MAGIC 'Shadows on the wall' (JOHN'S RECORDS)

This MAGIC is a Swedish AOR band and although they have been featured in one of Japanese leading rock magazines (BURRN), I have never read something about them. I am glad I have finally heard their debut CD 'Shadows on the wall', because it is a shame if it never got reviewed. The CD was released way back in 1994 and contains 5 great cheerful uptempo 80s typed AOR/Melodic Poprockers. I am quite surprised to hear a band performing a pure 80s style, because I remember that back in 1994 Grunge had taken over the music scene.

These guys happily ignored that depressing sound and recorded a great fun rock album. The CD starts with "Just another fool", a fantastic cheerful classy 80s uptempo AOR/Melodic Radiorocker that sounds like a cross between PRISM and 80s BRYAN ADAMS. I totally love the awesome catchy chorus. Next track is the titlesong, another great melodic poprocker, this one is a bit lighter and reminds me of TOTO meets HAYWIRE with some LOVERBOY thrown in for good measure.

Next track "Never too late" is a nice melodic poprocker. Next track "Hard days" is a great uptempo 80s AOR rocker a la HONEYMOON SUITE. Closing track "What do we do" is
another catchy uptempo Melodic AOR/Poprocker in the Canadian tradition (PRISM, BRYAN ADAMS, LOVERBOY). MAGIC is really another new AOR sensation from Sweden, well, the list keeps growing, first we had ALYSON AVENUE, T'BELL, STREET TALK, TWO PIECE PUZZLE and now there's MAGIC!

Check out their site at: and e-mail them at: Hopefully more info soon and let's now hope they still play the same classic AOR as on their debut CD from 6 years ago, I can't wait to hear more MAGIC songs…

Rating: 8,5/10


I-TEN 'Taking a cold look'

For a very long time this was a very obscure and hard to get CD. The LP was very collectable until in the late 80s the album was re-issued on CD. A couple years ago the CD was so hard to get, Songhaus Music decided to re-release the CD and here it is then! An instant AOR Classic from 1983 for the second time released on CD. This is definitely a CD that must be in the collection of every AOR fan. Not only due to the high quality AOR songs (of which many got covered years later by acts like HEART, HONEYMOON SUITE, JACK WAGNER, REO SPEEDWAGON…), but also the list of musicians appearing on this album is one of the most impressive lists in AOR history. Basically the 12 musicians on this classic AOR record have appeared together on thousands of other records and many AOR records are included!

So, this is almost the ultimate AOR record, because you can't find a better record with guys like Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg, TOTO (Lukather, Paich and the brothers Porcaro), Chas Sandford, Alan Pasqua, Mike Baird, Dennis Belfield, Richard Page and Lenny Castro appearing all on the same record. It was the year 1983 when this AOR Classic got released and it still sounds just perfect.

Songs like "Taking a cold look" (covered by HONEYMOON SUITE), "Quicksand", "Alone" (a huge hit for HEART in 1987), "I don't want to lose you" (the ultimate AOR song?), "The easy way out" and "Pressing my luck (such melodies can not be found in today's music). The crystal clear production by Keith Olsen (PREVIEW, FIONA, KINGDOM COME) and Steve Lukather is also making this CD the ultimate AOR Classic.

This was the time when Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg became known as the ultimate AOR writers (and performers on this record!). They wrote so many superb AOR Classics besides the 10 on this record, just think about songs like "In a crazy world like this" and "Desperate lover for WITNESS… Anyway, years later they began writing pop tunes for artists like Madonna… but this I-TEN Classic will never be forgotten and especially this re-release will give it back the popularity it once gained.

Rating: 10



The first Rockband from Portugal as far as I know. This band is playing Melodic Hardrock/Heavy Rock and their debut CD 'truth from a lie' is a very professional sounding record. There are 13 songs and some of them remind me of bands like VICTORY (the vocals), PINK CREAM 69 (the songs) and SINNER (the heavy guitars). My favourite songs are "Madhouse" (pretty good uptempo melodic hardrock a la PINK CREAM 69), "Thorns" (lovely uptempo melodic rocker in 80s tradition - DANGER DANGER, HEAVENS EDGE…), "Never too late" (great semi melodic rockballad) and "My last day" (great
uptempo melodic rocker).

Although some of the songs sound pretty heavy, EVIDENCE always throws in some good melodies, partly due to the melodic lead and harmonyvocals. This EVIDENCE is my first Portuguese band and I must say they made quite an impression on me. Check them out at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 8/10


DREAMLAND 'Tales from area 51' (NUERRA RECORDS)

This Californian band has released their debut CD on Nuerra Records, a label that already has done some releases such as NEIL ZAZA, MICHAEL LEE FIRKINS… Just like those two releases, this one is also a full-instrumental CD, so no vocals on this record. DREAMLAND is playing relaxing rock that indeed reminds me of the NEIL ZAZA CD, but also STEVE VAI comes to mind every now and then. The fan of instrumental rock will find this DREAMLAND to be very interesting. Check them out at:

Rating: 7/10



Mike Campese is a multi-instrumentalist from New York. He sent me his second CD 'Full circle', a CD filled with more than 70 minutes of music, mostly instrumental. Mike has a lot of experience, because he played and recorded with lots of bands, including Jeckyl and Hyde, Nova and Mister Strange. On his second solo-CD we can hear relaxing instrumental pop/rock. You can hear that Mike can play all the instruments pretty good.

The songs with Mike's vocals include the semi melodic rocker "In the mirror" and the ballad "Walkaway". The other vocals songs are a bit weaker, "Burgundy mist" (bluesy) and "Rescue me" (experimental pop) are those songs. The remaining 13 songs are instrumental and like I said they are played very well. Instrumental music lovers will enjoy this a lot, more info at: and e-mail him at:

Rating: 7/10



ZERO CITY comes out of the Chicago area and their debut CD is a nice melodic rockalbum. Opener "Lay it down" is a nice semi melodic rocker with some good melodic guitarwork. Next track "Just another day" is a nice 70s typed melodic poprocker, a bit like the last NELSON record. The following two songs are the best tracks on the CD. First there is "What I want", a groovy start, but with a very good melodic bridge and chorus. "Take me away" is my favourite, this is a classy 80s semi melodic rockballad. Then the CD gets an acoustic twist on songs like "Secrets", "Lluvia" and "Alibi". The CD closes with the midtempo melodic rocker "Get up again", a song with some great melodic harmonyvocals during the chorus. Nice little band from Illinois, USA, check them out for yourself at: and e-mail them at: bcravens@AMS-PMT.COM

Rating: 7,5/10


ELEGY 'Forbidden fruit'

'Forbidden fruit' is ELEGY's 7th CD and after hearing it, probably their heaviest recording so far. The band's keyboardist Chris Allister left the band and was replaced by another guitarist, so more guitars are now added to the sound. Some of you might know the new guitarist, because his name is Patrick Rondat and if I am correct he released an instrumental solo record a few years ago (which I reviewed). Anyway, the band recorded the CD here in Rotterdam and actually the sound is perfect. IAN PARRY does the vocals again and he did a great job.

As far as the melodic rockfans concerned, I don't think this new ELEGY CD is interesting for them, because the guitar riffs are more important than melodic vocals and choruses. Nevertheless there are some good songs on the album such as "'Til eternity" (catchy melodic chorus) and the semi melodic rockballad "I believe". I think even ELEGY fans will have to notice the change in style of the band, because they have listened very good to the progressive metal of bands like STRATOVARIUS and STEEL PROPHET. They play in the same style, so worth checking out if you like this kind of metal.

Rating: 7,5/10


KAMELOT 'The expedition'

'The expedition' is the 5th CD of KAMELOT, but their first live CD, because the album consists of live registrations recorded this year of concerts the band gave in Germany, Greece and the USA. Just like the other released CD on NOIS RECORDS (ELEGY), also this band is accompanied on keys by VANDENPLAS keyboardist Gunter Werno. Anyway, this CD is not only a must for fans of KAMELOT, but also a big recommendation for fans of ANGRA, RHAPSODY…

The melodic progressive power metal of KAMELOT sounds pretty good, partly due to the very melodic singer Roy Khan (formerly of CONCEPTION). Though most of the songs are fast, my favourites are the ballads of bands like these and so my favourite track is "A sailorman's hymn". I can imagine that fans of STRATOVARIUS, ANGRA and RHAPSODY will totally love songs like "Until kingdom come" and "The fourth legacy". This is a very good live CD that proves that melodic rockfans can easily buy
progressive melodic metal records.

Rating: 8/10



Although this Brazilian band released their CD 'Close your eyes' a few years ago, it's still interesting to review their CD, because I don't get to hear bands from South-America every day. The CD contains 10 well-produced songs and musically VOO NOTURNO is a nice melodic pop/rockband. They remind me of bands like LITTLE AMERICA and the old PSEUDO ECHO, so the music is a bit poppy and even Sympho influences can be heard.

My favourite songs are "A place for you" and "Close your eyes", both nice melodic rockballads and also both disturbed by a saxsolo. Nevertheless we can also enjoy some
nice uptempo melodic poprockers such as "Dreams", "Top of the world" and "Hide out" (LITTLE AMERICA meets THE OUTFIELD). Weaker songs are "Engine" and "I really love" that contain Blues and Groovy influences. Check out the band for yourself at: and e-mail them at: and

Rating: 7/10



A new Demo CD from the American Melodic Rockband STRANGEWORLD. This 5-track CD is actually quite a heavy and 90s based Melodic Hardrock album. It's not bad, but I rather had heard something a little more polished. Nevertheless, VELOCITY fans need to check out the melodic rockers "Spread a little love" and "Take me home". The songs "No fear" and "Exorcise your soul" didn't do anything for me, both being too 90s orientated and quite heavy too. The closing track is the best song.

Surprisingly I am talking about a RICK SPRINGFIELD cover here, namely "Living in Oz". I totally adore the new version performed here by STRANGEWORLD, definitely their best track, but only it's a cover. Maybe they should write some of such uptempo cheerful melodic rockers like that cover, then it could become really interesting. Still, this band is worth checking out if you're into heavier guitar orientated melodic hardrock. More info at: and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7,5/10



DENNER is a German Melodic Heavy Rockband and their same titled debut CD was released last year. The album has a very good production, done by Karl Fisher and Wolfgang Brammertz. The melodic heavy rock of DENNER has that typical German Rock approach, so this band is definitely a must if you like bands such as PINK CREAM 69, VICTORY, BONFIRE…

My favourite songs are the uptempo melodic rockers "We will never die" (BONFIRE meets WILD FRONTIER), "Sell your soul" (great tune, I love the harmonies during the chorus) and "Wish you were here". Further notable are "Angel" (melodic rock a la KROKUS, GOTTHARD), "Something 2Xite" (good melodic hardrock, little rough in the guitar approach, quite like VICTORY), the melodic rockballad "Steal my memories" and the DEPECHE MODE cover "Policy of truth". You can listen to DENNER's music at: and and e-mail them at:

Rating: 7,5/10



Julian 'Angel' Lieb is a new Multi-instrumentalist in the AOR/Melodic Rock scene. His debut CD '' is filled with 80s typed Melodic Rock with AOR and Glam influences. Julian comes out of the beautiful city of Wurzburg, Germany. The CD contains 11 songs and actually it sounds pretty good. Julian did everything on his own. Only the lead vocals are not really sensational, but I can live with it. I hear similarities to STEVE STONE, DONNIE MILLER, LOVER UNDER COVER, DOMINOE, BONFIRE and early BON JOVI. Opener "Rock survivor" is just a nice rocker, but not really something special.

Following track "Only lonely baby fire" is much better, this is a nice catchy uptempo melodic poprocker a la RICK MATHEWS, DONNIE MILLER.. "Push up your love" is AORish and sounds like early BON JOVI ("Runaway" style). Next track "Never forget" has a pretty good chorus and is also in the old BON JOVI style. "Angry young man" follows
in the same uptempo AOR/Melodic Rockstyle as the previous songs. Then comes the melodic rockballad "Stay here forever". "Keep the fire burnin'" is a nice semi melodic rocker a la WHITE LION and features a long break with a couple of nice guitar riffs.

The following 3 songs are the best ones on the CD. First there is "Midnight, heartache", a big 80s sounding midtempo arena AOR/Melodic Rocker a la THE BLITZ, BOB WHEELER… The semi AOR ballad "Tokyo nights" follows and reminds me of BONFIRE. Next track "When the midnight comes" is a catchy uptempo melodic rocker (a la TOBRUK,
DOMINOE…). Closing track "Stick to your guns" is a nice semi melodic rockballad.

In general, this is a very good AOR/Melodic Rock CD. Definitely worth checking out if you like JOHNNY LIMA, THE BLITZ, LOVER UNDER COVER, BONFIRE, DOMINOE, VICE… More info at: or http://www.angel-rock.come-mail Julian at: and

Rating: 8/10