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

Kelly PADRICK: "X3"

Indie 2001

Review by Nick Baldrian 01-06-30

Another female artist in the pop/rock vein is sexy Kelly Padrick. Kelly who is from Rhode Island (home of Phil Vincent) sent me three CD's so I decided to talk about this in one review rather than three separate reviews. Her songs are mostly pretty good pop numbers, her vocals are clear and she has a great voice similar to Belinda Carlisle. Some of my favourite songs are 'You're Not The One' which is a killer pop song, nice keyboards, lovely melody and smooth sexy vocals from kelly, whilst the saucy 'Going Down' bares a similar vibe to Garbage, Imperial Drag and No Doubt, this is a killer guitar driven song, great sexy vibe.

Even better is 'Cheating Games' which is really catchy and finally sees Kelly hit her sultry stride, definitely my favourite song, you gotta love those keyboards, this is very heavy pop, this style is continued on 'Sick Romance'. She also tries her hand at ballads, check out 'Who Are You' a super piano driven ballad which is musically like Kate Bush but vocally like Belinda Carlisle and Darby Mills, which is closely followed by the equally passionate 'Older Winds, just listen to her jaw dropping voice on this one, beautiful, I love this particular song as it reminds me of Jaime Kyle. You also have to check out the superb classical guitar parts on 'Promise Ring' this song is similar to Gloria Estefan and is a subtle piece.

The only let down is when Kelly goes for the country or dancy approach like on 'Who Will Break My Fall' and numerous others which didn't do anything for me. I do like Kelly's songs, the production is pretty good and I'm sure that with more songs along the lines of 'Cheating Games' we could have one killer pop album which is the direction she should consider opting more for in the future. However saying that her voice is that good that she could easily make a superb rock album in the style of Heart or Venus And Mars, no that would be something to look forward to as this would suite vocals more as they are quite powerful. Check Kelly out @

PAIN AND PASSION: "Don't Think Tomorrow" 3

Escape Music 2003
Review by 20 July 2003

Pain And Passion is yet another Swedish act, now signed to the UK label Escape Music. This Gothenburg quartet mostly consist of unheard of [at least to me] musicians, except for bassist Hans Johansson, who played 4-string with 'Biscaya' already in the mid 80's.

The music of P&P isn't quite what I expected from this label though. Not necessarily a bad thing after all, since it's always nice to explore the unexpected. I'm not entirely convinced of the potential of this band though as many of the songs end up as merely "okay" or much worse. Not to mention that Bjorn Asking is one of those vocalists, that you either love or hate from day one. I'm afraid that I'll have to agree with the latter... most of the time. It's almost like if Biff Byford (Saxon) would inhale laughing-gas before entering the stage somehow. There's some strange and in the long run annoying, high-pitched vocals going on here.

This is their first full CD after a couple of demos, recorded with the help of Fredrik Nordstrom (Dream Evil). "Don't Think Tomorrow" was however produced by Roberto Laghi (B-Thong, Hardcore Supersta, Freak Kitchen, LOK etc) and the result is indeed great (soundwise - the production). The music is inspired by various bands such as (early) Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Fates Warning, Trouble and maybe even early Soundgarden? What they have in common is the rather doomy and gloomy sound of the past though. While the above acts actually added something to rock history, this will only raise a couple of eyebrows here and there. It's not really as much the singer as the songs, which I find to be truly boring in the end. Opener "I Am I Do" can only be described as 5 minutes of me climbing the walls. The epic ballad "What Really Matters" is a fantastic tune with some marvelous mood swings though. Very dark and depressive one second and simply wonderful the other. Bottomline, this can only enjoyable if you're mostly into groove and don't give a damn about refrains.

The PAINTED MAN: "Get Painted"

Indie 2002

Review by 02-02-18

I'm not sure why 'The Painted Man' introduce themselves as a progressive hardrock band, in the following info sheet. Since I can find absolutely nothing in their music, which reminded me of Prog Rock/Metal. Nevermind, this is yet another pretty impressive Melodic Hardrock band from Sweden. They have been playing together for 2 years by now and I believe this is their 4th demo already.

Die hard fans of Scandi-Rock will be pleased to find out that bass player is David Persson. Recorded one album with Crystal Blue (SMC Records) in the mid-90's, before teaming up with the other painted men, who are: Dennis Carlson (vocals), Peter Persson (guitars) & Jeppe Lindbergh (drums).

The music is rougher hardrock than above mentioned band though. Dennis Carlson is a real 'power' vocalist with a nice pair of lungs. However, I find the vocals to be, almost too far up front in this demo mix. Excellent singer though and all the other musicians are indeed, very professional. "Liar", "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Heart To Heart" are nicely played rock in the similar style of Dogpound or Human Race (Z-Records). In other words, massive riffs and a groovy verse is always followed up by a melodic chorus. In that 'typical' Swedish, melodic way, I may add! "Goodbye For Now" is a nice ballad with a great guitar solo while "In Those Eyes" is packed with cool guitarwork and a nice chorus. I would not be surprised if we could find this band signed by a label, in the future. Maybe they just need to write that 'special' hit-song and throw in a couple of hooks here and there.

Hanna PAKARINEN: "When I Become Me" 7

BMG 2004
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
13 June 2004

Young Hanna won the first Finnish "Idols"-competition earlier this year on the strenghth of her versions of mostly eighties rock tracks (Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi etc). Her voice made a big impression on me, and I was looking forward to this album. Would the major label try to make a pop singer out of her, or would they allow her to keep her rock-edge? Read on...

The album opens with a few fairly strong tracks. The title song is a breezy, laid-back number which showcases Hanna's vocals quite well. A bit of a grower, so give it a chance. "Run" is an instantly likeable rock track from Jorgen Elofsson and Phil Thornalley, the same songwriters who wrote a lot of the highly-recommmended Jamie Meyer CD, great hooks all over the place. I quite like "Fearless" too, although it owes virtually everything to the earlier hits of Britney Spears. You can almost visualize a big dance-production video for this...except that I don't see Ms. Pakarinen doing that sort of a thing.

From this point on, things start to go wrong. "How Can I Miss You" is a decent, if a bit bland pop ballad, but the two contributions from Finnish big-time songwriter Risto Asikainen are quite sub-standard. "Ejected" sounds like a reject from Nylon Beat (a girl duo for whom Asikainen has written a lot of hits) with a totally irritating "Ah-ah-ah" hook, while "Love's Run Over Me" is a dark rock-styled track but with a chorus that sounds just painful. Still, "Don't Hang Up" is even less impressive, an easily forgettable funky dance pop track.

"Save My Life Tonight" is an okay ballad that is raised to the next level by Hanna's great performance on it. "Sorry" is a very cool modern rock track with a strong hook, and same could be said of "Superhero". Between these two excellent tracks is the biggest disappointment of the album, a cover of Bryan Adams' "Heaven". Hanna sang the song on the very first round of the "Idols" competition, and that unaccompanied performance was something extra-ordinary. Now this version...the song has been given a contemporary pop treatment, and the life has been sucked out of it. The sterile, computerized "drums" and easy-listening keyboards just turn this classic track into something else. This song will always has a special place in my heart as it was our "wedding waltz", but this version I'd rather forget about. A simple piano or acoustic guitar version would have been so much better.

Last but not least there's the chart-topping "Love Is Like A Song", another Elofsson-penned track that could be a latter day Bon Jovi-ballad. It almost washes away the bad taste of the "Heaven" sum it all up, an okay album, not as safe and pop as one I was adraid it would be, but not quite as rock as I was hoping for either. Hanna's vocal talent is undisputed though.

PALLAS: "The cross and the crucible" 7

InsideOut 2001

Review by 01-07-16

The Scottish band Pallas are back with their second release since the "comeback" album "Beat the drum" in 1999. Formed in Aberdeen already back in 1974 they are one of the oldest progressive/symphonic bands out there, even if they´ve only managed to release five albums during almost thirty years time. Originally named Rainbow actually, but a change of name was of course called for when Ritchie Blackmore decided to form his own band in 1975.

The first album was an independent release (arrive alive/1981) but after the success with the newly discovered Marillion, EMI records decided to sign them up. Two records followed before EMI unfortunately decided to drop them in 1986 and the next 13 years was a struggle against other personal commitments, far travelling distance between the band members and a endless search for a new contract. They never gave up or split up though and did some odd live appearances, recorded demos and recorded a track for the late Geoff Mann tribute etc.

It´s now 2001 and Pallas may be better than ever with the concept album "The cross and the crucible". It´s indeed back to the roots, back to the basic ... ehh... I mean complex prog rock and the whole concept deals with history and the endeavors and fate of humankind. The instrumental opener is named "Big bang" and maybe it gives you an better idea what the concept is all about? I won't get into this any further though, as the quality of the songmaterial is always more important than the concept itself. The nine minutes long title track "The cross and the crucible" is a lovely symphonic prog rock epic song with fat layered keys, many pace changes and a nice drama attitude. "For the greater glory" continues in the same style while "The blinding darkness" takes the album to its next level with its sentimental sound and performance by vocalist Alan Reed. You can´t help thinking about fellow UK band´s such as Marillion or Yes here and there, maybe not so strange either as the UK prog scene has always had their own special style and sound. The real winner here is the eleven (11) minutes long "Midas touch" as this song is melodic, prog-rock at its best! Closing track "Celebration" is another winner and fans of both early and later days Marillion might want to check this out. I´m sure old fans of Pallas will enjoy many of the tracks here, but there´s still something missing ... a good but not great album.

PANGEA: "The First" 6-

Frontiers 1998
Review by

The cover of this CD reminds me of Drive, She Said, but the music inside is quite different. Pangea has more in common with the likes of Extreme and Van Halen than D,SS. They are a Danish trio if I am not mistaken, featuring the guitarist/vocalist Torben Lysholm, bass player Carsten Neumann, and drummer Tony Olsen. Also featured is another Torben, Torben Schmidt from Skagarack on backing vocals.

A very Extreme-like "Daddys Steamgun" opens the show, instantly proving that these guys can write questionable lyrics in the Danger Danger/Kiss vein! "Rhythm Of Love" is another example of that, yet musically it's more like Van Halen doing an AC/DC cover. The Bad Habit-like "Time Out" follows, and when I say Bad Habit I mean their rockier, "party"-type of songs. "Enough Is Enough" reminds strongly of Victory, and it's also the first song that really impressed me on this album.

The second half of the album is an interesting one: probably the weakest songs of the album are there, but so are the best songs. First of them is the ballad "The One To Last", which is a simple yet beautiful acoustic song. Then there is the excellent "On & On", a cool track in the vein of fellow scandi-rockers Pole Position or Fate, and last but not least there's "Maybe Tomorrow", a good "Van Halen meets Bad Habit" -type of a song.

In a nutshell, this is well executed and produced hard rock, even though the songs are a bit on the average side.

PANDEMIC: "Angry Sky" 4

Dreamscape 2002

Review by 1 July 2002

Yo Yo Yo! I rather expected this to be some wierd b.s. in the style of Pantera or worse. With a quick glance at the band picture, this could be the case for sure. However, never judge a CD by its cover or the music by the band image (quick, somebody check cellblock #47 as I believe we have your inmates here). Cause this is more melodic than above mentioned band.

Pandemic hails from New York, Hudson Valley and "Angry Sky" is their debut release for Dreamscape Music Group. Produced by N.S. Brundage (Fates Warning, Boysetsfire) and mixed by Grammy award winning Phil Magnotti (Diana Ross, Fates Warning, ELO etc.), this is a very professional sounding record indeed.

The material mostly rides the wave of modern day hardrock, even if you will be able to hear some progressive (?) and pop influences in the mix. Sadly there are way too many 'dark' vibes from the Grunge days of STP & Alice In Chains here. I always enjoyed Pearl Jam (the first album is a classic) and some of Kurt Cobain's material, while the even more depressing rock of Alice In Chains, went straight over my head. Opener "Out Of This Time" has a very wicked groove with a melodic (Pop-ish) chorus, which makes this a winner. Speaking of 'wicked groove', check out "Glitter" for a slice of pure, American pie. The title track "Angry Sky" is yet another winner with a cathcy chorus. To be honest, I can't hear anything which reminds me of "progressive" rock here. Grunge... sure, modern hardrock... you betcha! Only the tribute to prog metal kings Dream Theater "Thy Majesty", sounded a bit like prog to me. I would recommend fans of "Classic Rock" to listen before buying, while grunge-heads might feel just like home.

PANIK: "A Page Torn" 7

Escape Music 2004
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
5 April 2004

Escape Music have usually stayed true to the classic AOR style with their acts, but Panik is a bit of a departure from the label's usual releases. While I couldn't imagine many of the releases of Escape (or the other indie hard rock labels) being released by a major label, I wouldn't have been surprised if "A Page Torn" would have been a BMG or SONY album. This is contemporary melodic rock, there's nothing decidedly "retro" or "80'ies like" about it, and more importantly, it's quite good. The band does have a good timing too - now with The Darkness-phenomenon taking over the world, this kind of a band with a fresh, big rock sound might be just what the big label A&R guys are looking for...

The album kicks off with a straight-forward, AC/DC-like rocker "Crush", which gets your feet tapping, if nothing else. "Find A Way" seems to follow a similar path, maybe a bit poppier though, but then comes the chorus, which hits one right between the eyes..."Amazing" is a balladic track tailormade for rock radio, somewhere between Vertical Horizon, The Calling and Lifehouse, instantly likeable. "Gear Girl" is another big modern rock radio anthem, not a million miles from someone like Creed or U2, only better.

Next track that made a big impression on me was "Die For You", an uptempo, melodic track with a good hook. Then it's time for a surprise, a cover of a Judas Priest classic "You've Got Another Thing Coming". This version is perhaps a little less intense than the original, but it does rock nicely! "Fly" is perhaps the most U2-influenced track on the album, and you might compare it to some nineties' Bon Jovi stuff too. If a video was made for this, I'm sure the band would be on a mountain top, with arms wide open, wind in their know the type of a video. From the remaining tracks I want to mention "Friends" , another good catchy rocker, and "Middle", which is probably the heaviest track here, almost Metallica-like in fact, but more melodic.

While "A Page Torn" might not be among my favourite albums of this year, it's very good at its' best, and the fact that it could very well pass for a major label release is clearly a sign of better times. Could it be that our beloved melodic rock is slowly creeping back into the mainstream? If it indeed is doing just that, it will be new bands like Panik who will help the cause.

One more thing...there was a local band who was considering "Panik" as their new name, as it would have had an interesting double meaning in the Turku region, where I live. The english word we're all aware of, but in the local dialect it roughly translates as "Did you hump her/him" didn't know that, did you? :)



Review by 14 July 2002

Danish Dynamite!!! Exclusively here at AOR-Europe we bring you a preview review of the new k-i-l-l-e-r release from Pangea. This is straight from the lads, a pre-master copy, as they are still talkin' with labels about where and when to release this little gold nugget. After only a couple of years at Now&Then/Frontiers they decided to go separate ways due to contract problems. I believe they simple couldn't agree terms, not enough danish with their coffee or something :-)

Their previous two albums was a nice mixture of guitar rock a'la Van Halen, Extreme and their own Scandinavian sound. They have often been comprered with Skagarack in the past and there's a little truth in this too. One thing's for sure, if you enjoyed those previous're simply going to l-o-v-e this CD. Recorded at Hot Sound Studios in Denmark with Torben Lysholm (vocals/guitar) & Tony Olsen (drums), behind the drivin' wheel themselves this time (with some help from Richard Jensen). Their 'new' bass player Jan Engstrom, is actually an old member of the band. He was the keyboard player from 1989 to 1991. III is a bit more 'aggressive' than the first two albums and everything is louder/heavier than before. I simply love the guitar work of Lysholm as he shreds in the best tradition of Bettencourt, Van Halen with a touch of Dan Huff.

This doesn't mean they've decided to get rid of all the melodies and harmonies. No! No! No! The material is even catchier than in the past, and you can't find many bands out there with a better groove right now. Opener "Hold Your Fire" grabs you by the throat with its 'larger than life' approach and dead catchy chorus. "Don't Let Go" may be more about groove while "2 Am" knocks you to the floor with a killer hook. "Little By Little" has verses with a very 'oriental' sound before the chorus hits you with some Extreme/King's X hooklines. And for 'softheads', check out the pure AOR of "Shoot" for a simple, yet very effective way to write a marvelous hit (yeah baby!). Other highlights would be the arena rock of "What Do You Want Out Of Life" and "House Of Love". Both are blessed with some catchy hooks in the Scandinavian tradition of rock and as always, great guitar work. "Time's Up" and "Dating Godzilla" may not have the best choruses I've ever heard, but the groove... wow... guitarmageddon. "Godzilla" is actually so much Van Halen (their groovy material) that it hurts. The only minor downsides here would be the rather goofy "Never" and "You're A Blessing". Well, the first one is not really bad, just different somehow... while the latter has some cool guitarwork, but the chorus sucks big time. Their debut album was OK, the second release was good, while 'III' will simply blow your head clean off. Check out some appetizers at the site below. Cheers to Jan, Torben & Tony and a big Hello? to all the labels out there.


PARADICE: "Bad Influence"

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

Paradice is something quite unusual as a female fronted glam act. Weren't they all supposed to be cross dressers according to posh reviewers and such??? These "guys" are however from Sweden and they do play that late 80's Glam music. They're said to be inspired and heavily influenced by US bands like Mötley Crue, Madam X, W.A.S.P, and Cinderella. I'm not sure if it's a correct description of their music as I can also hear some Bang Tango and even The Cult into their music.

I do enjoy the vocals of the lovely 'Magdalena' as she reminds me of that Skew Siskin chick. Not as brutal or with the same barbwire approach perhaps, but still with attitiude and spunk. The three male musicians (John, Karl, Theodor), probably wear more make-up than her anyway. This is indeed "Sex, Lipstick And Rock'N'Roll" with cans and cans of hairspray. It's however more "Sleaze" rock than "Glam" in my opinion and you wont find anything as glammy as Poison or Tigertailz here. Their 9 track demo is perhaps not blessed with killer material. It gets a bit too dull and boring from time to time. It could be that tracks like "Rock And Roll" and "We Want Rock" doesn't really have those catchy choruses or hooks. "Bad Girl", "Alone Again", or opener "Give me Action" are on the other hand excellent songs. I could definitely see this being released at a label such as Perris Records. And they're indeed worthy your attention if you're into the Sleaze and 'Perris' stuff. Do check them out at their homepage below.

PARADISE: "Light the fire" 8

Escape Music 2001

Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom 01-05-22

Would you like to spend some time in Paradise? Or maybe all you need is a rockin good time to keep the nine to five blues away? I hear you, we all need to get away sometimes and what´s better than to spin some new music on your trusty old CD player? The album "Light the fire" may not take you straight to Paradise (by the way, there are way too many bands out there with this name) but some of the songs from this Canadian band will for sure bring you halfways ... the rest is up to you my friend.

Paradise is actually the new band with keyboard player Doug Johnson (ex.Loverboy) and vocalist George Criston (ex.Kick Axe) and they have managed to come up with some classic sounding AOR songs here, in the Canadian approach of rock indeed. You can of course find similarities to LOVERBOY as Johnson contributed to their success back in the 80s with co-writing a bunch of the songs, but you will also be able to find a couple of rougher melodic hardrock tracks.

I must say, I never was a big fan of Kick Axe but here Criston sounds way better than before and maybe it has something to do with the pure AOR songmaterial. The first four songs are all fantastic! Opener "Paradise" begins with an intro of swirling keys before guitarist Joe Wowk takes over the show and this uptempo track is a winner for sure. "Love is" is another lovely uptempo song with a strong chorus a-la Loverboy or why not Zebra. "You have the touch" is a great ballad and Criston really shines here with a sentimental vocal style. "Love surgery" kicks off with some outstanding keys before Wowk (funny name huh?) again delivers some flashy guitar work, you just gotta love that chorus. Then follows a change of pace and style with "Rock-a-day" which is a fun KISS meets Loverboy sounding rocker. "2 XTC" is another winner with some splendid keys by Johnson and a easy to remember refrain. "City of sin" simple kixx azz and "Ride the storm alone" is a breathtaking semi ballad. Paradise is yet another good album from Escape this year (Ashes II Ashes not included) with only two fillers and a bunch of good songs. Make sure to check out some MP3´s and find more info at:


Jeff PARIS: "Smack"

Review by

Mr. Paris is another great songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by bands like Y&T and Vixen. He has also released three albums before this one, of which I have heard the first two. I especially liked "Wired Up", which was AOR of the highest calibre. However, with "Smack" the man has decided to change his style, and as a result this is a much bluesier and darker album than his previous ones.
IMHO this is a slightly disappointing album. Songs like "Last Act" and "Everybody Dies" just leave me cold, and "I'm Losing My Mind" is just too weird for my taste. Where are the hooks? On a more positive note, there are some excellent tracks like "Life Of My Broken Heart", which is bluesy AOR at its best. I could imagine that song being a surprise hit. "The Solitary Life" is another good song, the chorus is really beautiful, and the lyrics are excellent.

Jeff PARIS: "Lucky This Time"

Now & Then 1993
Review by

One of the early releases of Now & Then Records was this rather fabulous Jeff Paris album. Mr. Paris is known for his ability to write great songs with huge hooks, and the songs on this album are mostly just that.

A few of the songs might be familiar to some of you, as they have found their way to other recordings earlier. The title song was a minor hit for Mr. Big, "Never Stop Falling" was previously recorded by The Michael Thompson Band and the brilliant ballad "A Matter Of Time" was on Jeff's own "Wired Up" album.

Mr.Big have also co-written two other songs with Jeff for this album. "Wrong Side Of Love" is the better of the two, it's an excellent melodic hard rock tune. Other goodies are the AOR gems "Touched By Love", "Stop playing With My Heart" and Brett Walker/ J.Paris collaboration "After The Tears Are Gone". "Rest In Pieces" must be mentioned if only for the fact that Jeff manages to sound exactly like Jon Bon Jovi on it. The chorus has also a familiar melody... Speaking of familiarity, "Gypsy Heart" is a full-blown Def Leppard rip off, although a good one!

PARBER & KERSTEIN: "Stories From The Heart" 8

Target Records 2001
Review by 16 December 2001

This CD is a reissue of a sought-after Danish AOR release from 1990. Back then, songwriters Jan Parber (voc,kbs) and Jes Kerstein (gt, kbs) teamed up with cult AOR heroes Skagarack's Morten Munch who produced this album of fine hi-tech AOR. This reissue also includes one newer Parber & Kerstein song called "Once In A Lifetime", which is sung by another former Skagarack member, Tommy Rasmussen.

The Parber & Kerstein sound could be described as a combination of Toto and Skagarack. You could add Glass Tiger to the mix too, as Parber sounds a lot like their vocalist Alan Frew. The production is excellent, although some of the tracks feature rather unusual background vocals/effects I could have lived without.

The song material is very good throughout the album, and it's hard to name favourites. "Keep On Waiting", "In Your Eyes" and "Love Don't Come Easy" are probably the most immidiate tracks and slightly heavier than some of the rest, while the bonus track "Once In A Lifetime" is a bit different to the rest, a catchy pop/rock track with a very anthemic chorus. It was the official track for the Trialthon World Championship Games 2001, and it indeed has that "all-join-hands-and-sing-together" -feel to it.

All in all, a worthy reissue and a worthy addition to any AOR collection. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the duo sees it as their business to take a break from their successful songwriting career and make a follow-up in similar style!

PASSION RISK: "Passion Risk" 7

Metal Mayhem 2000

Review by 01-04-15

PASSION RISK is a Melodic Hardrock band from the USA. They have just released their debut album on the Metal Mayhem label and we get to hear a nice mixture of bands such as Tyketto, Angelica, Bon Jovi & Tuff.

This is an album mostly without keyboards but it´s still very melodic. The production could have been better but then again this is not a big budget band, so I guess it´s OK to listen to.

The best songs on this CD are: "Need you tonight", the first track is a good melodic rocker a-la TYKETTO & ANGELICA with a catchy hook and some good vocal harmonies. "Call my name" is mid-tempo rocker that sounds like a mixture of Y&T and Tuff again with a catchy chorus and some great vocal harmonies. "In my arms" is a song that could easily have been on the first album with TYKETTO, it´s the typical sound with both acoustic & electric guitars. "You are the one" is a great BON JOVI rocker and "Without you" is a great cowboy ballad a-la TUFF or POISON. But best track on this CD is the superb "Summertime lover" with some lovely AOR keys and really catchy chorus that you´ll remember at once, again with a sound no far from early albums by BON JOVI. There´s also a couple of weaker tracks, but this is still a good AOR/Melodic album. Find out more and buy the CD at or email the band at:

PAVIC: "Night Life"

Indie 2001

Review by 1 August 2002

How's the 'Night Life' in Rome, Italy you ask? Well, judging by this demo release by Italian rockers 'Pavic', pretty darn good I'd have to say. Nothing remarkable new or out of the ordinary maybe, but you can surely swing something out of this.

Guitarist/Songwriter Marko Pavic with the help of Sandro Manicone (vocals, keys) is responsible for all the musical parts here. This Marko Pavic person is quite a charachter himself actually, born in Yugoslavia, raised in Budapest (Hungary), began taking classical guitar lessons at the age of thirteen. The family later moved to Italy where he started to attend the University Of Music in Rome.

With other words, he knows how to swing his axe and there are plenty of guitar fills to be found here. "Night Life" was recorded at Local Host Studio in Rome with a pretty nice production (for a independent project that is). Opener "Desperate Cry" is a good Melodic Hardrock song with great guitarwork. "Take Me Away", "Night Life" & "Fear" are nice rock songs, however they all feel like "I've been there, done that" already. Closing track "Where Is She Now" is a marvelous AOR song a-la Shooting Star or Harlequin though. Can we ask for some more cheese in the style of "Where Is She Now", on the burgers next time? I'm sure we'll hear more from Pavic in the future, for now... check 'em out at:

PEARLS & FLAMES: "the 1st Demo" 8

Indie 2000

Review by 01-04-15

PEARLS & FLAMES is a new Swedish duo that plays very good´n´smooth AOR/Westcoast music inspired by bands such as Chicago, Starship, Toto, and Giant. Markus Nordenberg (Vocals) and Tomas Coox (Keys) have been playing together in AOR bands since the mid-80´s. In fact Nordenberg was the original vocalist in LION´S SHARE. Some of the songs on this CD were written in their former band Big Price from Sundsvall, a town in the middle of Sweden.

Now I can´t really say that I can hear any influences from Giant on this CD. No this is much smoother stuff. Like Be Sharp, Chicago, Mark Spiro & Starship but it´s very catchy and I´m sure that many of you out there will like this duo.

Opening track "Welcome to the club" is actually a strange song to start this CD with cuz it´s a bit boring hi-tech POP/AOR and not at all as good as the rest of the album. "We´ll be together" is a great westcoast tune with a catchy chorus and some really good harmony vocals! Fans of Toto, Peter Cetera & even the Swedish POP/Rock band Fingerprints will love this stuff. "I believe" is a superb piano ballad that sounds a lot like something that Peter Cetera would/should have done. "State of the heart" sounds again like late 80´s POP/AOR a-la Fingerprints & Rick Springfield; great stuff. Next track "Heartache is over" sounds more like boring Soul/Pop while last track "Side by side" is best of them all! This is a great AOR track with lovely keys, a catchy hook, and a sound not far from the last album of Easy Action. Why don´t ya listen to them and buy the CD at and you can email them at just don´t mention Marcie Free :-) (just kidding).

PEDESTRIANS OF BLUE: "Circles Of Butterflies"

Indie 2002

Review by 8 August 2002

The thinking man's music... indeed, Pedestrians Of Blue comes from a small town in Norway (Haugesund) with big dreams and a nice concept. What you have here is almost a new kind of modern hardrock, with both progressive and melodic influences. Throw in some power guitar riffs and the typical Scandinavian sound (melancholic with tons of hooks) and you're pretty close to the core.

POB is a project consisting of Johannes Stole (vocals/keys) and Torfinn Sirens (guitars), where Stole is also known as the lead singer of the 'Pop' band Orange Crush. "Circles Of Butterflies" is their debut EP (6 tracks) with a very clean and overall nice production. The use of programmed drums sadly takes away a lot of the fun here, it's way too flat and thin for this kind of music.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with their song material though. I must admit I'm a sucker for songs like "When The Rain Falls" or the melancholic opening of "Out Of The Blue". The first one is expremental prog-ish rock with lovely harmonies and vocal effect's similar to the one applied to Cher's world wide hit "Believe". I find this to be very fresh and uplifting somehow, not at all boring or desturbing at all. The latter starts out, as I said above, very melancholic with some superb vocals by Stole and an almost Jazzy, Pop-ish feeling. It later turns into one heck of a cool Prog/Symphonic tune, check out the spacey keyboards here and some excellent guitarwork by Sirens... a marvelous little tune really. Opener "Father & Son" is almost like listening to Metallica lite (light) while "Crossing" is like a Radio friendly version of Queensryche. I'd say it's just a question of finding the right label (and maybe add a real drummer) here as Pedestrians Of Blue is already halfway to heaven, at second base, or why not... recommended by AOR-Europe :-)

Axel Rudi PELL: "Kings And Queens" 6

SPV 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallström,
20 February 2004

Believe it or not "Kings And Queens" is already the 10th (studio) solo release by ex-Steeler guitarist Axel Rudi Pell. I'll have to be honest here and say that I never really expected him to be around this long. The Germans are obviously very fond of their Malmsteen wannabee and his traditional albums, with over all classy guitar work and scandalicious poses in the studio.

Traditional is the key word really as you know what to expect from Pell by now. No major hickups or suprises to be found here as he plays it very safe with "nice" though sometimes boring hardrock. Johnny Gioeli (Hardline) is still lead vocalist for the third or fourth album in a row and experienced drummer Mike Terrana, gives a solid backbone to the whole project.

The production (also by Pell) is an excellent craftmanship of modern technology and the guitars are very upfront. It almost sound like if he's playing guitar the old fashioned way 'ala early Tony Iommi from time to time (strings directly against nails so to speak). Check out "Cold Heaven" where you clearly hear this "phenomena" appear and perhaps he just lost the picks somewhere along the way? The song is however a winner with its catchy refrain and power riff. "Strong As A Rock" is blessed with some excellent vocals by Gioeli and "Legions Of Hell" is Black Sabbath during their Dio era. The jumping bass-lines by Volker Krawczak will remind you a lot of "Heaven And Hell" and it's nicely performed rock. "Forever Angels" is yet another fine power ballad in the same tradition as his earlier work. You simply can't deny that there's a couple of horrible fillers included in the end. Long time fans will not see any problems in this however as they'll probably buy anything? Not bad, not great, but always in the same formula as in the past. I guess that both Yngwie and Axel Rudi could need some other/new ideas to add to their music. "Safe" will have to be the last and most remaining impression of "Kings And Queens".

Joshua PERAHIA: "Something To Say" 10

M&K Records 2001

Review by Andreas Höhn 10 November 2001

Joshua Perahia wrote melodicrock history in 1988, when his third album "Intense Defense" with vocalist extraordinaire Rob Rock was released, a nowadays hard to find CD. In 1995, his sadly underrated and due to unhappy circumstances (record company bankruptcy!) overlooked M Pire work was the man's last musical sign of life.....

2001 marks the triumphant return and believe me, the band is stronger than ever before! It took quite a while to find the perfect singer in Jerry Gabriel. A stroke of luck for every band and definetely an up and coming star in the genre, no matter if his vocals are smooth or aggressive. For the "soulful" moments of the album they suceeded in getting ex-Santana voice Alex Ligertwood into the studio who did lead vocals on four of the twelve tracks. Perfect example is the bluesy semi ballad "I Can Feel Again" sending shivers down my spine everytime I listen to it. Equally great is the Survivor-tinged "Remembering You", offered in both acoustic and electric versions. "The First And The Last" is perfect "food" for every westcoast fan with Chicago's Jason Scheff adding superb backing vocals. "Let Your Love Shine Down" and "It Hasn't Been Easy" would have been highlights on Whitesnake's megaseller "1987". And again this fantastic vocals by Jerry Gabriel sending David Coverdale directly into the second row. [Bandi: Second row?! Ouch! As if there were any problems with Coverdale's vocals on 1987...] The title track is destined to become a rock classic with its marvellous hookline. But you haven't heard track number four called "Precious Love". This definetely is the song Boston's Tom Scholz is dreaming to write for more than twenty years now. Jerry Gabriel sounds like a deadringer to the mighty Brad Delp. But enough of those comparisons, this record doesn't have any weak moment all. And the diversity of genres blows me away! So does the production, handled by the one and only Keith Olsen himself. "Something To Say" is one of the first releases done in the new DVD Audio technology and what a brilliant result we have here. More than sixty two minutes of pure listening enjoyment. My first and well deserved ten since I'm writing for AOR-Europe. My personal record of the year!

PERFECT WORLD: "Perfect World" 7

Frontiers 2003
Review by 21 September 2003

Is there really such a thing as a Perfect World? Will this CD bring you any closer to the everlasting place of gold and honey? Beats me... it sure as hell wont hurt to play some music while you keep searching though. This "Perfect World" is however the new band project with vocalist Kelly Hansen (Hurricane, Unruly Child, etc.)

Well, it's perhaps rather the project of famed producer and bass player Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi. He's been working with each and every following artist in the past: Ice-T, Cypress Hill, Wu-Thang Clan, George Clinton, Dope, Nina Hagen, Tina Arena, Beatifull Creatures, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather etc. In addition to Hansen/Grossi, a buch of well known LA musicians also contribute with various stuff. Alex De Rosso (Dokken) on six strings and Adam Forgione (Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen) behind the ivories and ebonys (keys) etc.

The music style is contemporary melodic rock with a sound closer to Def Leppard's "X" album than something like "Pyromania". Many or most of these songs were originally written for Pop/Rock artists such as Amanda Marshall, Natalie Imbruglia, Jennifer Paige, Angela Ammons, etc. In other words... leftover material which never quite made it somehow? You'll also find a fantastic cover of Pink's "Just Like A Pill" and it proves once and for all, that a great song is a great song, no matter what. They've done a more "Melodic Hardrock" version of this already superb rock song and it's goosebumps warning for sure. Add that Hansen does his best performance since the Hurricane days on this CD and you'll in for a treat. "You'll Be Gone" is the perfect mix of modern and classy hardrock. Not too modern to scare away the hardcore 80's fans and neither too dated for the hip people. This could be said about many of tracks by the way. Especially since they were handmade for Pop/Rock artists of today! in the first place. I really can see something like the ballad "I Need You" being performed by the lovely Jennifer Paige [reviews ed: in fact LeAnn Rimes had hit with it...where ya been Urban?]. Opener "Here With Me" is the most "nu-breed" sounding track, even if I wouldn't go as far as slaggin' it with the "Nu-breed" label/sticker. There's a nice acapella part at the end of the song too. None of the 12 tracks included are as "aggressive" or "punk-ish" as the above mentioned genre either. It's indeed "melodic rock" with some modern production effects etc. It's also nice to hear that De Rosso really lets it rip every now and then. "I Believe In You" is BB Mak, Def Lep "X" all over again and same goes with "Between You And Me". It's unfortunately also a couple of fillers and darn right lousy tracks included here. I guess you can always blame artists for jumping on the bandwagon etc. In the end it's all music though and the real issue is quality and not trends.


PERSEPHONE'S DREAM: "Moonspell / Opposition"

Indie 1999 / 2002

Review by 02-02-18

First of all, don't go thinking this is metal and sometimes not even hardrock in anyway. This may actually be the most complex music I've ever reviewed here at AOR-Europe. Try and imagine a (soft) Prog-Rock band inspired by Rush and later days Marillion. Now throw in a lot of haunting female vocals a-la Edenbridge, mix it with that Enya girl, the power of Garbage, 80's pop a-la The Cure and you're still not close enough, to the very unique sound of Persephone's Dream.

This is simply an emotional thrill ride for both the mind and senses. Music that grabs you by the throat and never really lets go. I'm sometimes not even sure if this is good or bad music. I guess you will have to be in 'that' special mood to play these CD's. It's very experimental music that breaks the boundaries of both Prog, Pop and New-Wave. Atmospheric, haunting and intense are all important words when you'll try and describe this.

I must say that I'm really impressed by the whole package here. A good production and very professional done discs and booklets. Make this as good as any 'big label' release out there. Guitarist Rowan Poole is without a doubt inspired by Alex Lifeson (Rush) as he's into the same style with a 'big sound' and chorus effects. Add to this a female vocalist (Karen Nicely) who simply is a breathtaking little creature. A singing siren in other words.

However, I would really recommend you to check out "Moonspell" first, since "Opposition" is more into the modern pop of Garbage etc. I was actually really disappointed with the latter CD. Since a lot of Persephone's Dream's original and unique sound were all gone and replaced with more aggressive pop/rock. Not as much keyboards like on "Moonspell" and that's really strange, since they now have a fulltime keyboardist (Kim Finney). In fact, forget about "Opposition" since I can't remember any of the songs by now. Check out sound clips at:

PERSIAN RISK: "5-Track EP" 8

Indie 2001

Review by 01-03-16

Did you ever wonder what happened to the Welsh/English band PERSIAN RISK which main claim to fame remains the fact that it spawned both Tygers Of Pan Tang singer Jon Deverill and Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell. Here's the American version of the band with ex.PERSIAN RISK vocalist CARL SENTANCE at the helm. Carl, who took over the front man position when Deverill left, was with the band when they broke up back in 1987. He later teamed up with Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) in his GEEZER BUTLER BAND and he has also been working with KROKUS and GHOST to name a few.

This is a smashing 5-track EP with a sound pretty far from the original Persian Risk style, even if you can hear some bits of it here and there. This is awesome guitar based hardrock a-la early Skid Row, Saigon Kick and all with the superb vocals of Sentance, a very underrated singer I could add. We can also find MARK ALLEN LANOUE (ex.Message/Dean Fasano) on guitars together with the JEF LAROCHE (Guitar), TOM NEELEY (Bass) and drummer TOMMY "ARE" RODRIGUEZ.

Opening track "Feel The Sound" starts with a really cool guitar riff and some wild "psychedelic" vocals by Sentance, like the stuff Aerosmith does, before it kicks off with a really catchy chorus. This is really good stuff and I've been told that some record companies seem to be interested in these guys. "Busted" is another cool guitar rocker with some killer riffs and superb performance by Sentance. "Rave" is a nice song but nothing special though "I Know" is a cool rocker with a touch of modern hardrock I might add, but still pretty good. Last track "Poet Tree" is really cool, a semi-ballad that reminds me a lot of some of the stuff that Saigon Kick did mixed with more of that "psychedelic" Aerosmith stuff. A couple of more songs like "Feel the Sound" or "Busted" and the Persian Risk have something really cool going on here. Let's hope for a full length album in the future, for now check em out at: and email them at:


AFM Records 2004
Review by Martien Koolen,
1 June 2004

Personal War was founded by Matthias Zimmer(singer, guitar player), Martin Buchwalter(drums), Sascha Kerschgens(guitar) and Frank Buchwalter(bass guitar) in 1996. In 1998 they recorded their first album “The Inside”, while two years later they already released their second CD “Newtime Chaos”. In March 2002 Personal War changed their name into Perzonal War because of legal reasons and they signed a record deal with AFM-Records.

Their third album “Different But The Same” got some amazing reviews and it really was a killer metal album. So the band got lots of opportunities to play live with i.e. Rage and Nevermore, but this also meant that the bass player split with the band in January 2003. Newcomer Sven Krautkramer can be heard on the new album and with him the line up of Perzonal War is as perfect as it can get. “Faces” is a fantastic metal album that reminds me of the good old days of speed metal with bands like Overkill, Megadeth, Flotsam and Jetsam and last but not least Metallica; when they still had some musical balls….. The opener “Devil In My Neck” hits you in the face like a sledgehammer; it is a really fast, almost brutal song with Annihilator riffs and a rather catchy chorus and the vocals definitely remind me of James H.

The second song is rather hard rock like with excellent melodic guitar lines and riffs while “My Secret” has some influences from new metal bands like Creed or Staind. In “Divergent” it is trash time again, a song where Flotsam and Jetsam meets Megadeth, check out the super riff and the distorted vocals and sometimes grunting by Matthias. Highlights of this album are: “Into The Fire”(filled with staccato and ferocious guitar riffs), “Tears”(a power ballad with a magical twin guitar solo), the title track (a rather doomy and mysterious song) and “Just Some Pain”(a superb metal song with great hooks, rhythm changes and a speedy solo). By the way, try to get the limited edition, because then you have two bonus tracks, a video clip of “My Secret”, a screen saver and wallpaper. And remember: Perzonal War just crush, this is real metal music up your... Buy or die, and a must for old Metallica fans!!