melodic rock fanzine issue 45
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DESCRIPTIONThis new issue includes reviews and interviews of Yes, John Wetton, Airrace, Bai Bang, Episode, Outloud, Edguy, Wolfpack, Toby Hitchcock, XorigN, Work Of Art, Seven... and more!
CONTENTS04 Yes06 John Wetton07 Airrace08 Bai Bang09 Episode10 Outloud11 Sebastian Bach Upcoming12 Reviews14 Edguy15 Wolfpack17 Toby Hitchcock19 XorigiN20 Work Of Art22 SevenMelodic Rock Fanzine
The official Frontiers Records magazineYear #7 - Nr. 4 / Issue #45
Editor-in-chief: Elio Bordi
Graphic & Design: Elio BordiWriters: Bruce E.J. Atkinson, Duncan Jamieson, BarryMcMinn, Vitale Nocerino, Rob “Ezy” Bone, FabioMainardi, Tommy Hash, Primo BonaliHeadquarters 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 Records s.r.l.Copyright©2011 Frontiers Records. All rightsreserved. Reproduction in whole or in part
without permission is prohibited.Printed in Italy.
Focus on: YES - Fly From Here (Frontiers Records)It’s now ten years since “Magnification” and this new album finds YES mixing somethingnew with something old to good effect. The new comes in the shape of David Benoit whoreplaces Jon Anderson. His voice is strong and clear, replicating Anderson’s style inplaces well, not surprisingly as Benoit used to front a Yes tribute band. There’s also atouch of Trevor Horn about his voice but with enough character of his own to make itsound fresh. “Fly From Here”, a song originally intended for 1980’s “Drama” but didn’tmake the final cut. Spruced up and expanded into a 6 piece suite it has all the elementspeople love about Yes; it’s epic, complex symphonic rock. Also coming from the past areTrevor Horne, who’s here on production duties, and Geoff Downes (replacing OliverWakeman). The pair co-wrote a swathe of the tracks and give a commercial sheen to theprog and Steve Howe’s playing on the instrumental “Solitaire” is still interesting, stillclever. Die hards may say it’s not on a par with past glories but those who’re more open-minded can see that Yes, in a time when prog is in vogue again, are still one of the bestpurveyors of the genre. Duncan Jamieson (95/100)
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FLY FROM HERE
C . SQUIRE / G . DOWNES
INTERVIEWED BY :
Question: I really like the newalbum. It’s good to have youback. It’s ten years since“Magnification”. Did you everfeel Yes might not make anotherrecord?Geoff Downes: I think that Yesnever ceases to surprise, so youshould never count them out of thepicture. Yeah, it’s quite a few yearsbetween albums, but then I am verypleased to be involved with the bandon the new CD.Q: The centre piece of therecord, “Fly From Here” wasoriginally for The Drama albumbut didn’t make it, although itappeared later on a live record-ing. Can you tell me how youcame to expand into a suite?GD: I think when Trevor and Chrisdiscussed this last year, it was gen-erally accepted that the track wasworthy of a revisit. It was neverreally completed at the time, so theidea for the suite really came aboutwhen we started the recording thisyear, and more ideas begun todevelop as a result.Q: What is you general consider-ation about this new album? Itreminds me some old Yes influ-ences...GD: I think it kind of pulls from allYes periods. It’s kind of a mix. It’sfaithful to some of the more tradi-tional Yes styles, but also the moreepic piece is in there, there’s somuch more, not accessible, butshorter of pieces. It’s a pretty goodblend of styles I suppose.Q: Your current lineup is more orless similar to the Drama era.Did producer Trevor Horn everconsider to be the lead singer?Chris Squire: Trevor actually issinging backup, so his voice is onthere. But all the lead vocals are byBenoit, and honestly, I don’t thinkTrevor was really ever interested inbecoming the singer again. Youhave to have quite an agile voice inthe higher range to do some ofthose older Jon Anderson Yes songs,and I don’t think Trevor would be upfor that. But he still sings really well,actually, as a matter of interest.Q: You alredy have been in theband line up and you play withSteve Howe in Asia. How did youjoin Yes for this version of theband?GD: Well I think the talk startedwhen Chris (Squire) was speaking toTrevor Horn about producing thenext album, that was toward the endof last year. We had a song left overfrom the “Drama” period which wenever actually completed it at thetime, and Trevor and Chris thoughtthat would be a good starting pointfor the album. So it really sort ofcame out of that, and what I thinkTrevor suggested to Chris if hemaybe got me involved. So we didactually take it from there and gotinvolved and I ended up doing thewhole album so that’s when theyasked me to rejoin the band. It was
quite a very good period of time.Q: You and Jon Anderson hadsuch great vocal chemistry.How’s the chemistry whensinging with Benoit David?CS: It's true that Jon and I, obvious-ly after working together for so long,assume some of each other's inflec-tions and style. But very fortunately,with Benoit David, that seems tohave become a good blend as well,and it's demonstrated very well onnew the album.Q: Benoit was in a Yes coverband. This must be a dreamcome true for him...CS: Yes, it’s worked out well. Weweren’t sure how it was going to go,but we went on the road for a cou-ple of years, and he got used to theidea of being the singer. A lot of theYes fans seem to think he was pret-ty decent, so it’s all gone better thanexpected, really.Q: When was the album record-ed and finished?CS: We started in October,November, and we had a break overthe holiday period and reconvenedin mid - January till the end ofFebruary. We finished the recording,most of it except for vocals, whichwe finished in London in April.Q: What do you think has keptthe band together and the namealive for so long?CS: It’s ironic in a way, because Yeshas had quite a few changes overthe years. Every time someone newhas come in they’ve obviouslyinjected more energy or new energyinto the band and changed thesound a bit, and the approach, etc.,depending on how much input thenew member has had. Of course,there’ve been some notable people;Trevor Rabin was a big influence inthe ‘80s. And I think because of thechanging in itself has just allowedthe band to be free to grow in differ-ent directions and then come backand change again and then comeback and learn from every phasethat we’ve been through, really. I’vebenefitted a lot personally from hav-ing been able to evaluate what theband has done with various differentmusicians, and I’ve been very luckyto have gained all the informationfrom the many members there havebeen.Q: How was working with Trevorfor this new album?GD: It’s great. I mean I had a longperiod, a number of years where Ididn’t really cross paths with him,but I don’t know for any other rea-son than we were just not sort of inthe same place, and I think that inrecent years we started doing quitea bit more work together, and it’svery inspiring. You know Trevor’sstill got a great sense of production.He’s still very very astute withmusic, and I think that he’s reallypushed the boat out to make thisalbum a very special Yes album, thebiggest Yes album in ten years, andit’s an absolute privilege working
with Trevor.Q: In the 1970s, there was somuch incredible rock music com-ing out. Who did Yes view astheir contemporaries at thattime?CS: It’s hard to know who our con-temporaries were, really. Weweren’t exactly a run-of-the-millband. The people who were comingup at the same time as Yes werecoming up were of course LedZeppelin and Black Sabbath. Andthe majority of bands at that timewere more blues-based where Yeswas a little bit more poppy maybe, abit more folky and with not as muchinfluence on the blues side of theband, although we did incorporatethose elements. So it’s hard to knowwho our contemporaries really were.I mean, Genesis came along not thatlong after us and sort of steppedinto a similar mode of making music.Of course they did very well. Queenwere also around the same period oftime as well, a bit after us.Q: Do you ever hear bands thatsound like they’re influenced byyour own music?CS: I’m sure there are, but the thingis — like I’ve even read articles fromsomeone or other in a band who saidYes was one of their big influencesbut their music doesn’t sound any-thing like Yes. Like I remember oneof the guys in Tool was saying howbig an influence Yes had been onthem. But to listen to what theywere doing, you wouldn’t necessari-ly think so, unless they were talkingabout odd time signatures orpolyrhythms. Maybe that’s the ele-ment they were referring to, otherthan the vocals.Q: After enjoying so much suc-cess what drives you to keepmaking music?CS: Well, it’s an enjoyable thing.Actually writing the new music andsongs is actually quite hard. When Isay that, I mean it’s something thatyou have to really get committed todoing. But once you get over thehump of, “Oh this is hard,” thingsstart developing and it becomes apleasure, and it’s always good to behappy that you’ve pushed your-selves into doing something. It’sanother notch of the success of theband. It’s a satisfying feeling onceyou get over the hump of that.Q: After the tour with Styx, whatare your future plans?GD: Well I think the general plan isto put in some more dates inSeptember with Yes as headliners.So I think it’s something that we’relooking forward to because it willgive us an opportunity to play moreof the new album. I think by thattime we’ll be gearing up for moreworld touring. We’ve got Europe inNovember and December. So it’sgonna be building up hopefully inpromotion of the new album andmaking people aware that Yes is stillaround and Yes has still got a valu-able place in the music scene.
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Focus on: JOHN WETTON - Raised In Capt iv i ty (Front iers Records)One of Britain’s most prolific song writer and singers is releasing his sixth solo offer-ing. “Raised In Captivity” finds John Wetton adventurous, ever so tasteful and a bitreminiscing of the past. This album has John reaching deep down, offering up aground-breaking heroic set of musical journeys. Enlisting musical friends from DeepPurple’s Steve Morse to Uriah Heep’s Mick Box… “Raised In Captivity” is a family affair.A diverse exploration of musical plateaus with former band-mates and friends thatimpacted upon his musical journey. Each and every opus impresses — from the music,arrangements to the luxurious performances of each of John’s guests. A very deepexcursion — “Raised In Captivity” spans all of the musical styles that John hasexpressed in his career. From the early days with ‘Family’ and ‘King Crimson’ to ‘U.K.’and present day ‘Asia’ and beyond. This album will surely captivate music loversworldwide! Each track is stupendous! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)
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ARTIST : JOHN WETTONALBUM:RAISED IN CAPTIVITYINTERVIEW WITH: JOHN WETTONINTERVIEWED BY : BRUCE ATKINSON
Question: John,congartulationson “Raised InC a p t i v i t y ” ,another excel-lent RecordedWork! Witheverything else
going on in your music life… where didyou find the time for this epic? Answer: Many thanks, Bruce... the truth isthat my manager has been kicking my back-side for 3 years, saying I must follow-up‘Rock of Faith’. I have been creatively at full-tilt with Asia and icon projects, but I havealso done charity appearances for CleopatraRecords on their tribute CDs, and throughthat I met Billy Sherwood. I wanted to recordin Los Angeles, the January 2011 windowopened up, and I had no excuse. I had man-ager, record company, studio, producer andfunds in place, all I had to do was deliver.Q: “Raised In Captivity” is almost like afamily reunion… you have enlisted for-mer band-mates and collaborators onthis album, a most refreshing andrewarding experience I must think…A: Yes, the majority of the tracks were donewith just myself and Billy, then we over-dubbed the right man (or woman, in Anneke’scase) for the job when it came to a specialsolo, or cameo. I had people in mind for a lotof the solos when the tracks were written.Q: Listening to the album as I’m writingthese questions… I find many stylesbeing touched upon, is this due to all themusical mates you have guesting on thisrecord? A: No, it’s not, the guests came last of all… itprobably comes more from the styles I’veexplored myself in the past, plus the input ofBilly Sherwood, and the location have a lot todo with it. Left to my own devices, I writefolky/prog/classical melodies and stories... LAput some spin and edge on the proceedings.Q: Noted as one of the more prolific
British songwriters… how do you keep going? I mean with your collaborations and your duo with Mr.Downes, and the ongoing Asia activities… you must be able to write on the road…A: I can write anywhere, ideas for songs come when the muse feels like it, not when I do... and that can be at themost inconvenient time! I have to be ready, and I’m often found singing and muttering into my mobile in super-markets, on the high street, at a football match, anywhere, if I don’t record the idea, it’s gone.Q: Speaking of ‘the road’, John are you planning to take this album out? If so, who will be with you? A: It’s probably too soon to name members of a band, but we need to get it right if we are to tour.Q: Let’s look down the road, may we expect another Recorded Work from you and Geoff? What aboutAsia… will the both of you be continuing with this as well?A: I think you can expect another icon record, and certainly another Asia record, as it’s our 30th anniversary nextyear, 2012, it’s 30 years since ‘Asia’.Q: Whew! Obviously a work-a-holic!! And I mean that in the highest regard… I want to thank-you forgiving us all of this beautiful music!! As is my tradition, I like to leave our readers with last words frommy guest… so please, John, go ahead…A: Many thanks, I look forward to seeing everyone on the road to happy destiny in the future, and I hope you getas much pleasure from listening to my music as I do creating it. God bless.
Question: What significancedoes the album's title have forthe band. Do you see this asstarting over again or just anoth-er chapter in the Airrace story?Answer: Yes very much so, it is verystrange that although it has been 25years of Airrace history it very muchlike starting again when we got backtogether for the first time. It had thesame level of excitement.Q: The band celebrated the 25thanniversary of 'Shaft of Light' in2009 but prior to that had theband kept in contact?A: From time to time but we all hadother commitments and Jason andToby had moved abroad so it wasdifficult to keep in touch.Q: When you got back togetherdid it feel strange or did the oldspark just re-ignite itself?A: No it didnt feel strange, it feltvery comfortable and we instantlyfelt good about playing in the bandtogether again, as we now do nothave the same kind of pressure wehad in the early days.
Q: Was it at that point you decid-ed to think about the long await-ed second album or did thatcome later?A: It came soon after us getting backtogether. We thought that it wouldbe great to put together a newalbum and record it the way theband sounded originally.Q: How long did the album taketo put together?A: We did it over the period of ayear. We wasn't constantly working,but from writing the tunes to thefinal mix was about a year.Q: The band has expanded on theline-up front but do you thinkthis Airrace line-up is a morestable package than the originalband?A: Yes I do, Jason changes bandslike people change their under pantsso it was nice to get in SimonDawson who has been a constant,stable member of the band. Whenyou get to our age, with family com-mitments peoples circumstanceschange a great deal but on the whole
the new line-up is stable.Q: The band took to the stage atFirefest, was the reaction of thecrowd that day a suprise?A: It was a fantastic suprise and wewere very proud to feel a v25 yearold album still meant a lot to rockfans all over the world.Q: As part of the 25 yearanniversary the band also tookto the road, what was it like tohit the road as Airrace onceagain?A: Very enjoyable, we all get on verywell and touring has never been aproblem for us.Q: The bands live performanceshave always had a little harderedge and the new album has thatsame edge to it. Is this how youwanted to be perceived from thebeginning or did circumstancesresult in a different path? A: This album is a true representa-tion of the Airrace sound, Beau Hilldid Americanize us slightly but Backto the start is far more like the realAirrace.
Focus on: AIRRACE - Back To The Start (Front iers Records)The night I caught the band on tour with Winger I was impressed with Keith Murrells vocalsand on this new opus, he still shows he really does have a great set of pipes on him. Thealbum gets underway with the aptly titled ‘Keep On Going’ and from the off you cant tellit has been 25 years since the bands debut. This band have come back fighting and witha little more edge added into the mix, whether this is the twin guitars of Mansworth andHoward or not, this is definitely the Airrace the Melodic Rock crowd remember and muchmore. The album boasts some truly magnificent slices of Melodic Rock from the superb‘When Baby’, the edgy ‘Two Of A Kind’ and the superb ‘So Long’, although standout trackof the album for me has to be ‘Wrong Way’. This is the band with attitude and big licks,but that is just my opinion and I’m sure you’ll all have your own favourites because thereare dozen great tracks to choose from. There is not doubt Airrace may have to go ‘BackTo The Start’, but this hopefully sees the return of the band for good and with a more sta-ble line-up, I think the future looks bright for them once more. Barry McMinn (90/100)
BAND: A IRRACEALBUM:BACK TO THE STARTINTERVIEW WITH: LAURENCE MANSWORTHINTERVIEWED BY : BARRY MCMINN
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Question: Now, I’m just starting toget to know you guys, so let us startwith the obvious question…a briefhistory of the group, and is thepresent line-up always been ‘BaiBang’?Answer: Bai Bang started in late 89 forreal! First album was Enemy Lines. Istarted the group. I’ve been in the bandlongest. Our ex-drummer Jonas was inthe band for 16 years. He had to leavethe band due to personal problems.Sadly his girlfriend got very ill in cancer.Jonas could not play the gigs and ofcourse we stood behind him 100%.Tragically Jonas girlfriend died later.Wetried to replace Jonas by Johnny BensonIt worked out super. So good thatJohnny now is a full member of theband!!! Johnny is a tight drummer anda good friend!!! We are very good friendwith Jonas. No hard feelings. Joacim,bass started out as a gittech and road-ie. We toured together with Pretty Maidsin Germany and I found a very goodfriend in Joacim plus a very good bass-player. After the tour Iasked Joacim tojoin the band!!! He said yes!!! 15 yearsago! Still my brother and a funny guy!!!Pelle Eliaz joined the band 11 years ago!
My brother in "crime"!!! Best guitarplay-er I’ve ever played with!!!! So, you cansay that the band is almost original.Q: You have just completed yourseventh album… ”Livin’ MyDream”… and I think yourstrongest expression, musically,thus far… comments?A: Livin`My Dream is the best album!!!When we started writing songs for AreYou Ready (Last album 2009) we cameup with a very strong song and used itas a "leading star". We decided that allsongs must be equal as good or betterotherwise we would not use it on thealbum. "Kill your darlings" and we did!We also came up with a very strongalbum. On "Livin`My Dream” we usedthe same words, "kill your darlings" butadded " a little bit more"! All songs mustbe a little better than the best from lastalbum! We succeded I think! We are sosatisfied with the album and recordings!We love melodies, riffs and hooks! Thatsall in "Livin My Dream"!Q: Let’s get into some of thesongs… first, the title track… whatis behind this one?A: We are united... says it all! We areUNITED! This is whats the album is
about, what’s about being in Bai Bang!!Having a good time, lots of fun and bigPARTY! To be part of Bai Bang as amember, crew, driver, roadie mercheverything that involves Bai Bang is aparty! Just jump into the tour bus or onan aeroplane it’s PARTY! We love to playlive gigs! We love to be on the road! Welove to meet fans!Q: “Gonna Have It All” is anotherinteresting song… what inspiredthis one?A: The title track "Livin My Dream". Ihad my father in mind when I wrote it.He was a generous man. He workedhard to live his dream. He played thepiano. A lot of blues. There were hardtimes for him in his work but finally hewas living his dream. Sadly he got verysick and died way too early! But hemanaged to have some good years! Iwas also referring to my self. A lot ofstruggling all the time. But many peopledoes. So this song belongs to many!This is about me, you and many manymore! Never forget-Live your dream, nomatter what other say! Gonna have itall... Well it’s love... again! Girlfriend is agood inspiration... No matter what theysay... love rules!
BAND: BAI BANGALBUM:LIVIN ’ MY DREAMINTERVIEW WITH: DIDDI KASTENHOLTINTERVIEWED BY : BRUCE ATKINSON
Focus on: BAI BANG - L iv in ’ My Dream (Metal Heaven)Music to my ears!! Bai Bang –they are back! “Livin’ My Dream” is this hardrocking Swedish quartet’s seventh release. The group’s last release, ‘Are YouReady’, was nominated the best sleaze / glam lp in the Swedish Metal Awards… Glam — maybe… sleaze —not so much! There is nothing sleazy about theseguys! Powerful… straight forward rock with a capital ‘R’, that is what these ladsare all about! “Livin’ My Dream” will get you up on your feet and keep youthere! High-energy, melodic and a ‘get down… rock it out’ collection of tenanthemic rockers, this album will get your fists pumping the air. Each numberwill work well live, energizing the group’s stage show. Coming out of the boxwith a bang, “Livin’ My Dream” is ‘Bai Bang’s strongest statement to date… onethat you will hear loud and clear! Bruce Atkinson (88/100)
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ing who would be involved in theproject, or did the project dictatewhich musicians should bepicked?SA: When I was writing the story andcreating the different characters, Ihad in mind the voice of each of themall. So I made a list of singers I wouldlike to have on my album and I sentthem some demo songs. About themusicians, it was more a choice ofpeople able to give life to my music.And today, I’m glad and honouredthat all the singers and musiciansinvolved in EPYSODE reacted posi-tively to be part of it.JB: Have you ever done anythinglike this before?SA: I never did something like thisbefore. It’s my first concept album,but I can say I like that, it’s a lot ofwork to make it, but so enjoyable atthe end, I’m just ready to live it onemore time…JB: Is there anything remotelycomparable from Epysode to yourwork with Virus IV?SA: It’s definitely not comparable,it’s a different work, the way to com-pose the songs, the writing process,the music is different, songs arelonger, you have keyboards, morearrangements, 5 singers & a hugestory behind…JB: Concept albums often lead todeeper stories and more con-cepts. Do you see there being anObsessions 2? Do you alreadyhave material written?SA: Yes, the story of a second
EPYSODE album is done, also a thirdone… I have some songs composedyet.JB: Can you draw on any influ-ences that might have lead youdown this path for Obsessions?SA: Well, I like very much thriller andfantastic books and films, authorsand directors like Stephen king orDavid Fincher. I’m a huge fan of sto-ries full of secrets, strange & darkpeople and solid clues. My world isfull of it, and I would never change it!; - )JB: Do you have any plans forreproducing this sound on theroad? (Perhaps in play format)SA: Fans of that kind of conceptalbum know that it’s really difficult toget everyone on stage for a tour; youcan only have 3 of the singersinstead of 5 and same with musi-cians, because they are separatelybusy with their main band. But I cansay that we will make it for sure, weare talking about, but it’s still tooearly to give dates now. I know forsure that everybody involved inEPYSODE want to play it live andthere will be some special live eventssurrounding the release date inAugust. Everything will be posted intime on the official pages ofEPYSODE…JB: Thank you for your time. Iloved your story and thoroughlyenjoyed the music. Best to you inall your endeavors.SA: Thank you very much Justine,you are welcome & long live to MRF.
Justine Bevan: What broughtabout Epysode? Were these justsongs that evolved from a con-cept into a whole story?Samuel Arkan: Well, my way ofdoing here for EPYSODE was, first,writing the all story, than I com-posed the music and created thelyrics, I tried to follow the energyand emotion needed by the charac-ters during the different parts of thestory. I don’t have a special order todo the things, only feelings… JB: How did you go about pick-
Question: The new albumLove Catastrophe is out onJuly 22nd. What can Outloudfans expect from this albumthat they did not get from thedebut?CM: Yes! They can expect a moreestablished and gelled band,more mature songwriting and afew more surprises. But in short,those who liked the debut willLOVE the new record. It hassomething for everyone.Q: Was the album written col-lectively or are there specificsongwriters in the band?TK: The music / lyrics of thealbum are written by myself, Boband Chandler. Basically Bob andmyself write all the music andChandler is the one that's writingthe lyrics and the melodic vocallines. On the first album, I wrotemost of the lyrics and Chandlerconstructed the melodies, butnow we find Chandler writing
most of the lyrics and melodiesentirely.Q: Was your studio/recordingexperience similar to whatyou experienced the first timearound with Tommy Hansen?CM: Studio experience was great,and Tommy was even better thesecond time around! He knowsour style and sound by now, andthe mix came out very organical-ly this time. We weren’t actuallyin the studio with him, he’s inDenmark; we recorded in Greeceand sent him the tracks to bemixed and mastered.Q: The first single/video is“Waiting For Your Love”. Thiswill surely be a favoriteamong fans. Do you haveplans for any more videos?TK: Thanks. Right know we arepreparing to shoot our secondvideo for the album, which will beannounced shortly. We are reallyexcited about it!
Q: You have some tour datesscheduled with Twisted Sisterover the summer. Do you haveany other tour plans?TK: Actually we’re only doing oneshow with TS, in Athens. No moretour plans for the summer unfor-tunately, but we are working onsome dates for late autumn /early winter.Q: You have a nice collectionof songs now to play live. Doyou see yourself headlining atall?CM: Thanks very much! It’s afunny thing; our upcoming showwith Twisted Sister will be thefirst show that we HAVE NOTheadlined. But going out morebroadly in Europe as we intendto, it’s possible. We are in talkswith a couple of other bands to doa tour, so not sure who will head-line that yet, probably whoeverhas been around the longest,hahaha!
Melodic rock act Outloud are set to release their sophomore effort entitled LoveCatastrophe.The band comprised of former Firewind guitarist and drummer, BobKatsionis and Mark Cross, and Tony Kash; guitars, Chandler Mogel; vocals, and SverdSoth on bass are again produced by Tommy Hansen, (Pretty Maids, Helloween), and BobKatsionis. Love Catastrophe contains 10 tracks and among them are some nice high-lights. One of them, “Waiting For Your Love” their debut single/video off of the album, isa nice listen which maintains that melodic quality that this band is so well known andloved for. Keeping in that rhythm are “Falling Rain” and “Someday”, which is one thatsurely will be played over and over again. These songs are truly the ‘softer side’ to thisoutfit. “Live Again” and “We Came To Rock” explore a heavier side, but still keep thatsame ‘melodic’, something that becomes the expected and welcomed. “LoveCatastrophe” is one that has nice time changes, teaming guitars, and that beautiful vocalsound that has long been associated with some of the great eighties/nineties acts likeSkid Row and TNT. Justine Bevan (90/100)
Focus on: OUTLOUD - Love Catastrophe (Metal Heaven)
BAND: OUTLOUDALBUM:LOVE CATASTROPHEINTERVIEW WITH: C .MOGEL / T . KASHINTERVIEWED BY : JUSTINE BEVAN
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JORN - Live In Black (Frontiers Records)Jorn’s second live album sees one of heavy rock’s most prolific artists deliver a track list that dif-fers, except for a couple of tracks, almost entirely from “Live In America”. The live setting givesJorn a harder more metal edge, perhaps losing something of the subtly of his studio recordedmaterial. His Ronnie James Dio meets David Coverdale on steroids voice booms out across thisdisc which was recorded in front of 25,000 people at the Sweden Rock Festival last year. His recent“Spirit Black” and “Lonely Are The Brave” albums are well represented with raw versions of aclutch of songs from both discs. It’s also good to hear older material such as “Tungur Knivur” from“Worldchanger”. Known for his great cover versions this album sticks, rather surprisingly, to hisown material. It would also have been good to hear some Allen Lande or Masterplan songs, butthis is a minor quibble. There’s a DVD of the show too so if you’re a fan there much to tempt youhere. Duncan Jamieson (88/100)ROB MORATTI - Victory (Escape Music)Victory has it's monstrosity of big choruses, huge vocal harmonies, and catchy riffage galore, but Morattimixes up the moods of each song on the record, prevailing with the harder rock edge on "Life On theLine," "On and On," and "Jennie," with the big keyboard/guitar oriented Journey-esque optimistic vibeon "Power of Love," "Hold that Light," and "Standing on Top of the World" with stripped back pop heardon "Life Time" & "I Promise You," and of course balladry with "Now More than Ever," where throughoutthe record, Moratti really proves his songwriting chops, and is high tenor vocals hold up to an excep-tional performance as the record as a whole flows well without any urgency to go into some misguideddirection where here, it's all about the songs and the production & musicianship really compliment thatbasis for the album Regardless of where Rob Moratti has stood musically, on his own he executes anoutstanding offering pop sophistication with the arena ready rock and roll fervor as it's everything youwould expect from the singer songwriter, highly in the vein of Ramos/Hugo, Harem Scarem, First Signal,Terra Nova, and Frontline. Tommy Hash - Ytsejam.com (90/100)SAXON - Call To Arms (Militia Guard Music/EMI)Hands down! Although still six months remain to year end we can easily nominated Saxon’s “Callto Arms” for the best Heavy metal album for 2011, and for the worst cover too. No brainer the glo-rious British have reached a peak very hard to achieve for a 32 years old Heavy metal band withtheir 19th Studio album, a great, fresh and bloody NWOBHM set of new ferocious songs. The quin-tet headed by the Living legend Biff Byford are still playing old school but with the most modernsound and production, winking to classic rock, and it works really good. From the sledgehammeropener “Hammer of the Gods” to “Mists of Avalon” and the title track “Call to arms” of which theband give us also an amazing orchestral rendition Saxon delivers a solid, powerful, angry and evenemotional album, and emotionally one song stands over all, “Back in 79" where choruses are sungby 79 fans… Personally I believe part of the great result is also in the huge production job in termsof sound and mixing done by a strange but effective couple, Saxon leader and singer Biff Byfordand Toby Jepson (Little Angels and Gun). What else to say, until such Rock dinosaurs will be ableto give us such an album I see still a long live for Rock. Fabio Mainardi (95/100)FOREIGNER - Can't Slow Down... When It's Live (EarMusic/Edel)They might only produce one studio album per decade, but Mick Jones and his band of Foreigners keepthe releases coming. This time it's a live album from the first leg of the Can't Slow Down tour, recordedin Nashville March 2010. 15 tracks over two discs, consisting of a bunch of hits and the usual album trackslike Starrider. Can't Slow Down When It's Live is a very well recorded live set with vocalist Kelly Hansenin full harmonious glory. And he band as usual are a powerhouse behind the hits like Double Vision, JukeBox Hero, Urgent, Dirty White Boy and the required ballads I Want To Know What Love Is and Waiting ForA Girl Like You. Disappointing is the fact only When It Comes To Love and In Pieces are the only 2 tracksfrom the latest album represented. Other artists like Journey, Night Ranger and Whitesnake are playingup to 5 new tracks per set amongst the usual suspects. That said… the bonus track here is another newalbum track Can't Slow Down, taken from Rock Of Ages Festival in Germany July, 2010. Enjoyable with-out question, but for die-hards only. Andrew McNeice / Melodicrock.com (85/100)EPYSODE - Obsessions (AFM Records)Virus IV guitarist Samuel Arkan has a new baby, but it’s a brainchild, not an actual child calledEpysode. “File 41807” contains beautiful piano work, but is not really necessarily a song, but anecessary opening to the project. This is what sets up the plot. The second track, “Silences ofDawn” again has beautiful piano music and wonderful female vocals, (Kelly Carpenter, BeyondTwilight and Darkology). Track number three, “First Blood” gets heavier , but is still very melodicin its nature. The fourth track, “Obsessions”, is heavy on drums with soaring vocals. The listeneris getting deeper into a woven story. The songs continue to build on intensity as does the storythat matches them. By track eight, “Season Of Redemption” the vocal tracks are layered and thickas is the drum track. One can hear the experience of the musicians who took part in this project.By track 14, the last track, “Last Sunset” the listener might be thinking that surely this can’t bethe end; is it? Justine Bevan (89/100)SEVEN - Freedom Call (Nuclear Blast)According to the Nuclear Blast press-release, Seven, coming from Czech Republic, is already anestablished name in their home country, having released several records, including – on top of it– a “best of“-album with such guests as Doro and Blaze Bayley. Unfortunately, I never heard thename of this band before, so I’ve first listened to this album without any infos. The first name thatimmediately came to my mind, playing track n.1, was the one of mighty Metallica (“Black Album”-era): a mid tempo based on powerful guitar-riffs and abrasive vocals that might recall the popu-lar “Sad But True”. The second track slightly changes the picture, being more a Power Metal song,while the following “Get It” and especially “The Road” add some melodic elements to the cocktail.For sure that’s not an easy album to describe. Enriched by an extremely clear production (cour-tesy of Rage’s guitarist Victor Smolski), the album is definitely recommended to the fans of aslightly heavier sound than the usual Melodic Rock; still fans of bands like Fair Warning, Bonfireand Freedom Call will find good food for their hungry mouths here. Primo Bonali (87/100)
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MISS DAISY - Pizza Connection (Steekheart Records)That’s another “lost gem” discovered by Steelheart Records. And what an album!! As proudlyexplained by the label, for the first time on Cd here is the debut album (originally out in 1988),called “Pizza Connection”, for probably the best Street/Hard Rock band coming out of Italy duringthe ‘80s, Miss Daisy. Inspired mainly by the likes of Ac/Dc and Motorhead, the result was prettyclose to the early Guns'n'Roses, LA Guns, Circus Of Power and Two-Bit Thief-style; to say better,the 3 piece delivers some dirty, raw, sleazy and powerful bunch of songs, professionally producedby "Fast" Eddie Clark (of Motorhead) and Will Reid Dick. Back then the band had its moments ofglory, touring with Blue Oyster Cult and Motorhead, but, unfortunately, after this Work, they splitup for personal reasons. For all the fans of ‘80s Street/Hard Rock, you can hear the real spirit ofdirty bluesy cockrock (with big balls) here. And if you like a rawer sound, their first 6-songs demohas been included here as bonus, along with an huge full-colour 16 pages booklet containing alllyrics, pics and memorabilia. Take a ride on the wild side… Rob “Ezy” Bone (88/100)BAD COMPANY - Live at Wembley Blu-Ray/CD (Eagle Vision)The original lineup of Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs, & Simon Kirke (bassist Boz Burrell passed awayin 2006) is on stage, along with guitarist Howard Leese (ex-Heart) & bassist Lynn Sorenson, crank-ing out classic tunes, opening with "Can't get Enough," then running through "Rock and RollFantasy," "Burnin' Sky," "Shooting Star," "Ready for Love," and the tune that bears their nameamong many others. s for the blu-ray itself, the picture quality is excellent for Hi-Def, where its runback and forth between crystal clear digital to scenes where there is the warmth of actual film ispresent, it all blends well, where of course, multiple cameras were utilized. The sound too retainsthe power of the original performance, in surround, it puts the band front and center where theband is panned through all three front speakers and the audience and venue reverb is placed in therear speakers, maintain the typical live concert type of mix - DTS-HD Master Audio (the best mix),Dolby Digital, & LPCM Stereo are the audio options. There is also a companion CD that includes theperformance and it sounds great on its own. Tommy Hash - Ytsejam.com (92/100)SAGA – Heads Or Tales Live (Eagle Ent.)For one, this kills two birds with one stone, first you have one of Saga's lost classic albums performedin it's entirety live, and second, you have a live set that includes Rob Moratti on vocals singing out theclassic tracks. Well known to AOR/melodic rock fans as the voice behind Final Frontier, Moratti had ahigh tenor with a falsetto only matched by Geddy Lee, and through the performance of Heads or Talesyou really hear how much of a versatile vocalist he is to the prog world, adding his personal touch tothe classic tracks such as "Cat Walk," "The Writing," "The Vendetta," & "The Sound of Strangers," aswell as belting out the chorus of "Scratching the Surface," mainly sung by keyboardist Jim Gilmour.Through the album, the band is tight, keyboards galore with Ian Crichton's axe attack putting a metaledge on things. A fine moment from the band that was the missing link between neo-prog and AORinfused arena rock, Heads or Tales Live celebrates the Moratti tenure with the band and it also bringsa whole new twist on that record. Tommy Hash - Ytsejam.com - (80/100)IAN GILLAN, TONY IOMMI & FRIENDS– Who Cares (EarMusic / Edel)Benefiting the music school of Gyumari, Armenia an area that is still reeling from a devastatingearthquake that took place over twenty years ago, Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi, Jason Newsted, NickoMcBrain, Jon Lord, & Linde Lundstrom have come together to produce the two-song single WhoCares. Featuring two tracks the ultra dark and brooding "Out of My Mind," a tune reminiscent DeepPurple's "Perfect Strangers" crossed with Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell" and the seven minute"Holy Water," which mirrors the darkened edge of the former, but in a more straightforward balladfashion. It's a brief collaboration with everybody involved, where just two tracks aren't reallyenough, one could only wonder if this will evolve into anything else, if so, these two tunes prove thatthis dream lineup works. The CD also features the video for the track Out of My Mind" and a docu-mentary about how Ian Gillan played Armenia after the quake, then under soviet rule, as rock musicwasn't exactly welcome then. Still, you won't be disappointed with these two tunes, as the worldsof Sabbath and Purple collide in perfect form. Tommy Hash - Ytsejam.com (82/100)JOHN PARR – Letter To America (John Parr Music)No introduction is needed for this classy English vocalist! John Parr is synonymous forElegant—Message Bearing modern music. Although he stepped away from ‘the biz’ for awhile… he started flexing his musical muscles in 2006 and hasn’t really stopped! ‘Letter ToAmerica’ is a beautiful collection of Live and Acoustic numbers showcasing his extraordinaryVoice and song writing talents. Immersive, this double set will envelope you in an endear-ing musical experience... one that will leave you wanting more! From 2006 onwards, Johnhas been touring with various musical Artists, as well as writing, producing and recording.He is approaching each and every activity with zest, and one can hear this on this set. Richand varied, ‘Letter To America’ is a living testament to the strength and elegance of onegentle English minstrel… John Parr!! Bruce Atkinson (80/100)MOLLY HATCHET – Greatest Hits Vol 2 (SPV)Molly Hatchet released their first self-titled album way back in 1978. Today, over 30 years later, Molly Hatchetare still recording and performing worldwide; and as Southern Rock is to be considered an iconic part of theAmerican music history, Molly Hatchet are by all rights a part of that history. With more then 20 albums undertheir belt and thousands of miles spent touring all over the globe. Greatest Hits Vol 2 marks the 35th anniver-sary of their career and Molly Hatchet presents this double disc as a sort of gift to their loyal fans base, but itmust be also to be considered as a great addition to all rock lovers around. The first CD offers the best studiorecordings from their last 15 years while the second CD is filled with the best live recordings of Molly Hatchetclassics plus one previously unreleased track, titled “Sacred Ground”. Molly Hatchet is: Phil McCormack (vocals);Bobby Ingram, Dave Hlubek (guitar); John Galvin (keyboards) and Shawn Beamer (drums). Curiosity, theunusual band name refers to a prostitute named Molly Hatchet, who lived in the 17th century and had herlovers mutilated and decapitated after enjoying their favours. Fabio Mainardi (90/100)
Focus on: EDGUY - Age Of The Joker (Nuclear Blast)Lately, Edguy has been nominated – by the two Scorpions main-men, Klaus Meine and RudolfSchenker – as the band that will take their role, after the Scorps’ farewell tour. Plus, TobiasSammet has been very often compared to “monster”-singers like Bruce Dickinson and RonnieJames Dio. That said, when an album marked with the name Edguy is released, we can expectno less than the best, and what we have here is… simply the best! Starting with the unmis-takable sound of the Hammond-organ, in the title-track, and passing thru the Led Zeppelin-flavour of “”Pandora’s Box”, the Queensryche-darker approach of “Behind The Gates ToMidnight” and the direct and R.J.Dio-influenced “Nobody’s Hero”, this album adds some moreelements to the already world-famous Edguy sound; and, of course, Sammet sings like a Godon any track that the band offers to his fans. Produced by Sascha Paeth, “Age Of The Joker”is a masterpiece; call it Hard Rock, Melodic Metal, Power Metal or simply Rock, that’s an albumto have and spend countless hours on it. Essential. Primo Bonali (93/100)
Question: It’s a real pleasure tohave the chance to interviewyou! First of all many congratu-lations for your new GREATalbum, “The Age Of The Joker”.Would you like to introduce it toour readers?Answer: Thank you very much! I amlooking forward to see how peoplereact when they listen to songs likeRobin Hood, Rock Of Cashel andPadora’s Box. I’m sure they will beblown away!Q: In my opinion the new albumsounds – especially in somesongs – much more Hard-Rockoriented if compared to some ofyour previous works, with influ-ences I can recall coming fromhistorical bands like DeepPurple, Led Zeppelin andWhitesnake. Do you agree? Isthis new album reflecting whatEdguy are musically now?A: Of course, this album reflectsEdguy at this point of time. Butthese influences have already beenthere for long time, sometimesmore, sometimes less. Just thinkabout great songs like The PiperNever Dies, Navigator or Tears Of AMandrake. All these have been mypersonal favourite Edguy songs eversince! Edguy always changed fromone album to the next, BUT: themost important thing is that youalways recognize the heart of Edguyin every album and in every song.We’re still the same people with the
same love to music and we’re stillproud of our old albums as well as –of course – of our new one “Age OfThe Joker”!!!Q: With so many successfulalbums on your shoulders and abig label like Nuclear Blast nowwith you, have you felt somepressure for this new work?How was your expectationsabout the album, and has thework in studio been as planned?A: I always say, the next albumstarts right there, where you finishthe previous album. That means, weare always collecting ideas andthinking about what comes next.You would never plan such things.But surely, it is a lot of hard work tomake a good album, you need awhole lot of ambition and self-confi-dence (I guess we own plenty ofthat, hahaha), and of course wealways want to make it even betterthan the previous one, otherwise itwould not make sense to us torelease another album! And for thisreason it’s quite natural that weinsist that this is our best albumever!!! “Age Of The Joker” and“Hellfire Club” are my favouriteones!!!Q: Talking about the songwrit-ing, what has been the processyou’ve used?A: We spend a lot of time togetherlocked inside the rehearsing roomand play the new songs (or frag-ments of new ideas) million and bil-
lion times and always find littledetails which make the songs betteror fresher or whatever, so the songsare like little plants who need to begrown up with light and water untilthey are in full bloom!Q: Why a title like “Age Of TheJoker”? Any particular mean-ing? What about the themesyou’re developing on the album?A: Just have a look on the albumcover. I love the joker and hissmile! Is it a funny smile or a friend-ly smile or an evil smile? I don’tknow. It’s like people discuss aboutthe smile of Mona Lisa. But ourjoker is much better in my opinion,hihihi, and I guess people will stilldiscuss about it in 200 years! It’slike they discuss and arguing if aheavy metal band like Edguy is aallowed to be funny and tell badjokes on stage, hahaha!!! The Jokerrepresents us perfectly, it’s the AgeOf Edguy!!!Q: Any plans for tour in the nextmonths?A: The European Tour starts inSeptember and we are looking for-ward to play the new songs live onstage. Tickets are already on salefor a long time and it’s gonna beEdguy pure, with funny jokes andbad jokes, pure Happy Metal!!! Afterthe European tour we will head offto all the other continents, SouthAmerica, North America, Asia andAustralia and bring them HappyMetal, too, hahaha!!!
BAND: EDGUYALBUM:AGE OF THE JOKERINTERVIEW WITH: TOBIAS EXXELINTERVIEWED BY : PRIMO BONALI
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Question: Firstly how did the wholeWolfpakk project come together?Answer: Well, after my second solo albumwhich I produced with Michael Voss in hisKidroom-Music Studios, some reviewers weredisappointed about the roughness or let’s saythe heaviness of this solo album. They expect-ed “more” from the duo Sweeney/Voss. To tellthe truth, it was my aim to be softer on mysolo works, I wanted to show my vocal rangemeans, also to sing ballads or softer stuff. Irealized, that almost nobody is interested inthis! It’s nice for a musician to be varied, butthe fans wanna have AC/DC, Metallica or IronMaiden when they buy the record, nothingelse! So once when Michael was in my home-town in Switzerland, I asked him to do justthis, what the fans wanna hear from us! Imean, they expected Hardrock/Metal... so wegonna give them Hardrock and Metal! Fuck theexperiments! Actually we had no band, so wedecided to ask as many high class musiciansas possible to play on this record. It worked!Over 30 guest “wolves” joined Wolfpakk andsublimated this masterpeace!Q: With a cast of thousands (well nearly),how did the song-writing process cometogether? Did you write the songs for aspecific artist or did you write them anddecide afterwards who’d be best singingthem?A: We wrote songs and after that we discussedwho could sing this- or the other part of thesong and so on. For example we have a songcalled “le me die” and this one is pretty 80ties-like, not to say “Black Sabbath suspected”. SoTony Martin was our favourite for this songbut he didn’t like the lyrics! But with Jeff ScottSoto we had another option and he did an out-standing job.Q: The album is as diverse as it is splen-did, did you have a game plan when youstarted out or did it just progress into themetal beast it is, a real Metalstein consist-ing of different body parts coming togeth-er to make one monster?A: We had no plan at all. We just wrote songsand this in less then 3 weeks! When I left myband Crystal Ball, I still had plenty of ideas forsongs and Michael in any event has alwayssong ideas. So in really a short time we gotsome hammer songs in the pot and it becamebigger and bigger. We felt, that it could growto one big monster.Q: What was it like working with Michaelon the album as a song-writing partner-ship?A: I never had a better song-writing partner-ship like with Michael. His one of the best inEurope in every case. His a multi talent and anice person in one. He exactly understoodwhat I wanted and backwards. Vossi is a herofor me.Q: When most people do have guestartists on an album they can be named onone hand, so what made you decide to
have some 30+ guests on this album?A: Well the goal was, to have as much musicians as possible on this“project”. When you start with another band nowadays, it’s so bor-ing and everything once was heard or seen already in the past(especially when you make 80ties hardrock). So Michael knows hun-dreds of musicians all over the world he already worked with and sohe just asked me: who you wanna have still on the record!?!?Gosh... imagine, he has telephone numbers from all the stars in hispocket! Amazing! Ok, some stars had no time or were on tour butalmost every musician we wanted to have on this record did his partfinally!
Focus on: WOLFPAKK - S/T (AFM Records)The pairing of Voss and Sweeney came together on Sweeney’s ‘All In’ album back in 2009 but ithas only been now that the pair have got back together to write an album that encapsulates thevery best of Metal from the straight up old school, the modern anthemic battle metal and all portsin between. Not only is this the ultimate Metalhead release, but it also highlights some of the bestmusical and vocal talent the Metal and Heavy Rock scenes have to offer. If I was to mention every-one who features on this album there wouldn’t be enough room to highlight some of my favouriteslices of metal from said release. So here it goes for the Symphonic Metallers, check out ‘Sirens’and ‘Wolfony’. For the old school metalheads get your listening gear around ‘Slam Down TheHammer’, the Braveheart inspired ‘Let Me Die’ and ‘Dark Horizons’. For all you Hard Rockers outthere we have ‘Reptiles Kiss’, but if the Battle Metal is more your thing then it has to be ‘The Crow’.Although, if you like me, you like all good metal no matter what the packaging, then I recom-mend them all. So raise those horns and salute the METAL! Barry McMinn (85/100)
BAND: WOLFPACKALBUM:WOLFPACKINTERVIEW WITH: MARK SWEENEYINTERVIEWED BY : BARRY MCMINN
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Frontiers Records President Serafino Perugino Midas touch has again had one ofthose famed visionary moments that bares Melodic Hard Rock gold. One of THEalbums of recent years was the W.E.T album, which saw Jeff Scott Soto return tothe fold with his collaboration with famed producer and songwriter Erik Martensson.Now in 2011 we see Martensson team up with another Melodic Rock powerhouse,vocalist in Pride Of Lions frontman Toby Hitchcock, on what is one of the best debutalbums I’ve heard in such a long time, the simply stunning ‘Mercury’s Down’. Fromthe opener ‘This Is The Moment’ you know you’re in for a real stormer of an albumas Hitchcock unleashes that powerhouse vocal along with Martensson’s streamingguitars. This magnificent album is one of the albums of the year so far. Let’s hopethis is the first of many releases from these two. Barry McMinn (97/100)
Focus on: TOBY HITCHCOCK - Mercury’s Down (Frontiers Records)
Question: Firstly let me congrat-ulate on one of the albums of theyear so far!Answer: Thanks so much!Q: Back to the beginning, howdid the whole Toby Hitchcock /Erik Martensson partnershipcome about?A: Well, Serafino contacted me andasked if I would like to release a soloproject with Erik Martensson at thehelm. Of course, I said YES! I wasthen forwraded some of Erik’s workand was very impressed not onlywith him musically and lyrically, butalso his voice! He is truly an amazingtalent!Q: What was it about the songsyou heard that made you think …yes I want to do this?A: Well, before this project, I hadonly worked with the talented JimPeterik, an even though I love thePOL sound, I felt it was time for meto try my hand at something differ-ent. But then I heard some of thetracks and I was blown away by thehuge melodic sound of the songs. Ifelt it would be a great fit as soon asI heard them!Q: Why at this point in your
career did you think it was theright time to do a solo albumaway from Pride Of Lions?A: I think it’s always good for anartist to explore different thingsmusically. As I said before, I love JimPeterik and his music very much,and even though that relationship isstill there and growing, I wanted totry something new as well! Why tiemyself down to do only one thingwhen there is an opportunity to domore? Plus, I had Jim’s blessing aswell… and that’s always good!Q: How did the whole song writ-ing and recording process cometogether, did you write with Erikand if so, did you actually meetin person?A: This was definitely a unique expe-rianece for me. I never have metErik! This album was recorded at hisstudio, but the vocals were recordedat my studio here in the states. Itwas entirely produced via the inter-net. It was pretty spectacular how itcame together in spite of that. Ihave never done anything like thatbefore.Q: When you’re associated withone band like Pride Of Lions how
important do you think it is whendoing solo work to be different?A: I don’t think it’s that important,really. I think that regardless of whatI sing it will sound similar to otherprojects that I sing on. This isbecause I’m the one singing thesogs! If you like someone’s voice,you will buy the record that they areon I think. Lots of different artistshave recorded different soundingprojects many times. If you’re a fan,you’re a fan!Q: The album boasts some won-derful slices of Melodic/ HardRock but what tracks stand outfor you, what songs have a par-ticular special meaning for you?A: I think of two in particular thatare my favorites. I love the song“What I Should’ve Said” and thesong, “One Day I’ll Stop Loving You”.We have all had relationsips wherewe should’ve told that special some-one exaclty how we felt, but itbecame too late. On the other hand,we have all had those relationshipsthat we wanted to stay in, but theother person didn’t. That’s why I likethese two in particular: because Ihave been there.
BAND: TOBY HITCHCOCKALBUM:MERCURY’S DOWNINTERVIEW WITH: TOBY HITCHCOCKINTERVIEWED BY : BARRY MCMINN
Question: Can you tell us howthe pair of you teamed up andhow you got to where you arenow?Johannes Stole: We both studiedmusic at the Musiscians Institute inHollywood in -98, and we becomegood friends and started playingtogether. The band was then calledOrange Crush. After we moved backto our home countries, Norway forme and Sweden for Daniel we con-tinued working together, both withOrange Crush and other projects.As we both got really busy withother bands we had to put OrangeCrush on hold for a while. We'veboth played in many differentbands and are fans of many differ-ent styles of music, but we bothgrew up listening to bands like Totoand Yes (90125/Big Generator era)so we always felt we wanted to doan album in this style together.Q: How long have you beenworking on the record?
Daniel Palmqvist: 12 years. Haha,no, just kidding! Recording andwriting took about 6-7 months, butwe already had some songs writtenfrom the Orange Crush days. Alsowe worked on and off betweenother commitments wich meant ittook a little longer than expected.Q: You worked with DanielFlores, who produced therecord. What was it like work-ing with him?JS: Daniel and I has worked togeth-er for a long time and on manyalbums prior to this one. He pro-duced some songs with OrangeCrush in 2004, and later my solorecord A Landscape Made fromDreams (2006). After that we con-tinued working together on otherprojects and albums. We alreadyhad a long history and I know histalent as a producer and musicianso he was the first choice for pro-ducing this album. Also he's a greatarranger in this style of music.
Q: How do the pair of you writethe songs?DP: When Johannes and I write weusually get together in Oslo orStockholm, both of us bringingsome basic ideas for songs. Thenwe both contribute with out individ-ual ideas and writing styles and andwhat comes out sounds likeXorigiN.Q: There have been some greatnew AOR bands fromScandinavia recently. Why doyou think that is?DP: I think there've been a lot ofgood and successful Scandinavian"melodic rock/AOR" bands in thepast and that of course have influ-enced younger generations. It's alittle bit like the Bjorn Borg effect inSweden. When he got really big intennis in the 70's the younger guysgot inspired and 10 yeas later therewhere a bunch of good playerscoming from Sweden. Well, that'smy theory at least, haha.
BAND: XORIGINALBUM:STATE OF THE ARTINTERVIEW WITH: J. STOLE / D. PALMQVISTINTERVIEWED BY : DUNCAN JAMIESON
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The spate of great new AOR bands from Sweden remains unabated as XorigiN, a Norwegian/Swedishduo deliver a cracking debut Daniel Palmqvist played guitar with Murder Of My Sweet but this recordis less self consciously trying to be modern, and instead revels in 80s sounding AOR. All the hallmarksof great AOR is here. All the songs have great soaring vocals from Johannes Stole, big hooks andharmonies, shimmering keyboards and searing guitar solos. The album standout “In The Blink Of AnEye” could be Chicago with more muscle while “Gina” and “Matters To The Heart” have a Yes BigGenerator period sound, and have a lot in common with the criminally underrated band Surrenderwith their lush harmonies and (8os) hi-tech production. “Can’t Keep Running” is a corking up-tempostart and the quality doesn’t dip thereafter. “Too Late” and “This Is It” have a touch of HEAT aboutthem and they throw in elements of Alias on “What love Is All About” and melodies akin to On theRise and Toto throughout making XorigiN a must for anyone who has been recently seduced byScandinavian bands such as Houston, HEAT or Missbehavior. Barry McMinn (92/100)
Focus on: Xor ig iN - State Of The Art (Frontiers Records)
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Focus on: WORK OF ART - In Progress (Front iers Records)Frontiers artists, Work Of Art are about to release their second full length album calledIn Progress. This effort is the follow up to their 2008 release through Frontiers Records;Art Work. The Swedish trio Herman Furin; drums, Robert Sall; guitars and keyboards,and Lars Sorfsund on vocals are dynamic in their approach to melodic rock. The firsttrack, “The Rain” is a powerful song that is heavy on synthesizer feel as is “Nature OfThe Game”, but the drums are far more prevalent on this one. “Once Again” and “Emilie”along with “Until You Believe” all have great ballad qualities that make this album a mustlisten. “Never Love Again” has a great pop sound that is reminiscent of early NightRanger. “Call On Me” offers great harmonies as do many of the tracks, and they all seemto fit so perfectly into the inner workings of each individual song. “The Great Fall” alongwith “Castaway” offers up nice guitar work that tells tale of some great rock influences.“Castaway” is the cream of the crop on the entire effort, but really, it’s all quite good.Work of Art’s In Progress is undoubted the precursor to a masterpiece! Keep an ear outfor more from this band. Justine Bevan (98/100)
BAND: WORK OF ARTALBUM:
IN PROGRESSINTERVIEW WITH: ROBERT SALLINTERVIEWED BY : JUSTINE BEVAN
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Question: Congratulations on theupcoming release of InProgress!Herman Furin: Thanks!Q: Where did the name Work ofArt come from?HF: Robert and I couldn’t decide aname for a long time. I think we hada suggestion with “Miss Trouble”,which came from a Tower of Powersong. Eventually we came up withWork of Art, a name that we thoughtfit the genre, and stated quality andpride. I think I came up with it, butI’m not sure… Q: What makes this album differfrom Art Work?HF: First of all, we had something tolive up to! When Artwork wasreleased no-one knew who we were.Also, the songs were written duringa long period of time, a time we didnot have this time around.Q: How do you feel you have pro-gressed as a band since thedemo days?HF: Very much! All of us are bettermusicians, and have found our placein the music, so to speak. We knowmore how to get the feelings wewant to express out in the record-ings, in my opinion.Q: Did the songwriting processchange somehow between thetwo albums? How did you workon the new songs?RS: I think it was a bit different thistime as I started writing fromscratch whereas on the first record,most of the writing were alreadydone when we started working onthe album. But otherwise, theprocess was more or less the samebut of course there was a little morepressure involved this time as wehad the first record to live up to. Butthat was a good thing I think, a chal-lenge that brought out better writingfrom me.Q: How did you handle produc-tion for the new album? whatkind of sound did you want toachieve? are you 100% satisfiedof the results?HF: We are very happy with theresult! We had help this time rfomthe amazing Bo Reimer, who mixedhalf the album, and Lars mixed theother half. Bo has worked with virtu-ally anybody in the music business,Backstreet Boys, Westlife, BobbyKimball, Joe Lynn Turner and so on.He really helped us achieve thesound we were lookingfor.Production-wise it was a little dif-ferent, we worked more separately,but more focused. As always, time isthe hardest things, with other jobshanging over us. Luckily, we all haverecording possibilities at our studios,so that saved a lot of time.Q: Melody is definitely the key
for you. How important is havinga great melody/hookline? Howdifficult is finding the right one?Robert Sall: I think the music we lis-ten to is really melodic so that kindof comes natural to us. Having saidthat, finding that perfect hooklisusually what makes a song work ornot. Sometimes you find that specialhook right away which is usually agood sign because it makes writingthe rest of the song a lot easier butsometimes, you have to let go of asong because the hook is missing. Ithink we have are much better at"killing our darlings" than we wereon the last record.Q: What influences do you drawon to come up with such melodicsounds? Do you have anySwedish band influences?There’s an easy quality to yourmusic that the listener seems toalmost know what’s coming nextin the song, yet it is still a nicesurprise to the ears. Is there aformula to songwriting thatleads to such beauty in sound?RS: We are all into music in a lot ofdifferent styles but the common fac-tor is that it’s usually pretty melodicstuff. And of course it all rubs off onus when it comes to our own writing.Personally I’m really into artists thatmake pop music with a nice twist toit. Artists like Kevin Gilbert, BigMoney (Swedish 90’s pop duo) andIt bites comes to mind…Q: Do you think there is one songthat stands out for you on thealbum that is the favorite eitherto have recorded or play live?RS: If had to chose one song, itwould be the single “The Great Fall”but really, I think every song has itsown special place on this record sowhen you listen to from beginning toend, you won’t get bored!HF: Well, I can only speak formyself… I love all of the songs, butfor me, “The Nature of the Game”stands out, even though it was prob-ably the last or next to last song werecorded. It’s so much fun to play,with a really powerful guitarsolo-part.Q: Do you all write the music andlyrics?RS: I do most of the writing butoccasionally, I have someone to helpme out with the lyrics. On this recordhad a guy named Hanif Zabsevari tohelp me write the lyrics. Excellentlyricist and a fabulous guy!Q: “Artwork” had alreadyreceived excellent reviewseverywhere. Any specific reac-tion / comment which struck youin some way? Did any commentreceived at the time play aninfluence on the work on thenew album?
RS: It's true that "Artwork" was verywell received and that was reallyoverwhelming. But we also got ourfair share of being written off as"just another Toto rip off band". Soin the end, what really made uswanting to do this second albumwhat the love we felt from the fanswho bought "Artwork" and kept ask-ing us for a second one. I really hopethey will like this the new record aswell because that was a reallyimportant thing while making thisrecord and really helped motivateus.Q: Generally speaking, yoursongs deliver a very positivefeeling and attitude. Is it delib-erate? What would you like totransfer with your music?RS: We love this type of music, andwe hope that shows. We don't try tochange the world with our music butI really hope our songs send outsome good vibes to help people feela little better!Q: The AOR/melodic rock sceneis very crowded. How can youmanage to stand out from therest? What can be consideredyour key differentiators?RS: I believe the landscape as reallychanged this last couple of years.Compared to when we released"Artwork" in 2008, there's a lot morenew really good bands which isgreat!! I love what I see happeningin the the AOR/Melodic rock sceneright now. I feels as it finally is ok tomake this kind of music again andtha ist certainly wasn't the case 10-15 years ago! For better or worse, Ithink what makes us stand out a lit-tle bit is probably that we have awest coast element to our soundthat has to do we the way wearrange and use keyboards as ankey element on our sound. We real-ize that our sound isn't heavyenough for some melodic rockersbut on the other hand, we have a lotof fans that usually listing to a lotsmoother music so all evens out Iguess.Q: What are your touring plans?RS: We’re hoping to do some liveplaying once the record is out. Wewould love to go out and play livethis time and the wheels are inmotion so, hopefully, we’ll be doingsome gigs in a near future.Q: What do you anticipate will benext for Work of Art, (UnfinishedProject)?RS: As always, we focus one onrecord at the time and try to makemost out of each release. This time,I think we really should come outand play live as I feel we missed outon that part on the last record. Afterthat, we’ll see what happens!
Primo Bonali: Can you please introduce your bandand your new album "Freedom Call" to our readers?Honza Behunek: The band has been playing for 15 years,for 13 years only instrumentally, so far we have recorded5CDs. The last two years we have been working with asinger and recorded 2 records, which the very last is theFreedom Call. We had the opportunity to work with DoroPesch, Blaze Bayley, as well as play with great bands likeUriah Heep, Primal Fear, Sinner, Helloween, Rage etc....Freedom Call is one of the best recordings of Seventhanks to the players, who play with me, and the oppor-tunities we had while recording.PB: How could you label your music style? Whichare your most important influences, musically talk-ing?HB: It is predominantly the music and the feelings, whichcombines together. I think that it reflects the variety anddiversity that we all hear in jazz all the way to metal. Itis actually the 'heaviest' that we have recorded so far.People say that we produce so called progressive metal,but we leave it to our audience to categorize us.PB: How did you get in touch with the mightyNuclear Blast Records?HB: Because I have a contract with Mesa Boogie andIbanez as a testing palyer I attend many European guitarworkshops, my goal was to play all over the world and towork with a major label. Thanks to our friend VictorSmolski we managed to sign a contract with Nuclear Blastrecords.PB: Any plans for live gigs during the next months?HB: We are planning to record live DVD for the 15 yearanniversary of our band, where we will have many guestslike Blaze Bayley. , Victor and so on. I am also working onguitar video school and we are palnnign many concerts.PB: You come from Czech Republic, right? How isthe scene for the Heavy Metal over there? HB: Yes, I do. I think that the scene is similar to Europeanscene.PB: Thanx a lot for your time. Any last words?HB: Thank you for your questions, give my regards tofans of Melodic Rock Zine and I am looking forward meet-ing you soon. Have a great day.