A Dokken reunion has probably not been closer than it is today as all members seem to be on speaking terms. In fact, they did a reunion and recorded a new song and video back in 2018 called “Just Another Day” after playing a few gigs in Japan back in 2016. But as for now Don Dokken is still busy with his own version of the band, a version guitarist George Lynch guested on stage recently. While the original Dokken still isn’t a thing, the rest of the band – Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Mick Brown – started a new band with singer Robert Mason (ex- Lynch Mob, Warrant, Cry Of Love) called The End Machine who released a good enough debut album back in 2019, an album that did sport a sound of their own also filled with references to both Dokken and Lynch Mob.
Back in 2019 some dude at Frontiers got it in his head that it was time for ex – Queensrÿche singer Geoff Tate to go back to his roots and record an album we fans had wanted him to do for ages now. Said and done, DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni was given a call and would he be interested in writing a Queensrÿche sounding album for Tate to sing if he agreed to? Of course he was and so he did. Tate accepted the offer and the project was on its way. And what we were given a little later on was just that, an album of Queensrÿche related Hard Rock with a whole bunch of killer songs and a Tate in fine form. Also, the album was a success and even though Tate wasn’t sure there would be a sequel, it wasn’t all that hard to figure out that eventually there would be one. And that time is now.
Here’s an odd collaboration if there ever was one. Who in a million years would have thought that these two gentlemen would team up and make a record. Not me. When the news was out, I was stunned – and very interested in what they would come up with. Adrian Smith is known as one of there lead guitarists in Iron Maiden, of course and in my opinion the hit-maker in that band. That said, he released an album of poppier moments and AOR-fused rock numbers with his band A.S.A.P (Adrian Smith And Project) called Silver And Gold in 1989, one year before he left Iron Maiden, a very underrated album that more or less bombed commercially. Smith was the singer on that album and without sporting a huge range, he did show that he had a good voice. It needs to be known that without being a guitar-hero of any kind, Smith is a skilled guitarist with a whole lot of feel, melody and tone.
The first time I ever heard (of) White Zombie was back in the early 90’s when Headbanger’s Ball aired the video for “Thunderkiss ’65” – and I effing hated it. Even though I dug their tune “More Human Than Human” a little later on, I gave them very little attention – they just didn’t interest me the least. That’s why I just shrugged my shoulders when a friend of mine handed me a copy of singer Rob Zombie’s debut solo album Hellbilly DeLuxe (1998) and it took me a few days to bother with it. But when I did – BOOM!!! The album completely floored me and to this day I find it a brilliant record, a record that have stood the test of time very, very well and I still spin it ever so often.
After no less than three reunions, it finally feels like British rockers Thunder are here to stay. The band’s latest effort is the fourth since the last reunion in 2014, if you include the compilation album Please Remain Seated (2019) of reworked older tracks and all the albums have been really damn good. Now, that’s hardly a shocker as Thunder has always delivered the goods, the underwhelming Giving The Game Away from 1999 excepted. It was four years since Thunder dropped any newly written material on us and now when they do, expectations are shooting like rockets to the sky. Well, at least for me they are.
To be honest, I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge of Gary Hughes – and I definitely haven’t heard all that much of his solo albums, this being number nine. Hughes is mostly known as the singer in British Melodic Rock act Ten, a band that I haven’t listened to all that much either. I’ve reviewed their last three albums and I found all of them good enough but I still haven’t heard any of their other eleven albums. Hughes has also written three albums for Magnum singer Bob Catley, been involved with Hugo, Vinny Burns, Johnny Lima and Ayreon, so it’s a productive and creative gentleman we’re dealing with here. Judging by what I have heard of this man previously, my impression of Hughes is that he’s a skilled writer with a somewhat limited vocal-range so I have high hopes that this album will contain a whole bunch of really good Melodic Rock tracks.
To be honest, if it wasn’t for this site and the fact that I’m getting promos, I would never have given a band like Secret Sphere the time of day. Why? Well, I’m not that big on Power Metal per se and if not a very good reason why is coming, there are so much other music out there to digest. That changed in 2016 when a promo of their live album One Night In Tokyo landed in my mailbox and a year later a studio album, The Nature Of Time, did the same. The album was ok, not my bag of crisps, but ok. That said, I still haven’t heard a single note of their other seven albums – eight if you count the re-recording of A Time Never Come. Now it’s time for yet another album and as always, I will do my best to dig into the album with an open mind.
This time Karlsson has gone for broke and written his own rock-opera – well, it’s a metal-opera hence the title – and to step outside a bit of the metal-opera box, only female singers has been brought in to play the characters. Adrienne Cowan (Seven Spires, Masters Of Ceremony), Anette Olzon (Nightwish, The Dark Element), Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast), Netta Laurenne (Smackbound), Ailyn (Her Chariot Awaits), Margarita Monet (Edge Of Paradise) and Youmna Jreissati (Ostura) are names that makes for huge vocal qualities. The opera is about The Heart Healer, a character played by Adrienne Cowan, who wakes up with no memory and does not know who she is. She soon finds out that she can heal people with just a touch of her hand, but every time she does, she gets weaker. On her journey to find out who she really is, she meets new characters who want to help her, those who want her help, and those who are scared of her and start to hunt her.
When Norwegian AOR-rocker Isabelle “Issa” Oversveen released her brilliant debut album Sign Of Angels I was convinced that she would turn into the new Queen of AOR. She had the attitude, the songs, the sound and the looks of a star. However things didn’t really turn out that way. Now eleven years later, she hasn’t become all that much bigger than she was back then. Why that is, if I can guess, is that her previous albums hasn’t really shown that many signs of development and even though no albums has been bad, they have all, with the exception of second album The Storm, more or less sounded like new versions of the debut. The explanation for that is, of course, that they have all been produced and mostly written by Frontiers stable of song writers and Alessandro Del Vecchio in particular.
There sure has been lots of movement within the 220 Volt camp in later years. Not only did they reunite back in 2014 and released a good enough album in Walking In Starlight but in 2019 guitarist Mats Karlsson decided to release a solo album called The Time Optimist, a solid and surprisingly vital Classic Rock album – and now it’s time for drummer Peter Hermansson to show us what he can do on his own. Also a drummer with both Talisman and John Norum and a life-long commitment within the Swedish Hard Rock community, there was a long list of guests ready to give the drummer a helping hand.