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

3 BLIND MICE: "3 Blind Mice"

Catsaway 2002
Review by Kimmo Toivonen 24 November 2002

Every now and then we get a CD that really has nothing to do with any of the wide range of musical styles we deal with, and 3 Blind Mice is one of those CD's. It's melodic, that's true, but rock it is not! I'm not saying that this band is not talented or anything like that, but I think that their brand of "Mouse Music" (their term, not mine - I'd call The Bee Gees that!) will have very limited appeal to our readers.

The band consists of two acoustic guitarists and a piano player, who all sing. Alex Grayson, Garry Wonfor and Lyndon Connah are all seasoned musicians and songwriters who have recorded and toured with several big names (George Michael, Robbie Williams and Joe Cocker, to name a few), and now they are hoping to get a record deal for their own band.

So what is "Mouse Music"? Well, it's acoustic pop with a 60'ies vibe. The band has previously released two cover albums, Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles ones, and it's obvious that both of those bands have been major influences. The harmonies are great are the melodies are nice - too nice for their own good actually. If you enjoy those aforementioned bands, you might want to check this band out, but for my money they are just a bit too "easy listening".

3 WISHES: "Electric Bullride"

Indie 2001

Review by Urban 'Wally' Wallström 02-01-23

Holy Cow! Take a closer look at that front cover will you! Yeah, you better get ready for the roller coaster ride of your life as Germany's '3 WISHES' will take you on the "Electric Bullride" where not even the sacred cow's of India, will stay save from this mad (cow?) disease called rock'n'roll.

This five piece band, Andy Knaak (vocals), Michael Degen (guitars), Holger Neidrich (bass), Arthur Quku (keyboards) and Victor Falconei (drums)' have recorded a nice debut album, with 'easy going' rock a-la Trixter, Jaded Heart, or even Faster Pussycat.

The lead vocals of Knaak (gotta' love that name) is very impressive, as he handles the material very professionaly. Not to mention that background vocals by Claudia Macke. They add an extra dimension to the songs! Especially on tracks like "Love Can Wait" where the vocal harmonies are really something out of the ordinary. The song itself is very catchy, I might add! The song material does not really stand the test of time, throughout the whole album though. Still, this is one of the better independent CDs lately. With a nice production, layout etc. Make sure to check 'em out at:

The 3RD DEGREE: "Shockwave" 6

Torque Records 1999

Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner 12 November 2000

The Third Degree is a three-member band playing a strange mixture of traditional heavy rock, and modern sound (should I say alternative) with some funky touches, especially in the grooves. Do I sound weird? I might but it's really hard to characterize the band's sound however it isn't bad at all.

The guys play tight, are trained enough to realize their musical ideas, and though it's audible that not much money was spent on the production, the result is pleasing. The instruments all sound well and the mix is balanced. My only problem is the vocals. Compared to the professionalism of the instruments, the vocals are pretty weak, both the lead and the backing vocals. The lead vocals lack harmonies and the backing vocals are often on the borderline of being off-key. The weak production of the vocal tracks didn't help them either. As it is the guitarist singing my suggestion would be to get a lead vocalist into the band so that all the guys can concentrate on their instruments and prepare themselves better for the backing vocal harmonies. A well-trained singer could do wonders based on such strong groovy riffs.

It would be hard to name the best song of the album, all are very strong musically and very weak vocally, still my favorite track was "Carry On" that has a clean guitar sound, thick bass lines and a tricky drum groove. The album only features 8 tracks and runs 32 minutes. If you want to give it a try, check the guys out first at or contact them

4FRONT: "Radio Waves Goodbye" 8

Spec Records 2001
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner 20 March 2002

Technically this would be an independent release (so normally it would fit into A&R Dept.) as the label Spec Records means 4Front drummer Joe Bergamini but the album is good enough to be measured up to the "big boys" here, the rating 8 speaks for itself anyway. The album is an instrumental one but it isn't a guitar album or a synth album or any other typical instrument-hero type of shredding at the speed of light. The tracks are real songs where all instruments play equally important roles, however it doesn't mean these guys are not masters of their own instruments. The band consists of Zak Rizvi (guitars, keys), Frank LaPlace (bass), and Joe Bergamini (drums) but several guest musicians on sax, keyboards, strings, percussions, etc. contribute to the final product.

The first six tracks are centered around a space concept and also include David Bowie's classic "Space Oddity", the only vocal track of the album. Musically the songs range from progressive rock (the opening "Airtime" and "Special Patrol Group") with some jazzy/bluesy influences through some weird bluegrass-like something ("Hideaway") to classic rock (the aforementioned "Space Oddity") and Kitaro/Vangelis like synth music with a hard edge ("Burial At Sea") which is my personal favorite of the first part.

The second part continues in the same diverse way with a bit stronger influence of jazz-rock. "Learning To Crawl" would please any jazz/fusion fan, so does "747" but my favorites were the more hard rocking tunes like "Memories Of Kansas" and the title track. Fans of fluffy keyboard sound and arrangement connoisseurs should check "Fuse" too. All in all: the album is a very fine effort and it is definitely worth the attention of a wide audience of progressive rock. Visit their website where you can buy the album:

VII Gates: "Fire, walk with me" 7

Sound Riot Records/Rock Inc. 2003
Review by Martien Koolen,
17 January 2004

After making three demos it was about time for the Swedish band Seven (or VII, as they want to write it) Gates to release their first real album. Now, here you have it: “Fire, Walk With Me” is an ambitious album, filled with lots of beautiful melodies and classic heavy metal elements. There are three guitar players in this band and they really dominate the sound of Seven Gates; just listen to the opener “Bounded By Hate” and enjoy some amazing guitar melodies.

Sad to say that this first song is already the highlight of the album, for me at least. The other 8 songs remind me too much of bands like Hammerfall (“The Saviour”), Helloween (“Seconds Left To Live”) or Edguy (“Like A Rock”). These tracks are loaded with very familiar, typical power metal guitar riffs and they tend to become a bit boring. This is simply because there is not enough musical variation and the singer does not have what it takes to keep me awake during the complete album. The power ballad “So Far Away” proves his shortcomings as a hard rock vocalist. Still the fact remains that these guys have it in them to become a really exciting heavy rock band.

The last song, also the longest one, “The Madman Inside”, shows what these guys are capable of. The song kicks off as a dark, mysterious rock piece, but then evolves into a bombastic metal song, with lots of diversity and some really awesome guitar passages. This is how the complete album should have sounded like...Maybe next time????

7 MONTHS: "s/t" 7

Frontiers Records 2002
Review by Kimmo Toivonen 29 June 2002

Now here's an alternative to those who like progressive rock, but sometimes feel like that the songs of certain bands are just too long for their own good, and fail to "get to the point" fast enough. Yeah yeah, I fit in to that category too...

All but one of the tracks on the debut of 7 Months are of "normal" length, and while they contain virtuoso playing, time changes and complex arrangements, they also contain real hooks and choruses. Even the one really long song is actually only about 6 minutes, the rest of the 8 minutes and 19 seconds is just seagulls and waves!

The style of the band is pretty familiar, touches of Rush and Fates Warning and plenty of Dream Theather stylings, but still, it's all done somehow quite originally. The album is kicked off with "New Age", which is a quite "traditional" progressive track, while the following track "Change" has one of the better hooks of the album. Next up we have "Stay" and the ballad "Start It Over", both tracks that remind me of Rush, while "Say Goodbye" sounds like a crazy mix of Dream Theather and Toto.

Both "You & Me" and "The Night" are my favourites, the first one being a melodic, almost poppy number which reminds me a lot of Nouveaux, should that say something to anyone. "The Night" is much heavier, but with a very AOR'ish hook.

"Sometimes" has the best intro of the album, great keyboard work. However, the actual song isn't my cup of tea. Finally, there's "Senorita Seranade", the only song that clocks over six minutes. It's a real progfest, with enough time chages to satisfy any prog fan.

Even though I am not that much impressed by all of the songs, 7 Months seem to have something good going for them. If these are the results of first seven months, who knows how good they just might be after the next 7, 14 or 21 months?

7TH HEAVEN: "Silver" 8

NTD 2003
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallström,
24 January 2003

Why??? I simply can't understand why these guys are still unsigned? 7th Heaven are without a doubt one of the most talented acts, that I've come across lately. They are not exactly new kids at the block though as they've been around for quite a while already (since 1985 actually).

I can however understand why they've been Voted "Best Band In Chicago" on BarStar and toured extensively all over the midwest region (150+ shows each of the past three years). Since their new 2-CD "Silver" is absolutely jam packed with catchy Nu-Breed Rock/AOR. This beats the s**t out of most, if not all, of Atenzia Records' releases during 2003 (the hip 'Nu-Breed/Rock' label in Europe). Indeed, they've recorded a double CD with 30 tracks!!?? and most of them are simply breathe taking and Def Leppard's X album gets a real challenger here. The superb vocalist/guitarist Andrew Blake, is obviously inspired by Bono (U2) as you can find much of his phrases and work here. The rest of the band with Richard Hofherr (guitars/keys), Mark Kennetz (bass), and Dan Miller (drums), are all very experienced and good musicians.

It's like listening to a AOR/Nu-Breed version of Bono with Def Leppard harmonies most of the time. They've appeared several times on the "Jenny Jones" show and MTV has recently picked up "Silver" to use on the shows "Making the Video" & "Punk'd". Check 'em out at MTV now and running thru the next two years. Believe me, it's just a matter of days/weeks', before they're at least signed to a European label (I'll eat my hat otherwise). Depending on if they wish to sign with one, that is. With 30! tracks to go through, you simply can't just name a song or two. There are perhaps a couple of tracks with too much dance/heavy beat (Broken, War Machine, Face Of Terror), for the average 'wimp' rocker. Disc #1 opens up with "Gravity" and it only takes a couple of seconds to recognize this as A+ rock. With "Cellophane", you'll be down for the count as the refrain hits you right between the eyes. "Kill The Cycle" simply rocks (check out those Bono vocals), and "Ghost Of Me" is pure AOR a'la Def Lep, and the list goes on and on. "Silver" was release late Oct. 2003, but I believe that 2004 will be the year of 7th Heaven. These disc's are simply pouring with talent and excellent material. You can buy it for 10$!!! at their site and check out soundclips for all the songs. Something which I pretty much demand you to do. Highly Recommended if you're into the latest Def Lep and catchy, modern, AOR/NU-Breed rock!
MP3 Samples

18 SPEED TRANNY: "Fluid"

Indie 2003
Review by Urban 'Wally' Wallström 7 May 2003

Get into the stooner groove with 18 Speed Tranny!!! Indeed, this is music done by the children of the lost generation. Trip-rock and acid are just two words that springs to mind. Distorted bass lines and an aggressive vocalist are two of the main ingrediances. You can almost touch the atmosphere as the late 60's/early 70's rock, is very present here.

Speed Tranny" is a Chicago power-trio, consisting of Ken Harlev (vocals/guitars), Kris Wojtyla (bass) & Tom Marzano (drums). "Fluid" is their independent debut album with the roots heavily into the most "out there" material, by Black Sabbath. Then again, which stoner-band is'nt inspired by early Sabbath? (one way or the other). This is the progressive and more complex version of the whole genre somehow though. The recording of the album seems to have taken place at some cheap motel though. Very raw and not exactelly the best of quality soundwise. You could say it's in the spirit of early 70's recordings. Forget about the whole digital era or modern technology. You can actually step back in time here! It's smokey, dusty, and downright nasty stoner music with lots of power riffs. Sadly the songmaterial doesn't really stand the full quality test here. Could be worth checking out at, if you're a die-hard fan of the genre. Otherwise, there's no really need to bother really.

Album of The Month

21 GUNS: "Nothing's Real" 10

Z Records 2000
Review by Vesa Nuorala 15-03-01

This is one of those cds that I have really waited to get my hands on (again the great selection of AOR Heaven comes and saves the day). The band's first cd "Salute" was great and I still play it a lot. The guys around Scott Gorham have stayed the same when it comes to the rhythm section but the singer has changed. Solli is his name and I guess he is from Norway [Ed. Yes he is, formely of Sons Of Angels]. What is with Norwegian singers coming out all the time? Do they have some kind of special school for singers or do they just sing to keep them warm during the winter times? Solli does an excellent job here and I would not be suprised if he ended up fronting some bigger band soon. I need to find out more about this guy.

This album is one of the nicer suprises of past months. This is pure, honest music and Gorham knows how to write great songs. Even though he is touring with Thin Lizzy (they put out a great show, by the way), he really should take this band on the road because people would love to see these guys live. Well, at least I would and I know that I'm not the only one.

There isn't a weak song here and it just keeps getting better and better with every listen. Songs like "U&I" and "Nothing's Real" are awesome. It's a shame that I only got this now, otherwise this would have been on my "top ten albums of the year 2000" list. . This cd goes to the top of my playlist and favorite cds, and I will surely try to spread the word concerning this cd. I should have bought the 21 Guns shirt from Gods 2000...This one gets the full points for being just plain awesome.

21 GUNS: "Nothings Real" 6

Z Records 2000

Review by Urban 'Wally' Wallström, 01-03-16

The Second CD of "SCOTT GORHAM'S" (ex-Thin Lizzy) 21 GUNS has now been released by Z-RECORDS in Europe! It has actually been released in Japan By Victor Records a couple of years ago, but this edition includes Six (6) bonus tracks and some of them are with Original Singer "TOMMY LaVERDI" who we could find on the Superb first album "Salute".

"Nothing's Real" is far from the excellent first album as it has some Modern Rock Influences and the new Singer "SOLLI" (ex.SONS OF ANGELS) is no Tommy La Verdi, even if he's not at all a lousy front man. There's nothing really wrong with Scott Gorhams's guitar play either as he's pretty much all over this CD with some classic riffs from the past.

Well... Not that many riffs from the past actually! Like whatta heck is "Mister Mofo" all about? And let's not even talk about the strange "Underground". Still you can find a couple of good songs like "Movin' On", a nice mid-tempo AOR track and "The Other Side" proves that Gorham still knows how to use his axe. But it's really the 6 bonus tracks that gives us some good old AOR / Melodic Hardrock. "Cold Heart" is a superb AOR rocker from the past, "Dear Mother" is a great ballad; and the others are all pretty nice except from "House of Cards" Still... for die-hard fans of 21 GUNS / GORHAM only!

21 GUNS: "Demo-lition" 8

Z Records 2002

Review by Urban 'Wally' Wallström 25 April 2002

Do pay attention to the above mentioned title of this album, since what you buy is after all what you get. We're not talking about the worst kind of 'demo' quality here. However, do not expect this to be as good as the big budget of "Salute" either. The song material is really good though and it's a pure joy to hear Tommy La Verdi's voice again. A very underrated vocalist in my ears.

This was [of course] originally meant as the follow up album to 'Salute (1992)'. Recorded on a 8 track tape machine in an old farmhouse in Wales (!!!) Where Scott Gorham - guitars (ex. Thin Lizzy), Leif Johansen - bass, and Tommy Le Verdi - vocals, settled down after thir first tour of North America. I must say they have really captured the energy of the band and the vocal performances are really something out of the ordinary.

It all kicks off with the uptempo rocker "Greed" and ends with the cleaver words of "Do I Do". In between you'll get nine other tracks of 80's melodic rock. I espcially enjoy the power ballads "Bad Loving", "Cry Me A River" and "The Picture". Not to forget the catchy "Blood Gone Bad" with some flashy guitar work by Gorham. Demo-lition gives you also an idea of what could have been, if not those darn grunge-heads would have killed the whole music industry. Yeah, Yeah, stay on the subject will ya'... not that 'blame it all on grunge' rap again. OK, point taken... however, I still like my music loud'n'fun instead of dark and depressive. This my friend... fits the first description !!!

24 UNITY: "24 Unity" 9

Indie 2001

Review by Urban 'Wally' Wallström 01-07-10

Sweet Mother of mercy! I do believe in miracles... I do believe there are "some" bands that need to be signed at once out there... and I do indeed believe in 24 UNITY! When talking to vocalist Roy van den Broek about the album before I had a chance to listen to it, he did mention there "might" be a sleeper song somewhere on the album. No kidding! Let me tell you ... this whole album is a sleeper that needs to be awaken for the rest of the world.

24 UNITY is a band from Canada that plays a perfect mixture of progressive and melodic rock. With a superb guitarist (MMO) who sometimes plays melodies and harmonies like Chris DeGarmo (Queensryche) and other times like Brad Gillis (Nightranger) mixed with van den Broek´s almost glam-ish sounding vocals, make this a very unique album indeed.

The whole package is very professionally done (just take a look at the front art cover above) and the production is a nice piece of craftsmanship. I can´t begin telling you how much I enjoy the songs, all maybe except the sometimes boring "Moments" but even this track has its... ehhh... moments. Songs like " Shining, Paranoid, Water, Drone, Room, Unity & Sight" are all fantastic! This is like a wet dream for fans of catchy melodic hardrock, hi-tech and progressive rock. I find it difficult to describe all the influences and the pretty much unique sound here, try and imagine the best of Rush mixed with Nightranger (you can also find some Led Zep etc. here) and add a big dose of 24 UNITY´s own sound and you´re pretty close. I know that Roy have had some doubts about the album (it was recorded a couple of years ago) here´s what he had to say: "I´ve gone through my love hate with the CD! For the longest time I really hated it. I plugged it in the other day (since you raved about it so much) and was pleasantly surprised. It was a real cool moment. I was able to hear it objectively like it was someone else." Well ... I absolutely love this and I´m sure you also will, labels: sign these guys up at once and music lovers: buy this at once. You can check out a couple of songs at: and get in contact with the band at:

91 SUITE: "91 Suite" 9

Vinny Records 2001
Review by Kimmo Toivonen 4 December 2001

Our Spanish contributor Jorge has been raving about this group for months now, so it was high time for the rest of us to get to hear this album. Turns out that he wasn't off the mark, these Spanish youngsters have created a fine slice of "old-skool" AOR. Yes, this album is unashamedly eighties-like when it comes to the sounds and the songwriting, but I guess most of our readers don't mind that at all! 91 Suite have even managed to rope in a couple of AOR heroes to help them out, namely Mark Mangold (Touch, Drive, She Said, The Sign) and Al Fritsch (Drive, She Said), who have added their touches to the final product.

You can hear echoes of several great melodic rock bands in the songs of 91 Suite, but thankfully there aren't many obvious "borrowed" bits and pieces. Think of a combination of early Bon Jovi, Honeymoon Suite and Autograph at their finest and you have a pretty good aural vision of 91 Suite. Virtually every song is blessed with a strong hook and plenty of keyboards, all topped with the emotional vocals of Jesus Espin. To be honest, sometimes his overtly expressive style ("Bon Jovi Croak", anyone?) is a bit too much, but when the overall quality of the songs is this good I'll let him get away with it.

Highlights include such songs as "Give Me The Night", "Hurt And Pain", "The Day She Left" and the mega-ballad "Lost In The Silence", but really, there are no weak links in here. Our pal Vicente of Vinny Records can be proud of his signings!


101 SOUTH: "101 South" 9

MTM 2000
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner

101 South is basically Roger Scott Craig's (poor guy, three names and not a single family name among them! he he) solo project who must be known to some of you as the keyboard player of Harlan Cage. This album is probably more Harlan Cage than the original, although it's not L.A. Greene singing but Gregory Lynn Hall, a previously unknown singer who delivers an outstanding performance all through the album. His vocals can be compared to David Coverdale's more polished songs. The vocal harmonies must have been written by Roger Scott Craig too, there are parts that build from exactly the same patterns as used in Harlan Cage. However there's one big difference that I was glad to recognize. Harlan Cage was a bit too melancholic for me and all of their albums got boring after a while. 101 South songs have a lot more diverse arrangement, and wonderful keyboard sounds all through the album. Add a bombastic drum and guitar sound, great choirs and a very balanced mix to that and you get what an up-to-date AOR album has to sound like, 101 South could be used as compulsory literature in a sound engineer school.

Harlan Cage fans will love "Run Like A Tiger", "The Wrong Road", "Nowhere to Run", or "So Cold", they all sound as if taken out of "Forbidden Colors". However my personal favorites are the opening "Freeway Ride", a positive sounding uptempo rocker with awesome guitar riffs and one of the songs that fit into the "road/driving/freedom concept" suggested by the name of the band, and "She Walks On Water", a haunting ballad with electric piano and string synth pad arrangement, a wonderful, tasty guitar solo, and extraordinary vocal performance with lots of feel.

Probably the only negative (?) thing I can say about this album is the extremely strong similarity to Harlan Cage but it's evident and excusable as HCS wrote all the album and some might even find this a positive thing, not a negative one.


101 SOUTH: "101 South" 8

MTM 2000
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

101 SOUTH is the project of Roger Scott Craig, the keyboard player and songwriter of HARLAN CAGE, one of the finest AOR bands of today. For this project Craig has enlisted the services of vocalist Gregory Lynn Hall. To be honest, his vocals are the biggest factor that separates this album from Craig's main band, since the songs are mostly very much in the vein of Harlan Cage. Hall's vocals are bit more upfront and "heroic" than LA Greene's (HC vocalist). He could probably front a german heavy metal band successfully! Also featured are guitarists Michael Turner, Billy Liesegang (of Harlan Cage) and Paul Schirmer. The rhythm section consists of Chris Julian (bass) and Hans Geiger (drums).

"Freeway Ride", the hard rocking opener, is probably the least HC-sounding song on the album, and probably the one I like the least, as it doesn't seem to have a hook of any kind! The next few songs make up for it though, as they are full of hooks - "Run Like The Tiger", "We Took The Wrong Road" and "Your Razor Is Sharp" are the kind of ultra-melodic anthems that we've grown to expect from Roger Scott Craig. It's too bad that "We Took..." seems to be suffering from slight productional problems, as the chorus sounds a bit distorted.

With "Casualty Of Love" and "She Walks On Water" 101 South try to step away from the Harlan Cage style. The former is a bit plodding 80'ies arena rocker, while the latter is a good ballad in the Journey vein. The rest of the album is more in the vein of HC again, with "Live For The Moment" being the higlight among the remaining songs.

Aside from the three tracks mentioned, this album sounds like a Harlan Cage album with different vocals. For those who are not familiar with HC, I could describe them (and 101 South) as a darker, harder-edged version of Foreigner or Journey. Personally I like it a lot but I was expecting Craig to venture into different styles a bit more. However, I did enjoy the HC-sounding songs the most, so maybe it was a good thing he didn't...

101 SOUTH: "Roll Of The Dice" 7

Atenzia Records 2002
Review by Kimmo Toivonen 29 June 2002

As you might know, 101 South is "the other band" of Harlan Cage mainman Roger Scott Craig, and this is the band's second album. The main difference between the two bands is the choice of vocalists - 101 South features the vocals of Gregory Lynn Hall. But that's about it really, since the styles of the two bands are carved from the same wood. If you like Harlan Cage you're hardly going to hate 101 South and vice versa! The name of the game is bombastic melodic rock with lots of keyboards and massive choruses.

As I happen to like Roger Scott Craig's style of songwriting, I quite like this album, but it has to be said that it isn't his finest work. It starts well enough: the first four tracks are all good, admittedly quite familiar sounding, but I'm not complaining. However, the next three tracks "Standing In The Spotlight", "Roll OF The Dice" and "Ride Out The Storm" sound like fillers to these ears. The hooks just aren't there, and the fact that two of them are slow ones and one a midtempo track only makes the mid-section of this album quite dull.

"Dance Through The Night" brightens things up, as it is a more an up-tempo track with a strong chorus. Another highlight is "I'll Never Forget You Baby", a a great midtempo AOR gem written by Gregory Lynn Hall. "Black Isn't Black" is a third homerun in a row, another good track and somehow more fresh-sounding than some of the more Harlan Cage-like tracks. The bluesy "Get Up And Go" is probably the biggest departure of the album, but since I'm not that big a blues fan, it doesn't do much for me.

"More of the same" might be a bit harsh summary of the album, but it isn't far off the mark. Still, there are some very good songs here, and the productional duds that were evident on the first album have been avoided.

220 VOLT: "Eye To Eye" 9

PowerPlay Records 2003
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallström,
2 January 2004

PowerPlay Records is a new and interesting (independent) label, based in New York/USA. They'll work with world wide sales and distribution for new metal bands as well as re-issues of classic albums. First up is this marvelous re-issue of 220 Volt and their "Eye To Eye" album from 1987, regarded as one of the best melodic hardrock albums to ever come out of Sweden.

Digitally remastered and officially licensed from Sony/Sweden (not like those bootlegs of Power Games & Mind Over Muscle), with two bonus tracks and all new artwork. The glossy 12 page booklet with all lyrics, some photos, and a special written introduction by guitarist Mats Karlsson is rather impressive stuff too. I'm not sure about your opinion, but I find it rather interesting to have a completely new artwork to go along with the CD. Perhaps they could have included the original artcover on the back of the booklet??? I'm otherwise quite happy with this actually.

"Eye To Eye" was their 4th studio album (not including the compilations), and also their biggest flirt with the US market. Recorded 'over there' by Max Norman, the outcome became slightly more melodic than previous attempts. "Beat Of The Heart", "Love Is All You Need", and "Still In Love", are all amazing songs in the wimp territory. While opener "The Harder They Come", "I'm On Fire", "Dog Eat Dog", and "Money Talks", do all rock harder than your average meat balls band. If you're not familiar with 220 Volt before, you could compare them with acts like TNT, Dokken, and fellow Swedes, Europe. They actually reformed in 2002 and released the compilation CD "Volume 1", the follwing year (mostly early 80's and live stuff), sadly without singer Jocke Lundholm though. Recommended!!! No need to pay mega bucks for the long out-of-print original CD at ebay anymore. Pick up a copy at PowerPlay and visit the official 220 Volt site at links below.


400 HORSES: "400 Horses" 4

A2 Records 2000
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

400 Horses aim to bring "fun back into Rock n' Roll", and to a degree they succeed in it. Their debut album is the kind of music that might cause some toetappin' while you play it but I doubt you'll be humming these tunes later on. Yes, I am talking about a serious lack of catchy hooklines here!

"Guilty As Sin" is the opener, an energetic number sounding like Guns 'n Roses with horns; and probably the best track here. Sadly most of the other tunes can't compete with it. Sometimes they get close, like with the Gun-like "Too Close For Comfort" and "We Do What We Like" that sounds like a cross between Warrant's "Cherry Pie" and Aeromith's "Rag Doll". Most of the time though the memorable melodies are nowhere to be found, and the songs end up being quite boring.

The are not too many bands doing this kind of party rock at the moment; so who knows, 400 Horses might find their own slice of the buying public. Maybe next time they write a few catchier songs, and live up to the expectations raised by their really entertaining bio!

400 HORSES: "400 Horses" 6

A2 Records 2000

Review by Urban 'Wally' Wallström, 01-03-16

400 HORSES is the second release on the pretty new English Label A2 RECORDS and the info said that this is England´s answer to Guns´N´Roses??? Well... I must say that I can´t hear any G´N´R stuff on this CD! I think it´s a pretty good thing too cuz I´ve never been a big fan of the "Gunners". I think it sounds more like bands such as "LITTLE ANGELS, FREE, AEROSMITH, FM" and some sleaze.

The two men behind the 400 HORSES project are MARK BEALE (Guitar) & ALLAN FISHER (Keyboards/Drums) and together with TONY BROWN (Guitar), TIM ROWE (Guitar), PAUL EDWARDS (Vocals) & CHRIS CAUSTON (Backing Vocals) they have done a solid Rock album with a lot of influences from the 70´s. They often use a HORN section a-la LITTLE ANGELS or AEROSMITH.

Highlights are "GUILTY AS SIN" a nice party stomper with some great guitarplay! This song reminds me of the solo album that MARK THOMPSON SMITH (ex.Praying Mantis) did. "TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT" is a good midtempo rocker that sounds a lot like AEROSMITH. "OVER AND DONE" is a song that fans of CLASSIC Hardrock from England will really enjoy! It´s almost like a mix of FREE and LITTLE ANGELS and "LET IT GO" is a good uptempo song a-la RAINBOW (Spotlight kid). But there´s also a couple of fillers and not-so-good songs on this CD and last track "DON´T GIVE A DAMN" sounds too much like "Dynamite Sex Dose" by GLORIOUS BANKROBBERS, a song that SONS OF ANGELS also did a copy of with their "Cow Girl". Find out more about 400 HORSES at their label

707: "Megaforce" 8

MTM Classix 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
8 May 2004

Finally a MTM Classix release almost worthy of its name. 707 recorded three melodic rock albums in the very early 80's. It was also the first time rock fans really noticed vocalist Kevin Chalfant (The Storm, Two Fires, VU, The View). Other famous musicians included guitarist/keyboardist Tod Howarth (Frehley's Comet) as well as guitarist Kevin Russell (Rick Derringer).

"Megaforce" was their third and last effort, which originally saw its light of day back in 1982. Produced by famed producer Keith Olsen, it had a slightly edgier sound, than their previous albums. It's still the 'classic' AOR sound of its time and Chalfant's Perry-like vocals adds a certain Journey-ism to everything. The title track is a real classic if anything, it was actually re-recorded as "Calling To You" by Frehley's Comet in 1987. Ace Frehley asked to hear some of Howarth's previous work, before signing him up to the band. Apparently he liked what he heard and thought it to be a funny coincident, as they were signed to the "Megaforce" label.

"Can't Hold Back" and "Get To You", are both steeped in the rockier tradition of Journey. "Out Of The Dark", builds up a certain mood of pomp rock, with the always present grand piano. "Hell Or High Water" is a throw-away rocker with some southern rock influences. Hardly worth mentioning as it's really pales in comparison with the keyboard-driven rocker, "We Will Last". This is the classic AOR sound if anything. The six bonus tracks are a real disappointment and not that much to talk about really. What you get is three (?) different versions of "Megaforce", two versions of "Eagle One" (not a bad song though), and the boring instrumental "The Float". The ten original tracks are still enough reason to pick this up, if you're into that fluffy AOR stuff.

8084: "So Far" 8

GB Music 2000

Review by Urban 'Wally' Wallström, 01-04-15

8084 (eight-oh-eight-four) is a band from BURLINGTON/VT that began to play AOR in the early 80´s. They became local heroes quickly and recorded their first album in the mid-80´s, their second (Love and War) in 1989, and an EP in 1995. This is a retrospective collection of songs from all three releases and 5 songs from the debut album have been re-recorded. It´s a second chance for AOR fans to discover this good band that never really broke through... well, not in Europe.

This CD (as the debut album) is produced by HIRSH GARDNER the drummer in bands such as "New England, Warrior & Vinnie Vincent" and it´s filled with good "Pure" AOR songs that fans of Aldo Nova/Message/Honeymoon Suite will like.

Opener "Too late for love" is co-written by the man himself "Aldo Nova" and it´s a superb AOR rocker with a catchy chorus, some lovely keys, and some good vocals from Randy Smith. The other members are Andre Maquera (Guitars/Keys), Frank Barnes (Bass), & Scott Belisle (Drums). 8084 have kinda re-started their career and have begun to write songs for a new record. The next two songs are nice but nothing special. "Hold on" is a great song from their debut album and "Surrender" is a superb semi ballad with a solo that starts with a acoustic guitar and ends with a flashy (electric) solo. It has got a catchy chorus that hits ya right between the eyes! "She comes to me" is a song that reminds me of "Russ Ballard" in his best days (1984-86) it´s an unbelievable catchy uptempo AOR song with a strong hook. Last track "Call me" sounds like the perfect mixture of Bon Jovi & Honeymoon Suite; it´s a great mid-tempo song. Check 'em out at: and their New York record label "GB Music" at for more info.