the whole album. Such a

great debut for a very prom-

ising band! PB (90/100)


“Headbangers' Symphony”

(Nuclear Blast)The powerhouse guitarist stepsout of metal legends Accept toshow us his other side.Hoffmann released a record backin 1997 called 'Classical' thatblended classical music with hissignature metal sound to greateffect. It's taken almost ten yearsbut this record repeats this fusionof genres. Combining the twogenres can often end up clunkybut in the skilful playing hands ofHoffman it shows how muchmetal and classical music have incommon. His riffs capture thebooming bombast of classicalmusic on Beethoven's 'Scherzo',Mussorgsy's 'Night On BaldMountain' and 'Pathetique' isripe for his speed metalapproach. Bizet's 'Je CroisEntendre Encore', 'Adagio' and'Madame Butterfly' show themore melodic side of Hoffman'splaying; his lead guitar emotingas well as any string sectioncould. The arrangements byHoffmann and Italian arrangerMelo Mafali fashion the piecesinto a rock format well. He man-ages the perilously tricky feat ofmaking classical music appeal-ing to the ears of metal fans.Bands who play symphonicmetal need to listen to this recordto find out how to do it properly.DJ (90/100)


“Northern Rumble”

(AOR Heaven)After spells in Gypsy Rose,Don Patrol, Last Autumn’sDream, White Wolf andBangalore Choir, Rikard Quistdecided it was time to put aband together of his own mak-ing. So together with friendand talented singer Lars Boden(Appearance), and with drum-mer Niklas Osterlund(Headplate), plus the additionof British lyricist Jon Wilde,who Rikard had collaboratedpreviously, Featherstone wasborn. The ‘Northern Rumble’ isan apt title as the band set out tocause a stir in the world ofMelodic Rock with this debutrelease. The band’s namemight have feather in the title,but this feather belongs to aneagle, as it’s full of soaringmelodies and talon sharp riffs.Right from the edgy opener‘Need Myself The Most’ to thehard-hitting ‘Leave Me Be’ and‘Look Into My Eyes’, the mod-ern rocker Silhouettes On TheShade’, to mellower closer‘Part Of Me’ and all parts inbetween. This album hasenough variety to please eventhe most die-hard fans of thegenre. This is a band on thecusp of greatness, so “are youready to rumble”? BM (86/100)


“Sword Songs”

(Nuclear Blast)"We are warriors, defendersof steel!“ sings Janne ”JB"Christoffersson on the sec-ond track, “Varangian”, ofthe brand new GRANDMAGUS album, “SwordSongs”. With such a clearand loud declaration, theSwedish band returns withanother Heavy Metal mas-terpiece, “faster and moreaggressive than the previ-ous ”Triumph And Power"(in BJ's own words), 9songs of passion, blood,sweat and tears, and“Viking Metal forged iniron” (as per track numberthree on the album). EpicMetal, Doom Metal,Traditional Heavy it how you want, theresult is exactly what youcould expect from a bandwho breathes, drinks, eatsand live pure Heavy Metal,carefully following the les-son that the Gods of thegenre (Manowar, JudasPriest, Black Sabbath)delivered, years ago.Derivative? Yes. But playedwith honesty and a truespirit. Fists in the air, let'scelebrate the Heavy Metalglory! PB (85/100)

Page 14: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Question: How did you guys get togeth-


Raine: The band started in 2014 when

Boris Zaks asked Richard Fischer, Dan

Prestup and Mike LePond to join him in

recording a two-song demo.They reached

out to me about a month later when all the

instruments were recorded, and I was very

happy to join. We recorded the two songs

and released them, and got a great

response. At that point it was obvious to us

all that we wanted to make this project a

full-time band. We started booking some

shows almost immediately, and Greg

Manning came on board as the permanent

bass player.

Q: Your singer Raine Hilai has a very

distinctive voice. She worked in musical

theatre before the band. How did you

find her and what is it about her voice

that meant you knew she was the right

fit for the band?

Dan: I had met Raine a few years back,

and when I joined Midnight Eternal I

immediately thought that she would be

the perfect singer for this band. As you

said, her voice is very distinctive and

unique, and we really liked that. We

also knew that it would help us stand

out in the scene.

Q: Most symphonic metal bands

these days seem to come out of

Europe. Do you think coming from

New York gives your music a differ-

ent vibe?

Rich: To me, I don't think our music

has a different vibe being from New

York, it just makes us a rare commod-

ity coming from this area.

Q: You played a number of gigs

before the album’s release. How

have you been going down live?

Dan: We've been getting some great

responses! The audiences have been

great, and we've gotten many new fans that


Q: What’s the plan now the record is


Rich: Now that the album is out we plan on

playing shows and possibly getting on

some national tours to help promote the

album, because as you know, touring is

one of the best ways to promote a band in

the metal genre.

Band: Midnight Eternal

Interview with: Band

Interview by: D. Jamieson

Page 15: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Question: You really blend heavy

metal and classical music extremely

well . It must take a while to re-

arrange these pieces for heavy metal


Answer: Thanks, and yes, it does take

time and is not something I can knock

out quickly. As a matter of fact, this

album took years to complete! The main

reason it took so long is that I was

mostly busy with Accept and could only

work in my “off-time”. So I re-visited

this project many times over the years.

But it’s a lot of fun and very rewarding

when everything finally comes together.

Q: The pieces you’ve chosen have big

recognisable melodies. Is this what

you like in classical music?

A: Well, yes, I love these melodies ,

they are timeless! I mean, there is a

reason why these melodies are so well

known and recognisable. They have lit-

erally lasted for centuries and people

have enjoyed them for generations. So

there must be something special. Now I

am interpreting them new in my own

personal style. With the tools I have,

being a metal guitarist.

Q: Beethoven’s ‘Scherzo’ shares the

riff with Accept’s ‘Teutonic Terror’

song. Do you often get inspiration for

riffs from classical music?

A: Like I said, I have been working on

this project for years, well before

Accept got back together. I wrote the

riff for this Beethoven piece - we just

“borrowed” that ri f f back then for

Teutonic Terror. So know fans can hear

the original version.

Q: At home, what classical composers

to do tend to listen to?

A: A lot of them but certainly not all. If

you took the composers from this album

you’ll have a pretty good representa-

tion of the style and composers I like.

Q: What feedback do you get from

Accept fans and classical music fans

about this marriage of genres?

A: I have met countless fans over the

years telling me how much they enjoyed

the first album Classical”, so I am hop-

ing they’ll enjoys this one as well !

Can’t wait for them to hear it.

Q: What about the other guys in

Accept. What do they think?

A: I can’t expect all of them to have the

same passion and enthusiasm about

Classical music as I have, I mean, first

and foremost we are all rockers and

metal guys, me included. But the combi-

nation of classical elements and metal

works really well for Accept. Every

night on stage the crowd loves singing

along to “for Elise” in the Solo of

“Metal Heart”…

Q: Will you having a go at any of

these songs live?

A: I would surely love to perform this

material live on stage, yes ! It remains

to be seen when and where… But yes , I

would love to!

Q: Accept continue to go from

strength to strength, their power

undiminished. Is there any new music

around the corner?

A: YES !! We are working on new songs

as we speak. A new album is in the

works for 2017.

Artist: Wolf Hoffmann Interview with: Wolf Hoffmann Interview by: D. Jamieson

MRF | 15

Page 16: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Question: I would like to begin with

your current label, AOR Heaven…they

seem to be supporting you all the way,

being that this is your second effort…

Answer: Yes, we are very satisfied with the

work they are doing for us. And of course

it seems that they like what we are doing

as well. We share the same love for this

music and for me as a musician it has been

perfect from the very beginning. I've had

full freedom in creating my music so i'm as

happy I can be.

Q: With “Ready II Strike”, when did

you start recording?

A: Me and Johan started writing new

material for SunStrike just a couple of

month after our debut was released. And

then we wrote on and of for about a year,

until we had 12 new songs. We write and

record everything in my own studio so the

writing and recording are simultaneously,

at least for the drums, guitar and bass.

And for the vocals I do all the pre-produc-

tion. So when Christian started tracking

the vocals this autumn he had it all served

on a plate. Fredrik did all his keyboard

work this winter and the same goes for

Mats. He did a couple of great guitar


Q: Did you bring some material from

your debut sessions to these sessions?

A: No, we used everything that we did

back then. I'm not that kind of songwriter

that has a bunch of ideas laying around. I

write a new song when I need/want a new

song, that's how I work. I don't sit around

and waiting for inspiration that I know

some writers do. Maybe it sounds strange

but it works fine for me. Some days I can

write the basic idea of a new song in only

10 minutes. Like our giutar player Mats

use to say, you're like a machine.

Q: Would you take us through your cre-

ative process? And have you brought

something different to this album?

A: A new song can start off in so many dif-

ferent ways. Take ”A piece of a action”

for an example. I came up with that vocal

melody you hear in the refrain, but I didn't

know what to do with it. I thought it had a

cool attitude so I put som chords to it and

bam! A new song was born. But most of

the time it starts off with a guitar riff, and

then me and Johan play around with it,

throwing ideas at each other until we have

a song finished. We have written so many

songs together so the process is very easy.

The new album follow in the same path as

our debut, maybe that the sound is more

raw. It's more guitar this time, but still a

lot of keyboards. Just how I like it to be.

Q: I understand that you choose to work

with Erik Martensson again. He is such

a masterful musician and also producer,

please describe his relationship with the


A: Yes, he's a very nice and easy going

guy. The best you can get these days when

it comes to produce and write melodic

rock songs. I know he likes SunStrike a lot,

especially Christians vocals, and who

don't :-) He lives and have his studio only

one hour drive from where I live so we vis-

ited him a couple of times during the mix-

ing process, to see that he was behaving,

hehe. He understand the concept of

SunStrike and how we want it to sound so

there was not much we had to change in

his mix. Just a couple of levels here and


Q: By the time this interview gets to

press, the new album will have been

released, so do you have any plans for

touring? If so, where might we see you


A: That's the sad part of the story. We

have no chance of touring or doing gigs as

it is now. Christian is to much involved in

Twilight Force now and he lays 100% of

his time there now. So he has made it very

clear for us that he don't have any time for

touring with SunStrike in the near future.

And to do it with another singer don't feel

right as he is a big part of our sound. But

we have got several good offers from festi-

vals and stuff that we had to turn down.

Band: SunStrike Interview with: Joachim Nordlund Interview by: D. Jamieson

16 | MRF

Page 17: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Question: I would like to start with a brief

history of the group, when and how you met

and when you decided that forming a band

was what needed to be done…

Answer: As many stories go it's a long one, but

the short version goes something like this.

The band had its inception in 2011 when

Øyvind Voldmo Larsen and Kjetil Ronold, who

had worked together on previous bands and

projects, put together some material. Frank

Nordeng Røe was recording for another band

in Øyvinds' studio and got to hear some of the

Withem material and loved it. Øyvind knew

what a great drummer Frank was and they

quickly asked him to join the band. Not long

after this they contacted me to try out as a

vocalist. Øyvind and Kjetil had heard me play

for other bands during live sessions and on

recordings and thought I might be a good match

for the sound they were creating. Øyvind and I

hit it off quite quickly and went to the studio and

did a demo which was the first version of the

song "Miracle", later included on the album

"The Point of You" in 2013. The bass work on

the album was done by the fantastic Andreas

Blomqvist from "Seventh Wonder", but Miguel

Pereira took over for him shortly before the

album was released. Since this early start

Withem has been working great together both

on the road and until now when our new studio

album "The Unforgiving Road" on Frontiers

Records will be released this June 3rd. We are

looking forward to bringing the new material to

our audience at home and on the road.

Q: I believe I’m talking with you, so a point-

ed question to you—your vocal style and

range is remarkable. How long have you

been singing, and I hope you take this as it is

meant to be, a compliment, you are not the

‘typical’ Progressive Rock/Metal vocalist.

You have a very emotive component lurking

in your voice!

A: Well, first of all, thank you very much for the

compliment. Believe or not I actually started

noticing that I had a good vocal range on the

football field. For some reason the referee

always heard my complaints louder than the

rest of the players when we argued his judge-

ments. Combining this with my love of music

and my many hours on the guitar I got for

Christmas when I was 13, I slowly started figur-

ing out how to use my voice over most of my

range. I did this trying to match the guitar

chords while I was playing my favourite

Metallica tracks at the time.

At 17-18 I decided to quit football and focus all

my energy on my singing. I got in contact with

opera singer and vocal coach Anders Vangen

who became my mentor and helped me develop

my full range which I use today. He also taught

me how to put my feelings into my singing

which I think helps express not only the lyrics

but also what's behind them. Also a lot of my

earlier experience was from classical music.

Since then I have played for several bands and

projects, but I am currently focusing most of my

energy into Withem.

Q: May I ask, how did you get together with


A: When our collaboration with Laser's Edge

Records ended we were looking for a new label.

Øyvind sent Frontiers a mail with some of our

material. Happily they were very satisfied with

what they heard and our negotiations started

when we were completing the work on the "The

Unforgiving Road" album. It took a while to get

all the details finalized, but now that we have

worked with them for a while we find ourselves

very happy with the collaboration.

Now, if I may, let us go back to the actual

recording…what is “Withem’s approach?

Do you create some of this music straight

from the studio floor, or do you gather with

material already prepared?

A: It does depend a bit on the song, but usually

we will exchange riffs and other parts we cre-

ate. This is not done towards a specific song,

but just exchanging ideas. Later Øyvind will

structure these Ideas into a first sketch of a

track. We think of this a bit as painting a pic-

ture. At this point we have a line drawing and

we need to add colours, shading, dynamics and

contrasts. Our way of doing this is adding

chords, solos, keys, vocal lines and all the ele-

ments that are needed to create something real

we can present to our audience.

Band: Withem Interview with: Ole Aleksander Wagenius Interview by: B. Atkinson

MRF | 17

Page 18: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Question: The title ‘Fight Another

Day’ is about surrounding yourself

with positive people and give each

other the strength to fight another

day. Is this a goal you feel you’ve

accomplished at this point in your


Answer: This goal will always be an

ongoing, shapeshifting process, but I

can honestly say that I have never felt

better about the working and personal

relationships that I have the pleasure

and honour to share with so many at

this time in my life. The relationships

with musicians and my friends in DRN,

or the solo work I do, and the many

good souls in my personal life, are

filled with love, support, creativity,

laughter, humility and forward thinking

ideas. This is a blessing and it does

indeed give us all the desire and pas-

sion to take on the battle another day!

Q: Let’s talk about the cover of the

album. What can you tell me about its


A: The concept was something I brought

up first with Melvin Brannon Jr., our

bassist in DRN, while we were record-

ing in Portland Oregon last November.

We laughed about how great it would be

to see a super hero on his last leg fac-

ing yet another battle… taking a deep

breath and fighting on while severely

handicapped from a very recent beating

down. This idea was then conveyed to

Graeme Bell, our graphic designer, who

said he liked the idea and took it from

there. We weren’t sure if we wanted it

to be photo-realistic or cartoonish, so

we ended up settling with something in

the middle. I t’s a landscape that

Graeme masterfully built one element at

a time, and we fine tuned it over the

course of 6 weeks or so, sending ver-

sions back and forth and making notes.

Q: How is working with Derek

Shulman again after so many years?

A: Derek and I reconnected back in

2007 when I was living in Jerusalem.

He had a house there, st i l l does I

believe, and wrote me asking me what I

was doing l iving in there. When I

explained I was making a new album

and recording with Israeli and

Palestinian musicians he became inter-

ested in working together again. That

rekindled relationship went on for a

couple of years, but faded toward 2009

when I started working with our former

Polygram UK product manager Toni

Medcalf. When Derek heard that DRN

was planning on making a new album he

got back in touch and through the sug-

gestion of Dee Bahl, a good friend and

advisor, and manager of the great Biffy

Clyro, to work with Derek again, here

we are! It’s great going full circle with

the man who gave us our first record

deal and as an A&R man, Derek is sec-

ond to none!

Q: The new album is a classic Dan

Reed Network with a modern twist,

and some of the songs sound even

very “contemporary”...

A: Thank you, and honoured to read

that you got what we were aiming for

with this new album! To be honest I

don’t know what to expect from the

music business these days, but I do

know when we perform live there are

few bands of any age that have the fire

we five have on stage, and the sheer vis-

ceral energy DRN conveys live. We are

hard workers both in the studio and on

stage, dedicated to composing songs of

substance and we ready to rock the

world anywhere, anytime… so if that all

adds up to us finding a new level of suc-

cess that we are certainly ready to take

that on. Also we have a secret weapons

in Dan Pred and Rob Daiker being that

they are both very accomplished video

directors, so that helps as well. Brion

James has always been a powerhouse

songwriter and producer, and Melvin

Brannon Jr. is one of the best bassists

in the world, both live and in record-

ing… so overall I think DRN is primed

and ready for 2016 and beyond.

Artist: Dan Reed Network Interview with: Dan Reed Interview by: Barry McMinn

18 | MRF

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Page 20: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Band: Phantom 5

Interview with: Claus Lessmann

Interview by: Barry McMinn

Page 21: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Question: Probably the first question

on everyone’s lips would be how did

Phantom 5 come about?

Answer: As far as I can remember, it

was Serafino who came up with this

idea. One of these days, I think it was

in the end of 2014, he contacted

Michael with his idea, if he could bring

together some sort of a “german all

star” melodic rock band. He already

had the complete line up on his mind

and so Michael started to give every-

body a call and as you can see, every-

body jumped on board and here we

are... Phantom 5.

Q: The band has been labelled as a

“Supergroup”, but in today’s music

climate I think a rock band is a rock

band, no matter who’s involved (we

won’t mention Axl!) What are your

thoughts on these labels?

A: I think that you are absolutely

right... A band is a band. In the begin-

ning we really all had some little prob-

lems with being labeled as a “super-

group” or “all star band”, because it

is always dif f icult to handle these

things, without having writ ten or

recorded a single note. But later in the

writing process we just put all these

labeling thoughts aside and only con-

centrated on what we can do best. And

we said... Let the people decide if they

like our stuff. We didn’t want to put too

much pressure on us and Phantom 5.

What we tried to do, was not the

attempt to reinvent melodic hard rock,

we only did what everybody in

Phantom 5 is best in.

Q: When putting a band like this

together, did you already have in

mind who to approach to see the

vision become a reality?

A: What we wanted to do was creating

a fine little piece of melodic rock, cre-

ated almost 30 years after the golden

age of melodic rock back in the 80-ies.

We knew that the fans of that kinda

music are still alive and that they are

out there... Waiting for something and

that they did not change their musical

taste into Lady Gaga stuff, Rap or

HipHop. So we just went for it.

Q: Who is involved in the writing

process? Is there one main writer or

does every band member have some


A: Well I think everybody has given

some input to the songs, but mainly

they were written by Robby, Michael

and me. I also have to add that Robby

Boebel is a fantastic and awesome riff-

master. He is so talented in writing

really strong and powerful guitar riffs

and it was very inspiring to work with

him and Michael, who brought the best

out of me.

Q: Did you have a vision for the

sound of the album, or did it just

evolve along the way into the Hard

Rock monster it is?

A: In the case of Phantom 5 it was

astonishing, that the vision came along

so easily. Everything came so natural-

ly, just like it was only waiting for us

to be written and get recorded. The

chemistry, especially between Michael

and me, was just fantastic. What we

really tried to achieve was mainly to

capture the moment and ban it on

tape... and the more we worked on the

whole thing, the clearer the vision


Q: Are there any songs on the album

that you’re particulary proud of, if

so which and why? (I particularly

like ‘They Won’t Come Back’).

A: It’s kinda hard to point out a partic-

ulary song, but you might be right in

naming “They Won’t Come Back”. For

us i t is a l i t t le “THANK YOU“,

adressed to these fantastic and unique

artists, which are not among us any-

more. They have given us so much of

themselves and for that reason they

will always be alive in our hearts and

souls. Of course there are many of

them we have not mentioned in this

song, but I am sure they will know and


Q: When the world pushed Rock

music to the sidelines in the 90’s, the

German Rock and Metal scene con-

tinued to thrive. What is it about the

German scene that never seemed to


A: Well, this might be true, when we

especially are talking about this

socalled Teutonic Metal. Rock music

has become a very global thing nowa-

days. The history of german rockers

isn’t actually that long. The rock scene

was always dominated by american

and british bands. Back in the 70-ies

German Rock music was called „Kraut

Rock“, maybe because the Germans

were not able to do it better, but since

the Scorpions appeared on Germany’s

Rock scene at that time, everything

changed and „Germans learned to

rock“ and showed and prooved it to the

world. The Scorpions did a lot for the

credibil i ty of german rock bands.

Thanks to you guys! When the 90-ies

came up with that Grunge thing, a lot

of bands dissappeared or better say...

had to dissappear, but the german rock

fans kept their hunger for their music

and their belief in their heroes, no

matter what the industry tried to sell

them. Maybe this might be a reason for

it. But basicly I must say that rock fans

are the same all over the world... They

are true and stay with their heroes....

Thank you Rockers!!!

Q: Do you see Phantom 5 taking to

the road to promote the album? If

yes, are there any shows in the


A: To be honest, there are no plans

right now to go on the road, but let’s

wait and see, what the future will

bring. We are still a “Newcomer band”

with a little musical background and

experience. . . We are very suprised

about the overwhelming positive reac-

tions concerning our album. It is very

exciting to watch what is going on with

Phantom 5 and we really like the feel-

ing that a lot of people seem to like the

songs we wrote. We did not write the

songs only for ourselves, but primarily

for the people out there, who are into

melodic rock... and to say it with the

words of Serafino: “THE BEST IS YET


MRF | 21

Page 22: Melodic Rock Fanzine #74

Question: The new album sounds great

with many touting it as you’re best yet.

What do you think?

Answer: We think its our best yet as well.

With each album we don’t even book the

studio until we have an albums worth of

songs that we believe are the best yet. That

is why we write so many songs. We have a

high level of quality control and we are

very harsh critics of our own work.

Q: It’s the most diverse of your albums

so far. Was that deliberate?

A: It’s what comes naturally to us. We love

rock music but we also love music in gener-

al. So when we hear a cool movie sound-

track that can also inspire us. We are still

very much a band that will try to do things

a little different but that is out of respect

for a genre of music that was soooo good

back in the 80’s and 90’s. There is now way

anyone can replicate that, not even the

bands that are from that era. So that’s why

we try to add in different styles and

flavours. We are not re-inventing the wheel


Q: Why did you plump for “Who We

Are” as the title?

A: Album titles are nearly as hard to come

up with as band names. But because we get

a lot of comments about being “different”

we just thought it was appropriate. But the

album is also very much a commentary of

the world as it is today and the world is

what we make it. Everything that happens

in life good or bad makes you who you are.

Q: Harry Hess from Harem Scarem pro-

duced the record. How did that come

about and what did he bring to the


A: He mastered Stereo Messiah and then w

hung out together in Milan last year. It was

then that we just said ”You should do our

next record” and he said he would love to.

It was that simple.

Q: Was working at Monnow Valley

Studios in Wales, where so many leg-

endary acts have recorded, inspiring?

A: It was. We loved it there. We suffered

alittle cabin fever at the end after 3 weeks

of boing locked in but it was amazing.

Queen, Black Sabbath, Stereophonics, Ozzy

etc etc and now VEGA haha. But we were

very focused when we were there. Harry

worked with us on each song before we hit

record. Just stood around the piano fine

tuning the arrangements. Little things like

that were all the difference. It’s not you and

Every little monster both became better

songs for that hour around the piano when

it came to there turn.

Q: The record’s got a cool caricature

cover, that suggests you don’t take your-

selves too seriously.

A: Exactly. I think some people have the

wrong idea about us but that’s fine. We

also wanted a cover that would gain some

attention. In this day and age people don’t

even have the covers because they have it

on digital download. So for all the people

who hate it and feel the need to tell the

world of social media about it, thank you.

That is the main reason for doing it! Haha.

Music is meant to be fun anyway, so sod it.

It’s what’s on the cd that matters isn’t it?

Q: You’re a great live band. The tour

with Magnum should see you connecting

with new fans.

A: Thank you. Yeah we can’t wait to get out

there with new music. The biggest problem

now is how to choose 9 or 10 songs tp play

out of the 4 albums!! I think we have a good

mix of old and new though. But the geat

thing about the Magnum shows is that for

most of their audience we will be playing

them 9 or 10 songs that are ALL new to

them and that’s great. New blood! haha

Q: Have any of you got any projects out-

side of Vega in the pipeline?

A: No. We always said that VEGA is the

only band we will be in. Maybe down the

road we will, but we want to focus on

VEGA. Does the rock world need another

project? There are some bands out there

that could do an all day festival on their

own because they are in that many other


Band: Vega Interview with: Nick Workman Interview by: Duncan Jamieson

22 | MRF

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