Best Melodic Rock/Metal/AOR albums of 2021 - Rate Your Music
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Best Melodic Rock/Metal/AOR albums of 2021

A list by huskerchief21

Categories: 2021

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It's hard to sum up this crazy year in words. Outside of the the virus running amok and the general decline of human existence I will stick to the awesomeness of music.

I'm not sure if stats are kept on new releases but 2021 seemed to be a never ending cornucopia of offerings. I have never listened to and rated so many titles. A very welcomed problem to have I must say.

Well Mr. Mårtensson & Co. have managed to outdo themselves this year. Not only do they have the No. 1 spot with 'Eclipse - Wired' they also have the No. 2 spot with 'W.E.T. - Retransmission'. Both albums are just stupendous.

Further down were many excellent contenders. Nestor would be my pick for best debut album.. these guys seemingly coming out of nowhere. If you haven't checked them out yet, you better get on it. 7th Crystal would be a very close second. Crazy how all this amazing new talent seems to just jump out of the weeds each year.

I hope you all muddled your way through the year okay and are fortunate enough to be able see what comes next. Bring on 2022!
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1Wired

1.Eclipse

Wired (2021)


Coming off their most successful album yet, “Paradigm” (which includes the massive single ‘Viva La Victoria’ that has 15 million streams and counting), Sweden’s Eclipse are back with their new studio album “Wired.” Preceded by the single, an anthem for the ages, ‘Saturday Night (Hallelujah)’ the new record sees the Swedish quartet going from strength to strength and, as they have done since the beginning, taking no prisoners. Some of the best songs of their career arrive on this record and it’s uplifting, and much needed, to be able to enjoy such a monster album in the aftermath of the pandemic age. Over the last few years Eclipse have performed to audiences around the globe, including the U.S, Japan, Australia and Europe and have opened for giants like Aerosmith and the Scorpions. Their albums have amassed millions of streams and charted in several European countries. With the momentum of their last studio album “Paradigm” propelling them, “Wired” promises to push them even further up the rock ‘n roll mountain.
Coming off their most successful album yet, “Paradigm” (which includes the massive single ‘Viva La Victoria’ that has 15 million streams and counting), Sweden’s Eclipse are back with their new studio album “Wired.” Preceded by the single, an anthem for the ages, ‘Saturday Night (Hallelujah)’ the new record sees the Swedish quartet going from strength to strength and, as they have done since the beginning, taking no prisoners. Some of the best songs of their career arrive on this record and it’s uplifting, and much needed, to be able to enjoy such a monster album in the aftermath of the pandemic age. Over the last few years Eclipse have performed to audiences around the globe, including the U.S, Japan, Australia and Europe and have opened for giants like Aerosmith and the Scorpions. Their albums have amassed millions of streams and charted in several European countries. With the momentum of their last studio album “Paradigm” propelling them, “Wired” promises to push them even further up the rock ‘n roll mountain.
2Retransmission

2.W.E.T.

Retransmission (2021)


I admittedly had some concerns about Erik and Soto siphoning their best ideas into their own respective projects (Eclipse and Soto), and Robert perhaps working hard on his next Work of Art record. The fears seem to be unfounded. W.E.T. / “Retransmission” is terrific all the way through. Unfortunately, mastermind Mårtensson was born three decades too late to get the credit he truly deserves, and unless he has another trick up his 2021 sleeve, fans of melodic hard rock won’t have a more transcendent listening experience this year.
I admittedly had some concerns about Erik and Soto siphoning their best ideas into their own respective projects (Eclipse and Soto), and Robert perhaps working hard on his next Work of Art record. The fears seem to be unfounded. W.E.T. / “Retransmission” is terrific all the way through. Unfortunately, mastermind Mårtensson was born three decades too late to get the credit he truly deserves, and unless he has another trick up his 2021 sleeve, fans of melodic hard rock won’t have a more transcendent listening experience this year.
3II

3.Creye

II (2021)


Acclaimed Swedish melodic rock / AOR act Creye are back with second offering “Creye II” with new lead vocalist August Rauer, but this didn’t interrupted the band’s wonderful classic delivery. The superb, pure Scandi-AOR debut has been bettered and expanded upon on “Creye II” including an even stronger, ridiculously catchy tunes and an augmented production taking the best of the ’80s and adding a refreshing, contemporary feel. It’s hard not fell in love with “Creye II”, an almost a perfect Scandi AOR album for the 21st Century.
Acclaimed Swedish melodic rock / AOR act Creye are back with second offering “Creye II” with new lead vocalist August Rauer, but this didn’t interrupted the band’s wonderful classic delivery. The superb, pure Scandi-AOR debut has been bettered and expanded upon on “Creye II” including an even stronger, ridiculously catchy tunes and an augmented production taking the best of the ’80s and adding a refreshing, contemporary feel. It’s hard not fell in love with “Creye II”, an almost a perfect Scandi AOR album for the 21st Century.
4A New Horizon

4.Smash Into Pieces

A New Horizon (2021)


Scandinavian electro-rocker band Smash Into Pieces formed over a decade ago and came to prominence with their well-received third album ‘Rise And Shine’ in 2017. That watershed saw a change in the band’s line-up and a shift in their sound, with the addition of more electro elements. They’ve since become one of the biggest alternative rock bands in Scandinavia, boasting over 170 million streams on Spotify and more than 65 million views on YouTube. It’s little surprise therefore that they’re going to be supporting Within Temptation and Evanescence on their upcoming co-headline ‘Worlds Collide’ tour in 2022. ‘A New Horizon’ is the band’s sixth studio album, and continues an ambitious story arc that began with their previous album ‘Arcadia’ last year. The narrative details a futuristic world riddled with political corruption and driven by fear and misinformation, the landscape being a mirror image of reality. ‘A New Horizon’ won’t be for everyone – if you’re after heavy metal, look elsewhere – but if you’re looking for well-polished electro-rock with skilful lyrics underpinned by an ambitious over-arching concept, then Smash Into Pieces deliver the goods.
Scandinavian electro-rocker band Smash Into Pieces formed over a decade ago and came to prominence with their well-received third album ‘Rise And Shine’ in 2017. That watershed saw a change in the band’s line-up and a shift in their sound, with the addition of more electro elements. They’ve since become one of the biggest alternative rock bands in Scandinavia, boasting over 170 million streams on Spotify and more than 65 million views on YouTube. It’s little surprise therefore that they’re going to be supporting Within Temptation and Evanescence on their upcoming co-headline ‘Worlds Collide’ tour in 2022. ‘A New Horizon’ is the band’s sixth studio album, and continues an ambitious story arc that began with their previous album ‘Arcadia’ last year. The narrative details a futuristic world riddled with political corruption and driven by fear and misinformation, the landscape being a mirror image of reality. ‘A New Horizon’ won’t be for everyone – if you’re after heavy metal, look elsewhere – but if you’re looking for well-polished electro-rock with skilful lyrics underpinned by an ambitious over-arching concept, then Smash Into Pieces deliver the goods.
5Kids in a Ghost Town

5.Nestor

Kids in a Ghost Town (2021)


Be prepared to be blown away… blown away straight to the ’80s! Sweden’s Nestor gives us “Kids In a Ghost Town“. This is pure Eighties culture, the good and the bad, the fun and the feel-good rock n’ roll of all times… Including a guest appearance by Samantha Fox on vocals on one track, songs like “On the Run“, “Tomorrow“ or “1989“ would have been huge hits back in the day for sure, all wrapped by a huge – mean really huge – production sound. No doubt about it – and no matter what might come up later this year – “Kids In a Ghost Town” is the real deal.
Be prepared to be blown away… blown away straight to the ’80s! Sweden’s Nestor gives us “Kids In a Ghost Town“. This is pure Eighties culture, the good and the bad, the fun and the feel-good rock n’ roll of all times… Including a guest appearance by Samantha Fox on vocals on one track, songs like “On the Run“, “Tomorrow“ or “1989“ would have been huge hits back in the day for sure, all wrapped by a huge – mean really huge – production sound. No doubt about it – and no matter what might come up later this year – “Kids In a Ghost Town” is the real deal.
6Delirium

6.Seventh Crystal

Delirium (2021)


Seventh Crystal has delivered their debut album "Delirium." This is an amazing new rock band from the quite vibrant Swedish music scene put together by singer Kristian Fyhr (Perpetual Etude). Initially, Kristian wanted to pursue a solo project. but when the songs started to take form, he realized he wanted to involve more musicians. So, he moved to vocals only and brought in Johan Älvsång (Pinstripe Conspiracy, Lamashtu) on keyboards/piano and Olof Gadd (Osukaru) on bass as the first key pieces, and then recruited Anton Roos on drums and Emil Dornerus on guitar to complete the line-up. Seventh Crystal’s music can best be described as arena rock with melodic rock influences. If you love the new wave of Scandinavian hard rock embodied by bands such as One Desire, H.E.A.T, Brother Firetribe, etc who bring a huge sense of melody to modern melodic hard rock, then this band is going to be right up your alley. One of the best debuts of the year - do not miss this one!
Seventh Crystal has delivered their debut album "Delirium." This is an amazing new rock band from the quite vibrant Swedish music scene put together by singer Kristian Fyhr (Perpetual Etude). Initially, Kristian wanted to pursue a solo project. but when the songs started to take form, he realized he wanted to involve more musicians. So, he moved to vocals only and brought in Johan Älvsång (Pinstripe Conspiracy, Lamashtu) on keyboards/piano and Olof Gadd (Osukaru) on bass as the first key pieces, and then recruited Anton Roos on drums and Emil Dornerus on guitar to complete the line-up. Seventh Crystal’s music can best be described as arena rock with melodic rock influences. If you love the new wave of Scandinavian hard rock embodied by bands such as One Desire, H.E.A.T, Brother Firetribe, etc who bring a huge sense of melody to modern melodic hard rock, then this band is going to be right up your alley. One of the best debuts of the year - do not miss this one!
7IV

7.Houston

IV (2021)


Swedish AOR band Houston are back with new studio album, their fourth, aptly titled “Houston IV” produced under the direction of former member and AOR guru Ricky Delin, who also co-wrote with the band. Houston released their self-titled debut album in 2010 and landed at number one on Classic Rock Magazine’s AOR chart that year, beating out some stiff competition. The band then went on to play the festival circuit with appearances at Sweden Rock, Download Festival (UK), and Rock of Ages (Germany), as well as touring the UK with Swedish sleaze rockers Crashdïet. Houston’s second album, “Relaunch” featured a cover song called ‘Runaway’ that became the soundtrack to Red Bull’s own Danny MacAskill’s Extreme BMX video ‘Imaginate’ which has almost 100 million views on YouTube and over 1.3 million plays on Spotify and counting. Fans can look forward to another classic AOR masterpiece from these Swedish masters with the release of “Houston IV”.
Swedish AOR band Houston are back with new studio album, their fourth, aptly titled “Houston IV” produced under the direction of former member and AOR guru Ricky Delin, who also co-wrote with the band. Houston released their self-titled debut album in 2010 and landed at number one on Classic Rock Magazine’s AOR chart that year, beating out some stiff competition. The band then went on to play the festival circuit with appearances at Sweden Rock, Download Festival (UK), and Rock of Ages (Germany), as well as touring the UK with Swedish sleaze rockers Crashdïet. Houston’s second album, “Relaunch” featured a cover song called ‘Runaway’ that became the soundtrack to Red Bull’s own Danny MacAskill’s Extreme BMX video ‘Imaginate’ which has almost 100 million views on YouTube and over 1.3 million plays on Spotify and counting. Fans can look forward to another classic AOR masterpiece from these Swedish masters with the release of “Houston IV”.
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8Standing on the Edge

8.Robin McAuley

Standing on the Edge (2021)


Robin McAuley‘s new solo album, “Standing on the Edge” showcases the desire of the respected Irish rock singer to make a strong musical statement in a period that was more creative than ever for him. After reemerging on the recording side of the music industry with guest spots on Michael Schenker Fest albums and fronting the hard rock super group Black Swan, McAuley is feeling invigorated and ready to explore even more creative output, letting the world see that his voice is as powerful as ever. “Standing on the Edge” rocks with a vibrant sound & production, and makes clear why he’s one of the most talented singers of his generation. His voice can be heard on albums from Grand Prix and Far Corporation, and of course on the chart topping MSG records “Perfect Timing,” “Save Yourself,” and “MSG”. Through these releases, he was introduced to hard rock fans around the globe, who no doubt recognized the inherent talent and skill in his vocal abilities. Don't miss truly excellent release!
Robin McAuley‘s new solo album, “Standing on the Edge” showcases the desire of the respected Irish rock singer to make a strong musical statement in a period that was more creative than ever for him. After reemerging on the recording side of the music industry with guest spots on Michael Schenker Fest albums and fronting the hard rock super group Black Swan, McAuley is feeling invigorated and ready to explore even more creative output, letting the world see that his voice is as powerful as ever. “Standing on the Edge” rocks with a vibrant sound & production, and makes clear why he’s one of the most talented singers of his generation. His voice can be heard on albums from Grand Prix and Far Corporation, and of course on the chart topping MSG records “Perfect Timing,” “Save Yourself,” and “MSG”. Through these releases, he was introduced to hard rock fans around the globe, who no doubt recognized the inherent talent and skill in his vocal abilities. Don't miss truly excellent release!
9The Rumble

9.Kent Hilli

The Rumble (2021)


Vocalist Kent Hilli’s debut solo album “The Rumble” is the culmination of the musical path the singer started since he debuted with Swedish melodic rock upstarts Perfect Plan. In 2017, when Perfect Plan completed their debut album “All Rise”, the band got a deal with the Frontiers label releasing two albums and one EP. He also participated on Restless Spirits self-titled debut album, a melodic rock project masterminded by Tony Hernando (Lords of Black), where he was showcased alongside great artists and singers like Deen Castronovo (Revolution Saints, ex-Journey), Johnny Gioeli (Hardline), etc. To craft the “The Rumble”, Kent joined forces with Mike Palace, who has produced the album and played all instruments, providing his knack for the ’80s sounds. A diverse album with both melodic rockers and AOR ballads, “The Rumble” is going to be a true delight for fans of the genre. The disc resounds with the inspiration and influences from Kent’s idols like Giant, Foreigner, Survivor, Whitesnake, and Europe, to name a few.
Vocalist Kent Hilli’s debut solo album “The Rumble” is the culmination of the musical path the singer started since he debuted with Swedish melodic rock upstarts Perfect Plan. In 2017, when Perfect Plan completed their debut album “All Rise”, the band got a deal with the Frontiers label releasing two albums and one EP. He also participated on Restless Spirits self-titled debut album, a melodic rock project masterminded by Tony Hernando (Lords of Black), where he was showcased alongside great artists and singers like Deen Castronovo (Revolution Saints, ex-Journey), Johnny Gioeli (Hardline), etc. To craft the “The Rumble”, Kent joined forces with Mike Palace, who has produced the album and played all instruments, providing his knack for the ’80s sounds. A diverse album with both melodic rockers and AOR ballads, “The Rumble” is going to be a true delight for fans of the genre. The disc resounds with the inspiration and influences from Kent’s idols like Giant, Foreigner, Survivor, Whitesnake, and Europe, to name a few.
10Tropical Thunder

10.Cruzh

Tropical Thunder (2021)


Swedes' Cruzh are back with a new vocalist, Alex Waghorn, and a new album, “Tropical Thunder”. Waghorn was first introduced to Cruzh fans in 2019 with the release of an acoustic version of the song “Aim For The Head”. Now, Waghorn, along with Dennis Butabi Borg, Anton Joensson, and Matt Silver, are at long last ready to unleash the band’s long-awaited second album. Melodic rock fans will not be disappointed with the cavalcade of melodies, hooks, and catchy songs on display on “Tropical Thunder”. Cruzh was put together after the demise of Swedish glam rockers TrashQueen, in which both Anton Joensson and Dennis Butabi Borg played. They shared a love for melodic rock and AOR and joined forces with Tony Andersson, who previously worked as a studio musician on the never released TrashQueen record. Now, in 2021, the long wait for a follow-up album from Cruzh is over. Crank it!
Swedes' Cruzh are back with a new vocalist, Alex Waghorn, and a new album, “Tropical Thunder”. Waghorn was first introduced to Cruzh fans in 2019 with the release of an acoustic version of the song “Aim For The Head”. Now, Waghorn, along with Dennis Butabi Borg, Anton Joensson, and Matt Silver, are at long last ready to unleash the band’s long-awaited second album. Melodic rock fans will not be disappointed with the cavalcade of melodies, hooks, and catchy songs on display on “Tropical Thunder”. Cruzh was put together after the demise of Swedish glam rockers TrashQueen, in which both Anton Joensson and Dennis Butabi Borg played. They shared a love for melodic rock and AOR and joined forces with Tony Andersson, who previously worked as a studio musician on the never released TrashQueen record. Now, in 2021, the long wait for a follow-up album from Cruzh is over. Crank it!
11Servant of the Mind

11.Volbeat

Servant of the Mind (2021)


Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this album is a car. It’s not just any motor – surrounded by devil girls and zombie dudes you’re in an open-topped ’62 Cadillac; all fins, flames and chrome. This latest offering from a rejuvenated Volbeat, surely the Danish superstars’ best, is like stepping straight into a Vince Ray cartoon. Frontman Michael Poulsen wrote this entire album during lockdown. Something must have happened to him during that strange time of isolation – a bite from a radioactive spider perhaps, or a whiplash from a ghostly, tattooed lady in leather. Volbeat – eight albums into a multi-platinum career – have nothing left to prove, and it’d be simple enough to endlessly re-write fan-favorites. They’ve done nothing of the sort. Rarely has such a successful band sounded so ravenous. These leather seats are comfy, but the devil’s at the wheel.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this album is a car. It’s not just any motor – surrounded by devil girls and zombie dudes you’re in an open-topped ’62 Cadillac; all fins, flames and chrome. This latest offering from a rejuvenated Volbeat, surely the Danish superstars’ best, is like stepping straight into a Vince Ray cartoon. Frontman Michael Poulsen wrote this entire album during lockdown. Something must have happened to him during that strange time of isolation – a bite from a radioactive spider perhaps, or a whiplash from a ghostly, tattooed lady in leather. Volbeat – eight albums into a multi-platinum career – have nothing left to prove, and it’d be simple enough to endlessly re-write fan-favorites. They’ve done nothing of the sort. Rarely has such a successful band sounded so ravenous. These leather seats are comfy, but the devil’s at the wheel.
12Fuse

12.LeBrock

Fuse (2021)


LeBrock’s sound elevates further with “Fuse” and continues their epic back catalogue with their melodic rock / pop / synthwave magic. This duo’s joyful retro keyboard sounds and crunching guitar tone are a match made in Heaven. It’s like Swedes Houston meets British rockers Vega. You simply can’t resist such fist pumping rhythms & lyrics where the guitar solos just creates such a thunderous vibe. Enjoy it from start to end… with “Fuse”, the ’80s are just around the corner.
LeBrock’s sound elevates further with “Fuse” and continues their epic back catalogue with their melodic rock / pop / synthwave magic. This duo’s joyful retro keyboard sounds and crunching guitar tone are a match made in Heaven. It’s like Swedes Houston meets British rockers Vega. You simply can’t resist such fist pumping rhythms & lyrics where the guitar solos just creates such a thunderous vibe. Enjoy it from start to end… with “Fuse”, the ’80s are just around the corner.
13X Marks the Spot

13.Art of Illusion

X Marks the Spot (2021)


“X Marks the Spot” is the debut album from the new Swedish band Art of Illusion formed by songwriter & producer Anders Rydholm (AORsters Grand Illusion) and exceptional singer Lars Säfsund (Work of Art). See what they did there with the band name? Very clever. Timeless melodies are the key in their music and a homage to the glory days of AOR / melodic rock. Catchy melodies, delicious hooklines and tons of strong harmony vocals are on ‘spot’ here. Among the guitarists providing guitar solos there’s the unique Jay Graydon.“X Marks the Spot” is simply sublime. Yeah, we’re only in January but this is – and will be – one of the best 2021 Melodic Rock / AOR releases. Albums of this caliber only appear from time to time… go and buy this gem.
“X Marks the Spot” is the debut album from the new Swedish band Art of Illusion formed by songwriter & producer Anders Rydholm (AORsters Grand Illusion) and exceptional singer Lars Säfsund (Work of Art). See what they did there with the band name? Very clever. Timeless melodies are the key in their music and a homage to the glory days of AOR / melodic rock. Catchy melodies, delicious hooklines and tons of strong harmony vocals are on ‘spot’ here. Among the guitarists providing guitar solos there’s the unique Jay Graydon.“X Marks the Spot” is simply sublime. Yeah, we’re only in January but this is – and will be – one of the best 2021 Melodic Rock / AOR releases. Albums of this caliber only appear from time to time… go and buy this gem.
14Dark Connection

14.Beast in Black

Dark Connection (2021)


With "Dark Connection", Beast In Black wisely chose to employ the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. Now that they are three albums deep, the band seems comfortable in its stride. What's more, the moody and slower-tempo songs, as well as the Michael Jackson cover, collectively drag the BEAST forward as a band, ever so marginally yet noticeable enough. The album flows mellifluously in terms of sequencing and because of the thematic science fiction-inspired similarities. There's a sense that Beast In Black has the potential to reach into the American pocket of mainstream music. Whether or not that happens with "Dark Connection" doesn't matter, though. At the end of the day, in terms of art and creativity, they have hit the ball out of the park with album number three.
With "Dark Connection", Beast In Black wisely chose to employ the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. Now that they are three albums deep, the band seems comfortable in its stride. What's more, the moody and slower-tempo songs, as well as the Michael Jackson cover, collectively drag the BEAST forward as a band, ever so marginally yet noticeable enough. The album flows mellifluously in terms of sequencing and because of the thematic science fiction-inspired similarities. There's a sense that Beast In Black has the potential to reach into the American pocket of mainstream music. Whether or not that happens with "Dark Connection" doesn't matter, though. At the end of the day, in terms of art and creativity, they have hit the ball out of the park with album number three.
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15Now or Never

15.Supernova Plasmajets

Now or Never (2021)


Eighties inspired series such “Stranger Things” are breaking records on Netflix, fashion labels throw “80s retro models” on the market every month, and Mötley Crüe are returning to a US stadium tour after the apocalypse with Poison and Def Leppard. It smells, tastes and almost feels like it was 1984 again! With their new album “Now Or Never“, Supernova Plasmajets have come to take you by the hand and travel back to the future with you: that means modern female fronted metal / hard rock with the spirit of the long-missed ’80s stadium rock. Whether at big festivals like Summer Breeze Open Air, Rock The Ring, Metal Hammer Paradise, Baltic Open Air, Rock Of Ages, the European tour with Kissin ‘Dynamite, The New Roses, or rockin out on tour with Eskimo Callboy, JBO, and Sinner…The Mannheim, Supernova Plasmajets were born to inspire an audience and take them into an ’80s parallel universe.
Eighties inspired series such “Stranger Things” are breaking records on Netflix, fashion labels throw “80s retro models” on the market every month, and Mötley Crüe are returning to a US stadium tour after the apocalypse with Poison and Def Leppard. It smells, tastes and almost feels like it was 1984 again! With their new album “Now Or Never“, Supernova Plasmajets have come to take you by the hand and travel back to the future with you: that means modern female fronted metal / hard rock with the spirit of the long-missed ’80s stadium rock. Whether at big festivals like Summer Breeze Open Air, Rock The Ring, Metal Hammer Paradise, Baltic Open Air, Rock Of Ages, the European tour with Kissin ‘Dynamite, The New Roses, or rockin out on tour with Eskimo Callboy, JBO, and Sinner…The Mannheim, Supernova Plasmajets were born to inspire an audience and take them into an ’80s parallel universe.
16One Shot

16.Ronnie Atkins

One Shot (2021)


It is often said that an artist’s best work is always his latest one, at least from the perspective of the creator, and while the jury will be out as to whether this outshines the splendor of such classic Pretty Maids offerings as “Red Hot & Heavy”, “Future World” or “Planet Panic”, this is the sort of power-infused, hard rocking splendor that has kept this icon on the map since the early days of metal. Perhaps the coming months will see this fearless warrior continuing on to another studio venture before all is said and done, God willing, but this is the sort of album that could mark the glorious end of any career, listen loud and listen proud.
It is often said that an artist’s best work is always his latest one, at least from the perspective of the creator, and while the jury will be out as to whether this outshines the splendor of such classic Pretty Maids offerings as “Red Hot & Heavy”, “Future World” or “Planet Panic”, this is the sort of power-infused, hard rocking splendor that has kept this icon on the map since the early days of metal. Perhaps the coming months will see this fearless warrior continuing on to another studio venture before all is said and done, God willing, but this is the sort of album that could mark the glorious end of any career, listen loud and listen proud.
17Renegade

17.Nitrate

Renegade (2021)


Awesome AOR / melodic rockers Nitrate are back with their third album ‘Renegade‘. Inspired by the late ’80s scene with bands such as Def Leppard, Europe, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi, Nitrate is the brainchild of songwriter Nick Hogg (bass guitar) from Nottingham England. This time with the changed stellar line-up of Alexander Strandell (Art Nation) on lead vocals, Tom & James Martin (Vega) guitar & keyboards, Mikey Wilson on drums (Kimber), and the lead guitar of Dario Nikzad (Hell to Play), on ‘Renegade’ Nitrate delivers 11 hook-filled songs with great melodies, walls of keyboards and backing / harmony vocals. Produced by the wonder Vega brothers, and evolving without losing their melodic identity, Nitrate creates a great album for all fans of the genre rejoice.
Awesome AOR / melodic rockers Nitrate are back with their third album ‘Renegade‘. Inspired by the late ’80s scene with bands such as Def Leppard, Europe, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi, Nitrate is the brainchild of songwriter Nick Hogg (bass guitar) from Nottingham England. This time with the changed stellar line-up of Alexander Strandell (Art Nation) on lead vocals, Tom & James Martin (Vega) guitar & keyboards, Mikey Wilson on drums (Kimber), and the lead guitar of Dario Nikzad (Hell to Play), on ‘Renegade’ Nitrate delivers 11 hook-filled songs with great melodies, walls of keyboards and backing / harmony vocals. Produced by the wonder Vega brothers, and evolving without losing their melodic identity, Nitrate creates a great album for all fans of the genre rejoice.
18Aeromantic II

18.The Night Flight Orchestra

Aeromantic II (2021)


The analysis of this record is straightforward; ”Aeromantic II” is a worthy successor to its namesake. Arguably, it is even better with the improved soundscapes created by keyboard and synth usage. Considering Night Flight Orchestra is bound by a somewhat limiting formula, they still manage to remain creative and inventive. The mix is ideal in what could end up being an overcrowded mess in the wrong hands. But Night Flight Orchestra are incredibly good at what they do.
The analysis of this record is straightforward; ”Aeromantic II” is a worthy successor to its namesake. Arguably, it is even better with the improved soundscapes created by keyboard and synth usage. Considering Night Flight Orchestra is bound by a somewhat limiting formula, they still manage to remain creative and inventive. The mix is ideal in what could end up being an overcrowded mess in the wrong hands. But Night Flight Orchestra are incredibly good at what they do.
19Street Lethal

19.Crazy Lixx

Street Lethal (2021)


With “Street Lethal”, Crazy Lixx surpasses all expectations for new music from the band. It’s an album that is confident, slick, and full of passion. Here, Crazy Lixx prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re not just one of the pack, but that they are right there at the front of it. There really is no keeping Danny Rexon down as far as writing is concerned – he’s already written an album for Chez Cane this year which will be into a lot of people’s favorites of the year list, and now he’s gone and hit us with this – Crazy Lixx’ 7th record and 7th home run! Where it sits exactly in what is an extremely great back catalogue is your call: to these ears is another world class Hard Rocker up there with anything we got in the late ’80s.
With “Street Lethal”, Crazy Lixx surpasses all expectations for new music from the band. It’s an album that is confident, slick, and full of passion. Here, Crazy Lixx prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re not just one of the pack, but that they are right there at the front of it. There really is no keeping Danny Rexon down as far as writing is concerned – he’s already written an album for Chez Cane this year which will be into a lot of people’s favorites of the year list, and now he’s gone and hit us with this – Crazy Lixx’ 7th record and 7th home run! Where it sits exactly in what is an extremely great back catalogue is your call: to these ears is another world class Hard Rocker up there with anything we got in the late ’80s.
20CoExist

20.Jakob Samuel

CoExist (2021)


The Poodles, Kryptonite and other projects singer Jakob Samuel has released his new solo album “CoExist” What's it isn’t uncertain is Samuel’s taste for a good melody and catchy melodies. While his first solo album was some kind introspective and delicate in sound, “CoExist” is a full-on rocker with a bright production in the style of current wave of Scandinavian melodic hard rock. For those of yearning for new material from The Poodles, this will certainly fill that void.
The Poodles, Kryptonite and other projects singer Jakob Samuel has released his new solo album “CoExist” What's it isn’t uncertain is Samuel’s taste for a good melody and catchy melodies. While his first solo album was some kind introspective and delicate in sound, “CoExist” is a full-on rocker with a bright production in the style of current wave of Scandinavian melodic hard rock. For those of yearning for new material from The Poodles, this will certainly fill that void.
21Overload

21.Spektra

Overload (2021)


Spektra, a new, exciting project by BJ, a stellar vocalist from the Brazilian hard rock scene, gives us their debut album, “Overload”, Spektra is BJ’s musical brainchild and his first band built from scratch featuring original music inspired by his vast range of influences including Journey, Foreigner, Winger and other melodic and hard rock masters. BJ brings along his longtime bandmates from Tempestt and the JSS Band, Edu Cominato (drums) and Leo Mancini (guitars) as well as Henrique Canale (bass), a well known Brazilian producer and composer. This is very high quality melodic hard rock, a no-brainer purchase.
Spektra, a new, exciting project by BJ, a stellar vocalist from the Brazilian hard rock scene, gives us their debut album, “Overload”, Spektra is BJ’s musical brainchild and his first band built from scratch featuring original music inspired by his vast range of influences including Journey, Foreigner, Winger and other melodic and hard rock masters. BJ brings along his longtime bandmates from Tempestt and the JSS Band, Edu Cominato (drums) and Leo Mancini (guitars) as well as Henrique Canale (bass), a well known Brazilian producer and composer. This is very high quality melodic hard rock, a no-brainer purchase.
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22Mayank

22.Mayank

Mayank (2021)


Mayank is a new melodic rock band centered around vocalist Gui Oliver, who is joined by Swedish guitarist Rolf Nordström (Perfect Plan), keyboardist/producer Alessandro Del Vecchio, and drummer Nicholas Papapicco. Gui’s band Auras delivered a fantastis AOR album a decade ago, and now Mayank was born with the intent to build a group with amazing talents from the melodic rock scene who are all on the same wavelength musically and would come together seamlessly as a musical unit. The name Gui Oliver is certainly a familiar one to melodic rock connoisseurs. His voice, resembling such giants as Steve Perry, Jimi Jamison, and Mickey Thomas, immediately put him in the spotlight after the release of Auras’ debut. Unfortunately, the group disbanded after releasing their lone album and playing a few shows. The pandemic lockdowns and quarantines of 2020 became the perfect time for Gui & Del Vecchio to work together on a record. A very special addition to the album comes in the form of Rolf Nordström of Sweden’s Perfect Plan, who joined the fold to bring his excellent guitar skills to the music. The result is the debut album from Mayank, a culmination of a passionate musical output between Gui, Ale, and an amazing team of musicians and songwriters. If you are a serious melodic rock fan, you need to check out this debut CD.
Mayank is a new melodic rock band centered around vocalist Gui Oliver, who is joined by Swedish guitarist Rolf Nordström (Perfect Plan), keyboardist/producer Alessandro Del Vecchio, and drummer Nicholas Papapicco. Gui’s band Auras delivered a fantastis AOR album a decade ago, and now Mayank was born with the intent to build a group with amazing talents from the melodic rock scene who are all on the same wavelength musically and would come together seamlessly as a musical unit. The name Gui Oliver is certainly a familiar one to melodic rock connoisseurs. His voice, resembling such giants as Steve Perry, Jimi Jamison, and Mickey Thomas, immediately put him in the spotlight after the release of Auras’ debut. Unfortunately, the group disbanded after releasing their lone album and playing a few shows. The pandemic lockdowns and quarantines of 2020 became the perfect time for Gui & Del Vecchio to work together on a record. A very special addition to the album comes in the form of Rolf Nordström of Sweden’s Perfect Plan, who joined the fold to bring his excellent guitar skills to the music. The result is the debut album from Mayank, a culmination of a passionate musical output between Gui, Ale, and an amazing team of musicians and songwriters. If you are a serious melodic rock fan, you need to check out this debut CD.
23Heart, Mind and Soul

23.Hardline

Heart, Mind and Soul (2021)


Melodic rockers Hardline are back with new studio album ”Heart, Mind & Soul” Hardline have been offering a straight-ahead, riff-based melodic hard rock sound which is a continuing evolution from what was on offer in the band’s early days. What you get here on their new studio album is a group of musicians who are perfectly gelled as a unit and determined to display a sound that is immediate and powerful. Adding their own personality and imprint to the music, the band has created a perfect balance between these anthemic, hard rocking songs. You can expect hook after hook and riff after riff as you take a ride with Hardline via “Heart, Mind & Soul”, an album with a song titled ’80’s Moment’… it pretty much sums up what this is all about.
Melodic rockers Hardline are back with new studio album ”Heart, Mind & Soul” Hardline have been offering a straight-ahead, riff-based melodic hard rock sound which is a continuing evolution from what was on offer in the band’s early days. What you get here on their new studio album is a group of musicians who are perfectly gelled as a unit and determined to display a sound that is immediate and powerful. Adding their own personality and imprint to the music, the band has created a perfect balance between these anthemic, hard rocking songs. You can expect hook after hook and riff after riff as you take a ride with Hardline via “Heart, Mind & Soul”, an album with a song titled ’80’s Moment’… it pretty much sums up what this is all about.
24Memoria Avenue

24.Memoria Avenue

Memoria Avenue (2021)


“Memoria Avenue” is a wonderful debut album with a sound & style that will particularly appeal to fans of stylish, ’80s oriented melodic rock bands, think Work of Art and Perfect Plan, with a hint of that breezy, feel-good sound not as easy to find these days. Memoria Avenue is yet another absolutely stunning newcomer to the AOR scene, comprised of experienced musicians and tasteful songwriters.
“Memoria Avenue” is a wonderful debut album with a sound & style that will particularly appeal to fans of stylish, ’80s oriented melodic rock bands, think Work of Art and Perfect Plan, with a hint of that breezy, feel-good sound not as easy to find these days. Memoria Avenue is yet another absolutely stunning newcomer to the AOR scene, comprised of experienced musicians and tasteful songwriters.
25Anarchy and Unity

25.Vega

Anarchy and Unity (2021)


UK melodic rockers Vega are back with “Anarchy & Unity,” their seventh studio album overall and the culmination of a string of releases which started in 2009 with their debut album ‘Kiss of Life’. The new album, while not a departure from the band’s defined and classy sound, shows a band determined, mature, and ready for the next step in their career. It has a crisp sound and immaculate musicianship showcasing the great talents in the band. On the songwriting front, the band have returned with a more muscular sound, but no less full to the brim with melodies that will grab you from the first note to the last.Vega comprises some of the most talented musicians from the ‘new’ melodic hard rock generation, a band that will always deliver high-quality, melodic, and perfectly produced music in this genre. It seems that with the two new guys onboard Vega took a big boost and that is reflected to this brand new opus. “Anarchy & Unity” is a hell of an album, easily one of the best of the year.
UK melodic rockers Vega are back with “Anarchy & Unity,” their seventh studio album overall and the culmination of a string of releases which started in 2009 with their debut album ‘Kiss of Life’. The new album, while not a departure from the band’s defined and classy sound, shows a band determined, mature, and ready for the next step in their career. It has a crisp sound and immaculate musicianship showcasing the great talents in the band. On the songwriting front, the band have returned with a more muscular sound, but no less full to the brim with melodies that will grab you from the first note to the last.Vega comprises some of the most talented musicians from the ‘new’ melodic hard rock generation, a band that will always deliver high-quality, melodic, and perfectly produced music in this genre. It seems that with the two new guys onboard Vega took a big boost and that is reflected to this brand new opus. “Anarchy & Unity” is a hell of an album, easily one of the best of the year.
26Imperial

26.Soen

Imperial (2021)


“Imperial” will take Soen even higher and cement them as a dominant force within progressive rock / metal / hard. A band with their unique sound now accessible like never before, aiming to make us fall victims to their substantial mix of emotion and strength.
“Imperial” will take Soen even higher and cement them as a dominant force within progressive rock / metal / hard. A band with their unique sound now accessible like never before, aiming to make us fall victims to their substantial mix of emotion and strength.
27A Virtual World

27.Metalite

A Virtual World (2021)


Sweden’s female fronted rockers Metalite releases their 3rd full length album titled ”A Virtual World.” This is the second release featuring the vocal talents of Erica Ohlsson, whose voice stands strong throughout (and her gorgeous look). ”A Virtual World” features a lush, wall of sound produced by Jacob Hansen which has elements of Pop, Techno, Melodic Metal and more all wrapped up in one neat package. The vocals are thickly layered with deep reverbs that make it feel like a classic Rock & Pop album, if you didn’t have the rapid-fire double bass drumming and shredding guitar work to fill in the blanks. One test of a good mix is can you still hear the vocals clearly at any volume, and ”A Virtual World” more than passes that test.
Sweden’s female fronted rockers Metalite releases their 3rd full length album titled ”A Virtual World.” This is the second release featuring the vocal talents of Erica Ohlsson, whose voice stands strong throughout (and her gorgeous look). ”A Virtual World” features a lush, wall of sound produced by Jacob Hansen which has elements of Pop, Techno, Melodic Metal and more all wrapped up in one neat package. The vocals are thickly layered with deep reverbs that make it feel like a classic Rock & Pop album, if you didn’t have the rapid-fire double bass drumming and shredding guitar work to fill in the blanks. One test of a good mix is can you still hear the vocals clearly at any volume, and ”A Virtual World” more than passes that test.
28Soul to Soul

28.Groundbreaker

Soul to Soul (2021)


“Soul To Soul” is the new album from Groundbreaker, the band centered around the timeless vocal talents of Steve Overland (FM). While the self-titled debut was a collaboration with Robert Sall (Work of Art, W.E.T) on the songwriting side, joining Steve this time are Stefano Lionetti (Lionville), Pete Alpenborg (Arctic Rain), Jan Akesson (Infinite & Divine), and Kristian Fyhr (Seventh Crystal). The lineup includes Sven Larsson (ex-Street Talk) on guitars, Nalley Pahlsson (ex- Vindictiv, Therion) on bass, Herman Furin (Work of Art) on drums, and Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards. The resulting album is simply everything that a melodic rock fan could hope and dream for. Expect nothing less than soaring hooklines, magnificent melodies, and amazing instrumental performances. Mixing the best of the European melodic rock traditions, Groundbreaker’s “Soul To Soul” is easily one of the melodic rock highlights of the year.
“Soul To Soul” is the new album from Groundbreaker, the band centered around the timeless vocal talents of Steve Overland (FM). While the self-titled debut was a collaboration with Robert Sall (Work of Art, W.E.T) on the songwriting side, joining Steve this time are Stefano Lionetti (Lionville), Pete Alpenborg (Arctic Rain), Jan Akesson (Infinite & Divine), and Kristian Fyhr (Seventh Crystal). The lineup includes Sven Larsson (ex-Street Talk) on guitars, Nalley Pahlsson (ex- Vindictiv, Therion) on bass, Herman Furin (Work of Art) on drums, and Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards. The resulting album is simply everything that a melodic rock fan could hope and dream for. Expect nothing less than soaring hooklines, magnificent melodies, and amazing instrumental performances. Mixing the best of the European melodic rock traditions, Groundbreaker’s “Soul To Soul” is easily one of the melodic rock highlights of the year.
29All the Right Noises

29.Thunder

All the Right Noises (2021)


Thunder fans will love this album as it touches all the band’s key strengths – memorable songs, party rockers, ballads, lyrics to make you think and above all, well-crafted hard rock tunes. One that could turn out to be their best since their legendary debut.
Thunder fans will love this album as it touches all the band’s key strengths – memorable songs, party rockers, ballads, lyrics to make you think and above all, well-crafted hard rock tunes. One that could turn out to be their best since their legendary debut.
30One

30.Counterline

One (2021)


GG Andreas and Harold Waller got a band influenced by the sound of ’80s / 90s melodic rock, supporting major acts such as Cinderella, Scorpions, Sebastian Bach, etc, but later parted ways to other projects. Six years ago they reunited again to form a new band with the aim to make the music the feel from the heart, and Counterline born. Both musicians took the necessary time to recruit the proper band mates, compose and polish their songs to the extreme, and record their debut album ‘One‘ with the right production for the genre. The result is this ten-tracker capturing the classic AOR atmospheres and slick melodic rock sound from the classic era, an ambitious piece of work which is a pleasure from start to finish.
GG Andreas and Harold Waller got a band influenced by the sound of ’80s / 90s melodic rock, supporting major acts such as Cinderella, Scorpions, Sebastian Bach, etc, but later parted ways to other projects. Six years ago they reunited again to form a new band with the aim to make the music the feel from the heart, and Counterline born. Both musicians took the necessary time to recruit the proper band mates, compose and polish their songs to the extreme, and record their debut album ‘One‘ with the right production for the genre. The result is this ten-tracker capturing the classic AOR atmospheres and slick melodic rock sound from the classic era, an ambitious piece of work which is a pleasure from start to finish.
31Be Here

31.7th heaven

Be Here (2021)


Just ready for the summer, US feel-good song makers 7th Heaven are back with a new album, “Be Here“, a fantastic, sweet new 14-collection of catchy songs ready for the party plenty of timeless melodies. Always commanded by Richard Hofherr, this terrific band musically ranging from melodic rock, power pop, to classic rock and a style mixing the best from the ’80s / ’90s, since the last two albums they opted for a decidedly poppy sound. Well, “Be Here” marks 7th HEAVEN’s return to classic Melodic Rock, and as a plus, an extra bit of production. Yes, “Be Here” sounds huge, more layered in harmonies, and man, those choruses… Take the best from the current Scandinavian Melodic Rock / AOR sound, add some British stylings and put that American feel circa 1988/1989, and you have 7th Heaven 2021.
Just ready for the summer, US feel-good song makers 7th Heaven are back with a new album, “Be Here“, a fantastic, sweet new 14-collection of catchy songs ready for the party plenty of timeless melodies. Always commanded by Richard Hofherr, this terrific band musically ranging from melodic rock, power pop, to classic rock and a style mixing the best from the ’80s / ’90s, since the last two albums they opted for a decidedly poppy sound. Well, “Be Here” marks 7th HEAVEN’s return to classic Melodic Rock, and as a plus, an extra bit of production. Yes, “Be Here” sounds huge, more layered in harmonies, and man, those choruses… Take the best from the current Scandinavian Melodic Rock / AOR sound, add some British stylings and put that American feel circa 1988/1989, and you have 7th Heaven 2021.
32Just Drive (Part 2)

32.Wolfclub

Just Drive (Part 2) (2021)


With “Just Drive (Part 2)” we hear a bit of less emphasis on indie rock, and more of an emphasis on the synthwave and electronic sound. However, the album is still grounded soundly in those wonderfully catchy signature pop vocals – “California Days (feat. Dora Pereli)” is probably one of the catchiest tracks we’ve heard all summer! Laid over the amazing blend of pop and synthwave with a hint of indie rock influence is an incredible twist of nostalgia that only a seasoned retro band like Wolf Club can muster. It gives every track on “Just Drive (Part 2)” a floating, ethereal quality that feels incredibly wistful and instantly memorable.
With “Just Drive (Part 2)” we hear a bit of less emphasis on indie rock, and more of an emphasis on the synthwave and electronic sound. However, the album is still grounded soundly in those wonderfully catchy signature pop vocals – “California Days (feat. Dora Pereli)” is probably one of the catchiest tracks we’ve heard all summer! Laid over the amazing blend of pop and synthwave with a hint of indie rock influence is an incredible twist of nostalgia that only a seasoned retro band like Wolf Club can muster. It gives every track on “Just Drive (Part 2)” a floating, ethereal quality that feels incredibly wistful and instantly memorable.
33Cleopatra

33.Everdawn

Cleopatra (2021)


Following successful tours in support of Queensryche and Therion, the New Jersey band Midnight Eternal went through a line up change while working on their second album. With the addition of Alina Gavrilenko on vocals and Mike LePond (Symphony X, et all) on bass, the band rechristened themselves as Everdawn, and the result is their new CD “Cleopatra“. While press release tells Everdawn are a symphonic metal act, musically there’s much more in the background of “Cleopatra”. In fact, for my ears, this album is more melodic metal than anything else, with catchy poppy melodies and strong grooves, wrapped by a big production. The album is a homage to the most famous and strongest Queen of the Ancient Egypt. However, and while here and there are mentions to her as in, of course, title track “Cleopatra”, it isn’t a concept, with tracks in a ‘song format’ and not only accessible, but also very enjoyable.
Following successful tours in support of Queensryche and Therion, the New Jersey band Midnight Eternal went through a line up change while working on their second album. With the addition of Alina Gavrilenko on vocals and Mike LePond (Symphony X, et all) on bass, the band rechristened themselves as Everdawn, and the result is their new CD “Cleopatra“. While press release tells Everdawn are a symphonic metal act, musically there’s much more in the background of “Cleopatra”. In fact, for my ears, this album is more melodic metal than anything else, with catchy poppy melodies and strong grooves, wrapped by a big production. The album is a homage to the most famous and strongest Queen of the Ancient Egypt. However, and while here and there are mentions to her as in, of course, title track “Cleopatra”, it isn’t a concept, with tracks in a ‘song format’ and not only accessible, but also very enjoyable.
34Itch You Can’t Scratch

34.Midnite City

Itch You Can’t Scratch (2021)


‘Itch You Can’t Scratch’ is the third full-length studio album from British sensation Midnite City. If you’re familiar with either of their first two offerings – their self-titled debut album in 2017, or ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ a year later – then you’ll know what to expect: classic ’80s-style hair metal that’s loud, brash and ready to party. And darn, all that perfected to the extreme like never before. Indeed, since you press ‘play’ on opener ‘Crawlin’ in the Dirt’ you are taken back to 1987 to enjoy a very, very good time.
‘Itch You Can’t Scratch’ is the third full-length studio album from British sensation Midnite City. If you’re familiar with either of their first two offerings – their self-titled debut album in 2017, or ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ a year later – then you’ll know what to expect: classic ’80s-style hair metal that’s loud, brash and ready to party. And darn, all that perfected to the extreme like never before. Indeed, since you press ‘play’ on opener ‘Crawlin’ in the Dirt’ you are taken back to 1987 to enjoy a very, very good time.
35Gravity

35.Second Reign

Gravity (2021)


“Gravity” is the debut album for new Swiss band Second Reign. What started as only recording a few songs to get gigs and releasing them as singles, turned into a lengthy songwriting process and the recordings of the band’s very first studio album. Formed by experienced musicians, the name of the band isn’t casual: Second Reign refers to that although 40 years have passed since then – the ’80s can be revived in a modern and contemporary way, combining the best of both worlds. Yes, these guys aim to an ’80s melodic hard rock / AOR ‘Second Reign’ in 2021. With that classic catchy guitars, smooth vocals, huge drums, and keyboard / synths balancing the whole thing, “Gravity” brings back the classic era for the genre but with a 2021 sauce. With a modern production – very well done – all songs on “Gravity” have something to enjoy, confirming that Second Reign is one of the Melodic Hard / AOR surprises of the year.
“Gravity” is the debut album for new Swiss band Second Reign. What started as only recording a few songs to get gigs and releasing them as singles, turned into a lengthy songwriting process and the recordings of the band’s very first studio album. Formed by experienced musicians, the name of the band isn’t casual: Second Reign refers to that although 40 years have passed since then – the ’80s can be revived in a modern and contemporary way, combining the best of both worlds. Yes, these guys aim to an ’80s melodic hard rock / AOR ‘Second Reign’ in 2021. With that classic catchy guitars, smooth vocals, huge drums, and keyboard / synths balancing the whole thing, “Gravity” brings back the classic era for the genre but with a 2021 sauce. With a modern production – very well done – all songs on “Gravity” have something to enjoy, confirming that Second Reign is one of the Melodic Hard / AOR surprises of the year.
36Double Trouble

36.Robbie LaBlanc

Double Trouble (2021)


While still rooted in classic melodic rock & AOR, for his solo debut Robbie LaBlanc wanted to offer something different, and we find classic rock, blues, funk and even some Westcoast on “Double Trouble”. His vocals here showcase some different sides from what we know from him. All very well-crafted and produced. But what else would you expect from this talented musician?
While still rooted in classic melodic rock & AOR, for his solo debut Robbie LaBlanc wanted to offer something different, and we find classic rock, blues, funk and even some Westcoast on “Double Trouble”. His vocals here showcase some different sides from what we know from him. All very well-crafted and produced. But what else would you expect from this talented musician?
37Never Say Die

37.Wig Wam

Never Say Die (2021)


Had Wig Wam been part of the First Wave of Glam Metal, then in comparison, you might well have branded the music of fellow travelers, Motley Crue and Poison as grimy and transgressive. Wig Wam play it straight, walking a high wire between hard rock, melodic rock and metal, grabbing onto the best from all sides, getting the balance just right. Welcome back guys. The world needs this fun n’ rocking stuff.
Had Wig Wam been part of the First Wave of Glam Metal, then in comparison, you might well have branded the music of fellow travelers, Motley Crue and Poison as grimy and transgressive. Wig Wam play it straight, walking a high wire between hard rock, melodic rock and metal, grabbing onto the best from all sides, getting the balance just right. Welcome back guys. The world needs this fun n’ rocking stuff.
38Now Is the Time

38.Perpetual Etude

Now Is the Time (2021)


“Now Is the Time” is the debut album from Perpetual Etude, a new combo arriving from the always fructiferous Swedish land. Arriving next weekend, the album will be released before (tomorrow) in Japan including a bonus track. Formed by ex members of Osukaru, Nation, Seventh Crystal and Air Raid, you only can expect quality, and if you need more, there’s the unique Goran Edman as guest vocalist. And Edman is a fine reference to get a picture of Perpetual Etude’s music: think Yngwie Malmsteen circa 1987-1992 (with Joe Lynn Turner & Edman era), Axel Rudi Pell, the heavier side of Hardline and Takara, etc. This is melodic hard rock / melodic metal with impressive musicianship, short, catchy songs, and pristine production.
“Now Is the Time” is the debut album from Perpetual Etude, a new combo arriving from the always fructiferous Swedish land. Arriving next weekend, the album will be released before (tomorrow) in Japan including a bonus track. Formed by ex members of Osukaru, Nation, Seventh Crystal and Air Raid, you only can expect quality, and if you need more, there’s the unique Goran Edman as guest vocalist. And Edman is a fine reference to get a picture of Perpetual Etude’s music: think Yngwie Malmsteen circa 1987-1992 (with Joe Lynn Turner & Edman era), Axel Rudi Pell, the heavier side of Hardline and Takara, etc. This is melodic hard rock / melodic metal with impressive musicianship, short, catchy songs, and pristine production.
39Call of the Wild

39.Powerwolf

Call of the Wild (2021)


Call of the Wild is an album full of bangers that doesn’t get old and spends far more time being fun than sniffing its own farts. Powerwolf does what they do well on this release and it’s a welcome return from the three-year wait since The Sacrament of Sin. Listen to it once to get drawn in and a few more times to get rowdy!
Call of the Wild is an album full of bangers that doesn’t get old and spends far more time being fun than sniffing its own farts. Powerwolf does what they do well on this release and it’s a welcome return from the three-year wait since The Sacrament of Sin. Listen to it once to get drawn in and a few more times to get rowdy!
40Pyromide

40.Temple Balls

Pyromide (2021)


Melodic Hard Rock can be extremely anthemic when done right and Temple Balls have crafted a really catchy and hooky album with “Pyromide.” These tunes will make the listeners tap their foots, headbang, do aerobics, or do air guitar while singing along to the addictive melodies. The production, courtesy of H.e.a.t’s very own Jona Tee, is crsip, polished and boasts enough power and vitality so that the album leaves you wanting more. Highly recommended to fans of anthemic, high-energy rockin’ music, as “Pyromide” features plenty of such melodic treats.
Melodic Hard Rock can be extremely anthemic when done right and Temple Balls have crafted a really catchy and hooky album with “Pyromide.” These tunes will make the listeners tap their foots, headbang, do aerobics, or do air guitar while singing along to the addictive melodies. The production, courtesy of H.e.a.t’s very own Jona Tee, is crsip, polished and boasts enough power and vitality so that the album leaves you wanting more. Highly recommended to fans of anthemic, high-energy rockin’ music, as “Pyromide” features plenty of such melodic treats.
41In My Dreams

41.Zelbo

In My Dreams (2021)


Zelbo is a new melodic rock band / project masterminded by Norwegian keyboard player Dag Selboskar. Dag is an experienced musician who debuted with Scandi AOR legends Da Vinci, with whom he recorded and released two acclaimed albums, “Da Vinci” (1987) and “Back In Business” (1989) for Polygram Records. In 1992, the band stopped touring and went on a prolonged hiatus, which ended in 2017 with the release of their comeback album “Ambition Rocks”. Over the years, Dag kept busy working with Trine Rein, Street Legal, and Eidsivating before deciding to take up a solo project, Zelbo. Dag enlisted the services of his longtime friend Ken Ingwersen, a guitar player who in the mid 80’s worked for Evenrude and later on played with Rags and Street Legal, before joining on a more permanent basis Ken Hensley’s (Uriah Heep) band. Completing the line up there are Frode Vassel on vocals and Sturla Nostvik on drums, who are both extremely gifted and experienced musicians. “In My Dreams” is Scandinavian AOR of the highest order, which will certainly make all Da Vinci, Work of Art, classic Europe, etc, fans extremely happy.
Zelbo is a new melodic rock band / project masterminded by Norwegian keyboard player Dag Selboskar. Dag is an experienced musician who debuted with Scandi AOR legends Da Vinci, with whom he recorded and released two acclaimed albums, “Da Vinci” (1987) and “Back In Business” (1989) for Polygram Records. In 1992, the band stopped touring and went on a prolonged hiatus, which ended in 2017 with the release of their comeback album “Ambition Rocks”. Over the years, Dag kept busy working with Trine Rein, Street Legal, and Eidsivating before deciding to take up a solo project, Zelbo. Dag enlisted the services of his longtime friend Ken Ingwersen, a guitar player who in the mid 80’s worked for Evenrude and later on played with Rags and Street Legal, before joining on a more permanent basis Ken Hensley’s (Uriah Heep) band. Completing the line up there are Frode Vassel on vocals and Sturla Nostvik on drums, who are both extremely gifted and experienced musicians. “In My Dreams” is Scandinavian AOR of the highest order, which will certainly make all Da Vinci, Work of Art, classic Europe, etc, fans extremely happy.
42Altitude

42.Lifesigns

Altitude (2021)


Some albums with a runtime of nearly an hour feel that they overstay their welcome. But in realizing that it may be a few years before we get the next Lifesigns installment, it has to be said that this is over all-too-soon. Once again they have a smashing success on their hands which sounds glorious thanks to Rispin’s skilled ears. May the delights herein reach a multitude of new ears, inevitably leading to that many more new fans. One of the best albums of the year.
Some albums with a runtime of nearly an hour feel that they overstay their welcome. But in realizing that it may be a few years before we get the next Lifesigns installment, it has to be said that this is over all-too-soon. Once again they have a smashing success on their hands which sounds glorious thanks to Rispin’s skilled ears. May the delights herein reach a multitude of new ears, inevitably leading to that many more new fans. One of the best albums of the year.
43Death by Rock and Roll

43.The Pretty Reckless

Death by Rock and Roll (2021)


After being delayed, The Pretty Reckless releases their new studio album ”Death By Rock & Roll”. Mixing dark rockers with bright melodic acoustic-mixed songs, The Pretty Reckless have the perfect formula of well-written songs, technically proficient playing, and a powerhouse front-woman. Indeed, Taylor Momsen’s vocals command power as the band creates the sonic stage for her to excel. The songs have many moods and feelings, making them exciting and standing up to repeated listens.
After being delayed, The Pretty Reckless releases their new studio album ”Death By Rock & Roll”. Mixing dark rockers with bright melodic acoustic-mixed songs, The Pretty Reckless have the perfect formula of well-written songs, technically proficient playing, and a powerhouse front-woman. Indeed, Taylor Momsen’s vocals command power as the band creates the sonic stage for her to excel. The songs have many moods and feelings, making them exciting and standing up to repeated listens.
44Tomorrow Never Comes

44.Touch

Tomorrow Never Comes (2021)


Touch are back in full form. There’s a lot for early fans, classic Pomp AOR it is, but also rarely formulated and even experimental in places, always with the ‘Touch style’. And We love it. While nothing will ever compare to the majesty of the debut this is a better comeback than even their most fanatical fans could have realistically imagined.
Touch are back in full form. There’s a lot for early fans, classic Pomp AOR it is, but also rarely formulated and even experimental in places, always with the ‘Touch style’. And We love it. While nothing will ever compare to the majesty of the debut this is a better comeback than even their most fanatical fans could have realistically imagined.
45

45.Blacktop Mojo

Blacktop Mojo (2021)


Blacktop Mojo release their fourth, self-titled, album containing twelve tracks that are guaranteed to have something for everyone; ranging from good old rock’n’roll to grungy blues and it will not disappoint. A bit of a a mystery to me as to why this band is not HUGE.
Blacktop Mojo release their fourth, self-titled, album containing twelve tracks that are guaranteed to have something for everyone; ranging from good old rock’n’roll to grungy blues and it will not disappoint. A bit of a a mystery to me as to why this band is not HUGE.
46Final Days

46.Orden Ogan

Final Days (2021)


Germany’s Orden Ogan is another act which started playing progressive power metal and over the years turned simpler, more focused, melodic and catchy. Their latest album “Final Days” is a dark Sci-Fi concept record, plenty of fat riffs, massive choruses and punchy rhythms. It helps that main-man Seeb Levermann is really on fire, vocally, guitar-wise and in terms of production. He manages to squeeze as much attitude and emotion out of these songs as is physically possible. It also helps that he’s the master of vocal layering: every chorus sounds like an entire army is belting out these catchy hooklines. It’s probably the most endearing aspect of Orden Ogan, and I cannot get enough.
Germany’s Orden Ogan is another act which started playing progressive power metal and over the years turned simpler, more focused, melodic and catchy. Their latest album “Final Days” is a dark Sci-Fi concept record, plenty of fat riffs, massive choruses and punchy rhythms. It helps that main-man Seeb Levermann is really on fire, vocally, guitar-wise and in terms of production. He manages to squeeze as much attitude and emotion out of these songs as is physically possible. It also helps that he’s the master of vocal layering: every chorus sounds like an entire army is belting out these catchy hooklines. It’s probably the most endearing aspect of Orden Ogan, and I cannot get enough.
47Dare to Dream

47.ARGI

Dare to Dream (2021) [EP]


Dani Argilés is a very promising guitarist hailing from Spain. Here he releases his first EP under the name "ARGI". This is a really cool Melodic Rock Project with interesting collaborations that include David A. Saylor and Rod Marenna! You won't be dissapointed with this purchase!
Dani Argilés is a very promising guitarist hailing from Spain. Here he releases his first EP under the name "ARGI". This is a really cool Melodic Rock Project with interesting collaborations that include David A. Saylor and Rod Marenna! You won't be dissapointed with this purchase!
suggested by: LucyAOR
48Kings in the North

48.Crowne

Kings in the North (2021)


“Kings In the North” is the debut album new Swedish melodic hard rock super-group Crowne. The band is comprised of vocalist Alexander Strandell (Art Nation), guitarist / keyboardist / producer Jona Tee (H.E.A.T.), bassist John Levén (Europe), and drummer Christian Lundqvist (The Poodles), while Love Magnusson (Dynazty) provide the guitar solos. Ctoenr is hands-down one of the most exciting, thrilling sum of talents from the Scandi melodic hard rock scene. This albums is a kick ass barnburner with enormous melodies, delivering rock ‘n’ roll like there is no tomorrow, with great songwriting, performances & production.
“Kings In the North” is the debut album new Swedish melodic hard rock super-group Crowne. The band is comprised of vocalist Alexander Strandell (Art Nation), guitarist / keyboardist / producer Jona Tee (H.E.A.T.), bassist John Levén (Europe), and drummer Christian Lundqvist (The Poodles), while Love Magnusson (Dynazty) provide the guitar solos. Ctoenr is hands-down one of the most exciting, thrilling sum of talents from the Scandi melodic hard rock scene. This albums is a kick ass barnburner with enormous melodies, delivering rock ‘n’ roll like there is no tomorrow, with great songwriting, performances & production.
49

49.Paralandra

Street Magic (2021)


Paralandra, fronted by Casandra Carson - who also sings in The L.I.F.E. Project alongside Stone Sour guitarist Josh Rand. 'Street Magic' is the sparkling debut from this awesome band and can only hope there will be much more music coming in the near future! Strong vocals, melodies, with some punch production make this a debut to not be missed! Really great album!
Paralandra, fronted by Casandra Carson - who also sings in The L.I.F.E. Project alongside Stone Sour guitarist Josh Rand. 'Street Magic' is the sparkling debut from this awesome band and can only hope there will be much more music coming in the near future! Strong vocals, melodies, with some punch production make this a debut to not be missed! Really great album!
50Chez Kane

50.Chez Kane

Chez Kane (2021)


If you, like myself, are a fan of Lee Aaron, Vixen, Saraya, Chrissy Steele, Lita Ford, and similar artists and feel like the genre’s missing out this vital component, you’re going to love the debut album from Chez Kane.
If you, like myself, are a fan of Lee Aaron, Vixen, Saraya, Chrissy Steele, Lita Ford, and similar artists and feel like the genre’s missing out this vital component, you’re going to love the debut album from Chez Kane.
51Land of Gypsies

51.Land of Gypsies

Land of Gypsies (2021)


Land of Gypsies, formerly known as Gang of Souls, is a new L.A. based band featuring an artistic union between vocalist Terry Ilous (XYZ, ex-Great White), together with producer and bassist Fabrizio Grossi (Glenn Hughes, Supersonic Blues Machine, Eric Gales, etc.). Rounding out the line-up are Serge Simic on guitar (The Slam, Supersonic Blues Machine) and Tony Morra on drums. The band spent a wealth of time during the pandemic in 2020 working on and developing their sound. Their target was to write music leaning towards a classic hard rock sound with unforgettable melodies and a solid bluesy background to compliment Ilous’ stellar vocals. Terry is the centerpiece on this self-ltitled debut album, and he’ll turn even more heads than what he’s been admirably doing since XYZ’s debut and when he was with Great White. This record represents the type of straight ahead hard rock music that really makes us move.
Land of Gypsies, formerly known as Gang of Souls, is a new L.A. based band featuring an artistic union between vocalist Terry Ilous (XYZ, ex-Great White), together with producer and bassist Fabrizio Grossi (Glenn Hughes, Supersonic Blues Machine, Eric Gales, etc.). Rounding out the line-up are Serge Simic on guitar (The Slam, Supersonic Blues Machine) and Tony Morra on drums. The band spent a wealth of time during the pandemic in 2020 working on and developing their sound. Their target was to write music leaning towards a classic hard rock sound with unforgettable melodies and a solid bluesy background to compliment Ilous’ stellar vocals. Terry is the centerpiece on this self-ltitled debut album, and he’ll turn even more heads than what he’s been admirably doing since XYZ’s debut and when he was with Great White. This record represents the type of straight ahead hard rock music that really makes us move.
52Lindsey Buckingham

52.Lindsey Buckingham

Lindsey Buckingham (2021)


There's a sense of new freedom on Lindsey Buckingham that was missing from 2011's Seeds We Sow and the 2017 collaboration record Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie that was supposed to be a Fleetwood Mac album before Stevie Nicks went her own way. Working by himself now, Buckingham doesn't have to rein in any of his more outre impulses, which could use some of Fleetwood Mac's commercial shrewdness at times. But his liberation here is mostly exhilarating. This album is 100% Lindsey Buckingham and that should be all you need to know.
There's a sense of new freedom on Lindsey Buckingham that was missing from 2011's Seeds We Sow and the 2017 collaboration record Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie that was supposed to be a Fleetwood Mac album before Stevie Nicks went her own way. Working by himself now, Buckingham doesn't have to rein in any of his more outre impulses, which could use some of Fleetwood Mac's commercial shrewdness at times. But his liberation here is mostly exhilarating. This album is 100% Lindsey Buckingham and that should be all you need to know.
53Helloween

53.Helloween

Helloween (2021)


This is Helloween through and through. Upbeat, catchy, singalong-inducing, and mostly just feel-good metal the way only they can do. There’s nothing particularly dark or anything like that, just the good ‘ol classic Helloween metal. Casuals will find a kick ass metal album to enjoy here, and fans who were expecting Helloween’s release like Christmas will love it.
This is Helloween through and through. Upbeat, catchy, singalong-inducing, and mostly just feel-good metal the way only they can do. There’s nothing particularly dark or anything like that, just the good ‘ol classic Helloween metal. Casuals will find a kick ass metal album to enjoy here, and fans who were expecting Helloween’s release like Christmas will love it.
54In These Silent Days

54.Brandi Carlile

In These Silent Days (2021)


It’s been a busy three years for singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile since she released her last album, the mid-career breakthrough By the Way, I Forgive You. Here are just a few of her numerous and varied accomplishments. Like By the Way, I Forgive You, the new album was recorded at RCA Studio A in Nashville and produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. But unlike its predecessor, In These Silent Days is light on full-throated declarations. This is a knottier, thornier album, evincing lyrical restraint even in its loudest moments. It isn’t a quieter record so much as a more conflicted one. Don't miss this wonderful album folks.
It’s been a busy three years for singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile since she released her last album, the mid-career breakthrough By the Way, I Forgive You. Here are just a few of her numerous and varied accomplishments. Like By the Way, I Forgive You, the new album was recorded at RCA Studio A in Nashville and produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. But unlike its predecessor, In These Silent Days is light on full-throated declarations. This is a knottier, thornier album, evincing lyrical restraint even in its loudest moments. It isn’t a quieter record so much as a more conflicted one. Don't miss this wonderful album folks.
55Vultures Die Alone

55.Arion

Vultures Die Alone (2021)


While this is a band that is still relatively new to the scene, at least compared to all of the mainstays of the millennial power metal revolution that paved the way for the current context, it’s pretty safe to say that this stands as their magnum opus thus far. It’s a more straightforward of an album relative to its predecessors a a 4-minute song format, but the combination of captivating symphonic material on here and the high impact character of its metallic battery make it an exemplary album in the style / genre, if not album of the year material.
While this is a band that is still relatively new to the scene, at least compared to all of the mainstays of the millennial power metal revolution that paved the way for the current context, it’s pretty safe to say that this stands as their magnum opus thus far. It’s a more straightforward of an album relative to its predecessors a a 4-minute song format, but the combination of captivating symphonic material on here and the high impact character of its metallic battery make it an exemplary album in the style / genre, if not album of the year material.
56Sands of Time

56.Redd Barron

Sands of Time (2021)


So many bands over the past decades have been lost to the sands of time with their numerous demos and unreleased songs being forever unknown to would be fans. Chicago-based Redd Barron are a perfect case as their late ’80s / early 90s recordings never were released back in the day. It was three years ago when these tracks were compiled and finally released, which lead the band to reunite and perform at the annual ‘Legions of Metal Festival’ in Chicago. The idea to record a new album surfaced, and now we have “Sands of Time” is here. The album consist of 11 tracks written back in the late 1980s /early 90s and finally recorded properly over 2019. So expect that classic US metal / Hard Rock sound from the era here, with elements of Armored Saint, early Queensryche, Stryper, etc. Really well done, timeless stuff!
So many bands over the past decades have been lost to the sands of time with their numerous demos and unreleased songs being forever unknown to would be fans. Chicago-based Redd Barron are a perfect case as their late ’80s / early 90s recordings never were released back in the day. It was three years ago when these tracks were compiled and finally released, which lead the band to reunite and perform at the annual ‘Legions of Metal Festival’ in Chicago. The idea to record a new album surfaced, and now we have “Sands of Time” is here. The album consist of 11 tracks written back in the late 1980s /early 90s and finally recorded properly over 2019. So expect that classic US metal / Hard Rock sound from the era here, with elements of Armored Saint, early Queensryche, Stryper, etc. Really well done, timeless stuff!
57The Red Locusts

57.The Red Locusts

The Red Locusts (2021)


For the band ‘The Red Locusts‘ all started few months ago with their self-titled debut album promotional campaign endorsed by Rick Springfield. The band’s members are listed as singer-guitarist Paul Ramone, bassist Scotty Skuffleton, drummer Skippy Skuffleton, keyboardist Duncan Sweets and guitarist Beau Weevil. Well, in fact, this is a Rick Springfield new album / project, a vehicle to do some of the other type of music he loves without his name behind. However, this is pure Springfield, as the songs are being written by him and Matt Bissonette – the former guitarist in his band who he also co-wrote songs with on “Rocket Science,” “Venus in Overdrive” and “Songs for the End of the World.” The rest of ‘The Red Locusts’ are reputed musicians; i.e. the drummer with the fun fictitious name ‘Skippy Skuffleton’ is in fact the unique Gregg Bissonette (Steve Lukather Band, Stan Bush, Satriani), etc.
For the band ‘The Red Locusts‘ all started few months ago with their self-titled debut album promotional campaign endorsed by Rick Springfield. The band’s members are listed as singer-guitarist Paul Ramone, bassist Scotty Skuffleton, drummer Skippy Skuffleton, keyboardist Duncan Sweets and guitarist Beau Weevil. Well, in fact, this is a Rick Springfield new album / project, a vehicle to do some of the other type of music he loves without his name behind. However, this is pure Springfield, as the songs are being written by him and Matt Bissonette – the former guitarist in his band who he also co-wrote songs with on “Rocket Science,” “Venus in Overdrive” and “Songs for the End of the World.” The rest of ‘The Red Locusts’ are reputed musicians; i.e. the drummer with the fun fictitious name ‘Skippy Skuffleton’ is in fact the unique Gregg Bissonette (Steve Lukather Band, Stan Bush, Satriani), etc.
58Marching in Time

58.Tremonti

Marching in Time (2021)


Mark Tremonti is one of those musicians who simply cannot stop. The music is always there, trying to get out of his head. His solo band Tremonti albums have generally been sold on the premise that the sounds therein are ‘too heavy’ for Alter Bridge – but in reality, Mark simply needs more outlets. While there are certain formulas at play, there’s no denying that the title-track is up there with the artist’s best work. This open letter to his children is a climactic way to wrap things up, supported by some breathtaking musicianship, not just from Mark but notably from powerhouse drummer Ryan Bennett. All of which makes ‘Marching In Time’ perhaps Tremonti’s most complete – and direct, accessible – album to date.
Mark Tremonti is one of those musicians who simply cannot stop. The music is always there, trying to get out of his head. His solo band Tremonti albums have generally been sold on the premise that the sounds therein are ‘too heavy’ for Alter Bridge – but in reality, Mark simply needs more outlets. While there are certain formulas at play, there’s no denying that the title-track is up there with the artist’s best work. This open letter to his children is a climactic way to wrap things up, supported by some breathtaking musicianship, not just from Mark but notably from powerhouse drummer Ryan Bennett. All of which makes ‘Marching In Time’ perhaps Tremonti’s most complete – and direct, accessible – album to date.
59The Number of Destiny

59.Embrace of Souls

The Number of Destiny (2021)


When you think about classic melodic metal / progressive / power metal, none does it better than Italians. Embrace of Souls, founded two years ago by experienced musicians in this field and including reputed Rhapsody Of Fire vocalist Giacomo Voli, are among the best mixing those sub-genres.
“The Number of Destiny” is their new album, featuring some renowned colleagues which are more than ‘guests’ adding their own inprint to the songs, such as Michele Guaitoli (Visions of Atlantis) and Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth). What we like about these guys is the ‘traditional’ sound here: there’s some ’80s Malmsteen, some Helloween, some Symphony X, some Jorn, etc, always melodic in that 80s / 90s feeling.
When you think about classic melodic metal / progressive / power metal, none does it better than Italians. Embrace of Souls, founded two years ago by experienced musicians in this field and including reputed Rhapsody Of Fire vocalist Giacomo Voli, are among the best mixing those sub-genres.
“The Number of Destiny” is their new album, featuring some renowned colleagues which are more than ‘guests’ adding their own inprint to the songs, such as Michele Guaitoli (Visions of Atlantis) and Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth). What we like about these guys is the ‘traditional’ sound here: there’s some ’80s Malmsteen, some Helloween, some Symphony X, some Jorn, etc, always melodic in that 80s / 90s feeling.
60Creatures of the Dark Realm

60.Bloodbound

Creatures of the Dark Realm (2021)


Despite Bloodbound‘s new album title “Creatures of the Dark Realm” and the heavy-horror cover art, dont’t forget the band was founded by guitarist Tomas Olsson and keyboard player Henrik Olsson, both ex-members of AORster Street Talk. So yeah, their aim was to create a commercial power metal act but based in catchiness and melodies. So “Creatures of the Dark Realm” isn’t ‘heavy metal’ per se; sure, there’s double bass drum runs, rapid guitars and big vocals, but Bloodbound has a very accessible sound. The new songs all have memorable hooks, while the parts are all played with expert precision. The guitar solos are all very slick and cool, while the rhythm section kicks ass. This is a very strong release that inspires multiple listening, and if a band can accomplish that, they have done their job well.
Despite Bloodbound‘s new album title “Creatures of the Dark Realm” and the heavy-horror cover art, dont’t forget the band was founded by guitarist Tomas Olsson and keyboard player Henrik Olsson, both ex-members of AORster Street Talk. So yeah, their aim was to create a commercial power metal act but based in catchiness and melodies. So “Creatures of the Dark Realm” isn’t ‘heavy metal’ per se; sure, there’s double bass drum runs, rapid guitars and big vocals, but Bloodbound has a very accessible sound. The new songs all have memorable hooks, while the parts are all played with expert precision. The guitar solos are all very slick and cool, while the rhythm section kicks ass. This is a very strong release that inspires multiple listening, and if a band can accomplish that, they have done their job well.
61A.T.B.P.O.

61.Night Ranger

A.T.B.P.O. (2021)


Melodic Rock legends Night Ranger are back with their 12th studio album, “ATBPO” (which stands for And The Band Played On), an ode to making music during the covid era. The band began writing the album in early 2020, amid the rise of the global pandemic. After narrowing down the song selection and tightening them up to their well-known rock ‘n roll sound, the band hit the studio, although separately, due to the times we are in. Throughout ATBPO we hear Night Ranger continuing their hot streak that kicked off with 2011’s “Somewhere In California”. Ten years on, and two highly acclaimed albums later, “High Road” and “Don’t Let Up”, the band’s latest studio work shows them still burning with that melodious high octane hard rock energy. Night Ranger has always had a knack for killer melodies, intricate instrumentation, and captivating lyrics; ATBPO delivers all of that and more.
Melodic Rock legends Night Ranger are back with their 12th studio album, “ATBPO” (which stands for And The Band Played On), an ode to making music during the covid era. The band began writing the album in early 2020, amid the rise of the global pandemic. After narrowing down the song selection and tightening them up to their well-known rock ‘n roll sound, the band hit the studio, although separately, due to the times we are in. Throughout ATBPO we hear Night Ranger continuing their hot streak that kicked off with 2011’s “Somewhere In California”. Ten years on, and two highly acclaimed albums later, “High Road” and “Don’t Let Up”, the band’s latest studio work shows them still burning with that melodious high octane hard rock energy. Night Ranger has always had a knack for killer melodies, intricate instrumentation, and captivating lyrics; ATBPO delivers all of that and more.
62Knights of the Realm

62.Knights of the Realm

Knights of the Realm (2021)


Formed by W.E.T. / ECclipse guitarist Magnus Henriksson and Tiamat drummer Lars Sköld, Knights of the Realm is the new Swedish band with the aim to spread their music to as many metalheads as possible, all the while having a blast doing it. Their self-titled debut “Knights of the Realm” combines melody and punchy attack in equal parts, delivering bouncy, catchy rockers around the 3-minute mark served with a bright, huge production style. If short and good is twice good, Knights of the Realm did the trick, because in a mere 38 minutes / 10 effective tracks the band created one of the best melodic metal debut albums of the year. If European melodic metal with an 80s spirit but a big 2021 production is your thing – think the heaviest side of Eclipse with a retro feel – then Sweden’s Knights of the Realm is for you. Hard-hitting and very melodic their music is the best of two worlds nicely packaged into one CD.
Formed by W.E.T. / ECclipse guitarist Magnus Henriksson and Tiamat drummer Lars Sköld, Knights of the Realm is the new Swedish band with the aim to spread their music to as many metalheads as possible, all the while having a blast doing it. Their self-titled debut “Knights of the Realm” combines melody and punchy attack in equal parts, delivering bouncy, catchy rockers around the 3-minute mark served with a bright, huge production style. If short and good is twice good, Knights of the Realm did the trick, because in a mere 38 minutes / 10 effective tracks the band created one of the best melodic metal debut albums of the year. If European melodic metal with an 80s spirit but a big 2021 production is your thing – think the heaviest side of Eclipse with a retro feel – then Sweden’s Knights of the Realm is for you. Hard-hitting and very melodic their music is the best of two worlds nicely packaged into one CD.
63EP1: Heartbeat

63.Steve Moody

EP1: Heartbeat (2021) [EP]


Now this is good news; Steve Moody, former vocalist / songwriter for ’80s UK AORsters Geneva, is back into the fold with new music, a fresh, self-release titled “Heartbeat”. In fact, in one way or another Moody has been active all these years, but now is back with his own studio material, carefully recorded with attention to detail and an admirable sound production much better than what major labels offer today. And of course, the songs are stupendous, ranging from traditional melodic rock to smooth AOR. Moody not only is in fine shape vocally singing better than ever, also play guitar and keyboards with gusto. Just listen to the video-track below… shades of Strangeways, FM, Dare! “Heartbeat” is certainly one of the best things I’ve recently heard. If you remember Geneva from the Eighties or even the Lost Jewels reissue, and the aforementioned classic bands, then “Heartbeat” will appeal massively.
Now this is good news; Steve Moody, former vocalist / songwriter for ’80s UK AORsters Geneva, is back into the fold with new music, a fresh, self-release titled “Heartbeat”. In fact, in one way or another Moody has been active all these years, but now is back with his own studio material, carefully recorded with attention to detail and an admirable sound production much better than what major labels offer today. And of course, the songs are stupendous, ranging from traditional melodic rock to smooth AOR. Moody not only is in fine shape vocally singing better than ever, also play guitar and keyboards with gusto. Just listen to the video-track below… shades of Strangeways, FM, Dare! “Heartbeat” is certainly one of the best things I’ve recently heard. If you remember Geneva from the Eighties or even the Lost Jewels reissue, and the aforementioned classic bands, then “Heartbeat” will appeal massively.
64High on Deception

64.Cap Outrun

High on Deception (2021)


Here we have the debut full-length album by Swedish rock band Cap Outrun. ”High On Deception” is a distinctive record filled with playful time signatures and interesting harmonies, yet never loses its core of strong melodies and an exceptional groove. Cap Outrun was formed in 2007 by renowned Andrée Theander (guitars) and Erik Wiss (keyboards) while they were studying music and sound production in Skara/Skövde. The band released a self-produced EP before going on a hiatus until Andrée and Erik decided to resurrect the band. Their goal was to develop a sound which could encompass their AOR and Melodic Rock influences with their Progressive influences. With a line up now featuring impressive American vocalist Chandler Mogel (Outloud), 24-year old prodigy Carl Tudén on drums (ex- Creye), and Linus Abrahamson on bass (ex- Constancia) Cap Outrun are now ready to rock your world.
Here we have the debut full-length album by Swedish rock band Cap Outrun. ”High On Deception” is a distinctive record filled with playful time signatures and interesting harmonies, yet never loses its core of strong melodies and an exceptional groove. Cap Outrun was formed in 2007 by renowned Andrée Theander (guitars) and Erik Wiss (keyboards) while they were studying music and sound production in Skara/Skövde. The band released a self-produced EP before going on a hiatus until Andrée and Erik decided to resurrect the band. Their goal was to develop a sound which could encompass their AOR and Melodic Rock influences with their Progressive influences. With a line up now featuring impressive American vocalist Chandler Mogel (Outloud), 24-year old prodigy Carl Tudén on drums (ex- Creye), and Linus Abrahamson on bass (ex- Constancia) Cap Outrun are now ready to rock your world.
65Perspective

65.Station

Perspective (2021)


New York rockers Station consisting of lead vocalist Patrick Kearney, guitarist Chris Lane, bassist Emi Asta and drummer Tony Baptist have released their new studio album ”Perspective”. Since appearing on the scene in 2014, Station has quickly become America’s hope for 80s-infused melodic hard rock / AOR. Three albums and an EP so far showcased consistency in creating driving hooks & choruses you’ll be singing long after hearing them and a work ethic as strong as their riffs have been the band’s calling card since their formation in 2011. On ”Perspective” that is augmented by an even stronger songwriting, and better production which btw ways sounds huge like in good ole days. Station is the real deal, and ”Perspective” will blown you away. This 10 track new collection brings energy, freshness and vibrant emotion to a grey world. ‘Perspective” delivers first-rate melodic hard rock / AOR with the spirit of the ’80s intact. No extra frills or anything as such; just great musicians who know how to both rock and bring a sense of fun so badly needed these days.
New York rockers Station consisting of lead vocalist Patrick Kearney, guitarist Chris Lane, bassist Emi Asta and drummer Tony Baptist have released their new studio album ”Perspective”. Since appearing on the scene in 2014, Station has quickly become America’s hope for 80s-infused melodic hard rock / AOR. Three albums and an EP so far showcased consistency in creating driving hooks & choruses you’ll be singing long after hearing them and a work ethic as strong as their riffs have been the band’s calling card since their formation in 2011. On ”Perspective” that is augmented by an even stronger songwriting, and better production which btw ways sounds huge like in good ole days. Station is the real deal, and ”Perspective” will blown you away. This 10 track new collection brings energy, freshness and vibrant emotion to a grey world. ‘Perspective” delivers first-rate melodic hard rock / AOR with the spirit of the ’80s intact. No extra frills or anything as such; just great musicians who know how to both rock and bring a sense of fun so badly needed these days.
66Plush

66.Plush

Plush (2021)


Ferocious female rockers, Plush, are here to bring true hard rock back to its rightful place at the top of the charts with the group’s self-titled debut effort Plush. The album was produced by Johnny K (Staind, 3 Doors Down, Disturbed) and features thirteen powerful tracks that become even mightier once you learn that all four women in the band are under 21 years old. Plush has been knocking people out on tour with Seether, Nonpoint, and Wolfgang Van Halen’s band Mammoth WVH. Plush will keep their magic going on a string of upcoming dates with Evanescence and Halestorm. They’re at the forefront of a new generation of young bands that are bringing excitement and urgency back to a rock scene that has been dull for far too long.
Ferocious female rockers, Plush, are here to bring true hard rock back to its rightful place at the top of the charts with the group’s self-titled debut effort Plush. The album was produced by Johnny K (Staind, 3 Doors Down, Disturbed) and features thirteen powerful tracks that become even mightier once you learn that all four women in the band are under 21 years old. Plush has been knocking people out on tour with Seether, Nonpoint, and Wolfgang Van Halen’s band Mammoth WVH. Plush will keep their magic going on a string of upcoming dates with Evanescence and Halestorm. They’re at the forefront of a new generation of young bands that are bringing excitement and urgency back to a rock scene that has been dull for far too long.
67Dark Heart

67.Dark Heart

Dark Heart (2021)


Dark Heart - The long lost 80's UK metal band return with a huge album of NWOBHM rooted monster rockers with remarkable guitar going on. Where have these guys been for the past 36 years??
Dark Heart - The long lost 80's UK metal band return with a huge album of NWOBHM rooted monster rockers with remarkable guitar going on. Where have these guys been for the past 36 years??
68Robin Red

68.Robin Red

Robin Red (2021)


Last year, Robin Red, lead vocalist of Sweden’s great modern melodic rockers Degreed, decided to launch a solo career and sent his demos to Frontiers Music, who were quite thrilled with what they heard, to say the least. ”I’ve been thinking about doing a solo album for many years. It’s kind of a dream come true. But I never really felt ready, not until now. I’m gonna go back to the roots and make it a little more organic. I’m very inspired by artists like Jimmy Barnes and Bryan Adams, and the sound will not be far from there. But it will still be me,” says Robin. The resulting album is indeed a melodic rock fest with catchy, uptempo songs that will mightily impress fans of the genre and especially of such artists as Foreigner, Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams and John Waite. The album was recorded together with Dave Dalone (H.e.a.t), as producer, guitarist and co-songwriter.
Last year, Robin Red, lead vocalist of Sweden’s great modern melodic rockers Degreed, decided to launch a solo career and sent his demos to Frontiers Music, who were quite thrilled with what they heard, to say the least. ”I’ve been thinking about doing a solo album for many years. It’s kind of a dream come true. But I never really felt ready, not until now. I’m gonna go back to the roots and make it a little more organic. I’m very inspired by artists like Jimmy Barnes and Bryan Adams, and the sound will not be far from there. But it will still be me,” says Robin. The resulting album is indeed a melodic rock fest with catchy, uptempo songs that will mightily impress fans of the genre and especially of such artists as Foreigner, Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams and John Waite. The album was recorded together with Dave Dalone (H.e.a.t), as producer, guitarist and co-songwriter.
69Walk the Walk

69.Walk the Walk

Walk the Walk (2021)


In early 2020, former DIO guitarist Tracy G introduced J. Adler and Paul Alfery, knowing they both love melodic hard rock with big choruses and strong hooks. They got busy writing and recording an album titled, as the project, The debut of this American band is pore delight for lovers of the Eighties and bands like Danger Danger, Def Leppard, or early Bon Jovi. Strong anthems, a powerful production and versatile songwriting that doesn’t have to hide from any competitors, that’s what you get here.
In early 2020, former DIO guitarist Tracy G introduced J. Adler and Paul Alfery, knowing they both love melodic hard rock with big choruses and strong hooks. They got busy writing and recording an album titled, as the project, The debut of this American band is pore delight for lovers of the Eighties and bands like Danger Danger, Def Leppard, or early Bon Jovi. Strong anthems, a powerful production and versatile songwriting that doesn’t have to hide from any competitors, that’s what you get here.
70The Promise of a Life

70.Reach

The Promise of a Life (2021)


Ludvig Turner can certainly hit those falsetto notes, which along with the band’s love of pushing musical ideas to the nth degree, means it won’t be for everyone. However, if you like the OTT and pomp of Queen, Jono, A.C.T, mixed with melodic rock & power pop, REeach are perfect for you and your album collection. This is a very impressive album in terms of innovation, with an excellent production. And very enjoyable.
Ludvig Turner can certainly hit those falsetto notes, which along with the band’s love of pushing musical ideas to the nth degree, means it won’t be for everyone. However, if you like the OTT and pomp of Queen, Jono, A.C.T, mixed with melodic rock & power pop, REeach are perfect for you and your album collection. This is a very impressive album in terms of innovation, with an excellent production. And very enjoyable.
71Queen of Broken Hearts

71.Issa

Queen of Broken Hearts (2021)


ISSA’s brand new “Queen of Broken Hearts” is a catchy and very well-crafted melodic rock / AOR album all the way and I would dare to say that it’s probably her best to date delivering more challenging vocal lines than before, and as said, benefited by the solid songwriting.
ISSA’s brand new “Queen of Broken Hearts” is a catchy and very well-crafted melodic rock / AOR album all the way and I would dare to say that it’s probably her best to date delivering more challenging vocal lines than before, and as said, benefited by the solid songwriting.
72A Gentleman's Legacy

72.The Murder of My Sweet

A Gentleman's Legacy (2021)


The Murder of My Sweet’s new CD with Frontiers Music, “A Gentleman’s Legacy”, is a concept album that, interestingly enough, picks up where the last album from Mind’s Eye – drummer/producer Daniel Flores’ progressive band – left off with their 2007 release, ‘A Gentleman’s Hurricane’. Joining the band on guitar for this record is none other than Mike Palace, who is a big fan of the Mind’s Eye album, and on bass, Patrick Janson, who is very familiar with the prog genre having played with Platitude for several years. The storytelling of “A Gentleman’s Legacy” is really entertaining, supported by a modern but kick ass mix of progressive rock with metal / hard rock and lots of melodic waves.
The Murder of My Sweet’s new CD with Frontiers Music, “A Gentleman’s Legacy”, is a concept album that, interestingly enough, picks up where the last album from Mind’s Eye – drummer/producer Daniel Flores’ progressive band – left off with their 2007 release, ‘A Gentleman’s Hurricane’. Joining the band on guitar for this record is none other than Mike Palace, who is a big fan of the Mind’s Eye album, and on bass, Patrick Janson, who is very familiar with the prog genre having played with Platitude for several years. The storytelling of “A Gentleman’s Legacy” is really entertaining, supported by a modern but kick ass mix of progressive rock with metal / hard rock and lots of melodic waves.
73Changes

73.Toby Hitchcock

Changes (2021)


Powerhouse vocalist Toby Hitchcock is one of the most recognizable, versatile, and charismatic voices in the current Melodic Rock/AOR scene. As frontman of Pride of Lions, he has been the voice behind some of the best new classics of the genre, always delivering passionate and outstanding performances. While Jim Peterik is preparing a new Jim Peterik’s World Stage album, Toby took the time to commence work on another solo record. For “Changes“ Vocally, Toby has often been compared to legendary figures like Bobby Kimball (Toto), Jimi Jamison (Survivor), or Lou Gramm (Foreigner), which is astounding company to be in. Hitchcock’s voice has the depth, feeling, and extension of each of them, while still maintaining his own identity and trademark style. In short, he is an absolute star in the current Melodic Rock scene. For fans of the genre there is no reason to miss this new record, which will be one into the top Melodic Rock lists of the year.
Powerhouse vocalist Toby Hitchcock is one of the most recognizable, versatile, and charismatic voices in the current Melodic Rock/AOR scene. As frontman of Pride of Lions, he has been the voice behind some of the best new classics of the genre, always delivering passionate and outstanding performances. While Jim Peterik is preparing a new Jim Peterik’s World Stage album, Toby took the time to commence work on another solo record. For “Changes“ Vocally, Toby has often been compared to legendary figures like Bobby Kimball (Toto), Jimi Jamison (Survivor), or Lou Gramm (Foreigner), which is astounding company to be in. Hitchcock’s voice has the depth, feeling, and extension of each of them, while still maintaining his own identity and trademark style. In short, he is an absolute star in the current Melodic Rock scene. For fans of the genre there is no reason to miss this new record, which will be one into the top Melodic Rock lists of the year.
74Two

74.Save the World

Two (2021)


They say freedom lies in being bold. For the accomplished professional musicians in the modern arena rock act Save the World, that means taking time out of their hectic schedules to form a band that plays the music they love, and then paying forward the good vibes with soaring hooks and uplifting messages. Save the World is formed by chief songwriter Dan Tracey on guitar, vocals, keyboards, Robert Wright on bass, vocals, keyboards, Taurus pedals, percussion, producer, engineer, and Jon Wysocki on drums. The trio pens emotionally charged songs with rich, melodic choruses, playing music that forgoes genre conventions in favor of a signature sound that’s modern, anthemic, and refreshingly dynamic. With a debut album “One” which started to make waves in the rock world and a new record “Two” – both via Frontiers Music – Save The World is a band to lookout for if you like hard melodic rock with hints of light progressive music and a strong modern sound.
They say freedom lies in being bold. For the accomplished professional musicians in the modern arena rock act Save the World, that means taking time out of their hectic schedules to form a band that plays the music they love, and then paying forward the good vibes with soaring hooks and uplifting messages. Save the World is formed by chief songwriter Dan Tracey on guitar, vocals, keyboards, Robert Wright on bass, vocals, keyboards, Taurus pedals, percussion, producer, engineer, and Jon Wysocki on drums. The trio pens emotionally charged songs with rich, melodic choruses, playing music that forgoes genre conventions in favor of a signature sound that’s modern, anthemic, and refreshingly dynamic. With a debut album “One” which started to make waves in the rock world and a new record “Two” – both via Frontiers Music – Save The World is a band to lookout for if you like hard melodic rock with hints of light progressive music and a strong modern sound.
75Out of This World

75.Out of This World

Out of This World (2021)


Out of This World is the new, awesome band formed by ex Europe terrific guitarist Kee Marcello and Fair Warning vocalist Tommy Heart, which have released their self-titled debut “Out of This World” What happens when you put together these top class melodic hard rock musicians joined by Ken Sandlin (Alien) on bass and Darby Todd (The Darkness, Gary Moore)? – You get a classy late 80s melodic hard rock album with a Scandinavian flavor. Add to that Deep Purple exquisite keyboardist Don Airey plus melody maker brilliant producer / mixer Ron Nevison (Heart, Vince Neil, Icon), and we have here an album impossible to resist.
Out of This World is the new, awesome band formed by ex Europe terrific guitarist Kee Marcello and Fair Warning vocalist Tommy Heart, which have released their self-titled debut “Out of This World” What happens when you put together these top class melodic hard rock musicians joined by Ken Sandlin (Alien) on bass and Darby Todd (The Darkness, Gary Moore)? – You get a classy late 80s melodic hard rock album with a Scandinavian flavor. Add to that Deep Purple exquisite keyboardist Don Airey plus melody maker brilliant producer / mixer Ron Nevison (Heart, Vince Neil, Icon), and we have here an album impossible to resist.
76Into the Monsters' Playground

76.Newman

Into the Monsters' Playground (2021)


Barely any artist is as busy these days releasing albums as Englishman Steve Newman. His band Newman has put out thirteen studio records by now. The fresh recording pretty much rocks (“Hurricane Sky“ or “Don’t Come Runnin’“) and manages to showcase both classic rock and epic elements (“This Life Alone“). Of course there’s British AOR to please lovers of the genre with different tempos as well as glimpses of progressive bits and pieces (“Icon“). Once again with a powerful and sophisticated production, Newman is presenting a solid collection of songs here with something for everyone.
Barely any artist is as busy these days releasing albums as Englishman Steve Newman. His band Newman has put out thirteen studio records by now. The fresh recording pretty much rocks (“Hurricane Sky“ or “Don’t Come Runnin’“) and manages to showcase both classic rock and epic elements (“This Life Alone“). Of course there’s British AOR to please lovers of the genre with different tempos as well as glimpses of progressive bits and pieces (“Icon“). Once again with a powerful and sophisticated production, Newman is presenting a solid collection of songs here with something for everyone.
77No-Tell Hotel

77.Black Diamonds

No-Tell Hotel (2021)


‘No-Tell Hotel’ is a pretty killer CD and a marked improvement for Black Diamonds in terms of style, ambition, and catchy melodies. The album is so good that you want to press ‘repeat’ on almost every song.
‘No-Tell Hotel’ is a pretty killer CD and a marked improvement for Black Diamonds in terms of style, ambition, and catchy melodies. The album is so good that you want to press ‘repeat’ on almost every song.
78Omega

78.Epica

Omega (2021)


Epica has a long-established and rock-solid line-up: vocalist Simone Simons and guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen are joined by Isaac Delahaye (guitar), Coen Janssen (keyboards and piano), Ariën van Weesenbeek (drums) and Rob van der Loo (bass). Joost van den Broek’s production is flawless. He has worked closely with the band for many years and he manages to get the best out of them.
Epica has a long-established and rock-solid line-up: vocalist Simone Simons and guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen are joined by Isaac Delahaye (guitar), Coen Janssen (keyboards and piano), Ariën van Weesenbeek (drums) and Rob van der Loo (bass). Joost van den Broek’s production is flawless. He has worked closely with the band for many years and he manages to get the best out of them.
79Page 99

79.Page 99

Page 99 (2021)


Founded by songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer John Nixon, the PAGE 99 project born to keep the ideals of great West Coast / AOR music of the 1970s and ‘80s alive. Classic chord progressions, sophisticated melodies, and top-level musicianship are values that should never be lost or diminished in this genre, and PAGE 99 not only take care of it, but also add a fresh updated approach. In the style of artists such as Toto, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Marc Jordan, Kenny Loggins, Pages, Airplay, and more, Nixon & PAGE 99 with a new generation of session musicians from across the globe have done a stupendous job: vintage sounds made new again!
Founded by songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer John Nixon, the PAGE 99 project born to keep the ideals of great West Coast / AOR music of the 1970s and ‘80s alive. Classic chord progressions, sophisticated melodies, and top-level musicianship are values that should never be lost or diminished in this genre, and PAGE 99 not only take care of it, but also add a fresh updated approach. In the style of artists such as Toto, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Marc Jordan, Kenny Loggins, Pages, Airplay, and more, Nixon & PAGE 99 with a new generation of session musicians from across the globe have done a stupendous job: vintage sounds made new again!
80We Were Raised on Radio

80.Angeline

We Were Raised on Radio (2021)


Swedes Angeline have been around the block since 1987, so you better believe they make justice to the guys new album title “We Were Raised On Radio“. And think 1980’s radio… so expect a melodic rock / AOR collection of radio-ready choruses and sweet melodies.
Swedes Angeline have been around the block since 1987, so you better believe they make justice to the guys new album title “We Were Raised On Radio“. And think 1980’s radio… so expect a melodic rock / AOR collection of radio-ready choruses and sweet melodies.
81The Reckoning

81.Laurenne / Louhimo

The Reckoning (2021)


Frontiers Music is presenting the first collaboration between powerhouse Finnish vocalists Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast) and Netta Laurenne (Smackbound), easily one of the most exciting metal/hard rock alliances in recent times, simply because we have a female-fronted double combo. On “The Reckoning” the two ladies put together a storming melodic metal album with the collaboration of Netta’s husband Nino Laurenne on guitars & songwriting, and Sampo Haapaniemi on drums. For Netta Laurenne the idea about a possible collaboration with Noora was incubating for a few years. Once the pandemic cleared the calendars for both singers, it felt like a perfect time to start the project. Both vocalists masters various musical styles, an it showcases on “The Reckoning”, female-fronted melodic metal / hard rock with a classic feeling and a powerful production handled by Nino.
Frontiers Music is presenting the first collaboration between powerhouse Finnish vocalists Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast) and Netta Laurenne (Smackbound), easily one of the most exciting metal/hard rock alliances in recent times, simply because we have a female-fronted double combo. On “The Reckoning” the two ladies put together a storming melodic metal album with the collaboration of Netta’s husband Nino Laurenne on guitars & songwriting, and Sampo Haapaniemi on drums. For Netta Laurenne the idea about a possible collaboration with Noora was incubating for a few years. Once the pandemic cleared the calendars for both singers, it felt like a perfect time to start the project. Both vocalists masters various musical styles, an it showcases on “The Reckoning”, female-fronted melodic metal / hard rock with a classic feeling and a powerful production handled by Nino.
82Heatwave

82.A.C.T

Heatwave (2021) [EP]


If you’ve not heard A.C.T before, you won’t go wrong with this one. If you have, look forward to their signature sound with increased maturity and depth whilst still displaying fun and frolic. This is a band that needs major exposure (they are quite big in Japan) and one of the best you can find out there. Simply put, A.C.T is awesome.
If you’ve not heard A.C.T before, you won’t go wrong with this one. If you have, look forward to their signature sound with increased maturity and depth whilst still displaying fun and frolic. This is a band that needs major exposure (they are quite big in Japan) and one of the best you can find out there. Simply put, A.C.T is awesome.
83Immortal

83.MSG

Immortal (2021)


I was slightly disappointed by the last two Schenker Fest album releases as they sounded like they were constrained and made to fit the musicians in certain parts. However, here Michael has been freed to cut loose and explore all avenues and this is his best release since the ‘Temple of Rock’ albums. He says in a blurb that on this album he has ‘played from the heart, as always’ and I am glad to report it is beating stronger than ever. “Immortal” may be pushing it but there is plenty of life left in Mr Schenker yet!
I was slightly disappointed by the last two Schenker Fest album releases as they sounded like they were constrained and made to fit the musicians in certain parts. However, here Michael has been freed to cut loose and explore all avenues and this is his best release since the ‘Temple of Rock’ albums. He says in a blurb that on this album he has ‘played from the heart, as always’ and I am glad to report it is beating stronger than ever. “Immortal” may be pushing it but there is plenty of life left in Mr Schenker yet!
84Theater of Sorcery

84.Avaland

Theater of Sorcery (2021)


Entitled ”Theater of Sorcery”, the debut album from Avaland– a project written and composed by 22-year-old prodigy Adrien G. Gzagg – is a theatrical metal adventure that tells the story of a young sorcerer Adam Wilstorm who could be the salvation of bringing back the light to the kingdom of Avaland and during his journey, he must learn to control his powers linked to the Storm. New bands come and go like everything else and if a new exciting project comes to life, then it quickly gets acclaimed as the newly born star. That can actually be applied to Avaland, although it would be good to be more precise in this instance – after all, stars come in many sizes and weights. The world of Metal is witnessing the birth of a blue hypergiant.
Entitled ”Theater of Sorcery”, the debut album from Avaland– a project written and composed by 22-year-old prodigy Adrien G. Gzagg – is a theatrical metal adventure that tells the story of a young sorcerer Adam Wilstorm who could be the salvation of bringing back the light to the kingdom of Avaland and during his journey, he must learn to control his powers linked to the Storm. New bands come and go like everything else and if a new exciting project comes to life, then it quickly gets acclaimed as the newly born star. That can actually be applied to Avaland, although it would be good to be more precise in this instance – after all, stars come in many sizes and weights. The world of Metal is witnessing the birth of a blue hypergiant.
85Balance

85.Farcry

Balance (2021)


After two critically acclaimed albums, Northeastern US rockers Farcry dissolved in 2013. But founder guitarist Pete Fry resurrected the band with a refreshed line up and they are back 2021 with new album ”Balance”, released by AOR Heaven Records. Faithful to Farcry’s origins, the new material still is very melodic hard rock oriented yet more punchy, straight-forward, less keyboard filled and more guitar driven than before. ”Balance” makes justice to its title, melodic and at the same time powerful hard rockin’. There’s lots of hook-lines as well as quite versatile and mature songwriting. Just check out the hook-driven tracks “Stay Away“ and “Long Distance Love Affair“ for a first impression, or the emotional “I’ll Find a Way“ and “Chasing Rainbows“, too. Definitely one of the best records recently hailing from America in the given genre.
After two critically acclaimed albums, Northeastern US rockers Farcry dissolved in 2013. But founder guitarist Pete Fry resurrected the band with a refreshed line up and they are back 2021 with new album ”Balance”, released by AOR Heaven Records. Faithful to Farcry’s origins, the new material still is very melodic hard rock oriented yet more punchy, straight-forward, less keyboard filled and more guitar driven than before. ”Balance” makes justice to its title, melodic and at the same time powerful hard rockin’. There’s lots of hook-lines as well as quite versatile and mature songwriting. Just check out the hook-driven tracks “Stay Away“ and “Long Distance Love Affair“ for a first impression, or the emotional “I’ll Find a Way“ and “Chasing Rainbows“, too. Definitely one of the best records recently hailing from America in the given genre.
86Brave New World

86.Constancia

Brave New World (2021)


“Brave New World” is the new, third album from Sweden’s Constancia, a band that has rotating lead vocalists for each new album, and while the band’s previous efforts were good, be prepared for one of the surprises of the year here. Yes, it’s that good. Constancia’s line-up features several seasoned musicians, but the aces here are the exceptional guitar work from Janne Stark (Grand Design) and new singer Englishman Pete Godfrey (In Faith, Blood Red Saints). What we have here is great, intelligent melodic hard rock with a great sense for hooklines; just listen to the lyric video below. And the band also adds a welcomed variation a little bit aside the expected paths like the futuristic “Open Your Heart“ or the rather contemporary and progressive “Titanium“ showcase.
An album you definitely won’t be tired of any time soon and will surprise with its quality.
“Brave New World” is the new, third album from Sweden’s Constancia, a band that has rotating lead vocalists for each new album, and while the band’s previous efforts were good, be prepared for one of the surprises of the year here. Yes, it’s that good. Constancia’s line-up features several seasoned musicians, but the aces here are the exceptional guitar work from Janne Stark (Grand Design) and new singer Englishman Pete Godfrey (In Faith, Blood Red Saints). What we have here is great, intelligent melodic hard rock with a great sense for hooklines; just listen to the lyric video below. And the band also adds a welcomed variation a little bit aside the expected paths like the futuristic “Open Your Heart“ or the rather contemporary and progressive “Titanium“ showcase.
An album you definitely won’t be tired of any time soon and will surprise with its quality.
87II - Those We Don't Speak Of

87.Auri

II - Those We Don't Speak Of (2021)


Originally born in 2011 from the special connection of female singer Johanna Kurkela, Tuomas Holopainen and Troy Donockley, Finland’s Auri was first introduced to the world as late as 2018, with their self-titled debut album. Now complemented by the dynamic percussive talents of Kai Hahto, the threesome carves fantastical worlds entirely their own via the upcoming effort “Auri II : Those We Don’t Speak of“. Auri’s music is quite unique: there’s Celtic elements, folk touches, cinematic passages, and if you love GOT / Game of Thrones TV series then you need to listen to this band. It’s nice to know there are still artists out there who seem to want to do nothing more than add a little more beauty into the world. That’s what Auri have done with “II: Those We Don’t Speak of.”
Originally born in 2011 from the special connection of female singer Johanna Kurkela, Tuomas Holopainen and Troy Donockley, Finland’s Auri was first introduced to the world as late as 2018, with their self-titled debut album. Now complemented by the dynamic percussive talents of Kai Hahto, the threesome carves fantastical worlds entirely their own via the upcoming effort “Auri II : Those We Don’t Speak of“. Auri’s music is quite unique: there’s Celtic elements, folk touches, cinematic passages, and if you love GOT / Game of Thrones TV series then you need to listen to this band. It’s nice to know there are still artists out there who seem to want to do nothing more than add a little more beauty into the world. That’s what Auri have done with “II: Those We Don’t Speak of.”
88

88.Mädhouse

Bad Habits (2021)


Eighties influenced sleaze rockers Mädhouse releases their sophomore album ”Bad Habits”, the follow up to the group’s debut album from 2019, regarded as one of the best from the genre in recent years. And ”Bad Habits” confirms these guys really nailed the genre. Mädhouse did not laze around and with “Bad Habits”, which shows a much more mature and grown group but even though crazier than before. With the partial replacement of some band members, Mädhouse has taken themselves to the next level and recorded a 15 tracks album that perfectly reflects the attitude of the genre. Snotty street rock meets catchy melodies in the style of their heroes from early days like Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, Poison, and recent acts such as Crashdiet or Crazy Lixx.
Eighties influenced sleaze rockers Mädhouse releases their sophomore album ”Bad Habits”, the follow up to the group’s debut album from 2019, regarded as one of the best from the genre in recent years. And ”Bad Habits” confirms these guys really nailed the genre. Mädhouse did not laze around and with “Bad Habits”, which shows a much more mature and grown group but even though crazier than before. With the partial replacement of some band members, Mädhouse has taken themselves to the next level and recorded a 15 tracks album that perfectly reflects the attitude of the genre. Snotty street rock meets catchy melodies in the style of their heroes from early days like Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, Poison, and recent acts such as Crashdiet or Crazy Lixx.
89The Quest

89.Yes

The Quest (2021)


The seven years since the last Yes album have been an extremely tumultuous and challenging time for the band. Founding bassist Chris Squire died in 2015. He was replaced by Billy Sherwood, who was an additional guitarist for the band in the Nineties. Drummer Alan White, meanwhile, has suffered health issues in recent years that make it impossible for him to play drums for the entire length of a concert. He still tours with the band but is often just onstage for a few songs per night. Jay Schellen handles much of the heavy lifting onstage, and his work is also featured on The Quest. The band also faced a significant rival on the road when former members Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, and Trevor Rabin began gigging as Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman — and later Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman. They hit many of the same markets as the Steve Howe Yes between 2016 and 2018 but wound up quietly splitting up before they could cut a new album.
The seven years since the last Yes album have been an extremely tumultuous and challenging time for the band. Founding bassist Chris Squire died in 2015. He was replaced by Billy Sherwood, who was an additional guitarist for the band in the Nineties. Drummer Alan White, meanwhile, has suffered health issues in recent years that make it impossible for him to play drums for the entire length of a concert. He still tours with the band but is often just onstage for a few songs per night. Jay Schellen handles much of the heavy lifting onstage, and his work is also featured on The Quest. The band also faced a significant rival on the road when former members Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, and Trevor Rabin began gigging as Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman — and later Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman. They hit many of the same markets as the Steve Howe Yes between 2016 and 2018 but wound up quietly splitting up before they could cut a new album.
90The Coming of the Chord

90.The Norseman Company

The Coming of the Chord (2021)


“The Coming of the Chord” is the debut album from The Norseman Company, the solo project of former Humbucker drummer Geir Arne Dale. The Norwegian offers pure classic rock / hard rock and brings on guests like Rowan Robertson (ex DIO), Age Sten Nilsen (Wig Wam, Ammunition), female goddess Bente Smaavik, Tor Erik Myhre (Jorn) and more. Mixed & mastered in the USA by legendary producer Beau Hill (Warrant, Ratt, Winger, Europe), for fans of classic 80s / early 90s melodic hard rock with a Scandinavian flavor, this is something hardly to be avoided. Real music, played by real musicians.
“The Coming of the Chord” is the debut album from The Norseman Company, the solo project of former Humbucker drummer Geir Arne Dale. The Norwegian offers pure classic rock / hard rock and brings on guests like Rowan Robertson (ex DIO), Age Sten Nilsen (Wig Wam, Ammunition), female goddess Bente Smaavik, Tor Erik Myhre (Jorn) and more. Mixed & mastered in the USA by legendary producer Beau Hill (Warrant, Ratt, Winger, Europe), for fans of classic 80s / early 90s melodic hard rock with a Scandinavian flavor, this is something hardly to be avoided. Real music, played by real musicians.
91Just Drive (Part 1)

91.Wolfclub

Just Drive (Part 1) (2021)


The destination has been reached for Just Drive Pt. 1, and honestly, I’ve never felt more understood. This album split me apart in ways I never realized I could. W O L F C L U B has always been able to find the magic behind sadness, love, and so much more outside and in between. I love an album that beckons me to dig deep to my core – and that it did. I am woefully pleased, and my weaknesses are on my sleeve, and after days of listening, I’m looking forward to W O L F C L U B’s next release.
The destination has been reached for Just Drive Pt. 1, and honestly, I’ve never felt more understood. This album split me apart in ways I never realized I could. W O L F C L U B has always been able to find the magic behind sadness, love, and so much more outside and in between. I love an album that beckons me to dig deep to my core – and that it did. I am woefully pleased, and my weaknesses are on my sleeve, and after days of listening, I’m looking forward to W O L F C L U B’s next release.
92I

92.Strÿkenine

I (2021)


This release was recorded at the Strÿkenine HQ during Summer 2020. In charge of the recording process were Calle Svennerstedt and bass player Tony Bakircioglu. Rich Gray mastered the album. Keyboards were provided by Patrik Törnblom and Passi Oksman.
Patrik Törnblom was in fact a member of the band between 2017-2020 and a big influence in developing the sound that Strÿkenine stands for today. He played keyboards on half of the album but was definitely an important partner for the songwriting for the whole album. Törnblom felt the need to step back from the band in the spring of 2020 to explore other things in life. That’ s when we asked Passi Oksman to work his magic on the rest of this amazing album.
This release was recorded at the Strÿkenine HQ during Summer 2020. In charge of the recording process were Calle Svennerstedt and bass player Tony Bakircioglu. Rich Gray mastered the album. Keyboards were provided by Patrik Törnblom and Passi Oksman.
Patrik Törnblom was in fact a member of the band between 2017-2020 and a big influence in developing the sound that Strÿkenine stands for today. He played keyboards on half of the album but was definitely an important partner for the songwriting for the whole album. Törnblom felt the need to step back from the band in the spring of 2020 to explore other things in life. That’ s when we asked Passi Oksman to work his magic on the rest of this amazing album.
93Odyssey

93.Michael Oakley

Odyssey (2021)


Some artists have a comfort zone of releasing songs in the same style, but it’s great that Oakley doesn’t do that. Whilst the synthwave touches are still there, “Odyssey” feels completely fresh – this is a retro pop album as they don’t make anymore. And read well: not rock&pop, this is pure pop, but so darn well made. The songwriting, production and musicianship is fantastic for an album recorded 2021 trying to emulate that big budget 1986-1992 major production. And Oakley succeeds.
Some artists have a comfort zone of releasing songs in the same style, but it’s great that Oakley doesn’t do that. Whilst the synthwave touches are still there, “Odyssey” feels completely fresh – this is a retro pop album as they don’t make anymore. And read well: not rock&pop, this is pure pop, but so darn well made. The songwriting, production and musicianship is fantastic for an album recorded 2021 trying to emulate that big budget 1986-1992 major production. And Oakley succeeds.
94

94.Roxville

Fallen From Grace (2021)


Formed ten years ago and after some line-up changes, British melodic hard rockers Roxville solidified in 2017 and starting to materialize the dream of their first album. Titled “Fallen From Grace“, this is a cracking 13-track CD plenty of ’80s US influences from the genre with an updated sound akin the Scandinavian new wave.
There’s killer riffs, massive choruses and a maturity rarely seen into a debut CD. Jamie Sloane’s lead vocals soar all over, Chaz Jones’ George Lynch-like solos kick some serious ass, they have a huge rhythm section recalling White Lion / Black N’ Blue best era, cool keyboard slashes, and a fantastic production in the best Michael Wagener fashion circa 1987. And the best part of it: all songs are good, very good. You need to check these guys!
Formed ten years ago and after some line-up changes, British melodic hard rockers Roxville solidified in 2017 and starting to materialize the dream of their first album. Titled “Fallen From Grace“, this is a cracking 13-track CD plenty of ’80s US influences from the genre with an updated sound akin the Scandinavian new wave.
There’s killer riffs, massive choruses and a maturity rarely seen into a debut CD. Jamie Sloane’s lead vocals soar all over, Chaz Jones’ George Lynch-like solos kick some serious ass, they have a huge rhythm section recalling White Lion / Black N’ Blue best era, cool keyboard slashes, and a fantastic production in the best Michael Wagener fashion circa 1987. And the best part of it: all songs are good, very good. You need to check these guys!
95The Revenge of Rock

95.Kickin Valentina

The Revenge of Rock (2021)


This is loud, brash, in your face rock n fucking roll baby and I for one hope that is here to stay. “The Revenge of Rock” movement is well under way and if people want a band to take sleazy rock roaring through the Twenties then they undoubtedly have a figurehead in Kickin Valentina!
This is loud, brash, in your face rock n fucking roll baby and I for one hope that is here to stay. “The Revenge of Rock” movement is well under way and if people want a band to take sleazy rock roaring through the Twenties then they undoubtedly have a figurehead in Kickin Valentina!
96Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night

96.Bleachers

Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night (2021)


While “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” is perhaps not as conceptually ambitious as 2017’s “Gone Now,” the album beautifully tells the story of a man caught between his past and his future.. between New Jersey and New York. It’s about accepting your own pain and wearing someone else’s because you love them.. escaping your hometown and then crawling right back to it; moving forward but not moving on. Lots of guests included and is well worth your time to check out.
While “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” is perhaps not as conceptually ambitious as 2017’s “Gone Now,” the album beautifully tells the story of a man caught between his past and his future.. between New Jersey and New York. It’s about accepting your own pain and wearing someone else’s because you love them.. escaping your hometown and then crawling right back to it; moving forward but not moving on. Lots of guests included and is well worth your time to check out.
97Only Human

97.Lee Abraham

Only Human (2021)


There is great skill in either facet of his repertoire, and this new album demonstrates Abraham as an artist equally at home with widescreen soundscapes or earworm hooks and melodies. Whatever direction his music takes he embroiders them with artfully skilled guitar work, sometimes thrilling, sometimes emotional, but always entertaining. ”Only Human” will surely rank as one of the top Progressive albums of 2021 for many.
There is great skill in either facet of his repertoire, and this new album demonstrates Abraham as an artist equally at home with widescreen soundscapes or earworm hooks and melodies. Whatever direction his music takes he embroiders them with artfully skilled guitar work, sometimes thrilling, sometimes emotional, but always entertaining. ”Only Human” will surely rank as one of the top Progressive albums of 2021 for many.
98Underdog Anthems

98.Jax Hollow

Underdog Anthems (2021)


Here we have Jax Hollow‘s debut album “Underdog Anthems“. Not only Jax’s great voice & guitar playing – and her skilled all-girl band – piqued my interest, but the fact legendary Michael Wagener produced, recorded & mixed the whole thing. And what we hear here is classic bluesy biting rock n’ roll plenty of melody and that unmistakable crisp production sound Wagener is famous for. With a bulky budget at hand, the producer can do miracles, making an album sound like in the ’80s (those drums!!!) And of course we have good songs, and Jax’s talent…
Here we have Jax Hollow‘s debut album “Underdog Anthems“. Not only Jax’s great voice & guitar playing – and her skilled all-girl band – piqued my interest, but the fact legendary Michael Wagener produced, recorded & mixed the whole thing. And what we hear here is classic bluesy biting rock n’ roll plenty of melody and that unmistakable crisp production sound Wagener is famous for. With a bulky budget at hand, the producer can do miracles, making an album sound like in the ’80s (those drums!!!) And of course we have good songs, and Jax’s talent…
99All of the Things That Matter

99.Jamie Allen

All of the Things That Matter (2021)


Jamie Allen finally presents us with a follow up to his well received 2011 debut "Storyteller." Jamie continues to impress with his well written, well arranged, stripped down style of melodic rock songs. This is the album you wish Bret Michaels would have been able to put out (instead of the tosh we ended up with). If you dig bands like Tyketto, Jon Bon Jovi, or Pioson you will dig this. Great music for when you just want to relax and drift back to a simpler time. Don't miss this one!
Jamie Allen finally presents us with a follow up to his well received 2011 debut "Storyteller." Jamie continues to impress with his well written, well arranged, stripped down style of melodic rock songs. This is the album you wish Bret Michaels would have been able to put out (instead of the tosh we ended up with). If you dig bands like Tyketto, Jon Bon Jovi, or Pioson you will dig this. Great music for when you just want to relax and drift back to a simpler time. Don't miss this one!
100American Dream

100.Diamante

American Dream (2021)


There’s a nice level of grit and toughness to Diamante’s music (and voice) that gives her a quickly identifiable sound. There’s no shortage of rock attitude and Sunset Strip vibes all over, alongside modern rock&pop sounds. Each of the tracks moves a certain way, from hard rocking cuts to energetic bits of pop to moving ballads – Diamante covers all of the bases and does so with style. ”American Dream” is a fun, Summer-ready melodic and modern rocking album to crank with the windows down.
There’s a nice level of grit and toughness to Diamante’s music (and voice) that gives her a quickly identifiable sound. There’s no shortage of rock attitude and Sunset Strip vibes all over, alongside modern rock&pop sounds. Each of the tracks moves a certain way, from hard rocking cuts to energetic bits of pop to moving ballads – Diamante covers all of the bases and does so with style. ”American Dream” is a fun, Summer-ready melodic and modern rocking album to crank with the windows down.
101Eyes of the Warrior

101.Hootenanny Freaks

Eyes of the Warrior (2021)


While formed more than three decades ago in 1987, Finland’s Hootenanny Freaks give us their second full length album entitled “Eyes of the Warrior“. The band released 2 EP’s during their thirty years of existence but never were able to get a stable line up due the member’s different projects. However, the current 5-piece have been together since 2016, and since they solidified the band’s sound & style strongly influenced by ’80s / early ’90s melodic hard rock. A solid, promising ‘new’ band from the evergreen Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock scene.
While formed more than three decades ago in 1987, Finland’s Hootenanny Freaks give us their second full length album entitled “Eyes of the Warrior“. The band released 2 EP’s during their thirty years of existence but never were able to get a stable line up due the member’s different projects. However, the current 5-piece have been together since 2016, and since they solidified the band’s sound & style strongly influenced by ’80s / early ’90s melodic hard rock. A solid, promising ‘new’ band from the evergreen Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock scene.
102Chapter II - Legacy

102.Ad Infinitum

Chapter II - Legacy (2021)


Another stellar release from this truly outstanding band. This is one power metal record not to miss. If Jim Steinman had decided to make metal music in his time, it would definitely sound something like this. Orchestral, anthemic, and beautiful, the term ‘sophomore slump’ does not exist anywhere near this band. Ad Infinitum have outdone themselves on this album, and only the best can be expected from now on, especially if there is a Chapter III somewhere down the line.
Another stellar release from this truly outstanding band. This is one power metal record not to miss. If Jim Steinman had decided to make metal music in his time, it would definitely sound something like this. Orchestral, anthemic, and beautiful, the term ‘sophomore slump’ does not exist anywhere near this band. Ad Infinitum have outdone themselves on this album, and only the best can be expected from now on, especially if there is a Chapter III somewhere down the line.
103All Things Must Pass

103.Alirio

All Things Must Pass (2021)


Alirio is an awesome Brazilian singer and actor, who is one of the most recognized rock voices in Brazil and generally an up-and-coming name amongst the greatest singers in the country, regardless of genre. Whether it’s on a stage, in the studio, or performing in musical theatre, Alirio makes a strong impression with his powerful voice, amazing range, and effortless control. “All Things Must Pass” will be Alirio’s debut international album. It encompasses a wide array of rock and hard rock styles, always allowing space for great melodies and soaring ballads. The musicians on the album include drummer Adriano Daga (a Grammy award winning producer as well) and bassist Felipe Andreoli (Angra). And none other than Journey vocalist Arnel Pineda appears for a duet on the album. On this album, Alirio and his band bridge over several artificial boundaries. Glassy guitars and discreetly programmed percussion mix satisfyingly with bass heavy rhythms in Adriano Dega’s semi contemporary rock production, carefully arranged with one foot in the past and one foot in the present. And if you listen on really good headphones / earphones or speakers, it sounds magnificent. A different – especially in terms of sound approach – and welcome release by Frontiers Music, and and artist to keep an eye on.
Alirio is an awesome Brazilian singer and actor, who is one of the most recognized rock voices in Brazil and generally an up-and-coming name amongst the greatest singers in the country, regardless of genre. Whether it’s on a stage, in the studio, or performing in musical theatre, Alirio makes a strong impression with his powerful voice, amazing range, and effortless control. “All Things Must Pass” will be Alirio’s debut international album. It encompasses a wide array of rock and hard rock styles, always allowing space for great melodies and soaring ballads. The musicians on the album include drummer Adriano Daga (a Grammy award winning producer as well) and bassist Felipe Andreoli (Angra). And none other than Journey vocalist Arnel Pineda appears for a duet on the album. On this album, Alirio and his band bridge over several artificial boundaries. Glassy guitars and discreetly programmed percussion mix satisfyingly with bass heavy rhythms in Adriano Dega’s semi contemporary rock production, carefully arranged with one foot in the past and one foot in the present. And if you listen on really good headphones / earphones or speakers, it sounds magnificent. A different – especially in terms of sound approach – and welcome release by Frontiers Music, and and artist to keep an eye on.
104Alter ego

104.Dramah

Alter ego (2021)


While all songs are in Spanish language, the timeless melodic rock & AOR musicality of Dramah has no frontiers. A quality self-managed album that if given the proper promotion would make big waves among fans of the genre.
While all songs are in Spanish language, the timeless melodic rock & AOR musicality of Dramah has no frontiers. A quality self-managed album that if given the proper promotion would make big waves among fans of the genre.
105Sob Rock

105.John Mayer

Sob Rock (2021)


John Mayer’s savvy use of Instagram and TikTok has made him one of the very few over-40 vocalists / guitar wizards playing classic rock to connect with kids from the generation (or two) behind his. From its picture-perfect album cover with an ’80s-like artwork, Mayer’s new CD “Sob Rock” and its mix of classic riffs with poppy melodies cleverly attract fans from that decade and much younger people as well.Mayer has crafted exactly what he set out to craft with this release, a jovial and theatrical piece of ‘80s worship with a heart of gold and authenticity beneath its layers of irony. And the good part of it is people on their 20’s actually enjoy his music too.
John Mayer’s savvy use of Instagram and TikTok has made him one of the very few over-40 vocalists / guitar wizards playing classic rock to connect with kids from the generation (or two) behind his. From its picture-perfect album cover with an ’80s-like artwork, Mayer’s new CD “Sob Rock” and its mix of classic riffs with poppy melodies cleverly attract fans from that decade and much younger people as well.Mayer has crafted exactly what he set out to craft with this release, a jovial and theatrical piece of ‘80s worship with a heart of gold and authenticity beneath its layers of irony. And the good part of it is people on their 20’s actually enjoy his music too.
106

106.Pavement Princess

Second Skin (2021)


Finally, Pavement Princess second and final album “Second Skin” has arrived. After a two year hiatus following the passing in 2019 of René de Bie, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and half of the power duo Erwin Arbon has painstakingly completed the band’s second and final release. There’s is not a song here that won’t tickle your musical fancy. That dreaded skip button will be non-existent as René and Erwin are the true dynamic duo on this effort, a musical dynamic duo. It’s so sad that such young – and talented – musician passed away. ”Second Skin” is his swan song, and a strong, good, enjoyable bunch of songs it is.
Finally, Pavement Princess second and final album “Second Skin” has arrived. After a two year hiatus following the passing in 2019 of René de Bie, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and half of the power duo Erwin Arbon has painstakingly completed the band’s second and final release. There’s is not a song here that won’t tickle your musical fancy. That dreaded skip button will be non-existent as René and Erwin are the true dynamic duo on this effort, a musical dynamic duo. It’s so sad that such young – and talented – musician passed away. ”Second Skin” is his swan song, and a strong, good, enjoyable bunch of songs it is.
107Twenty-Three

107.Rian

Twenty-Three (2021)


Rian’s sound is a modern version of classic melodic rock music, the way it was produced in the second half of the 80s. The sound is American, but the melodies and chord progressions have very strong Swedish roots. Influences such as Bon Jovi, Dokken, Europe, Queensryche, Survivor, and Winger can be heard in the sound. Also, more modern vibes. Good stuff.
Rian’s sound is a modern version of classic melodic rock music, the way it was produced in the second half of the 80s. The sound is American, but the melodies and chord progressions have very strong Swedish roots. Influences such as Bon Jovi, Dokken, Europe, Queensryche, Survivor, and Winger can be heard in the sound. Also, more modern vibes. Good stuff.
108Truck Tales

108.Sergeant Steel

Truck Tales (2021)


Austrian melodic hard rockers Sergeant Steel have been releasing some really good music since formed in 2007. They have worked with the likes of Mark Slaughter, Kane Roberts (Alice Cooper) and Peter Mew of Abbey Road Studios, and toured in support of such great acts as Deep Purple, Hollywood Vampires, The Darkness, Scorpions and Europe, honing their craft and paying their dues. Their fourth album, “Truck Tales”, fine-tuned by legendary Michael Wagener in the USA, should be their winning card to conquer the fans of the genre, via their cocktail of ’80s melodic choruses and killer hooks.
Austrian melodic hard rockers Sergeant Steel have been releasing some really good music since formed in 2007. They have worked with the likes of Mark Slaughter, Kane Roberts (Alice Cooper) and Peter Mew of Abbey Road Studios, and toured in support of such great acts as Deep Purple, Hollywood Vampires, The Darkness, Scorpions and Europe, honing their craft and paying their dues. Their fourth album, “Truck Tales”, fine-tuned by legendary Michael Wagener in the USA, should be their winning card to conquer the fans of the genre, via their cocktail of ’80s melodic choruses and killer hooks.
109Riddles, Ruins & Revelations

109.Sirenia

Riddles, Ruins & Revelations (2021)


I have always been a so-so fann of Norwegians Sirenia's Symphonic metal, however the band’s tenth album “Riddles, Ruins & Revelations” is a remarkable stylistic shift for the group. And for my tastes, a welcomed one. While still plenty of character and atmosphere, on this new CD 2021 Sirenia moved away from their traditional symphonic sound with goth splashes in favor to a much more accessible, catchy pop metal style with some electronic elements, opting for a more commercial image as well.
Consequently, “Riddles, Ruins & Revelations” is a nice surprise.
I have always been a so-so fann of Norwegians Sirenia's Symphonic metal, however the band’s tenth album “Riddles, Ruins & Revelations” is a remarkable stylistic shift for the group. And for my tastes, a welcomed one. While still plenty of character and atmosphere, on this new CD 2021 Sirenia moved away from their traditional symphonic sound with goth splashes in favor to a much more accessible, catchy pop metal style with some electronic elements, opting for a more commercial image as well.
Consequently, “Riddles, Ruins & Revelations” is a nice surprise.
110Butterflies

110.Last Days of Eden

Butterflies (2021)


‘Butterfly’, that’s a word not that often used in metal / rock n’ roll misic. Crazy Town had a very successful song in 2000 with such a title and Moonspell released an album called The Butterfly Effect. For the rest, the colorful insects aren’t flying very often through the endless fields of metal. Hers is when a butterfly starts to fly for a next time. Melodic metal / progressive symphonic outfit last Days of Eden releases their next album entitled “Butterflies“. They have shaped a track list that includes 14 songs, which are a blend of modern and symphonic metal with a strong Celtic touch. All very melodic and polished. Fans of this genre and of very polished and melodic – with heavier sections for a proper balance – rock music should have ‘Butterflies’ on the list of new releases to listen to. Last Days Of Eden are really professional on all aspects of their musical delivery, and ‘Butterflies’ (their third album) is easily their most complete work so far.
‘Butterfly’, that’s a word not that often used in metal / rock n’ roll misic. Crazy Town had a very successful song in 2000 with such a title and Moonspell released an album called The Butterfly Effect. For the rest, the colorful insects aren’t flying very often through the endless fields of metal. Hers is when a butterfly starts to fly for a next time. Melodic metal / progressive symphonic outfit last Days of Eden releases their next album entitled “Butterflies“. They have shaped a track list that includes 14 songs, which are a blend of modern and symphonic metal with a strong Celtic touch. All very melodic and polished. Fans of this genre and of very polished and melodic – with heavier sections for a proper balance – rock music should have ‘Butterflies’ on the list of new releases to listen to. Last Days Of Eden are really professional on all aspects of their musical delivery, and ‘Butterflies’ (their third album) is easily their most complete work so far.
111Late Night Calls

111.At 1980

Late Night Calls (2021)


At 1980’s ”Late Night Calls” is a great piece of retro ’80s music. It perfectly blends the greatest aspects of synthwave and classic rock&pop together into a beautiful record that does not quit.
Josh Dally has been in the genre for a long time, but his vocals have never been given such a spotlight – for the better. Hits like ‘Caroline’ and ‘Hotel Crowne’ prove he has what it takes to perform, but his voice’s idiosyncrasies in ‘Still On Your Side’ and ‘In Your Eyes’ show he has a real talent. Meanwhile Adrian Quesada Michelena blows a lot of other producers in the retro genre out of the water. His unique sense of style makes his solo tracks and the rest of the album really feel unique, in a scene bogged down by mimicry.
At 1980’s ”Late Night Calls” is a great piece of retro ’80s music. It perfectly blends the greatest aspects of synthwave and classic rock&pop together into a beautiful record that does not quit.
Josh Dally has been in the genre for a long time, but his vocals have never been given such a spotlight – for the better. Hits like ‘Caroline’ and ‘Hotel Crowne’ prove he has what it takes to perform, but his voice’s idiosyncrasies in ‘Still On Your Side’ and ‘In Your Eyes’ show he has a real talent. Meanwhile Adrian Quesada Michelena blows a lot of other producers in the retro genre out of the water. His unique sense of style makes his solo tracks and the rest of the album really feel unique, in a scene bogged down by mimicry.
112

112.Nite Stinger

Nite Stinger (2021)


Coming out of nowhere, “Nite Stinger” is one of the surprises of the year. Yeah, sure, this is ’80 glammy hard rock, but so well done, written, executed and produced like few playing this genre in recent time. You’ll be surprised by these guy’s quality on all aspects.
Coming out of nowhere, “Nite Stinger” is one of the surprises of the year. Yeah, sure, this is ’80 glammy hard rock, but so well done, written, executed and produced like few playing this genre in recent time. You’ll be surprised by these guy’s quality on all aspects.
113Crash of the Crown

113.Styx

Crash of the Crown (2021)


A new era of hope, survival, and prosperity comes calling with the release of “Crash of the Crown“, Styx’s uplifting new studio album which was written during the last three years and recorded during the trying times of the pandemic. The legendary rockers – James “JY” Young (lead vocals, guitars), Tommy Shaw (lead vocals, guitars), Chuck Panozzo (bass, vocals), Todd Sucherman (drums, percussion), Lawrence Gowan (lead vocals, keyboards) and Ricky Phillips (bass, guitar, vocals) – are back with their unique blend of melodies and perfectly crafted songs.
A new era of hope, survival, and prosperity comes calling with the release of “Crash of the Crown“, Styx’s uplifting new studio album which was written during the last three years and recorded during the trying times of the pandemic. The legendary rockers – James “JY” Young (lead vocals, guitars), Tommy Shaw (lead vocals, guitars), Chuck Panozzo (bass, vocals), Todd Sucherman (drums, percussion), Lawrence Gowan (lead vocals, keyboards) and Ricky Phillips (bass, guitar, vocals) – are back with their unique blend of melodies and perfectly crafted songs.
114Strong

114.Anette Olzon

Strong (2021)


Current The Dark Element (and ex-Nightwish) awesome vocalist Anette Olzon gives us her new solo album, “Strong” via Frontiers Music. This will be Anette’s second solo album, following 2014’s “Shine,” and offers a harder, faster musical offering compared to the debut. More importantly, “Strong” stakes a claim for Anette’s well-deserved standing as one of the world’s top female metal vocalists. The music for “Strong” was written and composed together with acclaimed Swedish guitarist and producer Magnus Karlsson. Together, Anette and Magnus managed to create an outstanding collection of songs which showcase Anette’s enormous vocal range alongside Karlsson’s incendiary riffs. The songs are heavy, but still quite melodic and contemporary in their approach to the genre style. Additionally, “Strong” is mixed by Jacob Hansen (Pretty Maids, Volbeat, The Dark Element, etc.). All in all, “Strong” is an album that masters the borders between heaviness and hookiness, all while showing an artist who doesn’t rest on her laurels, but heads boldly into the future.
Current The Dark Element (and ex-Nightwish) awesome vocalist Anette Olzon gives us her new solo album, “Strong” via Frontiers Music. This will be Anette’s second solo album, following 2014’s “Shine,” and offers a harder, faster musical offering compared to the debut. More importantly, “Strong” stakes a claim for Anette’s well-deserved standing as one of the world’s top female metal vocalists. The music for “Strong” was written and composed together with acclaimed Swedish guitarist and producer Magnus Karlsson. Together, Anette and Magnus managed to create an outstanding collection of songs which showcase Anette’s enormous vocal range alongside Karlsson’s incendiary riffs. The songs are heavy, but still quite melodic and contemporary in their approach to the genre style. Additionally, “Strong” is mixed by Jacob Hansen (Pretty Maids, Volbeat, The Dark Element, etc.). All in all, “Strong” is an album that masters the borders between heaviness and hookiness, all while showing an artist who doesn’t rest on her laurels, but heads boldly into the future.
115Lordiversity - Superflytrap

115.Lordi

Lordiversity - Superflytrap (2021)


Lordi releases no fewer than seven new studio albums on November 26. And frontman Mr. Lordi admits that he was had originally hoped to release 10 new albums, only to have that idea vetoed by the Finnish group’s record label.
Titled ‘Lordiversity‘, the box set will be available as seven CDs, or seven vinyl records. Each album will see the former Eurovision-winninig Finns tackle a different genre: hard rock, disco, progressive rock, heavy metal, AOR, thrash/speed and industrial metal. The albums will be standalone available, and we have here “Superflytrap” where the band goes ‘disco’. I have not been a huge fan of Lordi’s music, but “Superflytrap” is a fun curveball: this is a collection of AOR-tinged disco rock, occasionally sounding like The Night Flight Orchestra or Kiss circa 1978-1980. Funnily enough, at places Mr Lordi vocals sound like Peter Criss…
Lordi releases no fewer than seven new studio albums on November 26. And frontman Mr. Lordi admits that he was had originally hoped to release 10 new albums, only to have that idea vetoed by the Finnish group’s record label.
Titled ‘Lordiversity‘, the box set will be available as seven CDs, or seven vinyl records. Each album will see the former Eurovision-winninig Finns tackle a different genre: hard rock, disco, progressive rock, heavy metal, AOR, thrash/speed and industrial metal. The albums will be standalone available, and we have here “Superflytrap” where the band goes ‘disco’. I have not been a huge fan of Lordi’s music, but “Superflytrap” is a fun curveball: this is a collection of AOR-tinged disco rock, occasionally sounding like The Night Flight Orchestra or Kiss circa 1978-1980. Funnily enough, at places Mr Lordi vocals sound like Peter Criss…
116Dirty Honey

116.Dirty Honey

Dirty Honey (2021)


After a string of single chart hits and live triumphs, one of rock music’s most exciting new bands Dirty Honey is keeping the momentum going with the release of their self-titled full-length debut “Dirty Honey”. With towering choruses and slipshod grooves, all these new songs features smoking guitar solos bookended by massive riffs and hooks. The “Dirty Honey” album does sound effortless and captures the lightning-in-a-bottle dynamics and energy of the band’s live sound. The collection boasts airtight songwriting that plays up their strengths: sexy, bluesy, nasty rock ‘n’ roll. LaBelle reaffirms his status as one of contemporary rock’s best vocalists on “The Wire”, while the gospel-tinted “Another Last Time” is a midtempo, organ-fueled album closer bursting with soul.
After a string of single chart hits and live triumphs, one of rock music’s most exciting new bands Dirty Honey is keeping the momentum going with the release of their self-titled full-length debut “Dirty Honey”. With towering choruses and slipshod grooves, all these new songs features smoking guitar solos bookended by massive riffs and hooks. The “Dirty Honey” album does sound effortless and captures the lightning-in-a-bottle dynamics and energy of the band’s live sound. The collection boasts airtight songwriting that plays up their strengths: sexy, bluesy, nasty rock ‘n’ roll. LaBelle reaffirms his status as one of contemporary rock’s best vocalists on “The Wire”, while the gospel-tinted “Another Last Time” is a midtempo, organ-fueled album closer bursting with soul.
117Lonely Eye Movement

117.Devoid

Lonely Eye Movement (2021)


‘Lonely Eye Movement’ is a huge leap forward for Devoid and the perfect vehicle with which to introduce them to a larger international audience. Coming four years after their debut ‘Cup of Tears’, the band has developed the melodic, slightly progressive sound of that album and it makes for a new record that is perfect for fans of hard hitting yet extremely melodic music.
‘Lonely Eye Movement’ is a huge leap forward for Devoid and the perfect vehicle with which to introduce them to a larger international audience. Coming four years after their debut ‘Cup of Tears’, the band has developed the melodic, slightly progressive sound of that album and it makes for a new record that is perfect for fans of hard hitting yet extremely melodic music.
118ELYSIUM

118.Grace and Fire

ELYSIUM (2021)


Hailing from Nottingham, UK, Grace & Fire was formed in 2019 and their music is described as Progressive Rock fusing with Melodic Hard Rock in an anthemic, song-based, accessible format. Comprised by experienced musicians including Tim Ashton (formerly of Galahad) and Graham Brown (Paradox Twin, Cairo), the band is presenting their debut album titled “Elysium“. Production and mixing by Threshold’s Karl Groom is indicative of the quality that can be expected, and add to that renowned guests such as keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Sons of Apollo) and tremendous vocalists Göran Edman and Mark Boals. “Elysium” is a set of fantasy inspired songs, nothing new in that you might think, whereas the sounds that come ranging out of the speakers very much denote a band that has learnt and polished its craft before setting down any tracks of their own. An impressive debut here from a band whose bio is bulging with impressive CV’s, so they are laying down an impressive marker for others out there in the world of fantasy, flying v’s and melodic hard rock.
Hailing from Nottingham, UK, Grace & Fire was formed in 2019 and their music is described as Progressive Rock fusing with Melodic Hard Rock in an anthemic, song-based, accessible format. Comprised by experienced musicians including Tim Ashton (formerly of Galahad) and Graham Brown (Paradox Twin, Cairo), the band is presenting their debut album titled “Elysium“. Production and mixing by Threshold’s Karl Groom is indicative of the quality that can be expected, and add to that renowned guests such as keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Sons of Apollo) and tremendous vocalists Göran Edman and Mark Boals. “Elysium” is a set of fantasy inspired songs, nothing new in that you might think, whereas the sounds that come ranging out of the speakers very much denote a band that has learnt and polished its craft before setting down any tracks of their own. An impressive debut here from a band whose bio is bulging with impressive CV’s, so they are laying down an impressive marker for others out there in the world of fantasy, flying v’s and melodic hard rock.
119Cleo

119.Flight of Icarus

Cleo (2021)


Sweeping strokes of beautiful harmony laid down by Särnefält Rösehag laid against a bold metal landscape devised by Frantzen is nothing but stupendous in execution and even better on the whole. The youthful energy emanating from ”Cleo” is awe inspiring. The dichotomy of Frantzén and Särnefält Rösehag is magical. ”Cleo” is a record that reaches out and grabs the hand of your inner innocence while walking side-by-side with you down a path of formidable instrumentals, finding the beauty and balance in it all. You’ll quickly find out why carving out 53 minutes to run ”Cleo” end-to-end is time well spent.
Sweeping strokes of beautiful harmony laid down by Särnefält Rösehag laid against a bold metal landscape devised by Frantzen is nothing but stupendous in execution and even better on the whole. The youthful energy emanating from ”Cleo” is awe inspiring. The dichotomy of Frantzén and Särnefält Rösehag is magical. ”Cleo” is a record that reaches out and grabs the hand of your inner innocence while walking side-by-side with you down a path of formidable instrumentals, finding the beauty and balance in it all. You’ll quickly find out why carving out 53 minutes to run ”Cleo” end-to-end is time well spent.
120By the Grace of Rock 'n' Roll

120.Starmen

By the Grace of Rock 'n' Roll (2021)


‘By the Grace of Rock ’n’ Roll’ is a really cool album. It’s just fun to listen to these guys. A record that brings color into life and helps the sweep the gray winter memories.
‘By the Grace of Rock ’n’ Roll’ is a really cool album. It’s just fun to listen to these guys. A record that brings color into life and helps the sweep the gray winter memories.
121Underdog

121.Perticone

Underdog (2021)


Perticone that’s the Argentinian singer and musician Martin Perticone. "Underdog“ is his debut album although he has been playing and recording with various artists from Latin America for many years. Melodic Rock from Argentina incl. Eric Martin (MR. BIG) as guest singer.
Perticone that’s the Argentinian singer and musician Martin Perticone. "Underdog“ is his debut album although he has been playing and recording with various artists from Latin America for many years. Melodic Rock from Argentina incl. Eric Martin (MR. BIG) as guest singer.
122Innocence & Danger

122.The Neal Morse Band

Innocence & Danger (2021)


With ”Innocence & Danger” NMB successfully bring a little bit of everything ultimately delivering another excellent double album. They have maintained a familiar sound with a slightly different and more collaborative approach resulting in a breath of fresh air. The question to ask: What is your preference? Innocence or Danger? BOTH. This is sure to be on the many 2021 top album lists
With ”Innocence & Danger” NMB successfully bring a little bit of everything ultimately delivering another excellent double album. They have maintained a familiar sound with a slightly different and more collaborative approach resulting in a breath of fresh air. The question to ask: What is your preference? Innocence or Danger? BOTH. This is sure to be on the many 2021 top album lists
123Too Mean to Die

123.Accept

Too Mean to Die (2021)


All in all, ‘Too Mean To Die’ has Accept written all over it, from the riffs to the songwriting, all the way to the performances. Once again, Wolf Hoffmann has managed to keep his band alive and relevant with interesting tracks and a renewed dose of energy, even if his two faithful brothers, Peter Baltes and Stefan Schwarzmann, are no longer around. A step above ‘The Rise of Chaos’, this is worthy of new and old Accept fans, and will still make you bang your head to the Teutonic terror.
All in all, ‘Too Mean To Die’ has Accept written all over it, from the riffs to the songwriting, all the way to the performances. Once again, Wolf Hoffmann has managed to keep his band alive and relevant with interesting tracks and a renewed dose of energy, even if his two faithful brothers, Peter Baltes and Stefan Schwarzmann, are no longer around. A step above ‘The Rise of Chaos’, this is worthy of new and old Accept fans, and will still make you bang your head to the Teutonic terror.
124Human

124.Natural Born Machine

Human (2021)


”Human" is the debut album for singer David Readman (Pink Cream 69) fronting Natural Born Machine, a new international Melodic Hard Rock band. Conceived in 2019, Natural Born Machine is the brainchild of bassist / composer Alberto Rigoni (Bad As, Vivaldi Metal Project), including the talents of guitarist Alessio “Lex” Tricarico (Bad As) and drummer Denis “Denzy” Novello (Ardityon) in the lineup.Mixing some Seventies / Eighties hard rock riffage with a bluesy focus and strong instrumentation, Natural Born Machine rocks hard, with melody. Readman’s vast abilities are used here on a powerhouse mode, quite raw at places but fitting the material on offer.
”Human" is the debut album for singer David Readman (Pink Cream 69) fronting Natural Born Machine, a new international Melodic Hard Rock band. Conceived in 2019, Natural Born Machine is the brainchild of bassist / composer Alberto Rigoni (Bad As, Vivaldi Metal Project), including the talents of guitarist Alessio “Lex” Tricarico (Bad As) and drummer Denis “Denzy” Novello (Ardityon) in the lineup.Mixing some Seventies / Eighties hard rock riffage with a bluesy focus and strong instrumentation, Natural Born Machine rocks hard, with melody. Readman’s vast abilities are used here on a powerhouse mode, quite raw at places but fitting the material on offer.
125Mammoth WVH

125.Mammoth WVH

Mammoth WVH (2021)


”Mammoth WVH” is the debut album from Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, and he successfully lives up to his family name while carving out a separate identity and sound on his first CD. This is quite a narrow needle to thread, at an undeniably difficult time for the younger Van Halen, whose guitar-hero father Eddie died in October 2020. In addition to his personal grief, the reverence and protective bubble surrounding the elder Van Halen’s legacy was at a fever pitch. Some online critics even accused Wolfgang of capitalizing on his dad’s death with the tribute-paying debut single “Distance.” But one listen to Mammoth WVH makes it clear he isn’t trying to hop on the Van Halen nostalgia train.
”Mammoth WVH” is the debut album from Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, and he successfully lives up to his family name while carving out a separate identity and sound on his first CD. This is quite a narrow needle to thread, at an undeniably difficult time for the younger Van Halen, whose guitar-hero father Eddie died in October 2020. In addition to his personal grief, the reverence and protective bubble surrounding the elder Van Halen’s legacy was at a fever pitch. Some online critics even accused Wolfgang of capitalizing on his dad’s death with the tribute-paying debut single “Distance.” But one listen to Mammoth WVH makes it clear he isn’t trying to hop on the Van Halen nostalgia train.
126Smith / Kotzen

126.Adrian Smith & Richie Kotzen

Smith / Kotzen (2021)


Legendary guitarists Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen give rock fans a huge wallop of the good stuff on their new project’s debut album Smith / Kotzen. The record is rooted in the free-spirited vibe of ’70s rock and influenced by the blues, hard rock, traditional R&B, and more. The nine-song collection was recorded on the Turks & Caicos Islands in February 2020, produced by Richie and Adrian, and mixed by expert Kevin “Caveman” Shirley. Smith and Kotzen co-wrote the material, traded off lead vocals, and shared guitar and bass roles throughout these sessions. The end result of all this is a killer melting pot that melds the two musicians’ backgrounds, talents, and life history into a blast of kick ass rock music that’s unique and unforgettable. Every second of Smith/Kotzen is cool beyond words and comes off as one long love letter to the idea of rock guitar. Be sure to get it into your daily mix and keep it there.
Legendary guitarists Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen give rock fans a huge wallop of the good stuff on their new project’s debut album Smith / Kotzen. The record is rooted in the free-spirited vibe of ’70s rock and influenced by the blues, hard rock, traditional R&B, and more. The nine-song collection was recorded on the Turks & Caicos Islands in February 2020, produced by Richie and Adrian, and mixed by expert Kevin “Caveman” Shirley. Smith and Kotzen co-wrote the material, traded off lead vocals, and shared guitar and bass roles throughout these sessions. The end result of all this is a killer melting pot that melds the two musicians’ backgrounds, talents, and life history into a blast of kick ass rock music that’s unique and unforgettable. Every second of Smith/Kotzen is cool beyond words and comes off as one long love letter to the idea of rock guitar. Be sure to get it into your daily mix and keep it there.
127Ethereality

127.Maverick

Ethereality (2021)


With summer around the corner, this is an album that should be played loud, whether that be with the roof or windows down in your car or whilst you are sipping a cold one in the garden, this needs the volume turned up for maximum listening pleasure, whether that just be yours, or your neighbors too. If you like your rock music full of guitars that you can air guitar too, drums that you tap your feet to and with dazzling vocals that you can really enjoy, listen to and sing-a-long to then Maverick is what you need to be listening to.
With summer around the corner, this is an album that should be played loud, whether that be with the roof or windows down in your car or whilst you are sipping a cold one in the garden, this needs the volume turned up for maximum listening pleasure, whether that just be yours, or your neighbors too. If you like your rock music full of guitars that you can air guitar too, drums that you tap your feet to and with dazzling vocals that you can really enjoy, listen to and sing-a-long to then Maverick is what you need to be listening to.
128Struggle of the Gods

128.Tales and Legends

Struggle of the Gods (2021)


Incorporating mythology into metal has always been the bread and butter of the movement that has happily bobbed along for the last 40 years. This year has powerhouse vocalist Patrik J. Selleby (Bloodbound, Shadowquest) returning with his new project Tales & Legnds who drop their debut album ‘Struggle of the Gods’. Selleby’s voice transposes perfectly to TAles & Legends as the band (Italian members) deliver something that is nothing short of brilliant regarding this genre / style: this modern, polished melodic metal with commercial power flourishes, musically ranging from Allen/Lande to Iron Maiden or Helloween, all wrapped by a top class production & mix. Yep, ‘Tales…’ really goes all out as it pits Horus against Seth across an epic battlefield of music as tracks such as ‘The Seven Gates’, ‘Epic Ride of Horus’ and the immense closing title track would make any fan of Iron Maiden, Avantasia, Helloween eager for more. Very strong material.
Incorporating mythology into metal has always been the bread and butter of the movement that has happily bobbed along for the last 40 years. This year has powerhouse vocalist Patrik J. Selleby (Bloodbound, Shadowquest) returning with his new project Tales & Legnds who drop their debut album ‘Struggle of the Gods’. Selleby’s voice transposes perfectly to TAles & Legends as the band (Italian members) deliver something that is nothing short of brilliant regarding this genre / style: this modern, polished melodic metal with commercial power flourishes, musically ranging from Allen/Lande to Iron Maiden or Helloween, all wrapped by a top class production & mix. Yep, ‘Tales…’ really goes all out as it pits Horus against Seth across an epic battlefield of music as tracks such as ‘The Seven Gates’, ‘Epic Ride of Horus’ and the immense closing title track would make any fan of Iron Maiden, Avantasia, Helloween eager for more. Very strong material.
129Welcome to the Absurd Circus

129.Labÿrinth

Welcome to the Absurd Circus (2021)


Labyrinth’s ”Welcome To the Absurd Circus” is another solid and entertaining album of their trademark creative and engaging melodic progressive metal with a commercial delivery. Fans of the band and the genre should not miss it.
Labyrinth’s ”Welcome To the Absurd Circus” is another solid and entertaining album of their trademark creative and engaging melodic progressive metal with a commercial delivery. Fans of the band and the genre should not miss it.
130Wait for the Night

130.Wicked Smile

Wait for the Night (2021)


It’s a wild ride for sure and one you’ll quickly find yourself taking again as you hit ‘repeat’ or whatever the steaming equivalent might be. Wicked Smile have made a huge statement here. This is an album that blends the hard rock and classic metal we love so very well. You’ll be left wondering when and where you can catch these guys live and longer term how good these guys can get. As the press release states: “If you’re a fan of bands like ’80s Priest, Maiden, Dio, Metallica, Icon, and Skid Row or just good old Seventies and Eighties heavy rock you should love this”… and they’re right.
It’s a wild ride for sure and one you’ll quickly find yourself taking again as you hit ‘repeat’ or whatever the steaming equivalent might be. Wicked Smile have made a huge statement here. This is an album that blends the hard rock and classic metal we love so very well. You’ll be left wondering when and where you can catch these guys live and longer term how good these guys can get. As the press release states: “If you’re a fan of bands like ’80s Priest, Maiden, Dio, Metallica, Icon, and Skid Row or just good old Seventies and Eighties heavy rock you should love this”… and they’re right.
131Unchained

131.Thy Row

Unchained (2021)


Helsinki, Finland’s Thy Row, which is helmed by Everfrost vocalist Mikael Salo have released their debut album ”Unchained” via Rockshots Records. Thy Row offers up a fresh mix of old-school classic metal with modern hard rock, and a punchy production sound recalling the heaviest side of Eclipse. However, musically They bring to mind Pretty Maids, and their clever combination of heavy polished riffs with catchy melodies. From the tight rhythm feels to the big vocals, I am lost in this one.
Helsinki, Finland’s Thy Row, which is helmed by Everfrost vocalist Mikael Salo have released their debut album ”Unchained” via Rockshots Records. Thy Row offers up a fresh mix of old-school classic metal with modern hard rock, and a punchy production sound recalling the heaviest side of Eclipse. However, musically They bring to mind Pretty Maids, and their clever combination of heavy polished riffs with catchy melodies. From the tight rhythm feels to the big vocals, I am lost in this one.
132Into the Future

132.Heartland

Into the Future (2021)


Here we have an album that reflects the prowess of all the musicians involved on this album / era, featuring the fantastic Slamer and Ged Rylands (Ten / Rage of Angels / Tyketto) along with the seasoned Barish Kepic, Wayne Banks and David Anthony. “Into the Future” is typically Heartland, the style is immediately recognizable yet there is a fresh, vibrant feel that gives the fans something new. This is what melodic rock is all about folks…
Here we have an album that reflects the prowess of all the musicians involved on this album / era, featuring the fantastic Slamer and Ged Rylands (Ten / Rage of Angels / Tyketto) along with the seasoned Barish Kepic, Wayne Banks and David Anthony. “Into the Future” is typically Heartland, the style is immediately recognizable yet there is a fresh, vibrant feel that gives the fans something new. This is what melodic rock is all about folks…
133Undisputed

133.Blood Red Saints

Undisputed (2021)


UK melodic rockers Blood Red Saints have returned to the Frontiers label, who originally worked with them in 2015 on their debut, they now bring us their fourth effort, ‘Undisputed‘. Musically, the album is a return to the melodic rock style as heard on the band’s debut, “Speedway,” which earned them fan and critical praise from the broader melodic rock community. Written during the Covid-19 pandemic, the recording of “Undisputed” took place at guitarist Lee Revills’ home studio. Melodic, rocking when needed, with nods to the 80s/90s classic sounds from the genre, ‘Undisputed’ is plenty of strong songs and really good musicianship.
UK melodic rockers Blood Red Saints have returned to the Frontiers label, who originally worked with them in 2015 on their debut, they now bring us their fourth effort, ‘Undisputed‘. Musically, the album is a return to the melodic rock style as heard on the band’s debut, “Speedway,” which earned them fan and critical praise from the broader melodic rock community. Written during the Covid-19 pandemic, the recording of “Undisputed” took place at guitarist Lee Revills’ home studio. Melodic, rocking when needed, with nods to the 80s/90s classic sounds from the genre, ‘Undisputed’ is plenty of strong songs and really good musicianship.
134Hungry Heart

134.Hunter

Hungry Heart (2021)


Making its international presentation with their new album titled “Hungry Heart“, Hunter is a band that hails from Chile and its musical style is classic melodic rock / edgy AOR. After the digital release of the band’s 10 track debut (which contained five songs in Spanish), the band gained the attention of fans, press and, of course, labels. Danish label Lions Pride is always in the ‘hunt’ for such exotic releases, so it’s not a surprise that they signed the 5-piece after listening their quality material. “Hungry Heart” contains twelve tracks inspired by the classic sound of the genre, all with English lyrics. Well played and properly recorded, the album should attract fans of both European & American melodic rock styles.
Making its international presentation with their new album titled “Hungry Heart“, Hunter is a band that hails from Chile and its musical style is classic melodic rock / edgy AOR. After the digital release of the band’s 10 track debut (which contained five songs in Spanish), the band gained the attention of fans, press and, of course, labels. Danish label Lions Pride is always in the ‘hunt’ for such exotic releases, so it’s not a surprise that they signed the 5-piece after listening their quality material. “Hungry Heart” contains twelve tracks inspired by the classic sound of the genre, all with English lyrics. Well played and properly recorded, the album should attract fans of both European & American melodic rock styles.
135

135.Show-Ya

Showdown (2021)


Show-Ya are in top form in ”Showdown”: their mix of melodic hard rock, classic metal and AOR are effective as ever, with a varied but cohesive songwriting. There’s a strong rhythm section, great guitar riffs / solos, bass that can be actually heard, clever synths, clean vocals, and contrasts / atmospheres that make it even more exciting. Dreamlike songs next to ones that can get someone who’s just passed out on their feet? Yes, contrasts like that are great. There’s not female fronted acts out there like Show-Ya anymore. If you miss that ’80s melodic / rockin’ sound from all-female bands, grab ”Showdown” right now.
Show-Ya are in top form in ”Showdown”: their mix of melodic hard rock, classic metal and AOR are effective as ever, with a varied but cohesive songwriting. There’s a strong rhythm section, great guitar riffs / solos, bass that can be actually heard, clever synths, clean vocals, and contrasts / atmospheres that make it even more exciting. Dreamlike songs next to ones that can get someone who’s just passed out on their feet? Yes, contrasts like that are great. There’s not female fronted acts out there like Show-Ya anymore. If you miss that ’80s melodic / rockin’ sound from all-female bands, grab ”Showdown” right now.
136Silver Lake

136.Silver Lake

Silver Lake (2021)


Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen is the first solo album of the Amorphis guitarist, a project that was in his head for years but it wasn’t until the dawn of spring 2020 when Holopainen’s mobile vibrated laboriously: it was Nino Laurenne, renowned music producer and owner of Helsinki-based recording facility Sonic Pump, who asked: ‘Esa, would it be the right time to start working on your solo album?’ Lead guitarists of celebrated bands often indulge in heady 6-string excess when it comes to their solo albums. Instead, Amorphis co-founder Esa Holopainen indulges in a wish-list of lead singers to grace his skilled compositions ranging from progressive to melodic rock, and the results are impressive indeed. If the COVID lockdown era desperately needed a silver lining, “Silver Lake” certainly fits the bill.
Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen is the first solo album of the Amorphis guitarist, a project that was in his head for years but it wasn’t until the dawn of spring 2020 when Holopainen’s mobile vibrated laboriously: it was Nino Laurenne, renowned music producer and owner of Helsinki-based recording facility Sonic Pump, who asked: ‘Esa, would it be the right time to start working on your solo album?’ Lead guitarists of celebrated bands often indulge in heady 6-string excess when it comes to their solo albums. Instead, Amorphis co-founder Esa Holopainen indulges in a wish-list of lead singers to grace his skilled compositions ranging from progressive to melodic rock, and the results are impressive indeed. If the COVID lockdown era desperately needed a silver lining, “Silver Lake” certainly fits the bill.
137Afterlife

137.Sunstorm

Afterlife (2021)


Ronnie Romero’s name came about when the Frontiers decided that continuing the successful project was a must and that the music being crafted would put it back at the forefront of the scene… assuming the right vocalist was involved. And who better than Romero with his powerful vocal style? The new Sunstorm album will catch many in the melodic rock fanbase by surprise. For the first time, the amazing Ronnie Romero enters into melodic hard rock territory, and with outstanding results.
Ronnie Romero’s name came about when the Frontiers decided that continuing the successful project was a must and that the music being crafted would put it back at the forefront of the scene… assuming the right vocalist was involved. And who better than Romero with his powerful vocal style? The new Sunstorm album will catch many in the melodic rock fanbase by surprise. For the first time, the amazing Ronnie Romero enters into melodic hard rock territory, and with outstanding results.
138Love 2 Be Hated

138.Social Disorder

Love 2 Be Hated (2021)


Social Disorder, lead by multi-talented Anders LA Ronnblom – best known as the founder and songwriter from Killer Bee and X-Romance as well as a member of Wolfpakk. And while an all-star line up does not guarantee quality, in this case is served in spades. Then you need good songs, and believe me, Ronnblom know a little bout this matter. This is anthemic, traditional hard rock with a bluesy background, musically influenced by modern Whitesnake, Perfect Plan, and even some Bad Company.
Social Disorder, lead by multi-talented Anders LA Ronnblom – best known as the founder and songwriter from Killer Bee and X-Romance as well as a member of Wolfpakk. And while an all-star line up does not guarantee quality, in this case is served in spades. Then you need good songs, and believe me, Ronnblom know a little bout this matter. This is anthemic, traditional hard rock with a bluesy background, musically influenced by modern Whitesnake, Perfect Plan, and even some Bad Company.
139Evil and Divine

139.Sunbomb

Evil and Divine (2021)


Sunbomb is a highly anticipated new musical alliance between two steadfast warriors of the U.S. hard rock/metal scene, Tracii Guns and Stryper vocalist Michael Sweet. They have put together an absolute blinder of a metal album, melding influences of classic acts such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest with Tracii’s love of metal subgenres. Drums on the album were handled by Tracii’s old L.A. Guns bandmate Adam Hamilton and bass was handled by Mitch Davis, with the exception of the track ‘They Fought’, which features current L.A. Guns bassist Johnny Martin. The music style on the record is much heavier than what one would expect from these two musicians and is firmly planted in the ‘metal’ category. While Tracii wrote the music for the album, the fact that Michael Sweet has been writing in an increasingly heavier style on latter era Stryper albums made him a very logical choice to sing for the band.
Sunbomb is a highly anticipated new musical alliance between two steadfast warriors of the U.S. hard rock/metal scene, Tracii Guns and Stryper vocalist Michael Sweet. They have put together an absolute blinder of a metal album, melding influences of classic acts such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest with Tracii’s love of metal subgenres. Drums on the album were handled by Tracii’s old L.A. Guns bandmate Adam Hamilton and bass was handled by Mitch Davis, with the exception of the track ‘They Fought’, which features current L.A. Guns bassist Johnny Martin. The music style on the record is much heavier than what one would expect from these two musicians and is firmly planted in the ‘metal’ category. While Tracii wrote the music for the album, the fact that Michael Sweet has been writing in an increasingly heavier style on latter era Stryper albums made him a very logical choice to sing for the band.
140Fans of the Dark

140.Fans of the Dark

Fans of the Dark (2021)


Fans of the Dark is pretty unique because they melodic rock isn’t formulaic. At places it’s edgy, at others catchy n’ fun (‘Zombies in My Class’), at others quite elaborated. This album contains eight tracks and after first listen I have to say I really enjoyed every single moment of it. All the songs are well-written, with clever arrangements and strong emphasis on the guitars – and, of course, the ‘characteristic’ vocals of Alex Falk; his voice has ‘depth’ and a quality to aim things to a higher level. For sure, one of the most diverse and, at the same time, extremely interesting albums released by Frontiers Music so far in 2021.
Fans of the Dark is pretty unique because they melodic rock isn’t formulaic. At places it’s edgy, at others catchy n’ fun (‘Zombies in My Class’), at others quite elaborated. This album contains eight tracks and after first listen I have to say I really enjoyed every single moment of it. All the songs are well-written, with clever arrangements and strong emphasis on the guitars – and, of course, the ‘characteristic’ vocals of Alex Falk; his voice has ‘depth’ and a quality to aim things to a higher level. For sure, one of the most diverse and, at the same time, extremely interesting albums released by Frontiers Music so far in 2021.
141Black & White

141.Bite the Bullet

Black & White (2021)


The cover artwork of “Black & White” takes us back to the most avant-garde covers of the 80s, using black and white with some red detail in the logo’s typography. And in some way, perfectly reflects BITE THE BULLET sound; elegant, classy, with some rocking bite, but always melodic. An excellent comeback by these talented musicians, and hopefully, a fresh starting point for new Bite the Bullet music in the near future.
The cover artwork of “Black & White” takes us back to the most avant-garde covers of the 80s, using black and white with some red detail in the logo’s typography. And in some way, perfectly reflects BITE THE BULLET sound; elegant, classy, with some rocking bite, but always melodic. An excellent comeback by these talented musicians, and hopefully, a fresh starting point for new Bite the Bullet music in the near future.
142RISE

142.Ron Coolen

RISE (2020)


“Rise” is the debut album from Dutch multi-instrumentalist Ron Coolen, an album inspired by the classic hard rock sound from the ’80s and he has gathered a stellar line up of world class musicians from the genre: we have top singer Keith St. John (Burning Rain, Kingdom Come, Lynch Mob, Montrose) providing most the vocals, but also Göran Edman, George Lynch, Thorsten Koehne (Eden’s Curse), Steve Lamb (Tygers of Pan Tang), and many more. We have some killer stuff here, very well recorded & produced.
“Rise” is the debut album from Dutch multi-instrumentalist Ron Coolen, an album inspired by the classic hard rock sound from the ’80s and he has gathered a stellar line up of world class musicians from the genre: we have top singer Keith St. John (Burning Rain, Kingdom Come, Lynch Mob, Montrose) providing most the vocals, but also Göran Edman, George Lynch, Thorsten Koehne (Eden’s Curse), Steve Lamb (Tygers of Pan Tang), and many more. We have some killer stuff here, very well recorded & produced.
143If Only...

143.The Far Cry

If Only... (2021)


‘If Only’ is a confident, elaborated album by excellent musicians that has a broad range of melodic prog music styles. It doffs its cap to the past, whilst embracing the present, and mixes it all into a singular and varied style. There is a refreshing chameleon-like character across all the eight tracks, with surprises around the corner for any listener, and yet it works as a whole. Their heart might be in the neo-prog rock of the ’70s and ’80s, but they are not anchored there at all. This is definitely an album worth exploring for people who like their melody and complexity in equal measures.
‘If Only’ is a confident, elaborated album by excellent musicians that has a broad range of melodic prog music styles. It doffs its cap to the past, whilst embracing the present, and mixes it all into a singular and varied style. There is a refreshing chameleon-like character across all the eight tracks, with surprises around the corner for any listener, and yet it works as a whole. Their heart might be in the neo-prog rock of the ’70s and ’80s, but they are not anchored there at all. This is definitely an album worth exploring for people who like their melody and complexity in equal measures.
144Artem Illusio

144.Artem Illusio

Artem Illusio (2021)


This is a very nice Swiss surprise! Fronted by the powerful voice of the Ukrainian Max Morton, known from the band carrying his surname that released the fine "Come Read The Words Forbidden" back in 2011, these guys put down a very powerful and melodic sound and know how to write memorable song material. It's hard to pin down genre wise to be honest, but I'd settle for progressive metal with hints of power metal, somewhat comparable to Conception maybe. Don't be put off by the growls in the opening track either, because they're just there to efficiently illustrate the track's main character and only sporadically return. With its 37 minutes it's a little short, but Artem Illusio's eponymous debut manages to put all eyes on them to watch their every move. I'm stoked! If you pick one song to check them out, take the fabulous "Teacher", although there's not a weak track on here anyway if you ask me.
This is a very nice Swiss surprise! Fronted by the powerful voice of the Ukrainian Max Morton, known from the band carrying his surname that released the fine "Come Read The Words Forbidden" back in 2011, these guys put down a very powerful and melodic sound and know how to write memorable song material. It's hard to pin down genre wise to be honest, but I'd settle for progressive metal with hints of power metal, somewhat comparable to Conception maybe. Don't be put off by the growls in the opening track either, because they're just there to efficiently illustrate the track's main character and only sporadically return. With its 37 minutes it's a little short, but Artem Illusio's eponymous debut manages to put all eyes on them to watch their every move. I'm stoked! If you pick one song to check them out, take the fabulous "Teacher", although there's not a weak track on here anyway if you ask me.
145The Future Bites

145.Steven Wilson

The Future Bites (2021)


Steven Wilson built a cult following with 2013’s The Raven That Refused To Sing and 2015’s Hand. Cannot. Erase. by offering a modern take on classic progressive rock, heavily alluding to the past without sounding too retro. But for all of the diverse sounds and influences that his music has synthesized to date, he possesses a particularly strong pop sensibility. For, no matter what the subjective opinion of the listener, there is the recognition that in Steven Wilson we have found a musician who craves new challenges, new sounds, new inspiration. An artist who isn’t scared to go there. Brilliantly produced by Wilson and David Kosten, it sounds great in a way that no other Steven Wilson album has. One of the boldest and best albums Steve Wilson has made.
Steven Wilson built a cult following with 2013’s The Raven That Refused To Sing and 2015’s Hand. Cannot. Erase. by offering a modern take on classic progressive rock, heavily alluding to the past without sounding too retro. But for all of the diverse sounds and influences that his music has synthesized to date, he possesses a particularly strong pop sensibility. For, no matter what the subjective opinion of the listener, there is the recognition that in Steven Wilson we have found a musician who craves new challenges, new sounds, new inspiration. An artist who isn’t scared to go there. Brilliantly produced by Wilson and David Kosten, it sounds great in a way that no other Steven Wilson album has. One of the boldest and best albums Steve Wilson has made.
146Now or Nowhere

146.The Damn Truth

Now or Nowhere (2021)


Produced by legendary, Grammy Award-winning producer Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Motley Crüe, Bon Jovi) at Bryan Adams’ The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, Montreal female fronted hard rockers THE DAMN TRUTH are releasing their new album, ”Now Or Nowhere”. With plenty of rock and roll swagger, ”Now Or Nowhere” navigates life, love and the challenges of the last year with the pandemic, with a powerhouse vocalist and downright killer band. They might be bohemian rock n’ roll hippies, but they sure can rock hard with bluesy vibe. This one comes bursting out the speakers nicely before settling into a groove and rocking out, adding a wonderfully soul-touched vocal and some wonderfully toned thrusting guitars. This is among my favorite albums of the year in this style/genre. This is glorious retro stuff.
Produced by legendary, Grammy Award-winning producer Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Motley Crüe, Bon Jovi) at Bryan Adams’ The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, Montreal female fronted hard rockers THE DAMN TRUTH are releasing their new album, ”Now Or Nowhere”. With plenty of rock and roll swagger, ”Now Or Nowhere” navigates life, love and the challenges of the last year with the pandemic, with a powerhouse vocalist and downright killer band. They might be bohemian rock n’ roll hippies, but they sure can rock hard with bluesy vibe. This one comes bursting out the speakers nicely before settling into a groove and rocking out, adding a wonderfully soul-touched vocal and some wonderfully toned thrusting guitars. This is among my favorite albums of the year in this style/genre. This is glorious retro stuff.
147Livin’ for Love

147.Bill Champlin

Livin’ for Love (2021)


Do you remember the days of buying an album, reading all of the credits, listening to the record from the first song all the way through to the very last note on the record then going back to listen to it because there was a cool guitar riff, solo, or bass line that made you go back and think how awesome the song is. I remember those days very well. Listening to “Livin’ For Love“, the new album by legendary musician Bill Champlin, you feel that way again. The new album is a collection of 14 great songs, all good as individual singles, but more enjoyable playing the disc from start to finish.
Do you remember the days of buying an album, reading all of the credits, listening to the record from the first song all the way through to the very last note on the record then going back to listen to it because there was a cool guitar riff, solo, or bass line that made you go back and think how awesome the song is. I remember those days very well. Listening to “Livin’ For Love“, the new album by legendary musician Bill Champlin, you feel that way again. The new album is a collection of 14 great songs, all good as individual singles, but more enjoyable playing the disc from start to finish.
148Turning to Ashes

148.Hearts & Hand Grenades

Turning to Ashes (2021)


Hearts & Hand Grenades is an explosive hard rock group from Buffalo, NY fronted by Stephanie Wlosinski on lead vocals and bass guitar. Hearts & Hand Grenades was originally founded as a cover band in 2012 by guitarist Mike Bress, but with Stephanie aboard they started to write their own songs inspired by the genre’s classic style, and the result is their debut album ”Turning To Ashes” So if you like it hard n’ heavy – with a modern sound – then you’ll most probably love this.
Hearts & Hand Grenades is an explosive hard rock group from Buffalo, NY fronted by Stephanie Wlosinski on lead vocals and bass guitar. Hearts & Hand Grenades was originally founded as a cover band in 2012 by guitarist Mike Bress, but with Stephanie aboard they started to write their own songs inspired by the genre’s classic style, and the result is their debut album ”Turning To Ashes” So if you like it hard n’ heavy – with a modern sound – then you’ll most probably love this.
149Gods of Tomorrow

149.Victory

Gods of Tomorrow (2021)


North German hard rockers Victory are back for good and once again with a refurbished line-up. Frontman Gianni Pontillo delivers the passionate vocals whereas Herman Frank (g, ex Accept) plays guitar like hell. The thirteen songs on “Gods of Tomorrow“ do not leave a shadow of a doubt that Victory are still one of the leading German bands around. Ten years after their latest studio album the band sounds fresher than ever. Melody meets cool heavy rock.
North German hard rockers Victory are back for good and once again with a refurbished line-up. Frontman Gianni Pontillo delivers the passionate vocals whereas Herman Frank (g, ex Accept) plays guitar like hell. The thirteen songs on “Gods of Tomorrow“ do not leave a shadow of a doubt that Victory are still one of the leading German bands around. Ten years after their latest studio album the band sounds fresher than ever. Melody meets cool heavy rock.
150Cold Blooded

150.Turbosnake

Cold Blooded (2021) [EP]


Turbosnake’s ”Cold Blooded” won’t be up for a Pulitzer anytime soon, but nothing within the hair metal scene ever is. They stick closely to what make the genre so beloved by many. It’s the type of album you can throw on and bang your head to when you want mindless entertainment and strong glam metal hooks. If you’re into ’80s hair / glam metal, this is definitely an album that needs to be heard.
Turbosnake’s ”Cold Blooded” won’t be up for a Pulitzer anytime soon, but nothing within the hair metal scene ever is. They stick closely to what make the genre so beloved by many. It’s the type of album you can throw on and bang your head to when you want mindless entertainment and strong glam metal hooks. If you’re into ’80s hair / glam metal, this is definitely an album that needs to be heard.
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