CHRISTIAN TOLLE PROJECT 'Better than dreams' (CTM)

This is a very interesting release, because multi-instrumentalist CHRISTIAN TOLLE from Germany has been accompanied by guitarplayers like Steve Lukather, Michael Thompson and Tim Pierce on his debut CD. Besides, the 10 songs are from a very high quality and are best described as 80s typed AOR/Melodic Rock like a mix between GIANT, 80s BAD COMPANY, FOREIGNER, KEVIN LEE, BRYAN ADAMS and RICK SPRINGFIELD (80s period). So basically this is guitar driven melodic rock with raw emotional vocals and catchy choruses to sing-a-long.

The CD opens with "Changed", a great 80s typed uptempo cheerful melodic AOR/ Poprocker like BRYAN ADAMS meets RICK SPRINGFIELD (only a bit tougher than
these two). Next up is the straight ahead AOR/Melodic Rocker "She doesn't know". "Taking a risk" is a great semi AOR ballad. Then comes the fantastic semi AOR rocker "One night alone" that sounds like a mix between the old JEFF PARIS and TIM FEEHAN. The good semi AOR/Melodic rocker "Angel" follows. "Monkey park" is the fuirst track that didn't bother me that much, just a poprocker, nothing more nothing less. "Back to you" then again is a very good AOR/Melodic Rocker (like 1984 BRYAN ADAMS). "I know" is one of the highlights of the record, because this is a great AOR song.

The instrumental "87 99" is nice to check out for the guitarfreaks, because it features a 'guitar-duet' between Steve Lukather and Tim Pierce. The CD closes nicely with the semi melodic rockballad "Out in the night". This CHRISTIAN TOLLE PROJECT is definitely
worth checking out if you're a fan of AOR/Melodic Rock, because this is really quality. Everything just sounds great on this CD and not only because Steve Lukather and Michael Thompson appear on the album, Christian is a very fine musician who plays the instruments very well. He only doesn't sing on the songs, because Stephan Scheuss does the lead vocals. Anyway, check out the interview I had with Christian and visit his site at: and e-mail him at:

Rating: 9/10


CLOCKWISE 'Time is waiting' (VIDISCO)

CLOCKWISE is another new AOR band from Spain. Their CD 'Time is waiting' is a very good 80s Euro AOR record in the style of FAIR WARNING, DAMNED NATION, TERRA NOVA, CHALICE… The first 7 songs are fantastic AOR/Melodic Rocksongs and my favourites are "Two worlds" (midtempo melodic rocker), "To eternity" (semi melodic rockballad a la FAIR WARNING), "On your own" (cheerful uptempo 80s melodic rocker a la first DANGER DANGER) and "Time is waiting".

This last mentioned song, the titletrack, is the best song of the whole CD, because it is a lovely catchy uptempo melodic rocker with some very nice harmonyvocals. The closing 3 songs are a bit less sensational, but in general fans of European AOR will like this CLOCKWISE (not to be confused with the Swedish AOR/Melodic Rock outfit) a lot. You can get a copy of the CD by e-mailing Robert Pancur: and look at his website at: for more independent AOR releases.

Rating: 8,5/10



ELYTE is a sensational AOR band from Madrid, Spain. Their debut 'Unno' is definitely a must for anyone who likes Spanish AOR (read: CODA, LAFASE, JUPITER, SAGRE AZUL), but is also recommended to fans of acts like DANNY DANZI, TERRA NOVA, DANGER DANGER… Although they sing in their own language, still the AOR on 'Unno' sounds huge and is as good as the English sung AOR.

My favourite songs are "Ya lo ves" (very cheerful uptempo AOR/Melodic Rock a la TERRA NOVA, CODA), "No te puedo dejar atras" (fantastic uptempo AOR/FM-rocker), "Miralo" (superb uptempo classy 80s AOR with some very catchy hooks, like a mix between early FM, STAN BUSH and CODA) and "dentro de mi" (fantastic uptempo AOR rocker).

Besides all these uptempo tunes, the band also throws in some great AOR/Melodic
Rockballads like "Ya no queda nada", "Traicion" and the midtempo "Corazon de cristal" (hello LA FASE!). This is quite an enjoyable Spanish AOR record that definitely beats alot of the major label releases, because of it's huge sound and quality AOR/Melodic Rocksongs, the only difference is the language. More info on this release at: and expect an interview with ELYTE soon.

Rating: 9/10


FOOL'S KIN 'This blue machine'

FOOL'S KIN is a new Spanish band and they have released their debut on the Spanish Melodic Rocklabel VINNY RECORDS. The album counts 5 songs, so this is more like a mini-CD. Musically FOOL'S KIN is playing quality melodic hardrock with some progressive influences as well as a heavy guitarsound sometimes. Although it is not a sensational album, still melodic rockfans will enjoy songs like "Dead colours" (midtempo melodic rocker), "Morphine" (very melodic chorus) and the semi ballad "I only want to walk". Maybe not the best release on VINNY RECORDS, still a band worth checking out.

Rating: 7,5/10



Guitarist Pontus Norgren from Sweden played in the bands GREAT KING RAT and JEKYLL'N'HYDE the past decade and also released a couple of albums with these bands. Now he's back under his own name and on the Z RECORDS label. Together with former TREAT/SWEDISH EROTICA singer Mats Leven, Pontus has released the CD 'Damage done'. The CD is a collection of heavy and groovy melodic hardrocksongs that have an updated sound, while still containing enough melody for the melodic rockfans.

Fans of polished AOR/Melodic Rock should leave this CD alone, because it is way too heavy and groovy for them. Guitarfreaks will totally adore this album, but also people who liked other recent releases such as DOUBLE DEALER, DAMNED NATION… will find something of interest in this release. I think it's a nice record, but nothing sensational here. Best songs include the semi melodic rocker "Here I am" and closing track "Friends" (great semi melodic rockballad a la WHITESNAKE).

Rating: 7,5/10


NARO 'Press play' (Z RECORDS)

Z RECORDS has re-released Phil Naro's debut 'Press play' from 1994. The album, co-produced by Harry Hess (HAREM SCAREM), already featured 16 songs and now with the addition of 4 new songs, the CD contains 20 songs with a total playing time of almost 70 minutes. 'Press play' is a nice melodic (hard) rockalbum, but nothing really sensational.

The best songs are the uptempo melodic rockers "Miracle", "I am the reason" (both a la AUTOGRAPH), the semi melodic rockers "Sweat better in the dark", "Jessie" and "Ephemeral" and the midtempo melodic rocker "Press play" (like DEF LEPPARD). The crystal clear production is making this CD worth listening to, but I have to say that most of the songs are just nice melodic rockers, nothing more, nothing less…

Rating: 7,5/10



This band comes out of Sweden and was kind enough to sent me their CD 'Volume 3' (no, it's not their third album). This CD contains recordings from 1994, but it doesn't sound dated at all. In fact, some tunes sound very good to me and I can't wait to hear new material, because SOLID BLUE is working on a comeback.

Anyway, the music on this disc is a mixture of 80s AOR/Radiorock and some Bluesy Poprock, kinda like 38 SPECIAL, CHEAP TRICK and VAN ZANT. My favourite songs are "Midnight special" (westcoast AOR like 38 SPECIAL meets VAN ZANT), "Common thing" (uptempo AOR/Poprocker, hello 38 SPECIAL), "Somebody tell me" (great cheerful early 80s AOR rocker with a very catchy chorus, early RICK SPRINGFIELD meets 38 SPECIAL), "Luxury" (midtempo poprocker a la TOMMY TUTONE) and "Hold on to your hat" (melodic rocker).

There are also a couple weaker songs such as "Down home urban guy", "Precious", "In a broken dream" and "Drifting", but in general this SOLID BLUE is a nice band and recommended if you're a fan of mentioned bands. More info at: and e-mail them at: or

Rating: 7,5/10


ABRAXAS U.K. 'Studio and live 1984-1986' (INDEPENDENT)

This is pretty interesting, because ABRAXAS U.K. is the former band of LOST WEEKEND singer Paul Uttley. Back in the mid 80s they recorded a bunch of demos, but were never signed to a label, so this CD is a nice collection of 19 unreleased songs of ABRAXAS U.K. Musically they move in the typical 80s Melodic AOR/Radiorock/ Poprock area and it sounds similar to bands like STEEL BREEZE, LIONHEART…

The first few songs caught me by surprise and are quite sensational. These are "Going away" and "Don't judge". The first one is a magnificent early 80s Pomp/AOR song with references to SHELTER, ROADMASTER, LIONHEART… including many keys, catchy hooklines and basically just everything you need to hear in a classic 80s AOR/Pomp tune. "Don't judge" is a great early 80s Radiorocker a la STEEL BREEZE.

Unfortunately the sound of the rest of the CD is a bit average and also the songs aren't always convincing. Songs like "Let's live in peace", "Everytime I look around", "The opposite applies", "Let it go", "Dawn of a new day" and "The dance" are nice melodic rockers, but due to the weak sound and similar approach, they all sound like each other and are just nothing special.

It's not bad at all, but after hearing such a wonderful first song ("Going away to California") I had hoped for more songs like this, but that didn't quite happen. Nevertheless, this CD is a must for the LOST WEEKEND fans, because singer Paul Uttley is really doing his
best on this record. Check it out at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7,5/10



DRIVING WEST is a fresh sounding melodic modern rockband. The 13 songs on their CD 'Power' sound melodic but are definitely in the 90s modern rock style. Sometimes it sounds like the last NELSON, only groovier and less polished. The best songs are "Fear" (nice melodic chorus), "Must be love", "Follow", "Art of letting go" (semi melodic rockballad) and closing track "Ooh la la" (very good melodic harmonies, acoustic ballad). DRIVING WEST is another band with an updated 90s rocksound, while still keeping the 80s melodies during the chorus and the vocals. More info at:

Rating: 7/10


ENVY 'Sun and earth collide' (INDEPENDENT)

This ENVY comes out of Mississippi and they have released a CD titled 'Sun and earth'. The band is playing a mixture of modern 90s rock and 80s melodic rock. The beginning of the CD is a bit too 90s rock orientated for me with songs like "Seduction" and "Ricochet", but as the CD continues it gets better and more melodic rock orientated.

Songs like "Identity denied" (great uptempo melodic rocker, 90s updated but very melodic guitars and chorus), "Youth clench" (melodic rockballad) and the 80s typed melodic Hard Rock songs ("Universe explodes", "Foundation falls" and "Shiver storm"). Although ENVY is actually playing two styles here, I think many fans of 80s Hard Rock will find something of interest in this band, but don't expect a pure 80s sound. More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7/10


MATTSSON 'Another dimension'

'Another dimension' is the 8th CD of guitarist/bassist/ keyboardist LARS ERIC MATTSSON. His earlier records were great AOR/Melodic Rockalbums, with the exception of ASTRAL GROOVE. This new CD is a small change in direction, because 'Another dimension' is filled with pure late 70s/80s Hard Rock that reminds me a lot of RANBOW and DEEP PURPLE, although the CD starts with a MAIDEN typed song titled "Hell".

My favourite songs on the record are "Don't lose your patience" (melodic ballad), "Road of Babylon" (RAINBOW typed Hard Rock), "Memory lane" (semi melodic rockballad),
"Wait for the angels" (semi melodic rocker) and closing track "Cry no more" (semi melodic rocker a la PC'69). Fans of 70s Hard Rock (read: RAINBOW, URIAH HEEP, DEEP PURPLE) will like this CD a lot. More info at:

Rating: 7,5/10


BUFALO BLANCO 'Como un viejo rock'n'roll' (INDEPENDENT)

Although there are quite a few bands from Argentina, this is actually one of the first I review. BUFALO BLANCO was formed in 1987, but so far this is their only CD release. They play 70s typed Hard Rock, although some other influences (Blues, AOR) can also be heard. There are 12 songs on the CD. The 70s typed Hard Rock songs ("Resignado a perderte", "Como un viejo rock'n'roll", "Otra oportunidad" and "Vacio cerebal") are nice to hear and capture influences of BAD COMPANY.

There are also some weaker Bluesy and Pop orientated pieces such as "Dulce adiccion", "En la ruta", "Aun te amo", "Confusion" and "Es por tus ojos", these songs are not really interesting. The best song of the whole CD is definitely "Extrana relacion", this is a lovely pure AOR/Melodic Rockballad a la CODA, VOX DEI, LA FASE… Some more ballads in this style on a future CD would be really great. Anyway, check this Argentinean Rockband out at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7/10



Band from Idaho, USA that has released quite an enjoyable record. The band is actually playing an own style that is very melodic, but also pretty soft. The sound and production quality is a bit weak and you can clearly hear it is an independent release. But like I said the songs are pretty nice. A lot of ballads and acoustic parts can be heard throughout the CD. This band is clearly influenced by the SCORPIONS songs "Still loving you" and "Holiday", because the beginning of a couple of songs has a similar approach with the guitarsound.

My favourite tracks of THE PATH are "Had my heart set on you" (ballad with AOR influences), "Coming home" (semi-ballad), "Fire and ice" (70s typed progressive rocker with a very good melodic chorus) and the uptempo 70s rocker "Yes, I'll try". THE PATH has created an unique sound that contains influences from 70s Classic Rock, Progressive Rock and 80s AOR/Melodic Rockballads. The band uses a lot of acoustic guitars and melodic vocals that makes them different than most other bands in our genre. Take a look at their site at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7/10



Second CD of this German band, 'Back to attack' is surely an attack to the people who want to hear melodic rock, because this album is filled with very fast power metal. 10 songs it's as heavy as hell! The songs that attracted me were the slower ones such as "The eagle and the rainbow" and "Powergod", both being nice melodic heavy rockers. Most of the rest, especially the first two songs ("Back to attack" and "Lost illusions") are super fast metalish songs. This one's for the die-hard metalfreaks among us!

Rating: 6,5/10


QUEENSRYCHE 'Greatest hits' (VIRGIN)

Who can forget Queensryche's brilliant show at Newport Centre in 1990 with Lynch Mob? Since then the Seattle group have influenced so many bands over the years, yet since those shows in 1990 their career has taken a downward turn and Queensryche have struggled to regain past glories, their last album 'Q2K' even struggled to get a full UK release.

Queensryche gained major recognition after their mega concept 'Operation Mindcrime' dented the singles and album charts with songs like 'I Don't Believe In Love' and 'Eyes Of A Stranger' which became favorites from 'Operation Mindcrime', which also featured female backing from one Pamela Moore who seems to be making a name for herself twelve years later with her current project Radar, the band followed 'Operation Mindcrime' in 1990 with the awesome 'Empire', which spawned the worldwide hit single and ballad 'Silent Lucidity' from which the band went on to play huge arena shows like Castle Donington and the Rock In Rio festivals.

Yet ever since Queensryche seem to have got stuck in their direction and the recent departure of Chris Degarmo hasn't helped the band to maintain their status amongst rocks pioneers.

'Greatest Hits' serves as neat introduction to the band for those of us who have been hiding under a rock for the last sixteen years. The album features cuts from all their albums including the afforementioned songs and 'Gonna Get Close To You' and 'I Dream In Infra-red' from the excellent 'Rage For Order' album released way back in 1986 plus a new ballad called 'Chasing Blue' and a reworking of 'Someone Else' from 1994's underrated 'The Promised Land' album.

We also get to hear crystal clear verisons of 'The Lady Wore Black' and 'Queen Of The Reich' from their very first ep released in 1984. 'Greatest Hits' is a neat little album, but it would be far cheaper for you to go to your record store, make a list of the track listing and put together your own Queensryche compilation if you happen to own all the originals. Two new songs is hardly worth spending hard earned cash on, particularly when those two songs aren't that good. Let's hope that come the next album Queenryche can get it right again and make the album their devoted die hard fans really want.

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


URBAN TALE 'Outtakes August 2000' (INDEPENDENT)

Alot has happened to Finnish aor/melodic rock group Urban Tale since we featured them here at Strutter sometime back. I reviewed a killer Journey/Toto inspired ballad called "One Day". The band recently released "One Day" as a single in their home country, they soon found themselves making a dent in their homeland charts. Not bad for an unsigned band.

Just recently I featured them in Fireworks magazine where "One Day" was one of the highlights of the cover cd with the magazine. Since then the band have recieved much interest from many record labels and are currently in talks with some of them.

This cd features four brand new songs which kick off with the smooth as silk "Still Strong", this song glides along like John Waite meets Steve Perry and is a magnificent number, full of brassy segments that make this song sound massive. The next track delivers the unthinkable, Urban Tale turn back the clock and deliver a song called "Passion" which is very seventies
sounding a'la the Bee Gee's and Abba, it's very dancey, but after a few listens I found myself really enjoying it as the chorus is still pure AOR, this could elevate Urban Tale into the charts. Some bands who try to experiment with their music fail and look dumb, but these guys have done themselves proud. Give this to producer and ex It Bites frontman Max Norman and he would guarantee the band a hit.

The band get back into their true stride with the next song called "Devil", which is again pure John Waite and an awesome song, lots of keys and catchy chorus etc.etc that make for an AOR lovers wet dream. The last song is called "Engine" which is a mix of Journey, Toto and Nightranger with a cool chorus to singalong with for the next month. Overall Urban Tale are really providing us with classy music, I can't wait for the bands debut album to come out. Awesome. You can contact the band at:, and by the way for those of you still interested you can obtain Fireworks from or by emailing:

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


PLANET X 'Universe'

Planet X is the new technical supergroup featuring neo classical guitar maestro Tony MaCalpine, keyboard player Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Kiss, Alice Cooper) and drummer Virgil Donati.

'Universe' features eleven instrumental tracks including an excellent song called 'Europa'. The vibe on 'Europa' feels very seventies, the keyboard parts remind me of Deep Purple's John Lord meets Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess and builds into a catchy progressive song with lots of musical twists and experimentation that never sits still for a second which keeps the listener interested. It's like this with the majority of the albums tracks like the spooky-ish 'Chocolate' through to the excellent Dream Theaterish 'Inside Black' and 'Kings Of The Universe', on 'Kings Of The Universe' MaCalpine is let loose whilst guest musician
Tom Kennedy adds in some pretty cool Stuart Hamm inspired bass pounding, this is another great song that is technically perfect with a modern prog rock sound a'la Spock's Beard. Overall 'Universe' is a nice album, fans of the neo-classical guitar genre will enjoy Planet X and one can only hope that MaCalpine, Sherinian and Donati will collaborate together once again with the added addition of a singer.

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


ORATORY 'Illusion/dimension'

'Illusion-Dimensions' is the debut disc from Portuguese act Oratory who play bombastic symphonic power metal a'la Helloween, Balance Of Power, Manowar, Stratovarius and Virgin Steele. For a debut album this release is almost technically perfect, some of the vocal parts let the final mix down. Saying that, there is nothing actually wrong prog queen Ana Lara and Marco Alves singing, both are very powerful singers, Marco's voice is grandiose and Ana sings her parts like an angel especially on the hidden track at the end of the album which start off as an instrumental called 'Galaxy', when Ana's voice sets into the song, she sings with an almost beautiful operatic approach, the song is then taken over by Marco's vocals and Miguel Gomes crunchy axe work, but for music of this caliber, I feel as if the vocals should have been louder in the mix, thus they sound a little muffled, but after a few spins this disc sinks in your head and these observations can be over looked.

My favorite song is 'Kingdom's Legacy' a very strong epic song with lots of charging guitars, power drumming and just great musical work, Ana and Marco share vocals which work to great effect.

'Fight For The Light' is another classy metal song, this one is a little more commerical with a killer chorus that makes me think of Manowar, Virgin Steele etc..

'World Of Illusion' bares some neat instrumentation in the songs context, this is a little bit like Yngwie Malmsteen, heavy guitar riffs, pounding in your face drums etc..etc.. On a heavier note is track two 'With Glory And Melody, I liked Miguel's guitar work and Antonio Silva's symphonic keyboard melodies on this song which has a strong Helloween and Queensryche feel.

The album drops in place for a lovely ballad called 'In The Sky' the mood reminds me Canadian AOR band Mystery and Dream Theater, Marco's vocals are stunning which is packed by a classical piano and of course Ana's soothing voice. A magnificent song.

It's not all good though as a few songs like 'Metal Messenger', and 'Last Prophecy' sound mediocre, but this is the start of an exciting new band which I'm sure many fans of symphonic power metal will enjoy. Recommended

Rating: 8/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)



Fans of fantasy driven progressive melodic rock may wish to check out excellent new German four piece Deveraux Deveraux's music is very solid and professional, the album has been expertly produced, thus songs like "Build Your Own World","Return To Here" offer much interest to fans of the afforementioned genres, the latter almost sounding across between Survivor and Queensryche circa "Empire"

What's interesting about "Paint Box" is that the album offers alot of diversity in it's musicality structure, check out the epic "War" for example, the beginning of "War" opens up with orchestral music, the guitar then slides into gear and we are off into melodic rock heaven. Lead singer Andreas Karus belts out some superb singing on "War", his voice reminds me of C.J. Snare from Firehouse amongst others.

You get your obligatory ballads of course, one in particular is the claming piano -led "Throw Your Tears Away" which is very good, possibly inspired by Dream Theater's "Under A G lass Moon".

"Victory" opens up with a little bit of funk and then dives into TNT inspired melodies, the chorus will hit you hard and is very easy to sing along to, as does the commercialized hard rock of "Unnamed" which is one of the albums highlights.

"The Saga Of The Rings", "When Demons Rise" and "Heatwave - Funtrack" let the album down, the latter sounds like the theme from tv cartoon series "Topcat" and is annoying.

Deveraux are already out on tour with bands like Survivor, Gotthard and Uriah Heep so fans of melodic rock, AOR and progressive rock should enjoy this album as it caters for all tastes, a band to keep your eye on.

Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


KEEL 'Th right to rock' (METAL MAYHEM MUSIC)

Finally available on cd thanks to Metal Mayhem Records. 'The Right To Rock' was originally released in 1985 when MTV worshipped long haired hard rocking bands of this caliber.

Keel were one of the best bands to rule the metal world of the mid 80's, remember - this was before Skid Row, Guns' N' Roses, Bon Jovi and Cinderella etc, became famous. Since Keel called it a day frontman Ron Keel went on to record a couple of solo albums and made a record with a band called Sabre Tiger which Ron regards as 'The heaviest metal record I have ever done'.

We can also expect later on this year the long overdue 'Fair Game' album, amongst others.
'The Right To Rock' has many, many hard hitting rockers like the title track 'The Right To Rock', the spark flying guitar work of 'Back To The City' , 'Speed Demon' the ultra heavy 'You're The Victim (I'm the crime)' and the last track 'Easier Said Than Done' all provide kick arse rock 'n' roll just like your mother hated. Keel should have been massive and this album should be essential to your collection.

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)



In 1997 Halifax based outfit Lost Weekend released their AOR friendly debut album which reminded me of GTS, Ghost, The Promise and Shy. Whilst yours truly didn't think much of that album, the boys have since proved themselves a worthy outfit with their live shows being a popular draw amongst the AOR brigade.

The nice thing about this twelve song affair is that songs like 'This Moment So Long', 'Kiss From The Heart', ' All Hands To The Fire', 'Can You Believe', 'One Chance', 'I Need You' and the ballad 'The Best Is Yet To Come' show that the bands hand at songwriting has become quite skillful, these songs are pure AOR and melodic rock with lots of keyboards, guitars and killer chrous lines to sing along with till your hearts content.

The only let down about 'Presence Of Mind' is the way the album sounds, it sounds a little over produced and other times it sounds 'live' , this genre of music should be polished and crystal clear, the drums don't sound very clear and ruin Paul Uttley's otherwise great voice, this is such a shame, if 'Presence Of Mind' had been recorded better, then Lost Weekend would have found themselves with perhaps one of the finest British AOR albums since FM's 'Indiscreet'.

Still you can't ignore the bands songwriting skills. In fairness Lost Weekend have developed into one of the UK's best AOR bands since the afforementioned FM. Despite the flaw in production, the songs are still very very good and kick around in your head for days, I really enjoyed 'This Moment So Long' and 'Kiss From The Heart'. When I first played the album, I was quite impressed with the opening track 'Holding On', the opening guitars lead into some very nice keyboard work. Lost Weekend will no doubt be at the Gods this year, make sure you watch them as they are a cool live band, despite my minor quibbles, I predict that Lost Weekend have a big future ahead of them, watch this space...

Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)



"Union 3" is a double cd affair which showcases the best of the best from Frontiers/Now And Then records, including Bob Catley, Street Legal, Hugo, Survivor, Ten, Jeff Watson, Good Rats etc..

What's nice about this compilation is that cd two is full of completley unreleased material including Kevin Chalfant's The V.U.,Voodoo Hill with Glenn Hughes, Nightranger''s Kelly Keagy, ex Giuffria/Dirty White Boy man David Glenn Eisley and a song called "Paradise" from an amazing new US band called Talon, these guys come across like vintage Dokken and Firehouse, singer Michael 'O Mara puts in one hell of a vocal performance, a band to keep your eyes on for sure.

We also get a cover song from the underrated Millenium featuring new frontman Jorn Lande (see issue 18 of Classic Rock's cover cd). They perform a superb cover of Rainbow's "I Surrender" which almost betters the classic song itself.

Featuring thirty one songs in total, "Union 3" serves as the perfect introduction for those unfamiliar with the artists from Frontiers/Now And Then Records, whilst for those of us who have followed the label since it's formation in 1993, the second cd comes as an essential part to your collection, looks as if the labels are in for one hell of a fruitful year next

Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)



Three piece Swansea outfit Peski immediatley bring to mind Pearl Jam, which is mainly due to frontman Willis, who is obviously inspired by Eddie Vedder. Peski however play catchy 90's melodic pop rock that is instant and catchy, their sound has been nicely produced by Tim Hamill (Stoned Dog/Sludgecraft).

There are seven songs on this album, my favorites are "Responsibility", "Ivory Waistcoat" and "Johnsson" The best song however is the excellent accoustic driven "Transport Is Easy" which has a lovely melody that sits around inside your head , this song reminds me of Paul Harris and King's X mixed with a little pinch of Pearl Jam.

Moving on the band have just released their "Animals ep". The title track is much like the afforementioned "Transport Is Easy". At the beginning of this song Willis' voice almost sounds blusey and husky in a David Coverdale away, then the song builds and builds into perhaps Peski's finest song to date.

"Shari" is nothing to spectacular and "Pool" mellows out a touch, the tempo is bought back up to speed on "Her Request" a marvelous song with a great chorus, this again is very much like King's X and Pearl Jam. Peski are a striking modern rock band who go out to prove that the Welsh can rock with the best of them.Tel: 0044 01792 520376 or email me at for more info.

Rating: 5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)


BLACKCAT9 'Rock and roll kid' (INDEPENDENT)

I don't have alot of info on this band except that they play pure rock 'n' roll with a pinch of sleaze a'la Michael Monroe, Sleeze Beeze and GNR. Four tracks are what we have to listen to and very enjoyable they are to, with my only complaint being that the sound could use brightening up in the vocal department. But the songs are played well and are bouncy and energetic. Blackcat9 have enough bottom end in their music to be fully accepted by fans of all genres of rock n' roll , they sparkle on songs like "I Wanna Be Your Whore" and the Poisonish"Friday", where touches of The Wildhearts and Terrorvision can also be heard.And to top it all the last song is a superb cover of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf". So all in all despite the quality of the recording Blackcat9 defintley have the songs.A band to watch out for.

Contact: or

Rating: 7/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)