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This new issue includes reviews and interviews of JSS, Place Vendome, Tall Stories, Balance, Places Of Power, Vision Divine, Bad Habit, Doro, Cryonic Temple, Theocracy, Elektradrive ... and more!


Page 1: Melodic Rock Fanzine issue 30
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March 13th, 2009:March 13th, 2009:- WETTON/DOWNES ICON “3”

- GREAT WHITE “Rising”

- STREET LEGAL “Bite the Bullet”

Apr i l 10th, 2009:Apr i l 10th, 2009:- HARDLINE

“Leaving The End Open”

- SUNSTORM “House of Dreams”

Contents Issue 30 -January - February 2009:

04 JSS (Jeff Scott Soto)

06 Places Of Power

07 Vision Divine

08 Bad Habit

09 Cryonic Temple

10 Doro

11 Reviews - The most important releases of Hard Rock and AOR music that you will find in your favourite music stores during the next months.

15 Theocracy

16 Elektradrive

17 Balance

19 Tall Stories

21 Place Vendome

Melodic Rock FanzineThe Official Frontiers Records Newsletter

January - February 2009Issue 30

Editor-in-chief: Primo BonaliExecutive Editor: Elio BordiWriters: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Rob “Ezy” Bone, Fulvio Bordi,Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, Marco Spaeth._______________Main Office:Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 18 - 80125 Napoli - ItalyTel: +39.081.2399340/7753 - Fax: +39.081.2399794email: [email protected]_______________Chief Editorial Office:email: [email protected]_______________Editor and Publisher:Frontiers Records

Copyright © 2009 by Frontiers Records. All rights reserved.Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Printed in Italy

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04 Melodic Rock Fanzine

Firstly thanks for taking the timeout to complete this interview! Thenew album “Beautiful Mess” marksyet another chapter in your career;it seems a more personal album tak-ing in a lot more of your influencesthan the two previous solo albums...was this your intent from the begin-ning?Jeff Scott Soto: I started this albumalmost 4 years ago, I was finishing atour promoting “Lost In TheTranslation” and I started reflecting onwhere I was wanting to go next musi-cally. I was a huge fan of my produc-er’s work, Paulo Mendonça, and onenight, listening to his amazing 2ndalbum “Different Phases”, I realizedthis was what I wanted to do next.Through some musical acquaintances,I contacted him and there began amusical connection like I haven’t

known since working with MarcelJacob (Talisman). Musically, it tookabout 3 years to complete the final line-up of the songs as I truly wanted to notonly reinvent myself but make a newmusical statement.When putting a solo-album togetherdo you feel less restricted with thecontent that with a band-album?JSS: Yes & no, there is still a musicalresponsibility that must be met whetheryou’re a band or solo artist. It’s easy tomove too far away from your core audi-ence when you’re on your own, so I’vealways kept a group of people close tome, whether they’re in my solo-band or,in this case, if it’s my producer. At theend, the music has to represent and thefans will ultimately decide if it’s goingto be accepted. Do you think a solo-album reflect theartist more that any other albums

they have worked on?JSS: Again, it’s a yes & no answer.Sometimes a solo-album is just asingle postcard of an individual’spersonal interest or experiment, butthere are many out there who havedone their most amazing work withtheir groups. I don’t think youcould compare Freddie Mercury orSteve Perry’s solo albums to thegenius they created with Queen orJourney, but you get to see the otherside of what makes them tick. Ifyou see Phil Collins’ solo albums,they probably reflect a better repre-sentation of an artist who did betterbeing solo.Your career has seen you growingup to a kinda superstar status inthe Melodic Rock genre; how doyou feel about this?JSS: It’s an amazing feeling to now

Best known as JEFFBest known as JEFF SCOTTSCOTT SOTSOTO, JSS is a multitalented arO, JSS is a multitalented artist and singertist and singer, one of the, one of thehardest working guys in the business. He starhardest working guys in the business. He started his carted his careereer singing forsinging for Yngwie MalmsteenYngwie Malmsteenand been parand been part of grt of great Rock bans such as JOURNEYeat Rock bans such as JOURNEY, SOUL, SOUL SIRKUS and SIRKUS and TTALISMAN. HisALISMAN. Hisnew solo album “Beautiful Mess” is a vernew solo album “Beautiful Mess” is a very personal statement, a cry personal statement, a crossoverossover between hisbetween hisRock-style with some amazing Soul and Funk influences and a verRock-style with some amazing Soul and Funk influences and a very own JSS try own JSS treatment!eatment!

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be as known or popular as many of my idols! I love rep-resenting this music but also being able to get away withexpanding on it, while being accepted doing things myway. I don’t like being put into ONE category, music istoo vast to just fall into one sound.With such a varied career is there a point so far whereyou thought “hey this is it ”?JSS: Never, I don’t believe in this! I need the many facetsof music, things that challenge me & keep me interestedin moving forward with creating new music. It gets more& more difficult to get new music accepted but I refuse tosit back & only live off my past, as you can see in my 25years doing this professionally, I refuse to stop now break-ing new ground.The obvious talking point over the past couple of yearshas to be your time with Journey... despite what hap-pened do you see this as a defining point in yourcareer?JSS: Honestly, no. In the year I was with Journey, I sangin front of approximately one million people around theworld but, because I never recorded or released anythingwith them, I was just a guy with a mic singing all theirfavourite songs. Within the industry was much of thesame, no one really cared that I sang Steve Perry’s songsfor a year, the only relevance came from my fellow artists& colleagues. I am no further ahead in my career now thanI was before Journey but I have no problem with this, Iwould rather make my own mark & be known for who Iam than singing someone else’s songs.If given the opportunity to sing with such a big nameband again would you do anything different?JSS: No, because I did everything right the 1st time.Honestly, I have no desire to do that again anyway, theonly band I would front if asked is Queen, they would bethe pinnacle of why I got into music & it would have beenan honour to pay homage to Freddie Mercury & his lega-cy. In the meantime, I have my own legacy to create!Why the title Beautiful Mess for the album?JSS: My life the past few years has been exactly that, themusic, career & direction I chose on this album is that, lifein general is that…one big beautiful mess!

(by Barry McMinn)

“Beautiful Mess”the new album by JSS:

review page 11

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06 Melodic Rock Fanzine

PLACES OFPOWER is a brandnew monicker featur-

ing some familiarfaces in the Melodic

Rock scene: PhilipBardowell (MAG-DALEN, UNRULY

CHILD) and BruceTurgon (FOREIGN-


“Now Is TheHour” is the

band’s debutalbum and the

result is a jewel, atotal must for all

Foreigner, ShadowKing and Lou

Gramm fans...

Hi Philip! It's a real thrill to be able toask you a few questions about your ter-rific new album. How do you feel therecord has turned out?Philip Bardowell: I'm very proud of theoutcome. It surpassed my expectationsand I think I'll actually listen to this one!There's obviously been a huge amountof care and attention given to the songwriting and recording of the material.Can you tell us how you went about col-laborating on the songs and how youworked together in the studio? PB: Bruce (Turgon) and I had a goal: wedidn't want any album "fillers" on therecord and wanted every song to be thebest it could be. Bruce emailed me instru-mental tracks that were very good andfilled with great melodic ideas. I, in turn,wrote lyrics and melodies to the tracks.Many of the melodies were inspired bythe melodies inherent in the tracks Brucesent. It was a great collaborative effort onthe songs. We only worked together in thestudio 2 days to finish vocals. Other thanthat, this was all done over the internetand by phone!I think initially you got together thanksto a suggestion from the people atFrontiers. Could you tell us the storybehind that?PB: Serafino suggested that Bruce and Ido an album together and put us in touch.

Once we connected, we found that we gotalong very well and were open to the idea.Once we started, we realized that we (andSerafino!) were right. It was a very enjoy-able, creative process. There's not a duff song on the disc but Ithink “Wildest Dreams”, “Places ofPower”, ”Hard to Love You” and “Pathof Least Resistance” are new classics inthe AOR-genre. Which tracks resonatemost with you and why?PB: Once again, this was our goal, sothanks for the kind words. I truly like allof these songs. “Hard To Love You” wasone of the first songs to be done. I wouldsay out of the 4 you mentions, I love thepower in “Places Of Power” and themelodic pop sense of “Wildest Dreams”.Do you see this as a one off project or doyou envisage work together in thefuture?PB: We'll see! I would welcome theopportunity if it were there.Are there any chances of seeing youtake this album on the road?PB: Once again, we'll have to see how thealbum is received. I'd welcome the idea.The pair of you have worked with somebig names in Rock, in the past. Do youstill keep in touch?PB: With some. With a wife and threekids, I don't really talk to anybody muchanymore! However, I have fond memories

of all my collaborations and each one ledme to where I am today.What are your hopes professionally thisyear for yourselves and this album?PB: To keep making good music and fol-low God's will for my life. There aremany exciting things ahead. I look for-ward to seeing how "Places Of Power" isreceived.

(by Duncan Jamieson)

“Now Is The Hour”the new album by Places Of Power:

review page 11

PPoowweerr ooff


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Melodic Rock Fanzine 07

VISION DIVINE is a Melodic Metal bandVISION DIVINE is a Melodic Metal bandfrfrom Italy which featurom Italy which features the stunninges the stunningvocals of Fabio Lione (RHAPSODYvocals of Fabio Lione (RHAPSODY ofofFIRE) and Olaf FIRE) and Olaf Thorsen on guitarThorsen on guitar (ex(exLABYRINTH). LABYRINTH). They have rThey have released alreleased alreadyeady5 studio albums and 1 live DVD and have a5 studio albums and 1 live DVD and have agrgreat following in Italyeat following in Italy, South , South AmericaAmericaand Japan especiallyand Japan especially. . The newThe new“9DWOTM” was pr“9DWOTM” was produced by oduced by TTimo imo TTolkkiolkki(ex Stratovarius) and is (ex Stratovarius) and is VVision Divine’ision Divine’ssheaviest, most melodic and catchy albumheaviest, most melodic and catchy albumeverever, showing why they ar, showing why they are now the nume now the num--berber 1 band in the Italian Metal scene.1 band in the Italian Metal scene.“9DWOTM” is a fantastic journey that“9DWOTM” is a fantastic journey thatfans will considerfans will consider as the true as the true VVision Divineision Divinecarcareereer defining statement!defining statement!

Hello Olaf! First, let’s begin with yourjourney so far... Vision Divine has overthe years changed its line-up severaltimes. Has this been a hindrance or doyou view this as growing pains?Olaf Thorsen: A change is always painful,in music as in normal life. But, when it isneeded, a change is a hope for a betterfuture. I always try taking the best from achange, learning from what didn't work inthe past and trying to build something bet-ter for my future. So it works for VisionDivine as well.Is the present line-up, in your eyes, thestrongest so far? OT: I don't think it's correct to comparedifferent line-ups. Each of those was “thebest” in that moment. So, I think this line-up is the best for the moment I am living.This is the line-up that the band needed forthis kind of album, 'cause each memberwas completely committed to VisionDivine and the music we were about torealize.Would you be so kind to take us throughthe recording process of your latestrelease, “9DWOTM”… OT: It's been a long and difficult album torealize. Many changes, and the musicwhich became a little darker than before. Ittook 2 months to realize this album, 2months in which we've been living togeth-er in different studios, sharing emotions,feelings, hopes. Now everything is intothis album. For the very first time weapproached the recordings in a “live” atti-tude, recording most of the tracks togetherat the same time. We chose so 'cause wewanted this album to have a differentsound, but also a different feeling com-pared to the other releases we had in the

past, so we had drums, bass and guitarsrecording at the same time in differentrooms, then we addes vocals, keyboardsand arrangements. A new experience for aband who plays our kind of music butvery exciting!Once again, you have enlisted the pro-duction talents of Timo Tolkki; was thismove to kind of go back to the originalvibe?OT: Timo knew the band very wellalready, so we thought it was the rightthing to do. There were so many newthings already, that it was important tokeep some traces of the past in order notto lose the point, if you know what Imean.“9DWOTM” is perhaps VisionDivine’s strongest effort; did you havea particular message in mind?OT: Thanks a lot for your words! Ourmessage is still the same, album byalbum: we enjoy playing music, and weenjoy having this chance of writing ourmoods and feelings down on a cd. Youcan like it or not, but for sure our albumshave some meaning, where also lyrics arevery important. I like to think about myalbums as pictures of a particular momentof my life. This is why every album has adifferent “color”, a different atmosphere.“9DWOTM” is what we are nowadays.What plans do you have for touring in2009? Are you going to continue withmaking inroads into the U.S.?OT: I hope so! It's a little too early to saythat now, but we received some requestsfor playing in the USA this year, and I canpromise you that if there will be a chance,we'll surely be there.This is a fantastic way to start off 2009,

with a new album and a re-energisedband... please leave us with somethoughts about the new year andVision Divine….OT: Thanks a lot for your nice words,I am glad to hear that you liked thisalbum. It's a very important release tome and to the other guys, and I reallyhope people will get the message weare trying to send. 2009 looks reallygreat so far: many people are writingus how much they liked this newrelease, and also we are receiving a lotof requests for playing in places we'venever been before. This shows a newand bigger interest in the band, and - ofcourse - I cannot be anything by happyto hear. Hopefully, see you soon ontour! Stay Divine!

(by Bruce A.J. Atkinson)

“9 Degrees Westof The Moon”

the new album by Vision Divine:review page 11

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The legendarThe legendary y AORAORband Bad Habitband Bad Habitformed in Sweden informed in Sweden in1986 and that1986 and thatrreleased theireleased their firstfirstalbum “Yalbum “Young &oung &Innocent” in 1987Innocent” in 1987now rnow return with aeturn with apowerful new albumpowerful new album“Above “Above AndAndBeyond”, which feaBeyond”, which fea--turtures a mores a more melodice melodicapprapproach than theoach than theprprevious album andevious album andcontinues on whercontinues on whereethe classic albumthe classic album“Adult Orientation”“Adult Orientation”left ofleft off... f...

Hi, nice to meet you and let’s talkabout the new album, “Above AndBeyond”; are you satisfied with it?Bah Habit: Yes, we are very happy withthe way it turned out – exactly the waywe envisioned...What are your favourite songs?BH: Well, we of course become veryclose to the songs and it always takes usawhile after the production to “land” inlistening to the finished product but nowthe songs we listen to the most are “IDon’t Want You”, “Just A HeartbeatAway”, “Don’t Want To Say Goodbye”,“My Confession” and “Let Me TellYou”...What are the differences with yourprevious albums?BH: We focused a lot on the sound andproduction on this album, as well as put-ting a lot of effort into the musical per-formances - striving for excellence butnot trying to overdo things technically.This approach resulted in a more “organ-ic band sound” than we've had before.So, all in all, the process has been morestructured, but - at the same time - the

recording sessions and production havebeen more relaxed than ever before... Any tour-dates planned? BH: We would love to play key gigsaround Europe, or anywhere else wherethere is a demand to see the band andwhere the album has been received well.Ideally, we prefer the festival scene orvenues that are keen on AOR. We’ll seehow it goes – we will follow the recep-tion of the new album carefully…What are your favourite bands andinfluences?BH: In general and on a broad scale, Iwould have to say bands like TheBeatles, ABBA, Led Zeppelin, Queen,Van Halen, Journey and U2 - have allmade some pretty remarkable contribu-tions to Rock as a concept. But, like Isaid, there are just so many great bandsto choose from!What is your idea about the MelodicRock in our days?BH: It seems that it’s going through ahealthy growing period, which is - ofcourse - nice. Now AOR bands just needbetter promo back-up in order to reach

out further, to get the airplay on themajor radio stations, etc....Thanks a lot for your time and kind-ness! Feel free to say “hi” to yourfans!BH: See you on tour and we hope youenjoy our music!

(by Fulvio Bordi)

“Above And Beyond”the new album by Bad Habit:

review page 12

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Cryonic Temple wasfounded in 1996 andhas through the yearsperformed at festi-vals such as “SwedenRock Festival”,“HeadBangers OpenAir”, “GothenburgMetal Festival”, andmore. After the suc-cessful and highlyacclaimed 3rd studiorelease, “In ThyPower”, the bandwent through someline-up changes andnow the the newalbum “Immortal” ishere, more focusedand powerful thanever!

Hello guys! Here you are with a newalbum, 3 years after “In Thy Power”.What happened in between? Why thislong wait?Magnus Thurin: Well, I joined the bandin August 2006, then we did a couple offestivals and started writing the newmaterial. But we had to search for a newdrummer, and to get a drummer that cankeep up the pace in our songs was easiersaid than done. Then one day Hanscalled and told us that he was interestedin the position as our new drummer.Then Limb thought our new materialwas too aggressiv and heavy and wantedus to write songs as on the first 2 albums,so we said “thank you and goodbye!”.Metal Heaven then signed us instantlyafter getting the pre-production demo.But we had to wait for the studio andPelle to be free for us, so everything tookmore time than planned...You had many changes in the line-upin these 3 years. How far did this influ-ence the sound of the new album?MT: I like to think that my arrival in theband has done a lot to that; when Hansthen Bjorn arrived the album was all-ready written. I guess this created theopportunity trying out new influences

and musical directions.How did you deal with the songwritingof “Immortal”? Was it a team-workor is somebody taking the majority ofthe work?MT: Well, the music for this album Leifand Esa is responsible for, Leif has thistime taken a little more space than earli-er, then both Esa and Leif contribute toeach other’s songs with diffrent ideasand parts. The lyrics is mostley my terri-tory, but Esa has a couple of songs wherehe has written the lyrics as well and onethat we've done together.Would you agree in saying that thenew album is cleaner and melodicthan the previous ones? How wouldyou describe it? M: Hmm, hard to say...personally I thinkit's much heavier and more aggressive,both in terms of songwriting and produc-tion, and maybe a bit more progressivethan our earlier releases. Basically Ithink it's a natural development, at leastfor me. We didn't want to record thesame album once again... with newmembers and new influences this albumrepresents where we are today!The Power and Traditional Metal

scene is more and more crowded.What, in your opinion, can make youunique on the market? What are yourspecific trademarks?MT: I think that we managed to evolveand put things to another level withoutlosing our old trademarks, twin guitarharmonies, great choruses and melodies,guitar solos...

(courtesy of“Metal Maniac magazine”)

“Immortal”the new album byCryonic Temple

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ForFor twenty-f ivetwenty-f iveyears Doryears Doro has beeno has beenprproving Metal is notoving Metal is notonly a boys-afonly a boys-af fairfair..WWith ith WWarlock, first,arlock, first,and with herand with her sucsuc --cessful solo-albumscessful solo-albumsthen, she has keptthen, she has keptthe flame alive. the flame alive. AndAndthe new “Fearthe new “Fear NoNoEvil” fol lows theEvil” fol lows thesame path: a Classicsame path: a ClassicHeavy Metal albumHeavy Metal albumfull of Metal hymnsfull of Metal hymnsand powerful guiand powerful gui --tars...tars...

Hello Doro! Nice to meet you. Can youpresent the album “Celebrate” (for your25th anniversary) to our readers?Doro Pesch: For this album I wanted as muchdiversity as possible. When I listen to“Celebrate” it has no other message than thatis pure about life and enjoying the moment.There is a beautiful duet with Tarja Turunen,“Walking With The Angels”, which has a verydifferent meaning than “Celebrate”. I alsowanted to record a song in German.“Herzblut” is especially for my fans. In addi-tion there are enough strong songs such as“Night Of The Warlock” and “Running FromThe Devil”, the latter, I think, will become ananthem during live shows. I really wanted torecord the pruning hard metal song “CaughtIn A Battle”. We had not recorded such a hardsong in a long time and I think that the fanswill receive it well!You have already played some songs liveduring the anniversary party. How it was?And how the audience received them?DP: We were pretty nervous to play the newsongs along with the other songs, around 30 intotal, that we had rehearsed! It remains, ofcourse, always exciting to see how the fansreact to the new songs. “Celebrate” was greatto sing with all the girls. The duet with Tarjawas also very good live. I am very curioushow it will sound like when I sing it by myown, as Tarja has her own busy schedule andcannot come along on tour with us. All in all,have very much enjoyed the 3-hour show. Itfelt like the best day of my life, like a dreamcome true. There were so many friends andcolleagues, who provided a guest appearance.It felt very special to be with my old band,Warlock, on stage again. It was a pity thatFrank has given up music. Fortunately, Nickwanted to play. Those few extra songs couldeasily be putted on his setlist, ha, ha! Firstthere were less songs, because Edguy andUDO had cancelled at the last minute. It was

only until 5 days in advance, when Scorpions'Klaus Meine (vocals) and Rudolf Schenker(guitar) promised to come and play along.That was great but we had to rehearse thesesongs as wel!You recorded over 15 albums, includingyour new album. Where do you get yourinspiration from? DP: The fans give me inspiration: the storiesthey tell and the enthusiasm they give me, andwhat I experience when I'm on tour. For exam-ple, in the time it was still a Soviet bloc coun-try and the Wall was still there, we touredHungary. We were opposed by the formerregime. Our album “Burning The Witches”was nowhere to be bought and performing livewas not allowed everywhere. You could reallysee that the time had stopped and that the pop-ulation was suffering from it. The contrastwith the West was so big. When I returned tothe States, I wrote East Meets West, which isabout the contrast between East and West. Notevery song has such a profound meaning butmany have. They tell about, for example,political or spiritual issues.When you write songs, do you work withother writers, or do you write everything byyouself?DP; Everything is different. Sometimes I gettogether with the guys in my band, and some-times I work alone. Sometimes I get togetherwith this person I really love, his name is GaryScruggs. I make demos for myself, then I gotto him in Nashville, then I present my ideas tohim, and I know he can do them even better!If he likes the idea and he "feels" it, then wecan come up with some great stuff together. Soevery song is different. But I write all of thelyrics.Of all the bands you toured with, who wasthe best?DP: Oh, I must say my best tour was my firstworld tour. Because it was my first, but also,because it was my favourite band! We got a

chance to tour with JUDAS PRIEST andthat was the day when I quit my job! I got acall from my manager, and he said “Hey,Doro, are you ready to quit your job?”. AndI asked: “Why?”. So he said: “Because youcan get ready to tour with your favoriteband!”. And I said: “What? Judas Priest?No way!”. I then went to my manager andsaid: “You know, I'm quitting the job,because I'm going on tour with JudasPriest!”, and he didn't even know what Iwas talking about! And I was like: “Oh, youdon't understand!”...Where did you live then?DP: In Dusseldorf. And then everythingwas perfect! They treated us so nice! Theywere so good to us! Very gentlemenly andvery supportive. In fact, this is the reasonwhy we did “Breaking The Law” on “TheClassic Diamonds” album. I just wanted tosay “Thank you!” to Priest.

“Fear No Evil”the new album by Doro

review page 13

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JSS - “Beautiful Mess” (Frontiers Records)On the bio that came with this release came the words who is JSS and if I didn’t know that then I shouldn’t be writ-ing reviews for Melodic Rock Fanzine because when it comes to Mr Soto the name is held is such high esteemthroughout the Melodic Rock community that it is almost saintly. With some twenty years in the business JSS’s careerhas taken a more recent upward curve with his high profile slot as frontman with Journey and although this union wassurprisingly short lived he gained a higher profile and a much wider audience. And with a new album under his belt“Beautiful Mess” will surely gain the man even more media success and send the name of Jeff Scott Soto out of theunderground and into the mainstream. The album itself is pure solo Soto with the heavy soulsy feel like a modern SamCooke mixed with a little James Brown funk in places. The opening track cements Soto’s Hard Rock element but thisalbum showcases the mans many styles and influences with a mix of soft rock anthems with some subtle bluesand soul overtones and is to date his most diverse solo release to date. (Barry McMinn) 95

TALL STORIES - “Skyscraper” (Frontiers Records)I love this new one! As many of us already know, Tall Stories is the first main band Steve Augeri was part of beforejoining Tyketto and Journey. The 1991 band’s self titled release marked their debut, showing us a very talentedband, so brilliant and original in songwriting, arrangements work and performance. “Tall Stories” was a great com-bining moment of so many musical influences between seventies and eighties elements, from a band not afraid torisk. Later on, between 1993 and 1995, Tall Stories, with the same debut’s line-up, carried on working on songs fora second studio release entitled “Skyscraper”, but unfortunately it didn’t see the light until today. Now FrontiersRecords gives us the possibility to enjoy that release at last and to demonstrate how this band would have beenready to reach the sky if only its releases would have been published in the right time. Sound production is top bril-liant sparkling quality, the rhythm section, guitars and vocals work in harmony as they were fused and per-formed all together into a whole single instrument. Great album! (Fulvio Bordi) 97

PLACES OF POWER - “Now Is The Hour” (Frontiers Records)The New Year may have just begun but I can a safely predict that this CD will be one of my favourites all year. Thename may be new but the guys behind the music are responsible for some of the genres best loved music. BruceTurgen (ex Foreigner, Lou Gramm and Shadow King) and Philip Bardowell (ex Unruly Child and Magdalen) havecollaborated here on12 great tracks, bringing out the best in each other’s song writing and performance. If you arefan of AOR you would be foolish not to add songs of the calibre of the pompy “Places of Power” and the rocky,hook laden “Wildest Dreams” to your collection. “Hard to Love You” is as good as anything on the Shadow Kingrecord and “I Live for You” could be, ironically, the Johnny Edward fronted Foreigner. Best of all is “Path of LeastResistance” which rocks out like prime time Giant. For AOR to work its magic it needs a singer of Bardowell’sclass who can wring emotion from every line. Now is their hour as this the first must have album of the year.

(Duncan Jamieson) 96VISION DIVINE - “9 Degrees West Of The Moon” (Frontiers Records)It seems that the stars have aligned themselves in such a way, to give rise for Olaf Thorsen to fully explore andexpress his musical emotions more completely. “9 Degrees West Of The Moon” is the result of an arduous journeyfor Vision Divine - what seems to be countless line-up changes, now solidified. This album just may mark the defin-itive member list of the band…it certainly is the definitive musical statement. Upon just one listen, one can see whyVision Divine is a number one Progressive Metal band! What we have here is a moving masterful musical state-ment. Eleven heavy slices that are full of intense, powerful and melodic musical journeys that can astound the lis-tener in the complexity of the musical movements. All of this produced with a degree of craftsmanship seldomheard. I think, in a way, “9DWOTM” is the re-birth of Vision Divine. Olaf and Company are assuring us that theyare here to stay! A very muscular musical expression…this is a fantastic way of starting off the NewYear…may the Divine Vision persist…. (Bruce Atkinson) 93

PLACE VENDOME - “Streets Of Fire” (Frontiers Records)This 2009 year has been starting in music in the best way possible, with so excellent releases. This second studio PlaceVendome’s chapter doesn’t absolutely make the exception. I think the band would not have been able to give us a bet-ter follow up than this “Streets Of Fire”. Just carefully listen to every note, every melody, every refrain to feel how theycarve all the adrenaline into the heart. The band’s line-up has remained the same of the 2005 debut-release, with mon-ster vocalist Michael Kiske really free to express all of his inspired melodic trails, musical passion and ideas; DennisWard, Kosta Zafiriou and Uwe Reitenauer from Pink Cream 69 with their full charge of busted, solid Hard and Heavyrock verve; Vanden Plas former keyboard wizard Gunther Werno giving songs an awesome arrangements work. Plus,songs’ credits see the participation of Torsti Spoof (Leverage), Ronny Milianowicz (Saint Deamon and songwriter forPrimal Fear), Robert Sall (Work Of Art) as guest composers. Every song shines of its own light and will take lis-tener breathless and nailed in front of the speakers since the opener song until the last note... (Fulvio Bordi) 96

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BAD HABIT - “Above And Beyond” (AOR Heaven)Most people’s New Year resolutions involve getting rid of bad habits but AOR lovers are more than happy toembrace a new Bad Habit this month. Deciding to go for a more melodic approach than their previous outing, thisbecomes immediately apparent from the opener “I Don’t Want To”, pure AOR with pop sensibilities. Bax Fehling’svocals can grate during some verses but any reservations disappear by the time songs get to the well layered cho-ruses. Fortunately, there is not a dud chorus amongst the thirteen tracks. “Just a Heartbeat Away” has a fine melodyand rocks the hardest on the album. “Don’t Want to Say Goodbye” has a pleasing, mid tempo Honeymoon Suitevibe. “A Lot to learn” has a U2 bass intro that morphs into a “These Days” era Bon Jovi chorus. Listen to the titletrack or “I Believe” to hear all that’s good about Bad Habit; strong arrangements, hooks that are tastier than yourmother’s home cooking and guitar solos you can hum. It was the bands intention to emulate their 1998 careerpeak “Adult Orientation” album and this is one resolution they have safely fulfilled. (Duncan Jamieson) 87

BALANCE - “Equilibrium” (Frontiers Records)With every band that reforms there’s a little doubt in peoples minds as to whether the band are going to be equal totheir most memorable album, and all reformations are quite harshly judged on whether the band’s going to sounddated or whether they’ve managed to evolve along with today’s more modern sounds. All these questions wentthrough me mind when the new Balance album was sent to me but one listen and all my fears were swept aside, asPeppy Castro, Bob Kulick and Doug Katsaros revive the classic Balance sound and add their wealth of talent tomake this new album sound both new, while at the same time keeping that same vibe as on the bands ‘In For TheCount’ opus. The trio have brought in Bret Chassen on drums, who also co-produced the album with Kulick, thuskeeping things in the family. What they have produced is a fine Melodic Rock album that will stand up against any-thing produced last year and will cement the bands return as one of the bands to exceed in 2009.

(Barry McMinn) 92

BURNING POINT - “Empyre” (Metal Heaven)This is the Finnish five piece’s fourth album, the second with the current line up. It’s power metal, unmistakablyScandinavian but it also owes a debt to American Metal as a cover of the Rods “Nuclear Skies”, included on thelimited edition, attests. There are bountiful melodic guitar lines, duelling guitar and flavoursome keyboardsthroughout. Choruses, such as “Manic Merry Go Round” and “Fools Parade” are rousingly anthemic has a greatguitar hook which soars off into the stratosphere. The arrangements are varied, with a range of dynamics thatenhances most tracks here. “Empyre” is a brooding epic that should go down well live. They may have an ear fora melody but that’s not to say they can’t head butt you in the face with a bit of power when they want to. On tourshortly with Cryonic Temple (reviewed last issue). Cryonic temple might have a heavier sound overall, but BurningPoint win out with more memorable hooks and melodies. For Nordic infused metal lovers, this will keep yougood company on these long winter nights. (Duncan Jamieson) 86

JORN - “Live In America” DVD (Frontiers Records)Originally released on CD in 2006 this much anticipated DVD finally gets released. This is Jorn’s first perform-ance on American soil and with nearly 30 records on his impressive CV there is no shortage of material to choosefrom. So, it perhaps comes as a surprise that eight of the tracks are covers albeit rather good ones. There’s a braceof Thin Lizzy tunes with “Cold Sweat” sounding particularly vibrant. Dio’s “Straight From the Heart” enlivens theset after a drum solo and the set closes with a Whitesnake medley of 4 tracks, a reminder of his days in The Snakeswith Moody and Marsden. He sounds as virile on these tracks as that cheeky lothario Coverdale himself. Of Jorn’sown material the four tracks from “The Duke” album standout with the title track a particular highlight of the set.“Soulburn” from his Masterplan project also gets a welcome airing. Despite gripes about the amount of covers inthe set this is a visual and aural testament to what we already know; Jorn is one helluva vocal talent.

(Duncan Jamieson) 90

JEFF SCOTT SOTO - “Lost In Translation” (Frontiers Records)Jeff Scott Soto is going to release his so long awaited brand new solo release “Beautiful Mess” and the best way towait for its release date is to listen Jeff’s best and last solo studio effort “Lost In Translation”, originally released in2004 and now enriched of a digipack deluxe edition with five bonus tracks. “Lost In Translation” keeps walking onthe previous “Prism” pure Melodic Rock approach, but now with a still more busted, raw, “in your face” sound andbolstered guitars, not forgetting, at the same time, softer chapters as stated by songs like the delicate “Beginning 2End” and “If This Is The End”. No doubt this is the best solo release Soto has done until now. Songwriting is excel-lent, with a high quality melodic verve. Vocal performance is memorable and the band really kicks hard with a perfectdynamic rhythm section and a superb guitar work. “Turned The Page” (original Japanese bonus track), “As I Do 2 U”,“This Ain’t The Love”, “Lonely Shade Of Blue” (three excellent ballads) and the acoustic performance of “SoulDivine”, are the five excellent bonus tracks still more increasing the album’s quality and making this reissue a“must have” for everyone. (Fulvio Bordi) 93

JEFF SCOTT SOTO - “Prism” (Frontiers Records)Frontiers Records reissues for us this inestimable gem in pure Melodic Rock style, previously released in 2002, indigipack version and featuring six bonus tracks. Jeff Scott Soto is a so great singer inspired by a so wide range ofartists such as Glenn Hughes, Steve Perry, Prince, Freddy Mercury, Seal, and he always has been displaying all ofthem in his studio releases and live shows along the years. “Prism” represents one of his most Melodic Rock ori-ented solo studio chapter. Just listen to rocking songs like “Eyes of Love”, “How Long”, “2 Late 4 Goodbyes” withtheir full charge of energy, great melodic hooks in perfect Journey tradition, choirs and heaven keyboards arrange-ments. “Heaven Knows”, “Holding On”, “Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye” are top notch ballads representing Jeff’smost inner and deep approach to musical inspiration. As anticipated before, the reissue includes six bonus tracksfeaturing the ballads “Good Love”, “2012” (original Japanese bonus track of “Essential Ballads”), Journeycover “Send Her My Love”, live versions of “Again 2 B Found”, “Stand Up” and “4 U” (featured in “LoveParade”). Enjoy! (Fulvio Bordi) 90

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Melodic Rock Fanzine 13

HERMAN FRANK - “Loyal To None” (Metal Heaven)Herman Frank erstwhile guitarist with Accept, Victory and Moon Doc is joined by Jiotis Parachidis former leadshouter of Victory. No surprise then that its thundering Metal sound is not too far removed from Victory. DrummerStefan Kaufman lays waste, rather impressively to his drum kit throughout the album while Frank riffs hard andfast, shredding like a demon. Initially on “Moon II” and “7 Stars” this is a real rush, but like most things that giveyou a quick high the more you get, the more diminishing the returns. As a result the likes of “Father Buries Son”comes off undistinguished. What works better is when they change pace, such as on the brooding “Heal Me” andwhen the band grooves a little more as on the metal rock and roll raunch of “Hero” and “Bastard Legions”. Fansof the aforementioned bands will greet this CD with enthusiasm. It’s fast and furious and if not all the songsstay in your head after a few spins then the heavy poundage of the musicianship will ensure the ringing inyour ears will. (Duncan Jamieson) 84

WEDNESDAY 13 - “F**k It, We’ll Do It Live” (DVE)Let me apologise upfront for any profanity that slips into this review. It’s not my fault. Blame Wednesday 13, thelead singer and guitarist of these American self styled horror punks. Amongst the 19 short sharp bursts of trashy,thrashy schlock emo , on this great DVD and CD twinpack, Wednesday litters songs and between song banter withmore “F**ks” than a sex addicts’ group therapy session. Lyrically, tongues are firmly in their cheeks and the livevibe is wholly infectious especially on the stonking “I Want You…Dead”, the rough and ready Alice Cooper andearly Kiss sounding “Not Another Teenage Anthem”, crowd pleasing “Skeletons” and “Rambo”(the old DragQueen song) which is the sleaze rock equivalent of YMCA. Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream” gets a radicalmakeover emphasising the tunes signature riff to good effect. Closing track “I Love To Say F**k” is a bonafideteenage classic. Indeed, throughout, the music is much like adolescence itself; noisy, dumb, sometimesaggressive but loads of f**king fun. (Duncan Jamieson) 87

VOODOO CIRCLE - “Voodoo Circle” (AFM Records)Voodoo Circle is the brainchild of Silent Force and ex Sinner guitar wiz Alex Beyrodt and what an album to kick startthe New Year. As Beyrodt brings his unequalled guitar wizardry to what is a fantastic Hard Rock album, but Beyrodt hasgone one step further than most with this new album as he brings in a host of talent to support his own with the vocalprowess of Dave Readman of PC69, the bass pummelling of Mat Sinner the tub thumping Mel Gaynor and the key-boards of Jimmy Krestic as well as guest appearances by Doogie White, Rudi Sarzo, Nofifumu Shima and RichardAndersson. And with such a list you’d expect something special and believe me when I say that’s what you get. This isa monstrous release that brings out some of Readman’s finest hard rock vocals to date as he shows both power and gracethroughout the album and with Beyrodt at his usual majestic best the pair seem to hit all the right buttons.

(Barry McMinn) 93

LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM - “Dreamcatcher” (Escape Music)Album number six from the band and they have again produced some fine melodic hard rock tunes, however liketheir past albums there are a couple of filler songs which stop the album getting top marks. 'Me & You' has a riffvery similar to the Stones 'I Can't get No Satisfaction' and is not a memorable song. But that said they have addedto their fine set of tunes with the truly immense 'Who Needs Love?' which keeps building and building after eachchorus. Some very tasty keyboard flourishes on this song as well from vocalist Mikael Erlandsson (in fact the keysare used well throughout the album). You can't go wrong with this band (well, apart from the lacklustre secondalbum) who keep producing high quality and very listenable melodic Hard Rock music. For those disappointedwith TNT's latest album or waiting for the new Gotthard album, this will make up for it.

(Jason Ritchie) 90

DORO - “Fear No Evil” (AFM Records)For twenty-five years Doro has been proving Metal is not just for boys. According to the atypical closing song “25”it’s been full of “Blood, rock and tears”. Seemingly untouched by changing trends this record has loads of oldschool charm. “Night of the Warlock” kicks proceedings off, showing that the petite German has still got the tunes,and is still being bothered by those troublesome warlocks. “Running From the Devil”, like much of the record, istailored for the live circuit with drums that demand hand claps and a whoa, whoa chorus that crowds sing so well.This is also true of standout track “Celebrate” where Doro invites us all to join her Metal army. It’s a song that Billand Ted would have adored. “Walking With Angels”, a good song, is the most contemporary song on offer with theGoth feel that has pushed hoards of female fronted bands to the forefront of Metal in recent years. So, aftertwenty five years, you can still wear your denim jacket with the Doro patch on it (if you can still squeezeinto it) with pride... (Duncan Jamieson) 91

TWISTED SISTER - “Live At The Astoria” (Global Music)When it comes to band that dominated a generation then Twisted Sister come to mind when you think about bandsof the eighties. The band set a video precedence that saw repeated showing of their iconic videos on MTV and theirlive shows were not to be missed with the larger than life frontman Dee Snider leading his band of merry men.With the band resurgence in recent years including new releases and continued touring, the band are living out theirown song ‘You Cant Stop Rock n Roll’ as the band continue to rock the masses. And on this live DVD/CD the bandstill show that they are ready and willing to rock till they drop in the name of ‘MOTHER F**KING ROCK NROLL’, with classics tracks like ‘Under The Blade’, ‘Burn In Hell’, ‘You Cant Stop Rock n Roll’ and ‘I WannaRock’ still standing the test of time, mixed with the bands more recent material this is the band at their finest andmost raw. This is a must buy release for fans of the band and is a good introduction to those who have beenvisiting another planet over the past twenty or so years and haven’t heard of the band and are lovers of goodold fashioned high octane rock with a capital ARGGH. (Barry McMinn) 92

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14 Melodic Rock Fanzine

FALLEN SILVER - “Blood In Blue Eyes” (Heart Of Steel Records)From “Down Under” here they come, five hard and dirty rockers named FALLEN SILVER. “Blood In Blue Eyes”is their debut-album and it’s exactly what you expect to listen from a band like this. Classic Hard-Rock full of kick-arse riffs, a fat rhythm section and some dirty still very melodic vocals, not too far from the “classics” Ac/Dc, RoseTattoo and Black Crowes, with the energy of their country-mates Airbourne, and some ‘80s Street Rock influences(Junkyard/Bang Tango/ L.A.Guns) thrown into for good measure. Opening track “East L.A.” is an hell of a kick-ass song, and the following “Loaded Gun” could have been easily taken off an album like “Thunderstuck” (Ac/Dcrules!). At this point another band comes to my mind: Johnny Crash /(d’you remember the great band fronted by exTokyo Blade Vicki James Wright?). Nice boys don’t play Rock’nRoll. Right. So if what you want is blood,sweat, cigarettes and alcohol, you can’t find any better than this! (Rob “Ezy” Bone)

BILL CHAMPLIN - “No Place Left To Fall” (Zink Records)Ask any true WestCoast collector about their top 10 albums or artists in general, and BILL CHAMPLIN will be on thelist. It's not strange at all. This legendary musician has been hired for sessions as a keyboard player, lead vocalist, back-ground vocalist and arranger, yes even guitar player for decades by top artists and bands all over the world. So here weare with his first solo album in 13 years. Personally I think it is a true shame we had to wait this long, but on the otherhand: better this album than no more releases at all. Following up the great "He started to sing" CD from 1995, this newCD takes Bill to a more straight-down-to-Earth sound and more rootsy production. This may take some time to get usedto if you are more of the modern CHICAGO fan, rather than a fan of for example THE SONS OF CHAMPLIN. Butyou need not worry. As always BILL CHAMPLIN delivers catchy melodies, groove, awesome lead and harmony vocalsand - maybe most important of all: real instruments all the way. This really feels genuine, which is somethingyou can't say about many releases these days... (Ola Gränshagen - 83

IVORY - “Time For Revenge” (Heart Of Steel Records)“Time For Revenge” is the debut-album for this five-piece coming from Italy. The band, active since quite a lot ofyears (1996!) in the italian Metal scene, sounds fresh and very mature with a shining songwriting and cleverarrangements, that might recall bands like Symphony X and Ring Of Fire, but also Toto and Sonata Arctica! In fact,their style is not the typical italian Power Metal; their sound is quite unique, combining powerful riffs and double-bass songs structures with catchy vocal harmonies (in the Melodic Rock area) and some Progressive parts. Thesinger’s voice is high, melodic and crystal clear, the guitar parts are influenced by the masters of the genre (YngwieMalmsteen and Richie Blackmore above all) and the rhythm section is tight and powerful. Taking such a lot of timebefore releasing the debut album is not a bad thing when you realize how much experience, thru the years,this bunch of musicians gained… thumbs up! (Rob “Ezy” Bone) 86

ELEKTRADRIVE - “Living 4” (Valery Records)After about ten years absence from the musical scenes, Italian classic Hard Rock masters Elektradrive mark theircome back with the fourth studio release “Living 4”. Let’s point it out by now: please do yourself a favor and don’tget lost the opportunity to listen to this masterpiece. This is music composed with intelligence and, listening toevery track, you won’t find any predictable moment in it. Today we use to listen to so many artists using the samegood ideas and repeating them release after release, song after song: well, believe me when I say this Elektradrive’s“Living 4” is a real gust of fresh original ideas for the Hard Rock scene. Every note, every arrangement, everymoment, every melody and instrumental passage sounds so original, new and unexpected. So many influencesfused into the band’s already well affirmed musical personality can be discovered, starting from King’s X, Yes,Asia, Jethro Tull, Van Halen, Queensryche. A real kaleidoscope of musical moments, melodies and particularatmospheres combined in an unique original personality. I’m really so proud an Italian band has produced arelease such as this one! (Fulvio Bordi) 92

VENGEANCE - “Soul Collector” (Metal Heaven)Legendary Dutch Hard-Rock band VENGEANCE returns with their 2nd 'comeback' album after the much praisedprevious return CD “Back in the ring” from 2006. “Soul collector” is the name of the record and boy does this soundhuge and pure Hardrock the way it should sound, of which even AC/DC could be jealous of I think. VENGEANCEis making here another pure VENGEANCE record, with uptempo and midtempo pure HardRock pieces and ofcourse the wonderful melodic Rock-ballads "What the hell" and "Lean on me". Maybe nothing new is brought here,but it is nevertheless a real true traditional Hard Rock album that sits nicely between EDGUY, AC/DC, KROKUSand Y&T, with superb guitar-work of son and father Somers. A “must-have”, of course, for the VENGEANCEfans! (Gabor Kleinbloesem - Strutter Zine) 87


BURNER - “Resurrection” (Heart Of Steel Records)“Resurrection” represents the debut-album for Burner. A new band, right? Completely wrong!!! As a matter of fact,the trio from Leicestershire, England, is active since the early '80's, but – what a strange thing! – they never releasedanything (except for two fantastic 7" singles for Zerlinda Records, in 2002 and in 2007), neither they appeared onany of these New Wave Of British Heavy Metal compilations very popular back then. So, now here it comes“Resurrection”, an album recorded between 2006 and 2008 but containing songs written in a time-period spanningfrom 1984 to 2007, that hopefully will give some justice to Burner. The influences of the band are clear: tradition-al ‘80s NWOBHM bands like Blitzkrieg, Diamond Head, early Iron Maiden and early Def Leppard. Following thevinyl-release of High Roller Records, the CD release from Heart Of Steel Records adds 5 bonus-tracks taken fromthe above-mentioned singles, and a full colour 16 pages booklet with a large bunch of pics, liner notes, allthe lyrics and more. Taste the history! (Rob “Ezy” Bone) 88

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Hello! “Mirror Of Souls” comes 5 yearsafter your previous album; why did ittake so long to get back on the scene?Matt Smith: It’s been five years, but it’sbeen a busy five years! Finding other bandmembers and starting to play shows wastime-consuming. Also, the songwriting cansometimes take me awhile, because I wantto make sure every part of every song isstrong and that the arrangements flow nice-ly. I also spent a lot of time learning, prac-ticing and working on audio engineering(both for Theocracy and for other localbands), because I wanted this album tosound great, since the production on thefirst album could have been better. We actu-ally built a small studio during this periodas well. Also, we all work full-time jobs inaddition to Theocracy, so the actual record-ing took quite a long time both because ofscheduling and because of the nature of ourmusic. Finally, we had another labelexpress interest and then string us along formonths before we decided tell them wecouldn’t wait any longer and sign withUlterium, so that was a lot of wasted time.I actually wrote most of the third albumduring this time period as well, so hopeful-ly we’ll be making up the time we lost byreleasing that one not too long after “Mirrorof Souls”.How did you deal with the songwriting of“Mirror Of Souls”? Was it more a solo-effort or some kind of a teamwork?MS: It was mostly just me, although theband did help with arrangement ideas. Jonand Shawn each have a writing credit,though; Shawn helped with the middle sec-tion on “The Writing in the Sand,” and Jonwrote the solo section in “Absolution Day”.He couldn’t come up with a solo he likedover the solo section that I had there, so he

wrote a new section that was better thanwhat I had come up with, and a great soloover it.You're not scared of writing extra-longsongs; how do you deal with these? Howdifficult is making a 10 minutes (or 22minutes) song appealing?MS: I don’t find it any harder than shortsongs necessarily, though every song is dif-ferent. The trick is to write a long song thatdoesn’t seem like a long song, and thattakes a lot of work! You have to make italways feel like it’s moving, and not makeit too repetitive, but at the same time, youhave to make it feel like one song and not abunch of disjointed parts. Like, if you listento “Mirror of Souls” and follow along withthe story, it doesn’t feel like a 23-minutesong.How did you musical influences andapproach evolve during these 5 years?MS: Well, I got big into Neal Morse as asongwriter, though you probably won’thear that too much directly in the music asmuch as in arrangement ideas and such.Other than that, just always trying to getbetter as a songwriter and trying to come upwith better melodies that get stuck in yourhead.Your lyrics spread a strong Christianmessage; what do you mean to reachthrough your words? Do you think peo-ple really care of what Metal bands singabout?MS: Good question. I think some peoplecare, and some people don’t. Some peoplesay they’re only interested in the music andjust consider the voice to be another instru-ment, while some people key in on thewords. I’ve found that some people tend tonot care at all what a band sings aboutunless there’s a Christian or religious influ-

ence to the lyrics, and then it’s suddenly ahuge deal…that’s pretty funny sometimes.But I think you can’t try to preach at peoplethrough lyrics, because people will alwaystake that to mean that you think you’re some-how better than they are. So all you can real-ly do is be honest and write about whatyou’re feeling from your own perspective,and that’s what I try to do.An epic and bombastic feeling comes oftenthroughout your music. How doyou manage to create it?MS: I think it mostly has to do with themelodies; I try to write melodies that give megoosebumps and get stuck in my head. Also,the way it’s arranged certainly helps, with thebig choirs and kind of epic orchestration. I’mglad you get that feeling!

(Courtesy of Metal Maniac magazine)

“Mirror Of Souls”the new album by


Theocracy i s a Metal bandTheocracy i s a Metal bandfrfr om om Athens, GA, USA, whoseAthens, GA, USA, whosem e l o d i c s t y l e h a s m o rm e l o d i c s t y l e h a s m o r e i ne i ncommon with theircommon with their EurEur opeanopeanc o n t e m p o r a r i e s t h a n w i t hc o n t e m p o r a r i e s t h a n w i t hmost of theirmost of their U.S. counterU.S. counter --parpar ts . Characterized by hugets . Characterized by hugechoruses , epic arrangementschoruses , epic arrangementsa n d p ra n d p r o g ro g r e s s i v e e l e m e n t s ,e s s i v e e l e m e n t s ,T h e o c r a c y ’T h e o c r a c y ’ s m u s i c i s b o t hs m u s i c i s b o t himmediate and deep. immediate and deep. AfterAfter aagood debut , the band f inal lygood debut , the band f inal lyunvei ls the comeback album,unvei ls the comeback album,“Mirr“Mirr oror of Souls” , featuringof Souls” , featuringan high-qual i ty songwrit ing!an high-qual i ty songwrit ing!

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A f t e rA f t e r m o rm o r e t h a ne t h a nt e n y e a r s f rt e n y e a r s f r o mo mt h e i rt h e i r p rp r e v i o u se v i o u ss u c c e s s f u l a l b u m ,s u c c e s s f u l a l b u m ,“ B i g C i t y ” , i t a l i a n“ B i g C i t y ” , i t a l i a nc l a s s i c H a r d R o c kc l a s s i c H a r d R o c km a s t e r sm a s t e r sE l e k t r a d r i v eE l e k t r a d r i v em a r k t h e i rm a r k t h e i r c o m ec o m eb a c k w i t h t h eb a c k w i t h t h ef o u rf o u r t h s t u d i ot h s t u d i orr e l e a s e “ L i v i n ge l e a s e “ L i v i n g4 ” , a p e r f e c t4 ” , a p e r f e c te x a m p l e o fe x a m p l e o fM e l o d i c H a r dM e l o d i c H a r dR o c k i n 2 0 0 9 ,R o c k i n 2 0 0 9 ,i n f l u e n c e d b y t h ei n f l u e n c e d b y t h eb i g n a m e s o f t h eb i g n a m e s o f t h ep a s t . . .p a s t . . .

Hello guys! Here we are with a newElektradrive release after about ten years.“Living 4” is an amazing realization display-ing a band in perfect shape and with a stillmore enriched and mature sound than thepast. What did you do during the last decadeand when did you decide it was the right timeto bring back to life the band?Elio Maugeri: First of all I would like to thankyou very much for the appreciation. All of ushave been engaged with professional businessand personal vicissitudes but, still, I kept onwriting original music for a solo album whileSimone and Alex were writing some stuff for anew Elektradrive project after I decided to leavethe band. Stefano hang up his bass on the walland carried on with his sports interests and tak-ing care of his family. Four years ago, me andSimone decided, spontaneously, to play againtogether so we started to write some new songs.I remember that the first song that we wrote wasthe title track “Living 4”. At that point, weunderstood that we still had something to say.In your opinion, how do we have to consider-ate this new release? As a new starting pointfor the band, or a simple new natural stepfrom where you left years ago?Simone Falovo: We seriously don’t know if theband would have been able to make an albumlike “Living 4” without such a long break. Butone thing is for sure: anyone of us knew perfect-ly how a new Elektradrive album had to soundlike, and we are very satisfied of the overallresult. We liked the songs since their very firstdemo versions, starting from the title track“Living 4”, which is very significant to us, andafter this one, all the other songs came one afterthe other passing through “Pain” and “Feed theground” that Elio wrote originally for a soloalbum. We really think that “Living 4” is simplya new natural step for us. Now we feel more

mature (not only because of our age) and thinkthat the entire sound of the album reflects thepresent state of the band... After so many times I’ve been listening to“Living 4”, I can say the album doesn’tabsolutely present weak or predictablemoments. The best words to describe it arefresh and original. The band has kept itsown particular original sound, but this timeenriched with new variegated influencesstarting from Seventies Progressive Rock,from Pink Floyd to King’s X and a morepeculiar bluesy approach. What’s youropinion about? SF: Wow! This is one of the smartest ques-tions we could expect! First of all we aredevourers of many different genres of music.Of course we are influenced by the big namesof Rock such as The Beatles, The Who, PinkFloyd, Hendrix, The Police, Todd Rundgren,Edgar Winter, Tubes, Stevie Wonder, SteelyDan, but also by some Soul artists. Since youmentioned them, to us King’s X are absolute-ly the most original and talented Hard-Rockband of the last 20 years! We are very open-minded listeners and perhaps great part of ourinfluence comes from what we usually listento. At the same time, we believe that Blues isan essential ingredient in our sound, especial-ly for Elio's singing style: in this album youcould hear it much more than in our pastworks. Anyway, we believe that the mostimportant thing when you actually do createmusic is the song itself and when somebodyfeels that our songs are fresh or original, it'sthe best thing they can say about us!Do all the compositions come from thesame writing session or period or do theybelong to different moments along these tenyears?EM: Except for “Pain”, “Feed the ground”

and some other songs, originally written formy solo album, everything else belongs to thesame compositive period. We’ve been writ-ing all songs over the last four years, becausewe wanted to give the same groove to everysingle track, paying particular to the songwriting. We think we achieved what we werelooking for: we wanted to present a commonconcept with the album, also for the lyrics,we've been working a lot with Simone inorder to give the right words to every trackand each word had to fit with the sonic moodof the song too.

(by Fulvio Bordi)

“Living 4”the new album by Elektradrive:

review page 14

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BALANCE is the historBALANCE is the history of MELODIC ROCK. Formed in the early 80’y of MELODIC ROCK. Formed in the early 80’s by Bob Kulick (Kiss,s by Bob Kulick (Kiss,Alice CooperAlice Cooper, Meat Loaf) with Peppy Castr, Meat Loaf) with Peppy Castro and Doug Katsaro and Doug Katsaros (Kiss, Rod Stewaros (Kiss, Rod Stewart, Chert, Cher, Bon, BonJovi, etc), they have rJovi, etc), they have released 2 gems of Melodic Rock. Now the threleased 2 gems of Melodic Rock. Now the three got once again togetheree got once again together, and, andthe rthe resulting album “Equilibrium” is truly a labouresulting album “Equilibrium” is truly a labour of love, a true Melodic Rock masterpiece! of love, a true Melodic Rock masterpiece!

Hello Doug! So, what made you gettogether for a new Balance album?Doug Katsaros: Frontiers contacted uswith an offer after Bobby had spent yearsfanning the flames of our musicalembers.How hard was it getting all the guystogether long enough to put an newalbum together?DK: We never actually all got together!Bobby and I recorded in LA, Peppy and Irecorded in New York. It took a bit longerthat way than if we had all been in thesame room, but the final product remainsthe focus of the three of us.Although all the band members haveremained active since your last album,how hard was it to put together analbum that was still Balance while stillsounding new and now?DK: We are all constantly new and now!But the songwriting and production val-ues that helped to define Balance remainours. So Synth and guitar sounds weresimple to replicate, and of course Peppy’svocals are unique, and the sound thatPeppy and I have together as backgroundvocalists is part of our signature as well.Bobby oversaw the production, so really,recreating the original sound was abreeze and a pleasure.How did the songwriting for the albumcome about? Did you start fromscratch or did each member bringsomething they had be working on fora while?DK: Many of the tunes were actuallywritten for Balance back in the day, butnever found their way into a studio.

Frontiers specifically asked for the songs tosound like the “old” Balance, so picking theoriginal songs was a no brainer. Peppy hadsome newer material, and between Bobbyand me, we performed them in the style offirst two records, and what came out wasthis record.Are you hoping to take the band on theroad, or is it just a studio project at thismoment in time?DK: A tour has not been discussed – I per-sonally am just happy just to be playingsome really fun music with such awesometalents. Let’s see what the futuredemands…When the band got together for the firsttime did it click instantly or was it gentlydoes it at first?DK: The very first time? Peppy made thecall asking us to meet him to learn sometunes in a rehearsal space. We found thatour individual talents were complimentaryright off, and surely the name Balancederived from those early days of finding theright blend between Bobby’s and my styles.How long did the album take to puttogether from start to finish?DK: About 2 years from the first introduc-tory letter to the release this February.Actual studio time was much less...some-times life has a way of getting tangled up inprojects, but eventually all worked out forthis record.When you got together did you thinkwhy haven’t we done this earlier are wasit just the right time for you?DK: The end of Balance was a very diffi-cult time for all of us. We went very sepa-rate directions, and only this offer brought

us together again, so there was no “whyhaven’t we done this before” – we are allvery successful in other musical ventures,so Balance became simply a generous partof who we all are. And certainly in thescope of time, any later and this would NOThave been the right time for us, so, yes, thisis a great time to have done this.Where do you see Balance going fromthis point on?DK: Let’s see where the fans lead us. Asindividuals, I am certain we will continue tomake our musical mark. As a group. It’salways difficult to tell the future. I am justgrateful for the chance to have done this atall, and for the fans that have kept us alive...I love you all!

(by Barry McMinn)

“Equilibrium”the new album by Balance:

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Page 18: Melodic Rock Fanzine issue 30
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TTALLALL STSTORIES was oneORIES was oneof the last grof the last great bands ofeat bands ofthe MELODIC ROCKthe MELODIC ROCKwave coming out in 1991wave coming out in 1991with a stunning debutwith a stunning debutalbum on Epic Records. -album on Epic Records. -“Skyscraper” is the come“Skyscraper” is the come--back album and ofback album and offers afers awide variety of style andwide variety of style andconsistent songwriting allconsistent songwriting allthe way thrthe way through. ough. AA grgreateatrrelease which encompasselease which encompass--es all the gres all the great Rock musiceat Rock musicon the past 20 years!on the past 20 years!

Hello Steve! “Skyscraper” marks inthe best way possible the Tall Stories’come back. Please, would you presentthis brand new release and the storybehind it? How did the band decide tomake a reunion and come back tomake music together? Steve Augeri: When Tall Stories partedways, I think it was just after a string ofshows we had done in Paris. Almost sev-enteen years to the day. I knew a fineband with a rich history and a strong col-lection of songs was being silenced pre-maturely. Even back then I knew, some-day, somehow this music must.. no, willsee the light of day and live again. Sowhen the time had come, after my timewith Journey, it seemed like the perfectopportunity to return to the place it allbegan. To the very band Neal Schon andJon Cain had heard and peaked theirinterests enough and hire me as their(Journeys) frontman in ’98.In your opinion, which are the stepsforward this new release features relat-ing to the band’s self titled debut?SA: The band’s progression from thedebut is somewhat a departure in that it isa great deal more diversified stylewise. Ibelieve it shows all of the bands true col-ors. The whole sectrum of the rainbow.Most of my favorite albums do. It is alsois closer, more personal side of the bandthat’s nice to share and reveal that other-wise would have never been realized.Same conviction, same passion as thefirst record. Just a natural growth spurt orevolution that any artist or artists need toexperience in order to remain relevant ora true artist.Is “Skyscraper” meant to be a newbeginning point for the band, or just away to give real justice to a very inter-esting band that broke up too early?SA: Well, initially the later of your ques-tion, but, after getting together with the“boys in the band”, “The Tall Boys”, andseeing how the end result of the record-

ings turned out, we felt we’d like tochance fate and see where it might takeus.I personally think this release is a realcrack! The band shows a real personalapproach to music fusing together in avery original way both seventies andeighties influences. How did the bandworked on songs?SA: Well, back during the sessions for“Skyscraper” we were in many ways atour peak as a unit. Well rehearsed, sever-al times a week, as well as writing ses-sions one a week, usually either at JackMorer’s tiny Greenwich Village apart-ment where we’d sit shoulder to shoulder.Or at our manager, Bud Pragers ESPoffices in mid-town Manhattan. Therewe’d share a room with no less thanForeigner. Can you imagion? It was onthere recording gear that we recorded themajority of “Skyscraper” (thanks yougentlemen!). I like to think we tapped intosome magic they had left lying around theday before. There were plenty of goodvibrations and energy in that place...Did you follow a particular standardfor songwriting?SA: Yes, I guess you can say we did. Andthat was “Anything Goes”. We trulybelieved there were no boundries when itcomes to great music. So we explored.Pop music had taken a drastic turn at thetime and it seemed there was a new fron-tier that had just opened up. So we feltunshackled and free to experiment and wedid. The bottom line was eventually thebetter songs would show themselves andthe lesser songs would be just as valuablebecause its through them that you usuallystumble upon the real gems. Persistenceand hard work always pays off.What’s the difference between beingthe singer of a great band such asJourney and part of a very talented actas Tall Stories? SA: Several zeros on your weekly pay-check! Ha, ha, ha! No, but seriously,

folks. It’s a hugh difference and thennone at all. A hugh difference in thatJourney was/is a household name andsinging their wonderful/timeless songsfor those many years, one stays withincertain perimeters. And you try to liveup to expectations, the hurdles, thechallenges that a master, Steve Perryhas left before you. A glorious experi-ence that can be likened to climbing Mt.Everest or swimming the Atlanticocean. One that I will cherish and nevertrade for a million years. Tall Stories onthe other hand is a diamond in therough, a champagne cork not yetpopped. A chance encounter that hasn'thappened, but, is just around the corner.As well as its more a form of selfexpression for me, certainly. Its nice tojust be yourself for a change. Yeah, its agood thing. They both are. A very goodthing. Ultimately, its just having theopportunity to sing that brings me mostjoy in life.

(by Fulvio Bordi)

“Skyscraper”the new album by Tall Stories:

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Page 20: Melodic Rock Fanzine issue 30
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PLACE PLACE VENDOME marked Michael Kiske (ex HELLOWEEN singer) rVENDOME marked Michael Kiske (ex HELLOWEEN singer) return to ROCK ineturn to ROCK in2005. 2005. WWith the help of PC 69 members Dennis ith the help of PC 69 members Dennis WWard, Kosta Zafiriou and Uwe Reitenauerard, Kosta Zafiriou and Uwe Reitenauer plusplusVVANDENPLAS ivorANDENPLAS ivory tinklery tinkler GutherGuther WWerno, he delivererno, he delivered the goods with the first eponimoused the goods with the first eponimousalbum ralbum released in 2005. eleased in 2005. The verThe very favorable acceptance of the first PLACE y favorable acceptance of the first PLACE VENDOME albumVENDOME albumplanted the seeds forplanted the seeds for a second ra second recording which was precording which was produced during 2008, a roduced during 2008, a record thatecord thatmarks Michael Kiske’marks Michael Kiske’s visual rs visual return on the scene aftereturn on the scene after years of a self-imposed exile...years of a self-imposed exile...

Hello Michael, and my best congrat-ulations for your brand new album,“Streets Of Fire”. I really love themelodies you’re singing on everysong of the album. Every melody iswell rounded and perfectly combinedwith the music, and all the songs looklike to be the result of a work to putmelody on the highest song’smoment. Do you agree?Michael Kiske: Yes, very good song-writing again; and well picked for myvoice too. This Album is also evenmore AOR for my ears.Your performance is so fullfelt andinspired, supported by perfectinstrumental performance from yourband mates! I really appreciate thecombination of soft, heaven key-boards arrangements with powerfulguitar and rhythm section. How didyou work on songs this time relating

to the 2005 band’s debut? Did youfollow the same composition andrecording standard?MK: Yes, it was pretty much the sameprocedure. Just that this time we hadvarious songwriters. Last time it wasmainly Dennis Ward, as far as I remem-ber.Many guests gave their contributionfor the songwriting sessions. TorstiSpoof (Leverage), RonnyMilianowicz (Saint Deamon andsongwriter for Primal Fear), RobertSall (Work Of Art), just to name afew. When and why did the banddecide to have external collabora-tions to build up the songs?MK: As much as I am informed,Serafino had to go this way this timebecause Dennis Ward was sort ofpacked with work and couldn't writesongs for it that much. I am also writing

for my own next Kiske-Album anddon't have any songs to share either.The band’s line-up has remainedthe same of the debut-release. Somepeople think the best way a bandhas to develop its own personality iskeeping the line-up the more stablepossible; other ones, instead, thinknew elements can bring new ideasand energy. You have had both dif-ferent situations with Helloweenbefore, and now the opposite withPlace Vendome. What’s your pointof view about?MK: Never change a wining team isa good and very true idea. Only ifthings don't work out artistically any-more, it's time for a change. But PlaceVendome was and is an easy birth.No fillers in the tracklist. I thinkchoosing just one song to representthe entire album would be impossi-

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ble: every song shines of its ownlight. In your opinion, what’s thebest way possible to keep thesame high quality in songwritingsessions? What would you sug-gest to newcomers musiciansabout?MK: It's easy in our situation whenwe only have to pick songs fromvarious songwriters. There aremany out there hoping to get theirsongs on albums. It's much moredifficult if you have a band-struc-tured in the way that you onlymake money when you write songsyourself and you need have themon the album. This sometimesforces a band to put weak songs ontheir records. That's why youshould always share the incomesomehow in a real band, so no oneis forced to write lame songs; if he(or her) is not so good with that,you know? Is “Streets Of Fire” the bestPlace Vendome’s musical peak,

or the band has still more potential-ities to develop its qualities? Inyour opinion, where this band canreally arrive?MK: I think there is even more possi-ble if everything falls together right.All it needs is good material. AndSerafino doesn't seem to have a prob-lem with good songwriters.Are you planning to take part toother musical projects at themoment? MK: At the moment the main thingfor me is the next Kiske-Album; it'sgot to be my best and different again.And I am also having another thing inmy mind that is to early to talk aboutyet.If you had the possibility to buildup on your own an ideal band towork with, besides Place Vendome,which musicians would you choosefor?MK: The band that I already haveright now. I honestly thing that I amhaving my perfect band already

“Streets Of Fire”the new album by Michael Kiske:

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around me for a number of yearsnow on my Kiske-Albums.Any tour dates planned for PlaceVendome at the moment?MK: Nope.

(by Fulvio Bordi)

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