Friday, December 16, 2022


Yeah, I wrote one ”full-sized” review earlier this week… I rarely hand out the full set of R’s so I thought REMEDY required a review of their own. Now I’m back in blogging mode, and I’m trying hard to remember all the things I’ve thought I should write about.

A cult classic AOR album was reissued last week, with a limited run 0f 200 CDs. Originally released in 1988, ANNICA’s sole album ”Badly Dreaming”  was a bit of a holy grail in CD format, before being reissued by MTM Music in 2004. The original copies on Lighthouse label are still highly collectible. I haven’t had any version of the album in my collection for a while, so I thought I’d get this reissue just to fill a hole. It’s an important part of the history of Finnish AOR anyway. The album is on ”Lipposen Levy ja Kasetti” label, a subsidiary of the Finnish record store chain Record Shop X ( and it comes in a digipak. The printing quality of the artwork is surprisingly sub-standard though, but the remastered CD sounds good.

Still looking back at last Friday, it was a good day for new single releases: BROTHER FIRETRIBE released their magnificent ”Man On A Mission”, Harry Hess and FIRST SIGNAL came up with ”Never Gonna Let You Go” and ISSA’s ”Live Again” impressed me too. This week’s new singles include ”Look For The Rose” from TEN, ”Unity” from Arctic Rain, ”Chemistry” from LeBrock and CREYE’s ”Breathing Fire”. And damn it, ”I Can’t Hold On”, the QUIET RIOT song with Kevin DuBrow on vocals is very good. One of the best archival releases of this year!

A couple of weeks ago CROSSBONE SKULLY premiered their first single ”Evil World Machine”. It’s a project by Tommy Henriksen, but I guess the most noteworthy thing about it is the producer MUTT LANGE, who returns to the scene. Sure enough, the song has a strong AC/DC / Pyromania vibe.

Here’s a YouTube playlist I made for this week!

Monday, December 12, 2022

REMEDY: "Something That Your Eyes Won't See"

Rating: RRRRR

Label: S-Rock Music 2022

Review by Kimmo Toivonen

If an artist releases a new album in late December, there's a good chance that it won't have time to make it to different "Best Of The Year" lists. Swedish newcomers REMEDY might suffer a little because of that, as the release date of this album is December 16th. That does not change the fact that this is the best debut album I've heard in years and my personal favourite album of 2022. It could be one for your "Best Of '22" list too, so wait until you've heard this!

Formed by guitarist Roland "Rolli" Forsman, the band has been around for a year or so I believe. They've collaborated with songwriter Soren Kronqvist, who's written songs for many melodic rock artists such as Sunstorm, Issa and Wake The Nations. I haven't seen his name in the credits that much lately, but this album might explain that - he's saved his best ideas for Remedy!

While Remedy aren't offering anything revolutionary to the genre of melodic hard rock, they don't sound like "just another Swedish melodic rock band". Some of the songs have definite metal edge, which reminds me of Yngwie Malmsteen's "Odyssey/Eclipse"-era, although without the over-the-top Yngwie-isms. "Scream In Silence", "My Devil Within" and "Thunder In The Dark" are good examples of their heavier side, yet still very melodic and catchy.

Then there's "Marilyn". A girl's name in the title is as AOR as it gets... and when a song starts with a staccato keyboard intro รก la Bon Jovi's "Runaway", it's usually a winner in my books! This one's no exception, the chorus hook is wicked!

You might be familiar with "I Wanna Have It All", which is the first song released. This slightly Harem Scarem'ish rocker does have it all, great guitar work, fine vocals from Robert Van Der Zwan, massive hooks...

There are two ballads on the album, "Lifeline" and "Sundays At Nine". "Lifeline" is a good one, but somehow it pales in comparison to "Sundays At Nine". It's simply a breathtakingly beautiful song, even though the lyrics are very out of the ordinary and tragic. The song describes a man's last phone call to his wife from a plane that is about to crash. Now that's something I have never heard in a rock song... but for me this works, thanks to the amazing melodies this song is blessed with.

What else? The production is powerful, colourful and massive, just the way I like it. Is there anything I could complain about... well, the band name isn't the most original, there are at least a dozen Remedies out there. But I guess that's something we can live with!

Thursday, December 1, 2022


It’s been a curious week, as I have received not one but two promotional CDs! These days the promotional efforts of artists and labels center around digital delivery and the flood of links to download material is endless, way too much for anyone to handle. I totally understand that it’s way cheaper to use digital services, especially considering the ever-growing shipping costs. But then again, the physical product will surely get a bit more attention than a link among dozen others. 

The first album came all the way from the States, and it’s called ”Inland Empire” by ECHO US. It’s a one-man project by Ethan Matthews, apart from bass guitars on one track he’s played and sung everything on the album. 

I’m a not a major progressive rock fan, but I’m enjoying this album more than initially thought I would. It’s immaculately produced and played, and the overall vibe of it is relaxing and soothing. There are some very enjoyable melodic compositions here, and while this can be filed under ”prog”, I wouldn’t say it’s difficult or too complicated for anyone to enjoy. Sure, some of the songs are a bit weird and chant-like, but even in those songs there’s something strangely appealing.

ANCIENT FLAME are from Finland, and they also sent me a CD to check out. ”Blood Stained The Barren Land” is their debut album, and they describe it as ”traditional melodic heavy metal with some oriental influences.” The band has two very capable vocalists in Petteri Urmas and Kirsimarja Alonen, with voices that compliment each other quite nicely. Their music is somewhere between Black Sabbath and Nightwish, and at times their songs reminded me of the Christian Metal band HB, musically that is. The oriental themes here and there add a little spice to the songs and go well with the lyrical themes about Sumer and Babylonia etc. 

The fact the album opens and closes with heavy and pounding songs might explain why the overall feel of it is rather heavy and gloomy. There are uptempo songs on it, but the slower ones seem to dominate. I guess this a recommendation to some, as this certainly isn’t ”happy metal” with sing-along choruses! Not that it should be, I just enjoy my metal a bit more melodic, one might even say ”cheesy”.  ”Blood Stained The Barren Land”  is one for the True Metal fans.

COLD DROP from Denmark have their debut album on the way, to be released in February on Lions Pride Music. They contacted me and asked politely whether I could check it out. Well, they caught me at a good time and I promised to do that… They play no-frills hard rock, think Gotthard, AC/DC with a melodic twist, Tyketto… Good vocals, solid playing and production. My favourite songs are the mid-tempo ”Broke My Heart” and the opener ”Sweet Lucille”. The band does not get any extra credit for song titles though - they’ve got both ”Looking For Love” and ”Hold On” on the album! :)

Back in the AOR land, there’s been a few new things I want to write about. REVOLUTION SAINTS has gone through some line-up changes, and now  Dean Castronovo is joined bu Joel Hoekstra on guitars and Jeff Pilson on bass. The first single from this ”2.0” version is out, and it’s called ”Eagle Flight”. I think the song is good and Castronovo’s great vocals are always a joy to listen to. Still, I hope there are even better songs on the forthcoming album.

KHYMERA is back. I’ve been a fan of this project since the second album, when Dennis Ward became the vocalist. New album ”Hold Your Ground” is due early next year, and I can’t wait. The first single ”Firestarter” is very promising.

One of the potential albums of the year 2022 is the debut from Swedish band REMEDY. The release date is Dec 16 so it’ll probably make a bigger impact only next year though. So far they’ve released two songs, ”I Want To Have It All” and ”Scream In Silence”. I’ve heard one additional track which is easily as good as the other two, so I have really high hopes for the album, titled ”Something That Your Eyes Won’t See”.

Moving away from AOR, there’s been a major new metal single, the talk of the town… yes, I’m talking about ”Lux Aeterna” by METALLICA. I just had my first listen, and… the bass drum sound is very intruding! The song itself is fast-paced and energetic, not bad. Not that memorable though.