Thursday, August 17, 2023

ROCK BLOG #21 - Goodbye Summer?

It's August and the holidays are over, so I'll get back to writing these blog entries too. I haven't been totally idle during the holidays, we did visit Smugglerrok festival and there's a big report of that on the website. 

The flood of new releases didn't really slow down during summer, and I haven't been able to check out all of them. I've also bought quite a few albums, old and new. I'm going through them as I write this, so I thought I'll share my thoughts about them with you.

LINMAN - Heaven Calls: Here's a cult album, a bit of a Holy Grail when it comes to Finnish AOR. No, I haven't found a copy of the original 1992 release, in fact I have never even seen one, and I live in Finland! MelodicRockClassics label have re-issued the album, and it's a good value-for-money package: the album remastered and a another disc of bonustracks. But who is Linman, you ask? Well, he's a Finnish singer/songwriter, father of Andre Linman (One Desire/Sturm Und Drang singer/guitarist) and a former member of the pop-rock duo Place-2-Go. In 1992 he was playing a kind of a mixture of Scandi-AOR and more American sounding classic rock. "Heaven Calls" might not be a classic as such, but it's a good album. The bonustracks are all co-written and produced by Mats "MP" Persson (of Roxette fame), less rock-oriented mostly, but not too bad. RRRR

GOLDEN FARM - Angel's Tears: there are reviews of this in our archives, but I am not sure whether I have heard this album entirely before now. This Spanish band has one of the worst names I've heard, but at least I remembered it when I saw the CD in Disco Loco, a fine record store in Palma De Mallorca. It's strange, I forget a lot of important things yet I remember a review from 2001?!!! Anyway, Golden Farm played AOR/Melodic Hard Rock, nothing revolutionary and they borrowed a lot of ideas from here and there, but somehow they had a fresh approach. I could describe them as combination of Survivor, Van Hagar and 80's Scandi-AOR, lots of keys and excellent vocals. RRRR

SILENT FORCE - Infatuator: another one I picked from Disco Loco. Bought it because of vocalist D.C. Cooper, the mighty voice of Royal Hunt. This is the band's second album from 2001, they've got five in total. First four feature Cooper, Michael Bormann sings on the last one, released in 2013. I am not sure whether this is a keeper, because as much as I like Cooper's singing, the songs are a bit average, standard power metal stuff, Judas Priest meets Helloween but not as good. RRR

GABRIELLE DE VAL - Kiss In A Dragon Night: This one's a rather new release which I picked up from Pride And Joy's sale. Released by Escape Music, this is a bit of an all-star affair, featuring some noteworthy quests sharing vocals with Gabrielle De Val: Mark Boals, Robin McAuley, Mick Devine, Steve Overland and Terry Brock. The tracklisting includes a few covers (Mike Oldfield, Magnum, James Christian), some re-worked versions of Gabrielle's own band The Val's songs and a few songs penned by Steve Overland and Tommy Denander for this project. Solid stuff, definitely a keeper. RRRR

SINOPOLI - The Eyes Never Lie: a Disco Loco pick again, for 3 euros I took a gamble. Another early 2000's release, but actually a compilation of late eighties' stuff. I remembered that they had something to do with songwriter/producer Jack Ponti, and indeed I found his name as producer on one of the tracks. No songwriting credits though, even though some of the songs sound a bit like poor man's Baton Rouge or Surgin'. Then again, some songs have a bit of a 70's glam rock vibe, and there's even one Bowie cover here. All in all, a bit of a mishmash, some of the songs are of demo quality...the midtempo or semi-ballad tracks "It's Too Late" and "Be My Lover" are the best ones. RRR

BILLY HARVEY - Moonlight Theatre: a 1997 release from the MTM label. They released quite a few brilliant AOR and melodic hard rock albums in their time, but this one isn't one of those. This is singer/songwriter stuff along the likes of Danny Wilde, John Mellencamp or the latest Bon Jovi album. Harvey writes good stories but the music side of these songs is just downright boring. RR

To be continued...


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