Since I write every review on this site myself and I only write on my spare-time, there are records that I usually ignore – because there’s only 24 hours in a day. Compilation albums, re-releases, re-recordings and live albums usually never makes it online here. But there are exceptions whenever I see fit. This album is one of those exceptions. Why? Well, because this album has meant shitloads to me since the day it was released back in 1986. I discovered Easy Action in 1984 when they were still a Glam Rock band and featured vocalist Zinny Zan (Shotgun Messiah, Stagman), guitarists Kee Marcello (Europe, Red Fun) and Chris Lind (who called himself Lynn back then), bassist Alex Tyrone (Sha-Boom) and drummer Freddie Von Gerber (who went by the name Van Gerber, also in Red Fun and Rat Bat Blue) because of a documentary / live gig that was sent on Swedish television and I was struck right off the bat.
It was eight years ago since Iron Maiden bass player and main song-writer Steve Harris released the debut album by his side project British Lion. Released as a Harris solo-album with British Lion as the album’s title – for sales purposes, of course as both record company and bassist knew that Maiden’s fan-base is extremely loyal and would swallow the album whole – British Lion were and are still very much a band. When Harris couldn’t tour with them, they simply went out and played gigs without him, knowing that his commitments to Maiden would at some time take a pause and Harris would rejoin them. The debut album was of course of interest for more or less all rockers out there, I mean, who wasn’t at least a little bit intrigued by how the side-project by one of Heavy Metal’s giants would sound? I certainly was.
When the news broke back in 2017 that yet another prog-metal super-group, formed by the ever hard-working drummer Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Dream Theater, Transatlantic, The Winery Dogs, Liquid Tension Experiment etc.), I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to give a rat about yey another one of his projects. However, when I saw which musicians who had joined him, I changed my mind. You just don’t look the other way when singer Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman, W.E.T., Trans Siberian Orchestra, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eyes, Axel Rudi Pell), guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N Roses, Asia, Lita Ford), bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr Big, The Winery Dogs, David Lee Roth, Talas), keyboarder Derek Sherinian (Black Country Communion, Alice Cooper, Dream Theater, Kiss, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Bonamassa) and Portnoy joins forces. Worst case scenario, it would only had been an interesting mixture of killer musicians.
Ever since a friend at school played On A Storyteller’s Night (1985) for me, I have loved Magnum. I did not only buy that album right off the bat that same day, I also bought the rest of their discography as soon as I got any green at hand and since that day, I have bought every single Magnum album the day they came out. Until the reunion, that is. Those albums has been bought on different occasions. They lost a little momentum for me with Goodnight L.A. (1990), it was too slick and polished and too obviously produced for the American market – Magnum was always a very European sounding band – even though it do contains a bunch of damn good songs and the mundane follow-up Sleepwalking (1992) was a disappointment that almost made me do just that while listening – sleepwalking. Rock Art (1994) was a step up but it was also their last record before splitting up. Also their reunion-albums in 2002, Breath Of Life and Brand New Morning (2004), were ok but not so much more than that.
“Let’s leave click-tracks, copy n’ paste and autotune to the kids. Future Elephants? is the real thing”! Those are the finishing words in the press-release for this record. And by those words, it’s not hard to guess in which genre this lot is dwelling. That they aren’t exactly 20-something in age isn’t that hard to figure out either. But no matter what, I dig that attitude. Autotune is Satan! And what about that name then? Future Elephants? With a question-mark. Well, bassist Anders Lundquist explained that to me not so long ago, but that night included wine. And beer. And a whiskey or two. And it got late. In fact, your’s truly’s wife had to drag your’s truly home early in the morning. So I don’t remember it all that well but I believe it had something to do with elephants are on their way to being endangered and that can be applied on musicians. Or something like that. Whatever, I dig the name – once you hear it, you’ll never forget it.
I guess most people aren’t very familiar with Mats Karlsson, going “hmmm” when taking a look at this review. Mats Karlsson came into the spotlight here in Sweden while playing guitar with Swedish Metal/Hard Rock outfit 220 Volt, a band that never really made it outside of Sweden. To be frank, they weren’t exactly huge in Sweden either even though most rockers that grew up in the 80’s know who they are. They were the closest to a international break-through when in 1988 they released their most commercially viable record Eye To Eye, their fourth, with legendary producer Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Y&T, Lynch Mob, Megadeth, Savatage) steering the wheel. It’s also my favorite 220 Volt album and in my book, the album deserved a better fate than it did. Personally, I was never a big fan of the band even though I never disliked them – they sure wrote some really good songs throughout the years.
Frontiers Records has a reputation for bringing out AOR, Melodic Rock and American sounding Arena Rock bands, both new ones and older reunited ones. But every once in a while they’ll put out something completely different. Metal is one genre that Frontiers has taken a liking to, but for the most part when they release Metal bands it’s mostly Power Metal, European style. Reading the press release for the debut album by British rockers A New Tomorrow, it looks like we’re given something completely out of the label’s comfort zone. While modern has been something of a bad word for this label before, modern is apparently what we’re treated with here, if by modern we mean bands like Alter Bridge, Foo Fighters, Nickelback and the likes. Alternative might be a better word.
I remember quite well when Swedish Melodic Rock/AOR rockers started out back in 1991 because they were kinda the talk of the town for a short while back then. For some reason, I never really paid any attention to them then, probably because it would take them an additional seven years to release their debut album Lint. However, by then Grunge had come and swiped Melodic Rock off the face of the Earth and been pushed away itself by nu-metal and other alternative crap. Classic Metal, Hard Rock, AOR, Glam, Sleaze, Melodic Rock etc. was still out of the picture though and bands either split up or struggled hard to get by – musically a horrible time for me.
I admit I haven’t given Edge Of Forever much thought since the first time I heard (about) them back in 2004. A co-worker of mine had bought their debut album Feeding The Fire from a second-hand record store and thought I should hear it – since he knew I was a fan of Melodic Hard Rock – so I borrowed it, burned it to an empty CD, listened to it a few times and then more or less forgot about it. Not that I thought it sucked, I just thought the music was mundane. Bland. A reaction that CD has given me the very few times I have picked it up again throughout the years. Which is somewhat strange as the album was produced by one Marcel Jacob (RIP) of Talisman and Yngwie Malmsteen fame, a guy I have always respected and am a fan of as a song writer and musician.
This year it’s 10 years since the debut album Divanity by Swedish rockers The Murder Of My Sweet popped up. Time flies, huh? I instantly took a liking to the band’s cinematic, theatrical and symphonic mixture of AOR, Goth, Metal, Hard Rock and Melodic Rock and singer Angelica Rylin’s gorgeous voice seduced me right off the bat as it held a broad range and was both technical, emotional, smooth and raw at the same time. My relationship with the band has been mostly a good one. The follow-up Bye Bye Lullabye (2012) was an even better effort and Beth Out Of Hell (2015) almost got the full monty for me – a brilliant piece of work. So my expectations were set high for 2017’s Echoes Of The Aftermath but the album wasn’t even close to live up to those expectations. It was an uneven album where the best song couldn’t hold a candle to the ones on the predecessor. Now TMOMS are back with a new effort and this time I’m not sure how high my expectations should be.