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Friday, July 13, 2007

TANKARD entered Stage One studios in Borgentreich, Germany earlier in the year with producer Andy Classen (DEW-SCENTED, CALLENISH CIRCLE, TANKARD, OCCULT) to record new versions of their biggest "hits" for "Best Case Scenario: 25 Years In Beers", is scheduled for release on August 31 through AFM Records.

FATAL SMILE has parted ways with singer H.B. Anderson and has replaced him with Thomas E. Blade.

DRAGONFORCE's "Inhuman Rampage" album has been certified silver in the U.K. for sales in excess of 60,000 copies.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD release their new album in October via Warners.

TED NUGENT’s new album ‘Love Grenade’ is out on Sep 4th via Eagle Rock.

GENESIS are planning to release a live DVD/CD from their recent reunion tour plus their autobiography is published in the autumn featuring contributions form all the band’s members past and present.

Collective Soul has struck a deal with Target, making it the exclusive physical retailer for its next album. "Afterwords" is due Aug. 28 and will be issued by the band's own El Music Group imprint. The set will also be available digitally on iTunes.

Escape Music Ltd are very happy to announce the forthcoming reissue of the Fortress album Hands in the Till originally released in 1981. Scheduled for release September 21, Hands in the Till is regarded as a classic power rock album that features such songs as How Do I Exist and Comin' After You.
The band features Jim West (Ambrosia) on vocals, Eric Turner on Guitar, Donny Vosburgh on drums and Charlie Souza (Tom Petty) on bass.
The reissue has been remixed and re-mastered and features 8 bonus tracks from the unreleased 2nd album with beautifully packaged as always (digipak); a real treat for eighties rock fans. In the past the album has been hailed as a classic of its time, with comparisons made to Led Zeppelin, Sammy Hagar, early Shooting Star and sometimes Journey. The guitars are heavy and melodic and there are some nice keyboards to keep the whole sound in balance. Just wait till you hear the vocals of Jim West and you will be amazed by his sheer power!
Track Listening: 1 - Hands In The Tell 2 - How Do I Exist 3 - Comin' After You 4 - Requiem 5 - Kisses 6 - Lets Do It Again 7 - Breaking Free 8 - Carry Me Back 9 - Back On The Path 10 - bonus tracks 11 - Across The Border 12 - Rockin 'n' Roll Lady 13 - I'm Flying 14 - Love Or Money 15 - Executive Lines 16 - Broken Promises 17 - Going For Broke 18 - I Got Love.

Sept 4 Anchorage, AK Egan Convention Center
Sept 5 Fairbanks, AK Carlson Center
Sept 7 Seattle, WA Moore Theater
Sept 8 Spokane, WA Big Easy
Sept 9 Portland, OR Roseland
Sept 11 San Francisco, CA Warfield
Sept 12 Anaheim, CA Grove
Sept 14 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
Sept 16 Denver, CO Ogden
Sept 18 Sauget, IL Pops
Sept 19 Milwaukee, WI Eagles Club
Sept 21 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room
Sept 22 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
Sept 23 Grand Rapids, MI Orbit Room
Sept 25 Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom
Sept 26 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Sept 28 Providence, RI Lupos
Sept 29 Hampton Beach, NH Hampton Beach Casino
Sept 30 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
Oct 01 Richmond, VA Toad's Place
Oct 03 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution
Oct 04 Orlando, FL House of Blues
Oct 05 Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues
Oct 06 Norfolk, VA Norva

LILLIAN AXE are planning to tour Europe in early 2008.

Portsmouth Guildhall December 7
Wolverhampton Civic Hall 8
Manchester Apollo 9
Glasgow Barrowlands 10
London Astoria 12

American Angel “Vanity” Chavis Records.

The last we heard of American Angel was in 1989 when their single “How Can I Miss You” was in heavy rotation on MTV, now after a 15-year break the band are back with their new “Vanity” album and a North American tour to back it up.
At times the album has hints of Bon Jovi (“Pantomind”), at other Whitesnake
(“Vanity”) and there are elements of Ratt and Slaughter in there, however, there is an overall feel of 80’s rock- harmonies, hooks, solos and big guitars (courtesy of guitarists Dennis Zehrer and Mike Biscula) and big vocals provided by front man Rocco Fury.
The outstanding tracks include the afore mentioned “Pantomind” and “Vanity”
plus the lighters out style of ballad “Warm Inside”, the more upbeat “Don’t Wait Up” and “Another Day”.
A welcome return and a great nostalgia-inducing album.

Nikk Gunns. 4 out of 5.

Sonic X “Thirteen” Chavis Records (Cat No 747014555422).

In “Thirteen” Canadian band Sonic X have released a classic slice of modern sounding classic rock- 12 heavy yet melodic songs that follow up nicely to 2004s self titled debut album. Vocalist Adam Troy has a voice that turns from bluesy to shredding at the flick of a switch, complemented by the guitar skills of Lawrence Falcomer and a quality rhythm section. The highlights include the tracks “Carried Away”, “My Condition”, “Seeds of Thunder” and, what surely has to be the lead single off of the CD, “Shine”- an almost acoustic track, full of harmonies and reminiscent of Mr Big or Extreme.

Nikk Gunns. 4 out of 5.

The Furze “Subterranean Kicks” Three Sixty Records (Cat No TSR003).

UK band The Furze release the catchy and upbeat “Subterranean Kicks” just in time for the summer barbeques and parties- not a bad move as the 10 tracks on the album range from Feeder style rock to more laid back and mellow songs. There are touches of Nirvana, The White Stripes and even The Kaiser Chiefs (who the band have recently toured with) in the mix. The pick of the tracks includes “God’s On Vacation”, “Hope The Light” and “Lunatic”. There is something here for most music lovers and I guarantee you will find yourself either singing along or tapping your feet!!

Nikk Gunns. 3 out of 5.

Hanoi Rocks “Fashion” Demolition (DEMCDS004).

Hanoi Rocks new single “Fashion” recalls the sound that made them the band that launched countless imitations over the years. Whilst the material they have released since reforming in 2001 has been good, this single is the natural successor to the songs they were making back in the early to mid 1980’s. It is also the first single to feature ex-Electric Boys Conny Bloom
(guitar) and Andy Christell (bass) and bodes well for upcoming album “Street
Poetry”- Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy (along with drummer Lacu- who has been with them since reforming) have created another classic here. This CD also includes the bands version of Billy Bremners’ “Trouble Boys”, the video for “Fashion” and a live version of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” recorded in Helsinki earlier this year.

I for one can’t wait for the new album and accompanying tour.

Nikk Gunns. 5 out of 5

DAVID READMAN Frontiers (2007)

Pink Cream 69 vocalist David Readman has produced a very enjoyable solo album which will delight lovers of Pink Cream 69 and Whitesnake (Readman does have the odd touch of Coverdale at times in his voice). A very impressive musical cast including band mates Dennis Ward handling production and guitarist Uwe Reitenauer. Joining them are Paul Logue (Eden’s Curse/Cry Havoc), Eric Rango (Vox Tempus/Takara) plus members of Silent Force, Elegy and Vanden Plas.
If the opener ‘Without You’ doesn’t get you running around pulling air guitar/vocalist shapes all over the place then you must be clinically dead! What a riff, what a chorus – this is what great melodic hard rock is all about. The next track ‘Evil Combination’ keeps the pace going nicely and then we get to slow it down slightly with ‘Take These Tears’. A very moving ballad although certain parts of the song sound like Whitesnake’s ‘Is This Love?’ Other corkers include ‘Prisoner Of Shame’ (the Coverdale sound comes through on this song) and ‘New Messiah’, which is another superlative hard rock tune. The lushly instrumented ‘Love In Vain’ closes the album in fine style.
David Readman has produced a very enjoyable album (with great production as you’d expect from Dennis Ward’s involvement) that taps into Pink Cream 69 but for me hits the Whitesnake button more. High quality hard rock form one of the better voices in the genre, buy with confidence!

Jason Ritchie


Well, well…just as we all thought that we would finally witness the second greatest era in the history of the classic Candlemass line up, a thought that was clearly justified by the release of the same-titled opus back in 2005, the Swedish Doomsters decided to once again prove their reputation for being one of the most unpredictable bands in the world. On the 28th of April 2006, Messiah Marcolin (vocals) announced his (second) departure from the ranks of the band, claiming “musical disagreement” as the reason, and the world of Doom Metal froze!

Since that very day, many of us hoped that the charismatic frontman would have a change of mind and return to the band – a hope that remained alive even when the first rumors of Robert Lowe (Solitude Aeturnus) joining the band first started to appear in magazines and webzines world-wide. Well, much to the disappointment of Messiah’s dedicated fan-base, the band has finally decided to release their latest album “King of the Grey Islands” with Robert behind the microphone, but the overall result is of such epic proportions that one has to approve the choice of replacement singer as entirely correct.

Let me make things straight here: I do not believe that there is any singer out there capable of convincing me that he is better suited for the role of frontman for Candlemass than Messiah, and it is true that one of the main things that this album lacks are the operatic/pompous melodies that only his “blessed” vocal can produce, but I would be lying if I was to say that Robert Lowe’s contribution was not important in the process of making “King of the Grey Islands” a release worthy of bearing the band’s name. This contribution, combined with Leif Edling’s (bass) well-established compositional/musical ingenuity gave birth to ten impressive compositions that even the most loyal of fans will find difficult to reject.

After a short acoustic intro, a riff of immeasurable epic proportions will introduce you to “Emperor of the Void” – the heaviest composition of the album. Simple in its structure but passionate in its performance, this four and a half minute composition with its catchy refrain and groovy breaks will win you over in no time. Closer to some of the band’s most classical compositions, “Devil Seed” does indeed impress with its heaviness and comes in direct contrast with “Of Stars and Smoke” – a lyrical/atmospheric composition with a certain late Black Sabbath (see “Headless Cross”) aura which in my opinion displays Robert Lowe’s best vocal performance of the album. The price for the most ‘disturbing’ song of the album should definitely be awarded to “Demonia 6”, seeing as it is based on one of the most claustrophobic riffs that I have listened to in recent times and that of ‘familiarity’ should be granted to “Destroyer” whose main theme is terribly reminiscent of that of the “Samarithan” (see “Nightfall” album). If what you are looking for in this album is rhythmical mid-tempo riff-based compositions, then you should definitely pay attention to both “Man of Sorrows” and “Clearsight”, but I warn you – save some energy for the very end because the Slayeresque (see “Dead Skin Mask”) melodic theme of “Embracing the Styx” will certainly ‘show no mercy’.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement to make: Candlemass are alive and kicking and have created another impressive album that goes by the name “King of the Grey Islands” – an album that you should definitely add to your CD collection. I am well aware that you miss the presence of the gentle rotund monk, God knows I do, but do not allow these feelings to blind you from the truth which is that Candlemass with Robert Lowe are a powerful outfit capable of keeping us on our toes with their future releases, which I personally hope will be numerous.

John Stefanis
Rating: ****1/2 (4.5 / 5.0)


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