melodic rock fanzine issue 32
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DESCRIPTIONThis new issue includes reviews and interviews of The Lou Gramm Band, Primal Fear, Praying Mantis, Invictus, Rob Rock, Outloud preview, Shortino, Saint Deamon, Pathosray, Jorn... and more!
CONTENTS04 Lou Gramm06 Primal Fear08 Praying Mantis09 Invictus10 Rob Rock11 OutLoud preview12 Reviews14 Shortino16 Saint Deamon19 Pathosray21 Jorn
Melodic Rock FanzineThe official Frontiers Records magazine
Year #5 - Nr. 3 / Issue #32Editor-in-chief: Elio BordiDesign: Elio BordiWriters: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Fulvio Bordi,Duncan Jamieson, Barry McMinn, VitaleNocerino.Headquarters and general contacts:Frontiers Records - Via Gonzaga 1880125, Napoli - ItalyTel: +39.081.2399340/7753Fax: +39.081.2399794E-mail: [email protected]: www.frontiers.itMyspace: www.myspace.com/frontiersrecordsEditor and publisher: Frontiers RecordsUS Headquarters: usa.frontiers.itCopyright©2009 Frontiers Records. All rightsreserved. Reproduction in whole or in part
without permission is prohibited.Printed in Italy.
Focus on: THE LOU GRAMM BAND - S/T (Front iers Records)One of most recognised vocalists in the history of rock is Lou Gramm, who’s rise to fame in the 80’swith Foreigner made them a worldwide phenomena. He even proved he could go it alone with his‘Ready Of Not’ album and then with his Shadow King project he proved he is more than a one bandman. Since 2004 Gramm has been touring and playing with brothers Ben and Richard, together withfellow musicians as Andy Knoll on keyboards and Don Mancuso as part of The Lou Gramm Band, cov-ering Gramm’s thirty years in the business and recalling some of his greatest hits. Now in 2009 theband have finally put together an album of original material simply entitled ‘The Lou Gramm Band’and with this new album the band have gone down the Christian Rock path, and it’s obvious that faithhas become a big part of Gramm’s life and this album reflects that. The album host’s a bounty ofgreat melodic songs from the opener ‘Baptized By Fire’, to the seminal ballads ‘Willing To Forgive’ and‘That’s The Way Planned It’, standing back to back with the rockier moments like ‘So Great’ and ‘MadeTo Be Broken’. All with the smoother that silk vocal of Gramm, which hasn’t lost any of that qualitythat we loved in his early days and which will make this album a hit no matter what your beliefs, onething’s for sure this is a great album. Barry McMinn (90/100)
Band: The Lou Gramm Band
Album: The Lou Gramm Band
Interview with: Lou Gramm
Interviewed by: Barry McMinn
4 | MRF
Question: Firstly congratula-tion on a wonderful newalbum!This is another chapter in theLou Gramm story, how does itfeel to be working with yourbrothers at this new stage inyour musical career?A: Very good, we have alwaysshared much of the same musicalupbringing, but life took us downvery different paths. Finally wecan share in this together.Q: You’ve been around for awhile now, but what keepsyou motivated and focused?A: I still feel that I have some-thing relevant to say musically,however this CD is received, willtell me if my fans agree.Q: The Lou Gramm band” con-sists of you and your broth-ers Ben and Richard, togetherwith your long time friendsDon Mancuso and Andy Knoll.However, we know that BruceTurgon, Rocket Richotte,Kevin Neal and Gary Corbettformed the original line up.So, why did you decided tosplit up with those musiciansand how the current line uphas been assembled? Why“Lou Gramm Band” insteadof, for example, “The GrammBrothers Band”?A: I did tour in 2003 with Bruceand a different line up, but thatline up was assembled by Bruceand never felt as though it wouldbe a long-term thing. Both of myparents passed away in 2003 andbefore my Dad died, my brothersand I told him that we weregoing to finally play together.It’s a promise that we’re glad wemade.Q: When working with yourbrothers on this album wasthere any sibling rivalry onthe way or are you all pastthat?A: I don’t know if you have anybrothers or sisters, if you do,you know that you’re never com-pletely past that rivalry, but atthis point; we were able to usethe difference in our opinions toimprove the final outcome of theCD.Q: Who wrote the songs forthe album? Was it a bandeffort or more an individualeffort by yourself?A: The writing was very much ateam effort, the ideas for themusic usually originated fromDon or Andy, lyrics and melodiescame from me, Richard suppliedmusical bridges and arrange-ments to complete the songs andBen was able to take in thewhole picture and give the CD
continuity.Q: The band have beentogether since 2004, why solong before releasing analbum under the Lou GrammBand moniker?A: This is a working band, play-ing 50 to 60 shows a year. Usingthe time we had available, thisCD took about 3 years to com-plete. We probably could haverushed and gotten it done soon-er, but I don’t think that wewould have been as happy withthe outcome. Q: Your name is synonymouswith the 80’s era, how hasthe business changed in youreyes?A: The 80’s was an era ofexcess; these are much leanertimes for artists and record com-panies. Many of the challengesare the same, but the solutionsrequire new thinking.Q: There are quite a few reli-gious referenced on thealbum, how important is yourfaith to you?A: My Faith is with me everyhour of every day, before takingany action or making any deci-sion, I look to the Lord.Q: If you could go back intime and give yourself onepiece of advice would it be?A: You can’t always count on thepeople around you to have yourbest interests at heart, chosewisely when picking your part-ners and keep your eyes open atall times.Q: The album itself with yourvocals rolls back the years,have you had to do any vocalexercises to keep your voiceat it peak over the 30 years?A: A: Nothing is stronger thanyour actions, when it comes todemonstrating your faith. I tryto be a good father, brother, andfriend and seek the Lords guid-ance along the way.I’ve been lucky not to suffermany of the problems that haveplagued vocalists in loud rockbands.I try to warm up properly beforeevery show and avoid pushingbeyond my limits. So far, it’sworked.Q; Did you have a particularvision for the band when youwere putting it together?A: It’s hard to tell at the begin-ning, how well a band will worktogether or how long it will last.These were and are my goals forthis band.Q: Ok, let’s go back in timefor a while. Many years ago,you were involved in theShadow King project. The
self-titled album issued in1991, is still considered oneof the greatest classics inAOR music.What are your memories ofthe time when you weresinging for Shadow King?A: Shadow King came at a timewhen there were many changesgoing on in my life and the livesof those around me. Althoughthe quality of our efforts wasstrong, the timing was not rightto allow us the success we couldhave achieved.Q. So, of all your works, withForeigner, solo and with oth-ers on various projects, whatdo you rate as your best andwhy? (one million dollarsquestion?)A: I’m very proud of both mysolo efforts, “Ready or Not” and“Long Hard Look” and withForeigner, one of my favorites isMr. Moonlight. I feel that theseare some of the best representa-tions of where I wanted to bemusically at that time.Q: Surely you’ve had toanswer 1.000.000 times tothis, but…are you still in con-tact with Mr. Mick Jones? Isthere the possibility to seeForeigner reunited in theoriginal line up somewhere inthe future?A: I haven’t talked to Mick inmany years, since 2002. I reallydo not see the possibility of anykind of a Foreigner reunion.Q: Apart from the US datesare there any plans to touroutside the US this year?A: Of course we are waiting tosee how well our CD will beaccepted, but we are hoping toplay anywhere that we have anappreciative audience.Q: Are you working on anyother projects that we shouldbe keeping an eye out forlater this year or early nextyear?A: In the past, I’ve beeninvolved with projects that allowme to pay tribute to the music ofthe Beatles, last years Sgt.Peppers tribute “It Was 40 YearsAgo Today” was a lot of fun. It’salways a possibility that I’ll takepart in something like that again. Q: Finally where does the LouGramm band go from here?A: This will be an interestingyear for LGB. Although much ofour plans will be riding on theacceptance of our CD, we willcontinue to travel and performas we have since January of2004.
MRF | 5
Band: Primal Fear
Album: 16.6 (Before The Devil...)
Interview with: Ralf Scheepers
Interviewed by: Bruce E. J. Atkinson
Focus on: Pr imal Fear - 16.6 (Before The Devi l . . . ) (Front iers Records)One of the biggest if not THE biggest Metal bands to come out of Germany are PrimalFear and with Mat Sinner and Ralf Scheepers at the helm, what else can you expect.The one thing that has kept the band at the top of the pile is their ability to push theboundaries of the Melodic Metal genre and again they’ve done just that with what I thinkis the bands biggest release to date. ‘16.6’ is a powerful album that takes you on apower-trip from the opener ‘Riding The Eagle’ and keeps you there right until the finalpulsating metal track ‘Scream’. Apart from the fantastic musicianship of this album thevocals of Scheepers just have to be heard to be believed, as his vocals soar away in amix of sheer power and grace, and for a metal vocalist this is quite a feat. Just checkout ‘Night After Night’ and the title track ‘16.6’and you’ll see what I mean. There is nodoubt this album will be among my top albums of the year.
Bruce E.J. Atkinson (95/100)6 | MRF
Question: Ever since “PrimalFear” hit the scene, you havebeen a great influence in theProgressive Metal world, andnow is no different… with newmembers and a relatively newcontract, are we witnessing anew chapter in the book of“Primal Fear”?Answer: Well, we’re very happy atthe moment. The song writing, therecodings, the mix and the littlethings around the production wereall very peaceful and everybody sowell prepared and focused – it was areal pleasure to work with theseguys on the album! Every albummarks a new chapter in the career ofa band. This one is one of our bestalbums, maybe our best so far! Theconcerts we did with this line upwere the best for Primal Fear inevery direction!Q: The group has also become a“staple” in music, and eachmember is also hugely knownand loved… how do you containall this creative energy andchannel it, without it over-whelming the group? A: Everybody has his position andhis freedom. All the guys in the bandcan show their special technique andtheir abilities in the studio and onstage. Especially the guitar section isa huge step forward for Primal Fearand is highly welcomed. A great sin-gle player could be a fantastic teamplayer, if he’s not jealous, greedyand has oversized ego. Mat is man tokeep all those characters togetherund the name of Primal Fear and sofar it’s perfect!Q: One of the hallmarks of“Primal Fear” is extensive tour-ing…are we to expect the samefor 2009?A: Festivals, Mexico, Chile, Brazil,Argentina, the US, Canada and anice European tour, then Japan andanother stint in the US & Canadaearly next year! Maybe the longesttour we’ve ever played! If there willbe somebody in Australia to bring usover, we will have played nearlyevery territory, where metal is alive!But we’re really honoured, that wecan the play in the entire world andfans & supporters everywhere. Can’twait to play the new songs on stage!Q: Now, to the new album…itsounds so fresh, obviously aresult of the ‘new blood’ in thegroup…walk us through themaking of “16.6”…A: We did a lot of things differentthis time. First we had a songwritingsession with Magnus, Henny & Matat Magnus studio. They wrote about20 songs and the material was agreat mix of the old Primal Fear vibewith Henny/Mat songs from theNuclear Fire time and on the other
side some great new stuff the guyswrote with Magnus. I added mymelodies and lyrics later. Then in therecording studio, we had a fantastictime. No discussions, just focused,creative and a very peaceful atmos-phere. Everybody was so well pre-pared, it was a pleasure to work withthese guys in the studio! Mat pro-duced, Dennis Ward engineered andAchim Koehler mixed the album atthe House Of Music studio nearStuttgart. Ted Jensen mastered thealbum in New York. If you have such great technicalexperienced players, you don’t needa wall of effects. You can bring it tothe max and this sounds fresh andexciting. You can really feel theenergy of the band now! Q: Again, in keeping with makingthis record, you have brought insome new musical elements,which add a whole new dimen-sion to the overall production…you must be very happy with theresult…A: We’re always searching for newelements and never want to recordthe same album again and again.We’re far too ambitioned and alwayson the search for surprises and inter-esting parts. The more diverse, thebetter – but it has to be still PrimalFear! The bigger the challenge, thebetter!Q: As the years wear on, “PrimalFear” goes from strength tostrength…has the original visionof the group changed, and whatis next for “Primal Fear”?A: After this long tour, we will havea lot of new influences and a lot ofnew visions to create the next mas-terpiece. I think this band has a lotof potential and we will prove, thatwe have a lot to say in the future!Q: how much was important theofficial enter of Magnus Karlssonfor this new album, after the col-laboration on "New Religion"?A: Magnus strated to write songsand to collaborate with Mat 3 yearsago and Mat always told us about theunbelieable talent of Magnus. Weknow that the time will come forStefan to leave the band. His job andfamily was too important for him andhe is a great guy. As we came to thispoint, Magnus was our first choiceand he was a huge Primal Fear fan.Magnus is not only a great guitarist,he is a great keyboarder and singertoo! We have new possibilities and anew, very creative & friendly chem-istry in the band. Henny & Magnus are a dream team.Everybody who could see a PrimalFear concert with the new line up,was thrilled about the new power ofthe band! Q: You are a top metal act, whileMagnus is a top songwriter. Was
it difficult to reach a balance?A: We did a lot of things differentwith this album. The basic songs forthe album were written at Magnusstudio in Sweden, where Mat, Henny& Magnus spend a weel on ideas,riffs and songs. This was the start ofthe 16.6 production.As Mat & Magnus wrote songs beforeand doing this for other artists too,we knew that both of them will workvery well and creative together. Wejust added the spice of Henny'smetal riffs and the three came upwith the most diverse and interest-ing set of songs we've written in thehistory of Primal Fear. This was a perfect bridge of the oldPrimal Fear days and the future ofthe band. We catch the vibe of all-time classics and added again somegreat new elements to Primal Fear'smusic.Q: Is there a meaning behind thetitle of the album "16.6"? Howdid you choose it?A: Of course there is a deeper mean-ing. The code will be decrypted soon,but this number will be prominent inPrimal Fear's image in the future tooand not only for one album! Just letyour readers write an e-mail [email protected] and one of thegirls will win meet & greet with theband on the next tour. How aboutthat?Q: You shot a videoclip for "SixTimes Dead". Where did youshoot it?A: We've shot the clip in the south ofGermany and as we were surround-ed by a lot of fire and flames, it wasfreezing cold! We choose the titletrack, because of the message, thegroove and we can already hear ourfans scream 16.6 - nice rocking clip!Q: Tell me about the song "Smith& Wesson". What was the inspi-ration for it?A: Female humanoids can drive menso crazy, that they try to think aboutstupid things. It's about a man whodecided to end his life with a jumpfrom a skyscraper, because he waschated and badmouthed by his girl.Wel on the way up, the entire storycomes to life again and he changedhis decision in rage :-)Q: If you watch to your pastPrimal Fear albums, which areyour favourite ones?A: Nuclear Fire, Seven Seals and ofcourse the most important 16.6.Q: This is the second album forFrontiers record. Were you satis-fied with the result of the previ-ous "New Religion"?A: Frontiers did a great job. In thetime of massive illigal downloading,they are really abitioned to sellrecords and Primal Fear is a loyalpartner with a lof of fiath in theFrontiers team!
MRF | 7
Question: Please, present us this brandnew “Sanctuary”.Answer: “Sanctuary" is the culmination of 4years of Blood, Sweat & Tears [and Drink].It has been hailed by those we know as ourfinest yet and we are very proud to presentand share our music with each and every-one of you.Q: What about the composition andrecording process? This is not thesame line up the band had for the last“The Journey Goes On”. Did thosechanges influence the way the bandhad to work on together?A: Having different musos on the album willdefinitely influence the sound of the endproduct but essentially the core of thematerial is the same. In this instance, wedecided to go to the US to complete thealbum with Producer Andy Reilly. Manyparts were already recorded by ourselvesback in London but the primary aim was tocapture the performances with live drums.Benjy Reid [drummer] gives the band areal groove whereas in earlier stuff every-thing sounded quite robotic. We also lur-rrrrve his long hair...Ha Ha. Andy Burgess[our new guitarist] we've known for eonsand brings in the perfect blend of riffs,songs ["Highway"- what a cracker!] and ofcourse Drink!Q: Did all the musicians cooperate incomplete harmony, or sometimes youhad to deal with different points ofview?A: The only things we fought over were theJaegermeister & Jack Daniels Ha Ha!Seriously speaking, we are a very demo-cratic unit and mature enough to deal with
all issues - we all want what is best forMantis so it is best to hear what everyonehas to say and take a majority decision onanything unresolved.... However, 3 newmembers were not about to start rocking aboat they had just boarded... Would Younow Guys??? ;-)Q: Is it exactly the result the band fixedinto its mind before starting the work-ing process? Or have many changesbeen done until the last note has beensounded?A: Not to the last note, melody or choice ofrhythm but again we had a pretty goodidea of where we were headed. Dealingwith a situation where we have 3 newmembers things were bound to be a littleradical. At the end of the day it still soundslike a Mantis Production which is what it's allabout. Q: The line-up features Mike Freelandon vocals. How did you get in touchwith him?A: We remember Mike from around1987/88 when he sang in a pub coversband and must say.... he sounded greatback then. It was only after Bruce Bislandjumped ship that he mentioned Mikesname. At the time he was singing with aband called "Dangerous Breed" but theyseemed to fizzle out so we gave him a cou-ple of the new tunes to learn then recordedhim. We saw the potential straight awayand the rest is History.Q: I think his voice well interplays withthe rest of the band in the performanc-es. Did he take part to the compositionprocess? Which are the most impor-tant benefits he gave the band?
A: Mike had a very big hand in the compo-sitions, in fact one of the tunes, "RestlessHeart" was a lyric he wrote for one of the"Dangerous Breed" songs. He also wrotelyrics and melodies on other tracks of thealbum which you will have to buy in orderto find out which... Ha! As a band we havealways tried to encourage our past singersto write but none have ever had the samecommitment as Mike. This is the reasonwhy now we feel that this line-up has abond - stronger than ever before.Q: Why a title such as “Sanctuary”? Isthere a particular message PrayingMantis wanted to communicate withthe entire album behind it?A: Yeah! We wanted to ruffle some "IronMaiden" feathers ;-) Actually Sanctuary isthe title track on the album and was writtenabout a number of incidents that occurredin Wales last year. Basically a large numberof kids in a certain area had forming thispact and decided to commit suicide for noreal reason other than escaping life!!! ...asort of Sanctuary through death !!Q: Praying Mantis is a band who hasbeen releasing albums along threedecades. Many things change around aband after all this time. What wouldyou suggest from your experience totoday’s newcomers in music?A: Just to stick with your belief in your par-ticular style of music [which of course iswhat you do best] and the rewards will fol-low.Q: Next band’s steps? A: F****** BIG ONE'S... To Infinity andBeyond! To tour and to give this album theexposure it deserves...
Band: Praying Mantus
Interview with: Tino Troy
Interviewed by: Fulvio Bordi
Focus on: PRAYING MANTIS - Sanctuary (Front iers Records)We left Praying Mantis back in 2003 with the release “The Journey Goes On”, a brilliant album fea-turing songs with great hooks and melodies, composed and performed with class. Six years of silencehave been passing and now the Troy Brothers’ band is back at last with the new “Sanctuary”, a releasepulling their musical quality still beyond what they did before. The line-up features now Benjy Reidon drums, talented axeman Andy Burgess and Mike Freeland on vocals, giving songs new energy andsap. Since the opener “In Time”, passing through “Tears In The Rain”, “Turn The Tide”, “Playing God”Praying Mantis show how they can create brilliant Hard & Heavy songs, powerful and extremelymelodic at the same time, enriching the whole work with a smart use of keyboards. A true lesson totoday’s newcomer bands in the scene. Everything shines perfect and even the sound comes out greatfrom the speakers: the album was recorded and mixed in the US (Atlanta) under the direction of AndyReily (Asia, FM, The Cult…) who produced and engineered the entire set of tracks. Don’t miss thisone! “Sanctuary” is music composed and played with the heart. Fulvio Bordi (94/100)
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Question: Santi, upon readingsome press, I was impressed byyour determination in regards tomaking a musical statement… astrong musical statement… isthat the background for theinteresting name “Eruption”?Answer: Thank you for that. WellEruption came from the fact that ourmusic reminds Van Halen to a lot ofpeople I guess. It happened thesame with Khalil at Escape Music.Everybody in the band loves VanHalen so along with Khalil we decid-ed to keep the name. It’s a goodname and tells you straightaway thatthis is a rock band… well at least Ihope so… We’re are just trying to behonest with ourselves and the peoplewho listen to our music. This is whatwe are. A kick ass rock band no bull-shit. Q: Let’s talk a little about yourexperiences in Australia, wherethe foundation of your music wasformed…A: I went to Australia because I waslooking for music. I was born in Italyand we get all the great rock bandsthere. But if you wanna play rock youhave to go to a country where peoplespeak English or at least write songsin English. I am from a city calledMessina in Sicily.Great city and a lot of good musi-cians there but I needed more. ThenI had the opportunity to move toAustralia so I did it. It was hardbecause I couldn’t speak muchEnglish so when I was trying to com-municate with people it was frustrat-ing at times, but it was also verygood cos’ I met a lot of great musi-cians. Darren was one of them. I hadnever worked with somebody whowas so good. I still remember the
first time we jammed together.When he started singing AC/DC thatwas it!Q: Moving to England seemed tobe a gamble, which indeed, paidoff… however you experiencedsome lean times, care to com-ment? A: When you move to another coun-try it’s always tough. I had my previ-ous experience so I wasn’t scared. Ithought though it would have beeneasier to find musicians who wantedto make it. I mean this is England, Ilive in London and you have no ideahow tough it was to find seriousmusicians. I realized that there are a lot of peo-ple that wanna just play for fun. I doplay for fun also but playing music ismy life so I hope I can make a livingout of it. So is Darren, Lee and Nick,the rest of the band. It took longtime but I can definitely say thateveryone in the band wants thesame thing. Q: Now, let’s talk about yourdebut…”All Screwed Up”, anoth-er interesting title…any meaningbehind the Title and song?A: We have a song that is called“Screwed Up”. I guess the guys atthe record label read our story andthey must have thought that all wasscrewed up! And to be honest we area little screwed up... I mean thisband is formed by one Italian, oneAustralian and two English... so weall think in a different way but welove music in the same way. Ibelieve this is what makes it work.Also, in my opinion the music busi-ness is a little screwed up as welltherefore I can say that this titlesums up a lot of things.Q: As we progress through the
album, you have a very strongline-up…has everyone con-tributed to the debut, or are youthe main songwriter/arranger?A: The songs were written mainly byme and Darren but we also let theother guys doing what they wantedin the songs. Everyone has their ownideas. Unless something sounds real-ly bad we never stop people fromdoing what they want. Even I andDarren, who also plays guitar, try notto play the same thing. Except for acouple of songs we try to play twodifferent riffs. I think it sounds muchbetter if you listen to a song with dif-ferent sounds and riffs than having 2guitars doing the same thing unlessyou want something heavier like wedid with “I wanna know”. Also,although we play rock music I like tohave a composition within. Forinstance take bands like Van Halenand Extreme. Eddie Van Halen andNuno Bettencourt have a lot of thingsgoing on in their riffs. I mean, it’sgreat to play chords and rhythm butman when you come up with a greatriff it’s just an awesome feeling. Q: Now that you have a goodrecording contract, are you plan-ning any touring? And where?A: We want to try to play anywherepossible. It’s very important for us toplay live cos’ that’s when we reallyshow what we are about. We are try-ing to find the right people andmaybe get a support tour with agood band. In the main time we aretrying to organize shows in Uk andalso Europe. The idea in to get on aVan and travel from city to city. Themusic market isn’t what it used to bebut if you play live a lot people willknow who you are. Anywhere we’veplayed we have always done well.
Album: All Screwed Up
Interview with: Santi Rigolizio
Interviewed by: Bruce E. J. Atkinson
Focus on: ERUPTION - A l l Screwed Up (Escape Music)Here we are with this new amazing act from the UK label Escape Music. Theband is a newcomer and is formed by Darren Grant (Lead Vocals, Guitars),Santi Rigolizio (Lead Guitars, backing Vocals) and David Pennisi (Drums),Doe Prijaono (Bass) and Glenn Williams (Bass) as guest musicians. Themusic Eruption plays is a classic hard rock that reming me bands likeAerosmith, Kiss, Deep Purple, Guns N’ Roses and of course Van Halen, theband that expired the name of the band. In general the album has all goodtracks and it is really amazing to listen to from the beginning to the end. Thealbum is produced by Martin Kronlund and the sound is really well balanced.Highligh of tha album are the opener Temple Of Love, I Wanna Know and thetitle track All Screwed Up. If you want to listen to a good album, buy AllScrewed Up! Vitale Nocerino (80/100)
MRF | 9
Question: May I ask you tointroduce yourself to our read-ers?A: Hello, this is AFM Records /JVC / Victor EntertainmentRecording Artist - Rob Rock. Ihave four solo albums releasedsince 2000 and a new live CD/DVDworldwide release coming out thismonth. It is titled Rob Rock – TheVoice of Melodic Metal – Live inAtlanta. I have also recentlyreleased albums with Impellitteri(Wicked Maiden) and Driver (Sonsof Thunder). I will be touring with both bandsthis summer as well as Rob Rock(Live in Atlanta) promotions andgigs this fall.Q: What was the reason foryou to leave Impellitteri a fewyears a go and further: what’sthe reason to go back for thelatest Album?A: The previous album I did withImpellitteri was “Crunch” in 1998.In 2000 I released my first soloalbum. Since then I've releasedfour more solo albums. Now, I'vereunited with Impellitteri for thenew “Wicked Maiden” album andtour. Chris and I decided to pur-sue different avenues in 1999after releasing 6 albums togetherin the 90's. In 2008 we've decidedto re-group and record a newalbum because the timing seemedright to do so. We've alwaysremained friends throughout theyears so it was easy to just cometogether again and make newmusic.Q: Furthermore the Live-
Album will be released thismonth. What was your person-al highlight on this tour? A: My personal highlight was tofinally get the live CD/DVD record-ed and mastered. It's been a longtime coming and I am gratefulthat finally in September of 2008we could make it happen. Fanshave been waiting a long time fora Rob Rock DVD release and it wasalso a personal goal of mine to getit done and documented. I wasglad I could do it not too far fromhome at the Progpower 9 Festivalin Georgia.Q: I can imagine your workbeing time-consuming… isthere any time left for privatelife at all?A: Not lately. I've been going non-stop since my Garden of Chaosalbum. I really look forward to abreak after the summer touring isover. It's time to re-connect withmy family and spend some qualitytime together.Q: Where do you find inspira-tion for your music?A: Life, news, the Bible and cur-rent events going on in the world.Mostly though, the music willdeliver a vibe that I feed off of tomake the melody and lyrics hap-pen.Q: How can one imagine anordinary day in your life?A: It's hard to have an ordinaryday, It seems like each day hasit's own emergency's or deadlinesto deal with. There's not enough time foreverything so I try hard to keep
the sanity by taking one step at atime. I start off slow with prayerand a coffee and then I get on thecomputer. From there, it'srehearsal or travel, or taking careof business with recording, bands,interviews, business, or the stu-dio. It gets heavy at times with somuch going on right now.Q: Did you ever wish to justquit everything?A: There are days when I justwant to scream and usually it'sover the small details that getbacked up along the way. But Imust remember that it is usuallyfeast or famine for me, and soon itwill slow down enough for me tocatch my breath.Q: In one of your Vocal tips of1999 you claim Coat Throattea to help soothe the throat.Did you really drink that tea?If yes, do you still drink it?And if yes, don’t you think itmight be addictive?A: Yes, I drink it still, but usuallyonly in the studio or when mythroat is sore or hoarse fromsinging too much. I don't drink it on a regular dailybasis. I don't think it's addictive, Ithink coffee is more addictive thantea for me.Q: What’s the most extraordi-nary question you’ve everbeen asked?A: The most common is: Is RobRock your real name? The answeris YES.The most extraordinary questionhas yet to be asked, I guess I'llknow it when I hear it!
Focus on: ROB ROCK - The Voice Of Melodic Metal L ive In At lanta (AFM Records)
Band: Rob RockAlbum: The Voice Of Melodic...Interview with: Rob RockInterviewed by: Barry McMinn
One of the most prolific vocalist over the past couple of years has to be Rob Rock,whose name has already appeared on a couple of albums this year and I’m surewill be on a few others before the year’s out. His own Rob Rock band played theProg Power US show last year and was the only band to actually record their liveset. The Prog Power show has always been a great addition to any bands portfolioand the live albums have always been sought after, this release is sure to be nodifferent.Rock puts together a great set for the show with tracks from his solo career fromthe debut ‘Rage Of Creation’, right up to his latest album ‘Garden Of Chaos’. With great Melodic Metal anthems like ‘Garden Of Chaos’ itself, the superb ‘RockThe Earth’ and the excellent ‘In The Night’ just to name a few all go to make thisan extremely attractive release. This is Rock at his finest and with this packagebeing released as a joint CD/DVD package, this is a must for all fans of the greatman and those who just love great Melodic Metal. Barry McMinn (90/100)10 | MRF
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Which question comes first? What makes Outloud dif-ferent and special from the other rock bands in thepast decade? Is the heart pumping groove in theirsongs? Is it Chandler Mogel's (Talon) passion filledvoice? Is it Tony Kash's musical artistry? Is it BobKatsionis's (Firewind) pure magic on the lead or MarkCross’s (Firewind, ex-Helloween, Kingdom Come,Metalium) groove heavy beats? Actually all of theabove in combination with Tommy Hansen's(Helloween, Pretty Maids, Jorn, TNT) heart and soulin the mix create a very special recepie to satisfy theappetite of all fans of true hard rock! By pressing theplay button of your stereo, Mr. Chandler Mogel wel-comes you to Outloud's world with an evil andpromiscuous laugh... that’s “What I Need”, a veryrhythmical and catchy song which is the best intro-duction of what you are about to experience on therest of this musical trip. This venture is followed bya piano hook, emotive vocals and touching lyrics allencompassing the classic melodic rock feel of"Tonite". Despite the fact that these guys seem toknow what hard rock is all about, both with“Lovesigh”, an acoustic ballad, and “This BrokenHeart”, the epic power ballad of the album, they dareto show another aspect of the band - a more sensi-tive, romantic and emotional side. Both songs men-tioned contain truly touching lyrics which are excel-lently performed with Chandler’s velvet voice,accompanied with soft and delicate guitar sounds.The breathtaking "Broken Sleep" comes next, repre-senting outstanding musicianship and a killer hook.The final track on the album is the power metal-liketitle track, "Out Loud", with its heavy double bassthat simply cries out to be played as loud as possi-ble! And last but not least to mention but first in mypreferences is one of the true diamonds of thisalbum, a song called “We Run” which is also the firstvideo clip of the band.
“We’ll Rock You To hell And Back Again”Reviewed by Chandler MogelOut on August the 28th 2009Question: Tony, tell us a bit about
Outloud - how did you get togeth-er?Tony: It all started back in the yearof 2004 when I was searching for aguitar teacher and found BobKatsionis (Firewind ex-Nightfall). So Istarted taking lessons from him andone day I brought some ideas on theguitar and worked them out with Bob. In the beginning, we didn't realizewhat we were messing around withuntil we laid down the first ideas, andsubsequently put a band together.First of all we knew that a good singerwas needed. It didn't take long andBob remembered someone he hadmet during the Firewind tour in theUS. His name was Chandler Mogel(Talon) and Bob sent him a song todo as a demo. When we listened tothe result afterward, we immediatelyflew him out to Athens to startrecording the album. When all was said and done, we werevery stunned from the final result andChandler joined the band as the leadsinger of Outloud! But we were stillmissing two members - a drummerand a bass player. Bob called hisband mate Mark Cross (ex Helloween,Metallium, Kindom Come), who hehad been playing with in Firewind forthe past four years and and I gavemy best friend and partner in otherprojects that we had done togetherfor the past years Jason Mercury theposition of the bass player.Q: Mark, where did you record?Mark: All basic tracks were recordedat Bob’s place and later on taken tothe Basement Studio in Athens,Greece where I do most of my stuff.We recorded the drums and guitars ina very short time I’d say but theresult speaks for itself! TommyHansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids,etc.) mixed and mastered and itcouldn’t be done in a better way! Weare very happy with the way thingsturned out!Q: Do you consider Outloud aproject or full band and what areyour plans ?Tony: Outloud is not a project but aband that’s here to stay. And what Imean with that is that the band willbe playing live and working on ournext album very soon to show every-one that the band is full of energyand really loves what it’s doing.Mark: It’s funny to say, but every-thing happened in a very sponta-
neous way and we’re very happy with theresult and to have signed with Frontiersand gained so fast such a positive feed-back. When the time is right we’ll bringOutloud on the road and combine showsto our free time !Q: Bob, Is your role and performancebased more on Keyboards or guitar?Bob: Well for this album it turned out tobe mostly guitar! There are keyboards insome of the songs, such as Tonite and WeRun, but mostly it's a guitar driven album.Q: Chandler, tell us a bit about thesongwriting on the album ?Chandler: Good question! All of the musicwas written first, by Tony and Bob. Icame in later, and Tony already had somelyric and melody ideas for alot of thesongs, and I expounded upon those, andwrote lyrics and melodies for the rest ofthe parts and a few more songs. Itworked out very nicely, things just
seemed to fall into place... As wementioned before, the styles areacross the board of hard rock -uptempos, ballads, heavy rock,melodic rock, etc. - but I mustmention my favorite song on therecord here, Broken Sleep, whichhas kind of a TNT vibe to it. Thelyrics are very personal to me andI'm looking forward to playing itlive. :)Q: People often say goodmusic and bands have gone,what is your perspective onthat ?Bob: There are alot of greatbands still out there and makinggreat music, sometimes it's a lit-tle harder to find them that's all!You have to search on the inter-net or whatever.......but goodmusic is alive and well, and willstay that way if I have anythingto do with it! :)Chandler: Well the music scenehere in America is decent, butEurope -- wow so much greatmusic still coming out from overthere! Scandanavia especially -great music is the way of life! Butthere has been a noticeabledecrease in good music in themainstream in general, in myopinion, since about 20 yearsago. Records and bands weremore organic, more creative -now hopefully we can start tobring some of that back, as thatwas our approach for this album.Q: Mark, do you consider yourmusic as modern or old schoolrock?Mark: All our influences go backthrough the past three decades,European and American; I’d evensay more the American influencecan be heard on this album.We all have different back-
grounds and combined those.When Tony and Bob started writ-ing the material it was meant tobe AOR. It’s funny, Bob and I arethe metal heads and probably gotpigeon-holed, but hey…. thisproves we can rock it other waystoo! It’s definitely modern in certainways because it was written andrecorded in the 2000’s. Rippin’guitars and solos, strong catchymelodic vocals, a powerful groovyrhythm section, lyrics for theheart and good compositions.
INVICTUS - Persecution (Escape Music)"The EP Sessions 2007-2008" marks the farewell toone of England's mostprominent bands since 1989when Thunder's debut albu"Backstreet Symphony" con-quered many fans. In theyear 2007 till 2008 Thunderreleased 3 EPs prior to theirstudio album "Bang" andalmost all of the recordingshave been combined on this
single CD compilation titled "The EP Sessions 2007-2008". The album is a nice mix of Rockers N' Balladswith a handful of live songs thrown in. The top rock-ers are Survivor, which is classic Thunder and ChainReaction driven by a splendid Luke Morley riff.Thunder has always mastered the ballads. I Believeis acoustic with emotional lyrics once again dealingwith love and the issue of breaking up. The outcomeof Morley's superb acoustic playing and Bowes'expressive voice is one again a bulls-eye ballad thatmakes even the strongest boys sappy.
Michael - Revelationz.net (80/100)
THUNDER - The EP Sessions 2007/2008 (Metal Heaven)
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REINXEED - Higher (CMSweden / Rivel)
SANCTION X - The Last Day (Metal Heaven)ILIUM - Ageless Decay (Escape Music)
Hailing from France Invictusreturn to the studio after aseven-year hiatus to pro-duce what is without a doubtthe bands finest album todate. A monstrous mix ofymphonic/Melodic Metal anda little old school Metal, thatwill ignite the metalheadsaround the world, as theynow have modern metal
band ready to take on the world. The album is asheer delight to listen to. A more polished affairthan their previous album ‘Black Heart’ and a moremature release altogether. This is apparent notonly in the musicianship of the band, but also theirsong writing. With such titanic metal anthems as‘Kill The Dogs’ and ‘See You Back’, mixed with thesublime metal ballads of ‘Agony Of War’ and ‘RosyRose’, this album has something for all and reallyshould put Invictus on the metal map for 2009.
Barry McMinn (82/100)
The whole Power / Symphonic/Progressive Metal genres have real-ly captured my attention over thepast five or so years. Every yearI’ve witnessed many new bandscome to light and push these gen-res higher up on the Rock evolu-tionary ladder. One new band tograb my attention are SwedesReinXeed, a band that is as melod-ic as they are powerful, which is atruly great combination in the
Power Metal world. The band are the vision of Tommy Johansson,who takes his inspiration from as far afield as Gary Moore,Stratovarious, Helloween and Angra. Quite a diverse selectionand this is reflected quite well on this new album. The toweringvocals of Johansson are matched well by some power fuelled gui-tars and a pummelling rhythm section. Noteworthy tracks haveto be ‘Magic Still Remain’, a real powerhouse slice of Power Metal,the grandiose ‘Higher’ and the thumping ‘Fantasia’, but don’t takemy word for it, if you’re into the likes of Power Quest and the likethen believe me, you’re going to love this album.
Barry McMinn (80/100)
A. Falcone’ STARGAZER - The Genesis Of The Prophecy (Heart Of Steel)Arthur Falcone has been acclaimed, inthe past, as “one of the best guitaristscoming out of Italy” by japanese, U.S.and german press. His previous expe-riences include bands like Halloween(btw, their Mini-Album, “L.A.D.Y.”, isone of the best Glam Rock recordever appeared in Europe), Devil’sClaws, Foxy Lady and Laroxx. “TheGenesis Of The Prophecy” is Falcone’second solo album, after the debut of1988, but it’s not the typical virtuosoalbum under the “shredding at thespeed of light” flag! This is definitelyan album that might appeal any Melodic Rock fan, as - off the 12songs appearing on this opus – only 3 (+ the intro) are instrumental.The other ones are first-class Melodic Rock tracks, with a special men-tion for the awesome “Nothing More For Me” (think Europe meetsWhitesnake) with top-singer Goran Edman taking care of all thevocal-lines, or the epic “Don’t Fade Away”, the Rainbow-inspired “AStranger In My Dream”, and the ballad “Sunset” (with ManuelStaropoli of Rhapsody Of Fire on flute). Above all, the talent of ArthurFalcone, clearly influenced by both, Ritchie Blackmore and YngwieMalmsteen. To say more, “The Genesis Of The Prophecy” is the albumthat Yngwie Malmsteen was not able to record since “Magnum Opus”!
Rob “Ezy” Bone (89/100)
It might be album number fourfor Australian Ilium but it’s notbusiness as usual. Mike Dieo, for-merly of Riot, and more recentlyMasterplan fills the mike spotvacated by Lord Tim. Dieo pos-sesses a commanding voice witha wide range and a worthyNWOBHM scream, befitting thistype of metal. With the majorityof tracks weighing in at aroundthe six minute mark there’s plen-ty of scope for lengthy solos, fineduelling guitars and tasty keyboard interplay such as on“Hibernal Thaw”. On the likes of “Tar Pit”, “Xerophyte” and“Fragmented Glory” there’s some real speed wizardy, backedby fine rapid fire drumming. They flirt with Eastern scales onthe Egyptian themed “Nubia Awakes”, complementing JasonHodges’ Supernatural lyrics. It’s all well mixed by TommyHansen of Helloween fame. Good power metal, but most of thehooks are reliant on the guitar or keyboard motifs and whileDieo has a strong voice, there aren’t many immediate chorus-es. It’s refreshing to hear these antipodeans in a genre that’sover populated with Europeons but on this occasion perhapssome of those big, sing along choruses the Europeans excel atwouldn’t have gone amiss here.Duncan Jamieson (80/100)
Formed by guitarist Robby Bobel(Talon, Frontline and Evidence One)and vocalist Ebby Paduch (Stonefieldand Infintiy’s Call), Sanction-X deal inbig bombastic European metal.Roberto D’Amico and Peter Langersupply the coruscating rhythm sec-tion and Ben Eifert’s keyboardsenhance the overall sound. Initially,The slow grind of opener “TheCalling” made me think this recordwas going to be a bit of a let down but
by the time they hit the third track “Demon’s Dance” , which wouldhave been a much stronger opening tune, you realise, in fact, thatthey do what they do with some aplomb. Bobel’s guitar work main-tains the melodic urgency of Frontline when soloing but adds a moremetal crunch to the riffing. Layered choruses bang you over thehead with robust hooks, and a solid production sound courtesy ofthe seasoned Bobel. Paduch’s delivery at times is redolent of BobCatley (with a bit of a German accent). This is especially true of“Eyes of a Stranger”, “Feelings Came To Me”, “Reasons Why WeWere Born” and “The Eyes”. The songs carry that bold, triumphant,flag unfurling power of Magnum, but with added Euro-metal mus-cle. Duncan Jamieson (87/100)
Another hidden gem of classic ‘80sHeavy Metal/Hard Rock reissued byitalian label Heart Of Steel Records!“Spin The World” is the debut (andonly) album recorded by theSeattle, WA-based group, Mistrust,and released on COMA Records,back in 1986. The group was featur-ing a great line-up including top-singer Jeff L’Hereux (of Culprit),drummer Chris Godhe (My Sister’s
Machine), guitarists Michael Winston (Rottweiller) & Owen Wright(My Sister’s Machine) and bassist Tim Wolfe (Rottweiller), and theirsound can be described as a powerful Hard Rock with an US Metaledge, kind a mix of early Ratt , Stryper and, obviously, Culprit. Infact, songs like opener “Lightning and Thunder” or “Running ForMy Life” might let the listener think of a Power/Heavy Metal album,but most of the album is more in the Hard Rock vein, with vocal-lines that sound so close to S. Pearcy’s unmistakable ones! The Cdfeatures the usual de-luxe booklet, a fully re-mastered sound andtwo additional demos bonus-tracks.
Rob “Ezy” Bone (85/100)
MISTRUST - Spin The World (Heart Of Steel) STORMHAMMER - Signs of Revolution (Silverwolf)
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Stormhammer have had a habit oflosing vocalists after each cam-paign. This is no exception as MikeZotter (Dreamscape) joins theranks on this, the German’s fourthouting to lead the battle cry. Up tonow, they’ve been fairly undistin-guished as power metal bands gobut they’ve really raised their gameon this one. Zotter’s heroic voicehas a bit more bite and added back-ing vocals lift the choruses. The bet-
ter of the tracks such as “Omens of Agony”, “Kiss at the Abyss”and the Burning Point sounding “Signs of Revolution” are lead bythunderous drumming and a barrage of heavy riffing. Effectivekeyboard stabs and a roaring guitar sound mark out “PermanentMenace” as the best battle hymn on offer here. The dramatic bal-lad “Bridges to Eternity”, the brooding bass drum driven “PiedPiper” and the whispered menace of “From Dusk to Dawn” ensurethere’s some variety to the disc. Not strong enough to put them atthe top of the hill with the generals such as Iced Earth or GammaRay but there’s enough muscle here to suggest they, at least, canput up a good fight in the mêlée of battling power metal bands.
Duncan Jamieson (78/100)
It's good to see The Poodlesstill going strong with yetanother album out on May20th, the album title "Clashof the elements" is powerfulbut the complete albumisn't as powerful I'm afraid.There are a few songs thatare the band's finest songsto date like "Don't rescueme", "Give me a sign", "Too
much of everything" and "I rule the night" (writtenby Hal Marabel of Bad Habit).But there are also lots of cliche's lined up and theyare dangerously close of crossing the line over toEurometal, next stop would be Britney Spearia!Guitarist Pontus Norgren who left to joinHammerfall is replaced by Henrik Bergquist, ThePoodles also left Lionheart Records and releases thenew album on their own label Rosehip AlleyRecords. The major part of this clash is good any-how! Kaj Roth - Melodic.net (90/100)
The Dio fronted version of BlackSabbath sure has made animpact on the history of rocknroll,just as much as the classic line upwith Ozzy. After a long hiatus -Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butlerand Vinny Appice got together in2006 for the compilation "BlackSabbath The Dio Years" andrecorded 3 new tracks. "The devilyou know" was recorded in 3weeks, the band wanted to recap-
ture the energy of playing live so the songs were done in justa couple of takes. I think we call can agree on that Iommi isthe father of riffs, he started playing these melt down riffswhen James Hetfield was just a young kid. Dio is 66 years oldand still live up to the rocknroll legend he is with a voice thatmost rock singers would die for, the new epic single "Bibleblack" is one of the best songs I've heard from this line up. Ithink this is a great album that combines the best from the80's albums Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules and the 1992 album"Dehumanizer"."Double the pain" will do just fine in the setlistalong with the old classics, Heaven and Hell take good care oftheir legacy! Kaj Roth - Melodic.net (88/100)
HEAVEN AND HELL - The Devil You Know (Roadrunner)
Since almost ten years up to now,every Dream Theater’s new releasehas always been linked with severaldiscussions about its musical quality.By an hand the diehard fans keepingalive their total admiration for theband, on the other hand many otherdetractors putting serious doubtsabout their musical sincerity since“SFAM” on. Today this brand new“BCASL” won’t change the situation.It seems that Dream Theater is aband still alive and with many arrowsto shoot, but there’s something lacking. I don’t talk about the musi-cal, melodic or instrumental ideas, but about how the band uses todevelop them together into the same songs or along all the entirealbum. They look like not having a well defined harmony in theircomposition progress. “BCASL” features many great melodic ideas,perfect instrumental performances (as usual), but many parts fig-ure out not well connected each one with the other, they look as dif-ferent pieces pasted together without a precise target about whatto do. Anyway the release is good and still better than the previous“Systematic Chaos” or “Octavarium”, for sure; it displays us how theband has still more to give in music, but maybe something has tobe changed for the future. Fulvio Bordi (80/100)
DREAM THEATER - Black Clouds And Silver Linings (Roadrunner)Mr. Big celebrate the band's returnwith a new Best Of compilation.Next Time Around is an 18 trackcompilation of best tracks and I'mnot here to argue the finer pointsof those selections. The freshlyremastered tracks sound fantasticand great to see some personalfavourites – Daddy, Brother, Lover,Little Boy, Take Cover, Addicted ToThat Rush, Alive And Kickin', The
Whole World's Gonna Know and Colorado Bulldog.The attractionof this compilation for die-hards is the 2 “new” tracks. Well, thetitle track Next Time Around sounds like absolutely classic Mr. Bigbecause it is absolutely classic. Taken from the 1993 sessionsthat resulted in the Bump Ahead album. Hold Your Head Up isanother archive track restored for this occasion and is of coursethe Argent cover and sounds pretty cool actually. The bonus DVDcollects tracks from the previously issued VHS and gives usanother reminder of what a great live band Mr. Big are.
Andrew McNeice - melodicrock.com (90/100)THE POODLES - Clash Of The Elements (Rosehip Alley)
MR. BIG - Next Time Around (Atlantic Japan)
Question: Well what can Isay, ‘Chasing My Dream’ isone hell of a great album!Answer: Thank you! I am verypleased with this CD. It is one ofmy best performances. Workingwith Michael Voss was Brilliant.He is an Amazing talent!!!Q: Why so long betweenalbums?A: I was producing other proj-ects, such as a band calledLevel, cd called Sipmlexity,Howard Leese’s new cd, SecretWeapon. Also, while recording this newcd, Chasing my Dream, I wasproducing a new, young bandcalled Black Tora.Q: How did you come to getthe likes of Michael Voss andrest of the guys involvedwith the album?A: He e-mailed me throughMySpace, asked if I was inter-ested in doing a song for thenew Voices of Rock CD. Afterrecording the song Rock Me, hecame back and said Georg fromAOR Heaven/Metal Heaven want-ed to know if I wanted to recordanother Shortino CD. SoundedGreat!!!.Q: What inspires your writingis it art reflecting life or arethings not that deep?A: Life experiences and dreams. Q: When you look back at
your career there must havebeen some moments whenyou thought is this all worthit, what keeps you going?A: Music is all I know...Q: Will we be seeing PaulShortino on the road verysoon?A: Hopefully, we are working onit. Haven’t been out on the roadfor a long time, so it is harder toget on a tour.Q: If so what can we expectfrom you live any surprisesand who can we expect to bein the live band?A: Expect to hear material fromRough Cutt, Quiet, Riot, my soloprojects, Back on Track, SacredPlace, and the new CD, Chasingmy Dream. Players TBA.Q: Looking back of your longcareer what major changes inthe music industry have beenfor the good and what havebeen for the bad?A: The Internet has been goodfor he Industry. It has created alot of Independent labels. The bad thing is for the Majorlabels because they were notprepared for the Internet.Because they could not/cannotcontrol it.Q:What was the differencebetween the 70's L.A. sceneand the 80's scene?A: I was a place where music
was born. Everybody came toL.A. to make it. You've got theindustry there, but as far as theentertainment goes, at thattime, everybody was flocking toL.A. in the late 70's, early 80's. The club scene was boomingthen, but it is not now.Q: In a world full of news ofmoney worries, pandemicsand other woes, what doesPaul Shortino do to switch offand just relax and let theworld go by?A: Watch reality tv with my wife.Mindless stuff!Q: Will we be seeing anothercollaboration with JKNorthrup?A: Never know. He co-wrote asong on the new CD. It is calledPromises...Q: There were rumours somewhile ago about a Rough Cuttreunion, will we ever seethat coming to be?A: Not anytime soon, but younever know.Q: Finally what has the restof 2009 and 2010 have instore for Paul Shortino any-thing we should keep an eyeout for?A: Tour my new CD, Maybe pro-duce some more young talent,do another CD, Get Black Toraout to the public, and maybe youwill hear from Duke Fame.
Focus on: SHORTINO - Chasing My Dream (Metal Heaven)It’s seems all too long since the Shortino/Northrup album ‘Afterlife’, which was one ofmy favourite albums of 2004, but now Paul Shortino returns with Michael Voss and ahost of special guests from Roland Bergman, Michael Mueller, Johnny Douglas and RalfHeyne for his new album ‘Chasing My Dream’. His is a straight up Hard Rock albumwhich again reminds us just what we’ve been missing since 2004, as Shortino’s vocalspower on through the album and are just one of the many highlights of this album. I’vebeen a fan of Shortino for some time now and this new album really is the man at hisvery best. A superb mix of hard rock tracks with some great ballads, all of them mak-ing the most of Shortino’s vocals. From the majestic tones of ‘Missing’, a track on whichVoss’s guitar work is just superb, the harder edged tracks like ‘To The Cross’ and mypersonal favourite the excellent rocker ‘Side FX’. This is a real corker of an album andreal return to form from the former Rough Cutt star. Barry McMinn (90/100)
Album: Chasing My Dream
Interview with: Paul Shortino
Interviewed by: Barry McMinn
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Focus on: Saint Deamon - Pandeamonium (Front iers Records)Well we’re only a quarter of the year through and already there have been some great Rockand Metal albums released this year. A band to keep that trend going are Saint Deamon whoreturn with their new album Pandeamonium’. Riding high on their debut album ‘Shadows LostFrom The Brave’ the band hasn’t rested on their laurels, they’ve kept the sweeping metal oftheir first album going well into this new release. This is ten tracks of sheer class from theband, right from the opening barrage of ‘Deception’, ‘The Only One Sane’ and‘Pandeamonium’, but the band have that ability to mix together fundamentally heavy riffladen tracks with quite sublime metal ballad like ‘Fallen Angel’. It’s hard to believe the bandcould better their debut but they’ve certainly done that with ‘Pandeamonium’, another greatrelease from a band destined for greatness. The CD has a data track with the fantastic“Padeamonium” video... Buy this cd and enjoy this amazing heavy metal masterpiece.
Bruce A.J. Atkinson (90/100)
Band: Saint Deamon
Interview with: Ronny Milianowicz
Interviewed by: Bruce A.J. Atkinson
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Question: Well, the last time Italked with you, Ronny… Iwished you a Happy and pro-ductive New Year, and it seemslike that is just what you had! 2008 proved out very good for“Saint Deamon”, tell us someof the highlights…Answer: The Saint Deamon high-lights were quite a few thingsactually. The first was to go on ourfirst tour with Saint Deamon toItaly, I just played in Bergamowith my old band Dionysus beforesupporting Saxon. Then came the Bloodstock andProg Power festival. Then to workwith Jens Bogren och Roy Z wassomething I never forget. As aproducer highlight was to workwith bands like Wolf and AmonAmarth And most important ofcourse was the birth of my daugh-ter.Q: I’m actually surprised thatwe are seeing anotherRecorded Work so soon… whatwith all the touring activityyou did last year… when didyou have time in putting thisrecord together?A: In between changing thedypers ha,ha. Well, Im blessed to play in a bandwhere everybody want the samegoal and when inspiration is therethere is absolutely no problem tocome up with material that fast.Some band are alcoholic we areworkoholics, you know we areSwedes ha,ha… there is no warm beach to checkout girls, it bloody cold so mightas well work, you have not thatmuch else to do really… its not likeyou guys can with wine and wom-ans ha,ha.Q: "In Shadows Lost From TheBrave" was very wellacclaimed by critics and fans.Did you feel any pressure inthe working to"Pandeamonium"?A: Yes,I felt a lot of pressure.Youmust know that when i quitDionysus I was working on thesongs for almost 3 years with themembers of Saint Deamon comingin one by one. This time we wroteeverything in 3 month so it a total-ly diffrent thing. But we had plans from the debutrelease to go into the studio afterone year again. On the other hand we would bethat crazy to do a 2nd album if wedidnt have the songs for it. The big difference is we didntrehearsed the song at all beforerecording them. It might in oncesence be stupid but the guys inthe band plays so goddam good itsounds like they played the songsfor ages and they DO their home-work and learn the songs from thedemos. This time the we wrote songs moreas a band also since we know eachother so much better this time.
Q: So has the recordingprocess changed at all… ? A: We do more of ourselves in ourstudio. If I was a millionare Iwould let Jens and Roy do it all butit’s a matter of saving money real-ly and at the same.Q: Are you completely satisfiedwith the result? A: Productionwise I think its evena little better than the first album.Songwise its up to the fans to say,I know I was so proud of the firstalbum and thought I can never doit again ha,ha but it seems on thereviews people actually think withgrew a litte better.Q: Do you think that lyrically"Pandeamonium" can be con-sidered a concept album?A: Not really but there is a red linein the lyrics about struggle in life,both Jan Thore and I had somerough times and music is one wayto deal with it and to find inspira-tion and not be consumed of allshit going on in this crazy world.My family and Saint Deamon bringso much joy to my life, there is alot of people out there not beingas blessed as me so i can imaginehow hard it must be to keep onstruggle through life.Q: "Pandeamonium" wasprodeced by the famous Roy Z,that co-wrote also the title-track: how was working withhim?A: Like having a big brother.That’s how well we got along.If I ever write a book in the futurewhen I’m old about my life then Iwould write down all great thingsabout that guys big heart as ahuman being. After the first nightat our local bar I forgot all aboutthe big mighty Roy Z since his sodown to earth. What I do remember is his one ofthe most inspiring people I evermet and when you sit down with aguitar and can make magic likethat with a big smile on your faceyou are truly worthy to work withRob and Bruce and I am forevergrateful I got some weeks of hisvaluable time for me and SaintDeamon. I really miss him as that crazyfriend of mine, not as the big Mr.Z.On a pro musical view I learned alot of him when he worked in ourstudio and he had some absolute-ly crazy ideas like switching averse with the solo part and so onbut it all worked out to be 100 %better songs. Q: Let’s go back to touring andsuch… please let us know whatare “Saint Deamon”’s plans forthe rest of this year?... A: We´re very close to finnish thedetails for going on tour with pri-mal fear in the autum, then we willplay festivals such as Prog PowerScandinavia as well as our ownclub gigs. Q: How was your experience in
the U.S. and are you planningto return to North America?A: It’s a big country to tour but ifthere is economy in it we gonna gotomorrow if we could!Q: The cover draws stronglyrecall the first album. Why? Doyou like sea? Do you likegalleons? Do you like RunningWild? =) A: We all like Rock’n’Rolfs Piratetights ha,ha...Actually Jan is raised at the north-ern see at the top of Norway and ifyou google the town Båtsfjord youunderstand that he looked more orless to the northpoole outside hiswindow. I have a huge painting in my livin-groom from when my own grand-father came from a ship and sethis feet on swedish ground for thefirst time comming from Poland.I dunno it we have it in our bloodor if its the simple fact it fits withthe band name .Q: What do you think aboutmusic piracy? Both from per-sonal and Saint deamon pointof view...A: The first and most basic prob-lem with downloads is that youdont get any budget to recordyour albums in a proffesional wellsounding way anymore. Musicianshas to record there albums in theworst studios or in worst caserecord it themselves, and 9 of 10musicians are musicians not pro-ducers. So the downloading metalfan dont get it for free really, theypay their depts in bad sound ontheir favorite bands.The other thing is that it takeslonger time before you recoupedyour latest album before you cango into the studio again.So anyone reading this must thinkabout this. Is it best to downloadthe album and wait 2 years beforenext album comes (with worsesound then the last album). Or paythe liitle money to get well sound-ing albums of your favorite bandand might even get a new albumwithin 1 year? If you are a true metal fan theanswer is easy.Q: You also wrote some songfor the Place Vendome project.Did you listen to the final ver-sion of the album? Do you likeit?A: If I like it, I love it! I have it inmy car right now. Not one badsong on the album. If Serafino could convince Michaelto record the vocals with a produc-er instead of singing it all fromhome he would get 10 of 10 nexttime.That would be the logical step tomake some real magic like thegood old days in my book and Ireally hope he would be that coolperson to give that to his fans. Youknow I’m one of them still.
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Focus on: PATHOSRAY - Sunless Skies (Front iers Records)More than meets the eye! Pathosray is the new Prog Metal sensation coming from Italy and“Sunless Skies” is their second effort (following the 2006 self titled debut) combining manyinfluences and giving the band an unexpected twin musical identity. The very first impres-sions lead to great Progressive Metal influences such as Symphony X, Dream Theater,Nevermore, Fates Warning, Eldritch and Rush, but there’s still more than this. Under thisdense surface many other influences coming from seventies Progressive Rock, Pink Floyd,Death Metal elements and some picks of 80s Hard Rock melodies can be discovered.“Sunless Skies” reveals as a real kaleidoscope of influences fusing together in an unique orig-inal result. The amazing instrumental technique, their ability to combine into the same songdark, heavy moments to relaxed soft parts, and their wide open structural complexity getswell combined with the band’s important melodic approach to compositions. Songs flow nat-urally and listener won’t absolutely get tired along this musical journey. Guaranteed.
Fulvio Bordi (92/100)
Album: Sunless Skies
Interview with: Fabio D’Amore
Interviewed by: Fulvio Bordi
Question: The album deserves so manyshots before being completely under-stood. Since the beginning, listener canachieve it as great Heavy Prog stronglyinfluenced by classic masters SymphonyX, Dream Theater and Fates Warning,but time after time many multiple influ-ence merge from this huge wall of sound;starting from seventies rock progressive,Pink Floyd, passing through somemelodic edges coming from 80’s HardRock, till today’s heavy sounds comingfrom acts like Eldritch or Nevermore. Is itthe right impression?Answer: Well, yes, you said the right things.Even we don't like to be compared to such bigmonsters of the musical scene, I think youcan hear and catch some of the influencesyou've above mentionned. Maybe in this newrelease, "Sunless Skies" we wanted to focusfirst on the "song shape", instead of build a lotof technical parts, losing the listener's atten-tion. There's a little bit of something in ourcompositions...Q: Please tell us something about theband’s musical growth through theyears. I know the band lives since the far2000 year... A: Since the beginning, the band had difficul-ties on finding the right musicians to carry onthis musical journey. The first line-up releasedthe very first demo, in 2001, called "Strangekind of energies", a very progressive orientedwork, but already influenced by other styles.Then, the following years there were somechanges, I joined the band, and also with a
new keyboarder, we released the seconddemo in 2006, called "Deathless Crescendo".After a new change in the line up, withGianpaolo joining the line up, we startedthinking about putting together all the tracksfrom the second demo, "Pathosray". Duringits recordings Luca, the guitarist, left the bandfor personal problems, then Alessio arrived,and finally the line-up was completed, the oneyou know now.Q: I love the cover, in some ways it bringsmy mind back to the Pink Floyd’s TheWall artwork. Who did work on it?A: This amazing job was made by an artistfrom Chile, called Gonzalo "Genzo" Ordonez.He's part of the famous Deviant Art's commu-nity and he's a very respected artist in his field. Q: Which are, in your opinion, the mostevident differences between this“Sunless Skies” and your self-titledrelease? A: If in the first album we showed a lot ourtypical prog metal side, without losing ouridentity, in this new album we tried to work alot of suggestions and dark atmosphere, butincreasing also a lot our melodic moments,with some 70's passages. I could say every-thing we wanted to do was done correctly,and we don't have any regret about therecordings and about songwriting process. Q: I love so much your skill to change intothe same composition from very heavymoments to extremely soft passages. Allthe prog bands try, but so few of themare able to really do the job. Is this band’sskill the result of a planned, well rounded
organized composition process, or thechild of long improvisation sessions?A: I can say that's the main Pathosray's skill,exactly what you've just mentionned. Wewanted to focus and developpe as much aspossible this ability of passing from heavy riffsto really melodic moments. That's a conse-quence of all the styles influence each mem-ber of the band. We listen to band comingfrom Black metal, Prog metal, Death Metal,Thrash and Heavy from 80's to modern stuffand arriving on progressive rock from the 70'sand jazz/fusion. I think that's a normal,unplanned, evolution of our sound.Q: Are you already working on new stufffor the third album? A: I know that Ivan, who's our main compos-er, already started composing some tracks forour next release. Then we already started dis-cussing about the lyrical style it would have,but I can't say if it's far different from "SunlessSkies", but I'm pretty sure it will be a devel-oppement of our actual style...Q: Any tour dates planned for the imme-diate future?A:We're always working to promote our newalbum in our area and around Italy, but we'realso thinking about the "Sunless Skies"release party. Our first big appointment is atProg Power Scandinavia 2009, inCopenaghen Denmark. We will play in thesame stage with big acts as Candlemass,Pretty Maids, Mercenary, Freak Kitchen andso on - we're really excited about it and we willtry to show all our skills to the Scandinavianaudience!
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Focus on: JORN - Spir i t B lack (Front iers Records)A spirit still blacker than ever. Jorn comes back to us with a new intense solo work, going deepdown into his already well known dark metal moods and atmospheres. Guitars roar powerful andfat, sounding in low tonalities giving riffs a still more heavy and dark sound, while his voice under-lines with a supreme interpretative charisma each particular intense songs’ atmosphere. Talkingabout songwriting and compositions’ structure, well, this time Jorn seems to favorite a still moredirect approach. Songs go straight to the point, they don’t turn around for too much before get-ting to the refrains. Maybe Jorn now wants to give listener’s ear the most melodic impact possi-ble, making the songs irrupt melodically straight, as soon as possible and printing immediately inmind their identity. Even instrumental parts and solos are given the right space, but with a limit-ed timing, just to lead back soon to the song’s chorus. I love how “Spirit Black” grows along all ofits chapters: the track-list is disposed with masterly skill giving a progressive stairway of growingmoods until the closing “I Walk Alone” with no weak points in. Superb! Fulvio Bordi (95/100)
Album: Spirit Black
Interview with: Jorn Lande
Interviewed by: Fulvio Bordi
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Question: How do you feelabout releasing this newproduct after the greatacclaim that was gatheredby “Lonely Are The Brave”?Answer: The sound of the albumis like a crossover between "TheDuke" and "Lonely Are Thebrave", and I feel that some ofthe songs on Spirit Black havethe potential to become essen-tial hardrock classics that willstand the test of time. Q: How did the new songscome about?A: I have carried some of theseideas with me for quite sometime. Wil ly, Jimmy, Sid andmyself have known each othersince the 80's, and some of thesong ideas and demos fromback then have now seen thelight of day, and become anessential part of Spirit Black.When we were younger we usu-ally never cared about what wedid yesterday, only about thefuture, but the past can some-times reveal hidden treasuresand I discovered great potentialin some of these song-ideas. Q: How would you comparethe new stuff with the musicyou have released through-out your career?A: The musical style and direc-tion is now more defined andless experimental. I'm not try-ing to reinvent the wheel any-more, I just want to write goodquality hard rock songs thatpeople can relate to and identi-fy with. When I was old enoughto establish my own carrier, theworld already had bands likeBlack Sabbath, Iron Maiden,Deep Purple and it was "expect-ed" that we would have to cre-ate something new and differ-ent, to be able to build a futurein the music business.Everytime I wrote or sangsomething bluesy, people wouldautomatically compare me toPaul Rodgers, Robert plant,David Coverdale or Lou Gramm,and if I went for a less dynamicand more powerful dramaticapproach, my style was com-pared to singers l ike BruceDickinson, Ronnie James Dioand so on... It was of coursegood compliments to get for ayoung and hungry singer, but atthe same time it underminedmy own originality and personaltrademark. To avoid beeinglabeled and categorized, Iexperimented with variousmusical landscapes and com-bined different vocal styleexpressions within the frame ofrock and metal, to establish myown musical platform of respectand credibility. This philosophyand way of thinking gave methe freedom to explore myselfartistically. On the other hand italso made it more diff icult,
since people would'nt knowwhat to expect from me musi-cally, and found it hard to iden-tify me with a defined musicalstyle or direction. As weentered into the new millenni-um, I realized and acceptedthat my strenght as a singerwas more classic rock oriented.If you buy a Jorn album today,you know what you will get.True classic hard rock music...Q: In the past we’ve oftenseen you participating in apromising band (l ike forinstance Beyond Twil ightand Millennium) and leavingthat band after a very prom-ising start. Are you such adifficult person or is thisjust coincidental?A: Let me correct you on this,since I bel ieve that onlyMasterplan was a promisingband both from an artistic aswell as a commercial stand-point. The other bands weregood, but they didn’t sell anyrecords. Take Beyond Twilightas an example, there was notour, no investments by therecord company, no real sup-port in general. Therefore iswas impossible for me to stay,because I have to make a livingfrom singing you know. Samestory with Ark, great band,‘Burn The Sun’ was a greatrecord, but we didn’t get any-where. There were no actualresults. So to answer your question, I’mnot a difficult person at all, Ijust need to provide a living formyself which makes it some-times impossible to stay in aband. I want and need to beproductive.Q: Can you tell me what hap-pened with Ark? Why didyou leave?A: I was always eager to moveforward, to progress. I wasinvolved with Ark for five years.During that time the musicalclimate began to change. Afterthe second record -- and it wasa great record! -- we had nosupport from the company,there was nowhere to move for-ward. We didn't tour. Thatmeant that I had to start look-ing for work somewhere else.And when the band finally gottogether to record the thirdalbum, they wanted me to stopworking on whatever project Iwas working on at the time, andthat's when I had to make achoice. Tore Ostby makes hisliving elsewhere, he does notrely on music, but I'm a musi-cian, that's my life! I just wantto write and record songs,that's what I want to do, and ifit involves working on severalprojects at the same time --then all the better! Of course,we all would love to just have
one project, but that's notalways possible.Q: How do you feel the musi-cal climate changed over thepast ten years?A: Right now anybody can makea record. At home, with a com-puter. People get their ownrecord companies, their owncatalogues, and distribute theirown music through their web-sites.Q: You’re seen as one of thebest vocalists around nowa-days. Is this a matter ofpure talent or did you haveyears of hard training belowyour belt to get at thislevel?A: I don’t know really, I tendnot to categorize myself orcompare myself to somebodyelse. I just work hard to survivein this tough business. From thetime that I was a kid I alwayswanted to become a singer andmy talent got me to where I amtoday. It started in 1973 whenthe Sweet released their‘Ballroom Blitz’ single and whenI saw Brian Connely I knew thatthis is what I wanted. Shortlythereafter I discovered otherartists l ike Paul Rodgers,Robert Plant, Ian Gillan and Igot inspired by all of them. Atthe end of the eighties I wasready to go, but then Nirvanacame along and the market formy type of music collapsed. Sonow I’m just giving it a secondtry.Q: Any of the contemporaryhard rock and metal artistsyou would like to point outas having those qualities?A: I honestly am not that muchinto the new metal scene. I'msure there are many greatbands out there, but I just can'tthink of any. In the US I wasnever into that whole LinkinPark scene. I mean, I seewhat's good about them, Iunderstand it, but it doesn'ttouch me. I l ike VelvetRevolver, Slash's new band.That one sounds very special,and I like the vocals there too.Audioslave I like. And King's X.As far as power metal, I can'tsay that I was ever into thatmusic. I did work with somepeople from that scene, inMasterplan, for example,because I thought it would beinteresting to cross my voiceand my style over to thatgenre. But still we had someclassical elements going, so Ibelieve it made us somewhatunique.Q: Do you have any plans totour Europe in the forthcom-ing months?A: We have just recently startetto work with a new agency, andwe hope to tour Europe thiscoming winter.
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