HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS
|TIMOTHY LEWIS 'Timothy Lewis'
Out of Orlando, Florida, USA comes the latest AOR sensation. TIMOTHY LEWIS is a multi-instrumentalist and let me clear this up for you. Nicky did a review of Timothy's CD some time ago and also did an interview. Now a few days ago I finally got to hear Timothy's CD and the album was only a few seconds away and I was shocked. This guy has a superb voice which can easily compete with the likes of HUGO, STEVE PERRY and Rik Emmett (TRIUMPH). It's been a long time since I heard such a wonderful voice. How on earth has this guy not been mentioned in the AOR scene before, because Timothy's voice is really incredible and a welcome to the AOR scene.
A few European AOR labels are already showing interest in the voice of this guy, so don't be surprised when later this year or next year there is a European CD from Timothy, because such a talent needs to be heard all over the world. But let's now get back to his debut CD which musically is pure AOR like a mix between 80s JOURNEY, HUGO, DAVE BALDWIN (TRADIA) and THE STORM. In other words, this is REALLY sensational. Besides the wonderful vocals, Timothy is also doing all the instruments and arrangements on his CD, so basically he did evreything on his own.
There are 7 songs on the album and right from the start it's like you have reached AOR HEAVEN. Opener "Given so much" is a terrific semi AOR ballad like HUGO, JOURNEY and THE STORM. And boy, just listen to those lead vocals of Timothy, simply brilliant and an AOR-Dream. A song like this can easily be called AOR HEAVEN! Up next is "Haley", a softer superb AOR ballad like JOURNEY meets DAVE BALDWIN. Another semi AOR ballad is the following track "I surrender", this is huge AOR a la HUGO and THE STORM, but also some similarities to 80s ALDO NOVA can be heard over here.
Then comes a JOURNEY cover titled "Feelin that way", quite an oldie and covered very well. It almost sounds more like JOURNEY than the orginal version. The vocals/harmonyparts are just perfect in this song. Timothy is doing a superb STEVE PERRY imitation on this cover and if you listen to the end of the song you can hear those perfect harmonyvocals I was talking about. Timothy's brother John helped him doing those harmonies, just to make it sound perfect. Those perfect harmonies can also be heard in the next track "Young dream", a superb semi AOR ballad like JOURNEY meets HUGO.
Then we get to hear the best song of the whole CD, which is the uptempo AOR rocker, titled "Hold u 2 night". This is the only uptempo rocker on the album, but right away one of the best ones of this year so far. "Hold u 2 night" has a superb classy 80s AOR chorus and can easily compete with the likes of TWO FIRES, THE STORM, TRADIA and JOURNEY. If only Timothy would put some more of such uptempo tunes on a future CD, then the CD of the year is in the making, because the vocals are already at their best. Musially it is also very good pure AOR, but a few more rockers can't hurt.
Closing track "That's how love goes" is the only weaker song on the album. This final track is a nice uptempo AOR/Radiorocker with pure Steve Perry typed vocals, but the song is disturbed by a saxsolo. Nevertheless, this CD is yours if you like pure 80s AOR a la JOURNEY, THE STORM, TWO FIRES, HUGO, TRADIA Don't forget to read the interview somewhere else on this site. Also check out Timothy's website at: http://www.mp3.com/timothy_lewis and e-mail him at: Tinkerland@aol.com
|RUBY FAITH AND THE WAITING WORLD 'Best of...'
If you are a loyal reader of Strutter'zine, you will certainly recognise this name. A few months ago I reviewed the demo tape of RUBY FAITH AND THE WAITING WORLD and also did an interview with this act. Soon after the review and interview followed European interest for the band and now the German label AOR HEAVEN has released the first official CD of RUBY FAITH AND THE WAITING WORLD entitled 'Best of'. The CD features 11 songs recorded between 1984 and 1993.
Musically this is prime-time female fronted Classic 80s AOR in the style of 80s HEART, WITNESS, JOSETTE, CINDY CRUSE ('The edge') If you're into this type of AOR, then this is a must for you to have. My favourites are the uptempo AOR rockers "Rat trap town", "Beautiful boy", "The right move" (PAT BENATAR circa early 80s), "All in the name of rock" and the midtempo AOR songs "Cry alone" (superb, pure 80s American Radio sound) and "Fire in my soul".
Thanks to Georg Siegl from AOR HEAVEN we can now all enjoy the wonderful songs of this band. Let's hope they will reform and record new stuff. For now, check out their site at: http://www.mp3.com/rubyfaith and get this CD as soon as possible.
|GOOD RATS 'Cover of night'
Remember this release? GOOD RATS released 'Cover of night' on an independent label years ago and back then I also reviewed it for Strutter'zine. Anyway, FRONTIERS RECORDS has re-released the CD and so it is now available in Europe for the first time. Musically this CD is a mixture of different rockstyles, but mostly these guys are playing 80s typed Party-Arena Rock with influences of KISS, VAN HALEN, KEEL and DOKKEN. It surprises me that no other label signed this band, because in the 70s they had pretty much a big reputation with even Bruce Kulick playing along with them on their farewell record.
This comeback album doesn't seem to have shocked the American labels and press, because it was put out on their own label. Happily here in Europe they are wiser and Frontiers has now put out the comeback album of the brothers Marcello (Peppi, Gene and Stefan). It's a cool album with a nice variation of uptempo classy 80s cheesy melodic rockers ("Cover of night", "Get it right", "Love on the beach"), groovy rockers ("Evil little boy", "Hotline"), fun partyrockers ("Football madness", "Crazy wild and angry") and even melodic rockballads ("Feelin' good again", "She's staying home tonight").
If bands like EXTREME, VAN HALEN, KISS, KEEL are up your alley and of course if you're a fan of GOOD RATS, then do check out this release. The band hasn't changed that much since the late 70s, a little bit updated, but still playing the good old fun melodic rock'n'roll.
|JEFF WATSON 'Around the sun'
Multi-instrumentalist (except drums) JEFF WATSON is mostly known as the guitarist for NIGHT RANGER in the big 80s. He also played in the band MOTHER'S ARMY and on records by Chris Isaak, Tony MacAlpine and Steve Morse. In 1992 he released his first solo-album 'Lone ranger', an instrumental record. His second solo-CD which has now been released through Frontiers Records, is filled with 13 songs of which 12 feature vocals. And besides a few sung by Jeff himself, on 5 tracks we can hear the wonderful lead vocals by KANSAS's singer Steve Walsh.
Also the son of Sammy Hagar, Aaron, sings on a few songs. Musically this album has not much in common with NIGHT RANGER. The CD is a mixture of the epic progressive structures of the old KANSAS (early 70s) and an 80s typed melodic guitarsound with some AOR influences. I think the best songs are "Life goes on", (midtempo melodic hardrock) "Anna waits" (beautiful start, nice semi AOR ballad like KANSAS meets NIGHT RANGER), "Leslie ann" (calmer semi AOR ballad like NIGHT RANGER) and "Ghost town" (KANSAS typed semi rocker).
The rest is a bit experimental at times ("Moment of truth", "Shadows of winter" and "Serenity") and sometimes average ("Glass revenge" and "Follow"). This release falls a little out of place between the rest of the FRONTIERS releases, because this CD of JEFF WATSON is a step moved from the AOR/Melodic Rock we usual get to hear. Nevertheless fans of Steve Walsh and Progressive AOR Rock will certainly enjoy this record.
|LARA 'Lara-I'm alright'
LARA comes out of the American State of Delaware, not really a state to look for AOR/Melodic Rock. LARA is the first artist out of that state I heard and can now review. She has an amazing voice, a lot sounding like the Wilson's from HEART. Musically it is nice lighter AOR like HEART meets JAIME KYLE. She uses a lot of acoustic guitars in her songs and therefore it sounds a little poppy, but if she would add some electric guitars, then this would be killer AOR/Melodic Rock.
Nevertheless, the two songs on her CD sound pretty nice. "The way it is" is lighter midtempo AOR, like HEART meets T'PAU, yet with an own style. The other song, "Picture this", is a nice acoustic ballad like JAIME KYLE. Not really heavy this LARA, but still good enough to listen and also very melodic. Her vocals are very good and if only her songs would rock a little more, then she could become quite sensational. For now, listen to both songs on her mp3 site at: http://www.mp3.com/lara and e-mail her at: email@example.com
|HAYESLAND 'Should I believe'
HAYESLAND comes out of California and are formed around lead singer/guitarist Christie Hayes. She has a very good voice and musically HAYESLAND are clearly influenced by the likes of HEART and PAT BENATAR, yet they have a sound of their own. Many times the music reminds me of JACQUIE, a girl we featured some time ago. There are 4 songs on their debut CD 'Should I believe'. The CD opens with "Should I believe", a good semi AOR ballad that sounds very radio-friendly and has an updated 90s sound. Next track "Lonely secret" is in the same style, but a little weaker.
The last two tracks of the CD are definitely the best ones. First there is "Don't look", a nice HEART influenced semi AOR song. But it's the closing track that makes it all worth it. This final song is titled "Never go alone" and is superb Classic 80s uptempo AOR a la VXN. This song is really wonderful and very different than the rest of the CD, because it has that upbeat approach we all liked so much in the 80s. I wish HAYESLAND could write some more songs in this style. Nevertheless this is still a band to check out if you're into Female Fronted AOR/Melodic Pop/Rock. More info on HAYESLAND at their site: http://www.hayesland.com and e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|DIVIAVAI 'Rock band demo'
DIVIAVAI is an Italian Melodic Rockband. They released this 'Demo' CD in 1997, but nevertheless an interesting effort. A shame the production is a bit weak, due to the low budget, but musically these guys are sounding pretty good. The band is singing in their own language, but this never becomes irritating. The demo-CD features 6 songs and 3 of them are good uptempo melodic rockers. These are the songs "Sing-sing", "Autunno" and "Colombia". Also uptempo is "Camminare sul muro", but this song is semi-instrumental.
The remaining two songs are the semi melodic rockballads "Naviganti" (best song) and "Dammi un modo". Actually I haven't heard a weak song and so this is just a fine melodic rockband out of Italy. If they only could polish up their sound/production, but I understand they don't have the money for this. Anyway, the band also sent me some live recordings, but these 5 included songs are a bit average sounding. Not only the weak sound, but also the songs are boring and not counting the two covers (U2 and JIMI HENDRIX). Anyway, for more info on DIVIAVAI you must pay their site a visit at: http://stage.vitaminic.it/diviavai and e-mail them at: email@example.com
|SOS 'SOS' (INDEPENDENT)
I am proud to present you the first band from Portugal. SOS hail from Lissabon and they sent me a 6-track debut CD. Musically the band has an 80s orientated rocksound and some songs can be classified as pure AOR/Melodic Rocksongs. The band sings in their own language, the Portuguese language, which makes it hard to understand, but the melodies are there and that's what counts. The CD starts with the funky rocker "Prisioneiro", one of the weaker songs on the album.
Next track "Credito a pronto" starts a bit slow and poppy, but when the chorus comes around, we're listening to a great uptempo melodic rocker. The lovely AOR orientated tune "Ecos na Noite" follows and features some very nice harmonyvocals that make this song sound very melodic. Following track "So tu" is later on the CD also featured in it's orginal version as a bonus track for this CD, but first we get to hear a raio version. This song is a nice ballad, towards the end it gets very melodic and very good actually. The second version is much longer and also better, because then it can be described as a wonderful pure melodic rockballad.
Anyway, the song "Estrada" is a good 80s typed semi AOR/Melodic Rocker and features really good lead vocals by singer Artur M. This guy really has a great voice and lifts the melodic rock of SOS much higher. Last track is "Esperado um dia", a nice semi rocker, but nothing special. There are some good tunes on the SOS CD and their vocalist is a nice welcome to the AOR/Melodic Rockscene, his vocals are very good. The songs are not always convincing, but a couple sound pretty good. Anyone into Latin-Rock needs to check out this SOS as soon as possible. More info at: http://www.esec.pt/sos and e-mail them at: SOS_Info@egroups.com
|BETTY WHITETRASH '5 Finger discount'
This band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA is playing very sleazy (and heavy) 90s typed rock'n'roll. Many times, the band reminds me of ZODIAC MINDWARP, FASTER PUSSYCAT, GUNS'N'ROSES and that movement. The difference with those bands is that BETTY WHITETRASH is slightly heavier and also groovier in soem parts. Their singer Jeremy Hugo is a bit sounding like the METALLICA vocalist, but musically it is much sleazier. The band sent me their debut CD '5 finger discount' that featured 4 originals and 1 cover.
The originals are very sleazy groovy metalish songs sounding like a cross between ZODIAC MINDWARP, GNR and early METALLICA. The cover tune comes out best, this is the DURAN DURAN tune "Girls on film". BETTY WHITETRASH covered it very well and to me this is the best song on the CD. They also sent me a new track they just finished called "One thousand dreams" and this is an uptempo rocker (with THE CULT influences). This band has nothing to do with the melodic rock we usual review, but if one of the mentioned bands is up your alley, then take a bite from this BETTY WHITETRASH. More info at: http://www.bettywhitetrash.com and e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|J.D. BRADSHAW 'Caught in the act'
J.D. BRADSHAW is a bassist/guitarist/vocalist from Virginia, USA who has released an EP-Length CD titled 'Caught in the act'. The 4 songs on the CD are a good blend of 80s typed uptempo melodic hardrock. The first 2 tracks ("Coolin' out" and "Beltane") are nice instrumental uptempo melodic rockers. Track number three "All the way" is the only song with vocals, a nice 80s typed uptempo melodic rocker like a cross between VAN HALEN and ACE FREHLEY. Closing track "Blue 135" is the only weak song, a groovy rocker. You can get more info on J.D. BRADSHAW by e-mailing him at: email@example.com
|LOVER UNDER COVER 'Lover Under Cover'
Probably receiving the top award
for the best album cover of all time, this fifteen track
cdr demo takes us on a melodic hard rock journey finding
inspiration along the way from the likes of Bon Jovi, Def
Leppard, Winger, and Danger Danger.
Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|SEXPOT 'The argument'
New York City sleazeters SEXPOT
formed in 1996 are inspired by MOTLEY CRUE , LA GUNS, and
the SMASHING PUMPKINS, this album features ten songs,
with the top songs being "Georgie Porgy",
"Cigars Cigarettes" and
"Frankenstein". The song "Serious" is
a blatant rip off to POISON's "Every Rose Has It's
Thorn" and does nothing what so ever for me.
Rating: 6,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|RICO MACALMA 'Outtakes 2000'
Inspired by GUNS N' ROSES, AEROSMITH, BON JOVI and WARRANT, California's Rico Macalma is a fairly talented multi musician. His songs have catchy hooks like on "Heading Home", the excellent "Money" with it's chanting chorus line "Give Me Your FUCKING Money" and "I'll Keep On Loving You" then there's your token ballad "I Guess I Loved Her" and the lovely flamenco instrumental "Beachcomber" which is funnily enough the best song on the cd and reminds me of GARY HOEY. The only thing letting Rico down is the production, but that's just a minor flaw for what is a fairly decent batch of songs. Defintley an artist to look out for. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: 7/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|PAIN 'Pieces' (VOODOO
In case you have been sleeping
under a rock for the last few years, you may recall that
this band featured Murray Daigle, Sean Gregory and Mike
Dmitrovic from Emerald Rain, back then lead singer Murray
Daigle sported long locks, and his vocals in Pain are
hardly any different to his performances with Emerald
Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|CONCERTO MOON 'Rain forest'
(INSIDE OUT MUSIC)
"Rain Forest" is the
third album from Japanese neo classical power metal
heroes Concerto Moon. The songs are very impressive and
follow the paths all ready trodden on by Yngwie
Malmsteen, Dio, Loudness, Queensryche Tony MaCalpine, and
Helloween. The new album contains a walloping fourteen
bombastic tracks, which is hard to digest, but once the
music has sunk into the earlobes you'll be hooked for
life, I promise you.
Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)