Dave Foster Band’s “Glimmer” is a captivating album that showcases the incredible talents of Dave Foster and Dinet Poortman. Despite the band being named after Foster, this project is a collaborative effort between the two artists, introduced to each other by their mutual friend, Steve Rothrey.

Dave Foster, known for his involvement with prog royalty such as Rothery’s solo band and Big Big Train, brings his extensive experience to the table. However, “Glimmer” takes a departure from the weighty prog sound that Foster is commonly associated with. Instead, it explores a diverse range of styles, incorporating elements of pop rock and showcasing the incredible vocal range of Poortman.

An early standout track on the album is “Run,” a pop rock gem with an infectious chorus. Its catchy melodies and energetic vibe set down a marker. Another notable track is the lengthier and heavier “Stigma,” which serves as a platform for Poortman’s prowess. The dynamic interplay between the band members is evident.

“Memory Box” transports listeners back to the 80s, evoking a nostalgic feel reminiscent of bands like Deacon Blue. The single “…Or You Steal Some” is undoubtedly a highlight of the album, boasting raw lyrics, a gentle piano melody, and the perfect bass accompaniment by Neil Fairclough from Queen & Adam Lambert. It is a shining example of the band’s ability to craft emotionally charged and memorable songs, and it is a genuine epic.

While “Glimmer” has been out for some time, its recent availability in digital format allows more listeners to discover its brilliance. The album truly shines in its composition. “Glimmer” deserves your attention, because it sparkles.

Rating 8/10


It has been nearly five years since I first saw Hannah Rose Platt open for Amelia White, and I distinctly remember being captivated by her character-based tales. I said back then that she was superb at them, and now, with the release of “Deathbed Confessions,” it is even clearer that Platt’s storytelling prowess knows no bounds.

The album commences with “Dead Man On The G Train,” a cinematic opener that immediately sets the stage for the ghostly narratives to come. It is a testament to Platt’s ability to create vivid imagery through her lyrics. As I recall, that night she played a horror story she had learned as a child and set it to music. In the context of “Deathbed Confessions,” this becomes even more significant, as the album is a collection of haunting ghost stories.

One standout track, “Hedy Lamarr,” showcases Platt’s brilliant voice in a gentle ballad that lingers long after it fades away. Another unsettling gem is “Home For Wayward Dolls,” which immerses listeners in a chilling atmosphere. However, it is the collaboration with Ed Harcourt on “Mermaid And The Sailor” that truly shines, offering a classic murder ballad reminiscent of the haunting chemistry found in that collaboration of Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave.

The musicianship displayed throughout the album is nothing short of stunning, with particular praise for the exceptional use of strings. This can be felt most profoundly in the closing track, “Inventing The Stars,” featuring the Budapest Film Orchestra. Here, the album’s ambition and scope are revealed in all their glory.

While Hannah Rose Platt has long been championed by respected figures such as Sid Griffin and Bob Harris, “Deathbed Confessions” is undoubtedly the album that deserves to propel her into the mainstream. With its haunting narratives, breath-taking musicianship, and ambitious vision, this record has the potential to be the breakthrough moment that catapults Platt’s artistry into the spotlight it so richly deserves.

Rating 8.5/10


The demise of Peter Pan Speedrock was enough to see grown men in certain quarters weeping. Help is at hand. PPS singer and guitar player Peter van Elderen hooked up with former Wolfskop drummer Marcin Hurkmans, the result is Tankzilla.

And the results? Well if you’re expecting PPS MK II then nope, this isn’t fast and furious filth like Motorhead. This is slower, bluesier. But still filth.

“Lucifer” screams that its going straight through the gates of hell (it sounds like it’s relishing the task). “Crossroad” sounds like it’s prepared to do any deal with the devil, but that Satan himself would back out, and “Brother From Another Mother” finds something so primal that you’d best not scratch the surface.

Then there’s “Pluck The Rooster” (I assume it’s a euphemism). Something like Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity having an orgy in the mud. While Crowbar watch. “TankZilla” is fun, but its anything but good and clean.

Rating 8/10


…On which Arjen Lucassen, the man behind Ayreon and Star One, stops being a prog God and a metal Lord for a bit to put his stack heels and sparkly suit on to give you some 70s rock n roll.

“71 time for a change” goes the first line on the record, and “The Glamattack” is go. A homage to Bowie, Cooper and the rest. And actually, the first three are all you need to know. The title track is gloriously OTT, but the love he has for Radio Caroline and so on is crystal clear, and the “Rise Of The Starman” underlines the reverence for the much-missed characters in rock.

This is Lucassen, so even the slower ones like “Odyssey” are bombastic, and if the name of Deep Purple has never been far away from this review, then “They Took Us By Storm” makes them impossible not to recall.

After the last one, the wonderfully tongue in cheek “Came To Mock, Stayed To Rock” (premise: anyone can be won over by the music) there’s some bonus tracks, on which T-Rex’s “Children Of The Revolution” shakes any foundation.

Arjen Lucassen is an encyclopaedia of music. Supremely skilled, an alchemist, here he puts his own stamp on what he loved then and clearly still does

Rating 8/10


Rusty Bonez, the Greek quartet hailing from Athens, delivers a fierce and exhilarating experience with their second album, “Brainworm.” Right from the start, it’s evident that this record is a testament to their love for rock ‘n’ roll and their impressive musical prowess. Drawing inspiration from Clutch, but it’s their compatriots, Planet Of Zeus, that come to mind throughout the 11 captivating songs on this album.

The opening track, “Nowhere,” bursts forth with an infectious energy. Despite the last line declaring “now I am dead!”, the song sounds remarkably alive, setting the tone for the rest of the album., “Drive” takes a groove-based approach, reminiscent of the likes of Orange Goblin. Nondas Emmanouil’s delivery bears a resemblance to the commanding vocals of Orange Goblin’s Ben Ward.

For all that its guitar based, “Brainworm” encompasses a wide range of styles, showcasing Rusty Bonez’s versatility. From the three-minute sonic onslaught of “Hold Your Breath” to the sprawling and epic “Shadows Of Faith,” where, shockingly enough, acoustic guitars make an appearance!

One of the standout moments arrives in the form of “Do You Remember?” It encapsulates the essence of rock ‘n’ roll at its most primal.

Throughout “Brainworm,” it’s apparent that Rusty Bonez is a band deeply devoted to the music they play, and that, for them, may be enough.

Rating 7.5/10


“Anthropocene” is the second record by Cry Of Dawn, and it serves as a vehicle for the wonderful voice of Göran Edman, known for his collaborations with renowned artists such as John Norum, Yngwie Malmsteen, Brazen Abbot, and Glory, among others. This album, to be totally honest,  is the essence of what Frontiers Records is all about.

Right from the bombastic opening track, “Devils Highway,” it becomes apparent what Cry Of Dawn do. With Tommy Denander providing all the instrumentation, there is a genuine class and expertise evident throughout the record. The song “Memory Lane” is a quintessential AOR  anthem, embodying the genre’s signature sound and style. Just the titles alone give you a glimpse into what to expect from the album, and they deliver exactly that.

While “Edge Of A Broken Heart” may not be the great “lost” Bon Jovi track, it stands on its own as a soaring ballad that showcases Cry Of Dawn’s ability to create powerful and emotive music.

“Long Time Coming Home” further demonstrates the band’s skill in crafting compelling stuff. “High And Low” incorporates a riff reminiscent of Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69,” and if it were an Adams song, it would undoubtedly be a chart-topping hit.

Ultimately, “Anthropocene” delivers exactly what you would expect from Cry Of Dawn. It is supremely conceived, supremely played, and serves as a masterclass in AOR music. The album’s craftsmanship is impossible to dislike.

Rating 8/10.


As I sat watching Tyketto  and FM on Friday night, a feeling of disappointment lingered within me. It’s a terrible shame when deserving bands are overlooked and fail to receive quite the recognition they deserve. That thought remained with me as House of Shakira’s latest record, “XIT.”, played. With nine albums spanning over 30 years, House of Shakira has consistently delivered music that defies the usual AOR clichés. Their latest offering continues this trend, showcasing their musical prowess and undeniable talent.

Right from the opening notes of “Something In The Water,” the album captivates with its stacked harmonies and the familiar touch of Mats Hallstensson and Anders Lundström’s twin guitars, which inject a distinctive, harder edge. It’s songs like these that make you wonder why bands like House of Shakira aren’t headlining arenas. “Toxic Train is like a heartbeat away from starting “love is like a bomb, baby come on get it on”. The tracklist might have led you to believe that “Too Much Love” would be a sentimental ballad, but House of Shakira proves us wrong yet again.

A further whiff of Def Leppard’s influence can be detected on “The Messenger,” infusing the song. “Chimera” stands out with impressive riffing, showcasing the band’s instrumental prowess and ability to craft engaging melodies. Finally, the title track, “XIT,” closes the album with a bombastic grandeur. Clocking in as the longest track, it demonstrates House of Shakira’s commitment to doing things on their own terms, refusing to compromise their artistic vision.

Once again, House of Shakira has delivered a brilliant record with “XIT.” They continue to defy expectations, offering a refreshing take on AOR without falling into the clichés that often plague the genre.

The album is a testament to House of Shakira’s enduring excellence. They consistently push boundaries and refuse to be confined to musical stereotypes

Rating: 8.5/10.


Delivery’s debut album, “Forever Giving Handshakes,” has been five years in the making, and the result is a quirky collection of songs that showcases their unique sound. While the term “Melbourne Punks” might evoke thoughts of bands like The Chats, Delivery takes a more mellifluous approach, as evident in the opening track, “Picture This.” The band’s harmonies and three-guitar approach create a refreshing and distinctive sound.

“Poor To Middling Moneymaking” takes us back to the garage roots of punk, but Delivery adds their own twist. The addition of James Lynch’s synth on “Baader Meinhof” adds an intriguing element to the album. It’s clear that Delivery is not afraid to experiment and incorporate different sonic textures into their music.

One aspect that stands out in Delivery’s music is their use of four singers. This unconventional approach adds depth and variety to their songs. “Office Party” stands out as a particularly hellish scenario, while the bassline in “Born Second” provides a solid foundation for the track, while “Good” embraces an ’80s punk sound. Think Blondie hanging on the telephone with a shedload of glue to sniff. Rebecca Allan and Lisa Rashleigh take the lead vocals on “Best Western,” where the catchy chorus, “I got people to see,” it might indeed herald a growing audience for the band.

“Forever Giving Handshakes” is a first-class Delivery, you might say.

Rating 8/10


Alcatrazz proves once again that they are determined to make up for lost time with their latest album, “Take No Prisoners.” This release marks their third album in as many years.

The best place to start with the record is their collaboration with recent touring buddies,  Girlschool, resulting in the AC/DC-esque track, “Don’t Get Mad….Get Even.”  However, it is “Battlelines” that truly shines. They share a label with Saxon and here they share a sound too. The track showcases the band’s skilful musicianship and is a testament to their ability to create music infused with the classic “metal” sound.

Fronted by the exceptional Doogie White, Alcatrazz has found their perfect match in a vocalist. With his impressive range and commanding presence, his contribution to slower tracks like “Strangers” and heavier offerings like “Holy Roller (Love’s Temple)” needs to get Dio fans rushing to the album

It’s worth noting that founding member Jimmy Waldo has co-produced the album, solidifying Alcatrazz’s status as one of the finest exponents of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) in the United States (if you see what I mean).

“Take No Prisoners” ends with an unapologetic declaration to “Bring On The Rawk” and that about sums it up.

Rating 8/10


Servers’ latest album, “The Vertical Plane,” defies categorisation. In a press pack accompanying the album, it is mentioned that Servers will appeal to fans of Gojira, Devin Townsend, Baroness, Mastodon, Killing Joke, Queens of the Stone Age, and Therapy.

Instead, you can just say that the band are led by Lee Storrar, formerly of GU Medicine, who were seriously scary back in the day.

Servers have made a name for themselves through their ability to create unsettling yet captivating music, and “The Vertical Plane” is no exception. From the opening track, “Absolom,” with its discordant, thick riff, it becomes evident that the band’s music is not easily defined. While some may label it as doom, no one told the band.

“King Of Nothing” injects energy into the album, reminiscent of the rawness found in the works of Groop Dodgrill. Lyrically, Servers delve into themes that explore the paranormal, sleep paralysis, and religion, lending a thought-provoking depth to their music, yet tracks like “Here, There And Everywhere,” which delivers a glorious heavy soundscape, showcase the band’s versatility.

“You Still Come Willingly,” which begins with a touch of Ferocious Dog-style folky punk before morphing into something akin to Paradise Lost it typically atypical.  

As the album reaches its conclusion with the brilliant “Incorruption,” it becomes clear that “The Vertical Plane” may very well be Servers’ best work to date. While Storrar suggests that their next album might be their last, the music presented here indicates that Servers are not yet ready to disappear. Instead, “The Vertical Plane” soars to new heights.

Rating 8.5/10


We seem to be in the midst of a heavy metal revival and, Austria’s Roadwolf emerge as the latest band to transport us back to the glorious days of 1982 with their sophomore album, “Midnight Lightning.” Bursting with thunderous energy right from the start, the album’s opener, “On The Run,” It’s a track that encapsulates the spirit of the entire album.

The title track takes us on a nostalgic journey through the heyday of heavy metal, where denim and leather were the uniform of choice, as it were, and over ten reasonably lengthy songs, Roadwolf showcases their musical prowess and dedication to the genre. Tracks like “Sons Of The Golden Horde” and “Don’t Deliver Us From Evil” deliver exactly what you would expect from classic heavy metal anthems. They are filled with raw power, blistering guitar solos, and it has to be said,  infectious choruses.

“Savage Child”, towards the end is a wild and raucous ride, tailor-made for the moshpit. And whilst “Midnight Lightning” is somewhat derivative, it’s evident that Roadwolf embraces their influences with open arms, paying homage to the greats that came before them. They are unapologetically rooted in the sounds and spirit of classic heavy metal, and that’s what makes this album so enjoyable.

So, get your horns up and prepare to headbang along. Roadwolf invites you to join their party and revel in the unadulterated joy of heavy metal.

Rating 7/10


As opening lines go, it’s right up there: “on the bathroom wall of the Cistene Chapel, I scrawled your name”.

That’s how Luke Elliot begins “Let ‘Em All Talk” and it perhaps indicates the scope of what he’s doing. A film score composer, he brings that feel into the album too. “What It Is” belongs in a film noir, and “I (Who Have Nothing)” is an enormous sounding piece that is built on lush strings.

Dark balladry is the stock in trade here if you’re looking for a handle, but there’s plenty of colour too. “It Won’t Hurt Soon (But It Sure Does Now)” has a touch of Americana, the more strident “William Tell” (one of the singles) is Nick Cave-esque, and is probably the best thing on offer here, beating as it does, with a black heart.

Even the brighter ones, like the driving energy of “Bad Weather” don’t reveal themselves fully and there’s a bit of Craig Finn here, in that the story is only partly told.

The credits roll, as it were, with a brooding “When That Great Ship Went Down” and merely underlines the compelling originality here. A record, you feel, that will reveal more and more to you each time you listen.

Rating 8/10


According to The Used main man Bert McCracken, the songs on “Toxic Positivity” are the most sincere he’s ever written – that’s quite some claim, but the first three here, “Worst I’ve Ever Been”, “Numb” and “I Hate Everybody”, are all you need to listen to, to decide that The Used are back. And the emotions are on turbo charge.

McCracken has long laid it bare, and this time he’s got some serious points to make. Take “….Everybody”. “All my friends are falling in love, but I can’t even fall asleep” he sings. And let’s be honest, the king of sloganeering lyrics is rather good at this stuff.

Musically there’s a broad spectrum here, electro, pianos and “Pinky Swear” essentially nails modern punk rock (before sticking it in arenas), and “Headspace” is one that anyone who is at constant war with themselves will totally understand.

Basically, he’s now explicitly writing in the first person (and he was fooling no-one before anyway) but on stuff like “Top Of The World” The Used are returning to the sort of space where Enter Shikari usually belong, and the dance overtones that have been all the way through this, are right to the fore on the closing “Giving Up”, that it starts “I woke up this morning and wanted to die”, rather underline what The Used are doing this time around.

Rating 8/10


On Google, if you put the name Steve Ramone (as far as I can tell he’s not one of the bruddahs in leather) in, it says, “people also search for” and lists the name Enuff Z Nuff. Ever since I was a kid and heard Chip Z’Enuff I’ve been a sucker for pop rock – and Chicago’s Steve Ramone is as good as it gets at it.

It’s impossible to listen to “Our Love” without smiling (which Ramone reckons is his aim) and on “Break Away” he uses shimmering harmony to propel the thing. The title track is a change of pace, slower, with a blues tinge (and is something of an epic at over six and a half minutes) and “Suspicious Minds” is exactly the song you think it is, you can’t improve on perfection, of course, but its fun all the same.

Pure, unadulterated, unashamed pop music, nothing more, nothing less. “Time To Go” sparkles, and “Tranquilla” is Latin, for no reason, you imagine than it sounds like a good time, and Ramone is clearly hoping for cloudless skies this summer.

“Chasing Daylight” is his first for the major label, Pavement and the joy it contains is as infectious as it is timeless.

Rating 8/10


Gozu’s latest album, “Remedy,” marks their triumphant return after a five-year hiatus, and if you’re going to make a comeback, starting it with a song like “Tom Cruise Control” is the way to go. Packed with Sabbath-esque riffs and grunge overtones, it’s the album in microcosm.

“CLDZ” showcases the band’s ability to blend different influences seamlessly. Drawing flavours from the likes of Corrosion Of Conformity, the song incorporates psychedelic harmonies, adding an extra layer of depth to their sound.

The electrifying “Joe Don Baker,” serves as a wonderful vehicle for new drummer Seth Botos to announce himself. Botos’s presence seems to have breathed new life into the band, injecting a fresh energy that is both invigorating and infectious.

“Ben Gazzaro Loves No One” is a monstrously heavy track that exemplifies the band’s ability to deliver crushing riffs with precision and power. Throughout “Remedy,” , though, Gozu flirts with the boundaries of becoming a full-on psych album, and this evolution is most apparent in the wonderful closer, “The Handler.” The mesmerizing blend of haunting melodies, swirling guitars, and hypnotic rhythms creates an otherworldly atmosphere, effectively underlining the band’s growth and versatility.

Even by Gozu’s already high standards, “Remedy” is a cracker of an album. It offers a cure for something, anything—whether it’s your craving for hard-hitting riffs, the need for an escape into psychedelic realms, or simply a desire for exceptional music, its all here.

Rating 9/10


There’s not much I love more than a power trio, and The Daybreakers’ debut album, “Get Through This And Live,” solidifies their place among the exceptionally well-balanced acts of the genre.

Opening with “Tear The Walls Down,” the band effortlessly channels a Dr Feelgood-style sound, showcasing their ability to create infectious grooves. One of the album’s standout tracks, this song also introduces the talents of blues guitar player Connor Selby, who adds hiis distinctive flavour to the band’s already impressive sound. Another of Selby’s contributions, “Bluesbreaker” is mighty impressive.

“I Hate Rock N Roll” is a harmonica-drenched track that bursts with infectious energy, making it abundantly clear that frontman Aidan Connell is lying, and as the album draws to a close, “Shadows” takes the stage, offering a Stones-esque stomp, another with harmonica-filled melodies and irresistible groove, the track serves as a testament to the band’s live performance prowess. Listening to “Shadows,” you can’t help but feel the urge to witness The Daybreakers’ first-hand.

“Get Through This And Live” is a commendable debut album, though, one that showcases the band’s chemistry but it’s hard not to imagine the songs truly coming alive in a live setting.

Rating 7.5/10

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