Archived Reviews: # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Reviews Index

BABYLON A.D.: "American Blitzkrieg" 6

Apocalypse 2000

Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom 01-03-16

War... What is it good for??? BABYLON A.D. is back with their new release "American Blitzkrieg" for the first time with complete creative control over everything from songwriting, recording, mixing, mastering to artwork and image. So I guess you can say that it´s for the first time you´ll get to hear the real deal from the band. That doesn´t mean it´s for the best for all the fans from the past.

What you get is mix of the old SLEAZE music form the earlier albums with a newer more brutal "modern rock" sound. Like the title track "American Blitzkrieg" which is one of the weakest tracks and I can´t really understand why they have chosen it for a video release? It only gets a bit better when they get into the old WAR song (by: Whitfield/Strong) that Bruce Springsteen did. You know that old phrase "WAR... What is it good for?? Absolutely nothing" But I´m guessing they want to get some attention from the "Modern hardrock" fans and Hey! at least they can´t blame the whole idea on the record label anymore :-)

Thank God that only three of the tracks are like this (modern rock crap) but still that only leaves us with six (6) songs and that´s maybe too few to be really pleased with. "Magic Mary" is a nice, rougher sleaze rocker with a really cool groove and it sounds like a mixture of their earlier material and SKID ROW (in their "Slave to the grind" days). Next track "I wanna live" is even better with a really cool and good chorus. I´ve always thought that the ballads has been their strongest material and the same goes with this album "The Sky´s falling" is a superb 80´s Power ballad with some lovely lyrics, a BIG FAT chorus and vocalist Derek Davis really shines on this track... In fact this is their best ballad ever. "One way ride" is another nice sleaze rocker and last track "Super Star" is the second best track after the outstanding super ballad "The Sky´s falling". So the bottom line is: if you don´t mind some "Modern hardrock" influences then I guess it´s a sure buy! But if you like me (and most of the catchy hooks readers) only like 70´s & 80´s stuff... then I guess it´s a good/okay buy.

Check ´em out at:
Email the label at:
You can also check out the "American Blitzkrieg" video at: or at:

BACKYARD BABIES: "Stockholm Syndrome" 9

BMG 2003
Review by 15 November 2003

The term "Stockholm Syndrome", was actually coined in the early 70's to describe the puzzling reactions of four bank employees to their captor in Stockholm/Sweden. All of the hostages strongly resisted the government's efforts to rescue them and were quite eager to defend the bankrobbers instead. A truly messed up story if you ask me.

I'm not sure these bankrobbers will succeed with their masterplan to brainwash their fans into weak minded hostages. Then again... after spinning this a couple of times you almost feel captured by the kick ass music. All credit to Backyard Babies as they've managed to record their best album up to date. They had quite some success with their previous release, but the songmaterial was never this good though.

The songs are simply oozing of sleazy rock, dirty innuendos, jack daniels, and smelly underwear. Recorded down in LA, the Swedes were mostly hanging out at the Sunset Strip, and it's almost like they've payed tribute to all of their old heroes with "Stockholm Syndrome". The first single "Minus Celsius" is already a hit, climbing the charts like a rocket all over Scandinavia. It's all the esscence of KISS, Hanoi Rocks, Mötley Crue, Johnny Thunders, but also minor acts from Sweden, like Shotgun Messiah or Nasty Idols, are worthy some credit here. Nick Borg sings better than ever and guitarist Dregen look worse than ever... something which goes straight to his amps I believe as the riffs are catchier, bigger, and better than ever. With eleven tracks and only one real filler (the horrible "One Sound"), you're certainly in for a rocking good time. I must mention the lovely "Friends", where Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks), Joey Ramone (R.I.P.), Danko Jones, Tyla, Nina from the Cardigans, and Kory Clarke, all share lead vocal dutys. If you still ask yourself "what ever happened to good 80s sleazy rock and 70s glam", then you owe yourself to pick up this little beauty. I'd even go as far as proclaiming BB as the most successful and best sleaze act P.G.E (post grunge era). Essential for all real rockers out there and one of the highlights this year.

BAD BOY: "Best Of Bad Boy" 7

Surgeland 1998
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Those very nice people at Surgeland Records sent me this CD featuring the best of Bad Boy, the 80'ies local heroes of Milwaukee. I was previously unfamiliar with Bad Boy, I thought the name sounded familiar but I had never heard any of their material.

After hearing the first three tracks I thought that I hadn't missed much, as they were rather average heavy rock songs. The next few songs, taken from the album "Electric Eyes" (1984), sounded much better though, with strong melodies and good hooks. If the rest of that album is as good as the AOR gems "Something Ain't Right" and "Cheat On Me", it wouldn't be a bad idea to re-release it in a CD format...

The three songs from the "Girl On The Run" EP (1986) are solid enough performances, maybe not as good as the two aforementioned tracks but good anyway. The two single releases "Stay With Me Tonight" and "Mama Mama" are also good hard edged AOR songs even though the production isn't very good.

There are also a couple of new songs included, of which I must mention "Gotcha!", a good song but maybe lacking a really good hook. Overall I can say that I am glad to make acquaintance with this band. I am looking forward to hearing more of their new material!

BAD HABIT: "Revolution" 8

Megarock 1995
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Now here's a name from the past... Bad Habit's first album was released way back in 1989. Not long after that they disappeared and very little was heard of them for few years.

I thought "After Hours" was a decent album, and apparently it nowadays has some kind of a cult status. "Revolution" follows in its footsteps, as it is quite similar stylewise. I'd prefer this to "After Hours" though, because the hooks seem to be sharper and the overall quality of the songs is higher. There are some real killers here, like "Hunger" and "Too Late", both boasting huge choruses, as if Desmond Child himself had been involved in writing! OK, there are a few songs that aren't up to their usual standard, and the vocals of Bax Fehling are at times quite irritating, but all in all this is a good album.

BAD HABIT: "Adult Orientation" 8

MTM Music 1998
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

As the title suggests, Bad Habit have refined their musical style to pure AOR. Gone are the Autograph/Van Halen-overtones... Another remarkable thing is the fact that the songwriting duties have been divided this time. Hal Johnston is still the main writer, but both Sven Cirski and Patrik Södergren have written some very good songs.

"Shine Your Light On Me" is a bit understated to be the opener, but it's an OK song anyway. "Heart Of Mine" might have been a better opener, as it is a very good uptempo song that has "summer hit" written all over it. Kinda reminds me of Return... "Everytime I See You" is a song very much in the vein of John Waite's "Deal For Life" (from "Days Of Thunder" soundtrack") with quite similar keyboard layers and Bax Fehling doing a nice Waite impersonation!

Cirnski's "Miss It When It's Gone" is a strong uptempo number and one of my favourites, while "If I Could Do It Again" is a semi-ballad in the Journey mould. Other noteworthy songs include "Suddenly" that reminds me of Journey again, the catchy "When The Sun Goes Down" and Södergren's Heart-like "Makin' It Easy". However, the balladic closing duo of "Girl" and "Forever" is almost too wimpy even for me. Especially the duet "Forever" is total Eurovision song contest material... But I won't mind them having a song like that, if it broadens their audience.

BAD HABIT: "13 Years of Bad Habit" 8

Virgin-Sweden 2000

Review by Urban “Wally” Wallstrom 01-03-16

Bad (old) Habits die hard! Finally... now can all Scandinavian AOR lovers find the legendary mini-album "Young & Innocent" for the first time on CD. Yes, one of Sweden´s finest AOR bands have released a collection with 17 songs, much thanx to Pär Winberg at Virgin Records and of course also known for his site "Midwestern Skies". You get the whole first album AFTER HOURS (10 songs), YOUNG & INNOCENT (4 songs) & one B-side from the "More than I" single NEED SOMEBODY, the bonus track from the Japan version of "Adult Orientation" I LIVE FOR YOU & one never before released demo I NEVER KNEW WHAT LOVE CAN DO. A pretty good package.

Bad Habit came out of a band called STRATUS in 1986 with lead guitarist HAL JOHNSTON on vocals! In fact Bad Habit started out with HAL on vocals & BAX FEHLING (vocals) on lead guitar. But just when they were supposed to record the vocals for the mini-album (YOUNG & INNOCENT) HAL called BAX and told him that he had a sore throat and asked him to try and sing the rest of the songs. And BAX sounded much better and they decided to change "instruments" with each other.

Funny story huh? Maybe someone should ask JON BON JOVI & RICHIE SAMBORA to do the same thing? :-) Well,no need to say that this is a must have CD if you like Scandi-AOR. The "never" before released demo "I NEVER KNEW WHAT LOVE CAN DO" is a really good ballad with some great vocal-harmonies and a pretty catchy chorus. The sound quality is maybe not so great but it won't "kill ya" either :-) If you can´t find this CD in your local store, try at

BAD SISTER: "Live" 7

Minimum Records 2002
Review by 1 November 2002

Bad Sister huh? Well... fans of female fronted rock better pay some attention here as this live-CD is full with catchy tunes. Formed in 1988 by Petra Degelow (vocals), Sven Lange (guitars), Jörn Saul (bass), Kai Beyer (keys) & Kai-Ove Kessler (drums). Bad Sister was (according to the info) one of the most popular melodic hardrock bands in northern Germany, in the late 80's and early 90's

They recorded two albums (Heartbreaker - 1989, Out Of The Business -1992, released both in Europe & Japan) and toured all over Germany before beaking up in 1996. I must admit that I never payed much attention to this band in the past, something that I deeply regret. It can't be all that easy to track down the original CD's by now.

The band's old sound engineer accidentally discovered a forgotten tape of their live performance at Keil/Traumfabrik from august 1990. Positively suprised by the quality of the tape, the band decided to remaster and release it. I must agree that the quality of this Live CD is not bad at all really!!! Actually, it's darn good and it gives you the feeling of being right there with the audience. I'm also really impressed by the song material as it's overall very catchy and uplifting music. Tracks like "Big Brother", "Road To Nowhere", "Catriona" or "Cat On The Run" are all blessed with both dut-dut keys and catchy hooks. The semi-ballad "Deperate Heart" is Tone Norum meets Heart with a German accent. No need to worry though as the accent is very cute, like Petra herself I may add. I'm not too crazy about songs like "Raise It Up" or "Heartbreaker", but this is overall a must have for fanatic fans of female fronted AOR. You can find similarities to bands such as Laos, Vixen, Silly (The German band), Heart, and others here. Still, Bad Sister have/had a sound of their own and songs that will keep you in motion, throughout the whole CD. Check 'em out at the site below where you can also listen to and buy their CD.

BAD WAY: "Like A Shot"

Indie 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
17 April 2004

The info sheet is pretty straight forward and you can read that "these guys has something that most bands are forgetting about these days"... namely: songs and attitude. I'm not quite sure about the first statement as you can't really find that instant hit song here. The latter I can agree with (up to a certain point), as they're slamming their drums and wacking their guitars (or vice versa) like true rock idols.

Bad Way is a five piece Nu-Breed act from Barcelona/Spain. They are rocking on their fifth season already and "Like A Shot" is their brand new 2-track demo. They also have an pretty impressive live show I'm told as they've recently won the public prize "Emergenza Acoustic Contest". The roots are said to be 80's arena rock, even if it hardly comes out in their music. This is more in the vein of Goo Goo Dolls and Marvelous 3, with a slightly more 'sleazy' attitude. Only two tracks and I can't really decide if they're going things or not with this. "Summer's Song" is a rather plain and average track. Not the perfect opener perhaps and those things are pretty darn important, you know.

Things are definitly looking up with "Rock'n'Roll Is Dead", since it's jam packed with energy and r'n'r attitude. This could perhaps end up as 'that' special song after all. The lead guitarist gets however a bit lost during the latter part of his solo. And a couple of other minor mistakes isn't all that bad really, as you can fix'em afterwards. It's noisy rock that dates all the way back to MC5, Ramones, and fast forward to today's rock with Marvelous 3 or Simple Plan/Good Charlotte/SR71 upfront. Unfortunately, they only have their "Summer" song available as download at their site. They need to push "Rock'N'Roll Is Dead" upfront as their selling thing. Hardly earth shaking material, but could be something to look out for in the future.


Tony BAENA: "Burning Spirit" 7

Vinny Records 2002

Review by 30 december 2001

There must be a Jurassic Park somewhere on a deserted island where a crazy professor clones guitar shredders using genes taken from Tony MacAlpine. Then these "beasts" are released from the island and they can be spotted in various countries of the world. And their number keeps growing and growing. This one comes from Spain and having seen the photos I have to correct myself: most probably early Malmsteen and Vinnie Moore genes were used instead of the classic MacAlpine ones (no racist pun intended!). I can't help mumbling the lyrics of the Helloween classic "Dr. Stein": Dr. Stein grows funny creatures / Lets them run into the night / They become great rock musicians / And their time is right. Ouch! This "creature" is one of the most developed species produced on the island, in the first 15 minutes of the album he plays about 15.000.000 notes...

Excuse me my sarcastic tone but having been heavily involved in instrumental album reviewing for years I come across an album like this one about every other week. Don't get me wrong, the album is *very* good in its own class, technically close to perfectionist, and even though it is released on a relatively small label, its sound lives up to last year's Vinnie Moore and MacAlpine albums. The usual sentence fits here again perfectly: fans of the above mentioned guitarists (and their followers) will most definitely enjoy this one, everybody else should be careful when giving it a try.

The highlights and most memorable tracks are: "Dawn", the first slow-down of the album, and a great melodic and memorable song (especially compared to the first 3 tracks); "Spanish Dreams" and "Personal World" both rather midtempo with beautiful harmonies, the latter one spiced with some Eastern feel, reminding me of Marty Friedman's "Scenes" album. "Requiescat" recalls the "Flying in a Blue Dream" era Satriani and it is a good thing here because it brings some variety to the album. The closing, almost 8 minutes long "First Light Lands" shows some progressive rock touches but the rest of the album is pure, old-fashioned shredding, very good at that but it leaves me a bit too cold.

BALANCE OF POWER: "Perfect Balance" 7

Massacre Records 2001

Review by 5 September 2001

This UK/USA-based band should be familiar to many fans of melodic metal as Perfect Balance is their 4th release. I have to say so far I've only heard their name being mentioned many times in a positive way. So of course I had my own expectations. What I found was a very powerful band that uses keys (now you have to have keys !) and has catchy choruses (sucker for those !) and lively vocals (by Lance King, ex-Kings Machine), which remind me of James LaBrie. Especially on the 8th song "Hard life", maybe from his Winter Rose-times. And now that I mentioned the famous prog-singer, you can also find prog from this album.

The keys were interesting on "House of cain". Not in technical terms, but otherwise. The songs aren't that short either and hold it together. You canalso find some Pink Cream 69-influences on "Fire dance" (does that come from touring with the band ?). The song starts off with a poor man's Royal Hunt-intro, but it's still good. There's a lot of great and catchy moments on this album and I liked the piano/ keyparts on it.

I think the fastest song on this album was the 9th and last one "Searching For the truth", but it wasn't my faves. They were "Fire dance" and "One voice", that was very powerful. Still I think this band (other members are fromex-bands such as Heaven and Earth, UFO, Kid Wicked) could do better with their talents. Not bad.

BALTIMOORE: "Original Sin" 8

Lion Music 2000
Review by 01-03-16

The Swedish band BALTIMOORE is back with a new album 6-7 years after they broke up, again with original Guitarist "THOMAS LARSSON" (ex.Six Feet Under, Glenn Hughes etc.) and of course with the Power Vocalist "BJORN LODIN" (Six Feet Under, Lars Eric Mattsson, etc.), Sweden´s answer to both David Coverdale (Whitesnake) and Ian Gillan (Deep Purple).

"Original Sin" sounds a lot like all those great albums that came out in the 70´s! Imagine a mixture of DEEP PURPLE, early WHITESNAKE, LED ZEPPELIN with hints of AOR, Folk Music, and even some Jazz. LODIN sounds almost better than ever as his voice is really powerful even if some might think it´s too rough. In fact, he almost became the new singer with the Swiss rockers "KROKUS" back in 1989! They recorded some demos but the project faltered and skidded to a Halt.

Opener "Conviction" is a great uptempo rocker a-la DEEP PURPLE, GLENN HUGHES with a lovely Hammond Organ in the background played by LARS POLLACK. Other highlights are the superb "Emancipation" with a catchy chorus, some great guitarwork by LARSSON and a outstanding performance by BJORN "SMOKEY" LODIN. "Contradiction" is a nice semi ballad, "Retribution" is a good DEEP PURPLE rocker and "Redemption" is a superb ballad. Make sure to check out the new BALTIMOORE album if you´re a fan of 70´s rock and it´s a must if you liked the previous albums from this Swedish band. Find more info and buy the CD at Check out Bjorn´s studio (in Swedish Only) at:

BALTIMOORE: "the Best Of" 8

Lion Music 2001

Review by 02-01-09

Super Swede and super vocalist 'Björn Lodin' and his Baltimoore is back with a compilation CD this time. Yep! It's time to bring you The Best? of the first four albums 'There's No Danger On The Roof (1989), Freak (1990), Double Destiny (1992) and Thought For Food (1994).

Björn sings as always with his bluesy, warm voice. He actually sound like his been eating barbwire and drinking whiskey for a whole month. Before entering the studio to re-record these songs. Yep! All the old hits has been re-recorded and it's indeed a nice touch, as it makes this Best Of CD more interesting.

Back as guitarist is his old team mate 'Thomas Larsson' (Glenn Hughes, Yeah Bop Station) again. Who recorded the first two Baltimoore albums with Lodin. Well, they actually go back to the early 80's together. When they both used to be a 'Six Feet Under' member. Sweden's best drummer 'Ian Haugland (ex. Europe) is also back behind the kit, doing a solid work as always. Credit must also go to 'Örjan Fernström' for his 'Jon Lord' work, with the hammond. Lodin/Baltimoore has always been inspired by the early 70's rock of Deep Purple. And songs like 'Little Bye', 'My Blue Moon', 'Ballerina', 'Memories Calling' etc. Is the perfect mixture of classic rock and Swedish harmonies. A couple of odd songs here and there. But overall a nice collection of rock.

BALTIMOORE: "Ultimate Tribute" 6

LionMusic 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallström,
24 January 2004

It seems that Baltimoore has been feeling rather nostalgic lately? Perhaps Björn Lodin decided to go through his old vinyl collection one frosty afternoon? And inspired by the happy-go-easy mood of the 70's music, he came up with the great idea of recording the "Ultimate Tribute" CD. Twelve fast rocking tracks with their own interpretation of classic rock from the 70's (except Jimi Hendrix's 60's groove of 'Freedom').

The band, with Europe's Ian Haugland on drums and returning guitarist Thomas Larsson, goes through classic's such as: "Kill The King" (Rainbow), "Rock Candy" (Montrose), "Never Say Die" (Black Sabbath), "Samurai" (MSG), "She" (KISS), "Love Child" (Deep Purple), "Solid Gold Brass" (Sweet), "Riff Raff" (AC/DC), and "The Rocker" (Thin Lizzy). A pretty impressive selection of songs as they all have their place and time in rock history.

The voice of Björn Lodin is a chapter of its own however, and his very 'raspy' approach, doesn't always work that well with the material. Instead of Ozzy's 'whining' vocals, you'll get a barbwire 'n' whiskey attack on "Never Say Die". Something which isn't such a bad thing after all. "Riff Raff" and "The Rocker" also fits Lodin's voice and overall approach to the music. It cleary doesn't work with tracks like "Kill The King", "Rock Candy", or even "She", as you're used to hearing them in a higher pitch and range really. The production is very much done in the 70's spirit and Haugland kicks the crap outta' his drums. I can say I agree with the CD title, but it's still a rather enjoyable tribute, ever now and then. I must however admit that I find Lodin's voice more annoying today, than back in the 80's/early 90's.

BANG GANG: "Vanity Kills" 7

Fastlane Records 2002

Review by 02-01-23

Grunge pretty much killed everything that was fun or glittered in the early 90's. Including the glamour boys of BANG GANG, who suffered the fate of being too darn colorful for their own good. Geez... depressive rock kills, man! I'm pretty sure that's why Kenny dies in every darn episode of South Park. The boy needs his daily dose of rock'n'roll darn it!

Better days ahead though as Fastlane Records has managed to dig up Bang Gang's unreleased demos. That originally were intended for their second release at MCA/Mechanic Records, back in 1992. You know the story by now, grunge came - all the fun went!

These songs were actually recorded at Scott Earl's (bass) apartment in November of 1991 on an 8-track recorder and were initially intended to be a demo of new song ideas only. They have been digitally enchanted to the fullest of their potential. Even if the mixing is raw, this is the real deal 4 sure. Opener "Junkyard Tank" had me worried though since it's a pretty boring tune without any kix or trixx. Track two "The Hands Of Time" is back to the fun music of debut album 'Love Sells' though. And "Runnin' With The Miles" washed almost all my worries away. "Love Comes Around" is a good, mid-tempo song with wicked guitar work by Nic Panici. The groovy n' funky "Exotic Lover" is a fun, easy going track with some cool vocal harmonies, by Jet Silver and the two background girls: Velia & Donna? Vanity Kills will not really reach the same rating, as the debut album. Still, it's darn nice to finally have these songs on disc. Can't find the CD at your local store? Well, you can buy it from the label at:


Giant 1992
Review by Endre "Bandi" Hübner

This album falls into the same category as Hardline's "Double Eclipse" or the Giant albums. You can not call yourself a serious melodic rock fan as you are lacking it from your collection. Although David Reece's lilac leather pants and the pose-doll look of the rest of the band (most of the music wasn't even recorded by the musicians on the artwork photo) might shy some people away from the album, the music is wonderful. What else could it be if produced by Max Norman and Jimbo Barton? And co-written by the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Steve Plunkett? These guys know how a rock album should sound and Bangalore Choir is a perfect proof of that!

The energetic opener Steve Plunkett-penned "Angel In Black" shows that the band is not some softdick pose-group. Reece's whisky-flavored rock vocals and the bombastic who-oh backing vocals and the whole vocal backed-up refrain blows you away. The band and the producers managed to can the energy of a whole nuclear power plant in this album and it bursts out with the opener. Tons of guitar tracks and extremely thick vocals are characteristic for the rest of the album too. "Loaded Gun" follows in the footsteps of the opener, a bit slower though, a mid-tempo rocker with huge refrain again. And soon we are at one of the highlights of the album (or should I say of the whole era?), "If The Good Die Young", the epitome of a power rock ballad. Reece's vocal works should be taught at the Academy of Rock Singers if there were any. If you want to explain someone what melodic rock is about sound/attitude/feeling-wise just play this song and if he/she doesn't get the message, he/she is hopeless.

"Doin' The Dance" (co-written by Jon Bon Jovi and Aldo Nova) starts out with a tricky riff, good song but pales in comparison to the previous one. "Hold On To You" is the second ballad of the album, acoustic intro, powerful vocals, huge vocal lines in the refrain. The song is in the same league as Warrant's "Heaven" (just to name one), well at least the title is as cliché as that one. "All Or Nothin'" speeds up again, a heavy rock anthem with Reece's vibrato shouting vocals in the refrain. Hits big! The rest of the album is packed with potential rock hits too. If this album had been released in 1988 it would have ruled the world, unfortunately this way it only ended up in Dig 'Em Up. Get it, you won't regret it.

BANGKOK BABES: "Locket'N'Chain" 8

Chavis Records 2003
Review by 30 January 2003

Pay attention fans of down'n'dirty, Sleaze hardrock as Bangkok Babes simply rocks. This is what Axl Rose and the Toxic Twins where all about... in their heydays. It's three chords and attitude that goes way beyond the normal rock standard. So, get your glitter out of to the gutter and crank up the volume on your ghetto blaster.

With their debut album "Locket'N'Chain", this Scandinavian outfit will surely shock the world. Or at least the remaining fans of the Sleazy genre. Formed by guitarist Lars Forseth and Sonny Crow (bass) in 1994, they set out on a mission of world domination and settled for nothing less (really?). With band members from both Norway and Sweden (I believe), BB take you back to the sound of the 80's.

This is very much in the tradition of G'N'R, Aerosmith, Hanoi Rocks, Jetboy, Nasty Idols etc. In fact, opener "Chronical Tragedy" is the first two bands into one great mixture. Do keep in mind, it's not always 'original' done and we've heard some of these melodies before. Nevertheless, it's contagious and fun music that will surely appeal to the masses. Vocalist Darren H Stone is all over the place with his whiskey-inspired voice. Goddamnit, this "Waysted Advice" tune, is without a doubt the coolest ballad in ages. "Bred In The Bone" is very much like early G'N'R's, while "Is That You", is yet another fine semi-ballad. "Once Smitten" flat out rocks and "Wine" is almost like Aerosmith, with horn section and everything I may add. If you were never into the Sleaze period in the 80's, this CD will surely not convince you otherwise either. However, you owe it to yourself to at least check this out, if you enjoyed the above mentioned stuff. This is more fun than the latest (boring) releases by Aerosmith. Very close to being a 9 rating and one of the best releases, to come out by Chavis records, so far.


BAR 7: "The World Is A Freak" 8

Axe Killer 2000
Review by Vesa Nuorala 3-11-00

What kind of name is Bar7 for a band, it goes in the same category as Samatha7. What is this number 7 doing here, it must mean something. If somebody knows, please let me know... This is Tesla no matter what the name is, maybe not the original band but then again, what band has all the original members anymore?! There are two guys from Tesla here and they are the ones who do the writing. Besides, no matter what band Jeff Keith sings in, it will always be compared to Tesla.

The album is a perfect follow up for Tesla's last "Bust A Nut" album and if the band would have stuck together they would probably made this album. The guys are really playing well here and the songs are great.

I was really suprised when I got this CD because the cover was so much different to the one I had seen on the net. Frankenstein on the cover really well fits with the title of the album, because the world is a freak. The name still bothers me...

Jim BARBARO: "Scetches" 6

GAG Order Records 2003
Review by 4 May 2003

Former Magnetics (a pop/rock band from the East Coast of USA) vocalist Jim Barbaro offerd us a plentiful musical dinner with a bit of that and a bit of this on his third album. I'm talking about a real cross-kitchen experience, with some rock, a little bit of country, a touch of Latin music and an extra serving of folk and singer/songwriter dishes. Ok, that's enough food for...thought?

The many musical flavours here could've made this album sound like a real mish-mash of styles, but somehow Barbaro manages to keep it all together. I'll admit that on a few occasions he travels a bit too far for my taste, with some songs being almost jazz or traditional country. Mostly it's just melodic pop/rock with sometimes uncoventional instrumentation and those aforementioned flavours. Need a rock comparison? How about this: If Richie Sambora had been more influenced by jazz, latin music and folk when he recorded his "Stranger In Town" album, the result might have been something like "Scetches". Barbaro even sounds a lot like Sambora vocally!

The finest moments for me are the beautiful title song and "Tribute To A Fool" which sounds like Richie Sambora doing a Chris Isaak song! A special mention must go to "Yonderville", which would be me choice for a single. It might be a bit lightweight for my taste, but it does have a very catchy, instant chorus. Might be a potential alt-pop hit?

I'd recommend this album to the more open-minded melodic rock fans, who don't shiver at the very thought of jazz and non-rock elements.

GAG Order Records Website

BARON : "Love Valley" 7

Kivel Records 2002
Review by 7 March 2002

Baron is the new band from Kivel Records. Line up is Peter Baron (Lead Vocals, Guitars, Mandolin, Backing Vocals), Troy Russek (bass), Marty Brasington (Drums),Mario Piazza (Keys, Backing Vocals) and Greg Wolfe (guitars, acoustic guitar). For this "Love Valley" they were also helped on backing vocals by the Adriangale guys and none other than Joe Lynn Turner (who also cowrote a track named "Jaded"). Production was taken care of by Eddie Kramer and Peter Baron.

"Love Valley" is a nice hard rock album filled with melodies with a "party on dude" feeling over it. Being frank, this has been done before, but yet it's a good album. First thing that will catch your ear here is the excellent Aerosmith recreation that they have achieved. On most of the tracks Peter Saron sounds like a deadringer for Steven Tyler. To notice it you just have to listen to the opener "Run From Your Love", "Ship Of Fools" or even more clear on "Everybody Needs A Boost", all of them good rockers, but the last with that bluesy feeling that became Aerosmith's trademark throughout their career. "Midnight Train" is a more AORish midtempo track, whilst "in The Rain" is a ballad in a very Warrant/Poison mood; no lipstick here, but the glammy feeling is there. The title track is quite an interesting mix of Joe Perry's classical rockin' guitar riffs with Def Leppard's high tech grooves, put them all in the cocktail and serve with ice. :-) "Fallen In Love Again" is somewhat sleazy, but if you close your eyes you can think it's Mr. Tyler singing, the backing vocals are very good and the chorus is really catchy and melodic, you can't prevent your foot from tapping with one of the highlights of the album for sure. "Jaded" unlike the title may suggest,(isn't it funny that in such a strong Aerosmith influenced album there's a track named as the first hit single from the Boston rockers lattest album?), is an acoustic guitar driven track not as good as other tracks, even though Mr. Turner cowrote it. "All I Want Is You" is an standard late 70's/early 80's US hard rocker ala Boston. Finally, "Corruptible" is meant to be kind of an rock anthem ala Joan Jett's "I Love Rock N Roll" but with the above mentioned Bostonian touches. Notice that I said is meant to be, as for me is one of the weaker tracks on the album.

The easiest way to label this album would be "Aerosmith clone" but me guess this could be the same case as when Cinderella's "Night Songs" first came out. Everybody jumped to say "AC/DC rip-off", but then many people realized that they were much more than that. Baron could follow that path to in the future, or may not... Who knows? I just know that this "Love Valley" is a good party rock album and if you like Aerosmith you'll dig it even more! :-)


Provogue/Mascot Records 2002
Review by Martien Koolen 8 February 2003

Jeff Ward(guitar and vocals)and Noel Jones(bassguitar and vocals) started the Barrelhouse Brothers and later they met Noel Redding, the legendary bassplayer with The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They began working on an album and they came up with the idea to make an all-star blues record with some famous friends and musicians. So they phoned a couple of these guys and thus this cd came into being. It is a sparkling album with classic bluessongs, but be warned as listener: It is just for blues addicts!!

Blueslovers will especially like songs like "Too Many Hot Dogs" (lovely guitarplaying and harmonica),"It's No Secret"(slow blues),"Black Dog Blues"(a Jeff Ward blues classic)and "Wednesday Night Special"(an up-tempo blues). Furthermore you can enjoy "Blues In 3/4",a Noel Redding- composition that sounds like the Hendrixsong "Crosstown Traffic",the Gary Moore-like "Can't Get You Off Of My Mind" with super relaxed guitarsolos. A piano boogie by Colin Earl ("De Barras Boogie"),a country and western song (I Want Some Of Your Pie") with a beautiful steelguitar sound and a real boogie woogie track called "Crazy 'Bout You Baby"; a track that reminds me of Michael Katon. So there is enough to enjoy for blues- adepts and with musicians like Jeff Ward, Noel Redding, Eric Bell(Thin Lizzy), John Coghlan, Colin Earl and Noel Jones you know that you get your money's worth. So blues- lovers of this earth go get "Pick It Up..." and please pass it on to other blueslovers...

Drew BARRETT: "The Strolling Minstrel" 6

Skyward Productions 1999
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Drew Barrett is a New York-based singer/songwriter/producer. "The Strolling Minstrel" is his first solo album but some of you might be familiar with his work in the hard rock group Barakade who released one album a few years ago.

Drew's solo material is quite far from traditional hard rock; I'd say it's closer to the modern rock sound of bands like Live or Soul Asylum. In addition to that, some of the ballads, like "Lovers" remind me strongly of Guns' N Roses, as Drew sometimes sounds a lot like W. Axel Rose. He also manages to sound like a combination of Billy Idol and Donnie Vie (of Enuff Z'Nuff) on some of the songs!

The highlights for me were "City Of Lights" (also the first single), the big ballad "Lovers" and the catchy "Worked Myself To Death". The rest of the songs were rather slow, and while they weren't too bad, I would have liked to hear a few more uptempo rockers like the aforementioned "Worked...". All in all, "The Strolling Minstrel" is a decent slice of original modern rock.

Check out Drew's website for samples and info!

BARROS: "Gemini" 6

Point Music/Rock Inc. 2003
Review by 18 august 2003

Barros is the band of Paolo and Luis Barros, who are also involved in the band Tarantula. “Gemini” is the first Barros-album and consists of 11 plain and rather simple hardrock tracks. Because of the mastering by Tommy Newton it is a typical German-like hardrock album with all songs sounding alike.

When I heard the first song “Escape From The Lies” I immediately thought of a band called Soulmotor; straighforward rock with typical guitarsolos in all songs and almost no surprises. Of course the music sounds not bad, but it is very far from original and tends to get boring very, very fast.

The best track, without any doubt is “Jesus Moved Out”; a rather interesting song, with at least some diversity. As for the rest it is: one, two, three, let’s go and you can almost singalong after the first time you hear this album. I don’t really think that this album will be noticed very much; sad but true, guys; you have to think of something else to do well in the music business.

BASS EXTREMES: "Just Add Water" ??

Tone Center 2001
Review by Endre "Bandi" Hübner 9 January 2002

Well, I guess the name and the title says it all. This is a weird project where nothing but a drummer and two (sometimes even three) bass players were recorded. No guitars, no keys, obviously no vocals, so just as the title suggests it might be too "thick" for an average music fan.

However the release is pure joy and fun for bass guitarists looking for inspirations and tricks to learn as the names behind the project are Steve Bailey and Victor Wooten and the guests include John Patitucci (Chick Corea), Anthony Jackson (Al Dimeola), Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers), and Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big). Another interesting feature of the CD is that the two original players are panned to the left and the right of the mix while the guests are panned to the center.

The album sounds like what you would expect from an album like this: lots of jazzy influences, countless playing techniques showcased, weird rhythm patterns. Once again: if you are not a bass player or a VERY open minded listener, stay away from the album, but if you are about to improve your playing, make sure to pick this one up to know where you should be heading towards. A note to Mr. Big fans: don't bother, as this Sheehan is not the Sheehan you are used to!


BATON ROUGE: "Shake Your Soul"

1990 Atlantic
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

This album seems to have divided the hard rock fans into two camps: some say it's a patchy effort and some say it's a gem. No prizes for figuring out in which camp where I stand!

"Shake Your Soul" was produced and co-written by Jack Ponti, and it features some of his finest songs. The vocalist of the band is Kelly Keeling, nowadays one of those "vocalists for hire" who seem to sing in at least three bands at any given time!

Baton Rouge played energetic melodic hard rock, reiminding me of bands like Bonfire, Def Leppard, or 80'ies Kiss. Ponti's writing style shines through on many of the songs, the pulsating rhythms and hard rocking guitar riffs are mixed with strong melodies and BIG choruses. Songs like "Doctor", "Walks Like A Woman", "Bad Time Coming Down" and "Young Hearts" are good examples of that style.

As good as those rockers are, my real favourites are the balladic songs. "It's About Time" is a true testimony of Keeling's great vocals and one of my favourite songs ever, while "Melanie" is a great midtempo AOR track, and "There Was A Time (The Storm)" is another killer ballad co-written by Jaime Kyle.

After this album the band released another one for Atlantic, the somewhat weaker "Lights Out In The Playground", before breaking up. Guitarist Lance Bulen, Keeling and Ponti wrote some songs for Alice Cooper's "Hey Stoopid" album too. In 1997 Keeling and Ponti brought Baton Rouge back to life and released a self-titled album on MTM, which I can also recommend. Just don't excpect million dollar production...

BATTAGIA: "Cockroach Meat"

Indie 2001
Review by 1 April 2002

Hard Rock group Battagia was formed a year and a half ago as a counterstrike against the current state of music. And indeed, their brash and bold style is something that you don't hear everyday. With its' unashamedly 80'ies-like sound, "Cockroach Meat" makes you think of such bands as Dokken, Accept, XYZ and WASP - the band even covers WASP's "Blind In Texas".

There's six tracks and a short instrumetal here, all of them surprisingly well produced for an indie release. Especially the guitar sound is rather impressive. The production duties were handled by the band leader/vocalist/guitarist Tero Martikainen, and while he succeeded very well on most areas, I hope they use an outside producer for the vocals the next time around. Tero is not a bad vocalist but his performance here is a bit "out of control", going up and down the scale. I guess a pair of "outside ears" might be able to get the best out of him. And while we're talking about the vocals, the background vocals could've been a bit stronger.

The songs then...all of the five originals are pretty good, with the melodic "Sweet Darling Underground" slightly above the others. There's a certain familiarity in some of the riffs, "Face To The Wall" has one that reminds me XYZ's "Face Down The Gutter" and the riff of "Wall Of Women" might just be borrowed from the riff library of Dokken...but then again, I prefer these to recycled Nirvana riffs anyday!

Do check out this band if your record collection is full of late eighties CD's from the aforementioned bands, or if you're just looking for some no-frills hard rock with catchy riffs!

BATTAGIA: "Hell Just Froze Over"

Indie 2003
Review by 13 April 2003

Battagia’s second demo “Hell Just Froze Over” has pretty much everything that was great with 80’s hard rock scene. Rough yet melodic songs with powerful, catchy guitar riffs and solos that make you wanna enter the Air Guitar World Championships (that are held yearly in Finland in case you didn’t know). This 4 song demo is quite well produced and everything is in balance, although background vocals leave room for improvement.

The songs are straight from the 80’s era. They are not instant classics but still good and this should work for you if you’re into no-BS hard rock. Battagia is clearly not trying to re-invent the wheel, they’re just going with what they believe in. A short intro takes you to "Burning the Sky" that gets the things going with a catchy riff. The lead vocals are in tune and guitars work well with the rhythm section but backing vocals seem somehow out of tune. "Deep Cuts the Knife" and "Hell on My Back" work pretty much with the same formula.

Revel in the FDG? An old WASP classic comes instantly to mind when Battagia vocalist/guitarist Tero Martikainen sets the opening tunes for the last song of this demo “Fire of Rock” with a scream that Blackie could be proud of. Battagia’s other influences are quite easy to spot, Judas Priest, Skid Row and maybe Iron Maiden come to mind first. So if that’s what you’re into visit Battagia’s homepage and find out more about this band.
Battagia’s website