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Jim PETERIK & World Stage: "Jim Peterik & World Stage" 8

World Stage International Records 2000
Review by

This is the ex-Survivor keyboardist's album packed with his duets of some great singers. Just by taking a look at the line-up one could sense long before listening to the album that it has to be big. And it is bigger than any of your assumptions.

"Fade To Blue" opens the album featuring Don Barnes of 38 Special. Actually, this song has already been released on 38 Special's Resolution album. This version is more acoustic but it still has that great up-tempo vibe that makes it a perfect opener. Then the legendary Johnny Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd gives a wonderful example what it means to sing with emotions. If you have ever heard any Skynyrd ballad you should know what I mean. This is a great ballad with a considerable southern feel, being a huge Skynyrd fan it is one of my favorites of the album.

The next fave is Dennis DeYoung on "To Miss Somebody". A great poppy rock song with a sound that is similar to the best songs of Styx's very underrated (but in my opinion best) Edge of the Century album. One of the female guest vocalists is Catchy Richardson. All I knew about her is that she is also a Chicago resident (as Jim). "Diamonds For Stones" is another highlight of the album for me. A soulful ballad that with Catchy's catchy vocals reminds me of Dionne Warwick's greatest moments. A must for ballad lovers!

Jim's very first hit (before I was even born) "Vehicle" comes next featuring Buddy Guy. Another version of this song was featured in one of Sylvester Stallone's movies where he's playing a prisoner. I was lucky because one of the Hungarian commercial TV channels played the movie this weekend and I watched it to compare the two versions. Well, the one on the movie feature's an even more bombastic brass section! That's the best part of the song. My only negative comment about this song is about Guy's (assumable) improvising solo parts. Some parts are definitely off-key and do not fit in the tempo at all! Others (that seem more pre-written) are great but the bad ones are really annoying, especially the first part of the solo (as if I heard some 15 year old punk first time with a guitar in his hands) and under the refrains after the solo. A pity because this is a song with an enormous amount of feeling packed in it. Don't get me wrong it's okay to have some improvisation in a song like this but if you do it, do it well or don't do it at all!

"Zig Zag" washes the bad taste away, it's an up-tempo rock n' roll/freedom anthem featuring some of the Cheap Trick guys and Tom Keifer of Cinderella. Whether you like his voice or not he has a great sense for rock anthems (Gypsy Road, Shelter Me, etc.) and he turns this one to a great one too. Another negative comment from me: some parts of the song (most of all the bridge part) remind me of the worst, blandest Kiss songwriting clich‚s (you must have figured out I'm not a big Kiss fan).

Another "reminder" is "Changed By Love". Somehow it reminds me of Bruce Springsteen's ballads, do not really know why. Maybe because of Don Barnes withdrawn vocals. This song was also released on the last 38 Special album. The refrain is great and washes the Springsteen feel away (not a big Bruce fan either. neh neh).

"We Wish" is another poppy rocker. Nothing special, simply a good song with wonderful vocal harmonies in the refrain featuring David Carl on vox. "Working Blue" is another "nothing special" song, a pure "white" blues track in the vein of Gary Moore's "Still Got The Blues" album, played with similar professionalism and great guitar sound. I could have imagined some gospel-like female vocals in the song, but it might just be me.

"Antenna" is another duet with a Chicago female vocalist Margaret Becker (Ed's note: She's a big in the christian music scene) . She does a fine job however I prefer Catchy Richardson's style of the two of them. But Catchy might be lucky, the songs featuring her are definitely better than this one which is just average.

One could hardly ever say the next one is average. It is the Grammy winning, chart topping "Eye Of The Tiger", an all time favorite Survivor hit. And what a version is this one! It blows away the original. Very thick guitar riffs open it, sometimes (counting the solo parts too) I can hear three-four guitar tracks in the intro. This version of this classic song is worth the album alone. Sly must be a big fan of Jim too because this song was also featured in one of his movies (Rocky 3) back then.

Another one of the more Broadway-musical-like approach (like "Diamonds For Stones" or "Vehicle") is "Between Two Fires" featuring Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon. I was very pleasantly surprised by the wonderful and very tasty lyrics of this song as both REO and Survivor are in the top ten of the list of bands with the cheesiest lyrics ever. Anyway, this song is a great ballad with really good lyrics. "Till It Shines" is a different taste again, a Midwestern flavored mid-tempo rocker with stripped back arrangement but with great refrain again. Henry Paul (Blackhawk) has an accent that sticks at least as much out as Johnny Van Zant's, and that definitely makes their performances unique. "Long Road Home" a piano based, building mid-tempo song features another unique voice, Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger. Great arrangement, wonderful guitar sounds and exciting vocal performances are characteristic for this one too. The same things could be said about the bonus track "From Here To Hereafter" featuring Catchy Richardson again too. However this one ranks higher in my book, maybe because I'm a ballad and female vocalist freak. Being one like that and desperately looking for harmonies in music I was very pleased by this album. It is definitely worth investing in because (unlike that strong and very annoying recent trend of releasing the 10-11 song / 40-45 minutes long albums) this one features 15 great songs and is more than 72 minutes.

JIM PETERIK & WORLD STAGE: "Rock America - Smash Hits Live" 8

Frontiers/Now & Then 2002
Review by 1 June 2002

Jim Peterik took his project WORLD STAGE and made a live spectacle out of it, and "Rock America" is the result. Jim is known for his work with Survivor and as a songwriter for several other AOR artists, but as if that wasn't enough, he invited some of his collaborators to the stage to perform their own hits too.

The album opens with probably THE most well-known song written by Jim Peterik, "Eye Of The Tiger". Jim shares the lead vocal duties with one Jeff Boyle. The version is quite good - different enough to be refreshing compared to the somewhat overplayed original. "Hold On Loosely" is a song Peterik wrote for 38 Special, and naturally the lead vocals are shared with the original singer of the track, Don Barnes. The version isn't too convincing though, those high notes seem to be a bit hard to reach. Then one of the special quests gets to shine - Nightranger Kelly Keagy sings their own hit "Sister Christian".

The next two songs are quite interesting. They're both old Survivor hits, "I Can't Hold Back" is sung by Kevin Chalfant (The Storm, The VU, Two Fires) and he does a great job with it, while "The Search Is Over" is turned into a piano-driven duet, featuring two local singers, Kelly Moulik and Brian Anders. Interesting and quite good, although a bit on the soft side for the more hard rock-oriented readers of ours.

The blues rock of "Vehicle" doesn't do much for me, but both "I've Got A Lot To Learn About Love" and "Between Two Fires" are primetime AOR. The first one is of course The Storm hit sung by Kevin Chalfant & Peterik, while the latter features REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin sharing the vocals with Peterik. Kelly Keagy helps out with "Heavy Metal", a song from the movie by the same name, while Don Barnes shares the vox on 38 Special's "Rockin' Into The Night". I'm not particulary fond of either of the tracks, it seems like they haven't really aged too well.

In addition to the ten live tracks, there's five bonustracks, 3 from the original World Stage release and two newer songs. The WS tracks "Can't Say It Loud Enough", "Changed By Love" and "Long Road Home" are quite balladic ones, my favourite being the Keagy/Peterik collaboration "Long Road Home". The new songs are "Sum Of Our Hearts", a nice ballad written in the memory of a three-year old boy, who recently lost the battle against cancer, and "The Day America Cried", another touching song written about the events of September 11. This song is something really special, loaded with emotion and intense vocals from Peterik and Johnny Van Zant. Simply a great song.

"Rock America" is a decent selection of songs, and I can recommend it to anyone into Peterik's songwriting. It may not rank as a classic release, but I don't think that any AOR fan would be totally disappointed. The cover might make you think of a bargain bin tribute album, but music is in a different league.


Escape Music 2003
Review by 26 February 2003

The Phantom of the Opera is here... so beware, or take care... or whatever. The band is back with their fourth release and it's bombastic, fantastic, pompus, operatic rock, from the word go really. I must admit I haven't been too crazy about their previous albums. But "Act IV" (4) turned out to be a very pleasant suprise!

Phantom's Opera is mostly the work of Jack Young (keyboards, guitar, songwriter), with the assistance of Bob GilMartin (guitar), Eric Walz (bass) and Dave Garcia (drums). The debut was released in the mid-90's on the Long Island label. However, this is the first album with Terry Brock (Strangeways, The Sign, solo) as lead vocalist.

Brock really adds that extra touch and dimension to the band and material. He really sings with lots of heart and passion here!!! The song material is often very hard to describe, I may add! It's bombastic, sometimes progressive rock/metal, with lots, lots, of atmospheric/dramatic keys. The classic sound of bands like Queen, Styx, Balance Of Power, Asia, comes to mind. You can also put down the first two albums with The Phenomena all-star project from the 80's, to the list. Jack Young isn't afraid to crank up the volume and shred some kickass power-chords either. The guitar work is really powerful and not as smooth as many melodic releases often are. It's pretty obvious that Young's been spending many hours in front of the stereo, with Queen blasting out through the loudspeakers. The dramatic vibe of the UK-band is actually all over this CD. It's even more progressive and filled with church organ keys and dramatic stuff though. The previous CD's did lack in hooks and melodies, something that "IV" doesn't at all. It's easier to write down the track I didn't enjoy, than listing all the great ones. There are nine tracks included here and only "Lost" is a pretty average tune. The rest are all darn freakin' good!!! I must say that I agree with the press release from Escape music. "Phantom's Opera have matured over the last four years to become masters of theatrical metal". Recommended indeed!

PHOENIX DOWN: "Under A Wild Sky" 8

Frontiers/Now & Then Productions 1999
Review by

Kane Roberts, the former Alice Cooper guitarist and solo artist makes a welcome return under the alias of "Phoenix Down". Why he has chosen this name I don't know, as this doesn't look like a band album, there is no "Phoenix Down" line-up mentioned and the only photo is of Kane himself.

Then to the music..."Reckless" is the name of the frantic opener, co-written by Mike Slamer and sounding like something Kane might have offered to Alice Cooper, but somewhat heavier and aggressive. Quite a departure from his last album, the hook-filled "Saints And Sinners", but still a bearable track. Especially the intro is very unique-sounding. "I Want It Again" sounds more like the Kane we know, a catchy pre-chorus and a cool bridge, but it's "Walk" that really starts this album for me. This song, co-written by ex-Survivor Jim Peterik is a breathtaking semi-ballad that will most probably make it to my Top Ten of 1999! And the fireworks continue with the other Peterik/Roberts collaboration, "Love Gone Wrong", which is a more uptempo melodic hard rock gem. As a reminder of Kane's last album, it even includes very Desmond Child-like, perfectly placed "Whoa's"! The ballad "In Another Life" completes "the AOR trilogy" of this album.

"Blind" is the biggest disappointment of this album, a very grunge-influnced track, while "Rain" is again more in the vein of the three earlier AOR'ish tracks, a nice ballad, even though the chorus melody is far from original. "Neverland" is another track that could have been written with Alce Cooper in mind, an OK track if nothing more. "Alive And Well" a midtempo track with a good pre-chorus and a good bridge again, even though the actual chorus isn't so special. The remake of "Rebel Heart" from "Saints And Sinners" is a weird inclusion, as I don't think it's not that different from the original, certainly not any better. But that's just my opinion, Kane obviously thinks otherwise.

There you have it. Something old, something new, something borrowed (that would be the chorus of "Rain"!) and Well, there are several break-up stories on this album, that's "blue" enough for me!

PHREEWORLD: "Crossing the sound"

Indie 2000

Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom 01-04-15

If very complex Prog-Rock is your kinda game then Phreeworld is the name. This American band from Northwest Washington was formed in 1991 from a group of musicians that had been playing music together for 15 years. The band consisting of Brian Phraner on vocals, bass, and keyboards, his brother Mark Phraner on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Dave Wheeler on vocals, guitars and Don Freeborn on drums are playing a weird mixture of prog and psychedelic rock that could easily get on your nerves if you´re a beginner at this kind of music.

You can find influences from bands and artists such as Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Yes, Genesis (with Steve Hackett) Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff, Gentle Giant, Thomas Dolby and even Tears for Fears. I would like to add that "Crossing the sound" is maybe even more complex than many of the above mentioned bands here and my patience is pretty much exhausted when I got to the middle of the CD.

Maybe it has something to do with the weaker songmaterial though? as it begins really good with opener "Freeworld" which is a nice´n´fluffy prog song a-la Yes with a touch of Saga. If only all the tracks could be this up-sounding "China" actually sounds like Pink Floyd mixed with a prog version of David Bowie (not kidding) and "Perfect prison" is the best track of them all with some lovely vocal harmonies and a very art/fantasy sounding style over it all. The song is very short (for prog rock that is) and it´s a great relaxing track if you´re in the right mood for ... eeeh ... relaxing? "The Hermit" is the last track that is okay though and by track#7 I really had to start hitting myself on the head with a hammer to stay awake. Don´t get me wrong here! I´m a big fan of prog-rock when it´s nicely done that is, here it just gets annoying and boring indeed. I woke up for a while though as track#8 "Wardrums" is a pretty nice tune a-la Peter Gabriel mixed with Gentle Giant. Phreeworld really needs to focus on their audience a bit more since many of the songs could be fun to play for the musicians, but it gets boring as hell to listen to ten minutes of progressive armageddon (wa***rs that like to show off on their instruments) Try a chorus once in a while next time, please ! Find out more at

PICTURE PERFECT: "Picture Perfect" 7

Dreamscape 2000

Review by 20-01-01

Just like Storyteller (last year's "Corridor Of Windows"), Picture Perfect were a big name on the club circuit of L.A. back in the early nineties, but never got lucky with the labels, as the musical climate was starting to change. Now new label Dreamscape has dug up the band, and as a result, their first EP gets a proper release.

The band kick it off with "Hold On", which despite its cliched title is a good track, somewhere between Poison and Firehouse. "Better State Of Mind" shows a different side of the band, with an almost progressive vibe and impressive multi-part backing vocals. "Lady Of The Night" is a catchy melodic rocker, although the final execution isn't quite as top notch as on the previous two tracks. The female backing vocalist in the outro doesn't make things any brighter.

"Taken By Love" shows the heavier side of the band, but it doesn't work for me. The song sounds like a delibrate attempt to "get tough" or something... Much better are the two ballads, the more power-ballad like "Walk Away" and the acoustic "What's Written On Your Heart", which both remind me of a combination of Heaven's Edge and Lillian Axe.

There were certainly dozens of bands with weaker material that DID get signed at the time, so it's a shame that these guys never had the chance to have a go at "the game" with major label support. Who knows what might have happened? The good news is that band might just be thinking about making another record. Maybe second time around...

PICTURE PERFECT: "Picture Perfect" 5

Dreamscape 2000

Review by 01-03-16

Would you like some more cheese on yer burger dude? Or would you rather have some cheesy 80's hardrock straight from Sunset Strip / Hollywood Blvd. / Los Angeles? Hope so ... as the debut CD from L.A.'s PICTURE PERFECT is the typical example for 80's hair metal.

PP were formed in late 1990 by vocalist Rich Mortlock and bass player Aaron D'Alto (previously with St. Elmo's Fire) and they played pretty much all the clubs in down town L.A. back in the early 90's. This 6-Track EP was recorded back in 1992 and it was actually produced by none other than Dave Tedder. I guess they were a couple of years too late as the whole grunge scene was already big thing back than and nothing really happened with their demo tape.

Until now that's when the new American label DREAMSCAPE (owner: Dave Tedder) decided to give it a proper release. I can't say that I'm jumping of joy over here as some of the songs are just too cheesy or maybe I should say ... too un-catchy (really? un-catchy?) and you could find 1000 bands that had the same sound and style in the late 80's. It begins really great though with the catchy rocker "Hold On" that could easily have been on the debut album from Danger Danger or Trixter. "Better State Of Mind" continues in the same path and "Lady Of The Night" is also pretty okay with a strong chorus. Then the fun is over as the CD simply dies right in front of me ... the last 3 tracks are not that much to talk about really. Let's hope the future will bring us some more songs a-la "Hold On" from Picture Perfect. For now check 'em out at and get in contact with their label at Email:

Jeff PIKE: "The Other Side" 5

BMI Publishing 2000

Review by Endre “Bandi” Hübner 01-03-16

I have diverse feelings about this release, lots of positive ones and some negative too. There are lots of things I respect in both the album, and in Jeff's approach. First of all I got the album sent to me by Jeff himself. I always respect when an artist is working on different ways of shopping his own music and does not only sit and whines about the poor management, the label is not supportive enough, etc. Moreover I respect multitalented musicians, playing lots of instruments, arranging, recording, producing their own songs as Jeff did on this album.

Assuming from the production Jeff uses the same midi-PC based, digitally recorded approach I also do. But right here comes the negative side of things. As for using the same approach I know how hard it is to stick to a live feel, sound, vibe with this method. And as all of us experimenting with this Jeff also fails to deliver it. Not his fault I have to add with a huge budget enabling to pay session musicians these songs would hit bigger!

Actually the opening "Above Water" - with its real drums - sounds very promising. Kind of soft rock in TOTO vein. The rest of the songs are also VERY soft rock, sometimes - mostly due to the midi thing - they tend to sound a bit like those wedding party tunes (I get goosebumps from) Jeff's clean, soft vocals intensify this feeling too. Not that typical, scratchy, smoky hard rock throat. The best songs for me are the ones that feature real time instrument recording. David Romine's saxophone parts add a good motown feel to the songs he plays in. The songs are all very well written and it's quite clear Jeff is an extraordinary talent. Probably, a live gig in some club would show a much better, more vivid side of his music. I'd definitely recommend trying to catch him live (somewhere in the states) and in case you aren't threatened away from an album if it's too precise, extremely timekeeping, a bit "Casio-sounding" if you know what I mean, then give this one a try! Check out his website at:

PILOT TO GUNNER: "Get Saved" 6

Rykodisc/Arena Rock 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallström,
14 January 2004

Don't let the label name mislead you as 'Pilot To Gunner', can hardly be described as Arena Rock. Well, at least not the kind of arena rock which normally goes hand in hand with big hair and dodgy spandex. "Get Saved" is the second CD by the New York City (Brooklyn actually) fourpiece, which still consist of Scott Padden (vocals/guitar), Patrick Hegarty (guitar), Martin McLoughlin (bass), and Kurt Herrmann (drums).

Blimey! Could it be that I'm the only one who can hear 'The Jam' influences all over this disc??? Can it be that Padden is nothing more than a major Paul Weller wannabee? Beats me... I guess you can just call it punk-rock for the new nu-rock generation too. Or compare them with a bunch of minor acts, unknown to the masses, from the New York scene.

It's a different listening experience for sure as there's even some 'The Stooges' and early Iggy Pop, similarities to be found here. Throw in some Wire, Mission Of Burma, and according to the info-sheet, Nation Of Ulysses, even if I can honestly say that I've never even heard about the latter act. There's up's and down's throughout the whole album and you need to spin this several times and finally let it all sink in. Tracks like "Get Saved", "Metropolitans", "Hey Carrier", "Hot Circuitry", are all fine, modern punk/nu-wave tunes with lots of attitude and spunk. Not every man's poison in the end, but pretty aggressive, and slightly below average too. They should give Weller a call though and maybe he could tell 'em how it's properly done.
arena rock

PINK: "Try This" 5

Arista/BMG 2003
Review by 30 November 2003

Hmmmmm... whatever happened to Pink and can we please bring back the original act instead? Nah... "Try This" is perhaps not that bad after all, but it sure ain't what I hoped for either. The 2001 release "Misunderstood" gave us fun uptempo hits such as "Just Like A Pill", "Get The Party Started", and ballads like "Family Portrait". Heck, even dino rockers like Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora were involved somehow.

With "Try This" you surely wont find another "Just Like A Pill" and the material is overall more "mainstream" oriented. Pink continues to collaborate and co-write a couple of songs with Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes), even if the main co-writer/producer this time, is Tim Armstrong from punk-rockers Rancid.

Opener and first single "Trouble" is a nice one... even if it smells like a throw away rocker, written-in-a-haste, during a coffee break. The Madonna influences shines through on "God Is A DJ", while "Last To Know" is admitivly really good. Fillers like "Tonight's The Night" and "Oh My God" (featuring Peaches), are truly awful and a waste of space really. The laidback "Catch Me While I'm Sleeping" is on the other hand smooth rock at its best, "Try Too Hard" is the only "real" rocker in my book, and "Love Song" is perhaps the winner of the bunch. A quiet guitar ballad that ends way too early (hardly more than two minutes long). Bottomline: I know that MTV will play this to death and good for them. However, there are way too many fillers included here to please the +21 rock crowd. Kids and posh reviewers will proclaim her as a goddess I'm sure... then again, it's all about hype, a couple of hits, and who cares if 50% of the CD material stinks in the end?


PINK CREAM 69: "Sonic Dynamite" 8+

Massacre 2000
Review by Vesa Nourala

This a heavy metal album so not really the kind of music that might be covered here, but I do know that our readers like this kind of music too (Christian, this is for you).

I really had high hopes for this album because PC69's last album "Electrified" was so good and the guys did not let me down. This might be even better, we'll see after few more listening times.

This is full of great songs like; Seas Of Madness, Followed By The Moon and so on. If one likes good heavy metal this is a must buy for them. I like David Readman's voice very much and in my opinion PC69 sounds better with David than they did with Andi Peris.

I bought the special version with different packaging and one extra song and it was worth it. The only thing that bothers me is the cover but who cares if the music inside is great, and this is great music. The songs are well written, the production is well done and I just can't find much bad to say about this CD. I'll give this 4ñ, not full marks but close.

For more info, visit Pink Cream 69 Website


PINK CREAM 69 : "Mixery" 8

Massacre 2000
Review by 25-11-00

PC69 comes out with new EP with some of their best songs and an unreleased one and one cover. Included on "Mixery" are "One Step Into Paradise", "Seas Of Madness" (Acoustic version), "Shame" and "Break The Silence" (both Live). The unreleased track is called "King Of My World" and it is a really good song. The cover is "Looks That Kill" from the Mötley Crue tribute they did. To me this PC version sounds better than the original.

All the songs sound great, but... why did they do this? To keep us fans happy? Or is it because they are on tour, so they have something new to offer there. I don't know, but I'm glad to hear these new versions of the PC69 songs any day, so I take this cd with open arms. But still I wonder what was the purpose of this EP.

I hope that the next studio album will be in the line of "King Of My World" because if it is, then it's going to be a great album. I wouldn't mind getting "a best of" from the guys either.

This one gets 4 stars just because it's PC69 and because the songs are great.

PINK CREAM 69: "Endangered" 8

Massacre Records 2001

Review by 2 October 2001

For "Endangered", Pink Cream 69 have created themselves a sound that falls nicely between the traditional euro-metal and the melodic US hard rock styles. Really, at times they sound like latter-day Iron Maiden jamming with late eighties' Dokken! Compared to their last two releases, this might be a touch more melodic though, more Dokken than Maiden, and I have no complaints about that.

My promo copy of the album features 12 songs, one marked as "bonus", and I can tell you that there's only a few duff ones among them. The opener "Shout!", "Enslaved" and "In My Dreams" are a bit dull for me, average heavy metallic numbers, but the rest of the tracks are at least decent or even better. Highlights include "Promised Land" (reminds me of Steelhouse Lane for some reason), the catchy, anthemic "High As A Mountain" and the semi-balladic bonus track "One Time Is Not Enough". Oh yeah, their cover of The Who's "Pinball Wizard" is pretty darn cool too!

PINK CREAM 69: "Thunderdome" 8

SPV 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallström,
19 January 2004

It took them over two years to complete "Thunderdome" and even Mad Max started to look 'beyond' PC 69, for something else. Not to put the finger on somebody, however, the delay was mainly due to guitarist Alfred Koffler's, presistent hand condition. Koffler was diagnosed with 'Focal Dystonia' a couple of years ago and they'll continue to add an extra guitarist for their live shows.

The music holds no major hickups or suprises, even if they're perhaps not as "edgy" as on their two previous releases. It's rather one step back to the formula of "Electrified", without reaching the exact same (high) level again, I'm afraid (their best overall album ever?). The result is however still pretty impressive with three experianced songwriters at helm (Koffer, Readman, Ward).

The opening and title track "Thunderdome", is exactly as powerful as the title may suggest. "Gods Come Together" is very similar to the Electrified material and the guitarwork by Koffler is very impressive. You surely wouldn't imagine him having any hand problems for sure. "That Was Yesterday" is a nice ballad and "Shelter" is blessed with a killer hook. It seems like they're always including a cover song nowadays. This time they're having a go at The Knack's smash hit "My Sharona", and the result is darn fun to listen at. I'm not sure if old Knack fans will appreciate it as much though. Nevermind, you can always trust these Germans to come up with a soild and fine album, and they haven't failed this time either. The lyrics on "Thunderdome", takes a critical look at the music business today, where looks and image are more important than talent. Something which PC 69 doens't have to bother about really as they're obviously very talented. Not their best album perhaps, but still very enjoyable.


PINK FLAMINGOS: "Pink Flamingos" 4

Strawberry Records 2000
Review by

Pink Flamingos' biggest claim to fame to a common man might be the fact that Jussi Lampi, a rather wellknown Finnish actor is in the band, but for us melodic rock fans the "hook" is their main lead vocalist. She is none other than Annica Wiklund, the lady who recorded the semi-legendary "Badly Dreaming" album back in '88.

Unfortunately, Pink Flamingos are quite far from the heavy AOR sound of that album. Their sound can be described as stripped down "classic rock", taking cues from the seventies. The songs aren't too bad, standard rock numbers, and Annica sings very well, but I find it hard to be very excited about this.

A couple of the tracks stand out: "Faith" is a good track with more of a melodic approach, and the Madonna cover "Like A Prayer" is quite... "interesting" too. It's nothing like the rest of the album (and labeled as a bonustrack), featuring vocals from guitarist Kari Heikkil. The verses are what you might expect, a rock band doing a somewhat faithful version of a pop song, but the most of the choruses are just plain weird, almost Marilyn Manson-like. Gotta be heard to be believed.

PLACE-2-GO: "Faces" 6

Sprinkler 2000

Review by 27-01-01

Place-2-Go are a new Finnish band/duo, who are starting to gain popularity all over the place with their music. Not surprising, as they, along with their Swedish producers, have managed to create a sound that is very suitable for the current musical climate. P-2-G stand somewhere between Savage Garden, Roxette and...Backstreet Boys. Even though both Patrik Linman (his "Heaven Calls" is a much sought after album) and Jocke Kulju have their roots in rock music, P-2-G is mostly pure pop. I think that is a bit of a shame, I have a feeling that these songs would have sounded much better with live drums and more powerful production altogether. Apparently these songs are much harder-edged and rocking live, when P-2-G perform them with live musicians.

The highlights are the two biggest hits so far. "Save It For Somebody Else" was the first hit single here in Finland, and it is a very likeable pop rock track. The verses do sound a lot like a Backstreet Boys tune, and the catchy guitar riff is quite similar to that of Boston's "More Than A Feeling", but it's still a good song..."Higher And Higher" is the latest single, and it's being rotated on MTV Nordic at the moment. It is co-written by Andreas Carlsson, a hit songwriter from Sweden, and I don't see why this couldn't become another number one hit for him and the band - the chorus is quite irresistable! There's no lack of catchy choruses when it comes to the rest of the songs either, the likes of "Faces", "Step Into My Life" and "Universe" have huge hit potential. However, the boyband-like sound does bother me somewhat, and especially the more balladic songs, like "Whatever You Want" and "I'll Get Over You" cross the line with me. They are a just too "cute and sweet" for my taste. But the young girls will dig, no doubt...

I hope that the next time around the boys crank up the guitars a bit, and move away from the lifeless drum sounds. They sure know how to write great melodies, now they only need to add a little more power to the songs. Then we'd be talking about first class power pop!

PLASTIC SMILE: "This Side of Nowhere" 3

Indie 2000

Review by 23 May 2001

I usually try to listen to an album for at least five times before making any statements about it. I'm sorry, this time I can't. After fourth time I was so irritated that I decided that no more! I've had it. This album ain't getting any better no matter how many times I listen to it.

The title track opens the album. The intro reminded me of Europe's Final Countdown but the song was far from similar. I thought it was more like tamed version of a crappy Skid Row song. The band states on their website that this is their "most diverse full length album". Well, if being diverse means that one part of song is good and some other part is totally annoying, then I think the boys hit the bull's eye with these songs. If you ever happen to get a copy of this CD, check out, for example, "Appease". A perfectly good song gets ruined in the halfway when the chorus starts. I didn't find one song that would be good and solid from the beginning to the end.

In some songs you get the feeling that "damn, were gonna make a happy song even though we have to grind our teeth all the way through it" and you can't help but notice it when you are listening to the album. I haven't heard any of Plastic Smile's previous albums, but I think it wouldn't be too far fetched to say that get back to what you were doing before you started being "diverse".

PLUTONIUM ORANGE: "Waiting For The Gun"

Promo 2002
Review by 15 december 2002

From the first notes it’s Monster Magnet all over ! Crunchy, cosmic Plutonium Orange hails from Jyväskylä, Finland and have been around since 2000. Earlier the guys have played music from prog-rock to death metal, so it’s no wonder this band sounds fresh, it’s a compilation of different personalities, if I may say, based on the earlier musical styles. The guys prefer to call their music plutoniumrock, which is a good expression. But there’s a fine line here between that and space rock, like Monster Magnet is often labelled. Any which way I think fits these guys well. Or what about some inspiration from stoner rock ?

There’s four songs here; “Unstable/Unreal”, “Bend”, “Waiting For The Gun” and “Going Under”. All of them run in average length. The songs are powerful and heavy. They’re all straight rockers with chunky riffs, that are so common to this kind of music. But there’s also interesting melodies and hooks here, that lead you to the choruses that make you want to mosh till you reach a whiplash. These guys would be the perfect opener for Monster Magnet and who knows might even win the crowd on their side. These guys have quite a few experiences from playing live.

I can notice the stoner rock influences here and I’m not a fan of that kind of music. But I can forgive that part to the guys, it’s not that disturbing from the rest of the material. And the sounds are great throughout here, it’s just as thick and dense as this kind of music should be and so there’s no awful discants sticking out. One thing that bothers this band just a bit is that if you listen to this through, the songs seem to be a bit alike. But it doesn’t bother that much. This is a band worth checking out, especially if you’re into MM. They truly rock, that’s about the best comment you can get from me ! Check out their homepage with samples:


Word/Curb/Warner Bros. 2003
Review by 14 June 2003

The title of this album refers to the number of Number One radio hits this group of four ladies has had during their 10-year long career so far. Even though we're talking about christian radio stations only, the bands' success has been quite amazing. All of their albums have been certified at least Gold, most Platinum. Still, despite all this I had never heard of them before recieving this cd. I guess that only goes to show that the secular and non-secular market really don't meet...

When it comes the music style, the closest comparison to a band outside of the Christian market I can come up with is Wilson Phillips. Most of the earlier material especially is what you'd expect from a christian vocal group though, standard gospel pop, but there are some gems among the newer songs. There are some fine ballads such as "The Great Divide" and "Wonder Of It All", and the better uptempo tracks aren't million miles from the aforementioned Wilson Phillips or Faith Hill's pop/rock tracks. To name a few, "Gather At The River", "You Are The Answer" and "Saving Grace" are worth checking out if you're into good pop/rock with great harmonies. The one track recorded for this compilation, "Day By Day" is a very energetic pop/rock track and promises good things for the band, if it's an indication of the future style.


POISON: "Crack A Smile And More" 8+

Capitol 2000
Review by Vesa Nourala

Poison has always been one of my favorite bands, even with all the make-up on. It's the music that counts, not the looks.

This album was recoreded already in -94 after "Native Tongue" but it never got released until now, thanks to Capitol finally coming to their senses.

This is Poison at its' best, the songs are fun and it's back to the party mode. The song titles tell it all: "Shut Up Make Love", "Sexual Thing" and "Baby Gets Around A Bit". Then there is almost a punk song called "Doin' As I Seen On TV", this is a very nice suprise. Poison is back and even when Bret is been called a "Spielberg wanna-be" the music that he writes is good. The movies weren't that bad either...

The songs are great and with some unreleased songs on top of the original album, and then 4 songs from the MTV Unplugged show - all together 20 songs. This surely is "Smile and More".

This CD shows why Poison is selling out in the States and they surely should get their asses to Europe even with all the shit going on with CC - He's in , he's out and again he's in.

This is one of the best releases this year in my opinion. I'll have to give this 4 ñ. It's not a perfect album but pretty close.

Name Your POISON: "A Tribute To POISON" 8

Perris Records 2001

Review by 01-12-12

Glam-Bam Thank You Ma´m! Oh, Get your glitter out of the gutter dude! As thiz could be the wildest bunch of glamour-boys ever seen at the same place, at the same time. Can you imagine all the fuzz about hairspray and which lipstikk 2 go with which outfit!? Bada-bing! bada-boom !

OK! Enuff with the funny biz, and let´s get down to some serious akktion shall we? "Name Your Poison" is actually a pretty good tribute album! With an impressive line-up of 80´s Glam Rockers. The lead singers from: Pretty Boy Floyd (Steve Summers),Tuff (Stevie Rachelle), Every Mother´s Nightmare (Rick Ruhl), Tigertailz (Steevi Jaimz) & Erotic Suicide (Mike Pierce) etc. Have all turned up to pay some respect to the Glam Kings? of the 80´s.

All the classic Poison songs are covered here. And some of them are almost better than the originals. While others do not really pass the '100% Glam' quality test. Then again, songs like: Talk Dirty To Me, Look What The Cat Dragged In, I Won´t Forget You, Fallen Angel, Every Rose Has It´s Thorn, I Want Action etc. Has always been more about 'Party' than rocket science (well duh!). The real winner of the bunch, would have to be Stevie 'Tuff' Rachell´s version of "Look What The Cat Dragged In". As he managed to do something extra with the song. Even if it stays pretty close to the original version. Also involved are musicians from bands such as: Tyketto, Lita Ford, Dangerous Toys, Shameless, Cherry Street etc. And you´ll receive a free CD sampler with two songs from each artist, appearing on the tribute. Including "Big Bang Babies" the band with Kerri Kelli (Slash´s Snakepit, Ratt, Warrant, Pretty Boy Floyd) as lead guitarist in the 80´s / early 90´s. A Glam act in my opinion way better than Poison. You can get hold of 'em both at Glamtastic!!

Chris POLAND: "Chasing The Sun" 6

Mascot Records 2001

Review by 7 August 2001

What would you expect from former Megadeth lead guitarist going instrumental for a solo album? Something like the early Marty Friedman solo records? Some speed metal crashing? Well, not even close. Chris Poland delivered an album that melts jazzy influences with classic rock guitar playing; add some Steve Vai-ish tremolo tricks, fusion flavored arrangements, some weird rhythms, jazz, hip-hop, blues, some rock and you got it. You didn't?! Well, not your fault. The album is a bit hard to digest; it needs several spins till one finds his personal favorites.

I highly doubt one can enjoy the album from the very first moment to the last but depending on you current mood you can always find some songs that appeal to you. The guitar sounds are surprisingly withdrawn; slightly overdriven, almost clean sound is characteristic for most of the songs (Dare I say I recall Carlos Santana's early guitar sound in some of the songs?). The production is good, especially taking into account that according to the liner notes the album was recorded on a 4-track reel to reel gear.

I can't really pick any personal favorites at the moment, maybe "Lu Lu's Dream" and "Salvador" (strong Santana influence again) grew on me the most but as I said it's always up to your current mood. The album is recommended to open-minded instrumental guitar fans only; the rest should give a listen to Chris' previous projects before going for this album. Learn more about him at


Z Records 2002
Review by 24 November 2002

Credit where credit's due!!! Ted Poley (ex- Danger Danger, Bone Machine) never disappoints his fans with alternative music or crappy ideas about hiding his musical past. Nah, it's actually the other way around!!! He's always been up there on the barricades. Fighting the good fight against this evil thing called grunge and other disturbing elements.

"B1G" is really the third Melodica album, released under the Poley/Pichler banner and with a new label behind them (Z Records). I'm not going to discuss my feelings regarding the first Melodica album again. You can find the reviews in our archive anyway. However, this is without a doubt Poley's best release since the Danger Danger days. The production still leaves much to ask for, even though it's better than before. Sure, there may not be a lot of $$$ involved, when it comes to recording process, studio time etc. Still, maybe they should try and leave the production to someone outside of the band next time? This is of course something that Z Records should think about really! Ted's been talkin' about retirement lately, but being a musician is pretty much the same as hanging with the mafia really. Once you're in, you're in for life!!! Or you'll end up in the Jersey river with concrete shoes :-) (man, gotta' stop watching those Sopranos for a while)

A good song is always a good song though!! And the overall material is pretty good, uplifting, ehhh... soft rock. Yep, do not expect this to shake'n'tumble like the party albums with Danger Danger. In fact... you'll probably end up disappointed, if you're only into the Sleaze/Party rock of early D2. This may not come as a suprise for you Melodica fans though, since it seems like Poley only gets softer with age?. "B1G" is very slick, American AOR, the classic way with "BIG" melodies and tons of harmonies. Much of the credit must also go to guitarist Gerhard Pichler here. He's all over the place with cleaver guitarwork and nice licks. The first four tracks "Parachute", "I Love You", Elton John" and "You're The One" are all great songs with lovely melodies. "Elton John" is a tribute to the man of course and the latter is a darn fine semi-ballad. Unfortunately, there are a couple too many ballads included here and songs like "How Many Nights" or "Darkest Hour" add nothing to the overall picture. We'd be better off without them really. The last two tracks "Better Off Dead" and "Don't Spread Your Lies" are also the best tracks here. This is great, yet very slick AOR the American way. I never thought I'd say this about Ted "Party Animal" Poley somehow, but I actually miss some real 'Party' tracks here.


QuiXote 2003
Review by 24 April 2003

I must admit that I've never heard a full-album with Germany's "Poor Genetic Material" (PGM), before listening to this CD. Not sure why though as it's rather nice, experimental, complex, progressive rock. "Leap Into Fall" is their 4th overall album and the 2nd with the excellent vocalist Philip Griffiths (ex-Alias Eye), up front. He reminds me about a certain Michael Sadler (Saga), every now and then. The first two albums are all instrumental by the way and maybe too complex and 'out there', for most rock fans?

The soundscapes painted by Philipp Jaehne (keys) and Dennis Strum (guitars), are really something out of the ordinary. Tons of moody segments and beautiful passages to be found here. The music is hard to describe really, but you will surely find some similarities to Gentle Giant, Marillion (with Steve Hogarth), IQ, and even Landsend.

It's very much "Art-Rock" with a pretty unique sound, to go with the semi-commercial material. Yep! Even though it's complex they've managed to find the right melodies and harmonies in here. However, take a close look at the frontcover above!!! You simply can't sell your CD with such a crappy cover at stores!!! Well... maybe if you're Metallica? but surely PGM can't afford to scare away any potential buyers. You could actually go blind by staring too long time at the cover "art". Then again, others say you could go deaf by listening to the songs?? I'm not entirely sure about the latter! However, do keep in mind that Progressive "Art-Rock" has always been music for and by the wine-sipping people. Don't get me wrong! I'm only trying to point out that it's rather relaxing than party music, if you know what I mean. The more than 16 minutes long "Rush Of Ages", is a stunning piece of work really. The depts and the layers of various chapters of Prog-Music, is something which most fans of the genre will truly appriciate here. There's only six tracks to be found here, with a average playlenght of 8-9 minutes though. Bottomline, there's a couple of poor judgements and weird approches here. Still, the final verdict will have to be 'nice' though.
The PGM site

PORCUPINE TREE: "The Sky Moves Sideways" 9

Delerium 2003
Review by 5 December 2003

The original release of this album was in 1994, and of course all prog lovers already have this album in their collection. Now almost ten years later Porcupine Tree re-release “The Sky Moves Sideways”as an expanded double remastered cd set with bonus tracks.

So, the question is, should you buy this expanded CD set if you already have the original one. The answer is: YES, you should!! Why?? Because besides the original tracks from that album, you get lots of Porcupine Tree high class material. Such as an alternate, extreme long version(34:37) of “The Sky Moves Sideways”, “Stars Die” and both tracks from the Moonloop EP; “Moonloop”(imporovisation) and “Moonloop”(coda). Besides that the package has lots of improvements and real drums replace the drum machine in “Dislocated Day” and “The Moon Touches Your Shoulder”.

A wonderful X-mas gift for pure prog lovers, to escape the boring holidays…….Play it loud and often!!!

PORN ROCK: "Pink Inside"

Indie 2003
Review by 25 February 2003

Hmmmmm... I'm not sure how to write this CD review actually!!! OK, here it goes... Porn Rock is a theatrical erotic rock show, hailing from New Jersey/USA. Yes indeed!!! This band is gaining quite a reputation in New York City's rock/club scene as we speak, with live nude-show and power rock. You can also find them on edgy cable shows like "Public Sex Acts" in New York and "Reality Check TV" in LA and Frisco. To no-one's suprise, Gene $immon$ (KISS) is a follower of the band... or should that be stalker???

Porn Rock was formed in 2001 fronted by the infamous exotic performing artist and adult industry performer, Pink Snow. I must admit right away, that I'm kinda biased here as the lovely Miss Pink Snow (vocals), did send me a signed copy and photo. Well doh! Like you wouldn't be impressed if a beautiful and sexy woman sent you this kinda of stuff!!!??? Yeah! I thought so...

They do not make any excuses or try to hide the fact, that sex sells. Nah, they do this pretty much all the way, with two female band dancers and everything. And believe me, one look at the two (Miss Kitty Porn & Profanity), is enough to understand what I'm talkin' about here. Hello baby!!! They do write in the following info sheet: Our live show is a cross between a rock concert, a burlesque theater, and a champagne room in a gentlemen's club. Gee... I'd like to hear what Tipper Gore has to say about this (LOL!). What about the music you ask? Holy cow... I almost forgot to write about the music didn't I [:-)]. Well... with song titles like "Porn Star", "Play", "Pink Inside", and "Dollar A Dance", you already know what the lyrics are about. Pink Snow sings with this Marilyn Monroe meets Gwen Stefani voice and I guess it works, most of the time. The music is almost like a weaker version of No Doubt, mixed with 80's sleaze/Glam. It's very Glam-ish from time to time and simular to the style of Pretty Boy Floyd. Opener "Porn Star" is a pretty OK rocker while "Play", is pretty much crap of the worst kind. I'm fond of the lyrics though where Pink Snow and girlfriend... ehhh... play doctor and patient. "Dollar A Dance" is the best track with some cool guitarwork and wicked groove. And that's pretty much it... my first XXX rated review here at RockUnited. Easily offended people shouldn't listen to this really [:-)]. This could turn out to be a real success, if they would write some more catchy songs that is. Now please excuse me while I take a long and cold, shower :-) PS. Check the site below for more info and photo's.


THE PORTION: "Little Piece of Thoughts"

Indie 2004
Review by Kimmo Toivonen, 27 May 2003

This new Finnish group isn't easy to describe, as they manage to cross genre-boundaries during just one song! Lead by vocalist/guitarist Kari Härkönen, The Portion aren't your typical rock band. To start with, Kari's vocals are quite unique, the only vocalist I can compare him to is that guy from Brainstorm, the Latvian (?) band who had a hit with their Eurovision song contest entry "My Star". In fact, "Little Piece Of Love" reminds me strongly of that track...most definitely for an acquired taste, both the track and the vocals, which are quite high-pitched.

For the common hard rock fan more tolerable would be "Out Of My Thoughts Control", a rock track with good riffs, somehow reminding me of Hanoi Rocks. "Time" is also worth mentioning if only for the fact that it combines progressive rock and britpop with a chorus that reminds me of Stratovarius - only without the double bass drums!

The Portion are worthy of checking out for those always on the lookout for something a bit different, and possibly the fans Brainstorm. Visit the band's website for more information.