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U.D.O.: "Nailed To Metal - The Missing Tracks" 8

AFM Records/Rock Inc. 2003
Review by 18 august 2003

What can you say about UDO that anybody doesn’t know yet.. That some consider him an AC/DC clone, that he was the Accept singer for years, that he has a great live reputation and that you can always identify his typical sound after the first three seconds of any song.

At the Bang Your Head-festival of this year he was one of the best acts and now he gives the fans what they want; a new live-album and a new dvd with the complete history of the band. The 12 songs on this live-album are previously unreleased songs from the Russia tour UDO did and they are carefully picked out by UDO himself.

So be ready for killersongs like: “Restless And Wild”, “Fast As A Shark”, Balls To The Wall”, “Metal Heart” or “Holy”. All in all it is one dynamic, great livegig and you love or hate UDO’s voice… Releasedate: 25 August and watch out for the upcoming UDO dvd.

U.D.O.: "Thunderball" 7

AFM Records 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
13 March 2004

They're banging on the big drum with UDO's new release and it's proclaimed to be his best effort in years. Fair enough as it's been a while since the German bulldog recorded anything really great. However, to compare this with classic Accept albums such as "Balls To The Wall" and the likes is really taken out of propotion. It's never that good I'm afraid... don't believe the hype.

"Thunderball" was again recorded with ex-Accept drummer Stefan Kaufmann, at the helm as both producer and guitarist. Igor Gianoli (ex-Gotthard) and Fitty Weinhold (ex-Bullet) are also experienced musicians that contributes with solid performances once again. You can definitly call this a legitimate successor of "Animal House" or "Faceless World", which are still UDO's best solo work up to date.

The melodies from the past are actually back and it's nice to hear some power riffs again. Something like "Tough Luck II", "The Magic Mirror", or "Blind Eyes", are without a doubt a huge step back to the heydays and 80's Heavy Metal. This is the old UDO and the style which made him an icon and yes, legend of metal. The razor sharp guitar attack featured on the title track, brings a smile all over my face, even if we've heard this kind of throw-away rocker before. The pure energy and share determination has always been UDO's best ability and he disappoints no-one with his performance on "Thunderball". The barbwire voice isn't every man's poison perhaps, but you surely can't take blame him for any sloppy work either. "Trainride To Russia" is a special piece of work as the Russian folklore influences are very present here. You could almost expect something like this from Gorky Park back in their days. Otherwise a very tradtional UDO album, with a couple of real highlights and a great production. I'm afraid that he will mostly be remembered as that Accept singer though and the fans will always love those songs the most. It's never easy to compete with the greatness of the past.

UFO: "You Are Here" 6

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

I honestly hope the whole Michael Schenker business is a closed chapter for good this time. First he's back (for the third or fourth time?), then he's out the door again and for whatever reason, I simply can't keep up with all this nonsense anymore. I think it's time for Phil Mogg (vocals) Pete Way (bass), and Paul Raymond (keys/guitar) to finally realize, they are simply not capable to work with the German guitarist anymore. They've sort of turned into a 'Spinal Tap' act, without even noticing it among themselves.

"You Are Here" will not only welcome two completely new members to their line-up, but also a rather "new" or better yet, different, retro sound. The new string bender is none other than Vinnie Moore (Vicious Rumors, Alice Cooper, solo), while Jason Bonham (Bonham, Led Zep connection, etc.) is their new skinbasher.

The material is actually bluesier than on "Sharks" or anything they've done recently. I "blame" much of this upon Vinnie Moore as his excellent guitarwork (and co-writing on some of the tracks), adds a groovier vibe throughout the CD. It may not be fair to compare "You Are Here" with UFO's golden era during the 70'ies (1974-79). However, I'm afraid that everybody will do this anyway and this is indeed a step back in time, every now and then. Sadly without reaching all the way though as some of these songs are rather dull in the end. It won't take away anything from rockers such as "Daylight Goes To Town" (the best song in ages), "Black Cold Coffee", (flashy guitar work by Moore), or "The Wild One" though. Other highlights include "Slipping Away" and the semi-ballad "Baby Blue", where Mogg actually do sound better than ever. "You Are Here" was recorded in Hanover/Germany by producer Tommy Newton and the band presence is definitely stronger than in recent years. Mogg proudly admits that "there is a homogenous feel of cummunal spirit in the band". The album lacks however a couple of rememberable riffs and hooks in certain places. OK, but still pretty far from their best work.

UNCLE MOE'S SPACE RANCH: "Uncle Moe's Space Ranch" 2

Tone Center 2001

Review by 20 November 2001

You hear about a band called Warrior Blood. What kind of music do you expect? True trotter metal. Right. Heartfire? 80s AOR. Right. Uncle Moe's Space Ranch? Yes, unfortunately you are right. Chaotic, progressive, innovative (wannabe), indigestible, thrown together *something*. I wouldn't call these pieces "songs". There are countless musical ideas, some of them are delivered pretty well (mostly the very rare jazzy guitar parts), these guys are definitely great musicians but I assume the music they recorded can only entertain themselves and nobody else.

There is not a single memorable moment on the album. Don't get me wrong, the problem is not with the ability of the musicians to play but the approach they have towards music and recording. This is just an hour-long jam session that is absolutely unnecessary to record and release. It might be fun for the musicians in the rehearsal room but not too much fun for others to listen to. I'd be surprised if the album sold in more than 150 copies (friends, family relations, some die-hard fans at the concerts).

Song(?) titles like "Colliding Chimps", "Swarming Goblets" or "" would make buyers cautious anyway, plus I doubt there are many people out there who still buy albums without giving it a spin or listening to soundbytes. Make sure to spin it before if you ever think of buying it!


Indie 2002
Review by 7 November 2002

Uncle Sam, Uncle Tom, & Uncle Moe, are some of all the famous Uncle's who have managed to break free from the rest of the family. Umm... one way or the other!!! The latter is of course the famous bartender /bar owner from the Simpsons show.

The world better be ready for yet another "Uncle" though as "Sid" is ready to enter the arena. Actually, with a name like that you rather expect this to be some weird rock a-la Primus or something. No need to worry though as this is kick-ass rock'n'roll the American way with lots of attitude and power chords.

Uncle Sid started out as Hard Rock'n trio in Vancouver, Canada back in 93. They've been through a couple of member changes since and vocalist Franky Dee, from Brooklyn, N.Y. Joined the rest of the gang [Henry Seto - guitars, Scotty (Bad) Vye - bass, Dale Salive -drums] pretty recentely. This is only a two track demo and it's maybe too early to try and pass judgemental words around. But Dee is one excellent vocalist for sure and Seto gets into the groove with one helluva' power riffing guitarwork. Opener "Frenzy" is maybe a bit un-easy on the ears though as the word "Frenzy" is constantly being repeated throughout the song. Great power rock a-la Junkyard, Keel, Kix or a rougher version of Steelheart, but I'm not that sure about that chorus dudes. Track#2 "Out Rock The Clock" pretty much kicks like a mule though!!! Check out the frenzy (heh?) of vocalist Dee here as he sings incredible good. Imagine if that Steelheart vocalist (Mijatevic? Matjevic? Whatever vic?) would drop his balls a bit a-la Tom Keifer (Cinderella) and you're pretty close. Dee can really reach those high notes and still sound like a man goddamnit!!! Check 'em out at the site below as I'm sure we'll hear more about them in the future.

UNDER-RADIO: "Bad Heir Ways" 6

LionMusic 2004
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
5 June 2004

Holy Crap... now these chaps are really "out there" with their music. The experience of listening to their sophomore release "Bad Heir Ways", ends up somewhere on a scale between weird and fascinating. It's like this eclectic journey of several different music styles, which have obviously been thrown together into one messy stew. You need to pull out the most complex material by King's X, add one dose Nu-Metal, and finish it all off with lots of progressive rock.

I can't recall anything similar or even remotely close as they REALLY don't sound like every other band out there. The project was together by guitarist and main songwriter Eric Zimmermann, he has previously participated in Lion Music's "Warmth in the Wilderness - A Tribute to Jason Becker". Born in Kings Park, New York, Zimmermann acquired his first guitar during high school when he traded in his porn collection for a friend's guitar. He soon thereafter began studying under Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci. In addition to being an accomplished musician and producer, Zimmermann is also a Grammy-nominated mastering engineer. Other musicians include Fates Warning's Mark Zonder (drums), and bassist Matt Bissonette (David Lee Roth, etc).

"Wedding Song" comes out like a melodic version of Marilyn Manson, while "Cornerstone" borrows a lot of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. "1916" is a quirky, acoustic track, with actually show a lot of King's X influences. Add that vocalist Robbie Wycoff comes through like a cousin to Doug Pinnick, and you'll get even closer to the big picture. "Build A Monument" is definitely King's X material with complex guitar work and everything. And you can also add "Neol (The Christmas Song)", to the same category and style. The opening and title track of the album, could scare away many potential buyers though. It's one awful Nu-Metal track without any real structure or melody. I must however give credit to the excellent guitar work by Zimmermann here. The album is without a doubt a grower and a real challange for the listener. They are leaders and not followers of any genre, but I still can't decide upon if they're good or simply just too weird? I miss those real choruses and hooks and therefore the rather "average" rating...

UNDER SUSPICION: "Under Suspicion" 7

Frontiers 2001
Review by 10 October 2001

Under Suspicion is the brainchild of Klay Shroedel (drums, keyboards) and Peter Roberts (guitar, keyboards), producers of Jimi Jamison's "Empires" album. This dynamic duo is joined by Jeff Adams (of Mickey Thomas' Starship) on vocals and bass, and these three are responsible for most of the songwriting, with a little help from their friends.

I was curious to hear this album, as the song previewed on the latest "Union" sampler - "Love Without A Net" - was very impressive. Sadly, the finished product doesn't completely live up to the expectations generated by that one song.

It's funny how this album seems to follow a certain formula: first there's a weaker song, then a stronger one...and so it goes, up till the last "pair", of which I like the first one better. Of course you might find your favourites to be different, but for me this works like that!

Most of my favourites seem to represent the harder side of the band, like the aforementioned "Love Without A Net", the awesome "Come Tomorrow" and "Just Your God". Surprisingly enough, the much-hyped duets (featuring Kip Winger and Mickey Thomas sharing the lead vocals), both more on the mellow side, fail to impress. Same goes for "Hold On" (not a week goes by...), another balladic track. I guess this band is at their best when they rock out a little! That said, "I Will Live" proves that they can write good ballads as well.

This is probably the kind of an album you might want to listen before buying. At best the band is very good and I can imagine that a lot of people might find this very appealing. For my money though, there were a few too many tracks that didn't have that certain something to guarantee them more than a 7.

Various Artists: "UNION 2" 8

Frontiers/Now & Then 1999
Review by

"Union - 2" is the second sampler from the Frontiers/now & Then "union", featuring tracks from their recent releases and a couple of tasters from soon to be released albums. The album also includes rather informative liner notes, which have been missing from some earlier N&T compilations.

The most interesting tracks might be the few tasters: "The Pain" is a magnificent song from the second Bob Catley album, while "No Saviours" sees Emerald Rain continuing the Harem Scaremish style of their first album. Hugo's "Time On Earth" will be one of the most anticipated AOR albums of the year 2000, and thus "I Will Be Waiting" is an aptly-named taster from it! It's an OK track too, very much in the "Escape"-era Journey-vein.

The other tracks are mostly very good choices from recent releases of the labels, highlights being the awesome "Walk With You" by Phoenix Dawn, Millenium's "Until The End Of Time" and Jaime Kyle's "Bombs Away". I would have liked to see a couple of rare tracks included (those obligatory Japanese bonustracks maybe?), but even as it is, this is a very good sampler.


Various Artists: "UNION 3" 8+

Frontiers/Now & Then 2000
Review by

"Union 3" is a yet another fine value-for-money collection from Frontiers/Now & Then. It's a double album, with disc one highlighting the label's most recent releases, and disc two concentrating on the up-and-coming projects.

Disc One features well-chosen tracks from artists such as Two Fires, Fair Warning, Hugo and Bob Catley. Since we've covered those songs in the original reviews of their albums, I'll concentrate on the Disc Two:

"The Stranger" by Ten is a fine track from "Babylon" reviewed elsewhere on this page. It is followed by Jorn's "Starfire", a very Whitesnake/Dio-like track from the current Millenium-frontman's solo release. The V.U. are up next with "Keys To The City", and WHAT A SONG it is! Probably the best song of the year so far with an amazing chorus, great production and an outstanding performance from vocalist Kevin Chalfant. Brilliant!

Heaven's Fire and Voodoo Hill represent the grittier side of Frontiers' rooster, while my old favourites Millenium throw in a new song called "Chasing Time". It's a fine track that promises good things for their new album. Jorn Lande does a fine job, sounding a bit like jeff Scott Soto here.

AOR supergroup The Sign do not fail to impress with "Ayeron", a song that reminds me a bit of Drive She Said. That is not surprising, as DSS mainman Mark Mangold is in the band! Teer are a promising new US band who appear here with a demo version of "Romeo", a slightly Firehouse-like melodic rocker. Talon are a new US band too, with a raw but melodic sound (or is it this demo version only?), like sleazier Dokken.

Stuart Smith's Heaven And Earth showcase the new vocalist Kelly Keeling with a cool new track called "Politician". Nightranger drummer Kelly Keagy's "Anything Goes" sounds surprisigly heavy, but I am told that this is a really early version of the track, and the finished product will sound quite different. We'll see. next up, ex-Giuffria vocalist David Glen Eisley returns to melodic rock with a good balladic track called "Don't Turn Away", and The Sign's Terry Brock gives us a sneak preview of his solo material with the Steve Perry-like track "Your Man Again".

"Missy" is a good-sounding AOR track from Kansas' Billy Greer's Seventh Key project, produced by Mike Slamer, while European hard rock supergroup Prime Time (featuring members of Elegy, Royal Hunt and Narita) give us the fastpaced keyboard-driven track "Hanging On". Promising stuff! Finally, Millenium showcase us their OTHER forthcoming album, the covers album "Long Live Rock'n Roll". They do it with a cover of Rainbow's "I Surrender", with mr. Chameleon Jorn Lande doing a fine Joe Lynn Turner impersonation here!

UNION 3: "Best of Frontiers Records 2-CD"

Frontiers 2000

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

UNION 3 is the third (no kidding) compilation from the AOR/Melodic Hardrock label FRONTIERS RECORDS (NOW & THEN) and it´s a must have if you wanna know what AOR is all about. What you get is a double CD with 31 tracks of great music from FRONTIERS and all to the price of one CD.

Disc 1 is a compilation of songs from albums that have already been released bands such as TWO FIRES with Kevin Chalfant (ex.707/The Storm), Canadian rockers EMERALD RAIN, the newcomers from U.K. LOST WEEKEND, Germany´s finest FAIR WARNING (too bad that super vocalist Tommy Heart has left the band), STREET LEGAL from Norway, JIMI JAMISON (Survivor), JOHN ELEFANTE (Kansas) & BOB CATLEY (ex.Magnum) are all bands/songs that you can check out and buy later.

Disc 2 is more interesting as it contains unreleased material from bands/artists that will release new albums in late 2000 or early 2001. Well... TEN has already been released (see above review) JORN is the new vocalist in MILLENIUM (ex.Vagabond, The Snakes) and "Starfire" proves that he´s a great vocalist and that his solo album could be something special. The cover of the old RAINBOW classic "I surrender" with MILLENIUM (but still with Jorn) is a breathtaker. THE V.U with Kevin Chalfant (again) ROSS VALORY (Journey) & STEF BURNS (Y&T, Alice Cooper) seem to be something to look forward too. VOODO HILL is the new project with GLENN HUGHES (Deep Purple, Gary Moore, solo, etc.). THE SIGN is the new super group with Terry Brocks (Strangeways), Randy Jackson (Zebra), Mark Mangold (Touch, Drive She Said) and I can´t wait to hear the whole album cuz "Aryon" is a great song! KELLY KEAGY the Drummer/Singer of NIGHT RANGER does a KISS sounding track called "Anything goes" could be interesting and DAVID GLEN EISLEY (ex.Giuffria, Dirty White Boy. etc.) finally returns to AOR again. It might be a good 2001 after all (thanx to Frontiers)

Various Artists: "UNION 4" 9

Frontiers 2001

Review by 4 July 2001

Frontiers Records seem to always get it right with their Union compilations. Union 4 is again an excellent 2 CD set by them. 33 songs by both rock veterans and promising newcomers add up to almost two and a half hours of musical pleasure for AORsters. This compilation has also some harder rock tunes to spice it up. Ten kicks off the 1st album with "Give in This Time" and does it with style. I enjoyed a bit rougher guitars of Voodoo Hill with Glenn Hughes on vocals and Seventh Key's rocker "The Kid Could Play". But no use going on about just some bands because I'm sure there's something for everyone in these 33 songs.

Many of the bands here have given a taste of their forthcoming albums to this compilation. Giant, Skin Tag and Johnny Lima are just some names that provide us with something to look forward to. Union 4 is a good confidence boost for the new bands because they are not left in the shadows of the more famous bands, sometimes even vice versa.

This album is a safe choice if you want to take a good look at AOR scene of today. This is a good overview of the present and future so fear not, go to the store and buy it!

UNITED FOOLS: "United Fools" 5

Mad Dog Records 2001

Review by 01-12-11

Sleazy, dirty and darn right nasty. Nope, I´m not talking about the musicians rather than the music style. Newcomers "United Fools" from Gothenburg/Sweden. Will release their self titled debut album later this month.

Formed back in 1998 and with their roots firmly grounded in the 80´s style of hardrock. Alan Dzafo (vocals/guitar), Mattias Strelvik (guitar), Johnny Johansson (bass) & Zlaja Prozorac (drums) did record a couple of demo tapes. Before signing a recording contract with the label 'Mad Dog Records'

United Fools are mainly inspired by bands such as: The Cult, Billy Idol, AC/DC, G´N´R and Stones. And many of the tracks do show similarities to above mentioned artists. Especially on tracks like "Rain" or "City Girl", where 'The Cult' influences shows their true colors. I´m afraid that Dzafo will always walk in the shadow of Ian Astbury though. He´s really not a bad singer actually, but it´s not an easy task to be as 'cool' as The Cult frontman. I rather play "Kiss Me And Set Me Free" or "Daddy´s R´N´R Star" where both Dzafo and guitarist Strelvik do sound more at home. Bottomline, a pretty average rock album with a couple of cool tracks.

UNIVERSE: "Is there something?" 6

Point Music/Rock Inc. 2003
Review by Martien Koolen,
27 January 2004

Universe is a German rock band that first draw attention with their debut single “I Want You”, which was released in 1988. They also made a mini-album called “Waiting For” and in 1998 and 1999 they started working on the production of their first full-length album. When the album was finished, singer Frank DiSanto died of cancer and Universe decided to wait with the release of their album.

In 2003 however Point Music released this album and the ten songs are just plain pure hard rock tracks; nothing spectacular really...All the songs are build up in the same way: it starts with a guitar solo/melody, then a refrain/chorus or vice versa, then a guitar solo, then again a chorus/refrain, or vice versa; so pretty predictable! Their musical influences range from bands like Victory, Crystal Ball, sometimes a bit of Def Leppard and Pride. Typical for their sound are the rather nasal vocals and the standard guitar riffs and hooks, one can expect from German hard rock bands.

“Don’t Wanna Lose” is such a standard pure rock song, which is of course not bad, but ever so familiar and well-known. I think that the word originality does not ring a bell among these guys. However if you like your German and Swiss hard rock, then you can buy this album without any doubt. You will not be disappointed; best songs: “One Love”(a semi-power ballad), “Seventh Day”(with a melodic, touchy guitar solo) and “Is There Something”, which is probably the heaviest track; rock on.

UNRULY CHILD: "Waiting For The Sun" 8

MTM Music 1998
Review by

Unruly Child are back, although without the original vocalist Mark Free. He has been replaced with Kelly Hansen of Hurricane, who does a brilliant job here. He has never sounded better!

"Heart Run Free" sets the pace, a nice uptempo AOR track in the vein of "Who Cries Now" on UC's first album. "Rise Up" is another good AOR track with some dramatic Zeppelin-like elements, while "Why Should I Care" reminds me a bit of Hurricane's "Livin' Over The Edge". "Forever" is a great heavy midtempo song, co-written by Mark Free and sounding very much like it was tailormade for him. Mr. Hansen doesn't have to worry though, his version is totally brilliant too.

"Man Inside" is the first ballad and quite a good one, very moody. "Do You Ever Think Of Me" is the Held/Greenwood composition that was also on the Message album "Fine Line". As good as this song was on that album, I have to say I prefer this version. The band gives it a bit bluesier and a lot more powerful treatment.

The rest of the album is a bit disappointing. Hansen's "To The Cross" and the dramatic title song are OK, but the remaining three songs are quite average, especially the boogie woogie "Live In The Night". But eight out of eleven is a good result, and I can easily say that this is just as good as the first UC album, if not better.

UNRULY CHILD: "Basement Demos" 7

Frontiers 2002
Review by 24 November 2002

This is what they call AOR archeology! Unruly Child's first album from the early eighties is considered by many a classic AOR album, so I guess it makes sense to release the orginal demos from that era too. In addition to demo versions of seven songs from the self-titled UC album, this CD also features 9 other demos. Some of these tracks were re-recorded for "Waiting For The Sun" album, and some of them were featured on "Tormented", a Marcie Free solo album. For those of you not familiar with Marcie, she used to be Mark Free, one of the greatest rock vocalists. Now she plays in a different league, and it's uncertain whether his/her vocal skills have are still there after the "transformation".

If you are familiar with the first UC album, the seven songs also featured on it weren't too different originally, except for "Rock Me Down Nasty", which was later renamed to "Take Me Down Nasty", and given a somewhat different arrangement. The original demo features more keyboards and is a slightly more AOR'ish than the album version. The best ones of the other tracks were wisely resurrected for the second album, so it the end you won't find too many "new" songs here. "Undefeated" and "True Love" aren't too bad though, but much poppier than the usual Unruly Child material.

I guess this CD gives the best value for money for big fans of Mark Free, who are able to add a few tracks to their collection and with a better sound quality than those mp3's floating around. For others, the DVD that comes with the release might offer some entertainment, as it features rare video footage, including three live performances, interviews and all sorts of funny bits. Still, I'd say this is a release for die-hard fans only, and the common melodic rock fan might save his/her money for the third UC album due out in the near future.


Frontiers Records 2003
Review by 23 January 2003

Gee... don't you sometimes wish they could come up with an more original title? I can imagine the brainstorm it took to finally come up with "III". It's like saying to the fans, we don't give a crap about the name, just bring us the dough, man. This may sound a bit harsh I know, but what does it really take to come up with a name? I do believe they're doing this for the love of music though, but still...

This is the third release [not counting the demo release] by the unruly lads, with their third vocalist at the front. The original and founding members Bruce Gowdy (gtr/bass/drums) & Guy Allison (keys/bass/drums) is completed by ex-Magdallen vocalist Philip Bardowell.

You can't help to compare "III" with their previous albums, even if you're trying to stay objective. Nevertheless, the curse of the marvelous debut album, will always follow them around like a shadow. Same goes with every poor singer that have to try and step into the shoes of Mark Free (high heels & stockings?). The Gods should know it's not an easy task to fill, and some even say it's impossible. Let's be honest here, Mark/Marcie Free is one of the best ever AOR singers out there. Bardowell is indeed an excellent singer, but the material is simply not strong enough here. Highlights such as "Tear Me Down", "Falling" (which sound like something from the World Trade project), "Kings Of Tragedy" (great stuff), "Vertigo", and the nice ballad "Shades Of Love" don't really help the overall rating when tracks like: "All Around Me", "Bring Me Home", "Sleeping Town", "You See Three" etc are very average and sometimes even dull. It's a bit bluesy, not remotely catchy, and darn right boring music. There's not many swinging guitars, fluffy keys, or dut-dut keys, to be found here.


URBAN TALE: "One Day" 8

Tale Music 2000
Review by

This is only a single with one track, but I feel this band deserves the recognition. After all, Urban Tale are the first Finnish AOR band in ages, and a very good one too!

"One Day" is an awesome ballad in the Journey vein, yet retains the band's own identity. The production is good, and the band is full of capable musicians, but the biggest surprise were the vocals. Singer Kimmo Blom has a great voice, a bit like Steve Perry, and I can imagine him doing a fantastic job covering Journey tunes, as the band has done on a few occassions. What's more, I didn't notice a trace of finnish accent! The backing vocals were good too.

I am very much looking forward to hearing more "Urban Tales", and meanwhile, I suggest that you all visit the Urban Tale page at , where you can listen to three of their songs. Currently they have "One Day", another ballad called "Still Strong" and a pop rocker "Passion Takes Over" available there, all very good!

URBAN TALE: "One day (I´ll make you mine)" /Single/ 9

Tale Music 2000

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

Quick! Somebody name the best AOR band or artist ever from Finland! Yeah... thought so... not that many too name actually (Wild Force, Annica..?) I´m not saying that URBAN TALE (gotta love that name) is the best band... but these guys sure got a chance to bring home the title and the champion belt. Nothing remotely new or groundbreaking in the AOR scene maybe but who cares as long as it´s this good.

They actually got together a couple of years ago for a Tribute to JOURNEY and you might have guessed by now that Urban Tale KIMMO BLOM (Vocals), ERKKA KORHONEN (Guitars), TUOMO KOVALAINEN (Bass), TIMO PUDAS (Keyboards) & KARI VÄLIMÄKI (Drums) do sound like Journey.

This is their first independent single but I´ve heard they have already signed a contract with a label (more news will follow) they will soon enter the studio and a full-length CD should be waiting around the corner. This band pretty much got it all, a great vocalist (Steve Perry style) a flashy guitarist, the fluffy AOR Keyboards and most important the ability to write good songs. "One day (I´ll make you mine)" is a superb ballad that I´ve been playing over & over again. Goosebumps warning for sure, let´s hope that the rest of the songs will be this fantastic! For now check out this song a couple more at: and their site at:

URBAN TALE : "Urban Tale" 8

Frontiers/Now & Then 2001
Review by 4 July 2001

Fellow Finns Urban Tale shook the AOR community last year with their awesome "One Day" single and aroused quite a bit of interest. Swedish production company Roastinghouse signed the band and locked them into their studio. Now the final product has been licensed to Frontiers/Now & Then, and it's here for all of us to hear.

Urban Tale has been called "The Finnish Journey", and granted, vocalist Kimmo Blom is a deadringer for Steve Perry. The songs are more or less in the Journey-vein too, although there are other influences to be heard as well. There's a bit of Toto here and a little bit of Tall Stories there... The production of the album seems to be very good, a classic AOR sound updated to meet the demands of 2001.

Songwise the band hit the bullseye on several occasions. The aforementioned "One Day (I'll Make You Mine") is still a fine ballad in the best Journey fashion, "Passion Takes Over" a good "7th One"-era Toto-like soft rocker and "Runaway Train" an excellent uptempo track with a very good chorus. The best of 'em all though is "King Of Hearts". Hidden between its' Toto-meets-Tall Stories -like verses is a chorus that most songwriters can only dream of, absolutely addictive even after the first listening! This song could take the radiowaves by a storm...DJ's and radio programmers all over the world, would you please wake up!

Urban Tale have lived up to my very high expections, of which I am very happy. They have singlehandedly proved that Finns CAN create good AOR music, and this album is just that.

URBAN TALE: "Signs Of Times" 7

Frontiers 2003
Review by 26 January 2003

Son of a Gun indeed!! The finnish gunslingers of Urban Tale, return with yet another album filled with rock ammunition. They come out with all guns blasting really as everything from production to the performances from all musicians involved is very professionally done.

"Signs Of Times" was again recorded by Anders Theander (ex-Eurock, Bewarp) at the Roastinghouse studios in Sweden. Which stands for quality I may add! However, it's maybe too serious rock in the end?? Don't get me wrong! This is far from being a lousy CD! Still, I actually miss a couple of hooks here and there and they're playing a bit more complex music this time.

They've kind of moved away from the fluffy AOR on their debut album. This is a little bit more progressive, darker, and not always easy listening. To be honest, something like "Beggar And Theif" reminds me more of REM (!?) than catchy, melodic rock. Vocalist Kimmo Blom also seems to be inspired by REM's vocalist here (??). While "Monsters" is just weird sounding with annoying bass-dance rhythm. "Hello Light" is again closer to REM than anything else... pretty boring stuff if you ask me. I really prefer the catchier tracks like "Houdini's Eyes" or "Son Of A Gun". Both are top class AOR, with Prog-Rock elements included. "Still Strong" is a glowing piano ballad and "Open Your Heart" is marvelously done soft-rock. You really need to spin this disc for quite a while, to really appreciate some of the tracks. If they were Finlands answer to Journey on their debut. I'd say they are more Progressive this time around and I can help feeling a bit dissapointed here. It's not really the change of style as much as the weaker song material. Good, but not always great, would be the final verdict here.


U.S. BANDIT: "U.S. Bandit" 5

EMI 1998
Review by 19-12-00

When writing about U.S.Bandit I know it is going to be a review of comparisons. I can't help it, I think it's the best way to introduce the band's music. The artwork already left me puzzled. A cool design on the front but opening it, the band is wearing pretty much Kiss-like masks on the photos. The platform shoes just intensify the Kiss-copy feel, however one of the guys looks more like King Diamond (as for his size.). Actually, if I wanted to deal with the masks more detailed I'd say they are more like the early Crimson Glory masks (they wore until their first release) than Kiss masks. The back cover is a Gibson guitar with blood all over it. Again I have the bug in my head: the Blackie and Chris Holmes lead W.A.S.P. of the early 80s.

Now on to the music: it is at least as eclectic as the artwork. Though all the songs (except for "American Band") were written by Dan Wos, the lead guitarist/vocalist they seem to have different influences. The first two tracks "Borderline Crazy" and "C'Mon And Tell Me" remind me of the sleaze and glam bands of the mid 80s, I'd say Poison on steroids with a huge Guns N' Roses feel and the result sounds like Jesse Strange or Sleeze Beez. But then you get "Man Of The Badlands" which is more like early Black Sabbath with modern sound.

The highlight of the album for me is the first and only ballad "Smoke 'Em". A great tune with the typical guitar chord-arpeggio intro, a tasty solo and great vocal lines. The song reminds me of the two classic ballads of the first Skid Row album. "Thunder Road" is more of a biker rock track in the vein of Steve Jones' "Fire And Gasoline" album while "Lonely Girl" is more modern sounding again, somewhere between Love/Hate and Ugly Kid Joe. "Sister Morphine" takes us back to the early, masked Kiss feel, Dan even sounds like Paul Stanley on this one.

Though it's audible that no big money was invested into the production, it is not bad at all, the instruments sound clear, the vocals are strong enough and well balanced. As you could recognize, the band is not about originality but they play with enthusiasm and professionalism, they must be fun live. For more info check their site out at: