So here we are again – another one of those supergroups from Frontiers, right? We all know how the story goes – Frontiers’ song-writing team comes up with a bunch of songs, hires a group or an artist to sing and perform them and then sit around to see if anything happens. And I know lots of people has gotten jaded with all of that – me included – even though some of them has been really damn good. Well, when I heard about this thingy, I hoped that that wouldn’t be the case. When I heard the news about this formation, I got very intrigued right away. This is the band where singer Robin McAuley (Grand Prix, Far Corporation, MSG, Survivor), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake, Dokken), bassist Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner) and drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr Big) were put together and since I’m a huge fan of all of them, I hoped that this would turn out to be a real band.
The first time I ever heard about Lordi, I thought they were something like GWAR. In a way, they are when you consider the monster suits, but I meant musically. You know, second rate Metal – to put it kindly. That’s why it took a while for me to even be bothered with checking this lot out and when I did, it was by accident. I was watching one of those compilation-videos and “Would You Love A Monsterman” showed up. I got hooked immediately by the band’s mixture of classic Heavy Metal and 80’s Arena Rock/Melodic Rock and with that, I decided to give the band a fair go. I still really dig their first four albums but since Babez For Breakfast (2010) their albums has been very much up and down quality wise and even though I don’t think they ever made a throughout crappy album, many of those record was uneven. The last album Sexorcism (2018) also showed a whole new level of bad taste, lyrically – and I’m not a sensitive guy at all.
I can’t remember the last time I read or heard somebody praising cover-albums. At times it even feels like people hate them by default, that they have made up their minds without hearing a note. I have no issues at all with cover-albums, I even find them interesting. It’s always fun to hear some artist’s take on another artist’s song. That said, there are bad ones and there are really good ones, but it almost never happens that a cover betters the original. I know of covers albums that are really good – Stryper, Tesla and Ace Frehley have all released really good records, but the first time I actually looked forward to a cover-album is when Jorn Lande was about to release Heavy Rock Radio back in 2016. Let me explain why.
You know when you get that feeling that you just know that an album is gonna be great even if you haven’t heard a note of either band or album but you can’t really put a finger on why? That happens to me less and less as the years go by but the younger me got that feeling all the time. I have discovered many bands that way. I love that feeling when you play said record and you are right. But to be honest, many mishaps has come my way too. To be more honest, I’d say it’s almost 50/50. It’s easier today than back when because of all the possibilities when it comes to pre-listening before buying. Well, Dirty Shirley’s debut album is one of those albums. When the word came out that guitarist George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob, Sweet & Lynch, KXM, Souls Of We, The End Machine) and singer Dino Jelusic (Animal Drive, Trans Siberian Orchestra) was about to release an album together, it spontaneously felt like a winner.
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.
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.
Anyone out there remember these guys? Actually, does anyone out there even know who Shark Island are? I discovered the band back in 1989 when a friend of mine bought their second album and major record-label debut Law Of The Order head over heels – because he thought the name was cool – and I was hooked immediately. The band was a part of the American melodic Arena Rock that was popular back then but to their credit, they sported their own sound and identity, much because of singer Richard Black’s personal sounding voice and their way to twitch their melodies, phrasings and arrangements which made them stand out from many of the new bands that started out around that time. Unfortunately, the album didn’t exactly set the world on fire and the band split up in the early 90’s. Richard Black tried to reunite the band with a new line-up back in 1994 but to no avail.
I hadn’t even recovered from the shock that singer Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids, who recently released their new, brilliant album, was battling lung cancer when it was time for another shocker: drummer Frankie Banali is battling stage four pancreas cancer. Horrible, horrible news. And just like the case of label mates Pretty Maids, the news broke just in time for the release of their brand new album, their first with the same line-up as the predecessor since Jesus went to pre-school. And speaking of line-ups, when Quiet Riot was about to release their last album Road Rage back in 2017, singer Seann Nicols jumped ship but luckily enough, the band hired American Idol contender James Durbin, pulled back the record, re-recorded the vocals and released the record and everything seemed hunky-dory in the riot-camp. The band toured a lot, released a live record earlier in 2019 and then hit the studio for a follow-up.
It’s fun to go back and read old reviews from years back only to check out which (or if) any opinions have changed since then. It’s also quite fun to read some of the comments to some reviews. When I’m now about to write the review for Alter Bridge’s new record, it’s with a different mind-set than I had in 2010. Or in 2012. Back then I was discovering a band that I hadn’t really made an impact on me. In 2010, Alter Bridge had two albums under their belt, two albums that never resonated me at all. I didn’t dislike them but I wasn’t exactly a fan either. And to this day, those two albums has failed to make a great impression on me. They’re ok but that’s it. Things have changed since then. I am now a fan. I can honestly say that I love Alter Bridge now. And all that started with AB III (2010) and by 2012 and Fortress, I was a convinced fan with everything that comes with that.
It had been a long time comin’ when ex – Little Angels singer Toby Jepson made his, for me, long-awaited come back to the scene with his new band, Wayward Sons. I have been a big fan of Little Angels since their 1990 debut Don’t Prey For Me and I always loved Jepson’s voice. Jepson has had a few projects since Little Angels’ split in 1994 – Toby And The Whole Truth, the singer spot in both Gun and Fastway – but none of them sported any longevity and to be fair, I had almost forgotten about Jepson had it not been for the short-lived Little Angels reunion a few years back.