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

TIMESCAPE: "Strange" 7

Adrenaline Records 2000

Review by 01-03-16

The second release from the Swedish progressive metal band TIMESCAPE has finally been released by the Italian label Adrenalize. This is an even more advanced, complex and dare I say progressive album than the debut "Two Words" that came out a couple of years ago and was distributed here in Sweden by Record Heaven. Strange is a good title for this CD as they tend to blend in some various influences from new hardrock to sometimes almost pop into the prog mixture.

Not a bad thing at all really as that's what "progressive" rock are all about and you can still hear the Dream Theater/Queensryche style. This is for sure Adult Oriented Prog (AOP?) or maybe I should say "The Thinking Man's Music" as everything from the front cover to the lyrics (which by the way they like to point out are: more into describing humanities of the world rather than the over abused Dungeon & Dragons stuff) are rather poetry than the typical: Wham bam thank ya ma'm stuff.

Vocalist "Mikeal Moberg" gets better and better for each album and the Berlin Bros are just great musicians. A big plus (joke) is the fact that bassist "Johan Eriksson" has already toured Japan several times with multi-platinum Swedish artist "Pandora". It's always difficult to name some highlights from a prog-album, but opening track "Falling" is for sure a winner with some great riffs and a catchy chorus. "Hell Freezes Over" has a lovely POP-ish sounding chorus and some verses straight from the book of fusion rock. "Looking for a Miracle" is a good epic prog track and "Crossroad" is an excellent ballad. The production is not bad at all and you will really enjoy this CD if you like prog-rock who's not afraid to cross the boundaries of music. Check out their site at: and the record label at:

Teri TIMS: "Whole Lotta Trouble" 6

Target Records 2001
Review by 12 December 2001

Let me start this review by saying that Teri Tims is probably the best female vocalist to have emerged from the AOR scene during the last few years. She has a voice that can be described as a combination of Alannah Myles, Shania Twain and Debbie Davis (of cult AOR band Witness), and I might add that she has got the looks to match too...Paul Sabu, his husband and the producer/co-writer of this a album is talented guy too, having produced and penned some excellent songs for the likes of Silent Rage, Alexa and Only Child. Unfortunately, 1 + 1 isn't always two, this time it's more like 1 and a quarter!

There are two major problems with this album: the songs and the production. I would say that the thin and lifeless production is the biggest flaw, I think that a more vivid and powerful sound might have helped a few of the songs to come to life, but now they just sound like pre-production demos. The programmed drums and the metallic guitar sounds do not appeal to me at all. Actually, the closest reference soundwise would be those early Shania Twain demos that Mr. Sabu also produced.

When it comes to the songs, there's at least light at the end of the tunnel: there are a few quite good songs here, like the awesome AOR track "Midnite In Your Eyes", very Sabu-like "Rock Hard" and the new country-ish ballad "Home Is Where The Heart Is". However, many of the other songs do not have hooks sharp enough to raise them above the dull production. And what the hell is "I Can Never Dance Enough" anyway? A country rock track with a Nu-metal chorus?

If it wasn't for Teri's brilliant vocals, my rating would've been lower. The next time around I sincerely hope that Teri and Paul will a) write quite a few songs as good as "Midnite In Your Eyes" and b) hire a drummer for gods sake!

TNA: "Branded" 7

Kivel 2003
Review by 27 September 2003

It is the year 1989, and this is L.A...except that it of course isn't, but that's the first thing that comes to mind when you're listening to TNA. 15 years ago this album would have been released on a major label and the band would have spent their big advances on sport cars and high livin' 2003 things are different, but what's important, the music's still good. Actually, to be totally honest, TNA aren't completely 80'ies oriented, there are traces of modern rock in some of the songs, especially in Mike MacManomon's excellent vocal delivery.

The opener "Guns, Lies And Violence" sounds a lot like something off "Not Fakin' It", the Michael Monroe solo album from 1989 - straightforward rocker with a brash attitude. I'm more impressed by the next few tracks though: "Do You Rembember" with its' catchy riffs and melodic hooks, Winger meets Lillian Axe -styled "Walk Before You Crawl" and "Rain", which is blessed with a killer hook.

Other tracks I want to mention are "Feel It" and "Kill Your Idols", both nice combinations of 80'ies styled sleazy hard rock and some modern touches, without forgetting the all-important good hook. Unfortunately the other tracks aren't quite as good as these aforementioned highlights, which means that my rating won't be any higher. Still, I have to put TNA to the list of "bands to watch out for".

TNT: "Give Me A Sign"

MTM Music 2003
Review by 12 June 2003

Oi! Oi! Oi! "Cuz I'm TNT I'm dynamite, TNT and I'll win the fight, TNT I'm a power load, TNT watch me explode". Lock up your daughters and hide all your gold as the Norwegian vikings are back in town. Indeed, even the US born Tony Harnell has been running bezerk with broadsword and sky-high screams in the studio this time around.

"Give Me A Sign" is a 5-track EP and only a taster of things to come really. The comeback of TNT is something that surely nobody could have missed by now? They're back with the classic line-up of already mentioned Harnell, Ronni Le Tekro (guitars), Morty Black (bass) and Diesel Dahl (drums). The music is actually like a mixture of the old TNT and the more "modern" approach of Westworld. I really prefer the mature style of "Live Today", "Give Me A Sign", "Satellite", then the rather dated "Destiny", which is only a "Tell No Tales"-era demo by the way. The production is crystal clear and I truly believe they have something big going on here. Like I've said before, Harnell's singing only gets better with age and he's not at all "annoying" anymore. Too many air-raid siren screams in the past huh? "Live Today" is nothing but a masterpiece and the real winner of the bunch. Some truly inspiring guitarwork by Le Tekro and out-of-this-world vocals by Harnell make this one great tune. "Satellite" is very poppy/catchy and not at all like TNT in the past really. It's still as much fun though and it wont scare away any hardcore fans either. I'm looking forward to a interesting full-length CD release later this year.

TNT: "My Religion" 9

MTM 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallström,
15 February 2004

Danger!!! Handle With Care!!! Indeed, the new TNT is explosive stuff that will most certainly blow up right in your face. I can honestly say that "My Religion" is their best overall album ever. They may have done a couple of better songs in the best (10.000 Lovers, As far As The Eye Can See), but I can't find any better CD release. They were either too short, too instrumental, or simply too lame (the first two), to be considered as near perfect or great.

However, you need to spin this a couple of times to really get into the groove. It must also be said that you probably need to enjoy some 'Westworld' too as this comes out like a mixture of the two acts fronted by Tony Harnell. Even if they've sort of returned to TNT's original sound and it's definitly more retro than, say, Transistor. Then again... remove the out of ordinary vocals of Harnell and the excellent guitarwork by Ronni LeTekro and you'll end up with what??? Well, let's just say that these musicians are actually better than the material itself sometimes. Don't get me wrong... the songs are great, but it would never work with Ron Keel and CC Deville (if you see my point?).

The first three tracks (Invisible Noise, She Needs Me, Lonely Nights) are nothing but breathtaking and you'll immediately understand why "My Religion" is going to be a killer album. The soaring high-pitced vocals by Harnell only get better with each release and like I've said before: "there's no need to drive with pedal to the metal all of the time, especially when you already know that you're the one with the fastest car around anyway". The guitar riff that opens up the title track (My Religion) hits you where it hurts and I absolutely love LeTekro's work here. The guitar sound is huge and he's managed to find the perfect tone for this kind of music. "Give Me A Sign" and "Live Today" were both included on last years EP and it was only a taster of things to come really. You'll be able to find much better tracks by now and "You'll Be There" is a smashing example of catchy rock the Norwegian way. "Everybody's Got A Secret" could as easily have been a "Tell No Tales" rocker and those keyboards in the background are straight from the 80's. "Everything You Are" is blessed with one helluva' cool guitar riff by LeTekro again, but the chorus is rather dull and ruins the whole song actually. One of very few downsides about this release though and it's also nice to see both Morty Black (bass) and Diesel Dahl (drums) back together again. I need to mention the rather unique sounding "Song 4 Diane" too as they mix celtic and norse folk tradition and influences into this semi-ballad. This time you can trust the hype as TNT is back, better than ever and with a rather nice production by Tommy Hansen. Recommended indeed!!! How about some TV promotion at least in Norway/Scandinavia as this would easily sell gold and probably could anyway???

TOBRUK: "Recaptured" 6

Phoenix Music 2001

Review by 01-08-21

"WILD ON THE RUN! WILD ON THE RUN!" Ah, sweet memories! Childhood memories actually, as I couldn´t have been more than three feet tall at the time. Or was it three feet wide? Nevermind! I remember hearing the song with Tobruk on a radioshow here in Sweden (Rockbox) years back and it simply blew my mind off! I ran straight to my parents, raving sumthin ´bout "need money now, buy album, great song on the radio", etc. I guess you all know the answer huh? - You´ll have to wait until your next weekly allowance day!

Yeah right! By then the album was already sold out in my local shop and it took me some 3-4 years to find a new copy (can´t remember why though?). "Recaptured" will take you back in time, to the very early years of Tobruk´s history. Formed in the south midlands town of Bedford, England already back in 1981, this is a compilation of demos recorded between the years of 1981-83. As the band themselves says "We drank a lot, we played a lot, we loved our music. These recordings are us in the raw! No big studio, no flash producer imposing his will, no manager breathing down our necks. Just a bunch of lads getting pissed, making the music we loved and having the time of our lives"

Indeed, the sound quality of the first four tracks (with original vocalist Terry Sullivan) from the year of 1981 are not of today´s standards. Maybe not so strange either as these are "raw" demos! The bass-drum especially are annoying as hell on the first two tracks, with its pounding "dead" sound, that really gets to you after awhile. The rest of the instruments (and all the other tracks on this CD) do sound pretty neat though. All twelve songs are previously unreleased (except a cool version of "Wild on the Run") and digitally re-mastered for connoisseurs of eighties British rock. A big treat for all fans are the three bonus videos included here! Just insert the CD into your CD-Rom drive of your home computer and enjoy. I must say that I enjoy the eight tracks with vocalist Snake, more than the early NWOBHM material with Sullivan. Highlights would be "Rage of angels", "Rhapsody", "In paradise" (with Sullivan), "Colette", "Looking at love" &" Children". Not a groundbreaking record though, but maybe still a must have? if you´re a collector of brit-rock or Tobruk. You can buy this CD (and find more info) at: if you can find it otherwise.

TOC: "Loss Angeles" 9

Spinefarm Records 2003
Review by 8 november 2003

Somehow I’ve managed to go all these years with ever getting to know Throne Of Chaos that closer, except from compilations and one demo. TOC, as they go today, was already formed back in the mid ninetees in Finland. I must say I’m very impressed with ”Loss Angeles”. The band’s name might give you the wrong impression of their music even after they’ve changed it, but the promo picture leads more closer to their sound, though the guys look like a cross between a ’70’ies hippie and a hard rocker. But they’re more than that. In the early days TOC’s music was more influenced by growling vocals and black metal with keys, but today their music is mixing lots of influences.

Titles such as ”Acid Highway”, ”Mary Lou Is Dead”, ”Bite The Bullet” and ”Break-A-Neck” give you an example of their sound, think about what images they give you. There’s basic hard rock, hippie, groovy elements, melancholy and growling’s still there in the small scale. Add a bit of prog (say Pain Of Salvation, Dream Theater) in it and you’re pretty much there. The whole album is a moody package and yet hiding inside of all that appears this entertaining side of the band. The short, entertaining parts show these guys are capable of more than what is heard here. And at times songs such as ”Mary Lou Is Dead”, ”Acid Highway”, ”Blue Lady” and ”Bite The Bullet” reach that certain Sub-Urban Tribe lightness and atmosphere and bring out this pop side from TOC, which suites the band too. Both that and the heavier side work great.

Tuomas Nieminen has improved from his early days as a singer (his other band being Bride Adorned, who are also showing improvement) and it’s a pleasure to listen to him, he’s very versatile and really lives the songs and gives emotion to them. And the band gives its everything, which shows. TOC has a sense for style and each song is a masterpiece. Even their cover of the old and too often played ”Smoke On The Water” is amazing, TOC has given it more rage and speed and the outcome is only following the old version in the chorus, otherwise it sounds really fresh and really gives a new meaning to the song and a new spark. ”Loss Angeles” has the soft side for girls and the edge, testo and kick-ass drive for guys, definitely one of the best albums that have come out this year.

TOO OLD TO ROCK: "Too Dumb To Quit"

TGIF Productions 2002
Review by 22 December 2002

I usually shy away from reviewing instrumental albums, but since I wanted to have this one included in the last update of the year, I didn't send it to our resident (evil) Widdlymaister Bandi. Besides, this CD amused me even before I had played it, as the song titles are some of the funniest I've seen. They all follow the theme of "Too Old To Rock", so you'll get songs like "Bingo Night At Emily's", "Hair Today Gone Tomorrow" and "Viagra Falls". Not to mention that the cover features two elderly "axemen" rockin' and rollin'. And no, "Too Old To Rock" aren't that old, Jim Reindel (gt) and Chris Hattingh (gt, bs, drs) seem to be a bit younger than the gentlemen on the cover.

"Too Dumb To Quit" is all instrumental guitar rock songs, ranging from classic rock and hard rock to more progressive stuff and acoustic ballads. My favourite tracks are the 80'ies hard rock-styled "Goodbye Spandex" (figures!), the beatiful ballad "Viagra Falls" , "Pass The Geritol" which has a Satriani-vibe to it and especially the brilliant "Bingo Night At Emily's", a pure instrumental AOR track in the vein of Journey.

All in all, a good indie instrumental release, with extra points for humour. This might have even more to offer to the guitar freaks out there, but it does have its' fair share of good tunes for the average music fan like me too.

TORMAN MAXT: "The Foolishness Of God"

Indie 2002

Review by 1 August 2002

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strenght (1 Corinthians 1:25)" Indeed, Torman Maxt is a Christian hardrock band from USA, consisting of the three Massaro brothers: Tony (vocals/guitar), Dominic (bass) & Vincent (drums).

A power trio in other words and musicially not that far from another power trio out there. Rush would be the name and complex prog-rock is the game. There's no doubt about where their major influcences comes from either as this is a concept album, in the old tradition of 70's prog-rock. This could actually be archived under the, "even more complex rock than those Canadians" banner.

"The Foolishness of God" featuring over 50 minutes of hard hitting drums, fantastic bass lines and powerful guitar. I wouldn't recommend this to prog-rock rookies out there as the music is very... ehh... complex and not that easy to get into at first. Songs or maybe I should say episodes such as: "Vanity Explored" (from the indside part 1), "The China Song" (external prespectives) or "40 Days" are all a reviewers worst nightmare. Pretty good music indeed, but almost impossible to describe. I hate to bring this up once again, but it's very much music a-la Rush in the 70's. The vocals of Tony M could be described as a distant cousin to Geddy Lee (Rush), a good sign for some while others find this to be very annoying. My advice would be to check 'em out if you're into "that" band. The lyrics are not too 'preachy' either, if you get easily upset (?) by christian lyrics (?!). Do check'em out at:

TOROK: "Binge & Burge" 5

Nightmare Records 2001

Review by 17 April 2002

Ouch... well, never judge a CD by its front cover as this will have to be the ugliest yet. Thank God the music is better than its presentation! Torok started out in the mid 90's, playing in the Minneapolis rock club circuit before signing to US label, Nightmare Records.

What you end up with here is straight-in-your-face rock with a raw attitude. They like to blend flavors of 70's Hard Rock with elements of blues and 80's guitar rock. Very much in the tradition of Badlands, Hendrix, Tattoo Rodeo, the energy of Skid Row, and the power of later days rock like Godsmack.

The band which features guitarist Michael Torok (ex. Impaler), Bryan Erickson (vocals), Aaron Davis (bass) and drummer Eric Althaus (ex. Equinox), have gone for a real band effort here as all members are as important for the general sound. It's not all about hooks rather than groove and I'll have to admit that it gets a bit boring in the long run. Then again, I was never a big fan of Badlands either. Great vocalist (Ray Gillen R.I.P.), but less impressive material in my opinion. Torok do have a couple of killer tracks though. Just check out "Amidst The Lies" with some wicked bass lines by Davis and bombastic drumming. The rhythm section is tighter than Agnetha Fältskog's (ABBA) pants and that kinda' says it all. "Useless War" features some flashy guitar work ala Jake E Lee (Ozzy, Badlands) and "Cry For Dawn" simply rocks. The major problem is that I tend to forget about the other songs as soon as I turn off my CD player.

TOTAL STRANGER: "Obsession" 7

Escape Music 2002

Review by 02-04-02

The Canadian act 'Total Strangers' returns to the rock scene after a couple of years in silence. 'Obsession' is the follow up album, to their much acclaimed debut release in the late nineties [1997]. This is actually a limited edition [2000 copies] double disc, with their debut as a bonus CD. Since it's pretty rare and hard to find in these days.

Like fellow Canadians Von Groove or why not Harem Scarem, Total Stranger pride themselves on gutsy hard rock, with smashing guitar work and hooklines. It's basic rock ala the late 80's with a touch of modern days influences. Some of the tracks bear also resemblance to latter day Bon Jovi. Even if the song material does not really stand up against the latter mentioned bands.

Opener "Cream/Believe In Yourself" is downright boring without any hooks or chorus. On the other hand, track #2 and title track "Obsession" has a lovely vibe, which had me thinking about Harem Scarem and their 'Mood Swinging' days. They sure know how to write slow songs as both "Rising Sun" and "Wildest Dream" are hot stuff. The latter has this 'Western-acoustic-guitar" thing going on and is very Bon Jovi-ish. Vocalist Al Langlade does his best Jon Bongiovi impression here and Andre Pelletier (guitars) goes Sambora. Other highlights would be "Vision Of The Very Young" and "Mistaken Ways". The CD was mixed by Paul "The Machine" Dean (Loverboy) and has a crystal clear sound. In short, a nice package that at least proves value for your money. And songs like "Paradise", "Bed Of Lies", "The Mask", "Big Dream" etc. All from the debut, bonus album are still, very enjoyable to listen to.

TOTO: "XX (1977-1997)"

Columbia 1998
Review by

Call me crazy, but I think that Toto have never made a really great album. Sure, some of them are "almost there", like "Isolation" and "The Seventh One", but even those have songs I'd rather skip. This anniversary collection of unreleased material is in that respect a typical Toto album: Some very good songs, some decent ones and some dull ones. The fact that Toto have never been afraid to experiment with styles may be the reason for this. I have never been into the jazzier elements of their music...

The highlights of "XX" from my subjective point of view are the brilliant AOR tune (and the first single) "Goin' Home", co-written by Joseph Williams but sung by Bobby Kimball, the big ballad "Right Part Of Me" and the furious live version of rocker "On the Run". The live version of "Africa" is also one of the better tracks.

TOWER: "Turn the page" 5

hy 2004
Review by Martien Koolen,
10 March 2004

Again another disappointing album from a so-called rock band. Tower is the name and the group has two lead guitar players among its ranks, but I never hear them; where are the f…. guitar solos, guys???

Most of the ten songs are just boring, commercial(?), middle of the road rock songs, which you will forget immediately after you heard them. The only two “reasonably" good songs are “I’d Give You My Life"(a hard melodic rock song with AOR influences) and “Say A Prayer"(an AOR track with Def Leppard influences). The rest is almost redundant material; “Doesn’t Really Matter"(ordinary rock), “Ain’t It Sacred"(rock and roll) or “I Wanna Know Why"; just too much singing.

The yuk-factor reaches an unbearable level during songs like the obligatory bitter sweet ballad “Rain" or the acoustic ballad “My Heartache Ways". No, just forget about this album and buy a really good rock album, like Frameshift or Magnitude 9!!!

TOWER CITY: "All Or Nothing" 8+

MTM Music 1998
Review by

The first Tower City album "A Little Bit Of Fire" was high quality AOR with a bit of a Winger flavour. "All Or Nothing" is their second effort, an it is even better! The band has written a handful of songs that can only be described as melodic rock masterpieces. Two of these masterpieces, "Fire With Fire" and "I Won't Surrender", were apparently so good, that producer Mike Slamer wanted to record them with his own project Steelhouse Lane! Other gems include "Hungry", "Two Sides Of Love" and the "Leppardesque" title song, which unfortunately has fallen victim to technical problems.

Other songs I want to mention are "Another Brother", which is quite different from the rest of the album, a funk/Rock hybrid in the Dan Reed Network/Stevie Salas Colorcode vein, and "I Just Wanna Be The One", another very Leppard-like number. There is also a hidden bonustrack, a new version of "Surrender" from their first album.

TOXIC VIRGIN: "Circle Of Power"

Brilliant 2001
Review by 6 December 2002

Toxic Virgin are a German hard rock who have been around since '95 and have two CD's prior to this one under their belt, one full-length CD and an EP, all self-financed. They have played together with bands like Doro and Bonfire, and have made it twice to the the finals of German Rock Musicians Awards. Quite accomplished musicians, and judging by this album, quite ready to be picked up by a record label for a wider distribution.

"Broken Wings" is the opening track, and it's an interesting hard rock track with a melody that takes its' cues from folk music. "Son Of The Sun" and "Waiting For The Rain" are PC69-styled uptempo numbers, and in between them there's "Restless Hearts", a more melodic rock track and one of my favourites. Heavy rocker "Rock Tonight" is unfortunately as dull as its' title leads one to expect, although it must said that Markus Litsch manages to sound a lot like Vince Neil on this track.

"Until The End" is a good ballad in the vein those late eighties' hard rock hit ballads. It is followed by something completely different, the furious "Alien Love Song" which has a riff that reminds me of Judas Priest ("Breaking The Law") and a good hook. Check out our MP3 Vault for proof, the song is featured there. And talking of good hooks, the moody and highly melodic "Our Only Hope" has one to look out for - this one is seriously catchy!

The folk melodies return in "Sailor", which is more like a folk song played with rock instruments than a folk-influenced rock track. Then it's back to hard rock with the next three tracks, even though I have to say that they don't sound particulary inspiring - kind of standard riff-fests and especially "Don't Know What I Want" and "Walk On Water" sound really similar to each other. The last track "All For One" is not one of the highlights either, although better than the previous trio, It's obviously the band's attempt to write a sing-along track for the gigs, and while it's quite catchy it curiously reminds me of a glam rock band doing a Manowar cover, if you can imagine that.

The production is good, and there's nothing to complain about the performances. Litsch has a good voice and the other members Dirk Reiners (gt), Carlo Bertini (gt), Klaus Peltzer (b) and France Ecke (drs) provide a good foundation. Just a little bit of finetuning when it comes to the songs, and we'll be talking about a serious contender! By the way...what's a "Toxic Virgin" anyway?

TOXIC VIRGIN: "Sulphur" 7

Brilliant 2004
Review by Petri Kautto 31 May 2004

New album "Sulphur" by German hardrockers Toxic Virgin is an interesting mix of hard rock melodies, big choruses and even folk music, thou folk music is not dominant in most of the songs. They do have a wide scale of styles but they manage to keep it together without making this too disperse. Before I revieved this album I also listened to their previous album "Circle of Power" and the band has not changed that much, thou I think they are stepping away from using the folk melodies as much which I think is good for them.

The first song of the album is "Evil Days" and it has a catchy melody and a deep, dark chorus and it rolls on nicely. "Born to Run" is an uptempo song, a pretty basic rocker that has a rough riff on which the song builds on. "Mad as Hell" was not one of my favourites thou it has a catchy refrain. "Paradise" is quite slow song that has a moody feel to it and a dark, layered chorus. "The Clown" is a positive, up-beat rocker that has some folk music features in it. Representing the heavier part of the album is a song called "It Smells of Leather" and it has nice elements to it thou the chorus is not the catchiest of the album.

The rest of the songs in the album are quite similar to the above mentionded except for "We’ll Make It Through" which is an AORish ballad. It has a good melody, good bridge to a chorus and the keyboards are used well, I enjoyed this one. Also the last song of the album "Girls Don’t Drink" is different from the others, the band is basically just fooling around and this shows another side of the band. To sum it all up, this album is filled with up-tempo rock music, big refrains and rough riffs. It’s well produced and you can see that they’ve also thought about the arrangements, for example the choruses are many times very enjoyable.

The TRACEELORDS: "Sex, money, rock 'n' roll" 9

Massacre Records 2001

Review by 3 September 2001

Refreshing. I've been waiting for a record like this for quite a while. A German band called The Traceelords delivers a solid set of heavy rock 'n' roll that's gonna dominate my CD player for a long time. Throw in the mix L.A Guns, Die Toten Hosen, Hanoi Rocks and bit of the Backyard Babies, shake well and you get The Traceelords. They're keeping it simple and that's the way I like it. That's not to say that this is a dull record. Just listen to songs like "Feel Like Charlie Brown", "Bad News Mom" or a rocking version of Boney M:s "Daddy Cool" and you'll now what I mean.

Andy Brings (vocals, guitars), Haan Hartman (drums), Guido Scholten (bass) and Mirko Salispahic (guitars) are names to remember when you set your sights on the German rock scene. Powerful, straight to the point rock 'n' roll that totally blew me away. They did good work with their version of "Daddy Cool" but then, just so that I would have something negative to say, they also did some experimenting with their bonus track, a disco song "Born To Be Alive" which I really didn't like that much. But for all I care they can keep experimenting as much as they want if it means that the other songs are as good as they are here.

I had a "bad day at work" today and was really frustrated when I came home. But now I feel like buying some beer, calling my friends and introducing them (and my neighbours, this has to be played loud) to the world of The Traceelords. These boys are gonna make an alcoholic out of me, it's Tuesday for God's sake! Well, this album is worth one hangover…

Mike TRAMP: "Capricorn"

CMC International 1998
Review by

Former White Lion vocalist Mike Tramp has chosen to jump off the grunge bandwagon and return to his melodic rock roots. Even though the two albums he made with Freak Of Nature weren't that bad, I have to say that I find his current style more suitable to him.

"Capricorn" is a collection of laid-back semi-acoustic rock songs which remind me of the material on Joey Tempest's first solo album. At times Tramp sounds like John Mellencamp ("Running Out Of Life" maybe), and naturally there are a few songs that bring back memories of White Lion. One such tune is the ballad "Love Will Come And Go", which would not have sounded out of place on "Mane Attraction". A couple of the songs feature female backing vocals, which provide a little welcomed variety.

Highlights aren't too easy to pick out, which can only be a good thing, as it means that the quality of the songs is quite consistent. The aforementioned two tracks are definately ones, but also "If I live Tomorrow" and "Wait Not For Me" are very good songs.

Mike TRAMP: "Recovering The Wasted Years" 9

Ulftone Music 2002
Review by 10 October 2002

Wow! I can hardly find the correct words to describe this CD as "Recovering The Wasted Years" is simply marvelous from start to finish. The ex-White Lion, Freak Of Nature vocalist Mike Tramp may just have done his masterpiece and best overall album ever here. That's right!! No matter how much I love his old White Lion material, I doubt very much that he ever been this good in the past.

His first solo album "Capricron" was a bit of disappointment really as many of the songs were a bit flat and dull somehow. However, this album is full of catchy melodies and hooklines from melodic rock heaven. The music is basicially in the same style as his previous album though, only catchier, a bit tougher, much better, and with more "uptempo" tracks (it's still pretty 'laid-back' though).

Tramp actually lives 'down under' (Australia) nowadays, but returned to his homeland Denmark and Copenhagen to record this album. This may also have something to do with his relaxed approach to music nowadays? Honestly, what do I know? He wrote some of the songs together with fellow Dane, Kasper Damgaard (guitar). It's produced by Tramp, and Damgaard, Emil Bendixen (bass), Kasper Foss (drums) helped to arrange the whole she-bang. It's not a new "White Lion" album, even if many of the songs here sure would fit the suit. "Recovering The Wasted Years" is a more matured, yet very intense album that leaves no-one unaffected. There are more electric guitars this time around even if the 'acoustic' vibe is all over the place. To name highlights is very difficult as almost all the songs here are great. Still, "Falling Down", Living A Lie", "Mr.Death", "All Up To You", "Endless Highway", "Darkness" and "Always Tomorrow" are just some of them. The only song I really didn't like is "Do It All Over" which is a pretty lame rocksong without any hooks. Thanks to Ulftone for sending a review copy now, especially as it's been a while since the release (earlier this year). Easily a top-5 album of the year and very close to a perfect 10 rating. Recommended indeed!!!

TRANSATLANTIC: "Live In Europe" 10

Inside Out/SPV 2003
Review by 15 October 2003

Finally it has been released: "Transatlantic Live In Europe"; two cds with probably some of the best prog rock songs of this moment in time. Funnily enough I was present at the recording of this album (013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands), so this makes it even more interesting for me.

After the very well received albums “SMPTe”(2000) and “Bridge Across Forever”(2001) Transatlantic now show what they are capable of during a live gig. Of course they already released a live album in 2001 “Live in America” but this live recording is much better and is therefore a real thrill to listen to.

The songs: “Duel With The Devil” opens this live recording and is also the opener of the previous studio album, “My New World” from “SMPTe”, followed by “We All Need Some Light”, which is dedicated to the victims of the 11 September attack on New York. The first cd ends with an extended version of “Suite Charlotte Pike Medley”, which last 30 minutes instead of 14:30 on “Bridge Across Forever”. The second cd starts with the band introduction (Morse, Stolte, Trewavas, Portnoy and guest Gildenlow from Pain Of Salvation) before they play “Stranger In Your Soul”; the EPIC of all epics, and last but not least we are treated to “All Of The Above”, a 30 minute song from their debut album. So there you have it: a MUST for prog rock lovers all over the world; it cannot get any better than this….. Watch out for the release of the 2 dvd set and the limited edition 2 dvd + 2 cd Deluxe Digipack!!

TRANSCENDENCE: "The Meridian Project" 6

Lion Music 2002
Review by 16 June 2002

One thing's for sure: you can't accuse Transcendence of being one-dimensional. This album is quite hard to describe, as the band changes styles from Black Sabbath-like heavy rock to melodic rock, via progressive metal!

The opener "Endless Reich" is a fast progressive metal track with swirling keyboards and fast double bass drum groove. Vocalist Greg Drew sounds a bit like Tracy White from Shotgun Symphony, and the guitars by Jeff Ford are heavy and crunching. "Echoes From The Past" is a very heavy, mid-tempo track that reminds me of Black Sabbath, while "No Trace" is something completely different again. It's a good ballad in the vein of Queensrÿche or Dream Theather, although heavier than any of the ballads of theirs.

"The Wake" is another progressive, heavy track - cool keyboards but not quite catchy enough for me. The short, fast and furious instrumental "The Fall Of The Meridian" leads us to one of the highlights of the album, the hook-laden "Filtered Lenses". Then it's time for yet another change of pace, as we move on to "Set Fire To The Sky". It is very European-sounding power metal or something, with drummer John Von Rosenberg kicking his bass drums like there's no tomorrow.

"Israel" is another highlight, a beautiful ballad that should appeal to the AOR fans too. Unfortunately, the remaining three tracks represent the more progressive side of the band, and while they are good at that, they do not really appeal to me.

All in all, a good progressive rock/metal album with a lot of variety. Not necessarily my favourite music, but highly recommended to all of you progheads out there!

Pat TRAVERS: "P.T. Power Trio" 6

Blues Brureau/Shrapnel 2003
Review by 4 July 2003

The old rock/blues legend Pat Travers has been "snortin' whiskey" ever since the birth of the earth. Well.. at least since 1976 and the release of his first solo album. Travers started out in Canada back in the 60's and ended later up playing with Ronnie Hawkins of "The Band". He actually moved to England during the mid 70's, where he also secured a record deal with Polydor (after a rather successful gig at the Reading festival by the way).

Lots of other musicians has been part of his band during all these years. Tony Carey, Pat Thrall, Barry Dunaway, Tommy Aldridge, and a young-er Nicko McBrain, are only some of all ex-members. The power trio consist this time of Pat Travers (vocals/guitars), Gunther Nezhoda (bass) and Aynsley Dunbar (drums). The latter has of course been playing with everybody from Whitesnake to Journey through the years.

"P.T. Power Trio" is a cover album consisting of 10 "classic" rock tunes from the late 60's/early 70's. Like all cover albums, you simply can't help comparing the songs with its original cut. Some of them may sound better, but I think we can all agree of that most songs do rock more in its original version. Travers goes through everything from Cream, ZZ Top, to Bob Dylan here. "White Room" (Cream) has always been a good tune and Travers pretty much nails it. "Nasty Dogs And Funky Kings" is a good ZZ Topper and "Hwy. 61 Revistied" is at least blessed with better vocals this time. Let's face it... Bob Dylan is no singer for sure... pheeeeew! We also get nice versions of "Dreams Of Milk And Honey" (Mountain), "Inside Looking Out" (Grand Funk Railroad), "Young man Blues" (Who), and "Fire And Water" (Free) etc. Nice to see that Travers is still out there, I would however prefer a all original composed album next time.