Category: Uncategorized

JOHN MILES – Miles High +1 [Lemon Recordings / Cherry Red remastered 1st time on CD] HQ *Exclusive*

Nearly four decades after the original vinyl release in August 1981, JOHN MILES record ‘Miles High‘ was finally reissued on CD for the first time – hence, remastered – by Lemon Recordings / Cherry Red. The remaster is excellent, with a warm sound.
This, Miles sixth album, not only became hard to find on LP or cassette, but also to find a decent used copy. The album seemed elusive, and desirable; probably destined to exist on worn-out second hand vinyl only, forever.
‘Miles High’ contains the singles ‘Turn Yourself Loose’ (with its beside ‘Closer To You’ included into this reissue as bonus track) and ‘Reggae Man’, a good album track, but an unlikely single, coupled with ‘One Step Closer To Paradise’. In the USA, ‘Don’t Want The Same Things’ / ‘Reggae Man’ was the chosen single.
Style wise ‘Miles High’ style is classic John Miles featuring first class session musicians, whilst the sound production is typically 1980-81: polished, with a FM appeal, radio-friendly…

K’MONO – Mind Out Of Mind (2023) *HQ*

We all know umpteen bands who worship at the altar of the original progressive rock legends, and some are pretty good. Some less so. K’MONO are superb.
After listening this Minneapolis, Minnesota based band new album “Mind Out Of Mind” we are impressed. There’s no denying their influences; they are myriad and obvious. You’ll spot them easily, yet each is fleeting and simply the palette they draw from to create their own ‘thing’. K’MONO certainly use similarly dated instrumentation and wear their influences proudly, yet sound like nobody but themselves. It’s recognizably “prog” with an engaging musical throughline, and there are lots of lovely little twists and surprises.
The band put special attention in the mixing and arrangements – there’s an incredible ‘stereo‘ all over it – so prepare your headphones.
If this record had been released in ’70s, it might have been a bit idiosyncratic to sell well, but would definitely by now be regarded as a cult classic…

RAVEN – Faster Than The Speed Of Light [Cherry Red Records 3-CD Digipak] (2023) *Exclusive*

No doubt one of the NWOBHM pioneer acts, power-trio RAVEN – self-styled “athletic rockers” – were a huge influence on future metal bands, such as Megadeth, Metallica, Testament, etc.
Raven was formed by brothers Mark and John Gallagher, playing their first gig in 1975 while building up a loyal following across the North East of England. The band released their first 45rpm single ‘Don’t Need Your Money’ in 1980, followed by debut LP ‘Rock Until You Drop’ in 1981.
Becoming a big crowd draw, Raven did what they do best, and hit the road, exemplified by their live album, ‘Live At The Inferno’, appeared in 1984, which cherry picks their biggest hitters from their early single and first three Neat Records albums.
Released by Hear No Evil / Cherry Red Records, this 3-disc setFaster Than The Speed Of Light” compiles that 1984 live set, other from Japan 1995, and a covers album featuring Raven’s crazy versions of ‘Fireball’ (Deep Purple), ‘Bad Reputation’ (Thin Lizzy), ‘Ogre Battle’ (Queen) and any more…

MELVIN JAMES – The Passenger [Bad Reputation Records remastered] (2023) HQ *Exclusive*

In support of the album, they produced a video for the song Mystery Girl; the video’s director was Chuck Statler, who had directed videos for Devo. A review of Little Girls in Playboy Magazine described the band’s sound as reminiscent of The Who, The Yardbirds, and The Raspberries. While touring in support of Little Girls, the band were in a serious automobile accident outside of Brookings, South Dakota.
Procowitz broke his collarbone, Snow sustained shoulder injuries, and James escaped with minor injuries. They shared a flight home on a single-engine four-seater plane. The injuries left Crash Street Kids unable to play indefinitely…

BOX OF FROGS (feat Jeff Beck, Rory Gallagher) – S/T ’84 [Cherry Red / Esoteric Recordings remaster +2]

When The Yardbirds croaked, up burst a BOX OF FROGS… this band was formed by three members of The Yardbirds – Chris Dreja, Paul Samwell-Smith, and Jim McCarty – but since there names are not Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck, most would not recognize their names on the same plaque as those other three mega-famous guitarists in The Yardbirds.
On June 23, 1983, as part of London’s historic Marquee Club’s 25th Anniversary celebrations, three original Yardbirds musicians found themselves together on stage again. This same venue had been a regular nightspot for the legendary guitar-based blues-rock band that was the springboard for the likes of Clapton, Beck and Page.
For Paul, Chris and Jim, the reunion made them realize they had to make more music in the Yardbirds’ tradition. They added the excellent British Lions’s John Fiddler on vocals to form the nucleus of the band.
While recording the debut LP, on Christmas Eve 1983, Jeff Beck joined them at a farmhouse south of London and added his unique touch to four of the tracks. As other old friends jumped into the sessions – including Rory Gallagher, British Lions’ Ray Majors, Jethro Tull’s Peter-John Vettese, Jeff Beck Band Max Middleton, and many more – the idea for the group’s curious new name came about: BOX OF FROGS.
Remastered by Cherry Red / Esoteric Recordings and with 2 bonus tracks, their 1984’s self-titled debut “Box Of Frogs” is a great slice bluesy Classic Rock with an ’80s mainstream AOR radio-friendly delivery, timeless rock ‘n roll in a feel-good vibe mood…

IF ONLY – No Bed Of Roses [Rock Candy remaster +5] *HQ*

One of the most representative albums from the classy female fronted AOR / Melodic Rock golden era has been remastered by Rock Candy Records “No Bed Of Roses“, by IF ONLY, featuring superb vocalist Tina Egan. The reissue includes 5 bonus tracks where also the great Jackie Bodimead appears delivering her tremendous vocal pipes.
What we have is a classic slice of ’80s melodic rock / AOR which would have put the willies up many a US counterpart. It’s actually as good as any other girly bands output from the Eighties like Vixen, Witness etc. Opener ‘Loaded Gun’ is one of the finest melodic rock tracks you’ll witness in many a year, and if it was penned and performed by New Jersey era Bon Jovi you wouldn’t be in the least surprised. Great vocals, catchy chorus, huge riffs, it has all of what a great song should be…

SWEET F.A. – The Lost Tapes [early recordings] *HQ*

As requested, here’s “The Lost Tapes“, a limited edition CD including the very early recordings of Indianapolis, Indiana rockers SWEET F.A., a compilation of songs taped before the band was signed to major label MCA for their debut album.
In 1988, the musicians Steven David De Leong (vocals), Jon Huffman (guitar), James Thunder Thorpe (guitar), Jim Quiggins (bass) and Nick Lane (drums) joined forces to form SWEET F.A. Immediately they arranged and recorded songs each member was previously working on, plus newly written as a unit.
On these very well, multi-track recorded tapes you can hear why these songs impressed MCA executives; catchy tunes with a partly bluish American sleazy impact are offered, plenty of varied guitar work, hooks and extremely powerful singing.
None of these songs were re-recorded by the band next 2 studio albums, so “The Lost Tapes” works as a SWEET F.A. ‘lost album‘. It’s great to see this material released… this rocks!

SWEET F.A. – Temptation [Japanese Edition] *HQ*

Last year we featured the reissue of American rockers SWEET F.A. debut album, but their second effort “Temptation” is a record you need to listen too, a bit different and for many, even better.
Again produced by expert Howard Benson who also play keyboards, on 1991’s “Temptation” SWEET F.A. created an album with a more hard rock feel like many bands from the scene did between 1990-91. There’s diverse songwriting, the vocals are more mature and overall the songs ballsy and energetic.
The CD opens with the catchy fast paced rocker “Bad Boy” which has a real gritty and sleazy feel to it, but as said, from there SWEET F.A. shows their diversity. Take as example “Storm Is Movin’ In” which has a very cinematic feel to the music. This effect is deepened with that grittier edge to singer Steven David De Long’s vocals. The song starts slow with the combined music and singing giving the song an extra dimension. Then switch to a more hard rockin’ vibe but the song still remains top notch…

SIRENIA – ”1977” (2023)

Not many bands have shapeshifted like SIRENIA over the years, cycling through singers and styles every other record. Band leader and multi-instrumentalist Morten Veland is their sole constant, having now helmed the symphonic metal mainstays for over 20 years.
On this, their 11th album titled “1977“, he turns to synth-infused pop-rock from the 70s and 80s for influence, injecting their trademark mournfulness with dancefloor-friendly keys. That contrast between tragic lyricism and upbeat melodies is a winning combination.
Exploring a new style like never before, SIRENIA transport the listener to a retro auditory arcade harking back to when groovy synth melodies dominated the world of music. The international band merges late 70s and 80s pop/rock stylings with synth-driven elements and remarkable, hard-hitting symphonic melodies.
There are no radical departures here in how these tracks are structured, but many are deceptive in their simplicity; the biggest nod to songs of old is in the way standouts like ‘Wintry Heart’ and ‘A Thousand Scars’ unfold like perfect pop songs. By looking to those who did it best, Veland has crafted the tightest SIRENIA record in some time…

TESLA – Full Throttle Live (2023) *HQ*

Legendary hard rock band TESLA will release their highly anticipated live album on May 26, 2023. Titled “Full Throttle Live“, the recording has been taped at Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis.
TESLA is notorious for one thing; being a high-energy, 100% live, kick-ass rock and roll band in concert. “Full Throttle Live” captures this essence from a stop at the Sturgis Bike Rally in the year 2022 at the infamous saloon that hosts many motorcycle rock and roll parties, and this inspired the band to put on even more of a heavy show.
Independently recorded, mixed, and produced by bassist Brian Wheat and guitarist Frank Hannon, this new live album truly showcase TESLA in pure honest form and even dives deeper into their roots by recording a live version of the 1974 Aerosmith classic “S.O.S. Too Bad” as a bonus track…

LEE SMALL – The Last Man On Earth (2023) *HQ*

The Last Man On Earth” is the new solo album from stupendous vocalist LEE SMALL. ‘The man with the golden tonsils’ has been often compared to artists like Glenn Hughes, Bobby Kimball or Steve Walsh because of his melodic soulful voice. Lee first came to light singing with Tom Galley’s Phenomena project, later on SHY’s self-titled acclaimed album SHY 2011, then Lionheart, as well as releasing solo albums and many projects & session work.
This new album is a melodic rock feast in a classic style in the vein of Journey & Toto. It was recorded in London, Los Angeles and Texas gracing a wealth of the best musicians around including a duet with the great Dan Reed (Dan Reed Network).
Lee’s band mate Steve Mann from Lionheart play guitars as well renowned Tommy Denander, Edu Cominato (Geoff Tate Band) drums, Micke Nilsson (Bonafide) appears on bass, and many more musicians were involved to create a wonderful collection of songs…

METAL CHURCH – Congregation Of Annihilation (2023)

METAL CHURCH belongs to the forerunners of thrash metal. The band, initiated by Kurdt Vanderhoof launched a stellar debut in 1984 but line-up changes, tragedies and strokes of fate have been in the way for a big breakthrough. At the same time Metal Church are heroes from the underground and compared to some other bands, the ups and downs bound them closer together as a group.
Having rejoined the band in 2015, the hugely talented immensely popular frontman Mike Howe passed away just a couple of years ago, the singer following his trailblazing predecessor David Wayne who himself died in 2005, with the sad news also recently breaking of the passing of former drummer Kirk Arrington.
The moment of Howe passing away was therefore a shock and led to the question how the future of Metal Church will look like. After a period of grief, the band decided to continue and started to work and finish new songs.
Those are now on the upcoming album ‘Congregation of Annihilation’. Not only that the new longplayer is strong and powerful, Metal Church also found with Marc Lopes a singer that fits perfectly to the sound of the band…

ELEGANT WEAPONS (Ronnie Romero) – Horns For A Halo (2023)

What do you get when pairing guitarist Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest, vocalist Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group), Pantera’s bassist Rex Brown, and Faulkner’s fellow Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis. A super-group; ELEGANT WEAPONS. And just in case that isn’t enough, Faulkner called in his Priest co-guitarist Andy Sneap to deliver the production on their debut album “Horns For A Halo“.
A pandemic conception, Elegant Weapons was created by Faulkner recovered from an aortic aneurysm, that saw him in emergency surgery for 10-hours. After this near-death experience, Faulkner decided he had unfinished business, so grabbed the “bull by the horns”, formed Elegant Weapons and ‘Horns for a Halo’ becoming the result.
So, what does Elegant Weapons sound like? Well, they are a mix of the greats like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Dio, and Rainbow. But, they also have a lot of melody – we wave here a killer melodic metal 10-tracker…

TOKYO – Seven (2023)

Germans TOKYO released a bunch of enjoyable albums in the 80s mixing Americanized AOR with European melodic rock which over the years became cult LP’s for the genre. Now 2023 after six years since their last CD and always fronted by founder Robby Musenbichler the band is about to release their new opus ”Seven“.
TOKYO 2023 also features a couple of new members, one of them also handling lead vocals on some tracks proving a fresh touch to the new songs.
Several decades passed since the first TOKYO albums, and also for all members’ evolution as players. ”Seven” delivers the typical TOKYO melodies, but as well different musical sources acquired by these musicians all over the years, especially Musenbichler, always unquiet and searching for revitalizing musical grounds.
But don’t worry, “Seven” music & production sound is updated to modern times, yet still melodic, poppy AORish and catchy…

GEORGE GAKIS – Parallel Dimensions (2023)

Mixed & mastered by the unique Kip Winger, “Parallel Dimensions” is the upcoming solo new album from experienced Greek rocker GEORGE GAKIS, frontman of Troublemakers, a band with three decades in the business.
The album comprises 12 songs written by George where his super-talented little brother Bob Saganas play some terrific riffs & solos influenced by – guess what – Reb Beach, resulting into a melodic hard rock album with of course, Winger influences, but also Tyketto, Ken Tamplin, House Of Lords and more.
Alternating melodic hard rockers, midpaced bluesy rockers and ballads, the production of “Parallel Dimensions” is impeccable.